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2/28/2004

Echoes of the Dark Past In Current Debate Over Same-Sex Marriage. 


Atrios has a great comparison between the arguments of those who currently oppose same-sex marriage and those who opposed inter-racial marriage in the early 20th century, and I think he hits the nail right on the head.

Why can't we just agree that civil marriages should have nothing to do with religious marriage ceremonies? Oh yeah - I forgot. In the culture wars, the religious right wants the rest of us to accept fundamental Christianity and/or [insert religion of choice here] as the basis for civil laws and society.

It's stuff like this that makes me want to move to Canada. But I've been thinking about it a lot, and I have decided that the best thing I can do is to stay here in the U.S. and fight for what's right. Running away might make me feel better, but I get the feeling that the progressive movement needs as much help as it can get. Hopefully we're nearing a tipping point back toward sanity (fingers totally crossed).

2/27/2004

Yasonyacky Gets Haloscan Upgrade. 

I usually reserve the posting area here for political news, analysis, and general mockery of the current administration - and I'll get back to that soon, I promise - but today something special happened. I upgraded my Haloscan account with a donation of $15 (the minimum donation for upgrade is $12), and I did so happily. Simon and Jeevan (the cats who run Haloscan) have paid all the expenses of running HaloScan right out of their own pockets, and provide a wonderful service for bloggers.

For me, blogging (and reading the blogs of others) would not be nearly as interesting without the ability to comment on individual posts and to read the comments of others. If you regularly visit the blogs with heavier traffic (e.g. Atrios), you can't help but have noticed that a lot of heavy lifting gets done in the comments section. The most amazing thing is that you can get a HaloScan account for free. That's saying a lot. There's not much that's free these days.

Anyway, I donated to help out the HaloScan community (the more people who become "premium" members, the better services they'll be able to provide to everybody). I also donated to help out Simon and Jeevan, who are true heroes of the blogosphere. And finally, I donated to get myself a "premium" HaloScan account, which (among other things) provides this blog with:

Increased post length.
Free Account - 1000 characters max.
Premium Account - 3000 characters max.

Full Template Customization.
Look for my comments section to sport a snazzy new look in the near future.

There are several other features that will probably be very helpful as readership here grows, but those are my two favorite. Most important for you, dear blog reader, is the fact that your comments can now be up to 3000 characters,which should please some of you immensely (I'm talking to you, Darwin). Oh, and the ability to delete the postings of trolls right in the comments window! I can't wait!

So, if you're a blogger, and you're not using HaloScan, try it out. It's a great service.

If you're a blogger and you're using the free version of Haloscan, upgrade your account by donating $12 (or more) to Simon and Jeevan so they can add more features and so you can get lots of the awesome features they already provide for premium accounts.

Thanks, Simon and Jeevan, for providing a much-needed service to bloggers and blog-readers. You rock!

UPDATE: I've chosen a "snazzy new look" - let me know how you like it. The comments template I chose is called commentlight.css, authored by "comments." (I don't think that's the person's real name, but whatever.) Let me know what you think.

2/25/2004

Mista Perle Out. 


Good riddance! Don't let the door hit you in the ass, Dick.

I wonder if this is related to Perle being investigated by the SEC, as noted in this previous post?

UPDATE: Joe at American Leftist has posted the text of Perle's resignation letter here.

2/24/2004

New "Get Your War On." 




See more of David Rees's Get Your War On here.

2/23/2004

Secret Pentagon Document Warns of Catastrophic Global Climate Change. 


The Observer of London has unearthed a "secret report," apparently suppressed by the Pentagon, that warns of the potential catastrophic effects of climate change on human life.

"The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies... 'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis."
It's a good thing the Bush administration is taking climate change seriously. Oh, wait - they're not taking it seriously. Instead, they're militarizing space and building missile defense shields.

Here is the list of key findings from the report.

Yikes.

2/22/2004

Atrios has Trackback. 


Thanks to Atrios for the heads up - Haloscan provides Trackback now. I will also get trackback set up on this blog soon.

UPDATE: Trackback has now been added to Yasonyacky.

2/20/2004

Take Them at Their Words. 


Bruce Miller, the author of "Take Them at Their Words: Shocking, Amusing and Baffling Quotations from the G.O.P. and Their Friends, 1994-2004," is interviewed by BuzzFlash.

My favorite excerpt from the interview:

I mean, is this what civilization is supposed to look like: angry, bitter, hateful white people running around claiming that anyone who disagrees with them is working for Lucifer?

