The-Hamster.com Archives: Oct 10 - 31
The-Hamster.com Archives: Oct 10 -
Back to the-hamster.com

Friday, October 31, 2003

TheHamster.org

I was never thrilled with the hyphen in "The-Hamster.com." Though I'm sticking at this address - Google rankings, familiarity, etc - I recently bought "thehamster.org." TheHamster.org redirects to this site and is a tad easier to remember and type in. Either address - the-hamster.com or thehamster.org - works, but for the most part I'll probably start calling this site "TheHamster.org." No biggie.

Former Fox News Producer on Fox

From a Salon.com interview
When the war was just beginning or we were just sending troops over there, one of the daily memos made reference to protesters and said that we're going to be seeing a lot of protesters -- I think they used the word "whining," yes, whining -- about American bombs and American soldiers killing Iraqi citizens. "Whining" -- you've got your clue, a hint. They're whining. Yeah, tell that to the families of American soldiers that were going to die there ...

It was, I would say, about three years ago. I was assigned to do a special on the environment, some issue involving pollution. When my boss and I talked as to what this thing was all about, what they were looking for, he said to me: "You understand, you know, it's not going to come out the pro-environmental side." And I said, "It will come out however it comes out." And he said, "You can obviously give both sides, but just make sure that the pro-environmentalists don't get the last word."
Donald Luskin is a Stalker

Happy pre-Donald Luskin Is A Stalker Day (Neal Pollack has declared it on Tuesday). Can you spot Donald Luskin?











When Stupid Fox News Executives Attack

You'll remember from Thursday's post that Charlie Rena, a former Fox News producer, attacked Fox for management bias. Now, management responds:
From SHARRI BERG, VP-News Operations, Fox News Channel: Like any former, disgruntled employee, Charlie Reina has an ax to grind. He was employed at Fox News Channel for six years as the Producer of NewsWatch and of many different specials, including shows on MLK, Robert F. Kennedy, John Glenn and Newt Gingrich. During that entire period, we were unaware that anyone at Fox News was holding a metaphorical gun to his head.

Earlier this year, Mr. Reina objected to an adjustment in his assigned duties -- duties which he was qualified to perform and paid to do. That very inaction is what affects morale and sends the wrong message to the entire newsroom. If you asked any of the people he refered to as "grunts" but we refer to as "producers," "writers," "desk assistants," they resent his characterization. One of them said this morning, "Charlie actually NEVER had a job in the newsroom. He worked out of some space up on 17 or 18 reserved for overpaid feature producers on career life support. The 'grunts' knew him mainly as one of any number of clueless feature producers who would call the desk at random and ask 'do we have...' The kind of calls where after you hang up you say to the phone 'go f-k yourself.' In fact, its not editorial policy that pisses off newsroom grunts -- its people like Charlie."

How could Mr. Reina have worked at this company for six years if the picture he paints of life at Fox News is true?

Mr. Reina's premise about "the memo" is unfounded. People are proud to work here. They are proud of the product we produce and understand our daily and future goals. Among many, many others, Mr. Reina's memo has a glaring omission, in that Fox News Channel has a very low turnover rate and very high morale. In other words, people who work here WANT to work here.
Attack the person, not the argument? Why, I don't know how she fits in at Fox News. As several people write in to Romenesko:
From MATT KUZMA: As a service to your readers, here is a guide to "ad hominem" fallacies. It should come in handy when reading Ms. Berg's post [below]. From http://www.datanation.com/fallacies/attack.htm.

There are three major forms of Attacking the Person: (1) ad hominem (abusive): instead of attacking an assertion, the argument attacks the person who made the assertion.

(2) ad hominem (circumstantial): instead of attacking an assertion, the author points to the relationship between the person making the assertion and the person's circumstances.

(3) ad hominem (tu quoque): this form of attack on the person notes that a person does not practice what he preaches.

Two out of three?
From GLENN KENNY: The letter from Sharri Berg is quite a, um, remarkable document. Never mind the sub-Orwellian corporate-speak of clauses such as "adjustment in his assigned duties" and "send the wrong message." That quote from the, er, NON-grunt who resents Reina's "characterization," is, if accurate, priceless. After all, what one infers from it is that the Fox News Channel is a pretty inefficient operation. It apparently has a space on the 17th or 18th floor "reserved"(!) for "overpaid" (!!) "feature producers on career life support" (!!!). If it's "people like Charlie" who piss off the newsroom staff, why, oh why, does the Fox News Channel have such people working there in the first place?

Oh, wait, it's in the last graf-because "they WANT to." Glad to have that cleared up.
The Sharpton Factor

Al Sharpton recently said that Howard Dean has an "anti-Black agenda" and took shots at a fellow African-American, Jesse Jackson Jr, who endorsed Dean. Garance Franke-Ruta writes more about Sharpton in TAPPED. What's beneath the attacks against Dean?
The blast at Dean is also the latest piece of evidence suggesting that Sharpton is reaching the point in his campaign where he's decided to drop the gracious unifier act that has served him so well thus far, allowing him to become a favorite of Democratic debate audiences.

One of Sharpton's greatest weaknesses as an individual -- a failing that has kept him from becoming the sort of leader he aspires to be -- is that, for him, the political is always personal. That means it's unlikely that we've heard the last from him on the subject of Dean and race. A number of Dean's key advisers worked in 2001 for Mark Green, the Democratic mayoral candidate in New York City, during his acrimonious and racially charged primary face-off with Sharpton friend and Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer. Sharpton played a very divisive role in that race and eventually helped throw the general election contest to Republican Michael Bloomberg.

Sharpton's most recent attack on Dean was in reaction to reports that Jesse Jackson Jr. said he'd be endorsing Dean soon. Dean "doesn't put his finger in the air to test the wind before he takes a stand," Jackson spokesman Frank Watkins said, according to The Associated Press.

Watkins was, until recently, Sharpton's campaign manager. Earlier this month, Sharpton told MSNBC's Tom Llamas he smelled a "rat" in his campaign; Watkins abruptly left the Sharpton campaign, returning to the post he had held for seven years with Jackson Jr. Sharpton, in a press release, has now gone after Jackson Jr., as well as Dean: "Any so-called African American leader that would endorse Dean despite his anti-black record is mortgaging the future of our struggle for civil rights and social justice to back a candidate whose record on issues of critical importance to us is no better than that of George W. Bush. . . .[W]e have to overcome those in our community who would sell our priorities down the river in the name of political expediency."
The question I've always had about Sharpton is whether or not he's in the race to actually push issues and build America - and the Democratic Party - or increase his public profile. I've seen several of his 'stump' speeches, in person and on television. Sharpton speeches are heavy on rhetoric and light on policy prescriptions. Say what you want about long-shot candidates like Kucinich, at least they've inserted some interesting policy questions into the debate (Defense Department spending cuts, free trade issues, etc). Has Sharpton done that? Not really. The Democratic Party primaries are about shaping the party's agenda, and finding the best candidate to beat Bush. Does Sharpton have these goals in mind, or is he just thinking about his future profile: being the new Jesse Jackson?

Thursday, October 30, 2003

One Post Thursday

Because of work, midterms, and msc other obligations, I haven't been able to do a lot of posting the past few weeks. The sleep thing is starting to get to me, so I am taking a day off. Until then, I'll leave you with this (if you haven't already heard) about Atrios being potentially sued by a National Review editor and this from Poynter.org about Fox News.

From CHARLIE REINA: So Chris Wallace says Fox News Channel really is fair and balanced. Well, I guess that settles it. We can all go home now. I mean, so what if Wallace's salary as Fox's newest big-name anchor ends with a whole lot of zeroes? So what if he hasn't spent a day in the FNC newsroom yet?

My advice to the pundits: If you really want to know about bias at Fox, talk to the grunts who work there - the desk assistants, tape editors, writers, researchers and assorted producers who have to deal with it every day. Ask enough of them what goes on, promise them anonymity, and you'll get the real story.

The fact is, daily life at FNC is all about management politics. I say this having served six years there - as producer of the media criticism show, News Watch, as a writer/producer of specials and (for the last year of my stay) as a newsroom copy editor. Not once in the 20+ years I had worked in broadcast journalism prior to Fox - including lengthy stays at The Associated Press, CBS Radio and ABC/Good Morning America - did I feel any pressure to toe a management line. But at Fox, if my boss wasn't warning me to "be careful" how I handled the writing of a special about Ronald Reagan ("You know how Roger [Fox News Chairman Ailes] feels about him."), he was telling me how the environmental special I was to produce should lean ("You can give both sides, but make sure the pro-environmentalists don't get the last word.")

Editorially, the FNC newsroom is under the constant control and vigilance of management. The pressure ranges from subtle to direct. First of all, it's a news network run by one of the most high-profile political operatives of recent times. Everyone there understands that FNC is, to a large extent, "Roger's Revenge" - against what he considers a liberal, pro-Democrat media establishment that has shunned him for decades. For the staffers, many of whom are too young to have come up through the ranks of objective journalism, and all of whom are non-union, with no protections regarding what they can be made to do, there is undue motivation to please the big boss.

Sometimes, this eagerness to serve Fox's ideological interests goes even beyond what management expects. For example, in June of last year, when a California judge ruled the Pledge of Allegiance's "Under God" wording unconstitutional, FNC's newsroom chief ordered the judge's mailing address and phone number put on the screen. The anchor, reading from the Teleprompter, found himself explaining that Fox was taking this unusual step so viewers could go directly to the judge and get "as much information as possible" about his decision. To their credit, the big bosses recognized that their underling's transparent attempt to serve their political interests might well threaten the judge's physical safety and ordered the offending information removed from the screen as soon as they saw it. A few months later, this same eager-to-please newsroom chief ordered the removal of a graphic quoting UN weapons inspector Hans Blix as saying his team had not yet found WMDs in Iraq. Fortunately, the electronic equipment was quicker on the uptake (and less susceptible to office politics) than the toady and displayed the graphic before his order could be obeyed.

But the roots of FNC's day-to-day on-air bias are actual and direct. They come in the form of an executive memo distributed electronically each morning, addressing what stories will be covered and, often, suggesting how they should be covered. To the newsroom personnel responsible for the channel's daytime programming, The Memo is the bible. If, on any given day, you notice that the Fox anchors seem to be trying to drive a particular point home, you can bet The Memo is behind it.

The Memo was born with the Bush administration, early in 2001, and, intentionally or not, has ensured that the administration's point of view consistently comes across on FNC. This year, of course, the war in Iraq became a constant subject of The Memo. But along with the obvious - information on who is where and what they'll be covering - there have been subtle hints as to the tone of the anchors' copy. For instance, from the March 20th memo: "There is something utterly incomprehensible about Kofi Annan's remarks in which he allows that his thoughts are 'with the Iraqi people.' One could ask where those thoughts were during the 23 years Saddam Hussein was brutalizing those same Iraqis. Food for thought." Can there be any doubt that the memo was offering not only "food for thought," but a direction for the FNC writers and anchors to go? Especially after describing the U.N. Secretary General's remarks as "utterly incomprehensible"?

The sad truth is, such subtlety is often all it takes to send Fox's newsroom personnel into action - or inaction, as the case may be. One day this past spring, just after the U.S. invaded Iraq, The Memo warned us that anti-war protesters would be "whining" about U.S. bombs killing Iraqi civilians, and suggested they could tell that to the families of American soldiers dying there. Editing copy that morning, I was not surprised when an eager young producer killed a correspondent's report on the day's fighting - simply because it included a brief shot of children in an Iraqi hospital.

These are not isolated incidents at Fox News Channel, where virtually no one of authority in the newsroom makes a move unmeasured against management's politics, actual or perceived. At the Fair and Balanced network, everyone knows management's point of view, and, in case they're not sure how to get it on air, The Memo is there to remind them.


Wed, October 29, 2003

Bush Versus Bush

"Credibility comes when you say something is going to happen and then it does happen…You are not credible if you issue resolutions and then nothing happens."
- President Bush, 10/28/03

VERSUS

"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended."
- President Bush, 5/1/03

centerforamericanprogress.org

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Bill O'Reilly's Mythical Hard News Critics

Spinsanity offers its latest on Bill O'Reilly and his self-centered world. To note:
In the column, O'Reilly alleges that he is now described as a "gasbag," "bully," "liar" or "blowhard" in "hard news stories." FROM O'REILLY: For decades, they [liberals] controlled the agenda on TV news. That's over. So, they're counterattacking. My name is no longer Bill O'Reilly. It's "gasbag," "bully," "liar" and "blowhard." Those descriptions are not confined to opinion pieces but are used in hard news stories as well. There's good news, though. Never again will some news organizations be able to claim fairness or nonpartisanship. They've been exposed for all to see.
So, Spinsanity asks, who are these people calling him names?
If true, the use of these crude attacks would be astonishing proof of liberal bias. But the truth is that O'Reilly is being tricky about who is really calling him these names.

A search of the Nexis news database for "Bill O'Reilly" and each of the names O'Reilly claims he is being called over the past year reveals that hard news reporters have not applied such labels to O'Reilly without attribution. In writing about the controversy that surrounds O'Reilly, reporters have quoted statements from critics who use the terms or attributed them to critics who have expressed such a view.

In hard news stories over the past year, the words "bully," "liar" and "blowhard" have always been attributed to Al Franken, who attacks O'Reilly in his new book Lies (and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them), or other O'Reilly critics. (The terms have also appeared in various opinion, feature and review columns expressing the opinion of various authors.)

As for "gasbag," the term appeared in a Newsweek "Newsmaker" column introducing an interview with rapper Ludacris. The column also featured gossip about musician Courtney Love allegedly breaking windows at her former boyfriend's house - hardly a "hard news" story. (Again, the term was used in opinion and feature columns.)
The point, of course, is that "hard news" people have not called O'Reilly names, yet O'Reilly claims otherwise.

Al Gore Makes a Funny

"The book of the month club chose "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" to be the pick of the month, their main pick and they did it without reading it. And, it wasn't done yet. And I told Gore, they picked it without having read it, and he said, 'Well that's a good sign, because that's your target audience: people who haven't read it'." Al Franken, retelling a quote from Al Gore.

