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Spencer Blog Archives 11-03

Click here for Mr. Spencer's latest blog entries

W IN DEEP DOO-DOO 11-07-03

Boy, now W really may be in trouble. Take a look at Public Opinion Watch (PDF version) this week.

W is now losing on his signature issue, taxes. Things are not good. Here's the most interesting part:

On the economy, the findings are equally daunting for the Rove team. For example, when asked whether most Americans are better off financially than they were in 2001 when Bush became president, just 9 percent (!) say that Americans are better off, compared to 49 percent who say that they are not as well off and 41 percent who say that they are about the same. The comparable figures for Poppa Bush in October of 1991: 7 percent better off, 48 percent not as well off, 41 percent the same. Eerily similar, no?

And when asked how they themselves are doing financially during the Bush presidency, 22 percent say that they are better off, 27 percent say that they are not as well off, and 50 percent say that they are about the same. Again the analogous figures for Bush pere are almost identical: 20 percent better off, 27 percent not as well off, and 53 percent the same.

Finally, Public Opinion Watch's favorite finding from the entire poll: only 40 percent now say that Bush"understands the problems of people like you," compared to 58 percent who think he does not. Sounds like folks think he's out of touch. Say, didn't they think that about some other president not so long ago?

However, in order to have history repeat itself, the economy has to stay about where it is now. I think public opinion has certainly turned against W at this point. If the economy remains more or less flaccid, he's in deep trouble.

However, you know what I think will happen if the economy rebounds so I won't repeat it again.

Posted by Tom at 4:39 p.m. CSTComment


This article from the Christian Science Monitor is astonishing. Here's a bit of it:

For 15 years, high school history teacher Abtsam Jassom has dutifully taught 20th-century history according to the Baath Party. In it, America was the greedy invader, every Iraqi war was justified and victorious, and Zionists were the cause of world suffering. Now, however, with the ouster of former President Saddam Hussein, US officials say teachers will finally be free to teach a more factual account of historical events. But the question is: Whose account will that be?

The first indicator of what a Saddam-free education will look like is arriving this month, as millions of newly revised textbooks roll off the printing presses to be distributed to Iraq's 5.5 million schoolchildren in 16,000 schools. All 563 texts were heavily edited and revised over the summer by a team of US-appointed Iraqi educators. Every image of Saddam and the Baath Party has been removed.

But so has much more - including most of modern history. Pressured for time, and hoping to avoid political controversy, the Ministry of Education under the US-led coalition government removed any content considered" controversial," including the 1991 Gulf War; the Iran-Iraq war; and all references to Israelis, Americans, or Kurds.

"Entire swaths of 20th-century history have been deleted," says Bill Evers, a US Defense Department employee, and one of three American advisers to the Ministry of Education.

The new downsized versions of textbooks underscore the political challenge facing the primarily US-backed government, and the private, and nonprofit groups charged with everything from rebuilding schools to retraining teachers to rewriting text. While US advisers don't want to be seen as heavy-handed in influencing the way Iraqis interpret history, neither do they want to be in the position of endorsing texts that could be anti-American, anti-Israeli, or radically religious.

As a result, some charge, in a matter of months Iraqi education has gone from one-sided to 'no-sided.'

"We considered anything anti-American to be propaganda and we took it out," says Fuad Hussein, the Iraqi in charge of curriculum for the Ministry of Education."In some cases, we had to remove entire chapters."

I suspect these new history texts will say absolutely nothing about W's spurious charges last year that Saddam had WMDs, right? Or about Ronny Reagan and George Bush essentially creating Saddam and his army and looking the other way while he developed chemical and biological weapons programs in the 1980s, right?

Iraq, even if it is a frigging disastrous money pit for the United States, has also largely become an exercise in wish fulfillment for W and his corporate conservative supporters. In Iraq they've gotten a flat tax system and an enormous feeding trough where corporations that supported the Bush campaign financially can gorge themselves.

Now, as if all of that wasn't enough, the right wing ideologues have the ultimate opportunity -- to write the history of Iraq according to their particular point of view.

