On the phone right now with Steve's Mom...he went back to the hospital at 1 AM Tuesday night. He felt like hell and had trouble breathing--turns out he has a bum heart valve. Surgery may take place some time next week.
Pray for our beloved Gilly, folks. This time, he's in ICU and I don't have a number for him even..I'm glad that I thought to call home when he hadn't posted, called, or emailed....
As I recover from my hospital stay, I have to admit, I'm not doing much more than sleeping, drinking juice and regaining my strength. But this SOTU was unreal.
First, there was a series of fictions about Iraq and the fact that he dragged Chalabi to the speech is truly scary. But that isn't what stood out for me. It was his call for abstinance and preventing STD's. Then he goes off on gay marriage.
Excuse me, we have other issues to work out here. Like jobs and a war in Iraq. I was just stunned by the content of the speech ans it's weirdness.
Tens of thousands of Shia Muslims have marched against coalition proposals for a transfer of power, just hours before the US sought UN backing for the plan.
US administrator Paul Bremer is having talks with UN chief Kofi Annan to try to elicit his support for its plan for an interim selected authority.
He was also seeking the return of UN staff to Iraq, after their withdrawal following bomb attacks last year.
Iraq's Shias majority want direct elections to a transitional government.
The rally in Baghdad came four days after a peaceful protest in Basra demanding direct elections.
Any sustained opposition by Iraq's Shias would cause serious problems for the US, correspondents say.
Monday's protest saw thousands upon thousands of Iraqis marching through the capital, many clasping each other's hands above their heads.
The BBC's Caroline Hawley in Baghdad says the Shias - who were repressed for decades by Saddam Hussein - fear they will be marginalised again under the US plan, which allows regional bodies created by the Americans to select a transitional parliament.
"Yes, yes to elections; no, no to selection," was one of the main rallying cries.
It doesn't matter who wins the early primaries in the US because it seems the Iraqi primaries are going to be the ones which matter. Ten miles of Shias and Sunnis marching in Baghdad. I think that's going to be a problem for Bush.
GCHQ worker Katharine Gun faces jail for exposing American corruption in the run-up to war on Saddam. Now her celebrity supporters insist it is Bush and Blair who should be in the dock. Martin Bright reports
Sunday January 18, 2004
She was an anonymous junior official toiling away with 4,500 other mathematicians, code-breakers and linguists at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham.
But now Katharine Gun, an unassuming 29-year-old translator, is set to become a transatlantic cause célèbre as the focus of a star-studded solidarity drive that brings together Hollywood actor-director Sean Penn and senior figures from the US media and civil rights movement, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Gun appears in court tomorrow accused of breaching the Official Secrets Act by allegedly leaking details of a secret US 'dirty tricks' operation to spy on UN Security Council members in the run-up to war in Iraq last year. If found guilty, she faces two years in prison. She is an unlikely heroine and those who have met her say she would have been happy to remain in the shadows, had she not seen evidence in black and white that her Government was being asked to co-operate in an illegal operation.
The leak has been described as 'more timely and potentially more important than The Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg, the celebrated whistleblower who leaked papers containing devastating details of the US involvement in Vietnam, in 1971. Ellsberg has been vocal in support of Gun. She was arrested last March, days after The Observer first published evidence of an intelligence 'surge' on UN delegations, ordered by the GCHQ's partner organisation, the National Security Agency
I have to say that you never realize how important it is to have friends until you need them. I have to thnk Jen Runne for not only keeping my spirits up, but keeping the site up and breathing while I was getiing treatment. I also have to thank Dave and Bill for their concern. As well as my parents, who despite the crappy weather and their age, visited me every day and my sister calling me from Boston. I sometimes wonder why I have been so blessed with such wonderful people in my life.
And I want to thank all the readers for their concern and support while I was flat on my back. There is no reason to read a blog from a guy who isn't writing and your collective loyalty is touching.
With that said, I want to make a larger point here.
I watched a lot of CNN and CSPAN while sick. I saw a profile on Dick Gephardt. You could not want to have a better neighbor. He is a man who's decency is manifest. I have to say I respect him now more than ever. Yet, there is no way he can beat George Bush. He is a decent man and Bush is manifestly not. Dick Gephardt is the past, a past of unions and blue collar work and sunday pot luck dinners where a decent job can send a working class kid like him to Northwestern and on to law school. But that isn't America today. And his vision of America doesn't appeal to enough people to win.
Bush would beat him like a whipped puppy. Same with John Edwards, who throws off a creepy vibe of self-actualization. He's about John Edwards and Bush would womp him as well.
John Kerry is probably the most experienced candidate running, but there is no there there. There is Kerry's manifest belief in himself and that's about it.Would he be a good president? Sure. He just wants the job too much to get it.
All these men would be better presidents than Bush, so would Jon Stewart or Chris Rock. But they have to win.
In the end you need someone who wants to fight and you've got Dean and Clark. Dean has more domestic experience, Clark is vastly more liberal.
I think Iowa works for Dean and works well for him. Because his supporters can explain why he should be the next president of the US in the open, and if Dean has anything, it's his people. They have a message and the means to deliver it convincingly. Neighbors can talk to neighbors and that is an edge for Dean, who pulls in people who wouldn't ordinarily vote Democratic or vote at all.
In other news, I was pleasantly surprised to see Juan Cole on the Newshour last week and his statements about Sistani came out clear. On TV, he comes off calm, but make no mistake, he was stating the obvious, Sistani is about to play his hand and the US is going to be quite unhappy about it. It's a far more serious situation than people admitted and that little test run protest in Basra last week was a hint of things to come.
Sistani knows who helped filled those graves with dead Shia and his name is George Bush. He has no incentive to help the son out of a jam.
Watching Ted Koeppel in Iraq was frustrating. On one hand, he saw the utter anacrchy enveloping the country and what an assclown Bremer and the Young Republicans Abroad are, yet feels that the US must stay to "protect" Iraq for years to come. Uh, no. You have real elections, US troops are gone or there's open warfare. This won't be a quisling government making these choices. It was as if he couldn't imagine we were going to lose and that Iraqis had to want us around. Reality dawns slowly for some people,
I'm back from the hospital, after a week of bad food and having blood drawn daily.
A bad drug interaction on top of a viral infection. Let's just say me and penicillin will never mix again. My face is sunburned, I had to shave off all my facial hair and my lips are now bee-stung. It ain't pretty.
But, I am back online and ready to kick ass and take names.
First, let me pass on some hospital survival tips:
One, always have someone visit you. The hospital staff notices those people with relatives vs. those without.
Two, hospitals are worlds of women. From the doctor to the orderly, you will deal with a lot of women. If you like little brunettes, go to a hospital. It makes my brain hurt to think of the possibilities.
Three, be nice. Be nice to the staff because if they hate you, your life there will suck, Hospital work is hard. Let someone else cause the problems.
Four, the food may suck, but grin and bear it.
Here's my question for the week: Is Paul O'Neill going to be proven right?
I think the pundits are wrong about Iowa. Dean will do well because his people wil make their case,Gephardt is the past.
Jen here--just got off the phone with Gilly. While he had no fever when he entered the hospital, he seems to have one now--apparently there was a kid with a cold running all over the place--and it's back to 8 zillion tests at the crack of dawn, etc.
At this rate, he expects to be out hopefully by the end of the week. Keep all the good thoughts/comments coming...
Everyone: Typing this up for Steve over the phone. In since Friday. While blogs are wonderful, hospitals are funny about letting you use laptops. He caught some kind of viral infection during the holidays, which resulted in dehydration. He's in the hospital getting rehydrated and carefully restored to health. It gives him lots of time to watch CNN, shake his head at the news, and plan on a bunch of wonderful things to say upon his return.
While normally he doesn't like open threads, please use this site as an open space until his return (which should be at some point near the end of the week).
Don't send e-cards or other stuff to his mailbox, because it'll just clog it up--he won't be gone that long, and I'm sure he'll want to recieve good wishes in person.
Thanks for your support and concern,
--SG. dictated to Jen
PS--buy t-shirts! :D Just because he's sick doesn't mean he's still not a capitalist!
Noah Schactman of Defensetech.org points out this happy little story about the lack of intelligence regarding a dirty bomb threat. Hell, if you think barely literate ex-con Jose Padilla could make one, you'll believe damn near anything.
Homeland Security officials were terrified of a potential "dirty" bomb attack over the New Year's holiday -- even though they had no intelligence suggesting such an attack.
According to the Washington Post, "the U.S. government last month dispatched scores of casually dressed nuclear scientists with sophisticated radiation detection equipment hidden in briefcases and golf bags to scour five major U.S. cities for radiological, or 'dirty,' bombs."
The attention to a potential dirty bomb, for example, resulted not from specific recent information indicating such an attack but from the belief among officials that al Qaeda is sparing no effort to try to detonate one.
The terrorism crisis began late on Dec. 19, when analysts assembled what they described as extremely specific intelligence, including electronic intercepts of al Qaeda operatives' telephone calls or e-mails. One fear was that al Qaeda would hijack and crash an overseas flight into a U.S. city or the ocean. Another was that terrorists would shoot down an airliner with a shoulder-fired missile.
