In The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama says that his mother, "for
all her professed secularism...was in many ways the most spiritually
awakened person that I've even known."
She had an unsweving instinct for kidness, charity, and love, and spent
much of her life acting on that instinct, sometimes to her detriment.
Without the help of religious texts or outside
authorities, she worked mightily to instill in me the
values that many Americans learn in Sunday school... She
raged at poverty and injustice, and scorned those who were
indifferent to both.
Barack Obama made some remarks
last night in Washington.
"I am seriously glad to be here tonight at the annual Alfalfa dinner. I
know that many of you are aware that this dinner began almost one hundred
years ago as a way to celebrate the birthday of General Robert E. Lee. If
he were here with us tonight, the General would be 202 years old. And very
Barack Obama boarded the plane leaving Illinois for D.C., then spoke
candidly to the reporters at the back of the plane.
"Well guys, I am looking forward to seeing you guys in Washington... I
gotta say I choked up a little bit leaving my house today."
"Malia's friend had dropped off an album of the two of them together. They
had been friends since pre-school and I just looked through the pages and
the house was empty and it was a little tough, it got me."
Clearly, those lining up for food hadn't been told they had an
guest helping out this day. Many of them lit up. Some shrieked with
delight and hugged one or more of the Obamas. One elderly woman bowed. All
seemed very appreciative.
One and all were greeted with handshakes,
and hearty "Happy Thanksgivings"...
One sixty-something neighborhood resident named Daryel Namdan was asked
how it felt to have Obama there. "It makes me feel very special," he said,
before choking up
"And so we stand up from whatever stoop we found in the last 24 hours,
brush the tears from our eyes, and start back down the tree-lined
streets---yellow and orange leaves falling, our country ablaze again with
In 2006 — two years before his death at age 85
— Norman Mailer was interviewed by his 28-year-old son,
Bloggers became the surprise focus in a paragraph
about powerlessness and political correctness.
My fear — not my attitude, but my fear — is that there's such
atmosphere now in America, such powerlessness for most of us — it's
almost like the more power we have with the Internet, the less power we
really have — you can feel this in the emptiness of so many blogs.
There's a kind of dissipated fury in people today. They're frustrated,
they're angry, and they are full of bad conscience, bad conscience among
other things, that we're in Iraq, bad conscience that we're so passive
about the fact that the top half of one percent of the country are
pulling in — whatever they're getting — 25 percent of the
the country each year and not even being taxed for it properly. So of
course, yes, public figures can be seriously reduced by making rash
In The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama
remembers his mother's "incorrigible, sweet-natured romanticism," saying
she tried intellectually to understand the 1960s radicals, but "the anger,
the oppositional spirit, just wasn't in her."
"Emotionally her liberalism would always remain of a decidedly
vintage, her heart a time capsule filled with images of the space program,
the Peace Corps and Freedom Rides, Mahalia Jackson, and Joan Baez."
He wanted to tell me that Hillary Clinton was "battle tested." Okay, it
was a recorded message, but it was still fun getting a call from the star
of Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, and
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.
Jack thinks Hillary would make a
"strong" commander in chief, and has "the experience to deal with the
economic challenges we face as a nation today."
"I'm casting my vote for Hillary Clinton," says Jack Nicholson. And he
hopes you'll join him.
He'd won a Pulitzer Prize, 43 years ago. Before his death in April, David
Halberstam wrote one last article about George Bush -- and Vanity Fair
it up on their web site.
The 74-year-old's final verdict?
We have lately been getting so many history lessons from the White House
that I have come to think of Bush, Cheney, Rice, and the late, unlamented
Rumsfeld as the History Boys.
They are people groping for rationales
their failed policy, and as the criticism becomes ever harsher, they cling
to the idea that a true judgment will come only in the future, and history
will save them.
Pre-Watergate, there was little or no public knowledge of the vast
pushing, shoving and outright acrimony between the Nixon White House and
[Deep Throat] had nothing but contempt for the Nixon White House and their
efforts to manipulate the bureau for political reasons.
34 years later,
Woodward tells all about how he met his powerful and secretive source.
I love how the picture captures the different styles of their generation -
and how the expressions on their faces hint at the roles they'll play.
Every time Woodward asked about his motivations, the FBI chief gave
to do this my way."
I didn't know Norman Mailer had contributed to the
"In the wake of all the fluvial funereal obsequies that the media attached
to Ronald Reagan's earthly departure, I felt obliged to remark that he had
been the most overrated president in American history and the second most
Then I added -- how could I not? -- guess who is the most ignorant? Half
the audience applauded; the other half were outraged and groaned in true
There's only one other. Mailer wonders if Michael Isikoff's erroneous
story about the desecrated Koran could have been a classic case of
"Obviously, I can offer no proof of any of the
above. There still resides, however, under my aging novelist's pate a
volunteer intelligence agent, sadly manque... At the age of eighty-two I
do not wish to revive old paranoia, but Lenin did leave us one valuable
notion, one, at any rate. It was 'Whom?' When you cannot understand a
curious matter, ask yourself, 'Whom? Whom does this benefit?'"
This is my favorite part...
"George W. is not only a horse's ass, but vain and platitudinous to
"The Iranians are years, probably as long as a decade away, and possibly
even longer from creating even a limited yield nuclear weapon. Ergo, the
only reason to ramp up a confrontation now is to help the president's poll
Josh backs up his statement with a key point from a recent Time
article, which uncovered a five-point plan aimed at
shoring up the President's support before the November elections.
point was to "reclaim security credibility." And Time even cites a
"Republican frequently consulted by the White House" who believes
that "In the face of the Iranian menace, the Democrats will lose."
Is an international crisis being manufactured? Josh calls for a strong
"Enough of the lies. Enough of the incompetence and failure.
No buying into another of the president's phony crises...
