Friday, October 28, 2005

Pundit show quote of the week

"This is unacceptable. This is America. And if you don't like America, find another place to live.....That said, we are respectful and tolerant of all religions and all people."

-Hillsborough County (FL) Commissioner Brian Blair on The O'Reilly Factor Thursday night. Blair was upset over the local school board's decision to cancel all school holidays based on religion after the board heard a request to honor a Muslim religious holiday on the school calendar.
O'Reilly went on to opine that it was "absurd" in a "Judeo-Christian country" like the U.S. that schools honor Muslim religious holidays.

I heart Patrick Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald made it clear, from the very start of his press conference, that Valerie Plame's status as a CIA officer was CLASSIFIED.


He also made it clear that Libby leaked the info to Matt Cooper and Judith Miller, and lied about it.

Clear enough, wingnut bastards? OK. Great.


And lying about it is a serious crime, not a "technicality."
"Truth is the engine of our justice system."
-Patrick Fitzgerald

Restoring honor, integrity and accountability to the White House


Bumper sticker for our times

Bush 2000

Stolen from This Modern World.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wrestling with a pig

On many political web sites I frequent, both liberal and conservative, I find time and time again liberals patiently explaining obvious truths to clueless/venal righties. Then they do it again. And again. These liberals are beginning to resemble friendly Labrador retrievers who will bring the tennis ball back indefinitely, until they finally collapse in exhaustion.

Some of the truths we have to explain over and over:

-Valerie Plame was a NOC.
-Bill Bennett and some random liberal crank are not the same thing.
-Saddam didn't try to get tons of uranium from Niger for his non-existent nuclear program.
-Protest and celebration are not the same thing.
-If perjury was a crime then, it's not a "technicality" now.
-The Flight 98 memorial is not a secret Muslim plot.

This game of Whack-a-Mole with patently obvious truths reflects badly on both sides. The right willingly believes as many falsehoods as necessary to keep their heads from exploding with cognitive dissonance (think "Scanners"). But even worse, the left takes the bait - again and again and again.

Stop taking the bait.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Campaigning for torture

Democratic Underground is right: Cheney is vulnerable, which is the only reason the Washington Post could see fit to write "Vice President for Torture."

The DU poster put it succinctly, and correctly: the man is a monster.

On a side note: it was odd last night to see the fictional female U.S. President Mackenzie Allen (Geena Davis) dealing with one of those perfect hypotheticals that pro-torture people love throwing around: you have a suspect in custody with specific knowledge of imminent terrorist attacks, and no time for traditional police work. It's Dick Cheney's wet dream, frankly. And they played all the angles by having the President call for doing everything short of torture, while the evil Attorney General ordered torture behind the President's back. So they got the results of torture (the amazingly correct intel), while keeping the President's hands clean. Neat trick.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Blowjobs and broomsticks

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (wait for it.....R-Texas) believes that perjury (lying to a grand jury) is a "technicality."

Funny how Republicans spent the 90s screaming about the "rule of law" until they were blue in the face when it came to Bill Clinton, but when it's Dubya and his cronies, perjury is a "technicality." Nice.

To be fair, Bill Clinton lied about a blowjob, while Rove and Libby lied about exposing a covert CIA operative in time of war. Not the same thing at all!

The blowjob is worse, of course.
"Won't someone THINK OF THE CHILDREN!"
-Helen Lovejoy, The Simpsons

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The bad news just keeps on coming

Cheney cabal hijacked U.S. foreign policy
I love the word "cabal."

Senators say Miers' answers "incomplete to insulting"
Harriet's making friends wherever she goes these days.

Bush whacked Rove on CIA leak
Was there any doubt the President knew all along what was happening? No.

Texas court issues warrant for DeLay
I admit my love for schadenfreude.

No quorum for Santorum
Couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Because reprinting other people's comments is the only thing I have the strength for right now

In a comment thread on Balloon Juice about the Frontline report on U.S. use of torture in the Iraq war:

I just finished watching Frontline and all I can say is I am sure glad that we ignored the Geneva Convention because without doing so we never would have found those stockpiles of WMDs.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Blog comment of the week (month? year?)

"You'd think after five years they'd start running out of ways to suck."
-Atrios commenter
You'd think so. But you'd be wrong.

President Toaster

The left-wing media is positively giddy over the prospect of multiple indictments on the Plame investigation, thought by many to be widening out into an investigation of the selling of the Iraq war by the Bush administration. But I confess I can't get excited about this. They've weaseled out of so much over the last five years, why should this be any different? And if they do get out of it, it'll just be another cudgel to beat their opponents over the head with. "Look at what those damn liberals did! Criminalization of politics!" etc. etc.

I'm in another of those periods where none of it seems to matter. Go ahead, put Jerry Falwell on the Supreme Court. Imprison Muslim Americans in concentration camps. Invade China. Elect a four-slice toaster to be President. At this point, I just don't care.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tillman hearts Chomsky

Fascinating article from The Nation about attempted-right-wing-poster-boy Pat Tillman (hat tip: John Callender at

Pat Tillman, Our Hero

The fact is that Tillman was so much more than a shill for the fever dreams of the New American Century crowd. His family deserved better. He deserved better.

We all deserve better.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Another 15-20 years isn't so long

This week's "Top Ten Conservative Idiots" over at Democratic Underground is one of the best ever - each one is a gem. But this passage about Iraq stood out to me:
The truth is that Iraq is on the verge of tearing itself apart, with our soldiers trapped in the middle. In order to "catapult the propaganda," Bush has been tossing out the fantasy that "Right now there are over 80 army battalions fighting alongside coalition troops," with "over 30 Iraqi battalions in the lead."