U.S. officials also became concerned that a large, open-air New Year's Eve celebration might be targeted. While the perimeters of football stadiums can generally be secured, outdoor celebrations are much more vulnerable, they said.
One of the U.S. officials' main fears was of a dirty bomb, in which a conventional bomb is detonated and spews radioactive material and radiation across a small area. Security specialists say such a weapon is unlikely to cause mass casualties but could cause panic and devastate a local economy.
On the same day that Ridge raised the national threat level to orange ("high") from yellow ("elevated"), the Homeland Security Department sent out large fixed radiation detectors and hundreds of pager-size radiation monitors for use by police in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Houston, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Detroit. (emphasis mine)
A mother's enquiry about buying Microsoft Flight Simulator for her ten-year-old son prompted a night-time visit to her home from a state trooper.
Julie Olearcek, a USAF Reserve pilot made the enquiry at a Staples store in Massachusetts, home to an earlier bout of hysteria, during the Salem witch trials.
So alarmed was the Staples clerk at the prospect of the ten year old learning to fly, that he informed the police, the Greenfield Recorder reports. The authorities moved into action, leaving nothing to chance. A few days later, Olearcek was alarmed to discover a state trooper flashing a torch into to her home through a sliding glass door at 8:30 pm on a rainy night.
Atrios points out this particular bit of stupidity, but I was so stunned that I had to comment.
FS is used as a basic flight trainer in commercial flight schools and by military pilots to keep their skills up. They've had to make some alterations in the program as a result of 9/11-no more crashing into the World Trade Center-but why in God's name would the Massachusetts state police investigate the sale of a copy of FS?
It is probably the best product that Microsoft has ever produced and has grown in sophistication and quality each year. The idea that some idiot clerk could call the police on someone buying ANYTHING in freaking Staples is amazing. Violation of privacy, waste of resources, and of course, the irony that the woman is a reserve pilot woith a security clearance. Some days, you just have to wonder about people.
The only issue is if FS is too sophisticated for him, not any nepharious plot to attack America.
This is the first in a series of stories on the Bush domestic agenda. From No Child Left Behind to Medicare reform, much of Bush's domestic agenda gets a bare glance. However, not one of these programs could be called an unqualifed success, and they could be regarded as a failure.
This story ran on 60 Minutes II last night. The Houston program served as the underpinnings of No Child Left Behind. However, the program was filled with deception and fradulent numbers designed to make Bush and his political allies look good. Instead of success, you had poor, underprivledged, immigrant kids forced out of the system to make the numbers improve.
It was called the “Texas Miracle,” and you may remember it because President Bush wanted everyone to know about it during his presidential campaign.
It was about an approach to education that was showing amazing results, particularly in Houston, where dropout rates plunged and test scores soared.
Houston School Superintendent Rod Paige was given credit for the school success, by making principals and administrators accountable for how well their students did.
Once he was elected president, Mr. Bush named Paige as secretary of education. And Houston became the model for the president’s “No Child Left Behind” education reform act.
Now, as Correspondent Dan Rather reports, it turns out that some of those miraculous claims which Houston made were wrong. And it all came to light when one assistant principal took a close look at his school’s phenomenally low dropout rates – and found that they were just too good to be true.
“I was shocked. I said, ‘How can that be,’” says Robert Kimball, an assistant principal at Sharpstown High School, on Houston’s West side. His own school claimed that no students – not a single one – had dropped out in 2001-2002.
But that’s not what Kimball saw: “I had been at the high school for three years, and I had seen many, many students, several hundred a year, go out the door. And I knew that they were quitting. They told me they were quitting.”
Most of the 1,700 students at Sharpstown High are under-privileged immigrants -- prime candidates for dropping out.
One student was Jennys Franco Gomez. She dropped out of Sharpstown in 2001 for all-too-familiar reasons: she had a baby. “My baby got sick, and I don’t have nobody to take care of my baby and take it to the doctor,” she says.
The high school reported that Jennys left to get a GED, or equivalency diploma, which doesn’t count as a dropout. But Jennys says she never told school officials anything of the sort.
All in all, 463 kids left Sharpstown High School that year – for a variety of reasons. The school reported zero dropouts, but dozens of the students did just that. School officials hid that fact by classifying, or coding them as leaving for acceptable reasons: transferring to another school, or returning to their native country.
Several hundred relatives of Iraqi prisoners gathered outside Abu Ghraib prison - about 35 kilometres west of Baghdad - early in the morning to wait for their release.
Relatives waited for hours outside Abu Ghraib prison
Translators using loudspeakers told the crowd to go to a nearby town where the prisoners were to be taken by bus upon release.
Only some of the relatives believed them, says the BBC's Chris Hogg in Baghdad, while others preferred to remain within sight of the gates.
As the army trucks with up to 80 inmates left the prison at about 1600 local time (1200 GMT), scores of Iraqis jumped into waiting vehicles to follow the convoy.
A short while later, the prisoners were dropped off to be greeted and embraced by relatives.
The coalition spokesman, Dan Senor, refused either to confirm or deny that the freed inmates were the first batch out of 506 the US had said would be released in coming weeks.
"The process for releasing prisoners is under way. Approximately 100 would be ready to be released today," Mr Senor said.
"They (prisoners) are ready, but that is conditional on the guarantors - the tribal and community leaders - we are in the process of contacting them and waiting for them to step forward," the spokesman added.
This is insane. There are no lists of prisoners, no formal release of information, yet, they express shock that the families were pissed that their relatives weren't released. In many cases, the arrests were for reason known only to the soldiers who did it.
Iraq's Arsenal Was Only on Paper Since Gulf War, Nonconventional Weapons Never Got Past the Planning Stage
By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 7, 2004; Page A01
BAGHDAD -- Of all Iraq's rocket scientists, none drew warier scrutiny abroad than Modher Sadeq-Saba Tamimi.
An engineering PhD known for outsized energy and gifts, Tamimi, 47, designed and built a new short-range missile during Iraq's four-year hiatus from United Nations arms inspections. Inspectors who returned in late 2002, enforcing Security Council limits, ruled that the Al Samoud missile's range was not quite short enough. The U.N. team crushed the missiles, bulldozed them into a pit and entombed the wreckage in concrete. In one of three interviews last month, Tamimi said "it was as if they were killing my sons."
But Tamimi had other brainchildren, and these stayed secret. Concealed at some remove from his Karama Co. factory here were concept drawings and computations for a family of much more capable missiles, designed to share parts and features with the openly declared Al Samoud. The largest was meant to fly six times as far.
"This was hidden during the UNMOVIC visits," Tamimi said, referring to inspectors from the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. Over a leisurely meal of lamb and sweet tea, he sketched diagrams. "It was forbidden for us to reveal this information," he said.
Tamimi's covert work, which he recounted publicly for the first time in five hours of interviews, offers fresh perspective on the question that led the nation to war. Iraq flouted a legal duty to report the designs. The weapons they depicted, however, did not exist. After years of development -- against significant obstacles -- they might have taken form as nine-ton missiles. In March they fit in Tamimi's pocket, on two digital compact discs
By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Two Democratic senators asked the U.S. occupation authority in Iraq (news - web sites) on Wednesday to explain its intended purchase of up to 50,000 AK-47 assault rifles for Iraq security forces, when they said the country is filled with such weapons.
The September solicitation to contractors sought prices for up to 50,000 "brand new, never fired, fixed stock" weapons made in 1987 or later.
"We question whether this is an efficient use of U.S. taxpayer dollars in a country already awash with AK-47s, many of which have been confiscated by coalition forces and are sitting in stockpiles," Sens. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Ron Wyden of Oregon wrote L. Paul Bremer III, head of the U.S. governing authority.
The senators cited news reports that the captured weapons are in excellent condition, and said there would be little cost involved to distribute them to security forces
There are 5 million AK's alone in Iraq. They no more need to buy weapons than they need to import sand. This is just another example of the incompetance of the Young Republicans Abroad.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 — President Bush offered a plan today that he said would help millions of illegal immigrants working in the United States while also making the country more secure and prosperous and living up to its finest ideals.
"By tradition and conviction, our country is a welcoming society," Mr. Bush said at a special ceremony in the White House. "We welcome the talent, the character and the patriotism of immigrant families."
While Mr. Bush said again that he opposed amnesty, which he said would only encourage lawbreaking and perpetuate illegal immigration, his proposals would nonetheless effectively grant a measure of amnesty to illegal immigrants with jobs.
What Mr. Bush called "a temporary worker program" would allow foreign workers to come to United States for specific jobs with specific employers, provided that no American workers could be found to fill the jobs. It would also require the return of these temporary workers to their home countries after their work period was over.
The legal status granted by the program would last three years, and would be renewable — but it would not be permanent, Mr. Bush said.
"Participants who do not remain employed, who do not follow the rules of the program or who break the law will not be eligible for continued participation and be required to return to their home," the President said.
Bush is betting that this plan will not blow up in his face. He thinks if he can get this through Congress, by dealing with the realities of American immigration, and seem compassionate. The problem is that at a time with job and wage stagnation, this is going to play poorly with many, many voters.
