The Talking Lion

Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Black Ice Highway

So, Congress passed a lot of legislation in the last couple days before the August recess. Some bills were more controversial than others. Possibly the least controversial bill was the transportation bill, which was approved 412 to 8 by the House, and 91 to 4 by the Senate. But something's not right here...

Reading the Washington Post story about the bill revealed to me some interesting details concerning the bill. Consider, for example, that "California, Illinois and New York received the largest sums, with Alaska ranking fourth."

Alaska is fourth? Out of the 50 states Alaska gets fourth-largest sum of money. How much money you ask? $941 million for 119 special projects. This seems kind of excessive, especially considering the fact that only 112 people actually live in Alaska. So why did they get all this money when there are other states with many more people who have more of a need for the transportation money? Do I smell pork?

The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Don Young a Republican from, you guessed it, Alaska. Here's some of the stuff that Don Young is spending American tax dollars on, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense who actually read these bills and let people know what is really in them:

The group found that Young helped to secure $231 million for a bridge in Anchorage to be named Don Young's Way; $223 million for a bridge to Ketchikan; and $15 million for a Juneau access road, dubbed the Black Ice Highway by group analyst Erich Zimmermann because "that's all you'll see in the winter if this project is built."


So, that's great that he set aside all that money to build a highway in honor of himself. And an access road in Juneau is a great idea because I know the traffic in Juneau has been hell for the past few years, like totally a million times worse than I-66 outside of DC. Totally. As far as Ketchikan goes, I don't even know where the fuck that is. So I looked it up.

Here is the official website of the "city" of Ketchikan, where is a balmy 53 degrees on this summer evening. I also found this website, which has a picture of a native Ketchikanian wearing a funny hat. It also has some more information about the "city."

Ketchikan is known throughout Alaska as a friendly, hard-working town. Tucked into the mountains, and spilling down to the shores of the Inside Passage, this regional hub of 15,000, makes its living from the surrounding forest, from the abundant fish runs, from the thousands of visitors that flock north each year, and other entrepreneurial ventures.

The first Alaska port of call for northbound cruise ships, commercial vessels and state ferries, Ketchikan is 680 air miles north of Seattle and is located in the nation's largest national forest, the Tongass, which totals 17 million acres.



So 15,000 people live there. And it's in the middle of a forest. There are more students currently attending the University of Virginia than there are citizens of Ketchikan. Why the fuck is the government spending my money there? Is it because of the "thousands of visitors" that flock north there" each year? How about the places that have millions of people who actually live there and need to get around.

What other states were able to get a lot of money through this bill? Well,

Next were Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma -- the latter being the home state of Sen. James M. Inhofe (R), the bill's chief Senate negotiator.


Fantastic. And every Democrat voted for this bill. Some may argue that pork is just a part of politics and you have to just grin and bear it and move on. But I think this shit is disgusting and someone should say something about it. I give mad props to John McCain who actually spoke out against the bill on the Senate floor.

Four Senate Republicans voted against the bill, including John McCain (Ariz.), who decried the thousands of special projects for targeted districts. "I wonder what it's going take to make the case for fiscal sanity here?" he asked his colleagues.


No one is in favor of wasteful spending. Not even liberals. No one, that is, except for a few hundred Congressmen...

This is amazing...

My home state of Virginia confronts and apologizes for its racist past. Not only that, not only is there an apology, but there is ACTION!
Five decades after Virginia ignored the actions of Prince Edward County and other locales that shut down their public schools in support of segregation, the state is making a rare effort to confront its racist past, in effect apologizing and offering reparations in the form of scholarships.

With a $1 million donation from the billionaire media investor John Kluge and a matching amount from the state, Virginia is providing up to $5,500 a year for any state resident, like Mr. Brown, who was denied a proper education when public schools shut down. So far, more than 80 people have been approved for the scholarships, and the number is expected to rise. Several thousand are potentially eligible, many of them now well into their 60's.

Rita Moseley, 58, was about to go into the sixth grade when the schools were closed. Her mother sent her more than 120 miles away to Blacksburg, Va., to live with an elderly woman and her daughter - "total strangers," she said - just to attend a public school willing to accept black children.


This is a large step in the right direction. Southern states take notice, VA just threw down the gauntlet.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Saturday mornings are for...

...happy thoughts.

Also, I find it funny that Omaha Steaks is advertising on townhall.com. Conservatives arent the only ones who dig red meat. I like steaks too!!

Omaha advertise HERE!!!! LIONS EAT MEAT!

What's the matter with The New York Times...

Something must be wrong over there in NYT because they keep paying and publishing John Tierney. Today's column isn't really infuriating as such, its just the regular stupid. He's talking about the recent safety issues concerning NASA shuttles and space missions. His entire column can be distilled into this one paragraph of idiocy:
The real problem with this exploration program is that it doesn't explore anything. Three decades after going to the Moon, NASA is sending astronauts a few hundred miles above Earth to conduct high school science experiments. Can you name anything - besides repairing the Hubble Telescope - they've accomplished?

And because the average citizen might not be able to name anything NASA has done that means we should scrap the whole thing, right? Considering that, even during this uproar about Rove, 1/4 of this country doesn't know who Rove is, I don't think we want to follow Tierney's logic.

Wait...following his logic might get rid of Rove faster than the current course through legal channels. Shit, I seem to be hoisted by my own petard. How very inconvenient.

PZ Myers > my freshman year room mate (sorry, Steve)...

Um. So yeah you guys should go to Pharyngula and read this interesting tale of Dr. Myers days as an undergraduate student/freelance biologist. It's pretty incredible.

Friday, July 29, 2005

No fucking shame...

The Senate may pass legislation that makes gun manufacturers free of any liability for their products. This is a pretty blatant purchase by the NRA and other gun-related special interests. And you can read all about it in the WashPost article linked above. What really chaffes my ass is how the R's are trying to sell it. They're telling us we need to support this legislation because its a matter of national security:
Supporters of the bill contend that the lawsuits could bankrupt firearm manufacturers such as Beretta USA Corp., which provides the standard side arm to the U.S. armed forces, potentially compromising the safety of American troops.

"The Department of Defense faces the very real prospect of outsourcing side arms for our soldiers to foreign manufacturers," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

Which is bullshit. You know why?

Opponents note that Beretta USA is a subsidiary of the Italian company Beretta Holding SpA.

These fucking Republican bastards have no fucking shame.

They're honestly trying to pass this legislation as though it will fight terrorism and protect our shores from dangerous minorities. Tools.


But that's not even the worst part.

Guess who also supports the bill. Our leaDer in the Senate, Harry Fucking Reid. I mean, honestly, how the hell are we supposed to beat these jerks if our own people, let alone the fucking minority leader of the senate, isn't along for the fight.


What the D's need to do is lock themselves in a room and get a platform together. Then fucking show a unified front. And take it to the R's.


Also, Joementum is not invited to said meeting.

So...

Bill Frist has decided that he likes stem-cell research now.

The funny thing is that he cited his "medical background" as a reason he changed his mind on the issue.


I guess someone sent him a videotape of a dude in a lab coat holding a petri dish in one hand and a thumbs-up in the other.

own3d.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

What I was saying...

