Saturday, July 30, 2005


I taught myself to read when I was three years old. I had two parents who loved to read and let me read almost anything I wanted. When I was five, I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In third grade, we were handed the eighth grade Weekly Reader order forms by mistake, and I ordered 1984 from it. My teacher, whose name I have forgotten, didn't think I should read it and called my parents to tell them what I had done. This turned out to be an interesting conversation for her, ending with my dad saying, "If he wants to read it let him!" and slamming the phone down. Later on, when I was telling the other kids about it, she accused me of lying - in front of the class - and said there was no way I could have read it.

I did a book report on it. I'm not saying the book report was a work of genius. In fact, I think I basically focused on the whole rats-chewing-off-the-face punishment Winston Smith almost underwent. But it did prove I read the book. It also led to my getting quite the reputation at that school and ended in me going through a teenage rebellion in seventh grade, skipping classes and the like, but that's another story.

I read Stephen King in eighth grade (Pet Sematery, bought by my mom in a local grocery store) and used to get my allowance in books and comics. I remember in tenth grade the other kids were talking about what they wanted for Christmas and asked me my list. I said "It", by Stephen King. They looked at me like I had said unicorn burgers and a side order of griffin fries.

So when I read this report from U.S. News and World Report, it had the same reaction I felt back then - near-total lack of surprise over the lack of readers and total lack of understanding why.

Look at how low the bar was set for "pleasure reading" - one short story in a teen magazine. Do teen magazines even HAVE short stories might be another question to ask here, though, but regardless, the bar was set about at "stunted arthritic ant" level.

50% of 18-24 year olds didn't meet this bar. One out of two people in that group didn't read anything for pleasure. I mean, come on!

You know if they don't read for pleasure they probably don't read for information, so they're relying on what others think for their facts. A entire age group being intellectually intravenously fed the views of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, James Carville and Molly Ivins and accepting it as gospel truth. Or their college professors. Or their friends.

I know people complain about the lack of thinkers out there now, usually when someone dares to disagree with the complainer's view. But here we could have an entire generation that may not think at all beyond what they're told, ready to vote and talk and argue and scream and get on call radio shows and be in charge. It's a recipe for hyper-partisanship, since it's easy and doesn't require any neuronal activity to say, "I'm a Democrat/Republican, and whatever they say is what is right." Why think? Let others do it for've got better things to do!

How about this for a fear - what if one day, thanks to those people who allow their gray matter to be rented to the loudest pontifactor, we look back and Rush Limbaugh/Ann Coulter/James Carville/Molly Ivins and think, "If only people were that moderate now."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Wal-Mart - The News Rollback People

Censorship is one of those eel-slippery words. Everyone thinks they know what it means, but when it comes down to specifics, there is confusion. The official definition is:

Main Entry: cen·sor·ship Pronunciation: 'sen(t)-s&r-"shipFunction: noun1 a : the institution, system, or practice of censoring b : the actions or practices of censors; especially : censorial control exercised repressively2 : the office, power, or term of a Roman censor3 : exclusion from consciousness by the psychic censor

and censoring is:

: to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable

But there's where the trickiness comes in. What is objectionable, and why, and should it be suppressed/deleted in the first place?

When MTV demanded that Trent Reznor not play in front of a backdrop of President Bush, is that censorship? Maybe. I am not arguing if they had the right to do so - it was their program and they were paying for it, so they had every right to disallow something. However, I don't think too many people would feel performing in front of an unaltered backdrop of Bush is objectionable, so I'm not too sure it fits here. It's more of a "Be careful, this could be rebellious!" moment. I can understand that - although not condone it here, as I mentioned in a previous post.

When Wal-Mart decided to stop selling racy magazines, a la FHM and Maxim in its stores, was that censorship? Possibly closer. These magazines had engendered some complaints, as I recall, due to the come-hither poses on the covers. Again, they have every right to stock or not stock what they want, but when they choose not to stock something based on sexual content, that's closer to censorship - however understandable - than the MTV flap. To me. Although I don't get too mad about it, either - it's their call. So if it is, I can understand why.

Censorship, to me, has meant the banning/forbiddance of something that some people find objectionable that most others don't. Say, when some fundamentalists demand Harry Potter be taken off the shelves, or when Gerald Allen, Yahoo, decides books with gay characters shouldn't be in libraries. On the justified side, I can't think of a single person who would say that banning child pornography is censorship - they may agree it fits the definition, but they understand that call. It's right to suppress it, therefore it's not censorship.

The MTV example above, to me, isn't censorship either - it's a corporate call made in fear of upsetting someone somewhere. Even though it fits the definition and my own personal views, I don't see that as censorious. The Wal-Mart magazine call is censorship of a sort, but I can go along with it. So I admit, I have problems deciding which case is and which case isn't censorship. Like Potter Stewart said, "I know it when I see it."

Here is a case that most definitely IS censorship, in my opinion. I read about this from a Poynter Online e-mail; if you're interested in journalism I recommend their e-mails highly.

Put simply, a Wal-Mart in Pensacola has elected not to sell a local newspaper in its stores anymore in response to a negative story carried in that newspaper. There is no claim of error or lying, no accusations of a smear job, and no correction demanded to this article, mind you - Wal-Mart just didn't like what it said about them.

It mentioned that Wal-Mart, while having terrific low low prices, often underpays its employees to save costs. As a result, 10,000 kids of Wal-Mart employees are in a Georgia health-care program, and 31% of patients in a North Carolina were Wal-Mart employees on Medicaid. This has been mentioned before - in fact, these facts in the article came from a Thomas Friedman book, The World Is Flat, and were duly attributed in the article.

This made Bob Hart, an upper Wal-Mart manager, mad. So he called up the editor of the News Journal, Randy Hammer, to complain and say that he just didn't think Wal-Mart could carry a paper that would be so nasty. (" them" was the undercurrent there.) Unless the author of said article, Mark O'Brien, was fired, Wal-Mart would have all the News Journals pulled.

Mark O'Brien still works there. Wal-Mart won't carry their paper.

So, we have an organization that decided a paper which carried one negative story about them was just too objectionable to sell anymore. Although, apparently, the story had a sliding scale of offense: author still at paper = VERY OFFENSIVE. Author fired = hey, we can live with it after all. And as far as I know, no facts were argued about - this wasn't libel or a screed; they just didn't like what the facts had to say. They can't say they pulled the paper because the story was a lie. (Of course, last time I was there I saw plenty of "BIBLE SAYS DEVIL IN MANHATTAN" stories blaring forth from the tabloids, so apparently lies aren't exactly a blacklist offense either.)