Take Action on Patriot Act

Send a free fax urging your Senators to support a bipartisan bill, S1709, that would repeal the Patriot Act's worst components. The TrueMajority.com fax also asks the Senators to oppose any of the Partriot Act II ideas Bush and Co. are carving up and dropping into other bills.

Monday, October 27, 2003

The Changing O'Reilly Time Table

From Rotten.com:
  • 5 Jun 2003 On his television show The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly declares: "Reasonable people are faced with two conclusions -- one, that the intelligence was wrong, or, two, that more time is needed to find the weapons. Talking Points just asks one thing from President Bush: an update on the situation in the next few weeks. That's a very reasonable request, and one the President must take seriously if he wants to advance the cause of the USA throughout the world. In the end, if the intelligence was faulty, some people have to be fired. If, God forbid, the intelligence was contrived, and I don't believe that, but if it is proven, then Congressional action must be taken."
  • 11 Jun 2003 On his television show The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly declares: "It is possible the President did lie, but most of the credible evidence points to wishful thinking on WMDs, rather than outright deception. By the way, the President must tell us his feelings on the guerrilla action in Iraq and the WMDs, or risk losing popularity... We the people deserve an extensive update from the President before he goes on summer vacation. This is not a partisan issue. This is a people issue. There are things we have the right to know about, and the President must tell us."
  • 31 Jul 2003 On his television show The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly declares: "We're confused about the WMDs. And Mr. Bush has an obligation to clear this up by the end of the year."
  • 8 Oct 2003 During his appearance on the National Public Radio interview program Fresh Air, Bill O'Reilly declares: "Well, certainly the WMD situation is troubling, okay. All Americans should demand within the next nine months -- before the Presidential candidate, uh candidates, really swing in -- for an explanation of what exactly happened. Americans will accept mistakes if mistakes were made honestly, but it needs to be defined by the Bush administration why the intelligence was faulty. And, uh, you know, there is no spin on that. They have to do it."
  • Insert: LOL

    The Center for American Progress has another funny.

    "Saddam Hussein is gone."
    - Secretary of State Colin Powell, 10/26/033

    VERSUS

    "Saddam is still in Iraq, he's still alive."
    - Paul Bremer, 10/26/03

    Lying Liars: Washington Times

    The Washington Times twists Mike Tomasky's Bill Clinton piece, according to Tomasky. From the online feature:

    WTIMES: "The Times account says that Clinton "offered plenty of advice to his party's declared candidates on how they could run a winning campaign, urging them to follow his own centrist playbook that won him the presidency in 1992"."
    TOMASKY: MT: You, in 1992, given where the Democratic Party had been, made certain steps in the direction of showing you were willing to reject some old nostrums. But is that as necessary a politics today as it was in 1992?
    BC: No, I think it has to be done differently today.

    WTIMES: "His lead reads, "Former President Bill Clinton says that the Democratic presidential candidates cannot win the White House if voters think they are too far to the left, according to an interview published this week"."
    TOMASKY: "Uh, as the guy who was in the room, I'm here to tell you: That is not what Clinton said. It reflects about one-third of what he said. He also said, explicitly, that Democrats should defend government and that they should accuse Republicans of practicing "class warfare." Let me summarize it like this: As we were preparing the interview for print and I was wondering how the mainstream newspapers might play it, I figured the story would be something like, "Clinton, accusing GOP of 'class warfare,' says Democrats must stroke the base as well as the center." So how did the exact opposite come out?"

    Dem Insiders Pick Dean

    First Read has this note about National Journal's presidential candidate rankings
    Mimicking college football's Top-25 polls, National Journal conducts its own poll among 50 veteran Democratic big-wigs — some affiliated with presidential candidates, some not — to see whom they think is leading the pack in the race for the nomination. The leader in the poll is Dean (with 36 first-place votes), followed by Gephardt, Kerry, Clark, Edwards, Lieberman, Kucinich, Moseley Braun, and finally Sharpton.
    Comedy Monday

    "Bush joked last week during his meeting with Schwarzenegger that they are both sometimes accused of misspeaking the language. Mr. President, he's from a foreign country." —Jon Stewart

    "Rush Limbaugh is now in rehabilitation and it's going well. It's interesting, one minute you're Rush Limbaugh, great conservative radio talk show host, and the next day you're standing in line with other patients waiting for Darryl Strawberry's autograph." —David Letterman

    "On Thursday in California, President Bush met privately with Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger. What did the pair talk about? Neither is sure." —Tina Fey

    "In California this week, grocery clerks have gone on strike. That means for the second time in two weeks, Gray Davis is out of a job." —Jimmy Fallon


    The News

    >Daily Probe. Muppets Take Baghdad.

    Halliburton, you know it's true
    Reconstruction would fail without you,
    Halliburton, America wants to thank you,
    Yes, you! You, you, you, you!

    Halliburton, joy of joys,
    All your critics make stupid noise,
    But Halliburton, we love the things you do,
    Boop boop a doop!


    >whitehouse.org. President Bush Clarifies Funeral Protocols for Protecting Iraq Combat Fatalities From Photographers, Tacky Military Ceremonies, and Pre-Fab Presidential Eulogies .
    >whitehouse.org. Lt. General William Boykin's Formal Press Q&A to Quell Fears Of Military Insensitivity to the Satanic Non-Faith of the Global Turbanista Menace .
    >The Onion. CIA-Leak Scapegoat Still At Large.
    >scrappleface.com. Online Google IPO to Use 'I'm Feeling Lucky' Button .
    >scrappleface.com. Marlins Sell Championship Trophy to Yankees.
    >Daily Kos Diaries. Memo from Saruman to Sauron re War of the Ring; Rummy Parody.

    Comics

    >Boondocks. Today's strip.
    >John Deering. Enough about Iraq.
    >Mike Keefe. Something Positive about Bush's Enviro Policy.
    >Mike Lane. President Taking in Barrels of Cash.

    Limbaugh Says Drug Addiction A Remnant Of Clinton Administration
    TheOnion.com -- WEST PALM BEACH, FL—Frankly discussing his addiction to painkillers, conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh told his radio audience Monday that his abuse of OxyContin was a "remnant of the anything-goes ideology of the Clinton Administration." "Friends, all I can say is 'I told you so,'" said Limbaugh, from an undisclosed drug-treatment facility. "Were it not for Bill Clinton's loose policies on drug offenders and his rampant immorality, I would not have found myself in this predicament." Limbaugh added that he's staying at a rehab center created by the tax-and-spend liberals.
    This week's national best-sellers, from National Lampoon.


    Sunday, October 26, 2003

    Remembering Wellstone



    Minnesotans use words, music to honor Wellstone's memory. And many still carry on the Wellstone cause.
    The work was never done, David Wellstone said. "I remember when he got a phone call late one night from a student at Carleton who was going to commit suicide. He left immediately to talk with him. He was always involved, even before he was a U.S. senator.

    "You felt you had to be trying to change the world, 'cause that's what he was out doing. As a kid, that can be tough sometimes. He had no patience for people who weren't trying to make the world a better place. He was a unique individual, with the most refined sense of integrity I have ever known."

    Now, he said, the responsibility he feels is matched by a growing sense of opportunity. "How can you let it just go when most people don't have that opportunity?" he said. "Even if you're sad, I feel compelled not to let the opportunity slip away."
    Wellstone Action.org. Twelve Years and Thirteen Days: Remembering Paul and Sheila Wellstone

    Saturday, October 25, 2003

    Republican Reviewer: O'Reilly Book a "Study in Intolerance"

    HAHAHA. Funny review. Poor Bill "I'm not a Republican, though I registered as a Republican and claimed I didn't know I checked the Republican box and shill regularly for Republicans" O'Reilly and his new book, "Ten Places to Hide Your Porn."
    Bill O'Reilly is Rush Limbaugh in overdrive. If you are as arrogant as this self-proclaimed "humble servant," you will enjoy "Who's Looking Out for You?".

    O'Reilly is angry, and so am I. My anger stems from his tirades against everyone and his pompous assumption that anyone who disagrees with him is a far-left liberal.

    I am a Republican -- at least an old-time Republican who espouses civil rights, choice for all women and the right to freedom and self-determination.

    O'Reilly's type of blather makes me want to become a Democrat ...

    Not only does he hold the moral compass, but he also is the supreme expert on foreign policy and tells us what caused the tragedy of Sept. 11 ...

    O'Reilly encourages us to meet two very powerful forces: "independence and tolerance." Too bad he can't follow his own advice.
    And this Letter to the Editor from a Republican about the review is funny as well.
    Reviewer Barbara Carlson calls herself a Republican, but she espouses her beliefs in civil rights and abortion rights. Old-time Republican hardly; she's a Democrat.
    Damn you, civil rights, damn you!

    Kyle Williams Needs to Get Out More



    Kyle Williams, the genius 14-year old conservative columnist, seems to think that Hollywood is on a tirade against guns. Even if we accept that this single movie, "Runaway Jury," is a liberal manifesto against guns, it's hard, if not stupid, to think that Hollywood in general is in the business of demeaning guns, gun owners, and gun manufacturers (who benefit from Hollywood's glamorization of guns) . Then again, considering Kyle's 14-years old, maybe he hasn't seen all those R movies (and only Bambi).

    Stupid Quote Saturday

    "Conservatives believe that man is made in God's image, and liberals think that they are God! Liberals want to create heaven on earth! They want to redistribute income, abort babies when they're unwanted, effect the 'perfect' racial balances they desire through the government and the law—and this is why the inevitable logic of their position is not to care about America! They don't consider themselves Americans! They're gods, part of a universal state!"
    Ann Coulter in Elle

    "Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, who wants to replace the Department of Defense with a Department of Peace? He is a joke and a toupe-wearing troll." Lowell Ponte in Front Page Mag

    "No one has been able to prove [Fox News is conservative]."
    Bill O'Reilly, 10/21/2003

    Friday, October 24, 2003

    By the Numbers

    From democraticaction.org.

    Jobs Lost:
    3,179,000
    (US Census Bureau projections 9/03)

    Americans Uninsured:
    43,600,000
    (US Census Bureau 2002)

    National Debt:
    $6,801,408,479,637.10
    (9/3/2003)

    (your share: $23,294.14)

    Visit democraticaction.org for more information.

    Moore - Franken Top 2

    Oh, will the wonderful bragging rights ever cease? NY Times Bestseller list for 11/02.

    1. "Dude," Michael Moore
    2. "Lies," Al Franken
    6. "Bushwhacked," Ivins
    7. "Great Unraveling," Krugman
    8. "Madam Secretary," Albright
    12. "Living History," Clinton
    17. "Stupid White Men," Moore
    28. "Lies of GW Bush," Corn

    3. "Unchained: The Pain of Explosive Diarrhea," Bill O'Reilly
    9. "My Brother's Famous," David Limbaugh
    14. "I've Never Heard of Me Either," Laura Ingraham
    25. "It's Clinton's Fault," Rich Lowry

    Dean Takes Huge Lead in NH

    In the new Zogby numbers. Now, it's a battle for second.
    Dean 40 (30)
    Undecided 19 (22)
    Kerry 17 (20)
    Clark 6 (10)
    Edwards 6 (2)
    Gephardt 4 (6)
    Lieberman 3 (5)
    Sharpton <1 (<1)
    Braun <1 (<1)
    Kucinich <1 (<1)
    EDIT: Some of the numbers from Sept. have been corrected.

    About Those Daggers



    Poynter has a discussion about those NY Times bestseller daggers and why people are fighting over them. Brief background:
    The daggers were initiated by the Times after two writers in 1995 rounded up credit cards from their co-workers to buy batches of their book in order to propel it onto the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. The strategy worked. (The supposedly confidential list of stores that report their book sales to the New York Times for the list apparently has always been the world's worst kept secret). But the daggers didn't deter bulk buyers. In 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter David Vise bought 20,000 copies of his own book, "The Bureau and the Mole," from barnesandnoble.com at a discounted rate over four weeks in January and February (and then returned 17,500 copies and demanded a refund!). This caused his rivals to accuse him of also trying to manipulate bestseller lists. Vise claimed he was buying them to offer autograph copies of his book on his website
    While I found this interesting at first, I was disturbed at the inaccurate reporting by Margo Hammond, book editor for the St. Petersburg Times. The Hardcover Non-Fiction for Oct 26 currently has PERSECUTION, by David Limbaugh, SHUT UP & SING, by Laura Ingraham and THE BURNING TIGRIS, by Peter Balakian with daggers. For some reason, the author of this article says that
    For the record, there is only one dagger attached to a book on The New York Times bestseller list for the week of October 26 (posted on the newspaper's website): David Limbaugh's "Persecution," which, according to the Times, argues that "liberals are waging a war against Christianity." The book, which has been 10 weeks on the list, came in at No. 9.
    And she makes another error. She says it's been 10 weeks on the list, but that was its position on the list last week. It's only been on the list for 3 weeks. Sloppy ...

    Matt Groening: Fox Threatened to Sue "The Simpsons"



    So he says on NPR's Fresh Air
    One of the great things we did last year was we parodied the Fox News Channel and we did the crawl along the bottom of the screen and Fox fought against it and said they would sue, they would sue the show and we called their bluff because we didn't think Rupert Murdoch would pay for Fox to sue itself so we got away with it but now Fox has a new rule that we can't do those little fake news crawls in the bottom of the screen on a cartoon because it might confuse the viewers into thinking its real news.
    Hilarious. Hilarious in a sad way. Okali dokali. This was the Fox News crawl that might confuse viewers:

    POINTLESS NEWS CRAWLS UP 37 PERCENT ... DO DEMOCRATS CAUSE CANCER? FIND OUT AT FOXNEWS.COM ... RUPERT MURDOCH: TERRIFIC DANCER ... DOW DOWN 5000 POINTS ... STUDY: 92 PERCENT OF DEMOCRATS ARE GAY ... JFK POSTHUMOUSLY JOINS REPUBLICAN PARTY ... OIL SLICKS FOUND TO KEEP SEALS YOUNG, SUPPLE ... DAN QUALYE: AWESOME ... ASHCROFT DECLARES BREAST OF CHICKEN SANDWICH "OBSCENE" ... HILLARY CLINTON EMBARRASSES SELF, NATION ... BIBLE SAYS JESUS FAVORED CAPITAL-GAINS CUT ... STAY TUNED FOR HANNITY AND IDIOT ... ONLY DORKS WATCH CNN ... JIMMY CARTER: OLD, WRINKLY, USELESS ... BRAD PITT + ALBERT EINSTEIN = DICK CHENEY ... RIGHT WING OF CHICKEN // [cut off at this point]

    Wait, was that real or fake?

