Friday, June 13, 2008

Honoring Habeas

What follows are excerpts from the majority opinion in the case of Boumediene v. Bush, which ruled that those detained at Guantanemo are entitled to Habeas corpus rights (I couldn't find this online anywhere, but in the print edition of today's New York Times)...

The law must accord the Executive substantial authority to apprehend and detain those who pose a real danger to our security.

Officials charged with daily operational responsibility for our security may consider a judicial discourse on the history of the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679 and like matters to be far removed from the nation’s present, urgent concerns. Established legal doctrine, however, must be consulted for its teaching. Remote in time it may be; irrelevant to the present it is not.

Security depends upon a sophisticated intelligence apparatus and the ability of our armed forces to act and to interdict. There are further considerations, however. Security subsists, too, in fidelity to freedom’s first principles. Chief among these are freedom from arbitrary and unlawful restraint and the personal liberty that is secured by adherence to the separation of powers. It is from these principles that the judicial authority to consider petitions for habeas corpus relief derives.

Our opinion does not undermine the Executive’s powers as commander in chief. On the contrary, the exercise of those powers is vindicated, not eroded, when confirmed by the judicial branch.

Within the Constitution’s separation-of-powers structure, few exercises of judicial power are as legitimate or as necessary as the responsibility to hear challenges to the authority of the Executive to imprison a person.

Some of these petitioners have been in custody for six years with no definitive judicial determination as to the legality of their detention. Their access to the writ is necessary to determine the lawfulness of their status, even if, in the end, they do not obtain the relief they seek…

It bears repeating that our opinion does not address the content of the law that governs petitioners’ detention. That is a matter yet to be determined.

We hold that petitioners may invoke the fundamental procedural protections of habeas corpus. The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system they are reconciled within the framework of the law. The Framers decided that habeas corpus, a right of first importance, must be a part of that framework, a part of that law.
Well said (and the ruling was praised by Obama, as you might expect).

Of course, Hangin’ Judge J.R. immediately started yapping about “overreaching” and “judicial activism,” while Mike Huckabee’s "personal hero" said point blank that the ruling “will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed” (only the "dead-enders" are buying that claptrap now, Your Honor).

And as for McCain, this is an occasion for yet another pitiable exercise.

So how does the lawless Bushco regime respond? About the way you would expect.

Update 6/15/08: One vote away...

Update 6/16/08: I must pass this along...

Friday Stuff

My sympathies and condolences go out to the family and friends of Tim Russert upon this shocking news; I had a lot of disagreements with him, but now isn't the time to rehash that. And I am particularly sorry for his father; no parent should have to bury a child regardless of the circumstances.

I always liked this Russert interview with Oklahoma wingnut Tom Coburn, so here it is again...

...and here's more on Russert's colleague Chris Matthews (what a dope)...

...the first 1:25 of this is the typical O'Reilly boilerplate, but then K.O. shows what Faux News never will, and that was the offer from Bill Moyers to the "journalist" who ambushed him...

...and don't look now, but "The Incredible McCain Girl" is ready to SMASH!!

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (6/13/08)

As reported in last Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer, here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress were recorded on major roll-call votes last week (returning after a one-week absence).


2009-2013 federal budget. Voting 214-210, the House approved the conference report on a five-year Democratic budget (S Con Res 70) that for 2009 projects $3.06 trillion in spending, a $340.4 billion deficit, and $216.8 billion in interest payments on the national debt. Over five years the measure would fully fund President Bush's defense and national security requests, spend more than he seeks for domestic and entitlement programs, allow his tax cuts for the wealthiest filers to expire after 2010, and extend his middle-class tax cuts if Congress finds a way to offset the lost revenue.

A yes vote was to approve the budget plan.

Voting yes: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.) and Joe Sestak (D., Pa.).

Voting no: Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), H. James Saxton (R., N.J.) and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Not voting: Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.).
I think it’s safe to say that the $340.4 billion deficit was the reason Patrick Murphy voted no; his “Blue Dog” bona fides are without question on spending, and I say that with respect. Of course, the Repugs he voted with on this occasion would have no such qualms, but as the minority party, they can only “throw stones” when it comes to legislation like this.

By the way, on a totally unrelated matter, Patrick will appear tomorrow morning at 10:30 at the Lower Makefield, PA municipal building in Bucks County to discuss “green-collar” employment opportunities. It should be interesting.

Public-school renovations. Voting 250-164, the House passed a bill (HR 3021) establishing a federal program that would authorize $33.2 billion in fiscal years 2009-2013 for grants to renovate and modernize public schools.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Brady, Dent, Fattah, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Murphy, Saxton, Schwartz, Sestak and Smith.

Voting no: Castle and Pitts.

Not voting: Andrews
Surprised so many Repugs went along with this because, as we know, the only thing Repugs think that public schools can do is “fail.”

Chesapeake Bay watershed. Voting 321-86, the House passed a bill (HR 5540) renewing for five years a federal-state program that promotes citizen involvement in restoring the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York. The bill authorizes about $1 million annually for the program to help restore the nation's largest estuary.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Castle, Dent, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Murphy, Saxton, Schwartz, Sestak and Smith.

Voting no: Pitts.

Not voting: Fattah.
This week’s stupid “No” vote by Joe Pitts; as we know, there are no estuaries in PA’s 16th Congressional district (and to help Bruce Slater, click here).


2009-2013 federal budget. Voting 48-45, the Senate approved the conference report on a five-year Democratic budget (S Con Res 70, above) that raises the national-debt ceiling by $800 billion to about $10.5 trillion. The budget projects $3.06 trillion in spending and a $340.4 billion deficit in 2009.

A yes vote was to approve the Democratic budget.

Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.).

Voting no: Arlen Specter (R., Pa.).

Not voting: Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D., Del.).
(By the way, kudos to Sen. Lautenberg for staving off the challenge of Rob Andrews.)

You know, I actually admire Specter for this “No” vote –call me crazy if you will, but it sounds like he’s the only one who recognizes how outrageous these dollar amounts truly are.

This week, the House took up the space budget, rail-passenger improvements, and possibly a war-funding bill, while the Senate debated an energy bill.

