The Hamster: March

Back to The-Hamster.com.


Monday, March 31, update 5


  • "Public Enemy Number One." Political Strategy has a good post on what he calls, "Free Speech" terrorists.
    They work from within and are at first difficult to spot. Watch out for them, always waiting to pounce, scheming as treasonous, treacherous leaches of freedom.

    They insist that their patriotism is beyond reproach, true Americans, yet they will not be satisfied till the American way of life is destroyed. Cloaked in the flag, they do the master's bidding, neither wondering nor caring if he is right. They blindly follow and terrorize those who do not.

    Perhaps out of ignorance, hatred or fear, but with the same result, each act of their terrorism pushes this country another step closer to the state of tyranny and oppression against which they pretend to defend.

    Despite infinite shades of gray, they see only black and white and are therefore easily influenced and manipulated. They insist that, if you don't support George W. Bush, then you support Saddam. They are evil incarnate and determined to destroy the American way of life. They are "Free Speech" Terrorists.
    Read on at Political Strategy . He also talks about the firing of Peter Arnett, another victim of "free speech terrorists." Personally, I could care less if Arnett was fired; I think he's an arrogant punk (but, again, I'm biased against anyone who's on or was on CNN). Still, the principle on which he was fired - for speaking his mind - is something very disturbing. There is no free speech, especially during war. Only patriotically correct speech.
  • Turmoil, Doubt in Bush Inner Circles ... When the pro-war WashPost starts turning on you ...
    Already there is a behind-the-scenes effort by former senior Republican government officials and party leaders to convince President Bush that the advice he has received from Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz -- a powerful triumvirate frequently at odds with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell -- has been wrong and even dangerous to long-term U.S. national interests.

    Citing past public statements by Cheney and others about the prospective ease with which the Iraq war could be won and the warm welcome U.S. forces would receive from the Iraqi people, one former GOP appointee said he and his allies were looking at "whether this president has learned something from this bum advice he has been getting."

    Other Republicans and Bush administration officials, some close to Powell, also expressed concern that the Iraq war plan, with its "rolling start" using a relatively small force, was based on faulty assumptions that the Iraqi government would quickly collapse. Moreover, there is fear among some officials, especially in the State Department, that postwar diplomacy, if handled poorly, could result in further U.S. estrangement from allies and international institutions ...

    Powell has stressed his support for the war plan, and those operating behind the scenes said they were acting without Powell's blessing. Indeed, among this group, there is criticism of Powell for failing to combat some of the assumptions about the war with Iraq more forcefully. "Powell won't pick up the fight and won't represent State Department professionals who are appalled by what is about to happen," a former party official said.

    Administration officials are generally close-mouthed about their discussions and officially insist there is unity among Bush's senior national security advisers. But they also acknowledge that within this administration disputes among senior Cabinet officials are never really settled. With war now under way, the stakes in the debate over Iraq are much higher, affecting not only the course of the conflict but the world's acceptance of the U.S. invasion and its aftermath.
    That's right, the Bush administration is facing the reality that it has screwed the rest of the world and it will have to deal with the consequences. I take that back. It's not "it will" have to deal with the consequences, WE'LL have to deal with the consequences. The consequences of future Osama bin Ladens, the difficulty of trying to democratize the entire Middle East, and stretching our resources too thin across the globe. This is what it costs to maintain an empire, is it worth it?

    Even the GOP is saying Bush diplomacy is a failure, so why did the conservatives and all of America attack Tom Daschle for his 'failed diplomacy' comments?

    And you have to love this comment: "The only one who can reach the president is his father," one former senior official said. "But it is not timely yet to talk to him."
  • Media Bias, Old School. The CBS evening news is often accused as a bastion of liberalism on network television. Such criticism has been repeated throughout history, often during the Reagan Administration in the 1980s. This, like many other conservative claims about the media, is simply not true. In fact, a strong analysis of the Reagan administration's first term reveals that CBS actually helped Reagan make his conservative social programs more acceptable to the public. An often overlooked piece of evidence comes from Shanto Iyengar in the American Political Science Review, in 1987, "Television News and Citizens' Explanations of National Affairs."

    In his report to the academic journal, Iyengar examined every story in the CBS Evening News from 1981 to 1985 that made references to "welfare," "social programs," "poor people," "hunger," and other references of poverty. Here's what he found:

    There were ninety-eight stories containing material relevant to poverty, of which 56 (57%) presented a particular victim. This figure is actually higher if the year 1981, the beginning of Reagan's term, is excluded.

    Iyengar had found previously, through a comprehensive study of media framing on poverty issues, that if a person views stories in which the media presented a particular victim instead of societal or economic factors, he'd be significantly more likely to blame the victim, not society or the economy, and thus side with the Reagan administration's conservative social policy agenda, which blamed poverty on personal attributes.

    Back to the CBS news study. As a result of media framing coverage, those watching the CBS news during Reagan's first term were more likely to side with Reagan's defunding of social programs because the news and information cues they received pointed to dispositional explanations, not societal or economic, for poverty. In other words, CBS News actually gave a gift to the Reagan administration and "President Reagan's concern in 1981, at the height of the recession, that the networks were providing too much coverage of people who had lost their jobs seems misplaced … the White House should encourage such coverage, for it has the effect of shielding the president from any culpability, deserved or otherwise."

    That's right, the bastion of the "liberal media" helped Reagan push his harmful social agenda against the US's poor.

    So I ask you once again, What Liberal Media? (Congrats to Eric, who made the NYTimes #22 slot)
  • In terms of the war on Iraq, Body and Soul relate it with a "few notes on media coverage of the war .."
  • Relating this war to historical precedent, Orcinus talks about Japanese internment, FBI, and the Iraqis ...
  • More Disgusting GOP Tricks. Jonathan Chait from TNR writes about Bush's pathetic attempts to connect the economy to war ...
    Republicans have also tried to whip wavering moderates into supporting tax cuts by stressing the need for national unity. "They're telling everybody to support the president in a time of war," GOP Representative Cliff Stearns of Florida told Congressional Quarterly. The notion that the successful prosecution of the war depends upon passing Bush's domestic agenda in toto may, too, seem counterintuitive at first. The best explication of how this dynamic would work came from Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas. "When our troops are over there fighting," she said in a floor speech last week, "we don't want partisan bickering to be what they see on television from back home." Again, this incorporates a novel understanding of the American soldier. Troops in combat do not, after all, have much opportunity to watch television (and those who do presumably include relatively few C-SPAN buffs). One might also assume that whatever tiny minority of troops has found a way to monitor the floor debate in Congress could, having experienced the grisly carnage of war, take in a contested Senate vote with some equanimity. But let us suppose that there are a greater number of debate-averse, emotionally delicate, news-junkie troops on the front line than one might expect. Surely, the best way to avoid upsetting them is not to ram through a controversial tax cut on a party-line vote, as the White House has sought to do, but instead to postpone the debate until after the war. Of course, that would raise a frightening prospect: debating the tax cut on its own merits.
    So shut up and stop asking questions, because the troops don't want you debating tax cuts that won't benefit them, only the country's richest payers.
  • Comedy Monday. "In Kansas this week, over a hundred fish were found dead in the Baker wetlands, and local environmentalists feared that someone may have deliberately killed them. In response, President Bush said that now we have no choice but to go to war with Iraq." Jimmy Fallon
    President George W. Bush: Thank you. Thank you. Good evening. Last week, I held a press conference to.. [ sighs ] ..discuss with the American people the.. serious matters are facing our country and our world. Some people have claimed that the questions were too soft.. and did not challenge this administration's position concerning the use of force in Iraq. Because of this.. I've decided to hold another press conference, in response to my previous press conference. I have invited the most diverse and respected media outlets to join me tonight.. and I have encouraged them to ask the tough questions. [ reporters wave their arms anxiously, Bush picks one out of the crowd ] Yes.

    Kathy Davis: Kathy Davis, Pineapple Growers Trade Association Weekly. As we head into war, is it safe to say that pineapples continue to be safe and delicious?

    President George W. Bush: Kathy.. [ considering his answer ] ..I would say "Yes". I, uh.. I feel that whatever the political climate.. the taste and enjoyment of pineapples remains a constant. Uh.. next question. [ anxious reporters wave frantically ] Yes.

    Kevin Miller: Kevin Miller, online Matchmaker dating services. Do you believe that there is someone out there for everyone, and, if so, is there a match for a man like Saddam Hussein?

    President George W. Bush: Kevin.. I believe there's a match for everyone. However.. until Saddam Hussein learns to be honest with himself.. he will never have a successful relationship. [ Bush acknowledges another reporter ] Yes.

    Rev. Phillips: Hi. Rev. Phillips, from the Good Shephard church bulletin. Uh.. how has your faith soothed you during this trying time?

    President George W. Bush: Thank you for that question, Reverand. Uh.. it is true that when in doubt, I look to the Bible for comfort and inspiration. And, as it says in the Book of Methiticus 21:12: "You shall descend on the moustached one with strength.. and rightiousness.. and with MOAB, the Mother of All Bombs." [ Bush points out another reporter ] Yes.

    Helen Thomas: Yes, Helen Thomas here, Mr. President. I have served in the Press Corps since the Kennedy administration, and, yet, do you know you completely ignored me at the last press conference?

    President George W. Bush: Yes. Next question. [ points to another reporter ] Yeah.

    Nicole Haggerton: Hi! Nicole Haggerton, Highlights Magazine! Our readers would like to know: "Why did the robber take a bath?"

    President George W. Bush: [ leans in with his Secret Service agents to briefly discuss the question and its answer, then leans back to the press conference ] I believe it was "So he could make a clean getaway." Anything else?

    Nicole Haggerton: No.. you got it..

    President George W. Bush: Now, let's have some tough questions here. [ points ] Yeah. The chubby guy from "Ain't It Cool?" News.

    Ain't it Cool News Guy: Hi, I have a serious question. How kick-ass is that new Matrix trailer? [ laughs ]

    President George W. Bush: It is the opinion of this administration.. that it is totally kick-ass. [ points ] Over here. Yes.

    Laurie Donovan: Hi. Laurie Donovan, annual Donovan Family Christmas Letter. Did you know that our son Bobby got accepted to Hofstra? And little Susan is loving her ballet classes!

    President George W. Bush: Thank you, Laurie. And, uh.. and I would like to offer you and your family my condolences on the passing of, uh.. Mr. Whiskers.

    Laurie Donovan: [ breaking into tears ] He was a cat, but he thought he was a person..!

    President George W. Bush: I know that cat was like a member of the family to you. [ takes another question ] Yes.

    Ted Vitner: [ wearing dark shades and sinister Tom Cruise smile ] Hey, uh.. Ted Vitner, President of the Tom Cruise Fan Club newsletter. This, uh.. this war is, uh.. "risky business", is it not?

    President George W. Bush: Well-played. I don't think there's anything I can add to that.

    Helen Thomas: [ getting rowdy and desperate ] Mr. President!! Mr. President!! We need some straight answers! How can you justify bombing innocent Iraqis for oil! It is just outrageous..! [ chloroform is quickly covered over Helen's mouth ]

    From SNLTranscripts.

    The Onion.
    Frustrated with the United Nations' "consistent, blatant regard for the will of its 188 member nations," the U.S. announced Monday the formation of its own international governing body, the U.S.U.N.

    "The U.N. has repeatedly demonstrated an inability to act decisively in carrying out actions the U.S. government deems necessary," U.S.U.N. Secretary General Colin Powell said. "Every time we tried to get something accomplished, it inevitably got bogged down in procedural policies, bureaucratic formalities, and Security Council votes."

    "I predict the U.S.U.N. will be extremely influential in world politics in the coming decades," Powell continued. "In fact, you can count on it."

    The new organization will be based in Houston, where a $400 million U.S.U.N. Building is currently under construction. The U.S.U.N. Charter, ratified unanimously by delegates in a four-minute vote Monday, sets forth the mission of the organization as "the proliferation of peace and international economic, social, and humanitarian progress through deference to the U.S." ....

    According to Powell, in spite of the fact that delegates hail from every corner of the U.S., General Assembly meetings have been refreshingly free of rancor.

    "We've got Bill Frist from Tennessee, Tom DeLay from Texas, and Dennis Hastert from way up in Illinois," U.S.U.N. delegate Rick Santorum said. "Despite the diverse backgrounds of the delegates, cooperation has not been a problem—unlike at some outmoded, gridlocked international peacekeeping bodies I could name."

    The official U.S.U.N. language is English. The official religion is Christianity.
    The sad thing is that I could have not labeled this comedy monday and you wouldn't have noticed.

  • How "peaceful" were your elected officials? Well, what better organization to ask than Peace Action ... check out their new 2002 congressional scorecard ...

    Most peaceful senator? Russ Feingold, the only Senator to receive a 100%.

    About 20 other Reps received a 100% score, including Nancy Pelosi. All were Democrats, with the exception of Bernie Sanders.

    Presidential candidates: Liberman: 40.
    Kerry: 40
    Edwards: 20
    Kucinich: 100
    Gephardt: 70.
    Graham: 40
  • No More the Promised Land . Mother Jones :
    America. Ah-may-ree-ka. It was the most powerful word in the world. It would leave the lips of grown men and their hearts would crack open. Please, if you can help me I will do anything -- I will work for free, I will take care of your children, I will take care of your garden. I will stay only for one year, if you can just buy me a plane ticket to New York City. But after the bombing started, the worm turned. We were counting on struggling masses yearning to breathe free, but video of the bombs hitting Baghdad, the video of crying children, the reports of dead civilians...these have been played over and over, sometimes with sentimental Enya-like music, and it's just been too much for the people here. They are Kurds and their identity is linked to their Kurdish culture, but, apparently, their religious identity is stronger than this. Our attack on Iraq is being seen as an attack on their Muslim brothers and sisters. It has become a religious war, and Saddam Hussein is now being called a hero, even among the Kurds. In fact, the war has given the Kurds and the Turks a common ground, perhaps the first time they've ever agreed on anything.

  • Building an Alternative. Geov Parrish writes:
    For those of us who do want to challenge it, there's much we can't control. Barriers to such changes in U.S. public perception are formidable. The military complex in this country has enormous money behind it, enough to employ millions of people earning (except for the soldiers) a comfortable living building pieces of a repugnantly deployed whole. Mass media are currently dominated by a range of political opinion that makes Genghis Khan a centrist, and that usually acknowledges dissent only to ridicule it. Both major political parties are corrupted by corporate money almost beyond redemption.

    But what we can control is what we say (and hear), how we act, who we appeal to and work with, and to what ends. Much of the political rhetoric in this country – with or without a war in progress – is so over the top and intolerant as to be anathema to a secular democracy, and many Americans know that, too. What is lacking is a coherent, appealing alternative. Times of crisis and maximum dissent are precisely when those alternatives should be on display – not when they should be abandoned for the protest equivalent of comfort food.

    Many of us who have opposed this war feel frustrated and powerless; it is an emotionally charged time. Remember this sensation. Remember how unpleasant it is. Then resolve to do what you can to ensure that neither you nor future generations of people who care about their world will be put in this place again. And start working to do something about it.

    -Eric. Link to day's entry.


    Friday / Saturday, March 28, update 6


  • FUCKED UP. RUMMY LET'S MASCULINE EGO GET IN WAY OF TROOPS' SAFETY.
    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly rejected advice from Pentagon planners that substantially more troops and armor would be needed to fight a war in Iraq, New Yorker Magazine reported.

    In an article for its April 7 edition, which goes on sale on Monday, the weekly said Rumsfeld insisted at least six times in the run-up to the conflict that the proposed number of ground troops be sharply reduced and got his way.

    "He thought he knew better. He was the decision-maker at every turn," the article quoted an unidentified senior Pentagon planner as saying. "This is the mess Rummy put himself in because he didn't want a heavy footprint on the ground."

    It also said Rumsfeld had overruled advice from war commander Gen. Tommy Franks to delay the invasion until troops denied access through Turkey could be brought in by another route and miscalculated the level of Iraqi resistance.

    "They've got no resources. He was so focused on proving his point -- that the Iraqis were going to fall apart," the article, by veteran journalist Seymour Hersh, cited an unnamed former high-level intelligence official as saying.

    A spokesman at the Pentagon declined to comment on the article.
    While conservatives are complaining about Clinton, and the media is licking the Bush administration's ass, one magazine has finally reported the truth we knew all along: Rummy cares more about his PR than his troops. Why would someone order fewer troops than the Pentagon said it needed? Simple: to give the impression that this war is a cakewalk and doesn't need an extensive force. After all, these are JUST Iraqi peasants who will surrender at will upon the sight of US soldiers, right? Right?

    How long will the American media cover for this man? How long will they be bitched slapped at his press briefings? How long will the mainstream live in fear that their press credentials will be taken away by the Pentagon, or that their viewers will see them as anti-American? Where are the voices of outrage, and why does this man continue to jeopardize our troops?
  • Too Fair, Just Too Balanced. Blogtopia (skippy's phrase) should jump all over this ...
    Fox News had its own response to the demonstrators. The news ticker rimming Fox's headquarters on Sixth Avenue wasn't carrying war updates as the protest began. Instead, it poked fun at the demonstrators, chiding them.

    "War protester auditions here today ... thanks for coming!" read one message. "Who won your right to show up here today?" another questioned. "Protesters or soldiers?" Said a third: "How do you keep a war protester in suspense? Ignore them."

    Still another read: "Attention protesters: the Michael Moore Fan Club meets Thursday at a phone booth at Sixth Avenue and 50th Street" - a reference to the film maker who denounced the war while accepting an Oscar on Sunday night for his documentary "Bowling for Columbine."

    The protesters said Fox's sentiments only proved their point: that media coverage, in particular among the television networks, is so biased as to be unbelievable.

    "They're all bad, but Fox is the absolute worst," said Tracy Blevins, 32, a New York City resident. "The people who report the news aren't journalists. They just say what the government tells them to say."

    Reached for comment Thursday afternoon, Fox spokeswoman Tracy Spector was unaware of the messages on the news ticker and said she would look into it. Spector said the network "didn't mean to insult anyone."

    Spector did not return calls for further comment by early Thursday evening.

    Media experts said what Fox did Thursday morning was not shocking - Fox was openly hawkish about the war long before it began. But, they said, the display - tagged with the Fox News logo — threw journalistic objectivity out the window and also ridiculed the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

    "Fox tries to position itself as 'the real American network,'" said Michael Hoyt, executive editor of the Columbia Journalism Review. "But real Americans believe in democracy and freedom of speech. I think what they did was cynical and bush league."

    Barbara Reed, an associate professor of journalism at Rutgers University, said she wasn't surprised by Fox's action, given the fact that the network is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the Australian media mogul and ardent conservative whose publications have been hawkish.

    "Fox isn't the only news outlet that has shown bias, but I think Murdoch and Fox are over the top on this one," Reed said.

  • "Coalition of the chilling". Berkowitz writes:
    Long time Religious right activist Dr. D. James Kennedy, head of Coral Ridge Ministries, focuses his ire on mainline Protestant leaders whose opposition to the war is "essentially propping up Saddam Hussein's regime."

    AgapePress reports that Dr. Kennedy -- clearly unable to grapple with the concept that opposition to the war does not equate with support for Hussein -- believes the protests are actually aimed directly at President Bush: "Why any churchman would choose to support that rather than to support our own president, I don't know. I think that some of them are doing it for purely political reasons, and [because] they have a very strong liberal bias -- and George W. Bush is their favorite target. Anything he does, I think, in their eyes would be wrong."

    Then, there's the Rev. Jerry Falwell who has Senator Tom Daschle and the Dixie Chicks on his mind. In the March 20 edition of Falwell Confidential, his e-mail newsletter, he claims that Daschle is solely motivated by "hatred of President Bush." As for the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines -- who apparently broke the good Reverend's heart by criticizing President Bush -- they have gone "from top of the charts to bottom of the barrel in the minds of many music lovers." The Rev. Falwell was ahead of the curve here. Of late there have been a number of events organized by good and righteous Americans who stand around a bon fire and throw Dixie Chick CDs into it.

    Of Maines' apology, the Rev. Falwell says that while she "attempted a pseudo apology for her words... the damage had been permanently done." The Rev Falwell knows from whence he speaks when talking about "pseudo" apologies. He's been issuing them pretty regularly down the through the years.
    Read on ...
  • They'll love us even more. AP:
    Early Saturday, a strong explosion shook the center of Baghdad, and it appeared to be located on the west bank of the Tigris River. Many government departments are located in the area, including the Information Ministry. Information Minister Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf said 58 people were killed in the market explosion, and said the number was likely to rise because many others were wounded. There were conflicting reports, however, on the number of casualties. Haqi Ismail Razouq, director of al-Nour Hospital, where the dead and injured were taken, put the death toll at 30 and the number of injured at 47; surgeon Issa Ali Ilwan said 47 were killed and 50 injured. Witnesses said they counted as many as 50 bodies.

  • How Deep Do Some Freepers' Hate Run? So deep they celebrate the disappearance of a photographer who was once employed by Al Gore ...
    Bingham, who had been Vice President Al Gore's official photographer
    Leftist elitist journalist meets the real world and finds out that they aren't really in a protected class.
    7 posted on 03/27/2003 12:06 PM PST by razorback-bert (27 March 2003..."Saddam Hussein still denies he's alive.")
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]
    Evidently she led a life of pleasure where everything was handed to her on a silver platter, and though she was untouchable because she not only an American, but a Clintonite as well. Not sad in the least.

    18 posted on 03/27/2003 4:05 PM PST by Timesink (If you use the word "embedded" in a conversation, you'd better be carrying an x-ray to show me.)
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies ]
    I lost contact with Newsday years ago.
    They are a liberal-socialist rag, and basically suck ass.

    8 posted on 03/26/2003 4:32 PM PST by Yankee
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]
    Disgusting. I hope we get them back, and I hope karma is real.
  • They can't wait for us to come.







    I mean I know whenever someone kills my dad or best friend, I just can't wait to see them. I'd be excited like a little Catholic school girl. And would wear my Sunday best.
  • I have fans.
    so you go to gw? well if i ever saw your anti-american shit ass at kogan plaza or in your thurston dorm i'd kick it. -t
    Mr. T reads my site! I pity the fo'
    Rock On. Rock Denies Drudge Story; Calls for Ass-kicking.
  • Viewer Mail. Sharron writes in about Bush's brain.
    Okay boys and girls... this is one of the many little stories that, when given some thought, is downright scary.

    Newsweek, March 31, 2003 -- page 42: Article: "W's Comfort Zone"

    From the first and second paragraph:

    ----------------

    The movie screen appeared and the popcorn came out... (Bush) was viewing "Conspiracy Theory," the weird, noirish tale of a comically paranoid taxi driver (Mel Gibson) who discovers -- when the CIA crashed into his life to torture him -- that "they" really are out to get him.

    Dan Bartlett, communications director, recommended the six-year old film because Bush had seen all the newer ones onboard.

    The president, who once said his favorite flick was "Austin Powers," didn't like it - big time. Slow start, confusing plot, just a mess. He ribbed Bartlett all the way home.

    This is the president who likes his stories upbeat, his plotlines simple and his villains clearly marked.

    ------------------------

    Wow... where to begin. It's scary enough that during an extended period of Bush-induced national and international crises, he was able to find enough time to see "ALL" of the newer movies onboard.

    But the scariest part is that he found the plot of "Conspiracy Theory" confusing!! This is the guy "leading" this country, and he doesn't even have the brainpower to understand the plot of a Mel Gibson / Julia Roberts movie??

    If he can't get a grip on that plot, then how on Earth would he be able to understand the REAL global plot that he's a part of now?

    The current situation he's in "control" of is anything but "upbeat," it's "plotlines" are far from "simple," and the "villains" are NOT "clearly marked." This idiot must be totally in the dark right now.

    Of course, I was always troubled that his favorite movie was "Austin Powers" in the first place... but to think that the reason is because it's the only type of movie he can follow is downright dispicable.
    I wonder if Bush was confused about why the captain of the Starship Enterprise was trying to kill William Wallace. Phew ... if Bush can't get Conspiracy Theory, don't ever let him near a David Lynch film.
  • What Liberal Media. WashPost discovers:
    Now, apparently, is the time for all good radio and TV stations to come to the aid of their country's war.

    That is the message pushed by broadcast news consultants, who've been advising news and talk stations across the nation to wave the flag and downplay protest against the war.

    "Get the following production pieces in the studio NOW: . . . Patriotic music that makes you cry, salute, get cold chills! Go for the emotion," advised McVay Media, a Cleveland-based consultant, in a "War Manual" memo to its station clients. ". . . Air the National Anthem at a specified time each day as long as the USA is at war."

    The company, which describes itself as the largest radio consultant in the world, also has been counseling talk show stations to "Make sure your hosts aren't 'over the top.' Polarizing discussions are shaky ground. This is not the time to take cheap shots to get reaction . . . not when our young men and women are 'in harm's way.'
    Which makes the reasons why Donahue got cancelled more tangible.
  • Silly Scalia. The Pontificator notes:
    Notice Scalia's comments, in bold, indicating a prejudice towards homosexuals.