The Onion bring its A-game this week. As I'm sure most of you remember the little shit-storm around this post I wrote a couple weeks ago when Bush callously spoke about his flypaper strategy in London, England (the new addition to the flypaper nations).

Anyway, the Onion weighs in:
Bush To London Bombers: 'Bring It On'

WASHINGTON, DC—President Bush officially responded to the latest round of London transit bombings Monday, challenging terrorists to "do their worst." Said Bush, in a televised statement from the Oval Office: "The proud and resilient people of London can take anything the forces of evil and cowardice can throw at them. They will never live in fear of you. Bring it on." Prime Minister Tony Blair thanked Bush for his comments, inviting him to visit London and ride the Underground in a show of solidarity.

Basically what I was yelling about,
just reworded and more awesome.

But there's more.


The "What Do You Think" section is simply amazing:
London subways and buses have been targeted in two subway attacks in recent weeks. What do you think?

"What? Did these madmen not hear the world denounce these acts just weeks ago?" Joshua Banks, Veterinary Aid

"The sad thing is, London may now develop anti-Pakistani racism for the first time in its history." Dalia Lofton, Systems Analyst

"Are the Brits flying into a blind rage and invading an oil-producing country for no reason? Well, why not?" Carolyn Allen, Fire Inspector

Great stuff.
Sorry for the mostly link-heavy posts. I'm a little busy today. Everything will return to normal soon.

PZ Myers would be god, if he wasn't such a dangerous atheist...

Two great posts from Dr. Myers over at Pharyngula. First one is on his new ideas for museums:
We all know that stupidity sells, especially if it is stupidity with an aura of piety-- —take a look at Ken Ham's creation science museum or Kent Hovind's Dinosaur Adventure Land, or the attempt to gussy up a zoo with creationism. Now here's a whole raft of comparable suggestions, all certain to be just as successful.
  • The Museum of Inferior People: Today, many white heterosexual Christians in America are confused. They know they're better than everyone else, but by exactly how much?
  • The Divine Invention, Innovation and Industry Institute: Did you know that what many intellectuals or so-called "thinking people" consider marvels of science are, in truth, Marvels of God?
  • Ripley's Believe It or Suffer Eternal Damnation! Museum: Ripley's Entertainment, Inc., owner of the world famous Believe it or Not! Museums and the most trusted name in the presentation and exhibition of hard-to-believe facts, is lending its authority and time-honored credibility to Biblical miracles.

Hilarity.

And his next is on, well, ants. Dr. Myers discusses a recent article in Nature about how ants find their ways to and from food and their nests. Apparently this question stumped even the great Richard Feynman. But it didnt stump the great PZ:
I'm proud to say that when I first read of the problem I immediately thought of an even simpler solution, and one that the article then goes on to describe as having been demonstrated in one species of ant, Monomorium pharaonis: just make the ant reluctant to make sharp turns. If all branches from the trail home diverge at shallow angles, simply taking the path that is closest to your current trajectory will put you on the right track home. Clearly, that swift insight means I'm smarter than Richard Feynman. Of course, it also means that ants are simpler than Feynman expected, and my superiority is based on my ability to think more like an ant than Feynman, which does sort of diminish the accomplishment.

I doubt anyone else can really make a better joke about ants (certainly not Woody Allen).

He has returned...

Hello, all.

Sorry about the lack of posts from me. I've been elsewhere on mystical journeys fighting intergalactic (and sentient) billiards cues. Sure.

Anyway, I was home in our nation's capital and came across a print copy of the Washington Post. I'm so used to reading the online version that seeing the actual paper (the first paper I ever read) was an interesting experience.

Of course, the first page I turned to was the comics. I don't have the patience to wait for individual comics to load on the online section so I stopped reading them about 3 years ago. Perusing the page I saw my favs, Boondocks and Non Sequitor, and a few new ones that I didn't recognize. So investigated the new ones to see if they deserved a spot on my comics page. Well. No. They didn't. One was particularly odious.

It's called Candorville by Darin Bell. It is terrible. It's follows a black guy around as he makes terrible one-liners and conservative jokes. Thats right its the anti-Boondocks.

And not only is it's content stupid, its delivery is so cliched and awful that, were it not for my space battlesuit's helmet, I would have stabbed my eyes out.

I just thought the Post had standards. I mean, fine you need a conservative comic, get a good one. Not some I-wish-it-was-still-the-80s-were-I-could-get-away -with-bad-humor-and-tired-three-panel-cliches hack.

But I guess, that aformentioned "good" conservative comic doesnt exist. Because, you know, conservatives don't laugh.

150th post, 3rd month of Talking Lion. WooP!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

When the shit hits the fan, change the subject

I had the pleasure of enjoying the Sunday New York Times on the beach for the second time this summer and although the Jersey Shore is not Bermuda, it was good enough for me.

Frank Rich had a piece in the Week in Review section where he argues that the Bush administration's timing in the Roberts nomination had failed to be the kind of distraction that the White House was looking for.

When a conspiracy is unraveling, and it's every liar and his lawyer for themselves, the story takes on a momentum of its own. When the conspiracy is, at its heart, about the White House's twisting of the intelligence used to sell the American people a war - and its desperate efforts to cover up that flimflam once the W.M.D. cupboard proved bare and the war went south - the story will not end until the war really is in its "last throes."


While I hope Rich is right in the long run, it seems like the Roberts nomination is doing just what Bush had hoped it would do: Turn the attention away from Leakgate and Iraq and onto the merits of Roberts as a Supreme Court. Rich cites the fact that the Washington Post lead story less than 36 hours after the nomination talked about a new memo revealing that Bush administration officials knew that Palme's identity was supposed to be kept secret. The problem is, nobody is paying attention to the new revelations that continue to emerge each and every day.

During this past Sunday morning, I turned on Meet The Press and watched the D.A. from Law and Order spend 15 minutes defending Roberts as someone who should be easily confirmed, followed by another 15 minutes from Dick Durbin claiming maybe we shouldn't be so sure about this Roberts guy. There was no talk of Plame. There was no talk on Iraq. Even the WIR section where Rich's column ran, more than 75% of the front page was dominated by a story by Adam Nagourney on the upcoming nomination battle and the graphic that accompanied it. Only in the remaining space did the Times make room for John F. Burns' eerily fantastic piece on the deteriorating state of affairs in Iraq. A sample:

The first signs that America's top officials in Iraq were revising their thinking about what they might accomplish in Iraq came a year ago. As Iraq resumed its sovereignty after the period of American occupation, the new American team that arrived then, headed by Ambassador John D. Negroponte, had a withering term for the optimistic approach of their predecessors, led by L. Paul Bremer III.

The new team called the departing Americans "the illusionists," for their conviction that America could create a Jeffersonian democracy on the ruins of Saddam Hussein's medieval brutalism. One American military commander began his first encounter with American reporters by asking, "Well, gentlemen, tell me: Do you think that events here afford us the luxury of hope?"

It seemed clear then that the administration, for all its public optimism, had
begun substituting more modest goals for the idealists' conception of Iraq. How much more modest has become clearer in the 12 months since.