And given American racism, this might well blow up on Bush.
While it's a good idea, it's going to meet a ton of resistance from a wide variety of people.
Far from not being able to "compete" with Bush, Dean is the one viable Democrat who isn't trying to compete on the playing field that Bush and Karl Rove have laid out.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Arianna Huffington
Jan. 7, 2004 | I swear, if I hear one more Democratic honcho say that Howard Dean is not electable, I'm going to do something crazy (maybe that's what happened to Britney in Vegas this weekend).
The contention is nothing short of idiotic.
Consider the source: the folks besmirching the Good Doctor's Election Day viability are the very people who have driven the Democratic Party into irrelevance. Who spearheaded the party's resounding 2002 midterm defeats. Who kinda, sorta, but not really disagreed with President Bush as he led us down the path of preemptive war with Iraq, irresponsible tax cuts, and an unprecedented deficit.
Dean is electable precisely because he's making a decisive break with the spinelessness and pussyfooting that have become the hallmark of the Democratic Party.
So, please, no more hand-wringing about Dean being "another Dukakis." And no more weepy flashbacks about having had your heart broken by George McGovern, whose 1972 annihilation haunts the 2004 Democratic primaries like a political Jacob Marley, shaking his chains and warning about the ghosts of landslides past.
There is a historical parallel to Dean's candidacy. But it's not McGovern in 1972, as the DLC paranoiacs would like us to believe -- it's Bobby Kennedy in 1968.
Like Kennedy's, Dean's campaign was initially fueled by his antiwar outrage. Like Kennedy, Dean has found himself fighting not just to represent the Democratic Party but to remake it. Like Kennedy, Dean is offering an alternative moral vision for America, not just an alternative political platform.
And like Kennedy, Dean has come under withering attack from his critics for the very attributes that his supporters find most attractive.
"He could be intemperate and impulsive ... the image of wrath -- his forefinger pointing, his fist pounding his palm, his eyes ablaze." Sean Hannity on Howard Dean? No, Theodore White on Bobby Kennedy in "The Making of the President 1968."
It's the same ludicrous charge of being "too angry" that's being constantly leveled at Dean. Have his Democratic opponents -- and the notoriously decorous Washington press corps -- suddenly morphed into Miss Manners? Personally, I could never trust a man who does not occasionally get hot under the collar.
U.S. and Iraqi officials say they now doubt that Saddam had a significant role in directing guerrilla attacks. They say that while his interrogation has led to some arrests, basic information is still lacking about the guerrilla cells that are attacking U.S. and allied troops with sophisticated tactics.
``We don't think, as some have speculated, that he was the central figure managing the entire anti-coalition operation,'' said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy director for operations in Baghdad. Still, officials believe that the former leader played some role. ``Do we fully understand where Saddam fits in? We're putting that puzzle together.''
U.S intelligence officials in Washington said Saddam has begun cooperating with U.S. interrogators, but they said he claims he was not involved in directing the resistance and denies he had links to Al-Qaida or other international terrorist groups who now appear to be joining the guerrillas.
The pace of attacks on U.S. troops weeks after Saddam's capture has shaken U.S. officials' confidence that they know who the insurgents are and has made targeting the insurgents difficult at best. Some people working with U.S. forces say many detained in the crackdown against anti-U.S. forces know little about the organization or seem to be uninvolved in the insurgency.
Even something as basic as the number of anti-U.S. fighters in Iraq is a mystery. ``We've seen varied assessments that range from 500 to 5,000 or even higher,'' Kimmitt said. ``I don't think we really have a good fix on that number.''
As for how the various cells might relate to one another, officials admit they are working on hunches as much as anything.
They still have no idea of the shape, size or organization of the enemy that they're facing. This is going to lead to some kind of disaster because only one side is fighting in the dark. And none of this has to do with the growing political split with the Kurds and the Shia, who have very different ideas on who and how Iraq should be run.
As I recover from my sinus infection and pound water, I realized exactly how flawed the now infamous Club for Growth ad truly was, and only someone who is either from New England or lived there for a while would get it.
Coffee, as a rule, is insanely popular in New England. Not in the New York, blue cup with lid kind of way, but is firmly implanted in the culture. If you drive around any New England town, you will notice one institution which must exist. One institution which even the smallest child able to speak would recognize, like McDonald's or Chuck E. Cheese.
People may not realize it now, in an era of mass marketing and corporate buyouts, but most of the "fast food" places we eat at were regional chains. Taco Bell, California, White Castle, the midwest, Sonic, the South. We don't think much about it now, but the Americanization of fast food is really the story of spreading regional tastes adapted for wider palates.
Now, this error, which you'll recognize, didn't really hit me at first. Sure, you can mock people for eating at Starbucks because the coffee is mediocre, at least to me, and while some genius in Washington may think that you can knock down Howard Dean a peg or two by depicting him as some kind of out of touch liberal. But there's a problem with that, especially in the context of New England. And why you would be very careful in using images to depict class differences.
Howard Dean, like every other New Englander, drinks his coffee from Dunkin Donuts.
There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures of Howard Dean with one of those infamous pink, orange and white cups clasped in his hand. Sure, he might have had a cup of Starbucks now and then, but at every road project, opening, school meeting, football game, tournament, and damn near anything else held between the Hudson and the Atlantic, Howard Dean's coffee of choice is Dunkin Donuts. Unless he's a coffee fiend, I bet he's got a bag or two on his kitchen counter.
There is no public event in New England, unless it's catered, where Dunkin Donuts does not lurk. If there's a bake sale, an orange and pink box is lurking.
This may seem like a minor detail, until you realize the gaffe. The CFG wants to depict Dean as Dukakis II, yet, no one in the ad company which made the ad realized why you wouldn't jump on him for drinking Starbucks. Because he's got the evidence to show him doing otherwise, in every setting imaginable. The Bush I people never tried to depict Clinton, who had a better education than Dean, in such a way because of the visual evidence against it. Gore was such a creature of Washington that they didn't need to do such a thing.
But here, this kind of ad is so easy to refute, so easy to explain away, you have to wonder if these people actually thought about it. You can believe too much of your own propaganda.
Owen Bowcott and Brian Whitaker
Tuesday January 6, 2004
Kurdish political leaders have been reassured that their region's semi-autonomous status will be allowed to continue after the handover to Iraqi self-rule on June 30.
The decision, which will infuriate neighbouring states and antagonise other Iraqis, is likely to have far-reaching consequences for any future constitutional settlement.
There have already been armed clashes in Kirkuk - with Arabs and Turkomans against Kurds - over control of the disputed, oil-rich city. Last week six people were killed.
The deal on preserving regional autonomy was reached at the weekend at a meeting in the Kurdish city of Irbil, when the American administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, and his British deputy, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, met Jalal Talabani, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and Massoud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic party (KDP). The latter group is determined to extend its control beyond what were once the "safe havens" to the whole of the predominantly Kurdish north, including Kirkuk.
Allowing the Kurds to retain regional government is tacit recognition that the coalition has neither the time nor resources to dismantle the existing Kurdish parliament and administrations if they are to meet the June deadline. Those bodies date back to the end of the 1991 Gulf war, surviving outside of Saddam Hussein's rule under allied protection.
The British and Americans formally maintain that whether or not Iraq becomes a federal state, with semi-autonomous regions or simply local governorates, is up to the Iraqis
The Kurds are not being shy about forcing their hand with weapons. Every Iraqi government since the British victory in 1918 has had problems with the Kurds and their demand for territorial independence. The two major Kurdish parties want a Scotland-type set up with a Northern Ireland-type population.
The Turkomen feel that they have a right to control the region as well as the Kurds, while the Kurds want to kick out the Arabs. All of this, independent of the current insurrection in Central Iraq.
If the Kurds get what they want, the Turks may well invade because they fear an independent Kurdistan. If they don't, they may well wage an ethnic war. None of this is going to bode well for an already overstretched US military in Iraq.
Jewish advocacy groups led an avalanche of sharp criticism yesterday against two potential television ads that compare President Bush to Adolf Hitler and were posted on a Web site run by MoveOn.org.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress said the ads were beyond the pale of political discussion. Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, called them "hate-mongering."
"Certainly myself, as an American and as a Jew, I'm disgusted by the casual use of Hitler by liberal Democrats and groups such as MoveOn.org," said Mr. Cantor, the House chief deputy majority whip.
"To compare any American president, much less George W. Bush, to Adolf Hitler, cheapens the sacrifice of millions of lives that have been lost by this country over its history and really denigrates the efforts by the American military," Mr. Cantor said.
The two 30-second ads were submitted as part of a contest MoveOn.org sponsored. The organization invited submissions of spots criticizing Mr. Bush's record. Two of the submissions compared Mr. Bush to the Nazi dictator of Germany, whose regime killed 6 million Jews during World War II.
One ad used computer effects to morph a picture of Hitler into one of Mr. Bush.
Now, if RNC Chair Ed Gillespie wants to waste time critizing Move On, that's his right, but he should know they lose nothing if they target him back.