To the president the Democrats should be saying, Double or Nothing is Not
a Foreign Policy."
The 26-year-old intern then posed for Playboy and wrote a "novel" -- about
who gets fired for blogging about her sex life. But now one of her
blogged-about lovers is suing her for "invasion of privacy."
Robert Steinbuch - described by Cutler as "this crazy hair-pulling,
ass-smacking dude who wants to use handcuffs on me" - filed his lawsuit
year complaining of "humiliation and anguish beyond that which any
reasonable person should be expected to bear in a decent and civilized society."
Steinbuch may have gotten the
last laugh, according to Wonkette. His lawyer filed a motion arguing
that Cutler's attorney was also described in her web-log.
(He was W - "a sugar daddy who wants nothing but anal.")
If the tipster is to believed, Cutler's former attorney - William Bode -
then filed an "oh-so-meek notice of withdrawal."
As for weapons of mass destruction, there were none, but Saddam could
not bring himself to admit it, because he feared a loss of prestige
and, in particular, that Iran might take advantage of his weakness...
[Saddam] did not tell even his most senior generals that he had no
WMD until just before the invasion. They were appalled, and some
thought he might be lying, because, they later told their
interrogators, the American government insisted that Iraq did have
The New Yorker
describes the ultimate outcome with
Saddam "found it impossible to abandon the illusion of
having W.M.D.," the study says. The Bush war cabinet, of course, clung
to the same illusion, and a kind of mutually reinforcing trance took
hold between the two leaderships as the invasion neared.
When the news was first broken here...that Claude Allen, the
president's former domestic policy adviser, had submitted his resignation
in early February, the White House said Allen wanted to spend more time
with his family.
It appears now that he may have been seeking more time with his defense
Allen is accused of 25 counts of retail fraud. Josh Marshall notes Bush
had nominated him to be a
What would happen if Rush Limbaugh had an audience?
Magically, this footage
from 16 years ago answers the question.
Young Rush Limbaugh - guest-hosting on the Pat Sajak talk-show -
lasts about one minute before the crowd suddenly turns on him.
"We are gonna be wherever you are, and we're going to
denounce and expose you."
The audience shouts, jeers, and rises in mocking ovations
when Rush inadvertently admits his prejudices.
"As you can see," Rush stammers at the end, "we've had to clear the
studio of the audience
in order to be able to conclude the final segment of the program......"
And ever since - for 16 years - Rush has recorded every one of his
without a studio audience.
1999 - Amazingly, the outgoing message on Mark Felt's answering
was: "If you'd like to leave a message for Joan, Rob, Nick, or Deep
Throat, you may do so after the beep." This 1999 article recounts an
interview with Felt about the message, and gives Felt's denials to a
series of questions about his historic role in the Watergate
1980 - Nixon testifies at Deep Throat's trial. A case (unrelated
Watergate) involved anti-war activists suing Felt for wiretaps. Felt's
lawyers thought Nixon's unpopularity might hurt their clients, but Nixon
insisted on testifying anyways. Nixon also believed that Mark Felt was
Deep Throat. So the same article wonders if Nixon's testimony was a
calculated form of revenge
1976 - Deep Throat's identity is guessed
correctly by an assistant U.S. Attorney General.
It's a way of doing journalism that still serves its
practitioners' career interests, but less and less often their readers or
viewers because it's a game the powerful and well-connected have learned
to play to their own advantage...
The Washington press corps doesn't
to talk about this because it
basically puts some of its most admired members in a line of venal
The piece walks through the history of using the press,
Lincoln through Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. But then it circles back
to today's reporters, and hits hard.
...the administration has adroitly availed itself of the cultural
that prevails in a fin de siècle Washington press corps living out
decadence of an increasingly discredited reporting style...
It still may call itself investigative journalism - and so it once was -
but now it's really just a glittering and carefully choreographed waltz in
which all the dancers share the unspoken agreement that the one
unpardonable faux pas is to ask who's calling the tune.
Kos makes a
to liberals clamoring for a dramatic reckoning. "Impeachment would, at
best, saddle us with Cheney
or Hastert in the Oval Office, at worst, give Republicans an opportunity
to clean house and
redeem themselves. Screw that. Now's not the time to give them a
In a post titled "Realignment, Not Impeachment," he links to an essay
MyDD.com arguing that liberals could create dramatic and long-lasting
gains in the way power is distributed.
"This is it. This is our chance--our once in a generation window...
"We probably won't get another chance like this for at least another
decade, so we have to make it count."
A later post cites
a Newsweek poll showing 53% of respondents saying they'd vote for
a Democrat in the next Congressional elections, versus
just 36% who say they'd vote for a Republican.
"This is the largest
lead held by one party over another in the generic ballot in a decade."
REPORTER: Back in 2003, the Vice President said publicly that he
didn't know who
sent Joe Wilson on the Niger mission... There now
seems to be contradictory evidence that, in fact, he did know. Do you
know, did he know, did he not know?
McCLELLAN: This is a question relating to an ongoing investigation,
and we're not having any further comment on the investigation while it's
ongoing. That is on all questions relating to the investigation.
QUESTION: But that isn't really a question about the investigation.
McCLELLAN: It relates to the whole issue that the special
is investigating, or looking into.
QUESTION: Well, it relates to the truthfulness of the Vice
the American public, too, doesn't it?
"...even if he evades
imprisonment on the Texas charges, let's remember that the object of the
fundraising effort in question was The Hammer's obsessive campaign to
launch a re-redistricting of U.S. House seats to buttress his power in the
Capitol. And that broader determination to ruthlessly hold and use power
by the GOP is what has given us a vast array of ethical lapses and bad
policies, from Jack Abramoff's enormous roulette wheel of shakedowns and
wirepullings, to a long series of fiscally ruinous special-interest raids
on the U.S. Treasury, and even down to the staffing of FEMA with
Republican campaign operatives."
