Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden: Who is to blame for $50 a barrel oil? Certainly not the I Didn’t Do It Kid: Q On oil prices reaching $50 a barrel, Senator Edwards today blamed this on mismanagement in Iraq and pointed to your own administration report that predicted that prices would be around $27 by now. And, obviously, it’s almost twice that. Are they wrong? MR. McCLELLAN: Well, it’s Senate Democrats, including Senators Kerry and Edwards, who have blocked efforts to pass a comprehensive national energy plan. The President put forward a comprehensive national energy plan that would help make America energy self-sufficient. … Continue reading Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

Gaggle Bonus: Who Wrote Allawi’s Speech?

From Holden: Little Scottie is slick, but not slick enough. In this exchange he’s backed into an off-hand admission that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad wrote Interim PM Allawi’s speech to congress. This makes sense, really, as embassy staff would have been best positioned to rehearse the GOP talking points with their apt pupil: Q Speaking of the paper, The Washington Post does a line-by-line juxtaposition of the President’s comments on Iraq and Prime Minister Allawi’s comments on Iraq. Can you tell us, today, whether any U.S. officials had a hand in crafting either the — MR. McCLELLAN: None that … Continue reading Gaggle Bonus: Who Wrote Allawi’s Speech?

Crawford’s Newspaper Endorses Kerry

From Holden: More trouble for the Bushboy, this time in his adopted home town: The weekly Lone Star Iconoclast criticized Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq and for turning budget surpluses into record deficits. The editorial also criticized Bush’s proposals on Social Security and Medicare. “The publishers of The Iconoclast endorsed Bush four years ago, based on the things he promised, not on this smoke-screened agenda,” the newspaper said in its editorial. “Today, we are endorsing his opponent, John Kerry.” It urged “Texans not to rate the candidate by his hometown or even his political party, but instead by … Continue reading Crawford’s Newspaper Endorses Kerry

Bush’s Medicare Pilot Program Ripped You Off While Limiting Coverage

From Holden: The GAO found that Bush’s pilot Medicare program, in which beneficiaries enrolled in private health plans, cost you and I $650 to $750 a year more per beneficiary while illegally limiting coverage to certain services: Federal investigators said Monday that the Bush administration had improperly allowed some private health plans to limit Medicare patients’ choice of health care providers, including doctors, nursing homes and home care agencies. The investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, also said that the private plans had increased out-of-pocket costs for the elderly and had not saved money for the government, contrary to predictions … Continue reading Bush’s Medicare Pilot Program Ripped You Off While Limiting Coverage

U.S. Military Officials Call Allawi a Liar

From Holden: Yet another bunch of terrorsimps dissing our great Iraqi ally: The insistence by interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and many U.S. officials that foreign fighters are streaming into Iraq to battle American troops runs counter to the U.S. military’s own assessment that the Iraqi insurgency remains primarily a home-grown problem. [snip] But U.S. military officials said Iraqi officials tended to exaggerate the number of foreign fighters in Iraq to obscure the fact that large numbers of their countrymen have taken up arms against U.S. troops and the American-backed interim Iraqi government. “They say these guys are flowing … Continue reading U.S. Military Officials Call Allawi a Liar

Bush Boom, We Hardly Knew Ye

From Holden: I’m telling you, Senator Kerry, hitting Bush on Iraq is working but don’t forget the economy. Consumer Confidence fell again in August for the second month running. Those consumers are your voters, go get ’em! Consumer confidence declined in September for the second consecutive month, a New York-based private research group said Tuesday. The Consumer Confidence Index fell 1.9 points to 96.8 from a revised reading of 98.7 in August, according to The Conference Board. Analysts had expected a reading of 99.5. “The recent declines in the index were caused primarily by a deterioration in consumers’ assessment of … Continue reading Bush Boom, We Hardly Knew Ye


I’m willing to give lots of props to local reporters who do a good job covering the preznit. I think journalists on the ground, at smaller papers and in smaller cities, get a bad rap by association with their national brethren. They do their jobs (which are often dangerous, especially if they work in large cities and try to actually cover crime) for very little pay and less recognition, but they get tarred with the brush that Daryn Kagan deserves. So I try not to pick on the local guys too much. But this is a terrible, horrible, very bad … Continue reading Appalling