It's obviously idiotic to compare Bush to Hitler, much less in political advertising. I'd say he's closer to Stalin myself, but either one is way over the top. However, how politically effective is it to make a stink about a well-funded but small group of people who are not a part of the Democratic Party or it's organs? If they can get a rise from ads, they are going to drive the RNC nuts this year.
And the campaigns and the party can just say, "we don't control them and we don't agree with that statement. Complain to them."
By Ralph Z. Hallow
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
A conservative advocacy group will begin running a TV ad in Iowa against Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, in a move questioned by some of President Bush's supporters.
The Club for Growth Political Action Committee said the 30-second spot against the former Vermont governor will begin running in Des Moines today — two weeks before the Iowa Democratic caucuses.
In the ad, a farmer says he thinks that "Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading ..." before the farmer's wife then finishes the sentence: "... Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont, where it belongs."
The anti-Dean ads puzzled some of Mr. Bush's strategists and supporters, who see Mr. Dean as the most beatable of the major Democratic hopefuls.
"The prevailing wisdom is that Bush can beat Dean hands down," said longtime Republican consultant Rod Smith. "So why would the Club for Growth or anyone else on our side be attacking him now? That doesn't make any sense to me at all."
First of all, this is a just a dumb fucking ad, as Kos so kindly points out. Because Howard Dean made his living treating uh, farmers and their families, for a couple of decades. These so misunderstand Vermont it's insane. But the conventional wisdom in DC ain't much better.
I hope that the GOP thinks Bush can beat Dean hands down. I really do. These are the same people who thought Iraq would want Ahmed Chalabi in charge after Saddam Husssein.
OK, the postings here have been less than energetic lately because I managed to get a sinus infection while visiting family. Let's just say I'm really happy the holidays were over. Some people's holidays are It's a Wonderful Life, some get Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, I got the Battle of the Bulge. Cold, sick and not much fun.
Anyway, I normally don't complain about my minor illnesses online because we all have them. But a sinus infection really sucks because it's like a cold in that you can't sleep, but not like a cold because you can function. You just feel like shit. after all, going to a doctor's office on a Monday in January means you feel bad enough to share space with wheezing sickos worse off than you. As I grow older, I have learned the wisdom of seeing the doctor when I feel like crap for more than a few days. My doctor's diagnosis: sinusitis, take antibiotics and Claritin and come back in a week. I also haven't had a decent meal since Christmas, so I dropped like 15 pounds in a few weeks. And by decent, I mean with all four food groups. Last night's dinner was an orange and some cookies and I was full.
In being prompted by my friend to actually see someone with a medical degree, we got around to the topic of pea soup. Now, I love pea soup, more than most things. I mean, the stuff in the can is ok, but there's a coffee shop in New York called Cozy's Soup & Burger. Anyone who's worked around 8th and Astor Place or attended NYU or Cooper Union knows the place well. It's hardly gourmet food, but they make split pea soup with croutons.
This is the best split pea soup I've had in public.
I first tried it 20 years ago, prompted by a college newspaper buddy friend of mine. Shit, the only time previously that I had had split pea, it was in a can and it looked like vomit.
Well, the look was the same, but the taste was divine. It was an otherworldly taste of peas, pork and savory flavors. We would then eat this stuff all the time.
Every so often, like the swallows to Capistrano, I'll get a hankering for Cozy Split Pea soup.
The power of this soup is amazing. Every year, some drunken frat boys or hungry student trips over split pea and becomes a convert.
Only one time have I been disuaded from the split pea soup. One time in 20 years.
Well, the person who managed that feat has made up for that gross breach of personal habit by making her own split pea soup. I can only await the day I actually have this split pea soup. She has a recipe of course and of all the things anyone could make for me, or with me, this ranks as close to perfection as I can imagine.
Yes, I know people make freaking split pea soup, but to have it at hand....this could be very good. This could be like having your very own single malt distillery, right next to your own brewery.
And since she lives very close to a couple of bakeries, I can make my own croutons.
You have no idea how that appeals to me. Croutons, maybe a nice grilled cheese sandwich and split pea soup in the dead of winter. Hell, it doesn't get much better than that.
NEW HAMPTON, Iowa, Jan. 5 â€” Former Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey will endorse Howard Dean at a breakfast in New Hampshire on Tuesday, the Dean campaign said today, adding to a growing list of marquee Democrats backing his bid for the party's 2004 presidential nomination.
Dr. Dean, the insurgent turned front-runner, will interrupt four days of intense campaigning in this first caucus state for a surprise overnight trip to New Hampshire, according to a late change in his schedule. After the breakfast in Manchester, Mr. Bradley is expected to accompany Dr. Dean on his return to Iowa to echo the announcement, according to officials of the Dean campaign and other Democrats familiar with the plan.
The coming endorsement was first reported this morning on the Web site of the Boston Globe.
"I cannot confirm or deny," Dr. Dean, a former governor of Vermont, said with a grin today when asked about the report at Tom's Restaurant, a diner where he had breakfast with local Democratic leaders here. "I can't talk about this."
"How about, how about," he continued, stopping himself when his press secretary poked his head through the crowd of reporters. "No, I can't talk about this. We'll talk about this at the next stop. Maybe. I can't say anything about this right now because, I just can't. It's not fair."
With an endorsement, Senator Bradley will join his former rival for the 2000 Democratic presidential nomination, Vice President Al Gore, in backing Dr. Dean, who has spent most of the 2004 campaign bashing Washington politicians, but has nonetheless begun to collect their support in greater numbers.
So, as yet another respected Democrat backs Dean, what will Joe Lieberman say now? Bradley should have called him? Yeesh.
But if Limbaugh has delighted in swinging the sword at others, he cringes and whimpers when the sharp edge points in his own direction. Now under investigation for possible crimes related to his longtime addiction to prescription drugs, the talk-radio king refuses to accept the consequences of his own behavior. Instead, he claims victimhood at the hands of some vast left-wing conspiracy.
"I'm not whining about it," he recently told his radio audience, before proceeding to do just that:
"My friends, it is, and has been, obvious to me for the longest time that all these leaks were an attempt to try me in the court of public opinion. The Democrats in this country still cannot defeat me in the arena of political ideas, and so now they are trying to do so in the court of public opinion and the legal system."
Limbaugh's attorney, Roy Black, has taken the same tack, arguing in court last month that his client is the innocent victim of discrimination. "This investigation is political," Black complained to a Florida judge, although he offered no evidence.
At this point, prosecutors have seized Limbaugh's medical records from four doctors to try to determine whether he illegally went from doctor to doctor to get enough drugs to satisfy his habit. On his radio show and in court, Limbaugh has complained bitterly that the seizure violates his right to privacy, in particular regarding medical matters. But Limbaugh seeks a protection that he would deny to others.
Britney Spears realized she'd made a terrible mistake in drunkenly marrying a pal just hours after the 5am ceremony on Saturday, tearily wailing, "Oh my God, what have I done?"
The 22-year-old pop star shocked the world when it emerged yesterday she had wed childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander on a whim during a boozy New Years visit to Las Vegas - and Spears quickly took full blame for the affair.
She reportedly said hours after the ceremony at Little White Wedding Chapel, which she attended in a baseball cap and torn jeans, "I am so sorry. This was such a stupid idea," as she fell into Alexander's arms.
A source tells Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper the groom was similarly repentant, "Jason kept saying, 'I'm sorry, I got drunk.' There was nothing else he could say
See what happens when you get drunk near a wedding chappel? There should be a law against drunk weddings.
Sunday 04 January 2004, 21:49 Makka Time, 18:49 GMT
Unwanted: Israeli lawmaker says Palestinians should be expelled
A member of the Israeli parliament has proposed “massive ethnic cleansing” of non-Jews in Palestine-Israel as a “final solution” of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Uzi Cohen, a member of Ariel Sharon’s right-wing Likud party and a deputy in the Knesset, told Israeli public radio on Sunday there was widespread support in Israel for “the idea of ethnic cleansing”.
“Many people support the idea but few are willing to speak about it publicly.”
Cohen, an influential figure in Likud, proposed that Israel, the United States, the European Union as well as oil-rich Arab states make concerted efforts to create a Palestinian state in northern Jordan.
He suggested the Hashimi royal family in Amman “might view favorably this idea”.
Cohen, who is also deputy mayor of the town of Raanana, said Palestinians should be given 20 years to “leave voluntarily”.
“In case they don’t leave, plans would have to be drawn up to expel them by force
If not, there are these unused factories in Western Poland which could be used to create that final solution.
When will people grow up?
The Arab world would blow up the oil and watch the West collapse before there is a Palestinian-frei West Bank. Israel's population is too small to force a demographic change. There is only one solution and it's not Treblinka II. It's called living together. They have to trust each other, kill the extremists and live together.
If some idiot Likudnik is so ahistorical and so delusional about Israel's power he wants to suggest some solution out of the mind of Reinhard Hydrich, fine. But it isn't going to happen and serious adults would know that.
Melanie points out a post from seeing the forest about this article, who's author was kind enough to point out the writers right-wing links.
