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Saturday, April 16, 2005

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Your Linguistic Profile:

50% General American English

25% Yankee

15% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

Take the Test

I get where the American English thing dominates, because I pretty much talk like a TV set (and that's probably not a good thing). It's interesting to see that having learned to speak in Massachusetts I still retain quite a bit of "Yankee" despite not having lived there since I was 8, and I know where the "Dixie" (nice word for "hillbilly") comes from -- my dad. But one of the questions was on the use of the term "catty-corner," which I DO use, and I know that I got from my mom, who came from Missouri and whose expressions are largely midwesternisms. lists the derivation of the word as "From obsolete cater, four at dice, from Middle English, from Old French catre, four, from Latin quattuor." So who knows how and where it entered the American vocabulary. I'm not going to argue with them, but I was always under the impression that it was a midwestern expression, along with "cattywompas" and "kittybysaw," words that nobody else in my little red school house in Attleborough, Massachusetts knew the meaning of, either.

So how do you test out?


The Book Meme: Wherein We All Try to Prove We Know How to Read

Who knows where it started...TBogg gave it to SteveAudio who gave to me, and Skippy argues that it isn't actually a meme at all, but that's what everyone is calling it, so here is my entry in the sweepstakes:

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

Alan Moore's Voices of the Fire. The word "genius" is bandied around all too easily these days, but Alan Moore is the real deal, and his oft-overlooked book of short stories has an imaginative sweep that is positively breathtaking. It's a bit dark, but if we were living in time when book burning was all the rage I think it would have the appropriate tone.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Probably not since I was 12, but that would be Johnny from The Outsiders, which I think I read 20 or 30 times. Can we just say Coppolla so did not get what 12 year-old girls saw in that book?

What are you currently reading?

Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show by Rachael Shtier, Property by Valerie Martin and a biography of Bonnard.

The last book you bought is:

A two-volume series of Rembrandt's Drawings and Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell.

The last book you read:

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare – Interesting but not genius.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

1. Pema Chodron – When Things Fall Apart. -- Because Pema rocks the house.
2. The Brothers Karamozov by Fyodor Dostoyevski – I'm sure I missed quite a bit the first time around.
3. Howard Zinn – People's History of the United States. Because if I ever wind up on a desert island it'll probably be because somebody fucked up big time, and Howard will most certainly be able to reconstruct what brought me there.
4. The Book of J by Harold Bloom – some profound heresy to keep me warm at night.
5. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare – because the only chance I'll ever have of reading them is if I'm just tits-up bored to death with loads of time on my hands.

I am passing this on – meme or otherwise – to MandT at Adgita Diaries, The Disgruntled Chemist and FallenMonk, just because I know if you combine all three of them together you will have ONE DILLY of a library.


Friday, April 15, 2005

Tax Day

These are the basic ideas that guide my tax policy: lower income taxes for all, with the greatest help for those most in need. Everyone who pays income taxes benefits — while the highest percentage tax cuts go to the lowest income Americans. I believe this is a formula for continuing the prosperity we've enjoyed, but also expanding it in ways we have yet to discover. It is an economics of inclusion. It is the agenda of a government that knows its limits and shows its heart. - George W. Bush
Did anyone else get hammared today? 'Cos I sure did. That was unequivocally the biggest tax check I have ever written. I got wholloped with the alternative minimum tax. Gles M. sent me an article from the New York Times that says this tax will cause about 2.9 million families to pay an average of about $6,000 more than what they would owe under traditional calculations. GWB has worked hard to eliminate the alternative minimum tax from corporations, but despite all the crowing to the contrary, taxes on the middle class are getting higher, while those of the wealthy are getting lower, according to the WaPo.

I wouldn't care if I thought the money was going to the poor, the homeless, the mentally ill, foster children, etc., but the thought that most of it is going to Halliburton and their ilk really scalds me. I guess we're giving up on that "enomics of inclusion" crap. Fearless Leader has neither limits nor heart.

(photo courtesy stock.xchng)


Britney Pregnant - Pharmacists Rejoice

The amazing part was her staff explaining to Britney how this happened. The look of shock when she was told it wasn't the watermelon seed she swallowed last month was, according to some, priceless. - The Culture Ghost


More Pharmacists on Crack

Well I just know this has a snowball's chance in hell of passing but at least I can hope. It seems that House and Senate backers have put forth the Access to Legal Pharmaceuticals Act (ALPhA), which says pharmacists can only refuse to fill a prescription if it can be passed to a co-worker at the same pharmacy to fill.

