Archive for February, 2006

Stat Nuggets

Granted, I am not a professional statiatrist, but I finally got around to looking at all of the now-notorious “34%” CBS poll (warning: PDF), and a number of interesting things jump out at me, the underlying theme of which is that Bush’s base is the only thing keeping him afloat right now. As bad as Bush’s numbers are (and they are baaaad), they are much, much worse when you look at the breakouts by party affiliation.

This may be terribly boring and eye-glazing stuff, or someone smarter and interestinger than me may have already covered it, but hey, it was new and interesting to me…

Bush approval rating among Republicans: 72%. Dems: 9%. Independents… 29%.

Favorability rating among Republicans: 65%. Dems: 8%. Indies… 23%.

As I said, I’m no expert, but it looks to me like Bush’s approval/favorability rating among non-Republicans has to be somewhere in the teens. Yeah, Republicans like Bush, but everyone else thinks he’s an asshole. (Here’s a side question: What’s Bush’s approval/favorability rating among Democrats in Congress?)

Most important problem facing the U.S. today:

Terrorism? Republicans: 14%. Dems: 5%. Indies: 8%.
Moral Values? Republicans: 7%. Dems: 0%. Indies: 2%.
George Bush? Republicans: 2%. Dems: 8%. Indies: 4%.

(Generally speaking, Iraq and the economy were the two biggest problems, but Republicans were the only ones who ranked terrorism ahead of the economy, 14 to 11.)

I’m just going to simplify from this point on, and focus in on independents as the bellwether of the ordinary American with no particular dog in the partisan fight.

Approval of Bush on the economy: 26% approve/62% disapprove.
Approval of Bush on Iraq: 25/69.
Approval of Bush on terrorism (his, ahem, “strength”): 39/53.
Approval of Bush on energy: 20/66.

Approval of Congress: 22/68. Interestingly, lower than Republicans or Democrats, who are both in the low 30s. It might signal disgust with partisan squabbling instead of productive debate, oversight and lawmaking, but it could also signal disgust with the Republican agenda and the Democrats’ total failure to oppose it.

People in government’s willingness to take responsibility for their actions: 5/90. Again, lower than both Republicans and Democrats.

Bush administration too secretive: 60/33.

Now, this last one is to me the most inexplicable result of all. CBS asked for opinions on warrantless wiretaps in two different ways (half samples): One version included the Bushies’ claim that they were needed to fight terrorism, the other didn’t. Both the Republicans and Democrats, unsurprisingly, supported the wiretaps at a higher percentage with the addition of the terrorism verbiage, but the Independents didn’t. With the terrorism language included, Independents overwhelmingly opposed warrantless wiretapping, 57 to 42. Without it, they narrowly favored it, 48 to 47.

The only two explanations I can think of are that it’s either some kind of sampling aberration, or (pleasepleaseplease) that the Independents are becoming conditioned to associate “War On Terror” with “Republican Bullshit”. Any statisticians in the hizzy? Can someone help me out here?

Now, of course, the other shoe with all of this is, What should the Democrats do to capitalize on it? I have already gone on record saying that they should not tack to the center to attract moderate voters. But hey: I said it. I meant it. I stand behind it. What the poll numbers are telling me is that the moderates/Independents are so thoroughly disgusted with Bush that they might as well be Democrats at this point, so why tack to the center at all? To me it’s an invitation to be a proudly aggressive and adversarial opposition party, and if the Republicans want to squeal about how mean and obstructionist the Democrats are, let ’em. The “mushy middle” will be grateful that someone is finally trying to stop the Republican juggernaut of corruption and incompetence. The Independents are begging for a strong, viable alternative, so please, please for the love of God and all that is holy, GIVE THEM ONE.

1 comment February 28th, 2006 at 06:14pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Politics,Polls,Republicans

(Um… What?)^2: Froomkin Edition

Two eye-catching and mind-bending items in today’s White House Briefing:

Caroline Daniel writes in the Financial Times: “President George W. Bush yesterday stepped up his rhetoric about US dependence on oil from the Middle East, warning about the dangers of being dependent on countries where ‘tyrants control the spigots’.”

What about letting them control our ports? Is that okay? Or does this only apply to bad Arab countries, like… Saudi Arabia?