Technical Difficulties

Probably no blogging today - just resolved an issue that hosed everything, so I'll catch up later; for now, enjoy the nice weather.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Not Worthy Of The Nod

This is at least the second year in a row when Dubya has named someone as a winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom who was highly unworthy of the recognition.

Last year, as noted here, it was Henry Hyde. This year, it is Judge Laurence Silberman (as noted here).

This tells us that Judge Silberman not only managed to overturn the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, ignoring all prior case law in the process, but he also served on Bushco’s WMD Study Commission which, in essence, whitewashed the findings of the 9/11 Commission report. And this gives us more dirt on Silberman, a longtime Repug operative.

221 days and counting, people…

Patrick Steps Up For Amtrak In Bucks County (updates)

This Philadelphia Inquirer story tells us that Patrick Murphy is trying to add extra Amtrak stops and lower the fares at the Cornwells Heights, PA train stop.

As the Inquirer explains…

Today, Amtrak provides only two morning and two evening stops there - and the cost of a monthly pass to New York has gone from $555 in October 2005 to $972 today.

Only a handful of riders make that commute today; a few years ago, Murphy said, 26,000 riders annually took Amtrak from Cornwells Heights.

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 311-104 to authorize nearly $15 billion for Amtrak and other passenger railroads over the next five years. Murphy attached an amendment to the bill requiring Amtrak to evaluate service between Cornwells Heights and New York and, within a year, determine whether it should increase the number of stops or lower commuter prices.

"With more stops and lower fares, more people would use it," Murphy said. "The same trip takes twice as long as using SEPTA and then transferring to New Jersey Transit, and even longer if the commuter is driving."
And it almost goes without saying at this point that this is indicative of a trend; this USA Today story from June 1st tells us that mass transit ridership is breaking records all over the country (and the Inquirer notes that Cliff Black, an Amtrak spokesman, was “'very pleased' with the funding bill”).

So Patrick recognized that and tried to encourage Amtrak to do what it could to increase and support new ridership by adding the amendment to the bill.

Which of course faces the inevitable veto threat from President Clueless.

Update 1 6/13/08: By the way, for local Bucks County folk, Patrick will stop by the Lower Makefield Township municipal building tomorrow morning at 10:30 to discuss how local businesses can "go green." To learn more about the campaign, click here.

Update 2 6/13/08: Sounds like the Courier Times editorial board needs another does of Geritol; nice job to totally misrepresent what Patrick is trying to accomplish (what, is he supposed to tell Amtrak how many stops it should make at Cornwells Heights?).

Update 3 6/13/08: This Letter To The Editor appeared in the Courier Times today...

On May 10, Congressman Patrick Murphy met with juvenile diabetics and their families. The congressman listened to our stories, and the toll and economic impact diabetes takes on entire families. He promised to remember all of us when it comes to renewing the Special Diabetes Program.

Murphy listened to my story and the problems my daughter was experiencing. He then contacted her insurance company on her behalf and she has received coverage for a glucose monitor to help control her diabetes.

Murphy is truly our partner in the battle to cure diabetes.

Rosemary Peters
Levittown, PA
To help Patrick, click here (nice overhaul on the web site, by the way).

A "Bayou Mystery Man" For John W. McBush?

In this Swampland post by Jay Newton-Small, we learn that Repug Louisiana Governor Bobby (Don’t Call Me Piyush) Jindal, someone acknowledged to be on the “short list” for vice-president with “Senator Honor And Virtue” at the top of the ticket, claims that he witnessed an exorcism in 1994 after he had converted to Catholicism.

Here is an excerpt…

The crucifix had a calming effect on Susan, and her sister was soon brave enough to bring a Bible to her face. At first, Susan responded to biblical pas¬sages with curses and profanities. Mixed in with her vile attacks were short and desperate pleas for help. In the same breath that she attacked Christ, the Bible's authenticity, and everyone assembled in prayer, Susan would suddenly urge us to rescue her. It appeared as if we were observing a tremendous battle between the Susan we knew and loved and some strange evil force. But the momentum had shifted and we now sensed that victory was at hand.
No word on whether or not “Susan” joined the Republican Party upon her return from what you can presume to be “the spirit world.”

And by the way, Jindal’s attorney Jimmy Faircloth was recently named in the following legal action (here)…

The lawsuit contends that Faircloth stole a client — the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana — involving an effort to collect $32 million lost in the scandal surrounding Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

“It’s a completely frivolous suit,” Faircloth said Tuesday.
We’ll see, won’t we (and the Repugs just can’t wash out that Abramoff “spot,” can they?).

I hate to acknowledge the fact that Flush Limbore is one of the people who floated the name of Jindal as a VP candidate, but apparently, this idea started with him. However, I’m inclined to believe that this guy has a shot for two reasons: 1) his conservative bona fides are pretty solid, and I don’t mean that as a compliment, and 2) McBush has to do something to shake up his campaign, generate some fundraising, and get the media to focus on something besides his myriad screwups in front of a microphone and a camera.

Update 6/27/08: O, what fodder for us all if Jindal gets it.

NCLB's Last Stand?

Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times wrote a lengthy article today on Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and her last-ditch efforts to save No Child Left Behind before it (God willing) meets the overhaul promised by Barack Obama next year (one of her claims is that she plans to “do ‘everything in (her) power’ to improve the law before the White House changes hands”…

Adopted by Congress on a wave of bipartisan unity that followed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the law imposed unprecedented testing requirements and tough expectations on the nation’s nearly 99,000 public schools. But despite rising test scores, there is no hard-and-fast evidence, most experts say, that it is actually improving student achievement.
Stolberg’s piece is pretty even handed for the most part, but I wanted to take issue with a few points, including this one…

The story of how No Child Left Behind morphed from a bipartisan legislative triumph into a laugh line on the Democratic campaign trail is, in part, the larger story of the Bush domestic policy agenda, of a Texas governor who came to Washington vowing to be “the education president” and wound up consumed with fighting terrorism and two wars.
Boy, am I sick of this narrative!

Franklin Delano Roosevelt oversaw the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FEC), the Federal Trade Commission, the Social Security Administration, and probably more governmental programs to get this country back on its feet again from The Great Depression than I could hope to name in a single post. Oh, and he was a wartime president too.