    Thursday, October 23, 2003

    Hmmm ...

    Think someone is trying to send a message?
    Actor Jim Caviezel has been struck by lightning while playing Jesus in Mel Gibson's controversial film The Passion Of Christ. The lightning bolt hit Caviezel and the film's assistant director Jan Michelini while they were filming in a remote location a few hours from Rome.

    It was the second time Michelini had been hit by lightning during the shoot. Neither of them was badly hurt, according to the film's producer Steve McEveety.

    Michelini had previously been struck during filming in Matera, Italy, when he suffered light burns to his fingers after lightning hit his umbrella. Describing the second lightning strike, McEveety told VLife, a supplement of the trade paper Variety: "I'm about a hundred feet away from them when I glance over and see smoke coming out of Caviezel's ears."
    Why Bother

    Responding to Ann Coulter's latest column. Her basic point is this:
    IN AN EMERGING scandal, NBC News has produced tapes proving beyond deniability that the new deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence is ... a Christian. Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin has been captured on a series of grainy tapes, attesting to his faith at churches and prayer breakfasts. Having driven the Judeo-Christian value system out of the public square, the classrooms and the Alabama Supreme Court, liberals now want to drive it out of church.
    Yeah, THAT's the real reason why people are mad at Boykin. Democrats just want to get a Christian. Nothing to do with the US constantly saying this isn't a war against Islam, then one of our military generals says our God is better than their God. I think Coulter's column warrants this:



    Update: Pandagon has done the dirty work. Oh, and Boondocks is doing some investigative reporting on Coulter. Eh?

    Slightly Troubling Statistics For Democrats

    According to Harvard's Institute of Politics, college kids support Bush at a higher rate than the general public.
    They are generally supportive of President Bush. Sixty-one percent of college students approve of the President's job performance, about ten points higher than the general public. The President's approval rating among college students has not changed since an April, 2003 poll, while it has declined 12 points among the U.S. population - and more among seniors - during this same period. And 46 percent, seven percent more than the general public, say the country is on the right track, a position widely regarded as reflecting support for incumbents ...
    Still, the study notes that the vote is up for grabs. Meanwhile, more college kids lean Republican.
    They are highly independent, but lean slightly Republican. Defying conventional wisdom, 31 percent identify themselves as Republicans, 27 percent Democrats, and 38 percent Independent or unaffiliated. The general population is significantly more Democratic.
    On the Democrats ...
    In the race for the Democratic nomination, a plurality of college students is undecided (31 percent). Those expressing a preference are most likely to support Sen. Joe Lieberman (news - web sites) (16.8 percent) and Howard Dean (news - web sites) (15.5 percent), candidates that have appeared on numerous college campuses. Dean supporters are more likely to volunteer if asked (71 percent) than Lieberman supporters (49 percent).
    So what's wrong? Danny Goldberg says to win over young voters, Democrats need to stop trashing popular culture. Miriam Markowitz says there's a disconnect with the youth: too many progressive groups don't know how to talk to young people. Further, TAP also offers this A Contract with America's Youth. One of the thinkings in the political science research I've read is that America's youth are more economically conservative than older Americans, partly a result of not growing up with vestiges of the New Deal and not being involved with Social Security, Medicare and other government programs. Theories aside, the numbers show a growing trend to shed party affiliation.

    I Get Strange Fan Requests

    One distinguished reader writes in
    I want to jerk off in your dead mouth after I stuff your cock down your throat. Fuck you
    Oh, take a number!

    Har

    From the sometimes-reliable, sometimes-not reliable NY Post Page Six
    October 22, 2003 -- THE GOP may be taking its effort to reach out to minorities a tad too far. Senate Republicans zipped out an e-mail this week inviting "black journalists and reporters" to join in on a conference call to talk about the nomination of a black judge. It left a lot of reporters of all colors, including The Post's Vince Morris, scratching their heads: Would those pesky Republicans ask us to state our race before taking our questions? Possibly thinking better of it, a second e-mail came shooting out to scores of reporters 30 minutes later with a slightly different word choice: "Please note this conference call tomorrow is open to key reporters on the judicial nominees beat on this e-mail as well as African-American journalists." The conference call was intended to stir up interest in the nomination of a California judge, Janice Brown, who is black, to a federal court in D.C. She's got a confirmation hearing scheduled for today.
    The Minimal Minimum Wage

    Lost in the poor job market is that many of the jobs that are available, minimum wage jobs, offer poor pay that, even when working more than a 40-hour week, would still plunge a person below the poverty line. The Economic Policy Institute offers more:
    In 1973, the minimum wage relative to the median wage was 46.9%, with the relative value peaking at 54.9% in 1979. Currently at 38.2%, the minimum wage is at its lowest level on record relative to the median wage. Unless Congress acts to bring the minimum wage closer to the wages of other workers, the minimum wage will become an increasingly irrelevant wage floor, failing to support the low-wage workers who depend on it and allowing them to fall further behind the rest of the workforce. Bringing this gap back to its 1979 level, when the two wages were closest, would call for a minimum wage of $7.40.
    Inadequate Health Care for Troops Continues Under Bush

    The Center for American Progress with the news brief on adequate health care for our men and women in uniform.
    Senators today will call for Senate conferees to keep funding for health coverage for National Guard and Reservists in Iraq in the supplemental bill, while  Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) wrote a letter urging the White House "to address issues that are affecting U.S. service members' security and quality of life while deployed in Iraq," particularly "to provide funding for these urgent needs within the Administration's $87 billion supplemental appropriations request for Iraq and Afghanistan." Although President Bush  said "Veterans are a priority for this administration...and that priority is reflected in my budget," this support has not extended to adequate health care for our men and women in uniform. The White House has actively fought against including increased benefits for National Guardsmen and Reservists in the supplemental bill - at the very same time the Army is investigating reports that "hundreds of sick and wounded soldiers who just returned from Iraq are languishing in crudely furnished barracks without proper medical care." According to TomPaine.com, however, "the months-long delays in getting medical care faced by the soldiers at Ft. Stewart [and first reported by UPI ] are nearly identical to the delays faced by veterans of other wars as they seek care in the Veterans Administration health system.

    VETERANS FUNDING: Fully funding the VA is a top priority of veterans' groups, who say the 2004 VA budget pending before Congress is under-funded by $1.8 billion. According to the latest  Daily Misleader, a task force commissioned by the President found that federal funding for former soldiers has plummeted from almost $15,000 to less than $5,000 over the past decade, while over 235,000 veterans "are currently waiting six months or more for an initial appointment." The revelation comes as anger among veterans builds on all fronts. While four years ago the federal government announced a goal of awarding at least 3 percent of all contracts to veterans, MSNBC reports that effort has been left by the wayside: "In the last three years, the percentage of total Pentagon contract money going to veterans has plummeted, with the Department of Defense’s enormous coffers proving particularly elusive to the men and women who served their country."
    Republicans will call such memos as the CAP's as partisan fighting. Of course, don't tell that to the troops who are making the complaints.
    Spc. Joseph Eason came to Fort Stewart for medical treatment in August after leaving Iraq with five metal shards lodged in his lower body from a mortar round. Eason, a citizen-soldier in the Florida National Guard, says he'd prefer to go home and let a civilian physician treat his wounds. But that's not an option as long as he is on active duty.

    INSTEAD, HE'S SPENT the past two months living in spartan concrete barracks at Fort Stewart, where he says his treatment has amounted to one doctor appointment, a visit to a physician's assistant and one physical therapy session.

    "The medical care here, in my personal opinion, I feel is substandard if any," said Eason, 35, from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

    Reports that sick or injured reservists complained of long waits for health care and uncomfortable housing put the Army on the defensive Monday, with post officials saying they're doing the best they can with what they have.
    Why are injured American soldiers unAmerican?

    New Book on Life of Wellstones

    cover
    Twelve Years and Thirteen Days: Remembering Paul and Sheila Wellstone

    There's also been an organization established, Wellstone Action, which is dedicated to continuing the vision of the Wellstones. Hopefully one of the future results will be kicking out the 99% improvement Senator.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2003

    Stupid O'Reilly

    From the Center for American Progress

    CLAIM
    "No one has been able to prove [Fox News is conservative]."
    - Bill O'Reilly, 10/21/2003

    FACT
    "I say Fox leans a little right."
    - Bill O'Reilly, 2/11/03

    Sign up for CAP's daily email update. Won't disappoint. The Center's doing a pretty good job so far.

    How Much I Would Pay To See That ...



    Before and After

    From Atrios and Crooked Timber:

    BEFORE (May 7): "Donald Luskin is stalking Paul Krugman..."

    AFTER (Oct 21): "PAUL KRUGMAN'S UNRAVELLING: He's accusing Donald Luskin of being a stalker, in the literal, not figurative sense. I believe the actual term is "critic."

    O'Reilly Continues to Misquote Glick

    Somewhat old news, but it deserves a bump. From Spinsanity
    The interview has received substantial attention in the press during the months since. On Sept. 18, O'Reilly returned to the subject on "The O'Reilly Factor" and claimed that Glick "accused President Bush of knowing about 9/11 before it happened," which is clearly false. O'Reilly implicitly acknowledged this on the show the next day, when he actually quoted Glick directly and then made a different allegation than the night before:

    Glick was saying without a shred of evidence that President Bush and Bush the elder were directly responsible for 9/11. Now that kind of stuff is not only loony, it's defamation. So I terminated the interview, after which Glick had to be escorted out of the building by Fox security because of his demeanor.

    This is still misleading, however, with regard to President George W. Bush. Glick claimed he "inherited a legacy" that is responsible for the terrorist attacks, not that he was (as O'Reilly put it) "directly responsible" for them. (O'Reilly is correct that Glick did hold Bush Senior responsible for the attacks.)

    Finally, during a combative interview with Terry Gross of National Public Radio's "Fresh Air" last week, O'Reilly admonished Gross to read the transcript of the Glick segment, claiming Glick "proceeded to blame President Bush and his father, Bush the elder, for orchestrating the [Sept. 11] attack on their own country." Again, this is a wild distortion of Glick's statement (the interview later ended when O'Reilly walked out).
    Janice Rogers Brown: Right of Thomas and Scalia

    Get the facts. Judge Brown has a record that could lead to disaster for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Below is from PFAW

  • Rights. In one case, Brown dissented in order to make clear that she would limit the avenues available to people with disabilities to sue for employment discrimination. City of Moorpark v. Superior Court, 959 P.2d 752 (Cal. 1998). And in another case, her dissent included the following highly questionable assertion: "Discrimination based on age is not, however, like race and sex discrimination. It does not mark its victim with a 'stigma of inferiority and second class citizenship' (citations omitted); it is the unavoidable consequence of that universal leveler: time."
  • Privacy. As a state supreme court justice, Brown has issued only one opinion dealing with abortion, but it raises serious concerns about her judicial philosophy concerning women's constitutional right to privacy and reproductive freedom. In her dissent, Brown argued that the federal Constitution somehow restricts the privacy protections that may be provided by the state constitution, a position far outside the mainstream of judicial thought. She argued that the court majority's decision ruling unconstitutional a restrictive parental consent law for minors seeking abortions would allow courts to "topple every cultural icon, to dismiss all societal values, and to become final arbiters of traditional morality." ... Brown has signaled her approval of broad employer drug-testing provisions even in situations in which a majority of the California Supreme Court found the tests to be clearly unconstitutional, and even where it would have required explicitly rejecting U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
  • Regulation. Brown has attacked the long-established principle that governmental action infringing on fundamental rights is subject to strict judicial scrutiny while general social and economic legislation is upheld if it has a rational basis. She has criticized what she has called the "Revolution of 1937," referring to the Supreme Court's decisions declining to strike down New Deal legislation and deferring to legislative judgments concerning economic legislation and regulation.

    Indeed, Brown has suggested that she would go back even further than the period just before the New Deal in limiting government's authority. In one speech, she praised the now-discredited 1905 decision in Lochner v. New York, which struck down a New York law protecting workers. Brown called Justice Holmes' famous dissent in the case "simply wrong." In another speech, she claimed that in "the last 100 years," the Constitution has been "demoted to the status of a bad chain novel."

    Tuesday, October 21, 2003

    Oil = Yes, Troops = No

    Numerous Republican Congressmen refused to vote for pay bonuses for men serving overseas. From the DSCC

    On Friday, every single Republican Congressman running for Senate turned their backs on our fighting men and women, many of whom are risking their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. On Friday, Congressmen Nethercutt (WA), Burr (NC), Vitter (LA), Isakson (GA), Collins (GA), Toomey (PA) and DeMint (SC) voted against an amendment (Roll Call Vote # 554) to the Iraq spending bill to increase the basic rate of pay to all military services by $265 million. That was the amount needed to provide a $1,500 bonus to each person serving in operations in Iraq or Afghanistan in the next fiscal year. The amendment, offered by U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), was defeated for lack of a majority on a 213 to 213 vote. Fourteen Republicans in the House voted for this amendment and if just one of these candidates joined them, our troops would receive a much needed bonus. What did President Bush promise them in return for a vote against our troops? These Congressmen don't even blink when lining up to vote in favor of tax cuts for corporations and the super rich – then they turn around and say we don't have enough money to give a raise to our troops. Every single one of the states these men want to represent in the Senate boasts military bases with thousands of troops risking their lives overseas. The White House and Republicans have failed miserably at recruiting top-tier candidates and the second rate candidates they have recruited are clearly out of step with American support for our troops.

    Let us repeat: "Congressmen Nethercutt (WA), Burr (NC), Vitter (LA), Isakson (GA), Collins (GA), Toomey (PA) and DeMint (SC) voted against an amendment (Roll Call Vote # 554) to the Iraq spending bill to increase the basic rate of pay to all military services by $265 million." Hmm ... let's dig deeper, shall we? Where is the money going instead?
    But the president's famous $87 billion reconstruction package includes a request for more than $900 million to buy petroleum products for Iraqis next year. That's 12 times what the Corps of Engineers says the United States has paid so far, and nearly 20 percent more than the total from all sources.