“The [New Delhi Sheraton] has just received a brief from the White House on what President Bush likes on his dining table. ‘President Bush loves Indian food and what’s more he knows it very well. He likes flavoured Indian food but does not like it too spicy, greasy or oily. Chicken and lamb are his favourites and he loves kebabs,’ says Executive Chef Amit Chaudhary. . . .

” ‘We are told he spent some two months in the Capital in his younger days and he still recalls the food he had here with great relish. Our attempt will be to make the food here a good memory for him for years to come.’ ”

Wait — Bush spent two months in New Delhi in his youth? Is that for real? When? What was he doing?

Are they talking about the right capital? Or maybe he meant “the new deli” down the street from the Alabama campaign offices he was sort of working at while he was not participating in the Air National Guard? Anyway, I was pretty sure the sum total of Bush’s pre-White House furrin travel was Mexico and maybe one trip to Europe. Who knew?

February 28th, 2006 at 05:53pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Dubai Ports World,Politics,Wankers


Well, this brings the percentage of the Bill Of Rights that the Republicans are in favor of all the way up to 20%, although if too many Democrats start buying guns, look for some “enemy of the state” exclusions to get carved out…

General [Geoffrey “Gitmoize Me”] Miller has denied recommending the use of guard dogs to intimidate prisoners during interrogations in Iraq. He also recently said he would not testify in the courts-martial of Sergeants Cardona and Smith, invoking his right to avoid self-incrimination. As someone who voluntarily spoke at length about my actions in Iraq to investigators, without a lawyer present, I can’t have a favorable opinion of General Miller. By doing the military equivalent of “taking the Fifth,” he’s decided to protect himself, apparently happy to let two dog handlers take the fall – a stunning betrayal of his subordinates and Army values.

Read the whole piece, which is a chilling insider’s look at the torture and deliberate graying-out of moral and legal values at Abu Ghraib. But I thought this paragraph was particularly striking, since to me it sounds an awful lot like an admission of guilt at a very senior command level (this would be especially interesting if the new release of Abu Ghraib photos were getting any traction, which they sadly are not). But I guess as long as you don’t actually get charged with anything, it doesn’t count. Bygones!

UPDATE: The incomparable and out-of-nowhere Glenn Greenwald explains all about the Republicans’ deep and lasting commitment to personal responsibility.

(greenwald tip thinks to Atrios)

2 comments February 28th, 2006 at 11:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Politics,Prisoners,Wankers,War


What can I add to this, really?

By way of Lloyd Grove’s Lowdown column in the NY Daily News.

February 28th, 2006 at 07:50am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Coolness,Wankers

You Are SO Not Thanked.

Atrios is too kind (and I’m a bit of a whiner). I didn’t actually tip him to the Andy Sullivan column, I just answered his Googly call to arms (or fingers, as the case may be). But now that I’m actually looking at said noxious column, I feel a bit of a rant coming on…

You’re welcome. And as I read this and other Iraqi blogs written by people who lived under a kind of terror that we in the West have no way to understand or truly empathize with, I feel a lump in my throat. I am so proud of the country I was born in and the country I have made my home. I have never been prouder to be an Anglo-American, to have done in our time what so many before us have done – to broaden the possibilities of liberty, to bring hope, to restrain the violent men and evil ideologies that are each generation’s responsibility. The men and women in our armed forces did the hardest work. They deserve our immeasurable thanks. But we all played our part. By facing down the evil, the cowardly and the simply misguided, we have done a great good.

Great. Fabulous. Sure. Whatever. That stuff I bolded? That is precisely what you and your Republican ilk have miserably failed to do in this country. You have, in fact, aggressively pursued the exact opposite. You have enabled and apologized for the violent men and evil ideologies that are destroying our country. You are the the evil, the cowardly, and the “simply misguided,” and you have done a great wrong that may not be righted for decades, if ever.

So fuck you very much.

9 comments February 27th, 2006 at 11:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Iraq,Politics,Republicans,Wankers,War

Random Mostly Blue-Sky NYC Photoblogging

Yet more fun from NYC. I think I might be running out of steam. Maybe one or two more posts left.

Looking out from a very small coffeeshop.

