Best Viewed with IE or Opera. Sorry, Firefox works, but loses some sidebar layout,
'my profile' and other stuff... Anybody with a fix, please leave a comment. Many thanks in advance.

That said, if you must use Firefox (and I don't blame you, it's become my browser of choice, too)
...get the "IE Tab" extension. This allows you to view problem pages with the IE rendering engine. Very cool!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

AN OPEN LETTER TO LARRY THE CABLE GUY

Hi everybody!

The following is a letter I wrote after picking up Git-R-Done - The Larry The Cable Guy Story (ghost written by Susan Sontag). I have to warn you that it's nearly 11 pages long. But I think it's chock full of life lessons for all of us and if you're not careful... you just might learn something!

An open letter to Larry The Cable Guy:

Hello Larry,

It's me, David Cross. Recently I was shooting something for my friends at "Wonder Showzen" (the funniest, most subversive comedy on American T.V. at the moment) and when we were taking a break one of the guys on the show asked me if I had seen some article in something somewhere wherein you were interviewed to promote your new book "Please-Git-R-Done" (published by Crown Books $23.95 U.S.) and they asked about your devoting a chapter to slamming me and the "P.C. Left". Since I stopped following your career shortly after you stopped going on stage wearing a tool belt with cable wrapped around your neck (around your appearance at "Laffs 'n' Food" in Enid, Oklahoma Aug 23-26 1999?) I said I wasn't aware of the article. They went on to tell me that you said basically (and I am not quoting but paraphrasing their recall) that I could kiss your ass, that I've never been to one of your shows (true) and that I didn't know your audience (untrue).SO, I went and got your book, "Gitting-R-Donned", and excitedly skimmed past the joke about that one time you farted and something farty happened, on past the thing about the fat girl who farted and finally found it, . Well, needless to say I farted. I farted up a fartstorm right there in the Flyin' J Travel Center. I fartingly bought the book and took it home with an excitement I haven't experienced since I got Bertha Chudfarter's Grandma drunk and she took her teeth out and blew me as I was finger banging her while wearing a Jesus sock puppet in the back of the boiler room at The Church of the Redeemer off I-20 (I don't care who you are, that's funny.)

Anyhoo, I got home and read the good parts. It seems that you were pissed off at Rolling Stone magazine, and I can understand why. You made some good points in your argument as well. I agree that there is an eliteism and bias in the press and too often a writer will include asides to show the readers how smart he or she is and how "above it" they are. But come on! Surely you can't be surprised, or worse, hurt or offended by this. You even say in the book that you knew what you were getting into (Rolling Stone being all "lefty" and whatnot). Certainly I'm not surprised that they took a ten minute phone conversation with me and chose to print only the most inflammatory paragraph within it. That's what they do.

But I want to address some of the things you write about me in "Git-to-Gittin'-r-Done". In response to the Rolling Stone article, but first let me say this; you are very mistaken if you think that I don't know your audience. Hell, I could've been heckled by the parents of some of the very people that come see you now. I grew up in Roswell, Georgia (near the Funny Bone and not far from The Punch Line). The very first time I went on stage was at The Punch Line in Sandy Springs in 1982 when I was 17. I cut my teeth in the south and my first road gigs ever were in Augusta, Charleston, Baton Rouge, and Louisville. I remember them very well, specifically because of the audience. I remember thinking (occasionally, not all the time) "what a bunch of dumb redneck, easily entertained, ignorant motherfuckers. I can't believe the stupid shit they think is funny." So, yes, I do know your audience, and they suck. And they're simple. And please don't mistake this as coming from a place of bitterness because I didn't "make it" there or, I'm not as successful as you because that's not it at all. Since I was a kid I've always been a little over sensitive to the glorification and rewarding of dumb. The "salt of the earth, regular, every day folk" (or lowest common denominator) who see the world, and the people like me in it, as on some sort of secular mission to take away their flag lapels and plaster-of-paris jesus television adornments strike me as childishly paranoid. But perhaps the funniest (oddest) thing in your book is you taking me to task for being P.C. Have you heard my act?! I'll match your un-P.C.ness any day of the week my friend. I truly believe, and have said onstage amongst other things that, orthodox Jews are bar none, the most annoying people, as a group, that walk this earth. I absolutely refuse to say the term "African-American". It's a ridiculous and ill-applied label that was accepted with a thoughtless rush just to make white people feel at ease and slightly noble. I also believe that in the right setting that, as unfortunate as it may be, retarded people can be a near constant source of entertainment (fact!). Larry, whether northern, southern, straight, gay, male, female, liberal, conservative, Christian or Jew, I've walked them all. It didn't matter if it was a room full of "enlightened" hippie lesbian wicans at Catch A Rising Star in Cambridge, MA or literally hundreds of students at the University of St. Louis (a Jesuit school) or a roomful of the cutest, angriest frat boys in Baton Rouge all threatening to beat me up, I un-P.C.'d the shit out of them. That's another thing that bothers me too. I honestly believe that if we had worked a week together at whatever dumb-ass club in American Strip Mall #298347 in God's Country U.S.A and hung out that week and got good and drunk after the shows, that you and I would've been making each other laugh (I imagine we would have politely disagreed on a few things) but not only would we be laughing but we'd often be laughing at the expense of some of the audience members at that nights show and you know it. I'll address your easy, bullshit sanctimonious "don't mess with my audience" crap further on. But for now, let's "Gittle-R-Ding-Dong-Done!"

Okay, here's what I said in the RS interview: "He's good at what he does. It's a lot of anti-gay, racist humor -- which people like in America - all couched in 'I'm telling it like it is.' He's in the right place at the right time for that gee-shucks, proud-to-be-a-redneck, I'm-just-a-straight-shooter-multimillionaire-in-cutoff-flannel, selling-ring tones-act. That's where we are as a nation now. We're in a state of vague American values and anti-intellectual pride."

You took umbrage at my calling a lot of your act anti-gay and racist and said that "...according to Cross and the politically correct police, any white comedians who mention the word 'black' or say something humorous but faintly negative about any race are racists."

Well, first of all, your act is racist. Maybe not all the time, but it certainly can be. Here, let me quote you back, word for word, some of your "faintly negative" humor and I'll let people judge for themselves.

Re: Abu Ghraib Torture -

"Let me ask some of these commie rag head carpet flying wicker basket on the head balancing scumbags something!"

Re: Having a Muslim cleric give the opening prayer at the Republican Convention -

"What the hell is this the cartoon network? The Republicans had a muslim give the opening prayer at there (sic) convention! What the hell's going on around here! Is Muslim now the official religion of the United States!... First these peckerheads ( Ironically, "peckerhead" was a derogatory word slaves and their offspring used to describe white people) fly planes into towers and now theys (sic) prayin' before conventions! People say not all of em did that and I say who gives a rats fat ass! That's a fricken slap in the face to New York city by having some muslim sum-bitch give the invocation at the republican convention! This country pretty much bans the Christian religion (the religion of George Washington and John Wayne) virtually from anything public and then they got us watchin' this muslim BS!! Ya wanna pray to allah then drag yer flea infested ass over to where they pray to allah at!" End Quote. So... yeah. There you go. This quote goes on and on but my favorite part is when you say towards the end, "...now look, I love all people (except terrorist countries that want to kill us)..."

There are numerous examples and I don't think I need to reprint any more. You get the idea. Oh, what the hell, here's one more - "They're dead, get over it! Poor little sandy asses! I'm sure all them dead folks'd they'd killed give 40 shekels or whatever kinda money these inbred sumbitches use, but I'd give 40 of 'em whatever it is to be humiliated instead of dead!"

Okay Larry The Cable Guy, I will ignore the irony of a big ole southern redneck character actually using "inbred" as an insult, as well as the fact that a shekel is currency from Israel, the towel heads sworn enemy. But at least you're passionate about what you see as inhumane injustice (not on a global level of course, but on a national level) and the simple black and white of what's right and what's wrong. It's kinda like you're this guy who speaks for all these poor, unfortunate souls out there who wear shirts with blue collars on them, work hard all day to put food on the table for their family (unlike people who wear shirts with white collars or wear scrubs or t-shirts or dresses or costumes that consist of flannel shirts with the sleeves cut-off and old trucker hats) and pray to the American Flag of Jesus to protect them from the evils of muslims, queers, illegal immigrants, and the liberal jews who run Hollywood and the media. I guess one could say that you're "telling it like it is". And considering the vast amount of over-simplification you employ to describe with sweeping generalizations, all of America and the World that "don't make no sense to you", as well as your lack of sensitivity, and second grade grammar, one might be led to think that you are somewhat proud of not appearing (or being) too intellectual. Combine that with your sucker appeal to the knee-jerk white Christian patriot in us all who would much rather hear 87 fart jokes than hear a joke in which the President (the current one, not the last one) or the Pope, or Born-Again Christians, or Lee Greenwood get called on their shit for being the hypocrites that they are, and I think we've got a winner!

About being Anti-Gay. I honestly take that back. I do not think that you are anti-gay, I didn't choose those words wisely. Your stuff isn't necessarily anti-gay but rather stupid and easy. "Madder than a queer with lock jaw on Valentines Day." That's not that funny, I don't care who you are. It's just sooo easy. I mean, over half the planet sucks dick so why gays? Why not truck stop whores, or Hollywood Starlets or housewives? Because when you say "queer" you get an easy laugh. End of story.