    It is also "substantially more money than is called for by current fuel prices in the Persian Gulf trading area," according to an analysis by the Congressional Research Service. Based on market prices, it's over $200 million more than necessary, the report said.

    The money will go to Halliburton. For the record, the Corps of Engineers says the company is getting "the best price possible," and Halliburton says allegations of price-gouging are "inaccurate, misleading and unwarranted."

    Regardless, the big oil request came up in Congress last Friday. Friday is Washington's day of choice for controversial actions because weekend news gets comparatively little attention.

    Before approving the president's $87 billion package, the House of Representatives rejected an amendment that would have given each member of the armed forces a one-time, $1,500 bonus for their service in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom.

    The bonus money - $265 million - would have come from the account set aside to import oil products under the Iraq Relief and Reconstructions Fund. It would come from the account with "substantially more money than is called for," not from rebuilding money.

    Endorsed by a half-dozen military associations, the bonus lost on a tie vote, 213-213. Ten Ohio representatives who voted against it, opting not to modify the White House request, happen to have voted to raise their own pay a month ago.

    A $1,500 bonus would not be hitting the lottery. But it would be enough to pay for the two-week home leaves our troops are getting. They have to pay their own way home, believe it or not, after the military gets them to stateside "gateway airports."
    Sigh. So we can afford to buy more oil with "substantially more money than is called for" but not pay our troops? Ohh ho ho ... I'm going back to sleep.

    Poll Watch

    First, in the very winnable state of Arizona, it's a two-way race between Dean and Clark, with Kerry and Joe in third.

    Dean 32 (16)
    Clark 24 (NA)
    Kerry 15 (23)
    Lieberman 15 (37)
    Gephardt 8 (10)
    Sharpton 4 (0)
    Braun 1 (2)
    Edwards 1 (2)
    Kucinich 0 (2)

    Huge drop for Joe. Second, the the Suffolk University poll on New Hampshire.

    Dean 25 (30)
    Undecided 23 (22)
    Kerry 19 (20)
    Clark 11 (10)
    Lieberman 8 (5)
    Gephardt 7 (6)
    Edwards 4 (2)

    Finally, how's George doing? The latest two polls, from Zogby and Fox, put Bush at 49% and 52% respectively.

    Add to your blogroll

    Nicely designed site that's upsetting the conservatives in the Rocky Mountain area. Rocky Mountain Progressive Network. They are "an independent voice countering the policies of the extreme right and holding our elected leadership accountable."

    Monday, October 20, 2003

    Wil Wheaton Appreciation Day

    No, it's not really, but I just wanted to post this picture of Wil flipping off Halliburton.



    And let's Draft Wesley Crusher. Though the news item from Fox, "Why Crusher Dropped Out Of Starfleet," may hurt his campaign momentum.

    Center for American Progress

    Will this be the left's Heritage Foundation?

    Joe Scarborough Tells One Whopper of a Lie

    Joe Scarborough a lying liar? Tell me it ain't so! From "Scarborough Country" on Oct. 17
    And you know something else. Republicans have always been attacked about how they beat up Bill Clinton. Poor Bill Clinton. They never showed him the respect that he deserved. I still haven't had a Democrat tell me when members of the Congress, in the House or the Senate, attacked Bill Clinton on his foreign policy while we were at war. That's something that never used to happen until George Bush became president. And that says more about Democrats than it does about George Bush.
    What the F is he talking about? From FAIR.

    "This has been an unmitigated disaster ... Ask the Chinese embassy. Ask all the people in Belgrade that we've killed. Ask the refugees that we've killed. Ask the people in nursing homes. Ask the people in hospitals." Joe Scarborough, 6/8/99

    The Kosovo bombing campaign ended on 6/10/99 with the signing of a peace accord. So, Joe did attack "Bill Clinton on his foreign policy while we were at war." So there, from one Democrat, is a name. Joe Scarborough.

    And, of course, I could cite many other examples of the GOP not respecting Clinton ...

    "Bush, in Austin, criticized President Clinton's administration for not doing enough to enunciate a goal for the Kosovo military action and indicated the bombing campaign might not be a tough enough response. 'Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is,' Bush said." [GW Bush, Houston Chronicle, 4/9/99]

    "The Administration, and NATO as a whole, greatly miscalculated the response Slobodan Milosevic would have to a bombing campaign. As I predicted, the Administration has escalated what was guerilla warfare into a much more serious conflict. The bombings have unleashed an evil reign and resulted in a humanitarian disaster." [Senator Don Nickles, Press Release, 4/21/99]

    "This is President Clinton's war, and when he falls flat on his face, that's his problem." [Sen. Richard Lugar, New York Times, 5/4/99]

    "I cannot support a failed foreign policy... But before we get deeper embroiled into this Balkan quagmire, I think that an assessment has to be made of the Kosovo policy so far. President Clinton has never explained to the American people why he was involving the U.S. military in a civil war in a sovereign nation, other than to say it is for humanitarian reasons, a new military/foreign policy precedent." [Tom DeLay, Congressional Record, "Removal of United States Armed Forces from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia," 4/28/99]

    "I still haven't had a Democrat tell me when members of the Congress, in the House or the Senate, attacked Bill Clinton on his foreign policy while we were at war." Joe Scarborough.

    The News Mags Covers

    This week's covers.


    Newsweek has something about gadgets and high tech design. Newsweek calls it its "first design issue ever to the celebration of this fresh life-affirming spirit." Hippies!


    TIME on the new SATS. "Get ready for advanced algebra, an essay—and, yes, the return of grammar." An SAT based on stuff you actually learned (or are supposed to have learned) in school?! You mean the slacker kids who slept in class (hi) can't pull high scores anymore? Now that's unfair.


    USNews looks at big money on college campuses.


    The Nation with Barbara Kingsolver on living with the land.

    Kucinich Stumps in Hawaii



    Well that's a first. Call it bad strategy, a free vacation, or a dedication to all 50 states. Kucinich spoke to over 300 in Hawaii. He also made a couple stops on Maui. Locally, Congressman Neil Abercrombie has endorsed Howard Dean, and Rep. Ed Case is backing Lieberman.

    Comedy Monday

    "In Alan's new autobiography, `Back to You, Sean: The Alan Colmes Story,' we learn that Colmes' duties as co-host of `Hannity & Colmes' include adding toner to the copiers and printers, loofah-ing Roger Ailes in his personal steam room, and ordering Chinese food for editors working on misleading video packages." Al Franken, in "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them."

    "Arnold Schwarzenegger met with President Bush. It's amazing if you think about it. It was the Terminator and the One-Terminator." —David Letterman

    "In his first news conference after being elected governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger promised to clean house in Sacramento. He also threatened to molest the energy crisis, and date rape the deficit." —Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update"

    "In a page straight from the GOP playbook, the Democratic National Committee has announced it will give everyone who raises $100,000 or more for the party the title of Patriots.The Republican party has a similar program, only their $100,000 fund-raisers are called Pioneers. And of course, the Green party's $100,000 donors are called Woody Harrelson." —Jon Stewart
    Toons

    >Pat Bagley. John Ashcroft Explains the Patriot Act
    >Brian Fairrington. Illegal Alien Benefits
    >Daryl Cagle. It's the filter that makes you sick.
    >Boondocks. Mrs. Trent Lott?
    >Reuters. 'Late Night's' Conan O'Brien, Wife Have Baby Girl
    >Harvard. Will Ferrell's Harvard Address
    >MTV. "This mother/father/daughter team has grown from being a bizarre art project to a buzzworthy group this year via a quirky stage show that combines mundane slides found at estate sales with sugary pop songs describing them."
    The Real News.

    Bush Disappointed To Learn Chinese Foreign Minister Doesn't Know Karate WASHINGTON, DC—While he still plans to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, President Bush was disappointed to learn that the dignitary does not know karate, White House adviser Karl Rove told reporters Tuesday. "I told George that karate is an ancient martial art of Japan, not China," Rove said. "I told him that in China, many practice kung fu—but I recommended that he stick to the more vital issue of relations with Taiwan and North Korea." In spite of Rove's suggestion, Bush plans to ask Zhaoxing to "do some of that Jackie Chan action." --The Onion

    Clean, Sober Limbaugh Shocked to Learn About Shit He's Been Saying on Air
    NEW YORK (DPI) - Now that he's detoxing from years of prescription drug abuse, conservative AM talk show guru Rush Limbaugh said he is "dumbfounded" to discover the "humongous pile of steaming crap" he's been unloading on millions of listeners while under the influence for the past 20 years. "Did I really say that tax cuts for the rich don't *cost* anything, but instead, they create money, and that the war in Iraq is going well? Holy shit, I wish my maid had flipped on me sooner." Limbaugh was also shocked to discover that a network had actually hired him as a professional football commentator. --The Daily Probe

    >The Onion. Lieberman Pledges To Gloss Over The Boring Issues
    >New Company. Flatulent Technologies: Extracting Energy from Everything that Stinks or Rots
    Max Fischer: I like your nurse's uniform, guy.
    Dr. Peter Flynn: These are O.R. scrubs.
    Max Fischer: Oh, are they?

    - Rushmore.
    Fanatical Apathy has excerpts from Alan Colmes' new book.
    "There are some who say that cutting taxes so hugely and with such a bias towards the rich at a time when the economy was sputtering and the budget was out of whack... well, there are some who say that this was a tad irresponsible. Now I'm not one of those dirty, vegan, bra-burning liberals who's going to come out and say something like this while our nation's at war. Nope. But it is a responsible liberal's duty to politely request that someone takes a look at that, you know, just to be sure that it's the very best thing for the American people. Which it probably is, no doubt. But that's a liberal's job - to ask the hard questions. Politely, quietly, and at the appropriate time, of course, but you gotta ask 'em." ...

    "Sean takes a lot of guff for being brusque with me on-air, but it's all in good fun. Off-camera, he's my staunchest defender. In early 2002 there was a memo circulating around Fox suggesting that the show's title be changed to "Hannity and the Sad, Wimpy Little Traitor." I can tell you, that hurt a little. But Sean rushed to my defense. He said, and I quote, "No way. That doesn't tell viewers anything they don't already know." That's the kind of guy Sean is. I'd trust him with my life. In fact, I regularly trust him to safeguard my lunch money, which he collects from me for safekeeping (it can get pretty rough around here!) when I come in each day."
    Sunday, October 19, 2003

    If the Yanks Lose ...

    How about starting rumors of a new curse? The NY Post editorial page curse?

    Saturday, October 18, 2003

    Who Likes Clark?

    This is pretty interesting. From Ruy Teixeria
    While Clark receives more support than Dean among both men and women, his margin over Dean among women is just three points (16 percent to 13 percent), but an impressive twelve points among men (29 percent to 17 percent). He also beats Dean in every region of the country, but especially in the south (25 percent to 8 percent). Also intriguing is how well he does among low income voters (those earning less than $20,000 a year), clobbering Dean by 26 percent to 5 percent. In fact, Clark bests Dean in every income group up to $75,000. Above $75,000, Dean edges Clark, 26 percent to 25 percent. In terms of ideology, Dean beats Clark among liberals, 24 percent to 18 percent, but Clark wins moderates by 24 percent to 11 percent and conservatives by 23 percent to 7 percent. The general picture, then, is that Clark does especially well, relative to Dean, among the very groups where Democrats have been having the most problems. That suggests to Public Opinion Watch that the emerging Clark candidacy deserves very serious consideration indeed.
    Why Doesn't Fox Sue KNST?



    The fact that KNST-AM airs Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dr. Laura and Michael Savage wouldn't have anything to do with it, would it? No, that's just a cynical way to think, Hamster!

    Newsmax Endorsing Alan Colmes' New Book

    In an extraordinarily polite article, Newsmax.com writes about Alan Colmes' discussion of a Newsmax.com tape about Bill Clinton.

    What's interesting to me, however, is at the end of the article the ultraconservative website, which often asks its readers to contribute to Bush's reelection campaign and routinely smears liberals such as Michael Moore and Al Franken, writes: "Get Alan Colmes' new book, "Red, White and Liberal," scheduled for release on Oct. 21."

    This is, of course, curious. I am not aware of Newsmax.com asking its readers to buy any other 'liberal' books. Why would an ultra-right wing website endorse this "liberal" book? Things that make you go hmmmm ....

    (If the links aren't working, it's because Newsmax is doing system maintenance).

    Stupid Quote Saturday

    "Over the past few months I have been slimed, smeared, and pilloried primarily by leftists who do not approve of my commentary. I am not whining, I'm reporting." Bill O'Reilly, latest column.

    "Well, you know what I knew, that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol." Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin.

    "Here's a piece of news for proponents of Coming Out Week: None of the rest of us care. We don't care whether you play for the other team. You can parade around in drag as much as you please. You can hold as many "gay marriages" as you want. You can wear shirts reading "We're Here, We're Queer." You can wear a rainbow sticker on your backpack. Just don't expect us to care." Ben Shapiro.

    "Despite holding a 3-2 lead in games over the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees couldn't get the job done at home; their season ended last night in the 7th game of the ALCS." NY Post.

    "Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence?" Gregg Easterbrook

    "THE NEW YORK TIMES DID NOT REPORT THE SPEECH." Ann Coulter on a Jesse Jackson speech the NY Times reported on.

    Ashton Kutcher Endorses John Edwards

    The star of "Dude, Where's My Car" and "That 70s Show" will join the John Edwards campaign in pushing the North Carolina senator's presidential message, according to CNN
    Kutcher is scheduled to attend an October 29 fund raiser for Edwards at the Hollywood home of Victoria and Dennis Hopper, along with "West Wing" producer Aaron Sworkin.

    Jennifer Palmieri, spokeswoman for the Edwards campaign, said the event will be Edwards' "best Hollywood fund raiser so far."

    The Edwards campaign could use the money. Edwards raised just $2 million in the third quarter, beating only Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, and Carol Moseley Braun.

    Palmieri said Kutcher, who was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is expected to join Edwards on the campaign trail in Iowa soon. The campaign is thinking about calling the Kutcher tour "Dude, Where's my Job," to highlight job losses under President Bush.
    The hope is that Ashton Kutcher will bring to the Edwards campaign his fan base: teenage girls who can't vote. Edwards, you've been punk'd!

