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March 31, 2005

Air America Documentary

Greg Beato at Wonkette has an interview with one of the producers/directors of the new HBO doc Left of the Dial. Click here for it. The doc premieres tonight at 8:00pm ET/PT.

Posted by Eric at 05:38 PM | Comments (1)

How Social Security Helps the Non-Elderly

It's easy to think of Social Security purely in retirement terms, but as Heather Boushey of the Center for Economic and Policy Research notes (pdf), "Social Security is also the country's most important anti-poverty program for the nation's children."

Due to the fact that it is a universal program, and that it provides survivors and disability insurance, in addition to retirement benefits, more low-income children live in families
that receive a Social Security check than in families that receive a check from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program ... While most of the children who benefit from Social Security either live with a disabled worker or receive survivors' benefits due to the fact that a working parent died at an early age, many children also benefit due to the fact that a grandparent receiving Social Security retirement benefits lives with the family. In many families, and especially lowincome families, retired workers live with their children and grandchildren. In these cases, a Social Security check for the grandparent may directly contribute to the wellbeing of the grandchildren, since it helps to support the household. In such cases, Social Security clearly is not pitting generations against each other.

Posted by Eric at 05:01 PM | Comments (2)

Quotable Quote

From Eric Alterman at Altercation (via Liberal Oasis): "If Kofi Annan's critics demanded the same level of accountability from George W. Bush they profess to want from the UN General Secretary, he would have been impeached in his first week of office. And if he were president, we be a healthier, safer, saner and far more honest nation."

... Heck, I'll also quote this about CNN:

I just returned from an hour at the gym, where CNN proved unavoidable. And what a disgusting sight it was; non-stop exploitation of Terri Schiavo’s horrific death, followed by commentary after commentary of only people who shared the view of that small minority of Americans who believe the federal government ought to be intervening in the most intimate decisions imaginable, overturning individual’s wishes and those of their spouses to suit their ideological proclivities. During the hour I was there, every word on CNN, save the commercials, focused on this individual’s physical death—she died long ago mentally and emotionally-- and not one second was devoted to the release of the Intel report regarding a war that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people, and the injuries and ruined lives of hundreds of thousands more. And they have the chutzpah to call this a “news” network, (though of course, I can’t imagine Fox or MSNBC were any better). I suppose “shame” is irrelevant word amongst those in the cable news network, but I am beginning to think that “Jeff Gannon” was in a far more honorable business before he pretended to be a “news” man.
On Fox, Lost Remote published this about their coverage of Schiavo's death: "10:30 - Fox News guest alludes to Hitler and Nazi Germany's starvation of millions of Jews, comparing it to Terri's death"

Posted by Eric at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)

Delay's Response

Rather cryptic, but interesting. My emphasis ...

"Mrs. Schiavo's death is a moral poverty and a legal tragedy. This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schindlers and with Terri Schiavo's friends in this time of deep sorrow. "

Posted by Eric at 01:31 PM | Comments (4)

Online Comm, Thursd

Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman. Crush Corporate Crime
Nikki Finke. Deadline Hollywood - Goldberg Flies Air America
Tali Woodward. Veterans pay: Why are former soldiers shelling out more for AIDS drugs than everybody else?
David Neiwert. 'Anchor babies' away
mediamatters. Morris joined effort to downplay President Bush's role in Schiavo case, claimed he "has stepped lightly on the issue"
D.D. Guttenplan. Continental Drift
Kelpie Wilson. Going Geo-Green
Todd Gitlin. Hello, Henhouse? Fox Calling
Regis T. Sabol. Mr. Magoo Flying America into Disaster
Chalmers Johnson. Wake Up! Washington's alarming foreign policy
Terence Samuel. Terri’s Last Rites: The politicians were dreadful, but it was the family that force-fed us the tragedy
Robert Kuttner. Exposing Pro-Life Zealotry: We're remembering that the religious right cares about more than abortion -- and that not many Americans agree with them
Matt Harwood. Labor Pains: The international representative of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions explains why his organization is being harrassed by U.S. forces, targeted by insurgents, and decried by some antiwar groups as a collaborator
Don Hazen. Tune In: Marking Air America's one-year anniversary, 'Left of the Dial' chronicles the fits and starts of the feisty talk radio channel, serving as a progressive success story, warts and all
Ruth Rosen. Old women in the cold
Bill Berkowitz. Lurching toward theocracy
Molly Ivins. Oil-for-food is small potatoes

Posted by Eric at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

Political News

LAT. Schiavo Dies 13 Days After Tube Removal
LAT. Religious Order to Fight Abortions: Roman Catholic Missionaries of the Gospel of Life will counter abortion and euthanasia
LAT. Democrats Set to Reject Pick for U.N.
BBC. US captain guilty of Iraq killing
KRT. Bush's Social Security plan loses steam among young adults
NYT. Social Security, Growth and Stock Returns
NYT. Supreme Court Removes Hurdle to Age Bias Suits
WP. An Unlikely Meeting Of the Minds: For Very Different Reasons, Groups Agree on Gas Alternatives
WP. Social Security Plan Meets Doubt in Iowa: GOP Lawmakers: Approach Isn't Selling
WP. Bush Is Keeping Cabinet Secretaries Near Home
The Hill. DeLay allies draw up plan to hit back
The Hill. Dems craft their own plan
WPost. Stryker Army vehicle comes up short: Classified study says vehicle puts troops at risk
AP. Three Join Opposition to Bolton Nomination
AP. Liberals Run Ads Demanding DeLay Resign
AP. Patrick Kennedy rules out Senate bid
CNN. Report: Iraq intelligence 'dead wrong'

Posted by Eric at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

Paper Comm, Thursday

DaytonNJ. More deception over Yucca
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Border bluff / Bush backpedals on immigrant security
Guardian. The ends of the Earth: Anyone wanting a vision of how the world might look in 50 years' time can today go and stand on the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti
Guardian. Mend it, don't end it - United Nations
SeattlePI. Iraq: A daunting place to be
SeattlePI. Our Living Planet: Prescription for change
Marina Ottaway. Tyranny's Full Tank
NYT. I Spy a Screw-Up
NYT. A Science-Fiction Army: Donald Rumsfeld needs to recognize that the Army's plans for high-tech weapons must be radically scaled back
Sheryl McCarthy. Good news, and hope, for black women
Ellen Goodman. Schiavo's lesson for us all
LAT. Et Tu, Florida?
Tom Preston. Natural life not an option for Schiavo

Posted by Eric at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2005

Harry Shearer Catches Hannity

Calls Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) an asshole.

Posted by Eric at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

GOP Suppresses Cheney Talk Transcripts

From the Progress Report:

SUPPRESSING TRANSCRIPTS OF CHENEY EVENTS: Vice President Cheney participated in two "townhall" events last Thursday – one in Battle Creek, Michigan, and one in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Contrary to its standard practice, the White House has not released the transcripts. Press coverage of the event suggests the reason. In Battle Creek, Cheney was joined on the stage by Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-MI) who said before the event that "he was not convinced that allowing personal retirement accounts will help solve the problem." At the Pittsburgh event, "Cheney pointed to the experience of federal workers who have the option of placing part of their retirement savings in somewhat similar accounts." But Kim Miller, a resident of Mt. Lebanon, PA, "said that she had been a federal employee and invested in the Thrift Savings Plan, 'and I didn't do well at all.'" Cheney's Social Security events from last Monday and Tuesday, which apparently were more under control, are available on the White House website.

As you know, the GOP has put a tight grip on their Social Security events.

Posted by Eric at 05:41 PM | Comments (1)

The 'Nuclear Option'

Unless you're in a political science class taught by a professor who wrote a book on filibusters, you may be confused about what this 'nuclear option' is, and how it relates to that funny-sounding filibuster thing (ok, since you're surfing political blogs, you may already know a lot). But for those who don't, or just want to learn more, this MovingIdeas.org backgrounder is a good start. And the issue is important because, as the guide notes: Republicans are planning to evade Senate rules and remove the use of filibusters to block extreme judicial nominees. Their plan, called the "nuclear option," would allow them absolute power to rubber stamp judicial nominees and, potentially, eliminate filibusters in the Senate altogether

Posted by Eric at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

Online Comm, Wednesday

Jonathan Alter. 'Bush's hypocrisy truly unbearable'
Amitabh Pal. The Bush Administration initiates an arms race
MediaMatters. Julie Banderas: Fox's newest "fair and balanced" reporter
MediaMatters. Who are Karen Brauer and "Pharmacists for Life"?
thinkprogress. John Bolton: The UN Cannot Be Reformed
Thom Hartmann. Terry Schiavo Could Save Millions of Young Women's Lives
Mark Lloyd. A PBS We Deserve
Joe Conason. Schiavo's advocates contradict themselves
Jonathan Tasini. Wal-Mart's Culture Of Crime And Greed
Katrina vanden Heuvel. The Merchant of Baghdad: Don't be surprised to find Army recruitment officers loitering outside bankruptcy courts
David Corn. John Bolton: Ally of CIA-linked Drugrunners
Sarah Boseley. Undermining success: Is a U.S.-funded abstinence-only program a threat to Uganda's model fight against AIDS?
Mark Schmitt. "Death" and Resurrection - If environmentalists -- or anybody else -- want to accomplish their goals, they'll have to move beyond their own causes
Josie Byzek. The Progressive Disability Perspective
Pratap Chatterjee. Driving into Danger: Halliburton is being sued by the family of a truck driver killed in a gun battle for deliberately endangering the lives of its employees in Iraq
Jane Fleming. Terry Schiavo's Irony: Her life and death struggle with an eating disorder caused her heart attack, but Republicans won’t move on the bill that truly could have saved her

Posted by Eric at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

I Love Fox and Friends

If not for the pure, comedic value. On the group of ex-diplomats who signed a letter opposing John Bolton to the UN:

HILL: Here’s what struck me about that story. Here are a couple of the names of the diplomats who don’t want John Bolton to get the nomination: Princeton Lyman, Monteagle Stearns, and Spurgeon Keeny –
KILMEADE: Those guys again!
HILL: Just odd names.
KILMEADE: Who the heck are they?
ThinkProgress with the yukity-yuks:
Before he came under attack for not throwing his blind support behind President Bush’s nominee, Princeton Lyman certainly received a lot more respect from the network. Here are just two examples of how Fox News had previously referred to him:

“[W]e turn to Princeton Lyman, a veteran American diplomat, who was a former U.S. ambassador to South Africa and an authority on that continent.” [Fox News, 6/30/04]

“[W]e turn to a man with long experiences, an American diplomat in Africa. Princeton Lyman, who spend [sic] three years as U.S. ambassador to South Africa…and who is now a senior fellow on Africa at the Council on Foreign Relations.” [Fox News, 7/3/03]

This was another funny Fox and Friends moment from back in the 04:
After a commercial break, the discussion returned with a broader focus, and Kilmeade asked about convention protestors, "When is it okay to whack them around?" Kelly hesitated for a moment before responding, "Never." Apparently unsatisfied with Kelly's response, Kilmeade restated his question, asking, "If they're not moving, if they're threatening you, can you whack them around?" After Kelly repeated his response, Kilmeade made his own view clear: "I hate seeing these protests."
Hilarity, capital H!

Posted by Eric at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

MSNBC Drops to Fourth

In the cable news race:

CNN Headline News has supplanted MSNBC as the third-place cable news channel. CNN's sister network recently started a new prime-time lineup that has gotten off to a strong start, particularly a legal-oriented talk show with Nancy Grace.

The new format replaced the continuous half-hour newscasts that CNN Headline News still carries for most of the day. But in its first month, the changes enabled the network to eclipse MSNBC in the prime-time ratings, according to Nielsen Media Research.

For the full day, CNN Headline News also beat MSNBC for the first three months of the year.

Fox, of course, still remains on top.

Posted by Eric at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

Truth in Comedy: "Bush Launches Preemptive Attack on Social Security"

From - where else - The Onion: In the months leading up to Bush's declaration, he attempted to contain the Social Security program through a calculated long-range attack on its general fund.

"Up until several days ago, we attempted to negotiate with Social Security, by proposing a plan under which wage-earners would invest their withheld income in the stock market," Bush said. "These personal savings accounts would have pumped a great deal of wealth into our deflated economy, but this is not about temporarily inflating a beleaguered market. It is a battle for freedom, and it is time to take decisive action. America, we must strike Social Security."

Posted by Eric at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

New Ads to Attack Delay in GOP Districts

From a PR from the Public Campaign Action Fund:

Congress to call for Majority Leader Tom DeLay's (R-Texas) resignation will begin airing Thursday as Public Campaign Action Fund's campaign to "Clean up Congress without DeLay" extends to targeted districts around the country.

The ads will air in the congressional districts of Reps. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.), Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), and Doc Hastings (R-Wash.). They can viewed at http://www.pcactionfund.org/resign/.

The organization has already collected nearly 20,000 signatures on a petition calling on DeLay to resign from Congress, with each message passed along to individual members of Congress. The petition can be found at http://www.WithoutDeLay.org.

"Tom DeLay is a walking scandal and a national embarrassment," said David Donnelly, political director of Public Campaign Action Fund. "These three members of Congress should stand up for the American people and join our call to clean up Congress, without DeLay."

The ads.

Posted by Eric at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)

Paper Comm, Wed

Gene Lyons. Private convictions vs. public displays
Helen Thomas. Recruitment met with disinterest
Harold Meyerson. CAFTA's Profit Motive
NYT. Asbestos Justice: We hope the bill that would compensate asbestos-related claims under a no-fault system will survive the opposition of Republicans and the White House.
Bill Bradley. A Party Inverted
John Danforth. In the Name of Politics
Maura Moynihan. Diplomatically speaking, Bolton is no Moynihan
Phil Chanfrau. Courts did their job in Schiavo case
LAT. GOP Govs. Who Can Count
Joel Connelly. Politicians bridge political divide to save 'paradise'
Derrick Z. Jackson. Charter schools' troubled waters
Robert Kuttner. Exposing prolife zealotry
BG. Wal-Mart's cut-rate labor

Posted by Eric at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

More Warnings on Environment

Add another study to the long line of evidence; Knight Ridder:

We are using the Earth to improve our lives, but our children and grandchildren will live in a worsening environment that endangers their existence, more than 1,300 scientists warn.

In a report to be released today, a team of international experts concludes that the world is at risk on a variety of fronts, including a skyrocketing runoff of nutrient-rich farm waste that is killing swaths of the world's oceans, a massive wave of animal and plant extinctions, and a planet that is growing warmer.

But it's not hopeless, they say.

The five-year study, commissioned by the United Nations and a number of businesses and independent groups, arrived at a mixed prognosis for planet Earth: Its deteriorating environmental health is still treatable, but only with aggressive and expensive corrective measures.

The study can be found here. For example, did you know ...
Humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively in the last 50 years than in any other period. This was done largely to meet rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber and fuel. More land was converted to agriculture since 1945 than in the 18th and 19th centuries combined. More than half of all the synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, first made in 1913, ever used on the planet has been used since 1985. Experts say that this resulted in a substantial and largely irreversible loss in diversity of life on Earth, with some 10 to 30 percent of the mammal, bird and amphibian species currently threatened with extinction.
So let's turn to our trusted Chairman on the Committee on Environment and Public Works, James M. Inhofe, to tell us more about the environment:
Let me be very clear: alarmists are attempting to enact an agenda of energy suppression that is inconsistent with American values of freedom, prosperity, and environmental progress.

Over the past 2 hours, I have offered compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax.

oh boy.

Posted by Eric at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

Another Day ...

Another lawsuit against the EPA for not doing its job. From the NYTimes:

New Jersey and eight other states filed a lawsuit yesterday challenging a new federal rule that they claim does not do enough to control dangerous mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Once released into the air, the mercury - a byproduct of the burning of coal - drifts over lakes and rivers where it is absorbed by fish and shellfish that are consumed by people. It is considered a potent neurotoxin that can cause brain damage, especially in infants and small children who are exposed to even a small amount.

The suit is aimed at a new rule released by the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month to exempt power plants from the most stringent controls for mercury emissions under Section 112 of the federal Clean Air Act.

Instead of having to apply cutting-edge technology to reduce mercury, power plants will be given the option of using a system called cap and trade. Under that system, operators can purchase pollution credits from other plants that have managed to lower their mercury emissions below targeted levels.