Lyndon Baines Johnson oversaw the creation of (and signed into law) the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, legislation creating the National Endowment for the Arts and other “Great Society” programs including Medicare and Medicaid, and he also championed the space program. Oh, and he was a wartime president too.

Dubya signed into law horrific tax cuts that were ruinous to our economy and oversaw the offshoring of our jobs to a greater degree than at any prior point in our history and ran up horrific deficits after being handed a surplus by his predecessor. He also refused to participate in the Kyoto Protocol (don’t mention India and China; we’re supposed to take the lead on this!) and tried to pillage Social Security for the benefit of his generous campaign contributors in the financial services industry (I could go on and on, but that’s enough for starters). And did I mention that he is a wartime president also?

My point? You can be a wartime president and still get a hell of a lot of other stuff done without using that as an excuse.

Stolberg’s piece also notes that Spellings started as “the chief lobbyist for the Texas Association of School Boards” (figures that she was a lobbyist and not an educator) before Karl Rove introduced her to Dubya, and now, Stolberg tells us that…

“She and Bush have a special relationship, a camaraderie,” Mr. Spellings said of his wife, adding, “She trusts him, and she loves him.”
I probably should have noted this already after reading some story of Our Gal Condi fawning over President Highest Disapproval Rating in Gallup Poll History, but imagine the outcry if Janet Reno or Madeleine Albright had said anything like that about Bill Clinton. And again, if Obama gets in and names a woman to a cabinet post (should be a no-brainer on that one; I’d wonder if he didn’t), I’m sure their relationship will be handled in much more professional terms.

Anyway, back to the story…

(NCLB’s) cornerstone is its requirement that states set targets and issue detailed reports on student performance. Schools must improve the performance of subgroups, including minority, low-income and disabled students. Schools that repeatedly fail to report progress are deemed “in need of improvement,” the law’s term for failing. Students may transfer out of failing schools, and the schools risk being shut down.
If I ruled the world, at least two things would occur: 1) every day would be the first day of spring, and 2) all conservative “code language” would be banned forever from what purports to be legitimate news copy (and that’s what I consider the term “failing schools” to be; that masks the true complexity of what education should represent in this country, and a good deal of that is explained in this 1997 article from The Atlantic by Peter Schrag).

As far as I’m concerned, people may fail, money may fail, techniques may fail, students may fail, but schools (which, first and foremost, are communities of learning) don’t fail!

Stolberg also notes the often-testy relationship Spellings had with fellow Bushco flunky Rod Paige, her predecessor as education secretary who, as former Houston School Superintendent, lied about his district’s dropout rate in order to trump his schools as a “success story” (here)…

All in all, 463 kids left Sharpstown High School (in 2001), for a variety of reasons. The school reported zero dropouts, but dozens of the students did just that. School officials hid that fact by classifying, or coding, them as leaving for acceptable reasons: transferring to another school, or returning to their native country.

“That’s how you get to zero dropouts. By assigning codes that say, ‘Well, this student, you know, went to another school. He did this or that.’ And basically, all 463 students disappeared. And the school reported zero dropouts for the year,” says (Robert) Kimball (former Asst. principal at Sharpstown H.S.). “They were not counted as dropouts, so the school had an outstanding record.”
This is in keeping with the deceit of NCLB, which, more than anything else, became an excuse for Bushco insiders to grow fat, dumb and happy at the expense of our kids: here and here are links to learn more about the scam of “Reading First” to “promote teaching methods” in concert with NCLB which ended up piloting unproven programs, and here is the story of how NCLB created another slice of the patronage pie for Neil Bush and his consulting company.

I should point out, though, that I think Stolberg stumbles upon the real reason for Spellings’ efforts to resuscitate the under funded and failed NCLB fiasco…

…her travels (across the country to promote NCLB) have raised her profile, building a network of connections that could prove useful if she runs for public office.
And to what end, I wonder…

At 50, (Spellings) is viewed as a potential candidate for Texas governor…
No doubt trying to follow in the footsteps of the man she “loves”; how touching.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wednesday Stuff

John Cusack invites us to take the "Bush/McCain Challenge" on behalf of MoveOn...

...and what a nightmare it would be...

...and while it's hilarious that this nematode thinks that Iraq is in Africa, it's kind of pathetic that Inhofe's handlers would create an ad that has absolutely nothing to do with the state of Oklahoma (or I guess his "dead-ender" supporters don't grasp either of these two circumstances - h/t HuffPo)...

...I tried to grab this video about three times last night; maybe it will actually work on the fourth attempt (as much as I detest Patrick Buchanan, I could not help but be amused by this over the whole E.D. Hill "dap" thing; kind of brazen for them all to be busting on her over it, I must say - nice)...

..."The Pap Attack" dissects the latest nonsensical GOP talking point (yeah, Pap, maybe the Dems said it during the Clinton years because back then, they were right to do so)...

...and K.O. slaps around Steve Doocy and Billo of Faux News, but saves the real shot for Katie Couric (truly low remarks from her indeed).

Cawley And Martin's (Court) House Of Pain

This Doylestown Intelligencer story tells us that an “informational meeting” was recently held concerning the proposed “Bucks County Justice Center” with about 40 people (mostly Democrats) attending, and they had a lot of questions for Commissioner Jim Cawley (no word on whether or not Charley “I Have A Semi-Open Mind” Martin attended)…

“There's a lot we're dealing with now on faith,” said Doylestown Council President Det Ansinn, a Democrat. “Your professional staff had said the project will be done by 2015. That's a long run of faith.”

And (Cawley) assured Ansinn and the others that their faith is not misplaced.

“We would not ask permission to build this project if we were not committed to the whole project,” Cawley said.

“It's not fiscally responsible to tear down the parking garage just to build a new one and not build a justice center.”
However, we have this a bit later in the story…

Cawley said the commissioners do not want to build the justice center, but they have to.
Upon reading that, my first reaction is to blame Cawley for looking for a way out of this mess before ground has been broken, but to be fair, I should point out that a commenter to the Courier Times story noted that the Doylestown borough government passed an ordinance stipulating that the justice center be built “in the center of town.”