    In the District of Columbia, it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation:

    The District of Columbia, California has a law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination.

    Human Rights Act, 1977, D.C.L. 2-38, D.C. Code §1-2541(c) 12/13/77: covers public employment, public accommodations, private employment, education, housing, credit, and union practices.

    Have any openly-gay law students or lawyers applied for clerkships with Scalia and been rejected? If so, I believe Scalia's comments in yesterday's oral argument could be Paragraph 1 of their lawsuits for employment discrimination in hiring!

    Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justice and law-breaker extraordinaire!

  • Joan Vennochi on candidate Dean:
    Dean also disputes another major criticism of his presidential campaign: that his antiwar stance threatens to make him a single-issue candidate, ''I started out as the guy who wanted to balance the budget and bring health insurance to every American,'' he says.

    At the moment, however, America's war with Iraq is driving political dialogue in the world and in the Democratic presidential campaign. Dean, who opposed war with Iraq without UN backing, continues to criticize the policy that got the United States into the war. He is eloquent when it comes to explaining why such criticism should not be considered unpatriotic. ''Patriotism is standing up for your country and believing in your country's values,'' he says. ''One of those values is people's ability to say what they think. You can't root against your country. But I have no problem disagreeing with the president's policy.''

    Adds Dean: ''It would be hypocritical to change my position just because 70 percent of the country doesn't agree with me. I don't operate that way. I'm not poll driven. To suddenly change my position, it just is not the right thing to do.''

    There is no question that Dean's willingness to speak his mind, war or no war, is appealing to Democrats who are eager to hear some passion and conviction from a presidential candidate.

  • Hmm ...
    cover
    Dereliction of Duty

    More things we need to blame Clinton for:
    "Girls Gone Wild."
    Kangaroo Jack
    Testicular Cancer
    AIDs
    Atrios
    PanAm
    This website.
    The mediocrity of Third Eye Blind's followup album, "Blue."
    Jumpin Jack Flash.
    Anal warts.
    Brian Griese
    Onion rings
    Breakup of the Beatles
    Titanic.
    Did I miss anything?
  • The costs of war ...
    DenverPost - Even off duty, he liked to test his limits. Last summer, when wildfires were encroaching on a friend's home in Evergreen, Slocum helped his friend evacuate, though he was almost due back from his leave. He made it back to Camp Lejeune with 30 minutes to spare.

    He was a lance corporal, the team leader of four Marines, when he was killed.

    Slocum was proud of his rank. He almost always included it with his signature when he wrote to his longtime friend Kristy Urbanic, 22.

    "I can't wait to come home and share the stories of my experiences and travels with the whole family," he wrote to her on March 13, in a letter she received Monday.

    "I've been training hard and becoming smarter, harder, faster and deadlier everyday. ... I took the picture of you and (Urbanic's daughter) Zoe ... and put it in the pocket closest to my heart always."

    Slocum had always had a thing for Urbanic, friends said. They'd known each other since fourth grade. Before he left for Iraq, they talked about moving in together when he returned, Urbanic said.

    "I want you and Zoe more than anything in the world," he wrote to Urbanic on March 2.

    "It does not matter if Zoe is not mine. All that matters is that I love her, teach her and protect her."

    Twenty-one days later, he was dead.
    Sun - But for West Virginia children in some of the more rural areas, the military is the one good chance of getting an education and making something of themselves."

    Lack of jobs and the military service of her older brother, Gregory Lynch Jr., led Jessica into the Army, her father said. She signed up before graduating from Wirt County High School in Elizabeth, where she played basketball and softball.

    Greg said: "The Army offered a good deal." Jessica's brother is stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

    Locals have been supporting Greg, Jessica's mother Deidre, and her 17-year-old sister, Brandi Renee. A yellow ribbon was tied to a tree near the family's mailbox and two others were attached to posts on the front porch.

    The enemy.




    Aren't they terrifying? Kill them.
  • May I Be a Felon? Seven Days Vermont.
    Kaseen Smith felt a chill the moment he answered the door — and not because he was standing there in just a bathrobe. It was an early afternoon in the first week of March when two agents from the U.S. Secret Service appeared at his Winooski home. They flashed their badges and asked the 27-year-old man if he was the Kaseen Smith who produces the TV show, "KA Live," which airs each week on Vermont Community Access Media Channel 15. He is.

    The agents then informed Smith they were investigating a possible felony under 18 U.S.C. 871. That's the federal law making it a crime to threaten the life of the president of the United States. The offense carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

    "KA Live," an unedited hodge-podge of music, caller chit-chat and banter about race and politics, has been on the air for nearly two years with nary a peep from viewers objecting to its content. Like most public-access stations, Channel 15 doesn't have the staff, time or inclination to pre-screen shows for potentially illegal content. This time, however, something uttered by the show's African-American producer grabbed the attention of federal authorities. With the nation on the brink of war abroad and bracing for possible terrorist attacks at home, even an offhand remark may have been enough to trip the alarms.

    Smith's girlfriend, Ariana Kitchin, who also appears on the show, says the couple was stunned as the agents questioned them separately for about 30 to 45 minutes. Smith recalls being asked about his family, past employers, criminal record and whether he is lonely, on medication or "has a problem with authority." They asked Kitchin: Does Smith own a gun? Have you ever seen him do anything violent? Do you think he would travel long distances to see the president? And, do you share his opinions of George W. Bush?

    Neither Smith nor Kitchin was told the exact reason for the complaint or who had lodged it, except that it had come from "a concerned citizen" somewhere in New York. ("KA Live" also airs on Public Access Channel 6 in Binghamton, N.Y.) However, the agents reportedly focused a lot of attention on the lyrics of one of Smith's songs that played during the show. The song, "Hmmm Ha," appears on Smith's new self-released CD, a hip-hop styled album he calls Mentel Musik, or M2.

    "They had a whole transcript of it, pages and pages, with pieces highlighted, and stuff that was on our Web site," recalls Kitchin. "They said, 'Change it or there's going to be a problem. If we come back, we will take it to trial, you will be convicted and you will serve time.'"

    "It was kind of like a threat," agrees Smith. "If I didn't change my ways, basically I'm not going to win. It kind of messed us up in the head."

  • NY Times on Limbaugh:
    In an interview today, Mr. Limbaugh said he was trying to raise national morale in the face of what he said was overly negative news coverage. With 20 million listeners a week, he has a sizeable platform.

    "I want people to remain optimistic," Mr. Limbaugh said. "I'm not trying to avoid realism. There's no question that we have had setbacks. But we're the United States military; there's no way we're going to lose this."
    I remember when Rush was so supportive of the military that he dodged service and criticized Clinton for going into Kosovo and Somalia.
    -Eric. Link to day's entry.


    Thursday, March 27, update 4


  • What Liberal Hollywood? Drudge writes (I dont like quoting him, but this pisses me off):
    Comedian Chris Rock has been strongly advised not to engage in any Bush-bashing during the promotion of his new film HEAD OF STATE, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

    Rock once said of Bush: "He's not stupid, he's just drunk," adding, "All the black people who voted for Bush are both on his cabinet."

    DREAMWORKS is preparing to release the comedy wide on Friday. There are deep concerns that Rock may unleash a fresh diatribe on President Bush and the Iraq war, studio insiders reveal, which could ignite a public backlash and boycott of the film.

    In the movie, Rock plays a character who is the Democratic party's choice for its 2004 presidential nomination. Rock is also director, producer and co-scenarist.

    "We are confident Chris knows this is not the appropriate time to make jokes about war and the president," said one top studio source. "We don't want to get Dixie-Chicked, or anything like that, out of the gate. We've invested tens of millions of dollars in the making of the movie and its marketing."

    For his part, sources say Chris Rock has decided to maintain a neutral point of view on Bush if he is prodded to comment during any press promotion for HEAD.

    On a recent guest spot on OPRAH, Rock cautiously offered: "Ah, the war, ah, well, maybe if we Americans really knew what a war meant, ah, then maybe we wouldn't be so eager in waging or supporting it."
    Rock is one of the smartest people out there and silencing his voice is a crime against speech. Awful, disgusting, pathetic. But do not boycott his movie; Rock needs our support.
  • CHIEF JUSTICE WILLIAM H. REHNQUIST But all, almost all, laws are based on disapproval of either some people or some sort of conduct. That's people legislate.

    MR. SMITH And what this court does under the equal-protection clause is standard as a bulwark against arbitrary government . . .

    CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST If you prevail, Mr. Smith, and this law is struck down, do you think that would also mean that a state could not prefer heterosexuals to homosexuals to teach kindergarten?

    MR. SMITH I think the issue of preference in the educational context would involve very different criteria, Your Honor, very different considerations. The state would have to come in with some sort of a justification.

    JUSTICE SCALIA A justification is the same that's alluded to here, disapproval of homosexuality.

    MR. SMITH Well, I think it would be highly problematic, such a custody case.

    JUSTICE SCALIA Yes, it would?

    Sigh...

    Regardless, it looks as though the Supreme Court is going to overturn the old Bowers v. Hardwick ruling and subsequently this Texas sodomy law. Great. I used to debate this case when I was in 11th grade policy debate and I'll tell you this: even the most conservative judges could not find a reason to vote for this case's logic. In fact, when we debated it, most people thought the affirmative team (the side trying to get rid of the case) was exaggerating ... it seemed so frivolous.

    Of course it is frivolous but it's real. In terms of social policy, I usually go by a combination of two theories: John Stuart Mill's classical liberalism harm principle, the goal of society is to maximize happiness, and since no one knows better than I do what'll make me happy, the state should not infringe on my freedom unless and until I harm another person; and Sheryl Crow's 'if it makes you happy, it can't be that bad." This is why I'm for legalization of marijuana, prostitution and a repel of sodomy laws.

    As I understand from the article, conservative judge Scalia will probably vote to uphold the law (and, therefore, Thomas). If he does, I can't wait to read his dissent. I haven't had a idiotic logic high in years.

    Oh, and if I ever argued in front of the Supreme Court and Thomas questioned my logic in trying to overturn the Bowers v. Hardwick case, I'd just ask him if he dislikes sodomy so much, why does he rent videos featuring it? I guess that's why I'll never argue in front of the Supreme Court.
  • McCarthy's ghost . Guardian:
    It's drive time with WABC's rightwing talkshow host, Curtis Sliwa, and Bill is on the line from the Poconos in Pennsylvania with a tale so funny he can hardly share it for giggling.

    He was carrying an American flag and yelling support for the troops in a delayed St Patrick's Day parade over the weekend when he saw one woman carrying a sign saying: "No blood for oil".

    "She was wearing black and she was an older lady," says Bill. "And then our sheriff saw her and she didn't have a permit. So they put her in the back of the truck car and hauled her away."

    On its own, Bill's story would be aberrant - the tale of an overzealous legal official and an unfortunate woman in smalltown America. Increasingly though it is becoming consistent. The harassment, arrest, detention and frustration of those who are against the war is becoming routine. Relatives of victims who died on September 11, who are opposed to the war, have been prevented from speaking in schools. Last month Stephen Downs was handcuffed and arrested after refusing to take off a Give Peace a Chance T-shirt in a mall in Albany. He was told he would have been found guilty of trespass if the mall had not dropped the case because of the bad publicity.

  • Internet Action. Moveon.org :
    A CITIZENS' DECLARATION

    As a US-led invasion of Iraq begins, we, the undersigned citizens of many countries, reaffirm our commitment to addressing international conflicts through the rule of law and the United Nations.

    By joining together across countries and continents, we have emerged as a new force for peace. As we grieve for the victims of this war, we pledge to redouble our efforts to put an end to the Bush Administration's doctrine of pre-emptive attack and the reckless use of military power.

  • "U.N. Official: Fake Iraq Nuke Papers Were Crude". Reuters:
    A few hours and a simple Internet search was all it took for U.N. inspectors to realize documents backing U.S. and British claims that Iraq had revived its nuclear program were crude fakes, a U.N. official said. Speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, a senior official from the U.N. nuclear agency, who saw the documents offered as evidence that Iraq tried to buy 500 tons of uranium from Niger, described one as so badly forged his "jaw dropped."
    More evidence of the Bush administration's lie game for public support.

  • While You Were Sleeping. Or watching the war ... Johnny's been a bad boy:
    Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union suggest that the Attorney General is aggressively wielding a disturbing power that - without the approval of a judge - allows the government to force banks, Internet service providers, telephone companies, and credit agencies to turn over their customers' records.

    "Without judicial oversight, there is simply no assurance that the Attorney General is using this authority in keeping with democratic principles and constitutional rights," said Jameel Jaffer, an attorney with the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program.

    Information about the government's surveillance powers was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed jointly with the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and the Freedom to Read Foundation.

    According to documents obtained through the FOIA lawsuit, the government employs "National Security Letters" - signed by Attorney General Ashcroft or a delegate and with no judicial approval - to "compel the production of a substantial amount of relevant information." The government can use this power to obtain records about people living in the United States, including American citizens, without probable cause that the person has committed any crime. Entities that are forced to turn over records are prohibited from disclosing to their customers - or to anyone else - that the FBI has demanded the records.

  • Why Aaron Brown Can't Be a Top Anchor. Mark Jurkowitz, Boston Globe :
    On paper, CNN ''Newsnight'' anchor Aaron Brown has some good qualities. He is bright, even cerebral. He has a smooth set of pipes that are easy on the ears. He often asks smart, layered questions that go beyond the obvious. But as was the case in the days after the attacks on Sept. 11, the war on Iraq is again proving that he is just too studied, too enigmatic, and frankly, too weird, to be anchor material.

    Brown's mannerisms -- the subtle lip bite, the fingers playing at the corners of his mouth, the Mona Lisa-like smile -- can seem contrived, even inopportune. And he is not well served by sitting next to retired General Wesley Clark, a CNN military analyst. Crisp, focused, and direct, Clark is the antidote to Brown's pregnant pauses, quizzical looks, and at times, languorous pacing. On Sunday, after a rather heated exchange with an Al-Jazeera journalist, a flustered Brown could only utter this mysterious passage: ''On we go. General Clark, apparently it's going to be a night.''

    One of CNN's frustrations has been its elusive search for a marquee anchor. Maybe the network thought it landed one when it imported Brown from ABC in 2001. But with the possible exception of Dan Rather, no anchor can be more annoyingly self-conscious.
    Though i'm admittedly biased against anyone on CNN, I whole heartedly agree ... and don't get me started on "American Morning."
  • LA Times notes:
    In the U.S., Fox News simply has wrapped itself in the flag and makes no effort to distinguish between its journalism and the U.S. war effort. Fox executives can be pleased that their approach has allowed the network to hold the lead in cable news ratings; the rest of us can be relieved that viewers who want that sort of thing will be too busy having their prejudices confirmed to bother the rest of us. With some notable exceptions, meanwhile, the British Broadcasting Corp. -- heard nightly on many PBS and NPR stations -- has continued to elevate traditional reportorial skepticism to near-toxic levels.
    Hard to get mad at Fox for being whores when it works.
  • Blame Canada. Globe and Mail:
    Washington's ambassador to Canada has delivered the sternest public rebuke by a U.S. representative since the Trudeau era, saying Americans are upset at Canada's refusal to join the war in Iraq and hinting there could be economic fallout.

    At a breakfast speech yesterday to the Economic Club of Toronto, U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci said "there is a lot of disappointment in Washington and a lot of people are upset" about Canada's refusal to join the United States in its efforts to depose Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "There is no security threat to Canada that the United States would not be ready, willing and able to help with," the ambassador told the Bay Street audience.

    "There would be no debate. There would be no hesitation. We would be there for Canada, part of our family, and that is why so many in the United States are disappointed and upset that Canada is not fully supporting us now."

    In Ottawa, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien retorted that Canada is a "sovereign independent country" that makes its own decisions and that there is unhappiness all around over the war in Iraq.

    "We, too, are disappointed" that the United States went to war in Iraq without the approval of the United Nations, Mr. Chrétien said. Strong public criticism of Canada from a U.S. ambassador is extremely rare. Ambassador Paul Robinson created controversy in 1982 when he accused Canada of spending too much on social services.

  • Weird Rumor. Cheney daughter - human shield in Baghdad??? :
    The London based Arabic daily Al Quds Al Arabi reported on Tuesday, March 25 that the American vice president, Dick Cheney, would soon head to the Jordanian capital, Amman.

    The newspaper claimed that the visit would be an attempt by Cheney to convince his daughter, who was in the Jordanian capital, to back down her decision to go to Baghdad within a group of volunteers who want to form human shields against the US led attacks on Iraq.

    Al Quds Al Arabi cited news reports it claimed circulating in Amman as saying that Cheney would arrive in the Jordanian capital soon on a special visit it described as having a "social mission." "News agencies cited sources as saying that Cheney will arrive in Amman next Friday. He will try to convince his daughter who is currently staying at a hotel in Amman not to go to Baghdad along with a group of volunteers who want to go to Iraq and form human shields against the Anglo American attacks," said the report.

    A U.S. Embassy spokesman in the Jordanian capital, denied that Cheney was on his way to Jordan: "The embassy has no information that the U.S. vice president will arrive in Jordan to convince one of his daughters not to travel to Iraq to join human shields opposed to war," he said.

    However, some sons of western officials have already volunteered as human shields in Iraq against the American invasion, including the son of the Canadian Foreign Minister, Bill Graham

  • My God, the Onion may be the best "news" source available ...

    "Dead Iraqi Would Have Loved Democracy"

    Baghdad resident Taha Sabri, killed Monday in a U.S. air strike on his city, would have loved the eventual liberation of Iraq and establishment of democracy, had he lived to see it, his grieving widow said.

    "Taha was a wonderful man, a man of peace," his wife Sawssan said. "I just know he would have been happy to see free elections here in Iraq, had that satellite-guided Tomahawk cruise missile not strayed off course and hit our home."

    A shoemaker and father of five, Sabri, 44, was listening to the radio at 3 a.m. when a missile launched from a U.S. warship in the Persian Gulf veered off course and struck just feet from his house. Sawssan was away at the time, tending to an ailing aunt in the Baghdad suburb of Mansour.

    "My husband was no fan of Saddam," Sawssan said. "He felt he was a terrible despot. If the Americans do drive him from power, it will be that much more of a shame that they killed Taha."
    Vital Info On Iraqi Chemical Weapons Provided By U.S. Company That Made Them
    BALTIMORE—The Pentagon has obtained vital information on Iraqi chemical weapons from Alcolac International, the Baltimore-based company that sold them to the Mideast nation in the '80s. "It's terrifying what Iraq has," Pentagon spokesman James Reese said Monday. "Saddam possesses massive stockpiles of everything from ethylene to thiodiglycol, according to sales records provided by Alcolac." The Pentagon has also been collecting key intelligence on Iraqi nuclear weapons and guidance systems from Honeywell, Unisys, and other former U.S. suppliers to Iraq.
    U.S. Continues Proud Tradition Of Diversity On Front Lines
    CAMP COYOTE, KUWAIT—With blacks and Hispanics comprising more than 60 percent of the Army's ground forces in Iraq, the U.S. military is continuing its long, proud tradition of multiculturalism on the front lines of war. "Though racism and discrimination remain problems in society at large, in the military—especially in the lower ranks where you find the cannon fodder—a spirit of inclusiveness has prevailed for decades," Gen. Jim White said Monday. "When it comes to having your head blown off by enemy fire, America is truly colorblind."



    -Eric. Link to day's entry.


    Wed, March 26, update 3


  • As I noted today, Bush and company have been telling us this was going to be an easy war. Jon Western notes this:
    For example, during the State of the Union speech President Bush again asserted the dangers facing the United States in absolute and uncompromising terms: America simply cannot wait.

    But, while the president proclaimed to a rousing applause that America will be triumphant, he did not speak frankly or honestly of the potential sacrifices needed, nor did he provide any sense of how many Americans or others might die.

    It seems clear that the leading voices in support of war are operating under the remarkably casual assumption that this war will be quick and decisive.

    Much of the commentary following the President's speech, especially that on Fox Cable News, has even seemed downright giddy with anticipation for war.

    Wars, however, are not sport. They are extraordinarily complex events with very real human costs.

    And they rarely go according to script.

    McKinley, Truman, and Johnson rushed into war believing they would win decisively.

    McKinley believed the Filipinos would welcome American Troops with open arms after they were liberated from the Spanish.

    General Douglas Macarthur persuaded Truman that China would not enter the war in Korea.

    Johnson believed a strategy of counter-insurgency coupled with nation-building efforts would lead to victory in South Vietnam.

    All were wrong.
    Yet we learn today about this:
    A column of up to 1,000 Iraqi military vehicles was reported moving south Wednesday night toward Najaf, the scene of an earlier battle with U.S. forces, U.S. Army officers told CNN.

    The column is believed to be made up of troops from Iraq's elite Republican Guard. The forces were moving from Baghdad at a rate of 18 mph to 36 mph, toward the lead elements of the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division, CNN's Walter Rodgers reports.

    Coalition military officials said they expect the Iraqi forces are heading south to try to retake a key Euphrates River bridge, captured by U.S.-led troops after fierce fighting this week.

    U.S. commanders were calling in airstrikes to slow the Iraqi advance.
    and this:
    The administration has adjusted its message to include much blunter assessments of the risks ahead. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld warned yesterday that the campaign "could well grow more dangerous in the coming days and weeks as coalition forces close on Baghdad and the regime is faced with its certain death."

    That is a significant shift in emphasis from the run-up to the war, when Bush was trying to sell his policy. Vice President Cheney said on NBC's "Meet the Press," only days before the war started, that he guessed that significant elements of Hussein's elite Republican Guard would be likely "to want to avoid conflict with U.S. forces and are likely to step aside."

    Bush began preparing the public for sacrifice the next day, saying in an address to the nation that Americans "understand the costs of conflict, because we have paid them in the past." Democrats say that was too late, leaving Americans unprepared for the possible cost in lives, dollars and time.
    This is typical Bush administration media handling: lying to the public to gain favor. If the Bush administration had told the truth to the public, and truthfully gave the public the real risks of war, would we be in this situation? Maybe not.
  • Those trouble-making nobel peace prize winners are at it again:
    Police arrested two Nobel Peace Prize winners along with more than 30 other people protesting on Wednesday near the White House against the U.S.-led war against Iraq.

    Police handcuffed Mairead Corrigan Maguire, who won the prize in 1976 for peace activism in the Northern Ireland conflict, and Jody Williams, a 1997 winner for her work to ban land mines, after they refused to leave Lafayette Park opposite the home of the U.S. president.

    The Nobel laureates were detained along with 35 religious leaders as they sat in a circle in the park and chanted "Peace, shalom." They held roses as well as gruesome posters showing civilian casualties from the war.
    When will they ever learn?
  • NYU prof Daniel N. Shaviro:
    How does President George W. Bush propose to respond to this shortfall? Even leaving aside the cost of an Iraq war and its possible "nation-building" aftermath, he has advocated huge tax cuts and spending increases that, in 2013 alone (according to the Congressional Budget Office), will cost us $561 billion. Even chopping the tax cut in half, as the Senate has now proposed, would leave the adverse effect in 2013 at nearly $400 billion.

    People are already beginning to recognize that these reckless proposals endanger Social Security and Medicare, while also raising the specter of a panicky hyper-inflation down the road if the government starts printing money to avoid outright default. But our military security is also endangered if we find ourselves financially too stretched to consider taking on costly international commitments. It would certainly be ironic if an administration that has so concentrated on fighting terrorism should end up helping to ensure that Osama bin Laden's malevolent long-term plan for us comes true. And we would have no one to blame but ourselves.

  • "Truck scatters antiwar protest":
    A truck driver from South Fairmount was arrested Monday after he drove toward a group of anti-war protesters with his tractor-trailer rig in the West End.

    "It (the semi cab) stopped about 10 feet from the nearest protester," Larry Schartman, one of the about 40 people who were participating in a "Peace in Iraq" rally, said Monday night. "Thank God nobody got hurt."

    Police charged James Watters, 49, with aggravated menacing, inducing panic and reckless operation in the incident that occurred about 6 p.m. on the Ezzard Charles Drive bridge over Interstate 75.

    According to the police report, an officer observed Watters drive his truck onto the sidewalk of the pedestrian walkway toward a large group of protestors causing them "to run in fear of being hit."
    Now where would he learn that violence solves problems ....
  • In Case You Missed It ... Byrd's speech from March 19:
    I believe in this beautiful country. I have studied its roots and gloried in the wisdom of its magnificent Constitution. I have marveled at the wisdom of its founders and framers. Generation after generation of Americans has understood the lofty ideals that underlie our great Republic. I have been inspired by the story of their sacrifice and their strength.

    But, today I weep for my country. I have watched the events of recent months with a heavy, heavy heart. No more is the image of America one of strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. The image of America has changed. Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned.

    Instead of reasoning with those with whom we disagree, we demand obedience or threaten recrimination. Instead of isolating Saddam Hussein, we seem to have isolated ourselves. We proclaim a new doctrine of preemption which is understood by few and feared by many. We say that the United States has the right to turn its firepower on any corner of the globe which might be suspect in the war on terrorism. We assert that right without the sanction of any international body. As a result, the world has become a much more dangerous place.