Now, I am not completely unsympathetic to their cause IN THEORY – I happen to think that advertising on the part of the pharmaceutical industry has resulted in the over-medication of people in general, and the prescription of dangerous drugs like Vioxx to patients who shouldn't be taking them (like my mom) who subsequently wind up having surprise heart attacks (like my mom). Notice, however, that I AM NOT A PHARMACIST, and if my job was to dispense medication prescribed by doctors based on medical diagnoses I had ABSOLUTELY NO KNOWLEDGE OF then I would either do so or find another profession. That just seems kind of obvious.

Ever have a pharmacist scream out your prescription to the entire store? It's a regular practice at the Rite Aid on the corner of Sunset and Fairfax in Los Angeles. And it's humiliating. How much worse would it be to have a pharmacist tell you they won't fill your prescription and you have to go somewhere else because they think you are in league with Satan? Rep. Carol Maloney (D-NY) agrees. “Let a woman be treated with dignity. When she has a prescription from her doctor, that privacy should be respected.”

But my new personal favorite on the national wack-job scene – Karen Brauer, spokesloon for Pharmacists for Life – is worried that doctors will eventually begin ordering women to abort disabled children, and wants additional legislation to protect pharmacists from collaborating in this. "They'll force women to kill their children ... It will be like China. It's the next logical step,” she says.

I finally decided not to pursue medicine because it was just too much hard work and a constitutional predilection for boys, booze & punk rock left me ill-disposed for a college career in the chem lab. But somewhere along the line I think I learned that almost all tests for birth defects could not be safely or reliably administered within the first 64 days after conception, which is how long RU-486 can be prescribed for. Let's leave them to their cracked opinion that women should be forced to carry seriously ill children to term that will never fully develop and die shortly after birth in some weird Margaret Atwood dystopia for the moment. The assertion that pharmacists need protection from participation in this particular disaster just doesn't hold up – by the time serious birth defects can be diagnosed, RU-486 is no longer a termination option.

And if we ever get to the place where doctors are “forcing” women to kill their children (?) I for one don't need to count on superhero pharmacists as the first line of defense. Thanks, but we're not quite there yet, okay guys? Just act like a professional and fill my fucking prescription -- if I want a sermon I'll watch the 700 Club.

(photo courtesy stock.xchng)


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Operation "Let's Look Like We're Doing Something Right"

Our friend The Disgruntled Chemist offers up the following thoughts about Operation FALCON, which -- under the direction of Alberto "The Electrode" Gonzales -- just rounded up 10,000 fugitives in one week:
To catch these guys, the agencies involved had to know where they were, right? Well, why didn't they just arrest the fugitives as soon as they located them, instead of waiting to do it all in one week? You can't tell me that, in one week, all these law enforcement agencies located ten thousand people for the first time and subsequently arrested them.

The whole thing reeks of a publicity stunt for new AG Alberto Gonzales, to convince the nation that he has their best interests in mind, and to make them forget that he just recently called for the entire PATRIOT ACT to be renewed.
How would I feel if I was the victim of a crime committed by one of these felons after police knew where they were, but before they were arrested in a high-profile sweep timed to make the AG look good? Mmmm...not so happy. It seems that anything this guy gets behind has to be motivated by bad juju.


For Those Undecided About the Inheritance Tax

From Richard Joel at Pax Nortona (via Feministe):
I think the Bushes are an excellent example of the principle I am about to invoke and the harm it does: most parents are unable to recognize the mediocrity of their children. The effect this has plays out the hardest in wealthy families where money is often transferred to second or third rate talents. Socialism, interestingly enough, does more to create a system where the most talented can rise to the top than faux libertarianism (which is really capitalism). In the ideal socialist society, there is no chance to transmit large sums of money as inheritance: this money is transferred back into the common pool to be redistributed, the greater portions going to those who make the greatest contributions to the economy....When I hear Barbara Bush defend all her sons as “good boys” I hear the very reason why we should renew heavy inheritance taxes: we can’t afford to allow the less-merited to decide the course of our lives.
I'm still reeling from the nitrous at the dentist's office this morning, but this makes sense to me. President Lucky Sperm indeed.


