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Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Pantload Speaks

First of all I want to thank everyone who aided in the sacking of Kate O'Beirne's book Women Who Make the World Worse over at Amazon. The overall book review is at 1.5 stars, and for reasons I have no clue about Amazon has now promoted the General's review -- which has close to 4,000 votes -- to the Spotlight review.

In addition to all the fabulous 1 star reviews everyone contributed (and if you want to feel good about the existence of an active, engaged left go have a read-through, it's really quite inspirational), it probably had something to do with John Amato's phone call to Amazon yesterday inquiring as to why they held their customers' views in such slight regard, for which the General has given him an honorary Seahawkhood.

And bless their little racist, chickenhawk hearts, KKKate's Klan took notice.

If you doubt the persistence of nostalgic Marxist thinking in feminist rhetoric, check out the reader reviews of Kate's book at You'll learn that Kate is a self-hating woman and a fascist doing the work of her knuckle-dragging male paymasters. Anyone who's met Kate (or actually read her book) knows this is nonsense on stilts. A successful and independent-minded career woman and proud mom, she's equal parts Joan of Arc and mentoring den mother.
If Kate really wants to walk the talk, she ought to go home and start scrubbing toilets with her toothbrush like she counsels other women to do and STFU.

But she'd rather reap the rewards of a law degree and a career made possible by the feminists she's paid to deconstruct, a grand hypocrisy that nobody who allowed her to pimp her book this week on their shows seemed capable of pointing out. And God forbid anyone suggest SHE get one cent less than her male counterparts, she'd unearth that hatchet from the middle of her face and land it in someone's back.

But thanks anyway, Jonah. Nice to know we drew blood. Because, you see, it isn't about winning some sort of ultimate triumph, it's about making them fight for every inch. They know that, look at the full court press that they delivered to Knight-Ridder over a heavily researched, factually based article. Everyone knows if they want to run a piece like Knight-Ridder did that they're going to have an uphill battle, have to devote money, time and man hours to defending the assault. It just makes them that much less likely to do it in the future.

Tim Russert may be incapable of pointing out the obvious, but Kate O'Bierne's screed has now spent three days on Amazon with incredibly funny, loud and negative opposition. It's the equivalent of having the movie theater marquee stacked with negative reviews on the opening weekend of your film, the time period you count on to reap the biggest boxoffice, and future market impact will be predicated upon it.

Believe me. I've released a book before. This is an unmitigated disaster for her and her publishers. They most certainly knew they'd have more than a few negatives, but probably anticipated something like the response Bill O'Reilly gets, with his supporters eventually outshouting the opposition. Not for Kate.

Her page, which reviewers all over the country look to for their cues, is now a flaming shit heap.

Marc Cooper once famously said that he joined Chickenshit Bedwetter Media because Republicans know how to run a business. Well given the success of that wilting fiasco that pearl of wisdom really speaks for itself. But people might be surprised to know that not everyone on the left is a braless pot smoking tree hugger; some of us have rather sophisticated marketing backgrounds. And toward that end I'm reminded of this quote from Boss Tweed whose Tammeny Hall hijinks read like a 19th-century blueprint for BushCo.:
"Let's stop them damned pictures," the Boss supposedly said, "I don't care so much what the papers write about -- —my constituents can't read -- —but damn it, they can see pictures."
So all you photoshoppers out there who maybe don't have the time to devote to a daily blog but who want to spend a few moments throwing high-impact grenades, you know where I am.

Welcome to Late Nite on FDL. We'll be here regularly, having us some fun with the wingnuts and fightin' the good fight.

Update: Stealth Badger has a quiz to let you know if you are Kate Bait.


And it's One, Two, Three, What Are We Fighting For...Don't Ask Me I Don't Give a Damn...

While both the traditional media and the warbloggers like Cap'n Ed are quick to dismiss the lives of 17 innocent people we accidentally bombed this morning ("This is war, and unfortunately war results in collateral deaths by mistaken targeting"), Phoenix Woman, from the comments, takes us back to yesteryear:
Note how a few years back, the GOP/Media Axis went into Froth-At-The-Mouth over "Bill Clinton bombing an innocent aspirin factory!"

They did so, even though:

a) the factory was indeed part-owned by Osama bin Laden (who Clinton was chasing down, even as the GOP/Media Axis was mocking him over it and hampering him with their "wag the dog!" crap)

b) the factory wasn't just making aspirin, but other, less charming substances, and

c) the attack took place at night to ensure civilians weren't harmed.

No similar mitigating circumstances exist for this bombing. None. Yet the GOP/Media Axis is still frantically trying to spin the murder of innocent men, women and children as a Good Thing.
One day I fully intend to finish Richard Clarke's book, I really do. Trouble is I read a couple pages and then hurl it against the wall.

(photo via Dependable Renegade)


This Is How It's Done -- Pt. 4

Murray Waas has more on the GOP/Brent Bozell-financed Murtha smear:
The Post article in amplifying the allegations of the Cybercast News Service, also, in turn quotes an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
The article included a 1996 quote from Harry Fox, who worked for former representative John Saylor (R-Pa.), telling a local newspaper that Murtha was "pretending to be a big war hero" Fox, who lost a 1974 election to Murtha, said the 38-year old Marine veteran had asked Saylor for assistance in obtaining the Purple Hearts because the office believed he lacked adequate evidence of his wounds.
What the Post leaves out of its story is that Saylor is deceased, and well, has been for some time now. (Saylor died way back in 1973, something that the Cybercast "News" Service, noted in their news story-- not to impugn their reporting practices.) In short, the Washington Post is relying on something said by a person with an axe to grind (Fox), who is quoting someone who is deceased (but who the newspaper forgot to tell you is deceased.) But it is even somewhat worse than that: the Post is quoting the ever-so-reliable and unbiased Cybercast News Service, which is quoting a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, which includes an allegation by Fox... who is citing someone now deceased.
Don't forget the little tidbit about Fox that Cybercast buried in the bottom of the article:
"Cybercast News Service attempted to contact Fox for this article, but learned that the health of the 81-year-old was too poor to allow him to communicate."
Fox made those comments about Murtha in a 1996 article. And now he can't be questioned about it either. And yet Howie Kurtz lets Thibault get away with saying "We won't run anything against anybody if we don't have the goods."

There is just oodles of journalistic integrity spilling all over this one, no?


This Is How It's Done -- Pt. 3

The Washington Post prove themselves the willing bitches of BushCo. this morning as they play a big part in spreading the pernicious lies salted by Brent Bozell's Cybercast News Service hit piece yesterday.

Murray Waas asks a few questions they obediently didn't. I'm reprinting the whole thing because it needs to be heard, hope Murray won't mind:
The Washington Post gives major play this morning to an attack of Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) on the website of the (until now) obscure Cybercast News Service. It accuses Murtha-- who won a Silver Starr and three Bronze Stars in Vietnam-- of purportedly saying that he had not deserved to win two Purple Hearts also awarded him for his service during the Vietnam war.

The Post story, by reporters Howard Kurtz and Shallagh Murray, quotes extensively David Thibault, the editor in chief of the (who ever heard of them before the Washington Post decided to give them such prominence?) Cybercast News Service, as saying that Murtha's medals from 1967 are relevant now "because the congressman has really put himself in the forefront of the antiwar movement."

But the article tells us very little about Thibault himself. Had the reporters done a simple Internet search, they would have discovered this biography of Thibault posted online which describes him as a "senior producer for a televised news magazine" broadcast and sponsored by the Republican National Committee. I dunno, but I for one, would have wanted to know that.

Thibault's background, it seems to me, and those engaging in the Swiftboating of Murtha would be relevant to any news story on this issue, I would think.

