Book Rec: HELEN!

Helen Thomas’s book Watchdogs of Democracy? is the kind of thing I used to keep on my shelf and read when I got disillusioned with journalism, right up there with Live from Baghdad, Hacks, and the opening passage of Manhattan Nocturne. Because for all that it is a criticism of the present press, it’s also a love letter to the craft. Her anger at the lay-down, speak-softly, don’t-disturb-the-glorious-preznit press corps of today is informed by her passion for communicating the value of journalism in a democratic society and her admiration for the people she once worked with, who had the … Continue reading Book Rec: HELEN!

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Today the gagglers are still trying to find out how deeply involved Chimpy is in the Haditha cover-up.

Q Do you happen to know when or whether Donald Rumsfeld first spoke with the President about Haditha?

MR. SNOW: Hang on a second. I’ve got a timetable and I will try to get you a date here. Let me — if you’ll permit. Or do I?

Q And also, when the Secretary of Defense first knew.

MR. SNOW: I think, again — I will get back to you because I do have a tick-tock on Haditha. And the characterization I’ve received — obviously, there was a report, I believe on November 19th — was that the date? There was a follow-on sort of account on the 20th or the 21st. So in that sense, people knew about Haditha. But I think the concern about subsequent reports of people being massacred or people being killed, that really was stimulated by reporters’ inquiries, which came, I believe in January.

Q There have already been serious allegations of, at best, foot dragging, and at worst, a coverup. Why not get out ahead of the curve, go on the offense, and just appoint an independent inquiry?

MR. SNOW: Because the Marines are actually conducting an inquiry and it’s a very vigorous one. I would ask you to suspend any judgment about what happens….

Obsession continues, click Read More…

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New Orleans: Fragile ….Handle with Care

From Scout:

George Bush has stressed the role of volunteers in rebuilding New Orleans. He visited volunteers at various rebuilding sites in New Orleans on April 27 as part of promoting National Volunteer Week. At the time he stated, “If you are interested in helping the victims of Katrina, interested in helping them get back on their feet, come on down here.”

Don’t pack your bags though. FEMA has announced that on June 1 it will be closing the last 4 camps that house and feed volunteers coming to Louisiana to aid in recovery. The move will likely shut down the volunteer work Bush was promoting.

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Abu Ghraib Rewind

From Holden: Although the circumstances are remarkably different Chimpy’s reaction to the Haditha masacre is sickeningly familiar. Q Mr. President, what have you been told about the killings at Haditha? And are you worried about the impact it could have on the situation in Iraq? PRESIDENT BUSH: I am troubled by the initial news stories. I am mindful that there is a thorough investigation going on. If, in fact, the laws were broken, there will be punishment. I know this: I’ve talked to General Pete Pace about the subject, who is a proud Marine, and nobody is more concerned about … Continue reading Abu Ghraib Rewind

Eye on Hurricanes

From Scout: WWLTV aired a special called Eye on Hurricanes. You can watch it online at this link. It is slpit in 4 parts. To better understand how the levees failed go to the 5 minute mark in Part I. In just a few minutes they provide video and illustrations that help you envision why the levees failed. I recommend giving it a watch. Also good is Part II in which they interview officials from LA parishes on what their evacuations plans are for a hurricane striking this summer. Suffice to say they aren’t counting on outside help. Continue reading Eye on Hurricanes

Buh-Bye Bob

From Holden: We may be seeing the final days of the worst hairpiece in Congress. A Congressional aide-turned-lobbyist testified on Tuesday that he had prepared a travel disclosure statement for a Republican House member that intentionally understated the cost of the lawmaker’s lavish 2002 golfing trip to Scotland with the now-disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The lobbyist, Neil G. Volz, said in testimony before a federal jury in Washington that he had talked with the lawmaker, Representative Bob Ney of Ohio, before providing Mr. Ney’s office with a copy of the statement, which he said falsely listed the cost of Mr. … Continue reading Buh-Bye Bob

Tanned, Rested and Talibani

From Holden:

The Taliban assumes control of a Pakistani province.

When the Pakistan army’s front line in its war on terrorism moved elsewhere, and the Taliban took control of his hometown, Baidar decided it was time to leave.

“The government is helpless. The Taliban is in full control there, not religious students, but militant Taliban,” said the 30-year-old Wazir tribesman.


The Pakistan army, in the words of President Pervez Musharraf, chased al Qaeda out of South Waziristan “valley by valley” in an offensive that lasted from late 2003 to early 2005.

