CephasWorld: Stuff I Like
The intersection of politics, faith, pop culture, and other surprises.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Monday, August 29, 2005
Katrina and the Louisana National Guard
Swing State Project highlights Patricia Taylor's diary on Daily Kos: "This week we're going to see the results of Bush's choice to gamble without having our strategic reserve National Guard troops in their states where they belong."
Sunday, August 28, 2005
The Vietnamization of Bush's Vacation
Frank Rich's latest in the New York Times: "In the wake of Ms. Sheehan's protest, the facts on the ground in America have changed almost everywhere. The president, for one, has been forced to make what for him is the ultimate sacrifice: jettisoning chunks of vacation to defend the war in any bunker he can find in Utah or Idaho. In the first speech of this offensive, he even felt compelled to take the uncharacteristic step of citing the number of American dead in public (though the number was already out of date by at least five casualties by day's end). For the second, the White House recruited its own mom, Tammy Pruett, for the president to showcase as an antidote to Ms. Sheehan. But in a reversion to the president's hide-the-fallen habit, the chosen mother was not one who had lost a child in Iraq."
How Bishop Long serves himself instead of Jesus
The Atlanta Journal Constitution presents a disturbing report on megachurch leader Bishop Eddie Long's financial shenanigans in Sunday's paper. This will likely tick off numerous members, but how can anyone who reads the gospels say Long is following Jesus?
Here are just a few highlights:
The charity, Bishop Eddie Long Ministries Inc., provided him with at least $3.07 million in salary, benefits and the use of property between 1997 and 2000 — nearly as much as it gave to all other recipients combined during those years, tax records show.
It is one of at least 20 nonprofit and for-profit corporations that Long founded after becoming pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in 1987. Long's businesses include a music publishing company and a transportation service.
The charity's compensation to Long over that four-year period included:
• A $1.4 million six-bedroom, nine-bath home on 20 acres in Lithonia.
• Use of a $350,000 luxury Bentley automobile.
• More than $1 million in salary, including $494,000 in 2000.
Long, 52, defended his compensation during an interview about his charity. He's transformed New Birth, based in Lithonia, from a 300-member church to a 25,000-member megachurch with a global presence, according to the church's Web site.
"We're not just a church, we're an international corporation," Long said. "We're not just a bumbling bunch of preachers who can't talk and all we're doing is baptizing babies. I deal with the White House. I deal with Tony Blair. I deal with presidents around this world. I pastor a multimillion-dollar congregation.
"You've got to put me on a different scale than the little black preacher sitting over there that's supposed to be just getting by because the people are suffering."
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of a Senate committee investigating lavish salaries of nonprofit executives, said leaders of tax-exempt organizations must be responsible for the public trust they've been given.
"I'm worried that a few people are confusing the ringing of a church bell with the ringing of a cash register," Grassley said in a statement in response to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's inquiries about the charity. "When I hear about leaders of charities being provided a $300,000 Bentley to drive around in, my fear is that it's the taxpayers who subsidize this charity who are really being taken for a ride."
Long said a church board oversaw his charity's decisions to compensate him.
"It's not like I wake up and say, 'I think I want a Bentley,' " he said.
In the past, however, Long has claimed he was the final decision-maker at New Birth. In a 1999 interview, he told the Journal-Constitution how he became the unquestioned leader at his church. After presiding over New Birth's explosive growth, he said he told his congregation that a biblical leader shouldn't have to answer to a board. Long said the board relinquished its authority over him with his congregation's approval.
In his book "Taking Over," Long described the event in more detail. He wrote that after seven years at New Birth, he was frustrated by its deacon board because it was "gripping the purse strings" of the church and "telling the man of God when to jump and how high." He said he received a revelation from God, who encouraged him to get rid of the "ungodly governmental structure" at New Birth.
"That was the day I became pastor," Long wrote. "Up until that time, I was the hired preacher . ... "
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Cindy Sheehan on Bush's latest reason for the war
From Daily Kos: "I finally figured out George Bush's NEW reason for staying in Iraq. This reason has also been co-opted by the Move America Forward (forward to what: Fascism?) and the poor mothers who would be honored if their sons were killed in George Bush's war for greed and power.
Since the Freedom and Democracy thing is not going so well and the Iraqi parliament is having such a hard time writing their constitution. Since violence is mounting against Iraqis and Americans and since his poll numbers are going down everyday, he had to come up with something.
