Sunday, February 29

Drudge Still Trying Too Hard

Shocking headline at the Fort Drudge Most today:


So's I clicks on it, and I sees this:

Democrat frontrunner John Kerry is not sure God is on America's side in the war terrorism. Kerry made the startling comments during Sunday's Democrat presidential debate in New York City.

Elizabeth Bumiller of the NEW YORK TIMES asked Kerry: "President Bush has said that freedom and fear have always been at war, and God is not neutral between them. He's made quite clear in his speeches that he feels God is on America's side.

"Is God on America's side?"

KERRY: Well, God will -- look, I think -- I believe in God, but I don't believe, the way President Bush does, in invoking it all the time in that way. I think it is -- we pray that God is on our side, and we pray hard. And God has been on our side through most of our existence.
Call me nuts, but I don't see how fedorabrain drew the conclusion.

So Bush can say with absolute certainty that God IS on our side? We have tangible truth on this? And Kerry can't produce that same truth? This is truly a theological breakthrough.

Drudge has officially forfeited his shot at a productive life if this is all he's got left.

Here's Your Morning Coffee, Mr. President. Oh, And Here's Your Latest Poll Numbers


CBS News Poll. Feb. 24-27, 2004. N=1,545 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (total sample).
Trend includes surveys conducted jointly with and independently by The New York Times.

"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?"
(Results from two weeks ago in parenthesis)
Approve: 47% (50%)
Disapprove: 44% (42%)
Don't Know: 9% (8%)

"Is your opinion of George W. Bush favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you heard enough about George W. Bush yet to have an opinion?"
Favorable: 40% (44%)
Unfavorable: 36% (36%)
Undecided: 18% (14%)

"If the 2004 presidential election were being held today, do you think you would probably vote for George W. Bush or probably vote for the Democratic candidate?"
Democrat: 48% (47%)
Bush: 43% (42%)
Can't Say/Don't Know: 7% (11%)
Someone get a sponge...

Mo Dowd Lets Loose With A Great Line

Too bad it wasn't her own, but it's good nonetheless:

Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, George Tenet was asked why the C.I.A. never picked up the trail of Marwan al-Shehhi, the pilot who crashed Flight 175 into the south tower on 9/11.

Thirty months earlier, German intelligence had passed on a hot tip to the C.I.A. — the Al Qaeda terrorist's first name and phone number.

"The Germans gave us a name, Marwan — that's it — and a phone number," the director of central intelligence replied, adding: "They didn't give us a first and a last name until after 9/11, with then additional data."

For crying out loud. As one guy I know put it: "I've tracked down women across the country with a lot less information than that."

Y'Know - Kinda Like What Clinton Tried To Do Before The Guy Blew Up New York

It's wonderful that President Pilotpants has finally gotten around to this, now that he's stopped using Iraq as a playground, and long after his GOP fenderhead pals hogtied his predecessor for trying to do this:

Bush orders bin Laden caught

GEORGE W. Bush has reportedly ordered US agencies to step up efforts to catch Osama bin Laden amid accusations by Democratic presidential frontrunner John Kerry that the White House has neglected the al-Qa'ida leader to the US's peril.

The renewed focus on bin Laden, who US intelligence believes is hiding on the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border, comes amid bitter politicking in the US over national security.

Senator Kerry says Mr Bush effectively allowed bin Laden to escape two years ago when he relied on local warlords instead of US troops to hunt him in Afghanistan's Tora Bora region.

News of the stepped up hunt comes less than a month after the senior US military spokesman in Afghanistan, Colonel Brian Hilferty, said: "We're sure we're going to catch Osama bin Laden this year."


Bush sending Marines to Haiti
2/29/2004 2:48 PM
By: Capital News 9 web staff

President Bush said he's sending the Marines to Haiti to help restore order.

He's urging the people of Haiti to reject violence, following Sunday's ousting of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Bush called it "the beginning of a new chapter in the country's history."
When Bush declares a new chapter in your country's history...RUN.

More Important Stuff From This Morning's Paper

I'm not sure when this happened, but on the comics page, apparently Cathy is engaged to that guy she's been dating since the strip started several hundred years ago.

I'm a huge fan of the funnies, but Cathy is one of those strips that I really don't pay much attention to, simply because the formula's remained the same since its inception.

Panel 1: Establishing shot of Cathy...
a. engaging in conversation with boyfriend/mother/co-workers/waiter.
b. shopping for a swimsuit.

Panel 2: A growing sense of panic and/or concern.

Panel 3: A cloud of chaos with arms flailing, sweat drops flying and paper tearing.

Panel 4: Cathy standing/sitting in the middle of a shredded pile of something expressing an obvious conclusion.

Man, I miss Calvin and Hobbes...

The Plan's Not Going Well

If Bush wants to run on his record, he's in deep poop. From this morning's L.A. Times:

Domestic Troubles Challenge Bush Campaign

WASHINGTON — When President Bush's political strategists planned his reelection campaign, they hoped to woo voters with an impressive list of achievements in domestic policy: a resurgent economy, tax cuts, an education plan and a prescription drug benefit for senior citizens. It hasn't worked out that way.

To Republicans' distress, Bush has run into trouble on all those fronts. The economy's recovery has been stubbornly slow. The president's tax cuts are not universally popular. His education changes have drawn criticism from educators and state officials in both parties. And the Medicare bill has failed to impress elderly voters.

"When President Bush goes to make his case for a second term, his domestic performance will not be his strong suit," said pollster Andrew Kohut of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center for People and the Press. "It's not a hopeless thing, but boy — he has some work to do to get people to feel better about what he has accomplished."

Republican strategists acknowledge that the president has not yet succeeded in making his domestic agenda an effective selling point.

"When you look at the specific concerns about the Medicare law and No Child Left Behind, they start a little bit rocky," said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, referring in part to Bush's education program. "But that's why God made campaigns."

One problem, Republicans said, is that the Bush campaign has been slow in starting in a political season that has seen the president's Democratic rivals focus their criticism on the incumbent (instead of on one another, as the GOP had hoped).

"His Democratic opponents have run more than 36,000 television ads attacking President Bush or his policies," said Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign. "It's time to reframe the debate."

Minnesota's Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty noted a second, more troubling problem: So far, Bush's domestic accomplishments are mostly on paper.

In a poll by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center released Feb. 9, 63% of respondents said they got little or no benefit from the tax cuts; only 33% said they derived "some" or "a great deal."

Friday, February 27

Still Think The Occupation's Going Well, Senator Daschle?

This is heartbreaking, disgraceful and horrific. My vote automatically goes to the Democratic candidate who travels to Iraq and brings back a firsthand account of what he sees there. This is what will never be seen by Preznit Giv Me Turkee:
Dying of neglect: the state of Iraq's children's hospitals

In Iraq's hospitals, children are dying because of shockingly poor sanitation and a shortage of medical equipment. In Baghdad's premier children's hospital, Al-Iskan, sewage drips from the roof of the premature babies' ward, leaking from waste pipes above.

In the leukaemia ward, the lavatories overflow at times, spreading filthy water across the floor that carries potentially lethal infection.

Rubbish is piled on the stairs and in the corridors: old broken bits of machinery, discarded toilet cisterns, babies' cots filled with mountains of unwanted paperwork. The fire escape is blocked with discarded razor wire.

Nearby lie blankets still black with the blood of Iraqi soldiers wounded during the war - for months, they must have been fetid breeding grounds for disease.

This is the reality of life in Iraq under American occupation. Ten months after the fall of Saddam, the invasion that was supposed to have transformed the lives of ordinary Iraqis has done little for the children in Al-Iskan Hospital.

Of the billions of dollars the US is spending in Iraq, little seems to have found its way to Al-Iskan. In a country that sits on top of the second largest proven oil reserves in the world, children are dying in hospital beds because of a shortage of such basic equipment as oxygen cylinders.

Issues The Dems Can OWN #1

Republicans and wingnuts shrug off global warming - because they just don't GET IT. Unfortunately, neither do a lot of Democrats, because they're too busy deflecting all the non issues the right wing wackos are slapshotting their way. But as you may know by now, no one less than Bush's military (who do more than bomb the snot out of countries without WMDs) hurls an indictment of our survival on this planet at President Whistleass.

Give Bush his little anti-same-sex marriage crusade. It's being overwhelmed by two coasts, it's not going anywhere and it's not nearly as urgent as everyone's making it out to be. You say we need issues to call our own? Let's start here.

Bleak Forecast
By Arianna Huffington, AlterNet
February 25, 2004

If he's smart enough to use it, the Democratic nominee may have just been handed the perfect cudgel with which to pummel President Bush – and cripple Karl Rove's attempts to position his man as America's go-to guy on national security.

The weapon in question is a new report on the grave and gathering threat posed by global climate change – and the potentially cataclysmic consequences of the Bush administration's obstinately ignorant approach to global warming.