The Sierra Club with more on the state AGs decision:
"The Sierra Club applauds the nine state Attorneys General who filed lawsuits today against the EPA for taking steps to do something the Bush administration is not -- protecting children and babies in the womb from harmful exposure to mercury. They are right to object to a rule that allows three times more mercury pollution than strong enforcement of our current clean air laws and delays cleanup for more than a decade. We hope that other Attorneys General will join their voices to this fight for public health.

"The impact of the EPA's mercury rule will be felt by all of us, but most importantly it will jeopardize the health of hundreds of thousands of newborns in the U.S. each year."

For even more on the EPA's mercury rules, check out this useful guide from the Larry David-approved! Natural Resources Defense Council, with facts and history galore.

Posted by Eric at 12:48 AM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2005

Erring on the Side of Life?

BoldPrint on George W. Bush, who likes to err on the side of life:

"It is wisest to always err on the side of life."

-- George W. Bush, who oversaw 152 executions, including those of retarded human beings, as Texas governor

* * * * *

Ok, I know this has been pointed out 90 gazillion times, but I still don't get it. How can people who care so profoundly about one woman's life be so callous when it comes to the death penalty?

Seriously, I am asking a question here, because I don't know the answer.

Clearly, the Religious Right doesn't feel that all life is holy-- once you've committed a capital crime, you're life, in their eyes, becomes meaningless. But how did this ideology come about? How did this incredible logical inconsistency become part of a coherent moral philosophy?

And, for that matter, if not all life is sacred-- if a guilty man's life is no longer sacred-- why can't a life like Schiavo's be "unsacrified?" If one is in constant pain and has essentially no consciousness or human feeling, can't we just heap that person into the "it's acceptable to let them die" pile?

Please elucidate me.

Also, remember this episode of George W. Bush respecting life?
In his autobiography, Bush claimed that the pending execution of Karla Faye Tucker "felt like a huge piece of concrete...crushing me." But in an unguarded moment in 1999 while traveling during the presidential campaign, Bush revealed his true feelings to the journalist Tucker Carlson. Bush mentioned Karla Faye Tucker, who had been executed the previous year, and told Carlson that in the weeks immediately before the execution, Bianca Jagger and other protesters had come to Austin to plead for clemency for her. Carlson asked Bush if he had met with any of the petitioners and was surprised when Bush whipped around, stared at him, and snapped, "No, I didn't meet with any of them." Carlson, who until that moment had admired Bush, said that Bush's curt response made him feel as if he had just asked "the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed." Bush went on to tell him that he had also refused to meet Larry King when he came to Texas to interview Tucker but had watched the interview on television. King, Bush said, asked Tucker difficult questions, such as "What would you say to Governor Bush?"

What did Tucker answer? Carlson asked.

"Please," Bush whimpered, his lips pursed in mock desperation, "please, don't kill me."

Carlson was shocked.[4] He couldn't believe Bush's callousness and reasoned that his cruel mimicry of the woman whose death he had authorized must have been sparked by anger over Karla Faye Tucker's remarks during the King interviews. When King had asked her what she planned to ask Governor Bush, Karla Faye had said she thought that if Bush approved her execution, he would be succumbing to election-year pressure from pro–death penalty voters.

Posted by Eric at 11:31 PM | Comments (1)

Funny Picture / Caption

If only because it brings back memories of my password protection days as a kid. Honolulu StarBulletin: Scott Belford, director of the Hawaii Open Source Education Foundation, looks away as Nicole Nartates, 11, types her password into the new computer she acquired through her work with the foundation. Nicole attends Holomua Elementary School in Ewa Beach.

Posted by Eric at 11:21 PM | Comments (1)

Santorum Hypocrisy

From ThinkProgress:

Speaking of politicians whose personal family decisions happen to conflict with their political demagoguing on health care issues, Josh Marshall brings our attention to Sen. Rick Santorum’s (R-PA) medical malpractice hypocrisy. In 1996, Santorum testified on behalf of his wife Karen, who was seeking $500,000 in pain and suffering against Dr. David Dolberg of Virginia, because of pain from his 1996 chiropractic treatment of her.

Funny, that didn’t stop Santorum from supporting and voting for a bill in 2003 that would have capped awards for pain and suffering at $250,000.

Posted by Eric at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

Oh, Jesse ...

LA Times: The Rev. Jesse Jackson prayed today with the parents of Terri Schiavo, and he called the struggle over her feeding tube "a moral issue that transcends politics."

Posted by Eric at 05:51 PM | Comments (0)

Al Franken on Conan Tonight

Al will be on Late Night with Conan O'Brient tonight, right after The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Repeat: CNBC tomorrow at 7pm EST.

Posted by Eric at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)

Online Comm, Tuesday

Molly Ivins. Energy insanity: Just when you thought it was impossible, Cheney energy schemes get even worse
Bill Gallagher. 'Soaring deficits put U.S. at risk'
Gene C. Gerard. Is Bush Scraping the Bottom with His Judicial Nominees?
mediamatters. On Face the Nation, Family Research Council's Perkins misrepresented Schindler family's 33 affidavits calling for more medical treatment for Terri Schiavo
mediamatters. John Gibson's and Fox News' description of Schiavo case: "Terri's Fight"
childrensdefense. Children's Defense Fund Action Council Scorecard Ranks Lawmakers on How Well They Protect Children
Leigh Flayton. How they learned to love the bomb Bush is talking tough about nukes in Iran and North Korea. But critics say by illegally testing and building nuclear weapons, the U.S. is fueling a new arms race
Julian Borger. Apprehension in Alaska: Congress' vote to open the Arctic refuge to oil drilling has one local village worried about the impact on its traditional way of life By Julian Borger
democracynow. Pulling the Plug: Rep. Tom DeLay and Terri Schiavo's Dad Supported Their Own Parent's Right to Die
William Saletan. Deathbed Conversion: The lesson of Tom DeLay's mortal hypocrisy
Sean Gonsalves. To err on the side of life?
Christian E. Weller. Five Issues for the Release of the Social Security Trustees' Report
James J. Zogby. Is the US Contributing to Democracy?
George McGovern. Patriotism Is Nonpartisan
Kirsten A. Powers. Justice Shall Be Executed - The Bush brothers profess a devotion to "life," but they never seem to worry about the wrongfully executed
Harold Meyerson. Labor War in Illinois: The AFL-CIO's two largest unions duke it out and SEIU comes out on top.
John Tirman. Security the Progressive Way
Cenk Uygur. The Tom DeLay Litmus Test
Tomdispatch.com. Devil's Dictionary of the Bush Era
Mira Ptacin. Revelations from an Insider: Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on the Bush Administration, Civil Disobedience and the Eternal Fires of Hell
Jeff Cohen. Schiavo Case: Media Pander to the Right

Posted by Eric at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

Good News, Bad News

In today's New York Times (via the Stakeholder), we find some good news:

The Bush administration said Monday that it had sent the first of some 20 million applications to low-income people who might qualify for financial assistance with Medicare's new prescription drug benefit.
Yes, helping the poor, yes, good good.
But lawyers and other advocates for low-income people said the form was so complex that they expected fewer than 5 percent of the people to respond.
Oh geez. I guess ... that's bad news.

Posted by Eric at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

Paper Comm, Tuesday

Tony Norman. Schiavo support founders under false witnessing
Daniel Ruth. Blame It On Those Liberal Republicans???
DeWayne Wickham. Schiavo case reminds me of brother's death
Jonathan Chait. The Draft Cheney movement is about to surface
StarTrib. Minimum wage/Time for an increase
Paul Krugman. What's Going On? Once the Terri Schiavo case settles, look for more intimidation in the name of God from the right
Marie Cocco. Dirty battle in the Social Security war
Carl Jeffers. Public not swayed by the politics of death
Jesse Jackson. Too many schools flunk fairness test
Robert Scheer. A Con Job by Pakistan's Pal, George Bush
Jonathan F. Fanton. U.S. Obstructs Global Justice

Posted by Eric at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2005

Lying with Quotes

This is just too much. The background: the GOP needs to find quotes to support it's privatization plans. So what does the GOP do? Takes quotes out of context. Por ejemplo:

The pull-quote: Clif Smith, A Retiree From Joplin: “I Believe [Social Security] Needs Improved [Sic].”

The full quote:

“I believe it needs improved,” said Clif Smith, a retiree from Joplin, at the AARP gathering. “But nothing of the nature of what is being talked about in Washington.”

Smith said he opposes private accounts because he thinks they would drain money from the trust fund, but he said the fund itself should own stock.

Read more at Think Progress.

Posted by Eric at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

Comedy Monday, Part 2

From the Fox News-reliable Weekly World News: Veep Barely Worked His Way Through College ... CHANEY WAS A NUDE MODEL ... FOR ART STUDENTS. And he's not the only one: "According to reliable inside sources, California Senator Barbara Boxer earned extra cash jumping out of cakes at bachelor parties. Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy worked one summer as a male escort, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was the cover girl three times for Black Booty magazine, and First Lady Laura Bush worked briefly as a "fluffer," -- a woman whose job it is to keep male adult film stars in a continual state of arousal."

Posted by Eric at 09:49 PM | Comments (0)

Online Comm, Monday

Cynthia Tucker. Politicians shamefully exploit Schiavo family's woes
Bill Berkowitz. Team Schiavo's deep pockets
John Nichols. Now Bush Is Picking on Kids
Scott D. O'Reilly. The Ethics of Euthanasia in the Case of Terri Schiavo
John Lyman and Radha Chaurushiya. Making Innovation a Priority
MotherJones. Wild Life: An Interview With Tim Cahill
Hendrik Hertzberg. MATTERS OF LIFE
mediamatters. WSJ editorial page again wrongly attacked DeLay aides' prosecutor Ronnie Earle as a "partisan Democrat"
Mark Benjamin. Tough on terror, weak on guns
Danny Schechter. Will Truth Rise Again?
Mark Leon Goldberg. Open Season on Aid Workers? Sudan's central government may be orchestrating bloody attacks on humanitarian workers in Darfur
Chris Mooney. Congressional Malpractice: Bill Frist leverages his medical credentials for political gain. It’s only fair to hold him accountable for abusing science
James Howard Kunstler. The Long Emergency: What's going to happen as we start running out of cheap gas to guzzle?
Kelly Hearn. Miracle Malpractice: A new book explains how the medical industry, pharmaceutical companies, the media and politicians all prey on the public's fears to sell them new drugs and the latest technology
Russ Baker. Fishing for New Environmentalists
Kareem Fahim. Soldiers Fear the Needle - The Pentagon still fights for its anthrax va
Esther Duflo. Wolfowitz, the Bad Surprise
David Moberg. Which Comes First: Growth or Clout? Unions debate strategy at the spring AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting
Susan Davis. The Dead Hand of Disney
John Spragens. Frist in Command - Dr. Bill runs the Senate with his eye on the White House, but is that a prescription for failure?
Jodi Enda. The Women’s View: The pro-choice movement has seen moral complexity as its enemy. But moral complexity is exactly why choice must be saved.

Posted by Eric at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

Return of Comedy Monday

"It appears the parents of Terri Schiavo have run out of options. The Supreme Court declined to intervene, thus representing the 10th legal judgment in favor of Mrs. Schiavo's husband and guardian, Michael -- meaning the Schiavo feeding tube will soon be removed from the cable news networks." Jon Stewart

"President Bush met with Mexican President Vicente Fox at his ranch in Texas. There was an awkward moment when Bush asked the Mexican president 'So how did you sneak in here.'" Conan O'Brien

"The average price of gas is now $2.11 a gallon, and here in California, it’s $2.30 a gallon. Here in L.A., it is literally cheaper to buy a new car than to fill your gas tank. Literally. Oprah tried to give away a car to someone in her studio audience today, and the woman spit in her face." Jimmy Kimmel

"There is a 24-hour surveillance team monitoring Martha Stewart's whereabouts. Nothing yet on al Qaeda." David Letterman

"Senate Republicans are so committed to keeping this women alive that as a last ditch tactic today they subpoenaed her because it is a federal crime to harm someone who is called to testify before Congress. They said they didn't think she'd be a great witness but she had to be better then Mark McGwire." Bill Maher

"Congress has reached a compromise agreement in the Terri Schiavo case. They will continue to do whatever they can to provide for her health care and feeding, and in return do nothing for every other American's health care and feeding." Jake Novak

"The Bush administration is planning to hold its traditional event, as aides plant eggs filled with fake news stories in the White House press room." Alan Ray


Sarah Silverman. Jesus is Magic trailer

whitehouse.org. SAVING TERRI SCHIAVO: PRESENTING INCONTROVERTIBLE PROOF THAT EVERY LIFE HAS WORTH, PRESIDENT BUSH ANNOUNCES "66 USES FOR PERSISTENT VEGETARDS"

DU. The Top 10 Conservative Idiots

The Onion. Colin Powell's Tell-All Book: Steroid Use Rampant In White House

The Onion. Child Walks Out On Toy Non-Proliferation Talks

Click down for comics.


Posted by Eric at 12:47 PM | Comments (2)

WSJ Editorial Board Takes Swipe at Delay

Granted, it's a careful and calculated swipe, but for the Wall Street Journal (flashback), that's something - see the DCCC blog.

Posted by Eric at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

Paper Comm, Monday

Lawrence Korb and Caroline Wadhams. US should set example on limiting arms exports
Jimmy Carter. Saving Nonproliferation
Eric Margolis. Blair's lost political mojo
NYT. Censorship in the Science Museums
Luis J. Rodriguez. Gang of Our Own Making
Bob Herbert. Is No One Accountable?
Dave Zweifel. Another reason to read newspapers
CapTimes. 'Err on side of life' vs. death penalty
Laura Washington. Political leaders nourish culture of deadly gun violence
DaytonaNJ. Americans fancy Pentagon cuts

Posted by Eric at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2005

Ann Coulter and the Cherokee Nation

Think Progress with more.

Posted by Eric at 03:53 PM | Comments (1)

Making the Internal Combustion Engine Obsolete

How Toyota wants to revolutionize the way companies make cars. Wired Magazine.

Posted by Eric at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2005

Nader: Save Terri

I thought this was a freaking joke - how anyone can have respect for Ralph anymore is beyond me (and I used to intern for one of his organizations):

Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader and Wesley J. Smith, author of the award winning book "Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America" call upon the Florida Courts, Governor Jeb Bush and concerned citizens to take any legal action available to let Terri Schiavo live.

"A profound injustice is being inflicted on Terri Schiavo," Nader and Smith asserted today. "Worse, this slow death by dehydration is being imposed upon her under the color of law, in proceedings in which every benefit of the doubt-and there are many doubts in this case-has been given to her death, rather than her continued life."

Among the many injustices in this case, Nader and Smith point to the following:

The courts not only are refusing her tube feeding, but have ordered that no attempts be made to provide her water or food by mouth. Terri swallows her own saliva. Spoon feeding is not medical treatment. "This outrageous order proves that the courts are not merely permitting medical treatment to be withheld, it has ordered her to be made dead," Nader and Smith assert.

Steve with the outrage:
Defend this. I want someone to defend Nader's stand in this. For two years, we told you about his alliances, and you kept talking about working with him, how right he was. Now this is staring you right in the fucking face. Nader is aligned with the most extreme ultras of the radical right, people who would endorse kidnapping. Now, explain this away, explain why he would do this? The cheating of workers, taking help from the GOP, it wasn't enough.

But please explain this stand away. Please explain why he has rejected the rule of law. What excuse will you use now?

You are staring unvarnished evil in the face. Let's see you justify this.

Any progressive who defends him now is merely an idol-worshiping fool.

Posted by Eric at 08:23 PM | Comments (1)

Hypocrisy

From the Columbia Democrats: "A Modest List of Most Major Examples of GOP Hypocrisy Highlighted by the Schiavo Case"

Posted by Eric at 05:58 PM | Comments (0)

Idiotic

From the Washington Times:

The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, president of the Los Angeles-based Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, noted the absence of black Christians in the debate.

"Nearly all the people fighting and protesting to keep Terri alive are white. Where are the prominent black ministers?" he asked.

"We don't see them because they're looking at this as a race issue, rather than as a moral one. Blacks, especially Christians, should stop looking at this issue through the prism of race. The battle is between people who are for life versus those who favor death."