Chris Matthews and His Self-Awareness Problem

Eisenhower's famous speech warning about the dangers of the military-industrial complex is a favorite topic of bloggers. It also provides the backbone for Eugene Jarecki's documentary Why We Fight, which won the documentary prize at Sundance this year. I saw it over the weekend, and these are some of the fun facts I learned:

. As Secretary of Defense under GHW Bush, Cheney paid Halliburton subsidiary KBR $3.9 million to compile a report on how private companies could take over many of the functions of the Army. Surprising absolutely no-one, KBR came back and said they thought it was a bang-up idea. They subsequently got a fat no-bid Pentagon contract to provide said services. Cheney then became CEO of Halliburton in 1995, and at that time he had a personal wealth valued at approximately $1 million. By the time he left in 2000, Cheney's personal wealth had grown to over $70 million. Nice.

. The B-2 Bomber has its various parts made in all 50 states – such that if anyone ever suggested phasing out the B-2, a chorus of "liberal" congresspeople would leap to the podium in its defense as an absolutely indispensable part of the war on – well, whatever we're at war with at the time.

. According to Eisenhower's granddaughter, he also said “God help this country when someone sits at this desk who doesn't know as much about the military as I do.” He might have had visions of a future president whose personal exit strategy from the Viet Nam war was significantly more efficient than any he had from Iraq.

. Best Rumsfeld quote: “From my standpoint, I think numbers are almost distracting.”

. Best Gore Vidal quote: “We live in the United States of Amnesia.”

. Blowback is not the unwanted consequences of actions taken by the United States – it is the unwanted consequences of actions taken by the United States that were deliberately kept secret from the American public so that when there is retaliation the people have no idea when it's in response to.

Director Eugene Jarecki also appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews after winning the Sundance Award. Matthews was, as always, anxious to display his personal knowledge of history:
MATTHEWS: You ought to do a big movie on Ike. Somebody should do a big documentary on Ike.

JARECKI: Well, he‘s very largely in the film. I hope...
See the damn film, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Because I think he‘s been underestimated. I think the liberals who have had so much influence in the media over these years have denounced him as an old man out of date, when in fact he kept us out of Indochina.

JARECKI: Well, you have got to see the film. He‘s in there. I do that. I try, at least.
Earth to Matthews: When they talk about the “liberal media” THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT YOU, MORON. Now, I don't think you're liberal, and obviously you don't think so either, so on that we agree. But when the cabal arises in condemnation of the “liberal bias of the media” they're talking about people such as yourself....Tom Brokaw....Dan Rather...Pumpkinhead...Wolf Blitzer. People I dismiss as being merely lazy, ratings-hungry and not particularly interested in any ideology except the cult of self, but the chorus screaming “left wing media” will slap that label on anyone who isn't foaming at the mouth and bleeding right-wing talking points from their eyeballs. Anything less than Hannity-esque seizures of rage or Ann Coulter histrionic bipolarity episodes is perceived as knee-jerk bed wetting liberalism. You want them to love you, Chris? Well, that's wonderful, but it's going to take more than a little Ike buffing. My advice is to develop a nice OxyContin habit first. It'll insulate you from both reality and the consequences of your actions, as well as ease the pain of having to sit in the room with yourself as your knuckles sprout hair and make their way to the ground.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

NRO Not Big With the Funny

K.J. Lopez at the NRO calls Dave Chappelle a no-talent assclown. Working in close proximity to Jonah Goldberg has rendered her an expert on the subject, no doubt. Well, what passes for funny at the NRO is the universally unwatched Likud cut-up Dennis Miller, so if I was Mr. Chappelle I'd consider my career safe for the moment.

This we learn via Ben at Catalyst Blog, who is always quite vigilant on mouth breather watch. It's also Ben's 19th birthday. He is feeling old (?!!!) so check out his blog & wish him a good one.


Enough With The "Republican Lite"

I've avoided weighing in on the latest scrap about the Democrats and violence in Hollywood for obvious reasons – I don't like to mix this blog with business, and even when I write about movies I like to do it with an eye toward politics. But as someone who's spent much of the last decade in legal battles (all the way up to the supreme court) for making the movie ostensibly responsible for more deaths than any other in the history of film making, it seems like a glaring evasion not to do so.