History is not repeated, but it is a guide. Many historians believe Lee made his attack at Cemetery Ridge believing that the Union Army would break, as they had so many times before. But Lee, lacking his right arm, Stonewall Jackson, had not realized the war, and the Union Army had changed. The Union was on defense, the stand of the 20th Maine, as forlorn a hope as anything ever fought, should have been the hint. But the next day, up came 15,000 Virginians from Pickett's division, and they came close, but close wasn't enough. The defenders that day were Pennslyvanians and New Yorkers who had been massacred at Fredricksburg. Behind that ridge wasn't just more Southern farmland, but their homes. Their commander, George Meade, was a Pennslyanian. No one was retreating that day, because this fight was on their ground and they knew the stakes.
Only after Pickett's men lay dying across a mile of Pennsylvania farmland, the attack broken, did Lee realize the folly of his assumption. He told his men "it is all my fault" and many believed he had a heart attack. Pickett never forgave him, Longstreet remained guilty and heartbroken for life, but at the end of the day, they overestimated their skill and the determination of their enemy.
NEW YORK, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- If John McCain called his 2000 presidential campaign the "Straight Talk Express," then Howard Dean should be coining his the "Straight-Off-A-Cliff Express."
At this time last year, if any pundit would have said that he had Dean pegged to win the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nomination, he would have been well-advised to have his head examined. What a difference a year makes! Dean's success amongst Democrats can be largely attributed to the fact that he has been able to galvanize and energize certain factions of the Democratic Party: namely the "new age hippies" and those who are seriously desperate for either a date or a party.
I don't think pros believe this. This is crap they spoon out to the masses. I think the pros know the Dean operation is professional. This might describe the Kucinich people or the Clark people, but Dean? Not in anything I've seen. But if they want to believe it, hell, let's sell them t-shirts and tye-dye them.
Dean has used the Internet to sign up supporters for "meet-ups" in their area. Essentially, it's a revamping of the "political love-in" from the '60s, where pot-smoking hippies would use politics as a guise for picking up dates. Now, Dean -- having "liberated" the gays of the state of Vermont by legislating civil unions, much in the same way he might imagine that Lincoln "liberated" the slaves -- is out to "free" every sex-starved, party-deprived Democrat and give them what they really want: a good time.
Maybe it's me, but if I were going for a drink, Howard Dean is not the guy I would choose. He seems like a Ivy-League educated doctor. Now, if I wanted to bullshit with someone, I'd go out with John Edwards, maybe tailgate with the guy. But it's kind of hard to depict an internist who worked in rural Vermont as a hang-out, party guy. The Dean workers seem like the kind of kids and their parents you see at Tufts or Swathmore or Oberlin or Colgate. Not the super serious "I went to Harvard" types you bump into, but the kind of people who take their history and politics degrees seriously and want to join the Peace Corps or Foreign Service. They don't think they're chosen to save the world, but they wouldn't mind taking a shot at it if asked.
On Dec. 28, Dean's campaign manager, Joe Trippi, sent out a mass mailing to every poor sap who happened to give the "Dean for America" folks his or her e-mail address: "We need to raise $1.5 million before midnight on December 31 so we can win Iowa. With just four days left to go, we're $1.2 million short. Please take action right now, because these are the most critical days our campaign has ever faced."
The writer describes this as desperate, but in reality, campaigns do this all the time. And the Dean homestead remains unmortgaged. That's desperate and it's silly. But like I said, if you want to believe it, believe it.
............" Perhaps a "get off your arses, you lazy hippies" would have been more effective?
Considering the staggering amounts of money raised by the Dean campaign so far, lazy hippies is not the word I would use. Nor would any professional. Money speaks volumes and the Dean money scoops it up like the 700 Club, but with lower overhead. It sends the fear of Jesus into Karl Rove and anyone who says it doesn't, is going to be lying like a rug.
That brings me to yet another Dean downfall. Man, is this guy ever angry. I mean, seriously agitated. .................
Dean rants and raves and flings and flails so much during debates, events and appearances that I honestly don't know how anyone could picture this guy in the Oval Office, within an arm-fling's distance of the Big Red Button.
Ah, the theme of the angry lefty, railing against everything. Of course, he looks like a doctor, so this mental image falls flat in reality. Dean has no corner on anger, let's see what happens when Bush gets wound up? It's not a pretty sight by any means. The pros know Dean may get angry, but it's a controlled anger, not like the drunken rages of Bush caused by a lifetime of failure.
Dean seems to have cornered the market on anti-war supporters -- the same ones who boo George W. Bush's and Ronald Reagan's names on liberal college campuses, yet cheer dictators like Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro. If you wish Saddam Hussein was still in power, then Dean is your man.
Really? I thought that was Kucinich. But the trick here is to remember, we were not asked to overthrow Saddam because he was a bads guy, but because he was a direct, immediate threat to his neighbors.
Articles like this, with oppo supplied facts, surely you don't think this wound up in Moonie-owned UPI for no reason, or with original research, need to be answered for point by point.
Which we'll do next.:)
But if the GOP wants to run on this, against the sober, WASP Howard Dean, let them. I hope they keep Bush away from the TV on election night if they do.
Dennis Kucinich is closest to what needs to be done. We need to leave Iraq. The only problem with his plan is that no one will replace us. The Iraqi resistance has made it clear, they have scant respect for the UN. Any post-war security force will have to be agreed upon by the new Islamic government in Baghdad. Yet, there is a blind refusal to understand that at the end of the day, the only force able to impose any sort of national power is Shia. The only question is if the Sunni clerics will make peace or continue their insurgency.
There is this pretense, and it is only pretense, that we can create some ad hoc force, withdraw to the boonies and still play the leading role in reconstructing the country. There is no ad hoc force, only the sullen and increasingly anti-American police, an army which wouldn't make up a weak battalion. There is the US Army and the guerrillas and the relatively tiny party militias. The party militias are widely distrusted because of their partisan nature.
Any freely elected government in Iraq will demand a withdrawal of US forces as a matter of course. Only a government of chosen puppets would agree to a long term occupation. And that is a government which will face dramatic internal opposition.
From the first day of the occupation on, the CPA has acted as if Iraq was a collection of mud huts and donkey carts, not a sophisticated society with developed internal structures. Just setting up in Saddam's palace instead of one of many office buildings, indicated the neo-colonial cast of our plans. The entire reconstruction effort in Iraq hangs on battalion commanders, all of whom are going home this spring. All their deals will be up in the air. The civilians, they should be supporting, are sitting in Baghdad, chasing each other. There is no continuity of effort or planning possible when each company is running their own reconstruction projects.
New units will have new approaches and that will take time and effort to replace. If they can be replaced at all. This istuation should not exist at all. The CPA should have been directing these projects, but the sahibs of Young Republicans abroad only want to play colonial officer, they don't actually want to do the work. It is far easier to push paper than actually build something. The CPA wants to manage when they should have led.
It all hangs on what Sistani will accept. If it is nothing less than one man, one vote, our colonial adventure will end fairly soon.
No one is coming to save us, no one is going back our policy in Iraq. They can only watch it end in the disaster which appears so close at hand.
It seems Big Media Matt and Atrios are kicking around rent control and not understanding the underlying issues.
Unlike them, I actually covered New York Real Estate and understand the issues fairly well. While they both argue that zoning plays a role in the way housing is restricted, they're missing some fundamental points. First of all, New York is space limited. New York City has a defined space and cannot grow. So there will always be a premuim to live within the city's boundaries. So, it doesn't matter how high you build, and there are outer borough buildings well over 20 stories, but where you build.
Second, rent control isn't for the poor. New York City has a large and well-mainted public housing stock, as well as housing for the poor. Not enough, but rent regulations do not largely concern the truly poor. Rent regulation provides for the stabilization of working and middle class neighborhoods. What is does is keep the middle class in the city.
New York's rent regulations cover rent control, which is an absolute minority of apartments, and rent stablizitation, which covers nearly 1m apartments. Stablization exists because there is a vacancy rate of less than 5 percent. All builders have to do is biuld enough buildings and the law ends. They don't do that because of the tax advantages. They get a significant tax break for running a stablilized building. There is a political choice here, one which encourages long-term residence over market rates. Many New York neighborhoods have grown, indifferent to rent regulations.
Part of the problem is that landlords tend to be bad businessmen in that they choose short term, immiedate profit, over long-term, stable profit. The last time rent control laws were threatened, landlords were planning to raise rents by hundreds of dollars. What happens then is simple: the middle class moves away. Social stability is not a small goal in urban areas, without it, comes crime.
There are rent controls all around New York City for the same reasons, to stablize neighborhoods. New York City's ethnic balance exists largely because of these laws. Instead of abandoning the city for the suburbs, neighborhoods have been revived, liked Central Harlem.
Anyone who thinks lifting rent controls will help the poor need only look to Boston, where the removals of rent controls have exploded rents and harmed the poor and especially the middle class. People were faced with moving farther away from downtown, the handicapped were finding it impossible to rent places. While landlords made money, they didn't really gain a new pool of tenants and drove away those who might have rented at stablized rates. The idea that rents will go down if there is no rent control is a comical. Landlords will let buildings go unrented before taking lower rents.