If that‘s true, then it was an act of rank stupidity for which Cawley and Martin are blameless. Also disturbing is this…

Asked to comment on the justice center plans, Democratic county Commissioner Diane Marseglia said she couldn't because she has not participated in any meetings about the proposed justice center. She suggested, though, that the county could build a new building for its administrative offices and keep its courtrooms in the existing courthouse.
I have too much respect for Diane to believe that she’s deliberately keeping herself “out of the loop” here, especially since Diane and Steve Santarsiero (noted here) both supported a “scaled-down” version of the justice center when they ran for county commissioners last year. If I’m correct in my suspicion that Cawley and Martin are deliberately freezing her out, then that’s unconscionable.

Like many others, I frequent Doylestown proper a good deal, and it is a place ill suited for construction; this is why I oppose both the current plan – whatever exactly it is, besides the garage, and based on some of Cawley and Diane’s non-answers, I’m wondering if the plan even exists – and Diane’s suggestion about moving the administrative offices and renovating the existing facility.

Because the center of Doylestown is essentially a locale with streets better designed for the horse-and-buggy era as opposed to now, the first thing to do is to abolish the ordinance stipulating the location of the site. The second thing to do, upon finding a new location elsewhere in the borough, is create a design for and compute the cost of a new facility, and not just the parking garage.

I know this is going to cost a ton of dough, but as a taxpayer, I, like most everyone else, want to see this done right, politics or no.

Paul-Mania On Its Way To The North Star State

This tells us that the “Paulistas” are going to stage their own little party the week of the Repug National Convention in Minneapolis in September (CNN reports that the rally will be held at the University of Minnesota).

I just want to take a minute and take particular note of the fact that, apparently, Dr. Paul was denied the opportunity to speak at the convention because he opposes the Iraq war, completely opposed to the stated position of John W. McBush, the party’s all-but-named nominee for president.

Henceforth, I will remind any person of this fact who chooses to note (erroneously) that former PA governor Bob Casey was denied the opportunity to speak at the 1992 Democratic position because he opposed abortion (he opposed the Clinton-Gore ticket, and yes, there is a difference).

And at least Casey was given an invitation to the convention; apparently, Dr. Paul isn’t even going to receive that courtesy.

The EU Flips Off Dubya on Cuba

This Reuters story tells us that “old Europe” is getting ready to tell Dubya what he can do with perhaps our stupidest foreign policy faux pas (in the middle of his farewell tour, absent protestors strangely enough in Germany, where they apparently don’t even feel like investing the energy in despising him any more – can’t totally blame them)…

'The time could be right (to lift the embargo) because of changes undertaken by Cuba's new leadership,' said one EU diplomat. Signs of an opening include new rules allowing Cubans to buy cell phones, rent rooms in hotels once reserved for foreigners, and an increase in public debate.

'Sanctions could be lifted ... but linked with dialogue, with a review. We are working on finding the exact formula,' another EU diplomat said of the ongoing talks ahead of the June 16 meeting of EU foreign ministers.

Former colonial power Spain has long led calls for an end to the EU sanctions, which unlike the 1962 U.S. embargo do not prevent trade and investment. But it has met resistance from the bloc's ex-communist members, notably the Czech Republic.
And this article explains one of the many reasons why the embargo is awful (a tribute to the efforts of a small but incredibly noisy bunch of Cuban émigrés and the sway they hold on the political landscape).

But gosh, it’s so refreshing to see responsible adults in the story trying to actually manage an obstacle of sorts (and the embargo is certainly that) by insisting on terms and concessions from the other side as a precondition of arriving at a solution.

What’s that word? Oh, ummm….Negotiate! Yeah, that’s it; it’s been so long since I’ve seen it applied that I’d almost forgotten what it meant.

And of course, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez is telling our allies that they’re all wrong…

'The so-called reforms or so-called changes that have taken place in Cuba, we believe are somewhat cynical,' Gutierres (sic) told Reuters in an interview in ex-communist Ukraine.

'It is surprising that the world would rather talk about the fact that Cubans can now visit their own hotels and not talk about the fact that there are political prisoners starving in their own jails,' he said.
And this from a representative of a regime that readily does business with China, with its myriad human rights violations, and Colombia, the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists (despite what Gutierrez alleged here before he was slapped down by Sherrod Brown).

Looks like the EU is just trying to get by without any more blowups until President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History is nothing more than a bad memory (and Kucinich’s articles of impeachment are moving forward, as noted here).

Update: This is a hoot; the Repugs are mad at the Dems because China (they say) is drilling for oil off Key West as part of a lease agreement with Cuba…gee, ya’ think Cuba could have had a lease agreement with us instead if it weren’t for the embargo supported primarily by Republicans??!!

Update 6/12/08: I thought so (wow, is that GOP "message discipline" slipping, or what?).

And the Reuters story (one of the links above - I forget which one) also tells us that Newt Gingrich and his American Solutions “Real Change for Real Change for Real Change Already” scam has come up with a "plan"; why, he wants to drill for oil in the USA! Wow, what an “innovative solution,” and so environmentally friendly too!

Say goodnight, Newt.

More Gas Pain From John W. “Not Too Important” McBush

How dare the “straight-talk express” perform another dunderheaded stunt before I have a chance to post about his earlier one!

Yes, HuffPo and my A-list “betters” have thoroughly covered McBush’s latest gaffe about the matter of our troops returning from Iraq as “not too important,” including here. But I wanted to note another utterance from the Repug political human sacrifice candidate for president in the same interview (here - funny that the "Moonie Times" didn't think McBush's screwup wasn't newsworthy enough for more of a mention)…

Record high prices for gasoline probably won't drop before the November election, Republican John McCain said Wednesday.

"I don't think it's going much lower, and it could go higher," McCain said on NBC's "Today Show." "I don't think so, not when you've got a finite supply, basically, and a cartel controlling it."
Robert Scheer of HuffPo has some other observations here concerning the high price of gas…

Bush's deliberate roiling of world politics is the key variable in the run-up of oil prices. No president has been more brilliant in destabilizing the politics of oil-producing countries from Venezuela to Russia and on to the key oil lakes of Iraq and Iran.
And of course, no word from McBush on how exactly he plans to break from that dependence and still keep fighting Dubya's Not-So-Excellent Adventure In Iraq (and anyone who doesn't see the connection hasn't been "connecting the dots").