There are a whole lot of reasons why the movies that get made get made – most of them having to do with profitability and hence what kinds of films movie stars want to be in (think Stanley Kowalski, not the dad in Swiss Family Robinson). They are also largely driven by what kinds of films will reap profits in overseas markets (not surprisingly, action films that don't rely on knowledge of language or cultural nuance to be appreciated). The Republican notion being advanced – namely, that family films are more profitable than “R” rated films, yet Hollywood makes more “R” rated films than family films – is just so stupid I don't even know where to begin, and you'd have to be pretty friggin' ignorant to believe it. Well, the Repugs have gotten this far counting on the absolute inability of the electorate to connect the dots in many of their tragically flawed arguments. I guess this one is no different.

The truth of the matter, as any bonehead can figure out, is that Hollywood is driven by profit, and as such it has an intrinsic conservative bias – it wants to reach the wallets of as many people as possible, and avoid controversy whenever possible. Many people don't realize that the MPAA is actually a voluntary ratings board funded and run by the studios themselves. When you make a film, you sign a contract saying that you will deliver a film with whatever rating the studio feels will be most profitable for that film. If you turn in a violent film, and the MPAA thinks the violence is too excessive for the rating you want, they won't give it to you. They won't tell you exactly what they find wrong with the film, because that would be censorship. So you have to go back to the cutting room and dick with the film until you think you've got it to where it will get the rating you are contractually obligated to deliver.

The problem with this guessing game is that what deserved and “R” rating a few years ago may not be the standards employed today – those standards are extremely fluid and they aren't written down anywhere. So you may have to go back to the MPAA numerous times until you make them happy. In this way they pretty much act as an enforcement arm of the studio's contracts. And your chances of getting something past them will be GREATLY enhanced if you are a big gun and can call up a studio head and twist their arm (although officially they are supposed to have no input). If you are some little guy who made an indie film you will not be allowed nearly as much latitude as someone with a string of box office hits.

Why do I mention all of this? Because the movie business has, to a large extent, been extremely successful in self-regulating, despite the bitching and moaning of people like me who don't like the homogenizing pull of the system. When Natural Born Killers came out, we had to go before the MPAA numerous times, and the stuff we had to pull out (that can be seen in the director's DVD cut) was mostly the stuff we filmed with real prisoners in a simulated riot scene that was eerily real. (And if you don't already know, before you go and do an IMDB search I produced that film.) It was a much better film with that footage in, as most people who have seen both films will attest, but the studio got hinky so the footage was yanked. Quite honestly, it was my sense that the film's indictment of Hollywood for turning violence into entertainment made them more nervous than anything else. But we'll chalk that one up to irony and move on.

Nonetheless, over the course of the next few years more people said they committed murder because they'd seen Natural Born Killers than any other movie in history. And it was always some deranged cracker from Alabama who'd been eating acid for a week and hadn't slept for days who decided to cut off his girlfriend's head. You didn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that this guy's 15 minutes would've been up pretty quickly if he hadn't decided to invoke a headline movie title ex post facto.

Yet people like John Grisham (who write extremely gratuitously violent books) decided to advance the argument that we as filmmakers should be responsible for the consequences of our film much like the makers of breast implants should be responsible for silicone leaks, and yours truly wound up in civil (never criminal) court for the next decade. We won every case. Most died on the vine early – the one that went to the supreme court (which they refused to hear) did so only because they advanced the argument that when we made it we INTENDED to incite people to go out and commit such crimes.

But now it seems to be the Democrats who are deciding to pull themselves into the middle of America by agreeing with Mr. Grisham. It sounds like a good argument for about a minute, and then you have to look at the implications. In order to believe that someone commits a violent act based on a video game or a movie you have to overlook a whole lot of social problems that probably put them into a place where committing that act seemed like a good idea – frequently untreated drug addiction, mental illness, lack of parental supervision, poverty, etc. etc. To make Hollywood the target is short sighted and misguided, but it takes legislators off the hook for all kinds of social problems that they are directly responsible for failing to address. I will be the first to indict Hollywood for making stupid, soulless movies that uplift, inspire and challenge almost no-one. But they are making movies to appeal to a population that demands soulless movies. Draw your own conclusions.

And what is the solution that is being proposed? Regulation? The imminent danger of regulating free speech is far more dire than anything Hollywood is going to put out there today, tomorrow or the next day. Just because Middle America is made uncomfortable by Will and Grace is not a reason to start screaming for censorship. And I suspect that the Democrats who are now crowing the loudest don't really want to do anything of the sort – they just want to take a card from the Republican deck of hypocrisy by yelling about “values” and then doing nothing about it.