Posted by Eric at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)

San Diego Union-Tribune Condemns Delay

Via TBogg, the conservative San Diego Union-Tribune goes after Delay in an editorial today:

Congressional Democrats probably would love to divide the GOP, undermine the conservative agenda, and turn Americans against the Republican majority. But, frankly, they don't have that kind of power. A job that big calls for the handiwork of Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas.

Looking back on Congress' handling of the Terri Schiavo controversy – which included passing an emergency bill aimed at prolonging Schiavo's life – it's hard to decide which of DeLay's comments was more offensive.

Was it when DeLay referred to Michael Schiavo's lawyer as "the embodiment of evil"? Or when he accused those who disagreed with him of being "so barbaric as to pull a feeding tube out of a person that is lucid and starve them to death for two weeks"?

No, what took the prize was what DeLay said when he let his guard down at what he obviously thought was a private meeting of like-minded social conservatives. After insisting that Congress' intervention in the Schiavo case had nothing to do with politics, DeLay used the issue to rally the faithful at a meeting of the Family Research Council. DeLay went so far as to describe the anguishing plight of this 41-year-old woman as a gift from God and a boost to the cause of Christian conservatives.

And as this AP headline notes, "Conservatives oppose federal intervention."

Further, the front page of the Washington Post has this: Schiavo Case Tests Priorities Of GOP. Explain on, Shailagh Murray and Mike Allen:

Republican lawmakers and others engaged in the debate say an internal party dispute over the Schiavo case has ruptured, at least temporarily, the uneasy alliance between economic and social conservatives that twice helped President Bush get elected.

"Advocates of using federal power to keep this woman alive need to seriously study the polling data that's come out on this," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, who has been talking to both social and economic conservatives about the fallout. "I think that a lot of conservative leaders assumed there was broader support for saying that they wanted to have the federal government save this woman's life."

Posted by Eric at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

Frist, Delay and Schiavo

From Hardblogger's David Schuster:

As part of our coverage in the Terri Schiavo case, I've been consulting and talking with several doctors. And while they disagree on who should decide Schiavo's fate, what tests should have been done, and the different steps the Florida courts might have taken, these physicians are united in their disgust over one key player in the Schiavo case— Senate majority leader Bill Frist. As one doctor said, "Frist has embarrassed and brought shame upon the medical profession." ... Ironically, the politicization of Terri Schiavo and the play for evangelical voters looks like it may now cause Bill Frist more harm than good. The latest polls show Americans overwhelming against Congress getting involved in the case. And these were polls conducted BEFORE most Americans saw the fine print of the Congressional Schiavo bill. Despite the sweeping floor statements about "protecting life," the legislation itself did not require the federal courts to start by reinserting Schiavo's feeding tube. And while the bill does give the Schiavo family "jurisdiction and standing" to make an argument in federal court, take a look at Section 3 called "relief." Section 3 states, "After a determination of the merits of a suit brought under this Act, the District Court shall issue such declaratory and injunctive relief as may be necessary..." The key words are "after a determination..." Congress did not say the federal court must accept the merits of the lawsuit.

Based on what Schiavo's parents have been saying this week, it appears the legislation's fine print was never shared with them by Bill Frist or anybody else for that matter. Early Monday morning, after President Bush signed the Schiavo bill, Bob Schindler was positively beaming in front of the television cameras. He said he walked into his daughter's hospice room and told her, "We had to wake the President up to save your life."

Did Bill Frist and Tom Delay ever call the Schindler family and say, "not so fast?" Apparently not. In their latest court filing, the Schinder family still clings to the misleading notion offered by lawmakers last weekend that their bill required Schiavo's feeding tube to be immediately reinserted. Quote, "If Congress meant to give the federal courts the power to let her die..." says the Schindler's filing, then passing the law "would be little more than a cruel hoax." Read it again... The Schindlers argue: "If Congress meant to give the federal courts the power..." The fact is, that's exactly what Congress did. And a "cruel hoax" on Terry Schiavo's family is exactly the right description. As one of my doctor contacts observed, "This has always been about politics, not about helping Terri Schiavo or her parents."

Posted by Eric at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2005

Keep Bush from Captain Picard

He'll rub him like there's no tomorrow:

Mr. Bush comes by the restaurant occasionally, the last time was the Friday after U.S. Thanksgiving. The routine is always the same.

"The Secret Service comes first. They secure the area. We turn the fuel pumps off and they bring in the dog. They're very discreet.

"Then they come in and he signs autographs and visits with the people," she said, bringing a framed collection of 12 photos from the November visit.

"He loves rubbing bald heads. He says it brings him luck."

Posted by Eric at 08:30 PM | Comments (3)

The Michael Schiavo Blogspot

It's not easy being the real Michael Schiavo. And it's also not easy being the not real Michael Schiavo; see michaelschiavo.blogspot.com:

I’ve received a wealth of e-mails sympathizing with the fact that some mental midgets out there still think I’m Michael Schiavo, rather than Michael Schiavo, and I thank those people. It’s nice to know that there are still some folks in the world with common sense.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a new kind of imbecile on the loose: people who know I’m not Michael Schiavo, but are still upset with me for being Michael Schiavo and not doing anything about it. I received an e-mail today from a self-proclaimed moron who reproached me for not running with the confusion about my name and creating a website to tell Michael Schiavo to give up his legal rights.

Apparently, I “really cannot comprehend all the moralistic issues attached to this case.” In addition, I “spout ignorance from the first line of [my] website by so carelessly classifying anyone that cares about this case, which evolves around human rights, as ‘morons’.” ... You say I’ve “ignorantly chosen to draw attention to myself.” How so? Because my name’s Michael Schiavo? Jesus Henry Christ, lady, I’m sorry my life got in your way.

Posted by Eric at 06:39 PM | Comments (2)

*Clearly* a Fault of Clinton

Some lawyer in Texas, via Smoking Gun (warrant of arrest included):

A Texas lawyer was arrested yesterday and charged with offering to provide legal services in exchange for a sex act and some hot girl-on-girl action. According to cops, Steven Copenhaver, 56, solicited the "deviate sexual intercourse" from the wife of a prospective client and the woman's sister-in-law. As detailed in the below Round Rock Police Department report, Copenhaver told Leigh Heavin that he would accept sex in lieu of legal fees incurred by Heavin's husband, who is facing a criminal rap for allegedly assaulting her. During a visit last month to Heavin's home, Copenhaver allegedly told her--and the woman's sister-in-law, Malinda Tilley--exactly what he was looking for (you'll have to read the document for the dirty details). And, he added, the women "might have to do this a couple of times." Copenhaver's indecent proposal was overheard by Heavin's husband, mother, and a mental health worker visiting the apartment, according to investigators. Copenhaver, pictured above, was released from the Williamson County jail yesterday on $750 bond. It is unclear how the lawyer's arrest will affect his position as a trustee of the Round Rock school board.

Posted by Eric at 06:05 PM | Comments (1)

Online Comm, Friday

EPI. Big deficit, little deficit: The Bush budget and Social Security
Gary Bass and Adam Hughes. All PART Of The Game
Nancy K. Cauthen. Privatizing Survivors, Abandoning Children
Bill Berkowitz. Wead in the Rose Garden
Molly Ivins. Mercury rising: Cap-and-trade system short-circuits reforms already in place, while opening door for dangerous hot spots
Scott Thill. Raging for the Machine - In Brian K. Vaughan's 'Ex Machina,' the comic book hero paradigm is turned upside down – a gay mayor of New York dealing with rather more real – but no less heroic – situations
Amitabh Pal. Bush's poke in the eye
Doug Ireland. Censor Alert: Congress considers controls for cable TV and the Internet
Marc Cooper. Last Exit to Tombstone: Scenes from the capital of illegal immigration
Keith Plocek. The Thin Gray Line: There's not much difference between a bounty hunter and a cop, save for a lot of regulation and a little respect
mediamatters. Fox's psychic friend: Crossing Over's John Edward claimed Terri Schiavo is "definitely clear on what's happening now around her"
Christopher Hayes. How to Turn Your Red State Blue
democracynow. A Wolfowitz in Sheep’s Clothing?
Matt Smith . Wrong Prescription: The sweet deal a local medical firm got from the Justice Department shows how soft the Bush administration really is on corporate crime
Jacques Duplouich. On the Campaign Trail, Tony Blair Cannot Escape from Iraq
Herman Schwartz. Nuclear Whiner: Bill Frist calls Democratic dissent on some judicial nominees "unprecedented." Look back a few years and you'll see that's simply not true
Noy Thrupkaew. Life Theater - An unorthodox Cambodian troupe relays its country's difficult history
Center for Economic and Policy Research. Health Care Costs Pose a Larger Economic Burden Than Prospective Social Security Tax Hikes
William Greider. Elite Protectionists

Posted by Eric at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

William Hammesfahr Still "Nobel Prize-nominated neurologist"

On, where else, Fox News.

Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum identified Dr. William Hammesfahr, a Florida neurologist who claims he can help Terri Schiavo, as a "Nobel Prize-nominated neurologist," despite the fact that Hammesfahr was never actually nominated for a Nobel Prize.

Hammesfahr, who was disciplined in 2003 by the Florida Board of Medicine, testified during an October 2002 court hearing on the Schiavo case that his claim to be a Nobel nominee is based on a letter written to the "Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine" by Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R-FL) recommending Hammesfahr for a "Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine." But that award does not exist (the Nobel Assembly awards separate prizes in peace and medicine), and assuming Bilirakis intended to nominate Hammesfahr for the prize for medicine, as Hammesfahr claims, the nomination is meaningless because Bilirakis is not qualified to nominate anyone for that award.

Meanwhile, Atrios has Fox's John Gibson showing his respect for rule of law.

Posted by Eric at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

Why is Terri Schiavo Important to Bush?

Garance Franke-Ruta, blogger for TAPPED, thinks it's because Bush wants more public support for his judicial picks (since those rotten ones now won't 'help' Schiavo):

Suddenly it occurs to me that the Republican fight against the courts on Terri Schiavo has been, among many other things, a perfect set-up for the Republicans' next major congressional initiative: packing the courts with President Bush's conservative judicial nominees. Just take a look at how George Bush reacted this afternoon, after a federal appeals court refused to re-insert Schiavo's feeding tube:

"I believe that in a case such as this, the legislative branch, the executive branch, ought to err on the side of life, which we have," the president said. "Now we'll watch the courts make their decisions."

Combine that with the fact that Mark Levin's Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destorying America is right now on the best-seller lists, and you have a recipe for a mobilizing a hurt and highly motivated constituency in defense of the president's coming effort to transform the courts so that they more closely hew to the perspective in the White House and Congress.

Kevin Drum has more.

Posted by Eric at 10:09 AM | Comments (1)

Paper Comm, Friday

Nathaniel Frank. Bush team theme -- 'We were all wrong'
E. J. Dionne Jr. A Thin View of 'Life' .
Robin Cook. Not even in his worst nightmares: Iraq remains a source of constant controversy for Blair
NYT. Tom DeLay's Cri de Coeur: Any new money for the House ethics panel will be wasted unless Republican members demand that the rules be stiffened to gain some ethical credibility
Bob Herbert. The Era of Exploitation
The Independent. A chronicle of failures in Iraq
Dave Zweifel. Profit motive, government don't mix
Jonathan Chait. That Rumbling Is Cheneymania
Derrick Z. Jackson. Hot air and global warming
Carla Seaquist. Abu Ghraib: the prison of our moral choices

Posted by Eric at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2005

GOP Caught on Tape

GOP congressmen flip-flopping on social security.

Posted by Eric at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

Let's Use Scary Criminals!

You have to love the overheated rhetoric from the Family Research Council email newsletters:

Steven Kenneth Staley, 42, won reprieve just hours before his scheduled execution in Texas yesterday. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halted the execution of Mr. Staley to allow his lawyers to develop further appeals. In 1989, Mr. Staley, while robbing a restaurant, shot and killed a man. There is no doubt that Mr. Staley committed the crime, but he won his appeal on a technicality during the trial process. Theresa (Terri) Marie Schiavo, 42, today had an appeal denied by the United States Supreme Court. Mrs. Schiavo has been convicted of no crime, yet was sentenced to painfully starve to death by Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer. Yesterday Judge Greer barred state officials from rescuing Terri and anyone else from feeding the starving woman.

Mrs. Schiavo's only crime is to have suffered brain damage under questionable circumstances over fifteen years ago. Dr. William Cheshire, a neurologist who was assigned to examine Terri's case by Governor Jeb Bush, firmly believes Terri "demonstrates a number of behaviors that I believe cast a reasonable doubt on the prior diagnosis of PVS." Dr. Cheshire recounts numerous examples when Terri has smiled, laughed, felt pain and showed other signs of being aware. All of Terri's reactions were at appropriate times and in no way were simply involuntary reactions. Any society that allows the weakest among them to suffer pain and death, merely because they are a burden, is a society that is in deep trouble. A convicted murderer, Steven Staley, has won a reprieve. Who will grant the innocent Terri Schiavo the same consideration?

Posted by Eric at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)

Online Comm, Thursday

Jesse L. Jackson. Choosing Poverty's Banker
Joe Conason. Shameless Right-Wingers Exploiting Terri Schiavo
Steve Weissman. Freedom's Coming, All Aboard!
mediamatters. CNN, Fox featured ex-Schiavo nurse whose affidavit was dismissed as "incredible" by judge
Steve Perry. The Undoing of America - Gore Vidal on war for oil, politics-free elections, and the late, great U.S. Constitution
Boris Kagarlitsky. Putin Stumbles
Eric Alterman. Meet the New FCC Boss
democracynow. Phil Donahue: "We Have an Emergency in the Media and We Have to Fix It"
Maia Szalavitz. Death penalty for I.V. drug users The Bush administration is considering imposing a gag rule on U.S.-funded groups that provide clean needles to addicts, despite their huge success in preventing the spread of HIV
Lori Leibovich. Letting my brother die - Like Terri Schiavo, Phil was never going to recover. Removing his feeding tube was a devastating decision. But at least my family got to make it privately
Geov Parrish. Cold case: Terry Schiavo's life is a hell of somebody else's making
James Ridgeway with Nicole Duarte. Doctors-R-Us: Congress members give their medical opinions on Terri Schiavo
Katrina vanden Heuvel. Cultural Barbarism - Halliburton destroys Babylon
Robert Scheer. Life, Death & Cynical Grandstanding - Thankfully, Americans see right through the exploitation of Terri Schiavo
Robert Kuttner. Hawks Taking Wing: It's wishful thinking to cast Paul Wolfowitz's and John Bolton's new jobs as demotions
Terence Samuel. Passion Play: Republicans have turned Terri Schiavo's tragedy into political theater
Arianna Huffington. Paying the Price For Bush's Retro Energy Policy
J.D. Smith. An Immodest Proposal : How a little blue pill could get big results – in species conservation, we mean. Save the black bears! Take Viagra

Posted by Eric at 01:43 PM | Comments (1)

Liberal Media on Schiavo

First CNN.com.

Now MSNBC.com.

Posted by Eric at 12:35 PM | Comments (1)

The New House Agenda

The Poor Man.

Posted by Eric at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

More on the Schiavo video

Since the Schiavo video is on the news every second of the day, it's worth noting what's actually on the full video; NY Daily News:

But it's carefully edited and cruelly misleading, according to doctors who say people lost in a permanent vegetative state sometimes falsely appear perfectly conscious.

"Pictures do lie," said Dr. Lawrence Schneiderman, a University of California bioethicist.

To loving families and nonexperts, such patients "often look fairly normal," said Dr. Ronald Cranford, a University of Minnesota neurologist. Even with little brain tissue left, they smile, grimace, groan and glance around.

The now-famous tape was edited by Schiavo's desperate parents to show the fleeting moments during a four-hour, court-ordered evaluation in 2002 when their daughter looks most responsive.

On the unedited tape, Mary Schindler tries repeatedly to get her daughter to obey a request and prove to the court she mustn't die.

"Ter, Ter. Can you look over here, sweetheart?" she says. "Can you look at Mommy? Over here. Ter."

But in the extended versions of the tape, Schiavo looks at her mother only when her gaze is attracted by a sudden movement or when Schindler leans into her face.

Mostly, Schiavo lies blinking up into space, her jaw slack, her arms curled up to her chest.

Circuit Court Judge George Greer, who watched all four hours and heard testimony from numerous experts, ruled in 2002 that Schiavo is not conscious.