And the thing that makes the report so frightening – and the prospective bludgeon so crushing – is that it wasn't authored by some crunchy granola think tank or a band of tree-hugging EarthFirsters, but by the U.S. Department of Defense.

That's right, the Pentagon – Rummy's playpen. In fact, the report, which was slipped to the press earlier this month after being kept under wraps by the White House for four months, was commissioned by Andrew Marshall, a legendary DOD figure, nicknamed "Yoda" for his sagacity. As head of the Pentagon's secretive Office of Net Assessment, Marshall has offered national security assessments to every president since Richard Nixon.

And this latest assessment pegs climate change as a far greater danger than even the scourge of international terrorism.

And Then Ya See, The Crack Wears Off And They Have To Face The Truth...

Flashback - My take on Dennis Hastert enforcing a 9-11 inquiry 5/27 deadline:

I get ripped occasionally for referring to Bush and his Washington servants as "crackheads" and I probably deserve the criticism. It's not a very nice thing to say and I have no proof that any of them are still smoking crack or doing blow.

However, when I see this kind of transparent panicky behavior which is obviously aimed at covering up any possible wrongdoing, I really, really have to restrain myself. These are classic cokehead symptoms.
Well...guess what happened today?

9/11 Panel Gets Green Light

An intense congressional political battle came to an end on Friday when House Speaker Dennis Hastert agreed to give the independent panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks an extra two months to finish its report.

Hastert, R-Ill., in a letter to the two chairmen of the commission, former New Jersey Republican Gov. Thomas H. Kean and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., acknowledged that he had been “reluctant to support this extension” because of the need for Congress to move quickly on the findings of the report.

President Bush supports the extension and the Senate earlier Friday passed on a voice vote a Senate Intelligence Committee bill including the two-month extension.

However, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., who have led efforts to prolong the life of the commission, have demanded a guarantee that the House would act by next week on that Senate bill.

Hastert and other GOP House leaders had balked at granting the panel additional time.

Broadband Corner

Virtual Frog Dissection - doesn't allow you to cut away from the lines for total mutulation, though.
And another great moment in advertising (best to right-click and save).

Move Over, Chevy. Step Aside, Wayne.

Clear the way for Dennis.


DENNIS Miller is taking a two- week hiatus from his new CNBC talk show - which is being remade while he's gone.

"The main thing we're going to do differently is to have a studio audience," consulting producer Steve Friedman told The Post. "We're not doing the 'Tonight Show' - we want it more like a nightclub, and we're looking at an audience of around 100 people a day." Miller has, thus far, worked without a studio audience - relying only on laughs from his crew.

"Dennis' comedy is terrific, and it really helps if somebody is there to respond to it," Friedman said. "I love the crew, but that's not enough."

Can We Move In? It's Cold Out Here These Days

I'm not saying he didn't earn it, but DAMN, Joe Trippi has a nice spread near Chesapeake Bay. Maybe he can help pay off the $400,000 debt the Dean campaign still has after Trippi blew the wad in Iowa. Just wonderin'.

(The post is at Trippi's Change For America site which is trying to continue Dean's message without Dean - who's going to form a political action group of his own. It's all so confusing.)

But It Really Sucked To Be Worth Less Than $20 Billion

Quote of the day:

"All told, it was a fabulous year to be very rich."

- The Houston Chronicle reporting on Forbes' world's richest people

Springtime In Libya

Take the kids to Tripoli this year. Whee.

US lifts Libya travel ban, encourages deeper ties
By Terence Hunt, Associated Press, 2/27/2004

WASHINGTON -- The United States lifted a longstanding ban on travel to Libya yesterday and invited American companies to begin planning their return, after Moammar Khadafy's government affirmed that it was responsible for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988.

The administration also encouraged Libya to establish an official presence in Washington by opening an "interests section," a diplomatic office a classification beneath an embassy. And Washington will expand its diplomatic presence in Tripoli.

Thursday, February 26

From the Pen of: Ben Sargent

From deep in the heart of Texas, Sarge has been on W's case for years...

From the Pen of: Steve Sack

Do ANY Of These People Have Any Patience?

I get ripped occasionally for referring to Bush and his Washington servants as "crackheads" and I probably deserve the criticism. It's not a very nice thing to say and I have no proof that any of them are still smoking crack or doing blow.

However, when I see this kind of transparent panicky behavior which is obviously aimed at covering up any possible wrongdoing, I really, really have to restrain myself. These are classic cokehead symptoms. Slow, sure and forthcoming are character traits those types generally don't engage in.

House Speaker Firm on 9/11 Panel's Deadline
Hastert, worried about disclosures during an election season, says he will block bills that seek to give the investigative commission more time.
By Greg Miller
Times Staff Writer

February 26, 2004

WASHINGTON - House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said Wednesday that he would block legislation to extend the deadline for a commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks - a serious setback to the panel, which also on Wednesday expressed disappointment over limits on its access to President Bush and other administration officials.

Hastert refused to allow a bill extending the commission's deadline to be introduced in the House, angering Democrats on Capitol Hill. Bush had endorsed the idea of giving the panel two extra months - until July 26 - to complete its investigation.

A spokesman for Hastert said the speaker opposed postponing completion of the report partly out of concern that it would push the release of the commission's findings - and any damaging disclosures - into the heat of the presidential campaign. The panel's mandate calls for it to complete its work by May 27.

Safire's Apples And Oranges

First, highlights of the article.

Return to Riga

Can people who have been taught only submission for generations, who are strangers to democracy, be trusted to govern themselves?

That's the question facing us in Iraq today. We will be asking the same question come the revolution in Iran or, even sooner and closer, after the chaos in Haiti.

Look for an answer in Riga, the beautiful capital of Latvia, a northern European nation conquered by Hitler before we entered World War II. He traded it to Stalin, and Latvians lived under oppression and Russian colonization for two generations.

When Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia broke free, Ukraine followed (despite Bush's "chicken Kiev" speech) and the house of Communist cards collapsed.

In the years since, Latvians suffered the anguish of raw democracy. The hundreds of thousands of Russians sent to colonize and dominate were no longer the elite; they now made up a disliked minority that would not go "home." Grudgingly, Latvia offered citizenship to Russians willing to learn the local language and residency to the rest.

Meanwhile, squabbles proliferated among former political allies. Personalities clash; coalitions are hard. Ten rightist cabinets failed to last a full term and only last week, the Parliament had to turn to an amiable Green Party leader to preside as the nation achieves its dream of membership in NATO and the European Union.

Latvians, new to democracy, are trying to embrace Europe without forgetting that America is their most reliable friend. In the same way, my other favorite pushed-around people — the Kurds of Iraq — have emerged from a U.S.-protected decade of tribal rivalries to show other Iraqi Muslims how their regional parliamentary progress can be a national example.

Democracy is heady wine and causes initial hangovers. But given a chance to become a habit, the exhilarating experience of freedom enriches and ennobles people. That's hard to believe until you've seen it with your own eyes.
It's a nice sentiment, but the comparisons to Iraq are totally without merit.

While Safire has been to Riga twice in 15 years, I have a good friend from Long Island who moved back there a dozen years ago - first as media director of the new government and now as a general manager of a few of Riga's media outlets.

We discussed this article and he agrees that it's a pretty huge stretch to make the Iraq-Latvia connection:

1) Democratic Latvia didn't come about by an invasion by another country.
2) Democratic Latvia was a choice made from within by its own people.
3) Latvia wanted to be part of the European community.
4) Democratic Latvia was ultimately the end product of a failed Communist rule.

In other words, Latvia's democracy is probably the purest form of democracy you'll find anywhere. It was decided by the people once they made their own break from a failed superpower. It wasn't foisted upon them by pressure or by outside military force. And they'll ultimately be welcomed by Europe with open arms, not shoved down their throats - nor were countries barred from the rebuilding process by outside edicts.

My friend adds that even though the USSR was considered an oppressive government, they did have a technological and cultural infrastructure which made the transition a lot easier.

Yes, there were big time growing pains, but democracy was done on their schedule under their conditions.

As you can see, Iraq's story has absolutely nothing in common with Latvia's. I like to think that Safire's smart enough to realize that.

Howard Stern Yanked Off - By His Parent Company's Competition

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite (or save) your face...
Clear Channel Addresses Decency After Firing DJ

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Radio station giant Clear Channel Communications Inc. said on Wednesday it was dumping nationally syndicated shock jock Howard Stern from its stations under a new "zero tolerance" policy toward indecency.

In dropping Stern from its six radio outlets that carry his show, Clear Channel cited his interview on Tuesday with Rick Solomon, the man who was filmed having sex with hotel heiress and TV reality star Paris Hilton in a video widely distributed on Internet porn sites.

According to a transcript of the show released by San Antonio, Texas-based Clear Channel, Stern asked Solomon if he engaged in anal sex and referred to the size of his penis. Using a racist term, a caller to the show asked Solomon if he had ever had sex with any famous black women.