As for being a multi-millionaire in disguise, that's just merely a matter of personal taste for me. I do not begrudge you your money at all, it is sincerely hard earned and you deserve whatever people want to give to you. What sticks in my craw about that stuff is the blatant and (again, personal taste) gross marketing and selling of this bullshit character to your beloved fans. Now look, if someone wants to pay top dollar to come to one of your shows and then drop a couple hundred more on "Git-R-Done" lighters and hats and t-shirts and windshield stickers and trailer hitches and beer koozies and fishing hats and shot glasses etc, then good for you. I just think it's a little crass and belies the "good ole boy" blue collar thing you represent. But that's no big deal.

Now, as for the last statement that "We're in a state of vague American values and anti-intellectual pride."

Well, I think that's true. When you can rally the troops (so to speak) with a lazy, "latte drinking, tofu eating" generalization of Liberals and "Back ass rag fags" to describe Arabs, then, yeah, I think that falls in the "ignorant" category. I think that with even the slightest attention to the double standard and hypocrisy of both the Left and the Right in this country (if not all of the Christian Extremists as a whole) coupled with the bullshit they lazily swallow and parrot back while happily ignoring the gross inhumane treatment of those that aren't them so that we may have cheap sneakers and oil and slightly less taxes (although I'm sure the bracket you're in now gives you a ton of tax money back), then you could maybe see my point. Now here's the best part - in your book you preface the above quote by saying, "...but I guess I'm not as intellectual as David Cross. In that Rolling Stone article, he sure showed us what a deep thinker he is by sayin' "America is in a stage of vague intellectual pride." Jesus Christ can you even fucking read?! Whoever read that article to you butchered the actual quote. The quote that was right fucking in front of their face! I would fire your official reader and have them replaced with a Hooters Girl who doesn't fart. That way you have something nice to look at while you are getting your misinformation.

As for "anti-intellectual pride", that is Larry The Cable Guy in spades. Let me quote you again (from an on-line interview, "I consider my jokes to be very jeuvinille (sic). Stuff a 14 year old would laugh at because that's the ...sence (sic) of humor I have.". Hmmm, okay. That was easy.

Well, I suppose I've already covered part of that in the above. But you also specifically dumb down your speech while making hundreds of purposefully grammatical errors. How do I know this? It's on page 17 of your book wherein you describe how you would "Larry" up your commentaries for radio. What does it mean to "Larry" something up? Take a wild guess. The reason you feel the need to "Larry" something up? Because you are not that dumb. I mean you, Dan Whitney, the guy who's name the bank account is under. You were born and raised in Nebraska (hardly The South), went to private school and moved to Florida when you were 16. This is when you developed your accent?! Not exactly the developmental years are they? At age 16 that's the kind of thing you have to make a concerted effort to adopt. Did you hire a voice coach? Or were you like one of those people who go to England for a week and come back sounding like an extra from "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels"? As you said yourself in an interview once, "I can pop in and out of it pretty much whenever I want". In your book on page 89 you say in reference to the "gee-shucks" millionaire comment, "...see, to his (David's) mind, bein' well paid means I'm no longer real and I can't be a country boy anymore. It's just an act." Hey, it's always been an act! That's my fucking point! You admit it yourself so cut the indignation shit. And I am in no way deriding your work ethic. You clearly have more fart jokes than most and for that I applaud you. You go on to talk about how hard you work and life on the road and living on Waffle House and blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I get it, we’ve all been there and played shitty, degrading gigs and sacrificed etc, etc. Then you say, "...this (the personal attack) was different because David basically hammered my fans in that RS article by implying that they were ignorant. He crossed the line when he railed against them, so I had to tell ya what I felt about that. He can hammer me all he wants, but when he screwed with my fans, it was time for me to say something." Aww, that's so sweet and egregious. I can't stand that fan ass kissing bullshit. You and Dane Cook ought to get together and have a "my-fan's-are-the-greatest-people-on-earth-and-that's-why-I-do-this" off. You could both sell a shit load of merch too. But having said that, I would truly love to get some of your fans and my fans in a room together to debate some of the finer points on comedy, music, culture, the issues facing our country today and just about anything else we might find worthy of discussion. My fans are pretty smart as well. They are also, I imagine, as "hard-working" as your fans. Not all of them of course, but most. And I'm sure that they may come up with some genuinely interesting, insightful points (and would do so without spouting a bunch of meaningless Christian platitudes). And if you really, truly want to respect your fans, lower your ticket price as well as the price of your ubiquitous merchandise. I'm sure all those hard-working Americans could use the extra money now that the budgets are being cut drastically from Transportation, Education, Health and Human Services, HUD, Dept of the Interior, EPA, Farm Service Agency, FEMA, Agricultural, FDA, VA, FDA, FHA, National Center for Environmental Health, and numerous other departments and agencies that they might directly rely on for help. All so that we can pay off this massive tax cut during "war" time that we're all getting (them not so much though). Oh well, that's just one of those "political" things that I think about occasionally.

Anyway, I just wanted to address the stuff you wrote about me and clear some things up. Mostly the air around here... I just farted!!!!!

Think-Of-Something-To-Do-And-See-That-Task-To-Completion!!!!!

Fart,
David Cross
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SOURCE...
Bob and David - It's Official!

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PortableApps.com | Your Digital Life, Anywhere™

Ok, gang. Here it is. If you have a thumb drive of 128MB or larger and don't know what to do with it, I can make a suggestion. Fill it with portable apps!

"Say, what?"

Fill it with portable apps. Actually you won't fill it, but you will use up some of that empty space to put applications that you can take with you anywhere you go and run them on any Windows computer.

For example; on my 1GB Cruzer flash drive I have placed, Firefox, Sunfox, Thunderbird, Gaim, ClamWin, a host of little pc utilities/tools/apps that run from any folder without installation, KeePass and my beloved PowerPro. I can now go to any Windows machine and run my apps just as if I were at home. All my settings, passwords, mail, addresses, appointments are right there waiting for me. It beats lugging around a notebook pc. Of course there is one caveat...you should get permission from anyone to use their hardware. But you can reassure them that you won't be making any changes to their configurations. Let them scan your drive for the presence of evil malware to allay their fears (and of course you should do the same to their machine. Remember to always practice safe computing! ;-)) You'll just be using their keyboard, ram and monitor to run your own stuff!

Go check out the stuff available at the link below. Other programs I mentioned I have collected from the internet and are available with a quick google search. Comment below or email me if you have any questions. --pseudolus


PortableApps.com | Your Digital Life, Anywhere™
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UpDATE: 2006-06-23 A LITTLE LESSON IN USB FLASH DRIVES...
A little under a decade ago, there was still a lot of uncertainty as to the eventual successor to the floppy drive. Iomega had tremendous success with their Zip drives, and the failed LS-120 standard offered something that looked like a floppy, but was far too expensive to be a replacement. One thing was certain: the market needed a cost-effective, high capacity successor to the aging 3.5" floppy.

An unexpected mid-term successor came with the blank CD-R. With discs falling well below $1 per CD-R, many turned effectively to disposable CDs as their floppy replacements. Although CD-Rs offered the increased capacity over floppies while maintaining a very low cost, they lacked the flexibility in that they could only be written to once.

Fast forward to today, and it's clear that the floppy is now dead. Except for loading storage drivers during Windows setup (which can still be accomplished in other non-floppy methods), the floppy drive is no longer necessary. Home networks are prevalent enough that copying files from one computer to the next doesn't require any external media, and thanks to the prevalence of the USB flash drive, carrying files between computers outside of the home is no longer a problem either.

While a single USB flash drive is no where near as cheap as floppies used to be, the capacity of today's USB flash drives is tremendous. With the largest consumer drives topping 4GB in size, and retail stores stocking 512MB and 1GB drives, it's hard to remember having to split files over multiple floppies to get them from one computer to the next. You can simply buy a ridiculously large USB flash drive and you rarely have to worry about running out of space on it.
The driving force behind improvements and adaptation of new storage technologies has almost always been cost per bit. Fundamentally, a lower cost per bit is why we use magnetic hard drives instead of solid state storage, and it is also a major reason why DRAM is used for main memory instead of faster, yet more expensive SRAM. The same cost-per-bit mentality applied to the early days of flash, and is a significant factor in why USB flash drives are so prevalent today.

The flash that is used in USB drives today is what is known as NAND flash. Because of a much more efficient layout, NAND flash can achieve greater densities than NOR flash, making it the flash of choice for mass storage. NAND flash is actually quite efficient; a single NAND flash cell is approximately half the size of a conventional DRAM memory cell, meaning that you can easily produce affordable, high density, storage based on NAND flash. Obviously, the advantage of NAND flash over DRAM is that flash does not require a constant charge to retain its data, and thus is a suitable alternative (or accessory) to magnetic disk based storage.

Without a doubt, the advent of the NAND flash based USB drive has taken the PC industry by storm. Companies give these little drives away, and memory manufacturers have gone into the business of making USB drives in a big way. With almost a dozen different manufacturers present in this roundup alone, and even more available on the market, the USB flash drive scene is really just starting to heat up.