    Seriously though, it's encouraging to see many high-profile young people getting involved in the 2004 elections. If you haven't heard, several popular punk / youth bands are banding together to kick Bush out in 2004.

    Friday, October 17, 2003

    Go Infiltrate the White House

    If you're in the DC area ... From the GW College Republicans email list:
    The White House is looking for Volunteers one or two days a week. Limited time. Reliability important.

    Please contact Anita Homen, Personnel Director at Presidential Correspondence, phone 456-5647 Fax cover letter and resume to 456-2993
    Area code 202.

    Mean NY Post

    The NY Post probably had two editions - one for if the Sox won, one for if the Sox lost - and published the wrong one. Still, the conspiracy theorist in me thinks the NY Post is just rubbing salt in the eternal wound of Sox fans.

    Link via Atrios

    O'Reilly Refuses NPR Release

    What a lying coward. From NY Daily News.
    Bill O'Reilly still won't let National Public Radio release a transcript of his recent interview. The Fox News star hung up on "Fresh Air" host Terry Gross on Oct. 8, after accusing her of doing a "hatchet job" on him.

    He was angry because he felt she had given his new enemy, Al Franken - whose book "Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right" pokes fun at the right-wing media - "a complete pass" in a previous interview.

    Although O'Reilly's spokeswoman wouldn't discuss the issue, you can hear the entire interview at www.whyy.org.

    Franken isn't the only one who counts O'Reilly as a muse. Ludacris said his new song, "Blow It Out," is a response to the right-wing talk host. The rapper, who lost a Pepsi endorsement contract after O'Reilly blasted the soda giant over hiring a "thug rapper," called O'Reilly a racist on Howard Stern's show yesterday for giving Pepsi a pass on the personality ikt chose to replace him: recovering drug addict Ozzy Osbourne.
    O'Reilly previously lied about NPR / CPB's funding. The O'Reilly Factor on October 8, 2003:
    All right, the problem here is not that interview. I should have known better. But it's that I paid for it. And so did you. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (search), which funds NPR, gets a billion dollars a year in taxpayer money. Why is the government allowing a far-left outfit like NPR, which is obviously biased, to operate on taxpayer money?
    Reality
    For instance, in the first session of the 107th Congress (FY 2002 budget cycle), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) received a $380 million appropriation. Because CPB is advance funded by two years, the appropriation is for public broadcasting in fiscal year 2004. Recently, Congress approved a $390 million funding level for fiscal year 2005.
    Conservative Reviewer: Al Franken book "an earth-shattering book"

    Becky Miller, a conservative and former senior aide to Republican Bill Sizemore, says conservatives need to read Al Franken's latest book.
    I read the book in one sitting. It is an amazing book, and -- if you're a decent, honest, hard-working, patriotic, true-blue conservative who listens to Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly and watches Fox News -- an earth-shattering book ...

    I believe Franken is telling the truth in his book because it meshes perfectly with what I personally have observed. And I think every decent, honest, hard-working, patriotic, true-blue conservative owes it to himself to read it. Hold your nose if you must -- Franken is as foul-mouthed and crass as his reputation would lead you to believe (and quite mistakenly believes Christians love Israel because it is the center of prophecies that include the fiery deaths of all Jews) -- but read it anyway ...

    The leaders we conservatives have trusted have taken advantage of our trust to line the pockets of the wealthy and powerful, and it's time we rose up and drove out these greedy liars. They've hijacked and distorted our belief system for their own gain, and in doing so are destroying our credibility.

    And if we decent, honest, hard-working, patriotic, true-blue conservatives of this country neglect the duty we have to our children and grandchildren, we will never be able to work with those decent, honest, hard-working, patriotic, true-blue liberal Americans that these lying creeps have taught us to despise. We will never be safe to debate them or, when warranted, to listen to them and maybe even agree with them. We will never be safe to work out our differences or to work together. And we will never be able to build on the all-American sense of unity that burst forth following 9/11, only to disappear shortly thereafter in a cloud of lying, greedy partisan politics.

    I'm still a decent, honest, hard-working, patriotic, true-blue conservative. But Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and the rest of you lying liars -- I'm through with you! (Read the book, and you'll get that one, too.)
    Shameless plug for the AlFrankenWeb.com.

    Barbour won't ask CCC to take photo off Web site

    Barbour says he "does not want to tell any group it cannot use his picture or statements" in response to the controversy surrounding his association with the racist Council of Conservative Citizens.

    This is the website that's causing the controversy.

    Never Again, Baseball!



    Very depressing. And I'm not even from Boston.

    You know, people often ask if there's a God. Apparently there is a God, and He has a gambling debt to George Steinbrenner.

    Coulter Lies Again

    Ann recently posted an extended response to Al Franken's "Lies ..." book. I previously responded to the original column. Now, I'm going to point out several more lies from Coulter. Yes, in defending her lies she makes even more lies. In her extended column, she makes two responses.

    1) First, you say: "AT ONE POINT [FRANKEN] ACCUSES YOU OF HAVING TAKEN A QUOTE FROM A BOOK REVIEW QUOTING A BOOK (P. 14 OF FRANKEN'S BOOK) TO ARGUE YOUR POINT. DO YOU FEEL THIS IS AN ACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF WHAT YOU WROTE? AN ACCURATE USE OF A QUOTE? IF NOT, THEN WHY? IF YES, THEN WHO IS ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ERRORS, YOU, THE PUBLISHER, OR BOTH?"

    I'm not sure I grasp the accusation here and I'm sure you do not. I wrote: "For decades, the New York Times had allowed loose associations between Nazis and Christians to be made in its pages." Among the quotes I cited, one came from a New York Times book review. The quote made a loose association between Nazis and Christians. New York Times book reviews are printed in the pages of the New York Times. The Times allowed that quote to run in its pages. How else, exactly, are you suggesting I should have phrased this, Ed?

    Coulter doesn't address the argument, she just treads in generalizations. This is the quote Coulter used in her book:
    For decades, the New York Times had allowed loose associations between Nazis and Christians to be made in its pages. Statements like these were not uncommon: "Did the Nazi crimes draw on Christian tradition?" ... "the church is 'co-responsible' for the holocaust ..."
    Notice that Coulter conveniently cut the last half of what Franken quoted on page 14 from her column. Franken wrote about this misleading quote:
    The first quote ("Did the Nazi ...") is from a 2001 book review. The Times reviewer, Paul Berman, was framing the question asked by the book he was reviewing, which was about a 400 year old play performed annually in Bavaria that portrays Jews as hateful and evil.
    Coulter does not respond to the highlighted part. The book is making the association, not The NY Times (as Coulter implies). To give you further context, this is part of the story where the quote comes from ...
    In later years, after the cruelties and barbarities of the Middle Ages had been rivaled and even outrivaled, a delicate but crucially important question arose on the topic of Christianity and its relation to modern barbarism. Did the Nazi crimes draw on Christian tradition? Or did Nazism draw instead, as the Roman Catholic Church has argued, on pagan ideas that were distinctly anti-Christian? Whatever the larger answer might be, Shapiro's investigation shows that in the little village of Oberammergau it was not so easy to tell Nazi paganism from Christian tradition. The village may have been famously pious, but some important Nazis set up headquarters there, even so -- for instance, the man who designed and built the crematoriums at Auschwitz. Hitler himself was famously fond of the play, which he saw twice. And the villagers returned his affection, even if, in later years, they have steadily pleaded innocent on questions of Nazi guilt. In the 1950 and 1960 productions of the play, the village assigned the role of Jesus to someone who had been convicted, after the war, of having been a Nazi. In the 1970 production the ex-Nazi went on to become the artistic director. Still, eventually the village did begin to notice that not everyone was in love with its play. The American Jewish organizations began making a fuss over the play in 1966, and they pushed some of the Jewish intellectuals into mounting a protest, and the point was made. The American Jewish organizations kept at it, too, and are at it even now. But the real pressure on the village, as Shapiro explains, came from the highest ranks of the Catholic Church. It was because in 1965, during the Second Vatican Council, the church officially abandoned its ancient doctrines about the collective guilt of the Jewish people and the eternal divine curse upon Jewish blood. In one fateful stroke, because of the new theological interpretations, the play fell outside of correct doctrine. And the good Catholics of Oberammergau suddenly had to rethink.
    IN CONTEXT (context is always important to everyone but Coulter), does the quote seem inappropriate, as Coulter suggests? And why, oh why, did Coulter conveniently cut out the part that says, "Or did Nazism draw instead, as the Roman Catholic Church has argued, on pagan ideas that were distinctly anti-Christian?" Granted, an association was made between Nazism and Christianity, but the NY Times is not asking the question (as Coulter implies), the book is asking that question. And that's Franken's point. Coulter misleads her readers by taking quotes out of context and putting incorrect tags on them.

    2) Second, you say: "LIKEWISE, [FRANKEN] ACCUSES YOU OF SLOPPY RESEARCH, IN SO FAR AS YOU APPEAR TO HAVE MISSED A NUMBER OF NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLES CITING SUCH THINGS AS SPEECHES BY JESSE JACKSON. WHAT GIVES--WAS THIS AN HONEST MISTAKE OR MALFEASANCE AS HE SUGGESTS?

    It was neither, but thanks for asking. I wrote: "In an upbeat message delivered on British TV on Christmas Day, 1994, Jesse Jackson compared conservatives in the U.S. and Great Britain to Nazis: "In South Africa, the status quo was called racism. We rebelled against it. In Germany, it was called fascism. Now in Britain and the U.S. it is called conservatism.' The New York Times did not report the speech."

    The New York Times did not, in fact, report the speech. Franken does not say otherwise. My guess is -- and this is just a stab in the dark -- Franken doesn't say otherwise because he can't say otherwise, inasmuch as . . . THE NEW YORK TIMES DID NOT REPORT THE SPEECH. What Franken says is that my search method was faulty -- though, somehow, it still managed to produce the truth! (To wit: The New York Times did not report the speech.)

    Among my searches, I searched the New York Times database for all of December, 1994 and January 1995 for: "Jesse Jackson and Germany and fascism and South Africa."(In my footnotes, I often give my readers clear descriptions of some of the Lexis-Nexis searches I ran -- something, as far as I know, no other writer does.)

    Franken does not mention the lines I had just quoted from Jackson's speech -- you know, the one that was NOT reported in the New York Times -- but refers to it only as a "controversial speech."He then acts incredulous that I would run a search for "Jesse Jackson and Germany and fascism and South Africa," as if I tossed in the terms "Germany""fascism"and "South Africa"for no reason whatsoever. To my observation that this search turned up no documents, he says sarcastically: "Well, yeah."


    Alright, this is easy. First, Coulter says, "The New York Times did not, in fact, report the speech. Franken does not say otherwise." This is, of course, false. Page 15
    Yes, of course, the Times did run an article on December 20 about the controversy using excerpts of Jackson's speech, which was prerecorded.
    Then, Coulter says the NY Times didn't report the speech. Hence, to prove her wrong, I would have to show the NY Times DID report the speech, right? Oh, what's this?
    Copyright 1994 The New York Times Company The New York Times
    December 20, 1994, Tuesday, Late Edition - Final
    SECTION: Section A; Page 12; Column 1; Foreign Desk
    LENGTH: 568 words
    HEADLINE: Will Jesse Jackson Beat Queen in British Ratings? Stay Tuned
    BYLINE: By WILLIAM E. SCHMIDT, Special to The New York Times
    DATELINE: LONDON, December 19

    BODY:
    One of Britain's most familiar holiday rituals -- the annual Christmas Day television broadcast by Queen Elizabeth II -- will run up against some unexpected and, in some quarters, unwanted foreign competition next Sunday: a pre-recorded, nationwide lecture by the Rev. Jesse Jackson on the sorry state of British race relations.

    At the same time the Queen is scheduled to appear delivering her Christmas Day homily, at 3 P.M. on Channel One and Channel Three, the American civil rights campaigner will be making his own 15-minute appearance on Channel Four, one of Britain's four nationwide broadcast television networks.

    Billed by the station as an "alternative Queen's speech," Mr. Jackson is appearing at the invitation of station officials, who are promoting his appearance as part of a weeklong schedule of holiday programming devoted to minority affairs and entertainment, built around the theme of celebrating a "Black Christmas."

    In The Times of London this morning, Mr. Jackson was quoted as saying he did not mean to undermine the Queen's annual Christmas message, nor did he intend her any disrespect, by agreeing to present his own holiday address.

    But some British politicians are already steaming over the timing of the broadcast, and accounts in British newspapers in the last two days quoting excerpts from Mr. Jackson's remarks, including an appeal to blacks and other disadvantaged groups in Britain to engage in what was described as mass political action to bring about change.

    "The lives of too many of our young people are going to waste," Mr. Jackson is quoted as saying. "The oppressed must engage in sane, sober, sensitive and disciplined resistance to their oppression."

    Among other things, Mr. Jackson blames economic insecurity in Britain for breeding fear, which he says has contributed, in turn, to growing intolerance and racial violence, including several racially motivated killings.

    Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, was quoted as dismissing Mr. Jackson's remarks, in an account in The Sunday Times. "We have nothing to learn from Mr. Jesse Jackson on these issues," he said. Sir Ivan Lawrence, a Conservative member of Parliament and chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, was even sharper.

    "It will be a broadcast surpassing impertinence by someone who doesn't have the faintest idea what he's talking about," Sir Ivan was quoted, in The Times. "He should look to his own country, where racial attacks occur far more frequently than they do in this country."

    Earlier this year, Sir Ivan's committee issued a report on race relations in Britain, concluding that "racial attacks and harassment, and the spread of literature which preaches racial hatred, are increasing, and must be stopped."

    A week later, Britain's Commission for Racial Equality issued another report saying that the number of racial incidents officially reported to the police have doubled in the last five years to 9,000, with a 20 percent increase last year alone.

    Like the Queen's annual message, Mr. Jackson's remarks are also pre-recorded. A spokesman for Channel Four said he taped his remarks in Washington within the last two weeks.

