spook of the ozarks

unapologetic liberal

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

SOTU drinking game


Meet Justice Alito. We're going to regret that this guy ever got on the SCOTUS.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Pickton trial begins

We visited Vancouver Skid Row some years ago for a weekend. Didn't hear anything about this happening, but apparently it was ongoing at the time.

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. -- Almost four years after his arrest, accused serial killer Robert Pickton -- facing 27 counts of first-degree murder -- entered not-guilty pleas Monday in B.C. Supreme Court.
The 56-year-old man was arrested in February 2002 by police investigating the disappearance of sex-trade workers from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
The not-guilty pleas marked the formal start of Pickton's trial, which will be followed by several months of hearings on the admissibility of evidence held under a strict publication ban.

In a bar reminiscent of the tune "Spanish Moon," a hooker claimed to recognize us.


The Shrill One, from behind the curtain:

A study commissioned by The American Prospect shows that the tribes' donations to Democrats fell by 9 percent after they hired Mr. Abramoff, while their contributions to Republicans more than doubled. So in any normal sense of the word "directed," Mr. Abramoff directed funds away from Democrats, not toward them.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Best wishes to Bob Woodruff

Head injuries are not career-enhancing in the TV news anchoring field.

LP to digital

The Beeb explains how to do it. We have about 400 titles on vinyl.


Not good:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army has forced about 50,000 soldiers to continue serving after their voluntary stints ended under a policy called "stop-loss," but while some dispute its fairness, court challenges have fallen flat.

That they're doing this is not news, but the number surprised us. Don't forget to vote, guys.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


NYTimes editorial:

A bit over a week ago, President Bush and his men promised to provide the legal, constitutional and moral justifications for the sort of warrantless spying on Americans that has been illegal for nearly 30 years. Instead, we got the familiar mix of political spin, clumsy historical misinformation, contemptuous dismissals of civil liberties concerns, cynical attempts to paint dissents as anti-American and pro-terrorist, and a couple of big, dangerous lies.
The first was that the domestic spying program is carefully aimed only at people who are actively working with Al Qaeda, when actually it has violated the rights of countless innocent Americans. And the second was that the Bush team could have prevented the 9/11 attacks if only they had thought of eavesdropping without a warrant.

'He was against the idea before he was for it'

Friday, January 27, 2006

W doesn't pay attention to polls

Here's one he won't like:

A strong bipartisan majority of the public believes President Bush should disclose all contacts between disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and White House staffers despite administration claims that media requests for details about those contacts amount to a "fishing expedition," according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The survey found that three in four -- 76 percent -- of all Americans said Bush should disclose contacts between aides and Abramoff while 18 percent disagreed. Two in three Republicans joined with eight in 10 Democrats and political independents in favoring disclosure, according to the poll.

Sure looks like they're hiding something.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

'The older folks don’t get out as often ...'

Arkansas Times has a good piece this week by Jim Kelton about the vibrant Fayetteville music scene back in the 1960s and where it went from there. Nowadays, a bit tamer, but still.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Not just corrupt

Harold Meyerson:

Incompetence is not one of the seven deadly sins, and it's hardly the worst attribute that can be ascribed to George W. Bush. But it is this president's defining attribute. Historians, looking back at the hash that his administration has made of his war in Iraq, his response to Hurricane Katrina and his Medicare drug plan, will have to grapple with how one president could so cosmically botch so many big things -- particularly when most of them were the president's own initiatives.
... It's the president's prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D), though, that is his most mind-boggling failure. As was not the case in Iraq or with Katrina, it hasn't had to overcome the opposition of man or nature. Pharmacists are not resisting the program; seniors are not planting car bombs to impede it (not yet, anyway). But in what must be an unforeseen development, people are trying to get their medications covered under the program. Apparently, this is a contingency for which the administration was not prepared, as it has been singularly unable to get its own program up and running.


John Lott, in The New York Times?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

W broke the Army

Remember "help is on the way?"

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a "thin green line" that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon.
Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who wrote the report under a Pentagon contract, concluded that the Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency. He also suggested that the Pentagon's decision, announced in December, to begin reducing the force in Iraq this year was driven in part by a realization that the Army was overextended.

All because Saddam tried to kill his dad.

Gotta love the Czechs

They like their weed almost as much as their beer.


Someone figured out they're gonna get hammered in November:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The federal government will help reimburse states that have been paying for prescription drugs after glitches with Medicare's new benefit left many patients stranded, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday.
States should first seek reimbursement from companies offering the plans, but Medicare will help pay for any difference, Mark McClellan, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said.