With lots of manufacturers producing drives, and the demand for these USB flash drives increasing every day, it was time for us to put together a roundup. Also, in preparation for this roundup, we have included price indexing for USB flash drives in our Real Time Price Engine. So, head over there and search away for the best prices on all USB flash drives.
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READ EVEN MORE, IF YOU DARE...

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Tim Berners Lee on Net Neutralty

Decentralized Information Group (DIG) Breadcrumbs |: "When I invented the Web, I didn't have to ask anyone's permission. Now, hundreds of millions of people are using it freely. I am worried that that is going end in the USA.

I blogged on net neutrality before, and so did a lot of other people. (see e.g. Danny Weitzner, SaveTheInternet.com, etc.) Since then, some telecommunications companies spent a lot of money on public relations and TV ads, and the US House seems to have wavered from the path of preserving net neutrality. There has been some misinformation spread about. So here are some clarifications. ( real video Mpegs to come)

Net neutrality is this:

If I pay to connect to the Net with a certain quality of service, and you pay to connect with that or greater quality of service, then we can communicate at that level.

That's all. Its up to the ISPs to make sure they interoperate so that that happens.

Net Neutrality is NOT asking for the internet for free.

Net Neutrality is NOT saying that one shouldn't pay more money for high quality of service. We always have, and we always will.

There have been suggestions that we don't need legislation because we haven't had it. These are nonsense, because in fact we have had net neutrality in the past -- it is only recently that real explicit threats have occurred.

Control of information is hugely powerful. In the US, the threat is that companies control what I can access for commercial reasons. (In China, control is by the government for political reasons.) There is a very strong short-term incentive for a company to grab control of TV distribution over the Internet even though it is against the long-term interests of the industry.

Yes, regulation to keep the Internet open is regulation. And mostly, the Internet thrives on lack of regulation. But some basic values have to be preserved. For example, the market system depends on the rule that you can't photocopy money. Democracy depends on freedom of speech."

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Making $42,000: All in a day's work for CEOs - Jun. 21, 2006

Making $42,000: All in a day's work for CEOs - Jun. 21, 2006: "NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – The top dogs at large companies make big bucks, no surprise. But it's always a little jolting to see just how big those bucks are relative to the paycheck of the average Joe.

Last year, the average CEO of a company with at least $1 billion in annual revenue made $10,982,000, or 262 times what the average worker made, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released Wednesday.
Quiz launchTake the quiz

Put another way, the average worker -- who earned $41,861 in 2005 -- made about $400 less last year than what the average large-company CEO made in one day. That assumes 260 days of pay (52 weeks x 5 days a week).

The CEO-to-worker pay differential in 2005 was the second highest on record. The highest was 2000, when the average CEO earned 300 times what the average worker made.

In 2002, the differential fell to 143 as the bear market took its toll on stock-related compensation. Nevertheless, between 2000 and 2005, median CEO pay rose 84 percent to $6.05 million on an inflation-adjusted basis, according to EPI.

Median worker pay during the same period fell an estimated 0.3 percent to $33,852, based on BLS weekly earnings data.

Critics of CEO pay contend that the compensation committees of publicly traded companies too often fail to tie pay to performance.

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Hit and Run

Hit and Run: "Like it or not, Larry the Cable Guy's comedy may become as symbolic of this decade and the Bush era as Jerry Seinfeld was of the 90s and the Clinton era. You can try to drive through a Bush-voting county without seeing a car bearing a Git-R-Done sticker. You may succeed where I failed.

It's an open secret that Larry's good-ol'-boy schtick is phony. He was born in Nebraska but grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida (Kerry by 21 points). But it's still possible to pick up the heartland patois when you live in urban Florida, right?

Well, here's a video of Larry (ne Daniel Lawrence Whitney) in his first iteration, as a wrist-slashingly bad generic 90s cutup. Watch and writhe - or marvel at a man's ability to reinvent himself and win the heart of a nation."

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Hullabaloo - It's The Abuse Of Power, Stupid.

by tristero

As expected, the Bush administration tried to shoot the messenger. The purest expression of the administration's position comes from Terri Wagner, a regular New York Times reader from Elberta, Alabama* who writes:

Your decision to print this article is disturbing to me. Timing is the issue with me.

We have troops in the field fighting every day. We have just recently seen the brutality of the enemy.

The time to consider which programs are successful or not is after the troops come home, which in this case means a free Afghanistan and Iraq.

Please consider the timing of your articles in matters of national security when troops are still on the ground. [Emphasis in original.]

As long as troops are abroad, Bush should not be criticized. Ever. And you wonder why Bush has said troops will be in Iraq during the rest of his term in office.No one's criticizing the effort to track terrorist finances, duh.** The real issue is simple:

The Times (and others) would never have decided to break the story were it not the fact that the Bush administration is once again abusing its power and refusing to recognize any rules or limits on that power.


*Of course, Terri's a regular reader of the Times, even if she lives in Elberta, Alabama which is, I admit, pretty far from New York City. How else could she have learned about the article? She may even have a subscription. You're not suggesting her letter was part of an organized rightwing campaign against the Times, are you? Honestly, the cynicism of some people.

** From the first time I heard the term a few days after 9/11, I've repeatedly said (and of course, this is far from an original thought) the US should infiltrate and thoroughly corrupt the hawwalas, making them unreliable. That, of course, is rather difficult to do when you don't have more than five fluent Arabic speakers tops working in the FBI (which is true, by the way, at least until very recently). Far easier - and far less effective, if your real goal is to catch terrorists and not hoover up as much info as you possibly can - is to once again operate with no serious oversight and troll through " 'at least tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of searches' of people and institutions suspected of having ties to terrorists."


tristero 6/24/2006 08:14:00 AM
---------
SOURCE...
Hullabaloo

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MyDD :: Young People Should Respect their Elder Liars

: "I didn't want to just let this article from Richard Morin titled 'Jon Stewart, Enemy of Democracy' (or 'Comedy Poisoning Democracy') go unanswered (via Alternet). Here's Morin's argument." This is not funny: Jon Stewart and his hit Comedy Central cable show may be poisoning democracy.

Two political scientists found that young people who watch Stewart's faux news program, "The Daily Show," develop cynical views about politics and politicians that could lead them to just say no to voting.

That's particularly dismaying news because the show is hugely popular among college students, many of whom already don't bother to cast ballots.

Jody Baumgartner and Jonathan S. Morris of East Carolina University said previous research found that nearly half -- 48 percent -- of this age group watched "The Daily Show" and only 23 percent of show viewers followed "hard news" programs closely.

To test for a "Daily Effect," Baumgartner and Morris showed video clips of coverage of the 2004 presidential candidates to one group of college students and campaign coverage from "The CBS Evening News" to another group. Then they measured the students' attitudes toward politics, President Bush and the Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.).

The results showed that the participants rated both candidates more negatively after watching Stewart's program. Participants also expressed less trust in the electoral system and more cynical views of the news media, according to the researchers' article, in the latest issue of American Politics Research.

"Ultimately, negative perceptions of candidates could have participation implications by keeping more youth from the polls," they wrote.


Ugh, there are so many bad leaps of logic here.

First of all, the problem with the testing Morin cites is that it assumes that 'hard news' programs are truthful, that politicians are honorable, and that journalists are honest and helpful to public discourse. If none of those conditions are accurate, then what the 'Daily effect' really shows is that Jon Stewart is able to accurately describe our political world to young people. And in fact, Daily Show viewers not only have more negative feelings about the political system, but they are better informed than 'hard news' viewers. And that sounds about right; things aren't great, the political system took the country to war that is nearly universally acknowledged as a horrific mistake, and 2004 presented us with two wildly unappealing old white men as candidates, so why is it good for citizens to 'feel' good about the political system? How is that a test of civic virtue instead of simple delusion?

Morin and the researchers go on to bite their nails about what this negative attitude might mean for voting. Only, young people voted in record numbers in 2004 (and I believe 2005 in NJ and VA as well, though I don't have those numbers handy), when many of them were getting their news from the Daily Show. Some Daily effect.

Ok, so let's be clear with what Morin is fretting about. He thinks that the Daily Show doesn't make younger viewers feel good enough about politicians and media figures. It's not enough that Daily Show viewers are better informed than any other media consumer, that young people voted in record numbers, that, and that the choice in 2004 for President presented young people with two wildly unappealing old white men. No, it's all about young people not feeling good enough about the people who routinely lie to them.

Young people have very negative feelings about politics, and rightfully so. And they're voting anyway. That's amazing. I suppose what Morin doesn't like is that the Daily Show punctures the media's sense of self-importance (of which Morin displays an amply large amount), and that young people are watching Stewart instead of reading Morin.

Big surprise there.

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SOURCE...
MyDD :: Young People Should Respect their Elder Liars

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Firefox vs Opera web browsers

I have been using Firefox rather a bit lately. Slowly drifting away from my past love Opera. It's been for two reasons I have been spending more time with it. It has blogging extensions and pretty good tab/session management. Also, the amount of truly useful extensions is amazing. I dreaded installing extension in previous versions of Firefox. Crashes and clashes would erupt. Re-install, inevitable. But lately these things have been very stable and I have found the power and convenience afforded by Firefox is now superior to Opera. All I'm missing is the "notes" function and I am close to done.

