Archive for November, 2007

This Is What Not Having It Both Ways Looks Like

I’m way late on this, I know. I had planned to post it from the airport, but that didn’t exactly work out as planned. From yesterday’s NYT:

A Senate chairman said Thursday that President Bush was not involved in the firings of U.S. attorneys last winter, and he therefore ruled illegal the president’s executive privilege claims protecting his chief of staff, Josh Bolten, and former adviser Karl Rove.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy directed Bolten, Rove, former White House political director Sara Taylor and her deputy, J. Scott Jennings, to comply ”immediately” with their subpoenas for documents and information about the White House’s role in the firings of U.S. attorneys.

”I hereby rule that those claims are not legally valid to excuse current and former White House employees from appearing, testifying and producing documents related to this investigation,” wrote Leahy, D-Vt.

(…)

The executive privilege claim ”is surprising in light of the significant and uncontroverted evidence that the president had no involvement in these firings,” Leahy wrote in his ruling. ”The president’s lack of involvement in these firings — by his own account and that of many others — calls into question any claim of executive privilege.’

(…)

”If he is now saying that the president wasn’t aware of it, as we have said from the beginning, then I don’t understand why he continues to have this rope-a-dope that’s not going to go anywhere,” [White House Press Secretary Dana] Perino told reporters.

You can’t simultaneously claim executive privilege and lack of presidential involvement. They’re mutually exclusive.

Good on Leahy for finally calling BushCo. out on this, but it would have been nice if he had done it a few months ago.

2 comments November 30th, 2007 at 09:38pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans,Rove

NOOOOOO!!!!

YouTube Preview Image

RIP, Evel Knievel.

The world just became a poorer, smaller place.

November 30th, 2007 at 09:16pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Dante Was Wrong

Of the nine rings of Hell, at least five of them have to be airports.

The limo driver holding his sign upside down did brighten my mood a bit.

November 30th, 2007 at 08:38pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

So Much For Travelblogging…

Not sure how many of you are familiar with a Windows Vista bug which makes it impossible to connect to the internets via public wifi. You can connect to the wifi network, just… not the internets.

Well, I have it. I could have sworn that I used to be able to connect from the Pittsburgh airport, but… not anymore.

I think it is time to set up a Windows XP partition – I am simply too overwhelmed by Vista’s brilliance, such that I fear I shall fly too high and crash violently back to Earth like Icarus.

Also, my flight’s delayed.

3 comments November 30th, 2007 at 04:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Travelin’ Man

Posting may be light until Monday night, as I will be traveling.

Hopefully I’ll have time to post some stuff from the airport…

November 30th, 2007 at 12:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Friday Quote & Monkey Blogging

This week’s quote is from the Peter Sellers hippie/pot comedy I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!:

What an incredible conception! Teeth, teeth, and yet more teeth!

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s zenmaster monkeys looking down their noses at us…

Monkey 1

Monkey 2

Monkey 3

November 30th, 2007 at 10:17am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

The Police Firefighter State

Did you know that firefighters can enter your home without a warrant? Even if it’s not actually on fire, they can still perform inspections. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the Bush administration would seek to take advantage of that kind of access…

It was revealed last week that firefighters are being trained to not only keep an eye out for illegal materials in the course of their duties, but even to report back any expression of discontent with the government.

A year ago, Homeland Security gave security clearances to nine New York City fire chiefs and began sharing intelligence with them. Even before that, fire department personnel were being taught “to identify material or behavior that may indicate terrorist activities” and were also “told to be alert for a person who is hostile, uncooperative or expressing hate or discontent with the United States.

Um, you mean like I’m doing right now?

Unlike law enforcement officials, firemen can go onto private property without a warrant, not only while fighting fires but also for inspections. “It’s the evolution of the fire service,” said a Phoenix, AZ fire chief of his information-sharing arrangement with law enforcement.

“We used to just fight fires, but now we spy for the government too – it’s a natural progression.” Mission creep doesn’t get much creepier.

Keith Olbermann raised the alarm about the program on his show Wednesday, noting that “if the information-sharing program works in New York, the department says it will extend it to other major metropolitan areas, unless we stop them.” He then asked Mike German, a former FBI agent who is now with the ACLU, “This program seems to be turning [firefighters], essentially, into legally protected domestic spies, does it not?”