Everyone but PhaRMA's pissed about this fiasco. And the "doughnut-hole" should arrive just in time for the midterms.

Froomkin's back

After paternity leave, the washingtonpost.com White House Briefing columnist has resumed his daily roundup of administration-related news, a must-read.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Zero credibility


Gen. Michael Hayden, constitutional scholar. Can't wait to read Jonathan Landay's story when Knight Ridder posts it.

Two wrongs don't make a right

Isn't this what he got in trouble for?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lawyers for a former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday made their first request to use classified evidence at his trial, launching a highly secretive court process that could bog down the case.
In the filings made under seal in federal court, lawyers for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby put the judge and prosecutors on notice that they want a jury to hear evidence the government now says is classified.

'Terrorist Surveillance Program'

Who could oppose that? Get a warrant. Wolcott is underwhelmed.


This reminded us of when, during W's monthlong August 2001 vacation, Dan Bartlett appeared on TV, CNN we're pretty sure, to tell us how hard the preznit was working, provoking howls of "Liar!"

Porn spam

Because we always just click "check all" and "delete," we never knew what those spam messages with "Amazing, so-and-so" in the subject line were about. Until now.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bush/Abramoff photos

First the Washingtonian, now Time. Who the hell is showing these photos to magazines but not allowing them to be published?
UPDATE: This makes sense.

He's probably right

Jon Chait:

The Medicare drug plan is the perfect issue for Democrats to run on. It perfectly encapsulates the corruption of Republican Washington, and it's a concrete thing that voters can relate to. Running on this issue makes so much sense that naturally the Democrats won't do it.

We're glad the LATimes gave Chait a column. At least people read the Times.

Would you buy this paper?

Hussman did. Pathetic:

Whether it’s "Dancing with the Stars" or "So You Think They Can Dance," recent reality shows seem to influencing local teens.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Deborah Howell responds

Not bad. Although she clearly cherry-picked the comments she quoted, their Freeperishness is a bit distressing. Let's be civil.

Keyboard Kommando Komics



Salon has several good pieces today. Farhad Manjoo covers the flap over the Post ombudsman's gaffe. (Media Matters too, here.) Michael Scherer on Osama bin Laden plugging an obscure book. Walter Shapiro attended Karl Rove's speech to the RNC. Joe Conason wants the White House press corpse to ask Scottie about Abramoff meeting the president. And we always enjoy Ask the pilot.

Friday, January 20, 2006


A guy who has actually met bin Laden:

So why only on audio? Why no video tape? Is he sick? Yes, say the usual American "intelligence sources". It's the same old story: Osama bin Laden talks to us from the mouth of a cave, from within a cave, from a basement perhaps, from a tape almost certainly recorded down a telephone line from far away. Yesterday's message, broadcast as ever by al-Jazeera television, was a reminder that security - not sickness - decides his method of communication.

All here. Someone was speculating that he may have changed his appearance.

Better hope they're convicted

Washingtonpost.com has a headline up right now that says, "Eleven ecoterrorists indicted." What do you suppose Tom DeLay's lawyers would do if the Post called him a money-launderer?

Bin Laden's truce offer

That tape is thought to have been recorded six-seven weeks ago. It's probably safe to assume the truce offer is off the table now.


Krugman has a good column today on the Medicare drug plan. No link, but you can find it on someone's blog if you look. This fiasco's sure to cost the GOP come November. Democrats need to run on pledges to fix this mess.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Airstrike looks like success

Because it's from Pakistani sources instead of the Bush administration, this is more credible, but it appears that bombing killed some top Qaeda guys. Good. On the other hand:

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Al-Jazeera on Thursday aired an audiotape purportedly from Osama bin Laden, who says al-Qaeda is making preparations for attacks in the United States but offering a truce "with fair conditions."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Department of it'll never last

Trust us:

TOKYO (AP) -- Gohan and Aochan make strange bedfellows: one's a 3.5-inch dwarf hamster; the other is a four-foot rat snake. Zookeepers at Tokyo's Mutsugoro Okoku zoo presented the hamster - whose name means "meal" in Japanese - to Aochan as a tasty morsel in October, after the snake refused to eat frozen mice.
But instead of indulging, Aochan decided to make friends with the furry rodent, according to keeper Kazuya Yamamoto. The pair have shared a cage since.

GOP 'reform'

Conason is skeptical. As usual, he's right.

Maybe not

In a post about "signing statements," Josh Marshall writes:

There's a body of literature and debate about this theory of the unitary executive.

