Thursday, August 31, 2006

Stanford Daily: Top 5 Shockers of Summer

The Stanford Daily Online lists what they consider the top 5 shocking news items of the summer and I have to admit they're pretty shocking.

TV Guide: Original Trek coming back--with new CGI

Insider - "Star Trek purists, take a deep breath! On Sept. 16, the iconic ‘60s series will return to syndication for the first time since 1990, but with a startling difference: All 79 episodes are being digitally remastered with computer-generated effects not possible when Gene Roddenberry created the show 40 years ago. The news could cause Roddenberry loyalists to have a collective cow, but the longtime Trek staffers in charge of the makeover say they're honoring the late maestro's vision, not changing it. "

Watch Olbermann for yourself

I linked to this video below, but here 'tis all ready for you to push the button and watch for yourself. Well worth the 7 minutes.

Evanier: Sen. Byrd too?

Mark Evanier reports: "It's starting to look like one other Senator, in addition to Ted Stevens, placed a 'secret hold' on that bill to make government spending more accountable. It's not confirmed yet but Robert Byrd may have also done the deed. For what it's worth, my opinion of Byrd is not as low as my opinion of Stevens...but it's close."

As a West Virginia native, I have to say Byrd has done a helluva lot for the state. But he has brought so much pork to the state, I'm sure that is why he's hesitant about this program. Stevens does the same thing in Alaska (as with bridges to nowhere). So if this is true, one can see why these guys would want to cover their tracks a bit. Still, Byrd is a great Democrat and we need those in the Senate, even though he is ancient.

Salt Lake sounds off in protest and support

Salt Lake Tribune reports even Mormon country is unhappy: "A crowd of thousands cheered Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson for calling President Bush a 'dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights violating president' whose time in office would 'rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure.'"

BBC: Stolen Munch paintings found safe

BBC NEWS reports good news in the art world: "Two masterpieces by artist Edvard Munch have been recovered two years after they were stolen from an Oslo museum.

The Scream and Madonna were found in a police operation. 'We are 100% certain they are the originals. The damage was much less than feared,' police said.

They had been missing since two armed men ripped them from the wall and threatened staff at the Munch Museum in the Norwegian capital in August 2004.

Three men were found guilty of charges relating to the theft in May."

C&L: Keith Olbermann Delivers One Hell Of a Commentary on Rumsfeld

Crooks and Liars has the video and transcript: "Olbermann delivered this commentary with fire and passion while highlighting how Rumsfeld’s comments echoes other times in our world’s history when anyone who questioned the administration was coined as a traitor, unpatriotic, communist or any other colorful term. Luckily we pulled out of those times and we will pull out of these times.

Remember - Rumsfeld did not just call the Democrats out yesterday, he called out a majority of this country. This wasn’t only a partisan attack, but more so an attack against the majority of Americans."

G.O.P. Congressman Shifts to Favor an Iraq Timetable - New York Times

G.O.P. Congressman Shifts to Favor an Iraq Timetable - New York Times: "Only a few weeks ago, Representative Christopher Shays, a Republican from Connecticut, minced no words in responding to calls led by Democrats for a phased withdrawal from Iraq. “To have a timetable is absolutely foolish,” he said.

But now, as he faces an increasingly tough re-election battle against an antiwar Democrat, Diane G. Farrell, Mr. Shays has undergone a conversion: He is proposing a timetable for a withdrawal of American troops, an idea derided by the Bush administration and many Republicans."

Ohio to Delay Destruction of Presidential Ballots - New York Times

Ohio to Delay Destruction of Presidential Ballots - New York Times: "With paper ballots from the 2004 presidential election in Ohio scheduled to be destroyed next week, the secretary of state in Columbus, under pressure from critics, said yesterday that he would move to delay the destruction at least for several months.

Since the election, questions have been raised about how votes were tallied in Ohio, a battleground state that helped deliver the election to President Bush over Senator John Kerry.

The critics, including an independent candidate for governor and a team of statisticians and lawyers, say preliminary results from their ballot inspections show signs of more widespread irregularities than previously known.

The critics say the ballots should be saved pending an investigation. They also say the secretary of state’s proposal to delay the destruction does not go far enough, and they intend to sue to preserve the ballots."

AJC: Cranky Sen. Stevens is the culprit

From "Alaska Republican Ted Stevens admitted Wednesday that he used a parliamentary maneuver to secretly block legislation that would open federal spending practices to public scrutiny.

Stevens used a procedure known as a 'secret hold' to derail the legislation, which was introduced by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Barack Obama, (D-Ill.), said Aaron Saunders, a spokesman for Stevens.

Speculation over who placed the hold on the measure, which would create a searchable database of $2.5 trillion in government contracts, grants, insurance, loans and financial assistance, has been swirling around Capitol Hill as well as the blogosphere.

The measure has the support of more than 100 conservative- and liberal-leaning groups, as well as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.)."

AJC: Wild Cumberland Island to get traffic thanks to Congress

From "Cumberland Island, so secluded that it hid a Kennedy wedding from the world, could soon offer up its treasures to a convoy of visitors.

The National Park Service is working on a transportation management plan for the Cumberland Island National Seashore off the Georgia coast that Congress has mandated must include five to eight tours of the island each day --- when currently there is none. Friday is the deadline for the public to comment on the plan.

But Cumberland has never been easily accessible to the public, and conservationists like it that way. Right now, the only way most visitors get there is take a ferry and walk or bicycle along the sandy shell Main Road.

The federal plan could result in more vehicle traffic --- possibly a tram, minibus, or SUV --- to move those visitors around."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Missing Carson

Mark Evanier featured this clip from Carson's Tonight Show, and it's hilarious. Really made me miss Carson. However, I was nonplussed at his apparent ad libs with the African-American actor--at first he was acting like Don Rickles, but a later ad lib... I don't know... anyway, check it out.

Truthout: Clinton, 9/11 and the Facts

Clinton, 9/11 and the Facts--William Rivers Pitt reviews ABC's upcoming attack on Clinton, and the facts behind it: "Leaving aside the wretched truth that the far right is once again using September 11 to score political points, the facts regarding the still-lingering effort to blame the Clinton administration for the attacks must be brought to the fore. Nowrasteh, at several points in his miniseries, rolls out a number of oft-debunked allegations that Clinton allowed Osama bin Laden to remain alive and free before the attacks.

Roger Cressy, National Security Council senior director for counterterrorism in the period 1999-2001, responded to these allegations in an article for the Washington Times in 2003. 'Mr. Clinton approved every request made of him by the CIA and the U.S. military involving using force against bin Laden and al-Qaeda,' wrote Cressy. 'As President Bush well knows, bin Laden was and remains very good at staying hidden. The current administration faces many of the same challenges. Confusing the American people with misinformation and distortions will not generate the support we need to come together as a nation and defeat our terrorist enemies.'"

BBC NEWS: Comic book veterans take on 9/11

BBC NEWS: Comic book veterans take on 9/11: "Five years after the attacks on New York and Washington, and two years after the 9/11 Report detailing it became a surprise bestseller, the events of 11 September 2001 are being put before the public again - this time as a comic book.

On the face of it, the 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation looks much like a super-hero comic - significantly thicker, and published on high-quality paper, but in a visual and storytelling style that will be familiar to anyone who grew up reading Superman or Spiderman.

That is no coincidence.

The two men behind the adaptation, writer Sid Jacobson and artist Ernie Colon, are grand old men of the genre who have held top positions at both of America's mainstream super-hero comic book houses, DC and Marvel.

The effect is initially jarring.

If many Americans were not ready to see the struggle aboard Flight 93 turned into a film, or were doubtful about Nicolas Cage playing a police officer trapped in the World Trade Center in an Oliver Stone movie, how much more upsetting it must be to see a plane slam into the Pentagon with a traditional comic-book 'BLAMM!'.

But there will be rewards for those willing to give a chance to the 9/11 report rendered as a comic book - or graphic adaptation, as its highbrow literary publisher Hill and Wang calls it."

Happy Birthday, Robert Crumb

Via Tom Spurgeon's excellent Comic Reporter blog. Go see the whole tragic strip.

Boston Globe: The guy behind the revived Cracked

Braintree native is taking a crack at reviving a humor magazine - The Boston Globe: "The 48-year-old Cracked has always been the Avis Rent a Car of the humor magazine business, the C-student's second read after Mad. ``Humor magazines are an extremely difficult category to crack,' says University of Mississippi magazine expert Samir Husni . ``From National Lampoon to Mad to Cracked to Spy, they start with edgy political humor, then slowly but surely they turn to boring political humor, and then it's sex and blondes. They start with a blast, and they die with a blast. The odds are against them from Day One.'"

AMERICAblog: Suskind book reveals Cheney tricks

AMERICAblog's John in DC quotes an interesting passage from Ron Suskind's book "The One Percent Doctrine," and concludes: "So many things at work here. First, Cheney is caught red handed trying to falsely link Iraq to the larger war on terror (something he'd done repeatedly). And second, when he gets caught doing it, Cheney still pushes ahead."

Here's the controversial Emmy opening bit

Hey, I thought it was funny.