Can you imagine what these Iraqi students must think of the history they're being told? Contrary to the reality right in front of the students' eyes, their history texts will tell Iraqi students that the U.S. never did them any harm and that nothing controversial involving the United States ever happened. This within just a few months of a war that, according to very reliable sources probably resulted in the killing of more than 10,000 innocent civilians.

Calling this Orwellian doesn't quite cut it, huh?

This sort of thing makes you wonder what W and his minions would do if they could control the school curriculum in this country, doesn't it?

[Link via Atrios]

Posted by Tom at 4:07 p.m. CSTComment

DAMN -- AGAIN 11-07-03

Another helicopter has apparently been shot down in Iraq. This time it has cost the lives of six soldiers.

BTW, has anyone noticed, paradoxically, that the soldiers keep on dying (33 in November alone) but we didn't hear as much about it this week?

For example, why didn't I hear about this helicopter shootdown on CNN during the half hour I had it on this morning?

Posted by Tom at 8:42 a.m. CSTComment


It is astonishing that some Republican mouthpieces are trying to deny reality and claim the administration didn't really say Saddam was an imminent threat. You and I know this is a lie -- the only thing that amazes me is that Americans aren't outraged by this transparent attempt to airbrush their public statements from a year ago.

Josh Marshall has them dead to rights on this. Here's just a bit of his article:

Here’s how Vice President Cheney described the threat in August 2002: “What we must not do in the face of a mortal threat is give in to wishful thinking or willful blindness.”

A month later, Bush called Iraq an “urgent threat to America.”

The next month, he described the threat like this: “Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. … Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

Or Fleischer two days after that: “Another way to look at this is if Saddam Hussein holds a gun to your head even while he denies that he actually owns a gun, how safe should you feel?”

Or the president justifying war as it got under way: “The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.”

For more than six months, Bush and his top deputies told Americans that Iraq posed a grave, immediate and imminent threat. Delay risked horrors like WMD terrorist handoffs or mushroom clouds billowing over American cities.

Of course, my argument would be that the fact the administration's sycophants are trying this ludicrous line of spin tells you the administration is quite worried. As Iraq becomes a bigger headache for them, this administration runs the risk of morphing into the contemporary equivalent of the Lyndon Johnson administration. By 1968, with Vietnam spinning out of control, Americans knew LBJ lied to get us into the Vietnam War -- and he paid a major political price for it.

I'm sure the folks in this administration are seeing that historical parallel as uncomfortably obvious so they're trying to spin the whole thing this way. LBJ did a lot of bad things but I don't remember him trying to wriggle off from starting the Vietnam War. I don't remember reading about him ever trying to do that. Perhaps he did. I wasn't old enough then (I was born in 1967) to tell you unfortunately. But I don't recall anything like that. Do you?

However, as much as W and the boys try, Americans know they lied to us about Saddam being an imminent threat. You'd have to be a damn fool to think otherwise. I told you last year numerous times -- before the war took place.

As Josh so succinctly puts it:

Just as they can’t undo what they did, the White House and its supporters can’t undo what they said.

There’s no use denying it. It was only a year ago. We were there. We remember.


Posted by Tom at 9:52 p.m. CSTComment


Eric Alterman has an excellent article about the Reagans mini-series flap right here.

I'm snowed again folks. More later today -- maybe.

Posted by Tom at 3:56 p.m. CSTComment


Kevin Drum links to the post of Gene's article below and asks a rather important question: Is the rule change regarding the proportional awarding of delegates to the Democratic National Convention going to lead to a brokered convention? Are Democrats going to shoot themselves in the foot and be feuding next August about who their candidate should be?

Maybe the most important question to ask is actually this: What idiot thought this rule change was a good idea?

Posted by Tom at 9:35 a.m. CSTComment


TORONTO, Nov. 4 -- A Canadian citizen who was detained last year at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York as a suspected terrorist said Tuesday he was secretly deported to Syria and endured 10 months of torture in a Syrian prison.