The action against Stern came a day after Clear Channel fired Florida radio personality "Bubba the Love Sponge," after federal regulators accused him of airing sexually graphic material on Tampa's WXTB-FM and three other Florida stations.
Chalk this up as another one of those "issues" that are being waved in our faces by the Bush gang as a diversion. Broadcast indecency (spurred by the Janet Jackson debacle) joins same-sex marriages and bad guys with bombs as simple talking and acting points which the right owns right now. And Howard Stern is paying the price in this war on entertainment. But he won't starve.

First, let's put this in perspective. Six Clear Channel stations is a spit in the ocean. This is not a major shutdown of the Stern show by any stretch of the imagination. CC owns over 1200 radio stations. Guaranteed there are ten other stations in each of those markets who are tripping over themselves to get the rights to Howard Stern as you read this.

Secondly, all this is is Clear Channel's second token move this week to show they're "doing something" - the first being their firing of Bubba the Love Sponge (I've heard this guy - his name is his whole act).

And third, it's a slap at their major competitor, Infinity, while they're under the microscope in the Super Bowl aftermath. So know this, radio fans: It's a PR move to boost CC's image and to kick Infinity/CBS in the nuts while the feds turn up the heat.

Howard Stern will - and should - continue to prosper and be heard. Clear Channel will get some publicity out of this, but you can believe the local management teams of those six stations are tearing their hair out over the monumental lost revenue they're looking at now.

Which gives you some idea how much Clear Channel cares about radio and its people on the local level.

Wednesday, February 25

Father Forgive Them

Downpours bring out the worms...

Jews, Christians Upset Over Pastor's Sign

DENVER - A pastor displayed the message "Jews Killed The Lord Jesus" in front of his church on a busy Denver thoroughfare Wednesday, prompting outrage from Jews and Christians alike.

Pastor Maurice Gordon said he was inspired by the intense discussion leading to Wednesday's release of the Mel Gibson film "The Passion of the Christ," which some have criticized as anti-Semitic and others have hailed as powerfully portraying the Crucifixion of Christ. Gibson has said the movie does not blame Jews for the death of Jesus.


In a nutshell, Alan Greenspan is suggesting we cut into Social Security to pay for the tax cuts Bush gave the wealthy.

And Al Gore's "lockbox" officially moves from being an SNL punchline to a faint distant memory. You still laughing?

Love Letters To Dean

They keep on coming by the same folks who played a big role in killing his campaign...the media. This one stands out from Business Week:

As Mission Accomplished in Baghdad gave way to Mission Impossible and Mission Unnecessary and finally Mission Totally Fabricated, Dean soared. In the background, the Democratic powerbrokers shivered and quivered, and huddled together -- much like the Republicans in 1992, when the Buchanan Brigade momentarily threatened the GOP status quo. The man had to be stopped.

No upstart from the woods of New England was going to seize the self-fulfilling, self-aggrandizing, self-lubricating power machine of special interests, corporate lobbyists, New Democrats, fat-cat law firms, think-tank theoreticians, union pooh-bahs, foreign policy blowhards, and coddled Washington pols. So the Democratic Party savaged one of its own.

As The Washington Post reported on Feb. 11, a group called Americans for Jobs & Healthcare spent $500,000 on ads attacking Dean in the run-up to the primaries. The Post said the group was headed by David Jones, a longtime adviser to Gephardt. It said the group's spokesman was Robert Gibbs, who had previously been working for the Kerry campaign. And where did the money come from? According to the Post, disgraced former Senator Robert Torricelli of New Jersey, a Kerry supporter, gave $50,000.

Other money, according to the Post, came from Alan Patricof, a Clark fund-raiser, and Bernard Schwartz, chairman of Loral Corp. Schwartz is a longtime moneybag for the Democratic Establishment who had close ties to the Clinton Administration. One ad the group ran questioned Dean's foreign policy expertise and used an image of Osama bin Laden.
By the time the Iowa caucuses arrived, the attacks and the spendthrift Mr. Trippi had taken their toll. And then came The Scream -- which wasn't really a scream but just a weary man in a noisy room trying to rally his troops. In one wild night, Dean had been stopped. He hadn't been allowed to try to take back the country. And, more important, he hadn't taken back the Democratic Party. It remained safe in the soft, manicured hands of the Teddy Kennedys, Bill Clintons, Terry McAuliffes, John Sweeneys, and, yes, John Kerrys of the political world. And Howard Dean became Howard the Duck.
Just amazing. NOW they run to his defense.

Democrats: Are You Listening?

Steve Lopez does make a very good point in today's L.A. Times. Even though we see gay marriage and Mars missions as trivial and foolish as issues (which I admittedly did in the post below), they're issues - real or manufactured. Democrats need to do more than make going after Bush their message. We need to grab on to several issues and pound them. Lock onto them. Make them our property. And own them all the way. Otherwise, we're letting the GOP dictate our message - again.

And I'd like to add - John Kerry, John Edwards, or whoever gets the nomination: if you want a clinic on key issues and how to deliver them, sit down with Howard Dean for a couple of hours. You guys really need it, because a lot of us are still unclear about what you are.

[The Democratic Party] lost its way when Bill Clinton got one look at Monica Lewinsky's thong and went crazy.

Ever since that hallmark moment — if not when Clinton started shoplifting Republican ideas like ending the welfare state — Democrats have been like teenagers suffering through adolescence.

They're rebels who aren't sure what the cause is any longer, which is why they appear on the verge of a nervous breakdown over gay marriage, and don't have much in their arsenal beyond trashing George Bush.


Yeah, I'm aware that current polls show either Kerry or Edwards beating Bush in November, but as GOP strategist Arnie Steinberg points out, this is February.

"Are the numbers accurate? Yes. Will they hold up? No."

Not if the Democratic candidate doesn't learn something from the essential truth about George Bush and the Republican Party: They know exactly what they stand for and how to herd the sheep.

It's always the same recipe: tax cuts, heterosexuals, tax cuts, God, tax cuts, military prowess, tax cuts, small government, tax cuts, big business, and, of course, tax cuts.

Stick to that formula, and all sins are forgiven. You can fudge claims about the reasons for war. You can go duck-hunting on Air Force Two with a Supreme Court justice.

Sure, there are sharp differences within the GOP on whether Bush is too big a spender, and on any number of social issues. But true conservatives would vote for a one-eyed parakeet if it promised to go after tax-and-spend liberals.

I'm asking the Democratic candidates, beginning with tomorrow night's debate, to put their own package together and start hammering away at it as Republicans do.

A total healthcare overhaul.

A fearless defense of the environment.

A guaranteed living wage.

A chicken in every pot.

A fat surtax on everyone in Dick Cheney's income bracket.

Something bold. Anything.

Lashing out at George Bush is great sport, sure, and certainly worth the effort. But I don't think it gets you the keys to the White House.

Not That You Asked...

But I haven't given my thoughts about the discussion about gay and lesbian marriage. I just think there's just too much false outrage over this. It a non-issue. And declaring a constitutional amendment BANNING it is utter nonsense. Our constitution is an outline of our freedoms and our rights - not an outlet for personal outrage or to invoke it as a threat to any group. We might want to revisit the preamble:

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

It seems what's going on now is simply a strike against a segment of America seeking a bit of dignity and happiness. Gay/lesbian marriage opponents loudly proclaim that they already have the same rights under some states' civil union laws and they don't need to have the formality of marriage. They have no reason to get married.

Well, why the hell not? Because it's the last safe outpost of heterosexuality? Please. We heteros have really screwed up the sanctity of marriage since marriage was invented - that we all can agree on. Welcoming homosexuals into the fray might teach us a few things about love and loyalty.

Look, folks, your sexual orientation is NOT, NOT, NOT a matter of choice. No one in their right mind chooses to be the recipient of scorn, hate, taunts and the sort of mob warfare they're facing now. The "controversy" is nothing more than a ruse, a joke, a smokescreen for the bigger problems we've got.

Bush knows this is a simple thing his red-state constituents can wrap their minds around. Not his history of avoiding wars 30 years ago and having no problem declaring them now. Not trashing the economy. Not stonewalling investigations of abusing intelligence of outing CIA agents. But gay marriage? Oh, we know this can't be good, because our preacher told us so.

Simple people are happy people. Unfortunately, life is more complex than this. Homosexual marriages are important to whoever's getting married. Let them. And let's keep our focus on the stuff that can screw up our lives for real, not these fake manufactured problems.

There's No Reason To Believe Geoffrey O'Connor's Feelings Were Hurt By Not Going Along

Perry, staff took Bahamas trip paid for by donors

AUSTIN -- Gov. Rick Perry, his wife and staff and some of the state's largest Republican donors traveled last week to the Bahamas, where they talked about school finance.

A Perry spokesman tells The Dallas Morning News that the three-day trip was a working retreat during Presidents Day weekend. Citizens watchdog groups slammed the trip as an example of how well-heeled donors gain access to the governor.