    This is the second year that Channel Four has promoted its own alternative to the Queen's speech. Last year, as part of a "Camp Christmas" theme, they broadcast an appearance by Quentin Crisp, an outspoken British homosexual.
    "THE NEW YORK TIMES DID NOT REPORT THE SPEECH." But the NY Times DID report the speech? Hm ... Lying to defend herself against charges of lying. That's Ann Coulter.

    Thursday, October 16, 2003

    Haha

    Silly Bush administration.
    Concerned about the appearance of disarray and feuding within his administration as well as growing resistance to his policies in Iraq, President Bush - living up to his recent declaration that he is in charge - told his top officials to "stop the leaks" to the media, or else.

    News of Bush's order leaked almost immediately.
    Ann Coulter Continues to Lie with Lexis Nexis

    Mentioning that Ann Coulter lied is like mentioning the Cubs lost, but why not? MemeFirst has more on Ann Coulter and her Lexis-Nexis lies. As Al Franken wrote in his "Lies ... " book
    Lexis Nexis searches can be manipulated to produce misleading results. It's like a chainsaw, which can be used productively (say, as a prop in a movie like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but it can also be used for evil (such as in an actual chainsaw massacre). Throughout this book, I use Lexis Nexis productively. In Slander, Coulter uses it to dismember the truth.
    Here's the point. Say I wanted to prove that the media hasn't been covering Rush's drug addiction (not true, they have). How would I pull a Coulter and manipulate Lexis Nexis to give you, my readers, misleading results? Type / search for "Rush Limbaugh" AND "drug use" in the past month. What?! Only 4 returned results!? Why, only four media outlets covered the Rush scandal! Outrageous treason!

    Typing in "Rush Limbaugh" and "drugs" obviously produces more accurate results.

    Gov. Pat O'Brien?



    The nasal-voiced co-host of Access Hollywood is thinking of a run as a Democrat, according to Reuters and GQ
    Pat O'Brien, a graduate of the University of South Dakota who also studied international economics at Johns Hopkins University, said he is seriously considering challenging incumbent Republican Mike Rounds in the 2006 election. Word of O'Brien's aspirations first came to light in an interview for GQ magazine, which he said was actually conducted before Schwarzenegger announced his intent to run for governor of California in the state's historic recall election ...

    "It's a very serious consideration," he said. "I've talked to Tom Daschle about it, I've talked to Tim Johnson about it," he added, referring to the state's two U.S. senators.

    O'Brien, a Democrat, said his desire to run for office predates his broadcasting career.

    "I grew up studying politics, I worked for the Kennedys, I worked for George McGovern," he said. In fact, he said, he has been pushed toward public service since his days at the University of South Dakota.

    "I had a professor there named Bill Farber who has always pushed Tom Brokaw and me -- we were both his students -- into some kind of public service," O'Brien said.
    Caption


    Mensa held a meeting today.

    Craige McMillan: Liberals Made Rush Pop Pills

    Ah, who needs Comedy Central when you have Craige McMillan? I think this is a serious article, but correct me if I'm wrong.
    Leftists have the world's largest and most inclusive support group for their failures and pet perversions. The ruling elite gather at their exclusive and sophisticated dinner parties in Georgetown, where members of government, academia, law firms, media, mainline churches and the left's exclusive foundations and think tanks reassure one another that their failures are not their own, but everyone else's. Old money laments the rise of the middle class, and urges ever-higher taxes to stifle it ...

    As a conservative, Rush Limbaugh has none of these previously mentioned support groups. A recent profile in Newsweek described him as "lonely," a man with millions of admirers but few friends. For political conservatives there are no exclusive Georgetown dinner-party invitations, no academics to offer the latest research in support of one's failure or vice, no governmental bureaucrats to shoulder the blame, and no lawyers to explain why it is someone else's fault and they must pay ...

    Rush may have started with pain-killers for his back. But he may very well have become addicted to them for the pain in his heart and soul. Can you imagine confronting the exquisitely-subsidized liberal establishment – day after day, year after year – on its home turf, without a support group? Can you imagine enduring the vile hatred of the left on every issue upon which you dare to speak out? Can you imagine the hate mail, the organized campaigns to silence your voice, the personal attacks?
    Forgive the liberals, Rush, they know not what they do.

    Money and Diaries

    Kos, a Chicagoan who is on suicide watch (his joke), has a pretty nifty new feature called "user diaries." It allows registered users to both comment on and post their own entries on a separate "Diaries" page. A clever variation of the blog idea. Kos also has numbers on the Q3 fundraising:

    Dean $14.8 | $12.4
    Kerry $4.0 | $7.8
    Gephardt $3.8 | $5.9
    Lieberman $3.6 | $4.1
    Clark $3.5 | $3.4
    Edwards $2.6 | $4.8
    Kucinich $1.7 | $800K
    Graham $1.4 | $800K
    Braun $125K | $30K
    Sharpton $121K | $24K

    It surprises me that Sharpton is doing so poorly. Given he's an activist, I thought he'd have a base of some donors. Sharpton can blame the media, political elites, etc for his problems, but if he can't raise more than $121k every 3 months then he doesn't deserve any attention. Given the success of his recent fundraising, I'd venture to say that Atrios could raise more money than Sharpton.

    Politicians with Books

    Here are some of them:

    cover
    Dean: Winning Back America
    cover
    Edwards: Four Trials
    cover
    Kerry: A Call to Service: My Vision for a Better America
    cover
    Kucinich: A Prayer for America
    cover
    Daschle: Like No Other Time

    The Dean Blog Rocks

    I haven't completely endorsed Howard Dean (I'd call myself a "leaning Dean"), but how can you not like Dean and the Deanie Baby Bloggers with posts like this and this? Good stuff, once again focusing the attention on the grassroots movement propelling the Dean campaign (right, Clark?).

    I also love the "inside stories" about the Dean staff and interns. Makes you feel more intimate with the staff. Oh, and the use of the digital camera work is great. Everyone loves "West Wing," so why not make the campaign have a mini-drama feel? Por ejemplo:
    The second exciting incident involved Iowa state director Jeani Murray. (This is a Blog for America scoop. Marc Ambinder of ABC's The Note is trying to be the first to report this incident. Sorry, Marc, I beat you to it). Jeani was sitting in the van that held all of our belongings. The key was in the ignition and the bing, bing sound was driving her crazy so she pulled the keys out and put them on the floor. She then got out of the van and closed the door. Surprise! All the doors were locked and the keys were inside. Needless to say, Jeani was a little panicked! (We told Jeani someone was getting back at her for not baking cookies for us). Lucky for us we were at a meeting right around the corner from a police station. A very nice police officer helped us unlock the door.
    OK, that wasn't exciting at all. But that's the type of story your next door neighbor or best friend would tell you, not some political operative. Dean and his camp are treating people like neighbors or best friends, and that's why their campaign is appealing to the PEOPLE, the grassroots.

    Cronkite Responds to O'Reilly / Conservative Attackers

    Walter Cronkite is America's most respected newsman, but that hasn't stopped one of America's least respected newsmen, Bill O'Reilly, from launching his usual tirades against Cronkite. In an interview with Evan Smith in the Texas Monthly, Cronkite responds.
    You bring up the issue of the Times and the Post being liberal, so let me ask you about bias. There's been a whole lot of publicity about Al Franken's book, which attacks FOX News and some of the more conservative members of the media. FOX sued him and lost, which intensified the debate about the political leanings of journalists. Do you believe the press is biased?

    In the papers I mentioned, I do not see bias. I think their news columns are as straightforward as you can make them. Their editorial pages are very biased, as they should be. That doesn't bother me at all.

    Let me point out, however, that it depends on how you define "bias." A newspaper might appear to show bias based on what it decides to cover, but this isn't bias. It is the editorial direction of the newspaper, and it should be clearly known by the reader. I don't think the reader buys the Washington Post with an expectation to get the same reporting as the Washington Times and vice versa. The reader of the Wall Street Journal expects the reporting to be biased, if you please, toward the success of capitalism and a favorable performance by the business world. These things are part of journalism.

    I want to ask you about FOX specifically. Maybe you see it as similar to the Wall Street Journal or the Washington Times, but there's been all this talk about how FOX is so biased. And the people who run FOX will say, "We're just counteracting the liberal bias in the rest of the news business." What do you make of that?

    I was very disturbed at first when FOX came on line saying it was going to be a right-wing news source. Having been a foreign correspondent for a time, I'm familiar with the fact that across the world, most countries have newspapers that are spokespersons for a religion or a political party. They don't pretend to be impartial. I hated to see that come into practice in American journalism. It seems to me that this threatens to turn journalism into advocacy, and that is dangerous. We may make our mistakes, we may slip a little bit from time to time, but we're not out-and-out advocates. We provide, as nearly as humans can, an honest attempt at impartiality. If the FOX mode is contagious and somebody else has to come along now and say, "We're the liberal network," the dam is weakened and we could get into a situation where you can't depend on anybody to give you an impartial news report. So this bothered me about FOX.

    Now, I don't watch them that much, quite honestly, but I've occasionally turned to them and found they're doing a pretty good job. If you know what their basic politics are, you can say, "Well, this is a very good explanation of what they think about these things." So maybe there is some value there.

    I saw where Bill O'Reilly, who's one of the FOX people, read your first couple of columns and jumped on you for announcing that you're a liberal.

    Yeah. O'Reilly said that I was an internationalist! My God, what a terrible thing to be.

    What I wonder is, why is it wrong for you to be a liberal in your column but okay for O'Reilly and his friends at FOX to be openly conservative?

    That's the inconsistency you find with the all-out propagandists. I don't find any reason or rationality in that at all. The O'Reilly attacks on me, I think, are almost a compliment. I like the fact that he feels that I'm important enough and what I say is enticing enough to the populace that he has to attack it.

    Do you ever watch his show?

    No. I try to avoid it if possible.
    The Cubs



    The Cubs find a way to be the Cubs. Well, I guess the Sox are my team ... If they win.

    Wed, October 15, 2003

    Novak the Lying Liar

    The big blogger himself, Joshua Marshall, has it correct when he points out the problems with Bob Novak and his Plame column and later corrections. The main point, and something I also mentioned previously, is
    Could that really be true? Was the whole thing just a misunderstanding? ... In the intelligence world, ‘operative’ pretty much always means a clandestine agent. In his column he referred to Plame as an “Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction.” Could a veteran columnist such as Novak have been so sloppy with this word? Not if you go by his past practice.

    I took Novak up on his Nexis challenge, and he does make frequent use of the word “operative.” But the question is how he uses it in this context. I searched for all the times Novak has used the term “agency operative” or “CIA operative,” and I came up with six examples. In every case, Novak clearly used the phrase to refer to clandestine agents.

    On Dec. 3, 2001, Novak used the “CIA operative” phrase to describe Mike Spann, the clandestine CIA operative who was killed at the prison uprising at Mazar-i-Sharif during the Afghanistan war. A month earlier, on Nov. 1, he used “agency operative” to refer to agents who had handled the late Afghan resistance leader Abdul Haq.

    Little more than a month before that, on Sept. 23, he used “CIA operative” to refer to the clandestine operatives in Latin America that former CIA Director Stansfield Turner cracked down on in the late 1970s.

    In a July 5, 1999, book review in The Weekly Standard, Novak referred to the hero of Bill Buckley’s Blackford Oakes spy novels as a “CIA operative.” Needless to say, Blackford Oakes, a spy novel hero, is undercover. The other two references, from 1997, also clearly refer to an undercover operative.

    In other words, Novak knows the phrase “agency operative” is a term of art with a very specific meaning. And he uses it advisedly. Now he says he used it in a completely different way when referring to Plame. That strains credulity, to put it mildly.
    Dumb Cubs Fan's Name Published in Media

    The Cubs fan who messed with a foul ball, and was largely blamed (unfairly) for costing the Cubs last night's game, has his name in the media. 26-years old and his life has changed for the worse because he went to one of the biggest games in the history of his favorite team? Damn, that sucks.

    The only thing that will cure this is if the Cubs win the series, which I'm hoping for. Or the Sox. But at the least, the Cubs beat the Marlins. If not, poor guy will become the fan Buckner and perennial losers won't prevail.

    Some things Don't Change

    From Political Wire, we find former RNC head Haley Barbour playing the race card in his race for Miss gov.
    Some of Republican gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour's campaign material features the state flag and its Confederate battle emblem, a symbol many black voters find offensive.

    Barbour wears a lapel pin with the U.S. and state flags and he is in a photograph on the Web site of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a neo-Confederate group accused of racist views. Barbour says he doesn't know anything about the council. The picture was taken at a council-sponsored barbecue in July used to raise money for private academy school buses.

    But Barbour says he wants to be the state's most successful Republican vote-getter among African Americans and has held closed-door strategy meetings with minorities. If elected, he says he will create a "colorblind" state government. To some observers, Barbour's strategy could cost him votes, but to others it could give Barbour an edge in a tight race with Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.
    So what is the Council of Conservative Citizens? Let's learn about their history:
    The roots of the CCC rest in white opposition to integration during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The group is a successor to the Citizens' Councils of America (originally configured as the White Citizens' Councils), an overtly racist organization formed in the 1950s in reaction to the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing school segregation. Trumpeting the "Southern way of life," the CCA used a traditionalist rhetoric that appealed to better-mannered, more discreet racists; while the Klan burned crosses, the CCA relied on political and economic pressure ...

    The first Citizens Council was founded on July 11, 1954, in Indianola, Mississippi, by Robert B. Patterson (a current member of the CCC and former editor of its publication, The Citizens Informer). It formed committees that screened local political candidates to ensure they viewed "the negro vote" with appropriate disapproval, promoted "the advantages of segregation and the dangers of integration" and coordinated the application of economic pressure. The organization grew quickly, attracting members from across the South and beyond; by August 1955, Patterson's membership list exceeded 60,000 people and included 253 Councils. In August 1956, Citizens' Councils in 30 states came together to form the Citizens' Councils of America. Its goals were to preserve the "natural rights" of racial separation and "the maintenance of our States' Rights to regulate public health, morals, marriage, education, peace and good order in the States, under the Constitution of the United States."
    Hmm. That doesn't sound good. Tell me more.
    The beliefs of the CCC fall within the racially charged tradition of its predecessor but reflect the contemporary fears of its constituency. Instead of segregation, CCC members focus on issues like interracial marriage, which the group calls "mongrelization of the races"; black-on-white violence; and the demise of white Southern pride and culture, best exemplified in the debate about the Confederate flag. Additionally, in its heightened rhetoric about the expropriation of states' rights by the federal government and by an impending "New World Order," the CCC shares some of the conspiratorial fears of modern militia groups and other right-wing conspiracy theorists.

