Sunday, October 31, 2004

The never-ending stream of Republican dirty tricks

Just to make sure you know the kind of despicable, loathsome, vile excuses for human beings you're up against, check out this post over at dailykos. Read it slowly and carefully, and know that these people are no longer human.

Of course, on the lighter side, there's always those fine folks at The Onion.
Another boneheaded Republican campaign ad.

Huh? What the heck is this all about? First there was the ridiculous "scary wolves" ad. Now we have the cute prairie dogs ad. What is it with Repubs and animals? Or, more to the point, what is it with Repubs and stupid ads?
THIS is what you're up against. Seriously.

Once again, just cribbing someone else's link but, really, you have got to read this to understand the unspeakable evil that is the right wing that you're up against. Follow Kevin's link to get here, to the blog of the right-wing, complete raving loon and dingbat Glenn Reynolds, and read the two excerpts posted there.

You can, of course, ignore the first excerpt from George Will for the simple reason that Will is clinically insane and utterly detached from reality. It's been this way for quite some time, and no sentient life form takes him seriously anymore. But it's the second excerpt that leaves one gasping for air, as the authors defend the military brilliance that is George W. Bunnypants:

And if you've ever cracked a history book, you'll realize that only 1200 deaths in a year and a half of invading a dictatorship, overthrowing its dictator, and fighting a chronic insurgency is astoundingly good news ...
And the Commander-in-Chief at the helm during these amazing accomplishments is called incompetent? You've got to be kidding me.

Gawd almighty, where to even
begin dissecting this idiocy? "Only" 1200 deaths? I guess everyone that's lost a loved one in Iraq should take a step back and get a new perspective. Quit your damn moaning and complaining. Only 1200 deaths. Jeez, you'd think that was something to be upset over or something.

Ignore, of course, that this is the fallout of the most powerful military force on the planet, the most advanced, kick-ass fighting machine in the history of the universe, invading an impoverished, backwards, crippled-by-years-of-sanctions dictatorship. Ignore, of course, that this isn't even going to be close to the final tally of U.S. dead, given that the mortality rate is actually increasing as we speak. Hell, yeah, let's ignore the dead and wounded and maimed for life -- all that really icky stuff -- and celebrate a thorough smackdown of a 98-pound weakling of a country that cost "only" 1200 dead. Oh, and several thousand Americans wounded. Oh, and even more Iraq civilians killed and wounded. Oh, and hundreds of billions of dollars in costs. Oh, and an almost total loss in world respect. And insurgents getting their hands on hundreds of tons of really nasty explosives, and the American military being stretched to the breaking point, and ... oh, fuck it, you get the idea.

And this is what these people refer to as "astoundingly good news". Make sure you understand this. You cannot reason with these people. You cannot debate them. The best you can do, I suspect, is to confine them where they can't hurt themselves or others around them.

P.S. You know, I really, really, really hate it when I agree with Andrew Sullivan. Trust me, it doesn't happen often.
Charles Krauthammer -- full of himself yet again

There is, apparently, no possible way that right-wing hack and hatchet man Charles Krauthammer can write about anything without telling everyone dumb enough to read his drivel that he is a doctor. But it is telling that, even when he does that, he has to spin. In writing about spinal cord injuries and paralysis, we have Krauthammer stroking himself with:

As a doctor by training, I've known better than to believe the hype -- and have tried in my own counseling of people with new spinal cord injuries to place the possibility of cure in abeyance.

Of course, someone unfamiliar with Krauthammer might not realize that Charles' medical degree isn't in anything even remotely related to physical injuries or paralysis. No, Charles is a psychiatrist and, from all evidence, a non-practising one at that. But this hasn't stopped him from, over the years, constantly, annoyingly, tediously repeating how he has a medical background and offering unflattering diagnoses of politicians with whom he disagrees.

Charles' ego really does know no bounds:

The President's Council on Bioethics, on which I sit ...

If Krauthammer is such a psychiatry expert, it might do him some good to do a little research on "narcissism". If you catch my drift.

P.S.: If you can stomach it and really want to see just how hacktacular Krauthammer really is, I recommend popping over to Bob Somerby's DailyHowler site, and just doing a search on "Krauthammer". Somerby has done a stellar job of dissecting Krauthammer's numerous medical diagnoses of Democrats. As just a couple of examples, let me recommend this one (toward the bottom, where the official transcript was apparently never posted), followed by this one (where Somerby discusses the fallout of Charles' practising medicine without a clue).

Saturday, October 30, 2004

GOP to African-American voters: Fuck off and die.

And isn't this a delicious example of sleazy voter suppression strategy? Brought to you by those fine folks running on the "morals and family values" ticket, no less.
It's not Bush's fault. It's NEVER Bush's fault, is it?

John over at AmericaBlog has a nice clip from Wesley Clark on Bill Maher, where Clark explains what it means for a captain to take responsibility, something George Dubya has never, ever, ever done.

"But if he wants to wear the uniform, and take the glory of the men and women who are actually risking their lives in that flight suit, then he ought to understand what the command responsibility of being Commander in Chief is. When you wear that uniform, especially in the United States Navy, it's a one strike and you're out system. If you're the captain of the ship and it runs aground, they don't care whether you were on the bridge, eating lunch, asleep, chopping cedars in Texas, they don't care. You're out! They only ask one question, were you the captain on the day it ran aground? You're out."

Dawn of the Republican zombies

Ok, this is getting just plain creepy:

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.—"I want you to stand, raise your right hands," and recite "the Bush Pledge," said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: "I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States."

How much longer before they start drinking the Kool-Aid? Seriously.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Those hilariously changing standards of evidence

THEN: Despite a total lack of evidence, the Bush administration is absolutely convinced that Saddam Hussein has biological, chemical and reconstituted nuclear weapons and, on the flimsiest of pretexts, launches a disastrous and illegal invasion of Iraq.

NOW: Despite affidavits from the IAEA, military and civilian eyewitnesses and incontrovertible videotape proof, the Bush administration contends that we just don't know what happened to that 380 tons of high explosive and that the jury is still out.

Insert appropriately cynical punchline here.
OK, now we're talking jail time

Atrios, among others, links to this story of GOP sleaziness in Ohio. At this point, it's not enough to just want to vote these loathsome creatures out of office. Everyone should be begging to see these people in jail.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

More Scott McClellan, of the fantasy-based community

TBogg has a screamingly-funny Scott McClellan dodge, weave and tap dance over at Oh, lord, just when you think Scottie can't get any more erratic. A shorter version of that whole exchange:

Scottie: "It's likely that the Iraqis moved the missing munitions."
Q: "Given that looters were actually seen carting stuff off, isn't it just as likely that the stuff was ... uh, you know, looted?"
Scottie: "Likely? Did you say likely? How dare you? Where's your evidence? Show me your source. There you go again ... blah blah blah ..."