    We flaunt our superpower status with arrogance. We treat UN Security Council members like ingrates who offend our princely dignity by lifting their heads from the carpet. Valuable alliances are split.

    After war has ended, the United States will have to rebuild much more than the country of Iraq. We will have to rebuild America's image around the globe.

    The case this Administration tries to make to justify its fixation with war is tainted by charges of falsified documents and circumstantial evidence. We cannot convince the world of the necessity of this war for one simple reason. This is a war of choice.

    There is no credible information to connect Saddam Hussein to 9/11. The twin towers fell because a world-wide terrorist group, Al Qaeda, with cells in over 60 nations, struck at our wealth and our influence by turning our own planes into missiles, one of which would likely have slammed into the dome of this beautiful Capitol except for the brave sacrifice of the passengers on board.

    The brutality seen on September 11th and in other terrorist attacks we have witnessed around the globe are the violent and desperate efforts by extremists to stop the daily encroachment of western values upon their cultures. That is what we fight. It is a force not confined to borders. It is a shadowy entity with many faces, many names, and many addresses.

    But, this Administration has directed all of the anger, fear, and grief which emerged from the ashes of the twin towers and the twisted metal of the Pentagon towards a tangible villain, one we can see and hate and attack. And villain he is. But, he is the wrong villain. And this is the wrong war. If we attack Saddam Hussein, we will probably drive him from power. But, the zeal of our friends to assist our global war on terrorism may have already taken flight.

    The general unease surrounding this war is not just due to "orange alert." There is a pervasive sense of rush and risk and too many questions unanswered. How long will we be in Iraq? What will be the cost? What is the ultimate mission? How great is the danger at home?

    A pall has fallen over the Senate Chamber. We avoid our solemn duty to debate the one topic on the minds of all Americans, even while scores of thousands of our sons and daughters faithfully do their duty in Iraq.

    What is happening to this country? When did we become a nation which ignores and berates our friends? When did we decide to risk undermining international order by adopting a radical and doctrinaire approach to using our awesome military might? How can we abandon diplomatic efforts when the turmoil in the world cries out for diplomacy?

    Why can this President not seem to see that America's true power lies not in its will to intimidate, but in its ability to inspire?

    War appears inevitable. But, I continue to hope that the cloud will lift. Perhaps Saddam will yet turn tail and run. Perhaps reason will somehow still prevail. I along with millions of Americans will pray for the safety of our troops, for the innocent civilians in Iraq, and for the security of our homeland. May God continue to bless the United States of America in the troubled days ahead, and may we somehow recapture the vision which for the present eludes us.

  • Support for Bush ... Maybe. USA Today says:
    Most Americans are rallying behind President Bush and U.S. troops and are optimistic about the nation's direction as the war in Iraq intensifies and casualties rise, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Saturday and Sunday shows ...

    Bush may be benefiting from the patriotic tendency of the public to adopt an optimistic attitude in the early stages of war. Not only do people say they feel better about Bush's leadership than they did before the shooting started, but they also feel better about the country in general.
    First off, no one should read anything into these polls which are popping up all over the media landscape. This war won't last forever and it certainly won't last an entire year. At the latest, it'll be done by the beginning of the summer. And after the war is done, people will forget about it. Further, the public expects Bush to follow through on his commitment to building a stable democracy in Iraq and, as most analysts have noted, the post-Iraq occupation won't be an easy ride: there will be difficulties in implementing a democratic government, keeping down resistance, and building Iraq's infrastructure.

    The question here is what will Bush be remembered as when election time comes? Will he be known as the president who won the Iraq war or the guy who screwed the economy? Given the Pentagon's rhetoric that this war will be easy (which, as of now, we don't know is true, but I'm assuming it will be), a cake walk, no one will die, yada yada, it's hard to believe citizens would give Bush much credit if the war goes well. No one would give credit to University of Miami coach Larry Cooker for beating Dartmouth.

    The economy is in the dumps and it doesn't appear to be getting any better. Once the war issue is off the table, and off the public agenda, Bush's approval rating is going to drop significantly. When election campaigning comes around, what will be Bush's first term legacy? Winning a war he and his advisers acknowledged would be easy and pushing a tax cut for the rich. People vote with their pocketbooks and if the Democrats seize on the economy once the war is over, goodbye GW.
  • There is a God. CNN cancels 'Connie Chung Tonight' :
    CNN has told Connie Chung, one of the its most prominent hosts, that it has dropped her prime-time show, effective immediately. Although CNN asked her to stay in some other capacity, she declined and will leave the network, an associate of Chung said Tuesday night.

    Chung, a longtime news anchor who worked for the three major broadcast network news departments before joining CNN last summer, was informed of the decision by Jim Walton, the new president of CNN, the associate said Tuesday. The show, "Connie Chung Tonight," which is usually broadcast at 8 on weeknights, had been suspended for coverage of the war with Iraq.

    Chung pressed CNN's management last Friday to put the program back on as soon as possible. CNN, a unit of AOL Time Warner, responded by telling her that it would decide over the weekend when it would bring the show back. Instead, its management called her in Tuesday to tell her the program will not resume when the war coverage ends.

  • Puppet Media. "Lack of Skepticism Leads to Poor Reporting on Iraq Weapons Claims":
    A lack of skepticism toward official U.S. sources has already led prominent American journalists into embarrassing errors in their coverage of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, particularly in relation to claims that proof had been found that Iraq possesses banned weapons.

    On March 20, the second day of the invasion, U.S. military sources initially described missiles launched by Iraq as "Scuds"-- the U.S. name for a Soviet-made missile used by Iraq during the Gulf War. They exceed the range limits imposed on Iraqi weapons by the 1991 ceasefire agreement.

    While some reporters appropriately sourced the Scud reports to military officials, and cautioned their audience about the uncertainty of the identification, others rushed to report claims as facts. NBC's Matt Lauer's report was definitive: "We understand they have fired three missiles. One of those was a Scud missile. It was destroyed by a Patriot missile battery as it headed toward Kuwait."

    His colleague Tim Russert was similarly certain, saying, "Because of last night's activity, clearly the Iraqis are now trying to respond with at least one Scud fired at the troops mapped on the border of Kuwait and Iraq." Fellow NBC anchor Brian Williams added, "We learned one Scud had been intercepted, but two missiles had made it to Kuwaiti soil."

    On NPR that day, anchor Bob Edwards was equally sure about what happened: "Iraq this morning launched Scud missiles at Kuwait in retaliation for the American strike on Baghdad a few hours earlier." Correspondent Mike Shuster helpfully pointed out that "these Scuds are banned under U.N. Security Council resolutions and have a range of up to 400 miles."

    ABC's Ted Koppel, "embedded" with an infantry division, reported matter-of-factly that "there were two Scud missiles that came in. One was intercepted by a patriot missile." ABC anchor Derek McGinty had earlier explained that "there was a Scud attack, one Scud fired from Basra into Kuwait. It was intercepted by an American patriot battery, and apparently knocked out of the sky. There is still no word exactly what was on that Scud, whether or not there might have been any sort of unconventional weaponry onboard."

    Fox News Channel's William La Jeunesse was not only asserting that a Scud had been launched, but was drawing conclusions about its significance: "Now, Iraq is not supposed to have Scuds because they have a range of 175 up to 400 miles. The limit by the U.N., of course, is like 95 miles. So, we already know they have something they're not supposed to have."

  • Dem Cands on War. Daily Kos has an interesting analysis of how the top Dem candidates are dealing with the war issue (partial clip):
    Gephardt
    Gephardt is making news for talking war in a fundraising email.
    In one of the first fund-raising forays of the war, Democratic presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt sent prospective donors an e-mail opening with his prayers for the U.S. military and closing with a pitch for cash.
    Gephardt has continued his regular campaign schedule, spending time in South Carolina. And he's enthusastically endorsed the war:
    "I'm a believer that there are weapons of mass destruction and the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction, and I think that's what the facts will show when the time comes."
    However, it doesn't appear as though he's beeing shadowed by anti-war protesters like Edwards or Lieberman.

    Edwards
    After a one-day pause the first day of the war, Edwards is maintaining a regular campaign schedule, though he's getting shadowed by hostile anti-war protesters. Check out this eyewitness report of one of these protests outside an Edwards fundraiser in North Carolina.

    Dean
    Dean, the harshest war critic amongst the top contenders, has vowed to lay off the "partisan criticism" of Bush during the duration of the war. He continues to campaign, trying to talk about universal health care. But of course, no ones to talk about anything else but war.

  • Bushamonics. PFAW sends this alert:
    Bipartisan Majority in Senate Strikes Blow Against Bush's Tax Cuts But Budget Still Irresponsible

    Congratulations and thank you! As a result of your calls and letters, 51 senators took a significant step today to stop President Bush's seemingly inevitable tax cuts for millionaires and the massive cuts they would force in social services from healthcare to education. An amendment to the Senate budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 23) that reduces the size of the tax cut by half to $350 billion passed with bipartisan support. This victory is a major blow to President Bush's irresponsible tax cut agenda, but the smaller amount does not change the fact that the benefits would overwhelmingly go to the wealthy few and be paid for out of programs on which you and millions of other Americans rely. Senators are expected to vote on final passage of the Senate budget resolution at 4 PM on Wednesday, March 25th.

    Please call or e-mail your senators today and tell them to vote 'NO' on the budget resolut The impact of your action is even being seen in the Republican-dominated House. Following last week's Fair Taxes For All call-in day, the House was forced to stay in session until 3 AM Friday morning in order for Republican leaders to twist the arms of several moderate Republicans who switched their votes at the last minute. These great lengths ended in a narrow 215-212 vote for Bush's budget. Senate leaders will likely use the same hard-nosed tactics to try to raise the tax cut amount before Wednesday's final vote, so call or e-mail your senators now and urge them to reject any amendments to increase the tax cut.

    The House budget resolution clearly shows how Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy will be paid for by the vast majority of Americans whose income doesn't average $1 million a year. Supplemental Security Income for low-income seniors and people with disabilities would be cut by $19 billion. Veterans benefits would be cut by $14 billion. Child nutrition programs, including school lunches, would be cut by $6 billion. Student loans would be cut by $2 billion. The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for low-income children would be cut by $2 billion.

    The Bush tax cut, adopted by the House, is not a plan for economic recovery and job creation. It's an irresponsible and inequitable blueprint for disaster in the present and the future. President Bush is twisting more than an arm or two; he's twisting the nation's priorities into a get-richer-quicker scheme for a handful of the most fortunate Americans. Momentum in the Senate is moving the right way. Keep it going!

  • New link: No War Blog
  • Kevin at ReachM has a heavy post on Rachel Corrie. Check it out ...
  • I've been informed that someone at MSNBC said, "The shiites have hit the fan." Wonderful.
  • "Keeping Hope Alive":
    So, what should the peace movement do now? First and foremost, we shouldn't give up. We should maintain all the energy and creativity that has resulted in the mass mobilizations, the vigils, the mass faxes and phone calls to Congress, the growing civil disobedience against the war, the campus teach-ins and the whole rich festival of democratic activity that has gotten us this far. And we should make sure that every protester (and all of our friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances) registers and votes against Bush and his circle of new-age warmongers in November 2004. No dabbling with the Green Party, no sitting out the elections because the Democratic candidate isn't the second coming of Martin Luther King Jr. It's time for the peace movemennt to play political hardball, just as the NRA and the Christian Coalition have been doing for decades.

    While CNN's Connie Chung and Judy Woodruff ooh and aah over the smart bombs while ignoring the dumb policies that made the dropping of the bombs come to pass, we need to change the subject. We can ask some of the questions that the media rarely address (not that they are never asked, just that they don't get the time and attention they deserve).

    Even if Bush gets his quick, "clean" war in which Saddam Hussein is quickly deposed and disarmed, which seems unlikely--will America or the world be any safer the day after the war ends? Will we be less vulnerable to terrorist attacks? Will it be less likely that some tin-pot dictator will get hold of a nuclear arsenal? Will the poverty, ignorance and ideological fervor that are fueling war and terrorism be diminished?

    My short answer to these questions is no, no, no and no again. We're not going to build a safer world by pushing aggressive unilateralist policies at the expense of diplomatic, economic and security cooperation. We're not going to be in a better position to "roll up" Al Qaeda networks after a war with Iraq. We're not going to be in a better position to recruit systematic allied cooperation to thwart the nuclear weapons programs of North Korea and Iran. We're not going to be in a better position to revive the US economy and replace the visions of strife and victimhood that pervade so much of our global polity with visions of hope and prosperity.

    The next "regime change" that needs to happen after the one in Baghdad should not be in Teheran or Pyongyang--it should be in Washington. It won't come through force of arms, it will come through what one recent documentary called "a force more powerful"--nonviolent, democratic activism.

    For those folks who think the peace movement has "lost," I say, get back to me in November of 2004. I'm going to be busy for the next twenty months trying to take my country back from the prophets of aggressive unilateralism.

    -Eric. Link to day's entry.


    Tuesday, March 25, update 4


  • Coalition of the Whatevers. TAP:
    Whether hyping dubious links between Iraq and al-Qaeda or using forged evidence of Iraq's nuclear program, the Bush administration has proven itself adept at spinning the American public on the facts surrounding the war with Iraq. And no piece of spin has enjoyed more success than the fiction that America is fighting side by side with a robust, multilateral "coalition of the willing." As I write, the number of nations is up to 46, but that could always change -- Angola, after all, was on the official White House list for less than a day before being removed. Of these courageous and non-French countries, two things can be said: They are not, in the realm of Great Power politics, the most impressive group of nations ever assembled into a global coalition -- and, in some cases, they may not even be allies ...

    Seven nations on the list may be allies, but the Department of State warns Americans not to visit because they could get killed, kidnapped or blown up. These nations are Uganda (5), Rwanda (6) and Honduras (7), the former Soviet-controlled nations of Georgia (8), Uzbekistan (9) and Macedonia (10), and Colombia (11), that staunch ally in the other critical American war, the one on drugs. In the past three years, 26 Americans have been kidnapped in Colombia.

    An unsung testament to U.S. diplomacy is the creation of quite possibly the largest ever "coalition of island nations." Somehow the administration managed to overcome whatever resistance was put up by Micronesia (12), the Marshall Islands (13), the Solomon Islands (14), Singapore (15) and Palau (16), which does actually exist. (It is a republic in the Philippine Sea.) Powell also managed to get half of the island of Hispaniola when the Dominican Republic (17) signed on. Apparently residents of the other half of the island -- Haitians, that is -- weren't so impressed with U.S. efforts to bring democracy to their nation. Iceland (18) also is part of the coalition, but because the U.S. forces based at Keflavik constitute Iceland's military, the country had an incentive to come on board.
    Number 47, Hamsterville.
  • Violence = Violence. LA Times:
    The U.S. war strategy has counted in part on separating the people of Iraq from the government of Hussein.

    But the deaths and injuries from misdirected or errant bombs, or from shrapnel and fragments that spray into nearby homes even when the munitions find their intended target, are making more and more people believe that the United States is heedless of the Iraqi public.

    The danger to coaltion forces is that when the decisive battle comes, many will rally to Hussein and take up arms against the U.S. and British troops.

    Information Minister Mohammed Said Sahaf said Monday that 62 civilians had been "martyred" in the last 24 hours across Iraq and that hundreds had been injured.



  • CommonDreams on "How To Take Back America" :
    After the crushing defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964, a similar crisis faced a loose coalition of gun lovers, abortion foes, southern segregationists, Ayn Rand libertarians, proto-Moonies, and those who feared immigration within and communism without would destroy the America they loved. Each of these various groups had tried their own "direct action" tactics, from demonstrations to pamphleteering to organizing to fielding candidates. None had succeeded in gaining mainstream recognition or affecting American political processes. If anything, their efforts instead had led to their being branded as special interest or fringe groups, which further diminished their political power.

    So the conservatives decided not to get angry, but to get power.

    Led by Joseph Coors and a handful of other ultra-rich funders, they decided the only way to seize control of the American political agenda was to infiltrate and take over one of the two national political parties, using their own think tanks like the Coors-funded Heritage Foundation to mold public opinion along the way. Now they regularly get their spokespeople on radio and television talk shows and newscasts, and write a steady stream of daily op-ed pieces for national newspapers. They launched an aggressive takeover of Dwight Eisenhower's "moderate" Republican Party, opening up the "big tent" to invite in groups that had previously been considered on the fringe. Archconservative neo-Christians who argue the Bible should replace the Constitution even funded the startup of a corporation to manufacture computer-controlled voting machines, which are now installed across the nation. And Reverend Moon took over The Washington Times newspaper and UPI.

    Their efforts, as we see today, have borne fruit, as Kevin Phillips predicted they would in his prescient 1969 book "The Emerging Republican Majority," and as David Brock so well documents in his book "Blinded By The Right."

    But the sweet victory of the neoconservatives in capturing control of the Republican Party, and thus of American politics, has turned bitter in the mouths of the average American and humans around the world. Soaring deficits, the evisceration of Social Security, "voluntary" pollution controls, war for oil, stacking federal benches with right-wing ideologues, bellicose and nationalist foreign policy, and the handing over of much of the infrastructure of governance to multinational corporate campaign donors has brought a vast devastation to the nation, nearly destroyed the entrepreneurial American dream, and caused the rest of the world to view us with shock and horror.

    Thus, many progressives are suggesting that it's time for concerned Americans to reclaim Thomas Jefferson's Democratic Party. It may, in fact, be our only short-term hope to avoid a final total fascistic takeover of America and a third world war.

    "But wait!" say the Greens and Progressives and left-leaning Reform Party members. "The Democrats have just become weaker versions of the Republicans!"

    True enough, in many cases. And it isn't working for them, because, as Democrat Harry Truman said, "When voters are given a choice between voting for a Republican, or a Democrat who acts like a Republican, they'll vote for the Republican every time." (And, history shows, voters are equally uninterested in Republicans who act like Democrats.)

    Alternative parties have an important place in American politics, and those in them should continue to work for their strength and vitality. They're essential as incubators of ideas and nexus points for activism. Those on the right learned this lesson well, as many groups that at times in the past had fielded their own candidates are now still intact but have also become powerful influencers of the Republican Party. Similarly, being a Green doesn't mean you can't also be a Democrat.

    This is not a popular truth.

    There's a long list of people who didn't like it - Teddy Roosevelt, H. Ross Perot, John Anderson, Pat Buchanan, Ralph Nader - but nonetheless the American constitution was written in a way that only allows for two political parties. Whenever a third party emerges, it's guaranteed to harm the party most closely aligned to it ...

    My answer is that only a political party as large and resourceful as the Democrats could have the power to re-institute exit polling, and catch scams like the voter-list purges Jeb Bush used to steal the 2000 and 2002 elections for himself and his brother.

    And the Democratic Party can only do it if we, in massive numbers, join it, embrace it, and ultimately gain a powerful and decisive voice in its policy-making and selection of candidates.
    Well put ... let's face it, the only way to get George Bush out of power is through the Democratic Party and this is why participating in the Democratic primary system is vital if you want to reclaim the Democratic Party. The DNC is no longer the party of the bosses; if the public speaks, the DNC has to listen. So speak, speak out against the war, speak out against George Bush, and speak your opinion within the DNC if you want your voice to be heard. Don't allow your voice to get lost in a party that can only elect officials in San Fransisco.
  • Well, I Hope Not. "Allies Risk 3000 Casualties in Baghdad - Ex-General":
    Retired U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey, commander of the 24th Infantry Division 12 years ago, said the U.S.-led force faced "a very dicey two to three day battle" as it pushes north toward the Iraqi capital.

    "We ought to be able to do it (take Baghdad)," he told the Newsnight Program on Britain's BBC Television late on Monday.

    "In the process if they (the Iraqis) actually fight, and that's one of the assumptions, clearly it's going to be brutal, dangerous work and we could take, bluntly, a couple to 3,000 casualties," said McCaffrey who became one of the most senior ranking members of the U.S. military following the 1991 war.

    "So if they (the Americans and British) are unwilling to face up to that, we may have a difficult time of it taking down Baghdad and Tikrit up to the north west."

    McCaffrey said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had misjudged the nature of the conflict. Asked if Rumsfeld made a mistake by not sending more troops to start the offensive, McCaffrey replied: "Yes, sure. I think everybody told him that."

  • General President?. Chris Mooney considers Wesley Clark ...
    I used to be pretty psyched about Howard Dean as the best candidate to take on Bush in 2004. To some extent, I still am. But watching the war on CNN lately has made me realize just how good a presidential candidate General Wesley Clark -- currently the newtwork's main talking head when it comes to Iraq -- would make. Of all the various supposed Democratic contenders, nobody's getting better air time during these crucial days.

    And not just that. I'm convinced that the Democrats will never win another election if they don't learn how to be tough and credible on national security. Well, Clark is the perfect answer to that problem. He won a fricken' war, for Christ's sake, whereas George W. Bush dodged one. Clark has the ideal pedigree to take on Bush on the topic of defense and score some serious blows. As Michael Tomasky put it in a Wesley Clark profile in The American Prospect:
    As viewers of his regular appearances on CNN know, Clark has emerged as a ferocious critic of the Bush administration's national-security policy. To Clark, the administration has not made even a version of a case against Iraq. Iran and North Korea are obviously bigger and more immediate threats. And the administration's cowboy unilateralism, he says, goes against everything the United States is supposed to represent to the world. "After 9-11, who are we?" he asked me. "Are we going to be an angry, beleaguered giant swatting out at selected nations with our sword of vengeance? Are we going to be Daddy Warbucks handing out money? What are we?"
    Since the war started, Clark has stopped criticizing Bush on CNN. He's been too busy answering all manner of technical questions about warfare -- what kind of planes we fly, what kind of strategy we employ, what kinds of bombs we drop. He's articulate and obviously knows this stuff cold. He is indeed, as Tomasky suggests, "Mr. Credibility." And if he runs for presdient the media is guaranteed to love him, CNN most of all.

    Clark has yet to formally declare his candidacy. But what better time to do so than just after he's finished guiding us through the Iraq war on CNN? And even if Clark ultimately doesn't run for president, whoever emerges from the primaries as the Democratic candidate would be an absolute imbecile not to enlist him as a running mate....
    I think Clark as a VP with Dean or Kerry would be a very attractive ticket. As an added incentive, he's from the South (Arkansas). Plus, don't you just anticipate the day that guys like Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh criticize Democrats for their loyalty and patriotism, and then General Wesley Clark asks, "And when and where did you serve?"
  • Adverse Times for Yellow Times. Yellow Times.org has been shut down again ... report:
    Somebody doesn't like hearing the truth. Okay, for a second, lets scratch that and choose a slightly less politically charged term. Someone doesn't like to be disputed with alternative views, counterclaims, research and fact. Someone wants you, the reading public, to only gather one-sided, monotone, Orwellian dispatch. News the way they "fashion" it. Or as CNN will have you believe, the "most reliable source for news."

    And so, once again, the staff at YellowTimes.org was threatened with a shutdown:

    "We are sorry to notify you of suspending your account: Your account has been suspended because [of] inappropriate graphic material."

    Within hours, the site was shut down.

    What's next? Martial law?

    An e-mail hours later was more explanatory: "As 'NO' TV station in the US is allowing any dead US solders or POWs to be displyed (sic) and we will not ether (sic)." Of course, at the time of this e-mail, TV stations across the U.S. were allowing the images of U.S. POWs to be brought to the public's attention.

    These are most certainly difficult, perilous, and often confusing times. The world has been torn asunder by first the prospect of war, and now by the images of war fed live into our living rooms.

  • The Nation's Matt Bivens reports on Richard Perle...
    As one of the neo-conservatives who argued throughout the Clinton years for a second war with Iraq, Richard Perle is having his day in the sun. He's helped realize his vision as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, which advises the Pentagon; he's been crowing "Thank God for the death of the UN," and starring in Goldman Sachs conference calls on investment opportunities to arise from the carnage.

    But Perle is not all high politics and public service. Turns out he's also in business on the side. For example, he's been promised a $600,000 check from the Global Crossing telecom company if he can convince the government to O.K. selling that bankrupt company's fiber-optic network to buyers in Hong Kong and Singapore. Since the U.S. government uses Global Crossing's network, the Pentagon and FBI have opposed the sale. The New York Times, which broke the story, gets it right by noting Perle is using a public office –- his Defense Department post -- for private gain. (What do you expect from an Administration that sports Enron's energy trader chief as Secretary of the Army?)

    Perle's business dealings have raised eyebrows before. Seymour Hersh just reported in The New Yorker that Perle has been meeting with Saudi businessmen, including a star of the Iran-Contra scandals, apparently to drum up business for Trireme Partners L.P., a venture-capital company Perle helped found to invest in homeland security. Perle's response was to smear Hersh as a "terrorist." But to truly appreciate Pentagon consultant-cum-businessman Perle, harken back to the days when President Bush solemnly proclaimed the new era of corporate responsibility –- when CEOs would sign pledges to pay attention to what they signed -– and then read the original Times article and savor Perle's twisting and turning over whether he signed a document, or didn't sign it, or signed it but forgot to edit it ...
    A couple other blog sites, including atrios, have been reporting on Mr. Perle for a while ... And NY Times released this editorial, in full ...
    As chairman of the Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle has been an influential architect of the Bush administration's Iraq policy and war plans. At the same time, it turns out, he has signed on to represent a major telecommunications company that has a strong financial interest in lobbying the Defense Department. This is a conflict pure and simple, and Mr. Perle should immediately drop one of his two roles.

