From Holden: It’s not like they have a problem with torture in the Army. The Army is preparing to issue a new interrogations manual that expressly bars the harsh techniques disclosed in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, and incorporates safeguards devised to prevent such misconduct at military prison camps in the future, Army officials said Wednesday. The new manual, the first revision in 13 years, will specifically prohibit practices like stripping prisoners, keeping them in stressful positions for a long time, imposing dietary restrictions, employing police dogs to intimidate prisoners and using sleep deprivation as a tool to get … Continue reading Gee, I Wonder Why They Thought This Was Necessary?
Between the two of them, Digby and Matt Yglesias give me ammo for my “culture wars are a completely stupid waste of time and energy” viewpoint. Now, none if this proves anything with respect to whether the Democrats should attack popular culture as a way of connecting with voters on the allegedly all important values issues. Clearly, this doesn’t address that specifically. But it does address the fact that people seem to be more concerned at this point that politicians are too influenced by religion than that they are not influenced enough. And that tells me that we would be … Continue reading Get Your Hot Fresh KickAss Right Here!
From Holden: Actually, I don’t have a caption for this photo of Chimpy returning to the Oval Office after speaking about his energy proposals at a conference held by the Small Business Administration. But he looks like a beaten man to me. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque Continue reading Afternoon at the Captions
From Holden: Today’s gaggle was so meaty it’s a real challenge to carve it down to a few juicy exchanges. Let’s start with Chimpy’s little Chicken Little act today. Q Before we talk about the energy, can you tell us about the security scare here this morning, what happened? MR. McCLELLAN: Sure. And I think the Secret Service has talked about it, as well. There was a report, or an indication, that an aircraft had entered restricted airspace around the White House, and so there were some precautionary measures that were taken. It was quickly learned that it was a … Continue reading Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle
From Holden: Today’s gaggle was chock-full o’ questions, some good, some bad, some clueless. First, a couple of goodies. Both on John Bolton. Q Back on Bolton, are you saying that the same characteristics that have raised questions about his conduct — abrasiveness, bluntness — are exactly the qualities that you need in a U.N. ambassador? Q Secondly, what’s wrong with the United Nations that needs fixing? Now for the bad. I hate to say it, but my buddy Les Kinsolving occupies the bulk of the bad category today. First, a little gay-bashing. Q Scott, the Republican-majority Texas House of … Continue reading Obsession Extra: The Good, the Bad, and the Clueless
From Holden: Once again, a hat-tip to the information clearinghouse known as Dan Froomkin. Have you seen this man (the bald guy)? The Denver Three have. The chairman of the Colorado Young Republicans was one of the people involved in a March 21 incident in which three Denver residents were forcibly removed from a speech given by President Bush because of a bumper sticker. Jay Bob Klinkerman [that’s the bald Jay Bob in the photo above], leader of the state group for Republicans ages 18 to 40, admitted in an interview that he was at the gate of the Wings … Continue reading Hot on the Trail
From Holden: More dishonesty from the House Majority Leader via Dan Froomkin Richard W. Stevenson writes in the New York Times about how Bush brought DeLay along for his Social Security event in Galveston yesterday. “Inside, Mr. DeLay got a standing ovation from the crowd just before Mr. Bush’s remarks when one of his constituents, Geraldine Sam, a schoolteacher from La Marque, Tex., shouted, ‘We love you, Tom.’ “Ms. Sam said she had been invited by Mr. DeLay’s office.” UPDATE: an anonymous reader points out that Geraldine Sam of Lamarque, Texas, was one of 20 black Republicans in the Texas … Continue reading Tomfoolery
From Holden: Point: Juan Cole Tuesday’s addendum to the Duelfer report concludes that there not only were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but that the rumors put around by the Bush administration and by Fox Cable News that the WMD was sent to Syria are unsubstantiated. (By this point in the story, we may take that to mean flatly “false,” or perhaps “lies.”) I never thought the Syria story made any sense. You can’t truck off thousands of tons of chemical weapons to Syria without being observed (we do have satellites that take a pretty good picture). And … Continue reading Reality/Fantasy
From Holden: One question: who will be the Sunni Rhett Butler? Whereas once politicians were not willing to utter the term for fear of dignifying it, it is no longer taboo. “I do not want to say civil war, but we are going the Lebanese route, and we know where that led,” says Sabah Kadhim, an adviser to the Interior Ministry who spent years in exile before returning to Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s overthrow. “We are going to end up with certain areas that are controlled by certain warlords … It’s Sunni versus Shiite, that is the issue that is … Continue reading The ”C” and ”W” Words