If you look very closely (psst – you can click on these for a larger view), you can see the flowers in the window.

Mmm… Buildings… blue sky… shadows… stark geometrical shapes… I’m in Photo Heaven. Posted by Picasa

February 27th, 2006 at 10:03pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Stolen Cuteness

Courtesy of NTodd (and one of his readers):
Kitty LOVES Rooster!!!

Kitty possibly a bit… confused.

1 comment February 27th, 2006 at 06:38pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Cuteness,Monday Media Blogging,Weirdness

Quote Of The Day

Courtesy of… JOE KLEIN???

For what it’s worth, he just repeats it. He didn’t actually come up with it. By way of The All-Seeing Eye Of Froomkin:

“The media are wondering what ever happened to the Bushies’ political antennae,” a prominent Republican told me. “They don’t have antennae. They just have a transmitter — and the party is beginning to tune them out.”

That’s gotta leave a mark…

3 comments February 27th, 2006 at 05:44pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Media,Politics,Quotes,Wankers

NYC Signageblogging

Random signs from NYC.

Um, pretend I said something profound about linguistics and modes of communication…

Res and Kenosha Kid made me take it.

Umm… WTF?

I feel like I should have something metaphorical to say about this… Posted by Picasa

5 comments February 26th, 2006 at 08:49pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Bacon Loves Rabbi!

My mom just sent me this very intriguing LA Times article/book review about how the religious right has co-opted the belongingness-and-meaning needs of religious people who would otherwise trend liberal. I’m going to quote, well, liberally, because this piece is a week old already and I’m not sure how long it’ll be out there for free:

[Rabbi Michael] Lerner believes America is in the grip of a spiritual crisis.

On the one hand, there is what scholar Walter Brueggemann calls “the imperial consciousness.” This right-wing mind-set worships its own power – an act of idolatry, according to Lerner. Its adherents ignore the groans of the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized, conducting business as usual as though no one were hurting and there were no groans.

On the other, an impotent liberal cohort lacks the moral courage and political savvy to resist a culture of imperial domination in both church and state. The compromises made by the left because of political expediency result in a political lassitude, which amounts to complicity with the forces of empire.

But Lerner is chiefly concerned with the millions of people who are not conservative ideologues but who have in recent elections voted that way because they yearn for the “purpose-driven life of meaning” promised by the communities of the religious right. There they find a sense of belonging, of dignity, of outrage at meaningless marketplace thinking – and (in Lerner’s indictment of his own liberal tribe) a respectful absence of condescension. The irony that begs for explanation is the phenomenon of this group voting against its own enlightened self-interest.

….What he and his colleagues discovered was “that many people need what anthropologist Clifford Geertz once termed a ‘politics of meaning’ and what I now call a spiritual politics – a spiritual framework that can lend meaning to their lives [and] allow them to serve something beyond personal goals and economic self-interest. If they don’t find this sense of purpose on the Left, they will look for it on the Right.” With consistent passion, Lerner insists on respect for this group of people. The left sabotages its efforts every time it views them as somehow less intelligent and evolved than, say, the liberal elite.

For Lerner, the key is something he calls “meaning needs.” The left has to recognize “that people hunger for a world that has meaning and love; for a sense of aliveness, energy, and authenticity; for a life embedded in a community in which they are valued for who they most deeply are, with all their warts and limitations, and feel genuinely seen and recognized; for a sense of contributing to the good; and for a life that is about something more than just money and accumulating material goods.” The right, he maintains, has supplied all this in a variety of ways. The left is clueless, unaware that such needs even exist.

At the core of Lerner’s argument is his description of two competing theologies.

The theology of the “right hand of God” gives conservative ideologues their religious credibility. This theology “sees the universe as a fundamentally scary place filled with evil forces. God is the avenger, the big man in heaven who can be invoked to use violence to overcome those evil forces, either right now or in some future ultimate reckoning.  [T]he world is filled with constant dangers and the rational way to live is to dominate and control others before they dominate and control us.”

The “left hand of God” theology sees God as “the loving, kind, and generous energy in the universe” and “encourages us to be like this loving God.”