"I know it when I see it."

Monday, July 25, 2005

Times, they do change

This may be nothing at all. We don't know. I do feel sure in saying that had something like this happened under Clinton, it would be a BIG DEAL to those on the right and nothing at all to those on the left. Now, it's a BIG DEAL to those on the left and nothing at all to those on the right.

Say it with me now, folks:


You know, back in the day, acts were judged as right or wrong before one knew which party did them. Of course, back in the day, the press was active and doing their job, lies weren't told as matters of fact, and people were willing to listen to facts instead of refusing to admit they exist when they contradicted a previously held position.

Thinkers should be placed on the endangered list.

Harry Potter


Rash of fundamentalists going to hospitals

By Satire News Service

In its first day of release, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" sold over ten million copies, setting a record for fastest sales of a book. Another record was also set that day in various hospitals across the nation, as tens of thousands of fundamentalists were brought in with various ailments ranging from headaches to burns.

"I saw all those people in line to buy that Hellbound book, and I don't know," says Harold J. Q. Thrustler. "Everything went black. I woke up in the ambulance and now I'm here."

"I think the Devil did it," he said darkly. "Him and that Harry Potter."

Daruis X. Darius was brought into his local hospital with burns on his hands. His initial report stated "...that while attempting to pray over a young girl on the pathway to Literature Hell, the book Harry Potter did sear and scar him." However, it was revealed later that Reverend Darius had forgotten to clean his hands of lighter fluid before setting aflame various ungodly materials.

"I still blame J. K. Rowling," he states. "She caused it somehow, that witch."

At one store, the damage can indeed be traced to Harry Potter. Minister P. Siddith Blaster was standing in front of a large pile of Harry Potter books, refusing to move as he preached about the evilness and sin in the book. A small boy got past him and grabbed at a lower book, which made the whole column crash down, completely covering Minister Blaster except for his Bible-clutching hand left above the avalanche.

"I think God rescued me," he said later, with the backward title of the book still emblazoned on his forehead. "He used me to send a message to these kids."

It was the kids who rescued him, as they grabbed at the fallen books so fast Minister Blaster was able to get out in twenty seconds. He was revived with a cup of Potter Punch and was sent home.

Another case where Harry Potter was indirectly to blame was the broken toes of Preacher Bartholew H. Loquat. He was standing in front of a truck full of the new books, refusing to move until it had "gone back to the blasted pit from whence you came!"

The driver left the truck to reason with the man. Preacher Loquat then raced into the cab, saying "And I shall drive these books away!" He then slammed the door on his foot in his eagerness, breaking three toes. He states his intention to sue the driver, the truck company, the bookstore and Mrs. Rowling as well.

The rash of injuries and sickness to fundamentalists was matched by the glee and excitement of the kids who got the books, several of whom immediately began casting spells and flying brooms around.

"Harry Potter is God! Whee!" chanted one Elizabeth Browning, as she flew away on her Nimbus 2002.

J.K. Rowling was said to be at a witches sabbat and could not be reached for comment, though her spokesperson, Mr. Asmodeus B. Lucifer, stated satisfaction with the sales and the progress towards Armageddon.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

It's funny when WE do it!

Another trait of brain-lock is finding anything remotely obnoxious coming from your side humorous and light-hearted, and therefore anyone who takes offense just doesn't have a sense of humor. On the other hand, anything coming from the other side is cruel, mean-spirited, and ugly. Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh spring to mind, and I'm sure there are people on the left like that as well.

In that spirit, here's a link from the Washington Monthly that tracks a post which just begs for a reality check.

So, if it's biased for BOTH sides...

Does that mean it somehow balances in the middle? Nah.

A good essay on media bias, from Power Line. Note that BOTH sides are equal, and that the "liberal media" also pulls its punches on conservative targets - see Iraq WMD info.

One of the problems mentioned in the article is the fact that people get an opinion and then seek out information that only agrees with that opinion. Facts to the contrary are dismissed for various reasons, although the word "bias" is most often used. Now, that may be fair in some areas, but a blanket denunciation of all facts that crack your ideology mirror is just stupid.

Not that too many people seem to mind being stupid nowadays - I just wish so many of them weren't in charge.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Like Our Founding Fathers intended!

That's one of the rallying cries of people who want religion to be more prominent in America. They always say we're a Christian nation, and we need to get back to what our founders meant us to be!

I agree:

But it is nevertheless true to say, from all that I have read, that the following seven critical early American leaders were Deists and denied the divinity of Jesus: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, and Thomas Paine.

This may just be me, but I would hazard a guess that anyone who denied the divinity of Jesus isn't meshing in the profile of a true-blue Christian. I think some fundamentalists need to hit the history books - and not just the ones in the Bible. And read some science texts out to the ID people as well, would you?

Aid and comfort...

For everyone who was screaming that Durbin's comments were giving aid and comfort or providing a recruiting slogan for terrorists, what do they think about this one? (from Fark)

On a Florida radio show Friday, Tancredo was asked what the response should be to a nuclear attack on U.S. cities. He answered that if fundamentalist Muslims were to blame, "you could take out their holy sites." When he was asked if he meant bombing Mecca, the congressman said, "Yeah."

He did say later he didn't mean this as an actual attack, just a threat. Now, imagine a spokesman for some group saying, "If a Catholic nukes us, we'll bomb the Vatican." Really doesn't minimize the stupidity, does it?

Not to mention the fairly obvious geopolitical concerns, because of course Saudi Arabia will just continue to sell us oil if we bomb Mecca. Oh, and all the other Muslim groups? They'll understand we weren't bombing THEIR Mecca - just that part of it that belongs to the fundamentalist group that bombed us. 'cause, you know, who wouldn't see it that way?

Once Bitten, Twice Shy...

...once lied to in a bald-faced, slimy, egregious piece of Ann Coulter-esque crap, never trusted again. I posted about a stupid comment Paul Begala made, in this post. Well, from Eschaton today, I found this actual transcript:

BEGALA: ...we sit back and allow George W. Bush and our Republican friends to pull out 9/11 like a cheap handgun in a bar fight. Okay? "9/11." There's a drought in the Midwest. "9/11." The deficit's up. "9/11" You know? But, I think we need to fight them on that. I think, frankly they did a piss-poor job of defending us, and their strategy was always "we'll fight them over there so we don't fight them here." Well guess what, bin Laden didn't get the memo. He wants to fight us here as well as we saw in London last week. And so, the- their theory is, "we can't really do everything to protect our country because we have to cut taxes for the rich." And so, it... they want to kill us- particularly this city and New York and some other places. I was driving past the pentagon when that plane hit. I had friends on that plane, this is deadly serious to me- they want to kill me and my children if they can. But if they just kill me and not my children, they want my children to be comforted that while they didn't protect me because they cut my taxes, my children won't have to pay any money on the money they inherit. You know, that is bullshit national defense and we should say that.