    Mr. Perle, who served as an assistant defense secretary under President Reagan, is indisputably an important part of the current Defense Department. His position as chairman of the policy board, to which he was appointed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is unpaid. But he is nevertheless considered a "special government employee" and is subject to federal ethics rules.

    Global Crossing, the telecommunications giant, is now in bankruptcy. It has retained Mr. Perle to help persuade the Defense Department to drop its objections to a proposed sale to foreign buyers in Hong Kong and Singapore. The deal has been opposed by the Defense Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a threat to national security because it would put Global Crossing's fiber optics network, which is used by the United States government, under foreign control. Mr. Perle stands to make up to $725,000 from his work for Global Crossing.

    Mr. Perle insists that there is no conflict in his case because the Defense Policy Board is not involved in approving the Global Crossing deal. But that is not the right test. Global Crossing's fee is clearly payment, at least in part, for the influence Mr. Perle exerts through his Defense Department post, and federal ethics rules prohibit using public office for private gain. To remove the conflict, Mr. Perle will have to choose between the gain and the office.

  • When Vagina Supporters Attack. Cincy City Beat reports
    What had been planned as a simple production of an inarguably provocative play with strong language exploded early last week into an issue whose after-shocks were felt clear to week's end.

    To say it was the talk of the campus is an understatement, according to students and faculty. An imminent war with Iraq and the success of the school's basketball team were mere whispers among students who had turned the campus into one broad and obvious political placard by Friday.

    Beyond free expression -- the transcendent and galvanizing issue -- the controversy expanded to questions about the importance of students in defining the mission of the university, the voice of women on campus and the role of alumni and outside groups in determining what the university is all about.

    Some saw V-Day as a renaissance of student activism on campus.

    "Xavier is an apathetic campus, and all of a sudden the student body is mobilizing,'' said Chuck Sambuchino, chair of the School Activities Council. "It's really a great thing to see.''

    The Student Activities Council, the events programming board at XU, had planned to stage Vagina Monologues last weekend. But on March 10 the council was told the play was cancelled. The Rev. Michael Graham, president of XU, said the play was "being overshadowed by concerns about the sensational nature of some of the language and themes in the production.''
    A couple other blog sites, including atrios, have been reporting on Mr. Perle for a while ...
  • "The coming victory is going to be the biggest good thing that has happened in the world, the West and the United States since the twin towers fell." TBogg stalks Peggy Noonan:
    A victory in Iraq is about to enhance America's stature in the world. America deserves it. Because of all the powerful countries in the world, it is the most trustworthy, reliable and constructive.

    [snip]

    (Jeez...that just has "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!" written all over it)

    Soon this war will be over. It was hard getting there, hard doing it and there will no doubt be hard going. But it will be over, and we won't come back from hell with empty hands. We will have won a great deal. In the next week and weeks it will be good to keep that in mind, and keep our eyes on the prize.

    Except for the rebuilding of the country, the thinly disguised resentment by populace at being made colonial subjects, the daily guerilla warfare, the instability in other Middle Eastern countries at they view the the white Christian occupation of an invaded country...... everything is going to be just "peachy".

    Isn't war keen?
    And this quote was also in the Noonan editorial ... "The coming victory is going to be the biggest good thing that has happened in the world, the West and the United States since the twin towers fell." Uhh ...
  • Talk Left links us to these Iraqi war talking points, from Phyllis Bennis, author of Understanding the U.S.-Iraq Crisis: A Primer, and John Cavanagh, director of IPS, including ...
    THERE IS STILL NO EVIDENCE OF A LINK WITH AL-QAEDA. Powell made more assertions, no evidence. Mainstream U.S. (and ALL the international press) is filled with reports of intelligence analysts from the U.S. and a host of other countries denying that Powell's claims are proved by any of the evidence he provided. IT'S ALL SPECULATIVE -- AND WE DON'T GO TO WAR ON SPEC.

    PUBLIC OPINION MATTERS MORE THAN EVER BEFORE. Public opposition to war is keeping the French and German governments honest. WE'RE NOT ISOLATED AMONG THE AMERICAN PEOPLE -- WE ARE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE! Yesterday in Washington 35 mayors and city councilmembers came to present to the White House & Congress some of the 92 city council resolutions passed in cities across the U.S. -- including giant cities (Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Philadelphia, Baltimore, etc.), smaller cities (Cleveland, Syracuse, etc.) and tiny little towns. Even though the organizing focus of tomorrow's demonstration was New York, there are parallel demonstrations in 225+ cities across the U.S. There are now more than 600 cities around the world where "The World Says No to War" mobilizations will take place.

    THE U.S.-EUROPEAN DIVIDE IS REAL. WHILE 18 EUROPEAN COUNTRIES SIGNED TWO DIFFERENT LETTERS THAT IMPLY, TO DIFFERENT DEGREES, ACCEPTANCE OF WASHINGTON'S WAR STRATEGY, THEY STAND COMPLETELY ISOLATED FROM THEIR OWN PEOPLE. They are primarily (though not all) poor, NATO wannabes, and eager for U.S. support. According to some polls, there is not a single European country where the opposition is less than 70%; most are above 80%. (In Turkey, key U.S. "ally," public opposition is at 96%.)

    ALONG WITH ALL THE OTHER VICTIMS WE KNOW OF IN IRAQ AND THE REGION, THIS WAR WILL UNDERMINE THE UNITED NATIONS. We reject the Bush administration claim that the UN's "relevance" is defined by its willingness to follow the U.S. into war. We stand with the overwhelming majority of the world's people in saying that THE UN'S RELEVANCE IS DETERMINED BY ITS ABILITY, REFLECTING THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE'S OF THE WORLD, TO STAND DEFIANT OF US PRESSURES FOR WAR.

    -Eric. Link to day's entry.


    Monday, March 24, update 2


  • Still Think Dems Are Anti-Hispanic?. The great ReachM notes this from the Palm Beach Post:
    When Bill Clinton was president, he nominated two Latinos, Enrique Moreno and Jorge Rangel, to seats on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Both are Texans. Like Mr. Estrada, both are graduates of Harvard Law School. Both received the highest rating from the American Bar Association.

    But the two Texas senators, Republicans Phil Gramm and Kay Bailey Hutchinson, blocked both nominees. Mr. Rangel withdrew his nomination after waiting a year for a hearing. President Bush chose not to renew Mr. Moreno's appointment. Republicans also kept Christine Arguello, another Harvard Law graduate, off the 10th Circuit. A Hispanic woman had to wait 32 months before the GOP-controlled Senate finally voted her onto the district court bench.

    Despite Republican opposition, Mr. Clinton appointed 23 Hispanics, including eight of the 10 who sit on federal appeals courts. Sen. Graham voted for all of them. In fact, Republicans are for Latino judges -- as long as they get their kind of Latino judges. Rep. Foley bucked the House leadership when he opposed legislation that would have allowed faith-based groups to take federal money and discriminate when hiring. Ambition threatens to turn him into an extremist.
    Funny how you never hear about these stories from the right-wing media ...
  • Wow, the NY Times Really Likes the Weekly Standard. Alterman writes:
    When I told David Carr of The New York Times, that "Reader for reader, [The Standard] may be the most influential publication in America," I knew I was presenting its editor and publisher with a dilemma. They would love the quote but hate the source. Would they love it enough to use it anyway? Or would they hate the source too much to accept it as an accurate judge of anything?

    What did they do? They deliberately misled their readers. The quote appears on page 36 in the current issue and is falsely attributed to "The New York Times." But of course, I have no connection to The New York Times whatever. Thousands of people are quoted in The Times every day, from Saddam Hussein to Jerry Falwell. Quoted sources do not speak for the New York Times and being journalists, the Standard editors and publishers understand that. The reference is a deliberate attempt to deceive its readership. After all the honest accolades the magazine has received, who would have thought it would stoop so low?

  • War Kills?. Re: Operation Iraqi Freedom, or as Al Franken calls it, "Operation Finish Desert Storm—or Operation We Wouldn't Have to Do This If Poppy Hadn't Fucked Up." From the mainstream, Tom Shales on Iraq media coverage:
    Unfortunately, the explosions also had an eerie prettiness to them, and the shelling often had the appearance of a spectacular light show -- especially when shot after dark and turned a glowing green by night-scope photography.

    In this sense, though the pictures were dramatic and often live, they didn't bring the horror or ugliness of war into sharp focus or into any kind of focus at all. There was no sign of human carnage and barely evidence of any carnage at all; mostly one saw flashes of light and billows of smoke.
    Veteran media critic : Robert Fisk offers this:
    Donald Rumsfeld says the American attack on Baghdad is "as targeted an air campaign as has ever existed" but he should not try telling that to five-year-old Doha Suheil. She looked at me yesterday morning, drip feed attached to her nose, a deep frown over her small face as she tried vainly to move the left side of her body. The cruise missile that exploded close to her home in the Radwaniyeh suburb of Baghdad blasted shrapnel into her tiny legs ­ they were bound up with gauze ­ and, far more seriously, into her spine. Now she has lost all movement in her left leg.

    Her mother bends over the bed and straightens her right leg which the little girl thrashes around outside the blanket. Somehow, Doha's mother thinks that if her child's two legs lie straight beside each other, her daughter will recover from her paralysis. She was the first of 101 patients brought to the Al-Mustansaniya College Hospital after America's blitz on the city began on Friday night. Seven other members of her family were wounded in the same cruise missile bombardment; the youngest, a one-year-old baby, was being breastfed by her mother at the time.

    There is something sick, obscene about these hospital visits. We bomb. They suffer. Then we turn up and take pictures of their wounded children. The Iraqi minister of health decides to hold an insufferable press conference outside the wards to emphasise the "bestial" nature of the American attack. The Americans say that they don't intend to hurt children. And Doha Suheil looks at me and the doctors for reassurance, as if she will awake from this nightmare and move her left leg and feel no more pain. So let's forget, for a moment, the cheap propaganda of the regime and the equally cheap moralising of Messrs Rumsfeld and Bush, and take a trip around the Al-Mustansaniya College Hospital. For the reality of war is ultimately not about military victory and defeat, or the lies about "coalition forces" which our "embedded" journalists are now peddling about an invasion involving only the Americans, the British and a handful of Australians. War, even when it has international legitimacy ­ which this war does not ­ is primarily about suffering.
    Meanwhile, the Pentagon is very happy with the war coverage, so reports the LA Times:
    Pentagon officials said Friday they are pleased with the way the American media have portrayed the war, but the flood of dazzling images arising from hundreds of reporters in the combat zone has so far crowded out a staple of previous conflicts: daily questioning of the top military officers directing the campaign.

    More than 500 journalists are traveling with coalition forces, generating largely positive reports and images from the battlefield. Accompanying these visuals, U.S. television networks have employed a parade of military men offering detailed analyses of the war.

    "We're extremely happy with the coverage," said Capt. Stewart Upton, a public affairs officer with the U.S. Central Command in Qatar

    Atrios links us to this from author / columnist / radio talker Mitch Albom, who takes on CNN and ultra-ditz Paula Zahn:
    Anchor after anchor extolled his reports. "Never before have we seen such images!" they cooed, even though the images were just tanks rolling through dirt.

    Paula Zahn, the morning host, reran a clip of one of Walter Rodgers' reports, during which an explosion took place in the distance. No one was hurt, but the broadcast was interrupted as Rodgers -- and those around him -- asked a pretty common war question: "What was that?"

    When the clip ended, Zahn looked at the camera and said, "Wow."

    She neglected to mention that the report was old, more than a day old, and that rerunning it was nothing short of gratuitous, to show folks how impressive -- and brave! -- CNN was.

    "So far," one anchor actually said, Walter Rodgers and the photos from his crew have been "the star and the story of this war."

    Oh, really?
    Daily Kos notes,
    Holy shit, people die in war?

    It's interesting to hear CNN's increasingly subdued war reporting. It's gradually evolved from rank cheerleading and mocking of the Iraqi defenders, to surprise that "liberated" Iraqis weren't showering our troops with rose petals and actually dared to resist, to sickening acceptance that "our" soldiers are dying.

    Remember, US/UK forces haven't even reached Baghdad -- where the bulk of Iraq's defenses are located. This isn't a trip to Disney World, and the cable networks are finally waking up to reality.
    And Talk Left says this is government censored news. None of this is surprising to me. The media can't bite the hand that feeds them, and the pentagon controls the information in a time of war.
  • Quick Poll. If you haven't seen the new New Hampshire poll, here it is:

    Kerry 23 (23)
    Dean 22 (16)
    Gephardt 15 (15)
    Lieberman 12 (10)
    Edwards 3 (3)
    Graham 1 (1)
    Undecided 20 (27)

    As you can see, two things jump at you: 1) How much Dean is gaining on the top spot and 2) How poorly Edwards is doing. It's still early, but poll numbers like this, and news like this (Edwards wouldn't win his own state) aren't going to help his fundraising efforts.
    Speaking of Dean, he received this flattering cover story in The Advocate ...

    And you can read part of the article here.
  • PFAW:
    Whether or not the nation is at war, standing up for its highest ideals is a profoundly patriotic act. With American servicemembers headed to battle in the Middle East and many of us wondering whether and how terrorism will strike again at home, we must all be vigilant against the particular dangers that wartime poses to our democratic values and institutions. In the face of legitimate fears, and those who exploit fear for political gain, Americans must oppose dismantling the very freedoms in whose name our leaders are sending young people into battle. These are freedoms for which so many patriots in our armed forces and social justice movements have fought and died.

    The dangers to democracy at home are clear. Tolerance for dissent is shrinking, with accusations of treason hurled against those who dare to question official policy. Pundits and political leaders suggest that the fight against terrorism requires us to sacrifice constitutional liberties that are at the core of what it means to be an American. President Bush is asserting - and using - the power to declare American citizens to be enemies of the state and with the stroke of a pen place them outside the protection of the Constitution. Muslims and people of Arab descent are at risk not only of being taunted and attacked on the streets of the country that is their home, but also of being swept into indefinite detainment with little legal recourse.

    The First Amendment to our Constitution guarantees Americans the freedom to question, to argue, and to vigorously dissent. This is the foundation of our democracy. People For the American Way and its 600,000 members and activists must strongly assert our role as guardians of the Constitution and the values that sustain a free society.

  • Heidi Stevens, "Chelsea Clinton: You gotta love her"
    Shortly after Clinton took office, in a show of astonishingly bad taste even for Rush Limbaugh, the right wing pundit held up on his TV show a picture of Socks, the White House cat, and asked, "Did you know there's a White House dog?" Then he put up a picture of Chelsea Clinton, 13 years old at the time. Limbaugh wasn't the only one -- late-night hosts, "Saturday Night Live," my older brother -- all made Chelsea a punch line.

    But who wasn't awkward at 13? If you know of someone, chances are you didn't like him or her. If you yourself sailed through that age looking adorable, chances are people didn't like you.

    But Chelsea always has been likable. Whether she was traveling to Africa on a humanitarian mission with her mother or holding hands with her publicly humiliated father, she always remained strong and resolute.

    She had every excuse in the book to rebel: Stuck in the limelight at an early, awkward age; incessant teasing from powerful people; private-school friends with money to burn; a father with a penchant for women close to her age.

    Instead, she took it all in stride, studied her tail off, got into Stanford, scored straight A's, signed up for Oxford, and now, landed a six-figure job in New York City. Oh, sweet justice.

    Other first daughters just haven't had the same hold on me. I envision the Bush girls graduating from college and becoming bartenders at Coyote Ugly. They remind me of the girls who did sail through adolescence with smooth skin and well-behaved hair, the ones elected to homecoming court. When they were staying after school for pompom practice, the Chelseas of the world were staying after for Latin Club. I love it that it paid off.

  • There will be no comedy monday, for we are at war. Instead, we offer this from Terry Jones who just may have done some comedy himself ...
    Meanwhile, if you like books ... buy them ...

    cover
    Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta
    cover
    Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You
    cover
    War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know
    cover
    Against War with Iraq: An Anti-War Primer
    cover
    Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles This is also an interesting book ... in an interview, gulf war vet Anthony Swofford said,
    In every war, there's a lot of misinformation. George Herbert Walker Bush talked about human rights concerns--I know all this from my postwar reading--but that was just smoke and mirrors.

    At first, it was about getting in there to protect Saudi Arabia, because between August 2 and 5, the real thinking in Washington was that the Iraqis were going to go into Saudi Arabia. It didn't take until the end of the war to realize that I was really there to fight for oil, however. Nor my fellow Marines--much of our banter was about that fact.

    If you're in the Marine Corps, and you're 20 years old, and you've signed a contract, and you're in the desert, you sometimes might have a fantasy of walking to Jordan, where things might be better. But that's a long walk ...

    I'M DISTURBED. War is not the answer here. I think we can work through the United Nations and continue to contain Saddam. I don't think anyone would argue against the fact that he's a tyrant. What really concerns me is the talk coming out within the last 10 days concerning the occupation plans--like the occupation of Japan after the Second World War. Having Tommy Franks be our MacArthur--those are chilling moments when I read that in the paper. The larger plan has to do with trying to insert the American doctrine where people don't want to be indoctrinated that way.

  • Ohhh, those rabid leftist Hollywood liberals ...
    Famed US documentary maker Michael Moore (news) used his win of an Oscar to launch a violent attack on US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) and war in Iraq (news - web sites) amid loud boos from the audience.

    "We live in fictitious times," he said when picking up the award for best documentary for his anti-gun film "Bowling for Columbine."

    "We live in a time with fictitious election results that elect fictitious presidents. We live in a time when we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons.

    "We are against this war Mr Bush. Shame on you. Shame on you!," he said to loud boos from an of 3,500 including most of Hollywood's top stars.
    You know the right-wing media is sorely disappointed at that ... but how accurate is that? I'm not sure ... I did not watch the Oscars, but I heard there was also loud applause ... the article doesn't really mention that, though.
    -Eric. Link to day's entry.


    Thursday, March 20, update 3


  • Note: I'll be in New York City for the weekend. Hope the war goes well, and everything turns out OK; bringing home everyone safe and minimal civilian casualties. See you on Monday.
  • United for Peace reminds us that whatever action you take in the upcoming days of war, make it nonviolent. Violence begets violence and violence is not the solution to this problem. To use violence in protests would be using the same solution Bush uses to solve his problems.
  • Ben Cohen from United for Peace and True Majority writes:
    Dear Eric,

    This is a sad time for all of us. President Bush is hell-bent on taking the world to war despite opposition from nearly all quarters. His deafness is shocking. He ignores the wishes of the United Nations claiming he must because Saddam Hussein has ignored the wishes of the United Nations.

    Now the people of the world must prepare for a war we do not want. Our first thoughts and prayers must go out to the victims of this war: the soldiers sent to kill and be killed, the civilians who will be sacrificed in the name of "shock and awe", the children here at home who will go without a proper education or medical care so that George Bush can pay for his adventure while still enriching the already rich. In the end we will all be victims of his war.

    Despite all the sadness, we can draw strength from our remarkable successes over the last months. We are witnessing the dawning of a new superpower, the power of organized, coordinated, internet people worldwide. And it is challenging the old power of money and guns. The peace loving people of the world have risen up in ways never before seen in human history. We have just been participants in the largest anti-war rallies in history, and the first large scale rallies to take place BEFORE the shooting starts. Last Sunday's global candlelight vigils took place in 140 countries and was organized in a matter of days by an army of peacemakers.

    This is what waging peace looks like, and we have never seen it before. World leaders are being forced to respond to these new pressures. George Bush tried to use the old tactics of money (your money) and guns to buy support for his war aims, and in the end was rebuffed by Turkey and the members of the UN Security Council. Almost all of the 30 countries Bush claims are supporting this war are really doing little more than agreeing to avert their eyes to the horror we are about to launch. Only the United Kingdom is sending a large contingent of troops, and Tony Blair is suffering terribly because of it.

    So this is the last gasp of an ancient way of ruling. A few men with guns and wealth are being threatened by the billions of people they rule over, and the people are beginning to win. And in terms of failing to get support from the UN, we did win - an unprecedented win. Going forward we are better prepared to resist the warmongers than ever before. Our tools are more advanced, our tactics smarter, our lists of supporters longer ...

    So don't dismay. WE are the new Superpower, the Superpower of Peace, and we aren't done yet.

    Stay strong,

    Ben Cohen

  • We defeated ANWR. Environmental groups were a huge part of that. Great. Unfortunately, my two Hawaii senators voted to drill ... Daily Kos has the wrap-up.
  • You can see Howard Dean's California speech here ... Dean certainly relishes his outsider status. Just watch the first 5 minutes and that becomes apparent.
  • Smart Reasoning. Kudos to the leadership ... Soldiers can't carry candy, flags ...
    Military officials say that candy giveaways would draw swarms of children to the convoys, a dangerous proposition with thousands of trucks, Humvees and trailers barreling toward Baghdad.

    As for the ban on flags, its effect was apparent in this camp today, where no more than a handful of vehicles mustering for the invasion displayed any.

    Officials say the flag could give the citizens of Iraq the wrong idea about the convoys of artillery, ammunition and soldiers. They are not, these officials say, an army of conquest, intent on claiming Iraqi land or treasure for the United States, but a liberation force. They are concerned that streams of American flags would be seen as provocative.

    "It's imposing enough that we're coming into another society," said Capt. Frank Stanco, a commander with an artillery unit in the 101st Airborne Division. "I tell our soldiers we want to maintain our professionalism. We could be making history. I call it being quiet professionals."

    In 1991, at the end of the Persian Gulf war, American military convoys entered Kuwait festooned with the stars and stripes after a quick rout of the Iraqi Army occupying the country. Soldiers recall being greeted rapturously by the Kuwaitis.

  • Big Media Blog? Kos is up to somthing good ...
    This weekend I covered the California Democratic Party convention as a fully credentialled member of the press. I was the first blogger to get press creds from the Democratic Party, and a great all-around experience.

    As a result, I will be starting a new consortium of sites called the Political News Consortium. Originally it will include PSR, Daily Kos and MyDD, but it will be open to other select weblogs. The idea is to pool our collective traffic to "look" better to credentialling organizations (e.g. political parties, presidential campaigns, etc).

    The idea is, if there's a political event that you might be able to attend, you can apply for credentials for the PNC.
    It's a tentative idea, so don't hold him to it, but if it pans out it'll definitely lead to better representation among the left Blogtopia (yes, Skippy coined that term). We'll see how it pans out ...
  • Judge Dredd. Kevin at Lean Left on "Let the Crack Down Begin - or why Scalia is both wrong and dangerous." ...
    Already, Scalia does not think something as fundamental as voting is protected by the Constitution. This is not to suggest that Scalia is planning to declare elections void in times of war. It is merely meant to highlight how far he is already willing to go, and suggest how far his notion of "minimums" may take him in a time of war. Rights we all take for granted could be removed, because they are not expressly protected in the Constitution. Limits on other rights could become "reasonable in war time". Scalia's theory, were it to carry the day, makes it easy to allow the eviscerations of the Fourth and Fifth amendments contained in the PATRIOT Act to stand. Scalia's theory makes it easy to deny due process to "enemy combatants", like American Citizen Joseph Padilla.

    The Constitution is meant to protect people from the government and the tyranny of the majority. It is most important in times of national danger. Scalia, based upon a theory that has no justification in the Constitution, is prepared to forgo those protections, just when we need them most.
    Of course constitutional thinking was never Scalia's bag. After all, if he wanted to adhere to the constitution he would have voted differently in Bush v. Gore. See (Betrayal of America) . Also, he would have removed himself since his son was arguing for the Bush side ... But why get bogged up with ethics when talking about Scalia?

    Courtesy of Dave Zaber of the Habitat Education Center.
  • Support and Support. TAP on "No Contradiction: How to support our troops but rue Bush's new global Darwinism"
    But the following is true as well, and it is not a very good thing at all. Most Americans aren't thinking this far ahead, and the administration's rah-rah corner is not very interested in the subject, but: History will not end the day the white standard is run up the flag poles of Hussein's palaces. People and societies have memories, and they will remember the staggering number of distortions and pieces of misinformation that helped set this war in motion. They'll remember the administration saying that it would seek the imprimatur of a second UN resolution, and they'll remember the "no lunch, please, we've only got an hour" summit at which that pledge was tossed out the window. They'll remember Colin Powell's "hard evidence" presented at his Security Council briefing in February, and they'll remember just how much of that evidence didn't hold up to tough scrutiny. In France and Mexico and Turkey, they will remember the arm-twisting and bullying and childish caterwauling -- and even if you don't care about those countries, you can bet that Tony Blair will remember just how far he stuck his neck out for an administration that was willing to hang him out to dry, too, and he won't be likely to do it again.