….The scriptural passages often used to justify a dominionist position… were originally written to empower the oppressed with assurances that God would hear their cries and come in power to liberate them and establish a reign of justice and peace. Thus, he argues, the hard-core religious right has perverted religion: They distort scriptural texts and ancient theologies written for the powerless and use them to theologically undergird the powerful. Lerner sees this core as a relatively small part of American society. The much larger populace that votes with the religious right does so in support of what it sees as “a community that gives priority to spiritual aliveness and is affirming and loving. That is the experience they are looking for, and for that they are willing to hear God’s voice in the way the Religious Right hears it.”

Lerner’s solution is to call for the redemption of religion in the thinking of the secular left, along with the establishment of a politics that refuses to allow the values of the commonwealth to be trumped by the powers protecting private wealth. He advocates the development of a “spiritual left” as a coherent alternative to religious triumphalism. Were we to adopt this “spiritual-political alternative” and bring together three groups he has identified on the left – the secular, the “spiritual but not religious” and the “progressive religious” – then America could be rescued.

Although admittedly not the slightest bit religious or even spiritual, I have to say that this rings pretty true as a plausible diagnosis of what has gone wrong, and how Christianity in America has become twisted into a religion of intolerance and authoritarian power. But the prescription for what to do about it unfortunately seems a little vague – hopefully it’s spelled out a little more in the book itself (giving it away in the review would be a disservice to the author, after all).

Even without a specific solution, just a deeper and more empathetic awareness of what’s going on in the religious community would serve the Democratic party well. I found the references to the need for community especially intriguing, because that actually is something that the left does well, despite its own party.

While the Democratic party itself is completely insular and closed to any feedback from the common folk, the common folk have carved out a pretty cozy community for themselves in the world of blogs and their comments pages. Unfortunately, the contempt for Christians who vote Republican is very strong in that world (I myself am as guilty as any; I simply cannot stomach so-called Christians who vote against compassion and peace), and presents a very forbidding barrier to entry to that rich and otherwise welcoming community.

And that’s where I’m stuck. I believe any Christians who come to, say, the Eschaton comments pages (hey, it’s what I know) looking for an alternative to the Dobsons and Robertsons and *shudder* Phelpses would be welcomed with open arms. But the question is, how do we get them to A) Realize that they’re worshipping the wrong God, and B) Convince them that we liberals don’t hate religion? Fortunately, there are much smarter and religiouser people than me out there in the liberal blogosphere, and I’m hopeful that they will be able to figure something out.

2 comments February 26th, 2006 at 03:26pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Politics,Religion


More humorous spamminess, not-so-fresh from my mailbox (don’t worry; spam keeps forever):

Abital Earp
Druid C. Bessie
Spiniest U. Habits
Bookworm V. Tenderizing
Standardization I. Whittier
Thump F. Lounging
Retinae V. Deduction
Piroska Whittle (Subject: Re: Pharama cy quacksalver)
Apollonia Cunha (Subject: Re: Ph aramacy tweezer)
Hyun Nettleton (Subject: anemoscope purify)
Capote I. Butted
April G. Superscript
Estonia E. Auctioneer
Leather C. Builds
Scriptures F. Baseboards (not sure why I didn’t include this one in the George W. Bush Spam Tribute…)

So to all you spammers out there: If you have a funny fake name or subject, I still won’t click on you, but at least I won’t delete you right away, and I might even make you immortal! Like Highlander!

3 comments February 26th, 2006 at 02:49pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Spamoptikon

You Tell ‘Em, Winnie!

From Stanford:

Mathematics has a public relations problem in this country, particularly among some girls and women, according to Hollywood actress Danica McKellar.

“Nobody out there is saying that smart is sexy and smart is important,” said McKellar, the co-author of a mathematical proof. “Role models like Paris Hilton have everything to do with why this country is being dumbed down. We need better PR.”

It’s a bigger problem for women, but it’s certainly not unique to them. Being smart is just not cool. If you don’t believe that, just look at the results of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. And if you don’t believe it’s a problem, just look at the results of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.

2 comments February 25th, 2006 at 06:03pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness

I Am Grandma Millie’s Smirking Revenge

Some sad, sad news out of Houston today…

Once at the pinnacle of Houston’s financial and political elite with a fortune worth as much as $400 million, Mr. Lay, the former chairman of the Enron Corporation, is now facing financial ruin.