And so would some independent examination by the Post as to whether there is even any veracity to the charges.

The New York Times takes a day or two, or longer, before doing stories like this, as do other papers. They tend to examine the motives and backgrounds of those making such charges, and whether or not they have any basis in fact. That's how the Times handled the allegations that swirled around John Kerry's war service.

The Post's news ethic tends more towards that simply because an allegation is made it should be reported. To do otherwise, some editors of the newspaper argue, would mean putting aside one's objectivity. But simply giving prominent play to allegations that might or might not turn out to be true at some later day seems to me to be subjectivity by some other name.
It starts in some quote-unquote "news source" run by a GOP operative like "Talon News," which then leaks over into the sheeplike mainstream media where people like Howard Kurtz run with it.

But rather than point out that this is an obvious GOP shop, Howie facilitates a pre-emptive defense against any such assertion. He refers to them as a "conservative website" (much like WaPo Editor John WATB Harris referred to the website of GOP operative Patrick Ruffini) and asks no probing questions about a story which even a monkey could see is conceived, bought and paid for by the GOP.

And now we have to spend our time beating it into the ground, because nobody in the "traditional media" is certainly going to do it.

Update: Murtha will be on 60 Minutes tomorrow

Update II: Murray adds this: "In my original post, I mistakenly reported that Rep. Murtha won a Silver Star and two Bronze stars. Instead, he won a Bronze Star; a Distinguished Service Medal of the United States Marine Corps, and six other military awards for his 37 years of service with the Marine Corp."

This Is How It's Done -- Pt. 1
This Is How It's Done -- Pt. 2


Friday, January 13, 2006

Late Nite Kate

Yes, it's that time of the night again, have a little fun with Kate.

Despite last night's valiant attempt to get the General (and other one-star reviews) on the front page, those Amazon fuckers have promoted the two lone "5 star" reviews that weren't total piss-takes to the front. They have dumped the General's review way in the back. So much for caring about their readers' opinions, they must be French or something.

Rena's got a great diary up at Kos (she kicked the whole thing off with her superb rant the other night) so please go recommend if you're feeling like stirring the shit a little on a Friday night. Or even if you're not. Just hit the "recommend" button.

Kate REALLY NEEDS a Kossak encounter.

In the mean time Amato and I were having a good yuck over some of the C&L comments the other night so I thought I might share some of the touching sentiments felt toward Kate by our fellow residents of Upper Blogistan:
. Isn't it interesting that we've never seen Kate O'Berine and Bernie Goldberg in the same room at the same time?

. Kudos to Kate. It's about time someone pointed out what's really wrong with this country -- a cancelled HBO series about 4 fictional single women. Forget hunger, forget nepotism, forget crony capitalism, forget corrupt politicians, forget corporate destruction of the environment and the disappearance of well-paid jobs and a social safety net. Fuck that petty shit. "Sex and the City" is destroying this country.

. Got teeth?

. Kate O'Bierne is not related to Kato Kaelin.

. Hey, did anyone read the OTHER review on the site? Seems this Craig Matthieson is a PAID reviewer!! So i reported that review as inappropriate. I highly recommend that everyone go back to that review and report it, as well. Most unseemly for a paid reviewer to present his (??) thoughts without noting he was paid.

. "I have long thought that if high-school boys had invited homely girls to the prom we might have been spared the feminist movement."

full quote: "....and then i would have had a date and not had to sit around with my creepy uncle phil all night long who always wanted to 'help' me take a bath. but no, they didn't do this, they only ask out the 'pretty' or 'easy' girls. no, i'm not bitter. why, do i seem it? "

. Beauty might be skin deep, but ugly goes all the way to the bone!

. Kate O'Bierne has a MUCH larger penis than Bernard Goldberg.

. So, I guess that quote means Kate thinks she's NOT homely. Hard to imagine...I mean, that's really baffling.

. Kate's going to a prom? Isn't she a little old for that?

. She's kind of ugly to be writing that. Especially in that Gloria Steinam, Gloria Allred, Hillary Clinton and many of the "homely girls" look a hell of a lot better than her and Phyliss Schafley.

. Katie, you could split pine with that face.

. Won't it be funny when she is exposed as a dyke and sued by a bitter ex- girlfriend.
If you haven't written your one-star "Ode to Kate," please do. Despite the horribly misleading 5 star reviews that the publisher no doubt shit large bricks on Jeff Bezos' desk to get punted to the front so quickly, and despite the banishment of the General's brilliant political satire to the hinterlands (ungrateful wretches), I'm sure Kate is quite miserable about her current two star rating as any author with a brand new book would be.

May her misery -- and our amusement -- increase by one.


Something's Gotta Give

This really tears it. First we are to believe that in the Post September 11 World Where Everything Changed Dubya needed warrantless wiretaps to carry out the War On Terra that wasn't really a war but whatever. Now according to Jayson Leopold, who also obtained recently declassified documents (PDF), Bush has been illegally spying on people ever since he was sworn into office. (Update: Emptywheel disputes this article, well worth reading.)

Since at the time he was for the most part ignoring Al Quaeda but was already quite comfortable with the thought that libruls were the enemy, I find no solace in this knowledge.

Glenn Greenwald has quite perceptive piece up today about the proposed congressional inquiries into the NSA warrantless eavesdropping program. It comes on the heels of what I believe to be Peter Daou's quite foundational piece about how the Democrats need to change their MO in politicking future issues. While Democrats on the Judiciary Committee probably did better during the Alito hearings than we had any right to expect based on past past performance, it was not good enough. And it most certainly wasn't part of any larger, coordinated full-court press that could have gained them some public traction to oppose the nomination.

Well intentioned though they might be, the members of the Judiciary Committee could bore the comatose. They are a standing committee rife with internal bickering whose members have other commitments that keep them from devoting the time they need to understanding the issues at hand, and they don't necessarily have the background or the expertise to be conducting this kind of investigation.

Digby concurs:
These hearings are going to be about a fundamental constitutional understanding of how our system of government works. The stakes are very high. We could be setting a precedent for a unitary executive that completely abrogates the system of checks and balances. The committee will interview legal experts who are going to make arguments that the president has a right under the constitution to ignore the laws and I don't want Dianne Feinstein being the one to challenge them.
Glenn argues, and I agree, that a Select Committee which includes experienced lawyers accustomed to conducting these types of investigations is desperately needed given the stakes -- much as Sam Dash or Arthur Liman performed during the Watergate and Iran/Contra hearings. I really don't need to hear Goober Graham's Hee-Haw jokes or watch Joe Biden loving the sound of his own voice as the mediocrity of the Judiciary Committee hijacks the gravity of the situation and sends people lurching for the remote. A committee of this kind was already created to investigate the government's role in Hurricane Katrina, so it is certainly within recent precedent.

As Digby says:
The other side is going to question opposing views with a simple bullshit rationale about saving the babies from the bogeyman. We cannot leave the much more complicated opposing argument to gasbag senators questioning much more agile legal minds than theirs. We need real, practicing lawyers who know the issues and know how to question a witness.
Just ask yourself -- given the fact that we're all probably just one terrorist attack away from populating Michelle Malkin's fantasy camps, would you rather have a Patrick Fitzgerald or a James Comey do some legitimate questioning, or watch Tom Coburn speaking in tongues for the cameras once again?

The people who show up here to comment are some of the most reasoned and articulate in the blogosphere, so I would really value your contribution to a "group think" on this one. I don't think I can underscore enough that this is really quite important.

(graphic by Monk at Inflatable Dartboard)


Fitz Sighting

Patrick Fitzgerald held a press conference (viewable online) in Chicago today after charging Chicago City Clerk James Laski with receiving $500 a month in bribes to give city business to a company in the Hired Truck scandal.