“That’s the entire intent,” German replied, noting the serious legal issues involved. “There is actually still a fourth amendment,” he pointed out, “and what makes a firefighter’s search reasonable is that it’s done to prevent a fire. If now firefighters are going in with this secondary purpose, that end run around the fourth amendment won’t work, and it’s likely that they will find themselves in legal trouble.”

I would hope that most firefighters are just as appalled by this idea as I am. Olbermann video at the Raw Story link.

(h/t AZ Matt)

November 30th, 2007 at 12:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers

Oh. Their. God.

YouTube Preview Image

Okay, it’s official: Mike Huckabee scares me.

At a Republican Governors Association Dinner in 2004, Huckabee took the stage and began to deliver remarks when his cell phone rang. He took the phone out of his pocket and proceeded to have a conversation with God about President Bush’s reelection:

HUCKABEE: Hello? I’m sorry. I’m right in the middle of an event. It’s who? It’s God? On the phone for me? How did he get my number? Oh, God has everybody’s number. OK? Yes, I’ll hold.

Huckabee then engaged in a 3-minute back-and-forth exchange with God, in which Huckabee asserted that God was with the Republicans and President Bush:

We’re behind [Bush], yes, sir, we sure are. Yes, sir, we know you don’t take sides in the election. But, if you did, we kind of think you’d hang in there with us, Lord, we really do.

Huckabee then ended his conversation and walked off the stage to roaring applause.

I find this spectacularly creepy, unfunny, and inappropriate. Republicans found it brilliant.

(Transcript and Matt Taibbi commentary at the Think Progress link)

1 comment November 29th, 2007 at 10:46pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Huckabee,Politics,Religion,Republicans

Eli’s Obsession With The Google

Multi Medium is the #3 search result for kickboxing. carrie the crusher.

Also, while I usually don’t mention any Google searches where I’m not on the first page, it would be irresponsible to turn my back on the burning issue of porn industry noise pollution.

I’m not entirely sure if the porn industry is the source or the victim, and I don’t think I want to be.

November 29th, 2007 at 09:45pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google

Wait… What?

Okay, I’m a day late on this one, but it’s just too incredible to pass up. Here’s Clueless Leader on the relative merits of Pervez Musharraf and his archenemy Nawaz Sharif (no relation):

One of the things that President Musharraf has – what he did that impressed me was he clearly understands the nature of the radical threat, and has worked hard to make sure his country doesn’t become a haven for radicals.

Now, there are some there, no question about it. We’ve had a good record of working with the Musharraf government in routing out al-Qaida and capturing or killing al-Qaida. And I would be concerned about any leader who didn’t understand the urgency of dealing with radicals and extremists who want to attack the United States and/or any other nation.

Q: Is Sharif in that category?

A: Well, I don’t know him well enough. I would be very concerned if there was any leader in Pakistan that didn’t understand the nature of the world in which we live today.

Um… Dubya?

*points in general direction of Waziristan, where Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda regroup unmolested*

*sighs and shakes head sadly*

(h/t All-Seeing Eye Of Froomkin)

1 comment November 29th, 2007 at 08:25pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Terrorism,Wankers

Bug Or Feature?

How’s that No Child Left Behind working out for us?

US fourth-graders have lost ground in reading ability compared with children around the world, according to results of a global reading test.

(…)

Still, the US average score on the Progress in International Reading Literacy test remained above the international average. Ten countries or jurisdictions, including Hong Kong and three Canadian provinces, were ahead of the United States this time. In 2001, only three countries were ahead of the United States.

(…)

On the latest international exam, US students posted a lower average score than students in Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Luxembourg, Hungary, Italy, and Sweden, along with the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario.

Last time, Russia, Hong Kong, and Singapore were behind the United States.

Granted, it’s more a matter of the U.S. treading water while other countries pass us, and it’s only fourth grade. But I can’t help but note that improved reading comprehension isn’t really something that benefits Republicans in the long run…

(h/t dakine)

1 comment November 29th, 2007 at 08:08pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Education,Republicans

I Guess It Wasn’t All Bad…

CNN at least did one thing right in last night’s debate:

In a segment that surprised many viewers, an openly gay veteran addressed the CNN/YouTube Republican presidential candidates from the audience after they responded to his question on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The two-hour televised debate was broadcast on CNN and included questions from over 5,000 submitted to the online video hosting site.