I have continually asked George Bush to quit using Casey's name the name of the other Gold Star Families for Peace loved ones to justify his continued killing. He continues to say this: 'We have to honor the sacrifices of the fallen by completing the mission.' So the mission is now this: WE MUST CONTINUE KILLING AMERICANS BECAUSE AMERICANS HAVE ALREADY BEEN KILLED!!"
Dowd: Bush has "jumped the couch"
Go read Maureen Dowd's column in the NYT: "W. has jumped the couch.
Not fallen off the couch, as he did when he choked on that pretzel.
According to UrbanDictionary.com, 'jump the couch' has now become slang for 'a defining moment when you know someone has gone off the deep end. Inspired by Tom Cruise's recent behavior on 'Oprah.' Also see 'jump the shark.' '"
Friday, August 26, 2005
Interesting wrinkle in the Plamegate story
Swopa writes in a DailyKos diary about an LA Times story on the "memo" identifying Valerie Plame.:
"Look at the information that couldn't have come from anyone but Powell and his team: We kept the memo in a safe ... we knew the information couldn't be shared ... Powell showed it to other officials on Air Force One, but everyone had proper clearance. They want the world to know that the White House spin team got its hands on the info about Valerie Wilson, and that it couldn't have leaked out any other way.
There's no doubt about it: Powell wants Rove, Libby et al. to take the fall on this. And each of these leaks is just another little twist of the knife."
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Los Angeles Times: A CIA Cover Blown, a White House Exposed
The leaders of the Christian right: "The Vegas Showgirls of Christianity"
Hunter has an interesting rant at DailyKos: "I am very, very tired of hearing from Pat Robertson, Falwell, Dobson, and the rest of the Christian Pundit Class. Truly, they are little more than the Vegas showgirls of Christianity, and bear as little relationship to true, deeply felt religion as a Vegas topless show does to the more nuanced works of theatre. But damn, look at the costumes! The sets! The music!"
Rove behavior: Could it be Bush's Watergate?
The Houston Chronicle carries a piece that rehashes the Rovegate scandal, and points to a possible downfall of the administration: "Richard Nixon must have spent much of his life after the presidency wondering what went wrong — why such an insignificant matter in the grand scheme of things ended his career. I suspect he never fully appreciated how the cultivation of an environment in which the ends justifies the means infected those associated with his administration.
In my judgment, George W. Bush's White House has much more in common with the Nixon administration than with his father's. The same mind-set of the ends justifying the means is at work here, and it may have caught up with Rove and others in the Plame Affair.
The usual sycophants are beating the drums in defense of Karl Rove, trying to make the case that conservatives have a stake in keeping Rove in power. But the party line may not save Rove's job this time. In his eagerness to hunt down a perceived enemy, Karl Rove stumbled into a national-security briar patch that may bring the entire neocon cabal down with him."
Who is the writer? Another antagonistic lib? Let's see, no, his name is Tom Pauken. "Pauken is a former Reagan official who served as a military-intelligence officer in Vietnam. He also was chairman of the Republican Party of Texas from 1994 to 1997."
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Maureen Dowd on the latest Bush excuses
My Private Idaho - New York Times: "For political reasons, the president has a history of silence on America's war dead. But he finally mentioned them on Monday because it became politically useful to use them as a rationale for war - now that all the other rationales have gone up in smoke.
'We owe them something,' he told veterans in Salt Lake City (even though his administration tried to shortchange the veterans agency by $1.5 billion). 'We will finish the task that they gave their lives for.'
What twisted logic: with no W.M.D., no link to 9/11 and no democracy, now we have to keep killing people and have our kids killed because so many of our kids have been killed already? Talk about a vicious circle: the killing keeps justifying itself."
First he advocates murder, then he lies about it
Eight more commandments to go. From Fox News, Pat Robertson claims he never called for the assassination of the Venezuelan president. I thought maybe he was kind of kidding about it originally, but on the audio tape I heard, he was serious as could be. Scary. Stupid. And a liar.
DeWayne Wickham on how Bush should handle Cindy, and why he won't
Now even sports columnists are bashing Bush
Ian O'Connor in USA Today has a column well worth reading: "Nobody wants to hear about his impressive pulse rate and body-fat percentages when American boys and girls are dying overseas, and when lawmakers start throwing around the dreaded V-word — Vietnam — in the daily dialogue on Iraq."