Best moment:
QUESTION: Given the risk to Mr. Laski's career and his reputation, his sense of honesty here, it doesn't seem like a whole heck of a lot of money.

FITZGERALD: I'm not going to disagree with you. If what we allege is true, it's wrong for people to take bribes -- it may also be stupid, but we're in the business of what's prosecuting what's wrong.
Fitzgerald was evidently spotted in Chicago on Wednesday and Thursday, making it less likely (though certainly not impossible -- that is after all what planes are for) that The Hill was right and he was with the grand jury on Wednesday of this week.

He looked awfully chipper and at ease. According to the NYT, Camp Rove does not yet know what Fitzgerald plans to do. Evidently Turd Blossom does not match the Special Counsel for high spirits these days.


More Wingnut Welfare

Wolcott yesterday:
I understand Fumento's jealousy of Vanity Fair. Like so many rancorous rightwing underachievers, he resents a magazine--any magazine--that is successful on its own and carries actual advertising rather than being bankrolled by some billionaire madman or non-profit think tank itself dependent on corporate slush funds.
Editor and Publisher today:
Scripps Howard News Service (SHNS) announced Friday that it severed its relationship with Michael Fumento -- a senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute -- for not disclosing he had taken payments in 1999 from agribusiness giant Monsanto. The payola was revealed by BusinessWeek Online, which also broke the story about columnist Doug Bandow. Copley News Service subsequently dropped Bandow.

In a statement released Friday, SHNS Editor and General Manager Peter Copeland said Fumento "did not tell SHNS editors, and therefore we did not tell our readers, that in 1999 Hudson received a $60,000 grant from Monsanto." Copeland added: "Our policy is that he should have disclosed that information. We apologize to our readers."
Roger Simon's blog traffic since forming wingnut-welfare subsidized Piss Puddle Media:
Tisk-tisk. Some people are always looking for a handout, and look what happens when they get it.


This Is How It 's Done -- Pt. 2

Let the Swift Boating of Murtha Begin:
Murtha's War Hero Status Called Into Question
By Marc Morano and Randy Hall Staff
January 13, 2006

Read Article About Murtha's Links to Abscam

( - Having ascended to the national stage as one of the most vocal critics of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman John Murtha has long downplayed the controversy and the bitterness surrounding the two Purple Hearts he was awarded for military service in Vietnam.
Suggest the ominous in a big buildup -- people who don't read closely will think there's a lot of shit on this guy and it's been going on for a long time, it's not something that just got dragged out now.

Then find some old veteran to do your dirty work for you so the criticism won't be laid at the feet of chickenshit bedwetting BushCo. hatchet men:
World War II Navy veteran Harry M. Fox, previously indicated that Murtha in 1968 personally asked Fox's boss, then-U.S. Rep. John Saylor (R-Pa.), for assistance in obtaining the Purple Hearts, but was turned down because Saylor's office determined that Murtha lacked sufficient evidence of wounds. Murtha later challenged Saylor for his House seat in 1968 and lost. Fox said he personally viewed Murtha's military records in 1968 as Saylor's aide.
Make sure your story is unverifiable:
Cybercast News Service attempted to contact Fox for this article, but learned that the health of the 81-year-old was too poor to allow him to communicate.
Bury this caveat in the bottom of the story. People will not read that far.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Update: Per Jeff B. in the comments: "Marc [Morano] was also a reporter and producer for the Rush Limbaugh Television Show from 1992 to 1996."

And from DKos: "Murtha turned down the [ABSCAM] bribe. The video of him being offered the bribe, refusing it, and getting up and walking out was shown on national TV. He even testified against two Congressmen in their trials." (thanks Slothrop)

Update II: Someone mentioned Steve Gilliard would have a good smackdown of this. He does.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Why Kate O'Beirne is a Dangerous Bitch

Some people have been wondering why I don't just ignore Kate O'Beirne, as if paying her no mind will just make her go away. The argument seems to be that to acknowledge her is to empower her.

Not going to happen.

It is a dangerous time to be an American. We live under virtually unchallenged one party rule, and that one party is on a rampage to make torture morally acceptable. Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman invite screaming racist Michelle Malkin to lunch, and today Peter Kirsanow is paraded before the Senate by the GOP as an "expert." Both of these people applaud rounding up American citizens and putting them into concentration camps.

ralphbon said something good in the comments yesterday:
Hate-list books like O'Beirne's, Bernard Goldberg's, and especially Ann Coulter's are the leading edge of something ugly and scary and are softening up the public discourse for increasingly eliminationist rhetoric.

Nazi antisemitism was a ludicrous distraction too, at the start, barely worth the energy to ridicule, much less refute.

The principal target needs to the media who give these scapegoaters the time of day -- from Time putting Coulter on its cover to the endless cable interviews with O'Beirne and Goldberg. The utter lack of shame and judgment by major media scares me far more than the pipsqueak wingers to whom they give a platform.

People of common sense and good will need to be able to do two things at once: smack down the scapegoaters and their media enablers while keeping our eye on the real ball of the Bush administration's fascist power grab.
These people are given air time far in excess of anything their extreme views justify. And ordinary people who don't think too hard tune in and watch them and are lulled into thinking that these positions are reasonable and that these people are reasonable, because they see them all the time and they are continually granted a legitimacy they do not deserve.

Now I'm as big a photoshop fan as the next person, but those caricatures on the front of O'Bierne's book look like nothing so much as the hideous caricatures of Jews in Nazi paraphernalia of the Third Reich. Women's rights are under attack in this country, a man is being put forward to sit on the supreme court who will very likely take us even further into the dark ages if given the chance, and it all seems "reasonable" because some asshole who actually knows better doesn't want to sully their fine manicure to scrap with the likes of Kate O'Bierne.

Being virtually manicure-free, this is not a problem for me.

Her book will sell, Regnery will ship it out to all the right-wing book groups and it will climb the charts and angry women-haters everywhere will hail it as the clarion voice of reason in a wilderness of liberalism. But Jesus General's review is at the top of her Amazon page tonight thanks to blogtopia, and maybe someone in Iowa watching Kate on Meet the Press will look her book up on Amazon and see on the biggest bookseller in the world that there is a culture which does not accept her as "okay."

Amazon reviews are prioritized based on how many "positive" ratings they get. There's still one "five star" rated review on the front page and it is my most solemn wish that it get knocked off tonight. It is my second most solemn wish that enough single star reviews are written to knock the overall rating down to an overall single star. Anyone feeling motivated can scroll through the pages of reviews and vote "yes" on all the one-star reviews here, and write their own review as well (one sentence reviews are weighted as heavily as long-winded tomes).

Someone from Regnery is probably calling up Amazon right now wailing like a banshee. Good. Make 'em pay, make 'em spend energy, make 'em fight. If Amazon takes a legitimate review off their site, political satire of an openly political book, I will scream blue bloody fucking murder. It'll give me something to do anyway.

It is not okay to have this foaming fascist omnipresent in the public consciousness, and I'm making it my personal crusade to kick up a stink about it. So I'll say it again for those who weren't offended enough the first time: The bitch is dead meat.


Why, Some of Alito's Best Friends Are...

You knew they'd have to find some person of color to trot out sooner or later to give Alito a pass on the privileged bigot thing. How desperate are they to drag out Peter Kirsanow:
Bush's pet commissioner....can be considered somewhat of a White House mouthpiece on civil rights issues. So you can understand why the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee are calling for Kirsanow's resignation after remarks he made July 19 at a commission hearing in Detroit.