And for an example of a country that has spared itself untold misery by investing in oil as at best a secondary source of energy as opposed to gas, solar and (dare I say it?) nuclear sources, this tells us about Japan, which has learned its lesson from paying too much for petroleum (which must be imported to that country) and achieved greater energy efficiency in the bargain.

(And is McBush stone nuts, people? Hell, yeah!)

You Gonna Ban This Blog Now Too?

This AP story via Editor and Publisher tells us…

REDDING, Calif. A high school principal in Northern California said he will eliminate the student newspaper after it published a front-page photo of a student burning an American flag.

Shasta High School Principal Milan Woollard said the latest issue of the student-run Volcano was embarrassing.

"The paper's done," Woollard told the Record Searchlight newspaper of Redding. "There is not going to be a school newspaper next year."
Gee, I guess that settles that then, doesn’t it, Uncle Adolf? Gonna burn any books too while you’re at it?


In addition to the photograph, the last edition of the newspaper included an editorial written by high school senior Connor Kennedy that defended flag burning as speech protected by the First Amendment.

Kennedy graduated last week from the high school in Redding, about 160 miles north of the state capital. He did not return a telephone message left Monday by the Record Searchlight.

Student journalists said they were merely exercising their free-speech rights.
The students are absolutely right. And the story also states that a Dem Southern California lawmaker is trying to get a bill passed protecting teachers from being punished for protecting students’ free speech rights (unless I missed something, I don’t see where a law like that is applicable here).

If Shasta High School principal Woollard had said, “well, funding for the newspaper is a little tight; we’d have to cancel some classes in math, English or social studies in order to pay for it” or something, that would have been bad enough. But to use the photo is an excuse to kill the paper outright is unconscionable.

Yes, flag burning is stupid and insulting, particularly to our veterans. But until an amendment is passed making it illegal, it will continue to be constitutionally protected free speech. And speaking only for myself, I think someone stitching a flag to the seat of his or her pants to show off that person’s rear end is every bit as despicable an act as setting the flag alight (if someone came along and decided to try and knock some sense into the idiot in the photo, that would be fine with me).

This is but the latest chapter in the assault on students’ free speech rights which began in earnest in this country 20 years and a few months ago with the decision by the Supreme Court in Hazelwood School Dist. v. Kuhlmeier in which the Court rules that school administrators could censor a student newspaper…

The Hazelwood principal believed that the stories he censored--accounts of unnamed, pregnant students and a report on the impact of parental divorce on students--were unfair and inappropriate for teenagers. He was concerned that the "anonymous" students could be identified, that the school would appear to be condoning teenage pregnancy, and that divorced parents criticized should be consulted prior to publication.
Well, looking on the bright side, I’m sure the Shasta newspaper students can just go ahead now and start their own blog. They’d probably get more readership anyway, and they also wouldn’t have to worry about censorship any more, thus replicating the trend in their industry everywhere.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Monday Stuff

Another story that our corporate media won't touch, so al jazeera does; this one concerns hunger in America...

...and K.O. brings us the "Worst Person In The World" (here we go with denying communion again - geez oh man).

Obama-Rama Fun With "The Fundies"

(OK, so he’s not necessarily going after strictly the “fundamentalist Christians” here, I’ll give you that.)

This post from the New York Times’ blog The Caucus tells us…

A fund-raiser is being held tonight in Washington for a nascent political action committee that is hoping to reach out to Christian communities on behalf of Senator Barack Obama.

Called “The Matthew 25 Network,” the new organization, which is still in its earliest stages, is being spearheaded by Mara Vanderslice, who was director of religious outreach for the Kerry-Edwards campaign in 2004 and did similar work for several statewide Democratic candidates, including Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas.

Ms. Vanderslice, who has been active in the budding movement over the last few years to encourage Democrats to be more willing to discuss matters of faith, declined to detail the group’s plans, because she said the organization is planning an official rollout later in the month.
(And by the way, Times reporter Michael Luo managed to work in the whole, “well, Obama has to reach out to these people because they’re still mad about a certain African-American preacher and the whole ‘guns,’ ‘cling’ and ‘bitter’” dookey; thanks loads, Mike.)

I wish I could say that I’m impressed with this; here is why I’m so skeptical…

This Talk Left post by the blogger Big Tent Democrat rather exhaustively analyzes the supposed impact of Vanderslice in the 2006 congressional elections, where (as the Times notes) she worked on behalf of Sen. Bob Casey, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, and others. Among the findings in the post is that she delivered a whopping one percentage point gain among those exalted “values voters” for her gubernatorial candidate Debbie Stabenow over Jennifer Granholm, a Dem who did not benefit from Vanderslice’s “expertise.”

And in both today’s Times story and the Talk Left post from ’06, who happens to come strolling along to extol Vanderslice but none other than Mike McCurry, noted opponent of Net Neutrality and perpetrator of the Hands Off The Internet fraud (an “Astroturf “ group which is nothing but a front for the telcos in the battle for ownership of web content).

Barack Obama has earned my trust as the Democratic nominee, so for now, I’ll assume that he knows how to handle people like McCurry and Vanderslice, who, as far as I’m concerned, are nothing but Beltway bottom-feeders looking for a pay day regardless of which side has the dough. They’re as likely to assure a win in November for Obama as they are of providing John McCain a charisma transplant (at this point, though, I think McBush should concentrate on “World leaders for 100, Alex” based on this – h/t Daily Kos).

And in other Obama news, it looks like Faux News’ E.D. Hill is out after her little “terrorist fist jab” escapade, though I'm sure employment for her at the network will not be an issue as long as she can fit into a tight skirt (and the people at Media Matters continue to do God’s work here).

Don't Do Us Any Favors, Dan

Man, the “Bush Dogs” are howling up a storm today (from here)…

OKLAHOMA CITY - Democratic Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma said Tuesday Barack Obama is "the most liberal senator" in Congress and he has no intention of endorsing him for the White House.

However, Boren will vote for Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August and will vote Democratic on Nov. 4.