On the trip to the Abaco Islands were contributors James and Cecelia Leininger and John and Bobbi Nau. The Leiningers have given Perry's campaigns more than $75,000 since 2000. The Naus have donated more than $100,000 to his campaigns.

Also accompanying the Perrys were political adviser Dave Carney; chief of staff Mike Toomey; deputy chief of staff Deirdre Delisi; Delisi's husband, GOP political consultant Ted Delisi; and budget director Mike Morrissey.

Washington-based anti-tax leader Grover Norquist, Brooke Rollins of the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Rollins' husband Mark Rollins also took the trip.

Perry spokesman Robert Black said the Perrys used campaign funds to pay for their trip, while the staff's expenses were covered through private funds. He didn't elaborate.

The Daily Show

Jon Stewart took a rather humorless John Podhoretz (NY Post columnist and author of "Bush Country") to school tonight in a way I haven't seen from Stewart - well, ever. It was very civil, but Jon had no problem letting his feelings be known.

STEWART: What is President Bush's greatest accomplishment in your mind?
PODHORETZ: I think the War on Terror...
STEWART: Yes, he did start that...
PODHORETZ: They've set a new standard for how to approach the world, how to make Americans safe and how to advance the prospects of freedom and liberty in the world.
(This was met with a couple of seconds of silence followed by snickering from the audience.)

PODHORETZ: I do believe that a lot of the people who criticize the president do criticize him in a reckless and irresponsible and unfair that he's a moron, one that he's a puppet, one that he's a religious fanatic, one that he's like Hitler...
STEWART: I remember a few years back, there was a guy in the White House, I can't recall his name...uh...Clinton was his name. And I remember Representative Dan Burton calling him a scumbag on national TV. So I find it really odd that the argument is now brought up that discourse in this country has become outlandish or attack oriented when I remember eight years of pretty vicious and seemingly ad hominem type attacks on him.

STEWART: Do you really think that people believe that Bush is a moron?
PODHORETZ: I do. Last week both Joe Klein in Time and Jonathon Alter in Newsweek worte columns which essentially said that Bush does not have the intellectual heft to be president and is doing it in a silly way.
STEWART: I think you got a guy who's clearly...he went to Yale and Harvard and a lot of other very elite east coast institutions. I think he's very bright. I think we're stupid and I'll tell you why - if we weren't, he wouldn't talk to us this way.
(laughs and applause)
STEWART: Personally...I didn't know this crowd was so partisan and freaky. He's much smarter than what he shows us. What he seems to shows us is [low Southern drawl], "Freedom is good...and people like it." He doesn't trust us enough to say to us, "We need to establish a bulwark in the Middle East of democracy." He says to us [drawl again], "They could get their hands on bombs."

STEWART: I think there's a legitimate concern that 9-11 changed everything. But I'm not sure that everybody needs to believe that it changed it this way...that tends to be the way it's portrayed as, "You guys don't understand. 9-11 changed everything, and if you don't abide by the way we see the world, you're a fool or you're naive." And that strikes me as irresponsible.

Tuesday, February 24

Oh, You're Familiar With Our Work?

Al-Qaeda sweep worries Pakistan press

As Pakistani forces launch a new offensive against al-Qaeda and Taleban suspects in the border area with Afghanistan, Pakistani papers worry about possible US involvement and potential consequences for the population.

Today's Work Of Art

Click on it...Danziger's got a double-shot of fine toonage today.

The Annotated Bush

A good mornin' front-page story in today's L.A. Times. Let's do a little deconstructing.

Bush Takes Aim at His Democratic Challengers
By Edwin Chen and Maura Reynolds
Times Staff Writers

February 24, 2004

WASHINGTON — Moving to seize the political offensive, President Bush on Monday delivered a direct attack on the Democrats trying to unseat him, saying they had offered no policies that would win the war on terrorism or expand the economy.
Mr. Bush, however, hopes to come up with some before election day.

"So far all we hear is a lot of old bitterness and partisan anger," Bush said. "Anger is not an agenda for the future of America."
But fear, bullying and making phoneyed-up military aggresssion with a $500 billion deficit sure is.

In one of the most partisan speeches of his presidency, Bush burnished the two pillars of his reelection bid so far: that he is a decisive "wartime president" who will not relent in the war against terrorism, and that he remains deeply engaged in the task of creating new jobs. But for the first time, Bush also criticized what he said were the failings of the Democrats competing for the nomination to challenge him in the November election.
Hopefully, it'll occur to voters that both of those pillars were created by President Fenderhead himself.

Voters, Bush said, would have "a very clear choice" between his vision of "an America that leads the world with strength and confidence or an America that is uncertain in the face of danger."
Hey! That's the Democrats' slogan, too!

Contrasting his tax cuts with proposals from the Democratic candidates, Bush warned: "Listen closely, because there's a theme. Every promise will increase the power of politicians and bureaucrats over your income, over your retirement, over your healthcare and over your life. It's the same old Washington mind-set: They'll give the orders, and you'll pay the bills."
He threw that in as a joke, right? I don't have a 401k anymore, and that's his idea of ironic humor, correct?

The address, to a receptive audience of Republican governors and donors at a Washington convention center, marked a decision by Bush and his reelection team to move onto an aggressive campaign footing even before Democrats had chosen their nominee.

Next week, the Bush campaign will air its first television advertisements, another signal that Bush is willing to show himself as a partisan candidate as well as a president.
And everything else he's done for the last three years has been bi-partisan? Right.

This animal is in the corner and he's wounded. But still, I can't help feel some deep-down hope because the junk they're feeding Drudge, NewsMax and whoever else has a track record of smear-and-slime is just not sticking. And that's probably because the American public has wised up and adopted "Won't Get Fooled Again" as our new national anthem.

It's going to get much uglier than this, guaranteed. I like to think we're ready for it.

Monday, February 23

Dean Spanks Nader

Ralph has to realize that he has made a horrid decision. Howard Dean agrees. And I believe this post at his blog has set a record for the sheer number of comments for an entry - even during his run (over 800).

Ralph Nader has made many great contributions to America over 40 years. But if George W. Bush is re-elected, the health, safety, consumer, environmental, and open government provisions Ralph Nader has fought for will be undermined. George Bush's right-wing appointees will still be serving as judges fifty years from now, and our Constitution will be shredded. It will be government by, of, and for, the corporations - exactly what Ralph Nader has struggled against.

Those who truly want America's leaders to stand up to the corporate special interests and build a better country for working people should recognize that, in 2004, a vote for Ralph Nader is, plain and simple, a vote to re-elect George W. Bush. I hope that Ralph Nader will withdraw his candidacy in the best interests of the country we hope to become.

Many of my supporters urged me to run as an independent, but I judged it the wrong thing to do. There is still time for Ralph Nader to stand with those in the Democratic Party who are building a progressive coalition to defeat George W. Bush. But time is running out. We can win only if we are united.

The News Gets Worse For Bush

What we have here, folks, is the first time in Bush's presidency where there's a virtual dead heat between the favorables and the unfavorables. This is historic.

Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. Feb. 19-20, 2004. N=873 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 4.

"Next, please tell me if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the following people in politics. If I mention someone you had never heard of before this interview, just tell me. What about George W. Bush? Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him -- or had you never heard of him before this interview?"

Favorable 49%
Unfavorable 47%
Don't Know 4%

Hey! We Now Have Trackback!

Yay! Trackback! What the hell IS it? I read the explanation and I still don't have a clue.

Speaking Of Bush's Military Acquaintances...

There's a $10,000 bounty for one - ANY one - from Doonesbury.

Another Acquaintance From Bush's Military Days Steps Forward

Fom the latest New Yorker:

Her name is Mavanee Bear; at the time, she went by Nee Hudson.

“I dated George Bush, Jr., all summer long,” she wrote to a friend in the spring of 1974, after Bush had gone up North to attend Harvard Business School. “He swears he will never again take an active part in politics—Ho Ho—Tell me if you believe that please?”

Reached by phone last week at her law office, in Birmingham, Bear groaned at the memory, then good-naturedly tried to fill in the picture of Bush’s life during and after that controversial year.

Deep Ralphing

A much needed laugh.

Thanks, Debra!

Thanks, Senator Daschle

Thanks a whole pantload.

Well, Now We Know

bin Laden's either cornered like a rat, will attack us again, or is still nowhere to be found depending on which country you get your news from. Clear?

The Presidency - It's Not Just A Job. It's A Friggin' Ego Trip

First Ralph Nader, now this - Egos On Parade.

Aside from displaying his now-famous sense of humor on a 10th grade level (making him utterly charming to people who expected much less), Arnold shows that he's almost ready for the next plateau of a political career which hasn't accomplished anything yet.

Gov. Backs Idea of Foreign-Born U.S. President
Schwarzenegger doesn't rule out bid for higher office on 'Meet the Press.' He was in D.C. for governors meeting and a White House dinner.