From the moment American troops crossed the border 28 months ago, the specter hanging over the American enterprise here has been that Iraq, freed from Mr. Hussein's tyranny, might prove to be so fractured - by politics and religion, by culture and geography, and by the suspicion and enmity sown by Mr. Hussein's years of repression - that it would spiral inexorably into civil war. If it did, opponents of the American-led invasion had warned, American troops could get caught in the crossfire between Sunnis and Shiites, Kurds and Turkmen, secularists and believers - reduced, in the grimmest circumstances, to the common target of a host of contending militias.

Now, events are pointing more than ever to the possibility that the nightmare could come true. Recent weeks have seen the insurgency reach new heights of sustained brutality. The violence is ever more centered on sectarian killings, with Sunni insurgents targeting hundreds of Shiite and Kurdish civilians in suicide bombings. There are reports of Shiite death squads, some with links to the interior ministry, retaliating by abducting and killing Sunni clerics and community leaders.



So things are going to hell pretty quickly out there, but no one seems to notice. STOP! What's that sound? Everybody look what's going down...

Even the new Iraqi forces, hailed by the Bush administration as the key to an eventual American troop withdrawal, seem as likely to provoke a civil war as to prevent one. The 170,000 men already trained are dominated by Shiites and Kurds, in a proportion even higher than the 80 percent those groups represent in the population. Though there are thousands of Sunni Arabs in the forces, including some generals, Iraqi units that are sent to the worst hot spots are often dominated by Shiites and Kurds, some recruited from sectarian militias deeply hostile to Sunni Arabs.

The contempt this provokes was voiced by Dhari al-Bedri, a Baghdad University professor with a home in Samarra, a Sunni town. "The Iraqi army in Samarra is Badr, Dawa and Pesh Merga," he said, citing the militias of the two largest Shiite political parties, and of the Kurds. "The people feel that the army does not come to serve them, but to punish them. The people hate them."

The American hope is that the political process under way will succeed, eventually, in forging a broad enough consensus that hard-liners on all sides will be isolated. The odds on that, though slim, seemed to rise a bit with an agreement this month that added 15 Sunni Arabs to the 55-member parliamentary committee charged with drawing up the constitution. But when two of the Sunni men involved in that process were gunned down in Baghdad last week, some other Sunni members pointed to Shiites as the killers, and said the killings showed that Shiite hard-liners wanted no compromise.



Hopefully, Rich's claim that "two damning story lines emerge [from the Plame affair] and both have legs" will prove correct in the long run, but right now it's not happening. The legs are being undercut by a middle-aged white guy who has been nominated to the Supreme Court.

Rich does make an appropriate observation at the end of his column about what is most important when talking about all of this:

The real crime here remains the sending of American men and women to Iraq on fictitious grounds. Without it, there wouldn't have been a third-rate smear campaign against an obscure diplomat, a bungled cover-up and a scandal that - like the war itself - has no exit strategy that will not inflict pain.


Now if only somebody would be able to pay for that crime...

Monday, July 25, 2005

"...By lunchtime a cake is wheeled out with bottles of champagne, and we all have a lot of fun."

Although Wedding Crashers was a bit of a disappointment, I throroghly enjoyed Christopher Walken's performance. The man has to try hard in order to not be funny. He is also awesome in real life. From the Denver Post:

Christopher Walken admitted he pretends it's his birthday to get free cake.

"I sit in the make-up trailer very early in the morning and while the lady is patting my face with a brush, I look very sad," Walken told the London Independent. "And sooner or later she'll ask: 'What's the matter? You look a little down today.' So, I'll say: 'I'm all right.' Then she'll finally ask again: 'Come on. What is it?' Then I reply: 'It's my birthday, and I'm sad, because I'm alone ... and I don't have a cake.' ... By lunchtime a cake is wheeled out with bottles of champagne, and we all have a lot of fun."


High five, Chris. High five.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Hey...

I'm going to be out-of-town this weekend. So it's very likely that there'll be no posts from me until Monday.

It will be a difficult time for everyone, but stay strong. We'll make it.

Friday, July 22, 2005

My Head Hurts...

My head is splitting open with the fires of a thousand supernovas; I think I may have some sort of head cold or something. I can't provide you with my patented snark and wit. But I can link you to posts of splendor:

Billmon has a chilling post about the upcoming vote on expanding the PATRIOT Act. So does The Heretik.

FAFBLOG! is always great, The Medium Lobster's post today is, well, fantastic. Its about flypaper.

Ross of ThisSpaceForRent and TheTalentShow fame, has a post today on Hillary'08 and her moral crusade:
I have always argued that 3rd party voting is a short-sighted pursuit with inevitable failure written into its destiny, but what choice do we have when the party supposed to represent us obviously thinks we aren't worth their time? Hillary should be ashamed of herself for drumming up this crusade when we're in the middle of a war, and when our very freedoms are under attack from religious fanatics calling themselves "christians."

I'm tired of seeing so called liberals like Hillary and Joementum kiss up to right wing weirdos who can't handle modernity, or the possibiilty that people are doing things they don't understand. Why should they get my supprt now? And why should I give a damn what conservatives think about morality? Conservatives support this war, sexism, the spread of poverty and limiting the freedom of adults to determine their own lives. How moral is that? Conservatives, I posit, are actually immoral and should not be courted or listened to.


I friggin' agree.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The War in Iraq is still going on?

You might have forgotten about that whole "War in Iraq" thing that's beeen going on for more than two years. But I really can't blame you. The media is barely paying attention to what's going on in Iraq, instead focusing their coverage on the latest white woman to go misssing.

The latest report to come out about Iraqi casualties put the total at almost 25,000. This, of course, is a very consrervative estimate, as other groups have put the number at over 100,000. But this study, compiled from Iraqi and international media reports, puts forth concrete evidence to back up their numbers. But the scary thing about all of this is that the number doesn't seem like it'll be going down anytime soon:

Civilian deaths attributed to US and coalition military forces peaked in the invasion period from March to May 2003 - which accounts for 30% of all civilian deaths in the two-year period - but the longer-term trend has been for increasing numbers to die at the hands of insurgents.

Figures obtained last week from the Iraqi interior ministry put the average civilian and police officer death toll in insurgent attacks from August 2004 to March 2005 at 800 a month.



So, with Saddam Hussein out of power, violence among insurgents has increased. It looks like the American invasion has made Iraq a more dangerous place to live for the average citizen. So has anything good come out of this war? Anybody?

Ok, onto Roberts...

Obviously there’s been a lot of talk about this John Roberts character. One of the main things being said is that no one really knows too much about the specifics of his beliefs. His work as a lawyer for Republican administrations and big business marks him as a conservative. Being nominated by George W Bush marks him as a conservative. But what kind of Supreme Court Justice he'll make is a big question.

During the hearings concerning his confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit he was asked many times about his beliefs and how he would interpret the Constitution as a judge. Every time he was asked questions that hoped to shed light on that important detail he answered that he would look first to precedent set by the Supreme Court (via The Talent Show):

Senator DURBIN. Understood. I have been an attorney, represented a client, sometimes argued a position that I did not necessarily buy, personally. And so I am asking you today what is your position on Roe v. Wade?