But Elizabeth de la Vega, a former federal prosecutor with more than 20 years of experience, writes in Salon:

Not having heard of this concept, and thinking perhaps that I had missed something in constitutional law, I decided to survey a random sampling of attorneys about it. The group included civil practitioners, prosecutors, a federal judge, a former federal prosecutor who has a Ph.D. as well as a J.D., defense attorneys and a U.S. magistrate. The precise question was, "When did you first hear about the Unitary Executive Theory of the Presidency?" Most said, "The past few weeks," but my favorite was, "A few seconds ago, when you asked about it." All agreed that the term does not appear in the U.S. Constitution and that, the last time they checked, we still had three branches of government.

When will they ever learn?

Raymond Hernandez of The New York Times should read the blogs.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Golden Winger nominees are out

Classic TV edition. Don't forget to vote.

Note to self

Return here until the volume subsides enough to use it. (Our ancestors were Scots/Irish.) It shows the distribution of surnames in Britain.
UPDATE: Turns out, we're members of the British race. We can't get the maps to display, but it looks like our Irish is mainly of the Northern variety. And we might find a free place to crash in New Zealand someday.

Monday, January 16, 2006

How's that Iraq project going?

It's still a disater:

The U.S. Agency for International Development paints a dire and detailed picture of the Iraq security situation in its request for contractors to bid on its $1.32 billion, 28-month project to help stabilize 10 major Iraqi cities.

Hey, they've already rebuilt Iraq for only $1.7 billion. Now they'll stabilize it for a mere $1.32 billion more. That's a pittance compared with the $2 trillion total cost of this folly.

Sucking up everything, learning nothing

This is a vortex:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 - In the anxious months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the National Security Agency began sending a steady stream of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and names to the F.B.I. in search of terrorists. The stream soon became a flood, requiring hundreds of agents to check out thousands of tips a month.
But virtually all of them, current and former officials say, led to dead ends or innocent Americans.
F.B.I. officials repeatedly complained to the spy agency that the unfiltered information was swamping investigators. The spy agency was collecting much of the data by eavesdropping on some Americans' international communications and conducting computer searches of foreign-related phone and Internet traffic. Some F.B.I. officials and prosecutors also thought the checks, which sometimes involved interviews by agents, were pointless intrusions on Americans' privacy.
As the bureau was running down those leads, its director,
Robert S. Mueller III, raised concerns about the legal rationale for the eavesdropping program, which did not seek court warrants, one government official said. Mr. Mueller asked senior administration officials about "whether the program had a proper legal foundation," but deferred to Justice Department legal opinions, the official said.

What Justice Department official do you suppose wrote those opinions?

Mustain unrenegs

The Morning News says our savior will come to UA, after figuring out that we're more desperate than the average bear. If he redshirts, we'll suck again next year.

Vietnam-era deserter arrested

This guy would almost certainly be a superior president to the one we're stuck with now.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Good on them

The WaPo torpedoes Ralph Reed's political career.

Helluva game

Top that Chicago and Carolina. Then comes "24." We're glued to the TV all day and into the night.

Now Atrios is bloggered

But he's right, as usual. Deborah Howell is a wanker:

Schmidt quickly found that Abramoff was getting 10 to 20 times as much from Indian tribes as they had paid other lobbyists. And he had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties.

No, he didn't. He gave solely to Republicans. Here's a revelation:

Sources often know important facts that they don't reveal until they see how the story is going to turn out.

No shit. Her whole column reads like she's addressing an eighth-grade journalism class. This is The Washington Post ombudsman. The NFL beckons.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

We're curious

But not curious enough to actually open one of those spam messages with the subject line, "your neighbors lost their alarm clock," to find out what it's peddling.

Sounds about right

Must be nice

Cashing in:

WASHINGTON - Less than three months after registering as a lobbyist, former Attorney General John Ashcroft has banked at least $269,000 from just four clients and appears to be developing a practice centered on firms that want to capitalize on a government demand for homeland security technology that boomed under sometimes controversial policies he promoted while in office.

These guys have no shame.
via DailyKos.

Missed him by that much

For what it's worth:

DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri is alive, Al Arabiya television reported on Saturday, quoting a source which it said has contact with al Qaeda.

Not that al Qaeda would announce it if he'd been killed. Still, be on the lookout for a taped statement soon just to dispel any doubt -- if he's alive. And there are about 18 dead villagers.