"At first blush, the video of Terri Schiavo appearing to smile and look lovingly at her mother seemed to represent cognition," he wrote. But "these actions were neither consistent nor reproducible."

And how about that "sanctity of marriage" with the GOP?
Of all the ironies at the heart of the Terri Schiavo case—alleged federalists who scoff at federalism; the fact that Schiavo, who's in a persistent vegetative state, has lived off the winnings in the same kind of medical malpractice suit that Republicans in Congress seek to limit—the most astonishing is this: Congressional Republicans who have staked their careers and the last election on the "sanctity of marriage" have turned this case into a mockery of that very institution.

With respect to my critics in the Fray and my colleague Mickey Kaus, this just isn't a case about federal civil rights. This isn't about the federal Voting Rights Act or about Brown v. Board. At least it wasn't until Congress attempted, at the 11th hour, to turn it into one. There was and is one principal issue to be decided in this case and that is, what would Terri Schiavo have wanted for herself had she foreseen an irreversible 15-year vegetative condition in her future? Courts have been deciding these issues for decades now, and they have done so by triangulating back not from the federal Constitution but from the implicit respect we have always had for the compact between people who marry.

The reasons given by the Rick Santorums of the world for limiting marriage to men and women always stress that marriage is different, sacred, special. And that's true; it's unlike any other bond under the law. Most states agree, which is why in these invariably awful substituted-judgment cases, courts generally defer to the spouse—who is presumed to best know what the incapacitated patient would have wanted ...

Posted by Eric at 10:33 AM | Comments (1)

Bill Frist and Pulling the Plug

Via Political Wire, from the NYDN:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has championed the "rescue" of Terri Schiavo, is a renowned heart surgeon who has pulled the plug on a "regular basis," his office acknowledged yesterday.

But Frist (R-Tenn.) ended life support only when the patient was ruled brain-dead, and he is convinced Schiavo is not brain-dead.

"He certainly has a lot of clinical experience" in the withdrawal of life support, said Frist spokeswoman Amy Call.

Frist, the driving force behind the Senate bill to move Schiavo's case to federal court and a likely 2008 presidential candidate, is under fire for declaring she is not brain-dead after reviewing a video of Schiavo.

"On a regular basis, he's dealt with a diagnosis of brain death," Call said defending Frist, a heart and general surgeon.

Medical ethicists like Dr. Kenneth Prager, chairman of the Medical Ethics Committee at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, say it's "inappropriate" for Frist to make an armchair diagnosis. "A diagnosis should be made bedside by a neurologist. He's not a neurologist, and he wasn't bedside," Prager said.

This is pretty much his motivation - and not medical:
For Bill Frist, Terri Schiavo came along at an opportune moment. After inspecting some videotapes made by her parents, the doctor announced that the examinations by court-appointed physicians were erroneous in concluding that Schiavo has been in a persistent vegetative state for the past 15 years. He may also have concluded that if getting the jump on the 2008 Republican presidential field required issuing a preposterous diagnosis, that was a small price to pay. Frist isn't running for Neurologist in Chief, after all.

Posted by Eric at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

Springer to Air America

As rumored, the controversial television host (and former mayor) will be on Air America's morning lineup:

More people will be able to hear trash TV talk show host Jerry Springer pick on President Bush's plan to create private accounts for Social Security and the war in Iraq under a deal announced Wednesday to take his liberal radio program nationwide.

"I said when I started the show that I am committed to making this radio program work, not only because I enjoy it, but because we need to hear progressive voices as well as conservative voices in our conversation today," Springer said in a telephone interview from Chicago.

Springer's show will go live weekdays on the Air America Radio network beginning April 1.

The liberal all-talk radio network currently broadcasts programs on 51 radio stations and on the Sirius and XM satellite networks. Springer will be heard on 45 of those stations initially.

Air America President Jon Sinton said the network hopes to get Springer on the remaining stations soon.

"I think Jerry expands our audience," he said. "He brings us the potential of reaching many more people."

Posted by Eric at 07:47 AM | Comments (1)

Paper Oped, Thursday

Sidney Blumenthal. A confederacy of shamans: The Republicans have cynical motives for trying to stop Terri Schiavo being taken off life support
Marianne Means. 'Congress should not play doctor'
Jason Lewis. A dangerous intervention in states' rights
StarTrib. Mercury pollution/EPA suppresses dissenting study
CapTimes. Wisconsin vs. the war
NYT. A Threat to Iraqi Women: The United States cannot be complicit in allowing politicians in Iraq to subordinate the goal of a free, democratic and unified country to their own narrow agendas
MDowd. DeLay, Deny and Demagogue
Sheryl McCarthy. Cynical games can mean big losses
Rema Cole. A lesson from the Schiavo saga
Ellen Goodman. Death and politics
BGlobe. Neglecting Medicare
LAT. Rehnquist's Test

Posted by Eric at 06:19 AM | Comments (0)

Political Motivation and Terri Schiavo

From a CBS News poll:

Congressional leaders have insisted their only motivation in getting involved in the Terri Schiavo case was saving a life. But Americans aren’t buying that argument, a CBS News poll finds.

An overwhelming 82 percent of the public believes the Congress and President should stay out of the matter.

Just 13 percent of those polled think Congress intervened in the case out of concern for Schiavo, while 74 percent think it was all about politics. Of those polled, 66 percent said the tube should not be inserted compared to 27 percent who want it restored. The issue has generated strong feelings, with 78 percent of those polled -- wheter for either side of the issue -- saying they have strong feelings.

Public approval of Congress has suffered as a result; at 34 percent, it is the lowest it has been since 1997, dropping from 41 percent last month. Now at 43 percent, President Bush’s approval rating is also lower than it was a month ago.

Over the weekend, Republicans in Congress pushed through unprecedented emergency legislation aimed at prolonging the brain-damaged woman's life by allowing the case to be reviewed by federal courts.

82!

Sidney Blumenthal in the Guardian notes that "Republicans have cynical motives for trying to stop Terri Schiavo being taken off life support."

Posted by Eric at 06:16 AM | Comments (0)

Nobel Prize nominee?

Just like Bill O'Reilly won a Peabody ... Media Matters:

Fox News host Sean Hannity and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough both promoted Dr. William Hammesfahr's false claim that he is a Nobel Prize nominee.

Hammesfahr, a Florida neurologist disciplined in 2003 by the Florida Board of Medicine who claims he can help Terri Schiavo, testified during an October 2002 court hearing on the Schiavo case that his claim to be a Nobel nominee is based on a letter written by Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R-FL) recommending him for the prize. But Bilirakis is not qualified to make a valid nomination under the Nobel rules ... But the fact that Bilirakis is not qualified to nominate Nobel Prize winners did not stop Scarborough or Hannity from referring to Hammesfahr as a Nobel Prize nominee. Hannity did so a total of eight times during a single hour-long program; Scarborough made the reference four times. Additionally, Scarborough erroneously claimed that Hammesfahr has "treated" Schiavo; in fact, Hammesfahr has merely examined her as one of five doctors approved by a Florida court in 2001 to do so. He was one of two doctors selected by Schiavo's parents; two others were selected by Schiavo's husband, Michael Schiavo, and the fifth was chosen by the court.

Posted by Eric at 03:42 AM | Comments (3)

Site Software Down

As you may have noticed, there weren't any updates today, and yesterday I didn't update after the morning. I was updating the blogging software on this site (movabletype) and I screwed up a bit, so I had to reinstall a bunch of stuff. Anyway, things are back to normal (or should be).

Posted by Eric at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2005

Go Nads

The funny things you learn every day; from the Economist:

“INTELLECTUAL” is hardly the first word that springs to mind when you contemplate George Bush. Mr Bush glided through the best education that money can buy without acquiring much in the way of “book learning”. At school, he formed a stick-ball team called the Nads (providing him and his pals with a chance to shout “Go Nads”); at Yale, he was famous for doing the alligator, a dance that involved falling on the floor and rolling around; at Harvard Business School, he wore cowboy boots and chewed tobacco, a strutting provocation to the lefty penseurs who dominated Harvard Yard.

Posted by Eric at 08:21 AM | Comments (0)

Talking Points on Shiavo

See RawStory, uh, story.

Posted by Eric at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)

Paper Comm, Tuesday

DaytonaNJ. Terri's law Case twists constitutional boundaries
USAT. In Schiavo case, Congress trespasses on private tragedy
Tristram Hunt. For Bush, science is a dirty word: In America's right-to-die controversy the facts were not allowed to get in the way of evangelical populism
Helen Thomas. Soft sell needed to change U.S. image
SeattlePI. Right To Die: Hasty legislation
Richard Cohen. 'A Great Political Issue'
E. J. Dionne Jr. Will Republicans Go Nuclear?
Marie Cocco. Be afraid, be very afraid: The corruption of Congress is so complete that its maneuvers are no longer shocking. They're terrifying
CapTimes. Baldwin right on Schiavo
BGlobe. Exploiting Terri Schiavo: THE US Congress has no place at Terri Schiavo's bedside. Neither does the president of the United States
Jesse Jackson. Fake crisis obscures real peril
Robert Scheer. Life, Death and Cynical Grandstanding

Posted by Eric at 07:52 AM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2005

Online Comm, Monday

Laura Flanders. It’s Not About Terri Schiavo
Gail Vida Hamburg. Hiding Our War Dead
Elizabeth Sullivan. Wolfowitz Is Laughing All the Way to the World Bank
CAP. Two Years After the Invasion
Eric Boehlert. When public opinion doesn't matter - Polls show Americans overwhelmingly support Michael Schiavo's case. Why is the media ignoring them?
MediaMatters. Hume touted misleading Social Security poll to claim broad support for Bush plan, accuse Dems of "disinformation"
democracynow. U.S. Broadcast Exclusive: Secret U.S. Plans For Iraq's Oil Spark Political Fight Between Neocons and Big Oil
Rob Richie and Steven Hill. Needed: Voter Rolls, Clean And Complete
Geov Parrish. The road home: To end the war, voices of military personnel and their families will be essential
Robert L. Borosage and Earl Hadley. Reading, Writing and Rhetoric
Katrina vanden Heuvel. Sweet Victory:Taking Back the Campuses
John Nichols. Congress Fails to Function: On Iraq, Congress can't be bothered to check and balance executive excess
David Enders. Baghdad Under Siege
Angela Valdez. Gun-Toting Grandpas, Beware! - Social Security cracks down on aging fugitives
Judith Krieger. Questioning Authority is our Patriotic Duty
Michael Tomasky. The Domestic Bolton - Opposition to the UN nominee has centered on his international record. But it’s his history as a party hack that’s the real story.
Matthew Yglesias. Sitting Schiavo: Republicans have reduced government to cutting taxes and picking scabs.
Dick J. Reavis. Fog of War: Thousands convene in North Carolina to focus the peace movement's gaze on Iraq war veterans, bereaved families, active-duty soldiers and their kin

Posted by Eric at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

More on Terri Schiavo

Progress Report:

Just like countless other families, the family of Terri Schiavo has struggled for years with the intensely difficult decision of how to match her course of treatment to her wishes.  Now President George W. Bush, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) are using the tragic case of Schiavo – a severely brain-damaged woman who has been incapacitated for the past 15 years – as an opportunity for political grandstanding. A memo, which the AP reports was distributed by Senate leadership to right-wing members, called Schiavo "a great political issue" and urged senators to talk about her because "the pro-life base will be excited." Over the weekend, DeLay and Frist held special sessions of Congress to facilitate passage of a bill that would allow a federal court to overturn years of Florida jurisprudence – encompassing seven courts and 19 judges – and intervene in the Schiavo case. (Underscoring that this was about the politics of the Schiavo case and not policy, the bill was written explicitly to apply only to Terri Schiavo.) President Bush played his part in the spectacle, flying to Washington from his ranch in Crawford to sign the bill, even though waiting a few hours for the bill to be flown to him would likely "have made no difference in whether Ms. Schiavo lives."


A large majority of Americans find the meddling here wrong.

Posted by Eric at 11:54 AM | Comments (6)

Poll: Americans Oppose Filibuster Change

Newsweek poll:

Approve Disap-prove Unsure
% % %
ALL 32 57 11
Republicans 55 33 12
Democrats 15 78 7
Independents 31 60 9
Though most Americans probably don't know what a filibuster is, the Newsweek poll question prompt had this explanation of it: "U.S. Senate rules allow 41 senators to mount a filibuster -- refusing to end debate and agree to vote -- to block judicial nominees. In the past, this tactic has been used by both Democrats and Republicans to prevent certain judicial nominees from being confirmed. Senate Republican leaders -- whose party is now in the majority -- want to take away this tactic by changing the rules to require only 51 votes, instead of 60, to break a filibuster. Would you approve or disapprove of changing Senate rules to take away the filibuster and allow all of George W. Bush's judicial nominees to get voted on by the Senate?"

Posted by Eric at 09:21 AM | Comments (3)

Paper Comm, Monday

Gary Younge. In a warped reality: Two years on, the occupiers justify the war by embracing the irrelevant and ignoring the inconvenient
Scott Maxwell. It's not so easy for Martinez to be green
NYT. Our Terrorist-Friendly Borders
NYT. That Scalia Charm
WPost. Environmental Impasse
StarTrib. Social Security/Rules for reform
L.A. Heberlein. What happened to real Republicans?
Harry Reid. First, put aside GOP plan
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Sudan's strife / World attention is still needed to bring peace
CapTimes. Baldwin - no blank check
Mike Farrell. An Indecent Administration Rolls On
LAT. The Midnight Coup

Posted by Eric at 06:51 AM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2005

Politics of Terry Schiavo

See this.

Posted by Eric at 12:57 PM | Comments (4)

March 18, 2005

Online Comm, Friday

Harold Meyerson. Labor Intense: The frustration and rage that burst forth at the AFL-CIO’s Las Vegas meeting portends a dramatic and possibly ugly summer showdown
Scott Thill. Rotten Apple? Are Apple's strong-arm tactics – aggressively targeting reporters who leak information – putting the highly-lauded company at risk for a backlash?
Jeff Anderson. Openly Rational; A straight, Republican judge rules for the home team
Mike Keefe-Feldman. Civil Liberties Advocates Make Strange Bedfellows: An anti-Patriot Act resolution finds bipartisan support in Red State Montana
Todd Gitlin. Permission to Speak Freely: A new crusade aims to protect conservative students from left-wing professors. But the real victim is robust debate—on campus, and beyond
Greg Palast. Secret Neocon plans for stealing Iraq's oil
Rhys Blakely. Behind the Neocon Nomination
Rebecca MacKinnon. Blogging, Journalism and Credibility
mediamatters. Fox's Brian Wilson covered for DeLay
mediamatters. Horowitz "corrects" prior correction; claims "We were right" and accuses Media Matters again of "lying"
Geov Parrish. Environmentalists get drilled
Joe Conason. Head scratcher: Bush cites Wolfowitz's Pentagon experience in choosing him to head the World Bank. Considering his atrocious track record at Defense, the Bank should get ready for an epidemic of waste, fraud and corruption
Harry Holzer. Higher Minimum Wage
CAP. Protecting our Freedoms, Post 9/11
Michael T. Klare. Mapping The Oil Motive
Juan Cole. The Democracy Lie
Jason Vest. Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolfowitz
Katherine Brengle. The Peace Movement: How Americans are fighting back against war and violence
Peter Gorman. The Families: Sending your children into battle is all the more unbearable when you know they are fighting the wrong war
Gareth Porter. The Exit Strategy

Posted by Eric at 01:10 PM | Comments (1)

Undermars.com

Via the Rolling Stone blog, Undermars.com, which "contains an archive of photos taken by soldiers and military contractors serving in active duty." Obviously, graphic image warning.

Posted by Eric at 12:40 PM | Comments (3)

High Times at High Times

This Boston Phoenix feature on the anti-establishment magazine High Times is particularly amusing, if not for this part:

Another theory holds that the government actually likes having High Times around. Last year, the Smoking Gun Web site reported that the Drug Enforcement Administration has three subscriptions to the magazine. "[It’s possible] they like High Times existing because they can kind of hear and see, ‘Okay this is what drug culture is doing now. This is their latest method of concealment,’ or whatever," says Bloom. "We try not to give away too many secrets in the magazine, but at the same time, readers do want to know, how do you conceal marijuana when you’re going across a border? So if we say, ‘Vacuum pack,’ well, aren’t the authorities going to read that and go, ‘Hmm ... vacuum pack? They’re getting smart.’ So maybe they want us out there — which is not to say we’re doing their job in any way, shape, or form, or have any relations to the DEA.