Mr. ROBERTS.
I don’t—Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land. It is not—it’s a little more than settled. It was reaffirmed in the face of a challenge that it should be overruled in the Casey decision. Accordingly, it’s the settled law of the land. There’s nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent, as well as Casey.


So, Roberts said that he would respect the precedent, the law of the land, resulting from Roe v Wade. So as a judge in a lower court he pledged to respect the decisions of a higher court, despite his personal beliefs on the issue. The problem is that not only is he on deck to be placed in the highest court (the court, whose decisions create the precedents Roberts so dearly upholds), no one can be sure of what he thinks about Roe or any issue.

If we throw out evidence of his ideology from his career and clients as a lawyer and focus only on his career as a judge, we don't have much to determine what he would bring to the most important court in our nation. Information we need to know. I personally believe that he is, at the very least, sympathetic to his client's causes he fought for as a lawyer, thus an unsuitable nominee based upon what that says about his ideology.

But, because no one seems to know what this guy is all about (on both sides of the aisle, even Ann Coulter is in the dark and displeased) it begs the question: Why is Bush nominating him?

Bush is determined to leave with a legacy that rivals Ronald "Conservative Godhead" Reagan's. Reagan put Scalia and Rehnquist on the bench, there's no way that Bush is risking his place in history by making the mistake conservatives feel his father (Bush 41) made with Justice Souter. (Sin of the father...)

So the lack of knowledge about Roberts takes on a new ominous air.

We might not know what kind of justice Roberts will make, but becuase Bush is nominating him I fear for the worst.


SORRY: Blogger fucked this post up. I'm not sure what happened to the end of it so I rewrote what was there originally (the original was much snappier, my apologies). I don't know what happened.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Stay focused...

Ok. So George just announced that his nominee would be Judge John Roberts, Solicitor General under Bush (41), and Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, 2003‐present.

He is virulently
pro-criminalization/anti-choice. And because of that stance among others, he is wrong for America. (He wants religion in highschools, he's anti-environment and he's pro-secrecy. He has an impressive (see: not really, he's only been a judge for little over 2 YEARS!) resume, but he is a partisan hack. Read more about him: here, here and here.)

However.

However.

Before we get lost in the details of just why this man is wrong for the Supreme Court, it is important that we understand this nomination for what it is: a distraction.

There was whispers around DC that Bush was in the market for a real nominee (someone that would have support on both aisles and would be easily confirmed even in the warring Senate). But, right now there's several big time scandals that need to be covered-up, in the eyes of BushCo. So BushCo is hoping that Robert's is enough of a wing-nut to get us liberals to switch gears and stop talking about Rove and stop talking about the Downing St. Memo. (and, you know, the stuff in Iraq)

We simply cannot afford to lose focus here.


There is
action we can all take to harass our senators into not confirming Roberts; we do need to ration our energies to keep this jerk off the Big Bench. But what's more important right now is the need to keep stoking the fires that are currently sweeping through the White House.

Roberts is damage control. We need to keep doing damage.

UPDATE:
Amanda has a great post about what our D's need to do.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Score 1 for religious tolerance...

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Co) actually said this outloud:

Talk show host Pat Campbell asked the Littleton Republican how the country should respond if terrorists struck several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.

"Well, what if you said something like — if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites," Tancredo answered.

"You're talking about bombing Mecca," Campbell said.

"Yeah," Tancredo responded.

Ummm. What the fuck? I mean, is he serious? Well, according to the congressman, he was just "throwing out some ideas".

I should probably speak slowly.

Ahem.

Just like there are more non-fundamentalist Xtians than fundies, there are MORE Muslims who are not extremists than are. Just like the Christian world is not religiously homogenous, neither is the Islamic world. So bombing Mecca in response to another terrorist attack by fundamentalists would be akin to bombing Jerusalem in response to Eric Rudolph.

Also, you are a fucking jerk, Tom Tancredo.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Oh, The Heretik...

If you don't routinely check The Heretik, you're missing out. Here's a gem from one of his posts today:
The White Man's Blessed Burden

[...]

Bush might also want to rethink using the word mission, as its secondary meaning of sending a light out into the world to convert those who live in darkness plays not so well to darker skinned people who see the white man'’s blessed burden for what it is.

Bush so often puts things in simple terms so easy to understand. What he fails to understand is that to look at complex things in simple ways is simply dumb. The nature of our enemy is more difficult to understand than the nature of the man who would lead us in the battle.

As a darker-skinned person, I whole-heartedly agree. Everytime an evangelical looks at me I can almost see his mouth water. New Convert! I've been told that I would make "such a good Xtian"; I, of course, disagree.

You see, its the whole suspending rational thought thing... It's not for me.

Billmon makes a funny...

From The Whiskey Bar:

A Clean Sweep
"I would like this to end as quickly as possible so we know the facts. And if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."

George W. Bush
Remarks to Reporters
July 18, 2005

But then who's going to answer the phones?

Haha.

The War Against Things That People Associate With Terrorism

New York's Metropolitan Transit Administration had nothing against Sikhs and Muslism who wear religious head coverings. As long as the organization's logo is patched on there, of course.

After wearing his turban for 23 years on the job without a problem, Kevin Harrington was suspended from his job when he refused to remove the turban. Only after he agreed to wear an MTA patch was he allowed to return to his position. Now there are others claiming discrimination from the Transit Authority. From the NY Daily News:

Four more Sikh men who work at the Transit Authority plan to file discrimination charges against the agency, their lawyers said yesterday.

The legal action is expected along with the filing of a separate federal bias suit by Kevin Harrington, another Sikh worker who has long battled the TA and its parent Metropolitan Transportation Administration for the right to wear his turban on the job.

"The MTA attempted to divide and conquer [the Sikh workers] but failed miserably," said Amardeep Singh, an attorney who represents Harrison and the other Sikh employes. "All Sikhs at the MTA are standing united."


So, first things first: This is blatant discrimination that should not be tolerated. As Harrison's lawyer explains in the story:

"No one had a problem on 9/11 identifying Harrington as an MTA employee because he didn't have a patch on his turban," said Kadidal. "Saying that Sikhs should wear an MTA patch on their turbans is like saying that Sikhs who work at McDonald's should wear the golden arch on their turbans, too."


But even beyond that, this knee-jerk reaction to the tragedy in London reveals deeper problems. It is just more evidence that little has changed since the 9/11 bombings in terms of how Muslims and other "brown people" (to use Arun's terminology) are viewed by the rest of the population. This kind of discrimination would not have happened with any other ethnic group. But in the aftermath of the Underground bombings in London, the backlash is felt as far away as New York City.

So instead of actually trying to deal with the fact that we don't have the proper security in place when it comes to mass transit to prevent another terrorist attack, the Transit Authority wants to just make riders feel safer by making sure that all of their workers (even the ones who have been working there for over two decades) look nothing like the kind of person that would be a terrorist. This action, of course, does absolutely no good. Not only is it discrimination, but it takes energy away from where Americans need it most now: keeping passengers safe.

It's okay though, because now the MTA will probably just try to avoid hiring anybody who remotely resembles a Middle Eastern terrorist, so they won't have to worry about this sort of thing. I love happy endings.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Wow. Big Shock...