The ability to do most of the things I using Opera for, and adding a slew of other tricks, and Firefox looks better and better. Add to it the power to run from my flash drive and carry it wioth me? Gawdam! that's sweet.

Even with last week's release of Opera 9 they are behind the development curve. The 'widget' offerings are weak and will need time to develope into stronger utilities.

my favorite 'keeper' extensions, so far;
(sorry, too lazy to edit out the version numbers, they aren't very relevant.)
Adblock{0.5.3.042}
AdblockFiltersetGUpdater{0.3.0.4}
AIRoboformToolbarforFirefox{6.7.1}
All-In-OneSidebar{0.6.4}
AlwaysRememberPassword{0.3}
BBCodeXtra{0.2.5.4}
BrowseAtWork{0.3.1}
BrowseAtWork{0.3}
CopyasHTMLLink{1.0}
DownThemAll{0.9.9.3}
DownThemAll{0.9.9.4}
DrWebanti-viruslinkchecker{1.0.10}
EzSidebar{3.1.2006011301}
Fasterfox{1.0.3}
FirefoxExtensionBackupExtension(FEBE){2.0}
FireProx{1.0}
FlashGot{0.5.9.995}
ForecastfoxEnhanced{0.9.0.2.1}
IETab{1.0.9}
JustBlogIt{0.3}
MinimizeToTray{0.0.1.2006030906+}
MorningCoffee{1.1}
MouseGestures{1.5}
NoScript{1.1.4.1}
Performancing{1.2}
PermaTabs{1.1.0}
PermaTabs{1.2.0}
TabMixPlus{0.3.0.5}
TabSidebar{1.0.3}
TinyUrlCreator{1.0.2}
VideoDownloader{1.0}

get Portable Firefox here:

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On the campaign trail with James Broadwater.

tip o' the hat to "Jesus' General" for the these _youtube_ links...



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The NRA/GOP 'Base'

d r i f t g l a s s: Sunday Morning Comin’ Down – June 18, 2006

d r i f t g l a s s: Sunday Morning Comin’ Down – Part 1.: "The Chris Matthews Show was lively for one and only one reason.

Matthews is a shill, and is usually firing blanks or blowing fat, bubbly kisses to the Bush White House while the bulk of his scuttlefish panelists line up to kiss whichever Administration ass is planted in front of them.

But once in a while he racks a live round, and it catches the lickspittle patrol wildly off-guard.

One such moment happened Sunday when the subject of Don Karleone came up, and his shift from indicted to unindicted co-conspirator. And for the most part, the panel was (per my gauzy, non-note-taken recollections) anxious to brush it back under the throw rug and move along to gleefully sawing the legs out from under the people who actually stand up to the criminal junta that runs the GOP...and then mocking them for being short.

So when Matthews wheeled the giggle gun around and fired this sort of thing off into the Kewl Kids Klubhouse (remember, all quotes approximate) -- “But the President did promise he’d fire the leaker. And indicted or not, we now know Rove is the leaker, and he’s not being fired. So is this where we’re at now? That the President of the United States can just lie to the American people about this…and that just OK?” – the sound of Joe Klein filling his Depends was actually audible.

And oh dog, if looks could kill?

Klein is a fifth columnist of the first water and was clearly amped up to do what he does for a living every week; namely shivving “fellow” Democrats in the kidneys while decrying the general state of awfulness and lack of Party unity and purpose.

So when Matthews lobbed that grenade into his fruit salad it was really quite amusing to see Joe squishing around in his own shit, eyes getting soft and piggy, trying to crouch down behind his own ridiculous beard, groping around for a glib and preferably monosyllabic answer that would not bring down the wrath of his corporate owners.

Hume, at least, is a straight-up thug who wears his brownshirt with a certain grunting, meatheaded pride. But Klein sleeps inside our perimeter and make his wage by draining off the blood of his “friends” by the pint and selling it to the bad guys as ink by the column-inch.

“Some may say” that the best creatures like Klein deserve is a napalm colonic capped off with a car-flare butt-plug.

“Some” may say that, but of course not me."
posted by driftglass @ 10:45 PM

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Friday, June 23, 2006

The Rant on Capitol Hill Blue - Land of the watched, home of the spied upon

The Rant on Capitol Hill Blue - Land of the watched, home of the spied upon: "Big brother is watching, but who is watching big brother?

By LISA HOFFMAN
Jun 23, 2006, 07:19

From the above article on today’s CHB:

“Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt also has plans for a bigger visual blanket. In February, he said he wants every apartment complex and shopping mall to have cameras, and said it is worth considering a requirement that every home that frequently warrants police attention must install them, as well.”

So this is the beginning of the slippery slope. Geez, who could argue with installing cameras inside the homes of 'habitual offenders', right? But then why not just install cameras inside everyone's home? If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to be afraid of? We would then have total security. Its a brave new world. We can do it. We have the technology.

Posted by: Douglas Shaw | June 23, 2006 12:41 PM"
The end.
\not continued...

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The Rant on Capitol Hill Blue - Land of the watched, home of the spied upon


By DOUG THOMPSON

I live in the mountains - deep in the mountains - of Southwestern Virginia, far away from what most call civilization.

You've heard of the proverbial town with one stop light? Our county has only one stop light, one permanent one since a construction project on U.S. 221 added four temporary stoplights to two bridges that the Virginia Department of Transportation is resurfacing and cut down to one-lane.

Yet even in my little backwoods hick county, I'm under video surveillance many times a day.It may start when I drive through that maze of stoplights at the two bridges 500 yards apart. Video cameras tape every car that passes through that construction project, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These are videocams, not stoplight enforcement cameras.

If I stop at any one of my little town's three convenience mart/gas stations, I am photographed while filling my car with gas or while buying a cup of coffee. At least one convenience mart in town has a direct link to a Virginia State Police computer that inserts an image of my face into a facial recognition program to see if I'm wanted anywhere or might be a suspected terrorist. When I stop at the drive-through automatic teller machine (ATM) at the bank, another camera snaps my picture as I withdraw money from my checking account.

The monitoring doesn't end with cameras. When I slid my credit card into the reader on the gas pump at the Exxon station this morning a high-speed dataline sent my name and account number to Exxon's computers in Texas where they checked by balance before approving the purchase and then forwarded information on the purchase by another high-speed line to a bank of computers at 3701 Fairfax Drive in Arlington, home of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's Terrorism Information Awareness Network (TIA).

The TIA computer matches my gas purchase against my last use of a credit card to see where I might have last purchased gas, an airline or train ticket or a motel stay. This provides Uncle Sam with my pattern of travel and that pattern is matched against any pattern which someone thinks might be suspicious or worthy of a second look. The information is also matched my other financial activity: bank account deposits and withdrawals or charge account activity. Then they match the records with National Security Agency monitoring of phone calls and email usage. If anything looks suspicious to them, a file is opened and I become a "person of interest." Friends in a position to know tell me I became a person of interest to these folks some years ago.

As Lisa Hoffman outlines in her excellent series on video surveillance published today on our web site, we are nation constantly being watched by those we do business with, by police, by government and by our bosses.

Uncle Sam knows what books you read, either through public library records or your purchases at the local borders. He knows how often you stop at Starbucks to get a latte or if you shack up at the local no-tell motel once a week with your mistress. He knows where you drive, when you drive there and how much gas you bought to make the trip. Odds are, he knows more about what you than your boss, your minister, your spouse or your significant other.

The question is whether or not anyone, in a so-called free society, needs to know all this information about anyone else. Government monitoring of its citizens has increased at an alarming rate since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and those who raise the question of whether or not it is excessive face the threat of being branded "soft on terrorism" or even anti-patriotic.

Yet vast reams of information are gathered daily on Americans whose only "crime" is using a credit card, passing through a video-monitored bank or making a phone call. And nobody is quite sure what happens to all this information since so much of it is kept secret by a Presidential administration that hides just about everything under the cloak of "national security" and thinks it has a God-given right to govern as it wishes without oversight or question.

Yes, Big Brother is watching…and listening…and monitoring…and compiling…and studying…and God knows what else.

So much for the land of the free.

© Copyright 2006 by Capitol Hill Blue

Doug Thompson also publishes a personal blog at Blue Ridge Muse.
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SOURCE...
The Rant on Capitol Hill Blue - Land of the watched, home of the spied upon

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Blah3 - All Your Lives Are Belong to Bush!

Blah3 - All Your Lives Are Belong to Bush!: "Friday, June 23 2006 @ 04:41 PM EDT
Contributed by: Invictus
"Bush ScandalsIs there any aspect of our lives that is no longer Bush-accessible?

Consider:

They can find out what books you took out of the library (Patriot Act).
They can find out about just about anything you bought via credit card (Thanks, First Data Corp., et. al.).
They can learn who's called you, and who you called (Thanks, Bells).
They can learn where you've been on the web and read your emails (Thanks, ISPs).
They can learn to whom you may have transferred funds, or who may have transferred funds to you (Thanks, SWIFT).

At this point, what is left? Anything? Seriously. To my knowledge, Qwest is the only company that stood up to the government, and that's probably only 'cause Nacchio's got a reputation as a hard-ass who gives everyone a bad time.

Anyone think they haven't been looking at real estate transactions? Vehicle purchases and/or leases? Travel-related transactions, like airline tickets and/or car rentals?