The six minute segment on gay issues began with CNN anchor and debate host Anderson Cooper introducing a video question from Brigadier Gen. Keith Kerr (Ret.):

I’m a retired brigadier general with 43 years of service. And I’m a graduate of the Special Forces Officer Course, the Commanding General Staff Course and the Army War College. And I’m an openly gay man.

I want to know why you think that American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians.

Before Cooper turned to the candidates for their responses, he introduced General Kerr, who was sitting in the audience. Kerr is the only questioner from the debate who was introduced. “I’m glad you’re here,” Cooper said.

Congressman Duncan Hunter, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and Former Massachusetts Governor all defended the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, with Romney saying, “it seems to have worked.”

“It seems to have worked”??? What does that even mean? How many qualified translators got discharged for being gay? How many 50-year-olds got dragged kicking and screaming back into service while gay troops were being booted out? How many criminals and sociopaths were knowingly enlisted to meet recruitment numbers? How do they affect morale and unit cohesion? What, pray tell, would Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell not working look like?

Cooper pressed Romney, reminding the candidate that in 1994 that he looked forward to the day when gays and lesbians could serve, “and I quote, ‘openly and honestly in our nation’s military.’ Do you stand by that?” asked Cooper.

Romney did not reaffirm his statement, instead saying, “I look forward to hearing from the military exactly what they believe is the right way to have the right kind of cohesion and support in our troops and I listen to what they have to say.”

In response to Romney, boos were heard from the audience.

Following the exchange, Cooper turned to General Kerr and asked him to stand and address the audience. “Did you feel you got an answer to your question?” Cooper asked.

The audience applauded when Kerr replied, “With all due respect, I did not get an answer from the candidates….American men and women in the military are professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians.

“For 42 years, I wore the army uniform on active duty, in the Reserve, and also for the state of California. I revealed I was a gay man after I retired. Today, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is destructive to our military policy. Every day, the Department of Defense discharges two people, not for misconduct, not for the unit cohesion… that Congressman Hunter is talking about, but simply because they happen to be gay…and we’re talking about doctors, nurses, pilots, and the surgeon who sews somebody up when they’re taken from the battlefield.”

It was the only time during the two-hour program that an audience member addressed the group.

Following Kerr’s statement, Cooper asked McCain to answer the question. McCain thanked the General for service to his country and then explained that he believed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy is working.

And there it is again. What the hell? Is that the official Republican talking point on DADT? That it’s “working”?

In response to the candidates, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis said “Republicans and Democrats alike should be able to agree that our national security and military readiness are not partisan political matters. Republican voters increasingly understand that Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell deprives our armed forces of the talent and skills of patriotic Americans who have important contributions to make to our national defense.”

“Voters want leaders who will reach across party lines and build consensus to repeal this law,” he added.

Damn straight. Er, so to speak.

Also at the same link: Huckabee says he strongly disagrees with the Log Cabin Republicans on gay marriage, but he’s perfectly happy to accept their support. How generous and open-minded of him.

3 comments November 29th, 2007 at 08:01am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Media,Politics,Republicans,Teh Gay

Wankers Of The Day

CNN:

CNN and YouTube billed tonight’s Republican debate as one in which “YOU ask the questions of the candidates through videos you submit on YouTube.” After the Democratic debate in July with the same format, Steve Grove, YouTube’s news and politics editor, said the debate was “more democratic than ever.”

Out of almost 5,000 video submissions, CNN chose to pose a couple dozen to the candidates tonight. Instead of alloting all slots to ordinary citizens – who don’t normally have access to politicians – CNN gave airtime to a question from Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist….

Norquist is a powerful right-wing Washington insider, with no shortage of access to the candidates. He was deeply involved in the unethical and secretive K Street Project, which helped foster the culture of corruption in Washington, and was close friends with fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In July, he received an exclusive meeting with Karl Rove to discuss the administration’s Iraq policies.

Ironically, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) also submitted a YouTube question. Yet CNN rejected it, arguing that he “has regular access to politicians.”

There is no way Crist has anywhere near as much access as Norquist.

This is, of course, not the first time that CNN have been total wankers and peed all over the presidential debates…

UPDATE: It’s even worse than I thought.

November 28th, 2007 at 10:00pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Further Proof That Rudy Is The Perfect Nominee

He’s got the stonewalling strategery down pat:

As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.