Apparently Scooter Libby is also a source of the Plame leak.

If this scandal takes out Rove and Scooter, that will make me immensely happy...

not to mention, just overflowing with righteous amounts of schadenfreude!

Here's hoping...

I hear she even had The Police write her a song...

Ok, bad joke.

Roxanne ask's some good questions.

I might add that Yours Truly (under the moniker, Peter Parker) has a pretty funny comment. I do what I can.

Frank Rich is a good man...

Today's Op-ed from Frank Rich is very important. It provides the necessary perspective to truly understand what the big deal is with the Rove scandal:
This case is not about Joseph Wilson. He is, in Alfred Hitchcock's parlance, a MacGuffin, which, to quote the Oxford English Dictionary, is "a particular event, object, factor, etc., initially presented as being of great significance to the story, but often having little actual importance for the plot as it develops." Mr. Wilson, his mission to Niger to check out Saddam's supposed attempts to secure uranium that might be used in nuclear weapons and even his wife's outing have as much to do with the real story here as Janet Leigh's theft of office cash has to do with the mayhem that ensues at the Bates Motel in "Psycho."

This case is about Iraq, not Niger. The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - the big enchilada, to borrow a 1973 John Ehrlichman phrase from the Nixon tapes - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. That's why the stakes are so high: this scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative who posed for Vanity Fair.

So put aside Mr. Wilson's February 2002 trip to Africa. The plot that matters starts a month later, in March, and its omniscient author is Dick Cheney. It was Mr. Cheney (on CNN) who planted the idea that Saddam was "actively pursuing nuclear weapons at this time." The vice president went on to repeat this charge in May on "Meet the Press," in three speeches in August and on "Meet the Press" yet again in September. Along the way the frightening word "uranium" was thrown into the mix.

[...]

Once we were locked into the war, and no W.M.D.'s could be found, the original plot line was dropped with an alacrity that recalled the "Never mind!" with which Gilda Radner's Emily Litella used to end her misinformed Weekend Update commentaries on "Saturday Night Live." The administration began its dog-ate-my-homework cover-up, asserting that the various warning signs about the uranium claims were lost "in the bowels" of the bureaucracy or that it was all the C.I.A.'s fault or that it didn't matter anyway, because there were new, retroactive rationales to justify the war. But the administration knows how guilty it is. That's why it has so quickly trashed any insider who contradicts its story line about how we got to Iraq, starting with the former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill and the former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke.

Next to White House courtiers of their rank, Mr. Wilson is at most a Rosencrantz or Guildenstern. The brief against the administration's drumbeat for war would be just as damning if he'd never gone to Africa. But by overreacting in panic to his single Op-Ed piece of two years ago, the White House has opened a Pandora's box it can't slam shut. Seasoned audiences of presidential scandal know that there's only one certainty ahead: the timing of a Karl Rove resignation. As always in this genre, the knight takes the fall at exactly that moment when it's essential to protect the king.


This is a great column; Frank Rich is the new black.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

God, I can barely handle myself right now...

More ridiculous column-writing, this time from WashPost's Carol Swain:
It's time for the Republican Party to write a new chapter in race relations. What I have in mind is something beyond the Senate's recent resolution on lynching and this week's expression of regret by a high-ranking Republican official for the GOP's use of what came to be know as the "Southern Strategy." What I propose is a formal apology for slavery and its aftermath. This could take the form of a joint resolution passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president in a ceremonial setting where Americans could gather to symbolically bury their past.

[...]

President Bush is the right man for the job. Since he cannot run for reelection, he can't be accused of pandering for votes. Because he is a born-again Christian, he can and should do this. Since most blacks are Christians, they would graciously accept the apology. By issuing an apology, President Bush could dramatically improve race relations and his party's standing among African Americans.
Graciously accept it, huh? Why shouldn't they, I mean, that's all black people want, an apology. Better yet, an apology that changes nothing. I mean, obviously.

I'm not sure how many of you got the chance to read The Black Commentators response to that apology for lynching but I'm pretty sure it would double as a response to another actionless apology (especially from a person and party whose politics and political heritage continues to oppress African Americans and all minorities):
We will not forgive, or accept an apology that does not come with a change in power relationships. And we will reject any so-called Black leadership that makes its own deal.
And you shouldn't. Everytime BushCo cuts another social program like AmeriCorp or Jumpstart (that help innercity children overcome their institutional disadvantages); everytime he passes a tax-cut for his cabal of rich, old white men; everytime he race baits (see: Rove's hatchet job against McCain); everytime he shamelessly puts a token minority on stage in his Soviet town halls; everytime Bush does what he's been doing his entire life there is another reason to refuse to accept a toothless, meaningless apology.

African Americans deserve an apology, sure. But they deserve much more than that.

PS. I am not African American, and I write this post because it offends me immensely, regardless. I certainly don't presume to be the voice of the Black community (as you can see by the Black Commentator, they definitely don't need me to make points for them). I am just one angry dude.

Man, can't you just go home...

Sigh. Basically, John Tierney hates me and enjoys making my head hurt with his horrible, horrible columns. Who the hell hired this guy? I mean, whose bright idea was it to put this waste of life in the NYT twice a week?

In today's column he tries his hand at the whole Rove-is-a-dangerous-jerk scandal:
At first it looked like an outrageous crime harming innocent victims: a brave whistle-blower was smeared by a vicious White House politico who committed a felony by exposing the whistle-blower's wife as an undercover officer, endangering her and her contacts in the field.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Unfortunately he doesn't stop there:
The White House felon So far Karl Rove appears guilty of telling reporters something he had heard, that Valerie Wilson, the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, worked for the C.I.A. But because of several exceptions in the 1982 law forbidding disclosure of a covert operative's identity, virtually no one thinks anymore that he violated it. The law doesn't seem to apply to Ms. Wilson because she apparently hadn't been posted abroad during the five previous years.

The endangered spies Ms. Wilson was compared to James Bond in the early days of the scandal, but it turns out she had been working for years at C.I.A. headquarters, not exactly a deep-cover position. Since being outed, she's hardly been acting like a spy who's worried that her former contacts are in danger.

At the time her name was printed, her face was still not that familiar even to most Washington veterans, but that soon changed. When her husband received a "truth-telling" award at a Nation magazine luncheon, he wept as he told of his sorrow at his wife's loss of anonymity. Then he introduced her to the crowd.

And then, for any enemy agents who missed seeing her face at the luncheon but had an Internet connection, she posed with her husband for a photograph in Vanity Fair.

There are so many things wrong with this, where to begin? Firstly she wasn't working at CIA headquarters the 5-years before being outed but at a semi-secret location in Boston. Secondly, it is pretty douche-baggish to accuse of Wilson of outing his wife. She was outed before that luncheon and anyone on the other end of our spy-games would have found that out thanks to the (justified) media blitz during the aftermath of the Novak column and the subsequent investigation. So, John, you fucking jerk, none of this is Wilson's fault.