From Holden: One question: who will be the Sunni Rhett Butler? Whereas once politicians were not willing to utter the term for fear of dignifying it, it is no longer taboo. “I do not want to say civil war, but we are going the Lebanese route, and we know where that led,” says Sabah Kadhim, an adviser to the Interior Ministry who spent years in exile before returning to Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s overthrow. “We are going to end up with certain areas that are controlled by certain warlords … It’s Sunni versus Shiite, that is the issue that is … Continue reading The “C” and “W” Words
Via Patron Saint of Sinners, we get the news that Dilbert’s Law about people always being promoted one step beyond their actual capabilities applies to the Catholic Church as well as to business. The bishop [St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke] and new pope share the same views on many moral and theological issues. For instance, in June, when U.S. bishops released a statement saying lawmakers who consistently supported abortion rights or euthanasia were “cooperating in evil,” and could be denied holy Communion – very much Burke’s take on the topic – Ratzinger said the statement was “very much in harmony” … Continue reading Failing Upward
From Holden: Why is our president spending so much time (and so much of our money) trying to convince Americans that the Social Security trust fund faces a HUGE FUCKING CRISIS which he claims will not begin to be a problem for another 12 years and his Social Security trustees claim will not become a HUGE FUCKING CRISIS for 36 years? Why does he seem unconcerned about another HUGE FUCKING CRISIS that one of his own advisors says our economy and those of all other developed nations will face in the next three years? One of the world’s leading energy … Continue reading Uh, What About This Crisis?
From Holden: Orders for manufactured goods took a steep dive last month, the biggest decline in more than two years. This marks the third straight month of declines, the worst performance since the first Dubya Recession of 2001. Although analysts predicted a 0.3% increase in March, orders fell by 2.8%. It gets worse: February’s numbers were revised from the initially reported +0.3% down to -0.2%. Watch the Dow drop accordingly today. The AP tells the tale. Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods plunged 2.8 percent in March, the biggest setback in 2.5 years and the third straight decline, … Continue reading “Soft Patch” is the new Bush Boom
From Holden: Orders for manufactured goods took a steep dive last month, the biggest decline in more than two years. This marks the third straight month of declines, the worst performance since the first Dubya Recession of 2001. Although analysts predicted a 0.3% increase in March, orders fell by 2.8%. It gets worse: February’s numbers were revised from the initially reported +0.3% down to -0.2%. Watch the Dow drop accordingly today. The AP tells the tale. Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods plunged 2.8 percent in March, the biggest setback in 2.5 years and the third straight decline, … Continue reading ”Soft Patch” is the new Bush Boom
From Holden: REUTERS/Jason Reed Continue reading Two Faces of the Same Coin
From Holden: Oh my, looks like Don Rumsfeld went for candid when he should have tried gruff. Asked during the briefing “are we winning” the war, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld did not directly respond. “The United States and the coalition forces, in my personal view, will not be the thing that will defeat the insurgency,” Rumsfeld said. “So, therefore, winning or losing is not the issue for ‘we,’ in my view, in the traditional, conventional context of using the word ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ in a war. The people that are going to defeat that insurgency are going to be the … Continue reading Rummy Sez: We’re Losing The War
From Holden: House Republicans cry “uncle” on their DeLay-hugging ethics rules. House Republican leaders, acknowledging that ethics disputes are taking a heavy toll on the party’s image, decided yesterday to rescind a controversial rule change that led to the three-month shutdown of the ethics committee, according to officials who participated in the talks. Republicans touched off a political uproar in January by changing a rule that had required the ethics committee to continue considering a complaint against a House member if there was a deadlock between the committee’s five Republicans and five Democrats. The January change reversed this, calling for … Continue reading Uncle! Uncle! Unnncllleeeeeee!!!
From Holden: Senate Republicans bicker over Social Security while Senate Democrats remain serenely united. A badly divided Senate Finance Committee yesterday held the first hearing examining President Bush’s efforts to restructure Social Security. While the Democrats remained united in their opposition, there were signs of cracks in the Republicans’ support for the president. [snip] Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.) questioned the wisdom of adding trillions of dollars in federal debt in the coming decades to finance the president’s plan. And Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) seemed to signal intractable opposition to converting part of the defined Social Security benefit to variable … Continue reading Music To My Ears
Sweet Jesus, just go watch This Daily Show clip right now. A. Continue reading ‘Why Don’t You Call Them On Their Bullshit On The AIR?!!’