The documents, obtained by Politico under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, show that the mayoral costs had nothing to do with the functions of the little-known city offices that defrayed his tabs, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants.

At the time, the mayor’s office refused to explain the accounting to city auditors, citing “security.”

See? Even if it makes no sense at all, just say you can’t comment on it because the terrorists would win. Here is a leader with the strength to invoke “state secrets” or “executive privilege” without batting an eyelash, which is just what the Republicans are looking for.

Rudy certainly is building a compelling case for himself as Dubya’s Mini-Me.

November 28th, 2007 at 08:46pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Politics,Republicans,Rudy

Dancing With The Stars Is Totally Rigged

Helio Castroneves and his alien ringer

Okay, I admit I haven’t been following Dancing With The Stars real closely, because, well, it’s a reality show, but…

Is it just me, or did they give Helio Castroneves an unfair advantage by pairing him with a three-legged woman? I mean, that’s a 25% edge over all the other teams right out of the gate, and that’s not even counting Heather Mills.

I expect the Celebrity Dancing Commissioner to make a full inquiry into any possible irregularities that may have occurred here, or else I shall be forced to send him a very strongly worded letter.

2 comments November 28th, 2007 at 11:50am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: TV,Weirdness

I Can Has Legacy?

Well, as usual, today’s MoDo column makes me cringe rather a lot. What’s not so usual is that it’s not MoDo that’s making me cringe:

Condi doesn’t want to be Iraq.

She wants to be a Palestinian state. It has a far more hopeful ring to it, legacy-wise.

The Most Powerful Woman in the History of the World, as President Bush calls her, is a very orderly person.

Like her boss, she loves schedules and routines and hates disruptions. As a child, she was elected “president” of her family, a position that allowed her to dictate the organizational details of family trips, according to “Condoleezza Rice: An American Life,” a new biography by The Times’s Elisabeth Bumiller.

Okay, stop right there. Liz Bumiller??? Liz Bumiller, the NYT’s designated White House puff-piece machine, the one who wrote “stories” on Dubya’s iPod and his fondness for ice cream? Oh yeah, I’ll be running right out and buying that book; it’s sure to be just jam-packed with insight and analysis. (As an aside, what do you want to bet that Liz suddenly morphs into a hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners journalist about a minute after a Democratic president is inaugurated?)

W. couldn’t be bothered to stay in Annapolis and try to belatedly push things along and guide Israel with a firmer hand.

After subverting diplomacy in his first term, now W. does drive-by diplomacy, taking a playboy approach to peace. He wants to look like he’s taking the problem of an Israeli-Palestinian treaty seriously when his true motivation is more cynical: pacifying the Arab coalition and holding it together so that he can blunt Iran’s sway.

When they invaded Iraq rather than working on the Palestine problem, W. and Condi helped spur the greater Iranian influence, Islamic extremism and anti-American sentiment that they are now desperately trying to quell.

(…)

The tight-as-a-tick team of W. and Condi have been consistently culturally obtuse on the Middle East, even with a pricey worldwide operation designed to keep them in the loop.

First, Condi missed the scorching significance of the August 2001 presidential daily brief headlined “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” “An explosive title on a nonexplosive piece,” as she later dismissively described it.

Then she and W. failed to fathom that if Iraq went wrong, Iran would benefit.

When Brent Scowcroft, who lured the young Soviet expert from Stanford to the Bush 1 national security staff, wrote a Wall Street Journal piece before the Iraq war titled “Don’t Attack Saddam,” she didn’t call him to explore his reasoning. She scolded him for publicly disagreeing with W. Scowcroft confided to friends that he was mystified by Rice. She enabled Bush’s bellicosity rather than putting a brake on it.

“He told me several times, ‘I don’t understand how my lady, my baby, my disciple, has changed so much,’ ” a senior European diplomat told Bumiller.

Um. Granted, that’s filtered through the diplomat and then through Bumiller, but that’s kind of a creepy quote.

Condi and W. were both underwhelmed by the C.I.A.’s presentation of its case on Iraq’s W.M.D.’s on Dec. 21, 2002. Yet, only days later, Bumiller reports, Rice and W. were alone in the Oval Office when he surprised her by asking her point blank about the war: “Do you think we should do this?”

“Yes,” she told the president.

That’s not statesmanship. It’s sycophancy.