"But what are we going to do?" he continues. "We want to help people, but we also want to do it in subtle ways. So it’s sort of a battle back and forth."

Posted by Eric at 12:36 PM | Comments (1)

ABC Ignores Delay Scandals

Media Matters.

Posted by Eric at 11:47 AM | Comments (1)

Why Bolton and Wolfowitz?

Two theories; 1) From Kevin Drum:

On a PR level, though, the message Bush is sending is plain. A number of pundits inexplicably thought that Bush might settle down in his second term and try to run a more conciliatory, less strident administration, and it's pretty obvious that he's trying to make it crystal clear that he has no intention of doing this. Second term Bush will be no different from first term Bush, and don't you forget it.

I never understood the wish fulfillment fantasies of people who thought Bush might change in his second term — he's obviously a guy with only one gear and a profound need to crush his enemies — but I wonder if anyone still believes this? If so, it's time to face the music. It's going to be a long four years.

2) From Matt Yglesias
Instead, they're being shipped out to institutions that the President doesn't think are important. Potentially, at least, what's going on here is that they're being kicked upstairs, and this is the way a man who doesn't like admitting to mistakes is admitting that he made mistakes. Even if this is right, these aren't measures I approve of, because I think the UN and the World Bank are important and there's every reason to think Wolfowitz and Bolton will ill-serve the interests of the United States and the world in those roles.

Posted by Eric at 11:41 AM | Comments (1)

Inouye, Akaka votes let Hawai'i down

Though both are usually reliable votes for liberal causes, they weren't this time, and haven't been when it comes to ANWR; Honolulu Advertiser:

Sens. Dan Inouye and Daniel Akaka joined Senate Republicans Wednesday in voting to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Sadly, the 51-49 vote, with our senators tipping the balance, not only reinforces a dismal environmental policy, it also pushes our energy policy in the wrong direction by increasing our dependence on oil, when we should be moving toward renewable sources of energy ... Inouye has said that because Hawai'i is dependent on oil, finding new sources is imperative.

Akaka said his position was based on what he believed the indigenous people most affected want.

Both those positions are wrong-headed and shortsighted.

There are some among the Inupiat who support drilling. But as reporter Dennis Camire noted in yesterday's Advertiser, representatives from the Inupiat, who live in the affected region, and the Gwich'in, who also are concerned about the effects on wildlife, have come to Hawai'i to lobby against the drilling and have developed coalitions with local environmental groups.

More than most, we here in Hawai'i would expect our senators to have a greater appreciation for the environment and the land. Auwe!

Auwe, fyi, is Hawaiian for ouch or oh no.

And because everyone loves self-promotion, heere's a LTE I wrote two years ago condemning the two.

Posted by Eric at 09:44 AM | Comments (2)

Boycott ANWR Oil Companies?

Barbara Boxer in Daily Kos.

Posted by Eric at 08:42 AM | Comments (2)

Paper Comm, Friday

Giles Fraser and William Whyte. Don't hand religion to the right - The secular left must stop sniping and realise it has Christian allies
Carl Hiaasen. U.S. laws make it easy for terror suspects to be armed
Norman Solomon. The loud, clear voice of Iraq war's wounded vets
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Deadly crop / Despite U.S. control, Afghanistan's poppies flourish
USAT. Turn off fake news
Guardian. Polluting paradise; Alaskan oil: The threat to Alaska is a result of George Bush's campaign promise to reduce US reliance on energy imports. But it is absurd to imagine that America can achieve energy independence
SeattlePI. Environment: Mercury's new friends
SeattlePI. Congress: Democracy's day off
StarTrib. Fake news/Your tax dollars at work
E. J. Dionne Jr. Destined for Deficits.
Michael Kinsley. Social Security Fictions
Jonathan Chait. Greenspan, a Fiscal Policy Hack
Arianna Huffington. Bush Is a Loser at Logic but a Winner in D.C.
LAT. The DeLay Volcano
NYT. Two Years Later - The positive results of the invasion of Iraq exist mainly as hopes outnumbered by the more concrete failures
Paul Krugman. The Ugly American Bank
Derrick Z. Jackson. A wilting coalition
BGlobe. Deaf to Darfur
BGlobe. Fading hope on the Arctic
DaytonaNJ. Big Oil's refuge: Arctic drilling substitutes for true energy policy

Posted by Eric at 07:57 AM | Comments (6)

When Dumb Politicians Make Bad Metaphors

See the GOP and their car - social security metaphor.

Republican lawmakers, trying to convince a skeptical public about the wisdom of their Social Security proposals, decided yesterday that it was time to roll out a new metaphor.

Their choice: a brown 1935 Ford three-window Coupe, which House GOP leaders ordered driven onto a sidewalk outside the Capitol. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) and a few colleagues stood in front of the antique, built the same year Franklin D. Roosevelt built Social Security, and likened the two.

“I wouldn’t be caught dead in a 1935 automobile,” said Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (N.C.), vice chairman of the House Republican Conference’s PR effort on Social Security. “And I want to make sure we have an updated system of Social Security, because that’s America’s investment vehicle.”

But the car’s owner, Henry Dubois, a retired government worker from Virginia, said McHenry’s metaphor was off. “I didn’t like that comment,” he said, opening the hood to reveal a gleaming ‘41 Mercury hot-rod engine that was completely rebuilt two years ago. “It’s in very good shape for a 1935,” Dubois said, putting the Coupe’s value at around $20,000. “It’s been improved with an updated engine, so it keeps up with traffic."

Oooops.

Posted by Eric at 03:12 AM | Comments (1)

How Sad

As if the World Bank didn't have enough issues to deal with, now it has someone who, as Think Progress notes, is "blind to the impact poverty has on dangers like terrorism and civil unrest."

“If we want stability on our planet, we must fight to end poverty. Since the time of the Bretton Woods Conference, through the Pearson Commission, the Brandt Commission, and the Brundtland Commission, through to statements of our leaders at the 2000 Millennium Assembly - and today - all confirm that the eradication of poverty is central to stability and peace.” – Outgoing World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn, 10/3/04

VERSUS

“These people are not fighting because they’re poor. They’re poor because they fight all the time. ” – President Bush’s nominee for World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, Congressional Testimony, 6/6/96

“We hear a lot of talk about the root causes of terrorism. Some people seem to suggest that poverty is the root cause of terrorism. It’s a little hard to look at a billionaire named Osama bin Laden and think that poverty drove him to it.” – Wolfowitz, 11/15/2002

Posted by Eric at 01:14 AM | Comments (2)

March 17, 2005

Online Comm, Thursday

Bill Moyers. Welcome to Doomsday
Buzzflash. Bonnie M. Anderson Looks at the "News"
EPI. Implications of the Bush budget for people over 55
NRDC. Senate Puts Oil Companies First in Fight Over Arctic Refuge
Eric Alterman. Failure to Report
Bill Berkowitz. Whitman's crusade could be running on empty
Molly Ivins. The stench of rotting ethics: Only Tom DeLay's removal can freshen our nation's capitol
Will Durst. Slogans 'r' us; 30 tag lines to help Karen Hughes repair the image of the United States
Stirling Newberry. The Boom That Feels Like a Bust
Andrew O'Hehir. The myth of media violence
democracynow. Bush Names Iraq War Architect Paul Wolfowitz to Head World Bank
Russell Jacoby. The New PC
The Nation. The Captive Mind: The suppression of "anti-American" dissent has been most sharply felt on college campuses
Amanda Griscom Little. Losing the Refuge
Terence Samuel. Denouncing DeLay Without Delay
Rich Benjamin. Behind Bush's Youth Agenda
Lester R. Brown. The Short Path To Oil Independence

Posted by Eric at 03:34 PM | Comments (5)

Santorum Flip Flops on Amtrak

Everyone's favorite man-dog from Penn on Amtrak funding; before, from The Hill:

Also on “Meet the Press,” Santorum criticized President Bush’s budget for proposed cuts in Amtrak, a favorite target of many conservatives that nevertheless is important to Pennsylvania’s economy.

“It’s not acceptable to me,” Santorum said of the cuts. “I think what the president has suggested is not going to pass, number one. Number two, I think what he has been putting forward is that Amtrak has to be more efficient.”

And after, from the Patriot News of Penn:
Three weeks ago, Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., vowed to fight President Bush's "unacceptable" plan to eliminate funding for Amtrak.

He changed tracks yesterday, voting with the president and against an amendment to add $1.04 billion in government assistance for the system.

Bush's budget proposes eliminating support for Amtrak, a long-time target of fiscal conservatives, and putting the rail system in bankruptcy.

"I support the current funding levels in the president's proposed budget," Santorum. said. The "amendment adds money to the budget, but does not ensure that any of that money will go to Amtrak."

Could this hurt him? Here's why it could:
Nearly 900,000 people ride Amtrak's Keystone Corridor between Harrisburg and Philadelphia each year. Nearly 4.9 million people statewide board Amtrak annually, and more than 300,000 people ride Amtrak in Harrisburg alone.

The state spends $6.28 million to subsidize 44 of 106 Amtrak trains running east of Harrisburg weekly. But service west of Harrisburg was reduced 50 percent, to one train daily, when the state rebuffed an Amtrak request for more money.

"We simply didn't have $2.5 million to continue that train. That's why the federal role is critical in intercity rail," said Rich Kirkpatrick, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation ... The issue is likely to resurface in next year's Senate race as Democrats immediately accused Santorum of breaking his promise and voting against his constituents' interests.

"He owes his constituents an apology and an explanation," said Phil Singer, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Arlen Specter voted with Democrats in their failed effort to "restore the funding for Amtrak."

Posted by Eric at 09:15 AM | Comments (2)

Some 2006 House Races to Focus on Ethics

Politicians running on ethics? Now there's something new; from today's The Hill, "Democratic House leaders are casting about for squeaky-clean congressional candidates — even if they’re long shots — to challenge prominent GOP incumbents who have been tainted by news reports of their allegedly unseemly connection to lobbyists."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) strategy, still in development, aims to make ethical charges the touchstone of those campaigns and would use several high-profile local races to create a national image of corruption in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

Several Democratic lawmakers and aides said that Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) will be the first target of this new strategy.

Explicitly borrowing from the anti-corruption planks in Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America,” and hoping to replicate the 1994 watershed victory that followed, the new plan suggests that Democratic leaders believe they need to weave themes of abuse of power into any successful campaign to recapture the House.

DCCC Chairman Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) said questions about strategy and targeting Ney are premature, but several lawmakers and aides confirmed that Democrats are actively looking for candidates to run good-government campaigns against Ney and possibly House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

A background on "Tom DeLay, Ethics and the New Congress."

Posted by Eric at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)

See, We're Not THAT Bad

In Jakarta, Indonesia:

INDONESIAN MPs traded punches when a brawl broke out in parliament as tempers flared during a debate over a controversial fuel price rise, it was reported today.

Indonesian House Speaker Agung Laksono apologised to the nation over the fracas late yesterday during which MPs tried to hit him with his own gavel, the state Antara news agency said.
Dozens of MPs ploughed into the fray with fists flying, according to the Jakarta Post newspaper.

"The violence lasted for several minutes with at least two confirmed knock downs, but apparently no serious injuries," the Post said.

Laksono later said that the scuffle had broken out when several MPs tried to protest against his decision to hold a vote on what steps the legislature should take in response to the fuel price hike.

"MPs tried to hit him with his own gavel."

Posted by Eric at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)

Don't Let Republican Leadership "Go Nuclear" on Supreme Court

See People for the American Way for "Three Things You Can Do Right Now to Help."

Posted by Eric at 07:52 AM | Comments (2)

The Secretive White House

See Bob Edwards of XM Satellite Radio (and ex-NPR host) in this speech to Centre College in Danville:

To get any information at all from the Bush administration is a triumph, for it has become the all-time champion of information control. Reporters have never had less access to the people they need to reach for information. This is an administration that wants us to report only what it says in its press releases -- beyond that, no comment.

No one has had much success in penetrating the White House stonewall. There is no appreciation by the administration that the people have a right to know what their leaders are doing in their name and with their dollars.

Instead, there's a sort of corporate control of information -- as if the details of meetings and policy formation are trade secrets never to be known -- even to the stockholders. We saw this immediately as the Bush administration took office -- reversing previous expansions of the Freedom of Information Act -- and preventing publications of papers from previous presidencies, including that of the president's father.

Then there were the meetings of the energy task force -- Vice President Dick Cheney's meetings with whom? We don't know for sure. We're not allowed to know. The Bush administration says it's none of your business to know.

This idea, of course, is nothing new when it comes to Bush and the media.

Posted by Eric at 07:23 AM | Comments (1)

Iraq Poll

Things that make you go Hmm.

In the new poll, 56 percent said they think Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before the start of the war and 6 in 10 said they believe Iraq provided direct support to the al Qaeda terrorist network, which struck the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. Also, 55 percent of Americans said the administration told people what it believed to be true, while 43 percent believe the administration deliberately misled the country.

Retrospective judgments of Bush's decision making are far more negative that they were two years ago as events were unfolding. For the first time in a Post-ABC poll, a majority (51 percent) called the war in Iraq a mistake. On the day Baghdad fell in April 2003, just 16 percent called the war a mistake and 81 percent said it was the right thing to do.

A plurality of Americans said the war has damaged this country's standing around the world, with 41 percent saying the U.S. position is weaker, 28 percent saying it is stronger and the rest saying it has made no difference. Two years ago, 52 percent said the war had made the U.S. position stronger, vs. 12 percent who said it was weaker.

Still, a majority of Americans (54 percent) said they believe most Iraqis support what this country is doing, and although a majority said the United States is bogged down in Iraq, more Americans believe the United States is making good progress than they did in the fall of 2004.

Posted by Eric at 07:11 AM | Comments (2)

Paper Comm, Thursday

Joel Connelly. The Arctic refuge and public are about to get drilled
Guardian. Wolfowitz at the door
StarTrib. Wolfowitz/Bad choice for World Bank
Richard Cohen. Secretary of Spin?
Maureen Dowd. A Wink and a Fraud
NYT. Sham Self-Discipline in the Capitol; The Republican majorities in Congress are making a show of financial restraint while turning aside from sound principles
NYT. Why Paul Wolfowitz?
DaytonaNJ. Return of checks and balances; U.S. Senate to President Bush: Give extremism a rest
Sheryl McCarthy. Greenspan out of favor, out of touch
Ellen Goodman. Abortion's elusive middle ground

Posted by Eric at 06:25 AM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2005

PAC Link

Wesley Clark's new website, SecuringAmerica.com. Part of the WesPAC's mission:

Poverty, ignorance and desperation are feeding the wellspring of hatred against America and the values for which we stand. Many people perceive Americans as rich, as arrogant and as uncaring. Unfortunately, this Administration has done more to feed in to that stereotype than to dispel it. As a nation, we must show the world the formula that will save them from their oppression and save the world from endless wars. It's an American formula. It's the formula of freedom, opportunity and equality. We need a new vision for ourselves and our place in the world for the 21st century.

Part of our new vision for America is new strategy for national defense. So far, this administration's strategy hasn't been productive.

Osama Bin Laden is still on the loose, Pakistan has nuclear weapons, and the middle east remains unstable. These challenges demand a new vision for America.

... My experience tells me there are three parts to resolving international tension and conflicts. First, we need to maximize diplomatic measures so that the world community speaks with one voice to represent the values of liberty, democracy and capitalism. Second, we need to commit to understanding the regional and local political situations, so we can walk a mile in the shoes of our adversaries and better understand the pressures they face. This understanding helps us arrive at the best solutions. Lastly, and only lastly, comes military force. The United States military is the best in the world and will accomplish whatever goals we set out for them -- but they are not equipped to do it all and do it alone. Nor should we be putting them in that position. They deserve better -- we all do.