WASHINGTON — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, here for a meeting with his fellow governors, told a national television audience Sunday that the U.S. Constitution should be amended so he and other foreign-born Americans would be eligible for the presidency.

The appearance, on NBC's "Meet the Press," kicked off a whirlwind day during which California's governor was the star — and sometimes the entertainment — at events from a lunch at National Governors Assn. meetings to a dinner at the White House.

"Wait a minute," declared Schwarzenegger as photographers prepared to snap a picture of all 50 state chief executives. "A lot of these guys need makeup!"

Asked by "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert about a constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that would allow immigrants to run for president, Schwarzenegger said: "I think that there's so many people here in this country that are now from overseas, that are immigrants, that are doing such a terrific job with the work, bringing businesses here and all this, that there's no reason why not.

"Look at the kind of contribution people like Henry Kissinger has made; Madeleine Albright," he said, citing two former secretaries of state. "There's many, many, many people here that have worked within the government and have done an extraordinary job and not have been born in America."

Pressed by Russert on whether he would try to become president if the amendment were adopted, Schwarzenegger at first joked that he would run if he received the support of actor Sylvester Stallone.

He eventually stopped well short of a denial, saying he had "no idea" if he would run.

Sunday, February 22

Almost Forgot: Today's We-Miss-Dean Rollcall

Yes, more of the media that torpedoed Howard Dean are now writing poems about how they're now missing him. (I'm trying to not include republishing of syndicated columns like David Broder, Molly Ivins, etc. - That would more than triple the list.)
Kansas City Star
Asheville Citizen-Times
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (the Wm. Greider piece slugged "A P-I Focus")


The less said about this, the better.

Okay. This paragraph from CNN:

Sunday's announcement by Ralph Nader that he will run for president as an independent in 2004 was described by Republicans as unimportant and by Democrats as "very unfortunate."

Bush Booed By...Republicans?

Seems California GOP convention-goers aren't crazy about the president's plan to give their lawn cutters and pool cleaners a break. So they booed him. Ironic, ain't it?

Rifts Show at State GOP Event
Anger over illegal immigration and high spending shakes up the convention. Bush and Schwarzenegger are heavily criticized.

BURLINGAME, Calif. — An uproar over illegal immigration roiled the state Republican convention on Saturday as party leaders struggled to keep the rank and file united behind Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Bush.

Hundreds of GOP loyalists booed the president at a rally where U.S. Senate hopeful Howard Kaloogian and his allies denounced Bush's plan to give temporary legal status to undocumented workers.

"Enough is enough!" the crowd shouted. "Enough is enough!"

A Kaloogian supporter, Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, told the crowd he knew a gynecologist who surveyed patients about the plan and found it rated "right below genital herpes."

Schwarzenegger fared no better than Bush. Even staunch allies of the governor distanced themselves from his effort to strike a deal with Democrats on a bill to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista warned that the move would "empower criminal aliens."

Jeff You-Know-Who

And The Parts Of The World Which Matter Are All Right

This is wonderful news, indeed. The London Telegraph reviews Brian Wilson's long-awaited "Smile" concert:

The first half of the show consisted of non-Smile material. Though Wilson's voice may be somewhat cracked - and his memory for lyrics assisted by prompter screens - he came visibly more to life with each classic, particularly California Girls and a heart-breaking God Only Knows.

Nothing, though, could prepare us for the second half. From the opening of Heroes and Villains, Wilson was a transformed man. Though still reading his lyrics, he sat taller, sang louder and waved his arms about to conduct the band. The atmosphere was truly electric, and the music echoed everything from Philip Glass to Kurt Weill to Chuck Berry.

It's nigh impossible to pick out songs, as it was all a glorious, tangled symphony of celebration and sadness - though the comical Vegetables and a transcendent Good Vibrations were incredible.

All right, Wilson did seem a man apart from the stage around him, but the glory of late Beach Boys was always the contrast between the fragility of his voice and his songs and arrangements.

Last night we witnessed that and so, so much more. Leonard Bernstein said Brian Wilson was one of the greatest composers of the 20th century: he was not wrong.

Saturday, February 21

This Will Piss You Off - Then It'll Make You Cheer

Bear with me here. This is a chickenshit ploy by Bush to go after Kerry via this lunatic, but the story has a great payoff.
Senator Blasts Kerry's Military Voting

ATLANTA - A leading Georgia Republican, speaking for President Bush (news - web sites)'s re-election campaign, predicted trouble for John Kerry (news - web sites) in the state's primary next month.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss contended that Kerry, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has a weak voting record on military affairs.

A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts senator called Chambliss an attack dog for Bush and encouraged anybody who wants to debate Kerry's military record to "bring it on," a slogan of the Kerry campaign.

Chambliss said in a conference call arranged by the Bush campaign: "When you have a 32-year history of voting to cut defense programs and cut defense systems, folks in Georgia are going to look beyond what he says and look at his voting record."
Here comes the good part - it opens the door for Max Cleland to step into the fray.

Former Democratic Sen. Max Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam and was defeated by Chambliss in a bitter campaign Senate two years ago, slammed Chambliss for the attack:

"For Saxby Chambliss, who got out of going to Vietnam because of a trick knee, to attack John Kerry as weak on the defense of our nation is like a mackerel in the moonlight that both shines and stinks."
Republican horseshit delivered by chickenhawks and snarky liars - only to get whacked in their collective snoots. We're simply not taking it anymore, and we're going to drag these jerks out into the open and kick their asses.

Keep it coming, President Crackhead. The free ride is over.

Whew. Now I can put up the (/obscenity) tag...

Marry Me, Molly Ivins

I say we're in for a terrific two weeks if both Kerry and John Edwards do the issue stuff they're both well-placed to do. Kerry has a strong, well-thought-out health-care plan, and he should make it his signature issue -- and put some passion into it, if he's got any. Edwards, with his populist riff, is perfectly placed to take on globalization directly.

I recommend that everyone take another look at John Edwards, especially if you wrote him off as too pretty and too light the first time you saw him. I did, too, and I was wrong: I know for a fact he's a much better candidate than he was a year ago. Ever since his speech at Georgetown University last summer, Edwards has shown he knows how to take that old time populist gospel and update it for the 21st century. Of course, the Bushies keep making that easier for him.

Meanwhile, the punditry is busy cranking out mostly pro forma hail-and-farewells to my man Howard Dean. I hate whining and life is not fair, but I still think a whole lot of people who should have known better freaked out over Dean, treating a mostly mild-mannered, perfectly sensible and quite cheerful fellow as some kind of anti-establishment antichrist. I mean, he was governor of Vermont for 10 years, not Lenin.

But he did tap into some real political anger, and look how many people turn out to be just scared to death of that. This is not the fake, pumped-up indignation of Rush Limbaugh's dittoheads over gay marriage -- now there's something that'll cost you your job -- but real anger about being lied to over war.

What was so scary about Howard Dean? Could it be because he (and some very bright young people who worked with him) found this way to raise real money in small amounts from regular people, and that just threatened the hell out of a lot of big corporate special interests? And out of an entire political establishment that is entirely too comfortable with the incestuous relationship between big money and politics? For just a moment in time, Dean was ahead of the pack -- and no one owned him. Go back and look at whom that scared.

Sure, Dean self-destructed to some extent. He now does a very funny imitation of his own "scream speech," delivered in a quiet monotone and ending with a mild, deadpan, "Yahoo." (Come to think of it, he should have done that riff on Leno the night after he made the speech: We all have great ideas when it's too late.)

I'm not crazy about anger as a motivating force in politics -- but didn't someone need to point out that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes? Didn't someone need to say that we were led into war under false pretences? Imagine an entire campaign in which all the candidates ignored that because they were all complicit in it.

I think we owe Howard Dean more than a, "Gee thanks for participating in our noble political system." Personally, I'd like to say, "Gee, thanks for helping keep democracy alive when it looked fairly dicey."

Ann Coulter Finds An Ally: Slugs Of A Feather

More on the Coulter fallout from Joe Conason. Fellow Bloggers and readers - please do what Joe requests. Reprint and distribute Cleland's Army citiation quoted herein. We (sadly) need to come to his defense:

Mark Steyn not only endorsed her slurs against Cleland but added his own. According to him, the former Georgia senator was "no hero" but instead "a beneficiary of the medal inflation that tends to accompany unpopular wars." As a Canadian "humorist" and former disc jockey, Steyn obviously possesses the expertise needed to form such harsh judgments. He scolds Cleland for being "happy to be passed off as a hero wounded in battle because that makes him a more valuable mascot to the [John Kerry] campaign."

Ugly, eh? It's hard to understand why the Chicago Sun-Times would import such vicious nonsense about an American hero.

Neither of Cleland's critics told the truth about him. Both misuse the modest remarks he has made in the past about his wartime experience to try to damage his reputation. He was indeed racked with self-doubt and depression after the accident that cost him his limbs. But that doesn't change the truth about who he is and what he did before that terrible day. He earned the decorations that these two termites now disparage.