    The day this war starts, the world enters a new era of global Darwinism in which a structure of covenants and norms -- admittedly far from perfect, but at least the result of an ongoing dialogue of nations -- that has developed over the last half-century will be pushed aside. It's no contradiction at all to hope for the best for our troops but remain dead set against the rules of world order being rewritten overnight by the jungle's biggest lion.

    Celebrity Boxing. NY Times:
    During the interview, Mr. Turner, 64, also reprised some of the antics that have made him famous far beyond the business world, often joking about the 80 percent decline in value of his personal fortune, once over $7 billion, mainly from the plunge in AOL Time Warner's shares.

    Discussing the possibility of war in Iraq, Mr. Turner told the audience that he had volunteered to report from Baghdad for AOL Time Warner's news channel, CNN. At one point, he interrupted his interviewers to sing verses of "Don't Fence Me In." Later, he relished the idea of challenging the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, 72, to a fistfight.

    Through a spokesman, Mr. Murdoch responded, "The last thing Ted needs these days is a licking from me."
    The Murdoch comment is actually a pretty common part of Turner's speeches. I was at a national policy debate tournament in North Carolina and saw him speak and he said the same thing. Not so pacifist after all!
  • Martin Sheen's "West Wing" isn't on tonight. Replaced by Law and Order. Hmm ...
  • Reader Mail. Reader Ramsey Ko sends this email ...
    Eric,

    Moran's insidious comments regarding the Jewish community have proven to be a political windfall for the GOP and radically undermined the enormous legitimacy the Dems had earned as the fair-minded, objective authority on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

    But where have the Dems been on the far more explicitly racist Howard Coble, who holds a far more dangerous position of power? As the GOP conducts a ridiculously overblown PR campaign to accuse Democrats of harboring anti-Semitism, there has been an embarrassing lack of comparable condemnation on the part of the Democratic leadership towards Howard Coble. Despitely condoning Japanese internment, he has drawn little public attention outside of a few petitions from Asian American groups. That Coble has failed to issue even a semblance of an apology, and still retains his chairmanship of a House subcommittee on Homeland Security-related affairs is outrageous, not to mention a sinister omen for racial minorities.

    Mark Shields argues that stupidity cannot create a precedent for resignation of one's office, otherwise a host of GOP politicians who have said far worse in the past ought to have given up their posts.

    (http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/03/17/column.shields.opinion.stupidity/index.html)

    Although I feel he is being a little soft on Moran, I have to agree with his comments:

    "Both Fleischer and DeLay stand accused of selective outrage. Neither man uttered a critical word about Rep. Howard Coble, R-North Carolina, who publicly stated recently that the internment of Japanese Americans during WW II was the appropriate thing to do."

    Where is the harsh criticism from Pelosi and Daschle demanding Coble's resignation? Where are the attacks implying that the GOP is a hotbed of anti-Asian sentiment? Where are the massive PR efforts to stoke anti-GOP anger among the Asian American population?

    To watch Dems do nothing while wingers use Moran's comment as a launching point for a massive assault on Jewish support, and to allow Coble's far more explicitly racist comments to go unpunished demonstrates once again how pusillanimous and self-loathing this party has become.

    Of course, as an Asian American long involved in political activism, I can't help but suspect that this disparity is merely another sign of the continuing absence of Asian Americans and our concerns from the political radar of both parties. Accusations of anti-Asian sentiment in the GOP would probably evoke more ridicule than sympathy, not because people would view the charges as spurrilous, but because as far as Asians are concerned, the standard response is, "Who cares?"

    Ramey Ko
    Send your reader mail as well ... -Eric. Link to day's entry.


    Wed, March 19, update 5


  • Scalia Logic. How did this guy get appointed? AP:
    Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia banned broadcast media from an appearance Wednesday where he will receive an award for supporting free speech.

    The City Club usually tapes speakers for later broadcast on public television, but Scalia insisted on banning television and radio coverage, the club said. Scalia is being given the organization's Citadel of Free Speech Award.

    ``I might wish it were otherwise, but that was one of the criteria that he had for acceptance,'' said James Foster, the club's executive director.

    The ban on broadcast media, ``begs disbelief and seems to be in conflict with the award itself,'' C-SPAN vice president and executive producer Terry Murphy wrote in a letter last week to the City Club. ``How free is speech if there are limits to its distribution?''

  • What Liberal Media? The biggest radio provider, Clear Channel, is sponsoring pro-war rallies. Now, suppose for a second the biggest TV network, NBC, sponsored pro-war rallies. Oh wait, they already air only pro-war views...
    Some of the biggest rallies this month have endorsed President Bush's strategy against Saddam Hussein, and the common thread linking most of them is Clear Channel Worldwide Inc., the nation's largest owner of radio stations.

    In a move that has raised eyebrows in some legal and journalistic circles, Clear Channel radio stations in Atlanta, Cleveland, San Antonio, Cincinnati and other cities have sponsored rallies attended by up to 20,000 people. The events have served as a loud rebuttal to the more numerous but generally smaller anti-war rallies.

    The sponsorship of large rallies by Clear Channel stations is unique among major media companies, which have confined their activities in the war debate to reporting and occasionally commenting on the news. The San Antonio-based broadcaster owns more than 1,200 stations in 50 states and the District of Columbia.
    Yeah, I don't listen to radio.
  • Heritage Foundation Likes Me:
    Eric, You've been discovered! Tim Rutten's Media column in today's edition of The Los Angeles Times is the latest example of the traditional media's newfound appreciation of the growing influence of bloggers on America's public policy debates.

    Our job at The Heritage Foundation is to provide useful resources - objective data and conservative analysis and commentary - to journalists, analysts and commentators of all stripes. But we aren't quite sure how to do this with the blogger community. So this email is an invitation for you to participate in an experiment. For the next month, we will periodically email to you short notices about significant Heritage studies, publications and events. At the end of the month, let us know if these notices were helpful. If not, tell us at any time, and you won't get any more. If you find you only want those notices regarding specific issue areas - foreign policy, welfare reform, etc. - we'll limit our future emails to you thusly. If you want to continue receiving all of the notices, let us know that, too.

    Regardless of your perspective on the issues of the day, we are confident you will find Heritage materials useful in your effort to provide the kind of incisive, immediate and thoughtful commentary and analysis made possible by blogging.

    We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Sincerely,

    Laura Bodwell Mark Tapscott
    Marketing Manager Director, Media Services
    The Heritage Foundation The Heritage Foundation
    Big money Heritage, bling bling.
  • John Nichols :
    Despite months of cajoling, conniving and, when all else failed, behind-the-scenes offers of economic aid and political consideration, the Bush Administration could not convince the chief target audience -- Security Council members -- that there was sufficient legal or moral justification for war at this time. To wit:

    * The president and his aides built their case for war on a "foundation" of discredited data, including reports of supposed Iraqi "threats" that turned out to have been misread, falsified or, in the case of a key British document, reliant upon out-of-date information culled from the Internet.

    * The president and his aides repeatedly attempted to establish a connection between Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaida terrorist network, yet they never succeeded in doing so. The unrelenting focus on finding such a linkage undermined the Administration's broader argument for war. It became clear to the international community that if there was the slightest shred of evidence, the administration would have produced it. And they were never able to do so.

    * The president refused to perform basic diplomatic duties. In particular, he failed to maintain personal contact with leaders of countries that questioned his stance - especially French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Neither the president nor Secretary of State Colin Powell engaged in the sort of international travel and one-on-one communication that former President George Bush and former Secretary of State James Baker used to build coalition support for the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

  • Guardian, "Deep roots of Bush's hatred for Saddam":
    Crucially, it would include a second innovation: a doctrine of the use of pre-emptive military force that should include the right and ability to strike first against any threat from chemical or biological weapons, and 'punishment' of any such threat 'through a variety of means', including attacks on military bases or missile silos.

    The two men had not finished there. In a rebuff to the multilateralism of the UN, they argued that the US should expect future alliances to be 'ad-hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted'. In Europe, Germany was singled out as a possible rival to US power, on the Pacific Rim Japan. 'We must seek to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements,' said the document.

    They were deeply controversial ideas and when the document was leaked it was dismissed at once as the work of an idealistic staffer. Red-faced, the Pentagon put up a spokesman to say it had been no more than a 'low-level' document, and that Secretary Cheney had not even seen it. But with Bill Clinton's election, Cheney finally came clean, as he and Wolfowitz defiantly released their own final version of the blueprint of their ideas in the last hours of the Bush administration arguing that the US must 'act independently, if necessary'.

    The Clinton years would be hard for ideologues such as Cheney and Wolfowitz, but the ideas they developed in the administration of Bush Snr were never far away. For while Cheney accrued a fortune working with Halliburton, the oil and defence company, and Wolfowitz returned to Chicago university, they joined a class of Republicans who felt the White House to be occupied illegitimately by Clinton, no more so than in military foreign policy, which had shifted from global dominance to globalism. Where Clinton wanted in, Wolfowitz wanted out and vice-versa ...

    What they wanted was an old-fashioned campaign to oust Saddam by financing the opposition groups, calling on Clinton to expand areas under opposition control in northern and southern Iraq and 'by assisting the provisional government's offensive against Saddam Hussein's regime logistically and through other means'. In the autumn of 1998, Wolfowitz was pushing again, this time addressing the House National Security Committee, and criticising the Clinton administration for not having the sense of purpose to 'liberate ourselves, our friends and allies in the region, and the Iraqi people themselves, from the menace of Saddam Hussein'. While the administration may have not wanted to listen to the message that Saddam be removed by force, there were others who would and who were being groomed for office. Most prominent was George Bush's son - George W. Bush.

  • FAIR:
    Network newscasts, dominated by current and former U.S. officials, largely exclude Americans who are skeptical of or opposed to an invasion of Iraq, a new study by FAIR has found.

    Looking at two weeks of coverage (1/30/03-2/12/03), FAIR examined the 393 on-camera sources who appeared in nightly news stories about Iraq on ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. The study began one week before and ended one week after Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 5 presentation at the U.N., a time that saw particularly intense debate about the idea of a war against Iraq on the national and international level.

    More than two-thirds (267 out of 393) of the guests featured were from the United States. Of the U.S. guests, a striking 75 percent (199) were either current or former government or military officials. Only one of the official U.S. sources-- Sen. Edward Kennedy (D.-Mass.)-- expressed skepticism or opposition to the war. Even this was couched in vague terms: "Once we get in there how are we going to get out, what's the loss for American troops are going to be, how long we're going to be stationed there, what's the cost is going to be," said Kennedy on NBC Nightly News (2/5/03).

  • Governor Dean Responds: Statement by Gov. Howard Dean on the President's decision to send U.S. military troops into war against Iraq
    Tonight, for better or worse, America is poised on the brink of war. Tonight, every American, regardless of party, devoutly supports the safety and success of our men and women in the field. Those of us who, over the past six months, have expressed deep concerns about this President's management of the crisis, mistreatment of our allies and misconstruction of international law, have never been in doubt about the evil of Saddam Hussein or the necessity of removing his weapons of mass destruction.

    Those Americans who opposed our going to war with Iraq, who wanted the United Nations to remove those weapons without war, need not apologize for giving voice to their conscience, last year, this year or next year. In a country devoted to the freedom of debate and dissent, it is every citizen's patriotic duty to speak out, even as we wish our troops well and pray for their safe return. Congressman Abraham Lincoln did this in criticizing the Mexican War of 1846, as did Senator Robert F. Kennedy in calling the war in Vietnam "unsuitable, immoral and intolerable."

    This is not Iraq, where doubters and dissenters are punished or silenced --this is the United States of America. We need to support our young people as they are sent to war by the President, and I have no doubt that American military power will prevail. But to ensure that our post-war policies are constructive and humane, based on enduring principles of peace and justice, concerned Americans should continue to speak out; and I intend to do so.
    Right now I'm throwing my support for Howard Dean for President. Earlier this week I said I would hold off on any decision of support for practical reasons: I haven't heard / met all of the candidates, am not comfortably familiar with their positions, etc, but still I feel confident enough to make a tentative and retractable endorsement of Dean.

    Briefly, my support for Dean stems from his stance on issues. Also, as governor of Vermont, he has an outsider mentality that can get him elected to the White House. The majority of Americans doesn't like Congress and that is reflected with whom we've elected to the White House in the past 4 decades. Also remember that state budgets are a big issue. Further, as the California Convention demonstrates, Dean can reinvigorate the Democratic Base, yet his fiscal conservatism (balanced budget, etc) can still win over independents and moderates. Plus, in this horrible economy, Dean's ability to communicate fluidly about economic matters will help him connect with voters.

    I am not attracted to any other candidacies. If I had a second choice for President, it would probably be Kerry. I thought Kerry would be president two years ago, after Gore's loss, but when I think about what attracts me to his candidacy it's mostly his military experience and that in and of itself isn't enough to push me into his camp. On the issues, both Kerry and Dean are a fit, but again, I think Dean has a better shot at winning than Kerry, who only offers that military experience as a bonus incentive. Overall, Kerry suffers from staleness in his personality. But these are minor points and if anyone can overtake Dean, Kerry can.

    Gephardt, what can I say? Stale populism and no connection with the Democratic / liberal base. He did a mediocre job as House Minority Leader. Graham and Edwards are interesting candidates (Edwards especially), but right now I don't connect with them on a lot of issues. Edwards could be a strong VP candidate since he would appeal to the South and presumably win North Carolina and their 14 electoral votes.

    Lieberman is simply Lieberman. He's a friend of the environment, but that's all the positive things I'll say. He's a monotone speaker, and I'm turned off by his constant attacks on Hollywood. I also don't like his religious overtones. Lieberman sounds more like a Sunday preacher than an elected official and I don't like his attempts to imply guilt about the public's lack of religious devotion and morality. No.

    Kucinich carries too much baggage, though I hope he'll continue to contribute ideas and leadership to the progressive caucus. The baggage reason also applies to Al Sharpton and Moseley-Braun.

    All of this is tentative and a lot will change before and during the primaries. Until then, Dean in 2004.

    Current List of Preferred Candidates:
    1) Howard Dean
    2) John Kerry
    3) John Edwards
    4) Dick Gephardt
    5) Bob Graham
    6) Joe Lieberman
    7) Dennis Kucinich
    8) Carol Moseley Braun
    9) Al Sharpton

    And as Talk Left reminds us, Gary Hart may run as well ... Gen. Clark would add an interesting element to the mix.
    Alex Gourevitch says Bush is Gollum ...

    s
    We hates the United Nations. No! No! We loves the United Nations.
    The administration has managed to argue that America must go to war because the United Nations is ineffectual and irrelevant -- and that America must go to war to safeguard that institution's integrity: "If we need to act, we will act. And we really don't need United Nations approval to do so," Bush said at his press conference last Thursday. But back in September, he said, "How we deal with this problem will help determine the fate of a multilateral body, which has been unilaterally ignored by Saddam Hussein."



    EPI: "The data in the figure are yearly changes in the nominal (not inflation-adjusted) wages of professional and technical workers, a white-collar category that includes some of the most highly skilled workers in the economy, including those in high-tech industries. The effect of the recent recession can be seen at the end of the figure, as wage growth has fallen sharply since the first quarter of 2001. In fact, the 1.7% rate of wage growth over the past year—between 2001:4 and 2002:4—was the slowest in the history of the series, well below the rate of inflation over that period (2.2%). Thus, pervasive weakness in the labor market has led to falling real wages, even for some of the most highly educated workers."

    Bush economy, represent.
  • Consults with Bob Dole Shortly. Hammerdown:
    BUSHISM VIRUS SPREADS
    Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia, chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee, said Cheney told the group the administration's plan to ask for the money remains on schedule. "He hopes to get it up very shortly," Warner said.

    False Profits: The Business Case Against Drilling In The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

    USPIRG: The past few years have witnessed a vigorous debate in Congress over how America should meet its current and future energy needs. Proponents of increased domestic drilling, including the Bush administration and several members of Congress, have focused much of their energy on attempts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas development. What they have failed to consider, however, is whether any of the oil that lies beneath the Arctic Refuge could or would be profitably pumped out of the ground.

    The answer, when considering issues of concern to the major integrated oil companies, is no.

    The major oil companies are extremely conservative about how and where they invest their capital. Although oil prices may be at record highs now, oil prices are volatile and random and often defy long-term predictions. When evaluating a future project, such as the Arctic Refuge, companies make assumptions that allow them to remain profitable even when oil prices are low and to benefit fully from high price conditions. Requiring potential projects to pass these conservative investment screens is simply a matter of responsible business practice by the industry.

    Using the companies' own assessment criteria, drilling in the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is an unattractive investment. Oil from the Arctic Refuge would be extremely expensive to find and transport to market. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Arctic Refuge would not produce any economically recoverable oil until reaching a price of $17.17/barrel (in 2003 dollars), assuming a 12 percent return on the companies' investment. This fails the major oil companies' investment criteria in four fundamental ways:

  • "Worst President Ever." Republicans Seek To Slash VA Budget! With our military poised to attack Iraq,the Republican Party is poised to devastate the budget of military veterans in America. :
    The Republican majority of the House Budget Committee is reducing President Bush's proposed budget by about $844 million in health care and an additional $463 million in benefit programs including disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation, education survivor's benefits, and pension programs from next year's budget. In addition to these cuts, the GOP is planning to cut $15 billion from the veteran programs over the next 10 years. The soldiers and sailors that are currently in harms way in the the Middle East, are about to have their future veterans' benefits and health care slashed. If, that is, the Republicans get their way.

    According to the Veterans Administration, 28 million veterans are currently using VA benefits and another 70 million Americans are potentially eligible for such programs, a quarter of the county's population. With the economy in a downward spiral and unemployment rising quickly, an increased number of veterans will be turning to the Veterans Administration for assistance. Yet, the VA budget is about to shrink.

    "As the nation expresses support for our soldiers and sailors on the verge of war in the Middle East, even from us who are deeply opposed to this unnecessary war," says Stewart Nusbaumer of Veterans Against Iraq War" (www.vaiw.org), the Republicans are expressing contempt by cutting the veterans budget."

    Nearly a third of the Gulf War veterans have submitted claims to the Veterans Administration for disability, this is about 209,000 veterans. Gulf War II may have as many or more requesting VA assistance, but with a Veterans Administration that will be smaller and with less resources.

  • "Worst President Ever." Robert Matsui: Now let me move over to the budget. Just two years ago, the federal budget was in great shape. But record surpluses have turned to record deficits, and today our government cannot pay its own bills. The President's 2004 budget calls for a $1.8 trillion federal deficit over the next 10 years, and even this leaves out the cost of war with Iraq. In fact, during the next two years alone, we will run the largest deficits in our nation's history.

    But red ink and unfair tax policies are only part of the story. The Republican budget fails to invest in programs that make a real difference in our communities. For example, our local firefighters and police officers won't receive the resources they need to prepare for terrorist attacks. The Republican budget slashes funding for teacher training, after-school activities, and financial aid for college students. Of course, there's no money left for a meaningful prescription drug benefit. In fact, Republicans plan to cut $200 billion from Medicare.
    -Eric. Link to day's entry.


    Tuesday, March 18, update 4


  • Cloudy Skies. Alan Bisbort, "Is Bush Losing It? Our president seems a little too sedate to be charging into war "
    The current situation -- in this nation and in the world -- is worse than anyone, even the most ardent Bush-opposer, could have imagined back in November 2000. Surely, most voters, no matter how cynical or angry they've become about the government, never really expected fascism could set up shop in America. Surely, we all believed that the title of the Sinclair Lewis novel about an American fascist state, It Can't Happen Here, was satiric, that it was a warning, like Orwell's 1984. And yet, George W. Bush has done the impossible. He has made American life imitate art. He has, with the help of a hysterical war-lusting right-wing media (ranked #17 in the world, below Costa Rica and Slovenia, on the index of press freedom compiled by Reporters Without Borders), brought Lewis' dark, cautionary fiction to life. He has also proven Huey Long was correct when he noted: If fascism came to this nation, it would be draped in an American flag.

    Exhibit A: Last week, a man was arrested 150 miles west of where I write this, for wearing a T-shirt inscribed Give Peace A Chance. He bought the T-shirt in a mall in Albany, N.Y. and was arrested when he would not leave the mall, at the request of the security people. Remind me to avoid Albany, N.Y.

    All of this might be out of anyone but Dr. Freud's control. That is, maybe the president of the United States is well, not right in the head. Tom Shales of the Washington Post noted something in Bush's demeanor at last Thursday's press conference that struck me too. Have ever a people been led more listlessly into war? he wrote. There were times when it appeared his train of thought had jumped the tracks he would stare blankly into space during lengthy pauses between statements -- pauses that once or twice threatened to be endless. There were times when it seemed every sentence Bush spoke was of the same duration and delivered in the same dour monotone. Shales thinks Bush was sedated, perhaps to disguise that annoying redneck smirk that has won him so many friends around the planet. Indeed, his demonic side was kept under wraps as he droned through the prepared remarks on the Teleprompter.

    But that ended when he was required to take questions from the reporters. First, he ominously passed over Helen Thomas, the 82-year-old doyenne of the Washington corps -- who has, since the Nixon administration been traditionally given the first question -- because she has been critical of him. This guy is so small that he will snub a tiny old woman. Then there was that moment when Bush leaned forward and said he was fixin' to ask Security Council nations to show yer cards. I don't know why, but that sent a chill through me. Show yer cards? Does he think he's playing some kind of parlor game? And, who, but a bunch of beer-soaked Texans find this chest-thumpin' befitting of a U.S. president? It was in that moment that I realized the death of thousands would be washed from this man's conscience as quickly as a garden hose splashing away the dust on an SUV license plate. If someone like that is not nutty, I don't know what they are.
    In fairness to Bush, he lost it a long time ago.
  • Cloudy Skies. USA Today, "Bush's re-election forecast increasingly cloudy."
    Asked whether they would vote for Bush or an unnamed Democrat, 45% of registered voters said Bush and 42% said the Democrat. That's within the poll's 3-percentage-point error margin and reflects a close-as-possible contest.

    The finding reflects steady erosion in Bush's political strength for the past several months. Last month, he led the hypothetical matchup by 8 percentage points. One month after Sept. 11, 2001, he was ahead by 27 points.

    He has lost considerable support among independents, the voters who decide elections. Independents now say the would vote for the Democratic candidate, 43%-36%. Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg attributes the president's weakening more to uneasiness about the economy and other domestic issues than to worry about war. "Bush's attention to war overwhelms incredible public anxiety about the economy, and people aren't hearing him address that," she says. "We're returning to the concerns voters had about Bush before Sept. 11."


  • Signorile:
    It's certainly true that Kurtz, among the most influential pundits in America, hardly ever comes under scrutiny. We often see blistering criticisms from right-leaning commentators and journalists about Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd, or, from those on the left, about Coulter and Andrew Sullivan. But hardly anyone ever criticizes Howard Kurtz, even though, as Alterman shows, Kurtz is clearly partisan. Indeed, Kurtz often promotes a conservative agenda, has given the Bush administration a free ride and regularly showcases as "mainstream" such gasbags as Rush Limbaugh and National Review's idiotic frat boy, Jonah Goldberg ... more

  • Doug Ireland:
    By asserting the United States' right to invade whomever it likes whenever it likes, Bush's speech brought the world to the most dangerous moment in its history since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. A first-strike on Iraq, unprovoked by any aggressive act on Saddam's part, will start a new nuclear arms race by countries that have nothing further to lose by creating a nuclear deterrent to the unchecked imperial power of Washington.

    A first-strike on Iraq turns the United States into an aggressive power as a matter of policy, shreds the fragile framework of nascent international law and takes the global diplomacy back 70 years by making the United Nations as irrelevant as the League of Nations was in its ability to stop aggression. more

  • The Wit and Wisdom of Freepers.