And, in regards to the illegality of Rove's actions: there wouldn't be a elongated investigation by both the Justice Dept and the CIA, if it's so obvious that no crime was committed. (more on that below)


The smeared whistle-blower Mr. Wilson accused the White House of willfully ignoring his report showing that Iraq had not been seeking nuclear material from Niger. But a bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that his investigation had yielded little valuable information, hadn't reached the White House and hadn't disproved the Iraq-Niger link - in fact, in some ways it supported the link.

Bullshit. Well, thats a fucking ridiculous twisting of words. Wilson came home with convincing evidence that Saddam had made attempts to aquire yellow cake but none had ever been provided from Niger. Wilson, who was not an intelligence operative and didn't have anywhere near a substantial security clearance, found out that all evidence linking Niger and Iraq were based upon obvious forgeries. He came home and found that the lie based upon these forgeries was being used as propaganda to justify preemptive war with Iraq and he dutifully blew the whistle. So yes, it yeilded "little valuable information" on Iraqi operations but it yeilded tremendous information on just how far the Bush Admin. would go to topple Iraq.
Mr. Wilson presented himself as a courageous truth-teller who was being attacked by lying partisans, but he himself became a Democratic partisan (working with the John Kerry presidential campaign) who had a problem with facts.

Again, fuck off, John. If you outed my (non-existant) wife in order to shut me up, I would do everything I could to keep you from the power to do the like again.

Jeez. Reading his columns is pretty effective cardio, I'm doing jump-flip-kicks thanks to the righteous anger this column is supplying. (In other news, I would like to apologize in advance to whoever's cat that was; she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I cannot be held accountable.)

So now to the word of the law and the legal ramifications of outing a covert-op. Firstly, Valerie Plame was in fact undercover. The CIA refuses to discuss what exactly she was doing in Niger, and Tieney (and allt he GOP asshats) are using that to their advantage. In reality, the CIA believed a crime had been committed by outing their agent. It also brings me back to "if there was nothing wrong committed why did it take more than a year for Rove to come forward?" thought.

Here's the law Rove broke, despite "not know her name" or any other red herring's he throws us:
Intelligence Identities Protection Act
§ 421. Protection of identities of certain United States undercover intelligence officers, agents, informants, and sources
(a)
Disclosure of information by persons having or having had access to classified information that identifies covert agent
Whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent’s intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
So, 10 years in the clink for Darling Karl.

PS. I think I need to prepare for future Tierney lambasting. I need new and colorful way of saying he's an willfully-ignorant, jerk-off, douchebag. Any suggestions?

PPS. I cuddle cats, I don't kick them.

Friday, July 15, 2005

I Laugh, I Weep...

Matt Taibi has an absolutely hysterical piece in the NyPress today:
NEEDED: Assignment editor in important cultural organization. Must have no morals and be completely full of shit. 5+ years exp. required. Serious applicants only.

It was Sunday, but I called right away. A woman answered:

"Hello?"

"Yes, I'm calling about the ad."

"Are you completely full of shit?"

"I'm a journalist," I explained.

"A good one?"

"A hack," I said. "But at night, I sleep like a baby."

She paused. "How does Tuesday at nine sound?"

"That's fine."
I don't want to ruin the rest for you, the article is amazing. What are you doing, why haven't you gone there already?!?!

Hmm...

As the R's circle their curmudgeony wagons around Darling Karl Rove, and proclaim that Rove did nothing wrong I ask the same question that Joshua Micah Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo asks:
If Rove et al. didn't do anything wrong, why have they spent two years lying about what they did? No law was broken? Then what is Fitzgerald looking at? Why is a grand jury investigating Rove? A prosecutor like Fitzgerald, a Republican appointee, wouldn't be throwing journalists in jail unless he thought he was investigating a serious crime.

What's their answer to that? They have none. Rove runs the Washington Republican party, owns it. So it's anything but hold him accountable.

Yep. Basically.

Man, Rush is a jerk...

Eventhough the apologies were disingenuous attempts to curry favor with black voters (mmmm, curried favor) by the RNC...(see: my previous post)

If only the apology wasn't such a calculated move to steal D's base...

RNC Chair Ken Mehlman's apologies for the Southern Strategy to the NAACP is a step in the correct direction.

But, a certain someone doesnt think so. That someone, you ask? Mr. Rush Limbaugh:

From the July 14 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: President Bush skipping this week's annual NAALCP convention for the fifth straight year, but that's not preventing the White House and the Republican Party from waging a drive to woo African-American voters. Ken Mehlman of the RNC is going to the NAALCP convention, and he is basically going to tell them how the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln lost its way with African-American voters over the years and how determined the party is to get them back. He said, "We can't call ourselves a true majority unless we reach out to African-Americans and make it the party of Lincoln. There was a time when African-American support turned Democrat, and we didn't do enough to retain it. Now we want to build on the gains we made in the last election."

Know what he's going to do? He's going to go down there and basically apologize for what has come to be known as the Southern Strategy, popularized in the Nixon administration. He's going to go down there and apologize for it. In the midst of all of this, in the midst of all that's going on, once again, Republicans are going to go bend over and grab the ankles. They're going to the NAALCP. This is like going into Hyannisport and apologizing to [Sen.] Ted Kennedy [D-MA] for whatever and expecting him to become a supporter. It's like showing up at the [Sen.] Chuck Schumer [D-NY]-Joe Wilson press conference in 20 minutes and saying, "Okay, Ambassador Wilson, we apologize. We hope you'll support us. We can't become a majority party until people like you are voting for us." It is just -- it's absolutely absurd.

NAALCP of course stands for Nat'l Association of Liberal Colored People, in Rush-speak.

Well, I am glad his true colors are shining through, reminding everyone just how fake any apology by a Republican is.

They don't apologize for winning; they apologize for winning (see: in order to).

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Ahem, Read this carefully...

African-Americans. are. not. stupid.

Say whatever the fuck you want, George. Promise'em the sky and the moon. Pretend you don't mind shaking their hands you elitist asshole. They're still not going to vote for your tax-cutting-for-the-obscenely-wealthy, anti-civil-rights ass.

However...

The RNC is aiming at converting black voters to their side by supporting controversial conservative minority puppets for local office. This is a scary strategy that may yield long-term dividends for the R's.

So, Democrats, you listen up too. You have a lot of minorities in your camp. Put them in office. Let's show some good faith efforts to represent the diversity of our party in it's elected officials. There are smart people of every color.

Oh, Now you want a genius...

David Brooks is still writing columns. No one is sure why. Today's concerns who Bush shold nominate to fill Sandra's spot. His advice: pick a genius (but only for the Supreme Court, not for, you know, the President). Brooks makes the case for Michael McConnel:
Look, for example, at how Michael McConnell, who is often mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee, has already influenced American life through sheer force of intellect. First as a professor and now as a judge, McConnell has outargued those who would wall off religion from public life. He's a case study of the sort of forceful advocate of ideas you have a chance to leave the country as your legacy.

McConnell (whom I have never met) is an honest, judicious scholar. When writing about church and state matters, he begins with the frank admission that religion is a problem in a democracy. Religious people feel a loyalty to God and to the state, and sometimes those loyalties conflict.

[...]