HuffPo: Fox News' Ratings Take a Nosedive

Eat The Press | Fox News' Ratings Take a Nosedive | The Huffington Post: "Fox News' ratings, TVNewser reports, are down since August of last year. Like, way down. Like down 28 percent in primetime among all viewers, down 20 percent in primetime in the 'money demo' (viewers aged 25-54) and down 7 percent in daytime viewership overall. In fact, the only place Fox is up is during the day, when they managed a ratings increase of just 2 percent, and even then only in the money demo.

And lest you think this is an industry-wide trend, consider this: over the same time period, CNN and MSNBC are up. CNN's up 35 percent during the day -- 46 percent in the money demo -- and up 21 percent in primetime overall, 25 percent in the money demo. MSNBC's ratings increases aren't quite as impressive -- up 6 percent in primetime overall, 8 percent in the money demo, and up 36 percent in the money demo during the day, 26 percent overall." Allen's past may haunt him

Beyond Macaca: The Photograph That Haunts George Allen: "But was it an isolated 'mistake'?

Only a decade ago, as governor of Virginia, Allen personally initiated an association with the Council of Conservative Citizens, the successor organization to the segregationist White Citizens Council and among the largest white supremacist groups."

NYT Ed: Downward mobility

NYT editorializes on the bad poverty and uninsured numbers released yesterday: "Despite the Bush-era expansion, the number of Americans living in poverty in 2005 — 37 million — was the same as in 2004. This is the first time the number has not risen since 2000. But the share of the population now in poverty — 12.6 percent — is still higher than at the trough of the last recession, when it was 11.7 percent. And among the poor, 43 percent were living below half the poverty line in 2005 — $7,800 for a family of three. That’s the highest percentage of people in “deep poverty” since the government started keeping track of those numbers in 1975.

As for the uninsured, their ranks grew in 2005 by 1.3 million people, to a record 46.6 million, or 15.9 percent. That’s also worse than the recession year 2001, reflecting the rising costs of health coverage and a dearth of initiatives to help families and companies cope with the burden. For the first time since 1998, the percentage of uninsured children increased in 2005."

Broadcast Chief [and GOP Hack] Misused Office, Inquiry Reports - New York Times

No surprise here... from the NYT: "State Department investigators have found that the head of the agency overseeing most government broadcasts to foreign countries has used his office to run a “horse racing operation” and that he improperly put a friend on the payroll, according to a summary of a report made public on Tuesday by a Democratic lawmaker.

The report said that the official, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, had repeatedly used government employees to perform personal errands and that he billed the government for more days of work than the rules permit.

The summary of the report, prepared by the State Department inspector general, said the United States attorney’s office here had been given the report and decided not to conduct a criminal inquiry." Pitts on the problems with biblical literalism Once again Leonard Pitts nails it--go read the whole column: "The Lambert case intrigues me because it illustrates a point I've made on many occasions when people bring out Bibles to explain why gay folk deserve no civil rights. Maybe now, without the reflexive emotionalism that gay brings to cloud their view, a few more people will see the obvious: Bible literalism is impractical and impossible. Or maybe they won't see.

Allow me to share by way of example an e-mail I received last week from a gentleman named Al who took exception to a column I wrote condemning capital punishment. Said Al, ``When one criticizes the death penalty one criticizes God's judgment in the matter, as scripture ordains death for numerous crimes. It is not wise to criticize God.''

I shot back a note pointing out that among the crimes for which scripture ordains death are cursing your parents (Lev. 20:9) or committing adultery (Lev. 20:10). Did Al really believe those misdeeds should be treated as capital offenses?

''Only if one wishes to accomplish God's will in the matter,'' said Al.

I don't mind telling you, people like him scare me."

Dr. Frist caught cheating?

From the "Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist had not met all the requirements needed to keep his medical license active --- even though he gave paperwork to Tennessee officials indicating that he had --- his office acknowledged Tuesday. Tennessee requires its licensed physicians to complete 40 hours of continuing medical education every two years. Frist, a heart-lung surgeon who will retire from the Senate this year to consider a 2008 presidential run, submitted a license renewal with the Tennessee Health Department stating he had fulfilled that requirement. Responding Tuesday to repeated requests from The Associated Press, a Frist spokesman said the Republican senator was working to clear up the problem and had contacted the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners to see if corrective steps were necessary. "

BBC: Google makes novels free to print

BBC NEWS: Google makes novels free to print: "Search engine Google plans to offer consumers the chance to download and print classic novels free of charge.

The firm's book search tool will let people print classics such as Dante's Inferno or Aesop's Fables, as well as other books no longer under copyright.

Until now, the service has only let people read such books on-screen.

Google's book search service stems from a wider project to put books online in a searchable format, which it is undertaking with major universities."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

MotherJones: Lie by Lie: A Chronicle of a War Foretold will soon have something well worth checking out (I just read the magazine version): "Lie by Lie—An Interactive Timeline

The Sep/Oct issue of Mother Jones features 'Chronicle of a War Foretold,' an 8-page timeline of the lies and misdirections that marked the Bush administration’s double-time march to war in Iraq. Coming soon: an interactive, searchable version with more than 800 entries and 2,000 links to original source documents."

AJC Radio Blog: Prepare for two-second spots

Rodney Ho reports on his AJC radio blog:
A few decades back, marketers experimented with subliminal advertising, which proved to be of dubious utility. But in this day of ADD and TiVo, not only has Clear Channel Radio pushed 30 second ad instead of 60 seconds, they are offering TWO second ads. Yes, a whopping TWO seconds long!

According to the New York Times, on Sept. 10, all 1,100 of Clear Channel’s stations... will air two-second bursts advertising the Simpsons’ debut for Fox. Every half-hour you may hear Homer’s “Woo-hoo” or something along those lines for two seconds. The senior VP for Fox Kaye Bentley told the New York Times compared these ads to pop-ups. They go by so fast, she said, you can’t avoid them. Fox ais also using such “blink” ads for the premieres of “Prison Break” and “House.”

Global Warming: A new clue?

A member of an email group I'm part of submitted this:

You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.

NYT Ed: Bush's preposterous claims on the economy

The Falling Paycheck - New York Times: "After huddling with his economic team at Camp David this month, President Bush emerged from a meeting and, flanked by advisers — including the secretaries of labor, commerce and the Treasury — announced to reporters, “Things are good for American workers.”

The comment is preposterous. As The Times’s Steven Greenhouse and David Leonhardt reported yesterday, the economic expansion that began in late 2001 is on track to become the first since World War II that fails to offer a sustained lift to the real wages of most American workers. Although the nation’s economy has grown and productivity has been strong, American employees have not shared in the wealth they’ve helped to create. Wages and salaries now make up the lowest proportion of the economy since the government began keeping records in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960’s.

Until recently, the decline in real wages has been masked in large part by the housing boom that allowed many Americans to borrow and spend, even as their pay was squeezed. But now the housing market is flagging and with it, the Bush-era economy — without American workers having ever experienced a period of solid prosperity."

Monday, August 28, 2006

Catching up with Michael Chabon

In the Works, from my pal MC's website

'Jews with swords'
This is the working title (and the working title only!) for a projected 16-part serialized novel scheduled to begin immediately after Michael Connelly's own series has completed its run, sometime in early January by my reckoning.

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh motion picture
About to enter the magical estate known as 'principal photography,' in the great city of Pittsburgh.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay motion picture
Status: Complying With Polite Request To Stop Posting About It On This Website, Already. [Michael's wife Ayelet reports the film has not yet been greenlit. What are we waiting for?]

The Yiddish Policemen's Union
Novel completed and headed for copy-editing. Scheduled for May 2007.


Happy Jack Kirby Day

Mark Evanier writes:

Had he lived, he would have been 89 years old today...and still brilliant. Oh, his amazing creative powers might have dimmed with time and health. The last few years he drew, failing motor skills caused him to not draw anywhere up to his old standards. But that was okay because nobody else was drawing up to his old standards, either.

We're talking Kirby here...Jack Kirby, owner of (arguably) the most fertile imagination ever seen in adventure and fantasy comic books. People referred to him as a great artist, and he was...but I always thought that compliment kind of missed the point. It wasn't just that he drew so well but that he thought of wonderful things to draw that no one else would ever have imagined. Another pretty good artist, Al Williamson, once said, "If you told me or most of my buddies to draw fifty spaceships, they'd all look like they were built in the same plant. If Jack drew fifty spaceships, they'd look like they were built by fifty different alien races."

UK Telegraph: Gays must change behavior, says Anglican archbishop

Telegraph reports on the apparent conservatization of the Archbishop of Canterbury: "The archbishop of Canterbury has told homosexuals that they need to change their behaviour if they are to be welcomed into the church, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

Rowan Williams has distanced himself from his one-time liberal support of gay relationships and stressed that the tradition and teaching of the Church has in no way been altered by the Anglican Communion's consecration of its first openly homosexual bishop.

The declaration by the archbishop - rebutting the idea that homosexuals should be included in the church unconditionally - marks a significant development in the church's crisis over homosexuals. According to liberal and homosexual campaigners, it confirmed their fears that the archbishop has become increasingly conservative - and sparked accusations that he has performed an 'astonishing' U-turn over the homosexual issue."