Digby has a good column today where he talks about strength in being the party of opposition – about holding to your principles so that when the Repugs overplay their hand (and they seem to be doing so with some regularity, as Fearless Leader's approval numbers indicate) you can present people with a meaningful alternative that stands for something, rather than trying to become “Republican lite” over this and other issues. You want better movies, better television, better video games? Vote with your dollars. Stop watching crap. Stop letting your kids watch crap. Or better yet, DIY. Anyone who says there isn't good product out there is just being lazy – it may take some effort to find it, and it may not come shrink-wrapped in a language you already speak, but it's out there and it's rich and it will expand your cultural horizons and make you a wiser person for the effort.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

What Would You Put on the President's iPod?

Via NTodd we learn what is on the President's iPod, which evidently came as a gift recently from Jenna and not-Jenna in a sad and desperate bid not to have the biggest L7 dad on the face of the planet. To nobody's surprise it contains a bunch of highly un-nuanced country songs of the Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney ultra-patriotic-simpleton variety, along with the worst song John Fogarty ever wrote -- wait for it -- Center Field.

If I were loading up the President's iPod, I'd probably go for stuff that would have him tapping the Presidential toe without ever appreciating the irony involved. So no, it wouldn't be Sympathy for the Devil or Curtis Mayfield's No Thing on Me (Cocaine Song), more like Patty Loveless's Blame it On Your Heart (You don't know right from the dream is laid to rest...'cos you have failed the blame it on your lyin' cheatin' two-timin' double-dealing' mean mistreatin' lovin heart). If you've never heard it follow the link & listen to a sample, ol' Chimipy would be buck dancing (or would he be more of a clogger? hillbilly roots are showing...) before he could help himself and completely oblivious (probably) of any overt commentary involved.

I know I'm gonna be thinking about this all day now. So, what would you like to say to George via his iPod?

P.S. Vinyl Mine has a copy of T-Rex's Telegram Sam, recorded from vinyl and replete with the recycled monster riff from Bang A Gong (Get it On), available for download here. It won't show up on George's iPod any time soon, but it should be on yours.

(photo courtesy stock.xchng)

Update: Via Alterman we learn that Alejandro Escovido is also on iPod of Fearless Leader. Funny, we don't remember ever seeing his face at all those Nuns shows at the Mabuhay Gardens. Or even Rank & File (actually we just wanted an excuse to gratuitously mention the brothers Kinman). Must be a newcomer to the party (sniff sniff).


My Moratorium is Officially Over

Out of respect for people of the Catholic faith and a sense that the death of the Pope is a poor occasion to start complaining about the Catholic Church, I have refrained from doing so. Or at least tried to refrain from doing so until the Pope was in the ground.

It got a little rocky over the weekend when I watched Patrizio Guzman's 1978 documentary The Battle of Chile, which needs to go to the top of any political blogger's must-see list immediately. One cameraman died holding a camera in the filming of the movie; the cinematographer was subsequently taken prisoner, tortured and “disappeared” during the Pinochet regime. The vision of a working class so ardently political, acting collectively to fend off the military and keep food flowing into the cities after the CIA paid all the truckers to park their trucks and stop all deliveries was really inspiring.

But the part that got me choked up was Allende's refusal to take the opportunity they offered him to flee the country on a plane. The movie broadcasts the speech he made to the people of Chile that final morning, in which he says:
I speak to all those who will be persecuted to tell you that I am not going to resign: I will repay the people's loyalty with my life. I will always be with you. I have faith in our nation and its destiny. Other men will prevail, and soon the great avenues will be open again, where free men will walk, to build a better society.
The camera watches as the military (advised and funded by the CIA) sends in their tanks; planes sweep in and drop bombs on the Presidential Palace where Allende dies, true to his word. The Catholic Church was a big supporter of that military coup which resulted in the deaths by torture of untold thousands of people. So that had me feeling not so good. I could tell myself, well, maybe they didn't realize Pinochet was going to be such a butcher, but I gotta tell you, South American country, military coup – just doesn't sound too promising. Nixon and the CIA? Like they could give a shit. But you expect that Catholics would have some pretense about valuing human rights.