Really. I'd like to know...what dominos have yet to fall?

When is it fascism? Or is it already?"

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THE NEWS BLOG - Get out

From Ned Parker in Baghdad and Tom Baldwin

THE Iraqi Government will announce a sweeping peace plan as early as Sunday in a last-ditch effort to end the Sunni insurgency that has taken the country to the brink of civil war.

The 28-point package for national reconciliation will offer Iraqi resistance groups inclusion in the political process and an amnesty for their prisoners if they renounce violence and lay down their arms, The Times can reveal.

The Government will promise a finite, UN-approved timeline for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq; a halt to US operations against insurgent strongholds; an end to human rights violations, including those by coalition troops; and compensation for victims of attacks by terrorists or Iraqi and coalition forces. It will pledge to take action against Shia militias and death squads. It will also offer to review the process of “de-Baathification” and financial compensation for the thousands of Sunnis who were purged from senior jobs in the Armed Forces and Civil Service after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The deal, which has been seen by The Times, aims to divide Iraqi insurgents from foreign fighters linked to al-Qaeda. It builds on months of secret talks involving Jalal al-Talabani, the Iraqi President, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Ambassador, and seven Sunni insurgent groups.

Mr al-Talabani told The Times that after a “summit” in Baghdad about a month ago the groups made clear their willingness to commence talks with the Iraqi Government, although he was awaiting a formal response.

But one big potential obstacle is whether the US would be willing to grant an amnesty to insurgents who have killed US soldiers but who are not members of extreme groups such as al-Qaeda. The Bush Administration is thought to be split on the issue.

“This is very hard for us, particularly at a time when American servicemen are facing prosecution for alleged war crimes — and others are being captured and tortured,” a senior US official said.

With 2,500 US soldiers having died in Iraq, to grant an amnesty would be a “huge political football” before the November mid-term elections in the US, he said. But he added: “This is what we did after the Second World War, after the Civil War, after the War of Independence. It may be unpalatable and unsavoury but it is how wars end.”

Goodbye GOP.

This is how Iraq ends, the Kerensky government making a deal with the Bolsheviks before they are destroyed?

If this happens, the GOP will rightfully be chased from office, either for agreeing to this deal or rejecting it and forcing a war when the Iraqis want us gone.

Either way, this is an incredible failure.

posted by Steve @ 11:30:00 AM
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SOURCE...
THE NEWS BLOG

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New York Times: 'Charlie Wilson's War': Arming the Mujahedeen

For most of his 24-year career in the House of Representatives, Charles Wilson was known for his abiding fondness for hot tubs, women and Scotch whiskey. His friends at the Central Intelligence Agency said, only partly in jest, that the Texas Democrat's reputation as a roue provided a perfect cover for his great passion, the mujahedeen rebellion against the Soviet Union's occupation of Afghanistan. During the 1980's, Wilson used his seat on a military appropriations subcommittee to steer billions of dollars in secret funding to the C.I.A. to funnel arms to the mujahedeen.

So it was hardly a surprise after the Soviets' humiliating withdrawal in 1989 that the C.I.A.'s spymasters invited Wilson out to celebrate at the agency's headquarters at Langley, Va. On a large movie screen in an auditorium at the George Bush Center for Intelligence flashed a huge quotation from Pakistan's president, Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, who had willingly allowed the C.I.A.'s arms pipeline to flow through his country. Zia credited Wilson with the defeat of the Russians in Afghanistan with the words, ''Charlie did it.'' In ''Charlie Wilson's War,'' George Crile, a veteran ''60 Minutes'' producer, recounts the story of Wilson's personal journey from the East Texas Bible Belt to Congress, where he became the secret patron of what was then the largest covert operation in C.I.A. history. Of course, the American effort to arm the mujahedeen must be measured against recent events like the Sept. 11 attacks. The Qaeda hijackings underscored how the American-financed war against the Soviets in Afghanistan helped create a political vacuum filled by the Taliban and Islamic extremists, who turned their deadly terrorism back against the United States.

Moreover, there was concern within intelligence circles about the hundreds of Stinger missile systems that the C.I.A. supplied to the mujahedeen forces in the 1980's to combat the Russians' most fearful weapon, the Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship. After the Soviet withdrawal, the agency embarked on a costly buyback program, but most of the missiles remained unaccounted for. American military commanders feared they might be used during the war in Afghanistan that followed the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

But in its time there was little dispute that the covert war was one of the most successful C.I.A. operations ever undertaken, a deadly confrontation conducted through a surrogate with the Soviet empire in its death throes. Only a handful of people in the government knew that behind the Afghan resistance was a pirate's crew of misfits, most notably Charlie Wilson himself, whom Crile affectionately profiles as the lawmaker who widened the war through a series of backroom deals on Capitol Hill that were never publicly disclosed or debated.

For most of his years in the House until he retired in 1996, Wilson rarely spoke on the House floor and was never associated with any of the great legislative issues of his day. He infuriated colleagues like Pat Schroeder, a Colorado Democrat, by calling her ''Babycakes,'' and acknowledged when he announced his retirement that ''at times I've been a reckless and rowdy public servant.'' But Crile asserts that Wilson's flaky public persona concealed a fervent anti-Communist and deeply ambitious politician, who built a power base in Congress that he used to pour money into the Afghan cause. In return for voting for military contracts in his colleagues' districts, Wilson won votes from his fellow lawmakers for the mujahedeen.

From a few million dollars in the early 1980's, support for the resistance grew to about $750 million a year by the end of the decade. The decisions were made in secret by Wilson and other lawmakers on the appropriations committee. To help make his case, Wilson exploited one of the decade's scandals, the Iran-contra affair, arguing that Democrats who were voting to cut off funding for the contras in Nicaragua could demonstrate their willingness to stand up to the Soviet empire by approving more money for the Afghan fighters.

''Charlie Wilson's War'' is a behind-the-scenes chronicle of a program that is still largely classified. Crile does not provide much insight into his reporting methods, but the book appears to be based on interviews with a number of the principals. The result is a vivid narrative, though a reader may wonder how much of this story is true in exactly the way Crile presents it. Still, few people who remember Wilson's years in Washington would discount even the wildest tales.

Crile recounts with relish Wilson's partying. There are many anecdotes of his overseas travels, first-class at taxpayers' expense, accompanied by former beauty queens who seem to pop up at events in conservative Islamic countries wearing skintight jumpsuits. In one odd moment, according to Crile, Wilson brought his own belly dancer from Texas to Cairo to entertain the Egyptian defense minister, who was secretly supplying the mujahedeen with millions of rounds of ammunition for the AK-47's that the C.I.A. was smuggling into Afghanistan. Her sultry dancing went far beyond the prudish norms of Cairo, but delighted the powerful minister.

Crile tells us that Wilson enjoyed driving to distraction a succession of C.I.A. officials as he prodded the agency to supply the fighters with increasingly more lethal weapons. The agency bureaucrats were content with a modest program designed to bleed the Soviets, whereas Wilson envisioned a war that the mujahedeen could win. As the money for the war began to flow, the C.I.A. put one of its own misfits in charge of the operation, Gust Avrakotos. He formed a small band of agency officers who quickly got behind the war in Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of automatic weapons, antitank guns, even satellite intelligence maps, redrawn in the form of crude maps that might have been penned by the mujahedeen themselves -- all of it was carried across Pakistan's border into Afghanistan on the backs of mules procured by the C.I.A. from as far away as the Tennessee hill country.

On Feb. 15, 1989, Gen. Boris Gromov, commander of the Soviets' 40th Army, walked across Friendship Bridge as the last Russian to leave Afghanistan. The C.I.A. cable from the Islamabad station to Langley said, ''We won.'' Wilson's own note to Avrakotos said simply, ''We did it.''


David Johnston, a senior Washington correspondent for The Times, covers terrorism and national security issues.


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company |
---------
SOURCE...
New York Times: 'Charlie Wilson's War': Arming the Mujahedeen

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The Rude Pundit - A Defense of Bloggery Against the Scolding Forces of Printdom:

A Defense of Bloggery Against the Scolding Forces of Printdom:
The Rude Pundit has a married male friend who can't talk enough about how amazing marriage is: how monogamy is so goddamned incredible, how sex just deepens along the life path with your life partner or your soulmate or what the fuck ever, how planning for the future with someone is just, so, god, how can one describe it, but it's just...deep, see, the kind of deep you only feel in the depths of your deepest...and blah and yada and etcetera and whoop-de-fuckin-do. But every Monday, sure as shit, that friend is asking the Rude Pundit about his weekend.Ah, and then, and then the Rude Pundit gets to let fly. About craven, desperate, sweaty fucking like the world's gonna end; about bar pickups that generally involve phrases like "Have you ever done..." or "Have you ever tried..." or "Have you ever tripped on..." or "Swallower or spitter?"; about various shapes of cocks and cunts, the delicious, breathtaking pause before plunging into another person, the way in which certain twists of tongues or fingers cause one's dick to spasm like it's got a palsy or a clit to quiver of its own volition; about mornings free of regret because, before anything happens, one is absolutely clear about the ground rules: no lies, no error, no foul. There's no pretensions to lifelong bliss, no promises of what happens next, just the time itself in all its exultantly orgasmic, vodka and ecstasy-infused glory. And the ensuing trip to the laundry.