    Freepers Comment on Chelsea Clinton's New Job. Don't you love Freepers? They're so concerned about the issues. And people wonder why Rush Limbaugh is popular even after he compared Chelsea Clinton, at the time 13-years old, to a dog. Here, here and here.
    To: Defender2
    Wouldn't be surprised if it involved a blowjob.
    3 posted on 03/09/2003 2:13 PM PST by BeechF33A
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies ]

    To: yankeedame
    She sure didn't get this job based on good looks.
    14 posted on 03/09/2003 2:23 PM PST by The Great RJ
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

    To: RedWhiteBlue
    She looks like a clone of that Raelian bitsch.
    Yep, paybacks are rolling in. Papa gets 1 mil. for 45 sec. "job" at 60 min., Monica got all kinds of "jobs" for her "services" to rapist in chief, while people who stood up are disapearing in various ways. Can somebody have a closer look at all this stuff?
    18 posted on 03/09/2003 2:29 PM PST by Leo Carpathian
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies ]

    To: The Great RJ
    She is indeed an ugly little bi#ch. Possibly looking a little better though and a little less like Hillary. Probably had some plastic surgery.
    20 posted on 03/09/2003 2:33 PM PST by nomorecameljocks
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies ]

    To: yankeedame
    Disgusting how some people trade on their looks.
    35 posted on 03/09/2003 3:12 PM PST by Arthur McGowan
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

    Not bad for dumb blond Arkansas trailer trash w/ no figure and a clock stopper for a face.
    29 posted on 03/10/2003 2:12 PM PST by putupon (Boycot Michelin/Goodrich (Fr) and Contiental/General (Ger) Tires, & FStone, US but they suk)
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

    With the family experience, Chelsea could be a rape crisis counselor.
    34 posted on 03/10/2003 2:54 PM PST by doug from upland (Bill and Hillary's first instinct is survival.....their second is to lie.)
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

    Chelsa Clinton should lay off the cosmetics. Make up is to enhance or bring out your beauty. In her case, it just emphasizes her unattractiveness. She should wear less make up to downplay her not so attractive features. Quite honestly, she looks like a transvestite when she wears make up.
    46 posted on 03/09/2003 10:08 AM PST by healey22
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies ]

    Looks like she's had plastic surgery.
    I don't want to be unkind, but Chelsea's highest income potential is scaring little kids on Halloween.
    50 posted on 03/09/2003 10:14 AM PST by Man of the Right
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

    She really needs to be a porno "fluffer" for Ron Jeremy.
    65 posted on 03/09/2003 11:15 AM PST by Helms (Pacifism in Defence of Freedom is Indeed a Vice)
    [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

    Okey, enough of that. This is the number one forum site for conservatives, by the way. Unless you count the Fox News sites ...
  • The Altered State of the Union. What he REALLY meant. Download it. Pass it on to your friends. It's hilarious.
  • Nate Newman notes that the bulldozer that killed peace activist Rachel Corey killed a pregnant woman just weeks ago. Hmm ... Seeing the Forest amid yesterday's criticism of their Holocaust = meat eating campaign, notes meat eating isn't so zesty ... Alas a Blog has a couple more words on Rachel Corey ... And while I'm linking blogs, check out Road to Surfdom, which is strong overall once again.
  • Peggy Noonan stalker, TBOGG:
    Let's get started on Noonan:
    The Bush administration, famously inclined toward clarity and bluntness in foreign affairs, did something Friday that seemed almost . . . subtle. Or even obscuring. On the brink of war, with everyone in the world rushing to the radio and TV to see if the invasion had happened or the White House blinked or the Security Council vetoed or Blair cracked, Colin Powell and President Bush marched to a podium in the Rose Garden to announce they were going away. They were going to a sunny island in the middle of the Atlantic. There they would meet with our closest allies and confer at long meetings. And Mr. Bush would be attending those meetings having on his mind his strong convictions regarding a new Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative. [my emphasis]

    From CNN:
    "Tomorrow is the day we determine whether or not diplomacy can work," Bush said after a one-hour meeting with his key council allies, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.

    What? Does Bush live on dog time; 1 hour is equal to 7 Bush hours?
    Haha.
  • Frodo Has Failed. Bush Has the Ring. Until when chance came, it ensnared a new bearer. The Ring came to the creature Bush, who took it deep into the tunnels of the White House. And there, it consumed him. The Ring brought to Bush unnatural long political capital. For 2 years it poisoned his mind. And in the gloom of Bush's cave, it waited. Darkness crept back into the forest of the world. Rumor grew of a shadow in the West, whispers of a nameless fear, and the Ring of Power perceived. Its time had now come.


    "My precious war."

  • Reader Sharron B. sends along this:
    From the desk of Winston Smith

    To:
    Records Dept.,
    Ministry of Truth

    Today's Text: (edited to reflect today's directive desiring no words or phrases used by our enemies)

    Freedom take out is Hot! In this freedom of long hours at work (or job freedom), it's freedoming to know that $10 can get a great Freedom meal delivered to your door. How freedom is that? Freedom chicken lover? No problem. Also delivered, piping hot and spicy. Now that Julia Child has retired, more and more Americans are turning to take out fare, free(dom) of the second-freedom costs freedomed with outfitting and maintaining a freedom kitchen.

    For freedom goers, international freedom is more freedom than ever. Freedom and freedom cheese dressings, Freedom freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, and exotic freedom are everyday items on many freedoms, both upscale and freedom.

    As our knowledge and freedom of other freedoms grows (freedom the information freedom), we Americans haven't let past and present political freedoms freedom our freedom for new and exciting flavors. Freedom, the freedom freedom freedom has been awakened in all of us. Our freedom has freedomly made freedom more fun!

    Original Text:

    Chinese take out is Hot! In this age of long hours at work (or job searching), it's comforting to know that $10 can get a great meal delivered to your door. How cool is that? Tandoori chicken lover? No problem. Also delivered, piping hot and spicy. Now that Julia Child has retired, more and more Americans are turning to take out fare, in lieu of the second-mortgage costs associated with outfitting and maintaining a gourmet kitchen.

    For restaurant goers, international cuisine is more popular than ever. Russian and bleu cheese dressings, Belgian chocolate, croissants, crepes, tortes, and exotic coffees are everyday items on many menus, both upscale and mondiant.

    As our knowledge and appreciation of other cultures grows (à la the information age), we Americans haven't let past and present political differences deter our quest for new and exciting flavors. Au contraire, the piquant connoisseur in all of us has been awakened in all of us. Our renaissance has certainly made dinner more fun!

  • Veterans Ready To March For Peace. "Veterans are furious, outraged that a group of arrogant nonveterans -- often called Chickenhawks -- are driving this country to war. Read what the the veterans are saying."
    Although we detest the dictatorial policies of Saddam Hussein and sympathize with the tragic plight of the Iraqi people, we oppose unilateral and pre-emptive U.S. military intervention on the grounds that it would establish a dangerous precedent in the conduct of international affairs, that it could easily lead to an increase of violent regional instability and the spread of a much wider conflict, that it would place needless and unacceptable financial burdens on the American people, that it would further divert us from addressing critical domestic priorities, and that it would distract us from our stated goal of destroying international terrorists and their lairs. "Furthermore, Veterans Against The Iraq War does not believe the American military can or should be used as the police-force of the world by any Administration, Republican or Democrat. Consequently, we believe that the lives and well-being of our nation's soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines should not be squandered or sacrificed for causes other than the direct defense of our people and our nation." The message of military veterans, those Americans who have hunkered in foxholes and bleed on battlefields, is that war is the last option and we have not reached this last option with Iraq. Whether conservative or liberal, their experience says slow down, take a step back, and find another way, one that makes use of the best that America has to offer, and avoids the calamities of war.
    But Bush served in the national guard!
    MyDD gives his take on Dean:
    It was a terrific speech by Howard Dean, without a doubt the most electrifying political speech I've ever seen given, and I've seen Dean speak before-- he's moved it to another level. Think Jackson in '88, it's higher. No other candidate at the CA Dem convention was able to silence the entire auditorium crowd as Dean did-- everyone listened. Dean not only had them hanging on every word, chanting "Dean, Dean, Dean" multiple times, and breaking into wild applause throughout the speech, he left the podium leaving them wanting more. Dean's probably the only candidate that spoke who adhered to the 8-minute allotment. He used it for the maximum benefit, driving the crowd to a peak, and then stepping off the podium-- being thereafter 'mobbed' by party officials behind the dais. Dean really rocked the house. There is however, a line in the speech, referring to "White folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with confederate flag decals..." as having kids who need health-care too, that misses the mark. David Neiwert draws this point out further, showing what works with the quote and what doesn't need to be there. A part of his speech that really works is his reference to a Bush's "unilateral intervention."

    Now, the Bushies don't like this, and have been having the newsies press Dean to stop using the phrase. Dean's response? Directly after the speech, he came into the press conference center, and was asked about it, responding that one could call it this, or that, and then said: "... I don't want to quibble about words..." And he proceeded to go right back to calling this invasion into Iraq a unilateral intervention. It works, putting Bush on the defensive, and framing the debate-- something that Democrats should take a clue from Dean on, without backing down just because the press is quibbling about the words having negative intonations for the actions of the Bush administration.

    At the convention, I commented to Daily Kos about the candidate speeches, that if one hadn't known the poll numbers prior to the candidates speaking at the convention, then watched them all, one would surmise that Dean was the frontrunner, given the delegate participation. Dean had probably 5x as many sign-wavers as Kerry and the others. As one Dean organizer in CA, Joe Ross, commented, "the delegates came here interested in Dean wanting to hear more, and after hearing him speak, they are loving him". Now, Gary South made the point, to anyone who would listen, that the delegates at the convention were not an accurate representation of the Democratic voters in the state of California. That's probably true to an extent, and who knows how the war issue play out, but it's hard to fathom that Dean could draw the extent of enthusiasm that he did, without being considered a serious candidate to win the California Democratic primary. The Dean organization was able to gather over 1000 attendee's into furthering Dean's campaign, with over 100 committing to participation in organizing a statewide campaign effort. These are delegates, officials, and organizers --the party infrastructure of the state which provides 10% of the 2004 delegates to the national convention-- that's substantive.

    "By the way they're renaming France, Freedom, I dont know if you knew that." Jon Stewart.

    "What about (Alan) Colmes? You know, Hannity's retarded half brother." Jon Stewart, interviewing Eric Alterman.
  • Want to Contribute to a Blog? Todd over at Pragmatic Progressive is asking for help, "Ideally I need at least one individual who is tech savvy enough to manage the template, make the PragPro ready for expansion. Someone who is willing to market the PragPro to potential readers, (spread the word), and perhaps in the future prepare the PragPro for eventual expansion in to the realm of profit. Of course I'd also like to hear from individuals who have the ability to contribute content." Let him know if you want to help ...
  • They're Watching You. Seattle Times
    his suitcase in San Diego after a flight from Seattle this month, the two "No Iraq War" signs he'd picked up at the Pike Place Market were still nestled among his clothes. But there was a third sign, he said, that shocked him. Tucked in his luggage was a card from the Transportation Security Administration notifying him that his bags had been opened and inspected at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Handwritten on the side of the card was a note, "Don't appreciate your anti-American attitude!" "I found it chilling and a little Orwellian to have received this message," said Goldberg, 41, a New Jersey resident who was in Seattle visiting longtime friend Davis Oldham, a University of Washington instructor.

    -Eric. Link.


    Monday, March 17, update 3


  • Reaction to Bush's Speech.


    (no, that is not me).
    cover
    Get Mad, All Over Again. Now in Paperback.
  • When Stupid Organizations Attack. I know beating up on PETA is like making a joke about Michael Jackson, but this is so utterly disgusting ... PETA compares meat eating to the Holocaust ... well, you have to see it to believe it. I'm all for sanitary animal conditions, and being a vegetarian is fine by me, but seriously ... I feel like eating a hamburger right now. Oh wait, I already am.



    Email PETA and tell them as a liberal you're disgusted by their outrageous rhetoric.
  • Daily Kos is 'da bomb,' as the kids like to say. Kos is at the California Democratic convention along with MyDD (also 'da bomb'). Kos says Dean's "the one," something I agree with. The Democratic activists I've talked to say he's the one as well. I'm very close to giving my support to Dean as well, but I'm not going to make a absolute decision for a while. A little snip:
    He started by blasting Bush's invasion, and the crowd was instantly hooked. It was electrifying. The whole convention center hushed, hanging on his every words (only Rep. Maxine Waters had a similar effect). Dean raised the rhetoric gradually, drawing louder applause each time. People were loving it. He uttered Wellstone's line: "I'm here to represent the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party". People went wild. His speech was repeatedly interrupted by chants of "we want Dean!".

    But the most amazing part was the finale, with a fiery Dean pounding the podium:

    I want my country back! I don't want to listen to fundamentalist preachers anymore!

    When Dean uttered this last line, the whole place went nuts. Utter pandemonium. It was literally one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen.

    I reserve the right to change my mind, but as of now, Dean's the one.

  • Someone's Having Fun Tonight ... Alright, who ordered "101 Nights of Grrreat Sex: Secret Sealed Seductions for Fun-Loving Couples(PB)" through my Amazon.com click-throughs. I'm looking at you, Wolf Blitzer.

    Seriously though, buy books online through sites like this one, or , Democrats.com, Atrios, wherever ... each time you make a 'click-through' and buy that book directly you make money for that site. Like a donation, only you get something.


    "But, as in the Gulf War, some companies will make a bundle from an attack, and one doesn't have to be very conspiracy-minded to notice that these are the very same firms that have intimate ties with the Bush administration. Is it unreasonable to think that the high-minded goal of bringing freedom to Iraqis exists, in this White House, alongside many less noble political calculations -- for instance, old-fashioned corporate opportunism? Or, making sure that the spoils of war stay out of the hands of the troublesome French?"
  • Charles Taylor: "An open letter to Ralph Nader voters: You were right -- you did change history!"
    Like this one: "Lopsided Vote by Senators Against Type of Abortion." The Senate went and voted against what they call "partial-birth" abortions again. You all know they did it twice before while Bill Clinton was president and he vetoed it. History might not have changed if you didn't help George W. Bush get into the White House. But now, with an anti-choice president, we can count on the bill being signed into law after the House passes it next month. The procedure won't even be allowed when the health of the mother is in danger. If Al Gore had been in the White House, he probably would have upheld Clinton's veto. Thanks to you, history will change.

    And that's not all you've done. With a Republican president who you all did so much to elect, we can now look forward to a judiciary packed with conservative zealots. Like Priscilla Owen, the Texas Supreme Court justice who is now going to get a second chance at federal appeals court thanks to the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee. Justice Owen is another example of how much you've managed to change history for women's reproductive rights. In Texas, she dissented from the state's law that a teenager can obtain an abortion without notifying her parents because the teenage girl in front of her had not shown she understood the religious objections to abortion. Not only will you have a chance to change reproductive rights, but you may have made it easier to get around that pesky old church-state separation.

    There are still other things to thank you for, like the likely passage of a bill that would cap all pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice cases at $250,000, a bill Bush wants to sign. I sure hope the family of that girl who died after having the wrong organs transplanted into her gets to thank each and every one of you for that. I know the HMOs and the pharmaceutical companies sure must be grateful -- and who'da ever thunk they'd have reason to feel grateful to old Ralph?

    But let's face it: The place where you've made the most difference is Iraq. I know, I know, you don't want to claim credit because there's no difference between Republicans and Democrats on this issue. In fact, only two of the declared Democratic presidential candidates oppose the war. But now isn't the time for false modesty. We all know that if Gore had become president and continued the Clinton policy of containment, that Saddam would just be a peripheral pest and your biggest claim to changing history would never have happened. (We in New York especially acknowledge your actions as we await the home-front consequences of an invasion of Iraq.)

  • The surprising thing about the controversy over celebrities voicing anti-war messages is that it's so transparent. First, there is no real controversy about whether or not celebrities are saying yes or no to war. All of it is created by the Right-leaning media in an attempt to marginalize anti-war voices. Here's how it goes.

    There are smart people who are giving good reasons why we shouldn't head to war: Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Howard Dean, Jesse Jackson, etc. But you will not hear the media focus on them. Instead, the media focuses on people like Janeane Garofalo, Martin Sheen and the Dixie Chicks. Why? Because the central argument now changes. It no longer becomes a debate about the argument these celebs are making, but whether they should be making the arguments in the first place. As conservative Paul Bond put it, "it's time the Hollywood Left stop talking." We all know that Kennedy, Hart, Dean, Jackson have legitimacy to make these comments, and when the media reports arguments from them we don't question their legitimacy to make them. Thus, by covering celebrities extensively, the Right-leaning media conveniently avoids challenging Bush's pro-war stance, and thus avoids appearing unpatriotic.

    How does the media overcover celebrities? News.google.com search of Janeane Garofalo AND anti-war made Sunday night ... 137 hits. Ted Kennedy AND anti-war ... 23 hits ... Edward Kennedy AND anti-war equals 61 ... 84 hits for a US Senator vs. 137 for a funny girl who was on SNL for a season.

    And that's why the debate over Iraq infuriates me. The media continues to marginalize the anti-war message by elevating a controversy over celebrity pundits that doesn't exist.

    Also, isn't there a double standard here? The public says they can't stand when celebs talk politics, but they KEEP WATCHING. Say The-Hamster.com Center for Policy Studies conducted a study of which story the average American would watch: a story on Matt Damon's anti-war views or Dennis Kucinich's anti-war views. Which story would people be more likely to watch? Americans love their celebrities (Entertainment Tonight is one of the highest rated syndicated shows on television) and now they love to hate some of them.

    All of this goes to the heart of conservative tactics in politics: don't attack the argument, attack the person making it. You see this with abortion: "baby killers." You see it with morality: "anti-family Democrats." You see it with the economy: "elitist, Manhattan liberals … they want to take your money." Remember, the conservative political war is not about issues, it's about the populist rhetoric of taking back America. This is a war against LIBERALS, not a war for ISSUES like progressives push. And now we're seeing the same ad hominem attacks regarding the war in Iraq now. When we're anti-war, we're "pro-Saddam," "anti-American," and "unpatriotic." Attack, attack, attack.
  • Illogical George Washington University Conservative Rhetoric. I'm hoping this is more indicative of how illogical conservatism is rather than how dumb my school is … There's a new magazine on campus, 'The GW Patriot.' As you can already tell, it's a conservative publication that bashes liberalism. They don't put it online, but here's the lead story's title … "GW In Black Magazine's Top 25 Without Racial Point System". It's by John M. Walker. Texas Ranger.

    Okey, the main argument of the article is "Though the admissions office at the University of Michigan gives applicants of an underrepresented minority twenty points while an applicant with a perfect SAT score only receives twelve, the University of Michigan ranked below GWU on Black Enterprise's ranking. The University of Michigan ranked 27th in the country (GW was 24th).

    Here's the problem. Look at what school is number one on the list: Morehouse College. Now, I hate to point out the obvious, but Morehouse College does use a 'racial point system' for applicants. And guess what? It's number one.

    Guess which school is number 2? Hampton University, a school that also has affirmative action and is historically Black.

    Oh, but what about number 3? Spelman College, an all-women college that uses a racial point system.

    Oh, Hamster, but what about number 4? Surely that one doesn't have a racial point system like GW! Oh, you mean Howard University?

    Further, Walker never considers that maybe the reason why the University of Michigan uses a racial point system is because it has bad race representation now and wants to improve.

    So it's a little ridiculous for Mr. John M. Walker of the GW Patriot to say that schools get into the top 25 without a racial point system, when the top schools on Black Enterprise's list are schools that use a racial point system.
  • Comedy Monday.


    "What a bunch of suckups are the Washington Press Corp. Carson Daily asked tougher questions when he was interviewing Little Bow - Wow." Bill Maher

    "The president boasted that we have to support now Britain and Spain because you know when you want to say that when you're not an imperialist, the people you want in your corner are Britain and Spain." Bill Maher

    "It has been reported that two of Osama Bin Laden's kids have been arrested. But Bush is not gloating; he says he knows how it feels to when two of your kids get arrested." Bill Maher

    "You know how we know Saddam has weapons of mass destruction? We kept the receipt." Ted Rall
  • Speaking of comedy, SNL had a great parody of the Bush news conference in which Helen Thomas was silenced with a blow dart shot ... nice to know SNL is finally making fun of the President select. I'll post a transcript of the sketch when it becomes available. And here's another article on Helen ...

    Metro Times Detriot
    Detroit's own White House press corps luminary, Helen Thomas, 82, has apparently landed on the presidential shit list after telling a California newspaper in January that George Bush the younger "is the worst president in all of American history." For the first time in memory, Thomas was relegated to the third row and wasn't called on for a question during last week's nationally televised presidential news conference.

    For more than 40 years, Thomas — universally recognized by her red hair and bulldog-tough questions — opened White House news conferences with the first question and ended the events with, "Thank you, Mr. President." The former United Press International correspondent was always allowed to at least ask a question. Not last week, as Bush called from a scripted, made-for-TV list of reporters. We can only guess that Junior is upset over — or scared of — Thomas' constant ribbing and ridicule. During recent speaking engagements and in her new capacity as a syndicated columnist for Hearst Newspapers, Thomas has described Bush as an imperialist who, by his proposed action in Iraq, would justify Pearl Harbor and forget the lessons of Vietnam. She says the media, Congress and the public are acting in disgusting obeisance.

    Thomas grew up in Detroit and graduated from Wayne State. She joined United Press International in 1943, broke barriers for women in media and has covered every president since John F. Kennedy. She quit UPI in 2000 when the conservative Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church bought the struggling wire service. Since then, Thomas the columnist has been on a rampage against Bush. During a January Q&A with presidential flack Ari Fleischer, she peppered him with questions, probing, "Why does [the President] want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?" and "Have they laid the glove on you or on the United States, the Iraqis, in 11 years?" When Fleischer said the president wants a regime change, Thomas countered, "That's a decision for them [the Iraqis] to make, isn't it?" Fleischer responded, "Helen, if you think that the people of Iraq are in a position to dictate who their dictator is, I don't think that has been what history has shown." And she said, "I think many countries don't have — people don't have the decision — including us."

    Give 'em hell, Helen.

  • Conservative Hypocrisy Watch. There's this increasing notion that the Left tries to censor free speech by methods of boycott. As I noted before, Bill O'Reilly said so, yet he called for a boycott himself. Now see what's happening to the Dixie Chicks ...
    The remark elicited a barrage of friendly fire from irate listeners who demanded a boycott of the Chicks music. Radio stations across the country responded: two Dallas stations took Home off their playlists while one station in Kansas City, Missouri, held a Dixie "chicken toss" party, where protesters trashed the group's CDs.
    Are these people anti-free speech and therefore anti-American? If you're a Bill O'Reilly conservative, they sure are.

    After all, let's see what he said ...
    O'Reilly: Look, here's the deal. I mean, it's after Christmas, and Bose is going to cut back its advertising. I do -- I do "The Radio Factor." I know what the game is. Look, what I'm saying to you is I don't -- I don't think your boycott has led to his losing sponsorship. Be that as it may, isn't -- isn't trying to silence somebody like Rush Limbaugh (DIXIE CHICKS) unAmerican in itself? Doesn't he (THEY) have the right to say what he (THEY) wants to say? …

    STINSON: No one's taking money away from him. That's freedom of speech. He's got plenty.

    O'REILLY: But you don't want him (THEM) to speak.

    STINSON: Six hundred stations...

    O'REILLY: You're against his (THEIR) freedom of speech.

    STINSON: I'm sorry?

    O'REILLY: You're against his (THEIR) freedom of speech.
    Update: Atrios notes that the Dixie Chicks sure are suffering ... they have 3 CDs in Amazon.com's Top 50. T.T.
  • Uh-oh, What's Brit Planning?? "The annual California Democratic Convention begins today. It is perhaps the last time presidential hopefuls can address the party faithful before the reality of war drowns out all voices but President Bush's." Brit Hume, Fox News Special Report, March 14, 2003
  • Do Americans Really Care About War? Maybe, but they don't care about magazines about them ... Notes the NY Daily News:
    Despite concerns about terror at home and war in Iraq, the numbers show that many readers just want to have fun, or at least escape the bad news. Us Weekly's biggest regular issue of 2002 gushed about Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe's "Secret Romance," a month before the actor was reported engaged to someone else.

    It sold 619,000 newsstand copies - a few more than "Who'll Win His Heart?: The Battle for 'The Bachelor,'" also in November.

    In sharp contrast, Time's Oct. 28 cover story, "Al Qaeda: Alive and Kicking," ranked among its bigger newsstand duds in a year full of 200,000-plus hits. It sold just 126,000.

    After Time's "Man of the Year" and 9/11 anniversary issues, the newsweekly's big hit was "What Makes You Fat?," at almost 268,000. Newsweek's year-end and 9/11 issues were toppers, followed by "The Tough Love of Dr. Phil," TV therapist Phil McGraw, a 209,000-copy seller.
    Of course, it could be because information about the war is in such high supply, there is no need to buy a magazine about the war ...
    -Eric. Link.


    Friday, March 14, update 3


  • The computer works now and hopefully it will continue to work. Also, I want to give a big thank you to those who donated during the-hamster.com pledge drive. Due to the past week of donations, I met the fund raising goal for the year. So thank you for donating, and remember! If you like teh site, you can still donate to the site!


  • Buzzflash.com has a couple of interesting items up on its page. First, "Vandenberg Air Force Base authorizes 'deadly force' against trespassing protesters" because, you know, all those dangerous college kids and elderly nuns. And an interview with the webmaster of whitehouse.org. Including this comment:
    My question exactly. One would think that White House employees in general -- but especially those in the Cracker Jack legal department -- would be able to correctly differentiate between real and spoof Presidential seals. Then again, you'd think they'd have learned about the Bill of Rights, too.