That's from the DLC,
via TPMCafe -
where a reader cites
prosecutor Ronnie Earl's clear record of being
...his quote, "We are a moral people, and the first lesson of democracy is
not to hold the public in contempt," ought to be engraved in brass and
hung on the office door of every elected official in the united states...
Thousands could die in New Orleans, FEMA's director told CNN tonight.
But then he added
that unfortunately, "that's going to be attributable a lot to people
who did not heed the advance warnings."
CNN pointed out that those people were often frail and without
transportation. But FEMA's director responded only that this was not the
time to be blaming those people, "whether they chose to evacuate or
not to evacuate."
Tuesday night something amazing happened. More people
(between the ages of 18 and 49) watched the cable network BET than watched
any of the major networks.
It was partly because BET was broadcasting
the annual BET awards - but more because the networks decided at the last
minute to cancel all their programming, and broadcast President
ABC's mini-series "Empire" utimately drew just a 5.1
rating and an 8 share - a paltry 6.4 million viewers.
NBC's Average Joe scored a 4.4 rating and a 7 share, slightly better than
"I Want to Be a Hilton," which got a 4.2 and a 7 share.
The soldiers in the audience for Bush's speech last night were "at
and thus, not supposed to interrupt with applause.
The Washington Post reports that the media took
note of the lack of any sounds of support.
The sole supportive interruption followed a sequence in which Bush built
to the line, "We will stay in the fight until the fight is won." NBC's
Kelly O'Connell, reporting from Fort Bragg, told Williams afterward that
the applause appeared to have been "triggered by members of the
president's advance team" and that once they began clapping, the soldiers
Amid new questions about President Bush's drive to topple Saddam Hussein,
several House Democrats urged lawmakers on Thursday to conduct an official
inquiry to determine whether the president intentionally misled Congress.
At a public forum where the word "impeachment" loomed large, Exhibit A was
the so-called Downing Street memo, a prewar document leaked from inside
the British government to The Sunday Times of London a month and a half
He accepted an ad promoting the TV show in which the new Ginger and
Mary-Anne have a
sexy pie fight. When some readers complained about the implicit
dismissed them as the "women's studies" set.
"Kos has made it quite plain that women are second-class citizens," a
"and I find his attitude on this issue condescending and insulting."
"I also find
it quite disturbing that he refuses to take responsibility for what is
advertised on his own website. It's not as if he lacks for blogad
revenue; is it too much to ask a 'liberal' website to display the barest
modicum of sensitivity towards women and men who object to the blatant
sexism of the 'pie fight' ad? Of course it is, silly! It's not as if Kos
can control what's on his site--and he's made it quite plain that he
realises the ad is sexist and doesn't give a damn."
"According the Social Security Trustees' rather pessimistic estimates, in
2041 or 2042, the Trust Fund will run out and benefits will have to be cut
by just over 25%. President Bush calls that bankruptcy.
On the other hand, President Bush's 'plan' cuts benefits by about the same
amount. And he calls that solvency....
Josh Marshall calls
out President Bush on what he calls "word games."
[F]or President Bush there's only one solution -- big middle class benefit
For most folks, that's the problem. For President Bush, it’s the solution.
"A highly classified British memo, leaked
the midst of Britain's
just-concluded election campaign, indicates that President Bush decided to
overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by summer 2002 and was determined
to ensure that U.S. intelligence data supported his policy...
"The visit took place while the Bush administration was still declaring
to the American public that no decision had been made to go to war."
The Terry Schiavo case would be "a great political issue," according to a
Republican Senator's legal counsel.
Before Congress intervened, he
gloated that "this is a tough issue for Democrats,"
Republicans could reap political gains
in upcoming elections because "the pro-life base will be
Who wrote the memo? Right-wing bloggers were sure - it was Democrats! A
plot by the Democrats! Their theory
cable news talk
- though Thursday it was discovered that the memo's
author was, in fact, the legal counsel for Florida's Republican Senator
So now it's time for the left-wing bloggers to laugh at the
right-wing bloggers who promulgated their Democrat-baiting theories...
there ever been a bigger bunch of vainglorious nobodies in the history of
the world?" [Digby]
"It's not just that they have no shame, it's that they once met shame on a
street, beat the shit out of him, rolled him up in a carpet, and threw him
off a bridge." [Ezra Klein]
At least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the
Census Bureau, have made and distributed hundreds of television news
segments in the past four years, records and interviews show.
subsequently broadcast on local stations across the country without any
acknowledgement of the government's role in their production.
Senator Russ Feingold writes his first blog
post, dramatizing his position that "[T]he Federal Elections Commision
should provide adequate
protection for legitimate online journalists."
"I am enjoying reading many blogs, and am fascinated by their immediate
reporting that is covering the important issues of the day."
He also argues that campaign finance reform and blogs both had a positive
impact on the 2004 election by empowering ordinary citizens.
Kos at DailyKos thinks
"This looks good, except for the part where the Senator
'legitimate' bloggers and online journalists. How, and by whom, that is
defined, ultimately, is crucial to whether such regulations truly protect
Eminem's Mosh video has
a new ending. He still assembles an
of hooded followers,
but instead of voting, they storm Congress.
Carrying signs that read "War won't make us safe," "Bring home the
troops," and "Count every vote."
And as we proceed
to Mosh through this desert storm,
in these closing statements, if they should argue
Let us beg to differ.
As we set aside our differences
and assemble our own army
to disarm this Weapon of Mass Destruction
that we call our President, for the present,
and Mosh for the future of our next generation.
Today Paul Krugman
quoted the book "What's the Matter With Kansas?" It attempts to
explain why poor rural voters election politicians who will make deep cuts
in the capital gains tax.