You can bet, and it's such a certainty that no bookie in the world would offer action on it, that the Rude Pundit's friend tells his wife about the Rude Pundit's weekends. And it is just as certain that the two of them talk about how empty the Rude Pundit's life must be, how he must wish he was like them, how he must, must, must desire such security for surely he can't go on like this. And then they fuck the same way they've been fucking for the last ten years. Now the Rude Pundit's not saying there is not innate good in the committed couple life. But, even as he shakes his head at the Rude Pundit, there is behind the movement a tinge of regret and jealousy in the eyes of the friend, as if there but for the curse of God goes he.

See, the attacks on blogging by some mainstream media "journalists" or "pundits" are just a continuation of the establishment's attack on outsiders, the way in which hippies got to get their freak on under the banner of free love versus the conservative America, clinging to its disappearing heterosexual-missionary-position way of seeing the world. Joe Klein is the Archie Bunker of the crowd, waving his craven, befouled finger at bloggers as he pathetically tries to be loved by the right wing establishment, the ultimate compromised MSMer.

And then there's yesterday's broadside by Lee Siegel of The New Republic. Responding, ironically enough, to TNR's blog, the Plank, and its hyping of a non-story about Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong (and other large-trafficked lefty bloggers) daring to exert people power, here's what Siegel says about the blogosphere: "It radiates democracy's dream of full participation but practices democracy's nightmare of populist crudity, character-assassination, and emotional stupefaction. It's hard fascism with a Microsoft face. It puts some people, like me, in the equally bizarre position of wanting desperately for Joe Lieberman to lose the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont so that true liberal values might, maybe, possibly prevail, yet at the same time wanting Lamont, the hero of the blogosphere, to lose so that the fascistic forces ranged against Lieberman might be defeated." This is not to mention how much our "thuggishness" and "frivolity" upsets Siegel.

So Siegel actually spends time worrying that bloggers might be influencing voters. How fucking dare we upset the moral order, the food chain, the Great Chain of Being. Man, we should all be good little Wonkettes and write cutesy "insider" novels and not worry our widdle heads about the big bad world of real politics. Siegel can lick the Rude Pundit's scrotum.

The Rude Pundit did not attend Yearly Kos for a number of reasons, most of them related to the fact that he has a job and that he doesn't like to go to conferences where he isn't speaking (and that's across the board in the bloggy and non-bloggy world). But never, not once, did it cross his mind that Markos Moulitsas is a megalomaniacal ur-blogger who wants us all to bow down to his Daily Kossiness. In fact, having briefly met and talked to Markos (at the time he spoke to Markos, the Rude Pundit thought he was going to Vegas, but then he remembered that Vegas sucks balls), the Rude Pundit was struck by how naively optimistic Markos is, in good and bad ways. See, he actually thinks he's going to make some kind of change in the nation; that's the kind of person that people are going to follow. And that scares so many who are entrenched in keeping the influence club closed. Or who wanna get into the club where the cool kids are.

Bottom line: the Rude Pundit doesn't give a flying fuck if Markos and other bloggers have a backroom discussion list where they can chat about who the hottest candidate running for President is; the Rude Pundit doesn't give a shit if there's such a thing on the right. And you know what, MSMers? This is all pretty fuckin' new out here in the hinterlands of Blogworld. We don't give a good goddamn about your rules or traditions. We get to make up our rules as we go along - if you as a reader don't like it, well, fuck it, click over to another blog or the blogs of almost every major newspaper or magazine in the country. And, really, and, c'mon, aren't you just a little jealous at our liberatory excesses? Wouldn't you like to write that Dick Cheney's a barely human, oozing, feces-covered demi-gorgon who rips the heads off ducklings just for sport?

But take heart, young bloggers: when they start attacking you for more than just being crazed maddogs who can't get out of their mothers' basements and face the real world, well, then you truly have arrived. Even if they might be better off spending their time dealing with the real liars in this world.

(For the last couple of years, the Rude Pundit has resisted a great deal of the typical self-reflexivity that afflicts blogs. It's the same reason the Rude Pundit hates hip-hop songs that are about the rapper rapping about him or herself. This will not be an ongoing thing here.)

Update- The Horrible Truth: Markos Moulitsas looks smaller on TV than in person. He is actually seven feet tall, with hands that could crush a bowling ball. He sharpens his teeth by chewing beer bottles, and the rumor is that he shot Billmon just for snoring. He scares us all because he enters our villages and eats our livestock at night. Please help us, TNR, please end the tyranny.

// posted by Rude One @ 9:43 AM
---------
SOURCE...
The Rude Pundit

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TPMmuckraker - Grover Faces Ruin, But No Jail Time

TPMmuckraker June 23, 2006 05:36 PM: "By Paul Kiel - June 23, 2006, 5:36 PM

As I mentioned yesterday, Grover Norquist, the cold-blooded anti-tax bogeyman of the right, got hit hard yesterday in the McCain report.

It's now clear to anyone who's paid attention that Norquist used his non-profit, Americans for Tax Reform, as a money-washing business and lobbying firm. He took a 'management fee' for laundering gaming money through to Ralph Reed. He has a long list of corporate donors that seek his help; and like any other lobbyist, his advocacy is for sale -- even to Democrats.

So what? Is there even a chance that he's going to jail?

I called up Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor and the Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Her group filed a IRS complaint against ATR back in March.

The answer, it turns out, is no. The worst that could happen to Norquist, according to Sloan, would be for the IRS to crack down on ATR. His group would lose its 501(c)3 status. That would result in hefty fines, and his donors would be mighty upset, since their contributions would suddenly become taxable. One of the pillars of the modern conservative movement would be disgraced. Pretty bad. But there's not really a criminal case to make against Norquist. No jail time.

The same, it seems, would go for Ralph Reed, who's been publicly and indisputably exposed as a calculating hypocrite. But that might be his only penalty. If so, he's really on trial right now down in Georgia, where he's running for lieutenant governor."

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Friday Nite Cartoon Madness!!!


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BRUUUUCE

Here's Springsteen on CNN discussing various things, including cable news and Ann Coulter.







Can get his latest here:

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BluegrassReport.org: You're Kidding, Right? Are These The Stupidest Politicians Ever To Roam The Bluegrass State? -- Fletcher Reverses Course And Allo

You're Kidding, Right? Are These The Stupidest Politicians Ever To Roam The Bluegrass State? -- Fletcher Reverses Course And Allows Conservative Bluegrass Institute's Political Blog To Be Reinstated. BluegrassReport.org Still Banned!

I'm just blown-away with the stupidity -- and likely legal consequences -- of this decision by our indicted Governor Fletcher (R) regarding his nationally-watched attempt to ban political speech.

Here's what you need to know about this fight, in a nutshell.

I've asserted from the outset that the decision to ban BluegrassReport.org to the state's 34,000 employees was targeted at me and my speech. Period. Fletcher was tired of the criticism and scrutiny and just blocked the site. It was only eight hours later -- after enormous pressure from dozens of prominent national websites -- that Fletcher's hacks finally offered a phony pretext that they were banning all "blogs" and not targeting for content. Nevermind that blogs by media reporters were not banned and sites like Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh and the Republican National Committee's blog are still accessible.

So, again. I say they are banning based on content. They say it applies to all blogs.

Now check out what the very political Bluegrass Institute posted on their "Bluegrass Policy BLOG" last night:BIPPS blocked by Fletcher Administration no more

Jill Midkiffe with the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet called me back today to say that the Bluegrass Institute's main website, bipps.org, is no longer blocked by filters established by the state.

That includes the Bluegrass Institute's blog.

Oddly enough, we have to assume that dozens of other blogs are still being blocked by state government.

So, Fletcher decides to reverse course and agrees NOT TO BLOCK a very conservative political blog that supports his positions on vouchers, privatization of anything relating to government, and attempts to enact bogus legal reform -- yet BluegrassReport.org, who has been very critical of his administration, is still banned????

Are they insane? How can they possibly justify this exception? Bluegrass Institute is as political as they come. They focus promoting their free-market issues. BluegrassReport.org focuses on political corruption, hypocrisy and transparency in government. Ironically, Fletcher allows a site which contains the term "BLOG" in its name, but not one that doesn't.

As I remarked yesterday, I don't agree with the Bluegrass Institute on many policy positions but I respect their principled work and there is no way that state government should ban their blog and I am 100% supportive of the decision to reverse the unconstitutional ban of their blog.

But how in the world can Fletcher justify this decision on any grounds other than CONTENT? This corrupt administration is absolutely begging for a federal equal-protection lawsuit -- and probably a third New York Times story in short order.

UPDATE #1: It appears today is going to be another huge national traffic day. Atrios has posted about this within 15 minutes of my post. It's only getting uglier for the Fletcher criminals.

Posted by Mark Nickolas on Friday, June 23, 2006 at 11:18 AM
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BluegrassReport.org: You're Kidding, Right? Are These The Stupidest Politicians Ever To Roam The Bluegrass State? -- Fletcher Reverses Course And Allows Conservative Bluegrass Institute's Political Blog To Be Reinstated. BluegrassReport.org Still Banned!