Maher Arar, 33, who was released last month, said at a news conference in Ottawa that he pleaded with U.S. authorities to let him continue on to Canada, where he has lived for 15 years and has a family. But instead, he was flown under U.S. guard to Jordan and handed over to Syria, where he was born. Arar denied any connection to terrorism and said he would fight to clear his name.

U.S. officials said Tuesday that Arar was deported because he had been put on a terrorist watch list after information from"multiple international intelligence agencies" linked him to terrorist groups.

Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the Arar case fits the profile of a covert CIA"extraordinary rendition" -- the practice of turning over low-level, suspected terrorists to foreign intelligence services, some of which are known to torture prisoners.

Arar's case has brought repeated apologies from the Canadian government, which says it is investigating what information the Royal Canadian Mounted Police gave to U.S. authorities. Canada's foreign minister, Bill Graham, also said he would question the Syrian ambassador about Arar's statements about torture. In an interview on CBC Radio, Imad Moustafa, the Syrian chargé d'affaires in Washington, denied that Arar had been tortured.

Arar said U.S. officials apparently based the terrorism accusation on his connection to Abdullah Almalki, another Syrian-born Canadian. Almalki is being detained by Syrian authorities, although no charges against him have been reported. Arar said he knew Almalki only casually before his detention but encountered him at the Syrian prison where both were tortured.

Arar, whose case has become a cause celebre in Canada, demanded a public inquiry."I am not a terrorist," he said."I am not a member of al Qaeda. I have never been to Afghanistan."

I'm so disgusted I don't even know where to begin. We might as well be a police state these days, huh?

Read the rest of the article -- if you've got the stomach for it.

Posted by Tom at 3:51 p.m. CSTComment


Here's Gene's column for today!

Gene Lyons
November 5, 2003

Tout Sheet for 2004 Democratic Race

Serious people dislike horse-race political coverage. Apart from cable-TV spectacles like the Kobe Bryant trial, nothing's more mindless than handicapping presidential campaigns. Alas, high-mindedness tends to be self-defeating in American politics. Besides titillation at hearing words like"panties" on TV, people follow celebrity trials for the same reason they watch ballgames: to see who wins.

George W. Bush can certainly be beaten. A recent ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll shows him leading a generic Democrat just 48-47, within the margin of error. Only 47 percent approve of his handling of Iraq; 51 percent disapprove. Even larger majorities disapprove of Bush's record on the Federal budget, taxes, health care, Social Security, etc. Most Democrats would see his election (I almost wrote"re-election") as a national catastrophe. A Marist poll shows 44 percent of registered voters definitely planning to vote against Bush; only 38 percent definitely supporting him.

But you can't beat somebody with nobody, and right now only party activists are paying attention to the contest for the Democratic nomination. Polls also reveal that many have no idea who's running nor what they stand for. True, this is partly due to the congenital sloth and ignorance of American voters, a taboo subject pundits avoid, both because it insults the customers and diminishes our own self-importance.

But public indifference also results from the perception that the Democratic contest makes for lousy TV. A recent debate on CNN drew a 1.8 share, right down there with"World's Strongest Man" contests and infomercials on The Shaving Channel. With nine candidates, there's no possibility of real debate, and the entire exercise is contaminated by fakery. Every minute spent gravely attending to Dennis Kucinich or Carol Mosely-Braun is a minute better spent channel surfing for a beer ad with cute babes.

Nationally, only four among the Democrats poll in double figures: Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, Dick Gephardt and Joe Lieberman. Dean leads with a paltry 17 percent. But the most striking figure in the ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll is that 76 percent of Democratic voters say they might change their minds; 53 percent say they probably will.

Of course the race isn't being held nationally, or even state by state in the ordinary sense. What hasn't yet sunk in among journalists covering the race is the likely impact of the amazingly complicated rule changes the party has imposed on itself for 2004 in the interest of"fairness." Massive confusion appears likelier. There are no winner-take-all primaries. Instead, delegates will be awarded proportionally to all candidates receiving more than 15 percent of the vote in each congressional district, from sea to shining sea.