Well, you might be wrong. I get back home and what do I find? That great protector of child molesters, Cardinal Bernard Law, has been chosen to lead a memorial mass for Pope John Paul II. I was already irked by the fact that the press was throwing nothing but softballs the whole time John Paul was feeling poorly and nobody was bringing up the whole child rape scandal, but like I said I had my moratorium on so I pretty much stayed quiet. Pretty much.

Now I don't know exactly what the Catholics think they're saying with this Cardinal Law decision, but I know what it does say:

. Screw the world for thinking it can judge us.
. Screw any government for thinking they can regulate us – we'll do what we damn well please.
. Anyone who was hurt in the process? Here's a big public one for you, for handing us such a mother of a headache and costing us so damn much money.
. We answer to God, whose will we will feel free to interpret at all times for our own benefit.

With this kind of a PR move they must be giving up on the west 'cos this kiddie rape stuff hasn't played real well in the press; both their numbers and their dollars are falling way off in the US. But rather than try to address these image problems, repair broken trust and take responsibility for its actions, the Catholic leadership is choosing the road of most highhanded arrogance, which probably means they'd rather rule autocratically in the third world rather than humble themselves in the first.

Here's hoping a bunch of pissed off, AIDS-ridden countries send 'em packing. One only needs to look at the example of Chile to see the danger of keeping them around.


Monday, April 11, 2005

Please Help Poor Jeff Gannon!

Steve over at Distance Blog makes the compelling argument that we need to give Jeff Gannon all the help we can. Why Rove didn't give him a nice stipend or buy him a little beer hall in Dresden and send him packing is beyond me, 'cos the guy seems to be oh so willing to stand up and voice his opinion anywhere anyone will let him:
Where am I going with this? Gannon is an absolute Godsend. While I was frustrated that the big boys close to Scott McClellan got off the hook for slipping him into the press corps for softball questions, I never dreamed Gannon would show back up and act with such defiance. If we can continue to get him in the spotlight and represent the face of the media, we can discredit the people at FOX even further. Gannon will like that, as he maintained in the interview (to a roar of laughter) that FOX was NOT a conservative media outlet. I kid you not.

So, the point of this is: get out there and talk Gannon up. Post links to him on message boards (you don't have to use your real address), talk him up to your conservative friends and generally build this guy into what he is:

The voice of the Conservative movement! Also, On Jeff's site, he notes that he is out of a job, and needs money. Now, I am not going to help him out, but I do think Conservatives should, as he is an important voice. So, I urge my GOP friends to help keep this brave man's voice out there, standing tall for what's right!
It's the only charitable thing to do, don't you think? So I'm going to start off the effort. Here's a nice link, Jeff, and a toast to your new career.

We need all the help we can get.


Most Successful Girl Blogger – 1, Male White House Prostitute – 0.

Okay the much vaunted blogging panel at the Washington Press Club finally came to pass. And everyone who was slamming Wonkette owes her the tip of the hat. I offer the following for your reading pleasure (and a pleasure it is):
JEFF GANNON: What I find interesting about the Armstrong Williams case is that, in order for the administration to get a fair hearing on the "No Child Left Behind" act, it actually had to pay somebody to say it. Because I don't think anybody wrote a positive article about the "No Child Left Behind" act, the cases where it's working! All you hear is the mantra "It's underfunded and it doesn't work."

WONKETTE: You don't pay someone to get a fair hearing. That's the opposite of a fair hearing, actually, to pay someone to get a hearing. [Laughter]

YGLESIAS: That's simply wrong. I've written good things about "No Child Left Behind". There's been plenty of them out there. There's obviously a debate about this, there are people who don't like it, but it's gotten a really, exceptionally fair hearing, because it has supporters on different spots. It's gotten criticism from conservatives, it's gotten praise from some liberals. And, you know, part of what's so weird about this is that I kind of wish I'd gotten a check, since I bothered to....

WONKETTE (TO GANNON): That is the most awesome defense of Armstrong Williams I've ever heard, by the way. Like, I haven't heard that particular defense. I've heard he's not a real journalist and therefore it's okay that he got paid, but not that you have to pay to get a fair hearing.

JEFF GANNON: Well, I, I think what you're seeing is --

WONKETTE: Then how come the Weekly Standard's not getting paid?

JEFF GANNON: Well, why would the administration do that? If they --

WONKETTE: Because they don't want a fair hearing. They want a positive hearing. That's why they do that. [Laughter]

JEFF GANNON: No, they want an opportunity to be heard. I mean, one of the criticisms, wait a minute, Ana --

WONKETTE: He would've failed them if he'd only given them opportunity.