I'm just waiting for the day when someone in the press corpse finally loses it and attacks Scottie with an ax handle. After which, the poor journalist will be led away in restraints, sobbing quietly to himself, "I just couldn't take it, I couldn't, no more ...".

SECOND THOUGHTS: One of the main reasons I thoroughly despise Scott McClellan is that he manages to inject partisan attacks into damn near everything. Note how, in the midst of deflecting pointed questions about the missing munitions, he manages to attack John Kerry twice:

MR. McCLELLAN: The words you said were, "more likely." This just shows that -- Senator Kerry's own advisors says he doesn't -- that they don't know the truth, he doesn't know the truth, yet he's willing to say anything for his own political advantage.

But nothing during that discussion had anything to do with accusations coming from the Kerry campaign -- it's all publicly available and can be found in the pages of the New York Times, among others. Yet McClellan slanders Kerry not once, but twice, for no apparent reason and for nothing even remotely connected with the gaggle.

And at least one reporter is starting to have fantasies of ax handles, I'm sure ...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Li'l Scottie -- just making shit up as he goes along

It's both amusing and depressing to see White House spokesmonkey Scott McClellan just make stuff up out of thin air during yesterday's press gaggle. Watch how Scottie can't even remember what bogus number he just pulled out of his ass:

"... another nearly 163,000 tons of munitions have been secured and are on line to be destroyed ...
and nearly 163,000 munitions that are in the process or are awaiting to be destroyed now ... we've secured another nearly 163,000 that will be destroyed ... and have another nearly 363,000 on line to be destroyed ..."

163,000? 363,000? I guess it doesn't really make any difference when you're just making shit up, does it, since one totally bogus number is just as good as some other totally bogus number. All Scottie's doing is slinging around big numbers to try to minimize the emotional impact of "380 tons". And, apparently, the White House press corpse is bending over and taking it. But, wait. It gets better.

If you look closely, Scottie can't even keep his freaking units straight!

"... more than 243,000 tons of munitions ...
nearly 163,000 tons of munitions have been secured ... more than 243,000 tons ... more than 243,000 munitions ... nearly 163,000 munitions ... more than 243,000 munitions ... another nearly 163,000 ... more than 243,000 munitions ... another nearly 363,000 on line ..."

Is it munitions? Or is it tons of munitions? Yes, there's a difference. Technically, a single round of ammunition is considered a "munition", so there's one huge fucking difference between "munitions" and "tons of munitions". But, apparently, Scottie can't be bothered to keep any of his bullshit even vaguely consistent. So what's happening here? I'll tell you what's happening here.

I think Scottie is deliberately mixing up his units, to try to buffalo the WH press corpse. Given that the amount of stolen explosives is consistently described as "380 tons", if Scottie can get the press corpse thinking in terms of 163,000 tons or 243,000 tons or whatever number of tons, the 380 tons of HMX and RDX starts to seem like really small potatoes, no big deal, and everyone forgets about it. And if someone twigs to the inconsistency later on, well, you know exactly what's going to happen, "Oh, sorry, I must have misspoke." No harm, no foul, move on, no big story here. And why is this important?

It's because 380 tons of HMX or RDX is one massive pile of the stuff. That's 760,000 pounds! And given that it's estimated that just one pound of it was enough to blow Pan Am 103 out of the sky, it's not unreasonable to propose that 380 tons of the stuff is perhaps equivalent to 760,000 individual munitions, next to which Scottie's 163,000 or 243,000 or 363,000 munitions suddenly doesn't seem that big a deal anymore. Suddenly, it looks a lot worse to have spent months dealing with 363,000 munitions, only to have someone point out that thieves managed to walk away with about twice that much when you weren't looking.

So look for Scottie to keep milking this misrepresentation as long as no one calls him on it. And, trust me, very few of the press corpse are bright enough to figure this out.

CONSPIRACY THEORY #1: While this may be overly conspiratorial even for me, I'm going to be watching the official online transcript to see if there's a quiet change to Scottie's contradictions over the next few days. The White House has, more than once, quietly doctored those transcripts to remove embarrassing "misspeaks", so we'll see if they try to sneak one in here. And yes, yes, I do own a tin-foil hat.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Off and running -- Scottie spins the White House press corpse

... and if you really need to see the sorry state of journalism these days, look no farther than today's White House press gaggle, where spokesweasel Scott McClellan flat out lies in the face of the reporters, and they just sit there and take it. McClellan can't even get through his first paragraph of responding to the allegations without bald-faced lying to his questioner:

Q The Kerry campaign is hitting you on this story in the New York Times today that a large cache of explosives have gone missing. Is there anything you could have done about that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Maybe the best way to do this is kind of walk you through how we came to be informed about this. The Iraqi Interim Government informed -- told the IAEA -- the International Atomic Energy Agency on October 10th that there were approximately 350 tons of high explosives missing from Al Qaqaa in Iraq. And they informed the IAEA because these munitions were subject to IAEA monitoring, because they were considered dual-use materials. And the International Atomic Energy Agency informed the United States mission in Vienna on October 15th about these -- this cache of explosives that was missing because of some looting that went on in Iraq toward the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom, or during and toward the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Two outrageous lies, one after the other. First, McClellan obviously wants everyone to believe that the U.S. only learned about this on October 15. However, according to the New York Times article I've already linked to below:

In May 2004, Iraqi officials say in interviews, they warned L. Paul Bremer III, the American head of the occupation authority, that Al Qaqaa had probably been looted. It is unclear if that warning was passed anywhere. Efforts to reach Mr. Bremer by telephone were unsuccessful.

In other words, the senior American official in charge of Baghdad was clearly warned about the theft of the explosives long before October 15, and certainly before the handover of the laughingly-described Iraqi "sovereignty". It's hard to imagine that Bremer wouldn't have passed this information up the chain of command, so McClellan is simply lying about the timeline. But that's not all.

Again, we have McClellan:

And [the Iraqi interim government] informed the IAEA because these munitions were subject to IAEA monitoring...

But there was absolutely no point in informing the IAEA -- they had already been kicked out of Iraq by the U.S. and had no ability whatever to do any further monitoring. Again, according to the same NYT article:

ut the Bush administration would not allow the agency back into the country to verify the status of the stockpile.

So it's the epitome of deception for McClellan to try to blame the IAEA for anything, given that it was the U.S. itself who made sure the IAEA had no power to do any monitoring whatsoever.