Monday, August 22, 2005
Bush Less Popular Than Nixon During Watergate
Krugman on Stolen Elections
Paul Krugman writes another great column on the last two stinky elections. (Sorry this is delayed, been out of town).
"In his recent book "Steal This Vote" - a very judicious work, despite its title - Andrew Gumbel, a U.S. correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, provides the best overview I've seen of the 2000 Florida vote. And he documents the simple truth: "Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election."
Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida's ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore. This was true despite a host of efforts by state and local officials to suppress likely Gore votes, most notably Ms. Harris's "felon purge," which disenfranchised large numbers of valid voters.
But few Americans have heard these facts. Perhaps journalists have felt that it would be divisive to cast doubt on the Bush administration's legitimacy. If so, their tender concern for the nation's feelings has gone for naught: Cindy Sheehan's supporters are camped in Crawford, and America is more bitterly divided than ever.
Meanwhile, the whitewash of what happened in Florida in 2000 showed that election-tampering carries no penalty, and political operatives have acted accordingly. For example, in 2002 the Republican Party in New Hampshire hired a company to jam Democratic and union phone banks on Election Day.
And what about 2004?"
"Our current political leaders would suffer greatly if either house of Congress changed hands in 2006, or if the presidency changed hands in 2008. The lids would come off all the simmering scandals, from the selling of the Iraq war to profiteering by politically connected companies. The Republicans will be strongly tempted to make sure that they win those elections by any means necessary. And everything we've seen suggests that they will give in to that temptation."
Why isn't this on Court-TV?
This story by Matthew Thompson in the Charleston Daily Mail is, at once, sad, terrifying... and hilarious::
MADISON -- The trial was to continue today in a lawsuit by a Boone County family against a funeral home and embalming business that allegedly returned a relative's brain to the family members along with his personal effects.
Three-year-old Kelsey Clay was present when the dissected brain of her recently deceased grandfather, Charles Quarles Sr., was found in a bag among the returned belongings, according to lawyer Victoria Casey.
'It's Paw-Paw's guts,' Casey quoted the little girl as saying in opening statements Thursday in Boone County Circuit Court.
Tina Quarles and her brother, Charles Jr., decided to sue Armstrong Funeral Home in Whitesville and contract embalming business Charleston Mortuary Service. They claimed they suffered from emotional distress and that the funeral home and embalming service negligently mishandled the body.
Funeral home owner Jim Armstrong and Charleston Mortuary proprietor Jim Lowry say the incident was the fault of the state medical examiner's office and not their own.
Originally, the medical examiner's office was a defendant in the case, but the office reached an out-of-court settlement with the Quarles family earlier this week. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said the settlement amount was nominal, but they wouldn't be specific.
On Oct. 9, Charles and Tina went to the funeral home and were given two plastic bags containing their father's personal belongings.
At Tina Quarles' residence, they began to open one of the plastic bags to locate their father's Social Security check, which they believed he had recently received. Not finding the check, the two opened the second bag.
Inside that bag, they found the brain, according to the lawsuit.
Casey argued the family members would be haunted by the image for the rest of their lives.
"There is not enough medicine or counseling in this world that can erase that image from their brain," Casey said. "Their father's funeral was blighted. That's something else they have to live with for the rest of their lives."
Casey said the plaintiffs now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. For example, she said, when Tina Quarles went to buy a head of cauliflower at the grocery store, she became hysterical.
When a co-worker talked about going to a weekend funeral, Charles Quarles Jr. suffered a flashback, which made him depressed, the lawyer said.
Colleen McCulloch, the lawyer who represents the funeral home, called the incident, "very unfortunate," but said that her client is not to blame.
"Mr. Armstrong understood that the two red bags were his belongings," McCulloch said. "Funeral home protocol clearly states you do not open personal belongings without permission from family."
McCulloch said that the medical examiner's office made the error and not her client.
Lawyers for both sides agreed that when Quarles died, his body was autopsied to determine the cause of death. His brain was then taken out and dissected, a normal part of the procedure.
Then the brain was supposed to be wrapped up in a clear plastic bag and put back in the skull cavity, lawyers said.
When the body arrived at Charleston Mortuary to be embalmed, Lowry noticed the brain was gone. Kip Reese, the lawyer for the mortuary, told jurors in his opening statement that Lowry just believed the brain had been kept by the medical examiner's office for further research.