Also, let's not forget we're not talking about Detroit. New York will always demand a premium rent for some people. But the idea that rent laws limit space don't really affect the real situation in New York. In my experience, landlords lie about their numbers, and tenants violate their leases. But overall, without rent stabilization, you'd create Rio, a beautiful downtown Manhattan and miles of slums as the middle class fled.
Atrios points out this anti-semitic column by Cal Thomas:
Dean is from a Congregationalist background, a liberal denomination that does not believe in ministerial authority or church hierarchy. Each Congregationalist believes he is in direct contact with God and is entitled to sort out truth for himself.
Dean's wife is Jewish and his two children are being raised Jewish, which is strange at best, considering that the two faiths take a distinctly different view of Jesus.
What exactly does Dean believe about Jesus, and how is it relevant to his presidential candidacy?
So, am I to understand that it's wrong for his kids to be Jews, or for Dean to have ideas about Jesus. Either way, when this topic comes up, the only suitable answer is : you hate Jews. No subtlety, no trying to discuss it with nuance. If you question the fact that his kids were raised Jewish in any way, you're an anti-semite.
It doesn't matter what Dean believes about Jesus. Nor Bush, despite what he tells us. What should be completely ireelevant is the idea that it matters what faith Dean's kids are.
The spokesman for CENTCOM made this aside today at a press coneference
MR. SENOR: Sure. It's an issue that we are monitoring. However, early indications are that it is an isolated incident.
We have been struck by the limited number of internecine, regional or interethnic attacks since liberation. There has been a general sense of unity in this country, very few of the sorts of attacks that you're characterizing as sort of Kurdish versus Arab or Kurdish versus Turkmen.
Certainly when you think about it in terms of -- in historical comparisons, in France, for instance, following the Second World War, there was 100,000 acts -- individual acts of retribution, French against collaborators, what they regarded as collaborators. In Italy, in the fall of Mussolini, you had approximately 20,000 individual acts of retribution by Italians against their fascist co-citizens.
So certainly by historical standards, we've seen nominal numbers in Iraq. And this development you're pointing to we really think is just that -- nominal, just an exception, not part of a larger trend. But we will monitor it.
Once again, we have someone totally abusing history for their own purposes.
In both Italy and France, these were not just random killings by mobs or people with a grudge. Americans trained the resistance, armed them, made them the law of the land. The fascists were armed and trained into various units. And while there may have been some grudges settled, what was truly going on was a civil war. To compare Iraq to the aftermath of France and Italy in WWII beggers the imagination.
First of all, both countries had sizable armies fighting with the allies along with a government in exile. It wasn't just people dealing out private justice. Second, most of the retribution fell short of shots in the back. Most women had their heads shaved and most collabortators were jailed. Even Mussolini's execution was an executive decision, and not the act of a mob.
At every point along the way, resistance leaders tried to prevent individual revenge with the semblence of justice. No society could survive widespread vengence taking, no matter how justified. This is part of the reason DeGaulle forced all the resistance into the Army in September, 1944. He didn't want unemployed young toughs handing out street justice. The worse collaborators were shuffled into court, tried, and often executed.
What is happening in Iraq is the absence of justice. Since there is no place for people to make complaints. it's time for revenge. We've had eight months to jail the worst local thugs and instead, we're recrituing them for death squads. So yes, we're seeing revenge killings and once again Young Republicans Abroad tries to deny, obfuscate and abuse history to their own ends.
Revenge killing are the spirial which leads to civil war, not some kind of rough-post war justice.
Everytime Dean opens his mouth, the media is looking for a mistake to come from it.
I figure let's get the absolute worst things which he could say, collect them in one place and see what they look like. Now, you might like to see him say some of these things, but that's not the way American politics works.
Dean: Abortion? I ripped them out with my teeth
Dean: Jews? Into the sea with them, the real capital of Palestine is Tel Aviv
Dean defends boy love shack in woods:"they were over 18, ok."
Dean: I fucked the Bush twins and here's the photos
Dean: so my wife is an animal-sacrificing pagan, who's isn't?
Dean: everyone runs a pornography studio in their garage.
Dean: Sodomy? Make it mandatory
Dean: why not bring back slavery, it's working for Wal-Mart
Dean: Bill Clinton's only crime is that it was that he was caught with Monica Lewinsky and not Sharon Stone
Dean: so did shooting those Vietnamese kids make you feel like a man, John? Or was that before you turned against random killing for other people?
Dean: so Joe, when you found you were the only pious Jew in America, did it make that divorce any harder?
Dean: Wes, how come you were never fragged. From the way Hugh Shelton talks about you, he wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire.
Dean: Al? What the fuck do you do for a living besides annoy white people?
Dean: Dennis, it must have been a hard switch from race-baiting mayor to hippie vegan? Who did you fuck to do that? And what planet did you meet them on.
Dean:Ralph, you take it up the ass, right? Come on, you can admit it, destroyer of marriages.
Dean: Carol? How come you and your boyfriend aren't in jail, no seriously? Is it because Oprah likes you?
Dean: so how does Tom Delay's dick taste, Dick? Is it chemically from all the pesticides? I mean, you must have been blowing him or something from all the shit you took. B-A-C-K-B-O-N-E. Look, I know you didn't go to Oxford or Yale, but surely they taught you spelling. You do know what that spells? I know you don't have one, so it might elude you.
Dean: look, all you conservatives know you hate abortion until the baby is black. You know damn well, little Missy isn't bringing any octaroon into your home.
Dean: You know, David Brooks isn't really all that stupid. It's just that he's compared to Paul Krugman every day. Kinda like comparing Woody Allen to Shaquille O'Neil, isn't it?
Dean: You have to wonder if sniffing chemicals makes you both short, and stupid, because it seems to have worked wonders for Tom DeLay.
Dean: Democratic Losers Council. Come on, Al From and Bruce Reed have won zero elective offices. Getting electoral advice from them is like getting advice on women from a priest.
Dean: It must suck to be Tom Daschle and know Nancy Pelosi has more balls than you
Dean: Jesus/Satan. two sides of the same coin.
Dean: What's all this nonsense about invisible sky friends?
Dean: Sleep with men, sleep with women. Makes no difference to me
Dean: Everyone should have a sex tape to sell on the internet: I do
Dean: So Karl, which one of your parents ran Treblinka again?
Dean: I love George W. Bush. Only in a America could a man squander a Yale education, drink like a fish for 20 years and wind up President
Dean: So what's it like being Dick Cheney's bitch?
Dean: You're fucking Condi on the side, right George? We all know your dad had a piece. Laura's really one of those closet Texas dykes and you're gettin' some brown sugar, right?
Dean: you know, Condi would have buy an upgrade to incompetent, right?
Dean: So, how do you spell pretzel again? J-A-C-K-D-A-N-I-E-L-S?
Dean: Ok, so we both went to Yale. But how you everything you did was so gay? Jerking off for those Skull and Bones guys? Did the DKe's really make you fuck a goat?
Dean: So which one is the slut, and which one is the drunk? I always get them confused.
Dean: You do know Rumsfeld is batshit crazy, right? Here's a DVD, it's called Dr. Strangelove. No it's not about your time as a DKE.
Dean: It's odd, Laura doesn't look like she has a penis
Dean: No, National Security Advisor is not the name for the woman who tucks you in at night.
Neil Bush makes one-day profit over $170,000
President's brother exercised stock options in firm he advised
Friday, January 2, 2004 Posted: 5:32 PM EST (2232 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's brother Neil made at least $798,218 on three stock trades in a small U.S. high-tech company where he had been a consultant, according to his tax returns, including $171,370 buying and selling the company's shares in a single day.
Neil Bush's big paydays in the stock of Kopin Corp. of Taunton, Massachusetts, included the July 19, 1999, purchase and quick sale of stock as the company announced good news about a new Asian client that sent its stock value soaring.
Bush said he did not have any inside information from Kopin, and simply acted on a recommendation from his financial adviser.
"Any increase in the price of the stock on that day was purely coincidental, meaning that I did not have any improper information," Bush said in e-mails to The Associated Press. "My timing on this transaction was very fortunate."
The AP obtained Bush's tax returns for the years 1997 through 2001 from a source familiar with his finances.
Bush noted that he lost $287,722 on Kopin stock after the market in high-tech stocks crashed.
Unlike the ordinary investor who buys at the market price, however, Bush benefited from the fact that his stock purchase costs in some cases were minimal because he got a bargain, paying $13 a share when he exercised stock options that were part of his consulting compensation from Kopin. The company's stock price was selling for many times that amount during much of the time Bush was trading. The company granted him 20,000 stock options.
So, when Hillary Clinton made $10K on cattle futures, it was some hidden payoff. Here we have Neil, who has mystery whores sleep with him, makes deal with the Chinese government and engages in a nasty divorce, and there are no outraged columns from MoDo, no carping from Tweety and the rest of the guilty Washington Catholic set.
Yet, all they write about is how Howard Dean is "negative".