I just can't take it anymore. Will no one challenge McClellan? This is downright pathetic.
Open thread

Scared yet? Why the hell not?
Feeling safer yet, part VII -- the sleazy spin begins

Monday, October 25:

... White House spokesman Scott McClellan said President Bush wants to determine what went wrong.

McClellan, on Air Force One, stressed that the missing explosives were not nuclear materials, and said the storage site was the responsibility of the interim Iraqi government, not the United States, as of June 28, when the United States turned over the nation's administration to the Iraqis...

Monday, October 25:

In May 2004, Iraqi officials say in interviews, they warned L. Paul Bremer III, the American head of the occupation authority, that Al Qaqaa had probably been looted.

Feeling safer yet, the Scott McClellan edition. Part VI

Given the significance of the missing explosives story, it's going to be monumentally entertaining to see how White House spokesreptile Scott McClellan spins this, and just how much spine we see from the WH press corpse on insisting that L'il Scottie actually answer their questions the way they were asked.

Stay on top of the exciting new developments here.
Feeling safer yet? Part V

Atrios pretty well nails what we should expect to hear from the Bushista crowd -- that they'll excuse their indescribable incompetence at protecting a well-identified cache of high explosives, and instead use this to crow "I told you there were WMDs after all!" Just wait. It's coming.
Feeling safer yet? Part IV

Yeah, this really is the story that keeps on giving. Yet another perspective on the missing explosives in Iraq. And just in case you don't have time to read it all, some of the really juicy excerpts to make sure you get the flavour:

"... was never secured by the U.S. military ..."

"... could potentially be used to detonate a nuclear weapon ..."

"The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been barred from most of Iraq since the war and has watched from afar as its former nuclear sites have been systematically stripped by looters."

"... difficult to understand why the U.S. military had failed to secure the facility despite knowing how sensitive the site was."

"... specifically told U.S. officials about the need to keep them secured."

Which inspires one to ask all of those folks who plan on voting for Bush because they feel safer with him running things -- what the FUCK is wrong with you people?!?! Just asking.
Feeling safer yet? Part III

Josh Marshall raises an interesting question, among several others -- given the moderately frightening news that 350+ tons of some wicked-ass explosive is now missing from Iraq, can someone explain why National Security Advisor Condi "It's only of historical value" Rice (you know, the woman who's supposed to be doing stuff related to, well, national security and stuff like that) is out giving campaign speeches?

I mean, I'm pretty sure I can think of at least one other thing she might be concentrating on. You know -- national security-wise. If you catch my drift.

Feeling safer yet? Part II

Oh, yeah, this article in the NYT is worth a read, describing the no-holds-barred, aggressive, kick-ass, unconstitutional incarceration, interrogation and prosecution of those gosh-darned, pesky terrorists.

Of course, the observation that "three years later, not a single terrorist has been prosecuted" kinda makes you wonder just what the Bush administration has been up to all this time. Oh, yeah. That.
Are you feeling safer yet? Yes? Here, let me fix that.

And for those of you who plan on voting for Bush because you feel safer in the war against terrorism (or, as we call such folks up here in Canada, "morons"), a really uplifting article about how 350 tons or so of some really, seriously, kick-ass high explosive disappeared from IAEA custody in Iraq and is most likely being used to make car bombs and such to kill (you guessed it) American troops. (Boy, that's some irony for you, isn't it?)

Apparently, when the Americans invaded, there was some kind of communications foul-up in terms of who was going to keep an eye on the stuff. ("Hey, I thought you were going to watch the 350 tons of lethal HMX and RDX." "Me? I thought you were going to do it." "Oh, man, colour me embarrassed. Is my face red or what?")

Now, in all fairness to the Bush administration, no one really knew about this stuff:

United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year.

Um, OK, someone knew about it, but shit happens. At least they got right on the case as soon as the bad news got out:

The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday.

Well ... OK, folks were just, you know, busy, but they were going to get around to it, given that the explosives were known to have gone missing well over a year ago:

The White House said President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was informed within the past month that the explosives were missing.

Fine. If that's the way you want it, at least we can blame those worthless UN and IAEA inspectors. I mean, it just has to be their fault. I mean, shit, why weren't they all over this from the beginning?

After the invasion, when widespread looting began in Iraq, the international weapons experts grew concerned that the Qaqaa stockpile could fall into unfriendly hands. In May, an internal I.A.E.A. memorandum warned that terrorists might be helping "themselves to the greatest explosives bonanza in history."

Sigh. This is all John Kerry's fault. It just has to be John Kerry's fault.
Right? Right?

NOTE: If you really need the ugly details on all of this, in addition to the NYT piece, I suggest Josh Marshall, starting here.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

More Republican hypocrisy: part 47128

There's really no end to the jaw-dropping, mind-numbing hypocrisy wafting out of the Republican tent these days. Here's the latest example. To make a long story short, while a Kerry presidential victory would be a good thing for the U.S., it would be a bad thing for Massachusetts, for which Kerry is a United States senator. If Kerry won, that would create a Senate vacancy in that state which, historically, would have been filled by the state's governor, Mitt Romney, who is a Republican and would undoubtedly appoint a Republican to replace the departing Democrat. Ouch. In effect, a Democratic presidential victory would cost the Democrats a seat in the Senate, a fairly high price to pay, at least until the next election cycle.

Or, at least, it would have been a high price, if not for the fact that the Massachussetts Democrats, having seen this coming and, being a sizable majority in that state's legislature, took charge this summer and passed legislation that took the appointment power away from the governor and replaced it with a special election, which makes it extremely likely that another Democrat would end up in that seat. Problem solved.

The hilarious part of this is the hypocritical, sputtering outrage on the part of Republicans, who were not amused:

"It was disappointing to see the Democrats in Massachusetts respond in such a partisan fashion to the mere prospect of a Kerry presidency by passing legislation that shortchanges the voters," said Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney's communication director.

, yeah, that partisan, shortchanging the voter thing. Man, that really sucks. Kind of like the way the Texas state Republicans pushed through a redistricting plan to hand themselves several more seats. Or the way they tried to do the same thing in Colorado.

Yeah, Eric, ramming through voter-shortchanging, blatantly partisan legislation really does suck. Well, at least when you're not doing it, eh?
Stolen Honor. Hacktacular? Craptacular? No, it's BOTH!

Kos managed to get a transcript of the anti-Kerry hatchet job film "Stolen Honor" and, oh lord, it is a vile piece of hackery. You don't need to read far into the transcript to feel your gorge rising but, what the hell, let's give it a shot, shall we?

SHERWOOD: My name is Carlton Sherwood and I am a journalist. [Ed. note: No, you're not. You're a partisan hack. There's a difference.]
As an investigative reporter I have written about corruption in government, corporations and the military. I have helped to expose doctors who were actually ordering the starvation of handicapped infants, and charlatans who preached faith from the pulpit, but who practiced greed and deception in their personal lives. In every case the guilty party dishonoured their professions and they were made to answer for the hurt they caused. Tonight's report is cut from the same cloth.