Nary a "Republicans want to kill us" in there at all, contrary to this line from the article: Republicans, he said, "want to kill us". One of the reasons I lost all respect for Bill Clinton was his asinine attempt to snake his way out of a lie by demanding a defintion of "is". It's a reason I have lost respect (not that I had much) for Rove and pals, when they turn the English language into a game of Semantic Twister. I now pledge that I will never link to, nor reference, another post from, since they lie. There can be no other reason for their twisting the words of Begala. Yes, he sounds more than a little out there, and yes, you can argue his words.

But apparently can't, since they had to make what he said sound worse. I apologize to all for that link, and I offer vicarious apologies to Paul Begala as well.

And I hope whatever god of journalists there is makes your computers lock up, your pens leak, your tape recorders only play Musak and forces you to use your brains. Which ought to lead to some Scanner-esque moments.

My apologies for the wrong information.

Monday, July 18, 2005

And this time I mean it!


By Satire News Service

President Bush today set a high bar for people working in the White House to meet. "Don't be a criminal," he said. "I can allow a lot, but not that! Anyone caught and convicted of criminal acts just isn't welcome here."

"And I am firm on this," he stated.

This "no criminals allowed" standard is widely seen as the strictest bar on employment in the White House since the first President Bush's "No Cannibals" policy and President Clinton's "No Aliens" policy. When asked for comment, Marvin "It's not cannibalism, it's population control" Martian stated that he had never been convicted of a crime, so he would again try to get a job in the White House.

"I can only hope that President Bush's new policy now allows me my chance to work there," said Marvin. "I will reapply as soon as I have lunch...say, you know, you look pretty lean there..."

President Bush, who campaigned to restore honor and dignity to the White House, feels that this new edict goes a long way to that end.

"People can forgive a lot - near criminal behavior, unethical behavior, the shade-of-gray acts, the rigid reading of the law to just skirt the edges of illegality, and even the outright wrong but not illegal. But when you cross that line into a felony, well, I mean, I don't feel that reflects well on the White House, and I won't allow it."

"So don't get caught," he added jokingly.

Myths and Misconceptions

Let's debunk a few of the current "it's so good it HAS to be true!" mistakes flitting across the web.

"Joseph Wilson's wife sent him on that trip to Niger!" - False. She did recommend him (and Mr. Wilson had claimed she didn't have anything to do with the selection) but she didn't have the authority to send him. This is a difference - anytime you recommended a friend for something, you weren't necessarily actually hiring them. And of course, saying she sent him just adds to the whole suspiciousness of the deal...somehow, anyway, to those who believe this.

"The Downing Street Memos prove Bush lied about WMDs!" - False. It's plainly apparent that officer who wrote the memos thought - as did everyone else - that Saddam had WMDs. There's even a "what if he uses them on the first day of the war" question in there. However, the memos do offer strong proof that Bush had already made his mind up to invade long after he was claiming all options were on the table, and that the case for war was weak. "The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran." is an exact quote from the memos. (italics added) One also must remember that this is all the opinion of the writer, Mr. Rycroft. It does offer proof that Bush wanted to go to war, that the case was weak, and that people believed that Saddam had WMDs, but none of it conclusive. Either side that states their side is vindicated by it is wrong.

"Wilson said Cheney sent him to Niger, an obvious lie!" - False. He has stated that Dick Cheney's office was concerned about Niger, yellowcake and Iraq, and talked to the CIA about it, who then sent him. He has made this line pretty clear many times - although, given his misstatements (my wife had nothing to do with the trip) and lies (see Powerline) we have to be careful to state AS FAR AS WE KNOW. However, most people who push this theory usually alter what he said, using creative ellipsis.

"The Niger story was proven fake!" - False, although I add some caveats. First of all, the 16 words mentioned Africa, not Niger in particular. Second, the report per se isn't false - supposedly, an Iraqi person approached a Niger official and mentioned expanding commercial relations. This part is true. Of course, everyone assumes this meant yellowcake, which is to me a rather large flaw. So the report itself is true - what the report means is still up in the air, although supposedly it bolstered the CIA conclusion somehow. Here's the actual report link, for those who want to go to the horse's mouth. However, the report isn't false - perhaps the conclusion from the reports are.

The nail in everyone's coffin?

Here's something from The Carpetbagger Report that may slam the door on Rove:

Question 19: If information that a signer of the SF 312 knows to have been classified appears in a public source, for example, in a newspaper article, may the signer assume that the information has been declassified and disseminate it elsewhere?

Answer: No. Information remains classified until it has been officially declassified. Its disclosure in a public source does not declassify the information. Of course, merely quoting the public source in the abstract is not a second unauthorized disclosure. However, before disseminating the information elsewhere or confirming the accuracy of what appears in the public source, the signer of the SF 312 must confirm through an authorized official that the information has, in fact, been declassified. If it has not, further dissemination of the information or confirmation of its accuracy is also an unauthorized disclosure.

However, I would urge extreme caution to any prosecutor who uses this as an argument to get Rove or anyone for a leak. We already have a fear that thanks to the court cases against Miller and Cooper (even though his was dropped) sources will be more leery of giving information. We've seen that happen already, when a paper refused to print information about a case b/c it was afraid the leakers had given away protected information. Now imagine if EVERY single piece of information that could have been classified has to be checked before confirming. Add to that the Bush Admin's penchant for secrecy, and imagine several things that weren't classified before now being designated as such. In addition to all that, try to think of having to go to a person to confirm something is declassified, thereby leaving a trail. Now here's an article mentioning the fact YOU had to clear in the paper, and some higher-ups are unhappy.

The press is not perfect. That doesn't mean it should be decimated. Using SF312 as a way to get Rove or whoever will. Is it worth taking down the free press for Rove? I don't think even the looniest lefty would say yes.

(This is all speculation of course. I don't think - yet - this would come to pass. But if it did...)