Bush: "I'm responsible for the Federal government." Constitution: "No, you're not." | CorrenteWire

Bush: "I'm responsible for the Federal government." Constitution: "No, you're not." | CorrenteWire

C&L: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are winners at the Emmys

Crooks and Liars � Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are winners at the Emmys and also had the best presenters patter. Watch the video

What Is the Latest Thing to Be Discouraged About? The Rise of Pessimism - New York Times

What Is the Latest Thing to Be Discouraged About? The Rise of Pessimism - New York Times: "The early stages of the Iraq war may have been a watershed in American optimism. The happy talk was so extreme it is now difficult to believe it was sincere: “we will be greeted as liberators”; “mission accomplished”; the insurgency is “in the last throes.” Most wildly optimistic of all was the goal: a military action transforming the Middle East into pro-American democracies.

The gap between predictions and reality has left Americans deeply discouraged. So has much of what has happened, or not happened, at the same time. Those who believed New Orleans would rebound quickly after Hurricane Katrina have seen their hopes dashed. Those counting on solutions to health care, energy dependence or global warming have seen no progress. It is no wonder the nation is in a gloomy mood; 71 percent of respondents in a recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll said the country is on the wrong track."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Issues Await if Democrats Retake House - New York Times

Issues Await if Democrats Retake House - New York Times: "As the start of the fall campaign looms and House Democrats remain within realistic reach of reclaiming the majority, party leaders are beginning to explore the delicate question of what happens if they win."

Clergywomen Find Hard Path to Bigger Pulpit - New York Times

Clergywomen Find Hard Path to Bigger Pulpit - New York Times: "Whether they come from theologically liberal denominations or conservative ones, black churches or white, women in the clergy still bump against what many call the stained-glass ceiling — longstanding limits, preferences and prejudices within their denominations that keep them from leading bigger congregations and having the opportunity to shape the faith of more people.

Women now make up 51 percent of the students in divinity school. But in the mainline Protestant churches that have been ordaining women for decades, women account for only a small percentage — about 3 percent, according to one survey by a professor at Duke University — of pastors who lead large congregations, those with average Sunday attendance over 350. In evangelical churches, most of which do not ordain women, some women opt to leave for other denominations that will accept them as ministers. Women from historically black churches who want to ascend to the pulpit often start their own congregations.

This year, women were elected to lead the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. But such success has not filtered down to the congregational level, said the Rev. Dr. Catherine Stonehouse, dean of the school of practical theology at the Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky."

Friday, August 25, 2006

C&L: Ann Coulter gets her freak on

Crooks and Liars has the H&C video-- Ann Coulter gets her freak on: "Whenever Ann is faced with the reality that Osama hasn’t been caught yet by this administration–well–Poor Ann. Kirsten Powers actually responds to Coulter’s ridiculous line that Afghanistan is going swimmingly and brings up the fact that Osama is still alive and well. Coulter then plays her usual Clinton card and freaks. 'Sean, help me–Sean, where are you? Sean, these mean people are talking…I can’t get my 10,000 words of Liberal hate speech in…I’m melting.' Michael Brown didn’t mind that Hannity talked over him during the segment.."

ADL Blasts Christian Supremacist TV Special & Book Blaming Darwin For Hitler

ADL Blasts Christian Supremacist TV Special & Book Blaming Darwin For Hitler (via C&L): "The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today blasted a television documentary produced by Christian broadcaster Dr. D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries that attempts to link Charles Darwin's theory of evolution to Adolf Hitler and the atrocities of the Holocaust. ADL also denounced Coral Ridge Ministries for misleading Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute for the NIH, and wrongfully using him as part of its twisted documentary, 'Darwin's Deadly Legacy.'

After being contacted by the ADL about his name being used to promote Kennedy's project, Dr. Collins said he is 'absolutely appalled by what Coral Ridge Ministries is doing. I had NO knowledge that Coral Ridge Ministries was planning a TV special on Darwin and Hitler, and I find the thesis of Dr. Kennedy's program utterly misguided and inflammatory,' he told ADL.

ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement:'This is an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. Trivializing the Holocaust comes from either ignorance at best or, at worst, a mendacious attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of six million Jewish victims and others who died at the hands of the Nazis.

'It must be remembered that D. James Kennedy is a leader among the distinct group of 'Christian Supremacists' who seek to 'reclaim America for Christ' and turn the U.S. into a Christian nation guided by their strange notions of biblical law.'"

In Poll, G.O.P. Slips as a Friend of Religion - New York Times

In Poll, G.O.P. Slips as a Friend of Religion (but then, so does the Democratic Party) - New York Times: "A new poll shows that fewer Americans view the Republican Party as “friendly to religion” than a year ago, with the decline particularly steep among Catholics and white evangelical Protestants — constituencies at the core of the Republicans’ conservative Christian voting bloc.

The survey found that the proportion of Americans who say the Republican Party is friendly to religion fell 8 percentage points in the last year, to 47 percent from 55 percent. Among Catholics and white evangelical Protestants, the decline was 14 percentage points.

The Democratic Party suffers from the perception of an even more drastic religion deficit, but that is not new. Just 26 percent of poll respondents said the Democratic Party was friendly to religion, down from 29 percent last year."

Kentucky Governor Signs Plea Deal - New York Times

Kentucky Governor Signs Plea Deal - New York Times: "Gov. Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky, who was indicted in May in connection with a hiring scandal, signed an agreement yesterday admitting wrongdoing by his administration and promising to reconstitute the state’s Personnel Board.

Under the deal with the attorney general, all charges will be dropped.

“The governor acknowledges that the evidence strongly indicates wrongdoing by his administration with regard to personnel actions within the merit system,” the seven-page accord said, adding that he takes responsibility and that he “hereby states that these actions were inappropriate.”"

Mary Worth is Hot Again!

There's something about Mary (Worth)--by Mark Schwed in the Palm Beach Post, via

"Mary Worth," the comic strip your grandma used to love, suddenly is red-hot.

Is it because an extreme makeover took away her wrinkles and the junk in her trunk, turning a frumpy widow into a saucy senior?

Or is it the holy-cow story line, which has her being hounded by a Captain Kangaroo look-alike who may have offed his wife?

"Mary Worth," the original desperate housewife, is the subject of gossip in The Vent. Thousands of people on the Internet are analyzing and debating her every move — something unheard of for a comic from the dinosaur age.


BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Pluto vote 'hijacked' in revolt: "A fierce backlash has begun against the decision by astronomers to strip Pluto of its status as a planet.

On Thursday, experts approved a definition of a planet that demoted Pluto to a lesser category of object.

But the lead scientist on Nasa's robotic mission to Pluto has lambasted the ruling, calling it 'embarrassing'.

And the chair of the committee set up to oversee agreement on a definition implied that the vote had effectively been 'hijacked'."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Gospel and Superheroes

The University of Florida produces a web journal called ImageText with interdisciplinary studies of comics. The latest issue has a review of a book I too enjoyed reading--so much that I have an endorsement in it. Check it out.

Stephen Colbert's Liturgical Dance

From Strangers with Candy. See his earlier relevant quote here.

HuffPo's Bob Harris: Your President, the Visionary Genius

Bob Harris took up HuffPo's challenge to decipher Bush's press conference notes. Some interesting insight.

Christian Coalition losing chapters

Christian Coalition losing chapters - AP on Yahoo! News: "Three disgruntled state affiliates have severed ties with the Christian Coalition of America, one of the nation's most powerful conservative groups during the 1990s but now buffeted by complaints over finances, leadership and its plans to veer into nontraditional policy areas."

WaPo: Bush's New Iraq Argument: It Could Be Worse

Bush's New Iraq Argument: It Could Be Worse: "Of all the words that President Bush used at his news conference this week to defend his policies in Iraq, the one that did not pass his lips was 'progress.'

For three years, the president tried to reassure Americans that more progress was being made in Iraq than they realized. But with Iraq either in civil war or on the brink of it, Bush dropped the unseen-progress argument in favor of the contention that things could be even worse.

The shifting rhetoric reflected a broader pessimism that has reached into even some of the most optimistic corners of the administration -- a sense that the Iraq venture has taken a dark turn and will not be resolved anytime soon. Bush advisers once believed that if they met certain benchmarks, such as building a constitutional democracy and training a new Iraqi army, the war would be won. Now they believe they have more or less met those goals, yet the war rages on.

While still committed to the venture, officials have privately told friends and associates outside government that they have grown discouraged in recent months. Even the death of al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq proved not to be the turning point they expected, they have told associates, and other developments have been relentlessly dispiriting, with fewer signs of hope.

Bush acknowledged this week that he has been discouraged as well. 'Frustrated?' he asked. 'Sometimes I'm frustrated. Rarely surprised. Sometimes I'm happy. This is -- but war is not a time of joy. These aren't joyous times. These are challenging times and they're difficult times and they're straining the psyche of our country.'"

NYT: Allen Finally Apologizes to Student for Remark

Senator Apologizes to Student for Remark - New York Times: "Senator George Allen of Virginia personally apologized to a volunteer for his opponent’s campaign on Wednesday for a perceived racial insult, addressing a misstep that has complicated his re-election campaign and raised doubts about his potential as a Republican presidential contender in 2008.