Only for me, it's a lot more personal.

So, the first thing we learn is that filmmaker Carlton Sherwood is really really, really full of himself, oh, yes, he is. But you can learn everything you need to know about the loathsome dishonesty that is Carlton Sherwood just a couple paragraphs further down as Sherwood reproduces some alleged John Kerry testimony:


KERRY VOICEOVER: "...they had personally raped, cut off ears, cot [sic] off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam."

Whoa, that's powerful stuff -- John Kerry accusing his fellow soldiers of numerous atrocities. But hang on there -- what's with those suspicious ellipses? (For the Republicans among you, that's the three little dots.) Normally, they're used to represent, hmmmmm, irrelevant or superfluous text that's been omitted. Hmmmmm again. What might Kerry have said just before those words? It do make one curious, don't it? And to find out, one need only do a Google search on the phrase "they had personally raped" and, voila (for the Republicans among you, "Whoa, Nelly, lookee here!"), we can find, for example, here, what Kerry actually said:

"It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit [in a meeting with 150 Vietnam veterans], the emotions in the room, the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam, but they did. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do. They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country. "



You know, it's kind of important that Sherwood carefully excised those six opening words, "They told the stories at times ...". Yeah, those words are sort of crucial, aren't they, since it makes it clear that Kerry is not accusing anyone of these crimes, he's simply reciting stories that other veterans have told him. Ah, but such subtleties are clearly lost on Carlton Sherwood, journalist, investigative reporter and all-around partisan cinematic douchebag.

You'll forgive me if I stopped reading the transcript at that point. I'd seen pretty much all I needed to see.

SNOTTY LITTLE ADDENDUM: You know, given that filmmaker Sherwood is, like, you know, totally down on "corruption in government, corporations and the military", you'd think he'd just be all over Halliburton, wouldn't you? But a quick Google search on "Carlton Sherwood" plus "Halliburton" turns up a really lame 194 hits at the moment. And none of those seem all that related to taking Halliburton to task for anything. I guess Sherwood is just that kind of discriminating filmmaker. Quelle surprise. (Or, for the Republicans among you, "No shit, Sherlock".)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Bill O'Falafel puts his foot in it again

Bill O'Reilly, July 1, 2004

"... So no more brie for me. No more Evian, Air France, Provence and no more escargot, which I don't like anyway. As a free American, I am using my economic choice to send the French government a message. I am boycotting French goods and services and hope you will do the same."

Centers for Disease Control, October 12, 2004:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and [French pharmaceutical provider] Aventis Pasteur announced today the first phase of the plan to allocate influenza vaccine in response to the recently announced loss of half of the nation's expected flu vaccine supply for the 2004-2005 season. The plan, announced by CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding and Aventis Pasteur US President Damian Braga, calls for CDC to work closely with Aventis to distribute in phases 22.4 million doses of unshipped vaccine to identified areas of need throughout the country.

Whoops, that's gotta be awkward. Maybe we can just call it "freedom vaccine".
Sinclair Broadcasting backing down ... kinda ... sorta ...

Check out this article in USA Today, which describes how right-wing mouthpiece Sinclair seems to be backing down on its plans to air an anti-Kerry documentary only days before the presidential election. I say seems since it's kind of vague as to just what Sinclair has in mind. More later, after I read this more closely.

"The Unfeeling President", by E. L. Doctorow

Here, brought to my attention by an attentive reader. I wish I had a snappy, sarcastic rejoinder to this but ... I got nothin'.

A kick-ass new blog

Check out the new blog from This Modern World's Bob Harris, especially the wickedly funny "Poll of the Day", the latest one dealing with our favourite right-wing partisan journalistic hacks, the wingnuts over at Sinclair Broadcasting. This is definitely one for the bookmarks.
How stupid is the American electorate?

Oh, man, you don't really want to know. First, to see the geographic distribution of stupidity, check out the color codes here. I'm thinking we can use this graphic as a pseudo-terror kind of alert: Voter stupidity at dangerous level, going to code red!

It's also amusing to observe that, in the same way that hot air rises, stupidity seems to drift toward the centre of the country (Illinois being a happy exception).

It's worth reading some of the text there as well:

Are the voters stupid? It is not considered politically correct to point out that an awful lot of voters don't have a clue what they are talking about. A recent
poll from Middle Tennessee State University sheds some light on the subject. For example, when asked which candidate wants to roll back the tax cuts for people making over $200,000 a year, a quarter thought it was Bush and a quarter didn't know.

I'm thinking that, maybe the U.S. should have some kind of IQ test to qualify for voting. Nothing hard, maybe something like, "Of the two candidates for president, which one is the Democrat?" Although I suspect I'd be depressed by the results.

The Canadian Cynic. Giving the average American voter as little credit for brains as he can get away with.

Jon Stewart, still bitch-slapping Crossfire

If you missed Stewart's post-Crossfire episode of The Daily Show, well, that's what I'm here to fix. Crossfire -- the gift that just keeps on giving.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Suing Sinclair Broadcasting -- great minds clearly think alike ...

... or is it that fools seldom differ? I always get those two confused.

Anyway, once upon a time, we had your humble correspondent, suggesting that Sinclair shareholders might want to think about legal action against a corporation that was being so hideously, financially self-destructive.

Well, well ... lookee here.

ADDENDUM: Uh oh ... apparently, some very powerful folks are not happy with Sinclair. Atrios has a number of other Sinclair-related posts you might want to check out -- he apparently is all over this story, as is John over at AmericaBlog, Josh at TalkingPointsMemo and DailyKos.
Things in Iraq just fine, thanks.

Yessir, just fine ... staying the course ... being firm, resolute. Just fine. And yourself?
Bush keeps one of his campaign pledges

At least Commander-in-Chief Drooly McChimpster can say he kept one of his campaign promises -- that he'd be "a uniter, not a divider". Not quite sure this is what he had in mind, though.
Oh, please, Dear God, oh yes ...

Oh, please, please, please, please, please ... damn.
Tucker Carlson -- too dumb to stop embarrassing himself

For Chrissakes, Tucker, let it go. You lost. Live with it.
Dealing with dissension

Monday morning, October 18:

The Washington bureau chief for Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group's news division angrily denounced his employer last night for plans to air an hour-long program that is to include incendiary allegations against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry for his anti-war activism three decades ago.

"It's biased political propaganda, with clear intentions to sway this election," said Jon Leiberman, Sinclair's lead political reporter for more than a year. "For me, it's not about right or left - it's about what's right or wrong in news coverage this close to an election."