  • Maybe it was the cold medicine, but for some reason I was watching MSNBC last night (if a tree falls in the forest, and MSNBC reports it, does anyone still know?). That in and of itself is pretty bad. But to make it worse they had this show, "MSNBC Reports" with Joe Scarborough. As I stood there watching this show, I was shocked at the Right-wing bias ... then I looked up who the anchor was, and, well, I wasn't surprised. First, this is supposed to be a neutral show, that's why it's called, MSNBC REPORTS. But now MSNBC has a ex-Republican Congressman ideologue anchoring it's 10/9c show. Imagine that for a second. Suppose CNN had Barney Frank or Henry Waxman took over Aaron Brown's show. Imagine the outrage and the ridiculous rhetoric that would come out of the people like the Media Research Center. Yet MSNBC doesn't care. Why? They're trying to out-Fox FNC.
    "The prime minister of Serbia was assasinated this weekend. Ari Fleischer called it a tragedy because we were this close to buying his vote." Bill Maher

    Dennis Miller made a perplexing argument on Bill Maher's show. He said Jimmy Carter was a 'prick,' and that Carter should shut his mouth because his presidency sucked. While few can make the argument that Carter's presidency was a success, I think that's irrelevant to the case at hand. Carter has more than enough experience in foreign diplomacy, and has done a lot of good for international relations. Yeah, he made a few mistakes during his term, but everything he did was with the purpose of peace. The hostages? No one died. And the fallen chopper can hardly be blamed on the president.

    Dennis Miller is a funny guy, and I've always been a big fan. But saying Jimmy Carter should shut up because his presidency sucked is like me saying Dennis Miller shouldn't tell anymore jokes because Bordello of Blood was like watching a mosquito suck blood for two hours.
  • The producers of "Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election" sent me a tape of their documentary and it was wonderful. Check it out and if you want an excellent account of how Bush stole the election, BUY THIS TAPE.

  • Quick update on the computer situation: I'm still in a computer lab, on a computer that has a sticky "p" key and smells of freshmen dorm activity. Anyway, the computer is still broken and in the best case scenario, I'll have it fixed by the weekend. Worst case scenario I throw it out the window and become a monk. Here's hoping ...

    To cap off my bad week, my request for an interview with the NARAL PAC for a paper I'm doing on PACs was denied. Doh. Research hours wasted ... I guess you could say they aborted my interview request. Bwahahaha ... though I guess my interview wasn't really a living being yet, at least not according to the Supreme Court. Hyuk!
  • Heritage, Bling Bling. Anyway, on Tuesday I was looking around for possible fall internships so I went to the GWU internship fair. After all, if you're looking for an internship, what better place to go to than an internship fair?

    Well, the first moment I walk in the door there's this brunette lady yelling at the top of her lungs, "HERITAGE FOUNDATION HERE! HERITAGE FOUNDATION HERE!" Curious, I look at their table. What a sack of goodies they had. CDs, color brochures, stickers, glossy fliers, the works. I think the Heritage Foundation spends more on recruiting interns than the US Army.

    Then I walk over to the DNC table, which is right next to the Heritage Foundation's table. Couple of women there, sitting down, looking very sleepy. Then I look at what's on the table: three sets of xeroxed 8.5x11 color papers. Leave it to the DNC to be outdone by a think tank.

    Realistically, though, looking at the Heritage Foundation you have to wonder if that's an effective way to spend their money. Sure, attracting interns is a plus for an organization, but CD-ROMs? Professional brochures? And it's not like this is out of the ordinary for the Heritage Foundation. They routinely put their staffers and lobbyists up in expensive hotels, restraunts, the works. And not to mention they actually pay their interns! Not even the DNC can claim that.

    And that's the problem with a lot of these GOP-related think tanks: it becomes more about the money and the perks and less about the cause. Citizen groups like PIRG, or Common Cause aren't in it for the money; some staffers make less than McDonalds managers (starting PIRG pay is 19,700). Liberal staffers are in it for the liberal / progressive cause. And Heritage Foundation? Sure, they get paid well and are generally effective in pushing their message. But for conservative groups it's more about making money, while on the side pushing a cause. That's why citizen / liberal public interest groups last longer: staffers aren't just following the money trail, they're following the ideological trail of the organization. Food for thought.
  • Blacklist? It's already happening to Martin Sheen, will it happen to others? Alternet:
    What do Meryl Streep, Sean Penn, Vanessa Redgrave, George Clooney, Dustin Hoffman, Spike Lee , Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Ed Norton and Dennis Hopper have in common? According to NY based Annette Witheridge, writing for the Scotsman , they are on a black list of people who will not be asked to speak at the Academy Award presentation on March 23rd. The fear, according to Witheridge, is that the actors will turn the ceremony into an "anti war rally." One huge possibility is that Michael Moore will win for Best Documentary, and lambast Bush as he did recently at the Writers Guild Awards in LA. Witheridge doesn't explain her sources for the story and one wonders about Meryl Streep as a peace activist, but its likely Streep will win an Oscar, so we shall see.

    And yes, I do quite miss blogging ... I can't do much on the computers here in the labs, for various reasons ... so short update today, I'lll try to update if I can if the computer gets fixed, but that's not likely ... send marriage proposals, term papers, attacks on communism, reviews of Michael Savage's show to the address below,
    -Eric. Link.


    Friday, March 7, update 4


  • More examples of the liberal media ... This conversation was started over at Atrios by a reader, Dan Raatz, and I thought I'd pick it up ...
    KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Celebrities have been lining up to play at foreign policy. Actors who play presidents on TV leading the anti-war charge. Another actor actually went to Iraq to talk to officials. Celebrities are showing up at rallies, making critical commercials and generally posing questions which seem, at best, naive.

    SUSAN SARANDON: I need to know what did Iraq do to us?

    PILGRIM: But some Americans are starting to say enough already. A recent CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll found more than 80 percent of Americans don't care what celebrities think, adding no entertainment personality could influence their opinion on political issues. Some people are so fed up with liberal celebrity grandstanding, they're fighting back. David Bossie and former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson, now star of "Law and Order," put together a rebuttal at dinner one night.

    DAVID BOSSIE, PRESIDENT, CITIZENS UNITED: We were talking about our frustration about the liberals in Hollywood and really how they had, in a well orchestrated and well financed effort, really muddled the president's message about the policy on Iraq and the war on terror.

    PILGRIM: The commercial released last week.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we afford to appease Saddam, kick the can down the road? Thank goodness we have a president with the courage to protect our country.

    PILGRIM: One woman in North Carolina got so sick of hearing celebrities at anti-war rallies, she started a Web site. It's called Citizens Against Celebrity Pundits, an online petition. She says people are fed up.

    LORI BARDSLEY, CITIZENS AGAINST CELEBRITY PUNDITS: They're just disgusted with the anti-American sentiment coming out of these rallies. I mean the celebrities are encouraging anti-American activism at these rallies. (END VIDEO) PILGRIM: The Screen Actors Guild has come out with a statement saying they support full and open debate and no one in the public eye should suffer for their views. But today's poll might suggest people don't really care what those views are -- Lou. DOBBS: What prompted this SAG request for people not to think negatively or act negatively toward those celebrities? PILGRIM: There was a worry that people would boycott products or whatever. But the Gallup poll today said that people aren't even paying attention. DOBBS: All right, kitty, thank you very much.
    Amazing. There was only one point of view in the article. Pilgrim did mention the SAG statement, but does that matter? No, she simply dismissed it.

    Another point that should be made, the CNN / Gallup poll, "80 percent of Americans don't care what celebrities think, adding no entertainment personality could influence their opinion on political issues." This is a transparently bad poll. Psychologists have found that people underestimate the amount of influence another person can have on them because people inherently want to think of themselves as 'independent' and unsusceptible to the influence or opinions of others. Would such a fact matter to Kitty Pilgrim? Judging by her blatantly biased report, absolutely not.
  • The pledge week here at The-Hamster.com continues ...

  • EmotionEric. How I felt watching Bush's press conference:



    (no, that is not me) Thank God Bush only has these 2-3 times a year.
  • Bush Snubs Helen Thomas. Via Atrios and the WashTimes:
    A long-running Washington tradition apparently ended last night when, for the first time in memory, the doyenne of the White House press corps was not called on in a presidential press conference.

    Syndicated columnist Helen Thomas, who has covered every president since John F. Kennedy, was relegated to the third row in last night's East Room event and — if the memory of press corps veterans is accurate — received her first presidential snub.

    One reporter who has covered the past six presidents said: "I don't remember a press conference in which [Mrs. Thomas] didn't get a question."

    What a vindictive bastard. I wonder if Bush called her a 'major league asshole' too. And while you're visiting Atrios, be sure to get him his Toshiba 50HP82 50" Plasma HDTV-Ready Flat Panel TV from his gift registry!
  • Get Email Updates - Become an Activist. Save Roe. A project from Planned Parenthood ...
  • Like Dancing and Music? Well Screw You. At least, so says Congress. Reports Drug Policy Alliance:
    Congress is considering two pieces of legislation that could effectively ban live music and dancing, while throwing innocent people like you in jail. If enacted, either bill could prevent you from hearing your favorite band or DJ live. Every musical style would be affected, including rock and roll, Hip Hop, country, and electronic music. Both bills would allow overzealous prosecutors to send innocent people to jail for the crimes of others. The two bills are the RAVE Act (H.R. 718) and the CLEAN-UP Act (H.R. 834). Both could be passed this year without your help.

    The RAVE Act would make it easier for the federal government to punish property owners for any drug offense that their customers commit – even if they work hard to stop such offenses. If enacted, nightclub and stadium owners would likely stop holding events – such as rock or Hip Hop concerts – in which even one person might use drugs. Similarly, the CLEAN-UP Act contains provisions that would make it a federal crime - punishable by up to nine years in prison - to promote "any rave, dance, music or other entertainment event" that might attract some attendees that would use or sell drugs. In both cases, it doesn't matter if the concert promoter and property owner try to prevent people from using drugs. Nor does it matter if the vast majority of people attending the event are law-abiding citizens that want to listen to music not do drugs.
    Of course, under this logic, if robberies happen at convenience stores, we should shut down 7-11s. Or if murders happen in the projects, we should shut down those communities ... or if ...
  • It's the Economy, Stupid. NY Times:
    The nation's payrolls outside the farming sector fell by 308,000 in February, erasing gains recorded in January, which the Labor Department said today were bigger than originally estimated. The nation's unemployment rate ticked up to 5.8 percent, from 5.7 percent in January.

    This was the biggest decline in payroll employment since November 2001, when employers cut 327,000 jobs.

    The sharp drop came as a surprise. In advance of today's report, the consensus estimate among economists projected that payroll employment rose by 22,000 jobs last month.

  • Fiction Becomes Fact? "Seven," by Andrew Kevin Walker. With Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt
    INT. PIZZA PARLOR -- DAY

    Mills and Somerset sit with a pizza before them.

    SOMERSET
    By telling you this, I'm trusting you more than I trust most people.

    MILLS
    It's be best if you got to the point, cause I'm about ready to punch you in the face.

    Somerset leans closer to Mills, speaks quietly.

    SOMERSET
    It's probably nothing, but even if it is, it's no skin off our teeth. The man at Hot Dog World is a friend, in the Bureau.

    MILLS
    Him?

    SOMERSET
    For a long time, the F.B.I.'s been hooked into the library system, keeping accurate records.

    MILLS
    What? Assessing fines?

    SOMERSET
    They monitor reading habits. Not every book, but certain ones are flagged. Books about... let's say, how to build a nuclear bomb, or maybe Mein Kampf. Whoever takes out a flagged book has their library records fed to the F.B.I. from then on.

    MILLS
    You got to be kidding.

    SOMERSET
    Flagged books cover every topic the Bureau deems questionable... communism to violent crime.

    MILLS
    How is this legal?

    SOMERSET
    Legal... illegal. These terms don't apply. I don't applaud it.
    How is that legal indeed. Little do they know ... oh, little do they know ...
  • The idea that the Democrats' filibuster on Miguel Estrada is going to hurt Democratic relations with Hispanics is ludicrous. Here's the ten talking points, you've entered a no-spin zone.

    1) Less than 20% of the country can name 3 or more of the Supreme Court Justices. There is no interest in judicial politics.

    2) A far less percent can name anyone in their local circuit.

    3) The majority of Americans do not know how the judicial branch of the federal government works, or how the appeals court system works. Most Americans are not familiar with the term, 'filibuster,' or the process of nominating judges. Further, most Americans do not know the significance of the DC appeals court or who previously served in the DC appeals court, much less what position Estrada is being nominated for.

    4) Most Americans have not heard of Miguel Estrada. It's even more likely many Hispanics, if not a majority, have not heard of him, and of the people who know of Miguel Estrada, a significant portion probably don't know what party he belongs to.

    5) The only time Americans will care about a judicial appointment is if there's something salacious, e.g. Clarence Thomas. Miguel Estrada is a boring, choir boy. Americans do not care.

    6) Fact: Gore received about 62 percent of the votes of Latinos who cast ballots, while Bush got 35 percent. The Latino population cares more about domestic issues that are relevant to their lives: economy (no for Bush), affirmative action (no for Bush), education (no for Bush), international relations, especially with Mexico (no for Bush), among others (i'll give that a no for bush too). What is the Miguel Estrada nomination about? Some guy getting a $200,000 a year job or not. Tell that to a hardworking mother, or a father working two jobs, whether he cares about that, and take a guess what he'll say.

    7) The only people who are raising a fuss about the Miguel Estrada debate are people who have already formed an opinion and are among the political elites. Nothing in the debate will change, it will only be the solidifying of political positions. Hence, mobilization for Estrada will not happen.

    8) Judges are never a source of political leadership for a racial group. Very few people look up to judges. I cannot name a Japanese or Asian judge. I can, however, name all of the Asian Congressmen, and I am familiar with the life stories of Daniel Akaka, Dan Inouye and Gary Locke. Hence, there will be no mobilization to get Estrada into office because he doesn't inspire Hispanics. Hispanics look up to people like Loretta Sanchez and Silvestre Reyes, and these people are Democrats. In fact, look at the Hispanic Caucus. Notice something?

    9) The GOP has no legitimacy to play racial politics with the Democrats. The Democrats have a proud legacy of protecting civil rights and standing with minorities on the issues that matter to them. The Republicans hide behind 'state rights' and 'anti-politically correct' attitudes. This does nothing for minorities.

    10) The filibuster will not get on the media agenda with so many other issues on the table, e.g. war.
  • The Wit and Wisdom of Rush Limbaugh. This week's Limbaugh item isn't a quote, but a rather disturbing picture from his website ...



    Uuh ... does Rush have something he wants to tell us? Is he a closet Devo fan? UPDATE: It now appears the picture has been replaced ... the previous was of Tom Daschle bound up, ala bondage ... but this picture is pretty disturbing too ...
  • I can't believe the stupidity of Fred Barnes. There are some good arguments to be made in favor of war. I don't agree with them, but they're based on some logic and rational thought. But Fred Barnes has no common sense. His weekly standard is complete non-sense. Here's his rebuttal to common arguments against war:
    (3) War with Iraq will bring more terrorism. This is a hardy perennial. It was claimed before the Gulf war and the Afghanistan campaign--and when bombs fell on al Qaeda and the Taliban during Ramadan. Rather than more terrorism, removing Saddam will bring more respect for the United States. Terrorists will be increasingly fearful.
    This makes no sense ... How many terrorists attacks happened after the Gulf War? US Cole ... embassy ... WTC ... WTC ... hmmm ... The sad thing here for Barnes is that he actually gives this argument to the pro-war side. If the argument, "War with Iraq will bring more terrorism" wasn't valid and was said before the Gulf War, as Barnes said, then there wouldn't have been any terrorists attacks against the US and we wouldn't have seen a rise in terrorist activities, e.g. Al-Qaeda. But guess what, we did. After we battled Iraq, Al Qaeda recruits went up, just like after Afghanistan, and we hardly got 'more respect.' Has Barnes heard of 9-11? To show you how ridiculous Barnes is, here's another one of his arguments:
    (6) Attacking Iraq would be unprovoked aggression. No, it wouldn't. Andrew Sullivan has pointed out a significant fact: There was no peace treaty, only the truce, so the state of war resumes when the conditions are violated. By attacking now, the United States would be ending the war, not starting it.
    If Andrew Sullivan says it ... I'm not going to even bother with that one.
  • Go Helen, It's Your Birthday. Ben Conover on Helen Thomas.
    In true "kill the messenger" style, the rabid right-wingers, who can't see either the nakedness of Emperor Bush or the destruction he has caused in two years, with more evil yet to come, are calling for the head of Helen Thomas, the dean of the White House press corps.

    Her crime? She said of George W. Bush, "He is the worst president in all of American history." The only error in her statement is referring to him as president, since he didn't win the office but was appointed to it. Perhaps we need a new category: anti-president. Considering that the Roman Catholic Church has an anti-pope category for its questionable popes, an anti-president label is appropriate for the current, and we hope last, illicit occupant of the White House.

    She also has dared to challenge his policies—faith-based, screwing veterans out of benefits, oil and his lust for war with Iraq, among others, while her corporate-controlled colleagues lack the spine to say anything negative about the wannabe cowboy from Texas or anything he does, while playing cheering section for his endless wars and beating the drum for the bombs to start falling on Iraq.

    That has set the Bushies and the Republican machine into a frenetic tizzy. Helen, the first lady of the press, must be smeared; must be destroyed before she says or writes more truth about the White House occupant and his insane policies.

    The Republican National Committee's Weekly Team Leader, a newsletter to direct and rally the GOP troops, is calling on its members to bombard Thomas with email—which can be composed and sent from its website—mail, faxes and phone calls "to call her out."

    Helen Thomas, who has covered every president since Kennedy, has the Bush White House and its ugly band of supporters trembling. Bravo, Helen!

    Helen Thomas is a journalist's journalist, a rare breed in this age of corporate-controlled media.

    Helen, use your power of the press to be to our era what Walter Cronkite was to the Vietnam War era and Edward R. Murrow was to the McCarthy era. When Cronkite turned against the Vietnam War that sent a message to Lyndon Johnson that he had lost the support of the people and he chose not to run for a second term. When Murrow spoke out against Joe McCarthy that ended the era of the communist witch-hunts. Folks, show your support for Helen by emailing her at helent@hearstdc.com. And to anti-President Bush and his minions, we say, "Don't mess with Helen!"

  • I knew that Harry Potter was evil ... PFAW reports:
    People For the American Way Foundation joined today with the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and other groups to file a brief in federal court in support of parents challenging a school board's decision to remove all Harry Potter books from the school library shelves. The decision by the Cedarville, Arkansas, school board, which requires written parental permission before students can check out the books, disregarded a 15-0 decision by the board's Library Committee. The episode was triggered by a parent's complaint that the books promote witchcraft and sorcery as well as the ideas that "magic will solve your problems" and that "parents/teachers/rules are stupid or something to be ignored."

    "There are a lot of things in this world that are dangerous for children, but reading good books isn't one of them," said People For the American Way Foundation President Ralph G. Neas. "Libraries are meant to be places where children can feed their imaginations and learn new ideas. It is a bad idea for school boards to become censorship boards. It is both unwise and unconstitutional to allow the religious or philosophical views of one parent to dictate the reading choices of all the children in the school."

    -Eric. Link.


    Thursday, March 6, update 3


  • BUSH WOULD LOSE IN HYPOTHETICAL REELECTION TO UNNAMED DEMOCRAT. Reports AP:
    President Bush (news - web sites) would lose narrowly to a Democratic Party candidate if the U.S. presidential election were held now because of concerns about possible war and the economy, according to an opinion poll published on Thursday.

    The Feb. 26-March 3 nationwide survey of U.S. voters by Hamden, Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University found that by a 48 percent to 44 percent margin, voters would pick the as yet unknown candidate out of nine Democrats running over the Republican incumbent. The survey of 1,232 voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent.

    "This month, we find that an unnamed Democrat would edge out President Bush," said Quinnipiac University Polling Institute director Maurice Carroll. "The political winds are hard to read this early, but we do know that war and a bad economy are not good for anyone, especially sitting presidents."

    Bush is expected to run for reelection in Nov. 2004. Nine Democrats have announced their intention to seek their party's nomination.

  • Now until next week is pledge week here at The-Hamster.com. Well, it's not really 'pledge week,' it's more like 'donate week,' but I'm a PBS-whore so I'll call it pledge week.

    So why donate to the-hamster.com? Here are some reasons:
  • 100% of your donation goes back to this site. I don't make a profit from this site. Thus, donations are used to pay back the webhosting fees for this site.
  • Purposive Incentives. Why spend money on Dasani water bottles or an SUV when you can donate to a site you agree with ideologically? That's right, if you're a progressive / liberal, you'll want to donate to this site because you'll be supporting a cause you believe in. And if you're not a liberal or progressive, you probably find this site hilarious, so more incentive to donate. Don't be a free-rider, donate today!
  • Usefulness. Nearly everyday, the-hamster.com contributes to the web's liberal 'echo' chamber and brings 'the best of the progressive web. The webpage is a collection of information from all types of sources brought to you, the reader. As you read, you become more informed.
  • So support this site today and help pay the costs for this site. Several very kind people have already contributed enough for about 30% of my fundraising goal. Contribute as little as $1 to as much as you like ... there are two donation options: 1) PayPal and 2) Amazon.com . Both have secure payment methods. Amazon.com is anonymous, meaning I will not know that you contributed to me, whereas PayPal will give me your name. PayPal is the preferred method of payment since it takes about 3% commission, whereas Amazon takes about 15%. PayPal:



    Amazon.com

    Thanks for your support, and thanks for reading! -Eric
  • Chris Mooney takes apart the WSJ's editorial on the Pledge of Allegiance, including this rebuttal:
    The Journal suggests that the Ninth Circuit's decision -- in this case, not to overturn a previous ruling that the Pledge was unconstitutional -- is particularly terrible because "U.S. troops are about to go to war to defend the principles the Pledge extols." This is a total non-sequiter. First, the "principles the Pledge extols" are precisely what are at issue here, and balanced constitutional thinkers at least admit that this question is murky. Second, considering that the words "under God" were added to the Pledge in the 1950s, we clearly didn't need them to win World War I or World War II, now did we?
    More at Chris Mooney's blog.
  • Pro-Liberation Hawks. TBlogg, "Soon to become Pro-I Didn't Think They Would Retaliate Against My Family."
    When, exactly, did the pro-war people morph into "pro-liberation" people? Did this happen during the ever-changing rationale for going after Saddam? Looks like they have gone from Pro-1441 to Pro-He Tried To Kill My Dad to Pro-He Has WMD's to Pro-He Double Dates With Osama to Pro-Democracy In Iraq Before America to Pro-Aluminum Tubes! Aluminum Tubes! Aiiiieeeee! to Pro-Well, The Soldiers Are Already There to Pro- Bush's Vestigial Manhood Is At Stake to Pro-Reclaim Our Precious Bodily Oils That Are Under Their Sand to Pro-Liberation in mere months.

    Anyway, for those keeping score at home, pro-war = pro-liberation...anti-war = Marxists.
    And please take TBlogg's suggestion about this site to heart: "Let him marry your daughter. Stuff like that." This is especially directed to you, Mr. Portman.
  • Oh, North Korea? JMM on North Korea, maybe you've heard of it ... Don't ask Bush, he'll think it's the Rangers' new relief pitcher.
    At about 10:20 PM on the east coast this evening, CNN ran a sobering segment on the North Korea crisis which finally detailed what TPM has been telling you for weeks if not months.

    You can't really say the administration has a bad policy on North Korea because in fact it has no policy. Why is there no policy? Because the president has not been able to break the deadlock between the (pro-engagement) State Department and the (pro-confrontation) Pentagon and Office of the Vice-President. And that has led to paralysis. Paralysis or purely reactive gestures. They can't even find their way to a well-thought-out bad policy because they're too tied up in organizational incompetence and procedural ridiculousness.

    It's been this way since January 2001 and it still hasn't gotten resolved. This is why we're drifting into disaster.

    You know it's really gotta be bad when even the Democrats are willing to stand up mouth some criticisms ... Sheesh.

  • Porn ... Supreme Court ... Libraries ... Google Searches will love this. Now for the ultimate hit getter: Britney Spears. Slate on "The Supreme Court finds a library porn filter it can love."
    You really have to hand it to U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson. The man can say absolutely anything and still keep a straight face. Here he is in the Supreme Court today, arguing for a law that conditions federal funding to public libraries on their willingness to install wildly ineffective "smut filters," and he actually manages to argue—three times by my count—that these filters will enhance free speech.