WTF, Tom Daschle? 


I have thus far refrained from criticizing the Senate minority leader in print. But I think this abrupt about-face on WMDs and Iraq offers a fine occasion to begin.

He's "satisfied with the way things are going in Iraq?" He "praised the Bush administration's war and nation-building work in Iraq"? He "has no serious concerns" about the weapons of mass destruction (or lack thereof)? WTF?

I'd like to remind everybody that this is our Senate minority leader. Perhaps this is a signal that the DNC thinks a backlash is imminent, but I don't think so. The media haven't really been harping on Bush - he's been tripping over his own god-damned shoelaces. There's not really much to lash back against. Besides, the Coulters and the Scarboroughs have been lashing back.

I think this is just re-election equivocation. Or full-blown treason. Take your pick.

(Thanks to Bing Crosby in Atrios' comments for digging this one up.)

The "Troubled" Meme. 


The Bush administration is "troubled." They're also "deeply troubled." And they find a lot of things "troubling," "deeply troubling," and "troubling and tragic." That's what they say, anyway. Here's an overview of the White House's use of the "troubled" meme.

Bush is "troubled" by the same-sex marriages happening in San Francisco this week.

Bush's science adviser, John Marburger, is "troubled" by the fact that prestigious scientists signed a 37-page report accusing the Bush administration of distorting and suppressing findings that contradict administration policies.

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said on February 4th - five times - that the recent MA Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage was "deeply troubling." Okay, Scottie, we get the point. "Deeply troubling." Got it. And where did Scottie get that phrase? From the boss, of course.

That same day, Bush had issued a statement calling the MA Supreme Court ruling "deeply troubling."

And back on November 5th of last year, in his remarks occasioning the signing the "Partial Birth Abortion Ban," Bush called the facts about so-called "partial birth" abortions "troubling and tragic."

Damn, this guy is "troubled" a lot, isn't he? But there's more.

In a September 17, 2003 letter to the Speaker of the house, Bush referred to Iraq and Afghanistan as part of a "troubled region."

Bush was "troubled" in June 2003 at the Israeli helicopter gunship attacks.

And Ari Fleischer later told the gaggle - four times - that the President was "deeply troubled" at the same Israeli helicopter gunship attack. A question about 1/4 of the way through the press briefing (after the fourth and final use of the "troubled meme" at this briefing) raises a germane question - "Ari, if the president is so deeply troubled, why doesn't he pick up the phone and call Ariel Sharon?"

In May of 2003, Bush spoke of Iraq as part of a "troubled neighborhood."

In April of 2003, then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer called Cuba's reelection to the UN's Human Rights Commission "troubling" and "troublesome."

In April of 2003, in "The President's Recommendations for Improving Physical Fitness," Bush calls the steep rate of increase in obesity in young people "particularly troubling."

In January 2003, during the run-up to war in Iraq, a White House news release said that information on Iraq's apparent possession of undeclared chemical warheads was "troubling and serious."

Also in January 2003, speaking in St. Louis, Bush called it "troubling and disturbing" that Saddam Hussein "want[ed] to play a game" with regard to disarming.

In September 2002, Ari Fleischer called reports that Iraq had begun new construction at sites previously used for nuclear activity both "troubling" and "deeply, deeply troubling."

In July 2002, Bush said that the International Criminal Court was "troubling to the United States, troubling to the administration, and obviously trouble with the United States Senate as well." He then went on to say that as the U.S. "works to bring peace around the world," he feared that U.S. diplomats and soldiers "could be drug into this court and that's a very troubling -- very troubling to me."

Back in January 2001, Bush said he was "troubled" by Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich.
You know how when you say a word over and over and over again, it begins to somehow magically lose its meaning? Isn't that how you feel about the word "troubled" right now? Can you even remember what it means? I didn't think so.

2/19/2004

Federal Court Agrees to Hear Request to Reopen Roe v. Wade. 


No, I'm not joking. As unbelievable as this is, and as much as I hate the fact that this is even a remote possibility in the U.S. in 2004, it might just chip off quite a few women from the (R) ticket - just in time for the November elections. If not, I'd better start practicing my Canadian vernacular now:

What a bunch of hosers.

Just for the record, I will not live in a country in which abortion is illegal. I simply refuse. Canadians - please write me with advice as to which of your fine cities I should visit if my "world tour" becomes necessary.

Dem Talking Points '04! 