Then the two bags were sent to the Quarles home without being examined.
Linda Dickens, one of the plaintiff's witnesses, testified the bag with the brain was dripping with fluids and had flies around it.
Dickens, a family friend, was called by Tina Quarles to come and take pictures of the bag's contents. The pictures, showing pieces of the brain inside a plastic bag marked "biohazard," were shown to the jury as exhibits.
After her arrival at the home that day, Dickens said she noticed Tina was in shock.
"Tina was catatonic," Dickens testified. "She just had this blank stare."
On cross-examination, Dickens told McCulloch that she saw little Kelsey Clay handle the fluid-soaked bag.
Dickens, a former emergency medical technician and certified nursing assistant, said she immediately thought the area where fluids had dripped should have been sanitized.
"I thought they needed to bleach the area," Dickens said. "Or at least burn the chair."
Susanna Rodell on the Bush- Sheehan standoff
The Charleston Gazette - Columns: "George, George, why don’t you just invite the lady in for a cup of coffee? Sure, it’d be uncomfortable. But you could deal with it — couldn’t you? Think of it as one of those painful but necessary things in life, like getting your shots when you were a kid. Grit your teeth. Look concerned. Don’t call her Mom. Tell yourself that by doing this, you’ll be saving yourself the continuous headlines, the vigils, the inconvenient rabble gathering outside your ranch. You can say, Hey, all she wanted was to meet with me — well, she got what she wanted. Now can we please move on?"
Great column as usual from this underappreciated writer.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Daily Kos: Ahh, the good ol' days
Kos pulls together GOPers quotes from when Clinton sent troops to Bosnia--which resulted in zero deaths to American soldiers:
"'You can support the troops but not the president.'
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
'Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years.'
--Joe Scarborough (R-FL)
'Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?'
--Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99
'[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy.'
--Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)"
Check out the rest.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Maureen Dowd: Biking Toward Nowhere
Maureen Down has another killer column:
On Saturday, the current President Bush was pressed about how he could be taking five weeks to ride bikes and nap and fish and clear brush even though his occupation of Iraq had become a fiasco. 'I think it's also important for me to go on with my life,' W. said, 'to keep a balanced life.'
Pressed about how he could ride his bike while refusing to see a grieving mom of a dead soldier who's camped outside his ranch, he added: 'So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so.'
Ah, the insensitivity of reporters who ask the President Bushes how they can expect to deal with Middle East fighting while they're off fishing.
Vanity Fair's Michael Wolf on Rove-gate
Editor & Publisher: Big-Name Journalists Spar Over Sources at NYC Gathering: "Wolff, whose column in the September issue of Vanity Fair sharply hit the role of journalists in the Plame story, pushed his argument even further this morning over a plate of scrambled eggs and pancakes. He posited that if Time magazine had run the Matt Cooper story -- i.e. Rove as the leaker and master puppeteer -- a year ago, President Bush may not be in office serving a second term or we may not have had as many deaths in Iraq. Further, Wolff called this the 'biggest story of our age.'"
Oh, and whatever happened to Osama?
U.S. Policy on 'Axis of Evil' Suffers Spate Of Setbacks: "President Bush's campaign against what he once termed the 'axis of evil' has suffered reverses on all three fronts in recent days that underscore the profound challenges confronting him 3 1/2 years after he vowed to take action.
First, multilateral talks orchestrated by the United States to pressure North Korea to give up nuclear weapons adjourned last week after 13 days without agreement. Then Iran restarted its program to convert uranium, in defiance of the United States and Europe. Finally, negotiators in Iraq failed to draft a new constitution by Monday's deadline amid an unrelenting guerrilla war against U.S. forces."
White House stonewalls on Roberts' papers, now this
Washington Post: Library Missing Roberts File: "A file folder containing papers from Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr.'s work on affirmative action more than 20 years ago disappeared from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library after its review by two lawyers from the White House and the Justice Department in July, according to officials at the library and the National Archives and Records Administration.
Archivists said the lawyers returned the file but it now cannot be located. No duplicates of the folder's contents were made before the lawyers' review. Although one of the lawyers has assisted in the Archives' attempt to reconstruct its contents from other files, officials have no way of independently verifying their effort was successful."
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Roberts' legal record raises questions vis a vis the right to privacy
USA TODAY opines today rightly: "Ask people about personal privacy, and most will see it as a top priority and a fundamental right. The last time a question of that sort was asked in a poll by Opinion Research for USA Weekend, an overwhelming 88% said they are concerned about their privacy and consider protecting it important.