Cleland defended his honor on cable television, where he told "Hardball" host Chris Matthews: "I volunteered for a combat mission with the 1st Air Calvary division going in to break the siege at Khe Sanh, and if that isn't a combat mission, you ought to ask some of the people that were there and the 200 guys that were killed in that mission."

According to U.S. Army General Order 4361, dated June 9, 1968, Cleland's conduct during that siege was extraordinarily courageous. Let Coulter or Steyn find a witness who will contradict this Army citation, most recently quoted on the Senate floor last December by that new conservative idol, Sen. Zell Miller himself.

The full text, which cannot be reproduced widely enough, reads as follows:

"Awarded: Silver Star; Date Action: 4 April 1968; Theater: Republic of Vietnam

"Action: For gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Captain Cleland distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous action on 4 April 1968, while serving as communications officer of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Calvary during an enemy attack near Khe Sanh, Republic of Vietnam.

"When the battalion command post came under a heavy enemy rocket and mortar attack, Capt. Cleland, disregarding his own safety, exposed himself to the rocket barrage as he left his covered position to administer first aid to his wounded comrades. He then assisted in moving the injured personnel to covered positions. Continuing to expose himself, Capt. Cleland organized his men into a work party to repair the battalion communications equipment which had been damaged by enemy fire. His gallant action is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

"Authority: By direction of the President, under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1968."

What Coulter and Steyn did to Cleland by obscuring the truth about his war record is truly despicable. Neither of them would be worthy to shine his shoes -- if only he still needed them.

More Missing Dean

The Guardian
Allentown Morning Call
Detroit Free Press

So now we have a couple of good guys who are more moderate as front-runners and a senate minority leader who's okay with the situation in Iraq. It's a new day in America!

Makes me wanna get up off the computer and take a nap.

Time To Reacquaint Yourselves With...

Governor Rick Perry (R-TX)!

And Texas Secretary of State Geoffrey S. O'Connor!

Here's a completely unrelated story.

L.A. Radio: Sterilized For Your Protection

Can we get someone in charge who can reverse THIS trend? Mel Karmazin spent too much time getting hammered by congress the other day and it's affected the thinking of his radio stations here in Los Angeles. Of course, this could be a move to take heat off their other properties like Howard Stern and their edgier stations, but laying down this sort of edict on the two most harmless stations in the civilized world seems a little extreme.

Corporate radio: Homogenized has now been fortified with neutering.

KNX, KFWB ban live news
Answering parent Viacom's edict, L.A.'s newsradio leaders will record interviews, won't air calls until delay equipment is installed.

Live news is now a dead issue on L.A.'s two most prominent news radio stations.

In the latest ripple from the continuing crackdown on profanity and sexuality in broadcasts, CBS/Infinity stations KNX-AM (1070) and KFWB-AM (980) have instituted a delay on live newscasts, and banished live interviews and phone calls. The delay is reportedly seven seconds, although station management would not confirm the exact length.

The unprecedented policy shift for straight news programs was made Thursday in response to an edict from Viacom President Mel Karmazin. Viacom owns Infinity and CBS Radio.

"Nothing is live anymore, effective immediately," said Pat Duffy, vice president and marketing manager of Los Angeles News Stations, which operates KNX and KFWB.

The action marks the first time the two stations have instituted measures to ensure that offending words are not aired. The decision comes a few days after Karmazin held a conference call with all of the general managers in Infinity's radio division, during which he said that obscenity on the airwaves would not be tolerated and indicated that violators would be fired.

An internal memo bulletin issued Thursday by David G. Hall, vice president of AM programming for the two Los Angeles stations, said, "There are to be NO LIVE INTERVIEWS on KNX and KFWB that do not involve our own anchors, reporters, traffic and weather services and networks.... ALL interviews are to be pre-recorded, and we will not be able to take live telephone calls on the air. We expect to have to do this until next week, when we can have digital delay equipment installed at both radio stations."

The delay will also affect KNX's weekend shows "Food News With Melinda Lee" and "Jeff Levy on Computers," as well as KFWB's broadcast of Dodger games and the "Dodgertalk" news shows.
"Hey, Melinda. Your recipe for peach cobbler? F#@%IN' "A"!"

Absence Makes The Heart...

Funny how fond hearts are growing at a breakneck pace since Howard Dean left the race. Now that he's the ultimate outsider - a non-candidate - the press is suddenly giving him the positive props they just couldn't bring themselves to give when it mattered. After being pulverized by the media, we'll now do a sort-of-daily look at these too-late sonnets to Dean from "journalists" and the mass media in general, tripping all over themselves to show the love - starting with:
South Brunswick Post
Don Wright
Washington Post
Berkshire Eagle
USA Today
Letters to the LA Times
...and you can bet there are more to come as the press realizes they might actually miss the guy they helped bury.

We have the wrong guy cleaning out his office here...

Friday, February 20

Electable? boy.

UPDATE: Okay, okay. This was cheap. Read the comments.

It Ain't Getting Better For Team Crackhead

FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Feb. 18-19, 2004. N=900 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?" (2/4-2/5 in parenthesis)

Approve: 48% (53%)
Disapprove: 41% (41%)
Don't Know: 11% (6%)

"If the election for president of the United States were held today, for whom would you vote if the candidates were Republican George W. Bush and Democrat [see below]?"

Bush 45% (47%)
Kerry 45% (43%)
Not Sure 9% (9%)

Bush 46% (50%)
Edwards 41% (37%)
Not Sure 11% (11%)

Broadband Corner 2

Admit it. You would, too.


Pssst. Tom. Democrats Aren't Afraid Anymore. Tom? Hey, Tom. HEY...

Um...shouldn't we let the minority leader in on the fact that America knows the emperor has no clothes, or do we just let him keep embarrassing himself?

Daschle satisfied with war progress
By Denise Ross, Journal Staff Writer

PIERRE - Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., on Thursday praised the Bush administration's war and nation-building work in Iraq and said he has no serious concerns about the lack of weapons of mass destruction.

Daschle told state chamber of commerce representatives meeting in the South Dakota capital that he is satisfied with the way things are going in Iraq.

"I give the effort overall real credit," Daschle said. "It is a good thing Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. It is a good thing we are democratizing the country."

He said he is not upset about the debate over pre-war intelligence on weapons of mass destruction, an issue that has dogged President Bush as Democratic presidential contenders have slogged through the primary season.

"We can argue about the WMD and what we should have known," Daschle, the Senate minority leader, said.
Cross-posted at Daily Kos. More comments there.

Tip Your Waiters And Waitresses

Some call it "banter."

As Clement bantered with the audience, one Republican gadfly noted that they defeated former Vice President Walter Mondale in that race, adding: "We had to kill off Wellstone to get it." He was referring to the death in a plane crash of Sen. Paul Wellstone and his family before the election. An audio tape captures laughter. But both Clement and Danielle Fowles, acting chairwoman of the club, said they did not hear that comment and believe the laughter was just a continuation of the ongoing banter.

New Board: Mr. Loaves And Fishes

It's official. George W. Bush is a delusional little fenderhead. A new blog, Volume At Eleven, debuts with a bang. Welcome to the party.

Broadband Corner

Doubtful the Pope will give this a thumbs-up, but it'll warm the hearts of the rest of you.

Blah3's "Let Love Rule"

Thursday, February 19

I Don't Want To Wait Until July 9th

"Anchorman" looks like a freakin' hoot.

Fox News Has Thrown Down The Money Gauntlet

Wealthy Candidates Tout Populist Message

WASHINGTON — John Edwards and John Kerry are trying to appeal to the common man with their populist notions and messages on the campaign trail, but the two multi-millionaires don't live like most Americans.

The top Democratic presidential hopefuls both own mansions in tony Georgetown, the Washington, D.C., neighborhood known for its prime real estate and high-end fashion boutiques.

On one historic cobblestone street lives Edwards, whose 184-year-old, 13-room home is valued at $3.8 million. About a block away is the residence where Kerry lives, a 104-year-old, four-story home with 23 rooms that is conservatively estimated to be worth $4.3 million.

Kerry's home isn't really his own, however. Technically, it belongs to his wife, ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz. Kerry does own half a home he shares with Heinz in Boston's Beacon Hill. He mortgaged his half of it a couple months ago for $6.4 million — money he used to keep him in the race when the prospect of his presidential bid was looking much bleaker.
Oh. You guys at Fox want to play that game? Cool. Let's play. Here's the guy whose Fox News is delivering the message of the downtrodden everyman who's being wronged by those liberal media elitists.