To be nominated, a candidate must win a majority (2160) of delegates to the June convention. Given that there are 796 party-appointed"superdelegates," to lock up the nomination before the Boston convention, somebody has to win 61 percent of the elected delegates in a nine candidate field over two short months between February and early April 2004. Given strong regional differences and favorite son candidates, the odds of a deadlocked and/or brokered convention appear extremely high.

Would that make for good TV? Maybe. Or it could degenerate into farce, perpetuating the notion that Democrats are too ineffectual to govern. Anyhow, in the interest of generating a little buzz, I asked e-mail pals across the country whose opinions I respect to give me simulated pari-mutuel odds on the Democratic race as if it were being held at Churchill Downs. Then I ran them through a kitchen blender and came up with a tout sheet:

Here's how it looks:

*Howard Dean: 4-1. Early speed in Iowa, neighboring New Hampshire. Fades in South Carolina, Oklahoma, Missouri on Feb. 3, Virginia & Tennessee on Feb 9. Anybody-but-Dean sentiment rises in backstretch.

*Dick Gephardt: 6-1. Strong in Iowa, wins native Missouri, union-dominated Michigan on Feb. 7, but could be out of the money before Super Tuesday, March 2.

*Wesley Clark: 5-1. Must finish third behind New Englanders in N.H., win in S.C., Virginia, Tennessee. Needs to act more like general, less like henpecked sitcom Dad.

*John Kerry: 12-1. Must do better than expected in Iowa and N.H., or pressure will build for him to pull up by mid-March.

*John Edwards: 30-1. Dynamite in the paddock, weak on the track. Must defeat Clark in early Southern contests to remain viable.

*Joe Lieberman: 50-1. Unpopular with Dem bettors due to no show in 2004 Cheney debate, softness during Florida debacle.

*Al Sharpton, Carol Mosely Braun, Dennis Kucinich: 1000-1. Clear the track for the real horses, you fools.

*Hillary Clinton: 100-1. A sucker bet. Dream on, Karl Rove. She ain't running.

*Al Gore: 10-1. The Washington press would hate it, but Honest Al could plod home a winner in the event of a nine horse pileup on the clubhouse turn.

Update: Holy cow! Gene's column from last week just appeared in my local rag, the Maryville Daily Forum.

I can't believe it!

Posted by Tom at 12:21 p.m. CSTComment


Boy, W sure is doing well these days, eh? Now more Americans want to vote against him as vote for him. That can't be good.

I know that if the economy rebounds, all of this won't matter. W could grow horns and a sharp pointy tail (hasn't he already?) and we'll still get four more years of him. However, the unemployment numbers is still looking quite bad. Unemployment is up 125% for October. That's not good for W -- or the rest of us.

BTW, The Daily Show is crushing Faux and other cable networks in its timeslot -- at least in the all important 18-49 demographic. Of course, Daily Show viewers get a much more realistic picture of the present from Jon Stewart than from Fox anyway.

After much soul-searching, I have added a PayPal donation button (below the blogroll). If you enjoy what you read here and can afford to send a buck or two my way, I'd greatly appreciate it. If not, don't sweat it, just enjoy the commentary!

Oh yeah, and Donald Luskin, predictably, has backed down on suing Atrios. He's also deeply damaged his reputation in the blogosphere.

Another busy day today folks. I have an exam to give, an entire set of papers to finish, I'm still working on my tenure and promotion portfolio, etc.

I'll stop boring you with the details -- and get to work.

Posted by Tom at 8:55 a.m. CSTComment


Eric Alterman gives us the lowdown about Linda Tripp's latest lawsuit. She essentially bullied the Pentagon into handing her $600,000 when she's the one who lied about her arrest record.

I guess it pays to have W in the White House and to have some of the best right-wing lawyers in the business. W and the boys just wanted her to go away apparently.

Don't we all?

Posted by Tom at 3:47 p.m. CSTComment

BUSY 11-04-03

I'm snowed folks and, as my wife pointed out to me this morning, I'm spending way too much time blogging with as much as I've got on my plate. I can't believe I posted six times yesterday considering all that I had to do. That was pretty insane of me.