    ... So, enter Ted Olson, arguing in defense of CIPA, and his case rests on proving that there is no difference between what libraries do when picking and choosing which books to shelve and picking between Web sites to block. This case, he says, involves "libraries simply declining to put on their shelves what has traditionally been kept off the shelves." Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose love of free speech borders on the obscene, asks whether library patrons—who are allowed to request that the filtering software be unblocked—can simply stroll up to the librarian and say "unblock it all," without explaining what he's researching. Olson says patrons can, and the justices seem to all take him on faith that this is so. Indeed they begin to cite it as certainty, which leads Justice John Paul Stevens to wondering "why the libraries are wasting a lot of money litigating, when they can just hire someone to come in every day and say 'switch off the blocking mechanism.' " He gets a big laugh, but it's a good point: If turning off the filters is as ho-hum as Olson contends, the libraries and the ACLU don't have much of a case.
    more at Slate
  • Plastic Not Perfect. Okey, so yesterday I noted that my Dasani water bottles have expiration dates on them. Sort of an aside, yes, but it bothered me so I wrote about it. Thankfully, reader Paul Riddell writes me that it's not an expiration date for the water but for the plastic bottle ...
    Eric, I know you've probably received a good dozen responses to your question as to why bottled water has an expiration date, but if you haven't, I have an answer for you. The problem isn't that water goes bad, but that plastic does. Specifically, your water expiration dates are there for the same reason why bread in the supermarket has them: the date isn't there to mark when the item goes bad, per se. Instead, as an inevitable process, solvents from the plastic container (bag/bottle/basket, etcetera) leach into the item being packaged. That expiration date on that loaf of bread is there to warn shopkeepers when the amount of solvent from the plastic and the inks on top reaches a detectable level in the bread. The same situation, only much slower, is true of sodas and bottled water.

    As for where I learned this, it's due to my father being a packaging engineer (if you've ever opened one of those aluminized Fritos or Doritos packages, you've seen one of the offshoots of the work my father and the rest of his R&D team developed for Grandma's Cookies in the early Eighties) and due to my working in a print shop that specialized in plastic wrap for food. (You really don't want to know how strong the alcohol solvents in the inks in bread and ice bags can get, and I pay very, VERY close attention to when bread or tortillas left on the counter pass their expiration dates.) Just promise me one thing: if you pick up a bottle of Daisani and it's passed its expiration date, use that bottle in your car radiator instead, okay?
    And now, if you're ever on Jeopardy and there's bottled water is one of the topics, you can thank Paul and me.
  • This past year, I've been looking for reasons not to despise Christina Arguilera, especially after her 'Dirrty' video came out ... Thankfully, GLAAD has given one reason:
    The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today announced that it will present a special award to Christina Aguilera at the 14th Annual GLAAD Media Awards ceremony to be held in Los Angeles on April 26 at the Kodak Theatre.

    GLAAD is recognizing Christina Aguilera for including gay and transgender images in the music video for "Beautiful," the hit single from her new album Stripped. The popular video debuted on MTV's Total Request Live"on December 9, 2002, and stayed in the countdown until it was "retired" at the end of February 2003.

    Directed by Jonas Akerlund, the video intercuts scenes of Aguilera alone in a room singing "Beautiful," with scenes of a diverse group of people discovering their own inner beauty. The video includes two gay men (played by Jordan Shannon and Justin Croft) romantically kissing on a public bench oblivious to the stares of people walking by, and former Robert Mapplethorpe model Robert Sherman slowly transforming himself into a woman, finally smiling at his feminine image in the mirror.

  • And speaking of entertainment and politics ... Newsmax enlightens us about pro-war celebrities:
    Bruce Willis, Brian McKnight, Kid Rock, Rob Lowe and Jean-Claude Van Damme are saying things that are undoubtedly making the anti-war crowd steam. On the other hand, the celebrity rhetoric that's coming out of these guys is warming the hearts of the kick-Saddam's-butt bunch.

    According to the New York Daily News, Willis seriously thought about enlisting in the U.S. armed services.

    Singer Brian McKnight told MSNBC, "If we do go to war ... I'm going to support whatever President Bush decides to do."

    Kid Rock colorfully expressed his views by saying, "We got to kill that mother-[bleeper] Saddam. Slit his throat."

    Rob Lowe, Sheen's former co-star on "The West Wing," told Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" on Monday that Americans should support our armed forces, and that the best way to do that is to support our commander in chief.

    And action movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme told Globe magazine, "Some of those in Hollywood are part of the axis of ignorance!"

    The Left Coast Report says it's nice to know that there are celebrities with the mental muscle to go against the grain.
    I hate to point out the obvious, but I'm not exactly sure if those comments show any 'mental muscle.' Okey, the Rob Lowe one surprises me. Given his 'activities' with liberal politics and blondes, he'd seem like a great poster boy for the 'make love, not war' theme ... but Kid Rock's comment? And Jean-Claude? Come now, tell me you didn't laugh at that quote ... "Some of those in Hollywood are part of the axis of ignorance!" This is actually better than the dialogue in most of his movies ... and shouldn't Jean-Claude be a pacifist if he makes a movie like this?



    Though I'm guessing in that movie he's a monk that kicks people. -Eric. Link.


    Wed, March 5, update 4


  • Slippery Slope. The road to an abortion ban begins ... Republicans push partial-birth abortion bill :
    Vicky Saporta was only two weeks into her job as president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation in 1995 when she first heard the phrase: partial birth abortion.

    It's a phrase that sent her emotions reeling into overdrive then, and one that eight years later continues to rile her as she prepares to fight what looks like a losing battle to stop Congress from passing the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.

    She pointed to what she sees as the dangers of the bill: It bans multiple abortion procedures and makes pregnant women with health risks vulnerable to hysterectomies instead of the partial birth abortion method and provides no exception for the life of the mother.

    She also characterized the name of the bill as "rhetoric" and dismissed the anti-abortion notion that "women are having [late-term] abortions because they can't fit into their prom dresses."
    Parental notification, late-term abortions, restricting UN family planning ... What's the Republican's next step? Bush isn't nominating Miguel Estrada for nothing. 2004 is ever more important.
  • Kurtz in the WashPost writes:
    Steve Rendall, a spokesman for the liberal group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, says he offered to appear on Savage's radio show after the host called the group chicken, but was canceled after an initial booking. Savage "really is in many cases a gutter-level bigot," Rendall says. "MSNBC is going across a line here that Fox would hesitate to cross." But Savage says some of the inflammatory quotes
    Is MSNBC crossing a line not even Fox would cross? Oh, I don't know about that. Remember, Fox hired Matt Drudge to do his own weekend show and Matt Drudge has absolutely no journalism skills. He made his career by looking through garbage cans, literally.
  • TomPaine.com issued a public challenge to Ann Coulter and Bernard Goldberg in an ad in the NY Times ... TomPaine.com: "What Liberal Media? A Challenge: Let's Debate Bias and Slander."
    Alterman says the charges leveled by Goldberg and Coulter are "so extreme that, well, it's amazing neither one thought to accuse 'liberals' of using the blood of conservatives' children for extra flavor in their soy-milk decaf lattes."

    Even the conservative Boston Herald admits Alterman's "extensive documentation and persuasive logic" demonstrate that "unabashed conservatives dominate the media."

    So TomPaine.com has a challenge: We're inviting the three authors to debate at the National Press Club, with a neutral moderator and a live audience. We'll invite C-SPAN.

    Alterman has accepted. Will Coulter and Goldberg? Or will they hide behind their publicists and speaking fees?

  • One of my favorite columnists, Bill Berkowitz, comes out with his latest: "Savaging Donahue, signing up Savage: MSNBC dumps Donahue and hires string of right-wing ideologues"
    The real reason for Donahue's firing remains a mystery. According to Rick Ellis, writing for Allyourtv.com, Donahue's "fate was sealed a number of weeks ago after NBC News executives received the results of a study commissioned to provide guidance on the future of the news channel." The report, which was given to Ellis by an NBC News "insider," described Donahue "as 'a tired, left-wing liberal out of touch with the current marketplace.'" NBC appeared to be concerned that Donahue offered a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war... He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives." The report went on to outline "a possible nightmare scenario" where the show becomes "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."

    It's amazing to think that in a period when Americans are nearly evenly divided over whether to go to war with Iraq, as well as most other issues, Phil Donahue, the only openly liberal voice in the nighttime pantheon of talk television, would be summarily dismissed.

    cover
    Now in paperback! Buy it today and support this site!
  • The BS of Ben Shaprio. It's interesting to note that TownHall.com, which carries Ben Shapiro's column, abbreviates his column as "bs" as in http://www.townhall.com/columnists/benshapiro/bs20030227.shtml . Yeah, that's his initials, but still ... this is BS. Again, another conservative columnist telling Americans concerned about civil liberties to 'shut up.' Shapiro:
    John Ashcroft has been entrusted with the most difficult task in the history of the Justice Department. And he is the right man for the job. Unfortunately, he has also been saddled with critics from both left and right. Will those critics stand up for him if he adopts their laissez-faire approach to security and another terrorist attack occurs? If not, they should shut up now and let the man do his job.
    Yes, like many conservatives Shapiro fails to realize that one of the duties of the Department of Justice is to preserve the rights guaranteed by the constitution. This includes civil liberties. Yet Shapiro tells dissenters to 'shut up.' Indeed, shutting up dissent is a cure worse than the disease.
  • Sign a petition. Environmental Defense:
    Take a stand for a healthier Earth. We want one million people like you to demand that elected officials in America take action to stop global warming and support the Climate Stewardship Act. This historic legislation, recently introduced by Senate leaders John McCain (AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (CT), may be one of the most important chances we have to act to avert dangerous climate change. No environmental goal is more important for the 21st century. Sign the Petition by filling out the form to the right and clicking the "Send this Message" button.

  • FairTaxes For All? People for the American Way has started a new coalition:
    President Bush's "economic growth" plan is a tax cut for millionaires that most economists agree will not effectively stimulate our weak economy or create jobs now. The reduction in public revenue resulting from the overall Bush tax package would leave our government $2 trillion dollars poorer, at a time when many public needs must be met.

    Consider the demands on our budget:

    Medicaid funding is in crisis. Education budgets are being slashed in state after state. Domestic security is being compromised as firefighters and police are being laid off around the nation. According to the Bush administration, our nation may have to fund war and occupation in Iraq.

    Is now a good time to give the average millionaire an $89K annual tax cut?

    We urge you to sign our petition demanding that any economic plan provide targeted, fiscally responsible and equitable stimulus. Our nation must address our states' fiscal crises and put money in the pockets of those who have been hard hit by the economic downturn - Americans who will put that money right back into our economy.

    Acting together can make a difference. If you want government to enact sane fiscal policy, join with us and make your voice heard!

  • ACLU Sets Up New Project. ACLU has set up a new project, 'Safe and Free.' While you're there, take a couple minutes to join the ACLU, just like The-Hamster.com
  • Aside. Have you ever wondered why bottled water has an expiration date on it? At least, Dasani bottled water has one. Because, you know, water does spoil. -_-
  • Talking Left. Talk Left has a long history of Bob Graham's voting record on criminal law, as seen through the eyes of a liberal ...
    In 1999, Graham voted yes on a proposal introduced by Sen. Orin Hatch (R-UT) for a constitutional amendment prohibiting the physical desecration of the U.S. flag. That year he also voted yes on a proposal to declare that erecting religious symbols and praying on public school campuses as part of a memorial service does not violate the First Amendment to the Constitution. Again, the bill was introduced by Orin Hatch.

    In 1996 he voted to table or kill a motion by Sen. Daniel Moynihan to send S 735: The Terrorism Prevention Act, back to the joint House-Senate conference committee to have provisions limiting death penalty appeals deleted.

    In 1995, Graham voted yes on an amendment to make it easier for law enforcement to do anti-terrorism wiretaps. (S 735: Comprehensive Terrorism Prevention Act). The Amendment was introduced by Joe Lieberman (D-CT).
    Etc, etc. If you're against DLC type Democrats, though, you'll probably be happy that Graham has entered the race. As a more moderate, some say conservative, Democrat, Graham splits the Southern, pro-DLC vote with Edwards. By the way, I think if Edwards doesn't win the nomination (which will likely go to Dean or Kerry), he's a lock for the VP.
    -Eric. Link.


    Tuesday, March 4, update 2


  • Jiminy Cricket! Michael Savage really is nuts! Zap2It.com reports:
    So much for compassionate conservativism.

    When word reached conservative radio host and author Michael Savage that certain gay and women's groups were peppering MSNBC with letters asking the cable news network to reconsider their decision to bring "The Savage Nation" to television, he went ballistic.

    "You rats. You stinking rats who hide in the sewers. You think you can go after my income? You think you can kill my advertisers? You think I'm Dr. Laura? You think I'm gonna roll over like a pussy? You're wrong. I'm going to find out where you get your money from. You live by handouts, all of you. You live off grants, all of you. You're a bunch of beggars, but you don't know how lucky you are," Savage ranted on his Thursday (Feb. 27) radio broadcast.

    He goes on threaten the protesters, "If you continue this, we're going to go after your funding sources. And we will do everything we can within the legal realm to cut off that funding. We are also going to go to the U.S. Justice Department under John Ashcroft. What you are doing is illegal. You think it's 1965 and I'm South Africa? I've got news for you: it's not 1965 and it ain't South Africa. I'll cut your funding off, and if you break the law any further, I'll put you in jail."

    The New York Post reports that gay groups are meeting with NBC Chairman Robert Wright this week to further express their concerns, but Savage has fully taken the offensive attacking his adversaries as "economic terrorist" and vowing to use the full force of his listener-base to destroy them.

    "The addition of Michael Savage to the MSNBC lineup was made with the full awareness of his reputation for controversy and confrontation," says an NBC statement on the subject. "We respect the right of those who wish to protest. However, we also strongly defend his new show as a legitimate attempt to expand the marketplace of ideas."

    In recent weeks, MSNBC has expanded the marketplace of ideas by firing liberal host Phil Donahue and hiring Savage as well as right wing former-Congressmen Dick Armey and Joe Scarborough.

  • Kos notes this from a Bob Novak column:
    Once you get past the usual right-wing spin, Bob Novak's latest column confirms what everyone suspected after Elaine Chao's disastrous meeting last week with Big Labor: the GOP has lost any chance to pick up any labor endorsements.

    The Teamsters and Carpenters Unions had been flirting with Bush, giving the president hope he could split labor's ranks and deny Democrats one of their biggest election advantages. However, Chao (the secretary of labor) killed those efforts in one fell swoop, criticizing labor for corruption that the labor unions themselves exposed.
    Teamsters officials grumbled that Chao's indiscretion undermined years of conciliation with the GOP. Republicans who had been engaged in that effort mourned that chances to win Hoffa's endorsement of George W. Bush in 2004 had just vanished. Instead of sending the secretary to Florida to chide labor, one Teamster official told me, the White House should have dispatched aides to brief conservative union leaders on the Iraq war as a counterweight to the movement's Sweeney-led dominant left wing.
    Chao is apparently unperturbed, according to Novak. She believes that the Carpenters Union is the only one that has any chance of endorsing the president, and it endorsed every incumbent Senate Democrat in 2002. In other words, she thinks wooing labor is a waste of time.

  • Begala:
    In last year's State of the Union, address our president promised to increase Americore, President Clinton's national service core, by 50 percent. Today we learned that the Bush White House is instead forcing a cut of 50 percent in Americore, a stunning bit of hypocrisy even by Bush standards.

    Similarly, a few weeks ago, Mr. Bush went to the Mayport Naval Air Station in Florida and said -- quote - "our people in uniform and their families deserve our gratitude and deserve our support" -- unquote.

    He then went back to Washington and cut aids to the schools that teach the children of our servicemen and women by $173 million, a 14 percent reduction.

    Now, in defense of Mr. Bush, there is one promise he has never broken. It's the promise to cut taxes for the rich, in good times and bad, through war and peace, in surplus and deficit, Mr. Bush's commitment to his fellow millionaires never waivers and I solely thank him.

  • Bill Press:
    As tragic as it is, the story of Jesica Santillan is also a medical malpractice lawsuit waiting to happen. Clearly, Dr. Jaggers and the staff of Duke University Hospital made a colossal mistake, resulting in Jesica's death. In life-or-death operations, it's not enough to "assume" that somebody else has done the necessary checking.

    For President Bush, Jesica's demise could not have come at a worse time. His so-called medical malpractice reform died, along with her, at Duke University Hospital. Her death is a painful reminder that 44,000 to 98,000 deaths annually in the U.S. are caused by medical errors. Such numbers clearly demonstrate that malpractice lawsuits stem from physician errors, not trial lawyer greed. And they make a mockery of Bush's claim that $250,000 is a sufficient sum to compensate a family for the pain of losing a child due to medical mistakes.

    Ask yourself: If Jesica were your daughter, killed by hospital error, would you agree with President Bush that you'd have to settle for $250,000? If it were my daughter, she'd be worth a whole lot more.

  • As Atrios has noted, Bill O'Reilly says he's sorry:
    For those of you who say I'm never wrong, I never admit I'm wrong, well, you're wrong, because I was wrong when I said that Americans who continue demonstrating against the war once the shooting begins are being un-American. I'm taking that back.

    The word un-American implies some kind of lasting stigma and is a word of intimidation. Thus it is the wrong word to use in this scenario.

    People who lawfully dissent should never be labeled un-American. Instead, I will call those who publicly criticize our country in a time of military crisis, which this is, bad Americans and it is my constitutional right to make that judgment and you are free to agree or disagree. You can call me a bad American for making the judgment.
    Good for him. But this ... what kind of sorry spin is this?

    Second, my analysis of the chaotic border situation has resulted in my being labeled anti-Mexican, even though I also have focused on the Canadian border and blamed much of the problem on former President Bill Clinton and President Bush. No one disputes that the porous borders are dangerous in this age of terrorism, and it is undeniable that Mexican nationals are being killed and injured trying to cross over. Yet the fact that I have called for the military to back up the Border Patrol makes me an enemy of an entire ethnic group.
    O'Reilly, of course, doesn't mention the "wetback" slur. Wetbacks is indeed a racial slur. Even a federal court has said 'wetbacks' is a racial slur. Yet O'Reilly doesn't apologize for that. Instead, he adopts this victim mentality of 'everyone's trying to get me.' Pathetic.
  • This is funny, in a "Kangaroo Jack" sort of way ... "Bush Administration Official, Assigned to Improve US Image in Muslim World, Resigns" ...
    The State Department says Charlotte Beers, the person the Bush administration hired to improve the United State's image in the Muslim world, is resigning. Officials said her resignation as Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy will be effective in about two weeks, and that she is leaving for health reasons.

    Ms. Beers, a former advertising executive, was hired after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, to be in charge of efforts to counter anti-American sentiments in Muslim countries.

    She made no comment regarding her resignation, but was quoted last week as saying her task was a daunting one that could not be easily or quickly accomplished.
    What an awful job to have ... sort of like a heater salesman in Hawaii.
  • Limbaugh's 'Spin Job' on Dodd Not Running:
    Right at the top of Monday's program I ordered the broadcast engineer to stop the theme music so I could announce a breaking news flash: Ladies and gentlemen, a Democrat has announced he isn't running for president.

    Yes, it's true. This is huge news. A Democrat has said he will not seek the office of president of the United States. This Democrat, Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, seeks to stand out from all of his colleagues by doing something none of them are doing. He is not running for president.

    Dodd has decided against it, according to the Associated Press. Sources in Washington and Hartford tell the EIB Network on condition of anonymity that senator Dodd will not join the crowded field of Democratic candidates. Nine Democrats either have announced plans to run or created committees to begin fund-raising for a possible White House bid, but Dodd will not be one of them. This is huge news, folks. Imagine, a Democrat not seeking the White House. This is shocking.
    So, I guess Limbaugh's clever 'joke' here is that EVERYONE who's a Democrat is running for the White House (i know, ha ha). Of course, one could easily point out the non-running 250 or so federally elected Democrats, along with the other thousands at the state and local level, but that would just take a lot of space ... anyway, Limbaugh insinuates this is laughable. But one wonders what he would say to the Republicans usual slate of candidates 3 years ago? John McCain is a respectable man, he's a US Senator, sure. But Gary Bauer? Steve Forbes? Pat Buchanan? Alan Keyes? At least Democrats run people who have 'experience,' and not the kind that buys Harken oil stock and manages the Rangers. -Eric. Link.


    Monday, March 3, update 1


  • Funny that Newsweek is running this cover story when we're about to invade Iraq ... sort of like Bush has a divine right to invade Iraq, isn't it? And written by Howard Fineman, no less.


  • Bumper Fun. From an Email:
    I'd like to introduce you to a new site I put together for the 2004 Democratic Presidential Primary. The site is called the 2004 Democratic Bumper Sticker Primary, and it is at http://www.dems.us. The idea behind the site is pretty simple: I made up bumper stickers for each of the declared candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination, and for each one I sell I'll add a vote to that candidate's column. I also tossed in Tom Daschle and Bill and Hillary Clinton since folks still seem to want them in the mix (yes, I know about the 22nd amendment!).
    Dean's in the lead.
  • Comedy Monday.
    "President Bush has said that after the war with Iraq we will send them food and medicine to help rebuild the country – and if that works we'll try it here." Conan O'Brien

    "Over the weekend a hijacker got away with an armored truck with more than 2.1 million dollars in it. The hijacker reportedly spent all the 2.1 million dollars on gas for the truck." Conan O'Brien

    "George Bush says, 'Gore's book needs a lot of explaining.' Of course, Bush says that about every book." Bill Maher.

    The latest news from Iraq is that there is a rumor that Saddam Hussein may be hiding weapons in schools. When asked why he would be hiding weapons inside schools he said, "Because that's the last place President Bush would look." Conan O'Brien

  • A lot was made about G.W. Bush's lack of 'internationalism' in the 2000 elections. More specifically, GW doesn't know, care, or visit foreign countries or understand other cultures. Taking a stroll back in history ...
    Comenius embodied the developing spirit of relativism and rationalism. Examining the reasons for war, he found that intolerance of human differences was the leading cause of violence. At this point in history, most Europeans traveled little from their homelands and were unfriendly to foreign people and ideas, preferring instead the comfort of their own traditions. Even intellectuals often asserted the superiority of their own culture over that of others, most commonly in the realm of religion, which had been the central cause of the Thirty Years War. Comenius, however, differed in that he proposed that each culture accept, rather than oppose, the tenets of different cultures, creating a world of peace and tolerance. In effect, Comenius elucidated the spirit of relativism, writing, "we are all citizens of one world, we are all of one blood. To hate a man because he speaks a different language, or because he takes a different view on this subject or that, is a great folly." This view was revolutionarily liberal for his time. Comennius augmented his relativist tendencies with the exhortation of rationalism. He claimed that the relativist conclusions he had come to could be established by human reason, and that the reduction of conflict was dependent upon the spread of that reason. Like many later thinkers, Comenius believed that through the spread of reason and truth, in this case tolerance, humankind could strive toward perfection, in this case peace.
    Could GW's indifference toward other cultures be the cause of his bloodlust for war? Possibly.
  • The Runaway Jury. I thought this was interesting. The new John Grisham movie, 'Runaway Jury,' is about a civil suit against a major company. But instead of the company being a tobacco company, as originally written in the novel, it will be a gun manufacturer in the movie. We'll see how that works ... John Cusack will star. Opening later this year, I think.
  • Because, No One Really Wants Mercury Protection ... NRDC reports:
    Current Clean Air Act: Power plants are the largest uncontrolled source of mercury, a neurological toxin that threatens the health of developing fetuses, children and other vulnerable populations. Each power plant must install the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) for mercury emissions and other toxic air pollutants by the end of 2007, and then further limit any unacceptable health risks that remain. EPA told EEI in December 2001 that enforcing current law could cut power plant mercury pollution by nearly 90 percent, from 48 tons today to about 5 tons, by 2008.
    The administration plan would eliminate the current law's health protections for mercury and other toxic air pollutants. Mercury reductions would be delayed and diluted. The administration plan would allow power plants to emit more than five times as much mercury for a decade longer (2010-2018) and three times as much after 2018 than current law. EPA data show that more than 100 power plants may actually increase mercury emissions, and that parts of New England, the Great Lakes and Gulf Coast regions, and other areas would experience only very small reductions in mercury deposition, and could experience increases.
    The current Clean Air Act requires new power plants to install state-of-the-art pollution controls, and requires older "grandfathered" plants to install modern pollution controls when they are rebuilt or expanded in ways that increase pollution output. In areas with dirty air, new or expanded plants must offset their pollution increases.
    The administration plan would effectively repeal these current air quality safeguards. Exemptions would not be limited to power plants, but would be available to plants in any industry sector.

  • Nancy Pelosi:
    "Despite repeated Republican promises not to spend any of the Social Security surplus on tax cuts or anything else, President Bush raids this revered program and spends every penny of that surplus over the next five years.

    "Now the Republicans and the President have another proposal for America's seniors. They claim that the President's proposal to eliminate taxes on dividends will help the average senior. It won't.

    "Two out of every five elderly taxpayers would receive next to nothing from the Bush tax cut proposal - less than $2 per week. Nearly four out of every five seniors would receive less than the 'average' tax cut that President Bush claims seniors would receive.

    "In total, the two-thirds of all seniors who make less than $50,000 per year will receive only four percent of the dividend tax cut.

    "What's going on here?

    "You guessed it - it is that credibility gap again - the gap between the President's lofty political rhetoric and the harsh realities of his policies. And this time it is affecting America's seniors very directly.

    "President Bush can make room in his budget for the $388 billion necessary to eliminate the dividend tax, but he can't make room for a meaningful prescription drug benefit for seniors under Medicare.

    "President Bush can make room in his budget for a total of $1.85 trillion worth of new tax cuts over and above the $1.7 trillion in tax cuts that already passed, but he can't protect Social Security.
    -Eric. Link.