Monday afternoon, October 18

Sinclair Broadcasting's Washington Bureau chief Jonathan Lieberman got canned this afternoon for denouncing Sinclair's Swift Boat stunt in an interview for this morning's Baltimore Sun.

More of that compassionate conservatism, I guess. He should have seen that coming.

Monday, October 18, 2004

It's only semantics, but these are the kind of semantics that can kill you

From over at Eschaton, we have a really unpleasant rumour that:

According to an emailer, who signed it "An Afghanistan and Iraq Veteran For Truth," the Bush administration does have a cunning plan to avoid reinstituting the draft. Their plan is to extend allowed reservist mobilization to 5 years, up from the current 2. Obviously I can't confirm the information one way or the other, but there's reason to think the person is credible.

Now, those of you with long memories should appreciate the irony here. The first President Bush staked his re-election on his promise of "Read my lips. No new taxes." When he did in fact raise taxes, he tried to tap-dance around the apparent contradiction by claiming that, well, these weren't new taxes, per se, they were just increases in existing taxes. The electorate, not having the brains of trout, saw right through this and turfed Bush I out on his prissy ass.

And, apparently, not being a student of history (or of anything for that matter), Bush II is playing the same game. No, he won't force civilians into the military; he'll simply force the current mililtary reserves to serve longer terms.

As ever, boys and girls, playing these kinds of semantic games can be tricky, so don't try this at home. Specifically, don't try it with me or I'll just plain slap you.

ADDENDUM: And if you still think this is all just abstract semantics, I recommend this, particularly this disturbing introduction:

Two days ago I learned that an extended family member is being shipped off to Iraq. His upcoming mission will be “to protect the new Iraqi government.” This obligatory service would not have bothered me if he were serving in the US Army, Air Force, Navy or Marines. No, what is sticking in my craw is that this young man is a member of the Minnesota National Guard.

He enlisted in the US Army in the 1990s and was honorably discharged in 2000. Since then he has acquired a wife, two baby girls, a career and a small mortgage. His National Guard obligation was supposed to be up next month, but due to his unit’s activation, he will instead be on a troop transport with dozens of other Minnesotans heading for Baghdad International Airport in October. He has been told to prepare for up to two years of service. Like any good soldier he is bucking up and preparing for duty.

Like I said -- semantics can be a real bitch.
Dear U.S. economy: you suck

As a Canadian who gets paid in Canadian dollars and travels to the U.S. on a regular basis, I can't say that I'm all that upset about this.
Bill O'Falafel, getting his just desserts

I've already posted on pompous, right-wing talk show host and intolerable windbag Bill O'Reilly getting slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit by one of his producers and, lordy lordy, the blogosphere has been having some fun at his expense. Like here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And, oh yes, most definitely here.

But nothing compares to the sweet, sweet revenge of O'Reilly haters venting their spleen in the customer reviews section for O'Reilly's screed over at (especially if you crank up the entertainment factor by asking to see the "Lowest Rated First"). Yes, sometimes those chickens really do come home to roost.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

The New York Times endorses John Kerry. Go figure.

Yes, even the hideously crappy New York Times must have recognized the major traffic accident that the United States has become over the last four years and come out swinging for Kerry. To give credit where credit is due, the Times does lay a pretty solid smackdown on Bush, referring to his "disastrous tenure", the "shocking example of his inability to change his priorities in the face of drastically altered circumstances" and his administration's "Nixonian obsession with secrecy, disrespect for civil liberties and inept management".

Hey, guys. Welcome to the party. So glad you could make it. About three years late, but better late than never, I guess. Now if you'd fire that lying sack of crap Judith Miller, we might just forgive you.
Canada -- when you want to get laid and all the good-looking girls are busy

From this CNN article, we have Commander-in-Chief "Mission Accomplished" CrotchBulge dissing the idea of cheap drugs from Canada (as if the Americans don't have their own problems with pharmaceutical quality control):

"When a drug comes in from Canada, I want to make sure it cures you and doesn't kill you," the president said. "And what my worry is is that, you know, it looks like it's from Canada, and it might be from a third world," Bush said.

Of course, when there's an acute shortage of precious flu vaccine, why, who do you think Bush turns to to bail his sorry ass out of trouble? You guessed it:

TORONTO — When President George W. Bush spoke of importing Canadian flu vaccine during Wednesday's election debate, many in the U.S. public health community were struck by the irony of an administration that slams the door on cheaper Canadian drugs, but looks north for help with an embarrassing vaccine shortage.

Speaking as a Canadian, I have to say that this kind of makes me feel like the shy, homely, small-town girl, the one who can never get a date, the one who all the stud, macho jocks make fun of whenever they're hanging out, swapping getting-laid stories. But when you're really horny on a Saturday evening and everyone in your black book is busy, you know that you can just show up at her place -- make sure nobody sees you there, of course -- get some quick action and relief, and then go back to dissing her the next day with all your buds.

Kind of like that.

Hommage to the rude pundit -- part deux

And in the vein of the rude pundit once again, here's a snippet from Jon Stewart on Crossfire, where right-wing host and total dipshit Tucker Carlson makes it clear early on he's going to be a complete jerk:

CARLSON: You have a chance to interview the Democratic nominee. You asked him questions such as -- quote -- "How are you holding up? Is it hard not to take the attacks personally?"


: "Have you ever flip-flopped?" et cetera, et cetera.

: Yes.

: Didn't you feel like -- you got the chance to interview the guy. Why not ask him a real question, instead of just suck up to him?

I fantasize, instead, about the following kind of exchange:

Didn't you feel like -- you got the chance to interview the guy. Why not ask him a real question, instead of just suck up to him? I mean, with softball questions like that, it's no wonder he'd rather come on your program than come here for some real debate.

STEWART: You know, Tucker, you worthless little shit, that's not why he comes on my program. He comes on my program because I treat him like a gentleman, because I'm genuinely glad that he's taken the time out of his insanely busy schedule to show up, and mostly because, unlike you, you simpering little right-wing kiss ass, I actually let him talk about the things he wants to talk about, like his plans for the economy, and Social Security, and Medicare and anything else that happens to come to mind.

He doesn't come on your trashy, insulting excuse for a "news" program because he knows that, the instant he sat down, you'd be haranguing him about being a flip-flopper, and about his vote on the funding of the Iraqi invasion -- yeah, that's right, it was an "invasion", don't sit there with that stupid, condescending little smirk dissing me, bowtie-boy -- and that absolute bullshit with the Swift Boats Liars for Bush crap and the rest of that stuff that's just been made up out of thin air by Bush and Rove.