Democratic Stupidity

7/19 Read THIS LINK for CORRECTION!!! 7/19

This sounds like something Bob Dornan or Jerry Falwell would have said about Clinton back in the day (hat tip: A Little More To The Right):

"They want to kill me and my children if they can. But if they just kill me and not my children, they want my children to be comforted -- that while they didn't protect me because they cut my taxes, my children won't have to pay any money on the money they inherit," Begala said. "That is bulls*** national defense, and we should say that."

Looked damn stupid when the rabid right said it, looks damn stupid when the loony left says it. The sane people in both parties should kick out the whackos and reform their parties with the "Real" moniker attached to their respective names. That way, the nutjobs could still scream, slander and spout their idiocy, but the adults could try and get on with offering real arguments.

It's official

I'm a geek.

This weekend was spent with the new Harry Potter book (got it at eleven, finished it at three) and the DC Comics Encyclopedia. All I needed was something new from the Matrix series and I would have gotten some kind of Geek Master badge.

And no, I won't tell you anything about the new Harry Potter book, except to say that while it was still a good book, it was the first one I can recall that wasn't better than the one before it. I feel that she fell into a "Star Wars" problem - where Lucas admitted that the 3rd movie (Revenge of the Sith) was the one he had in mind the entire time, but he needed the first two to set up the third. Consequently, the first two weren't that good and the third one was very good. In the Potter realm, I think J. K. Rowling knows how it's going to end, but needed this book to set it all up. And maybe the seventh book in tandem with The Half-Blood Prince will be excellent - but as of now, it's just (just?) pretty good.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Krugman nails it

Several sites have linked to this article, and I agree. When party takes precedence over philosophy or truth, we're doomed - and we''re getting closer and closer to that.

What, Fred Phelps couldn't be reached?

From The Carpetbagger Report:

It is not just Democrats that the White House is seeking out for ideas. The Bush administration has also been consulting with its political allies outside the Congress.
"Someone from the White House called me yesterday, asking for any input I might have," said the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the founder of the Moral Majority and chancellor of Liberty University in Virginia.

The man who blamed gays, lesbians and the ACLU for helping 9/11 happen, the man who outed Tinky-Winky, who pushed a fake videotape about Bill Clinton, who supported the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in his tax evasion case (even though Mr. Moon claims to be a successor and moral superior to Jesus Christ)...well, of course I'd seek out his opinion.

And immediately arrest anyone he did approve of.

This has been a very bad day for sanity, hasn't it?

Oh, and if you THINK bad thoughts as well...

Bill Frist shouldn't be in charge of the pill dispensary in the insane asylum where he belongs, much less the U.S. Senate. Read this: (from Brendan Nyhan)

Frist offered his aimed at Reid and Democratic Whip Richard J. Durbin (Ill.). Frist's amendment would have denied clearance to any senator who refers to a classified FBI report on the floor, a shot at Reid's May 12 reference to a report on a Bush judicial nominee. It also would have stripped access to classified information to an officeholder making a statement that is "based on an FBI agent's comments which is used as propaganda by terrorist organizations." That was aimed at Durbin's comments last month comparing the treatment of detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to techniques used by the Nazis and the Khmer Rouge.

Talking Points Memo has the ACTUAL text (linked to in the previous link as well):

"Any federal officeholder who makes reference to a classified Federal Bureau of Investigation report on the floor of the United States Senate, or any federal officeholder that makes a statement based on a FBI agent's comments which is used as propaganda by terrorist organizations thereby putting our servicemen and women at risk, shall not be permitted access to such information or to hold a security clearance for access to such information."

Here's the simple version: Say something bad about the US. Someone who the fruitcakes in power feel is a terrorist - which I note given the current climate could easily be stretched to include anyone who doesn't march in mental lockstep with said fruitcakes - repeats what you said. You get punished.

This just in - Freedom of Speech fading quickly, Republicans unlikely to order a feeding tube inserted.

Promised Column 2: ID Cards

Maybe I was wrong about the London bombings causing a groundswell for a National ID card. Especially since it turns out the bombers were British nationals. I hope so - I am against the idea anyway.

First of all, I fail to see what kind of safety and security it offers. Natural born madmen can happen just as easily as illegal immigrants. So where's the benefit?

Second, given the woeful record of the INS and the census, can we even trust them to give us the right information needed to determine who is and isn't a resident and alien? We've all had instances where we had to "prove" we were who we said we were, or lived where we did. For instance, when my wife and I moved to our new house, the voter registration went bad, and we had to call and get it switched over, which took a few weeks and a little arguing. Not a lot - but some. And this wasn't a tough thing to get fixed. (Funny story: For one election, while we lived in the apartments, my wife was found eligible to vote in out area and I wasn't. I guess the upstairs was in one district and the downstairs in another.) When we switched apartments in the same complex, it took five calls to the Post Office and several change of address card before they stopped delivering mail to the old address - and all we did there was change the apartment number! Now imagine the Federal Gov't accidentally saying that you ain't you and trying to get it fixed. After that, imagine this kind of error doesn't cause your mail to go to the wrong mailbox, or the wrong amount of money being deducted from your paycheck - imagine it makes you at once a suspect.

Third of all, all that personal information in the hands of the government, with its undoubted efficacy and competency. Gives you a warm fuzzy feeling, doesn't it? And of course, the government would never try and use this information in ways besides identification, would it? The same government who did COINTELPRO? 'tis to laugh...

So I hope I was wrong about the ID card and its chances.

Promised Column 1 - Timetables

I was against the war in Iraq from the get-go. There were several reasons for it; two of the most important ones being that I felt the intelligence on the WMDs was, to be polite, iffy at best (and the fact that I could tell it was iffy while other, supposedly more intelligent people than I couldn't was wonderful for my cynical attitude) and my opinion that the Bush Admin. was both woefully unprepared for the war and the rebuilding, and at the same time not willing to give everything necessary to truly be able to make an impact.

I was wrong about the war. So I'm three out of four - which is a better percentage than George's Bush's statements about Iraq.

But, even with my opposition to the war, my borne-out feeling that people in the Administration were doing a bad job of preparing for trouble, and my confirmed opinion of the WMDs, I still think that trying to set a timetable is plain stupid. (Keeping up their near-perfect record of stupidity on the war, it seems the Bush Admin. may now considering a pullout to a timetable. This is the kind of consistency we could do without.)

Put simply, I believe in the Powell Doctrine: If you go to war, you go all out until the objective is fulfilled. You don't half-ass it, you don't shortchange it, you don't send troops in without necessary armor or training, you don't hope for the best without preparing for the worse. And you don't stop until the job is done.