Department of Welcome To The Party

Amazing what “journalism ethics” types choose to worry about: But experts in law and journalism are nonetheless at odds over whether the spectacle of reporters testifying about people who gave them information in confidence sends the wrong message, to the public and to potential sources. Some say it may do lasting damage to the bonds of trust built between sources and journalists over several decades. “Every time I hear about one of these reporters going in to speak about their sources, my stomach drops to my shoes,” said Jane Kirtley, a professor of media ethics and law at the University … Continue reading Department of Welcome To The Party

Bush Heeds No Warnings

From Holden: Just as the preznit ignored a warning in August of 2001 that al Qaeda was planning attacks within the US, he also ignored accurate warnings that Iraq would devolve to the state it is in today: The same intelligence unit that produced a gloomy report in July about the prospect of growing instability in Iraq warned the Bush administration about the potential costly consequences of an American-led invasion two months before the war began, government officials said Monday. The estimate came in two classified reports prepared for President Bush in January 2003 by the National Intelligence Council, an … Continue reading Bush Heeds No Warnings

Almost a Plame Update

From Holden: The Times’ Adam Liptak wrote a rather long, rambling piece on the Plame investigation, focusing primarily on Patrick Fitzgerald’s tactic of compelling testimony from reporters. Liptak covers no new ground, but at the very end of his piece he does touch on one subject I have been thinking about lately: The real mystery in the investigation, lawyers involved in it say, is what Mr. Novak has done. Mr. Novak’s lawyer, James Hamilton, declined to comment. There are four essential possibilities. Mr. Novak may not have been subpoenaed, which would be curious. He may have asserted the reporter’s privilege, … Continue reading Almost a Plame Update

Call It the Katherine Harris Effect

From Holden: New voter registration is up 64% in my home county here in Texas: With five weeks to go before the presidential election, Travis County residents are registering to vote in record numbers. Since Sept. 1, the county tax office has received 29,865 voter registration applications, a 64 percent jump from the 18,207 received during the same period in September 2000 [snip] Travis County typically leans Democratic. [snip] Dolores Lopez, director of voter registration for the Travis County tax office, suspects younger people are behind the pumped-up registration numbers. “I suspect it’s them, just from the people coming into … Continue reading Call It the Katherine Harris Effect

What I was trying to work up the energy to say earlier

Yeah, E.L. Doctorow’s been on my list of “stuff I’ve got to read someday” forever, but let’s just say he’s moved up a notch, real fast: I remember the millions of people here and around the world who marched against the war. It was extraordinary, that spontaneous aroused oversoul of alarm and protest that transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After all, this was not the only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars all over he world most of the time. But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of people that … Continue reading What I was trying to work up the energy to say earlier

Fun and Games

My friend Jennifer and I started this version of “Anywhere But Here” way back more than a year ago, during the darkest days of the Bush junta, when it looked like anyone challenging him would be a sacrificial lamb. It cheered us up, and as blogtopia (tm Skippy) is in perpetual need of cheering up as we count down the days until the election, I thought I’d share it with you. The setup: It’s election night, 2004. It’s around 11 p.m., and the networks have just called the election for Kerry. Answer the following questions: Where are you? What are … Continue reading Fun and Games

Irony dies another of its 1,000 deaths

Bill O’Reilly on talking with the preznit: One on one, Mr. Bush is an engaging guy, but it’s tough to be relaxed when every word you say is parsed and dissected. Unlike Bill Clinton, George W. Bush does not seek personal approval, at least not openly. Mr. Clinton loves adoration; Mr. Bush is much more private in his presentation. Therefore, I approached my thirty minute interview with the President cautiously. I kept my presence low key, which is a tremendous departure for me. There are certain rules that have to be followed when talking with the most powerful man in … Continue reading Irony dies another of its 1,000 deaths

I Suppose I Should Stop Looking for My Bush Boom

From Holden: I just don’t see my Bush Boom materializing before the election. Estimates for third-quarter profits have been revised downwards: Analysts have reduced their third-quarter profit estimates as the price of oil surged. Earnings for S&P 500 companies probably increased 14.2 percent this quarter, down from a July 1 estimate of 14.8 percent, according to Thomson Financial. And they may not be finished with their revisions: “There is probably some downward adjustment in expectations that still has to take place,” said Stuart Schweitzer, global investment strategist at JPMorgan Fleming Asset Management, which oversees more than $772 billion in New … Continue reading I Suppose I Should Stop Looking for My Bush Boom