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Pierce Bush and Facebook. Need We Say More? - Wonkette

This is pretty disgusting. We heard from the little twerp a few months back. Maybe I can find the video. He was shilling for his "unca 'w'". -- pseudolusPierce Bush and Facebook. Need We Say More? - Wonkette: "Pierce Bush and Facebook. Need We Say More?

pierce01.jpgA few months back, we introduced you to Pierce Mallon Bush, nephew of the President, son of mild fuckup Neil, brother to the hot Bush, Lauren. We learned to love that little scamp, knahahmsayin’?

Pierce, 20, is a student at the University of Texas in Austin. And, oh yes, he’s on Facebook. After the jump, what may well be the political scion Facebook mother lode. Bud light, bitches, and scantily clad bums — don’t say we never did anything for you."

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Cut and Run? You Bet. - By Lt. Gen. William E. Odom

Why America must get out of Iraq now.




Courtesy US DOD

Withdraw immediately or stay the present course? That is the key question about the war in Iraq today. American public opinion is now decidedly against the war. From liberal New England, where citizens pass town-hall resolutions calling for withdrawal, to the conservative South and West, where more than half of “red state” citizens oppose the war, Americans want out. That sentiment is understandable.

The prewar dream of a liberal Iraqi democracy friendly to the United States is no longer credible. No Iraqi leader with enough power and legitimacy to control the country will be pro-American. Still, U.S. President George W. Bush says the United States must stay the course. Why? Let’s consider his administration’s most popular arguments for not leaving Iraq.If we leave, there will be a civil war. In reality, a civil war in Iraq began just weeks after U.S. forces toppled Saddam. Any close observer could see that then; today, only the blind deny it. Even President Bush, who is normally impervious to uncomfortable facts, recently admitted that Iraq has peered into the abyss of civil war. He ought to look a little closer. Iraqis are fighting Iraqis. Insurgents have killed far more Iraqis than Americans. That’s civil war.

Withdrawal will encourage the terrorists. True, but that is the price we are doomed to pay. Our continued occupation of Iraq also encourages the killers—precisely because our invasion made Iraq safe for them. Our occupation also left the surviving Baathists with one choice: Surrender, or ally with al Qaeda. They chose the latter. Staying the course will not change this fact. Pulling out will most likely result in Sunni groups’ turning against al Qaeda and its sympathizers, driving them out of Iraq entirely.

Before U.S. forces stand down, Iraqi security forces must stand up. The problem in Iraq is not military competency; it is political consolidation. Iraq has a large officer corps with plenty of combat experience from the Iran-Iraq war. Moktada al-Sadr’s Shiite militia fights well today without U.S. advisors, as do Kurdish pesh merga units. The problem is loyalty. To whom can officers and troops afford to give their loyalty? The political camps in Iraq are still shifting. So every Iraqi soldier and officer today risks choosing the wrong side. As a result, most choose to retain as much latitude as possible to switch allegiances. All the U.S. military trainers in the world cannot remove that reality. But political consolidation will. It should by now be clear that political power can only be established via Iraqi guns and civil war, not through elections or U.S. colonialism by ventriloquism.

Setting a withdrawal deadline will damage the morale of U.S. troops. Hiding behind the argument of troop morale shows no willingness to accept the responsibilities of command. The truth is, most wars would stop early if soldiers had the choice of whether or not to continue. This is certainly true in Iraq, where a withdrawal is likely to raise morale among U.S. forces. A recent Zogby poll suggests that most U.S. troops would welcome an early withdrawal deadline. But the strategic question of how to extract the United States from the Iraq disaster is not a matter to be decided by soldiers. Carl von Clausewitz spoke of two kinds of courage: first, bravery in the face of mortal danger; second, the willingness to accept personal responsibility for command decisions. The former is expected of the troops. The latter must be demanded of high-level commanders, including the president.

Withdrawal would undermine U.S. credibility in the world. Were the United States a middling power, this case might hold some water. But for the world’s only superpower, it’s patently phony. A rapid reversal of our present course in Iraq would improve U.S. credibility around the world. The same argument was made against withdrawal from Vietnam. It was proved wrong then and it would be proved wrong today. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the world’s opinion of the United States has plummeted, with the largest short-term drop in American history. The United States now garners as much international esteem as Russia. Withdrawing and admitting our mistake would reverse this trend. Very few countries have that kind of corrective capacity. I served as a military attaché in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during Richard Nixon’s Watergate crisis. When Nixon resigned, several Soviet officials who had previously expressed disdain for the United States told me they were astonished. One diplomat said, “Only your country is powerful enough to do this. It would destroy my country.”

Two facts, however painful, must be recognized, or we will remain perilously confused in Iraq. First, invading Iraq was not in the interests of the United States. It was in the interests of Iran and al Qaeda. For Iran, it avenged a grudge against Saddam for his invasion of the country in 1980. For al Qaeda, it made it easier to kill Americans. Second, the war has paralyzed the United States in the world diplomatically and strategically. Although relations with Europe show signs of marginal improvement, the trans-Atlantic alliance still may not survive the war. Only with a rapid withdrawal from Iraq will Washington regain diplomatic and military mobility. Tied down like Gulliver in the sands of Mesopotamia, we simply cannot attract the diplomatic and military cooperation necessary to win the real battle against terror. Getting out of Iraq is the precondition for any improvement.

In fact, getting out now may be our only chance to set things right in Iraq. For starters, if we withdraw, European politicians would be more likely to cooperate with us in a strategy for stabilizing the greater Middle East. Following a withdrawal, all the countries bordering Iraq would likely respond favorably to an offer to help stabilize the situation. The most important of these would be Iran. It dislikes al Qaeda as much as we do. It wants regional stability as much as we do. It wants to produce more oil and gas and sell it. If its leaders really want nuclear weapons, we cannot stop them. But we can engage them.

None of these prospects is possible unless we stop moving deeper into the “big sandy” of Iraq. America must withdraw now.


Lt. Gen. William E. Odom (Ret.) is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and professor at Yale University. He was director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988.

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Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall June 22, 2006 04:30 PM

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall June 22, 2006 04:30 PM: "(June 22, 2006 -- 04:30 PM EDT)

I'm a bit confused. I'm hearing a lot of reports about Republicans chanting about staying in Iraq forever, the danger of ever withdrawing our troops. There's Cheney. There's Frist. I can't say I've done a systematic scan of all media. I'm just saying what I've happened across during a day of work. And I'm not seeing any Dems. Not hearing any clear message.

What Republicans want is More of the Same.

That's the motto. More of the Same.

The president says he wants to stay in Iraq for at least three more years. Virtually every Republican agrees. Three more years. They approve the course the president has set.

They're for More of the Same. They don't have a plan. They just want to stay indefinitely.

They're just for More of the Same.

I must say it drives me to distraction that Democrats aren't saying this more clearly. Get on TV. Get on the radio. Why cede all the ground to the likes of Dick Cheney?

Late Update: Sherrod gets it.


-- Josh Marshall
"

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Help End the Oilygarchy! - Permaculture.com


 Folks, Interesting site here. I heard Thom hartmann interview this guy and it was quite eye opening.  You can download the interview in mp3 format (<20min. runtime) here:


Like I said very informative 20 minutes. --pseudolus


Click here to read the language of the E-85 Fuel Utilization and Infrastructure Development Incentives Act of 2005 and click here to find out how to email your Congressperson so that you can tell them to support this bill.

 

Join the Alcohol Fuel Movement

Ethanol, aka alcohol, moonshine, booze, hootch, and more, is a clean-burning fuel produced domestically by farmers, earning them much more for their current crops than most were making before.

Welcome to the Alcohol Can Be A Gas! website, your first step in breaking your oil dependence and moving towards sustainable, locally produced energy.

Did you know the original auto fuel that all cars ran on was straight alcohol or moonshine? Read more about it in our Frequently Asked Questions!

Permaculture provides information about using alcohol as a fuel, how to get involved in the grassroots movement to empower communities to take over their own fuel supply through buying coops and/or producing their own fuel, and excerpts from Dave Blume's book, Alcohol Can Be a Gas!



Click here to learn more about Alcoholic Unanimous and supporting our alcohol fuel work.
Get educated —check out our articles about ETHANOL AND OIL


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Hit and Run - Gimme Some Grief

It's tempting to avoid the subject of Ann Coulter now that Cathy Young has put it to bed. But as unserious as her book is, Coulter's "liberal infallibility" thesis is actually getting some play with conservative pundits, bloggers, and journalists. The jist: On issue after issue, but most unforgivably on issues of national security, liberals use victims of tragedy as "human shields" to deflect criticism. These victims deserve a little sympathy, but they're not above criticism - or in Coulter's formula, from shrill attacks.

On the seriousness scale, this argument is somewhere between an episode of "How I Met Your Mother" and a 3rd grade farting contest. But it drives liberals like The American Prospect's Greg Sargent into a righteous fury.

I've asked this before, but what is it about the relatives of people killed by terrorists that these wingnuts hate so much? Recall that Ann Coulter smeared the widows of 9/11 victims and that many righty bloggers smeared the father of Nick Berg, who was beheaded in Iraq. Their sin, of course, was that they criticized America and George Bush.