The problem with the Separationist view, he has argued in essays and briefs, is that it's not practical. As government grows and becomes more involved in health, charity, education and culture issues, it begins pushing religion out of those spheres. The Separationist doctrine leads inevitably to discrimination against religion. The state ends up punishing people who are exercising a constitutional right.

The Seperationist view is discriminatory to religion. Well, not exactly, I would say that it is aware that there are huge problems when allowing religion to enter government. One of the problems with religious expression within the frame of government is that there are a whole lot of them. To prevent violation of (at least the spirit of) the establishment clause the goverment would need to eqaully acknowledge every religion of its citizenry or none at all. And with a population as vast and diverse as ours, that's impossible.
In one case, a public high school allowed students to write papers about reincarnation, but a student who wrote on "The Life of Jesus Christ" was given a zero by her teacher. The courts sided with the teacher. In another case, a physiology professor at a public university was forbidden from delivering an optional after-class lecture at the university entitled "Evidences of God in Human Physiology," even though other professors were free to profess any secular viewpoints they chose. Around the country, Marxists could meet in public buildings, but Bible study was impermissible.

Well all these examples are pretty easily argued. The student who wrote a paper on Jesus did not fulfill the assignment and desreved no credit (go to this post from Jesse at Pandagon to see the full details of this particular case). The physiology professor's lecture about evidence of God in human physiology shouldn't have given that lecture becuase not only is he wrong (there is no such evidence) he is wrong and in a position of intellectual authority (being a professor of a science) thus highly influential to his students.

The reason professors are free to discuss secular veiws is because secular views are in an area where there can be rigorous testing and search for truth. Religion is irrational and there is no proof that, or rather, it cannot be prooved whether it exists or not. And in the eyes of a scientist it has no bearing in a real discussion of science. Thus religious discussion cannot take place in a scientific setting (theology or history classes are fine, of course) becuase there is no point.

But we already know this.

Alas, a Blog has a brief description on McConnell:
The Buzz:
- Long and noteably conservative written record from his time in Academia.
- Religious right would support him due to what has been called “sharp opposition” to abortion rights.
- Very controversial positions and some approval from bi-partisan academics
- Speculated that the White House may consider him too independent and uncontrollable.
- Age 50

Well, he seems to be pro-criminalization which is no good. But the rest seems ok, if only he sided in favor of Roe. He is definitely better than some of the other jerk-off that are being lined up as we speak.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Not to take the focus of of Rove...

...but i just read this amazing post by The Liberal Avenger (heads up from BitchPh.D.) about reframing the debate on abortion (check out the video first):
Lauren links to a fascinating video (warning: a couple of possibly disturbing images are briefly shown). Basically, someone went out with a camera to an anti-abortion demonstration to interview the protestors, and asked them two questions: (a) do you think abortion should be illegal? and (b) if abortion were made illegal, what should the punishment be for women who have them?

All of those interviewed said that abortion should be illegal, on the grounds that it was a form of murder. However, few of them endorsed the conclusion that would seem to follow from that premise - i.e., that women who abort should be sentenced to prison. When asked (b), all of the demonstrators hemmed and hawed for a bit, and most of them refused to say what they thought the appropriate punishment for illegal abortion ought to be. Some said there should be no punishment at all - that it was between "her and God" - and a few eventually, and reluctantly, bit the bullet and said that these women should go to jail. Almost every one of them said something like "I haven't really thought about that." These were people who had been involved with the anti-abortion movement for years, and none of them had given any thought to this issue; they hadn't spent any time considering what the consequences of criminalizing abortion would be.

More amazing, to me at least, was that even these hard-core anti-abortion folks, who unhesitatingly labeled abortion 'murder', couldn't bring themselves to say that women who have abortions should be treated like murderers are - i.e., sentenced to lengthy prison terms. They hadn't thought through the consequences of their own position, and when confronted with them, they intuitively backed away from them.


So basically even some of the more ardent anti-choice activists balk at the desire to criminalize abortion. So he suggests:
...it strikes me that the aforementioned video suggests a new, potent way of framing the abortion debate. Presently, the abortion debate is framed mostly in terms of 'choice'. Our side is 'pro-choice'; their bumper stickers tell us that "it's a child, not a choice." I don't think this is a terrible way of framing the issue, but watching the video makes me wonder if we wouldn't be better off by characterizing the opposition not as 'anti-abortion' or even 'anti-choice' (certainly not 'pro-life') but rather as pro-criminalization. Instead of talking about how the religious right wants to make abortion illegal, we should be talking about how they want to criminalize it. This might seem like a small point, but I think that psychologically there's a world of difference - as the video (assuming it is fairly representative, as I believe it is) seems to confirm. These people had absolutely no problem saying that abortion should be illegal, but they couldn't bring themselves to view women who have abortions - even in a hypothetical scenario where abortion was illegal - as criminals.

A fair number of people seem to support the idea of banning abortion in the abstract. But they need to be forced to confront the concrete implications of this - i.e., throwing women in jail. It's one thing to endorse a ban in the abstract, and quite another to support treating women as criminals.

So repeat after me: They aren't 'pro-life'; they're 'pro-criminalization'. Republicans don't want to prevent abortion; they want to prosecute and imprison any woman who gets an abortion. To paraphrase Ted Kennedy, the religious right's America isn't just a land where women would be forced into back-alley abortions, it's a land where women would be sitting in jail cells for doing so.


It's interesting food for thought. It's convincing to me after seeing that video, and I would be very interesting how it would poll in focus groups. I think I will join this re-framing until there is strong evidence that it's ineffective. So welcome to the last time I will say this: pro-life, anti-choice.

So malevolent it's admirable.

The White House has been tiptoeing pretty carefully around l'Affaire Rove, but the Republican National Committee has quite clearly taken a side. I'll give you a hint, it's not Valerie Plame's:
Democrats and most of the Beltway press corps are baying for Karl Rove's head over his role in exposing a case of CIA nepotism involving Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame. On the contrary, we'd say the White House political guru deserves a prize--perhaps the next iteration of the "Truth-Telling" award that The Nation magazine bestowed upon Mr. Wilson before the Senate Intelligence Committee exposed him as a fraud.

I mean, that's a fucking amaxing thing to say! The shear chutzpah blows me away! "CIA nepotism"! The Senate Intelligence Committee exposed him as a fraud!! News to me. I know this is a theme that's been popping up more and more among intellectual left-wingers, so let me state it now before I get into specific claims, and then I'll come back to it at the end: the right wing is now the party of the postmodern. Indeed, this article is the reductio ad absurdum of the postmodern.

Here is a list of claims in that article:
1) Joseph Wilson's trip to Africa was a matter of "nepotism," but he acknowledges that his wife had suggested him, but this was because he was a logical candidate for the job; he had been an ambassador to the area and knew how to get the information he wanted.

2) Karl Rove as "whistle-blower" of a CIA scandal, who didn't even know Plame's name (as if this matters, knowing that she is Wilson's wife is, I would think, pretty specific), and he was just making public information passed to him by other "journalists" (who apparently had enough wherewithal to not out a field agent): Karl Rove is one of the key minds behind this Administration, and is present at almost every meeting. There is nothing he does not know. Moreover, he is well-known at being an expert on digging out every single bit of information and then using that information, no matter what it is, against the person. Case in point: In the 2000 South Carolina primary he had "push polls" done that asked whether people would be more or less likely to vote for John McCain if they knew he had an illegitimate bi-racial daughter. What do you think these people though when they saw him there with his adopted daughter? The man is a nightmare.