Thereafter the focus switched to North Waziristan, where more than 300 militants have been killed since mid-2005.

The story continues, Read More…

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The Bush Stank

From Holden: Careful not to get any on you. When President Bush arrives in the Baltimore area this evening to raise campaign money for Maryland Republicans, one potential beneficiary won’t be there to greet him. Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, whose Senate bid stands to gain from the $1 million-plus that Bush’s appearance is expected to draw, will be at a Las Vegas, Nev., fundraiser, instead. Steele joins a growing list of Republican candidates who are declining a chance to be seen with the president in this election year, even as they rely on the hefty amounts of campaign cash … Continue reading The Bush Stank

Ambassadorial Complaint

From Holden: On the very day Chimpy welcomes the new Iraqi ambassador to the US, Samir Sumaidaie, the ambassador accuses US Marines of murdering a family member. BLITZER: But even months before the incident in November, you lost a cousin at Haditha in a separate battle involving United States Marines. SUMAIDAIE: Well, that was not a battle at all. Marines were doing house-to-house searches, and they went into the house of my cousin. He opened the door for them. His mother, his siblings were there. He led them into the bedroom of his father. And there he was shot. BLITZER: … Continue reading Ambassadorial Complaint

Record High Attacks/Casualties in Iraq

From Scout: It’s been one year since Cheney said the insurgency was in its last throes. Stars and Stripes reports that “insurgent attacks and resulting coalition and Iraqi deaths” are now at record highs according to a Pentagon Iraq progress report released today. Average weekly attacks on coalition forces, Iraqi security forces (ISF) and Iraqi civilians climbed to 620 in the period between Feb. 11 and May 12, 2006, according to the latest security and stability report the Defense Department is required to send congressional lawmakers every quarter. Only two other periods in Iraq’s post-Saddam history approach the recent numbers … Continue reading Record High Attacks/Casualties in Iraq

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

I noted earlier today that Chimpy is a big fat liar, and in today’s gaggle Pony Blow confirms.

Q Do you have any tick-tock on the policy pick? When did the President reach out to him?

MR. SNOW: Yes, the tick-tock is the two of them met on the 20th of May and there was a conversation, and Hank Paulson accepted the job a day later. That was subject to clearance. It does take time, especially for a Senate-confirmable position, to complete those, so it did take time to get some of those clearances wrapped up.

Q So that’s why there’s been no announcement between May 21st and —

MR. SNOW: Correct.


Q I’m a little bit confused on the tick-tock. You said that the job was offered to Mr. Paulson on May 20th, and they accepted the process on the 21st.

MR. SNOW: That is correct.

Q So we’re talking more than a week ago. The President last week, when he was asked if he was — how he was going to deal with Mr. Snow, said, well, I guess — he said, he’s going to offer his resignation to me, and then went on to say he’s a — good job. This was something that was in play obviously before that, so in terms of its filling a vacancy, which is how you characterized it a minute ago, it wasn’t a vacancy, it was switching a person, wasn’t it?

MR. SNOW: No, he said, he’s not talked to me about resignation. That does not mean that there were not other discussions. I mean, it was artfully worded. But on the other hand, the one thing you do not want to do in a situation like this is to start speculating about changes before the changes are ready to be made. Those do have impacts on markets, and you have to be responsible and cautious in the way you deal with them. Again, at that point, Hank Paulson — you’ve got to make sure that you’ve got all the clearances taken care of.


Q Just one other follow-up on Carl about Secretary Snow. When the President was asked, when he was standing next to Prime Minister Blair, and millions of people watching, he was telling the American people that “I’ve got no indication the Secretary is going to resign” —

MR. SNOW: No, no. Here’s — “No, he has not talked to me about resignation.” I mean, it was very carefully worded, but, again, what you didn’t want to have, I think, is it appearing at a time when you don’t have — when you haven’t finished doing your clearances for the Treasury — the person you want to fill that position. You don’t want to have chaos in the markets. It was —

Q He’s already offered it to somebody, he’s got to have had — I mean, you offer these positions all the time and wait for FBI background searches that sometimes take a long time. I mean, the Supreme Court nominees take six weeks, but you still announce to the public when you pick somebody.