A few hours before he appeared with President Bush at a fund-raising event, Mr. Allen telephoned the volunteer, S. R. Sidarth, to say he was sorry for mockingly referring to him as “macaca” at an Aug. 11 campaign event. Mr. Sidarth, a 20-year-old college student, caught the moment on video as part of his job of recording Mr. Allen’s public appearances, and it quickly became a sensation on television and the Internet.

“He apologized for his comments,” said Mr. Sidarth, who is an American of Indian descent, in a telephone interview from the University of Virginia, where he has resumed his classes. “He took the blame for saying them, and he said he didn’t realize how offended I was until he heard my comments from the media.”"

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

MSNBC: Typical Bill O'Reilly Fan?

Stewart on the Bush Press Conference

Raw: Murtha: Marine recall shows Iraq getting worse

The Raw Story | Murtha: Marine recall shows Iraq getting worse: "Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) has blasted the involuntary recall of Marines to Iraq at 'a time when we should be bringing our fighting men and women home from Iraq, we're sending more over there,' as symbolic of the 'mismanagement of this effort.'"

Interesting Quote from Colbert

"I love my church, and I'm a Catholic who was raised by intellectuals who were very devout. I was raised to believe that you could question the church and still be a Catholic. What is worthy of satire is the misuse of religion for destructive or political gains. That's totally different from the Word, the blood, the body, and the Christ. His kingdom is not of this earth."
- Stephen Colbert, of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

[From TimeOut New York, via Sojourners]

Poll Shows a Shift in Opinion on Iraq War - New York Times

Poll Shows a Shift in Opinion on Iraq War - New York Times: "Americans increasingly see the war in Iraq as distinct from the fight against terrorism, and nearly half believe President Bush has focused too much on Iraq to the exclusion of other threats, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The poll found that 51 percent of those surveyed saw no link between the war in Iraq and the broader antiterror effort, a jump of 10 percentage points since June. That increase comes despite the regular insistence of Mr. Bush and Congressional Republicans that the two are intertwined and should be seen as complementary elements of a strategy to prevent domestic terrorism.

Should the trend hold, the rising skepticism could present a political obstacle for Mr. Bush and his allies on Capitol Hill, who are making their record on terrorism a central element of the midterm election campaign. The Republicans hope that by expressing a desire for forceful action against terrorists, they can offset unease with the Iraq war and blunt the political appeal of Democratic calls to establish a timeline to withdraw American troops."

AJC: Voting machines too vulnerable to error

AJC has an op ed piece on House Science Committee hearings on the problems with voting machines, which concludes: "There's something unsettling about living in a democracy with a margin of error of 9 percent."

NYT: Right wing goes after judge who ruled Bush wiretaps illegal

Judicial Watch doesn't like judge's service on nonprofit board; from NYT via "The federal judge who ruled last week that President Bush's wiretapping program was unconstitutional serves as a trustee and officer for a Detroit nonprofit group that has given at least $125,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union in Michigan, one of the plaintiffs in the high-profile case.

Judicial Watch, a conservative group in Washington that first discovered the financial connection, charged Tuesday that the relationship poses a possible conflict for the judge, Anna Taylor Diggs, and it called for further investigation.

'The system relies on judges to exercise good judgment, and we need more information and more explanation about what the court's involvement was in support of the ACLU,' said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, which gained attention in the 1990s for raising legal and ethical charges against President Bill Clinton."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Slate serializes 9/11 Report: Graphic Version

Slate is serializing the graphic novel version of the 9/11 report by Sid Jacobson and one of my all-time favorite artists and people, Ernie Colon. Check it out. (You can order the hard copy through Amazon at the link to the right).

UPDATE: USA Today has a piece on this project, interviewing Colon and Jacobson.

Daily Kos: My take on today's train-wreck

Daily Kos: Lestatdelc does a verse-by-verse commentary on Bush's comments about Iraq and Saddam and 9/11.

Scarborough: Keep Bush away from the press

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, who would vote for Bush again, still has some big complaints (H/T C&L): "These days the President seems distracted, disjointed and dumbed-down in press conferences. His jokes fall flat and are often inappropriate.

And like Reagan, George W. Bush seems to be getting worse with age instead of better.

When teenage boys misbehave, I blame their fathers. When presidents come up short, I blame their staffs.

In the case of Bush I wonder whether there no one in the West Wing that can tell their boss he needs to spend more time in front of a teleprompter and less time watching ESPN.

Has anyone told him that making jokes about pig roasts after being asked about the bombing of the Beirut airport is not how a Commander in Chief acts in front of the international press corps?

Has anyone considered keeping the President away from the press altogether if he is no longer up to the task of answering questions?

I’m serious."

Bill Clinton: How We Ended Welfare, Together - New York Times

Bill Clinton in the New York Times: "Regarding the politics of welfare reform, there is a great lesson to be learned, particularly in today’s hyper-partisan environment, where the Republican leadership forces bills through Congress without even a hint of bipartisanship. Simply put, welfare reform worked because we all worked together. The 1996 Welfare Act shows us how much we can achieve when both parties bring their best ideas to the negotiating table and focus on doing what is best for the country."

BBC: Fishermen detail Pacific ordeal

BBC NEWS has the amazing story: "Three fishermen who say they spent nine months adrift in the Pacific have been giving more details of their ordeal.

The Mexicans told how two of their crew had died because they could not eat raw birds and fish.

The three men arrived at the Marshall Islands two weeks after they were picked up by a Taiwanese tuna trawler."

Monday, August 21, 2006

Frank Rich: Five Years After 9/11, Fear Finally Strikes Out

Frank Rich's column on the failure of Bush fear tactics is online at "As the election campaign quickens, genuine nightmares may well usurp the last gasps of Rovian fear-based politics. It's hard to ignore the tragic reality that American troops are caught in the cross-fire of a sectarian bloodbath escalating daily, that botched American policy has strengthened Iran and Hezbollah and undermined Israel, and that our Department of Homeland Security is as ill-equipped now to prevent explosives (liquid or otherwise) in cargo as it was on 9/11. For those who've presided over this debacle and must face the voters in November, this is far scarier stuff than a foiled terrorist cell, nasty bloggers and Ned Lamont combined."

Church Fires Teacher for Being Female - AOL News

Baptist Church in Waterton NY goes back to the dark ages: "The First Baptist Church dismissed Mary Lambert on Aug. 9 with a letter explaining that the church had adopted an interpretation that prohibits women from teaching men. She had taught there for 54 years."

Bush Insider: The First Frat Boy Loves Flatulence Jokes

HuffPo summarizes a USN&WR Insider bit about the Prez: "He loves to cuss, gets a jolly when a mountain biker wipes out trying to keep up with him, and now we're learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides, but forget about getting people to gas about that."

Bush: 'We're not leaving so long as I'm president'

The Raw Story has the whole transcript: "At a news conference today, Bush also conceded that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.

Bush opened his remarks at 10 AM, announcing that the nation would be offering $230 million in aid to Lebanon. The president also called for fast deployment of an international peacekeeping force.

Late in the conference, when asked what Iraq's role was in the World Trade Center attacks, the president said, 'Nothing.'

But he went on to suggest that by overthrowing Saddam Hussein's regime, the United States could forestall future acts of terrorism by defeating resentment with hope, 'and the best way to do hope is through a form of government.'"

My interview with Stan Lee

Stan Lee, one of my lifelong heroes, is getting lots of publicity these days (as usual), this time for his new series on SciFi, "Who Wants to Be a Superhero?" Well, I dug up an old interview I did by email with Stan a few years ago for the comic art club I was part of. Hope you enjoy it.

Stan Lee has long been one of my heroes. I really believe that he had a major factor in helping to shape my belief system and maybe even my personality. Stan’s influence is one of the reasons I became a writer and went into ministry work. A few years ago, I emailed him with my appreciation for all he’d meant to me over the years—and thanked him for the Spider-Man comic strip which I read just about every day online. Unexpectedly, he sent me an original strip drawn by his brother Larry Leiber, which I framed and keep on the wall of my home.

I almost had an opportunity to finally meet Stan in person last January. I had a business meeting in L.A. and wrote to see if there was any way I could stop by and meet him. He couldn’t have been more inviting. He was just setting up his new offices on the MGM lot (his entertainment company is called POW! Entertainment—which stands for Purveyors of Wonder). Unfortunately, the day before I was going to fly out there, I got frantic phone calls from his assistant and emails from him, asking to reschedule because he’d been beckoned by Sony to see a rough cut of the new Spider-Man movie. Alas, the only times he was available I was not… so, we’ll have to wait for another time.

At any rate, I thought perhaps I’d ask Stan if he’d consent to a quick email interview on comic art. He emailed back:

Hi, Peter...

I'm so glad to learn that you're doing so well. Couldn't happen to a nicer, more deserving guy.

As for me, you're right, I really am busy as all get-out, but how can I say "no" to you? So e-mail your questions and I'll do the best I can. I'll just make one important request--

Please write the kind of questions that can be answered briefly. I simply haven't time for long, philosophical musings because I've been doing an average of a dozen phone, e-mail and personal interviews daily, what with the Spider-Man movie about to open, my bio going on sale at the same time and a DVD I did with Kevin Smith also going on sale at the same time! --And I still have my own writing projects to complete!