From a comment over at Atrios:

1. President Bush wants to repeal the 14th Amendment.

2. President Bush caused the recession.

3. President Bush moved your job overseas.

4. President Bush lied to you about a threat in Iraq in order to steal your tax money to give to Haliburton.
Indeed. Does anybody have Terry McCauliffe's telephone number?

Perle Under Investigation. 


The London Times has a heart-warming article on Mistah Perle's "apparent contravention of the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s rules."

Drip, drip.

I'm waiting for these last two Texas dominoes (1, 2) to fall into place before I start to really celebrate.

2/18/2004

DoD WMD Talking Points! 


This is awesome. (Thanks for digging that one up, Josh!)

To recap the most important point in the DoD's talking points, there was no disagreement as to the existence or scope of before Shrub launched his revenge-war. (The "Everybody Was Wrong" meme.)

Carry on.

2/15/2004

It's One of Those Things You Always Knew Was True, But Didn't Want To Believe. 


College Republicans offer whites-only award

Not much else to say on this one. Sad.

UPDATE: Of course, Atrios got to this one before I did. I was snowboarding all day, so I missed it. Damn. :-)

2/14/2004

WaPo Nukes Bush Campaign on Kerry "Special Interests" Attacks. 


No, that's not a typo. The Washington Post, in an editorial with no byline in today's issue, excoriates the Bush campaign over its recent attacks on John Kerry on the issue of "special interests." While conceding that "Mr. Kerry's fundraising and his relationships with Washington lobbyists are a legitimate topic" (especially since he has positioned himself as the enemy of special interests), the piece uses figures from the Center for Responsive Politics to show that Bush has actually collected more than four times as much from lobbyists in the 2004 elections than Mr. Kerry has ($960,000 for Bush, $235,000 for Kerry). The Bush attacks cite figures from the Center for Responsive Politics in its attacks, but only those having to do with Kerry. How would Nedra Pickler write it?

"When the Bush campaign says that John Kerry is 'brought to you by special interests,' it neglects to mention the fact that it has raised more than four times as much money directly from lobbyists as Kerry has, and that at least $6.5 million for Bush's re-election campaign has been 'bundled' by 53 registered lobbyists working as 'Pioneers' or 'Rangers' for the Bush campaign." Anyway, here are excerpts from the WaPo article (Nedra Pickler-free!)

Of Mr. Bush's Pioneers -- those who raised at least $100,000 in the 2000 campaign -- 21 snagged ambassadorships, and these weren't hardship postings. Checks from "HMOs, telecoms, drug companies"? Mr. Bush has swamped Mr. Kerry in all three sectors during this campaign, raking in 10 times as much from donors connected to the pharmaceutical industry ($585,000 to $58,000) and telecommunications ($578,000 to $58,000).

...

And, since Mr. Bush brought it up, it's worth remembering that Mr. Kerry actually has some bona fides in the area of campaign finance ethics. He swore off checks from political action committees during his Senate races. He supported the McCain-Feingold legislation to end big soft-money checks to political parties -- which Mr. Bush's party did its best to kill and which the president only reluctantly signed. While the Bush administration fights to keep secret the activities of its energy task force, Mr. Kerry has promised to release the records of his meetings with lobbyists during his time in office.
As the worm turns...


2/13/2004

Ann Coulter not a "Fox News contributor," despite 50 appearances since 2002. 


Apparently, after her venemous little tantrum about Max Cleland, Fox News doesn't like the idea of being linked with Ann Coulter - and more specifically, doesn't want anybody calling her a "Fox News contributor" - despite the fact that her fat adam's apple has bobbed up and down on that channel at least 50 times since 2002. I just got this email from "The Progress Report," the daily newsletter from The Center for American Progress (emphasis mine):

EDITOR’S NOTE: After publishing the Progress Report this morning, Fox News called to protest our description of Ann Coulter as a “Fox News contributor." Fox News said Ann Coulter "is not a contributor to this network" and "has not been a contributor the last couple of years." Though Fox News’ Sean Hannity described Ms. Coulter in December of 2002 as "a Fox News contributor," and despite Coulter appearing 50 times on Fox News since 2002, we regret any confusion this may have caused.


Somebody Floats a Rumor - The Remix. 


With the post just previous in mind, I read this exchange between Scott McClellan and the White House press gaggle with interest (emphasis mine):

Scott McClellan: I didn't say that. I said that these were all issues addressed four years ago. If there's additional information --

Q: This issue quite obviously wasn't addressed four years ago.