Speaking on homeland security and the administration's call for tougher measures, Kirsanow did not beat around the bush.

"If there's another terrorist attack, and if it's from a certain ethnic community or certain ethnicities that the terrorists are from, you can forget civil rights in this country," said Kirsanow.

Heard enough? There's more. "Not too many people will be crying in their beer if there are more detentions, more stops and more profiling," said Kirsanow.

Comforting words from a man appointed to uphold your civil rights in America.
Kirsanow was one of Dubya's recess appointments last week to be a member of the NLRB. When not writing for the NRO and making white bigots feel good about suppressing African-American votes, he's applauding Korematsu v. the United States, the 1944 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the government'’s use of internment camps.

Malkin's getting tingly all over right about now.


What Do We Look Like Here?

Oh this is just absurd. Via MyDD:
Today, from Nancy Pelosi:

Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina, the newly and unanimously elected Chairman of the Democratic Caucus who has lived his life with a commitment to a high ethical standard, will head the Clean House Team.

From NPR:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay isn't the only politician facing ethics charges. South Carolina's James Clyburn and Mississippi's Bennie Thompson, both Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus, also had to answer tough questions last week. In 1997, both men traveled to the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth. The trip -- and an earlier trip to the Marianas by two associates of DeLay -- appears to have been paid for by lobbyist Jack Abramoff. It is a violation of House ethics to accept gifts from a registered lobbyist. Abramoff is now the subject of a federal corruption probe.
We're not Michelle Malkin or the Powertools sitting here, please don't expect us to line up behind this shit just because you Say So. I'm not going to look for excuses to make this right. It undermines every argument we're trying to make about Abramoff and the architecture of the dirty GOP money machine.

This is just so stupid and wrong in so many ways I don't have words for it.


How To Game Simple Media Dupes in One Easy Lesson

The jingosphere was irate yesterday with those of us who presumed to opine that Mrs. Sammy's tears looked somewhat staged.

Per Jeralyn, maybe the tut-tutters can explain the immediate post-caterwaul release of this:
The always-alert Creative Response Concepts, a conservative public relations firm, sent this bulletin: "Former Alito clerk Gary Rubman witnessed Mrs. Alito leaving her husband's confirmation in tears and is available for interviews, along with other former Alito clerks who know her personally and are very upset about this development."
And who would Creative Response Concepts be? According to Will Bunch, they're the same crack team that insta-pimped the Swift Boat Veterans and that TANG/Buckhead nonsense.

Quelle coincidence, as we traitorous French would say.


This Is How It's Done

It is remarkably frustrating to blog the Alito hearings, feel the righteous indignation of people in the comments sections all over the blogosphere that the supreme court is in danger of making a major lurch to the extreme right with the potential appointment of a bigoted, sexist, entitled, slavering chickenhawk like Alito, and see it reflected nowhere in the traditional media.

Every time it feels like some momentum is being gained, CNN blows it all away with the sweep of a facile headline. Pick up a paper or turn on cable news and on cue they are parroting all the GOP's talking points -- Alito's a moderate, he'll keep an "open mind" on abortion, and oh the poor frumpy sobbing wife.

How does the GOP keep them all in such abject subservience? An article from the Knight-Ridder news service shows the extremely organized pressure they bring to bear on anyone who deviates from their party message:
On Dec. 1, Knight Ridder's Washington bureau sent a story analyzing the record of Judge Samuel Alito to our 32 daily newspapers and to the more than 300 papers that subscribe to the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. Written by Stephen Henderson, Knight Ridder's Supreme Court correspondent, and Howard Mintz of the San Jose Mercury News, the story began:

"During his 15 years on the federal bench, Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito has worked quietly but resolutely to weave a conservative legal agenda into the fabric of the nation's laws."

Assisted by Washington bureau researcher Tish Wells, Henderson and Mintz spent nearly a month reading all of Alito's 311 published opinions, which are available in a commercial database or in the archives of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, where Alito has sat for 15 years.

Henderson and Mintz cataloged the cases by category - employment discrimination, criminal justice, immigration and so on - and analyzed each one with help from attorneys who participated on both sides of the cases and experts in those fields of law. They interviewed legal scholars and other judges, many of them admirers of Alito.

They concluded that, "although Alito's opinions are rarely written with obvious ideology, he's seldom sided with a criminal defendant, a foreign national facing deportation, an employee alleging discrimination or consumers suing big business."

You might find this neither surprising nor controversial. Alito, after all, was nominated by a president who said that his ideal Supreme Court justices were Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the high court's most reliably conservative members.

You'd be wrong.

Within days, the Senate Republican Conference circulated a lengthy memo headlined, "Knight Ridder Misrepresents Judge Alito's 15-year record."
Their talking points in place, they sent out the foot soldiers:
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a leader in the Alito confirmation process, sent a letter to the editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, a Knight Ridder paper, denouncing the story as "neither objective nor accurate." The Inquirer published it on Dec. 7.
Trot out some "expert" and demand equal time:
The White House offered an opinion piece by Jeffrey N. Wasserstein, a former Alito law clerk who identified himself as a Democrat and said his former boss "is capable of setting aside any personal biases he may have when he judges." Knight Ridder/Tribune distributed it to all of our papers and its subscribers on Dec. 11.
Get the hacks into the act:
A conservative columnist, whose glowing tribute to Alito is now featured in television advertisements supporting the nominee, declared the Knight Ridder story "illiterate."
Then when anyone brings it up, cite all your previous bullshit as proof irrefutable that the story has no merit:
The controversy erupted again this week at Alito's confirmation hearings. After Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., referred to the Knight Ridder story, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., introduced a critique of the story by the Republican staff of the Judiciary Committee into the record of the hearings. Kyl said the story, "has, to my understanding, been rather completely discredited." The first paragraph of the Republican critique, however, said the story was based on "dozens" of Alito's opinions, creating the false impression that Henderson and Mintz didn't examine the judge's entire body of published work.
Don't forget the ad hominum attacks on the author as a cautionary tale (a la Joe Wilson) to anyone else who might think to step out of line:
The Republican National Committee circulated a blistering personal attack on Henderson to some reporters, taking quotes out of context in an attempt to portray him as biased.
Bugger the truth:
The RNC said Henderson "admitted he was previously an editorial writer," as though that very public part of a distinguished reporter's career was a secret that he'd been trying to hide. The RNC statement then linked Henderson to editorials he didn't write.
And let's just remember the fact they were trying to dispute -- that Alito is a conservative:
This hysteria over a carefully researched article that documents the obvious - that Samuel Alito is a judicial conservative - is the latest example of a disturbing trend of attacking the messenger instead of debating difficult issues.

Fact-based reporting is the lifeblood of a democracy. It gives people shared information on which to make political choices. But as people in new democracies risk their lives to gather such information, in this country fact-based reporting is under more relentless assault than at any time in my more than 40 years in Washington.
Peter Daou has an important post up entitled "Bloggers in the Wilderness" about which he says:
This, then, is the reality: progressive bloggers and online activists - positioned on the front lines of a cold civil war - face a thankless and daunting task: battle the Bush administration and its legions of online and offline apologists, battle the so-called "liberal"” media and its tireless weaving of pro-GOP narratives, battle the ineffectual Democratic leadership, and battle the demoralization and frustration that comes with a long, steep uphill struggle.
Peter's absolutely right. And this is what we're up against.


Bush and Sammy: Made For Each Other

You don't have to know the difference between horizontal and vertical stare decisis, or between emanations and penumbras, to see that the man who could take Sandra Day O'Connor's seat and yank back women's rights was, in a word, shifty.

Or in three words, shifty, sapless and sighing.