(…)

[I]n another instance of spectacular willful ignorance, she was blindsided by the Hamas win in the Palestinian elections.

As she described it to Bumiller, she went upstairs at 5 a.m. the morning after the Palestinian elections in 2006 to the gym in her Watergate apartment to exercise on her elliptical machine. She saw the news crawl reporting the Hamas victory.

“I thought, ‘Well, that’s not right,’ ” she said. She kept exercising for awhile but finally got off the elliptical trainer and called the State Department. “I said, ‘What happened in the Palestinian elections?’ and they said, ‘Oh, Hamas won.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness! Hamas won?’ ”

When she couldn’t reach the State Department official on the ground in the Palestinian territories, she did what any loyal Bushie would do: She got back on the elliptical.

“I thought, might as well finish exercising,” Rice told Bumiller. “It’s going to be a really long day.” It was one of the few times she was prescient on the Middle East.

It never ceases to amaze me just how detached an unengaged these people are. It’s like nothing is ever important enough to demand swift, decisive action and undivided personal attention. And it doesn’t even occur to them that there might be something wrong with this approach – Condi probably thought this was a brilliant anecdote when she told it to Bumiller.

Yeah, Annapolis is going to be a huge success with Condi at the helm. Maybe she’ll take Olmert and Abbas shoe shopping.

November 28th, 2007 at 11:14am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Media,Republicans,War

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

Even space aliens have standards:

(By Nick Jeffries)

Wild-child socialite Paris Hilton was abducted by aliens – and five minutes later, they opened the spaceship door and kicked her out.

Or at least that’s the word from a researcher who claims a ticked off ET made an irate phone call to the UFOs Reach Earth Americans Line (U-FO-REAL).

(…)

[U-FO-REAL operator Dieter] Vanderhorn says an entity who identified himself as “Vortox from the planet Runyon” told him he had just dumped Paris in a nearby field and asked him how humans could worship such a shameless, couture-wearing egomaniac who thinks she’s “the cosmic consciousness’ gift to all sentient life-forms.”

(…)

“Vortox said: ‘As soon as we beamed the Earth woman you call Paris Hilton onto our ship she began criticizing our wardrobes, hairstyles, and makeup. My wife Vizbin is the personal stylist for everyone on this ship and suffered emotional injury,’ ” related Vanderhorn.

“Then Paris insisted she would sing for us. She opened her mouth and emitted the most horrible screeching cacophony I have ever heard. I was forced to cover my antennae and recite the Intergalactic Federation’s Pledge of Brotherhood until it stopped.

“We wanted to question this Paris about her life on Earth, but all she did was smile and pretend to pose for paparazzi pictures until I was tempted to set my proton blaster to ‘annihilate’ and and send her disassembled atoms hurtling into the void.

“As if that weren’t enough, she spoke of all the Earth parties she has attended and started listing every pair of designer shoes she owns. It was so many that I fear I regurgitated a bit in several of my orifices.

“When she began extolling the apparently infinite perfection of her flawless no-tan-lines body, it was all I could do not to turn the proton blaster upon myself. Just as she began to describe her daily beauty routine, I opened the vacu-door and shoved her out.”

I think the date of official First Contact has just been set back by at least a hundred years.

1 comment November 28th, 2007 at 07:19am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News

Whopper Of The Month

And I thought Dana Perino claiming that Dubya never harbors resentments was rich:

You are not going to believe this, well, actually you will… According to Karl Rove (on Charlie Rose), the Bush Administration did not want Congress to vote on the Iraq War resolution in the fall of 2002, because they thought it should not be done within the context of an election. Rove, you see, did not think the war vote should be “political”.

Moreover, according to Rove, that “premature vote” led to many of the problems that cropped up in the Iraq War. Had Congress not pushed, he says, Bush could have spent more time assembling a coalition, and provided more time to the inspectors.

(…)

It is worth remembering that the Senate in the fall of 2002 was controlled, barely, by Democrats. Get it? George Bush, we are being told, wanted to delay, wanted to hold back, wanted to take the time to build a coalition and let the inspectors finish their job, but that damn Congress just pushed him into it. George Bush, you see, is a careful, prudent, leader, deeply concerned about the consequences of premature.

It makes one’s head spin. Dubya wanted to be deliberate and careful, but those crazy loose cannon Democrats authorized him to use military force, thus forcing him to do so. It’s a crock, Rove knows it’s a crock, and Rove knows that we know it’s a crock.