3) Even if Rove did it (which is basically acknoweledged by the tone of the piece), it wasn't a crime, which even the New York Times (etc.) agree on. Of course, what they agree on is that Judith Miller et al. shouldn't have gone to jail (I am undecided, leaning towards they should have) for not revealing the source (can anyone tell me why Robert Novak, who published Plame's identity, isn't with them?). As of now all media outlets are actively pursuing the story. That's why it's an invesigation.

Anyway, there's more, but you can read it for yourself. To go back to my point, this is postmodernism at its finest. I doubt the person who wrote this even cares about the truth, or would care if it came to be generally known. Facts no longer impinge. Everything in our discourse has sunk to the level of opinion, so it's up to you to make your opinion fact. "The marketplace of ideas," I guess. I do not doubt that we will soon hear "conservatives" constantly chanting these lines with zeal. All that matters in a democracy is majority opinion anyway.

More like Deputy Jerk of Staff, am I rite?

There's a lot of Rove posts in the blogosphere today; if you collected everyone's 2 cents, i bet there'd be enough to finance the another tax cut or two. What I am glad to see it two things, the press is doing its job (see: Sean's post below) and the Republicans are trying to circle the wagons around an indefensible man.
With a growing number of Democrats calling for Rove's resignation, the Republican National Committee and congressional Republicans sought to discredit Democratic critics and knock down allegations of possible criminal activity.

"The angry left is trying to smear" Rove, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, a Rove protege, said in an interview.


Oh,
we're trying to smear him. There's so much delicious irony just dripping from that sentence. But of course, the R's know what they're doing:
The emerging GOP strategy -- devised by Mehlman and other Rove loyalists outside of the White House -- is to try to undermine those Democrats calling for Rove's ouster, play down Rove's role and wait for President Bush's forthcoming Supreme Court selection to drown out the controversy, according to several high-level Republicans.


It's not that Rove is innocent, they're just rying to stall until the press get's distracted by the bigger story of SCOTUS nominations. It's a good strategy given the laziness of the mainstream press, but if the White House press corp keeps on Scottie "Really Terrible At Lying Thus Terrible At His Job" McClellan it's not going to work.

The problem of course is that it's very possible, and alsmot certain, that Karl Rove broke a huge law by outing a CIA operative in Africa. Not only did he out her, her outted her intentionally and for political gain. So, this wasn't some accident, this was politics at its dirtiest. Someone should have told Rove that Valerie Plame is on our side,; not that it would've mattered: Rove would eat the still beating heart of his best friend's kitten if it would score points in polls. Thus, committing a felony is well within his potential.

This issue is a true test of whether the D's can muster enough courage and conviction to do something right, er, correct. They need to keep yelling and yelling and yelling until the press cannot possibly continue to ignore it. BushCo needs to lose an important battle before he has a chance to build up momentum for the SCOTUS War.

UPDATE: Apparently Rove has been fired for leaking sensitive information to columnist and undead, Robert Novak before:
Although Rove was an advisor ostensibly working behind the scenes, his name continued to be associated with public controversy. During George H.W. Bush's second presidential campaign, Rove was fired from the campaign team because of suspicions that he had leaked information to columnist Robert Novak — the same columnist who first reported Plame's CIA role in 2003, citing anonymous administration sources.
UPDATE II: Ted from Crooked Timber, has a great post on the defense of Rove by the R's and FuaxNews. I can't suggest it strongly enough.

PS. I think it's amazingly telling that one of the biggest stories yesterday was that what happened in the White House press corp. For once these people are doing their jobs and yet they don't see the irony of covering their own action in print. I mean the only reason that facet is newsworthy is that they haven't done that in some time. My challenge to the press is to make this type of strong journalism less newsworthy by making it a mainstay in DC, at least.

The Washington Press Corps actually behave like journalists for once

We're used to the lapdog journalism of the television and print reporters assigned to the White House beat throughout the Bush administration. But it looks like things are changing? Maybe?

These reporters seem to be okay with failing to enagage in anytype of investigative journalism, giving the Bush adminsitration what basically amounted to a free pass with their shoddy case for invading Iraq and barely even mentioning the Downing Street Memo. But when these guys believe that they were personaly lied to (as opposed to when the Bush administration lies to the American public), they get angry. And in this case, the American people benefit.

18 months ago, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan made it clear to reporters that Karl Rove had nothing to do with the leaking of the name of a CIA operative. Recent revelations have proved that to be a lie. And the Press Corps is pissed.

Dana Milbank's piece in the Washington Post details Monday's press conference in his Washington Sketch column. Here are some highlights:

It was journalists' first chance to grill McClellan on camera since coming to the conclusion that he had misled them 18 months ago when he said President Bush's top political aide, Karl Rove, had nothing to do with the unmasking of a CIA operative. The recipients of McClellan's bum steer were furious -- hectoring him more than questioning him.

"You're in a bad spot here, Scott."

"Have you consulted a personal attorney?"


The 32-minute pummeling was perhaps the worst McClellan received since he got the job two years ago. His eyes were red and tired. He wiggled his foot nervously behind the lectern and robotically refused to answer no fewer than 35 questions about Rove and the outing of the CIA's Valerie Plame. Twenty-two times McClellan repeated that an "ongoing" investigation prevented him from explaining the gap between his past statements and the facts.


McClellan is not used to this kind of stuff and he was obviously affected by the atmosphere. He repeatedly responded to any question concerning Rove with the answer "while the investigation is on-going, the White House is not going to comment." This was not good enough for his audience, however.

McClellan delivered a nearly verbatim response to CBS's John Roberts, so NBC's David Gregory tried to provoke him, asking: "Did Karl Rove commit a crime?"

"This is a question relating to an ongoing investigation," a pained McClellan repeated. After dodging some follow-up questions, he tried to quiet Gregory by saying, "Let me finish."

Gregory almost shouted back: "No, you're not finishing. You're not saying
anything."

ABC's Terry Moran tried next, observing that Rove "has essentially
been caught red-handed peddling this information."

McClellan repeated his mantra. "Ongoing criminal investigation," said he.


Possibly my favorite part of all this is how a frightened McClellan turned to an old friend for support in his time of need, and came up with nothing. "Yes, I see the reporter from Fox News has a question?"

McClellan tried for relief from Fox News, but Carl Cameron hit him with a tough one. "Does the president continue to have confidence in Mr. Rove?"

McClellan wouldn't say, so a mischievous April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks tried to get McClellan to say something -- anything -- about Rove. "Who is Karl Rove as it relates to this administration?" she asked.

"I think I've responded," McClellan answered.



You can also read the entire transcript of the press briefing here.

It's good to see an appropriate line of questioning for a change from these people. Maybe they'll act more like true journalists from now on when it comes to other important subjects? Like the continuing problems in Iraq? Or the denial of civil rights to gays? Maybe? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?