The right "mobilizes voters with explosive social issues, summoning public
outrage ... which it then marries to pro-business economic policies.
Krugman believes the right is deploying the same weapons to radically
restructure our futures.
...this week we saw [the book]'s thesis acted out so crudely that it was
if someone had deliberately staged it. The right wants to dismantle Social
Security, a successful program that is a pillar of stability for working
Americans. AARP stands in the way. So without a moment's hesitation,
the usual suspects declared that this organization of staid seniors is
actually an anti-soldier, pro-gay-marriage leftist front.
As long as individuals can stand up outside of the tribe and claim
Americanism as their own, the right is revealed as weak, because it is
their own lies about themselves that they cannot stand. Proof in the form
of our existence is enough to make them angry. This is why, as Digby
wonders, they keep getting madder as they keep gaining power. They are not
really after a conservative agenda in terms of policy; they are not even
after power, really. They are after a complete and utter subjugation of
the American consciousness to their tribal mentality.
Blogger Digby starts
by quoting blogger Matt
Then he digs up a long, thoughtful response by...
Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the
Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution
as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule
or ruin in all events.
The conservative reporter-prostitute writing under the pseudonym Jeff
appeared in the White House briefing room before his known media
outlet was even created, progressive bloggers have found.
This contradicts the White House's press secretary, who
that the Bush-friendly reporter was embedded in press conferences
only after they'd confirmed he wrote for a news outlet that published
The young Nevada man designated to chair the upcoming 2005 Young
Republican National Convention in Las Vegas has been accused of embezzling
registration fees from around the country to pay off bar tabs, personal
loans and credit card debts.
"Valid questions are being raised regarding the Bush White House's
relationship with James Guckert, also known as 'Jeff Gannon,' and his
access to documents that revealed the identity of Undercover CIA Operative
"This most recent revelation is only the latest in the growing list of
ways that Republicans in Washington are attempting to manipulate the
American people through the media and avoid accountability.
Because of the attention being paid to me I find it is no longer possible
to effectively be a reporter for Talon News. In consideration of the
welfare of me and my family I have decided to return to private life.
His personal web sites were registered to stately Bedrock Corporation,
which resides at a (very stately) P.O. box in Delaware. An alternate
address turned up for the Bedrock Corporation, however, for a
home in Delaware which
Wednesday George Bush gave a press conference, and reporter "Jeff Gannon"
about the Democrats.
"[H]ow are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced
themselves from reality?"
But is Gannon a real
"He is listed as 'White House Correspondent and Washington DC Bureau
Chief' - of a news agency that
exists only as a website and one guy who goes to White House press
Posting in a comments thread on the DailyKos site, they joined a
remarkable collaboration among the site's readership to unravel the
is Jeff Gannon?
His web sites are owned by the conservative activist group GOPUSA.com,
and registered to an address in Delaware which turns out
to be a
Dialing the phone number he gives for JeffGannon.com
cellphone number in Delaware - area code 302 - which belongs to Bob Cohen,
the owner of a furniture store in Delaware who's never heard of him.
That appears to be a
typo with the
area code off by one digit, since all his other domains have the same
number with area code 202 (Washington D.C).
number corresponds with
which says he lives on Capitol
though a Google search on that phone number matches it to a Bill
UPDATE: Some theorize the investigation wanders
after red herrings at this point.
The address Google gives for that number is, indeed, on Capitol Hill.
In addition a "Jeff Gannon" is cited in local D.C. newspaper
"The Hill" complaining
about vagrants in an area just two
miles from that address.
Maybe it's an apartment building. Also at that address is a James P.
McFarland - who, like Gannon, lived
Pennsylvania. Definitely a conservative - he's currently
ministry team at the Little Falls Presbyterian Church in Arlington,
Virginia (which sponsors
Is the minister leading a double life as conservative White House
correspondent Jeff Gannon?
page - created in December of 2003 - says he will be married
in a White House press conference, reporter "Jeff Gannon"
asks Scott McClellan:
"I hope the grand jury didn't force you to turn over
wedding card I
sent to you and your wife..."
The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call
reported in September of 2003 on a James McFarland who
"came to D.C. as an intern for one month and left as the
Honorary Hill Historian. Except he didn't know it until Roll Call rang
him up at his university dorm."
Other Kos posters note one related web site is registered to a "J.
Daniels" - and suspect instead a Jason T. Daniels whose
history shows time in Texas and the military.
But in any case, Gannon's new notoriety is
starting to be felt.
Another commenter on DailyKos notes
that Gannon's question was played on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."
"Jon Stewart identified the speaker as 'Chip Rightwingenstein of the
Bush Agenda Gazette'."
*Bill Turnley shouldn't be confused with GOPUSA contributor Sean Turner.
Fox News: We were noticing all the snow in Washington, boy
really coming down! I hope that doesn't put a crimp in anybody's plans.
Look at that gorgeous shot of the White House...
JUDY: Well I, I have a feeling that maybe it should put a
crimp, or at least something should put a crimp in the plans of the White
House to have such a very lavish inaugural at a time of war.
Fox News: Really?
Fox News anchor Brigitte Quinn invited Vanity
comment on the
inauguration. It didn't go the way she expected...
JUDY: What I've noticed is the worse a war is going, the more
lavish the inaugural festivities.
When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President, during a time of war, of
course as you know,
he had a very modest inauguration and a very tiny party where he served
chicken salad, or where chicken salad was served. And that was when we
were winning a war.
Fox News: Right, but, well, no, I, look, I mean, the President
has, has addressed
this, hasn't he, he said that this is a, I believe the quote was that
celebrating, we're celebrating
democracy, we're celebrating a peaceful transfer of democracy. What's
wrong with doing that?
JUDY: Have you noticed any peace or any transfer of democracy
in Iraq? If you have, you're the first person to have seen it.