Friday, January 13, 2006


It's nice that Riaz Khan, unlike many AP writers and editors (an editor could have corrected it), knows that airstrike is one word. Anyhow, this would be good, and a PR coup for W. If it was successful.

DAMADOLA, Pakistan (AP) -- An airstrike in a remote Pakistani tribal area killed at least 17 people, and a senior Pakistani official said Saturday the target was a suspected al-Qaida hideout that may have been frequented by high-level operatives, possibly the No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri.
Citing unnamed American intelligence officials, U.S. networks reported that it was a CIA strike and that al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's lieutenant, could have been at a targeted compound in the Bajur area or about to arrive.

But we're doubtful whether AP etc. have better connections than these guys.

It's a start

See ya:

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Speaker Dennis Hastert is trying to force out Ohio Rep. Bob Ney as chairman of the House Administration Committee, a week after Ney was linked in Justice Department documents to a bribery scheme involving convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a senior House aide said Friday.
Ney's committee has jurisdiction over the Republican reform agenda in the wake of the Abramoff scandal, and Hastert believes it is inappropriate to let Ney run it, said the GOP leadership aide, who spoke of anonymity because of the negotiations between Ney and the speaker.

Republicans have a reform agenda?

Big Media Matt guests at TPM

We were reading Talking Points Memo, and we thought, Man, Josh is making even more typos than usual today. Then we got down to the post where Matt Yglesias announced that he's guest-blogging today. That explains it. Matt's a talented and prolific writer and policy wonk but he should read his copy before publishing (which we did several times here, lest we commit a typo).

Light housekeeping

So we were reading Altercation, and Dr. Alterman had printed a comment from our pal GreyHair so we had to update his link, because he has moved to Bending the Third Rail. And as long as we were in the template, we added AMERICAblog, where John Aravosis and friends are doing great work like this, which was another thing we would've linked yesterday except ...

Catching up

The WaPo had this yesterday when Blogger was being difficult. The NYTimes follows up:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 - Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the former commander at the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, who also helped set up the interrogation operation at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, is declining to testify further about harsh interrogation practices and will retire from the service, Army officials said Thursday.

If we didn't have a sadistic freak running the Pentagon, this war criminal would be court-martialed.

Seems to be working OK now

In fact, it's twice as good as before.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Blogger had a note up saying "scheduled down time 3:30 PST." Coulda fooled us. We thought it was down for the past 30 hours.


Blogger had a note up saying "scheduled down time 3:30 PST." Coulda fooled us. We thought it was down for the past 30 hours.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ya think?

Mmmm, ratballs:

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) -- Dozens of soup vendors rallied outside an Indonesian TV station Wednesday over a news report that alleged some sellers were using rat to make meatballs for their broth.
The protesters complained that the report was hurting their business.

Funny, not funny

Gene Lyons:

So brazen and nefarious were the schemes of former GOP House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, for example, that it appears “The Hammer” might with more accuracy have been dubbed “The Chisel.”

Joe Conason:

The sad but safe assumption about the Sago miners is that when their funerals are over, we will forget about them, their mourning families, and the working conditions that still threaten so many like them.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Holy shit

Drip, drip, drip

Quid pro quo:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay tried to pressure the Bush administration into shutting down an Indian-owned casino that lobbyist Jack Abramoff wanted closed - shortly after a tribal client of Abramoff's donated to a DeLay political action committee, The Associated Press has learned.

After he gets out of prison in Texas, he can head over to Leavenworth.

Progress Report

The good folks at the Center for American Progress send out this valuable news summary every a.m. Here's today's edition. If you're not receiving it via e-mail, you can sign up here. Their frequently updated blog is Think Progress. We endorse their work.

Alito hearings

Armando is actually live-blogging them over at DailyKos. It numbs the mind. Alito will be a terrible justice, but resistance is futile. He'll be confirmed.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Happy, happy

A good thing:

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 11,000 Monday for the first time since before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, lifted by a five-day rally that has sent stocks soaring so far in 2006.
According to preliminary calculations, the average of 30 blue-chip stocks ended the day up 52.59, or 0.48 percent, at 11,011.90, its first finish above 11,000 since June 7, 2001, when it closed at 11,090.74.

Bamford on Risen

James Bamford, arguably the foremost expert on the NSA, reviews "State of War: The Secret History of the C.I.A. and the Bush Administration," by the New York Times' James Risen.