There are about 500-600 soldiers in a battalion, so that's a minimum of 15,000 Iraqi soldiers ready to rock n' roll. Considering that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, that means we only have to train 135,000 more Iraqis (at a cost of $7 billion per month) to finish the job. It took us two years to train 15,000 so it should only take another, oh, 15-20 years or so to train the rest.

There's just one problem - when Bush says that there are 30-80 Iraqi battalions fighting in Iraq, he's talking out of his ass. Last week Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. general in Iraq, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that there is actually only one self-sufficient Iraqi battalion.

One. It's taken us two years to train one self-sufficient battalion, comprising 500-600 soldiers, at a cost of $200 billion dollars and counting.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Coincidence? You decide.

President Bush: job approval at 37%. (yep.)

Tom DeLay: indicted (three times).

Karl Rove: on the cusp of indictment.

Harriet Miers: attacked by both right (Ann Coulter!) and left.

wait for it...

wait for it...

NYC subway terror alert!

And for those who think I'm just a pinko Commie baby-eating Chomsky-loving liberal conspiracy theorist, remember when Tom Ridge admitted that the administration pressured him into raising the threat level? Yeah.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Turtles all the way down

Dean Esmay, the avowed atheist who never met a hard-line Christian conservative he didn't like, links to an article by Michael Balter whose premise is neatly contained in the headline: Let 'intelligent design' and science rumble.

Hey, what a great idea. I think the next series of debates should be "Physics vs. Magic: Who's right?" Can physicists explain everything? Hell no. So the obvious alternative is magic. I'm not sure if it should be the magic of "Charmed" or "Bewitched" or even "The Craft" (if we're reaching), but that can be determined by a public opinion poll, or something.

I personally believe that angels cause "gravity" by pushing us all down away from Heaven until we're ready to go. Prove me wrong, Stephen Hawking! I dare ya!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The world we live in

If Bush nominated a fax machine for the Supreme Court, right-wing weblogs and pundits would be engaged in endless discussions of what the judicial philosophy of the Xerox 4250 would be.

On Fox News Sunday:
Brit Hume: We still don't know how the Xerox would rule on Roe v. Wade. But the fax machine has been in the Oval Office for some years, so we have to trust that President Bush knows how it would rule.

Juan Williams (incredulous): It's a FAX MACHINE!

Brit Hume: What's your point?

Monday, October 03, 2005

I'm sure I'll get tired of posting about Bennett eventually

Best deconstruction of Bennett's remarks I've read so far, from a commenter at Daily Kos:

There is no distortion that could make those remarks worse than they were. The idea that any context could make even hypothetically suggesting that total genocide would reduce the crime rate just shows the depth of his bigotry.

And in fact even taking the entire conversation into account makes it worse not better. Even if, as some have claimed, he was only extrapolating from the observation that crime-rate (official) is higher in the black population, the fact that he said he "knew" that removing all black people, even hypothetically, would result in a reduction in crime rate means that at bottom, he believes that blackness must be causal. [Emphasis mine. -TM] If he had been prepared to consider that, say inequality was causal, or poverty, or judicial racism were causal, he could not have said that he "knew" the crime rate would go down. Because there is absolutely no way of knowing. It is perfectly possible the crime rate would stay the same or go up. It depends on what is causing the crime rate. By saying he "knew" what would happen, he was assuming race was causal.

Ergo it was not just disgustingly racist, but simply racist. There is absolutely no defence.


Now Bill Bennett can concentrate on blackjack full-time:

Bennett feels the heat

And yes - I feel tremendous pleasure from this. I'm OK with that. Sort of like when Bill O'Reilly was caught leaving unwanted dirty-talk messages on an employee's phone, just when "The O'Reilly Factor for Kids" was coming out? Yeah, like that.

Justice Brownie

"In the White House that hero worshipped the president, [Bush's Supreme Court nominee Harriet] Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met."

-David Frum, National Review Online

"I'm disappointed, depressed and demoralized."

-Bill Kristol, The Weekly Standard

"I am going to assume that this is a classic Bush head-fake gambit. If I'm wrong, I will spend the weekend banging my head against a concrete wall. This is the Supreme Court we're talking about! It's not a job for a political functionary!"

-John Podhoretz, The Corner on National Review (before the pick was announced this morning)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

More Bennett analogues, because they're fun

Man at a party with friends and his wife:

Man: You know I bet if I punched my wife in the mouth that would get her to shut up. But that would be morally reprehensible to do, and I would never hit my wife.

Wife: I can’t believe that you would say that, I’m offended that you would talk openly about punching me in the face.

Friend: Well, Wife you didn’t listen to his WHOLE statement, he said it would be morally reprehensible. He was just stating a FACT, because he’s a big guy and if he did punch you in the mouth I bet that it would make you shut up. I can’t stand that everyone is so P.C., he was just making a truthful claim and again why can’t he just talk about PUNCHING you in the face, it’s in his right to make thought experiments.

If we killed all the vets returning from duty in Iraq, we would reduce the incidence of mental illness in this country. Of course that would be very hard to do and it would be morally reprehensible but we would have alot less nut jobs.
Both stolen from comments at Balloon Juice, where conservatives are falling all over themselves to figure out ways to support Bennett and his comments. Which says more than Bennett's quote ever did, if you ask me.