Scott McClellan: Oh, issues -- these issues were addressed four years ago.

Q: This issue was? The community service issue was addressed four years ago?

Scott McClellan: The issues -- the issues that we're going to here --

Q: I don't recall --

Scott McClellan: This is called chasing a rumor. And I'm not going to engage in this kind of politics, Bill.
Does this remind anybody else of the "Somebody floats a rumor and that causes you to ask a question... [a]nd I refuse to play" formulation by Bush when he was running for office in 1999?

UPDATE: Thanks to Tena (filling in for Atrios this weekend) for linking to this post. As you can imagine, site traffic just increased a thousandfold. A millionfold. A billionfold. Infinitely. Whatever. Thanks, Tena!

UPDATE II: Atrios reader 71077345 provides this compelling example [warning: Salon link] of a much older McClellan remix of the Resident's formulation, 1999 style (emphasis mine):

The Bush campaign refused to comment on the allegations. "We do not dignify false rumors and innuendos with a response," campaign spokesman Scott McClellan told Nothing Personal. "As a matter of principle, the governor refuses to play that game."
What the hell?


2/11/2004

Fool Me You Can't Get Fooled Again - The Remix. 


"Foolmah you can't get fooled again" is quite possibly one of the most profound thoughts ever expressed by an American president. Cleverly mixing an ancient folk quote with the incisive poetry of Jim Morrison germane lyrics from the seminal rock band The Who, Bush gave us yet another good reason not to misunderestimate him. Anyway, if you remember this W. quote, there's an electronica remix of this marvelous turn of phrase. The song also includes the following sophisticated policy analysis:
Somebody floats a rumor and that causes you to ask a question. And that's the game in American politics, and I refuse to play it. That is a game. And you just fell for the trap. And I refuse to play.
Indeed.

UPDATE: Thanks to readers Sally and grr for pointing out that "Won't Get Fooled Again" is actually a song by The Who, not The Doors.

2/10/2004

Bush to Criticize the IAEA. 


From the AP (emphasis added):

President Bush is launching a new push for greater international cooperation against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, with particular criticism aimed at the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency, a senior administration official said.

...

On Wednesday, the president planned to sketch the change in the threat from weapons of mass destruction from the Cold War to the post-Sept. 11, 2001, era, the official said. Now, nuclear bombs and other weapons of mass destruction can no longer be considered a tool of last resort in a world where terrorists seek maximum destruction, Bush will argue, reprising a theme of a May 1, 2001, address also at the National Defense University.

...

The president was to propose new controls at the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, for instance. The agency is seen as ineffective by many in the Bush administration who cite the agency's failure to stop weapons programs in Libya, North Korea and other countries.
It takes some serious cajones to prevent the IAEA from doing its job in one country (Iraq), then turn around and criticize it for not doing its job in other countries. The IAEA can only be as strong as the world's countries make it, and unfortunately, the world's only superpower doesn't support the IAEA. Besides, the world's only superpower hasn't done such a great job at stopping weapons programs in North Korea in the past couple of years, either. In fact, the world's only superpower has actively provoked North Korea into processing spent fuel rods for nuclear bombs after it removed IAEA monitoring devices from a nuclear plant, expelled inspectors, and withdrew from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that Bill Clinton and/or Jimmy Carter had managed to keep North Korea within in 1994. And the world's only superpower has done little to nothing to stop this.

So, what - the IAEA should get tanks and bombers to enforce its treaties? If we won't back up the IAEA when its monitoring devices are pulled, its inspectors ejected, and the treaties it tries to hold the world's nations to are broken, who the hell are we to criticize it for not doing its job? If we provide the resources and the job doesn't get done, that's one thing. But if we declaw the cat and then get pissed that it can't catch the mouse, that's another story altogether.

ALSO: Referring to the second graf quoted above - I would certainly love to see the president's sketch - wouldn't you?


O'Reilly Criticizes Bush, Apologizes for Supporting Pre-war Claims. 


I must have entered Bizarro-world when I went to lunch today. I came back to my desk to find this wonderful news item surreptitiously taped to my chair.

Conservative television news anchor Bill O'Reilly said on Tuesday he was now skeptical about the Bush administration and apologized to viewers for supporting prewar claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.


(O'Reilly) said he was sorry he gave the U.S. government the benefit of the doubt that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's weapons program posed an imminent threat, the main reason cited for going to war.