Uh, the President's brother is a Chinese agent, in deed if not name and no one seems concerned. Oddly enough, no calls of treason, no Regnery books on how Neil Bush is betraying America with his deals. Nope. Not a word.
After seven years of non-stop broadcast, the webcams that relayed every intimate detail of Jennifer Ringley's life have been switched off.
For her fans, there will be no more viewings of Ms Ringley slumped in front of the TV, doting on her countless pets, idly plaiting her hair, pottering around her house or sauntering naked between rooms.
For a brief spell in the late 90s, Jennicam was the most talked about site on the embryonic internet.
Paypal didn't want to process money for you to see her fuck any more.
Kos has been kicking around TNR this week, but I want to make a point: who says TNR is liberal?
As I remember it, famed "liberal" Andy Sullivan couldn't wait to debate the Bell Curve. While everyone, of couse, denounced this work of eugencist nonsense, I don't remember seeing Commentary debate Mein Kampf as an idea. Basically, Charles Murray's racialist theories came down to blacks have bigger penises and are stupider than Asians and whites fall in the middle. For this, the kind of twaddle that any half-wit Nazi from the woods of Michigan, one of the nation's leading magazines of opinion was dedicated.
The fact is that the TNR staff exploded in rage and demanded that the magazine's coverage change. This is hardly shocking, given Sullivan's own racial fetish issues, but the idea that this was a legitimate debate is humorous to say the least.
TNR then coddled the race baiter and plagerist Ruth Shalit, who devoted considerabel effort in trying to embarass the Washington Post for their hiring record. Of course, the number of actual negroes working at TNR could be counted in single numbers.
So, exactly how did TNR become defined as a liberal voice? They've had a subtle racist agenda for years and no one seems to notice. Their ethical standards are also comical. This is, remember, the magazine which hired both Ruth Shalit and then Stephen Glass, while railing against affirmative action.
Just because they aren't burning churches or taking about establishing a white homeland doesn't mean that they have any sort of liberal voice. Their editors have been anti-black for over a decade and now people are wondering if they're liberal now? They may not have much truck for the conservatism popular in DC these days, but these folks don't share much in common with real liberals.
In 2003, the media clubhouse doors flew open. And the kids outside—the people who don’t rate Julian Niccolini’s lunchtime seating chart at the Four Seasons, who don’t spend their evenings at the Explorers Club—didn’t like what they found.
They saw the top editors of the most important news organization in the world undone by hubris and the lame fabrications of an ambitious young reporter. They saw magazine executives under oath in a celebrity trial copping to fraudulent circulation figures. And what’s this? A onetime "It" girl turned tabloid matron says nuthin’ while one of her publications runs the name and photo of a woman alleging rape.
But it was a moment—even if it was the moment that made 2003 one of the business’ only serious occasions for introspection in years. By December, those clubhouse doors were slammed shut again. While Jayson Blair made us question our integrity as news organizations in summer, by fall we barely blinked at a lengthy editor’s note about Los Angeles reporter Charlie LeDuff’s account of his Los Angeles River adventure—and its debt to a book by Blake Gumprecht published four years before.
Perhaps it’s all best summed up thusly: A year that began for newspapers with preparation for war in Iraq ended with a war over the soul of New York magazine—waged in true Trollopean fashion largely at cocktail parties and over lunch at Michael’s, but won in whispered weekend conferences at a frequency inaudible to Manhattan’s media-obsessed masses, who dropped their Merlot en masse over a recent Tuesday lunch hour when word spread of billionaire Bruce Wasserstein’s coup.
There were losses: former Atlantic Monthly editor Michael Kelly in Iraq. Paris Review editor George Plimpton in New York. Wall Street Journal Hollywood reporter Tom King and GQ editor Art Cooper. The weight of their absence can’t be measured by any instrument we here at Off the Record, in a year-end roundup, possess. It’s perhaps embarrassing in the shadow of their departures to find ourselves on the cusp of 2004, still watching while the media—or the people at the media’s center—continue to pry and claw at each other with the ferocity of unfed dogs.
But that’s the spirit of neurotic introspection laced with attention to absurd spectacle that keeps you coming back. And it’s in that spirit that we unapologetically bring you the 2003 Year in Media Awards, otherwise known as the "Pappu-litzers" (pace all you folks at Columbia University’s journalism school and Dean Nicholas Lemann).
A note to the winners: The $5,000 we asked from our big-cheese editor to give an awards luncheon at the Subway sandwich shop on Lexington Avenue and 57th Street got lost in the mailroom. In 2004, we’ll make up for it with some pear salad and sole and maybe a handful of those little cookies.
Kos had a couple of pieces about the New Republic over the last couple of days, and in passing he mentions the owners of the New Republic and New York Sun:
The answer may be best expressed not by Hertog, Steinhardt, or Peretz, but by Seth Lipsky, editor of the Sun and a man whose decade-long dream of starting a new New York daily is finally coming to fruition. "The right wing of the Democratic Party," Lipsky told me recently, "is a depressed stock." Interesting that it took a journalist to produce the apposite business metaphor. And though the reference to party label shouldn't be taken too literally, Lipsky is describing both the certain ideological niche of the Sun and a likely trajectory of the Hertog-Steinhardt New Republic with some precision. It's exactly on the right-most edge of the Democratic cliff -- where the DLC begins to morph into, say, the American Enterprise Institute; where neoliberalism and neoconservatism, each of which is a vestigial presence now in the twenty-first century, collapse into some new entity that doesn't yet have a fully formed identity, or a name -- that these four men meet, despite having arrived by vastly different paths.
It may be just an accident of history that Hertog and Steinhardt have chosen this moment to join forces in these two ventures. Hertog merged his longtime high-end investment firm, Sanford Bernstein and Company, with Alliance Capital Management two years ago; he's a vice-chairman at Alliance, but he's well beyond the point of being lean and hungry. They've known each other for 30 years. Steinhardt, who had a reputation as one of Wall Street's most brusque and aggressive managers, has retired from the hedge-fund business and now places his bets only for himself. Both have made their pile and are looking for something to do. It might be that simple.
But if the concurrence of these events has any larger meaning, it's that they give rise to a new and possibly influential strain in American political discourse. If one were to take Hertog, Steinhardt, Peretz, and Lipsky's politics and put them in a centrifuge, the substance that would emerge would be as follows: It would be explicitly neither Democratic nor Republican. It would be right of center, especially on foreign policy (and most especially on Israel). It would be right of center, too, on a good number of domestic questions. But because it would pay some obeisance to the New Deal and even (sometimes) to the Great Society, which neoconservatism refuted thoroughly, and because it would purport to care deeply about poor people of color -- Hertog is messianic on the topic of vouchers and calls urban education "the civil rights issue of this generation" -- it would stand quite apart from, say, the obstreperous conservatism of a Tom DeLay
The only problem is there has been no market for the Sun in it's year of publication and most Nerw Yorkers ignore it. Here we have a newspaper which is going after an increasingly shrinking demographic, white, conserevative Democrats. Giuliani and Pataki made it acceptable to be a Republican and the Post, long the paper with it's politics on its sleeve: before 1977 the liberal paper, after 1977, the conservative paper, loses $40m a year, has cornered that market. If you want a highbrow expression, you pick up the Wall Street Journal.
There is no niche for the Sun to flourish, because it's demographic no longer exists in the city. Even if it did, it's still a shriking demo in a city who's professional class is changing. The new New York middle class is black, latino, Asian and while they support Israel, the Sun is clearly not targeted to them. In fact, there has rarely been a mismatch of ambitions and times as the New York Sun and the current state of New York. After eight years of Giuliani, conservative politics leave the city's majority, and we're talking 60-40 here, cold.
False concern about public education is not an entry point in a community where the vast majority of educated professionals support public education. If you walk into any office in New York, public or private, you will see a mixed workforce. Only Wall Street remains a limited exception to that. Most of the professionals making day to day decisions in New York are women or minorities, often graduates of some of the most liberal universities in America. The Sun has zero appeal to them and always will.
It seems these people have not noticed the demographic power shift in the city, to the point that there are several, qualified, black and latino politicians who are poised to retake City Hall. Al Sharpton is a power broker because he has the ear ofd the population, not because he's funny on TV.
You really have to wonder why people would invest money and time in a project which appeals to a shrinking base, instead of publishing a newspaper which would appeal to minority, especiall middle-class minority concerns? It's not Irish guys buying up those new homes in Queens.
But this is just endemic of the way many in the media see New York. Their vision has not changed since the 1950's, when in reality New York's comspolitian nature is growing. Yet, little is done to market to these people. Here you have three investors about to sink millions into a doomed project, while anyone proposing to serve the real demographics of New York would have a hard time rasing cash. The real New York isn't interested in a Sun espousing conservative views they've already rejected. They might be interested in a paper which covered their interests and communities in a coherent way.
Melanie points out a coming backlash for Wal-Mart.
Now, I'd never thought I'd ever see a company which would combine the soul-killing drudgery of Nike and the disrepect of the worker like McDonald's, but Wal-Mart has proven me wrong.