But President Bush's nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court may soon call into question whether privacy rights exist."
WaPo Cuts Ties to Pentagon Event After Protests
Editor & Publisher has the story. So they come to their senses.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Two faces to Piraro's art: Revised cartoon deletes reference to same-sex marriage
Dan Piraro has to offer two versions of his cartoon to delete gay marriage reference. Result not funny. Of course, the original, referring to "government sanctioned bigotry," isn't very funny either. But that's not Piraro's fault.
Matt Mendelsohn on Poynter: WaPo should rethink sponsorship
Poynter Online - Forums: The Washington Post is one of the many sponsors of the Pentagon's upcoming hooray for the troops march. And lots of people are scratching their heads. Including Matt Mendelsohn.
"We're not talking about sponsoring bobblehead night at the local AAA ballpark. There's a war going on -- the Pentagon is in the midst of waging it and the Post is in the midst of covering it. That ought to be enough to cancel out any seemingly benign sponsorship deal dreamed up outside of the newsroom. Certainly you can go deeper and consider things like the fact that the war doesn't seem to be going so well, or, say, that there appears to be yet another attempt here to connect the events of 9/11 with the war in Iraq, or even why an event called 'Freedom March' requires participants to register their names with the Pentagon, but there's no need to. The first argument should suffice.
Washington Post publisher Bo Jones told E&P, 'If it turns out to be a political event, we would disassociate ourselves from it.' How are you going to swing that? Are you going to take the banners down mid-event? His words were echoed by Post spokesman Eric Grant, who said, 'The walk was never presented to us as a rally to support the war and we would be very disappointed if it took that approach.' Well, here's some due diligence: the headlining act of this upcoming affair is a faded country star who got himself back into the news with a song called 'I Raq and Roll.' The song manages, in one fell swoop, to deride anti-war protesters, glorify the use of smart bombs in Iraq, and make Lee Greenwood's 'God Bless The U.S.A.' actually seem complex. So much for the no-connection-to-the-war argument and so much for a dignified tribute to the victims of 9/11.
Jim Farley, vice president for news at WTOP, another contributing sponsor of the march, defended his station's support by saying, 'They're supporting American troops worldwide, supporting troops, not the policy, and they're honoring people who died in the Pentagon attack on 9/11.' Not the policy?? Um, the Pentagon is the policy. How can you separate the two?"
UPDATE: Editor & Publisher has this quote from Rick Weiss, a Post science reporter and co-chair of the Washington Post unit of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, noted the hypocrisy of the paper's involvement, since it bars reporters from participating in partisan events. "It is dismaying, to say the least, that I can be fired for participating in a peace march while my employer feels free to co-sponsor an event that so blatantly beats the drum of war," Weiss stated.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Bush has to "get on with [his] life"
...and not let people like Cindy Sheehan bother him too much, according to this very creepy Cox News story. Bush is doing his usual two hour a day workout, on a bike again. "Saturday's ride came as anti-war protesters, rallying behind Cindy Sheehan, a California mom whose son Casey died in Iraq, gathered on a road near the Bush ranch. Bush has steadfastly refused Sheehan's request to meet with her. 'Whether it be here or in Washington or anywhere else, there's somebody who has got something to say to the president, that's part of the job,' Bush said of bike-riding while a grieving mom was pleading to talk with him. 'And I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say. But I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.'"
Thoughtful and sensitive, but please leave me alone so I can ride my bikey. And, oh by the way, Casey Sheehan cannot "get on with his life."
The whole article is kind of creepy. He is obsessed about keeping fit, to the extent that everything else--like running the country with any semblance of sanity--gets put aside.
Someone Tell the President the War Is Over
Frank Rich's latest op-ed is certainly worth the read: "Thus the president's claim on Thursday that 'no decision has been made yet' about withdrawing troops from Iraq can be taken exactly as seriously as the vice president's preceding fantasy that the insurgency is in its 'last throes.' The country has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We're outta there. Now comes the hard task of identifying the leaders who can pick up the pieces of the fiasco that has made us more vulnerable, not less, to the terrorists who struck us four years ago next month."
Jay Bookman on GOP efforts to stifle the vote
Jay Bookman's op-ed piece reviews what the GOP says about voter intimidation...and what they do.