How much do I have to do? Well, let's see, I have some course prep to do for tonight's class, a set of papers to grade, a tenure and promotion application to finish, and tons of other smaller jobs. As my wife tells me, I really do have a life outside the blogosphere and that life is calling me at the moment.

I'll continue to blog folks -- I'm not hanging it up or anything -- but posting may be lighter for a while.

Posted by Tom at 8:06 a.m. CSTComment


Not only does this administration lie -- they now doctor transcripts and lie about just what it is the president has said in major addresses.

Folks, it's now official. This administration has now gone beyond Richard Nixon -- they're now charting virgin territory in dishonesty.

Holy cow.

When are the American people going to wake up, folks?

Posted by Tom at 10:38 p.m. CSTComment


Believe it or not, I'm just now done grading for the day. I went to the pool for my swim and then home for dinner and my birthday cake -- and then I came back to the office for two and half more hours.

Sigh (again).

Posted by Tom at 9:31 p.m. CSTComment

MORE ON INSTY 11-03-03

Jesse at Pandagon (added to the blogroll a couple of days ago) has more on Insty's unwillingness to confront the problems in Iraq:

It's a"tough week" in Iraq. And that's about it. You see, he likes to focus much more on longer-term issues, such as Maureen Dowd columns, 57-year-old pieces on pre-Marshall Plan Europe, and heartwarming stories of supporting the troops. Because Lord knows an ongoing terrorist insurgency in a country against American troops won't have any long-term importance until, you know, it goes on for a long time.
As I've said already, I think Insty's having a major league case of denial.

I suspect he's just like most of the enthusiastic warmongers in the blogosphere who supported this war. You remember them, don't you? I'm sure Insty's just like all of those righty readers I used to have back in March and April who used to post to the comment boards and send me e-mail.

You remember them, don't you? They were so confident and sure of themselves back then.

Strangely enough, these are the same guys who quietly ran away with their tail between their legs back in April and May as it became obvious I was exactly right about this horrific mess in Iraq.

Surely you remember them, don't you?

For some reason, I never hear from them anymore. I wonder why?

It was so long ago, wasn't it?

I'm sure it seems like it to them.

Posted by Tom at 9:24 p.m. CSTComment


Atrios points us to this excellent Mark Shields column.

At Harvard on January 19, 2000, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton provided a valuable standard, both to determine whether the United States ought to send the nation's warriors into combat and to enlist"the support of the American people as well as the Congress" needed to sustain that involvement. In Shelton's judgment, such a grave decision:

"(M)ust be subjected to what I call the 'Dover test.' Is the American public prepared for the sight of our most precious resource coming home in flag-draped caskets into Dover Air Force Base in Delaware -- which is a point entry for our Armed Forces?

This is an issue, I think, that should be raised early on. It should be discussed, and it should be decided by our political leadership before any operation begins."

In the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the Bush administration chose instead to duck Shelton's"Dover test." The scene so familiar to older Americans -- of the military honor guard in white gloves, respectfully accompanying from the aircraft to the waiting loved ones the remains of the fallen warrior in the coffin covered by Old Glory, often with a military band offering an appropriately solemn piece -- was simply banned. George W. Bush's war against Iraq could not flunk the Dover test because there would be no Dover test.


Where is the outrage on the part of the press? Are we lapdogs? The administration in full spin control insists that the reality on the ground in Iraq is much more positive than the press reports. Yet the administration denies reality at home -- the reality of the recent heroism of this nation's fallen sons and daughters.

By official government policy,. there is no band to welcome them home. No honor guard to present the folded flag to their widow and orphan, to make certain the family knows that their loss is also their country's loss, that they do not weep alone. It is a cruel and ugly policy that robs the patriot of the glory and public honor he has earned and deserves.

The time is long past in 2003 to take the Dover test.


Posted by Tom at 3:38 p.m. CSTComment

CONGRATS KOS! 11-03-03

Congrats on the birth of Aristotle Alberto, Kos!

I'm still plugging away at the grading folks.