Posted by Eric at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)

Online Comm, Thursday

Max B. Sawicky. Social Security Collision course
Jack Lessenberry. Dying behind closed doors
Daphne Wysham. A Carbon Rush at the World Bank
The Bush budget and Social Security
mediamatters. Social Security misinformation common on Fox's Special Report
Craig A. McNeil. Prisoner of War; Flashback to Abu Ghraib, where a soldier's day only feels like a year
Stirling Newberry. 'The top down media: Right wing money is warping the news'
Suzanne Goldenberg. Accounting for $108 million in overcharges; Rep. Waxman accuses the Bush administration of deliberately withholding U.N. auditors' findings on Halliburton
Eric Boehlert. Justice: Propaganda is A-OK Must the U.S. government reveal when it has produced "news" broadcasts? In a stunning rebuke of the GAO, the Justice Department says no
John Nichols. Celtic Tiger Bites the Poor: A young Irish singer exposes the dark side of globalization
David Corn. Wolfowitz To Rule the World (Bank)
Katrina vanden Heuvel. Andy Stern Speaks His Mind
Guy Reel. Who Outed Valerie Plame?
David Martin. Big Matt Attack: Anti-cloning crusader Matt Bartle makes some very powerful Republicans squirm
Gadi Dechter. In the Eviction Business, the Company Loves Misery
Jared Bernstein. Ballad of the Beast-Starvers: The 2006 budget takes several pages from the Grover Norquist songbook
Liza Featherstone. Race to the Bottom: Padding opponents' bank accounts and exploiting racial tensions are among Wal-Mart's new and improved tactics; but they wouldn't work if communities didn't have tensions to exploit
Larry Smith. Do You Puff, Daddy What to tell the children about past – and, in many cases, current – drug use isn't easy. Where do you draw the line between being a hypocrite and protecting your kids?
Matthew Rothschild. Mercury Rising

Posted by Eric at 09:56 PM | Comments (6)

More Delay Corruption Evidence

Involving Delay's Americans for a Republican Majority. Houston Chronicle with the news:

U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's federal leadership political fund apparently coordinated with a Texas committee to deliver $23,000 in contributions to Texas House candidates, according to documents filed in a civil lawsuit.


The documents draw DeLay's Americans for a Republican Majority deeper into the ongoing controversy over whether Texans for a Republican Majority illegally used corporate money to help finance the GOP takeover of the Texas House in 2002. Republicans contend the money was spent legally.

DeLay, R-Sugar Land, and his aides have maintained that TRMPAC had nothing to do with his leadership political committee, ARMPAC, though some of his associates worked for both. But the new documents show a working relationship between the groups.

DeLay's relationship to TRMPAC was that of a loose advisory position. ARMPAC is his official leadership committee he uses to raise money for congressional candidates across the United States to help him maintain his position in the House.

The documents also raise questions about whether ARMPAC used corporate funds to raise the money delivered to the Texas candidates. Such use of corporate money for candidates has been at the core of civil lawsuits and criminal investigations into TRMPAC.

And, because I always like bringing up what an ass Tom Delay is, here's this flashback:
He and Quayle, DeLay explained to the assembled media in New Orleans, were victims of an unusual phenomenon back in the days of the undeclared Southeast Asian war. So many minority youths had volunteered for the well-paying military positions to escape poverty and the ghetto that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like himself. Satisfied with the pronouncement, which dumbfounded more than a few of his listeners who had lived the sixties, DeLay marched off to the convention.

Posted by Eric at 01:32 PM | Comments (1)

Rummy v. Reality

From the Progress Report:

"[T]he fact of the matter is that there are 130,200 who have been trained and equipped – no matter what [Sen. Joseph Biden] says. That's a fact.… [T]he idea that that number's wrong is just not correct. The number is right."

-- Sec. Rumsfeld, 2/2/05

VERSUS

"U.S. government agencies do not report reliable data on the extent to which Iraqi security forces are trained and equipped. … The reported number of security forces overstates the number actually serving."

-- Government Accountability Office, 3/14/05

Posted by Eric at 01:26 PM | Comments (2)

Study: Civil Unions Help Conn Budget

"A new study shows that the state budget would benefit from such a move." More:

The study, released by two national think tanks on Tuesday, estimates that the state would save at least $3 million per year and as much as $13 million if same-sex couples could marry. And providing civil unions would result in more than $2 million per year in savings, it found.

The study, conducted by the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies and the Williams Project of University of California Law School, found several sources of savings for the state budget. The biggest savings would come from decreasing the number of individuals needing and being eligible for means-tested state benefit programs, thereby saving the state money. Marriage and civil unions mean a spouse's income is included when determining eligibility for state benefit programs.

The state will also see a boost to its wedding and tourist businesses that could bring in almost $2 million per year in sales tax revenues. "We've seen a lot of spending by same-sex couples on weddings in Massachusetts, and Connecticut couples are also likely to spend thousands of dollars if they could marry," notes economist and study coauthor M.V. Lee Badgett. "Out-of-state couples would also travel to Connecticut to marry, bringing in millions of dollars to the state's businesses and millions in sales tax revenues to the state."

Posted by Eric at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

Paper Comm, Wed

Bill Gallagher. BUSH CONTINUES TO ALIENATE WORLD
StarTrib. Busted abroad?/No more World Court aid
Harold Meyerson. Tackling Arnold
NYT. And Now, the Counterfeit News
Jack Heyman. Defending labor's right to protest the war
Kathleen Beckett. We still haven't learned lesson of activist's death
Margaret Krome. Bush and GOP budget force immoral choices
Derrick Z. Jackson. The season of renewal
Robert Kuttner. Democrats asleep at the wheel
Andres Martinez. Truth Is, Bush's Propaganda Hurts the U.S.
LAT. Stiffing Technical Education
LAT. Energy Non-Policy
Cindy Richards. Bush's cheap sex ed no bargain

Posted by Eric at 09:34 AM | Comments (3)

March 15, 2005

Hannity Overstates Minority Support for Social Security Plan

Some may even say he lied ... Media Matters with Hannity:

On the March 14 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity overstated public support for President Bush's proposal to partially privatize Social Security by declaring that "African-Americans, in huge numbers, Hispanic-Americans ... like the idea of this choice."
Alright, so the huge numbers:
In fact, recent polling indicates that: (1) a plurality of African-Americans oppose private accounts for younger workers; (2) there has been a significant drop in support for such privatization among both groups; and (3) opposition to private accounts by both African-Americans and Hispanics increases when the less desirable potential consequences of privatization are mentioned.

According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted February 16-21, 49 percent of African-Americans oppose "Allowing younger workers to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in private retirement accounts" compared to 36 percent who favor doing so. While 48 percent of Hispanics support the option of private accounts compared to 34 percent opposed, that support is down 18 percentage points from 66 percent in a December 2004 Pew poll.

Further, a Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies/AARP poll conducted January 15-23 indicated that strong majorities of Hispanics and African Americans oppose privatization when the less desirable potential effects of such a plan are also mentioned in the poll question

Posted by Eric at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

Bush Followed Everywhere By Line Of Baby Ducks

From the Onion: Ha.

Posted by Eric at 10:25 PM | Comments (1)

John Bolton, Niger and Uranium

Oh my!, link via Bold Print. A clippity clip:

Waxman is basically blowing the whistle on the administration's extravagant use of "sensitive but unclassified" designations on official acts to block public access to and transparency of government policymaking.

On pages 5-7, Waxman reveals that John Bolton promulgated the Niger-Uranium fiction at the State Department despite rejection of this claim by State Department and CIA intelligence analysts.

Waxman then argues that not only did Bolton and his people then try and conceal Bolton's role in pushing the Niger-Uranium agenda by marking the material "sensitive but unclassified" and blocking it in case of a Freedom of Information Act request, the State Department actually LIED TO CONGRESS about John Bolton's role.

Is there any job Bolton is more qualified for, besides master of the universe? Taipei Times editorial with what it all means:
Bolton, a long time critic of the UN and currently the State Department's top diplomat for weapons nonproliferation, has been outspoken in blasting the organization for being ineffective and not conducive to US interests.

"There is nobody in the [Bush] administration that takes the issue of United Nations reform more seriously than John Bolton and you can be sure he will not shy away from speaking his mind," said Brett Schaefer, a diplomatic analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank.

Bush's selection surprised officials at the UN and in Europe at a time when he is trying to rehabilitate trans-Atlantic alliances badly damaged during his first four years in office over the Iraq War. It reinforces the perception that Bush is a unilateralist unconcerned with the views of the US' closest friends.

Bolton is known for speaking his mind and is strongly supported by Vice President Dick Cheney, who lobbied for his position in the State Department over the objections of the more moderate and then-secretary of state Colin Powell.

US conservatives, especially within Congress, have been pushing for change at the UN, and for years blocked the payment of US dues until after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Bolton has long shared their view, emphasizing in 1994 the importance of the US in leading the world, rather than the UN that can rarely agree on a single policy, leaving it incapable of acting decisively.

And Ian Williams on the "perverse UN pick."

Posted by Eric at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)

Online Comm, Tuesday

Matthew Yglesias. Nuts and Bolton - The U.N. needs to be reformed, not destroyed, as John Bolton seems intent on doing
mediamatters. Memo to 700 Club's Brody: 7 out of 68 congresswomen is not "many"
mediamatters. David Horowitz's "academic" standards: Under fire, right-wing campus watchdog admits Colorado exam story is phony after accusing Media Matters of slander
David Axe. Sending In the Reserves: Stretched thin—and past the breaking point—with jittery Guard troops and reservists in Iraq
Vincent L Guarisco. 'Don't fall victim to Bush's cash crop: War'
Juan Cole. Fallujah, Tent City, Awaits Compensation
Lourdes A. Rivera. Medicaid: Supporting Women's Health
John Irons. Congress Proposes Tax, Medicaid Cuts
John Feffer. All democracy, all the time: A new bill proposes to rid the world of dictators by 2025. But critics deride it as a pie-in-the-sky cover for Bush's failures
Robert Bryce. Running on empty The leading energy analysts who foretold Enron's demise have an alarming new claim: The world's major oil companies are almost tapped out
Andrew Leonard. Idiots in the boardroom: Kurt Eichenwald's absorbing new book offers us a look inside Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling's thoughts and private conversations as Enron sank. But it doesn't tell us if they were sinners or just fools -- or what the Enron saga says about American business
tomdispatch. Tomgram: Chalmers Johnson, Coming to Terms with China
Erik Leaver. $225 Billion And No Exit Plan
Paul Waldman. Washington's Two-Headed Pig
Andrew Christie. The Death of Environmentalism? Mr. Kristof's Kool-Aid
Tom Turnipseed . A Scofflaw in the White House: Undermining Respect for Law
David Corn. Karen Hughes: Bush's Spinner to the World: W. appoints a political hack-loyalist to sell the US abroad. Do you feel safer?
Katrina vanden Heuvel. Sunshine Is the Best Disinfectant
John Nichols. The Trials of Tony Blair; Brits aren't happy with the war, lies and political schemes of "Bush's lapdog."
Matthew Rothschild. Judge Kramer Affirms Same-Sex Marriage
Michael Coblenz. Friend Abroad, Enemy at Home
Anne Elizabeth Moore. Operation Pocket Full of Wishes
Rick Kennedy . Banana Workers Claim Pesticide Made Them Lose Virility
Jared Bernstein. Ballad of the Beast-Starvers
Karen Rosenberg. The Real Choices Women Make
Parker Blackman. Neo-Conservative: Say What?

Posted by Eric at 09:36 PM | Comments (0)

Odd Economics

Link via Eschaton, another Halliburton folly; Houston Chronicle:

Iraq needed fuel. Halliburton Co. was ordered to get it there — quick. So the Houston-based contractor charged the Pentagon $27.5 million to ship $82,100 worth of cooking and heating fuel.

In the latest revelation about the company's oft-criticized performance in Iraq, a Pentagon audit report disclosed Monday showed Halliburton subsidiary KBR spent $82,100 to buy liquefied petroleum gas, better-known as LPG, in Kuwait and then 335 times that number to transport the fuel into violence-ridden Iraq.

Pentagon auditors combing through the company's books were mystified by this charge.

"It is illogical that it would cost $27,514,833 to deliver $82,100 in LPG fuel," officials from the Defense Contract Audit Agency noted in the report.

Enter funny PR job:
Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall said the figures were taken out of context.

"The implication is definitely misleading," Hall said. "Transporting fuel into Iraq was a mission fraught with danger, which increased the prices that firms were willing to offer for transportation."

Right.

Posted by Eric at 11:35 AM | Comments (3)

Bush v. Reality

Another nice one from the Progress Report:

"The American people did not place us in office to pass on problems to future generations and future Presidents and future Congresses." – President Bush, 3/12/05

VERSUS

"[A]doption of the policies proposed by the [President's 2006 budget] would increase the deficit by $104 billion over the next five years (2006 through 2010) and $1.6 trillion over the next 10 years (2006 through 2015), compared with the deficits that would occur if there are no changes in current policies." – CBPP, 3/8/05

Posted by Eric at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

Bush's SS Plan Fails In Another Poll

According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, "only 35 percent of Americans now saying they approve of his handling of the issue" and furthermore "A majority of elderly voters have turned against the plan for private accounts." Article:

While the White House has helped convince more than two-thirds of those polled that Social Security is heading for a crisis or possible bankruptcy without change, 56 percent disapprove of his approach, a survey of 1,001 adults conducted March 10-13 shows. By comparison, 38 percent approved of his handling of the issue and 52 percent disapproved of it in mid-December.

Moreover, 58 percent of those polled this time said the more they hear about Bush's plan, the less they like it. The latest polling, combined with detailed interviews last week, shows that Bush's drive to significantly alter the 70-year-old national insurance program has run into significant hurdles with every age cohort.

A majority of elderly voters have turned against the plan for private accounts, even though the White House has assured them it would have no impact on their Social Security benefits. Younger workers, who have the most to gain, also tend to be the most difficult to mobilize, according to interviews. And many middle-aged workers are faced with the reality that there would not be enough time before their retirement to gain much financial benefit from the new approach.

The poll data.

Previously: USAT Poll: Social Security plan support drops

AP: Poll Bad News for Bush on Social Security

Posted by Eric at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

ABC v. NBC

Amusing TVNewser item about an ABC booker who was so mad at his NBC counterpart that .... :

Atlanta police handcuffed Good Morning America booker Mike Nagel this morning after complaints about his disorderly conduct, TVNewser has learned. Nagel was trying to interrupt NBC's interview with Atlanta hostage Ashley Smith this morning. (And some of it happened on-air: does anyone have screen grabs from 'Today?') Here's how the incident unfolded, according to sources at both networks:

ABC, really, really wanted an exclusive interview with Smith. And they thought they had it: They were under the impression that they were the only network morning show with the Smith interview. But Smith's attorney had arranged for NBC's 'Today' show to pre-tape an interview with her prior to 7am. Then she would walk around the corner to ABC's bureau for a live chat on GMA ... From an e-mailer: "I saw the 'Today Show' interview this morning with guy on cell phone in background clearly being disruptive and eventually being led away by police. I just thought it was some psycho wanting to get on TV..."

Video at the link.

Posted by Eric at 09:41 AM | Comments (1)

Mount Kilimanjaro: Global Warming Evidence?

From Reuters:

A photo of Mount Kilimanjaro stripped of its snowcap for the first time in 11,000 years will be used as dramatic testimony for action against global warming as ministers from the world's biggest polluters meet on Tuesday ... "We are breaking climate change out of the environment box. This crisis affects all of us. This is a global challenge and we need real leadership to address these major problems -- and these ministers can give that leadership," he told Reuters.

The pictures include one of Kilimanjaro almost bare of its icecap because of global warming, and coastal defences in the Marshall Islands threatened with swamping from rising sea levels.

Pictures in the article.

Posted by Eric at 09:35 AM | Comments (8)

Paper Comm, Tuesday

Helen Thomas. Women in armed forces saluted
Daytona NJ. Good grief: Bill stifles academic discourse
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Children in poverty / The world's richest nation should be embarrassed
USAT. Terror suspects are buying guns — and it's perfectly legal
Joseph Stiglitz. This war needs the right general
SeattlePI. Drilling: Oil, budget don't mix
SeattlePI. Propaganda: Masquerading as news
StarTrib. Cost-shifting/Slow down on Medicaid cuts
E. J. Dionne Jr. Rolling the Dice on a GOP Rift
NYT. House Ethics in Deep Rough: The lack of an honest, unhindered ethics investigation process in the House may come back to haunt its leading Republicans
NYT. More Energy Follies
SFC. Filibusters and fair play
Paul Krugman. The $600 Billion Man
Marie Cocco. If TV is too nasty, parents, turn it off
Dave Zweifel. Sunshine laws keep democracy healthy
Capital Times. Bolton choice wrong for U.N., U.S.
Derrick Z. Jackson. Gun victims need more than prayers
Robert Scheer. The Bankruptcy Bill: a Tutorial in Greed
Jesse Jackson. Bush setting U.S. up for financial fall

Posted by Eric at 06:38 AM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2005

Delay Scandals

Having trouble keeping up with all the dirty corruption Tom Delay's been up to? Have no fear: the thinkprogress guide is here.