To offset his reputation on women's rights, he even played the henpecked husband. When Republican senators used the expression "When did you stop beating your wife?" about Democratic questions, Judge Alito riposted, "I wasn't asked whether she had stopped beating me."

His basic defense to Democrats boiled down to: "I was just saying what my boss wanted to hear at the time." Haven't we had enough yes-men mangling government for the last five years? Heck of a job, Sammy.

I understand why the president is drawn to the judge. Mr. Alito is dubbed "Scalito" - a conservative senator, John Cornyn, accidentally blurted out the nickname - because he's so much like Antonin Scalia. And W. loves Nino.

Judge Alito has supported imperial powers for the presidency, not strong checks and balances; he approved the strip search of a 10-year-old girl but is not probing too deeply into what the executive branch is doing. That's W.'s philosophy, too - a pre-emptive right to secretly do everything from war to torture to snooping.

Like the president, the judge loves baseball. Mr. Alito once vacationed at a fantasy baseball camp (O.K. fielder, hopeless hitter), wearing the red and white Phillies uniform. W. has spent five years in fantasyland on Iraq, on occasion donning military costumes.

His fingers in his ears, W. didn't want to hear that we had too few troops in Iraq - ignoring advice from Viceroy Paul Bremer and Gen. Eric Shinseki - or that the troops didn't have enough armor. But the president continues to fling blame outward.

In a speech yesterday before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, he warned the Democrats that they should take care not to bring "comfort to our adversaries."

Judge Alito was evasive, disingenuous and deferential. He fits the Bush era like a baseball glove.
More like a used condom.


Lieberman Says Filibuster is On the Table

Fearful that grassroots groups like MoveOn and DKos are organizing to oppose him in the upcoming election, Joe Lieberman has been feeling the heat. He's been meeting with the DFA hoping to keep them out of it, and Bill Scher now says that according to DFA reps he is claiming that "filibuster is definitely on the table."

If Lieberman is serious this could go a long way toward molifying liberal anger at him for his cuddly ways with BushCo. And if he's just yanking everybody's chain that is a really ill-advised move at this point. Hopefully we will hear more on this soon.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Win a Date With Kate

This is just horrible. Those creeps at Amazon have censored the General and are refusing to run his review of Fair Kate's book. The nerve:
I found many truths in Mrs. O'Beirne's book, truths so self-evident that I have to wonder why no one has stated them until now. For instance, how could anyone argue with her assertion that feminists exploit female war casualties to "advance the feminist agenda of androgyny and abortion." Even I have to admit that every time I hear that another woman has been sacrificed in our glorious Iraq adventure, I'm tempted to tell my wife, Ofjoshua, to throw on a pair of jeans, head for the nearest women's health clinic, and help them slaughter a whole passel of blastocyst-Americans.

But I think it's her frequent attacks against the television show, "Sex in the City," that I value most about this book. By promoting the myth that women should enjoy sex, that show has done more to destroy the institution of marriage than even homosexual unions. I think most men will agree with me when I say that there isn't a woman alive who isn't thoroughly repulsed by sex. Telling them that it should be a pleasant experience rather than a vomit-inducing one only serves to cause them to resent their husbands when the impossible isn't delivered. Hopefully, this book will help destroy that myth.

As much as I enjoyed this book, I can't give it more than a single star because it has a fatal flaw. It promotes the most destructive myth of all, the existence of lesbianism. Mrs. O'Beirne discusses it throughout the book as if it is something that is real. She doesn't seem to be able to understand that women can't have sex with each other. They don't have little soldiers.
Kate's Amazon page has been heavily freeped. Anyone so inclined can freep back here.

TBogg caught a few more gems, however, before those Amazon fuckers pulled the plug.

Betsy's Muse says Kate has the IQ of a tapeworm and reminds her she better thank the feminists every time she wears pants.

Our good friend Heretik Joe has superb visual aids, and points us to Amanda who gives us a Kate, Jonah and Derb three-for-one and the memorable line "I’ve yet to meet a feminist who said something like, say John Derbyshire’s proclamation that because he finds bona fide boobies repulsive, all men want to fuck high school girls." Pretty much sums up Sex and the Corner right there.

And as Attaturk says of the meagerly literate women of Pantload Junction: "If their ability to make an income isn't a demonstration of the effectiveness of the feminist movement I don't know what is."

Stealthbadger coins a new phrase for Kate's oeuvre -- "literary turd"

Mike at Mike's Well Hidden Genius says Kate displays all the DMS-IV symptoms of Asperger syndrome. Never heard of it but it fits her like a glove.

And Lons at crushed by inertia wonders what's up with conservatives always making enemies lists.

That is a very good question.

(graphic courtesy of the talented Berkeley -- I think it's destined to become a bloggy classic)

Update: The General's review is now up! The French have heard our plea. It's every patriot's duty to go vote. And vote up some of the others while you're there.


Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love

Jonah Goldberg tells the one about when his mom got tired of watching him eat paste in the basement and bought his way into college:
I went to an all-women's college. Mine was the first "integrated" class at Goucher College, a fine, historically single-sex liberal arts college in Baltimore. As you might imagine, many of the young women there, some egged on by very ideological feminist professors, had opposed the decision to admit men. The fact that my freshman year was also the year Robert Bork was nominated to the Supreme Court and Glenn Close boiled a bunny in "Fatal Attraction" might give you a sense of the larger cultural climate as well.

While my undergraduate experience was not exactly the late-night Cinemax adventure some imagine when they hear that there was a roughly 30-to-1 female-to-male student ratio, I did find the experience rewarding on several fronts. One of them was that I learned quite a bit about feminism and feminists (I was certainly exposed to more feminist theory than I was to, say, the U.S. Constitution or the American founding).
I went to a women's college too and I know the type -- they show up thinking that under the law of averages even they might get lucky and become angry for the rest of their lives when they discover nobody's ever that hard up. Somehow it becomes Betty Friedan's fault that they never got a bj when the meter wasn't running and the result is pretty much the entire NRO masthead (a group to which, it seems, Brian Williams now aspires).

TBogg envisions Jonah's days as a puffy young coed and yes, sweaty man boobs are mentioned.



Mrs. Strip Search Sammy sure had herself a Kodak moment today, didn't she? Goober Graham left off his corn-pone homilies and played the hick card just long enough to set her up by using the B word --– the word they're all terrified of, the word they wanted to use before the Democrats did -- BIGOT BIGOT BIGOT BIGOT BIGOT BIGOT -- that sent the low-rent Sarah Bernhardt shrieking for the cheap seats.

I've worked in the biz long enough to know a poorly executed little melodrama when I see it and that was the worst, the most shameless, most obvious. It's the role you give a really bad actress, one that can't even be counted upon to cry with conviction. The mad dash will obscure the crocodile tears and ensure that all the cameras follow, and any attempt at intelligent discussion of quite serious and weighty matters will undoubtedly get trumped by a moment of quick burlesque ripe for the evening news. A slavish press will need no coaching to play along.

Pure setup 101.

Somebody sat down last night and decided ol' Strip Search was coming off cold and vaguely sweaty and creepy. But how to soften him up, make him sympathetic, get the public on his side? Anyone with an IQ over 52 was doing an eye roll over that one, so it ought to have had some sort of GOP trademark stamp atop it.

Democrats are now effectively warned away from inching near the "B" word lest they look like cruel Snidely Whiplashes taunting Dainty Sensitive Nell.

These boldfaced crooks are absolutely desperate to stack the court and keep all their bacon out of prison.

Update: TBogg says boo-fucking-hoo.

Update 2: Wolcott and Watertiger are equally moved.