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden: Little Scottie contradicts Rummy and Holden in one fell swoop: Q It’s still not clear what the administration’s stand is on whether elections that are partial in Iraq would count as elections that could go forward in January. If not — MR. McCLELLAN: No, that’s — I mean, I think everybody — Prime Minister Allawi has made it clear that he wanted elections where all Iraqis could participate and it would be for all of Iraq. We are committed to free and fair elections throughout Iraq. We want all Iraqis to be able to participate in the election. … Continue reading Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

The Story on the Hammer

From Holden: Lou Dubose and Jan Reid have a new book out on a certain bugman: With The Hammer, Lou Dubose and Jan Reid track the rise of Tom DeLay from owner of a pest control business to unremarkable, and hard-partying, Texas legislator (his nickname was “Hot Tub Tom”), to the congressional pinnacle of power. DeLay is the representative who has called the Environmental Protection Agency “the Gestapo of government,” that he drove what he dubbed “The Campaign” to impeach Bill Clinton because Clinton lacked a “biblical worldview,” that he didn’t serve in Vietnam because too many minorities had signed … Continue reading The Story on the Hammer

Guilty Pleasures of the 101st Keyboarders

From Holden: On October 8 the warfloggers will have something other than porn to hide on their computers, because that’s when a new videogame will hit the streets: Signup today – Free Trial – to receive 20 KumaWar missions including JOHN KERRY and the men of SWIFT BOAT PCF-94, an amazing re-creation of the actions in 1969 that earned Kerry the Navy’s second highest honor. Re-create the events for yourself! Built using advanced game tools, this simulation puts you in Kerry’s boots, in command of a Swift Boat on the Mekong Delta in 1969. Includes broadband video news show, real-world … Continue reading Guilty Pleasures of the 101st Keyboarders

Carter Cites Lack of Basic International Voting Requirements in FLorida

From Holden: Via Noseknowledge we find this warning from Jimmy Carter. Voting arrangements in Florida do not meet “basic international requirements” and could undermine the US election, former US President Jimmy Carter says. [snip] “With reforms unlikely at this late stage of the election, perhaps the only recourse will be to focus maximum public scrutiny on the suspicious process in Florida.” We’ve been warned, we can’t let Jeb steal the election for his brother again. Continue reading Carter Cites Lack of Basic International Voting Requirements in FLorida

skippy Ain’t the Only Blog with a Mailbag

From Holden: Reader Laffsrule points us to Liberal Oasis’ interview of Greg Palast in which we learn why Rather did it and how they’re stealing Florida again. The One Simple Question bounty is up to $6,000. Maybe Jim Lehrer will cash in on Thursday. And finally, Joshowitz claims to have found my long-lost Bush boom, but as I’m several zeros short of a billionaire I think he’s mistaken. Continue reading skippy Ain’t the Only Blog with a Mailbag

The Insurgency

From Holden: An Arabic newspaper published in Baghdad, Baghdad al-Zawra, recently published a survey of the different insurgent groups in Iraq that has been translated into English by the CIA. It’s an interesting who’s who, someone should read it to the president. There are at least seven separate insurgent groups fighting U.S. troops and nine groups carrying out the kidnapping and killings of foreigners in Iraq, according to an Iraqi newspaper. There are three main Sunni groups, and five separate factions within them; two Baathist groups; and two Shiite insurgent organizations, according to a recent issue of the Baghdad al-Zawra … Continue reading The Insurgency

Powell Strays Off Message

From Holden: According to our Secretary of State, the situation in Iraq is deteriorating: Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that the insurgency in Iraq is getting worse and that the U.S. occupation there has increased anti-American sentiment in Muslim countries, but he said successful elections in Afghanistan and Iraq would turn the situation around. “We have seen an increase in anti-Americanism in the Muslim world. We’ll not deny this,” Powell said on ABC’s This Week. [snip] Powell acknowledged that, “Yes, it’s getting worse, and the reason it’s getting worse is that they are determined to disrupt the elections.” … Continue reading Powell Strays Off Message

Surrender Dorothy

From Holden: George Bush’s reselection strategy hinges on success in Iraq. But with seventy dead US soldiers this month (the most since May and more than any other month except for April 2003, November 2003, April 2004 and May 2004), the Pentagon opting for shorter combat tours as the extended tours in Iraq are dampening recruitment, a multitude of individuals throughout the government disputing his rosy assertions on conditions in Iraq including Colin Powell yesterday, and one of his bestest buddies in the War on Terra calling the war a mistake that has made the world less safe and advising … Continue reading Surrender Dorothy