"I think this is an important time for our country," Boren said in a telephone interview. "We're facing a terrible economic downturn. We have high gasoline prices. We have problems in our foreign policy. That's why I think it's important."
But not “important” enough to endorse your own party’s all-but-nominated candidate for president, I see. Hedging your bets in case (God forbid) “Senator Honor And Virtue” somehow sneaks in, are you? Seeing as how Obama is so “liberal” and all, I guess?

I hate to give these cretins a link, but for Rep. Boren’s purposes, I think he should use it to change his party membership and make it official (and for a Bush Dog FAQ courtesy of Open Left, click here).

How Patrick Murphy can continue to tolerate these people is something I will never understand.

Tuesday Bush Dog/Comcast Connivance

It looks like our favorite Internet service provider and cable TV company is once again deciding what it believes to be appropriate content; Comcast has censored an ad for Blue America to be run against Democrat Chris Carney because it cited a “factual inaccuracy.”

Any word on what that might be? And any word why Comcast couldn’t just run the ad with a disclaimer absolving itself of any liability if that’s the case? Any word on whether or not they’ve asked Blue America to make any necessary changes?

No, of course not. See, Comcast is an “old hand” when it comes to trying to decide what should and should not be routed through its “tubes,” if you will (Bruce Wagner has a catalogue of this stuff here – also, this tells us about one of the company’s high-placed friends, and this tells us of its rather interesting customer support in a post about its loss of subscribers and blocking of a rival’s file download application).

And this tells us the latest from Tim Mahoney, who, strangely enough, has decided that he doesn’t want to support Barack Obama for president (like Carney, another “Bush Dog” Dem, with most of this group – with the notable exception of Patrick Murphy – choosing to join House Repugs in a happily failed attempt to grant immunity to the telcos as part of FISA “reform”).

To me, it sounds like Mahoney (in typical “Bush Dog” fashion) is running away from the party he purports to represent in the U.S. House (the seat formerly held by Mark Foley, he of the suggestive Emails to House pages), cowering in fear of his FLA Repug opposition. And apparently (based on the Democratic Underground post), this could have been avoided if Rahm Emanuel and Karen Thurman of the DCCC had supported the eminently better David Lutrin instead.

It would almost be worth it to watch Mahoney lose and give Lutrin another shot. If there’s one thing I hate worse than intolerant, crooked Republicans, it’s cowardly Democrats.

A "Narrow-Minded Hypocritic" Speaks

I realize that I should always tread gingerly when I access editorial content from the pages of the Wall Street Journal, and for the most part, I need to just acknowledge that its audience is primarily the “pay no price, bear no burden” investor class that cares not a whit about the latest violence in Iraq or the ever-increasing debt burden faced by the overwhelming majority of this country (to say nothing of Bushco malfeasance, naturally), and just move on. However, some garbage, regardless of the source, is simply too egregious to ignore.

An individual named Bret Stephens concocted the mess that you can access from here, if you wish to punish yourself. And if you do choose to read it, you will see that he begins by alleging that The Sainted Ronnie R initiated something called the Sajudis, which Stephens states was a reform movement in Lithuania. From there, he plugs a new book called, “Defending Identity” for former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky (somehow, the author made that connection between the book and the Sajudis) which Stephens considers to be “The Case Against John Lennon.”

Figured that out? Don’t worry, I haven’t either, and I don’t expect that I ever will.

I can’t state that Stephens makes even a tangential argument here alleging that the Sharansky book has anything whatsoever to do with John Lennon, considering the music he wrote and performed, the causes he supported and the totality of what we have come to associate with him; namely, his vision of peace and coexistence where “we all shine on.”

What really cheesed me off in particular about what Stephens wrote, aside from his cheap conjuring of the words of Lennon’s songs so he can sprinkle them all over this utterly fatuous literary dreck, was this in particular…

(Or, more specifically, the case against) "Imagine," Lennon's anthem to a world with "no countries . . . nothing to kill or die for/And no religion too." For Mr. Sharansky, a nine-year resident of the Perm 35 prison camp, that's a vision that smacks too much of the professed beliefs of the ex-Beatle's near namesake, Vladimir Ilyich.
That’s really sick.

Though he engaged in more than a few drunken brawls in his time, I have no knowledge that John Lennon ever killed anyone. Indeed, perhaps the greatest obscenity concerning his murder was the fact that he invested so much trust in his ability to peacefully walk the streets of New York City that he didn’t feel that he needed to enter the Dakota apartment complex before he exited his limousine; it is often too painful to contemplate what he would have been spared had he done so.

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, however, sponsored the brutal “Red Terror” after a near-successful assassination attempt in 1918, essentially approved of the obscene murder of the entire ruling Romanov family (including children) and was instrumental in founding one of the most brutal regimes the world has ever seen. To me, the cover of “literary license” is not a justification for trying to link these two historical figures.

And this story tells us that Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono recently lost a legal battle against a lawyer seeking to use about 15 seconds of the song “Imagine” in “a film casting doubt on the theory of evolution,” if you can believe that. However, on a happier note, this tells us that she is sponsoring an exhibition of Lennon’s art work that is presently touring this country.

Despite the ongoing efforts of those trying to smear him even in death, most of us have not forgotten that Lennon, through his life and work, pursued a vision of “sharing all the world” and doing absolutely nothing more malicious that simply “watching the wheels go ‘round and round.”

For those still trying to besmirch him, though, I must ask this inevitable question.

How do you sleep?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Monday Stuff

What follows is a video of DMI scholar and Mexican immigrant Samantha Contreras; let all of the yahoos screaming about denying driver's licenses to illegal immigrants watch this and then get back to me, OK?

...oh, and Billo was going to point out tonight how crazy Dan Rather was for attending the media conference in Minneapolis last weekend, with the assistance of Orally's stooge and one-time journo Bernard Goldberg; I tell you what - get a load of this again and tell me who's crazy here, OK? (Obligatory potty mouth warning...)

Update 6/10/08: Bad luck there, falafel boy!

Kucinich On Impeachment (updated)

At long last (h/t Think Progress - I've had my disagreements with him, but with the possible exception of Robert Wexler, no one else in Congress has brought this issue to the forefront)...

Update 6/10/08: Here's a list of all 35 articles of impeachment presented by Kucinich (and analysis from Kagro X here).

It's "Money-Mad Monday" With John W. McBush!