Murdoch, Keith Rupert
72 , inherited and growing
Source: Media/Entertainment, News Corp. (quote, executives, news)

Net Worth: $7.2 billion
Hometown: New York , NY

Marital Status: married , 6 children , 2 divorces

Undergraduate: Oxford University, Bachelor of Arts / Science
Graduate: Oxford University, Masters of Arts

Started with one newspaper in Adelaide, Australia. Now a titan in television (35 stations, Fox Network), movies (Twentieth Century Fox), newspapers (New York Post, U.K.'s Sun). Operating income up 25% this year, led by strong showing in television (Joe Millionaire, American Idol) and DVD sales. "Fair and balanced" Fox News Channel (host to Forbes on Fox) defied critics with solid lead over rival CNN. Expanding already vast empire with pending $6.6 billion purchase of 34% stake in satellite service DirecTV from General Motors. Sprightly septuagenarian shows no signs of retiring; fathered sixth child this year with wife, Wendi.
If anyone finds published reports of the incomes of Rupert's kids and hosts, we're all ears.

What. The. HELL!?!

I wasn't looking for this story, but it sure as hell jumped out at me. Looks like another snarky Karl Rove/Ed Gillespie move and it stinks to high hell.

FEC decides many anti-Bush groups will face regulation
It delays setting restrictions on how to spend soft money

Washington -- The Federal Election Commission decided Wednesday that many of the political committees raising so-called soft money to campaign against President Bush this year are subject to regulation, but it postponed deciding how tough the restrictions should be.

The FEC voted 4-2 to warn Americans for a Better Country that activities that "promote, attack, support or oppose" a federal candidate must be paid for with hard money, a type of political donation that, unlike soft money, has tight restrictions on sources and amounts. This is a broader standard than used in the past. Activities that benefit a mix of federal, state and local candidates are to be paid for with a mix of hard and soft money, the commission determined.

Interpretations of Wednesday's action varied radically.

Ellen Weintraub, FEC vice chair, said the decision should not severely constrain those seeking to raise and spend soft money, which is not subject to limits and can come from unions and corporations as well as individuals. "I don't think sophisticated political actors would have a hard time figuring out how to work within this framework," she said.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, in contrast, said the ruling will put out of business "groups like America Coming Together (ACT), The Media Fund, Partnership for America's Families and the Voter Fund." All are pro-Democratic groups organized under Section 527 of the tax code.
So who's watching the wingnuts - and the anonymous recipients of a piece of Bush's $200 million for attack ads? Maybe if Mr. Gillespie is truly concerned about this, he'll rein in his own armies.

Yeah. Right.

From the Pen of: Jeff Danziger

...Actually, today marks the first day that Drudge has nothing on his homepage about his "discovery." Guess he finally realized that the laughter he was hearing wasn't coming from the moustache-curling Snidely Whiplash's of his wingnut following...

MWO: So, Nu?

Not much has been made about Media Whores Online's gradual departure from the daily must-read scene. Let's hope they'll be returning, but their postscript to their last update last week seems (and may I be the first to invoke this word) Deanesque. It's not a goodbye, but it sure SEEMS like one.

Out to Pasture

Many of you have written us since our return in January to comment about our relatively infrequent updates. We have published new material as often as possible since then, but generally that has meant new issues weekly or semi-weekly, as opposed to daily or several times per week as in the past.

We appreciate your feedback, and agree that much more frequent and consistent updates are necessary for this site to be effective for our purposes in producing it as well as for many of our readers' purposes in visiting.

Therefore, we will be putting the Horse out to pasture again until it becomes possible to update at shorter and more regular intervals.

In the meantime, if you're a frequent visitor to MWO, we hope you'll dedicate that time to contacting at least one media whore per day, or one ethical and professional journalist (and their news organizations) with your comments.

Wednesday, February 18

Another Great Moment In Journalism

I saw this little article about campaign websites in the latest Time. Here's a passage.

But the "share your ideas" link has its drawbacks too. Along with cheerleading, it gives an outlet for supporters to air their gripes about the candidate. That, in turn, can offer a one-stop shop for both critics and reporters looking for signs of trouble in the campaign. One Kerry watcher last week posted this: "Please stop repeating, after a short pause, the first few words of every other sentence in your speechs [sic]. It is very irritating." Wrote another: "Just a few thoughts, since you asked. First, the wife has to look interested and engage the audience."

Dean's blog came back to bite him after Iowa. Usually filled with notes praising the candidate, the site was suddenly jammed with Deaniacs openly worrying about his "dinosauric yells." On Edwards' website, supporters are often more candid than the upbeat candidate himself. "It is hard to watch the JRE campaign continuing to spin these second-place finishes," wrote one.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume writers Perry Bacon and Viveca Novak (it took two to write this?) never entertained the notion of trolls.

Does Anyone Have Pictures Or Video Of Any Of This?

Matt Thompson went to the Daytona 500 and saw some NASCAR dads (and sons and daughters and wives) who weren't all too pleased with President Buttrumpet's guest shot.

"We want to see the race, not Bush!" shouted someone in the crowd.

"Why didn't that SOB stay in Washington?" screamed Doug Shelby, the loudest of the voices.

This is Bush's base?

Overhead, Lee Greenwood sang "God Bless the USA." The crowd started chanting obscenities.

After LeAnn Rimes sang the national anthem, the crowd above the grandstands started cheering; those below booed.

Then Bush's motorcade drove by. One middle finger went up in the crowd, then another, and soon they were everywhere.

As the crowd scattered to their seats, one of the few black fans I spotted at the racetrack ran by and saw me scribbling in my notepad. "Writing for a newspaper?" she asked. Before I could respond, she shouted, "Tell them Bush sucks!" Then she disappeared back into the fray.

Who Will Be The Hero Of The 2004 Election?

William Rivers Pitt reveals who it is in a piece that will just about bring you to tears.

Correction On The Post Below This One

Some people may take offense at the post, so I'll take care of that. It should be titled "Here ARE A Couple Of Guys You'll Be Hearing About." Sorry for the grammatical error.

Here's A Couple Of Guys You'll Be Hearing About

Meet Texas Secretary of State Geoffrey S. O'Connor.

And this is Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry. He signed into law last year the Defense of Marriage Act, preventing Texas from legally recognizing same-sex unions that are formed in other states.

Just thought you'd like to what these guys look like when they're in a good mood. Because, hey - their moods can change very quickly.

Funny Thing About The Gay Marriage Issue

The world hasn't rotated off its axis yet. This morning's L.A. Times editorial puts it in perspective:

Outrage Where It's Due

Local, national and international news over the long holiday weekend offered plenty of reasons to be furious about society's failings. Consider:

• When his watchful parents allowed Gregory Gabriel, 12, to sleep over with friends for the first time ever, the gregarious youngster with the name of an angel sneaked out to go to a party — and died in indiscriminate gunfire. That an adolescent caper could turn into a death sentence is a terribly real fear for parents in South Los Angeles, which consistently leads the city in homicides.

• The decapitated body of Glenda Vittimberga, a 37-year-old associate professor at Cal State Los Angeles, was found in her Pasadena home early Monday after what police understatedly called a "domestic dispute." Her ex-boyfriend later killed himself by stepping in front of a big rig on Interstate 15. These unusually horrific details mask an all-too-usual deed: According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, an act of domestic violence occurs every 18 seconds in the United States.

• Cardinal Roger M. Mahony released the names of 244 priests, deacons, brothers and seminarians who have been accused of molesting 656 minors in the Los Angeles Archdiocese since 1931. His report comes weeks before the National Review Board of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is scheduled to release a study of sexual abuse nationwide, which is expected to report that more than 11,000 people accused 4,450 priests of sexual abuse from 1950 through 2002.

• The California Youth Authority is running a graduate school for criminals, according to reports on the state's youth penal system, housing young offenders in barbaric steel cages and releasing them in worse shape than when they came in. More than half of those paroled return to jail.

• The bitter California supermarket strike dragged into a fifth month, leaving striking and locked-out workers facing evictions from their homes, even the prospect of giving up children to relatives or former spouses. Dismayed shoppers suffer in lesser ways.

• California's economy is not rebounding as hoped, more bad news for an already dismal state budget.

And we haven't even gotten to Iraq, North Korea or Haiti.

Does San Francisco's gay marriage-fest belong on this list? Oh, please. Practically speaking, it's hard to say how much Mayor Gavin Newsom's provocative decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples will advance the rights of gays and lesbians. But clearly those who claim that it signals the end of civilization need to get their outrage odometers adjusted.

The Patient Is Taken Off Life Support

The Dean Campaign closes.

Now TWO Can Beat Him

Now it seems that either Kerry OR Edwards can whip the Lyin' L'il Bastard...

Top Democrats lead Bush in poll

WASHINGTON ( — Democrat John Kerry holds his largest lead yet over President Bush in a head-to-head match-up among likely voters, a new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll concludes, and rival John Edwards also holds a double-digit lead over the president.
The poll, taken Feb. 16-17, indicates that if the election were held today, Kerry would be chosen by 55% of likely voters, compared to 43% for Bush. In the last polling, Feb. 6-8, Bush held a 49-48 advantage.