"I was wrong. I am not pleased about it at all and I think all Americans should be concerned about this," O'Reilly said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America."
I think it's a bad sign when even your most rabid boosters turn on you. Or maybe this is just Bill's way of clinging to the flimsy notion that he's actually an "Independent," not a "Rabid Right-wing Conservative," as is widely believed. Either way, it made my day.

UPDATE: This New York Times piece gives us the rundown on some other conservative heavy hitters (Peggy Noonan, George Will, Robert Novak, and Joe Scarborough) who have voiced serious criticisms of the president in recent days. Man, I love Bizarro-world today!

Josh Marshall's Joke of the Day. 


Unfortunately, it's actually scarier than it is funny...

Given the president's record as a businessman, and since he's now run the country hopelessly into debt, isn't it about time he sells the country off to some rich friends who will swallow the loss so he can move on to greener pastures?
Like I said... scary. What really sucks is that I can actually imagine this happening. Jeebus.

Dubya Duckspeak 


Below is a translation (from English into Orwell's "Duckspeak") of portions of Dubya's interview with Russert the other night. If you've got a Salon subscription, you can read they whole vastly entertaining article. Quack quack.

The night you took the country to war, March 17th, you said this: "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised ... How do you respond to critics who say that you brought the nation to war under false pretenses?

Quack weapons quack war against terror quack we were attacked quack every threat quack every threat quack every potential harm to America quack war on terror quack weapons quack suicide bombers quack funding terrorist groups quack dangerous man quack stockpiles of weapons quack capacity to produce weapons quack weapons quack capacity to make weapons quack Saddam Hussein quack dangerous with weapons quack Saddam Hussein quack dangerous with the ability to make weapons quack dangerous man quack dangerous quack a madman quack imminent quack imminent quack new kind of war quack no doubt in my mind quack Saddam Hussein quack danger to America.

In what way?

Quack have a weapon, make a weapon quack he had weapons quack he had weapons quack make a weapon quack weapon quack shadowy terrorist network quack Oval Office quack terrorists with airplanes quack harm America quack worst nightmare scenario quack terrorist networks quack deadly weapons quack strike us quack president of the United States' most solemn responsibility quack country secure quack Saddam Hussein quack Saddam Hussein quack madman.

2/09/2004

Al Qaeda with Tactical Nukes? 


This is not good. Just pretend for a moment that Al Qaeda has had tactical nukes the whole time we've been diddling around in Iraq. Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

October Surprise. 


A thoughtful discussion (Salon subscription required to read whole article - sorry) of Bush's approval ratings over his "presidency," as well as a nice framing of the "October surprise" that would be required to give Bush the boost in the polls he needs to actually win the 2004 election.

Also, Hesiod comments on the possibility of an Osama "October surprise" in this post.

2/07/2004

Bill Frist's New Book Is Out. 


It's called "Ultra-Thieving Crony Capitalists Drunk on Their Own Vanity Beget the Downfall of Once-Great Nations." But only if you read the reviews.

In reality, Frist's book is called "Good People Beget Good People: A Genealogy of the Frist Family." Sounds kinda, I don't know... pompous? Self-important? Presumably, Dr. Frist is one of the "good people" who was begat by some of those other "good people" - his forbears. Is it self-aggrandizing to write a book in which you basically call yourself a good person in the title? Is it destiny for the children of crack-whores to have low IQ scores, while the offspring of Fulbright Scholars invariably bring us blockbuster drugs that cure cancer, leprosy, and erectile disfunction?

If this is Frist's theory, he'd better look into the Bush family and see what the fuck happened. I mean, as much as I dislike the man, Poppy Bush is reasonably intelligent. And Bar is a pretty smart lady. George W.? Idiot. Jeb? Moron. They got the dregs of the gene pool. Or they got the genes of the pool boy. One of the two.

We'll leave that argument for another time. Meanwhile, here's a fellow doctor's diagnosis of Senator Frist's book:
As a physician, I have had the great misfortune to be given not one, but two recent publications from the "the Senate's only physician". Frist's first book, in which he had the audacity to suggest that a cardiac surgeon has any real understanding of bioterrorism was just the first demonstration of the narcissitic, inflated ego that he confirms in his current book. Although some of the story is actually interesting it is so self serving that I just couldn't read more than ~1/3. When I realized my family spent $50 on this book I nearly choked. Let's hope the proceeds aren't funding his presidential bid for '08.