Another WaPo Hand Job

Washington Post staff writer Marcia Davis had the long knives out today for the Democrats questioning Strip Search Sammy, quick to mock them as girly men in an article entitled "For Democrats, A Most Tender Roast of Alito":
It was beginning to look as if the Democrats had shown up to a knife fight without a knife yesterday.

It was beginning to look as if they'd just been woofing when it came to the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. That they'd written a check full of bluster that a lackluster series of questions couldn't cash.

There were some deft jabs, for sure, and Democrats did visit the territories they had promised -- from abortion rights to executive power to issues of discrimination and the appellate judge's ethics. But the Dems didn't rampage, didn't storm the barricades as all their tough talk had promised.

In fact, most of the day was so quiet that by mid-afternoon you had Republicans such as Texas's John Cornyn going before reporters and essentially declaring victory.

That's hard to take when Americans have been promised a smackdown. This is a reality TV nation, a WWF kinda country, where we like to see a fight even when we know it isn't real, even when we know the stakes might just be a bag of Cheetos.
Now the Post and other papers are perfectly entitled to print one-sided opinion pieces as just that -- opinion. You'll remember all the harumphing that was done recently by John WATB Harris and others about how Dan Froomkin's column was not "news" and as such had to be relegated to the "opinion" page so as not to taint the genetic purity of the news division?
He’s entitled to his opinion, and he’s entitled to be proud of what is obviously a devoted audience. But you know how I feel—his column, under its current title and display, does dilute the Washington Post’s reputation, and more serious care should be given to its editing and presentation.
I've never seen anything as nasty and one-sided coming out of Froomkin's pen as this Marcia Davis hatchet piece. But it isn't on the opinion page -- it appears on Page C1 in the Nation section, leading off the paper's Special Report on the Supreme Court.

Thanks, Washington Post. Your policies remain perfectly clear.

(thanks to reader Teddy)


Stonewalling for BushCo. Bigots

Despite the fact that Strip Search Sammy is suffering from a bout of the dreaded DC Can't Remember Shit Disease, his membership in the uber-wingy CAP is proof that he is either a) a BIGOT or b) has no principles he wouldn't readily sell out in an attempt to curry favor with power. Neither belong on the Supreme Court.

And the Republicans know this CAP stuff is toxic. They've been stonewalling any legitimate inquiry into creepy Sam's history with the group, and Specter is either so ignorant of what's going on within his own committee that he's in no position to be chairing it or he's just a lying shill for the Bush administration when he says those documents were never requested.

Think Progress has a video of the dust-up with Ted Kennedy.

This is a history of the back-and-forth with the Kennedy office, according to Kennedy staff:
November 30, 2005: Senator Kennedy requests Congressional Research Service to ask Rusher's permission to examine CAP documents at Library of Congress.

Week of December 5, 2005: Rusher turns down CRS request.

December 22, 2005: Senators Kennedy sends letter to Senator Specter asking for Committee request of Rusher documents. Delivered by hand to Judiciary Committee.

Date unknown prior to 1/5/06: Kennedy staff and Specter staff discuss December 22 request.

January 5, 2006, 7:29 pm: Kennedy staff request status report from Specter staff on request regarding Rusher documents.

January 5, 2006 7:50 pm: Specter staff replies that they are not inclined to grant request because they are personal documents.

January 6, 2006, 12:01 am: Kennedy staff asks Specter staff to reconsider on basis that there are not personal documents but business records of a very public organization.

January 11, 2006: Senator Specter says he's unaware of the request.
If Specter's got a different version of events, let's hear it.

My inbox has been stuffed with emails from Princeton graduates who are outraged that CAP would be characterized as anything but a bunch of raving, elitist racists, and their publications most certainly back that up.

According to Bill Scher, Specter has now agreed that they will get the records. But it's indicative of the lengths they'll go to in order to keep the spotlight off Sammy's Dirty Little Secret.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Who Wants a Date With Kate?

We, like Digby, feel slightly dirty for having been linked by The Corner today. But dirty good. As TBogg says, it's no fun lobbing grenades all day unless they show up every once in a while and take one in the face. Okay it was the result of a deliberate misreading of what we said -- they interpreted a rhetorical statement about the verbal lashing we have in store for Ms. (and I use the term loosely) O'Beirne as a death threat -- but what can you say, logic is not their strong suit.

Anyway we have much planned for Fair Kate. The General is on the case (he's written one of his famous Amazon Reviews which is up on his site but not yet on Amazon -- we will be sure to let you know when it is so you can vote for it) and I am attempting to lure the talented Monk into the fray. But hey, why keep all the fun to ourselves? If you've got a blog and you would like to show Kate just how much you appreciate not only her new book but her continued presence on Hardball, Meet the Press and other major media outlets despite the fact that she writes for a publication with roughly the circulation of Chicken-Sexer Weekly and her views are representative of almost nobody outside that subsidized bughouse known as The Corner or the chemically unbalanced Catholic League, leave your link in the comments and I will link you up in the upcoming days.

Just remember that this... the woman who said this:
I have long thought that if high-school boys had invited homely girls to the prom we might have been spared the feminist movement.
So sharpen those daggers to a steely point (RHETORICAL daggers, KJ you fucking nitwit) and show us what you can do.

Oh and cue the concern trolls.

(graphic courtesy Professor Leo Strauss)


Oh Bob, How We've Missed You

After weeks of uncharacteristic silence leading many to conclude he had either a) been fired as Karl Rove's attorney or b) become so much a part of the case that wiser heads demanded he STFU, there has been a Robert Luskin sighting.

This time he spoke to Jayson Leopold:
Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, said in a brief interview Monday that he has not heard anything about the grand jury requesting additional information about Rove and is unaware that Fitzgerald has been building a case against his client.


"I think it's fair to say that there is no change in [Rove's] status. He is not a target of the investigation, but there remains an open investigation," Luskin said.

But sources knowledgeable about the case against Rove say that he was offered a plea deal in December and that Luskin had twice met with Fitzgerald during that time to discuss Rove's legal status. Rove turned down the plea deal, which would likely have required him to provide Fitzgerald with information against other officials who were involved in Plame's outing as well as testifying against those people, the sources said.

Luskin would neither confirm nor deny that a meeting with Fitzgerald took place last month. "I am simply not going to comment on whether I was or wasn't talking to Mr. Fitzgerald," Luskin said. "I am not acknowledging that it did or didn't happen, I am just saying that I have never commented about that before and I am not going to start doing that now."
Old "Gold Bars" just really isn't his usual chatty self these days. Wonder what put him off his feed?


The Snark Business is Getting Crowded

In the newly released documents that detail Tim Russert's battle to refuse to testify about his conversations with Scooter Libby in the CIA leak case, Russert claimed that the waiver signed by Libby allowing him to do so was coerced and that if he testified his "sources" would no longer trust him as a journalist.

It's great that bloggers are on the scene to smack down the disingenuous hypocricy of Russert's all-too-willing defense of his good friend Scooter:
It is also relevant to note that Russert has treated an asserted waiver of the reporter's privilege quite differently when convenient. When Richard Clarke published his book Against All Enemies and testified before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the September 11 Commission), Clarke became subject to intense media scrutiny. On March 24, 2004, the White House disclosed Clarke's identity as the "senior administration official" who gave a "background" briefing in August 2002. When Clarke appeared as a guest on Meet the Press on March 28, 2004, Russert noted the White House had been aggressive in attacking Clarke's credibility and had identified Clarke as the source for the background briefing -- without indicating any concern about the "voluntariness" of the waiver, in which Clarke apparently played no role. (Copy of the March 28, 2004, Meet the Press transcript, Exhibit 1). Russert did not hesitate to broadcast out of any concern that such disclosure might chill future background sources.
Did I say blogger? Sorry, I meant Patrick Fitzgerald (Page 33, footnote #13, Government's Response to Motion to Quash Grand Jury Subpoena).