I'll wait for your questions, but remember, my friend-- be merciful!


So, of course, I did… and within a day or two Stan answered:

Okay, Peter— for better or worse, here’s my stab at answering your questions…

1. When you were writing comics regularly at Marvel, did you ever get tired of seeing the penciled pages of Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko or John Romita when they came to you for scripting? What was it like to see that great raw art?
Absolutely not! I never got tired of seeing those raw pages of art! They were the basis, the foundation on which I attempted to build the finished product. I loved looking at all the brilliant artwork those guys produced. It was totally thrilling.

2. Were you a fan of comic strips when you were growing up? If so, which artists or strips did you particularly enjoy following?
I liked comics when I was a kid, but they were a different type then. They were just reprints of newspaper strips like The Katzenjammer Kids, Dick Tracy, Krazy Kat, etc.

3. Do you collect any comic book art? Have you any special pieces you've saved over the years? Any comic art hanging in your home or office?
Some. I have a few pieces of art that illustrators autographed and gave me, but really not very much.

4. What interest do you have in art in the broader sense-- do you have favorite fine artists or famous illustrators, even pulp artists whose work you've admired?
I’m a great admirer of good artists, whether they’re “fine” artists, comicbook artists, advertising artists or cartoonists. But I’m not really a collector, or a “patron of the arts” or any such-- I’m usually too busy doing my own things.

5. What do you think of today's comic book art in general? How do contemporary styles compare to the classic Marvel art, in your opinion? Are there any current comic book artists whose work you particularly enjoy?
Today’s comicbook art is, for want of a better word, fancier and more illustrative than in the past. I think that so-called “classic Marvel art” concentrated more on story and today’s art concentrates more on the artwork itself. That’s not true of all strips, of course, but it seems applicable to many. As for the artists themselves, I enjoy all their work—perhaps the most interesting, to me, is Alex Ross.

6. So who are your favorite comics artists of all time? Whose work just knocks you over? What was it about those artists' work that made such an impact on you?
No matter whose names I mention, there will be many more I should also mention, because I’ve worked with so many great ones. But those who come to mind immediately are: Kirby, Ditko, Romita, Buscema and Kane. They made a tremendous impact because they were not only great artists but great visual story-tellers as well.

7. I've heard rumors that you can't even draw stick figures-- true or false? Got any Stan Lee drawings you'd like to share with our comic art connoisseurs?
Untrue! I can draw stick figures with the best of ‘em! Don’t really have any drawings to show—but even if I did I wouldn’t know how to e-mail ‘em!


Celebrating our differences

One of the many interesting opportunities the internet offers is the ability for a group of people--diverse geographically and otherwise--to come together and discuss certain topics and issues using mailing lists. Several years ago I found a several-hundred-member list that focused on the life and work of Jack Kirby, one of the all-time greatest comic book artists. Through that list I’ve developed some good friendships, with people such as a Pulitzer-prize winning author in Berkeley, Ca., an art teacher in Asheville, N.C., a writer for the Army Corps of Engineers in Huntington, W.Va., postal workers in Roswell, N.M., and Alliance, Neb., a comics artist in Great Britain, a member of a Pink Floyd cover band of some note also in the U.K., and many others. I’ve even met a few of them in the real world, and it seemed we’d known each other for years.

Spinning off that list came a second mailing list devoted to discussing (and arguing and fighting about) religion, God, the Bible, and related issues. The topic came up on the Jack Kirby list and started a major brouhaha, but since it was essentially off topic there, a different list was developed to continue the conversation. Joining us were an incredibly diverse assortment of believers and non-believers, some Catholics, lapsed and otherwise, and odd bunch of Protestants, a Latter Day Saint or two, and a number of people who never had religious training or experience but either were interested in thinking about it or enjoyed arguing about it.

As an active Christian who has been to seminary and works for a media ministry, my colors were obvious to the group. The discussions tackled just about everything that’s ever come up over the centuries—creation and evolution, the inaccuracies of the Bible, the supposed arrogance of Christianity as the only way to God, etc. It was fun, challenging, and certainly stretching to both mind and faith to engage is such discussions. The process helped me evaluate some of my own positions, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who did. Even so, nobody was ever really converted, one way or the other, to my knowledge.

One of the issues that bubbled up frequently in the list discussions—and you’ve no doubt heard it elsewhere—is the incredible splintering of the Christian faith into so many denominations, sects, and independent churches, each of which does things differently or holds varying beliefs, and some claiming to be the only true way. This seems to make Jesus’ prayer in John 17 a complete failure: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.”

Yes, Jesus was praying for the unity of the church, but I don’t think he believed unity meant lockstep conformity. As my friend and rector, the Rev. Canon Gray Temple Jr., explained, Jesus’ band of disciples—including a few grizzled fishermen, a leg-breaking tax collector, a political zealot, and other assorted personalities—was hardly a model of unity, if by that you mean absolute conformity.

I don’t think Jesus expects his followers to look, speak, or behave like one another. That may seem an attractive goal in some sense, but it’s not authentic. It only serves to make us feel artificially safe from having to make hard decisions and grapple with difficult truths. God created us with different personalities, interests, and opinions. And that may be why there are so many denominations and churches: so we all can find one we feel at home in and challenged by and serve others through. God draws people together by the Spirit and gives us courage to accept each other, enjoy each other, and learn from each other--despite our differences.

This can happen. I’ve seen it. It’s even happened on the mailing list with that incredibly diverse group of people who ended up caring personally about one another. The church is still a work in progress, but we are united in God through Christ. And that makes it a shining jewel with many, many facets.

What right-wingers see when they read the NY Times

By Will Murphy on HuffPo.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hokum on Homeland Security - New York Times

Hokum on Homeland Security - New York Times editorial: "Ever since British intelligence did such a masterly job in rounding up terrorists intent on blowing up airliners, the Bush administration has relentlessly tried to divert attention from the disintegration in Iraq and focus instead on its supposed prowess in protecting our country against terrorist attacks. That ploy ought not to wash. While the administration has been pouring its energies and money into Iraq, it has fallen far behind on steps needed to protect the homeland."

Lutheran pastor faces expulsion--could be test case in ELCA "A gay Lutheran pastor facing possible expulsion from his church says he will choose his partner over his vocation if he is disciplined for being in a gay relationship.

Rev. Bradley Schmeling, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Atlanta, has been charged with violating pastoral conduct guidelines mandated under the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

John Burdett in NYT: The lure of Thailand for those running away

The Quiet Farang - interesting op-ed piece by novelist John Burdett (who has written two terrific thrillers based in Bangkok) in the New York Times: "As of now, it seems possible that Mr. Karr did not commit the murder, but is an attention-seeking farang kee-nok — “Western drifter.” Like other members of that group, he tried to make ends meet by taking on teaching jobs, made regular visa runs to Malaysia, lived in a budget hotel, drifted around Southeast Asia with no apparent direction.

Yet it is exactly his familiarity as a type that has concentrated the attention of those Thais most familiar with it. Nit Dandin, a veteran teacher of the Thai language to Westerners, put it to me this way: “Why do farang come to Thailand after they kill or rape somebody in their own country?”"

In Nashville, Sounds of Political Uprising From the Left - New York Times

In Nashville, Sounds of Political Uprising From the Left - New York Times: "Country music, the genre of lonely hearts and highways, lost jobs and blue-collar woes, has become a cultural battleground. Conservatism is widely seen as having the upper hand, a red-state answer to left-leaning Hollywood.

Democrats on Music Row, the country music capital here, have grown frustrated with that reputation. A group of record-company executives, talent managers and artists has released an online compilation of 20 songs, several directly critical of Mr. Bush and the Iraq war."

NYT: Remarks get Andy Young in trouble

Different Focus in Atlanta on Young’s Remark - New York Times: "Andrew Young built his fame as the first lieutenant of the civil rights movement, working closely with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and becoming the first black congressman from Georgia since Reconstruction.

A street here is named after him, as is a school of public policy. And there are plans to erect a statue in his honor. So vast is his reservoir of good will, apparently, that even a racially inflammatory comment he made this week seemed unlikely to draw it down.

Instead, people who have known Mr. Young for decades seem rather satisfied that his comment that Jewish, Arab and Korean store owners had “ripped off” black neighborhoods, “selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables” had severed his link with his most high-profile client, Wal-Mart Stores, in whose defense he made the remark.

Referring to the remarks as being singled out from a long interview, Mr. Young said Friday in a telephone interview, “I thought this was kind of below the belt.”

“Now I don’t blame anybody,” he said, a day after apologizing for his remarks and resigning from the Wal-Mart payroll. “It was stupid of me to say in that context. No, it wasn’t stupid of me. I said it in the appropriate context. But I didn’t think about how it would read.”

His remarks drew ire from Jewish groups and advocates of diversity, dismay from Wal-Mart executives and a slap from the Rev. Al Sharpton.

But in Atlanta, the comments became an occasion to debate the focus of the civil rights movement and the fidelity of Mr. Young, now 74, to its ideals."