Posted by Eric at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

Online Comm, Monday

Miriam Axel-Lute. The Countercultural Christians: Catholic Workers live in voluntary poverty, refuse to incorporate, take the homeless into their homes, and fight for social justice. They turn the left's idea of Christianity on its head -- and shake things up within Catholicism at the same time.
Eartha Melzer. Trafficking in Politics; Bush's strong rhetoric on sex slavery masks policy failures
democracynow. State Propaganda: How Government Agencies Produce Hundreds of Pre-Packaged TV Segments the Media Runs as News
Matthew Rothschild. Khalilzad and the Neocon Cabal
mediamatters. Fund distorted the facts to defend his, Hume's distortions of FDR
Laura Miller. The Fix Behind Fixing Social Security
John Ross. Wal-Mart à la Mexicana
Geov Parrish. Two Years Out: After Two Years, Americans Need to Demonstrate Against an Insane and Destructive War
Suzanne Goldenberg. P.R. fiasco on Guantanamo: A judge rules prisoners cannot be transferred to Yemen as the Pentagon confirms allegations that four female interrogators sexually humiliated detainees at the base
Eric Boehlert. Ari Fleischer: Still saying nothing after all these years
Nicole Duarte. Hillary Faces the Rising Threat of Lesbian-Baiting
Ari Berman. ANWR Is Not the Answer
John Sifton. GIs Against Torture
Tim Vanderpool. Business Over Biology: Recent survey results found for every five Fish And Wildlife Service scientists, at least one has been directed to exclude or alter information from a USFWS document. Critics say pro-business power has run amok at the agency
Chris Mooney. Dreckonomics: Misrepresenting the science of mercury pollution isn't enough for Bush & Co. They’ve got to fake the economics, too

Posted by Eric at 06:44 PM | Comments (5)

America's 12 Most Threatened Wildlands

And hey - some have money written all over them. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" supported NRDC:

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) today announced its 2005 BioGems, the dozen most endangered natural places in the Americas. Over the coming year, the BioGems initiative, NRDC's international campaign to protect the Western Hemisphere's imperiled wilderness, will mobilize citizen action to defend these 12 extraordinary areas, ranging from the arctic to the southern reaches of South America.

This year, NRDC is adding two sites of critical importance for whales, porpoises and other marine mammals to its annual list. The new BioGems, in the Upper Gulf of California in Mexico and on the Patagonia Coast of Chile, join 10 other BioGems from 2004, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Cumberland Plateau in the Southeastern United States ... Even as NRDC fights in Congress to preserve the Arctic Refuge, it will take legal action to block drilling in its neighbor, the Western Arctic Reserve, home to polar bears, 3,500 beluga whales, several caribou herds, and tens of millions of nesting shorebirds and waterfowl. The organization also will counter the administration's attempt to open the untouched wildlands of the Yellowstone-Greater Rockies and Utah's Redrock Wilderness to 50,000-pound thumper trucks, roadbuilding, truck traffic, pipelines, and complexes of drill pads. (For more information about the Redrock Wilderness, click here.)

In southeast Alaska, NRDC will continue legal action against the Bush administration for excluding the Tongass National Forest from a national ban on logging in wild, roadless areas, and contest timber sales in the region's spectacular landscape of 800-year old hemlocks, salmon-filled rivers, and grizzly-dotted ridges. The group also will defend the maple, hickory, and oak forests of the Cumberland Plateau, stretching from West Virginia and Kentucky to Tennessee and Alabama, by pressuring major paper buyers to stop purchasing paper made with virgin timber from the plateau. (For more information on the Cumberland Plateau, click here.)

In the Everglades, NRDC is pursuing courtroom action to block a series of massive limestone mines, approved by the Bush administration, that threaten to destroy 30 square miles of critical wildlife habitat and contaminate the drinking water used by 1 million people.

Saucy nature pictures here. Not safe for work!

Posted by Eric at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)

Bankruptcy Bill Said to Hit Poorest Americans Hardest

OneWorld.net: "Millions of Americans could be plunged into financial ruin if a bill giving credit card companies long-sought relief from unpaid loans gets final Congressional approval, a broad array of consumer protection, economic justice, and civil rights groups warned."

Posted by Eric at 08:09 AM | Comments (5)

Fox News: Lots of Opinion

Finds a Project for Excellence in Journalism study:

Fox was measurably more one-sided than the other networks, and Fox journalists were more opinionated on the air. The news channel was also decidedly more positive in its coverage of the war in Iraq, while the others were largely neutral. At the same time, the story segments on the Fox programs studied did have more sources and shared more about them with audiences ... Fox journalists were even more prone to offer their own opinions in the channel's coverage of the war in Iraq. There 73% of the stories included such personal judgments. On CNN the figure was 2%, and on MSNBC, 29%.

The same was true in coverage of the Presidential election, where 82% of Fox stories included journalist opinions, compared to 7% on CNN and 27% on MSNBC.

Those findings seem to challenge Fox's promotional marketing, particularly its slogan, "We Report. You Decide."

Read more.

Posted by Eric at 07:24 AM | Comments (0)

Paper Comm, Monday

Robert James Parsons. Bush's nominee for U.N. envoy has already irritated the world
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Fools rush in / Allowing religious discrimination is wrong
Daytona NJ. Armed and dangerous; NRA-backed gun bill deadly for Florida
Naomi Klein. Brand USA is in trouble, so take a lesson from Big Mac
SeattlePI. Iraq War: Another fatal mistake
StarTrib. Not again/Reject antigay amendment
StarTrib. Let sunshine in/Too many secrets in government
Frank Rich. The Greatest Dirty Joke Ever Told
Robert Freeman. Stop the stampede
NYT. A Travel Advisory: The White House's decision to withdraw the right to consular help by the World Court could imperil Americans abroad
NYT. Medicaid in the Cross Hairs
BETTY LOU R.TERRY. Before Social Security
SFC. How a bad bill becomes law
Sheryl McCarthy. Echoes of the '60s - a scuffle with protesters

Posted by Eric at 06:37 AM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2005

Who is John Bolton?

Someone who has no respect for international law and organizations - so it's a good thing he's going to be our rep to the United Nations!

He has been called a "treaty-killer" and a "guided missile."[i] He is known as the "undersecretary for chads" and the "anti-diplomat."[ii] Recently he called concerns over how many nuclear weapons North Korea possesses "quibbling." [iii] And, former Sen. Jesse Helms thinks of him as "the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at the gates of Armageddon."[iv] And, if President Bush has his way, John Bolton will now answer to the title of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

At first blush, the choice may seem odd. After all, before entering the Bush administration in 2001, Bolton was infamous as a right-wing ideologue opposed to anything and everything that smacked of U.S. cooperation with or support for the United Nations. "If [the UN Secretariat building] lost 10 stories,” Bolton once quipped, “it wouldn't make a bit of difference." ... Though many on the left of the aisle do not agree with his views, few can claim him as incompetent. Indeed, Bolton has been effective: in his first one-and-a half years in office the U.S. pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty with Russia, scuttled a protocol to the biological-weapons ban, ousted the head of the organization that oversees the chemical-weapons treaty, watered down an accord on small-arms trafficking and refused to submit the nuclear test-ban treaty for Senate ratification.[xv]

Posted by Eric at 04:33 PM | Comments (4)

Post War Planning

That would have been nice, eh? NYT:

In the weeks after Baghdad fell in April 2003, looters systematically dismantled and removed tons of machinery from Saddam Hussein's most important weapons installations, including some with high-precision equipment capable of making parts for nuclear arms, a senior Iraqi official said this week in the government's first extensive comments on the looting.

The Iraqi official, Sami al-Araji, the deputy minister of industry, said it appeared that a highly organized operation had pinpointed specific plants in search of valuable equipment, some of which could be used for both military and civilian applications, and carted the machinery away.

Here's your ironic moment:
The threat posed by these types of facilities was cited by the Bush administration as a reason for invading Iraq, but the installations were left largely unguarded by allied forces in the chaotic months after the invasion.

Posted by Eric at 07:03 AM | Comments (1)

March 12, 2005

Politics Interfering with Science

From a report / survey issued back in February about "1,400 USFWS biologists, ecologists, botanists and other science professionals working in Ecological Services field offices across the country." The survey, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, found:

Nearly half of all respondents whose work is related to endangered species scientific findings (44 percent) reported that they "have been directed, for non-scientific reasons, to refrain from making jeopardy or other findings that are protective of species." One in five agency scientists revealed they have been instructed to compromise their scientific integrity—reporting that they have been "directed to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information from a USFWS scientific document,"
such as a biological opinion;

More than half of all respondents (56 percent) knew of cases where "commercial interests have inappropriately induced the reversal or withdrawal of scientific conclusions or decisions through political intervention;" and

More than two out of three staff scientists (70 percent) and nearly nine out of 10 scientist managers (89 percent) knew of cases "where U.S. Department of Interior political appointees have injected themselves into Ecological Services determinations." A majority of respondents also cited interventions by members of Congress and local officeholders.

Posted by Eric at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)

When the WSJ Editorial Page Lies

This football player cries (no, not really). Media Matters:

A Wall Street Journal editorial attempted to deflect criticism of the Bush administration's use of "extraordinary rendition" -- the practice of transferring terrorism suspects to countries known for using torture in interrogations -- by claiming baselessly that "the Clinton Administration used the rendering practice with the avowed expectation that suspects would be tortured, or worse" [emphasis in original]. In the process, the Journal revived the long-discredited allegation that "the government of Sudan offered to deliver Osama bin Laden (then living in Khartoum) into U.S. custody" during the Clinton administration.
The WSJ has a nice history of lying about those who don't agree with them.

You can even go to lying - old school.

Posted by Eric at 12:49 PM | Comments (3)

Study: President's Budget to Increase Deficits by $1.6 Trillion Over Ten Years

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities study:

The analysis of the President’s budget released on March 4 by the Congressional Budget Office confirms that the President’s budget does not reduce the deficit.[1] In fact, according to CBO, adoption of the policies proposed by the President would increase the deficit by $104 billion over the next five years (2006 through 2010) and $1.6 trillion over the next 10 years (2006 through 2015), compared with the deficits that would occur if there are no changes in current policies.

The bulk of this increase in projected deficits was hidden in the President’s budget, because that budget only showed deficits through 2010. Although it was clear to observers that the tax cuts proposed by the Administration would push deficits up after 2010, the CBO estimates show for the first time how large the increases in the deficit would be in the five years following the years shown in the President’s budget ...

More.

Posted by Eric at 10:56 AM | Comments (5)

March 11, 2005

Sarbanes to Retire

WPost:

His departure signals the unofficial start of a wide-open season in Maryland politics to succeed him, a race that could also have ramifications on next year's governor's race.

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) and Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D), both of whom have been angling to run for governor in 2006, now have another option available to them.

The race is also expected to appeal to Democratic congressmen Albert Wynn, Chris Van Hollen and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberg, who has already announced that he is starting an exploratory committee for the race.

Kweisi Mfume, a former Democratic congressman who recently stepped down from the presidency of the NAACP in January, issued a statement today praising Sarbanes and announcing he will hold a news conference Monday about his plans.

"You can expect a crowded Democratic primary," said James Gimpel, a political science professor at the University of Maryland. "You could have five candidates."

The district will likely go to a Democrat, however: "Gimpel said the seat is attractive to Democrats because it is so safe in a state where they outnumber registered Republicans roughly 2-to1"

Posted by Eric at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

Marijuana Arrests in the United States

Via Talk Left, a "comprehensive study reporting and analyzing national arrest data between 1995 and 2002." See NORML.

Posted by Eric at 05:51 PM | Comments (0)

Online Comm, Friday

NRDC. NRDC'S 2005 BIOGEMS: TWELVE MOST THREATENED WILDLANDS IN THE AMERICAS
EPI. Top earners get Social Security windfall, others get the bill
Joseph L. Galloway. Remembering All Those Arguments Made 1,500 Deaths Ago
Ruth Conniff. Standing Their Ground
Eric Alterman. The New Content Commissars
Jules Witcover. The Unintended Consequences of Bush's War
Robert C. Byrd. A Cry for Freedom in the U.S. Senate
democracynow. Juan Cole and Osama Siblani on Middle East Politics, U.S. Media Coverage of the Region, and the Arab American Landscape
Angelique Chrisafis. Sister act The five siblings of Robert McCartney vow to keep fighting for justice in Belfast, and force the IRA to change its ways, so that their brother will not have died in vain
Mitchell Prothero. Not the "people power" Bush had in mind
Geov Parrish. Triumph of the neocons
Ed Halter. Over There: Documentarians bring the real war back home
Katrina vanden Heuvel. Sweet Victory: Yo Quiero Justice!
David Corn. Bush Gives the UN the Finger
Liza Featherstone. Race to the Bottom: Wal-Mart hopes to defeat its opponents by exploiting their racial divisions
Joshua Brown. Life During Wartime: Moral Bankruptcy
Jack Rasmus. Who Benefits? The big winners of Private Investment Accounts
Christopher D. Cook. Plowing for Profits: U.S. agribusiness eyes Iraq's fledgling markets
MediaMatters. Fox News reporter echoed Hannity's misleading claims on ANWR drilling
Robert B. Reich. It's the Wages, Stupid: A consumption tax would be the wrong way to boost national savings
David Lieber. Armed and Dangerous : The NRA squashed legislation that would have helped keep firearms away from suspected terrorists
Kelly Hearn. Chemical Soup and Federal Loopholes
Naomi Klein. Can Democracy Survive Bush's Embrace?

Posted by Eric at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

Paper Comm, Friday

Paul Krugman. Slanting Social Security: This year's trustees report on Social Security will have to be read with an eye to the ways it will try to mislead
NYT. They're Back, and Still Unworthy: The federal judiciary deserves better than President Bush's judicial nominees
Lance Dickie. Weakening Social Security for the 21st century
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. U.N. pit bull / The United States can do better than Bolton
Houston Chron. With unilateralist pique, the Bush administration has turned its back on sound international law. Americans traveling abroad, beware
Al Neuharth. Guard's 'draft' duty in Iraq is backfiring
USAT. 30% interest rates: Sound business or loan sharking?
Simon Tisdall. Global sheriff slowly gaining on US
Ari Melber. Dean offers new ideas to Democrats
Helen Thomas. Bush makes wrong choice for U.N.
StarTrib. Gun checks/No denying suspected terrorists
Wisconsin State Journal. Senate should reject bankruptcy bill
John Nichols. Let other nations decide their own fates
Jonathan Chait. It's an Open-and-Shut Case: Being willing to entertain the idea of ruining Social Security is no virtue
LAT. Torture by Proxy

Posted by Eric at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)

Members of Congress Addicted to Porn

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Posted by Eric at 01:36 AM | Comments (1)

March 10, 2005

Bush Budget Doesn't Represent American Opinion

Finds PIPA study: "American public would significantly alter the Bush administration’s recently proposed federal budget"

The most dramatic changes were deep cuts in defense spending, a significant reallocation toward deficit reduction, and increases in spending on education, job training, reducing reliance on oil, and veterans. These changes were favored by both Republicans and Democrats, though the changes were generally greater for Democrats.

Sixty-one percent of respondents redirected some funds to reducing the budget deficit, with the mean respondent reallocating $36 billion (Democrats $39.4 billion, Republicans $29.6 billion), though they were not told anything about the size of the deficit.

Defense spending received the deepest cut, being cut on average 31%—equivalent to $133.8 billion—with 65% of respondents cutting. The second largest area to be cut was the supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan, which suffered an average cut of $29.6 billion or 35%, with two out of three respondents cutting. Also cut were transportation (cut $12.6 billion or 18%), federal administration of justice ($8.7 billion or 21%), and space research and science ($1.2 billion or 5%). Majorities of 53-58% of respondents favored cuts in each of these cases.