Edwards, Kerry's sole remaining major rival for the Democratic nomination, holds a 54%-44% advantage, the poll indicates. The question has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Tuesday, February 17

Dems Are In The House

...and the first step was taken today. Chandler's campaign is notable in that he is one of (now) many candidates who took their message to the blogosphere. Taking out package ads (and in many cases, premium placements on the high-traffic boards), Chandler's fundraising came from all corners of the country. Behold the power of Kos, Atrios, TPM, CalPundit, et al. Is this a great country or what?

Democrat Ben Chandler wins special election to fill vacant House seat in Kentucky

Soundly defeated in last year's governor's race, former state attorney general Ben Chandler on Tuesday easily won the House seat of the man who beat him, ending a long Democratic losing streak in congressional special elections.

Chandler, scion of one of Kentucky's most prominent political families, defeated Republican Alice Forgy Kerr. He will fill the remainder of Gov. Ernie Fletcher's term in the central Kentucky district that includes Lexington and the state capital of Frankfort.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Chandler had 84,545 votes, or 55 percent. Kerr had 65,774 votes or 43 percent. A third-party candidate trailed. Turnout among the district's 441,931 registered voters was 34 percent.

Don't Bother Cueing The Fat Lady - We Know

Judging by what's happening in Wisconsin, there's a shift in the exit polls. Kerry is slipping, but the beneficiary seems to be John Edwards. Sadly, Howard Dean's third-place numbers are even worse than anyone anticipated.

There's a pretty good analysis of the Dean odyssey written by Mark Engler at Alternet today - "good" of course, because it pretty much mirrors what we've been saying here for the past couple of weeks.

Dean has transformed the meaning of "electability." Historian and journalist Rick Perlstein perceptively writes in the Village Voice that "thanks to Dean, the definition has changed from the last time it was so ubiquitously heard: In the 1990s, when the word was enough to give any dyed-in-the-wool liberal a shudder, it served as a stand-in for 'politically skilled but ideologically timid.' Now, it means both 'politically skilled' and 'eager to kick George Walker Bush's ass.'"

That is why we owe Howard Dean our gratitude.
And this just-posted piece from Ted Rall:

At least they didn't shoot Howard Dean. Usually, when an American political figure speaks truth to power, he ends up conveniently dead. RFK, Malcolm X, some say Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone: all martyrs to the quaint ideal of telling it as it is as loudly as possible. Like them, Dean scared the establishment. His aggressive style roused youngsters whom aging Boomers prefer to see somnolent. His populist Internet-based fundraising freed him from the corporate donors whose influence keeps the citizens of the world's richest nation living under a Third World system of social protections. Al Gore's endorsement transformed a candidate who came out of nowhere (Vermont) into a genuine threat to the southern conservatives who have hijacked the Democratic Party since 1992. Dean was a pro-business moderate, yet he stood poised to radically transform both his party and the American political system.

Of course he had to go.

...One indignity followed another--all because, God forbid, the guy got a tad rambunctious. "Is Dean Too Angry?" headlines spread across the nation. DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe, who refused to run interference for Dean when he was leading the pack, stepped into the fray to protect Kerry. "Democrats are still so angry about Al Gore's loss in 2000 and the Iraq war that they simply will not stand for intramural squabbling," the New York Times quoted McAuliffe on February 17. "I'd much rather have a unified party with money in the bank." (He was singing a different tune in December.)
Despite Dr. Dean's bravado, the party he threw is reluctantly coming to an end. All of us who poured their hearts, souls and money into this adventure are feeling a painful loss today. It was inevitable, but the little flicker of hope seems to have been snuffed where Dean had his highest hopes: Paul Wellstone country. Wisconsin.

I truly enjoyed being part of the ride. It allowed me to meet a lot of my neighbors who all were happy to see like-minded folks in their communities. At meetups, street fairs and tabling, we saw a lot of people - a LOT of people - who were extremely curious about this guy who had the audacity to challenge the Bush adminstration's "you're either with us or you're with the terrorists" faux patriotism. They said the rest of the Dems were too milquetoast - too polite - too scared to speak up when Dr. Dean was well into spreading his message.

They were right. It's no secret that everyone except Joe Lieberman finally embraced what Dean was saying all along. It took Dean to prove that it was okay for our party to stand up to Bush while still maintaining and not needing to prove our deep-rooted love of America.

But I've been through this a zillion times already.

I'm going to miss the people we bonded with, though we'll almost definitely work together again soon - this time for the Dems this November. I'll also miss the people who I got to know vicariously - Dean campaign members and webslingers with such colorful names as Joe Trippi, Aziz Poonawalla and Zephyr Teachout.

I will definitely miss that phase of this election year. Nonetheless, our work is just beginning. And the best part has yet to come.

The part where on January 20, 2005, we celebrate the beginning of pride and dignity in America and the rebirth of old friendships worldwide - and the ushering out of four dark, greedy, disgusting, and bloody years of intolerance, indifference and inhumanity. The sun's rising, folks. We have to make sure we get to enjoy the warmth.

We'll be working for it here. Please join us.

Feel That Breeze?

That's Little Matty backpedaling his ass off.

Yeah, We're A Bunch Of Stalkers

The Horowitch Hunt site was taken down. But here's a mirror site.

Monday, February 16

Ann Coulter Says The Kids Were Just Getting Beer With Some Buddies

Explosion hits Iraqi school

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- An explosion on Monday in a corner of the crowded playground of an elementary school for boys in northern Baghdad killed at least one child and injured at least three.

The U.S. military said the explosion was caused by a homemade bomb, but a member of the Baghdad police bomb squad said the explosion was caused when an old grenade buried in some trash detonated as the trash was being incinerated. He said the second bomb was far from the school, near a hospital. The Iraqi police have said that one child was killed, not two, and that four were injured.

Fun With David Horowitz's Witch Hunt

Died in 1994.
Harmless gentle folk singer.
Died in 1989.
At least he gets credit for being a good linguist.
Doesn't write for NewsMax, Washington Times or the NY Post.
Doesn't write for NewsMax, Washington Times or the NY Post.
Doesn't write for NewsMax, Washington Times or the NY Post.
Doesn't write for NewsMax, Washington Times or the NY Post.

And where are:
Michael Moore?
Al Franken?
Joe Conason?
Paul Krugman?

C'mon, David. Get your act together. Oh, and three more things: It's not spelled "Indroduction," you really should put the alphabetical navigation bar on all the pages, and for GOD'S sake, decide whether to alphabetize the list by first OR last names.

You've got lots of visitors now. You can at least clean up the house a little.

Tommy TuTone's Career Is Rolling In Its Grave

Not for a quarter of a million, folks.

Drudge, Rove, Bush - Gunpowder On The Physiognomy

That's what happens when a stupid sex rumor blows up in your collective faces.

"Whoever is spreading these rumors and allegations does not know me," [Alexandra] Polier said, appealing to the media to respect her privacy and the privacy of her fiance and his family.

Polier also took issue with reports that referred to her as a former Kerry intern.

"I never interned or worked for John Kerry," she told AP over the phone.

In a separate statement, Polier's parents, Terry and Donna Polier of Malvern, Pa., dismissed the "completely false and unsubstantiated" allegations about their daughter.

"We love and support her 100 percent and these unfounded rumors are hurtful to our entire family," the statement said. "We appreciate the way Senator Kerry has handled the situation, and intend on voting for him for president of the United States."
Drudge is still trying to pump life into this non-story today.

Hey. Matt. Ya gotta know when you're being taken seriously and when you're being laughed at. Get out of your mother's attic once in a while. Go outside and play. Better yet, see if that job you had at the CBS gift shop is still open. At least you had some real human contact there.

The Latest "Anonymous" Wingnut Propaganda Machine is about to be launched, and it seems to promise how the "liberal media" and the left in general are influenced and financed by some really bad and evil people.

Unfortunately for them, they've already been outed by the Rocky Mountain Progressive Network. Turns out that it's the work of that unapologetic grunt for the wingnut machine, David Horowitz. The blogosphere is already blowing up FTN's bandwidth by pointing to their undeveloped test site which so far has no content other than names and numbers of supposedly evil funders of the left: The Sierra Club, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Exxon (?), the Government of Saudi Arabia (??) and those heartless bastards at Sisters of St, Joseph of Third Order of St. Francis to name but a few.

Go pound 'em. And RMPN's work here gives us hope that our side isn't going to be fooled again. We've got truth - AND moxie - on our side.

CBS Plays It Both Ways

We all know they rejected MoveOn's ad for the Super Bowl. Turns out that CBS has done the same with a Bush Medicare propaganda ad - which apparently smacks of being a political spot.

Payback is fair play. Turnabout is a bitch. And mixed metaphors are a sign of weak writing. Good night.

The Earpeeance

Sometimes I just avoid putting two and two together and I miss the painfully obvious. We once explored that thing in Bush's left ear, allegedly a wireless earpiece...

Well, malfunctions do happen. Nobody has been able to otherwise explain this timeless classic.