Friday, August 18, 2006

Robin Meyers on the Christian Right: Fear and Fundamentalism

Independent UK: Prescott not the only Labourite who thinks Bush is crap

Independent Online Edition > UK Politics: "'I have no idea what John Prescott did or did not say since it was a private conversation, but... the current US administration has been a disaster for the American people and has done untold damage not only to international relations but to the environment.'"

See all the other quotes.

AJC op ed: Shameful victory for the intolerant stings

Recently a judge ruled that Georgia Tech's tolerance guidelines, which most universities have, restricted the free speech of those conservative Christians who wanted to be intolerant of other religions. Phil McKnight of Tech's faculty penned an op-ed piece (to balance the screed written by the young woman who brought the case):

"A contemporary German intellectual, Lothar Beier, writing on the controversial and sensitive issues of the French radical right, racism, guest workers, and immigration and integration in Europe, points out that tolerance is the privilege of those in power, and the favor of tolerance can easily and arbitrarily be revoked.

U.S. District Judge J. Owen Forrester has effectively demonstrated this observation by retracting the Georgia Tech rules of tolerance, which are similar to those prevalent at most U.S. universities. For the time being, it would now appear to be perfectly OK for members of the Georgia Tech community to engage in unrestricted attempts to 'injure, harm, malign or harass a person because of race, religious belief, color, sexual/affectional orientation,' to use the words now banned from the Georgia Tech guidelines for the behavior of members of the university community toward each other.

In the particularly odd language of the court arguments, the 'orthodoxy' of tolerance is not to be permitted. What a peculiar use of the word orthodoxy. Carried to the extreme, I can't help but wonder if this means it is now acceptable for students, depending on where they stand, to refer to one another in public and in the dorms with racial and sexual slurs.

David French, a lawyer for the Christian-based Alliance Defense Fund representing the students who brought the suit, called the court order a 'win for free speech.' It is anything but.

It is a tool for discrimination and intimidation, a victory for those who are intolerant to exercise their intolerance toward groups they dislike, and in doing so to ban tolerance from their wake."

NYT editorial: Ruling for the Law

Ruling for the Law - New York Times: "No sooner had this ruling been issued than Mr. Bush’s loyalists in Congress, who have been searching for ways to give legal cover to an illegal spying program, began calling for new laws to overcome Judge Taylor’s objections. Republicans quickly pointed out that Judge Taylor was appointed by President Jimmy Carter and that some of the many precedents she cited were written by liberal judges. These efforts to undermine Judge Taylor’s arguments will undoubtedly continue while the White House appeals the decision, and the outcome in the conservative Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is uncertain.

But for now, with a careful, thoroughly grounded opinion, one judge in Michigan has done what 535 members of Congress have so abysmally failed to do. She has reasserted the rule of law over a lawless administration and shown why issues of this kind belong within the constitutional process created more than two centuries ago to handle them."

Arrest in Ramsey Case Presents More Questions - New York Times

Looks like the suspicion many have had about this wacko is stronger this morning: "Something about an anonymous e-mail message to a University of Colorado journalism professor in May, part of a voluminous four-year correspondence about the 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey, persuaded the professor to approach the police and led to the arrest of an American schoolteacher in Bangkok this week as a suspect in the girl’s killing.

The teacher, John M. Karr, surrounded by security officers, at first said nothing during a tumultuous news conference in Bangkok yesterday, not even when the Thai immigration commissioner said Mr. Karr had essentially admitted to the murder at the Ramsey home in Boulder, Colo.

When reporters and cameras clustered around him, he finally said in a Southern accent, “I was with JonBenet when she died,” calling her death “an accident.” Asked if he was innocent, Mr. Karr answered, “No.”

But by day’s end, it remained unclear whether Mr. Karr’s confession was genuine or the product of a troubled, attention-seeking man who had already exhibited a fervent fascination in the sexual abuse of children in general and in the death of JonBenet Ramsey in particular.

“There is a great deal of speculation and a desire for quick answers,” the district attorney of Boulder County, Mary Lacy, told an army of reporters on the sun-baked plaza outside the Boulder Justice Center on Thursday. “We should all heed the poignant advice John Ramsey gave yesterday. Do not jump to judgment. Do not speculate. Let the justice system take its course.”"

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I hope I'm wrong, but...

This whole JonBenet Ramsay confessed killer story is creeping me out... and I'm wondering if the guy isn't just an obsessed, insane liar?

Here are the top headlines on at the moment:

Man Says He Drugged Child, Had Sex...
BUT autopsy said no drugs found in JonBenet!
Confession Could Be Hoax...
Ex-wife gives alibi...
Suspect told dad he was behind bars in connection with Ramsey case -- in 2001...
Brother: 'He was researching a book'...
New Audio: Karr Says He Contacted Patsy...


CNN: Warrantless wiretapping unconstitutional, judge rules
A federal judge on Thursday ruled that the U.S. government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered it ended immediately.

In a 44-page memorandum and order, U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, -- who is based in Detroit, Michigan --struck down the National Security Agency's program, which she said violates the rights to free speech and privacy.

Taylor's ruling stems from a case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. According to The Associated Press, Taylor is the first judge to rule the eavesdropping program unconstitutional.

HuffPo: Scarborough: Is Bush an idiot?

Conservative Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC host who had the "Is Bush an Idiot?" package the other night, continues his rightwing rant--against Bush: "Friends and foes alike agree that George W. Bush is one political figure who gets worse with age. Look back at his performance as Texas governor and you will see a funny, self-assured public figure who inspires confidence. But these days, the mere opening of Mr. Bush’s mouth makes many GOP loyalists shake in their tasseled loafers.

So does it matter in the end whether our president is articulate and intelligent?

You bet your life, it does. I’m not saying we need to elect a dork like Michael Dukakis, who famously spent vacations at the beach reading books on Swedish land use or was so overwhelmed with the details of the old SALT treaties that he would sulk off to bed depressed.

But when America is fighting a global war on terror where the battle is for hearts and minds instead of beachheads and landing strips, we need a leader who can explain to friend and foe alike why America is in Iraq, why we keep sending arms to Israel and why liberal democracy really is preferable to Islamic fascism.

Right now, George W. Bush is not that leader."

Hotline: A New Explanation For "Macaca?"

Hotline On Call: A New Explanation For "Macaca?" Allen's explanations just get worse (h/t Americablog): "What does Macaca really mean? Three Virginia Republicans confirmed to the Hotline that several Allen campaign aides and advisers are telling allies that the word was a made-up, off-the-cuff neologism that these aides occasionally used to refer to tracker S.R. Sidarth well before last Saturday's videotaped encounter.

According to two Republicans who heard the word used, 'macaca' was a mash-up of 'Mohawk,' referring to Sidarth's distinctive hair, and 'caca,' Spanish slang for excrement, or 'shit.'

Said one Republican close to the campaign: 'In other words, he was a shit-head, an annoyance.' Allen, according to Republicans, heard members of his traveling entourage and Virginia Republicans use the phrase and picked it up.
It was the first word that came to his mind when he spied Sidarth at the weekend's event, according to Republicans who have been briefed on Allen's version of the event."

Iraqis say reality is worse that Americans believe

Tom Lasseter of McClatchy in Iraq reports: "As security conditions continue to deteriorate in Iraq, many Iraqi politicians are challenging the optimistic forecasts of governments in Baghdad and Washington, D.C., with some worrying that the rosy views are preventing the creation of effective strategies against the escalating violence.

Their worst fear, one that some U.S. soldiers share, is that top officials don't really understand what's happening. Those concerns seem to be supported by statistics that show Iraq's violence has increased steadily during the past three years.

'The American policy has failed both in terms of politics and security, but the big problem is that they will not confess or admit that,' said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of parliament.

'They are telling the American public that the situation in Iraq will be improved, they want to encourage positive public opinion (in the U.S.), but the Iraqi citizens are seeing something different. They know the real situation.'"

WaPo: Froomkin on the Bush Bubble Alive and Well

Bush Bubble Alive and Well: "The White House made a big to-do about President Bush's meeting Monday with four outside experts on Iraq. Spokesman Tony Snow held the meeting up as proof that the president is interested in -- and consistently exposed to -- different points of view, and even dissent.

But the only thing that meeting demonstrated is that true dissent is still not welcome at the White House, unless you define dissenters as anyone who doesn't agree with the president on absolutely everything.

By all independent accounts, none of the academics who were granted an audience with the president Monday criticized his fundamental approach to Iraq. At most, they suggested minor course corrections.

And none of them told him what he evidently refuses to hear: That it's not working.