MR. SNOW: But, you know, again, Hank Paulson, at that time, you don’t announce somebody that hasn’t been pre-cleared; you haven’t finished the clearance process, you don’t announce it, period. I mean, it’s just not —

Q If not even announcing him, you could have at least — you could have been direct and said, we’re expecting —

MR. SNOW: With all due respect, I think there was some concern, again, about how something like that affects the markets. If you have uncertainty for an extended period of time, which would have been at that point four or five days, I think that is something that you’ve got to worry about and you’ve got to be responsible in dealing with it.

The lies continue, Read More…

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Silencing the Truth

From Scout: The NYT has a good article on the pressures that have been placed on hurricane expert Ivor van Heerden to Shut Up… To many in Louisiana this outspokenness has made Dr. van Heerden a hero. But at his university it has gotten him called on the carpet for threatening the institution’s relationship with the federal government and the research money that comes with that. Last November two vice chancellors at Lousiana State — Michael Ruffner, in charge of communications for the university, and Harold Silverman, who leads the office of research — brought him in for a meeting. … Continue reading Silencing the Truth

More Bush Lies

From Holden: Bush lies to the nation, Thursday, May 25, 2006: PRESIDENT BUSH: Stretch. Q Thank you, Mr. President. PRESIDENT BUSH: I call him Stretch. Q And I’ve been called worse. (Laughter.) Has Treasury Secretary Snow given you any indication that he intends to leave his job any time soon? PRESIDENT BUSH: Secretary of Treasury Snow? Q Has he given you any indication he intends to leave his job any time soon? And related to that, Americans — macroeconomic numbers are indeed good, but many Americans are concerned, increasingly concerned about rising health care costs, costs of gasoline. And does … Continue reading More Bush Lies

Oh, What A Glorious Summer It Will Be

From Holden: Neil Volz is singing like a bird. A former congressional aide and lobbyist described Tuesday how he obtained advice, insider information and help from Bush administration procurement chief David Safavian to advance two projects being promoted by Republican influence peddler Jack Abramoff. The aide, Neil Volz, who was a partner of Abramoff’s at the time, also outlined how they received assistance from several Republican congressmen including, Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, and Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio. [snip] Volz added flesh and blood details to a series of e-mails the government … Continue reading Oh, What A Glorious Summer It Will Be

Loss of Confidence in My Bush Boom

From Holden: Of course this is John Snow’s fault. Consumer confidence soured in May, as Americans fretted about jobs and the overall economy, a private research group said Tuesday. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index fell to 103.2, down from the revised 109.8 in April. [snip] “Consumer confidence, which reached a four-year high in April, lost ground in May,” said Lynn Franco, director of the New York-based Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Apprehension about the short-term outlook for the economy, the labor market and consumers’ earning potential has driven the Expectations Index down to levels not seen since … Continue reading Loss of Confidence in My Bush Boom

Bi-Polar Day at The Corner

From Holden: Poor K-Lo. She goes from wondering if Henry Paulson likes pia coladas… I Hear Paulson [Kathryn Jean Lopez] and I think “for president .” Posted at 8:48 AM To crossing his name off of the cover of her trapper-keeper. Paulson & EMILY’s LIST [Kathryn Jean Lopez] What’s this about? Posted at 10:14 AM Just don’t tell her about Paulson’s views on the Kyoto protocals. Continue reading Bi-Polar Day at The Corner

Cross-Dressing Lesbian

From Holden: Wait a minute, that’s the wrong cross-dressing lesbian. Republican Congressman Bob Ney of Ohio is all hot and bothered about Air America’s Rachel Maddow. Bob Ney’s campaign is running an “auto call” in Ohio right now, which criticizes his Democratic opponent, Zack Space, for being interviewed on The Rachel Maddow Show this month. *Click HERE for audio of the Bob Ney autocall. “Hello, my name is Juanita (?) [Maureen] and I am very concerned about what I’ve heard recently about Congressional Candidate Zack Space. Zack claims to care about Ohio Values. He has been spending a lot of … Continue reading Cross-Dressing Lesbian

No Shame

From Holden: Another item for the Department of No Surprises. Federal authorities are actively investigating dozens of American television stations for broadcasting items produced by the Bush administration and major corporations, and passing them off as normal news. Some of the fake news segments talked up success in the war in Iraq, or promoted the companies’ products. Investigators from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are seeking information about stations across the country after a report produced by a campaign group detailed the extraordinary extent of the use of such items. The report, by the non-profit group Centre for Media and … Continue reading No Shame


A couple of quotes to provide food for thought: I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any American Emperor, corporate potentate, rogue state or false sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen. I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. I will sadly bear arms on behalf of the United States if necessary to defend it. I will seek out … Continue reading Duty