He comes on my show because I treat him with the respect you give to someone who's a decorated Vietnam veteran and a 20-year member of the U.S. Senate. And I can't imagine why he'd give a flying fuck about coming on your show when all it means is that he'd have to sit here, listening to bullshit insults and lies from some 35-year-old, badly-dressed, patronizing little twerp. That's why he comes on my show."

Sigh. If only ...

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Cutting off your nose to spite your face

OK, so it's old news how right-wing Sinclair Broadcasting is planning to air an anti-Kerry propaganda film some time between now and the election. But here's where it gets positively hysterical.

Over at Eschaton, Atrios was kind enough to punch up Sinclair's share price and its trend recently. Ooooooh ... not good, due to the organized efforts of outraged lefties to boycott Sinclair's advertisers. If I was a Sinclair shareholder, I'd be getting a bit pissed right about now.

But here's the good part. This Associated Press article over at TruthOut describes how a cable pay-per-view company apparently just broke its contract to show Michael Moore's movie "Fahrenheit 9/11", but it's the very last paragraph of the article that's the kicker:

Also Friday, Moore offered to let Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. air the movie for free. Such a deal would likely get a chilly reception at Sinclair, a broadcaster with a reputation for conservative politics that plans to air a critical documentary about John Kerry's anti-Vietnam War activities on dozens of TV stations two weeks before the election.

If I was a Sinclair shareholder, I would be going absolutely berserk reading that. The thought of getting the most popular documentary in the history of the universe, for free, and undoubtedly being able to sell commercial time during its airing -- Good God, how does life get any better than that for a broadcasting company?

And yet, Sinclair appears ready to bone their shareholders up the ass for ideological principles. If I had a sizable financial stake in Sinclair, I'd be on the phone to a lawyer, asking what it took to sue the company for selling out the financial interests of its shareholders. on Jon Stewart laying the wood to Tucker Carlson

(And just because I don't want you to have to suffer through the indignity of the free registration process ...)

"I think you're a lot more fun on your show," said Tucker Carlson to "Crossfire" guest Jon Stewart this afternoon. "And I think you're as much of a dick on your show as on any other," Stewart shot back. It wasn't the faux avuncularity we've come to expect from Stewart on "The Daily Show" but there, of course, he's playing a role. Here he was himself -- and he wasn't buying any of it.

From the moment Stewart sat down he made no secret of how repugnant he found the show. In fact, he said to Carlson and co-host Paul Begala that he had been so hard on the show he felt it was his duty to come on and say to their faces what he has said to friends and in interviews. What he said was that their show was "hurting America," and he was being only slightly hyperbolic. Stewart told them that when America needed journalists to be journalists they had instead chosen to present theater.

Carlson, trying to affect an air of dry amusement that a comedian would presume to lecture him, important pundit that he is, but looking as if his bow-tie were about to start spinning, could barely contain his outrage. In an absolutely mind-boggling moment, Carlson tried to counter Stewart's criticism by pointing out that during John Kerry's recent appearance on "The Daily Show," Stewart asked the candidate softball questions. "If you want to measure yourself against a comedy show," Stewart said, "be my guest."

Paul Begala tried to put a more conciliatory face on things by pointing out that theirs was a "debate" show. Stewart was having none of it. "I would love to see a real debate show," he said. And went on to tell them that instead of holding politicians' feet to the fire by asking tough question, "you're part of their strategy. You're partisan -- what's the word? -- uh, hacks."

It's almost a cliche by now to talk about "The Daily Show" being more trusted than real newscasts, but Stewart showed why. He pointed out to Carlson that he had asked Kerry if he really were in Cambodia but "I don't care," and when Carlson asked him what he thought about the "Bill O'Reilly vibrator flap," Stewart said, "I don't." It was as concise a demonstration of the triviality of the media as you could hope for.

"I thought you were going to be funny," Carlson said toward the end of the interview. Stewart responded, "No, I'm not going to be your monkey." And that was what was so bracing.

Stewart's "Crossfire" appearance is going to generate talk about how prickly he was, how he wasn't "nice" like he is on "The Daily Show." But prickliness is just what was needed. If you've built your reputation as a satirist pointing out how the media falls down on the job, you're not going to make yourself a part of their charade.

I've heard people talk about "The Daily Show" as an oasis of sanity, a public service. I couldn't agree more. Stewart's appearance on "Crossfire" was another public service. He went on and acted as if the show's purpose really was to confront tough issues, instead of being the political equivalent of pro wrestling. Given a chance to say absolutely what he thought, Stewart took it. He accomplished what almost never happens on television anymore: He made the dots come alive.
Dubya -- way more frightening than you've probably given him credit for

On the off chance that President Smirky McChimpster doesn't scare you enough, here's an article that should ratchet up the fear factor another couple of notches.
Gay kids and shitty parents

In my own personal hommage to the rude pundit, the next time some homophobic parent with a gay kid (hello, Dick and Lynne) suggests that gays are made, not born, and that being gay represents some kind of Godless "lifestyle choice", unless you respond with, "Choice? CHOICE? You think it's a choice, then, do you? In that case, if your kid was born straight, what kind of horrible, evil, hideous, fucked-up parents were you to have driven your kid into homosexuality?", then your response will have been worthless.

The Canadian Cynic. Riding that fine line between clever hommage and tacky plagiarism.
Another rabble-rousing Canadian blogger, God bless us

Maybe someone to add to your bookmarks.

Jon Stewart rips Crossfire. On Crossfire.

If you watch only one online video this year, watch this one, in which Jon Stewart exposes Tucker Carlson for the preening, egomaniacal, puffed-up, patronizing, rude fratboy asshole that he is. God knows, someone had to do it.

ADDENDUM: And speaking of assholes ...

ADDENDUM 2: Digby has an amusing observation about Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire. Make sure you read the hilarious comments for that piece as well. I might have more to say about the whole phenomenon that is Jon Stewart later after I think about it a bit more.

And even more comments on the Crossfire episode, Dave Cullen at Salon.
The New York Times -- getting shittier by the day

Just when you're convinced that the New York Times has pretty well bottomed out in terms of journalistic ethics and integrity and what have you, they can still manage to take your breath away. I refer to the ongoing brouhaha regarding Sinclair Broadcasting's plan to force their affiliated stations to broadcast an anti-Kerry propaganda diatribe, "Stolen Honor", only days before the election.

If you want the sordid details, take some time and read the pieces assembled at truthout here. And what does the Times have to do with this? According to a paragraph in the Times editorial reproduced there:

"Eighteen Democratic senators asked the Federal Communications Commission to stop Sinclair from broadcasting the new film, but the commission was right to refuse. As painful as it is to defend this agency, which has shown more interest in Janet Jackson's breast than in really doing its job, we believe that the federal government cannot indulge in that sort of prior restraint."