The largest increases were for social spending. Spending on human capital was especially popular including education which was increased $26.8 billion (39%) and job training and employment which was up $19 billion or a remarkable 263%. Medical research was upped on average $15.5 billion (53%). Veterans benefits were raised 40% or $12.5 billion and housing went up 31% or $9.3 billion. In most cases clear majorities favored increases (education 57%, job training 67%, medical research 57%, veteran’s benefits 63%), though only 43% of respondents favored increases for housing.

And this on the UN:
In contrast to the large cuts to defense spending in the budget exercise, respondents made substantial increases to forms of soft power. The UN and UN peacekeeping received one of the largest percentage increases—going up an average of 207% or $4.8 billion. Spending on economic and humanitarian aid went up an average of $3.2 billion or 23%, military aid went up $4.7 billion or 53% and the State Department went up an average of $3.2 billion, also 53%. However, in all these cases it was an enthusiastic minority (25-39%) that was driving these increases.

Posted by Eric at 05:39 PM | Comments (1)

ThinkProgress 'Interviews' Jerry Falwell

What would Jesus do? Wreck the planet, and all of its little creatures; from Think Progress:

Q: Reverend Falwell, what is your opinion on the issue of global warming?
A: “I drive a GMC Suburban. And I have since the early ’70s. My wife drives one… I believe that global warming is a myth. And so, therefore, I have no conscience problems at all and I’m going to buy a Suburban next time.” [CNN, 11/20/02]

Q: But if global warming is a myth, as you say, what is the reasoning behind scientific experts who have stated that this phenomenon is a fact?
A: “The whole thing is created to destroy America’s free enterprise system and our economic stability.” [CNN, 11/20/02]

Q: And you really believe that the polluting practices of humans are having no effect on Planet Earth?
A: “It is God’s planet…and he’s taking care of it. And I don’t believe that anything we do will raise or lower the temperature one point.” [MSNBC, 12/3/02]

Grist touched on this subject a little while ago:
Many Christian fundamentalists feel that concern for the future of our planet is irrelevant, because it has no future. They believe we are living in the End Time, when the son of God will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire. They may also believe, along with millions of other Christian fundamentalists, that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed -- even hastened -- as a sign of the coming Apocalypse ... People under the spell of such potent prophecies cannot be expected to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth when the droughts, floods, and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the Apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the Rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a Word?

Many End-Timers believe that until Jesus' return, the Lord will provide. In America's Providential History, a popular reconstructionist high-school history textbook, authors Mark Beliles and Stephen McDowell tell us that: "The secular or socialist has a limited resource mentality and views the world as a pie ... that needs to be cut up so everyone can get a piece." However, "the Christian knows that the potential in God is unlimited and that there is no shortage of resources in God's Earth. The resources are waiting to be tapped." In another passage, the writers explain: "While many secularists view the world as overpopulated, Christians know that God has made the earth sufficiently large with plenty of resources to accommodate all of the people."

Posted by Eric at 04:57 PM | Comments (4)

ABC Censor Show on Censorship

Call up Alanis Morissette, we got an irony a cookin:

Case in point: the next episode of Boston Legal, to be broadcast Sunday March 13 on the Disney-owned ABC network. AlterNet has acquired both the original and the revised script for this episode from a source who prefers to remain anonymous. The original penned by Kelley focused in large measure on Fox News and its loofah-loving star Bill O'Reilly. The script also featured substantial excerpts from the independent film Outfoxed, which documents how the allegedly "fair and balanced" cable channel acts as a propaganda arm for the Republican Party and other conservative interest groups.

But the final script – the one that was actually shot for the show that will appear on Sunday – has been thoroughly scrubbed on orders from top ABC network executives, and all mention of Fox News and O’Reilly has been sent down the Memory Hole.

Why was the original script, which ironically centered on issues of free speech, censored?

Kelley won’t say why the changes were made – and no one at his production company, his producing partner 20th Century Fox, ABC or even Fox News is talking.

You can read what they cut out in the article.

Speaking of Bill O'Reilly, as reader Kevin R emails, given O'Reilly's love of boycotting the French, will he now call for restrictions on American Lance Amstrong?

Posted by Eric at 04:27 PM | Comments (3)

March 07, 2005

Program Note

Due to an obscene amount of school work for midterms (I am graduating this term), I will return posting on Friday. Also, the comments are apparently broken - yeah, I'll fix that soon ...

Posted by Eric at 05:26 AM | Comments (5)

March 03, 2005

Paper Comm, Thursd

DaytonaNJ. Wise choices in pregnancy
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Sensible FCC / Private Ryan's war is hell, but not obscene
StarTrib. Social Security/Cool response to privatization
NYT. Looking the Other Way: The Bush administration's annual report on human rights violations looks away from American involvement in the mistreatment it decries
John Nichols. Vermont's anti-war drive a model
USAT. Prosecutor's request threatens privacy of abortion records
LAT. Kansas Inquisition
LAT. The Best Television Filter
Thomas Oliphant. On death penalty, Scalia's consistency shines
Ellen Goodman. Martha's makeover
Jonathan Zimmerman. The White House and world opinion

Posted by Eric at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

Immigrants to Wear Electronic Anklets

See Morning Edition:

The Department of Homeland Security is experimenting with a controversial new method to keep better track of immigrants who are applying to remain in the United States. It is requiring aliens in eight cities to wear electronic monitors 24 hours a day.

The ankle bracelets are the same monitors that some rapists and other convicted criminals have to wear on parole. But the government's pilot project is putting monitors on aliens who have never been accused of a crime.

So far, the Department of Homeland Security has put electronic monitors on more than 1,700 immigrants. Victor Cerda, director of Detention and Removal Operations at Homeland Security, says the anklets will help prevent tens of thousands of immigrants who are ordered to leave the country each year from "absconding" -- going into hiding to avoid deportation.

But critics say Cerda and other Homeland Security officials have exaggerated the extent of the problem. They point to a Justice Department study that put part of the blame on immigration officials, saying they'd failed to keep adequate records to track aliens.

Talk Left has more.

Posted by Eric at 12:40 AM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2005

Topeka "Votes for Gay Rights"

Imagine that, via Bold Print:

An effort to repeal a city ordinance that protects gays from discrimination failed on Tuesday night, and a lesbian city councilwoman turned back a primary challenge by the granddaughter of the minister who orchestrated the repeal campaign.

The minister, the Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., who is known for picketing the funerals of AIDS victims, wanted to remove from the books a city ordinance that prohibits discrimination against gays in municipal hiring. The repeal, which was denied on a vote of 14,285 to 12,795, would have barred Topeka from reinstating such protections for 10 years.

A granddaughter of Mr. Phelps, Jael Phelps, was among three candidates who challenged the lesbian councilwoman, Tiffany Muller, in a nonpartisan primary.

Ms. Muller, 26, pushed for the antidiscrimination ordinance after she was appointed to fill a vacancy on the council last year.

With her second-place finish on Tuesday night, getting 1,329 votes, Ms. Muller assured herself a spot on the April general election ballot. Richard Harmon, a lawyer, finished first, with 1,935 votes, and Ms. Phelps, a 20-year-old nursing student, received just 202 votes.

BoldPrint: "Poor Fred Phelps. Looks like "God Hates You," sir."

Posted by Eric at 06:30 PM | Comments (0)

Rush Limbaugh: Lying to Demoralize Troops

See here.

Posted by Eric at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

Online Comm, Tuesd

Makani Themba-Nixon. Between Black and Right: My father's story represents the long tradition of black conservatism in this country. And if we are to truly understand the increasing number of African Americans joining their ranks, we will have to go back a lot further than this election
Amitabh Pal. The Bush Administration's Self-Made Nuclear Dilemma
ACLU. ACLU Welcomes Landmark Supreme Court Ruling Striking Down Death Penalty for Juveniles
PFAW. Boyle's Law: Keep It in the Lab
James Ridgeway. Condi's Growing Fan Club
democracynow. Sen. Leahy on Bush's Judicial Nominees: You Can't "Make The Judiciary An Arm Of The Republican Party"
Katrina vanden Heuvel. "I Am Free--To Think--To Speak" Senator Byrd takes aim at the "nuclear option."
Chris Kromm. Southern Strategies: progressives and Democrats do have a future in the South
mediamatters. Orin cherry-picked from Social Security poll to overstate support for privatization
John Podesta and John Monks. Combating the Global Mercury Problem
Lawrence J. Korb. All-Volunteer Army Shows Signs of Wear
Jeffrey Sachs. Climate Change And War
Karen Pearl. Abstinence Budget
Ray McGovern. Attacking Iran: I Know It Sounds Crazy, But...
Annalee Newitz. Build Your TV: As the FCC and the entertainment biz get ready to end home recording as we know it, a bunch of radical geeks are working on a solution or two
George Howland Jr. To Love, Honor, and Be Gay
Rachel Brahinsky. Dirty laundry: High-profile uniform company Cintas slammed for labor, billing, and environmental problems.
Robert Avila. Theater: Torture untangled “Lost” Tennessee Williams social protest play Not about Nightingales finds a young playwright feeling his powers.
Michleen Collins. Citizens Seek to Lower Mercury Levels in Vaccines
Rob Garver. Bible Bloc - The evangelical political movement is just getting started

Posted by Eric at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

Name Ann Coulter's Next Book

Winner, via Campus Progress: “Roosevelt: Wheelchair-riding, America-hating terrorist”

Other funnies:

Democracy: The Liberal Plot to Feed Your Children to the Poor

Liars: “Charity,” “Tolerance,” and Seven Other Words Liberals Just Made Up to Confuse You

Help: I’m Out Of Liberal People, Places And Organizations To Hate

Posted by Eric at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

Send Comments to Senators on Judges

Via MoveOn.org: "The Senate has the power to approve or reject judicial nominations because judges -- above all else -- must be trusted by Americans on all sides to rule fairly. So why does Bush refuse to send new nominees both parties can agree on? Because while his presidency will be over in 4 years, the judges he appoints will be on the bench for the rest of their lives. This is Bush's big push to lock in his hard right, corporate-friendly ideology for decades to come -- and that is exactly why we must not back down now."

http://www.moveonpac.org/judges/

Posted by Eric at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

Paper Comm, Wedn

Rachel Robinson and John F. Kerry. A pioneer in civil rights
Derrick Z. Jackson. The NCAA wakes up
Don Cheadle and John Prendergast. 'Never again' — again
Honolulu Advertiser. Death penalty ruling should lead the way
Floyd J. McKay. A compassionate government would embrace death with dignity
USAT. Fine symbol, wrong context
Newsday. Juvenile executions: Supreme Court’s admirable ruling bans death penalty for those under 18
Dave Zweifel. Peeved Wal-Mart closing Quebec store
Robert Kuttner. Grading Larry Summers
LAT. Hold the Confetti
NYT. Justice for Juveniles
NYT. The Court and Religion: Placing the Ten Commandments in government buildings is not free speech. It is an attempt to tie the legal system to Protestantism

Posted by Eric at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2005

Online Comm, Tuesd

Luke Turf. Payday: Manual labor is tough. Not getting paid for it is tougher
Terry Krepel. His Aim Is False: Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid deceives and distorts to defend Jeff Gannon
MediaMatters. Contrary to Coulter's website, syndicate never OK'd anti-Arab slur in recent column
ACLU. ACLU and Human Rights First Sue Defense Secretary Rumsfeld Over U.S. Torture Policies
John Nichols. Dems Forget First Amendment
David Corn. Negroponte's Sins...On Film
Garret Keizer. Left, Right, & Wrong - What’s missing from the debate over values in America
Brian Cook. Kyoto: Defeated From the Start
Sarah Posner. Secret Society: Just who is the Council for National Policy, and why isn't it paying taxes?
Stephanie Mencimer. Class-Action Warfare: Why are so many congressional Democrats voting against their own interests?
Matthew Yglesias. Freedom Plus Groceries: Americans want more than ideology. They want a government that delivers
William Rivers Pitt. The Third Stage of American Empire Molly Ivins. The return of the Swift Boat Veterans
Jeffrey Toobin. Blowing up the Senate Will Bush’s judicial nominees win with the 'nuclear option'?
EPI. Walkmans to iPods: Social Security is better equipped to provide family income protection
NRDC. Big Auto Fights California's Landmark Global Warming Law

Posted by Eric at 03:47 PM | Comments (0)

How to Lie About Filibusters

See Gary Bauer.

Posted by Eric at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)

Paper Comm, Tuesd

Jonathan Lawson. Time to retool the FCC for the public's interests
Robert Scheer. The Force Bush Won't Use on Iran
Maureen Dowd. Bush has some nerve lecturing Putin
Jesse Jackson. We must defend voting rights in America, not just Iraq
Thomas Oliphant. Einstein's century
Clarence Page. Mr. Bush, the silence on your drug use isn't helpful
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. An ocean apart / Britain becomes a model on gays in the military
Gary Younge. Cruel and usual : The outrages at Camp Breadbasket are consistent with British colonial rule - brutal, oppressive and racist
E. J. Dionne Jr. A Bill Bankrupt Of Pity
Paul Krugman. Just Say No: Even a softened version of the president's privatization plan is a bad deal

Posted by Eric at 07:53 AM | Comments (0)

1/3 Approve of Bush SS

USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll:

A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll conducted Friday-Sunday found that 35% approved of Bush's Social Security record, 56% disapproved and 9% had no opinion. That was down from three weeks ago, when 43% approved. In March 2001, just after he took office, 49% approved. (Related: Poll results)

The poll included several pieces of bad news for Bush on the issue, which he has made his top priority this year. The president traveled to eight states in February to make the case for an overhaul .... Americans are more evenly split over which is riskier: relying on Social Security to keep current benefits flowing or investing some payroll taxes in the market. Half said relying on the system's promises is less risky, while 46% said investing is preferable.

The poll showed higher public approval for AARP, the 35-million-member retiree organization that is leading the opposition to Bush's plan, than for the president. Bush's favorable rating was 56%, compared with 75% for AARP. And 47% of Americans said they trust the Democrats more to deal with the issue of Social Security, a 10-point advantage over Republicans.

Posted by Eric at 05:58 AM | Comments (0)

The Price of Swearing

From Rolling Stone:


When the Federal Communications Commission fined Clear Channel Communications $27,500 last year for each of eighteen incidents of "indecent material" spouted by shock jock Howard Stern, it sure seemed like a lot of money. But in retrospect those fines look like chump change. On February 16th, the Bush administration won House approval for a bill that would raise the maximum FCC fine to $500,000 per violation. Under the new measure, Clear Channel -- and Stern himself -- could each have been fined a total of $9 million.
"Free expression and First Amendment rights are the real target of this legislation," declared Rep. Bernie Sanders (Ind-Vt.) during the debate over the bill. "This is not what America is about."

A review of fines levied by other federal agencies suggests that the government may be taking swear words a bit too seriously. If the bill passes the Senate, Bono saying "fucking brilliant" on the air would carry the exact same penalty as illegally testing pesticides on human subjects. And for the price of Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the Super Bowl, you could cause the wrongful death of an elderly patient in a nursing home and still have enough money left to create dangerous mishaps at two nuclear reactors. (Actually, you might be able to afford four "nuke malfunctions": The biggest fine levied by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last year was only $60,000.)

If Bush has his way, Howard Stern may soon have a tough choice to make: Tell a sex joke on the air, or dump toxic waste in New York's drinking water while willfully placing an employee at risk of injury or death? No wonder the foul-mouthed host is moving to satellite radio, which falls outside the authority of the FCC.

What the fuck.

Posted by Eric at 05:44 AM | Comments (0)

TV Sleeze and Double Standards

From Bill Moyers in the Santa Barbara Indy

You write a lot about the right-wing media and right-wing Christianity. Is there a connection there, and do you find it odd that the right-wing conservative networks have led the charge in smutifying the airwaves and that they led the T&A quotient?
It’s so interesting that one of the chief critics of smut in television, Brent Bozell, who runs a right-wing media watch group [Media Research Center], is silent when it comes to the public standards of Rupert Murdoch’s sleaze empire. They do have a double standard. They are silent about the fact that it’s capitalism, and that it’s the media tycoons who are polluting the public sphere.

Posted by Eric at 05:35 AM | Comments (0)

If You Still Insist on Writing Like Jeff Gannon ...

More examples, for the peculiar plagiarist in all of us.

Posted by Eric at 05:17 AM | Comments (0)