    CCC activists have used the White Citizens' Councils' tactic of economic pressure, as well. The group's North Carolina chapter, for instance, inflamed anxieties about Hispanic immigration by organizing protests in September and December of 1999 in Wilkesboro because the local Tyson Foods plant allegedly hired illegal immigrants. CCC Eastern Regional Director A.J. Barker organized the protests, according to the local newspaper, both of which were held in front of the town's Federal Building and attracted about 40 protesters each. CCC later claimed that because of the group's efforts Tyson fired several illegal workers (this claim is not verifiable), and that the publicity elicited by the protests had drawn new members to the chapter.
    That doesn't sound good either. What else? Here's what they look like in action.



    And here's Barbour in action. Center in navy blue. Do you think they look better or worse without their confederate flag tees?



    Yet, Barbour claims he doesn't know about the Council of Conservative Citizens. Is that possible? Considering two of his fellow Republicans, Trent Lott and Bob Barr, came under serious fire for attending meetings of the Council, and both stories made the high-profile national news stories, it's hard to believe that Barbour, someone who was the head of the RNC (and hence, may just know what's happening in GOP politics) would have never heard of the Council. And why would Barbour attend a fundraiser for a group he's never heard of? How stupid does Barbour think Mississippi voters are?

    Still, Mississippi voters elected Trent Lott. They don't seem to care about Trent Lott's history. Think this will hurt Barbour? I think not.

    Nebraska Player Slugs Fan

    See the video here.

    Unnamed Democrat Beats Bush

    In another ABC - Wash Post poll. 49 Democrat, 44 for Bush. The numbers usually drop when an actual face is put on the Democrat. Still, it's positive because it shows people are receptive to change. Also:
    Among individual candidates, Howard Dean had the support of 17 percent of Democrats and those who lean Democratic. Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt was at 13 percent, retired Gen. Wesley Clark was at 12 percent and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was at 10 percent. Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut senator who held the lead in this poll last month at 22 percent, had fallen to 9 percent. Others were also in single digits.
    Safire and Company Distort Dean

    Spinsanity on the problem. What's with Howard Dean and Uday and Qusay Hussein?
    New York Times columnist William Safire took Democratic presidential candidate and former Vermont governor Howard Dean to task yesterday for supposedly attempting to deny a comment he made disparaging the killing of Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay. Safire and a number of other reporters are the ones who should be taken to task, however, for spinning another media myth ...

    An Associated Press story published on the 22nd, however, midwifed the birth of a media myth. The lead paragraph stripped Dean's quote of any context, making it appear as though he was referring directly to the deaths of Saddam's sons. The misinterpretation gained legs on July 23rd. On "Hardball with Chris Matthews" that evening, Matthews quoted Dean in full, and asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for his opinion. McCain concentrated on only the second half of the quote, ignoring the first, and told Matthews he "could not disagree with [Dean] more to say that the ends doesn't justify the means. The ends were the eradication of two psychotic murdering rapists, and the means were through legitimate use of the American military helped out by some excellent information that they gained. How in the world someone could in any way think this end was not justified by anything which was the removal of two odious characters, frankly, is beyond me."

    That same day, Spencer Ackerman opined on the New Republic's web site that "upon learning that U.S. forces in Mosul killed Saddam's blood-thirsty heirs, Uday and Qusay, in a pitched battle, Dean was once again caught in the act of being himself. Dean told a Manchester, New Hampshire audience that "the ends do not justify the means," and went back to attacking his presidential rivals as Johnny-come-latelys to the Bush administration's intelligence scandal." Ackerman concluded by comparing Dean's out-of-context reaction unfairly with those of other Democratic hopefuls, quoting them responding positively to the deaths of Uday and Qusay.

    The next step in the spin took place in a Washington Times article of July 25. In a page one news story, James Lakely wrote that "Asked Tuesday about his reaction to U.S. troops killing Saddam's two brutal sons, Uday and Qusai, in an attack in Mosul, Iraq, Mr. Dean dismissed the achievement. 'The ends do not justify the means,' he said as he issued a flurry of critical comments about the president's justification for the war and about those who supported it." And in an editorial on July 28, the Times flogged its own spin, repeating the quote without context, suggesting that Dean had "criticized getting rid of the monsters." ...
    What Dean really meant / said.
    On July 22, Dean, who opposed military intervention in Iraq, commented at a New Hampshire campaign stop that the deaths of Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay were "a victory for the Iraqi people ... but it doesn't have any effect on whether we should or shouldn't have had a war. I think in general the ends do not justify the means."

    In context, "in general the ends do not justify the means" is clearly a comment supportive of the deaths of Uday and Qusay, but expressing the view that that positive end does not justify the means of the war in Iraq. A Washington Post story printed July 23 confirms that Dean was pleased with the deaths of the two Iraqis, quoting him as stating "I applaud the elimination [of] Saddam's sons," but the "major question still has to be asked: Why are we in Iraq?"
    Meanwhile, the heated feud between Howard Dean and John Kerry continues. Should John Kerry promote his 'nam record to score political points?
    "Before he became a political candidate for president, John Kerry clearly believed that military service should not be used for political gain," said Jay Carson, a spokesman for Dean, the former governor of Vermont who is running well ahead of Kerry in recent New Hampshire polls.

    "And he was right about that," Carson added. "Unfortunately, now John Kerry and his campaign have a strategy to use that record to further his political career." ...

    In May, Kerry told the Orlando Sentinel, "I am the only person running for this job who has actually fought in a war." A decade ago, however, Kerry rose in the Senate on two separate occasions to decry presidential candidates who used their military service record as a qualification for the highest office.
    Kerry, of course, is no longer the "only person" with Clark in the race. The Kerry camp replies: "John Kerry has always said military experience is not a pre-requisite for the presidency, but it informs the tough questions he asks and it certainly gives him the first-hand perspective you can't learn in the situation room. He is the only person running for president who combines military experience, broad foreign policy experience and a tested commitment to Democratic values - and yes, we will talk about that."

    It's hard to imagine that a politician - any politician - wouldn't attempt to score political points off his or her military service. If anything, it draws more attention to Kerry's service and Dean's lack of service. Hence, it's a weak argument from the Dean camp and I'm not sure what's the point in making it.

    Ruins Your Night



    Hate to be him. That's an understatement.

    Michelle Branch in concert, however, does not ruin your night.



    Tuesday, October 14, 2003

    O'Reilly Spins His Lies

    From FAIR

    Though never mentioning FAIR by name, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly responded to a recent FAIR action alert correcting statements the host made about the L.A. Times and its coverage of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    O'Reilly was harshly critical of the paper for reporting allegations that Schwarzenegger had a long record of groping and harassing women. This coverage amounted to a double-standard in O'Reilly's eyes: "Do you think the L.A. Times sent a squad of reporters to Arkansas to investigate Bill Clinton's problems with women? No, it did not." As FAIR pointed out, the L.A. Times was one of the first media outlets to report the allegations that Clinton used Arkansas state troopers to arrange and cover up his sexual affairs.

    O'Reilly responded last night (10/13/03) by reading the following letter from a viewer: "Edward Frew, Melbourne, Australia: "Mr. O'Reilly, you mentioned the L.A. Times went after Schwarzenegger but did not aggressively investigate Bill Clinton's situation with women. In fact, such a piece did appear on December 21, 1993."

    O'Reilly then offered this illogical response: "Mr. Frew, with all due respect, you need to stay off the left-wing websites, which is where you came up with that. The article you cite was headlined 'Troopers Say Clinton Sought Silence on Personal Affairs: The White House Calls Their Allegations About the President's Private Life Ridiculous.' The story was reported giving both sides of the controversy. It was not an attempt to dig up anything and did not level accusations or exonerate Mr. Clinton. It was simply a news piece. Stay off the websites with the left-wingers, all right? You're never going to get the truth. And the right-wingers, probably the same thing."

    So was O'Reilly admitting an error? Probably not-- though it's hard to see how reading the headline from a story that was the result of an investigation one claimed did not exist would prove one's point.

    It's also unclear why O'Reilly would claim the L.A. Times story "was not an attempt to dig up anything and did not level accusations or exonerate Mr. Clinton." As the paper described the charges in the second paragraph of the story, the state troopers "describe a pattern of deception and indiscretions and say that he required them as state employees to go beyond their duties as bodyguards to help him conduct and hide these activities."

    O'Reilly is correct that the L.A. Times reported "both sides of the controversy" when it investigated Clinton. But that was also true of the paper's reports on Schwarzenegger. When it broke the story on Schwarzenegger's alleged sexual abuse (10/2/03), the L.A. Times gave space to Schwarzenegger's campaign spokesman Sean Walsh to deny the stories, reporting that Walsh thought "such allegations are part of an escalating political attack on Schwarzenegger as the recall election approaches." The L.A. Times headline also conveyed that message: "Women Say Schwarzenegger Groped, Humiliated Them; The Acts Allegedly Took Place Over Three Decades. A Campaign Aide Denies the Accusations."

    O'Reilly's syndicated column, which runs in various papers across the country, also includes a variation of his original charge-- just days after hundreds of people wrote to O'Reilly pointing out his error in response to an October 10 FAIR action alert. In the version that ran in the New York Daily News (10/13/03), O'Reilly wrote: "Did the Times send a squad of reporters to Arkansas to investigate Bill Clinton's situation with women? Did that paper spend its resources probing into the backgrounds of Cruz Bustamante and Tom McClintock? It did not." The L.A. Times, it should be noted, did extensive reporting on Bustamante and McClintock's ties to Indian casino interests.

    I think you too need to stay off the liberal websites.

    Haha ...

    Boondocks offends people everyday. Why should today be any different?

    Podesta's Notion Building

    If you read David Brock's "Blinded by the Right" or Eric Alterman's "What Liberal Media," you already know that the right has some handy tools at its disposal. To give you an idea, from the NY Times Sunday:
    Today the Heritage Foundation, with an annual budget of roughly $30 million, is like a university unto itself. Its eight-story building houses some 180 employees, and it just completed an addition that has, among other amenities, state-of-the-art teleconferencing, apartments for about 60 interns and a fully wired 250-seat auditorium with its own greenroom. The foundation's in-house scholars are a constant presence on radio and cable TV. (Laura Ingraham, with one of the nation's largest radio followings, broadcasts from a Heritage studio.)
    Apartments for interns! Most liberal think tanks don't even give you free metro cards. So enter John Podesta.
    The need to imitate the tactics and the discipline of the right wing is now discussed obsessively at liberal and leftist strategy sessions and dinner parties, and leading Democrats see Podesta's think tank as a command center for a new left-wing conspiracy -- a progressive group that is, for once, both well financed and willing to get as mean as the opposition. Among them is Tom Daschle, the Senate minority leader and the highest-ranking Democrat in the land, who has been known to complain bitterly about the influence of right-wing commentators. Daschle was among a small group who plotted with Podesta for more than a year to establish American Progress.

    ''They have a dozen think tanks, and we have none,'' Daschle said during a conversation in his Capitol office. ''We don't come close to matching their firepower in the media.'' ...

    It may be, ultimately, that Podesta and American Progress will imitate conservative think tanks in the way that most Democratic leaders badly want them to -- by attacking Bush, by getting their people on CNN and by making sure they're armed with the talking points of the day. But that's not what really made those think tanks powerful in the first place. I mentioned to Podesta what one Republican told me -- that the best thing for American Progress would be for the Democratic presidential nominee to get totaled in 2004 the way Goldwater did 40 years earlier. That way, the party would be desperate for new ideas, and a determined think tank could conceivably take over its agenda.

    ''I'll leave that for somebody else to say,'' Podesta replied. ''If you ask me, I'd rather have a progressive administration.'' That makes sense coming from a loyal Democrat. But if you really want to reset the table, you might have to be willing to kick it over.
    From what I understand, the Center for American Progress will have a budget of about $10 million, which is a good start. Hopefully their webpage will develop in due time as well.

    Ultimately, the hope for Democrats and liberals in general is that the CAP will develop into the research and attack arm of the left. God knows we need it.

    O'Reilly Lies About CPB/NPR Funding

    This is what O'Reilly said on The O'Reilly Factor on October 8, 2003:
    All right, the problem here is not that interview. I should have known better. But it's that I paid for it. And so did you. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (search), which funds NPR, gets a billion dollars a year in taxpayer money. Why is the government allowing a far-left outfit like NPR, which is obviously biased, to operate on taxpayer money?
    Is it true? Does CPB get a billion dollars / year? No.
    For instance, in the first session of the 107th Congress (FY 2002 budget cycle), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) received a $380 million appropriation. Because CPB is advance funded by two years, the appropriation is for public broadcasting in fiscal year 2004. Recently, Congress approved a $390 million funding level for fiscal year 2005.
    Even the "NPR HATES AMERICA" site agrees with this figure:
    The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) receives an appropriation from the federal government. In 1999, this figure was $250,000,000. In 2004, CPB is expected to receive an allocation of $380,000,000 and $395,000,000 has been set-aside for 2005. Of this allocation, CPB, must award 95% to a small handful of public broadcasting entities (NPR, PBS, etc.).
    A billion dollars is a nice, scary number to throw around. Unfortunately, O'Reilly's plain wrong.

    The News Mags



    TIME magazine goes light again, this time with a cover story on "eating smarter." TIME wants you to eat smarter while the journalism of this country gets dumber.



    Evan Thomas, Jon Alter and Newsweek have Limbaugh stories.



    US News asks if Arnold matters. US News ultimately writes it "remains to be seen."



    And Esquire ... Hmm ... afraid I'm going to have to pick this one up for the articles. Yup.

    Did Hannity Distort Clinton Clip?

    One person on the Team Franken message board at AlFrankenWeb.com says yes ...