In an otherwise reasonably intelligent opinion column in the Philadelphia Inquirer today, Harold Jackson dumped some of what James Wolcott might call “the ripest fertilizer” here…

There are plenty of Democrats who can find something to like about McCain if they search hard enough. He's a fiscally responsible, frequently anti-lobbyist war hero who offered the most comforting words to women Tuesday night when it became clear that Hillary Clinton had lost the Democratic nomination to Obama.

I cannot understand how anyone could actually believe that “Senator Honor and Virtue” would be “anti-lobbyist,” because, as noted here…

  • Charlie Black, McCain’s senior counsel and spokesman, began his lobbying career by representing numerous dictators and repressive regimes.

  • Peter Madigan, a leading McCain fundraiser, lobbies on behalf of the king of Dubai.

  • Tom Loeffler, the national finance co-chairman for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, resigned (on May 18th) because of his lobbying ties, a campaign adviser said.
  • And this HuffPo story tells us that a prominent Republican consultant, Craig Shirley, left McCain’s official campaign role after a Politico inquiry questioned Shirley's dual role consulting for the campaign and for an independent "527" group opposing the Democratic presidential candidates.

    Also from HuffPo…

    (McBush) inserted $14.3 million in a 2003 defense bill to buy land around Luke Air Force Base in a provision sought by SunCor Development, the largest of about 50 landowners near the base. SunCor representatives, upset with a state law that restricted development around Luke, met with McCain's staff to lobby for funding, according to John Ogden, SunCor's president at the time.
    Kind of interesting behavior for someone who is “frequently anti-lobbyist.”

    And as far as “fiscally responsible” goes, McBush wants to make Dubya’s infamous estate tax cuts permanent (here). And since, by his own admission, he “doesn’t really understand economics,” he keeps former Texas senator Phil Gramm as a financial confidant, who, as noted by Wikipedia here, worked as a lobbyist (another one!) for UBS to lobby Congress during the mortgage crisis, and in so doing…

    "the mortgage industry pressed Congress to roll back strong state rules that sought to stem the rise of predatory tactics used by lenders and brokers to place homeowners in high-cost mortgages."
    Of course, Gramm was also consulting with McBush at the time – of course.

    And Sam Stein of HuffPo tells us the following about Gramm…

    During his 18 years in the Senate, Gramm helped spearhead the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which allowed commercial and investment banks -- like Citigroup-- to more easily merge. The Texas Republican ran for president in 1996, but dropped out prior to the New Hampshire primary, despite at one point having $25 million in the campaign coffers.
    Oh, and one more thing about Gramm…

    In 1981, Gramm attended Democratic Caucus budget meetings and then secretly shared their strategy with Republicans to help pass newly inaugurated President Ronald Reagan's budget.[citation needed] In response, the House Democratic leadership stripped him of his seat on the committee. Following this action, Gramm resigned his House seat, forcing a mid-term special election. Gramm ran in that election to fill the vacancy that he had created, but as a Republican. Winning, he became the first Republican to represent the district since its creation. He won re-election to the seat again in 1982, and after he left the House, the seat was retained for the Republican party (by Joe Barton).
    What a creep.

    So, to sum up, John W. McBush is a “fiscally responsible” presidential candidate who wants to extend Dubya’s tax cuts into infinity (and as this New York Times story tells us, he would eliminate Amtrak funding, veterans’ disability payments and low-income heating assistance…maybe I should call him “Ebeneezer” McBush instead).

    And he’s a “frequently anti-lobbyist” Repug who inserts earmarks into legislation for key campaign contributors and continues to seek counsel from individuals who have solicited from world despots (including Ferdinand Marcos and Jonas Savimbi) and Arab potentates, as well as an individual serving in a dual role with the McBush campaign and a “527” hit group against the Democrats.

    I’m so glad that we cleared that up. Aren’t you?

    Update: Yep, I sure want to trust John McSame with the economy based on this; don't you?

    Update 6/11/08: I think Michael Scherer of Time is trying to get voters to keep an eye out for the issues that truly matter and away from the question of what lobbyists are up to here, though he could do it without quite so much condescension, thank you. I would argue, though, that the fact that Jim Johnson (assigned to “vet” Obama’s VP nominees) received a preferential loan from Countrywide pales in comparison to the rank offenses of McCain’s people that I noted in this post (and as nearly as I can tell, Arthur B. Culvahouse is a tiny fish by comparison swimming with a bunch of sharks).

    Monday Mashup (6/9/08)

  • McClatchy reports the following today…

    WASHINGTON — Convicted superlobbyist Jack Abramoff influenced White House actions while his firm wooed administration officials over expensive meals and plied them with sports tickets, according to a House of Representatives committee report released Monday.

    Abramoff, who's cooperating with federal prosecutors after pleading guilty in an expanding corruption investigation, previously had reported that his firm had more than 400 contacts with White House officials.

    "The new documents and testimony show that Mr. Abramoff had personal contact with President Bush, that high-level White House officials held Mr. Abramoff and his associates in high regard and solicited recommendations from Mr. Abramoff on policy matters," the committee said.

    The committee, however, added that it had "obtained no evidence" that Abramoff lobbied the president directly.
    I’m not sure exactly what the difference could be between “personal contact with President Bush” and “lobby(ing) the President directly.” I guess all ol’ Jack ever did was ask Dubya about Jenna’s wedding plans, right?

    And Little Katie Couric was just so “spot-on” here in her allegations that Democrats took money from Abramoff, wasn’t she (the report from the Center for Responsive Politics probably stated that the Dems took money from Abramoff clients, which is totally legal; I’m not going to pursue it any more than that because it is a total non-issue).

  • Paul Krugman theorized as follows today (from here)…

    Let me add one more hypothesis: although everyone makes fun of political correctness, I’d argue that decades of pressure on public figures and the media have helped drive both overt and strongly implied racism out of our national discourse. For example, I don’t think a politician today could get away with running the infamous 1988 Willie Horton ad.
    Unfortunately, we may find out about that; this tells us the following (h/t Daily Kos)…

    On a website he calls, Floyd G. Brown (pictured), the producer of the "Willie Horton" ad that helped defeat Michael Dukakis in 1988, is preparing an encore.