If you do that, you're opening the door for something worse to happen. And holding to some kind of timetable for withdrawal before Iraq is free is akin to saying, "Well, I'll operate on that tumor until 8 o'clock, and then it's quitting time!" We can't leave until Iraq can handle itself, and with the Bush people floating proposals in that area without any standards to meet, the idiocy is brought full circle. They f*cked it up from start to finish.

Way to go guys. There will be some medals awarded for this one.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005



from Satire News Services

In an interview that Mr. Rove denied happened as it was happening, he was asked some questions about his role in the Plame leak.

"Mr. Rove, were you in contact with Matt Cooper or Bob Novak?"

"No, I never came in contact with them. We never touched at all."

"Were you the source for Mr. Cooper's article?"

"THE source? How can I know? He may have had several people tell him things."

"Did you leak any information about Valerie Plame?"

"I did not give out any information on paper, through smoke signals, or through the mystic powers of telepathy."

"Did you call Bob Novak and mention Valerie Plame at all?"

"Of course not! I never initiated that call."

(slight pause)

"Mr. Rove, if you're not going to answer any questions, why did you agree to be interviewed?"

"I deny I was interviewed. This is a simple meeting between two people who don't know each other while one asks questions and the other answers them. What made you think this was an interview?"

"But you agreed to come here and answer questions!"

"I did not - I agreed you could ask them. I never said I was going to answer them."

"Wait a minute, here's my notes, in the e-mail you state 'I will answer all your questions as honestly as I have answered everyone else's.'"

"Ah, but I didn't say that. You WRITE e-mails, not say them. I don't even read mine aloud."

"Did you or did you not lie to McClellan when you told him you weren't involved in the leak?"

"Which McClellan?"


"Him? I never told him I wasn't involved in the leak."

"He said you told him that."

"I never used those exact words."

"What DID you say to him?"

"I never said anything. I shook my head no when he asked me a question."

"So you DID lie!"

"I never said what question it was I answered no to."

"Mr Rove, can you give me a straight answer?"

"Yes - and that was the one. The non-interview is over. And it never happened anyway."


If Rove is innocent of any wrongdoing, as several people are claiming, why is he splitting the English language into atoms? Rove says he did not reveal Valerie Plame's name. True - but he DID say " wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip," according to Mr. Cooper's notes. One can reveal an identity without revealing a name. So why the oh-so-careful parsing? One can add Mr. Luskin to the list, for his incredibly specific claim "Rove never contacted Mr. Cooper by phone" (regarding Cooper's decision to come forward). So, if there's nothing wrong, why so specific in denials?

Isn't it evident that Rove already has lied? At one point, McClellan stated that he had spoken with Rove and two other White House aides, and ""those individuals assured me they were not involved in this." Rove has now admitted he was involved. Ergo - he lied. (Or McClellan, I have to admit, but Rove has never denied McClellan's statement.) Perhaps not a big deal, however, I want to point it out because the claims of innocence are getting more and more outlandish; soon one "defense" will read he never lied at any time. Here we see he did. And secondly, I mention it because when you add this to his fine control of denial language, honest people have to wonder exactly WHY he's being so careful?

Does anyone really feel that had a Clinton aide done something exactly like this, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and the like would not only defend the person accused but would also claim that they were "whistleblowers" (WSJ) or "a hero"? (Fox News)

Again on the minute language study - why is a current meme that Bush has never said he would fire someone involved in a leak?

QUESTION: Given -- given recent developments in the CIA leak case, particularly Vice President Cheney's discussions with the investigators, do you still stand by what you said several months ago, a suggestion that it might be difficult to identify anybody who leaked the agent's name?
THE PRESIDENT: That's up to --
QUESTION: And, and, do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have done so?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. And that's up to the U.S. Attorney to find the facts.

Parse as you will, there's a claim right up front. We now name that Rove did indeed leak Mrs. Plame's identity. The only way Bush can dodge this pledge is to retreat to the claim "I specifically meant the NAME." If he did that, I would like to think that people would have trouble believing him on anything again. However, given the wide pattern of misleading statements from Bush and co., I guess it won't surprise me if no one loses faith in him.

Why does Luskin claim Cooper "burned Rove"? He first states that Rove signed a confidentiality waiver, which gave Cooper the permission to testify. But now that Cooper has, the fact there was a follow-up call that Ludlum may have kicked out as "too much to swallow" is to be held against him? "You have permission to testify about me as long as you don't actually do so." Burning? Well, something's burning here, and it's coming from the trouserial regions of Luskin...

Did Rove commit a crime? Probably not, legally speaking. Does it matter? Legally speaking, yes. Ethically speaking, no. And in terms of reality, it certainly shouldn't matter. But I'll guess that the letter of the law will be very, nay, critically important to many Republicans now. What's one agent against a party?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

On A Lighter Note

Let's do some recommendations here. Just a break from my usual screeds.

Both seasons of Titus on DVD - one of the funniest shows in recent history, so naturally it only lasted two seasons (correction - it lasted three seasons). The first season was excellent and brilliant - some of the darkest comedy around. When one of the lines is, "You knew I was faking my heart attack and you let them shave me???" "I knew you were faking your heart attack and I GOT them to shave you!", well, you're not in Full House/Cosby-ville anymore. Sadly, the second season was kind of uneven, but for thirty bucks this is a great set to get. The first season is worth thirty dollars by itself, in my opinion, so the second is free.

Any System of a Down CD - As I said before, I like this group, but the more I listen the more I like them. It's my opinion that "loud" music - by which I mean stuff that usually falls under the metal category - is the closest to classical music, when it's done well. I know, I know, you're probably laughing hysterically right now, but before you write me off as deaf, go and listen to S&M, by Metallica. In this CD, they're backed by the San Francisco Orchestra and it sounds great - but more impressively, for the most part, the orchestra doesn't have to make new sounds in the music - much of it is transcribing a guitar riff into an symphonic flourish. In other words, they're just playing the music in a different way, not having to start to scratch. System of a Down is like that as well. And in the song Chop Suey (off Toxicity), check out how the same chorus changes meaning as the soing goes by. That kind of verbal play in rare anywhere, much less in loud music.

H.L. Mencken and Edward R. Murrow books - read these and see exactly how far the media has fallen.

And again, if any of these interest you enough into buying them, please use the Amazon link on the side. You won't pay anything extra, and I'll get a small part of the sale. Thanks.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Part 2 - My Beliefs Are Firm, Until There's A New Pope...