Steve notes that the remarkably lovely Maggie Gyllenhaal has got herself into a bit of trouble for raising an uncomfortable question: whether the US bears any responsibility for the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Cue the swarming wingnuts, who on one hand are rushing to condemn her, while simultaneously expressing the opinion that the famous should keep their opinions to themselves. It’s like an endless replay, this whine of theirs, every time somebody strays from the country music party line. You saw it with Sean Penn and Richard Gere and Barbra Streisand, then the Dixie Chicks, then Bruce Springsteen, Whoopi … Continue reading Caution: Falling Opinions
From Holden: …it always leaks out. Major Terror Attacks Triple In ’04 By U.S. Count Continue reading No Matter How Hard You Try to Censor the News..
I’m a bit late with today’s action alert. Apologies, I had some appointments. Here it is: Tell your senators not to prohibit filibusters of judicial nominees Whenever a single political party controls both the White House and Congress — as the Republicans do now — the Senate “filibuster” (a nickname for indefinitely extended debate) ensures that the dominant party cannot exert undue control over the remaining branch of the federal government: the judiciary. But Senate Majority Leader Frist (R-TN) is threatening to overturn the longstanding Senate rule that enables 41 or more senators to use the filibuster to prevent the … Continue reading Action Alert – Filibuster
From Holden: Chimpy took his Social Security demolition derby, and bestest buddy Tom DeLay, to Galveston today. Ah, good times. THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for coming. (Applause.) It is nice to be home. I want to thank the Mayor for being here. Lyda Ann Thomas greeted me coming in. I said, “Do you still have Splash Day?” (Laughter.) You have to be a baby boomer to know what I’m talking about. (Laughter.) I’m not saying whether I came or not on Splash Day, I’m just saying, do you have Splash Day. (Laughter.) AFP/Jim Watson Although he did not mention … Continue reading Baboon-a-palooza On the Gulf
From Holden: Democratic Senator Max Baucus, speaking as the Senate Finance Committe opens hearings on Social Security. Senator Max Baucus, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said Monday that “as soon as the president publicly takes privatization off the table,” Democrats would work with Republicans. But “we’re not going to join in a bait-and-switch strategy,” Mr. Baucus said. I like it! Continue reading Holding the Line
From Holden: Little Scottie on “friends” (but not friends friends) Georgie and Tom. Q Scott, why — Tom DeLay is not from Galveston, why is he riding back with the President today? And what’s the signal that the President is trying to send by inviting him on Air Force One? MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he is from the area. Galveston is near his district and we typically invite members of Congress to events in their area, and we’re glad to have Leader DeLay flying back to D.C. with us. I know the President looks forward to seeing him and visiting with … Continue reading Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle
From Holden: Opps! Looks like the Afghans aren’t too keen on those proposed U.S. military bases. President Hamid Karzai had until recently backed permanent bases. His defence minister said this month Afghanistan is eager for “enduring arrangements” with the United States, which could include air bases. But Karzai sidestepped a question on the subject during a visit by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld this month, saying only he planned to ask President George W Bush for long-term security protection. He reiterated his desire Tuesday for a broad security arrangement but said bases may not be right. “I don’t think the … Continue reading Trouble in the Colonies
From Holden: “‘Muricans hate me, they hate my plan to privatize Social Security, they hate my UN nominee, and they hate my Majority Leader. Protect me, Barney!” REUTERS/Jason Reed Continue reading Caption Contest
From Holden: A quick look at Dan Froomin’s column today, which seems to be more bloglike as time passes, yields this tasty bit of analysis: Bush yesterday kissed and held hands with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia — and went to extraordinary measures to keep the media away from a man who is not the poster child for Bush’s effort to spread democracy in the Middle East. So what did Bush get for his troubles? Nothing. Dan also revisited Chimpy’s commencement plans. I wrote in Friday’s column that Bush will be giving a commencement address next month at Calvin … Continue reading The Froomkin Shuffle
From Holden: ABC News/WaPo Bush’s Job Approval Rating Approve 47% (-3%) Disapprove 50% (+2%) Continue reading Increasingly Unpopular
From Holden: Unka Karl harrumphs his way into the Senate and quashes any talk of compromise. In an hour-long interview with USA TODAY and Gannett News Service reporters and editors, Rove, deputy White House chief of staff, dismissed suggestions from Democrats that they might drop threats to use filibusters to prevent votes on Bush’s judicial nominees if the president would withdraw a few of the most controversial names. Rove also offered further evidence that he has lost his touch by: • Claiming that Chimpy was making progress with the public in his efforts to destroy Social Security. • Predicting that … Continue reading Who Died and Made Him Senator?