    Brown is raising money for a series of ads that he says will show Barack Obama to be out of touch on an issue of fundamental concern to voters: violent crime. One spot already on the Internet attacks the presumptive Democratic nominee for opposing a bill while he was an Illinois legislator that would have extended the death penalty to gang-related murders.
    I have a feeling we’re going to see antics by all manner of GOP simpatico pond scum before this election is over (including Roger Stone – Jeffrey Toobin wrote an excellent feature piece on this cretin in a recent issue of The New Yorker).

  • Update 10/9/09: Still a dick...

  • Also, I really don’t have anything to say here, but I just want to give a plug to the book “Final Salute” by Jim Sheeler, reviewed by the Times’ Janet Maslin here…

    While “Final Salute” is not a muckraking book, it is still quietly horrifying. It bears witness to the ways in which casualties from Iraq are shielded from sight. Mr. Sheeler’s readers may not have realized, for instance, that dead soldiers’ coffins have been hidden in cardboard boxes (ostensibly to protect the coffins), toted by forklifts and stowed in the cargo holds of passenger planes.

    Among the eloquent Rocky Mountain News photographs included…is a shocking image (shown in the story) — by Todd Heisler, now of The New York Times — of commercial airline passengers looking out plane windows at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Nevada, trying to see what is happening beneath them. Down there, in the cargo hold, a Marine honor guard is preparing to deliver the flag-draped coffin of Second Lt. James J. Cathey to its final resting place.
    And just to refresh our memories, I present this WSWS story.

    My understanding is that Defense Secretary Robert Gates modified department policy to effectively ban the use of commercial transport for our heroes who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I could be wrong about that; I couldn’t confirm it through multiple Google searches, but I’m pretty sure I heard it once the furor first broke over this travesty.

    Kudos to Sheeler for keeping this matter “front and center”; when I read about stories that are this monstrous, I find myself at a loss to the point where I can only state the following:

    224 days and counting, people…
  • Mukasey Muffs The Mortgage Mess

    If anyone was waiting for Bushco’s AG not named Abu Gonzales to intercede on our behalf in the wake of the rampant predatory lending and non-transparency in the wake the subprime mortgage meltdown…well, it looks like you’re going to have to keep waiting (from here)…

    WASHINGTON — Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey rejected on Thursday the idea of creating a national task force to combat the country’s mortgage fraud crisis, calling the problem a localized one akin to “white-collar street crimes.”

    Mr. Mukasey made clear that he saw the mortgage fraud problem at the root of the nation’s housing crisis as a serious one. But he said he was confident that the Justice Department’s current approach — using local prosecutors’ offices around the country to oversee separate F.B.I. investigations — was adequate.

    “This is disappointing,” Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who leads the House financial services committee, said in an interview about Mr. Mukasey’s remarks.

    Calling the mortgage crisis, “worse than Enron,” Mr. Frank said, “Enron didn’t cause a worldwide recession. This has more innocent victims.”
    Absolutely (and Mukasey admits later in the story that this is different from Enron; well, he got that much right anyway).

    Mukasey also referred to the mortgage collapse as “white-collar street crime.” What, does that mean we can look forward to a shiv duel between Angelo “Walking Death” Mozilo and Stanley “White Murder” O’Neal? Or dueling Glocks at 20 paces?

    And in the best capitalist tradition, you can rest assured that contrition is nowhere in sight for these robber barons, as noted in this story where they testified before the House Committee on Government and Oversight Reform last March.

    And concerning some of the individuals in the Enron task force, this Houston Chronicle story notes that some of these lawyers have used that experience as spring boards of a sort into both appointed and elected government offices as well as private practice.

    The "Anonymous" Dodge

    Clark Hoyt, the public editor of the New York Times, wrote a rather exhaustive column yesterday about the use of anonymous sources and how the Times has tried to curb this practice.

    As Hoyt tells us…

    Because the painful Jayson Blair scandal involved articles containing unnamed sources who apparently did not exist, The Times tightened its standards in 2004. Bill Keller, the executive editor, and Allan Siegal, then the standards editor, wrote a policy declaring, “We resist granting sources anonymity except as a last resort to obtain information that we believe to be newsworthy and reliable.”
    Noble words, I must say. However, I cannot comprehend how Hoyt could cite the Jayson Blair scandal and ignore the real “elephant in the room” when it comes to the Times’ abuse of unnamed sources, and the individuals most blameworthy here would be reporters Judith Miller and Michael Gordon.

    As Wikipedia reminds us, Miller’s stenography on behalf of Bushco turned out to be crucial in turning public opinion towards supporting Dubya’s Not-So-Excellent Iraq Adventure, with Miller jailed for refusing to reveal her source, which turned out to be “Scooter” Libby (and by the way, if you want to concoct an interesting little “what if” game, try imagining what would have happened if Libby had not agreed to release Miller from the confidentiality agreement; would he have been convicted or not? Once the Libby-Miller connection was made, the case started to come together, but I’m not sure that would have happened without it).

    And as far as Gordon is concerned, Glenn Greenwald has posted a few times about Gordon’s ongoing use of anonymous sources also leading to the Iraq war, as well as Gordon’s practice to “fan the flames” against Iran (noted here...“American officials say,” "According to officials," all uncorroborated statements). Why Gordon is still allowed to do this is something I cannot fathom either.

    In terms of the direct impact on people’s lives and well being, the worst thing Jayson Blair ever did was concoct “stories” the could have jeopardized the investigation into the D.C. sniper shootings, for which John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were convicted in a capital murder case in 2003. As bad as that was, though, Miller and Gordon ended up helping to lead us into an utterly pointless and unjust war in Iraq (the only “stories” I could find by Blair about Iraq were written after the war had already started).

    And I would say to Clark Hoyt that there is more than a shade of difference between these two circumstances; failing to acknowledge that is patently ridiculous.

    Sunday, June 08, 2008

    Sunday Stuff

    What follows is Dan Rather's speech before the recent conference on media reform in Minneapolis about freedom of the press concerning those of us on the internet trying to keep it alive, versus our corporate media, which is trying to kill it; the speech is about 21:38, but it's wonderful, powerful stuff, and he deserves all the credit in the world for speaking these words.