Nice try

But unenforceable:

It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

This is clearly a violation of the First Amendment.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Wingnut wet dream

This makes us sick:

New details have emerged of how the growing number of prisoners on hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay are being tied down and force-fed through tubes pushed down their nasal passages into their stomachs to keep them alive.
They routinely experience bleeding and nausea, according to a sworn statement by the camp's chief doctor, seen by The Observer.
"Experience teaches us" that such symptoms must be expected "whenever nasogastric tubes are used," says the affidavit of Capt. John S. Edmondson, commander of Guantánamo's hospital. The procedure -- now standard practice at Guantánamo -- "requires that a foreign body be inserted into the body and, ideally, remain in it." But staff always use a lubricant, and "a nasogastric tube is never inserted and moved up and down. It is inserted down into the stomach slowly and directly, and it would be impossible to insert the wrong end of the tube." Medical personnel do not insert nasogastric tubes in a manner "intentionally designed to inflict pain."

Because absence of intent to inflict pain means that, however painful, this activity doesn't fall within W's definition of torture and therefore we don't torture. So what's the problem?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Did we mention

That the scandal was just beginning?

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 - Having secured a guilty plea from the lobbyist Jack Abramoff, prosecutors are entering a new phase of the corruption investigation in Washington and are focusing on a lobbying firm that may hold the key to whether Tom DeLay or other lawmakers will face criminal charges in the case.
The firm, Alexander Strategy Group, is of particular interest to investigators because it was founded by Edwin A. Buckham, a close personal friend of Mr. DeLay's and his former chief of staff, and has been a lucrative landing spot for several former members of the DeLay staff, people who are directly involved in the case have said.

They're gonna need a whole cellblock just for these guys. And gals. Alexander Strategy paid DeLay's wife a bunch of money.

DeLay gives up

At last:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Embattled Rep. Tom DeLay on Saturday abandoned his bid to remain as House majority leader, clearing the way for leadership elections among Republicans eager to shed the taint of scandal.

Good luck with that last part. The scandal's just beginning. He still thinks he'll get re-elected in November. Are his constituents that stupid? We'll see.

Signing statements

Ron Hutcheson of Knight Ridder explains how W uses them to claim unchecked power to ignore laws he doesn't want to obey. He has zero constitutional authority to do so. When will Congress impose some oversight on these megalomaniacs? It won't happen with a GOP majority. And don't expect a Supreme Court full of Justice Samuel Alitos to rein them in. These things are practically his idea. We'll hear a lot about this Monday afternoon, when his confirmation hearings begin.

'Declined to supply it'

Lethal negligence:

A secret Pentagon study has found that as many as 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to the upper body could have survived if they had had extra body armor. Such armor has been available since 2003, but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.

Now they have to figure out how to blame some grunt.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Two burrs in a mule's tail

They're more alike than different:

The television evangelist Pat Robertson and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may not agree on much, but both suggested yesterday that the severe illness of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was deserved. Both men's comments were immediately condemned by religious leaders.

Stick a fork in him

He's done:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Embattled Rep. Tom DeLay's hopes of reclaiming his post as House majority leader suffered a setback Friday as fellow Republicans called for new leadership in the midst of a congressional corruption scandal.
Days after lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty in courtrooms in two cities, a pair of GOP lawmakers circulated a petition calling for elections to pick a permanent replacement for DeLay. The Texas lawmaker temporarily relinquished his leadership post last year following indictment on campaign finance charges in his home state.

Blunt or Boehner would be just as extreme and in Blunt's case, just as corrupt, unfortunately for them.

'Duke' wore a wire

So says Time. Rats.
via HuffPo.

Throw away the key

He'll be popular in prison:

A former Paragould man who did prison time for an anthrax hoax was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday for robbing a Jacksonville motel and assaulting a jail guard.
“The f irst [crime ] was drugs and stupidity,” 25-yearold Charles W. Moore said after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Marion Humphrey questioned him about his motives for the crimes. “The second was just stupidity.” Humphrey didn’t ask why Moore had tattooed across his forehead the phrase “F *** YOU” in large dark letters. After Moore’s court appearance, his attorney, David Sudduth of Little Rock, said Moore told him the expletive was a message to law enforcement.

Makes you wonder what he has tattooed on his ass.

It could be worse

Bad idea:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A state senator wants to force Missouri stores to sell warm beer. Under a bill by Sen. Bill Alter, grocery and convenience stores would risk losing their liquor licenses if they sold beer colder than 60 degrees. The intent is to cut down on drunken driving by making it less tempting to pop open a beer after leaving the store.
... He said the idea came from a fifth-grade student in Jefferson County who was participating in a program to teach elementary students about state government.