I've written a fair amount about the Bush Bubble over the past nearly three years. And it seems to me that, with a tiny handful of exceptions, the bubble is still fully operational."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

PW: Starred review for new book on mainline churches

Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith
Diana Butler Bass. Harper San Francisco, $23.95 (320p) ISBN 0-06-083694-6

Most pundits will tell you that the mainline churches—Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Disciples of Christ—are in decline: it is now commonplace to assume that liberal churches are doomed and only evangelical churches are growing. Think again, says Butler Bass (The Practicing Congregation) in this challenging and hopeful book, which summarizes the findings of a three-year study funded by the Lilly Endowment. Yes, many mainline churches are struggling, but not because liberal Christianity is a contradiction in terms. Rather, the old neighborhood Methodist church has fallen on hard times because the old neighborhood has been replaced by a strip mall. And many mainline churches are thriving. Butler Bass showcases ten of them, including Redeemer UCC in New Haven, Conn., and Saint Mark (Lutheran) in Yorktown, Va. She then examines ten practices, from hospitality to worship to vigorous theological discussion, and posits that these practices are the heartbeat of vital mainline churches. Her provocative conclusions include the observations that today’s mainliners have redefined politics by favoring bottom-up acts of service over structural change. And the thriving congregations are neither red nor blue, but purple—a mix of Democrats and Republicans. This is Bass’s best book yet. (Oct.)

9/11 Book Causing Turmoil in PCUSA

Publishers Weekly has a piece on a book by a Presbyterian theologian causing some brouhaha in the ranks:

Controversy is churning within the Presbyterian Church (USA) over the publication of a 9/11-conspiracy book. The July publication of Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action by Westminster John Knox, an imprint of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, has angered some in the denomination.

The book’s author, theologian David Ray Griffin, is active in the 9/11 Truth Movement ( and asserts that the Bush Administration caused or allowed the attacks on the United States in order to justify amplifying American power through war.

HuffPo: Cracked magazine is back

Eat The Press | Cracked Is Back, With A Stella(r) Comedy Roster Led By Michael Ian Black | The Huffington Post: "After a 48-year history and a year-and-a-half long hiatus, Cracked Magazine is back, rejigged, restaffed and reimagined as a serious humor magazine, prepared by people who would know. Led by comedian/actor/editor-at-large Michael Ian Black, whose credits include The State On MTV, Stella, Wet Hot American Summer and VH1 'I Can Dryly Comment On The Events Of The '70s, '80s and '90s,' the magazine has tapped into the comedy community hard, featuring writers from The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live & Chappelle's Show (this cover alone namechecks Rob Corddry, Ed Helms, South Park's loveable Libertarians Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Bill Murray, Carlos 'Mind Of' Mencia, and Ian Black). Greatest Living Writer Ever and super-hip dad Neal Pollack."

I picked this up myself the other day and have pretty much enjoyed it. It's much more in the line of SPY or National Lampoon than the old Cracked, and I miss the comics (there are a couple of shorts though). But the tone and comedy, though uneven, wasn't bad.

C&L: Scarborough: “Is Bush An ‘Idiot’?”

Crooks and Liars - MSNBC's Scarborough: “Is Bush An ‘Idiot’?”: "Lawrence O’Donnell made an interesting statement that Bush is an easy target and probably 'the easiest ever at this point'. Fund worked his hardest to defend Bush and even resorted to saying it was the left who made these claims because 'they can not argue with his policies'.

Watch the video.

Scarborough probably had the most interesting observation when he brought up talked about old clips of when Bush was Governor of Texas and did not make anywhere near the number of mistakes that he does now and said it 'seems like he is losing confidence by the day'."

AMERICAblog: Paula Jones' case could force Cheney, Libby, and Rove to testify in Plame case

AMERICAblog: : "Sounds like Dick and Karl may be in a bit of a legal conundrum here. Either they testify or they admit that outing an undercover CIA agent was done in their official capacities as members of the Bush White House. If they admit that, doesn't that mean Bush will fire them?"

Meanwhile, in Baghdad ... - New York Times

Meanwhile, in Baghdad ... - New York Times editorial: "As everyone with a television is aware, Lebanon has just suffered through a terrible month, with more than 1,000 people killed, most of them innocent civilians. But Iraq has suffered through an even worse month. Since June, more than 3,000 Iraqis have been killed each month, and the rate continues to rise. While Lebanon is now trying to pick up the pieces, Iraq is falling apart at an accelerating pace.

As Americans debate where to go from here on Iraq, one thing should be clear. Staying the course until President Bush leaves office 29 months from now is not an option. It is no longer even clear just what course America is on. Most of what Washington now claims to be doing cannot withstand the most elementary reality test."

Bush Said to Be Frustrated by Level of Public Support in Iraq - New York Times

Bush Said to Be Frustrated by Level of Public Support in Iraq - New York Times: "President Bush made clear in a private meeting this week that he was concerned about the lack of progress in Iraq and frustrated that the new Iraqi government — and the Iraqi people — had not shown greater public support for the American mission, participants in the meeting said Tuesday.

Those who attended a Monday lunch at the Pentagon that included the president’s war cabinet and several outside experts said Mr. Bush carefully avoided expressing a clear personal view of the new prime minister of Iraq, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

But in what participants described as a telling line of questioning, Mr. Bush did ask each of the academic experts for their assessment of the prime minister’s effectiveness.

“I sensed a frustration with the lack of progress on the bigger picture of Iraq generally — that we continue to lose a lot of lives, it continues to sap our budget,” said one person who attended the meeting. “The president wants the people in Iraq to get more on board to bring success.”

Another person who attended the session said he interpreted Mr. Bush’s comments less as an expression of frustration than as uncertainty over the prospects of the new Iraqi government. “He said he really didn’t quite have a sense yet of how effective the government was,” said this person, who, like several who discussed the session, agreed to speak only anonymously because it was a private lunch.

More generally, the participants said, the president expressed frustration that Iraqis had not come to appreciate the sacrifices the United States had made in Iraq, and was puzzled as to how a recent anti-American rally in support of Hezbollah in Baghdad could draw such a large crowd. “I do think he was frustrated about why 10,000 Shiites would go into the streets and demonstrate against the United States,” said another person who attended."


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The New Yorker: Turning tide of public opinion

The New Yorker' Hendrik Hertzberg with another outstanding piece in The Talk of the Town: "In this August of 2006 a palpable, ’68-like shift in sentiment is in the steamy air. Among foreign-policy �lites and the broader public alike, it has become the preponderant conviction that George W. Bush’s war of choice in Iraq is a catastrophe.

“It is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in Iraq,” Thomas L. Friedman wrote, in the August 4th edition of the Times. “We are baby-sitting a civil war.” Friedman may not be another Walter Lippmann (just as any number of Stewarts, Olbermanns, O’Reillys, and Coopers don’t quite add up to a Cronkite), but he is the most influential foreign-affairs columnist in the country, and from the beginning he has been a critical supporter of the war. His defection is a bellwether. “The Administration now has to admit what anyone—including myself—who believed in the importance of getting Iraq right has to admit,” he wrote. “Whether for Bush reasons or Arab reasons, it is not happening, and we can’t throw more good lives after good lives.” In a Washington Post column a day earlier, the relentlessly centrist David S. Broder, citing his colleague Thomas E. Ricks’s new book, “Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq,” admitted that “the hope for victory is gone” and deplored “the answer from Bush,” which he characterized this way: “Carry on. Do not waver. And do not question the logic of prolonging the agony.”"

Read it all.

Daily Kos: George Allen speaks French and knows Macaque

Daily Kos: George Allen speaks French and knows Macaque: "According to the Washington Post story, Allen says he doesn't know what the word 'Macaca' means. He actually wants us to believe that as he pointed to a person of color and used the French word for monkey, twice, that he doesn't know what it means."

C&L: George Allen’s Macaca

Crooks and Liars has the video of George Allen’s Macaca: "Sen. George Allen has a funny way of communicating with the only non-white at an all Republican event."

C&L: Olbermann: The Nexus of Politics and Terror

Crooks and Liars has video of Olbermann: The Nexus of Politics and Terror: "Keith runs down the timeline from 2002 until the latest UK plot regarding the politicization of terror. Remember when Tom Ridge explained how the administration signaled terror alerts that he didn’t think should have been used?"

NYT: Sweeping Bush v. Gore under the rug

Has Bush v. Gore Become the Case That Must Not Be Named? - New York Times' Adam Cohen: "At a law school Supreme Court conference that I attended last fall, there was a panel on “The Rehnquist Court.” No one mentioned Bush v. Gore, the most historic case of William Rehnquist’s time as chief justice, and during the Q. and A. no one asked about it. When I asked a prominent law professor about this strange omission, he told me he had been invited to participate in another Rehnquist retrospective, and was told in advance that Bush v. Gore would not be discussed.

The ruling that stopped the Florida recount and handed the presidency to George W. Bush is disappearing down the legal world’s version of the memory hole, the slot where, in George Orwell’s “1984,” government workers disposed of politically inconvenient records. The Supreme Court has not cited it once since it was decided, and when Justice Antonin Scalia, who loves to hold forth on court precedents, was asked about it at a forum earlier this year, he snapped, “Come on, get over it.”"

Monday, August 14, 2006

Foomkin: Did Cheney Go Too Far?

Did Cheney Go Too Far? Dan Froomkin in the WaPo: "By insinuating that the sizeable majority of American voters who oppose the war in Iraq are aiding and abetting the enemy, Vice President Cheney on Wednesday may have crossed the line that separates legitimate political discourse from hysteria.

Cheney's comments came in a highly unusual conference call with reporters, part of an extensively orchestrated and largely successful Republican effort to spin the obviously anti-Bush message of Ned Lamont's victory over presidential enabler Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary.