Fox News: Well, I've noticed the elections coming up, and, to
JUDY: They don't seem very peaceful.
Fox News: ....I didn't want to argue politics with you this
JUDY: Oh really? I thought I was allowed to talk about what I
wanted to talk about.
Fox News: You certainly, you certainly have that right. Let me
ask, let me ask you this: what, I mean, what -- what should they have cut
back on? I mean we...
JUDY: How about $40 million.
Fox News: All right, well...
JUDY: May I say something? May I say something?
Fox News: Sure.
JUDY: We have soldiers who are incapable of protecting
themselves in their humvees in Iraq.
They have to use bits of scrap metal in order to make their humvees
Their humvees are
sitting ducks for bombs. And we have a president who's using $40 million
to have a party.
Fox News: What would you suggest for the inauguration? How would
you do it?
JUDY: How about a modest party? Just like FDR. I'm sure
you'll agree he was a pretty good President with a fine sense of what's
appropriate and what's not. And during a time of war, 10 parties are not
appropriate when your own soldiers are sitting ducks in very, very bad
Fox News: Well, don't you think that the President has,
proper respect to our troops? I mean yesterday, as far as I can tell,
the festivities opened with a military gala, they ended with a prayer
service. There does seem to have certainly
been a tremendous effort over the past couple of days and more
than that to honor our troops!
JUDY: Well, gee, that prayer should sure keep them safe and
warm in their
flimsy vehicles in Iraq.
I'd rather see that money going to them, rather than to a guy who already
is President, for the second time.
Fox News: All right, well, Judy Bachrach, I think we've given
you more than your time to give us your point of view this morning.
GANGSTER: Here's some advice for you, friend: Don't press your
off me. Don't print that story!
BOGART: What's that supposed to be -- an order?
GANGSTER: Listen to me! Print that story and
you're a dead man.
BOGART: It's not just me anymore. You'd have to stop every
newspaper in the country, and you're not big enough for that job. People like you have
tried it before -- with bullets, prison, censorship. But as long as even
one newspaper will print the truth, you're finished.
(Bogart holds the phone out toward the presses.)
GANGSTER: Hey, that noise! What's that racket?
BOGART: That's the press, baby, the press. And there's nothing you
can do about it. Nothing.
(Bogart hangs up, the papers roll off the presses, "The Battle Hymn of the
Republic" sounds in the background, the movie ends.)
After a three-month silence, Selena Thorn returns to her forgotten
web-log, "Diary of a Mad Woman," and offers up this paragraph.
We surround ourselves
with like-minded people. It is easy to forget that the vast majority of
this country is less educated, has less access to information, and is far
more religious. When everyone around us shares similar views, it's easy to
forget that those views might not be shared by all.
In these closing statements, if they should argue,
let us beg to differ,
as we set aside our differences,
and assemble our own army,
to disarm this weapon of mass destruction that we call our president,
for the present,
and mosh for the future
of our next generation,
to speak and be heard,
Mr. President, Mr. Senator.
John Kerry contributers just received an inspiring email from
Michael Whouley, Kerry's General Election Strategist.
Towards the end of every presidential campaign, strategists like me crowd
into small conference rooms and huddle around spreadsheets with polling
data and financial reports. We argue about the best course of action in
key battleground states and then we argue with the finance guy about if
we can afford it. These meetings usually involve a series of tough
decisions guided as much by cash shortages as they are by strategy.
The meeting we had this weekend was different. Time and time again when
we decided on the best strategy to win a state and turned to the finance
guy his answer was "go for it." It was "go for it" because of the
contributions you made just last week.
The New York Times Magazine
the roots of George W. Bush's "faith-based Presidency."
In 1989 an investment firm spun off a division of Marriott. A former
Nixon aide approached
David Rubenstein, the firm's co-founder, and said
"There is a guy who
would like to be on the board. He's kind of down on
his luck a bit. Needs a job... Needs some board positions."
Though Rubenstein didn't think George W. Bush, then in his mid-40's,
"added much value," he put him on the...board. "Came to all the
meetings... Told a lot of jokes.
that many clean ones.
"And after a while I kind of said to him, after about
three years: 'You know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you
should do something else. Because I don't think you're adding that much
value to the board. You don't know that much about the company.'
'Well, I think I'm getting out of this business anyway. And I don't really
like it that much. So I'm probably going to resign from the board.' And I
Here's my contribution. The bulge is clearly visible in this
2002 photo on the White House's official web site, in which Bush is
wearing a t-shirt. So it's obviously not a seam in his suit.
At the same time, my first thought was that this cast doubt on the
theory - since Bush wouldn't be
addressing the press that day.
Or would he? On that very day he gave
brief comment to the Associated Press.
On the Corrente blog there's a
more interesting theory. Bush skips his physical, his facial
expression is off, he's taking long vacations, his family has a history with
atrial fibrillation. Corrente wonders if Bush is a long-term stroke
the bulge under Bush's
The blog-o-sphere is energized and motivated. Here's Kevin Drum in
Kerry had accused George Bush
of opposing minimum wage
and Bush claimed that "Mitch McConnell had a minimum-wage plan
that I supported that
would have increased the minimum wage."
...there was no such plan and no such bill. In April, led by McConnell,
Republicans were said to be "crafting" a minimum wage proposal. In June
McConnell was "rumored to be backing" a minimum wage bill. In September,
"published reports" had McConnell "preparing legislation."
But apparently raising the minimum wage is more complex than you might
think. Senators "straggled out of town" today and no McConnell bill ever
saw the light of day.
Here's my thoughts on the last Presidential debate...
Kerry entered smiling. Bush looked worried at first. His microphone
Kerry was speaking slower, assured. More confident.
Bush tried to replace his angriness from Friday with: cheeriness.
It seemed unserious.