Wal-Mart is pure unadulterated evil. Not only does it underpay their workers, taunts them with a health insurance plan they can't afford and deny promotions, it's Orwellian promotion of how great life is at Wal-Mart bears the hallmark of Orwell. That smiling face is like the symbol of some vast dictatorship which can punish those who do not agree with it.
But how do I know Wal-Mart is evil?
Well, I got a small indoor grill for Christmas from Wal-Mart.
This thing is one of the most shody, dangerous, pieces of crap I've ever seen. Oh, it works, and for $4.86, it works as well as can be expecxted. The problem is that expectation. No on/off switch, no temperature gauge, you have to turn it on and off by pulling the plug. A couple of dollars more and this thing could have been made safer. Instead, it's like a little bomb, waiting to set fires and it didn't have to be.
Wal-Mart is the perfect epitome of Bush's America, greedy, cheap and less than what it should be.
I know I've been remiss in writing about this, but I wanted to make a few points, and oddly enough, the Discovery Channel's Justice Files, by sheer coinicidence, went into the story of former Illinois governor George Ryan.
Let's not mince words: George Ryan is a complete and thorough scumbag. His little scheme to sell trucker drivers licenses led to the incinaration of an entire family in a minivan. Only by working the system was he ever elected governor. His subsequent commutation of Illinois's death sentences may have been noble, but it was also to redeem his greedy, blood-drenched hands
Simply put, well-connected individuals and schools would have non-English speaking truck drivers, a violation of federal law, get licenses, either by fraud or "help" on the test. Anytime anyone asked what the deal was, they were told to shut up and go away. Ryan's chief aide admitted in court that he squashed at least two investigations to protect Ryan's career.
Fitzgerald, who was appointed to clean up Chicago politics, in the way the TLC show Clean Sweep goes through a room in your house, was opposed by House Speaker Denny Hastert, rather vigorously. You can bet it was to protect his upstate collegues.
The question I have is this: why would John Ashcroft hire a guy who isn't a political shark, in fact, is a down the line prosecutor in the mold of Bill Weld?
I don't think it's because a conscience has established itself in his creepy little brain. Or that he suddenly has this reverence for the Constitution?
I think John Ashcroft has looked around and decided the one survivor from this mess will be John Ashcroft. The CIA might have pictures of him dancing naked, but short of rank paranoia, I think Ashcroft has decided to let the chips fall where they may as long as those chips have nothing to do with John Ashcroft. Maybe Rummy and crew treat him like a red-headed stepchild, maybe the Agency has leverage over him, maybe he realizes that Karl Rove is screwing up. But for whatever reason, he's not playing his assigned role anymore and that's worthy of note.
Maybe Fitzgerald turns up a dry hole. Maybe not. But I think if I was Bob Novak, I would not be happy. Because I think a bunch of reporters are going to find themselves invited in for a chat with Mr. Fitzgerald and his staff.
One thing people should realize, this is a far more serious move, internally, than hiring a special prosecutor. In most cases, special prosecutors are Washington insiders and they're all buddies. This guy is from New York and Chicago and he's not above twisting arms to make a point. Sally Quinn has nothing to offer his career and that, is something people should notice.
Every year, you're eventually surpised by something that happens. But here are some things which I'd like to see in 2004 which would defenitely catch me by surprise.
1) The Weekly Standard hires real historians.
Sure, they have people who write history books, but they're as accurate about his as Bush is with the truth. It would be nice to Boot ant Hanson be forced to use facts in their arguments and not just hoary opinions.
2) Crawford reporters love nest exposed
What? You didn't think they just played cards for a month, did you?
3) The Player premiers on ABC
Skip all the matchmaking and lets get to the hookingup. The first reality show to consist of people only out for one thing. Lie, cheat, steal, don't matter. The more you hook up, the more things you win.
4) Dan Synder sells 'Skins
I don't like the Skins, but he's a dick.
5) Pork Rinds help cure cancer
Is there any more to be said about fried porky goodness?
6)Bush Administration sticks up for consumer
Yes, and the pope endorses gay marriage
7) Tom DeLay bitchslapped by Wes Clark.
Coward? You pesticide sucking maggot. I got a fist full of coward for yo' punk ass
8) Howard Dean tells Joe Lieberman he's a pious sell-out
In notably unpolite language, Howard Dean said that Sen. Joe Lieberman has betrayed the prinicples of the Democratic party and that whiny voice annoys the shit out of him. "I went to Yale, too Joe, and I don't sit at the right hand of God. "
9) Karl Rove is exposed as alien cyborg, loyal to his master, Erdouc from Planet Remulon 67.
You don't think he's human do you?
10) UPN actually turns out a show which can be watched for more than three minutes
This could happen. Bush could do something decent for once.
Ever since my holiday trip, I've been plagued with a slight case of insominia and various aches, nothing massive, but I decided to forgo a party with my friend in the quest for a decent night's sleep. So that's why I'm posting slightly after midnight. Trips can alter the constution and I can drink in a bar any night.
As a rule, I don't like the idea of New Year's parties in that people drink too hard, too much. But I would have gone out if I didn't need some freaking sleep
While I have some more resolutions, I think only one really matters: tell enough of the truth so that George W. Bush is sent back to the pig farm and he and his cabal stop ruining this country.
So, enjoy the new year and well, talk more about this in the morning. After all, unless they really do have a Synanon float in the Parade of Roses, I won't be watching it.
Hawks tell Bush how to win war on terror
By David Rennie in Washington
President George W Bush was sent a public manifesto yesterday by Washington's hawks, demanding regime change in Syria and Iran and a Cuba-style military blockade of North Korea backed by planning for a pre-emptive strike on its nuclear sites.
The manifesto, presented as a "manual for victory" in the war on terror, also calls for Saudi Arabia and France to be treated not as allies but as rivals and possibly enemies.
The manifesto is contained in a new book by Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser and "intellectual guru" of the hardline neo-conservative movement, and David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter. They give warning of a faltering of the "will to win" in Washington.
The book demands that any talks with North Korea require the complete and immediate abandonment of its nuclear programme.
As North Korea will probably refuse such terms, the book urges a Cuba-style military blockade and overt preparations for war, including the rapid pullback of US forces from the inter-Korean border so that they move out of range of North Korean artillery.
Such steps, with luck, will prompt China to oust its nominal ally, Kim Jong-il, and install a saner regime in North Korea, the authors write.
The authoritarian rule of Syria's leader, Bashar Assad, should also be ended, encouraged by shutting oil supplies from Iraq, seizing arms he buys from Iran, and raids into Syria to hunt terrorists.
The book calls for tough action against France and its dreams of offsetting US power. "We should force European governments to choose between Paris and Washington," it states. Britain's independence from Europe should be preserved, perhaps with open access for British arms to American defence markets
With what Army? Besides the fact that this book should be prima facie evidence of a need for a committment hearing for both Frum and Perle, we no longer have the forces to do that. The taint of magical thinking resounds here. When I saw this on Atrios, my mouth fell open, because this is crazy talk. It'sa not only not practical, but their last warmaking effort, in Iraq, is turing into a nightmare.
Perle needs to stop playing risk and go to a few funerals of dead Gi's.
The Army Times says, in running a picture of nearly every dead serviceman from Iraq and Afghanistan, that more men and women have been killed in combat in 2003 than at any time since 1972, our last year of involvement in Vietnam.
I saw two things which truly disturbed me today.
One was Weekly Standard columinst and war cultist Max Boot pontificating on how the war was going. I didn't have to look too hard to know that the war merely another political point for him and thus, I changed the channel.
Later on, I saw Joe Lieberman being pompous and stupid on CNBC, denigrating Howard Dean for claiming Americans are not safer because of the capture of Saddam Hussein. This isn't revealed wisdom, but a fact. Homeland Security is demanding foreign countries place armed marshals on their plans and that we all look out for almanac-carrying Muslims. So exactly how did the capture of Saddam Hussein make a single American safe? Because 10 families got a dead child for their Christmas gift. Others got wounded, some who may never be fully independent again.
While I was away, the local news did a piece on a reservist who was fluent in Modern Arabic. She'd joined the reserves with a friend to attend the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, widely regarded as the best language school for adults in the world. Well, her friend chose Mandarin and thus was assigned somewhere safe. She chose Arabic, wound up with an intelligence billet, and off to Iraq.
Her future plans? Getting the hell out of the Army. Exactly the kind of soldier the Army needs to retain, hell, promote and commission and she's trying not to say on TV she made a big-assed mistake. If they can't keep her, think they're keeping the combat arms and MP's?
The security situation in Iraq isn't getting any better, either. There is this idea that we can "hand over" security to Iraqis in the next few weeks and that's delusional at best. The police, as 60 Minutes showed on Sunday, is riddled with guerrillas. There are still open ammo dumps and the police have neither weapons nor vehicles to patrol. More importantly, we still don't know who the guerrillas are and this is eight months into the war.
At some point soon, all these illusions will come crashing down. We haven't brought democracy to Iraa, but unleashed party rivalries, anarchy and blood feuds. We can't even fix the schools.
In 1946, the Irgun blew the King David Hotel to shit, killed dozens of people. At that moment, people realized what they were in for. We are fast reaching that moment in Iraq.