So Tim -- I think you're full of shit, Tom Maguire thinks you're full of shit, and the Special Counsel thinks you're full of shit. That's left, right and center. Your appearances on Don Imus notwithstanding, who exactly is it that's supposed to be trusting your journalistic integrity these days?

(thanks to Jeff for the tip)


Strip Search Sammy: Wanker

Sammy's getting hinky under the glare of the hot lights, isn't he? He verily bristles about being called on his rapidly shifting stories about oh so many things.

His CAP story makes no sense. He graduated from Princeton in 1972, the same year the ROTC had already returned to Princeton, and yet he now maintains that it was his grave worries over its exclusion from the campus that caused him to join the Concerned Alumni of Princeton in the first place.

A reader who is also a member of the Princeton alumni sends the following:
Oh please -- the notion that the "concerned alumni" of Princeton gave a rat's ass about ROTC is absurd. It's not like any of their kids were going into the military. I was two classes behind Alito (Andy Napolitano was there too, another prize), and the only thing I remember CAP getting exercised about was the invasion by us girls.
Sammy bragged about his membership in CAP in 1985 when he thought it would give him an "in" with the Reagan administration, so he must've been on board with this statement which appeared two years earlier in a CAP newsletter:
People nowadays just don't seem to know their place. Everywhere one turns black and hispanics are demanding jobs simply because they're black and hispanic, the physically handicapped are trying to gain equal representation in professional sports, and homosexuals are demanding that government vouchsafe them the right to bear children.
Sammy's never mentioned the ROTC thing before. That's something GOP Senators seem to have unearthed in his defense, although really it just points the finger at the fact that Sammy's simply another bedwetting GOP chickenhawk who found a way to stay out of Vietnam.

Jonah, Taranto and the Freepers are getting pretty testy with Digby who thinks that they're all a bunch of crybabies pissing themselves (and our civil liberties) down the drain, and Digby is now being challenged to a fight.

I know Digby. Digby could kick all their asses. Jonah would be rendered a blubbering heap of chickenshit in a pile Ding-Dong wrappers post haste. Not that Digby finds it necessary to respond to that kind of macho bravado posturing that will never have to be backed up. Still, be careful what you wish for.


Tool Time

Lawyers for NBC News reporter Tim Russert suspected in the spring of 2004 that his testimony could snare Vice President Cheney's top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, in a lie and Russert resisted testifying at the time about private conversations with Libby, according to court papers released yesterday.


It "appears that Mr. Russert's testimony is sought solely because the Special Prosecutor believes that his recollection of a telephone conversation with an Executive Branch official is inconsistent with that official's statements," they wrote.
How exactly did Russert know that his testimony would contradict Libby's story? Are we supposed to believe Fitzgerald called him up and said "hey, Scooter just unloaded a big pile of shit on my doorstep and I'd like you to come over and clean it up?"

Sure sounds like Scooter call Russert up and say "hey Timmeh, cover for me old bean." While Russert might have fought testifying on any account, it certainly appears that he knew well in advance that his story didn't match up with Scooter's and there is certainly good reason to suspect that this information didn't come from Patrick "leak tank" Fitzgerald.

Atrios is right. That Russert continues to quote-unquote "cover" this story without answering a few basic questions about his own involvement is really beyond the pale.

Update: Tom MaGuire asks the same question.


Strip Search Sammy: Liar

Alito is lying about his involvement with Concerned Alumni for Princeton, and the reason he is lying is because membership with such an organization demonstrates an embarrassing level of opposition to civil rights in this country that should disqualify someone from being a Supreme Court Justice. That he is unwilling to be truthful during his confirmation hearings further demonstrates just how unqualified he is.
Digby's right, I'm sure Sammy just wanted to keep women out of Princeton because they wouldn't have "felt comfortable" there.



Monday, January 09, 2006

I'm Sharpening My Knives Now

Just saw the cover of Kate O'Bierne's new steaming pile of offal.

The bitch is dead meat.


Who's Stage Managing This Freak Show?

In an effort to convince us that Alito is a "moderate" they hauled out erstwhile frisking enthusiast Christie Todd Whitman and allowed her to try and crawl back into the GOP's good graces:
Former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, who introduced Alito to the committee, referred to the nominee as "President Alito," then told the TV cameras she met Alito when she was "governor of New York."
Two words Christie: beta blockers.

Even Dana Milbank thinks Strip Search Sammy is a bit of a second-rate oddball.

Digby thinks he's a closet freeper. He does have a bit of that "one handed typist" look, doesn't he?


American Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq

The name of the reporter for the Christian Science Monitor who has been kidnapped in Iraq has been released. She's Jill Carroll:
Carroll, a 28-year-old freelancer for The Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped Saturday in Baghdad, when gunmen ambushed her car and killed her translator. She had been on her way to meet a Sunni Arab official in one of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods.

In the February/March issue of AJR, Carroll wrote that she moved to Jordan in late 2002, six months before the war started, "to learn as much about the region as possible before the fighting began."

"There was bound to be plenty of parachute journalism once the war started, and I didn't want to be a part of that," she wrote.


Unlike most Western reporters, Carroll is able to speak Arabic, "so she can operate pretty well in Iraq," Ingwerson said.

Despite her language skills, Carroll used an Iraqi translator. The translator was killed during the kidnapping, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said.
There's a clip up over at CBS news that includes an old interview with the translator who was killed, Alan Ghazi, and it's quite heartbreaking. He opened up a music store because of his love of western music and was well aware of the dangers involved in working as a translator for an American journalist.

Carroll was friends with humanitarian aid worker Marla Ruzicka who was killed in Bagdhad last year:
Marla was more than a source for a story, she was one of those quiet cheerleaders that kept me - and the Iraqis she touched - going almost from the moment that I arrived here three years ago.

I first met her in Jordan, just before the war. A reporter friend told me that I should get to know this young activist who made a name for herself working for Global Exchange, the US organization that sent field workers to Afghanistan to count civilian casualties.

After the Iraq war, she moved her push for an accurate count of civilian casualties to Baghdad. At a time when the International Committee of the Red Cross and United Nations were leaving Iraq, Marla started the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict. Through that, she helped Iraqi families navigate the process of claiming compensation from the US military for injuries and deaths.


I was always amazed at how composed Marla remained amid the violence and confusion of Iraq. One of my favorite memories of her was when I was sitting in the middle of the Palestine Hotel lobby in Baghdad, surrounded by a confusing swirl of soldiers, officials, and reporters. Fear swept over me. What was I doing here? I had come as a freelancer, with no experience covering a war. Just as I was quietly freaking out, Marla appeared in the dusty, harried scene. She was the picture of calm in a perfect French braid and long blue dress. She was like a breeze blowing through, so tranquil, so clean.

Later in the fall of 2003 when I moved here and was despairing of my sputtering freelance work she would always say, "Jill, good for you. You're working so hard. I'm so proud of you." She was the eternal supportive cheerleader. One night she slipped a note in my hotel mailbox. It was a small essay of encouragement and praise from out of the blue, scribbled in black ink on a scrap of notebook paper.


The only thing we can say now is at least she died doing what she wanted, doing what she really, really believed in. If she were still here, she'd be most worried now about her driver's family and who will take care of all the other Iraqi families she was working with.

She would point out, this happens to Iraqis every day and no one notices or even cares. There are no newspaper articles or investigations into what happens to them. For most of them, there was only Marla.
Many people have risked much to assure that the true story of what is happening in Iraq is told, and not just the recycled GI Joe cartoon jingles served up by the Pentagon. Let's hope that someone so young and idealistic does not wind up another casualty in this unbelievable mess.