U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq
From the Washington Post: "The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad.
The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say."
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Daily Kos: The Return of Extremist Sunday
Harry Knox has a great piece on "Justice Sunday II," which should truly be called "INjustice Sunday."
Bush talks to Cindy... through his radio address
Americablog has some quotes from today's radio address by Bush, where he kind of responds to Cindy Sheehan, with BS about Iraq tied to 9/11. Meanwhile, yesterday, his motorcade drove right past her, ignoring her. Disgusting.
Friday, August 12, 2005
Bush Vs. Rumsfeld Vs. The Generals: Chaos In Control of The White House
Interesting piece by Michael on Americablog putting into words something I've been thinking about--the clearly mixed signals between Bush and Rumsfeld and now Bush and the generals regarding the war. Does anybody know what's going on in Iraq?
Items of note from the AJC
Several stories of interest in this morning's Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
- Another mother speaks out against the war--another heartbreaking personal story about a courageous woman named Mary Ann MacCombie, who is speaking out in support of Cindy Sheehan. Of course, the president finally acknowledged Sheehan in Crawford but dismissed "his own military advisers' talk of a drawdown as rumors and speculation."
- Meanwhile, the administration and the VA are trying to find ways to further cut back health benefits for veterans... they don't believe all those claims of post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Jack Abramoff is indicted on fraud charges, but these are for allegations separate from Tom Delay and Ralph Reed.
- On the editorial pages, Trudy Rubin of the Philadelphia Inquirer argues that the so-called "ripple effect" the Neo-Cons said would occur through the Middle East with Saddam's ouster has boomeranged, and the situation is getting even more critical with Iran going back to developing nuclear programs.
- The lead editorial is a terrifying piece on an energy crisis simulation game gone horribly awry--a very real possibility the administration is ignoring even while signing its energy bill into law.
- And yesterday we pointed, here and at DailyKos, to the execrable op-ed piece by rightwing hack nutjob Jimmy W. Hall, a piece that elicited 50 letters yesterday morning, all opposed to his views, according to an editor's note. Here are the four letters they printed in response.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Senate Intelligence chairman quietly 'fixed' intelligence over Iraq
The Raw Story: Senate Intelligence chairman quietly 'fixed' intelligence, and diverted blame from White House over Iraq. A blockbuster story well worth reading.
Who Sent Joe Wilson to Africa?
Walter Pincus of the Washington Post is still on the Rove-CIA leak case. Good to catch up.
After he went public in 2003 about the trip, senior Bush administration officials, trying to discredit Wilson's findings, told reporters that Wilson's wife, who worked at the CIA, was the one who suggested the Niger mission for her husband. Days later, Plame was named as an "agency operative" by syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak, who has said he did not realize he was, in effect, exposing a covert officer. A Senate committee report would later say evidence indicated Plame suggested Wilson for the trip.
Over the past months, however, the CIA has maintained that Wilson was chosen for the trip by senior officials in the Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division (CPD) -- not by his wife -- largely because he had handled a similar agency inquiry in Niger in 1999. On that trip, Plame, who worked in that division, had suggested him because he was planning to go there, according to Wilson and the Senate committee report.
Ignorance on the AJC op-ed page: Arrogant right-winger excoriates Cindy Sheehan
Jimmy W. Hall takes the right-wing screech against Cindy Sheehan beyond all reason in an op-ed piece published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The arrogance of a man who assumes the grieving mother "thinks little of her deceased son..."! It's breathtakingly ignorant.
Cindy Sheehan evidently thinks little of her deceased son, his sacrifice or of those left to do the noble work in his absence. How could she? Is the proper answer to her bitterness really to belittle and undermine public support for the efforts of those still serving?
The insurgents were Casey's enemy. The president of the United States is his mother's. What is wrong with this picture? Would he be proud of her near-treasonous actions? Hardly.
This woman is a representative example of typical, illogical anti-war activists. She thinks Bush, not the terrorists, killed her son. She supports those who killed Casey by wanting to pull out and let them kill more innocent people, unhindered. The lady is on the wrong team. She's disgraceful.
If Sheehan wants to continue to make a fool out of herself, I suppose that is her business as a free American. Her son and our brave troops have given her even the right to orderly protest against the very actions providing the freedom that allows her to speak out.