Ooooookay ... so even though it's the FCC's job to enforce guidelines of fairness for the public airwaves, the Times seems to believe that the FCC should keep its hands off of what appears to be a clear violation of same. Which makes that editorial's very next sentence a bit of a shocker:

"But the F.C.C. also cannot ignore Sinclair's poor record when it comes to meeting its obligation to act responsibly and fairly in the public interest, a duty it assumed when it accepted custody of a license to broadcast on the public airwaves. Broadcasting "Stolen Honor" within two weeks of the election would clearly violate those commitments."

Got that? According to the Times, the FCC should not get involved and enforce their own broadcasting guidelines, even though it openly admits that Sinclair's move would "violate" FCC-enforceable commmitments to journalistic fairness.

As I've warned before, don't try this sort of paralogical hypocrisy at home, boys and girls. The New York Times -- your so-called "liberal media".

Friday, October 15, 2004

Open thread

OK, I've said my piece for a bit. Your turn.
It takes a Republican to be this breathtakingly hypocritical

John over at AmericaBlog gets it just about right regarding the Cheneys' obviously contrived anger at John Kerry for mentioning lesbian daughter Mary Cheney during the third debate. Describing how he thinks being gay is not just a choice, Kerry said:

"I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it's not a choice."

That's it. He wasn't outing Mary Cheney -- she's been publicly out for years, no big secret there. And yet, that low-key and respectful remark was enough to send the Cheneys over the edge with outrage.

Of course, as John points out, when Illinois Republican Senate candidate and moronic dipshit Alan Keyes blasted that same Mary Cheney (at the Republican National Convention) as being nothing but a "selfish hedonist" based solely on her sexual orientation, you didn't hear a peep out of the Cheneys or anyone else in the Republican hierarchy of swine.

Colour me shocked.

ADDENDUM: At least one other blogger has asked the obvious question related to the above: just what is it that the Cheneys are angry about, precisely? If you read the SFGate article, you'll learn that Dick is a "pretty angry father", and that Lynne thinks Kerry pulled a "cheap and tawdry political trick." But why? What's the foundation for this outrage?

They can't possibly be accusing Kerry of outing Mary; she's been publicly out for years. Kerry also didn't denigrate Mary in any way; in fact, he was (as you can read for yourself) quite respectful.

So what's the problem? And why has no reporter asked that obvious question?

ADDENDUM 2: And while we're on the subject of whether one's kid was legitimately insulted, let me draw your attention to what one despicable right-wing asshole once wrote about Chelsea Clinton here. I suggest reading the entire piece to really appreciate the loathsome and vile nature of Mr. Derbyshire, but here are the tastiest excerpts:

More than anything, I admit, I hate Chelsea because she is a Clinton. Not just genetically a Clinton, but in spirit and habit and manner. The evidence for this is now, I think, sufficient to indict...
She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored. All the great despotisms of the past — I'm not arguing for despotism as a principle, but they sure knew how to deal with potential trouble — recognized that the families of objectionable citizens were a continuing threat. In Stalin's penal code it was a crime to be the wife or child of an "enemy of the people". The Nazis used the same principle, which they called Sippenhaft, "clan liability". In Imperial China, enemies of the state were punished "to the ninth degree": that is, everyone in the offender's own generation would be killed, and everyone related via four generations up, to the great-great-grandparents, and four generations down, to the great-great-grandchildren, would also be killed. (This sounds complicated, but in practice what usually happened was that a battalion of soldiers was sent to the offender's home town, where they killed everyone they could find, on the principle neca eos omnes, deus suos agnoscet — "let God sort 'em out".)

Yes, you read that correctly -- Derbyshire is advocating killing Chelsea Clinton because of her heritage. And, if memory serves, I've never heard any compassionate conservative taking Derbyshire to task for his odious comments.

So anyone looking to take a swing at John Kerry for his admirable and complimentary remarks about Mary Cheney might want to phrase their complaints very carefully indeed.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Tom Tomorrow has the story on the Bush bulge

That mysterious bulge under Dubya's jacket? Tom Tomorrow has the goods.
Conservatives who really don't have a freaking clue

The next time some sanctimonious, right-wing jackass starts ranting on about how he just can't abide those tax-and-spend, meddling, big-government liberals, I suggest this enlightening essay.

Holy s**t -- did Dubya have an undisclosed stroke?

Check out this piece over at AmericaBlog. This would explain a whole lot if it's true. And it might also explain something inexplicable that a commenter over at DailyKos reported on -- that Bush, at the end of the debate as he and Kerry were shaking hands, quietly asked to meet with Kerry later.

Something weird is going down here.
The Onion pretty well nails it down

Sure, it's satire. Kind of. Sort of. Maybe ...
Smirky McFlightSuit, being the down home, aw-shucks liar once again

Smirky, September 17, 2001

"I want justice.
There's an old poster out west, as I recall, that said, "Wanted: Dead or Alive" ... I just remember, all I'm doing is remembering when I was a kid I remember that they used to put out there in the old west, a wanted poster. It said: "Wanted, Dead or Alive." All I want and America wants [bin Laden] brought to justice. That's what we want."

Smirky, March 13, 2002 (just six months later)

"As I say, we haven't heard much from [bin Laden]. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."

John Kerry, the third presidential debate, Oct 13, 2004:

"When the president had an opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, he took his focus off of them, outsourced the job to Afghan warlords, and Osama bin Laden escaped.

Six months after he said Osama bin Laden must be caught dead or alive, this president was asked, "Where is Osama bin Laden?" He said, "I don't know. I don't really think about him very much. I'm not that concerned."

Smirky's rebuttal, the third presidential debate, Oct 13, 2004:

I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations."
"Mr. President, have you ever made a mistake?"

No? Here, let us help you out.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

More right-wing, conservative, Republican family values

Oh, dear. Bill O'Reilly, in a heap o' trouble. I highly recommend the Caribbean shower fantasies starting on paragraph 77, although I'm not really sure he's using the falafel thing the way it's meant to be used.
You have absolutely got to see this video clip. Trust me.

Credit where credit is due, over at AmericaBlog. Is anyone else fantasizing about what a debate would look like between Ryan and Admiral Bunnypants? Oh, lord ...

Just when you think you've run out of outrage ...

... just when you think you've seen it all and that, when it comes to sleazy, despicable and felonious behaviour, the Republicans have reached the bottom of the barrel ... well, someone comes along and turns over the barrel.

Check out
this piece posted over at DailyKos, which describes how a Republican-funded company posing as a voter registration firm had been registering voters in Nevada for months, but also behind the scenes simply tearing up and throwing away the Democratic registrations:

The out-of-state firm has been in Las Vegas for the past few months, registering voters. It employed up to 300 part-time workers and collected hundreds of registrations per day, but former employees of the company say that Voters Outreach of America only wanted Republican registrations.