Posted by Tom at 1:15 p.m. CSTComment


You know, the more I think about it, Glenn's rather lame response to the Chinook shootdown is pretty annoying. Of course he blogs day-to-day events there when those events suit his purposes. He just ignores them when they don't. The Chinook shootdown is just the latest in a long line of examples I'm sure.

I mean, heck folks, on October 19th he blogged about how Iraq's Burger King is already in the top 10 in sales worldwide! That sounds pretty"day-to-day" to me. (Thanks to Anonymous Blogger in comments to the original post for the tip.)

It's just yet another example of how Glenn's blogging is awfully selective. You can run a search of his blog and find numerous other examples of"day-to-day" events in Iraq that he has blogged about.

It's a busy (birth)day for me folks. I won't be enjoying it much. I have plenty of papers to grade.


Posted by Tom at 8:31 a.m. CSTComment


The Lochner battle continues in the blogosphere. Here is a sampling of excellent lefty commentary on the lunacy of the Lochner decision:

Nathan Newman has an excellent post about the appalling inconsistency of the Lochner court here.

Allen Brill responds to Bernstein's defense of Janice Brown (the aforementionedrightwing loon) here.

Ralph Luker responds here (scroll down to"Law and Gospel").

While that's not a direct response to you David, it's the closest I can come at the present.

Posted by Tom at 9:42 p.m. CSTComment

I CAN'T HELP IT 11-02-03

It's time for a change of pace. How 'bout those Cowboys?

It's wonderful for my Cowboys to beat Steve Spurrier's Redskins to go to 6-2. I'm still trying to figure out how the Cowboys lost to Atlanta the first week.

I think Bill Parcells was a good hire.

Posted by Tom at 7:33 p.m. CSTComment


Q: Hi, Mr. Wolfowitz. My name is Ruthy Coffman. I think I speak for many of us here when I say that your policies are deplorable. They're responsible for the deaths of innocents and the disintegration of American civil liberties. [Applause]

We are tired, Secretary Wolfowitz, of being feared and hated by the world. We are tired of watching Americans and Iraqis die, and international institutions cry out in anger against us. We are simply tired of your policies. We hate them, and we will never stop opposing them. We will never tire or falter in our search for justice. And in the name of this ideal and the ideal of freedom, we assembled a message for you that was taken away from us and that message says that the killing of innocents is not the solution, but rather the problem. Thank you. [Applause and jeers]

Wolfowitz: I have to infer from that that you would be happier if Saddam Hussein were still in power. [Applause]


Q: I'd just like to say that people like Ruthy and myself have always opposed Saddam Hussein, especially when Saddam Hussein was being funded by the United States throughout the '80s. And -- [Applause] And after the killings of the Kurds when the United States increased aid to Iraq. We were there opposing him as well. People like us were there. We are for democracy. And I have a question.

What do you plan to do when Bush is defeated in 2004 and you will no longer have the power to push forward the project for New American Century's policy of American military and economic dominance over the people of the world? [Applause]

Wolfowitz: I don't know if it was just Freudian or you intended to say it that way, but you said you opposed Saddam Hussein especially when the United States supported him.

It seems to me that the north star of your comment is that you dislike this country and its policies. [Applause]

And it seems to me a time to have supported the United States and to push the United States harder was in 1991 when Saddam Hussein was slaughtering those innocents so viciously.

Astonishing. Nothing impresses me more than impugning the patriotism of people who have just raised a legitimate criticism of your policy, eh? How creepy!

BTW, you'll note that the administration of Bush I stood idly by in 1991 while Saddam was slaughtering those innocents in southern Iraq. Therefore, supporting the U.S. policy in 1991 wouldn't have changed anything.

Not that I think we should've invaded Iraq in 1991. I'm just pointing it out.

[Link via Skeptical Notion]

Posted by Tom at 2:45 p.m. CSTComment


Hesiod notes that Glenn still hasn't posted anything about the Chinook shootdown. You'd think Glenn would want to keep us updated on our -- to use W's words -- marvelous"progress" in Iraq.