Let me put this as clearly as I can: To the likes of [Powerline blogger John] Hinderaker, the pain of those who lost loved ones to this war only matters to the extent that the bereaved allow their grief to be used to prop up the war effort and Bush himself. If the bereaved relatives don't allow their grief to be used in this fashion, their sacrifice and loss no longer matter a whit -- they're not to be pitied or empathized with, but scorned and humiliated as brutally as possible. Despicable.

This may be the world's first example of a hyperbolic understatement. Yes, many hawks want victims or victims' families to stand steadfast behind the war policy and the president. But more than that, some hawks actively recruit victims to participate in ad campaigns for the policy/president.

Take two campaigns supported by Powerline, the blog pilloried here by Sargent. In 2004, the pro-Bush 527 Progress for America sought out the story behind a photo of President Bush hugging a girl whose father mother had died on September 11. They found the girl, Ashley Faulkner, and her family, and cut a treacly ad that was blasted on airwaves across America for $14 million.

LYNN FAULKNER: My wife, Wendy, was murdered by terrorists on September 11th.

ANNOUNCER: The Faulkners' daughter Ashley closed up emotionally but when President George W. Bush came to Lebanon, Ohio, she went to see him as she had with her mother four years before.

LINDA PRINCE (neighbor): He walked toward me and I said Mr. President this young lady lost her mother in the World Trade Center.

ASHLEY FAULKNER: And he turned around and he came back and he said I know that's hard, are you all right?

LINDA: Our president took Ashley in his arms and just embraced her. And it was at that moment that we saw Ashley's eyes fill up with tears.

ASHLEY: He's the most powerful man in the world and all he wants to do is make sure I'm safe, that I'm OK.

LYNN: What I saw was what I want to see in the heart and in the soul of the man who sits in the highest elected office in our country.

Here was a prime slice of "conservative infallibility." If you doubted Bush, you wanted to thrust this pixie back into the waking nightmare of motherlessness. As Coulter might say, you'd never seen anyone enjoying their mother's death so much. Powerline's comment:

Check out the new pro-Bush ad by Progress for America. It's called Ashley's Story, and it's powerful.

The ad was basically criticism-proof; no Democratic officials dared attack it, although some bloggers tried. Another, even clearer example of "conservative infallibility" (this is a terrible phrase, but let's stick with the Coulter-antonyms) came in February of this year. Progress for America again purchased ads defending President Bush, and this time they hired soldiers returned from Iraq to repeat, to paraphrase Hinderaker, "Republican talking points."

ROBERT STEPHENSON: The media only reports the bad news, but American troops are making real progress, securing free elections and defending our country from radical al Qaeda terrorists who want to destroy America, starting in Iraq.

MARCELLUS WILKS: Saddam Hussein is one of history's greatest murderers. The blood of a million people is on his hands with countless more raped and tortured. Saddam even used chemical weapons on his own people.

ROBERT STEPHENSON: You'd never know it from the news reports but our enemy is in Iraq is al Qaeda, the same terrorists who killed 3000 Americans on 9/11. The same terrorists from the first World Trade Center bombing, the USS Cole, Madrid, London, and many more.

MARCELLUS WILKS: American troops overwhelmingly support the mission President Bush has given us.

MARK WEBER: Where do you want to fight terrorists? We want to fight them, and destroy them, in Iraq.

Unlike the "Ashley's Story" ad, this one actually inspired some pushback from anti-war liberals in the Minnesota media (where the ads ran) and from the local Democratic party. Surprise! Powerline complained about it.

It's hard to imagine a less controversial exercise of freedom of speech than this message of support, by three servicemen who have returned from active duty in Iraq, for their mission there. But to liberal Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman, their defense of their own service in Iraq was out of bounds. Coleman's column today attacks the ad and the servicemen who made it as "devoted to political spin more than truth."
...
Why is Coleman so exercised at the fact that three servicemen, who together have served for years in Iraq and observed conditions there with their own eyes, want to express a contrary view? What is so threatening about the idea that "American troops are making real progress"? And why do liberals find it necessary to smear servicemen who offer a message of hope and optimism?

After the Democrats encouraged their base to protest the stations that ran the ads, Powerline's Scott Johnson pounced.

In Minnesota the mask has fallen from the Democratic Party. It has condemned the message of Lt. Col. Bob Stephenson and the other veterans supporting the mission in Iraq as "un-American." Yet it has gone beyond its outrageous condemnation of the ads. It has actually sought to suppress the message of the featured war veterans and Gold Star Families, emailing Party members and urging them to contact television stations demanding "the removal of the ads."

What do Democrats elsewhere think of their Party's campaign condemning the servicemen and Gold Star Families in the ads as "un-American"? Does Minnesota Democratic Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar agree? Does Minnesota Congressional candidate Coleen Rowley agree? Do Democratic officials and officeholders in the rest of the country agree? Does Brian Melendez speak for them?

As author and former Reasonoid Jeremy Lott would argue, there's nothing wrong with hypocrisy. The Powerline bloggers are welcome to question the sanity and patriotism of anti-war victims' families while demanding complete awe and respect for pro-war soldiers and victims' families.

But excuse the hypocrisy and you still have to explain the hysteria. Partisans on either side of the war want their opponents to look as unsympathetic as possible. They want to debate strawmen and Alan Colmeses, not martyrs and Ashley Faulkners. Fortunately, they don't get that choice.
Posted by David Weigel at June 20, 2006 12:56 PM

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Hit and Run

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: Bringing Jose Padilla to "justice"

By Hume's Ghost

Jose Padilla, the American citizen who was held without charges for three and a half years after being designated an enemy combatant by President Bush "two days before District Court Judge Michael Mukasey was to issue a ruling on the validity of continuing to hold Padilla under the material witness warrant," whom was transferred into civilian custody on indictments other than the "dirty bomb" claims the administrations had made to justify his loss of his rights as a citizen in a transparent ploy to avoid Supreme Court review of the administration's actions, is now being charged with conspiracy to "kill, injure or kidnap people overseas as part of a global Islamic terrorist network."

But even now the administration is still failing to make a case against Padilla. The AP reports that

A federal judge ordered prosecutors to turn over more evidence to back up allegations that Jose Padilla and two co-defendants conspired to kill, injure or kidnap people overseas as part of a global Islamic terrorist network. U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke said Tuesday she agreed with claims made by defense attorneys that the indictment against Padilla and the others is "very light on facts" that would link the defendants to specific acts of terrorism or victims.

Jose Padilla spent 3.5 years of his life in jail, for charges that the administration is not willing to test in a court of law. Yet it is now bringing a case against Padilla that is "light on facts." This administration was willing to void Padilla's rights and lock him away indefinitely on the President's say-so, and it is bringing forth a case that is "light on facts."

This is not justice. It is injustice.

But for a President that may have been willing to torture a mentally challenged man for political reasons, asking George Tenet, "you're not going to let me lose face on this, are you," I suppose it's par for the course.

Recall that in Keith Olberman's report "The Nexus of Terror and Politics" (see here for the video, here for the transcript) he noted that the announcement of Padilla's detention happily came at a time that the administration was being criticized for failing to act on pre-9/11 opportunities to break up the hijackers' plot.

June 6th, 2002. Colleen Rowley, the FBI agent who tried to alert her superiors to the specialized flight training taken by Zacarias Moussaoui, whose information suggests the government missed a chance to break up the 9/11 plot, testifies before Congress. Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Graham says Rowley’s testimony has inspired similar pre-9/11 whistle-blowers.

June 10th, 2002. Four days later, speaking from Russia, Attorney General John Ashcroft reveals that an American named Jose Padilla is under arrest, accused of plotting a radiation bomb attack in this country. Padilla had, by this time, already been detained for more than a month.

Draw your own conclusions.

As an aside, the Washington Post's review of Ron Suskind's new book, The One Percent Doctrine, (linked above) reinforces the idea that the administration is operating under the assumption that "all is possible." This point is made by Cheney himself, who expressed the logic as such: "If there's a one percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response."

posted by Hume's Ghost | 3:06 PM
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Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: Bringing Jose Padilla to "justice"

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Eschaton

Eschaton: "
Payola

Since 'having a friend who works for a campaign' is apparently the new prima facie standard for evidence of corruption in Washington, it would actually be nice if journalists spent some more time tracking the chain of money and jobs in Washington - campaigns to consultants to lobbyists to media figures and around and around - to untangle the genuine financial conflicts of interest which rule that town.

-Atrios 11:44 AM

Comments (195)"

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olvlzl

A note for Wednesday.

I posted my piece for this morning last night because it looked like we might lose electricity here. I will try to post again toninght. But until then.....

Tired of being told that nothing we try can possibly work? Tired of being told that everything we do will backfire. Me too. So I'm instituting a new

RULE OF LEFTIST BLOGGING

No one is to discourage leftists from acting on the basis that it won't work or will backfire without giving an alternative plan of ACTION!

Anyone who doesn't is a concern troll.


# posted by olvlzl @ 6:16 AM

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SOURCE....olvlzl

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olvlzl - INSOMNIA BLOG READING

Thursday, June 22, 2006

INSOMNIA BLOG READING

I just read on James Wolcott's blog that he's never seen "Valley of the Dolls".

Great, just another thing to be jealous of him about.


Oh, wait. Just checked. It's "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" he's never seen. Me neither.

# posted by olvlzl @ 5:08 AM
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SOURCE....olvlzl

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