While he has talked about his shrinking wealth since Enron’s collapse, he has managed to keep up appearances, continuing to live in a full-floor apartment in the city’s affluent River Oaks section. But already, according to personal financial records obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Lay has fallen out of the ranks of the city’s millionaires, with a stated net worth of less than $650,000.

And that financial assessment is probably on the optimistic side. His assets, for example, include $1.9 million held in a trust that is almost sure to be eaten up by legal fees.

In addition, Mr. Lay, 63, faces potential liability from lawsuits that were filed against him by shareholders and others after Enron’s collapse that would almost certainly force him into personal bankruptcy. Mr. Lay may also be forced to forfeit his remaining home, along with some other assets, if he is convicted in the criminal fraud trial that is now taking place in Houston.

This just makes my heart so sad. Why do these things always have to happen to such good people?

1 comment February 25th, 2006 at 05:53pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Enron,Wankers

Random NYC Photoblogging

More NYC photos! I don’t really have a theme; basically just the first three photos I could find that didn’t seem to suck too badly (how’s that for shameless self-promotion?)…

More buildings! Yippee!!!

JP Morgan Chase again.

What’s an NYC photo shoot without at least one of these sawhorse thingies? Posted by Picasa

1 comment February 25th, 2006 at 03:26pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Friday Quote & Lizard Blogging

Today’s quote is from A Clockwork Orange, a dystopia set in the fairly near future:

When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s lizards…

Spike looking sultry. Posted by Picasa

3 comments February 24th, 2006 at 08:06pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

Asshole Projection

I’m seconding Atrios seconding Yglesias.

The problem with the ports deal is not the “A” in “UAE”, it’s the “OBL BFF” in “UAE”.

For those of you who don’t speak Abbrevish, this is not about “you can’t trust the Arabs,” at least not from our side of the spectrum. It’s about “you can’t trust a country whose royal family diplomatically recognized the Taliban, and hung out with Osama bin Laden, and generally seems to be a pretty cozy staging ground for terrorists.” Any attempts to paint our objections as xenophobic are disingenuous and dishonest.

But this sort of thing is one of the Republicans’ favorite tricks. Democrats are “racist” for opposing the judicial nominations of Clarence Thomas and Janice Rogers Brown, or for pointing out that Condi is an incompetent liar, or for “dishonoring” Coretta Scott King’s memorial service by being mean to our poor resolute president.

Or “sexist” for opposing Harriet Miers (who was sunk by Republicans, by the way).

Or “homophobic” for saying that a male prostitute with a fake name and no journalistic credentials has no place in the White House press corps.

For the Republicans, “projection” isn’t a psychological condition; it’s a deliberate strategy.

2 comments February 24th, 2006 at 05:44pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Dubai Ports World,Favorites,Politics,Racism,Republicans,Sexism,Teh Gay,Wankers


Media Matters (by way of Atrios) calls out Russert for flogging the Republican spin that the Democrats are soft on national security, and are just trying to score cheap political points by objecting to the sellout of America’s ports to UAOBLBFFE:

During the interview, Russert asserted that Democrats are acting on what “they have learned from the Bush administration” about the need for a “post-September 11th mentality,” and by objecting to the DPW deal, they are “playing it.” He said further, “Democrats believe they can look tough on national security” by opposing the current port deal.


However, in suggesting that Democrats have now found a national security issue they can use for political gain, Russert ignored the fact that, for the past several years, Democrats have stressed the need for greater port security and have urged Congress and the administration to act….

Furthermore, most Republicans in Congress have resisted Democrats’ efforts to secure U.S. ports. As the Senate Democratic Policy Committee has documented, since 9-11, Senate Republicans have voted to defeat Democratic measures to increase funding for port security. For example, Schumer’s amendment to the 2004 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill to provide $70 million for research and development to stop nuclear materials from entering U.S. ports was defeated by a 51-45 near-party-line vote. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) introduced an amendment to the same bill that would have provided $100 million in port and maritime security grants. The Republican Senate rejected Byrd’s measure by a near party-line vote of 51-45. Republicans also defeated former Sen. Ernest Hollings’s (D-SC) amendment to the 2004 Homeland Security Appropriations bill, which would have provided $300 million in maritime security grants, by a 50-48 largely party-line vote. In addition, for the 2003 War Supplemental Appropriations bill, Hollings’s amendment to increase port security funding by $1 billion was defeated by a 52-47 vote largely along party lines.