At one point the split screen showed Bush signalling for a follow-up and
On an early question about job out-sourcing, Bush changed the subject to
education. Voters didn't like it.
CBS's real-time polling showed Bush's approval dropping the moment he
started touting his job re-education programs.
When Bush later got another pesky question about the minimum wage, he
again changed the subject to: education.
Some of the attacks were predictible. Kerry repeated the charge that
Bush out-sourced the capture of Osama bin Laden; Bush repeated the
attack that Kerry wanted a "global test" for defending America and that
Kerry had said terrorism [could one day be reduced to the level of] "a
Kerry actually stepped up to his "global test," remark, first re-iterating
that he wouldn't cede veto power to any other country, but then adding
and defense responses - implicity, with the military - would have to pass
"a truth standard."
Politically, it's probably hard to raise objections to "a truth
Kerry tried channelling President Clinton, talking about families who
and play by the rules." But he followed it with a good line of his own.
"I'm tired of politicians who talk about family values and don't value
The moderator asked a question that was unusual and tough - yet simple.
"Is homosexuality a
choice?" Bush ducked it; Kerry gave something more thoughtful.
Bush: "I don't know." Kerry: "We're all god's children."
John Kerry also gave a more direct answer on the question of abortion. "I
allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade."
Bush offered the ambiguous phrase "a culture of life."
(Bush was less
guarded Friday, touting his signature on a bill re-defining murder to
include unborn fetuses and trumpeting the prohibition of stem-cell
research as "ethical".)
A priceless exchange:
Kerry: Well, two leading national news networks have both said the
president's characterization of my health-care plan is incorrect. One
called it fiction. The other called it untrue....
Schieffer: Mr. President?
Bush: In all due respect, I'm not so sure it's credible to quote
news organizations about -- oh, nevermind. Anyway...
Atta boy! Go get 'em, tiger!
The last thing the moderator asked was a weird Oprah-like question: "What
have you learned
from the strong women around you."
Bush: "Stand up straight and don't scowl." Kerry: "Integrity, integrity, integrity."
Maybe the touchy-feely question was moderator Bob Schieffer's way of
bringing America together.
Campaign strategy emails were taken, as well as the computers of The
County Commissioner and an
attorney who were working, ironically, on "election security."
The thieves - who bashed in a window - ignored many items with a high
monetary value, choosing instead the politically sensitive computers.
"They knew what they wanted," said a Democratic party spokesman.
The party offered a $2500 reward for information on the perpetrators.
"If the information is provided before the election, the reward is
Are the Republicans funding voter fraud?
That's what one web site is
asking about a Republican-funded firm called "Voter's Outreach of
Democrats who registered in Nevada
had their registrations discarded by the firm's supervisor, former
a Nevada TV station.
"We caught her taking Democrats out of my pile, handed them to her
assistant and he ripped them up right in front of us.
"I grabbed some of them out of the garbage and she tells her assistant to
get those from me."
Bloggers have discovered the firm's
classified ad, which specifies that the operation is funded by the
Republican party and is in support of Republican candidates.
The group was evicted from their Nevada office space for "non-payment of
The Associated Press follows-up with Nevada efforts
to investigate. But ominously, the first article also cited another
believes the group is now
registering voters in Oregon...
Oregon bloggers are on
the case. One describes an Oregon TV report about a voter
registration worker who "sometimes simply tosses Democratic registration
cards in the trash. Why? Because he's getting paid $5 for every Republican
registration, but nothing for Democratic registrations."
to the report, his group had just recently been in Las Vegas....
web version of the story says the worker "was instructed to only
accept Republican registration forms. He told the TV reporter that he
'might' destroy forms turned in by Democrats."
Oregon's Secretary of
State tells the TV reporter "I have never in my five years as secretary of
state ever seen an allegation like the one that came up tonight -- ever.
I mean, frankly, it just totally offends me that someone would take
someone else's registration and throw it out."
Strangely, the TV
report identified the group as "America Votes" - which is a non-partisan
registration group whose sponsors include MoveOn.org. And this isn't the
first time there's been confusion. In Pennsylvania Voter's Outreach
of America mis-identified themselves as "America Votes." The same
apparent "mis-identification" of the group's name happened when the group
tried to set up their partisan vote-gathering operation in an
Oregon library. (Publicly-funded libraries are prohibited from
hosting partisan vote-gathering groups.)
Pennsylvania, Oregon, and
Nevada, are all swing states in the upcoming election.
Republican activist Nathan Sproul has previously hired the (partisan)
"Voters Outreach of America" - and he's
similar charges. In the early 1990s, when he headed the Christian
Coalition's field operation in Arizona, Sproul "encouraged members to run
for Republican precinct committee chairs and mislead voters about their
Christian Coalition affiliation," according to The American Prospect. In June Sproul was allegedly bank-rolling a
signature drive to get Ralph Nader on the ballot in Arizona in order to
draw votes away from the Kerry campaign.
called The Left Coaster asks two questions about Gallup's recent
1.) Kerry ties Bush in a sample with more Republicans than
Democrats. How far ahead would Kerry be if Gallup sampled an equal
number of Democrats and Republicans?
2.) Re-calibrating the poll so it matches America's current party
distribution, we'd see that Kerry leads by 4%. Wouldn't it
change perceptions of the Presidential
race if the venerable Gallup pollsters simply reported
Kerry's larger lead?
America didn't respond to an expensive barrage of negative campaign ads
early on. This time, voters were pre-occupied with a real issue --
terrorism and the war in Iraq.
Millions of dollars worth of negative campaign ads tried to create a link,
lobbing accusations about leadership and steadfastness. But this election
was too important for that. Polls showed that the electorate remained
After September 11, voters apparently wanted first to
make sure that America's security had been restored.