He still hasn't as of 1:43 CST.

However, this morning Glenn has already linked to a lame critique of Maureen Dowd's column.

That's certainly of equal importance with the unraveling mess in Iraq, right?

How long will it take him to mention it? Anyone want to start a pool? Use the comment board if you want.

Sometimes I'm downright offended that his blog is viewed by many as representative of the blogosphere.

Update: Nothing about it yet as of 3:08 p.m. CST

Update 2: Nothing about it as of 3:32 p.m. CST. In other Insty-related news, you should read this post by Atrios.

Glenn tries to pretend the press got it wrong in the 1940s regarding the occupation of Germany. As usual, Glenn is misleading his readers. The major difference between then and now is that Truman's folks back then weren't committed ideologues who would NEVER admit they were wrong.

Unlike Wolfowitz who, when faced with criticism just impugns the patriotism of administration critics, Truman's policymakers took their critics seriously and actually changed the policy in response.

Would that we could expect such an approach from W and the boys, huh?

Update 3: Nothing as of 5:02 p.m. CST. How long will it take for Glenn to face up to the horrific reality of the mess W and the boys have made of Iraq? Or how long will it take for Glenn, at least, to acknowledge this rather major potentially turning point event?

But Glenn's just MIA today, isn't he?

Update 4: As of 7:12 p.m. CST, nothing. Glenn keeps adding updates to the lame post about Maureen Dowd's column though.

Why nothing about the Chinook shootdown from the"New York Times of bloggers," huh Glenn?

What's your excuse, Glenn?

Update 5:This is probably as close as we'll get to a response from Glenn.

Yeah, I know. It's lame. What did you expect?

Technically he didn't address the shootdown so I guess it doesn't really count. Since I suspect Glenn is living in the warmonger, er, warblogger dream world (meaning he's in denial about this fool's errand of a war), I suspect he never will mention it.

Impressive, eh?

Posted by Tom at 1:43 p.m. CSTComment


“The Reagans” was always meant to be a warts-and-all portrait of an American icon, with ample attention to the president’s hands-off approach to governing, his wife’s behind-the-scenes power plays and their estrangement from their children. Still, CBS thought the movie was, so to speak, fair and balanced. It credits Reagan with defeating the Soviet Union, and its central theme is the First Couple’s love affair. The script was vetted by two teams of lawyers, and producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who would not be interviewed by NEWSWEEK, have insisted that every fact (though not every line of dialogue) is supported by at least two sources. Before a New York Times story last month detailed conservatives’ complaints, network executives reportedly loved the movie. “They all thought it was brilliant,” says someone who worked on the film.

But the day the Times’s story broke—”The Reagans” crew calls it “Black Tuesday”—the movie instantly became trouble. CBS chairman Leslie Moonves, who approved both the script and a juicy eight-minute trailer, ordered the lawyers to look at the movie again, and asked for assurances that the facts were all in order. When he was told everything was fine, Moonves started editing anyway. “There are things we think go too far,” he told CNBC’s Tina Brown last week. (Moonves also declined to be interviewed by NEWSWEEK.) At that point, Ackerman removed himself from the editing in protest and the actors stopped talking. “Nobody seems to know what’s going on,” Ackerman told NEWSWEEK. “Whatever is going on is going on very secretly.”

I don't know what's worse -- the fact that conservatives don't realize they're being astonishingly hypocritical about political correctness or that CBS apparently has no problem editing out scenes from a historical drama that actually took place.

It's like conservatives don't even believe in the right to freedom of expression these days, isn't it?

Yet another nail in the coffin of the long dead myth of the"liberal media," eh?

Posted by Tom at 1:11 p.m. CSTComment

DAMN 11-02-03

The horrific reality that is Iraq once again rears its ugly head.

No matter how much ridiculous spinning the administration does (The schools! The schools!), reality has a nasty habit of biting you in the butt, doesn't it?

It's all quite tragic -- and exactly why I was opposed to this war in the first place.

Posted by Tom at 12:10 p.m. CSTComment


HNN's Liberty & Power group blog.