WONKETTE: Wouldn't have earned his pay!

JEFF GANNON: One of the criticisms of my writing has been, uh, that I was, uh, just, uh, repeating what the administration said about any particular issue. Yes! (Pause) I did that!

[stunned silence]

JEFF GANNON: Okay. Why? Because I was about the only news source that was providing that information without, uh, a filter! And the President has spoken about the filter that the media applies, uh, to his message. There is nothing wrong with reporting what the administration says about a particular issue.
When your story [Wonkette laughs; Yglesias starts lunging for his microphone] - wait a minute! When your story says: "White House supports this particular policy," they give you information! And they give you statements about it!

JEFF GANNON: Why does everything have to be looked at through, uh, a lens that represents every particular point of view?

WONKETTE: That's called 'news'.


JEFF GANNON: But the point I was trying to make is - look what happened to me because I did that. What is the impact going to be for the next, uh, man or woman that goes into that briefing room, raises their hand to ask a question? Are they going to stop and think "Well, if somebody out there, on the left or the right, doesn't agree with my question, am I going to be the target of, uh, this inquisition?" - as, as I have been. And it's a, it's a very chilling, uh, effect that it has on, on the press.

FISHBOWL: Jeff, I actually have to disagree with you here. I think that the idea that you - it's less that people attacked you because they disagreed with the question. They attacked you because they thought your work-product was poor.
And I think that that's an important distinction. They thought that the journalism that you were practicing was bad journalism, and didn't meet the standards of journalism necessary to report from the White House.

And I think that that's a very important distinction. Because it's not that liberals are attacking everyone who reports from the White House. Because as far as I know, there are no widespread calls to kick Fox News out of the White House press briefing room.

JEFF GANNON: Well you can hardly call Fox News conservative. I, I --


JEFF GANNON: I, well, it, uh - laugh! Laugh! Well –

WONKETTE: Do you think that you would've served your readers, hold on, do you think you would've served that vast map of red - or green - readers better if your question had been factually accurate?

JEFF GANNON: Well, uh --

WONKETTE: Maybe that was the reason why people attacked your question?

JEFF GANNON: Okay, I, well, if - my questions always sound like that, and, and if --

WONKETTE: Wait, no, no - you admit --

JEFF GANNON: Now wait. Now wait. Now wait. You just wait a minute. You're --

WONKETTE: You attributed a quote to Harry Reid that did not exist, right?



JEFF GANNON: The only, the only thing that I did is I, I left out a little phrase in the question that said that, uh, I mis-worded the question. I should've said "He spoke of the economy as if..." If you -


JEFF GANNON: Okay, if you put that in there, if you put it -- well now - wait a minute, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna parse these questions. We did that in the last administration, uh, parsing, uh, parsing people's answers. Now, now where the -

WONKETTE: So you pretend Harry Reid had said those things!

JEFF GANNON: -- where, where the, where the criticism came from - and I'm going to get down to Garrett - where the criticism came from are liberal operatives who conduct, uh, a uh - their, their whole reason for existing, and it's the Media Matters folks. They, you know - it's an organization uh, begun by John Podesto, uh, David Brock is the CEO - it's filled with, uh, refugees from the DNC and other, uh, left-wing organizations, strictly for the purpose of attacking conservatives in the media. I got into their sights, and, and, that's what got this whole thing started.

YGLESIAS: And they scored a hit. Because your question was wrong, because you were printing RNC press releases and putting --

JEFF GANNON: Wait a minute! I, I'm not the guy that was sitting there waving phoney documents at the podium and saying, uh, "We have, Mr. President, we have evidence that you didn't serve your time in, in the Texas Air Guard! Look, I've got proof!"

[Jeff unfurls his green map of the United States.]

And it was a fraud and a phoney! [Shakes finger menacingly.] And are those people kicked out of there?

WONKETTE: Yes! [Laughter]

JEFF GANNON: The fellow who did it is gonna get a promotion! He's gonna get a promotion!

YGLESIAS: Okay. Hold on. Hey. They lost - they lost their jobs!
The salvos she fired off were far more menacing than anyone else's (not that anyone was under any obligation to beat him up). She was well prepared, she new what points to make, she went after him and she scored.

You make me damn proud, Ana Marie!!