Dick Cheney got the latest report that there were no weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq. And he claimed, unconvincingly, that the
report vindicated the invasion, because
it showed Iraq was hoping to bypass U.N. sanctions and
eventually re-start a weapons programs.
In fact, says Cheney, "the sanctions regime was coming apart at the
seams. Saddam perverted that whole thing and generated billions of dollars."
example. "Halliburton, the largest U.S. oil services company, is among
a significant number of U.S. companies that have sold oil industry
equipment to Iraq since the UN relaxed sanctions two years ago."
This was, of course, when the CEO of Halliburton was Dick Cheney
Blogger Digby dug up these links, then concludes
is now implicating himself in Saddam's WMD programs and he doesn't
even realize it."
Fox's deletion occurs right after John
Kerry says "He's trying to attack
me. He wants you to believe that I can't be
president. And he's trying to make you believe it because he wants you to
think I change my mind."
The deleted portion begins when Kerry says:
Well, let me tell you straight up: I've never changed my mind about
Iraq. I do believe Saddam Hussein was a threat. I always believed he was
a threat. Believed it in 1998 when Clinton was president. I wanted to
give Clinton the power to use force if necessary.
But I would have used that force wisely, I would have used that
authority wisely, not rushed to war without a plan to win the peace...."
About 600 words are missing from John Kerry, and about 500 from George
al-Jazeera reporters have been instructed to stop using the term
"occupation" for the U.S. presence in Iraq, "and to refrain from
referring to militant extremists as members of the 'resistance.'"
At least, that's what this
second-hand news item
attributes to the Guardian newspaper in Britain, which adds that
many al-Jazeera reporters "believe the
policy glosses over the reality of what is happening in Iraq."
An enterprising reporter gathers reactions from Dick Cheney's hometown in
Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Several people surveyed in Jackson said they have had all they can stand
of presidential politics. A Dubois woman, who asked that she not be
identified, said she chose not to watch Tuesday's debate because she is
sick of all the "distortion, spin and lies...."
Warren Pierce, 56, who was visiting from Ohio, one of the election's
battleground states, said his decision already has been made, and nothing
that happens between now and Nov. 2 is going to change his mind...."It's
become more of an advertising campaign, more than who's the best guy for
the job," he said.
A CBS News poll showed John Edwards trouncing
Dick Cheney in Tuesday's debate - 41% to 28%. But strangely, ABC's
poll found respondents giving the edge to Cheney. Here's what I think
According to Studio
Briefing, twice as many people tuned in to Fox News for their debate
coverage as CNN. "According to figures released by Nielsen Media
Research, Fox News Channel
drew 7.8 million viewers, while CNN could attract only 3.3 million."
Fox's viewership was dwarfed by the huge numbers who watched on NBC, ABC,
or CBS -- but it seems to suggest alot more conservatives were tuning in
than non-partisan viewers. After Bush performed so poorly in his first
debate, conservatives may have craved re-assurance that Bush wasn't losing
the election before their very eyes...
own numbers seem to confirm this. According to Salon, "the
network found more
Republicans watched the debate."
MSNBC: 1.5 million
NBC: 11.5 million
All 3 networks: 31 million
Election day comes - and there's voting irregularities. A worried voter
calls the "Voter Alert Line," a non-partisan watchdog organization...
NBC will be there.
"Mindful of charges that some voters were wrongfully turned away from the
polls four years ago," NBC has arranged to have
exclusive access to the
voter complaint line. Should a flurry of voter-intimidation complaints
rise up in Florida (or Ohio, or Michigan...) - NBC may get the first
"With virtually all of the administration's original case for war in
Iraq in tatters," the article begins, "Vice President Dick Cheney provided
and sometimes misleading arguments in last night's debate with John
Cheney was repeating one of his campaign's standard attacks against John
And with respect to this particular operation, we've seen a situation in
which, first, they voted to commit the troops, to send them to war, John
Edwards and John Kerry, then they came back and when the question was
whether or not you provide them with the resources they needed -- body
armor, spare parts, ammunition -- they voted against it.
But this time, Cheney added a bizarre theory.
I couldn't figure out why that happened initially. And then I looked and
figured out that what was happening was Howard Dean was making major
progress in the Democratic primaries, running away with the primaries
based on an anti-war record. So they, in effect, decided they would cast
an anti-war vote and they voted against the troops.
Now if they couldn't stand up to the pressures that Howard Dean
represented, how can we expect them to stand up to Al Qaida?
Air America Radio pointed out that Howard
Dean wasn't "running away" with any primaries. As the contests
were held, he placed 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 5th,
5th... Eventually racking up a whopping 170 delegates (out of 2162
needed.) Kerry placed first in the first nine
But it's not just Virginia. In Reno conservative donors
Moore's appearance be cancelled, and threatened to withhold future
donations. When the student government didn't budge, conservatives
Moore cut his time in half, and share the stage with a conservative
spokesman. $100,000 would then be forthcoming to the student
I'll say it .... Our out of touch leader is a LIAR!
Bush's poor performance in the debate has apparently emboldened his
Ohio House candidate Jeff Seemann watched the Kerry-Bush
debate in a
district - then emailed his supporters...
Debate winner: Senator John Kerry. You don't even have to take my
for it; take the word of the decidedly partisan crowd watching "our
misleader," stutter and stammer through answers - seemingly trying to
cover up his lies of the past...
Yes, lies. Maybe Senator Kerry can't say it, but I will...
At some points, it seemed like Bush just wasn't trying very hard in
tonight's debate. Kerry
cited North Korea's recently-acquired nuclear weapons, then said
"For two years this administration didn't talk to North Korea. That
happened on this President's watch."
Bush countered that if you opened multi-lateral negotiations with North
Korea, you'd lose China - but Kerry persisted...