And as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has noted, many of the Senate Republicans now calling for the Bush administration to revoke the DPW port deal have continually voted against Democratic attempts to strengthen port security in the United States.

I know it’s probably too much to hope for, but this is the kind of thing the Democrats need to make hay on come November and 2008. Yes, the Republicans have a prohibitive majority and can push through (or block) almost anything they want, but the Democrats have to hold them electorally accountable for those votes. And since they were all basically party-line votes against port security, that means a whole lot of incumbent Republicans are vulnerable on this.

I want to see Democratic candidates taking on Republican incumbents with ad campaigns highlighting all the Republican’s votes against national security and questioning whether the Republicans are really keeping the country safe. And if the Republican has accused Democrats of posturing, that’s even better: bracket the vote information with “Joe Republican says Democrats are using the ports controversy to pretend they’re tough on national security. [insert voting history here] Now who’s pretending?”

Of course, calling Republicans weak on security would be mean and impolite, so it’ll probably never happen. But I thought I’d throw some free advice out there anyway, just in case someone wants to display some ballitude.

Look, if the Republicans want to fuck up the country and leave us exposed to terrorists, fine, there’s not much Democrats can do. But make them own it.

February 23rd, 2006 at 08:20pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Dubai Ports World,Favorites,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Political Spamphiteatre

I have been lax in my spam-mining efforts of late, so I have a bit of a backlog. I’m going to ease back into it in installments, so as not to strain anything.

Installment The First Of Humorous Spammer Fake Names is dedicated to our fearless and heroic war preznit:

Vacua B. Noise
Accountability M. Torses
Distiller T. Lots
Insistent O. Balmiest
Crunch G. Misrule
Totalities U. Illiberal
Snuffbox V. Chimp
Turmoiling U. Trevor
(not to be confused with Magical Trevor, whom everyone loves)
Marrying H. Deviate
Slaver U. Heisted
Abolition A. Damaged
Mewl S. Disgrace

Who says spam has no redeeming social or political value?

3 comments February 23rd, 2006 at 06:41pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Favorites,Spamoptikon,Wankers

You’ve Got It All Backwards!

No, no, no! You’re supposed to give the country away to rich old white guys, and shoot Arabs in the face!

Jesus, how many times do I have to explain this to you people???

6 comments February 22nd, 2006 at 11:22pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Dubai Ports World,Favorites,Politics,Wankers

NYC Buildingblogging

New York City has lots of buildings. I like to take pictures of buildings. So it all kinda works out.

Buildings! Did I mention I like buildings?

The New York Stock Exchange is MOONING me! Jeez, what is it with these financial types?

I suspect that the distressedness may be fake, but it still looks pretty cool… Posted by Picasa

4 comments February 22nd, 2006 at 08:28pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

Journalists Need Not Apply.

Editor & Publisher (by way of Howie Kurtz) blows the whistle on some choice NYT sleaziness:

Kejal Vyas, one of my best journalism students at Rutgers-Newark, in Newark, N.J., was in Delhi completing some academic work when he received this Feb. 1 e-mail from Nancy Sharkey, senior editor/recruiting for The New York Times, responding to his inquiry about an internship:

?”Hi Kejal, Based on what Allan Wolper has written about us, I cannot imagine that he would want one of his students to intern here. I guess if we need students from New Jersey, we will go elsewhere. Best, Nancy.”

Well, maybe the offending professor is some kind of right-wing propagandist? I could understand if NYT wouldn’t want an aspiring Rush Limbaugh interning with them. What kind of uncouth criticisms did Wolper unleash upon that eminent publication?

If the Times had [complained to E&P], I might know which of the columns or articles I had written about them in past years had caused them to ?look elsewhere? for interns. Here is a summary of some of them:

— A column detailing how the Times published a huge ad in the sports section promoting Crestor, a cholesterol drug, on the same day they ran a much smaller front page story on its serious side effects.