Two former workers say they personally witnessed company supervisors rip up and trash registration forms signed by Democrats.

Oh, yawn. Why should anyone be surprised anymore? The Republicans simply stole the election in 2000, so there's really no reason for them to think it won't work again. What surprises me is Kos's belief that, "
The firm will be prosecuted, no doubt about that." Funny, but I think there's a great deal of doubt as to whether anyone will see the inside of a courtroom. Experience tells me that, when it comes to committing felonies, the legal system is pretty much for everyone except Republicans. But perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised. Until then, feel free to see how much play this story gets in the mainstream media.

Final note: I'm also a bit surprised that Kos didn't include this statement from the original article:

The company has been largely, if not entirely funded, by the Republican National Committee. Similar complaints have been received in Reno where the registrar has asked the FBI to investigate.

I think that's the kind of information that's sort of useful to know.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Just in case you missed the vice-presidential debate ...

... here's a quick still photo to give you the flavour.

And while you're there, take the George Bush loyalty quiz. Fun for the entire family. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Prohibited where void.
Bubbie strikes back

Others have linked to it, why not me?
Bush actually wishes Saddam had had weapons of mass destruction. Seriously.

Just in case you missed it (and a lot of folks probably did), check out this CNN article:

Early in the town hall-format debate held at Washington University in St. Louis, the president was challenged over his decision to invade Iraq in the wake of a report that Saddam Hussein's regime had no weapons of mass destruction.

"I wasn't happy when we found out there wasn't weapons," Bush said. "But Saddam Hussein was a unique threat. And the world is better off without him in power.

Ignoring the imbecilic grammar, read it again -- Bush is actually expressing disappointment that Saddam Hussein never had any WMDs. Just when you think this administration can't get any more loathsome or despicable, they still manage to surprise you.

Kerry's campaign staff totally lame-o as usual

This AP article describes the current controversy involving the unabashed right-wing Sinclair Broadcasting Group planning to force its affiliates to broadcast an anti-Kerry propaganda film uncomfortably close to the election, and also shows the maddening wimpiness of Kerry's campaign personnel, who have just never figured out how to kick butt.

From the article:

... Sinclair's Hyman said, "The documentary is just a part of a special news event that we're putting together. We've invited one person to be a guest. That's Senator John Kerry." The company posted a note on its Web site Monday afternoon urging people to call Kerry's headquarters to urge his participation.

Chad Clanton, a Kerry campaign spokesman, said, "Everything is on the table but it's hard to take an offer seriously from a group with such a fierce partisan agenda, a group that's clearly not interested in the truth."

Attaboy, Chad, way to lay the wood on. Oh, yawn.

Here's an idea for a Kerry campaign comeback:

"Regarding Sinclair's plan to air its anti-Kerry film and have the Senator on as a special guest afterwards, we think that's an intriguing idea, and we plan on giving it serious consideration. Of course, in the interests of fairness, we're assuming that Sinclair will also be airing Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, and inviting George W. Bush on afterwards to defend his record as well. After all, that would be the fair and balanced thing to do, so we're assuming that Sinclair already has plans underway to do this, right? Right?"
Thoughts on a John Kerry dream cabinet?

Hypothesizing a John Kerry administration, any thoughts on what you'd like to see as the Kerry cabinet? Really, go wild. Dr. Howard Dean as Surgeon General? NY Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman as Treasury Secretary? Dennis Kucinich running Health and Human Services? It really just makes you salivate, doesn't it? Thoughts?

On a more serious note, though, I think that, if Kerry wins, a lot of folks who were never that excited about him but who bit the bullet and got behind him are going to be waiting to see if their support is going to be repaid. And a big part of that is going to be whether Kerry makes the "right" decisions. Picking John Edwards as his running mate was pretty clearly a good start (as opposed to Al Gore's absolutely disastrous choice of Republican Joe Lieberman). Can Kerry keep it up, or might he buckle and pander to the centre by nominating moderates all around?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Open thread

What's on your mind?

OK, what's the mystery bulge?

No, not that one. This one. What is it with Smirky and these mysterious, concealed bulges? There has got to be something Freudian happening here.
Howie the Putz, just being Howie

Following a link from Atrios, we find Howie the Putz taking online questions but frantically avoiding how he was jerked around and lied to by Republican pollster Frank Luntz. But that's not even close to the best part.

First, here's how Howie the Putz thinks the media should treat totally unfounded, baseless accusations:

: Let's say that Candidate X makes a campaign speech and states that Candidate Y wants to euthanize babies on food tubes because the costs outweigh the benefits.

Does a reporter have an obligation to write the story as stated above even if he knows that Candidate Y has never taken such a position?

Should the timing of the speech, ability for Candidate Y to rebut, fact checking, etc be taken as considerations or is the reporter’s job just to write what Candidate X said?

Putz: We're not in the business of censoring what candidates say. We are in the business of fact-checking what candidates say. So the baseless charge should be reported in the context that Candidate X has produced no evidence for this, Candidate Y denounced him as a smear artist, etc. Wouldn't that tell voters something about Candidate X and be preferable to suppressing the news of what he said? Besides, if the media simply refused to report exaggerated or irresponsible charges, the size of newspapers and length of broadcasts might shrink dramatically.

Not surprisingly, though, when it comes to allegedly exaggerated or irresponsible charges against the Simian-in-Chief ... oh, look:

Questioner: Thanks for taking our questions. The Washington Post carried a story, over the weekend, about a site devoted to exploring whether President Bush may have been using an ear-piece, allowing him to be coached by, by his advisers. The site implies that some reporters have been aware that a linguistically and fact challenged Bush routinely needs, and makes use of an ear-piece. It compared the journalistic silence over Bush's rumoured ear-piece to the silence over JFK's adulteries. Here are my questions: If this rumour were true, how much coverage do you feel it would deserve? How far should responsible journalists go to determine if there is any truth to the rumours? While it remains just a rumour how much coverage does it deserve?

Putz: It is nothing but a rumor at the moment and deserves very little, if any, coverage. I'm not sure I would have run a story at all without some shred of proof (beyond a photograph that appeared to show a bulge in Bush's suit) or at least someone making an on-the-record charge. If it turned out to be true, that would be a huge story. The idea that journalists have known about this and haven't said anything is both ludicrous and untrue.

So a totally unfounded accusation should definitely be reported, while a well-founded suspicion with clear visual evidence deserves "little, if any, coverage." Now, remember, boys and girls, don't try this kind of cognitive dissonance at home -- Howie's a professional.