Welcome on board here at HNN, Art.

I wonder if Art got them to start using permalinks? I wanted to link to something a few days ago but didn't because they weren't using permalinks. I was going to respond to Beito's berating of me for calling Janice Brown a loon.

I was just going to say that, in my opinion, anyone who still defends the indefensible Lochner decision is a loon. That decision was a prime example of laissez faire judicial hypocrisy. It's hard to take seriously such a hypocritical use of the big, bad federal government by supposed small government advocates.

Anyway, I just gave up responding when I saw they didn't have permalinks. However, they do now.

Posted by Tom at 5:10 p.m. CSTComment


If you ever wondered about the journalistic integrity of conservative columnists these days, here's your answer. Ann Coulter wannabe (isn't that pathetic?) Kathleen Parker just changed a"quote" in her column for today because it was a bit over the top.

Parker changed it from this:

Miller is not alone, though some are more sanguine when it comes to evaluating the roster of contenders. Here's a note I got recently from a friend and former Delta Force member, who has been observing American politics from the trenches:"These bastards like Clark and Kerry and that incipient ass, Dean, and Gephardt and Kucinich and that absolute mental midget Sharpton, race baiter, should all be lined up and shot.
to this:

Miller is not alone, though some are more sanguine when it comes to evaluating the roster of contenders. Here's a note I got recently from a friend and former Delta Force member, who has been observing American politics from the trenches:"These bastards like Clark and Kerry and that incipient ass, Dean, and Gephardt and Kucinich and that absolute mental midget Sharpton, race baiter, should all be lined up and slapped."
Wait. Wait. Hold on a minute. As a"journalist" you're not supposed to change a"quote," are you?

Well I guess you can change a quote if you just made it up. My guess is she felt free to change it because, as several of the commenters to Atrios's post on this have noted, she probably made the whole thing up in the first place. The"former Delta Force member" thing does make the whole quote pretty suspicious.

And these are the folks who have the gall to insist that the mainstream media is corrupt. Isn't it funny when the folks who live in glass houses throw stones?

This whole episode demonstrates just how corrupt the conservative media is these days. These folks apparently consider doctoring quotes and lowering the level of discourse to appalling levels in order to attack the president's critics just a part of their job description.

It's all about carrying water for the administration these days, isn't it Ms. Parker?

If the hacks in the conservative punditocracy had any shame, this would be profoundly embarrassing to them.

Posted by Tom at 11:42 a.m. CSTComment


Though the Bush administration has for months claimed that foreign fighters were entering Iraq to kill Americans, U.S. military commanders who are responsible for monitoring the borders here say that they have not witnessed a large infiltration of foreign terrorists.

As recently as Tuesday, President Bush said that"the foreign terrorists are trying to create conditions of fear and retreat because they fear a free and peaceful state in the midst of a part of the world where terror has found recruits."

But officers whose areas of operations include Iraq's borders with Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran -- the primary Arab entry points into Iraq -- all said there is no evidence that a significant number of foreign terrorists have entered the country.

"We cover the border, so we would know if they came in or not," said Lt. Col. Antonio Aguto, executive officer of the U.S. Army's 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which monitors Iraq's border with Syria and Saudi Arabia."Most of them are locals."

The officers said that very few foreigners have been captured while crossing into Iraq illegally, arrested later inside Iraq or detained when trying to enter the country at existing border checkpoints.

One intelligence officer said emphatically that there was simply no evidence to support the claim.

"We keep hearing that, but we haven't seen anything to back it up," the officer said.

My goodness. It's gotten so bad that this administration is now making claims for CYA purposes without any evidence to support them.

Well, come to think of it, that's what this administration has done regarding Iraq for two years now. I guess it's not that much of a change after all.

On a related note, if you're wanting a comprehensive analysis of the mistakes by this administration that resulted in the horrific mess that is Iraq today, go here. This piece is by David Rieff and is in the New York Times Magazine.

It's a long and comprehensive analysis and well worth your time.

Posted by Tom at 9:25 a.m. CSTComment