    Before Hillary Clinton's appearance on The Daily Show this week, Stephen Colbert did a piece about the California Recall, and the movie Predator. After noting that Ventura and Schwarzenegger (both actors from that movie) had been elected Governor, Colbert joked about the political prospects for other cast members, including the monster, and asked the viewers to imagine "Senator Predator".

    For a clip of the sketch, click RIGHT HERE, and select "Correspondent Pieces: Colbert: Recall Tales" (Predator comments start near the end of the clip)

    When Hillary Clinton appeared, she joked about the skit, something to the effect "that serving in the Senate with the Predator would be scary." (Her clip is not on the TDS site yet, but could be added later).

    According to the TDS message board, Sean Hannity played an abbreviated clip of Hillary's joke on his talk radio show, and accused her of calling Arnold Schwarzenegger a predator.

    Apparently, Hannity thinks his fans are stupid enough to believe that a Governor serves in the Senate. Given they are Hannity fans, he's probably right.

    50+ Distorted War Stories?

    It appears the Bush administration wasn't content with simply lying about Iraq WMD, Iraq-9-11 connections and uranium. According to Washington Whispers, there were more distorted stories to be told.
    Just as former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's story that Bushies blew his CIA wife's cover to get back at his criticism of the war in Iraq was getting old, he has stumbled on new ammo to hit the administration's credibility. Wilson tells us he plans to circulate the text of a briefing by analyst Sam Gardiner that suggests the White House and Pentagon made up or distorted over 50 war stories. You know some tall tales, like the Pvt. Jessica Lynch story. But there's more, says Gardiner, a war gamer who has taught at the National War College. Like how defense officials said the first Iraqi unit marines encountered, the 51st Mechanized Infantry Division, had surrendered four days before it actually did. And he says Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers gave bad or deliberately incomplete info on several topics. Sure, propaganda has always been used in war to deceive and demoralize the enemy. But these guys went way overboard, Gardiner says. "Never before have so many stories been created to sell a war," he insists. "And they probably didn't need it."
    Of course, we can ALWAYS count on the mainstream media to get things like this straightened out ;).

    The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time

    Read the list, realize you don't recognize half of the titles, then hang your head in shame.

    Two More



    No Yanks in series, please.

    Monday, October 13, 2003

    I Like Campaign Paraphernalia

    If you work for a campaign, or have a bunch of stuff around, donate your Dem paraphernalia to me. Email me to get an address. I have many a space on my backpack and nothing to put on it.

    USPIRG: Delaying Action On Global Warming Costs Consumers And The Environment

    From a new US Public Interest Research Group report "The Costs Of Inaction: Delaying Action On Global Warming Costs Consumers And The Environment."
    Extreme weather events cost Americans nearly $20 billion in 2002, a cost that could increase if the U.S. does nothing to curb global warming. At the same time, clean energy technologies could save American consumers billions of dollars and reduce global warming pollution, according to a new report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

    Released as Congress considers a conference report on a national energy bill, the U.S. PIRG report -- The Costs of Inaction: Delaying Action on Global Warming Costs Consumers and the Environment -- details how clean energy solutions could save consumers billions of dollars and curb global warming pollution.

    "People say we can't change the weather, but due to global warming we may already have," said U.S. PIRG Global Warming Advocate Beth Lander. "While the U.S. does nothing to curb global warming, consumers are losing out on the money-saving benefits of clean energy solutions, and we all pay the price to deal with the consequences."

    Burning dirty fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) to power cars and homes releases heat-trapping global warming gases into the atmosphere, which alters the climate of the planet and throws weather systems out of balance. Scientists warn that doing nothing to reduce global warming pollution will increase the frequency and severity of costly extreme weather events such as drought, floods, and hurricanes. U.S. PIRG analyzed data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Flood Insurance Program, Army Corps of Engineers, Small Business Administration, Farm Service Agency, and the Property Claims Service and found that extreme weather-related spending in the U.S. in 2002 totaled nearly $20 billion nationally.
    Comedy Monday

    "In a recent press conference Donald Rumsfeld said that he had no idea that the U.S. was reorganizing the leadership structure in Iraq and that nobody had consulted him. Rumsfeld was furious and said, 'I'm tired of being treated like President Bush.'" —Conan O'Brien

    "Well it's official, Florida is no longer the dumbest state in the U.S. ... I stayed up and watched all 129 concession speeches." —David Letterman

    "The recall election is over and the good news is soon we will be able to withdraw our troops from California." —David Letterman

    "In his last day of campaigning, Arnold Schwarzenegger apologized for groping women in his past. He said 'What can I say, it was the '70s, '80s and '90s." —Conan O'Brien

    "As of yesterday, the Bush administration still hadn't found the source of the White House leak that outed a woman as a CIA operative. To recap, here are the things President Bush can't find: The source of the leak, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin laden, the link between Saddam and Osama bin laden, the guy who sent the anthrax through the mail, and his butt with two hands and a flash light." —Tina Fey

    "Rush Limbaugh resigned from his job on ESPN's sunday NFL Countdown after racially charged remarks about Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Donovan McNabb, saying that Mcnabb was given too much credit for his performance because he was black. Finally, someone has the guts to say what the liberal media doesn't want you to know: Black people are not good at sports." —Tina Fey
    COMICS

    >Mike Thompson. Rush compassion?
    >Ann Telnaes. Future's deficit
    >Steve Sack. Ashcroft on the leak
    >Tom Tomorrow. Salon.com comic
    THE REAL NEWS

    From TheOnion.com

    Girlfriend Dumped After Forwarding Stupid Link
    GREAT FALLS, MT—Amanda Manis was dumped Monday after forwarding boyfriend Anthony Madrid a link for the humor web site LunaticLobsters.com. "I was convinced that I had found my soulmate, my kindred spirit, the woman I could grow old with," Madrid said. "Then, out of nowhere, Mandy e-mails me this stupid link. When I saw those Flash-animation cartoons, I knew it was over." Madrid has previously dumped girlfriends for owning roller blades, buying Vegemite, and watching Craig Kilborn.
    I unfortunately watched Gov. Gray Davis give Letterman's Top Ten list last Friday. Davis has absolutely no charisma. I felt like recalling Davis at number 7 *rim shot*. Gov. Davis, keep your day job (oh wait). Anyway, here's his Top Ten list.

    10. "When you realize you don't know what you're doing, give me a call."
    9. "Baby oil will stain the mansion's Italian silk sofa."
    8. "Listen to your constituents - except Michael Jackson."
    7. (Sorry, joke No. 7 was recalled).
    6. "To improve your approval rating, go on Leno; when you get kicked out, go on Letterman."
    5. "Study the master - George W. Bush." (Laughs) "Ah, I'm just kidding."
    4. "You could solve the deficit problem by donating your salary from 'Terminator 3.'"
    3. "If things are bad, just yell, 'Save us, Superman!'"
    2. "While giving a speech, never say, 'Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara ... same thing.'"
    1. "It's pronounced 'California.'"
    Play The Daily Show News Hunter game

    Newsmax: It's Clinton's Fault

    Wondering when the conservatives would blame the Plame scandal on Clinton? Here you go:
    Our CIA source says the continuing controversy over Plame stems more from the Bush administration's failure to clean house at the CIA of Clinton-Gore careerists that still dominate there. But the CIA is not the only problem, Clinton-Gore careerists still run State, Defense and most other agencies. Why the administration has dragged its feet in cleaning house and appointing their own people, as all previous administrations have done, is not clear.
    To tell you how ridiculous how Newsmax.com's "source" is, you needn't go any further than this part of the Newsmax.com email:
    A CIA official tells NewsMax that anger over the revelation that Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was outed -- is nonsense. Even if Plame was an undercover operative, the agency regularly moves such operatives out of deep cover if the operative's spouse becomes very high profile.
    Of course, this "CIA official" fails to mention that the problem is not necessarily with endangering the CIA operative's life but with the many contacts she's made over the years.

    Still, it's from Newsmax.com (which is funded by GOP consultants) so no surprise that they're twisting the truth to benefit the Repubs.

    Newsweek Poll: Americans Increasingly Unhappy with Bush, Politics

    Most Americans don't care about the California recall election, but a lot of Americans are dissatisfied with current politics. The numbers:

  • "Seventy percent of those polled say the country's political system is so controlled by special interests and partisanship that it cannot respond to the country's real needs; 25 percent disagree."
  • "And more than half of respondents (54 percent) say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States now, while 40 percent say they are satisfied—almost a complete reversal from six months ago when half of Americans said they were satisfied and 41 percent were not."
  • "This dissatisfaction is reflected in President George W. Bush's approval rating as well, which now stands at 51 percent—statistically equal to his approval rating in the four previous polls taken since August, but the lowest level since before the September 11 attacks in 2001. Forty-two percent of Americans now say they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, and almost as many strongly disapprove of his job performance as strong approve of it (29 percent compared to 31 percent)."
  • "Half of registered voters polled say they would not like to see Bush re-elected, while 44 percent would re-elect him to another term."
  • "Gen. Wesley Clark still leads the way among registered Democrats and self-described Democratic leaners, with 15 percent saying they would most like to see him nominated as the party's presidential candidate in 2004. Thirteen percent would opt for Sen. Joe Lieberman, 11 percent for Sen. John Kerry, 10 percent for Dean, and eight percent for Rep. Dick Gephardt. The rest received support from six percent of less of those polled."

    Newsweek also has numbers on Iraq. Perhaps the most important: "While more than half of respondents (56 percent) still think the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq in March, that is a 12 percent drop from the number who felt that way in a poll taken in late July. And 37 percent now feel the United States did not do the right thing by invading Iraq."

    Sunday, October 12, 2003

    NY Times Bestseller List

    NY Times Bestseller List, October 19, 2003.

    1. LIES (AND THE LYING LIARS WHO TELL THEM), by Al Franken. (Dutton, $24.95.) A satirical critique of the rhetoric of right-wing pundits and politicians.

    2. LIVING WITH HERPES, by Bill O'Reilly. (Broadway, $24.95.) The host of "The O'Reilly Factor" attacks those individuals and institutions that he believes have let down people with herpes.

    Saturday, October 11, 2003

    Poor Jonah Goldberg

    Looks like Jonah Goldberg gets "hysterical" emails. He cites two emails which, apparently, are supposed to give you a "flavor" of what Deanites and liberals are like. However, the emails are pretty tame by my standards. Hey, if citing two emails are supposed to "give you the flavor" of a group of people, may I do the same with conservatives?
    Example 1:

    I really hope POS Franken dies on camera, choking on his own vomit. What an actual pig. Once he pulled his pants down, hoping I would give him a BJ, but I puked when I saw all the skid marks on his shorts.

    Example 2:

    u dont make any sense..you should keep this email too..so you know who to blame when your website is crashed and a whole bunch of shit im sure you wont appreciate is put on it...your a pussy, and ur going to grow up and like dick... heres an idea..why dont u such franken off? sounds good u fucking faggot ... my dad makes $5,000,000 a year and he didnt get to where he is today from listening to people that you jerk off to such as mr franken, I go to a high school that costs more than your college does...and i think my family has a collection of german and italian cars that account for the entire profits of mr Frankens book sales...dont lecture me...and dont try to act smart...because im smarter than you, i happened to have gotten at 1520 on my SAT's pal. learn how to make a website..u worthless liberal piece of shit..where do you live? why dont we meet and ill teach you some manners bitch. go kill yourself, your fucking worthless
    Jonah Hamsterberg says: Does that "give you the flavor" of conservatives?

    More Stupid Quote Saturday



    In the state of Hawaii, where the majority of the population is Asian, Jan Stephenson issued an apology for saying that Asians are ruining the game of golf. Jan is playing at the Turtle Bay Hilton in Kahuku, Hawaii.

    Jan Stephenson, who became the first woman to play on the Champions Tour on Friday, said Asians are "killing" the LPGA Tour and their numbers should be limited.

    Stephenson, who won 16 tournaments, including three majors, during her LPGA career, is playing in this weekend's Turtle Bay Championship. Her comments appear in an article in the November edition of "Golf Magazine," due out Tuesday.

    "This is probably going to get me in trouble, but the Asians are killing our tour. Absolutely killing it," she told the magazine. "Their lack of emotion, their refusal to speak English when they can speak English. They rarely speak.

    "We have two-day pro-ams where people are paying a lot of money to play with us, and they say, 'Hello and goodbye.' Our tour is predominantly international and the majority of them are Asian. They've taken it over."

    Four of the top nine players on the LPGA money list this year are of Asian descent including Se Ri Pak, Grace Park, HeeWon Han and Candie Kung.

    "If I were commissioner, I would have a quota on international players and that would include a quota on Asian players," Stephenson told the magazine. "As it is, they're taking American money. American sponsors are picking up the bill. There should be a qualifying school for Americans and a qualifying school for international players. I'm Australian, an international player, but I say America has to come first. Sixty percent of the tour should be American, 40 percent international."
    Damn Asians taking over our UC schools, library study rooms, and karaoke bars. Now GOLF!

    Stupid Quote Saturday

    "Former four-star general and newly minted Democrat presidential candidate Wesley Clark's comments and behavior raise serious doubts about his mental and emotional stability and his very fitness to hold the highest office in the land ... it's painfully clear that Gen. Clark should heed the adapted advice of five-star Gen. Douglas MacArhur, that old soldiers just fade away – rather than fly aimlessly over the cuckoo's nest." Dan Frisa

    The LA Times "didn't send a squad of reporters to go down there and interview Kathleen Willey and all of the other people. They did not do it." Bill O'Reilly on his show, failing to mention the LA Times and its involvement with Troopergate.

    "When you get through, you say, 'If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that's the answer.' I mean, you get through this, and you say, 'We've got to blow that thing up.' I mean, is it as bad as you say?" Pat Robertson on nuking the State Department.

    "If you are going to act like Mexicans, you will be treated like Mexicans." Unnamed GOP Texas senator to San Antonio Sen. Leticia Van de Putte

    "What I saw: A young family of five — father, mother, three young children, well-dressed, well-behaved, enjoying their night out, too. Except for the well-behaved children — mythical creatures with which we have no personal experience with — the family was unremarkable. But they were black. And my husband whispered that in a nation where 70 percent of black children are born into homes without fathers, it was great to see a picture-perfect black family dining together. "I almost want to go give the guy a high five," he said, somewhat sheepishly." Jennifer Graham in the National Review.