Bush in effect did kill her son, by lying to persuade a terror-wounded country to go to war against the bully who embarrassed his daddy, and who had nothing to do with 9/11. But Hall says her peaceful vigil is "near-treasonous." And he assumes to know what her own son would think of her actions.
Cindy Sheehan "disgraceful"? A grieving mom making "a fool out of herself"? No, I think you can figure out who the disgraceful fools are.
The AJC has an online discussion board for this issue: www.ajc.com/opinion. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jay Bookman on the right to privacy
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jay Bookman provides a great overview of the unwritten right to privacy-- a right that is threatened by conservatives but clearly exists.
Righteous Indignation About Roberts
Dana Milbank profiles Eugene Delgaudio, a rightwing activist who has withdrawn his organization's support of John Roberts because he helped out the "forces that would criminalize Christianity"-- gays.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
More Death in Iraq: A Reluctant Soldier's Story
Editor & Publisher has a heartbreaking story from Iraq: the fate of Gennaro Pellegrini Jr.
He was just two weeks away from finishing up his six-year stint in the Guard when he was told that his tour of duty was being extended and that he would serve in Iraq for at least a year, maybe longer. The news could not have come at a worse time for Pellegrini. He was training for his first pro fight, newly engaged to be married, and settling into his job as a Philadelphia police officer, just like his dad.
Instead, he was ordered by his government to fight a war that he did not believe in. He told us that the conflict in Iraq was "a so-called war" and that he saw U.S. troops as caught in an impossible situation.
In the end, Pellegrini's stay in Iraq lasted little more than eight months. His parents have just been notified that he was killed on Tuesday by a roadside bomb.
Excerpt: None Dare Call It Stolen (Harpers.org)
Harper's magazine has a piece on the fishy-smelling election that won't go away:
And on Election Day, twenty-six state exit polls incorrectly predicted wins for Kerry, a statistical failure so colossal and unprecedented that the odds against its happening, according to a report last May by the National Election Data Archive Project, were 16.5 million to 1. Yet this ever-less beloved president, this president who had united liberals and conservatives and nearly all the world against himself—this president somehow bested his opponent by 3,000,176 votes. How did he do it?
This is a little too freaky for me
DefenseLINK News: 'Freedom Walk' to Commemorate 9/11, Celebrate Freedom
And here is Steve Gilliard's take.
What might have been: The Six-Point Plan
I'm reading God's Politics by Jim Wallis in which he laments the brick wall he and others encountered in the administration regarding his Six-Point Plan to avoid the war. Now, more than two years later and 1800 dead, my heart breaks that this sensible plan was ignored. It gained some momentum in England, but of course the war had already been predetermined long ago (see The Downing Street Minutes). Sad indeed.
Lloyd Grove's Lowdown: There's bad blood at MSNBC
Lloyd Grove reports on an alleged confrontation between MSNBC head Rick Kaplan and Keith Olbermann, the only good thing about MSNBC (except, occasionally, Imus in the Morning), after Keith's very moving tribute to Peter Jennings Monday, during which he shared details about his own smoking-related cancer. I didn't see the tribute, but I read the transcript and found it compelling and powerful, and quite moving. But Kaplan went berserk about it. Frankly, after Kaplan's latest moves (Tucker Carlson??? Rita Cosby???) you gotta wonder about his sanity.
Daily Kos: The Roberts Stonewall Continues
Armando takes a look at the Washington Post article on the White House's efforts to stonewall the release of any documents about John Roberts, so they can make sure they're not surprised any more than they have been. On one hand, it's clear that Roberts does not believe in privacy rights. On the other hand, he volunteered to help a gay rights group in a court case. So he's making both sides very upset. What else is being hidden?
Dowd Is Back! And How
Good to have Maureen Dowd back on the op-ed of the New York Times. And a timely column on grieving-war-mom Cindy Sheehan, whom the president is trying mightily to ignore. Check it out.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
FCC Hires Conservative Indecency Critic
Mediaweek reports on a consultant hired by the FCC: "The Federal Communications Commission has hired as an advisor an anti-pornography activist and former lobbyist for groups that push for Christian precepts in public policy. The move may herald a reinvigorated campaign against broadcast indecency and bring renewed pressure on cable to reconsider its racy offerings. Penny Nance, until recently a board member of Concerned Women for America, is working as a special advisor in the FCC’s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, said aides to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin."
So they are taking over, right?