Frum may have been psychic. Below, I mentioned he said that 90% of Americans are Christians and he doesn't feel something should be taught that offends 90% of the people, i.e. evolution. Of course, by this logic, Palestinian schools are a-ok not teaching about Israel's history and Japanese schools are hunky-dory by not saying they attacked at Pearl Harbor and the Civil War history will be rewritten in some Southern areas...but hey, you know, let's make sure that facts don't offend.

Well, I pointed out that Catholics, who by most definitions are indeed Christians, accept evolution. Which threw his 90% claim out the window. Well, today it may have sprouted wings and fluttered back:

An influential cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church, which has long been regarded as an ally of the theory of evolution, is now suggesting that belief in evolution as accepted by science today may be incompatible with Catholic faith.

You know, like the Copernican theory and other hell-inspired science.

"Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not."

If you don't like Intelligent Design, you may like Intelligent Design Lite - now with Super-Catholicism grip!

Cardinal Schönborn, who is on the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education, said the office had no plans to issue new guidance to teachers in Catholic schools on evolution. But he said he believed students in Catholic schools, and all schools, should be taught that evolution is just one of many theories.

Name three not including ID.

One of the strongest advocates of teaching alternatives to evolution is the Discovery Institute in Seattle, which promotes the idea, termed intelligent design, that the variety and complexity of life on earth cannot be explained except through the intervention of a designer of some sort.

Mark Ryland, a vice president of the institute, said in an interview that he had urged the cardinal to write the essay. Both Mr. Ryland and Cardinal Schönborn said that an essay in May in The Times about the compatibility of religion and evolutionary theory by Lawrence M. Krauss, a physicist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, suggested to them that it was time to clarify the church's position on evolution.

So, the guy on the council for Catholic education is allied with an ID institute. Coming soon, revisiting that whole "Earth is round" deal and the restarting of indulgences.

Dr. Miller, whose book "Finding Darwin's God" describes his reconciliation of evolutionary theory with Christian faith, said the essay seemed to equate belief in evolution with disbelief in God. That is alarming, he said. "It may have the effect of convincing Catholics that evolution is something they should reject."

Well, of course believing in evolution equals disbelief in God! And so does belief in gravity and the atomic theory! Heck, accepting science has ANY claim to truth is just wrong, wrong, wrong dammit!

Doesn't this sound like something a fundamentalist church would have said, just before condemning gay people to Hell?

He (Schonborn) referred to widely cited remarks by Pope John Paul II, who, in a 1996 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, noted that the scientific case for evolution was growing stronger and that the theory was "more than a hypothesis."


But in his essay, Cardinal Schönborn dismissed John Paul's statement as "rather vague and unimportant."

The leader of the Catholic Church was "rather vague and unimportant." Here's some remarks from that speech:

In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII had already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation, on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points.


4. Taking into account the state of scientific research at the time as well as of the requirements of theology, the encyclical Humani Generis considered the doctrine of "evolutionism" a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation and in-depth study equal to that of the opposing hypothesis. Pius XII added two methodological conditions: that this opinion should not be adopted as though it were a certain, proven doctrine and as though one could totally prescind from revelation with regard to the questions it raises. He also spelled out the condition on which this opinion would be compatible with the Christian faith, a point to which I will return. Today, almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis.


However, does not the posing of such ontological discontinuity run counter to that physical continuity which seems to be the main thread of research into evolution in the field of physics and chemistry? Consideration of the method used in the various branches of knowledge makes it possible to reconcile two points of view which would seem irreconcilable. The sciences of observation describe and measure the multiple manifestations of life with increasing precision and correlate them with the time line. The moment of transition to the spiritual cannot be the object of this kind of observation, which nevertheless can discover at the experimental level a series of very valuable signs indicating what is specific to the human being. But the experience of metaphysical knowledge, of self-awareness and self-reflection, of moral conscience, freedom, or again of aesthetic and religious experience, falls within the competence of philosophical analysis and reflection, while theology brings out its ultimate meaning according to the Creator's plans.

I can see where the statements are "rather vague and unimportant". Pope Pius XII felt the theory was worth investigating almost sixty years ago and saw no opposition b/t it and the doctrine of faith with certain exemptions, i.e. the forming of a soul. Pope John Paul mentioned evolution was more than a hypothesis due to the growing evidence over the years and that the science measures and describes the manifestations of life with growing precision. Lots of wiggle room there.

Here's the link to the actual editorial. "Design" is mentioned eight times.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Don't you know that it's different for Bozell...

With apologies to Joe Jackson.

Brent Bozell is hyper-sensitive to anything that offends Christians - or at least what he feels is offensive, which generally appears to be any negative thing whatsoever. Which I why I was very amused to read this:

It insists that positively every televised depiction of homosexuals has to make them look lovable; every negative encounter has to end with the "bigot" quickly arriving at the nirvana of acceptance.

Columnist, see thyself!

(and please, if you want the CD linked above, search for it using the Amazon link to the side. You don't get charged anything extra, but I get a small percentage of the sale.)

My beliefs are firm...just don't ask me about them.

From Atrios, I got this link. It's very funny to see some of these people frantically Luskinate in order to avoid a straight answer. Rove never CALLED Cooper..."I managed to have my children go through the Fairfax, Virginia schools without ever looking at one of their science textbooks."...Rove didn't knowingly leak anything..."It's impossible to answer that question with a simple yes or no."...Rove never mentioned Valerie Plame by name..."I generally agree with said critique."...and on and on and on. Clinton only wishes he could have dissembled this finely.

LATER THOUGHTS: Even though it doesn't fit with the whole dissembling idea, I have to highlight David Frum's response:

How evolution should be taught in public schools: "I don't believe that anything that offends nine-tenths of the American public should be taught in public schools. ... Christianity is the faith of nine-tenths of the American public. ... I don't believe that public schools should embark on teaching anything that offends Christian principle."

Um, Catholics believe in evolution, Frummie. Or don't you count them as "Christian"? Here's one case where a bit of verbal dancing could only have helped him.

Also, I saw this from Balloon Juice:

A new poll indicates that nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults believe in creationism - the belief that God created human beings. Harris Interactive® conducted a nationwide survey of 1000 U.S. adults between June 17 and 21, 2005. Of those polled, 64% agreed with the idea of creationism, while approximately 22% supported the basic theory of evolution, that “human beings evolved from earlier species.” Ten percent agreed with the idea of intelligent design, that “human beings are so complex that they required a powerful force or intelligent being to help create them.”