It’s like in one of those crime shows like CSI or Law & Order, that scene where everyone knows this guy is the killer, and he knows that they know, but they don’t have any hard evidence. You know, the scene where the killer pours on the naked insincerity and says, “Why, Lieutenant, I could never do something terrible like that to her. I loved her.” All while looking the interrogator right in the eye and smirking.

It’s that exact same kind of in-your-face, ha-ha-you-can’t-touch-me fuck you to everyone who’s been paying attention, to everyone who can actually remember events from more than two days ago. “I can lie as much as I want and no-one will say anything. Sure, you bloggers can scream all you want, but we own the media, and they won’t say squat about this, except for the ones who say I’ve made an excellent and perceptive point, even though they know as well as you do that it’s just a big, wet, stinky lie I made up to piss you liberals off. Put that in your blogs and smoke it. Also, here is my ass, I am showing it to you now.”

Now, if Rove had said, “They handed a gun to a bloodthirsty sociopath; what did they think was going to happen?”, I would have been okay with that.

November 27th, 2007 at 11:10pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Politics,Republicans,Rove,Wankers,War

Correction Of The Month

Time’s response to Joe Klein getting busted either lying or uncritically regurgitating Republican spin on a bill he never even bothered to read:

In the original version of this story, Joe Klein wrote that the House Democratic version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) would allow a court review of individual foreign surveillance targets. Republicans believe the bill can be interpreted that way, but Democrats don’t.

I’m not really sure that I would even call that a “correction” – it’s more like a signing statement. Here’s how it reads to me:

The Democrats told us we were wrong, but the Republicans told us we were totally okay, so we’re just going to cover our asses by printing this to make ourselves look like responsible journalists while continuing to steadfastly ignore the plainly obvious truth.

Truly, another proud day in journalistic history.

(h/t Jane)

UPDATE: I should probably also point out the curious phrasing: “Republicans believe the bill can be interpreted that way” – they don’t even claim that that’s what the bill says, simply that it “can be interpreted that way.” That’s some might fine parsing right there.

November 27th, 2007 at 10:10pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Media,Wankers

I Wouldn’t Worry About It…

…It’s not like Gallup knows anything about polling.

Yesterday two polling firms — Zogby and Gallup — released surveys of the presidential race that offered strikingly different conclusions. The Zogby poll found that Hillary is trailing five leading GOP candidates in general election matchups. The Gallup Poll, by contrast, found that Hillary, and to a lesser degree Obama, has a slight to sizable lead over the top GOP contenders.

A couple of other things that distinguish these two polls: The Zogby one is an online poll, a notoriously unreliable method, while the Gallup one is a telephone poll. And, as Charles Franklin of Pollster.com observed yesterday, the Zogby poll is completely out of sync with multiple other national polls finding Hillary with a lead over the GOP candidates. The Zogby poll actually found that Mike Huckabee is leading Hillary in a national matchup. The Gallup findings were in line with most other surveys.

I don’t need to tell you which poll got all the media attention. Do I?

The Zogby survey was covered repeatedly on CNN, earned coverage from MSNBC, Fox News, and Reuters and was covered by multiple other smaller outlets.

By contrast, I can’t find a single example of any reporter or commentator on the major networks or news outlets referring to the Gallup poll at all, with the lone exception of UPI. While the Zogby poll was mentioned by multiple reporters and pundits, the only mentions the Gallup poll got on TV were from Hillary advisers who had to bring it up themselves on the air in order to inject it into the conversation.

(…)

Worse, the Zogby poll was covered with few mentions either of its dubious methodology or of the degree to which its findings don’t jibe with other surveys. Bottom line: The Zogby poll was considered big news because many in the political press are heavily invested in the Hillary-is-unelectable narrative for all kinds of reasons that have little to do with a desire to, you know, practice journalism.

As much as I dislike Hillary and don’t want her as the nominee, this is still inexcusably shoddy reportage. If the corporate media wants to take Hillary down, they can do it by reporting on her policies, like her refusal to withdraw all our troops from Iraq, or her vote in favor of Kyl-Lieberman, or her leadership position in the DLC.