Malkin on Mehlman

Malkin: "The RNC is providing bloggers with an Internet connection and brown bag lunch. Nothing more and nothing expected in return."

No worries, Michelle. Even us dirty-minded lefties never presumed this was some sort of trumped up excuse for a little horizontal mambo.

Just file that one under "image be gone."


It Can Be Done

Much prognostication today about how the Alito hearings will progress. The wonkosphere, in an attempt to look moderate if not reasonable, is limply flapping about with predictions of his inevitable confirmation. But I think this attempt to make themselves look like wizened elves results from a serious misreading of the current political terrain.

Chris Bowers, who is in DC blogging about the hearings for MyDD, says:
I am in DC today, as I will be for the rest of the week. While I am down here, one of the main things I will be working on is to defeat the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.

I want to make that last sentence clear. I believe the Democratic goal for the Alito hearings should be to defeat his nomination through a filibuster of 41 votes or more, and then to defeat the nuclear option with a vote of 51 votes or more. Samuel Alito is an unacceptable choice to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Strip Search Sammy is an altogether different beast than John Roberts, and his hearing comes at quite a different time. The public is starting to get their first tastes of the corruption scandal growing like a cancer on the Republican party who are vulnerable just at the time they are the most visible. Despite his bluster, John Cornyn is rightly terrified that the free pass given him by the press in the Abramoff matter will end any day now. He's not the only one. There is considerable cover for an attack that didn't exist only months ago.

And Alito himself is personally unappealing. Stiff, humorless, and comes off as a bit of a weirdo. People like Ron Wyden were afraid to go after Roberts because he was likeable, and Joe Biden learned to his peril that shredding the "nice guy" is the wrong place to try and make your bones. There is an opening for Democrats to capitalize on this as they try to tie unpopular Bush measures like the illegal NSA wiretaps to Alito's tail like a tin can.

And the RNC knows it. Ken Mehlman himself is meeting today with Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, Cap'n Ed, Red State, Political Teen and others to try and control the quite critical message in the blogosphere, and seeding the notion of inevitable failure into the opposition narrative is one of the tricks that plays well for the GOP.

So encourage your local wonk to go back to debating the finer points of interstate commerce regulation this week. They need to stop doing Ken Mehlman's work for him.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Good Times

House Speaker Dennis Hastert says that he will move swiftly to reform ethics rules and clean up the House.

Color me convinced.

Now that Tom DeLay has informed Dennis Hastert that he is still calling the shots in the House and has determined what committee he will be assigned to, Republican corruption in Congress is a thing of the past.

Earmarks are at the heart of the scandals surrounding Mr. Abramoff and Duke Cunningham, the former GOP congressman who admitted to taking $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for earmarks. Military contractor Brian Wilkes not only lavished gifts on Mr. Cunningham but spent $1.1 million on lobbying others. The payoff: at least $95 million in government contracts. The Copley News Service reported that "Wilkes made no bones about where his money was coming from. His jet-black Hummer bore a license plate reading MIPR ME--a reference to Military Interdepartmental Purchase Requests," the means by which his firm got paid.
Well, that was the Dukester. But he's gone. And congress will now be safe from Tom DeLay and his sticky-fingered ethics as he takes over the seat on the Appropriations Committee that is now open having been recently vacated by DUKE CUNNINGHAM.

Meanwhile the Official White House Toxic DeLay Distancing Strategy seems to be fixing on the story that the Bugman was some sort of low-rent cracker that a wealthy Brahmin like George Bush would never hang out with.



Control Yourself, Boys

On today's Press the Meat some supremely ironic booker had the supremely ironic idea to have Texas Senator John Cornyn come on and talk about Jack Abramoff. Timmeh continued his tradition of superlative journalism by giving Cornyn just enough time to give his excuses about his personal involvement in the matter before skipping off to greener pastures:
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Cornyn, your name surfaced as receiving $1,000 from associates of Jack Abramoff. And Ralph Reed, an associate of Mr. Abramoff, was quoted as saying that he helped "choreograph" a response for you when you were attorney general towards a tribal problem. Will you give that money back?

SEN. CORNYN: Tim, it was a legal contribution. I don'’t plan on giving it back, which is -- you know, to listen to Chuck and to try to have it both ways and say this is a partisan issue -- —you know, Jack Abramoff and the people, his clients, made bipartisan contributions and through—as long as they'’re legal and appropriately reported, I don'’t see any reason to give them back. On the Reed e-mail -- —and this is not Harry Reid, but...

SEN. SCHUMER: R-E-E-D of the -- yeah.

MR. RUSSERT: Ralph Reed, formerly of the Christian Coalition.

SEN. CORNYN: Exactly. Those e-mails came out three years after I, as attorney general of Texas, filed an injunction to enforce Texas law against casino gambling. We prevailed because the law was in our favor, and then after the fact, apparently, there were these e-mails I had no knowledge of where Reed and Abramoff were somehow claiming credit and then bilking their Indian clients for millions of dollars, apparently. And I certainly disapprove of that, did not know anything about it.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.
And that was that. Tons o'time was then spent trying to pin Schumer down about hypothetical situations regarding filibuster as Timmeh turned the show over to speculative fiction about situations that Schumer himself can neither predict nor control. Would you? Could you? In a car?

But in the realm of realilty, John Cornyn was the Texas Attorney General at the time Abramoff was taking money from the Cochetta Indians -- funneling it to Ralph Reed who then aimed his flock o' fundie freaks like a missile launcher to give cover to Cornyn as he did exactly what Abramoff wanted him to do -- shut down the competition.

Did Cornyn do this at Abramoff's and Reed's bidding? According to emails from Reed he did:
On November 12, 2001, Reed sent Abramoff an e-mail stating, "get me details so I can alert cornyn and let him know what we are doing to help him" [sic]. Similarly, on November 13, 2001, Reed wrote "I strongly suggest we start doing patch-throughs to perry and cornyn [sic]. We're getting killed on the phone." Also, on January 7, 2002, Reed sent Abramoff an e-mail stating "I think we should budget for an ataboy for cornyn" [sic].
Whatever fucking little dance of the seven veils Russert did with Cornyn today, it wasn't journalism. Either Cornyn is lying, or Reed -- currently running for Lieutenant Governor in Georgia -- is guilty of extorting money from Abramoff's clients based on making representations about being able to play Cornyn like a violin:
"Cornyn is getting a pass that he doesn't deserve," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, referring to the lack of attention to the senator's involvement.

"My concern is that he's working with Ralph Reed, who's being paid by Indian gaming interests," Sloan said.
I'm aware that the strictly Republican aspect of this whole Abramoff thing makes Wolf Blitzer and his Sunday morning brethren sigh like little girls at the sight of Aaron Carter, but eventually they might want to raise themselves to ask a few obvious questions.

Update: Cornyn's also been threatening Sean-Paul Kelly of the Agonist for delving into the Abramoff/Reed/Cornyn connection. Markos has more.

Update: Roger has more.


Paging Jeff Goldstein

We're getting a bit worried about Alec Rawls. He's been trolling around TBogg's comment section for a couple of days now and as the quote-unquote "sensible" defender of the Red Crescent theory we think you should come and get him.

I want you to know that I'm calling Steve Soto and taking up a collection to have Alec fitted out with one of these. And not one of those cheap home-made jobs either, one of the good ones that are molded to fit your individual skull. While we are not entirely convinced of their theraputic worth we hear they are all the rage and our moral relativism make us open to other value systems.

Because we're liberals. And we care.

(tin foilery courtesy sans-culotte in the comments)