KERRY: Just because the president says it can't be done, that
you'd lose China,
doesn't mean it can't be done. I mean, this is the president who said
There were weapons of mass destruction, said Mission accomplished, said
we could fight the war on the cheap -- none of which were true.
LEHRER: Thirty seconds, Mr. President.
BUSH: You know my opinion on North Korea. I can't say it any more
LEHRER: Well, but when he used the word truth again...
BUSH: Pardon me?
LEHRER: ... talking about the truth of the matter. He used the word
truth again. Did that raise any hackles with you?
BUSH: Oh, I'm a pretty calm guy. I don't take it personally.
George Monbiot writes a harsh article arguing religious beliefs may
be affecting U.S. foreign policy.
[S]everal million fundamentalist Christians have succombed to an
In the 19th century an Irish priest named John Nelson Darby did what
many other quacks, cranks, and con men have done: He claimed to have
discovered a hidden prophecy in the Bible. He had cobbled together a
series of unrelated passages to create what appeared to be a consistent
narrative: Jesus will return to earth when certain preconditions have
The first was the establishment of a state of Israel.
The next involved Israel's occupation of the rest of its "Biblical
lands"... The legions of the Antichrist will then be deployed against
their war will lead to a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon.
The Jews will either burn or convert to Christianity, and the Messiah
will return to earth.
Monboit's article -- "Political Rapture" (in this month's Playboy) --
cites a poll suggesting that 33 percent of Republicans belong to a
church or movement that believes in the coming Rapture...including
Attorney General John Ashcroft and House majority leader Tom Delay.
Monboit provokatively argues that this voter bloc is lobbying for Middle
Here then we have a major political constituency - representing much of
the President's core vote - that entertains a series of insane beliefs
and actively seeks to provoke a new world war...
When Bush asked Ariel Sharon to pull his tanks out of Jenin in 2002 he
received 100,000 angry emails from Christian fundamentalists. He never
mentioned the matter again.
I just interviewed the Board of Elections deputy director in Ohio's Summit
Ohio - a critical swing state - got tens of thousands of new voter
registrations for this upcoming election. Then Ohio's (Republican)
Secretary of State advised they'd be required to re-register - and
ineligible to vote if their re-registrations weren't processed fast enough
- if: the paper
stock wasn't heavy enough.
In a close election, this could change
the outcome - so readers on the MyDD web-log suggested
should call the Board of Elections for Ohio's Counties.
response I got from Tom McCabe, Deputy Director for Summit County.
"Yeah, that was -- let me look for my little advisory directive.
It said Boards of Elections should be sending those back.
We've been processing those as new registrations...
Most of those [new voter registration forms] we've gotten back
have been the federal ones on light paper stock. We're processing those
as new registrations.
I think if you call around, most counties are doing likewise.
What the Secretary of State wanted us to do is send them back with a
registration form, which really is not only time consuming and costly -- I
if it goes against the registerer's intent.
We didn't want to go there.
I think boards can look at it one of two ways... If we don't process them
don't get those back then there's a bigger mess there. It's been our
belief that we
go with voter intent. And the voter's intent is to register
We polled some of the different counties and most of the ones we've talked
to are in agreement with us that they're processing those as voter
We'd just wanted to hear that we're not alone in that.
Bill Moyers says democratic debate is "a
cynical charade behind which the
real business goes on -- the none-too-scrupulous business of getting and
keeping power so that you can divide up the spoils."
I saw Friday on the "Blogging of the President" site - quoting a
newly-minted media reporter -- makes more or less
the same point.
Political reporters become expert in the management of the campaign, the
horse race ("which is interesting," he said) because the big issues today
are "genuinely confusing." They feel the answers to most policy questions
require a language and knowledge base "that are essentially the property
But Moyers takes that point a step further, arguing that real political
influence is only bought with campaign contributions. He seals his case
with a quote from Warren Buffett.
It's called "Fear and Laptops on the Campaign Trail," with lots of witty
A pizza-stained paper plate sat between Moulitsas and Atrios. Together,
they have more readers than The Philadelphia Inquirer.
This summer...reading campaign blogs, you could
sometimes get a half-giddy, half-sickening feeling that something was
shifting, that the news agenda was beginning to be set by this largely
unpaid, T-shirt-clad army of bloggers.
Imagine a fairly drunk housewife stuck in front of CNN, growing hornier as
the day wears on. [Wonkette.com]
reads like a diary of that day.
[A]s a seasoned reporter myself...I can
safely say that you get about as many insights into the hearts and souls
of the candidates on the campaign trail as you would watching a plastic
O'REILLY: OK. You know what's really frightening...? You actually
influence on this presidential election. That is scary... I mean, you've
got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night, OK, and they can
O'REILLY: You can't stop them.
STEWART: Yeah, I just don't know how motivated they would be, these
slackers... What am I, a Cheech and Chong movie? 'Stoned slackers?'...
O'REILLY: Come on, you do the research, you know the research on
program... Eighty-seven percent are intoxicated when they watch it. You
didn't see that...?
STEWART: We come on right after, I believe, puppets that make crank
STEWART: ... so we are, I think, the appropriate follow up...
"You'd be amazed the number of people who want to introduce themselves to
you in the men's room."
John Kerry appeared on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central.
("Is it true that every time I use ketchup, your wife gets a nickel?"
Kerry's answer? "Would that it were."
So what about the controversial ads attacking his Swift Boat
"I think most Americans would like to have a much more intelligent
conversation about where the country's going..."
"George Bush doesn't want to talk about the real issues.
What's he going to do? Come out and say we lost 1.8 million jobs, 4
million Americans lost their health care, we're going backwards on the
environment, we've angered everybody in the world..."
Kerry also drew applause for his criticism of U.S. involvement in
"I think the United States of America should never go to war
the way this President took us to war. You don't go to war because you
want to. You go to war because you have to."