November 27th, 2007 at 09:39pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Elections,Media,Politics,Polls,Wankers

We Like The Moooon…

YouTube Preview Image

But not as much as a spoon…

China displayed the first image of the moon captured by its Chang-e 1 lunar probe at a gala ceremony Monday, marking the formal start of the satellite’s mission to document the lunar landscape.

Unveiling the image at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, Premier Wen Jiabao hailed it as a major step in ”the Chinese race’s 1,000-year-old dream” of exploring the moon.

China hopes the probe, launched late last month, will have surveyed the entire surface of the moon at least once by early next year.

The probe’s launch closely followed the start of a similar mission by Japan, prompting speculation over a new space race in Asia. India plans to launch a lunar probe in April.

China has wanted to explore the moon for 1,000 years? Jeez, talk about a long-term plan.

November 27th, 2007 at 08:29pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Science,Technology

No, Your Other Left.

This is… alarming:

Rhode Island Hospital has been fined $50,000 and reprimanded by the state Department of Health after its third instance this year of a doctor performing brain surgery in the wrong side of a patient’s head.

”We are extremely concerned about this continuing pattern,” health department director David R. Gifford said in a statement Monday.

Come on, people! This isn’t brain surgery – well, okay, it is, but you know what I mean.

If I ever have to get serious surgery, I’m drawing a great big “X” where they’re supposed to cut, and a big red “NO” on the other side. Can’t be too careful.

1 comment November 27th, 2007 at 06:29pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weirdness

Least Believable Statement Of The Month

From the AP report on Dubya’s private global warming chat with Algore:

“I know that this president does not harbor any resentments,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said. “Never has.”

Awesome. Hooray for President Jesus!

5 comments November 27th, 2007 at 11:54am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Environment,Gore,Quotes

PSA

Let this be a lesson to all you kids out there.

(from Married To The Sea)

November 27th, 2007 at 11:34am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Comics

Green Tea

It’s funny, if this were coming from MoDo I’d be pissed off, but since it’s Bob Herbert, I’m just nodding in agreement…

A friend of mine, talking about the Democratic presidential candidates, tossed out a wonderful mixed metaphor: “This is awfully weak tea to have to hang your hat on.”

The notion that Bush & Co. had fouled things up so badly for Republicans that just about any Democrat could romp to victory in 2008 was never realistic. What’s interesting now, with the first contests just weeks away, is the extent to which Democratic voters are worried about the possibility that none of their candidates have the stuff to take the White House.

This election, the most important in decades, cries out for strong leadership. The electorate is upset, anxious and hungry for change. But “weak tea” is as good a term as any to describe what the Democrats are offering.

Hillary Clinton is the cautious, rigidly programmed candidate who, in the view of most voters, will say whatever the moment demands. Spontaneous she ain’t. You can just picture her cross-examining advisers and prowling through polling data to determine whether she’s for or against driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.

Barack Obama has the incandescent smile, and the personality to go with it. Oprah loves him, and a lot of campuses are wild for him. But you still wonder if there’s any there there.

His is the make-nice candidacy, no sharp edges. But it’s one thing to offer yourself as the agent of change, and quite another to answer the obvious question, “Change to what?”

John Edwards has been the most forceful of the so-called top-tier candidates. But his plan from the beginning was to move to the left of Senator Clinton, never expecting to find Senator Obama happily patrolling that progressive, antiwar region.

Mr. Obama had barely stenciled his name on his Senate office door before grabbing his hat and announcing he was running for president. That was faster than even Mr. Edwards’s first, lightning-quick decision to seek the highest office in the land.

The problem for voters is that very little leadership has emerged from the many months of frenetic Democratic fund-raising and politicking.

(…)

Bush-bashing is not enough. Unless one of the Democratic candidates finds the courage to step up and offer a vision of an American future so compelling that voters head to the polls with a sense of excitement and great expectation, the Republican Party could once again capture the White House (despite its awful performance over the past eight years) with its patented mixture of snake oil and demagoguery.

(…)

The need to offer an honest vision that is almost electric in its intensity is especially important for Senators Clinton and Obama. Both have to rally enough voters to overcome deep wells of prejudice in this society. That can’t be done by referencing a résumé, or in a nine-second response to a question from Wolf Blitzer.

The American public, tired of war and economically insecure, longs for a leader who will tell the truth and offer a way out of the current morass.

A Democrat can win with a realistic plan for exiting Iraq and, more important, a full-blown economic strategy that addresses the growing anxiety over the fading American dream.