The percentage of U.S. adults who do not believe in evolution increased from 46% in 1994 to 54% in this yearÂ’s survey. Trends in the data indicate that those who agree with creationism tend to be older (55 years or older), from the south, affiliated with Republican and conservative views, and without a college degree.

For the record, I do believe in evolution, think intelligent design is nothing more than theology under the hides of kids (see Esau and Jacob) and think creationism and ID has no place in schools, especailly under science programs.


Litmusi? Litmusaes?

Anyway, can we stop with the claims only that the liberals/Democrat are applying a litmus test? The simple fact is, both sides are. Each side looks for what it believes to be true in the candidate, and each side sees what it doesn't feel to be true as a drawback. For perfect proof of this, check out all the rhetoric coming from the religious right about abortion being the key battle - you're telling me they don't have a litmus test?

Both sides do, if for no other basis than judicial activism v. judicial restraint. So both sides are guilty.

The Flypaper Theory

While the major argument for invading Iraq was the WMDs, now that we're there, a common argument now is the "flypaper theory" - we're attracting terrorists to Iraq so they won't attack somewhere else. As I wrote before, I'm not a big fan of that theory for several reasons.

One: Isn't that basically helping to train terrorists in the first place? The ones who come to Iraq, learn, and get out over a porous border we still have trouble closing are now experienced. It COULD happen they would have learned somewhere else, but it COULD also happen that they learned their skills in Iraq. Regardless, we know that the attacks are Iraq have shown some signs of "professionalism", if you will, which means somebody's learning or teaching something. The flypaper theory only works if you kill each and every terrorist down in Iraq and not let them get out - something we haven't been able to accomplish.

Two: This argument cuts both ways - you can't say that any attempt that happened in Iraq would have happened somewhere else had we not been in Iraq. In other words, if a car bomb goes off in Baghdad, you can't say that bomb would have gone off in Cartagena or London or Paris or New York if we weren't in Iraq and claim the flypaper theory. It's not a fact that bombing would have happened but in a different place, it's a guess, and one with no way to prove. To put it another way, proponents of this theory seem to feel that there is only X terrorist acts, so an act in one place removes the act from somewhere else. But of course a new attack just adds 1 to X, it doesn't exchange one place for another. So the simple fact of terrorist acts down there doesn't mean they were moved from one place to another - it just means there were terrorist acts down there. This also applies to the other end of the scale, of course - the terrorist attack in London may have happened if we weren't in Iraq anyway, so we can't say that's a sign the flypaper theory is wrong. But either way, this argument doesn't hold up.

Three: This may just be me, but it seems we're saying we using soldiers as bait, basically. Color me naive, but this is a little bald-faced for me to swallow. "Hell, we want people to be killed, including our own soldiers, so we can get them down there!"

I think this theory has many problems with it, and don't accept it as any kind of justification.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

In other news:

From Balloon Juice, we see this:

There is no evidence that Terri Schiavo's collapse 15 years ago was caused by criminal activity, said a prosecutor asked by Gov. Jeb Bush to look into the case.


"This consistency, coupled with the varying recollections of the precise time offered by other interested parties, lead me to the conclusion that such discrepancies are not indicative of criminal activity and thus not material to any potential investigation," McCabe wrote in a letter to Bush accompanying his report dated June 30 but not released until Thursday.


McCabe said there must be some fact or evidence indicating a criminal act caused the death to open a full homicide investigation in his office.


But they wrote, "It is obvious to us that there is no possibility of proving that anyone's criminal act was responsible for Mrs. Schiavo's collapse."

That last sentence is the crucial one. I know that people will still say they know Michael caused Terri's coma, and their statements should be ignored and ridiculed. That attitude of belief in something in spite of all the facts against it is more suited for alien abductees or psychic healing, and not baseless accusations.

Thoughts on London attack...

My initial reaction was that the chance of Britain pulling its troops from Iraq went from 5% to 40% or worse. Since Blair's party only managed to hold a slim majority in the last election, and if the other parties were anti-war to begin with, all it would take would be some people in his party to agree with them and force Blair to action, or to step down. (Forgive me if I have the British parliamentary system wrong; Poli Sci was long ago) On the other hand, my mother said it could stiffen their resolve to win the war, and on reflection, this is a good point - certainly Hitler's attacks on them didn't make them weaken. But what I think now may be most likely came from my wife, who said it's quite possible that the attacks (assuming they are linked to al-Qaeda) will indeed stiffen their resolve - to go after bin Laden, and the troops would be removed from Iraq in order to do that. If Britain does pull out, look for Bush to very quickly start agreeing to a timetable to get out of Iraq, something I do disagree with. (Post on this opinion to follow later)

I also think the chances for a national ID card here also took a massive leap upward. London is one of the most surveilled cities in the world, and still the killers managed to do this. People over here will be saying we need to do more, and "obviously" knowing who's legal and illegal would help. (Ignore McVeigh, Padilla, John Walker Lindh...) So I think the chances are much better now. I'm not for a national ID myself - I mean, we've seen how badly credit companies handle personal info; just imagine how badly the government would be at it. (Post on this to follow)

Initial guess - it is Islamists, most likely al-Qaeda linked. (Not too hard to believe, since offhand I can think of only a few Islamist groups who aren't al-Qaeda linked and who operate outside the Middle East now, a la Hamas and Hezbollah.) While I've seen some commentators say this attack was "less effective" than their previous efforts, 9/11 and 3/11, I'm not so sure. The deaths were less, yes - but look at the effects of shutting down the transportation system to the extent they did, and also the fact the authorities shut down the cell phone network as well. If they only killed one person, but that resulted in a massive shutdown of some critical network, I'd say that's kinda bad overall.

It looks likely it's suicide bombers as well, since as Andrew Sullivan pointed out cell phones wouldn't have worked in the tunnels. Remotes are also possible, but I would hope that any unattached luggage would have been noted and responded to.

(humorous thought) Given the fact a bomb exploded at King's Cross station, which is where Harry Potter gets on the Hogwarts Express on Platform 9 1/2...maybe it's Voldemort!

Here's a scary thought - what if it comes out that the bombers were people who had fought in Iraq and learned their skill there? Kinda takes the wind out of the argument "Fighting them over there so we won't fight them over here", doesn't it? (never have liked that argument - does this mean the entire war was so we could use soldiers as bait? Ugly, nasty thought...)