— A column that questioned whether the Times Co.’s $100 million stake in the Boston Red Sox had anything to do with its weak coverage of the steroid issue in baseball.

— An article in Columbia Journalism Review followed by a column in E&P disclosing that the Times gave a reporter covering the CIA permission to write a book that was edited, in part, by the secret agency.

— A column last week pointing out that for 14 months the Times had obscured the fact that one of its sports writers was a central figure in a messy sexual harassment suit against Madison Square Garden.

None of that sounds particularly ideological to me, except maybe the CIA story. The common thread (ironically, or perhaps prophetically) is Editorial Integrity, Lack Of.

Which makes it all the sadder that they rejected Wolper’s intern. They might have learned something from him.

(And why does the New York Times have a $100 million investment in the Red Sox? Does the Washington Post own a piece of the Cowboys?)

1 comment February 22nd, 2006 at 12:08pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Wankers


So, not long after reading about President Bush’s staunch defense of the corporations of the United Arab Emirates as plucky entrepreneurs who deserve the same opportunities as Great Britain, and strongly implies that it’s the forces of racism and intolerance holding them back, I see this little gem in today’s White House Briefing OPINION column, in reference to Al Gore’s denunciation of post-9/11 American abuses against the Arab world in (gasp!)… Saudi Arabia:

The comments stirred an angry reaction on the right and in the blogosphere, and also drew a rebuke from Peter Wehner, director of the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives, which was e-mailed to reporters and others Tuesday. “It is noteworthy that Mr. Gore would travel to Saudi Arabia — a repressive society which is the home of Osama bin Laden and most of the terrorists who executed the worst attack on the American homeland in our history — to criticize (inaccurately) our government’s response to that attack.”

Umm… so which is it? Are Arab nations the underdog standardbearers of free enterprise, swimming against the tide of racism and paranoia, or are they hateful enemies of democracy who want to destroy us for our freedoms?

For me personally, there’s not a whole lot of difference between Saudi Arabia and UAE. I think they’re both unreliable and faithless “allies,” but in terms of where they stand with BushCo, I’m pretty sure the country that got slammed is far more favored and influential. As Froomkin helpfully reminds us:

But doesn’t the White House’s new get-tough rhetoric on Saudia Arabia clash somewhat with this memorable photo of Bush holding Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah’s hand as the two men walked through a field of bluebonnets at Bush’s Crawford ranch last spring?

Mwahahahaha… You just can’t make this shit up.

9 comments February 21st, 2006 at 05:40pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Dubai Ports World,Favorites,Politics,Wankers

Bush Takes A Principled Stand In Favor Of Terrorism

So much for the ignorance defense…

President Bush said Tuesday that the deal allowing an Arab company to take over six major U.S. seaports should go forward and that he would veto any congressional effort to stop it.

“After careful review by our government, I believe the transaction ought to go forward,” Bush told reporters who had traveled with him on Air Force One to Washington. “I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company. I am trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to the people of the world, ‘We’ll treat you fairly.’ “

*steps up*

Because Great Britain is not a terrorist breeding ground, and ports and military shipments are the kind of things you don’t want to let terrorists anywhere near, ever.

(“Great British”??? Jesus wept.)

But hey, George, if that’s where you want to draw your line in the sand, if you want to use your first-ever veto to facilitate terrorist access to our major ports and shipments of military supplies, please, you just go right ahead. If we’re really lucky, your veto gets overruled, and you get a double whammy: You reveal the insincerity of your war on terror for all to see, and you get publicly emasculated by your own tame Republican Congress (and maybe one less American city gets slagged by a container nuke, which, contrary to popular belief, we liberals are not in favor of).

1 comment February 21st, 2006 at 04:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Dubai Ports World,Favorites,Politics,Wankers

You’re Doin’ A Heckuva Job, Snowy!


The Dubai firm that won Bush administration backing to run six U.S. ports has at least two ties to the White House.

One is Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose agency heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World – giving it control of Manhattan’s cruise ship terminal and Newark’s container port.

Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush’s cabinet.

The other connection is David Sanborn, who runs DP World’s European and Latin American operations and was tapped by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.