But it could be Oklahoma, where you can buy cold beer in convenience stores, but it's 3.2 near beer. For real beer, you have to go to a liquor store, which can't sell it cold or sell ice. And the liquor stores are closed on holidays, including Labor Day, Memorial Day etc.


The NYTimes:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 - The White Buffalo Calf Woman Society, a shelter for battered women in tiny Mission, S.D., is far removed from the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal that rocked Washington this week. But the society, along with many other charities large and small, is among the latest beneficiaries of Mr. Abramoff's legendary largess.
As panicked lawmakers rush to distance themselves from Mr. Abramoff, the disgraced Republican lobbyist, after his guilty pleas in federal and Florida state courts, tens of thousands of dollars in political donations from him and his Indian tribe clients are being returned or redirected to charities in a vast Robin Hood-like reordering of campaign funds.

Who saw this coming?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

GOP spin

The Demo-zette predictably tries to portray the Abramoff scandal as bipartisan in this incoherent article. It's unclear from the article whether Sen. Blanche Lincoln got money from a tribal client or "two members of Abramoff's lobbying team" or both. In any case that's not the same as former Sen. Tim Hutchinson accepting donations from Abramoff and his wife.

Happy holidays from Wal-Mart

You're laid off. The general has some ideas on what to get with your $10 gift certificate.
Hat tip to whoever sent us that email.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Insurgents didn't get the memo

Don't they know there's a PR campaign going on?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Wednesday reducing U.S. troops in Iraq was possible in 2006, but a New Year's push to emphasize progress to skeptical Americans was marred by a fresh spasm of violence which killed dozens of Iraqis.
... Violence flared across Iraq in the bloodiest day for weeks after a suicide bomber struck a Shi'ite funeral and gunmen ambushed a fuel convoy outside Baghdad in a wave of attacks that killed nearly 60 people.

Reuters isn't cooperating either.

40 percent discount

The only reason to read the Demo-zette

Gene Lyons:

Every time George W. Bush gets caught in a tight spot, he does the same thing: He plays the 9/11 fear card, wraps himself in the flag, emits jawdropping falsehoods and all but accuses his critics of treason.


Right here.

Abramoff helps charities

Republicans are falling all over one another as they donate to charities the Bush pioneer's donations they previously accepted.


The Wall Street Journal ($) says Abramoff could implicate 60 lawmakers.
via Think Progress.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Two-headed snake

The trivia-obsessed media sure love that story. It's almost as newsworthy as a shark attack. Or a runaway bride.


Late. Did we miss anything? The Post seems out front of any others we've seen.

Santa rally

Monday, January 02, 2006


Shouldn't some intrepid newsgathering organization be moving a scoop about now? It's not like it's a Fitzgerald investigation. It's hard to believe we're not going to find out what's happening until tomorrow's new conference.
11 p.m. CDT UPDATE: Guess not. But Josh scoops the rest of the blogosphere by finding a Houston Chronicle scoop reporting what AP reported Friday. We know how it feels when you don't want a day to expire without at least one post.

Brent Musberger ruins the Fiesta Bowl

Granted, it's noteworthy that Notre Dame's quarterback's sister's boyfriend is a THE Ohio State linebacker, but was it necessary to frame the game around it and discuss it continually, including at least two interviews with her? It was, after all, a pretty good game until we switched over to "Surface" in disgust.


To Assrocket, of Time magazine's blog of the year Powerline, on being honored as World O'Crap's 2005 Ultimate Wingnut. He got robbed at the Kippies.

Dick Clark

We watched "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2006" just to see how fucked up he was. It was pretty sad. Presumably, after more than a year in rehab, he's not gonna get much better. Anyway, Tom Shales has the details.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Behind the scenes stuff

This Newsweek piece, it seems, doesn't really advance the NSA eavesdropping story much, except to add some historical perspective on presidential power grabs and some inside stuff on the debate within the executive branch -- specifically that Ashcroft made them rein it in a bit in 2004. It's a good read, though.

NSA spreads data around

Not really surprising:

Information captured by the National Security Agency's secret eavesdropping on communications between the United States and overseas has been passed on to other government agencies, which cross-check the information with tips and information collected in other databases, current and former administration officials said.
The NSA has turned such information over to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and to other government entities, said three current and former senior administration officials, although it could not be determined which agencies received what types of information. Information from intercepts -- which typically includes records of telephone or e-mail communications -- would be made available by request to agencies that are allowed to have it, including the FBI, DIA, CIA and Department of Homeland Security, one former official said.

All here. Dunno the ramifications of this; just hadn't seen it reported before.