(…)

A Democrat who makes a believable case that these problems can be dealt with effectively — and who asks the public to roll up its sleeves and join in such an effort — can win.

But that’s not what we’re getting. Not so far. And maybe it’s not necessary. Maybe the economy will be so bad next year that a Democrat will win in any event. But that’s not the kind of tea you want to hang your hat on.

If anything, I think Herbert lets the three frontrunners off easy. In addition to the lack of leadership, they all share a lack of experience, unless you consider being First Lady to be experience, which I really don’t.

There is leadership and experience in the Democratic field, but it’s coming from the middle and back of the pack, mostly from candidates that most people either haven’t heard of or don’t take seriously. Chris Dodd is a veteran senator taking a stand and vowing to put a hold on any FISA bill that gives telecoms retroactive immunity; Dennis Kucinich has introduced articles of impeachment against Cheney; Bill Richardson has promised to withdraw every troop from Iraq, and has a resume as long as your arm.

I don’t really know what we can do about this. The media (including Herbert) has decided that this is a three-person race on the Democratic side, and that no-one outside Hillary/Obama/Edwards matters at all. I’m afraid that this will be a self-fulfilling prophecy, which would be a damn shame.

3 comments November 27th, 2007 at 07:15am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Media,Politics

Fringe Benefit

Woohoo! No more Trent Lott! No more Denny Hastert!

As Politico (by way of DHinMI) notes, the timing is intriguing:

A Lott friend said part of the reason, and a factor in the timing, is a new lobbying regulation, signed by President Bush in September, extending the existing lobbying ban for former members of Congress from one to two years. The lobbying ban takes effect at the beginning of the year.

Gee, it kinda seems like there have been quite a few Republican retirements this year – I’m wondering if this might be the real reason. Maybe it’s better to be a corporate lobbyist than a minority party congresscritter.

November 26th, 2007 at 08:28pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans

A Note From Your Government

sorry.jpg

(From Married to the Sea.)

November 26th, 2007 at 11:07am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Comics,Constitution

Monday Media Blogging

YouTube Preview Image

I know people who can’t listen to Danny Boy without crying. Some people can’t even sing it without crying.

3 comments November 26th, 2007 at 07:07am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

The Republican Holy Grail

The Washington Times tries to link illegal immigrants and Islamic terrorists:

The nation’s largest intelligence training center changed security measures in May after being warned that Islamist terrorists with the aid of Mexican drug cartels were planning an attack on the facility.

Fort Huachuca changed security measures after sources warned that possibly 60 Afghan and Iraqi terrorists were smuggled into the U.S. through underground tunnels with high powered weapons to attack the post, according to multiple confidential law enforcement documents obtained by The Washington Times.

You have got to be kidding me – this is just pure unadulterated Crazy.

I sure would love to know who those “sources” were… (Can someone check Lou Dobbs and Tom Tancredo’s phone records?)

2 comments November 25th, 2007 at 07:34pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Immigration,Media,Politics,Racism,Republicans,Terrorism

News Flash: 62% Of U.S. Believes In Reality

The NY Post reports the shocking details:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the federal government had warnings about 9/11 but decided to ignore them, a national survey found.

And that’s not the only conspiracy theory with a huge number of true believers in the United States.

The poll found that more than one out of three Americans believe Washington is concealing the truth about UFOs and the Kennedy assassination – and most everyone is sure the rise in gas prices is one vast oil-industry conspiracy.

Sixty-two percent of those polled thought it was “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that federal officials turned a blind eye to specific warnings of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Shocking! Whatever could those people be thinking of??? Oh, right:

1) Bush received intel briefing on Aug. 6, 2001 entitled “Bin Laden Determined To Strike In US.” The briefing specifically warned to “patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks,” particularly targeted at New York.

2) CIA Director George Tenet briefing Condoleezza Rice and other top administration officials on July 10, 2001 about a specific urgent and looming threat from al Qaeda.

3) An FBI agent in Phoenix sent a memo to FBI headquarters on July 10, 2001, which advised of the “possibility of a coordinated effort” by bin Laden to send students to the United States to attend civil aviation schools.

Note to NY Post: I don’t think it qualifies as a “conspiracy theory” when there’s actual documented evidence…

2 comments November 25th, 2007 at 07:01pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Media,Republicans,Terrorism

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