I wonder how soon it will be before nuts on both sides start tossing off the crap - "It was a setup to take the heat off Rove and Bush!" and "See, liberal wimps, you're to blame!" Can't we set up a web site where these morons can go and flame away at each other and leave intelligent people to debate? And then delete it and all the people in it? (Update: not long at all. Here's some madness from the conservatives (via Demagogue) and here's some from the liberals (via snarkbait).

London Calling...

What can you say? The attack was heinous, and could have been much worse - the bus directly behind the exploding bus was full of kids. Whoever did this act, way to show the true value of your "morality of religion" (assuming it was Islamists) or your "morality of empathy" (assuming it was protestors against the G-8 summit). I feel sure whichever deity you worship, the twisted version of Allah or some "I'm more feeling than you" level on a thermometer chart, is less than honored at the homage. Your actions stain all of humanity, and it drives me to hope there is a just and righteous God who will punish you. Although I would be willing for earthly punishment as well.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

"Would be a shame if something were to get...broken..."

straight out of a Monty Python routine:

"I think Major League Baseball understands the stakes," said Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R), the Northern Virginia lawmaker who recently convened high-profile steroid hearings. "I don't think they want to get involved in a political fight."

Davis, whose panel also oversees District of Columbia issues, said that if a Soros sale went through, "I don't think it's the Nats that get hurt. I think it's Major League Baseball that gets hurt. They enjoy all sorts of exemptions" from anti-trust laws.

These Republicans, they also can be counted on to throw over long-held beliefs. They've already pitched over state's rights in many cases, like Schaivo and medical marijuana, and now they seem likely to wiggle around on free market values. Making silly threats over Soros wanting to buy into the Nationals amends free market to be "...but only if you and I agree on politics." So from now on, unless you support the Republicans (and can show receipts to that effect) don't bother competing in the marketplace.

This is, at once, tragically stupid and hilariously silly.

Site Changes

As promised, some new things have been added to this site. If you look at the left, just above the blogroll, there's an box. If you want, you can go shopping through here on Amazon, and I'll get a percentage of what you spend. Hopefully, once I start recommending books and CDs and DVDs, some of you will use the box to race out and buy them right then - support the economy! Heck, support MY economy!

At the bottom of the page is a site counter, so I can see how many people are visiting and stuff like that. And that's about all so far - hopefully later I'll be able to add more stuff.

When science and politics mix

Another example of the Republicans trying to twist and stifle science they don't agree with, from Chris C. Mooney. Just the latest in a long list - and there will be more to follow. It's an almost religious attitude they have - and by that I mean the Inquistion style.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Hands up, anyone who believes this one!

Let's see, the Republicans attempted to get Clinton over so many things (Haircutgate, Arlingtongate, China-gate, murder of Vince Foster, etc.). So, of course, it makes sense that:

Had President Clinton said, "I am sorry for my lapse in judgment. I am sorry to my family and to my country," Republicans would have dropped the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Dropped? No. Perhaps not been able to get Clinton for perjury, but dropped? If you really believe that...well, I won't offer to sell you swampland in Arizona or anything like that. I can't take that kind of advantage of people who have such a misguided view of life.

Absolute, no

Even though I have pointed out problems in the media system and made fun of it, I still feel it is a worthwhile profession that can do much good for the American people. As such, I argue vehemently against the forced reveal of confidential sources, and generally uphold the media as a good and needed institution.

However, I do not feel the media is perfect, and here's a case in point (from Eschaton).

This paper went far beyond any claims of journalistic standards, and revealed a lot of information that not only added nothing to the story, but marked the plaintiff for anyone who feels the "need" to take issue with his lawsuit. Just imagine if this had been a rape victim, or a witness in a trial. I don't think the paper would have printed it then. And I am willing to bet that when it covers local celebrities or businessmen, it doesn't print pictures of their license plate (altho to be fair, had there been no other information given, I may have been able to see this as part of the story), or the make and location of their houses. There's a word for this - harassment. Doing it under the cover of journalism in no way hides the stench.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Talk about a test of beliefs!

As I've posted before, holding to your ideals and beliefs over how an action helps/hurts your party/the other party is the thing to strive for. This is how thinking people should do it - be true to something more than party.

Well, dammit, talk about the ultimate test! From, we get this:

"And I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this but the source of...for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time magazine's going to do with the grand jury."

That's Lawrence O'Donnell speaking, the senior MSNBC political analyst.

LET ME EMPHASIZE THIS CLEARLY - THIS IS NOT A CONFIRMED REPORT, NOR SHOULD IT BE TAKEN AS TRUE UNTIL A FEW MORE SOURCES/OUTLETS GO WITH THE STORY. Most of the suspicions I've read about focus on Scooter Libby, the dep. Chief of staff to Cheney, as the leak, with Rove being a possibility but not a serious one. So again, do NOT take this as gospel yet. So why do I mention it?

I post it as a hard question to myself. I don't like Karl Rove at all - he's the man behind the scenes of the demonization and vilification of people who don't agree with his views. He's helped push political debate into a kindergarten's realm of maturity. He helped make everything from tax cuts to Social Security to the next Supreme Court Justice pick (I feel sure) to be, somehow, part and parcel of 9/11. He's a man who probably can't decide what tie to wear without thinking of the political risks and benefits.

But as I stated, I'm also for allowing the press to keep its confidential sources just that - in the Plame case, in the Wen Ho Lee case, in all cases. (In the Lee case, it's a little harder to justify, since it seems that the C.I.'s were basically smearing Lee instead of reporting, but I still feel that being forced to reveal sources will, inevitably and surely, drain the life from the press like an open wound.) I would love to see the media people tell their sources, "If I find out you're using me (a la the Lee sources and POSSIBLY Rove) I will tell everyone who you are. Be honest with me and I'll be honest with you." That's the press setting the rules, which is fine to me. But I don't feel the courts should be allowed to demand the sources.

And I have to hold that belief, even in the face of Rove possibly being the leaker of Plame. While I would love to watch Rove get nailed for a cowardly, slimy, and vengeful act, this isn't the way to do it. If he does get nailed and arrested for whatever (there seems to be a chance he perjured himself in the Plame grand jury), I will probably be happy in some way - and a lot saddened in the other. Of course, it will be funny if he's convicted of the same thing Clinton was...

And one last comment, which I believe I can say regardless of my stance on press sources. Should the Plame leaker indeed be Rove, I'd just like to be one of the first to say, "No more needs to be said about the motives of conservatives."

UPDATE: Many reports now say that while Rove was a Cooper source, he did not leak Plame's name. He could still get nailed for perjury, depending on the grand jury testimony he may have given.