Dr. Dobson gives handy steps to keep your son from turning gay
Richard Cohen on "the Real Roberts"
Richard Cohen offers another interesting column in the Washington Post today.
Did we know Al Qaeda was up to something pre-9/11?
The New York Times reports:
"More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress."
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Jay Rosen on the Novak CNN Meltdown
Something stinks to high heaven
The Raw Story has a bit on an upcoming Newsweek story that gives me goosebumps. Would they be this blatant?
Newsweek's Michael Isikoff will splash a story in tomorrow's Newsweek which reveals that the boss of CIA leak probe prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is likely to be replaced by a former Bush classmate at Yale.Meanwhile, Bush's poll numbers are tanking--on the war, on his job in general, and on the Rovegate situation. From USA Today. Maybe he should just stay on vacation?
What's more, Newsweek has found that the new boss is a fellow initiate of the Yale secret society, Skull and Bones. Details will appear on the magazine's website early Sunday and on newsstands Monday.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
A fun blog I found, thanks to Atrios
Dependable Renegade. Check it out. Here is a fun example.
Is Bush admitting defeat in Iraq?
Interesting piece by Michael at AmericaBlog, commenting on the New Yorker piece on the war.
"The New Yorker" says Bush is right to finally recognize the "reality-based" common sense worldview endorsed by Kerry, the 9-11 Commission and others.The Administration is right to reconsider its strategy, starting with the language. Will anything else follow? The global struggle against violent extremism would inspire more confidence if, for example, the Administration hadn't failed to include funding for democracy programs in Iraq beyond the next round of elections there; or if Karen Hughes, the President's choice as Under-Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, hadn't left the job empty for five months while waiting for her son to graduate from high school; or if the White House weren't resisting attempts by Congress to regulate the treatment of prisoners; or if Karl Rove would stop using 9/11 to raise money and smear Democrats. No one really knows how American influence can be used to disinfect Islamist politics of violent ideas. This is the first problem. The second is that the Bush team has shown such bad faith, arrogance, and incompetence since September 11th that it seems unlikely to figure it out.According to the last numbers of the Pentagon circa Sen. Joe Biden (numbers no one in the Bush Administration has questioned and which Bush is careful to allude to in his public comments):
Iraq has 2000 troops capable of fighting on their own. 2000.
Iraq has maybe 9000 troops who can fight with our help.
Jim Wallis on What the Democrats Should Do
Interesting op-ed piece by the Sojourners leader in the New York Times today.
It's a war, no it's a struggle, no really, it's a war!
Interesting New York Times piece on Bush's assertion yesterday that, oh yeah, we're at war.
President Bush publicly overruled some of his top advisers on Wednesday in a debate about what to call the conflict with Islamic extremists, saying, "Make no mistake about it, we are at war."
In a speech here, Mr. Bush used the phrase "war on terror" no less than five times. Not once did he refer to the "global struggle against violent extremism," the wording consciously adopted by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other officials in recent weeks after internal deliberations about the best way to communicate how the United States views the challenge it is facing.
In recent public appearances, Mr. Rumsfeld and senior military officers have avoided formulations using the word "war," and some of Mr. Bush's top advisers have suggested that the administration wanted to jettison what had been its semiofficial wording of choice, "the global war on terror."
Implications of the Ohio Congressional Race
Newt Gingrich is sounding a warning to the GOP about the 2006 Congressional elections, because of their squeak-by win and near upset in a deep-red Ohio district this week. The Washington Post reports.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Representing the U.S. to the world
Just to remind you who the guy is who's now our ambassador to the U.N. Courtesy of Crooks and Liars.
Monday, August 01, 2005
Will Congress enable Rove and Libby to go free?
Scott Shepard of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports today that possible Congressional investigation into the CIA leak could actually be a smokescreen to provide Rove and Libby and whoever else with immunity from prosecution--just as happened with Oliver North and John Poindexter. I wouldn't put it past them for a second.
As Congress tiptoes into the controversy over the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, some lawmakers and analysts worry that the criminal investigation of the matter could be undermined by any congressional grant of immunity from prosecution, as has happened in the past in politically charged investigations.
The cases of key Iran-Contra figures Oliver North and John Poindexter underscore their worries: Both were prosecuted successfully by independent counsel Lawrence Walsh, but their convictions were overturned because Congress had granted them immunity to compel them to testify in the congressional investigation of the Reagan administration's arms-for-hostages deals.