The Daily News has learned that lawmakers also want to know if a detailed 45-day probe should have been conducted instead of one that lasted no more than 25 days.

According to a 1993 congressional measure, the longer review is mandated when the company is owned by a foreign government and the purchase “could result in control of a person engaged in interstate commerce in the U.S. that could affect the national security of the U.S.”

No, fast-tracking the turning over of port control to a terrorist country isn’t fishy at all; no reason this should impact Bush’s anti-terror bona fides at all, right? This new whiff of complicity and favoritism makes it even more, well, true to form.

But why am I reading about this in the NY Daily News and not the NY Times?

1 comment February 21st, 2006 at 09:06am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Dubai Ports World,Politics,Wankers

Monday Not-Quite-NYC Photoblogging

Well, before the trip into NYC, there was dinner at a sushi restaurant in NJ with my dad and all three of my sisters. Of course, I meticulously documented everything except for the actual dinner and family…

Christmas lights outside the sushi restaurant.

Sorta-chandelier thingy inside the sushi restaurant.

Waiting for the ATM; might as well take some pitchers… Posted by Picasa

2 comments February 20th, 2006 at 11:28pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging

Good To Know.

My blog is the #1 AltaVista search result for Electrovaginogram.

That’s almost as good as being the #1 hit for sexy photoblogging!

Multi Medium, for all your sexy electrovaginogram photoblogging needs.

4 comments February 20th, 2006 at 06:34pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google

Encounters In Pittsblogging

Just wanted to make a quick mention of Saturday’s dinner with spork_incident and visiting blogger Blue Gal. We went to Pittsburgh Drinking Liberally hangout Finnigan’s Wake, and generally had a lovely time. Huzzah!

1 comment February 20th, 2006 at 02:02pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Sunday Alien Invasion Blogging

I think I may have forgotten to mention, that while I was last visiting NYC, there was a shocking and horrific Alien Attack. Fortunately, I had my camera handy, and was able to document the apalling carnage and somehow escape with my life.

First photograph of the Alien Creature as it lands in front of Trinity Church and begins menacing the saints with its Evil Tentacles… OF DOOM!

The Alien lashes out with its Nefarious Grasping Claws!

The Alien’s true purpose becomes apparent, as it begins to suck nourishment from the very pavement itself, rendering it pale and brittle. Posted by Picasa

4 comments February 19th, 2006 at 09:02pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

I Blame Gay Marriage.

From The Smoking Gun, by way of NTodd and watertiger, a completely and utterly insane “Contract of Wifely Expectations,” which is alarmingly specific about how and when pubic hair is to be shaved, timing of nakedness (within 20 minutes after the kids are in bed), expected sexual practices, periods of utter subservience called “Me-Time,” and what actions can be used to earn “Good Behavior Days,” or “GBDs,” that would allow the wife to get out of some of her obligations for a day. Be sure to note the font used in the section headings, and the fact that the wife is required to be in her “sleepwear” (generally either skimpy lingerie or nothing at all) before she can attempt to renegotiate any terms of the “contract.”

The whole thing reads like some kind of twisted adolescent sexual fantasy of what the ideal marriage would be like, which is how I think it started out. It’s so elaborate and well-thought-out (in a psychotic, detached-from-reality kind of way) that I think he just kept refining it and embellishing it over the years, and never took a step back far enough to realize that it was pathological, and not what normal adults expect from their wives. On the other hand, he is clearly one of those guys who loves sex but hates women, so maybe he just didn’t care, and figured hey, it’s worth a shot.

I suppose the wife deserves some credit for not signing the thing, but why on Earth would she not head for the hills the second her husband put this mad document in front of her? Isn’t there some minimum level of self-esteem required to keep the heart pumping and the lungs breathing?

9 comments February 19th, 2006 at 01:59pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Wankers,Weirdness

NYCircular Photoblogging II

Blogginess runs in a circular motion, blogs are like a little boat upon the sea…

Some sort of rock sculpture in the general Wall Street/JP Morgan Chase area.

Pretty sure this was near the George Washington statue, still in the Wall Street vicinity.

Manhole. What can ya do.

Mmm… ducts… Posted by Picasa

22 comments February 18th, 2006 at 05:35pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

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