In making the case that Lieberman's defeat was actually an enormous boost for Republicans, the customarily furtive vice president let loose not with compelling argument, but unsupported invective.

Voters who supported Lamont's antiwar campaign in the Democratic primary were giving 'the Al Qaeda types' exactly what they wanted, Cheney said. And as a result the Democratic Party, he asserted, now stands for a wholesale retreat in the broader campaign against terror.

Liz Sidoti writes for the Associated Press: 'Senate Democratic leaders on Friday accused Vice President Dick Cheney of playing politics with terrorism and contended that voters won't buy Republican arguments that the GOP is stronger on national security.

' 'They've run this play one too many times,' Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a conference call with reporters. 'The American people simply do not recognize any validity in what they're saying.' '"

Democrats See Security as Key Issue for Fall - New York Times

Democrats See Security as Key Issue for Fall - New York Times: "After being outmaneuvered in the politics of national security in the last two elections, Democrats say they are determined not to cede the issue this year and are working to cast President Bush as having diminished the nation’s safety.

“They are not Swift boating us on security,” said Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader in the House.

Seeking to counter White House efforts to turn the reported terrorist plot in Britain to Republican advantage, Democrats are using the arrests of the suspects to try to show Americans how the war in Iraq has fueled Islamic radicalism and distracted Mr. Bush and the Republican Congress from shoring up security at home. They say they intend to drive that message home as the nation observes the coming anniversaries of Hurricane Katrina and the Sept. 11 attacks.

But they are not waiting. A video Monday on the Web site of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee showed footage of Osama bin Laden, referred to an increase in terror attacks, highlighted illegal immigration and pointed out the nuclear aspirations of Iran and North Korea.

“Feel safer?” it concludes. “Vote for change.”"

Tucker vs. Springer?

Looks like an interesting lineup coming up on this season's "Dancing with the Stars" on ABC. From TV Week:

"MSNBC anchor Tucker Carlson, syndicated talk show host Jerry Springer, Super Bowl champion Emmitt Smith, actor Harry Hamlin (whose wife, Lisa Rinna, danced in the second installment of the series), 'High School Musical' star Monique Coleman, country singer Sara Evans, actress Vivica A. Fox, pop star Willa Ford, beauty queen Shannon Moakler, former teen heartthrob Joe Lawrence and former syndicated talk host Mario Lopez will be contestants on 'Dancing.'"

So we have neo-con Tucker Carlson vs. Air America progressive host Jerry Springer...sounds like fun!

C&L: Tom Ridge Blasts Cheney on Lamont Statement

Crooks and Liars has the link from Newsweek via MSNBC: "At the same time, […]Dick Cheney, darkly warned that the Connecticut primary victory of antiwar candidate Ned Lamont over Sen. Joseph Lieberman would only encourage 'Al Qaeda types.' (Interviewed by NEWSWEEK, former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge bridled at his former colleague’s remark: 'That may be the way the vice president sees it,' he said, 'but I don’t see it that way, and I don’t think most Americans see it that way.')"

AMERICAblog: NC paper blasts Cheney, Lieberman for using terror as political ammunition

AMERICAblog has this excerpt from the Fayetteville NC paper: "Something else verges on terrifying too. The reactions by some of our politicians were a chilling reminder of their willingness to use our fear to further their own agenda.

The terrorists aren’t attacking one political party. They are attacking all of us. Politicians can, and should, debate our strategy against terrorists and the course of the war in Iraq. But questioning each other’s patriotism or resolve against terrorists should be out of bounds. It is unnecessary and divisive. And it is, quite simply, a diversionary tactic. Members of both parties have repeatedly shown by their votes strong support for the war against terror.

But even as British police were arresting some of the terror plot suspects, Vice President Dick Cheney was sounding off on Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman’s primary defeat by a businessman who successfully made opposition to the Iraq war the centerpiece of his campaign. It shows “the direction the party appears to be heading,” Cheney said. “What is particularly disturbing about it is from the standpoint of our adversaries. ... They are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task.” Voting against Lieberman, he said, is encouraging “the al Qaida types.”

Sadly, Lieberman himself was unable to resist blurring the lines between the Iraq war and the war on terror. “If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England,” Lieberman said. “It will strengthen them, and they will strike again.”"

Rewriting the Geneva Conventions - New York Times

Bush wants to rewrite the Geneva Conventions so it can continue humiliating and torturing prisoners. The only problem is, it works both ways: "The Geneva Conventions protect Americans. If this country changes the rules, it’s changing the rules for Americans taken prisoner abroad. That is far too high a price to pay so this administration can hang on to its misbegotten policies."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Eavesdropping and the Election: An Answer on the Question of Timing - New York Times

Eavesdropping and the Election: An Answer on the Question of Timing - New York Times: "THE NEW YORK TIMES’S Dec. 16 article that disclosed the Bush administration’s warrantless eavesdropping has led to an important public debate about the once-secret program. And the decision to write about the program in the face of White House pressure deserved even more praise than I gave it in a January column, which focused on the paper’s inadequate explanation of why it had “delayed publication for a year.”

The article, written by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, has been honored with a Pulitzer and other journalistic prizes. But contradictory post-publication comments by Times editors and others about just how long the article was held have left me increasingly concerned about one key question: Did The Times mislead readers by stating that any delay in publication came after the Nov. 2, 2004, presidential election?

In my January column, in which I refused to rely on anonymous sources, I noted that I was left “puzzled” by the election question. But I have now learned from Bill Keller, the executive editor, that The Times delayed publication of drafts of the eavesdropping article before the 2004 election. This revelation confirms what anonymous sources had told other publications such as The Los Angeles Times and The New York Observer in December.

A number of readers critical of the Bush administration have remained particularly suspicious of the article’s assertion that the publication delay dated back only “a year” to Dec. 16, 2004. They contend that pre-election disclosure of the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping could have changed the outcome of the election.

Since the Times article appeared, I have grown increasingly intrigued by changes in the way the delay has been described in the paper and in comments by Mr. Keller. A background paragraph in a follow-up article on Dec. 31 said, “The administration first learned that The New York Times had obtained information about the secret eavesdropping program more than a year ago.” Mr. Keller also began using the “more than a year” language."

AMERICAblog: Threat was not imminent, as reported

AMERICAblog has the links and some comment: "Surprise, surprise. According to NBC, the plan wasn't as 'imminent' as first reported. And the U.S. pushed the Brits to act faster. Found this over at TPM Muckraker:

A senior British official knowledgeable about the case said British police were planning to continue to run surveillance for at least another week to try to obtain more evidence, while American officials pressured them to arrest the suspects sooner. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case.

In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports.


It's obvious that Team Bush is using this recent plot for their political agenda. They are not beyond forsaking national security for partisan politics -- something that reporters who cover Bush know is true since they've played a role in that. So, is this another case of Bush thinking about politics first?"

Last week, West Coast; now Georgia's coast in danger of becoming dead zone

From "For 20 years, a scientist near Savannah has taken weekly water samples from the same dock, giving him a composite snapshot of the estuary's health.

Pieced together, the view goes from good to fair and getting worse. Peter Verity's data tells him the estuary --- where rivers wrestle with the sea --- is in trouble.

Dissolved oxygen, the breath of life for shrimp, blue crabs, oysters and fish, is declining at an alarming rate. Within 10 years, Verity, a professor at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, predicts there won't be enough left for the sea life we love to eat. Those creatures will be replaced by jellyfish, which don't need as much dissolved oxygen and feed on the type of organisms that grow in a polluted estuary, he says."

Tucker: GOP's words against Dems point right back |

Cynthia Tucker on GOP and terrorism in the AJC: "There they go again.

Hoping for a reprise of the 2002 and 2004 elections, when they rolled over Democrats by claiming they were soft on terrorism, leading Republicans are once again portraying the invasion of Iraq as brilliant, denouncing their critics as traitors and claiming anything less than enthusiastic support for 'staying the course' is tantamount to saddling up with al-Qaida.

Recently, GOP heavyweights used the victory of anti-war political novice Ned Lamont over three-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) in last week's Democratic primary — Lieberman remains a staunch defender of the war — to portray the Democrats as a bunch of America-hating wimps. With so many Republican incumbents struggling to distance themselves from President Bush and the war, you'd think the GOP leadership would have a qualm or two about that strategy. But if you only know one tune, you sing it.

According to Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, Lieberman's loss means "defeatism and isolation are now Democratic Party orthodoxy."

Vice President Dick Cheney even suggested Lieberman's defeat might encourage "al-Qaida types," according to The New York Times.

Al-Qaida types? They've been closely watching the outcome of the contest between Lamont and Lieberman, seeking encouragement? You've got to be kidding."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

HuffPo: New Zogby Poll Reveals that Dems Nationwide Support Lamont and his Anti-War Credentials

The Blog | John Zogby: New Zogby Poll Reveals that Dems Nationwide Support Lamont and his Anti-War Credentials : "An overwhelming majority of Democrats - 79% - nationwide said they are glad that the three-term senator was defeated by Lamont, who ran a powerful anti-Iraq war campaign. They also said Lamont's victory over one of the few pro-war Democrats in Washington makes them optimistic they can win control of at least one of the two houses of Congress in November."