2 CBS NEWS crew killed in Iraq, correspondent Kimberly Dozier seriously injured

From Scout: From CNN….CBS News reports a cameraman and soundman for the network were killed today in Iraq; correspondent Kimberly Dozier critically injured. UPDATE: Here is the story from CBS News (CBS/AP) Two members of a CBS News team, veteran cameraman Paul Douglas, 48, and soundman James Brolan, 42, were killed and correspondent Kimberly Dozier, 39, was seriously injured Monday when the Baghdad military unit in which they were embedded was attacked. They were reporting on patrol with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, when their convoy was struck by a roadside bomb. The attack was among a … Continue reading 2 CBS NEWS crew killed in Iraq, correspondent Kimberly Dozier seriously injured

Oh Say Can You Sing

Digby’s looking for songs or song lyrics that exemplify liberal identity. He’s using embarrassing hack Gretchen Wilson and her bad and obvious song as an example of how a certain type of in-your-face dime-a-dozen country music has come to be tied to conservative politics, like a perfect marriage between a giant pile of money and a rotting bucket of squid, and saying, hey, what’s our music? It’s an interesting question, because all stereotypes aside (and admitting that what I know about music would fill a very small page in the world’s smallest notebook), it’s about what type of and what … Continue reading Oh Say Can You Sing

Momma Don’t Let the Baptists Pray Over My Dead Body…err bones

From Scout:

Yesterday a body was found in New Orleans by the NO Fire Dept search team. Last Wednesday another body was found by members of Victim Relief Ministries after they had been contacted by relatives to search a specific address.(post here) Victim Relief Ministries has been on hand in the past when Katrina victims were belatedly found to read a prayer over the victim.

Before I get to my point here is some background on Victim Relief Ministries (VRM).

Victim Relief Ministries is a mission of Texas Baptist Men (TBM). TBM partners with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) which is the domestic missions agency of the Southern Baptist Convention. Here is NAMB‘s vision statement

Specifically, we do this by focusing on six major objectives that also form the basis for how this Web site is structured: sharing Christ, starting churches, volunteering in missions, sending missionaries, impacting the culture and equipping leaders. The end goal is reflected in our vision statement:

“We see a day when every person in every community in the United States and Canada will have the opportunity to hear the gospel, respond with faith in Christ, and participate in a New Testament fellowship of believers.

The Baptists role in disaster relief has been growing over the years. There is a generally accepted belief that when the government response to Katrina failed the faith based groups stepped in after the fact and succeeded where the government did not. Yet the Baptist’s role had been growing more defined over time PRIOR to Katrina. In fact they are the third largest disaster relief organization in the US behind the Red Cross and Salvation Army. It has been these 3 organizations that are called by state officials and FEMA when a disaster strikes. To demonstrate further their expanding role, in August 2004, the executive director of Victim Relief Ministries announced that the Department of Homeland Security had “given the non-profit group the “lead role” in in mobilizing the faith community following a large tragedy.”

Katrina was a big moment for faith based missions. The Gulf Coast post-Katrina has been a veritable Petri dish for Bush’s faith based initiative. It has been a demonstration of a shift from government providing disaster relief to church missions doing so. Whether that was planned, or by failure of the government, can be argued but the result has been the same.

As an American citizen I’ve got a problem with that. Simply put……Should disaster befall me I don‘t want the Texas Baptists praying over my dead body, or in the case it takes 9 months to find me, make that my bones.And I’ve found a personal solution at least.

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A quick thought to add to the ongoing discusson: That people don’t just define themselves by what they are, they define themselves by what they’re not. So as we’re talking about what our particular tribe’s attributes are, we need to be thinking about the kind of distinction made, like that during the lead-up to the war, Republicans’ dominant thing was, “Well, I’m patriotic.” With the and what the fuck are you, you lily-livered liberal woman heavily implied by that. In defining yourself, you also define your opposition. A. Continue reading Tribalism


Who you callin’ a bitch? Look, we would have lost the Hayden nomination. They are the majority. But even if they like Hayden they should have voted against him. They could have used that vote as a show of solidarity against Bush’s executive infallibility doctrine, complained vociferously about the lack of checks and balances and set oureslves up as being in united opposition to Bush. Being seen as obstructionist against a 29% president is A GOOD THING! He does not have the country’s support. The issue itself is secondary to the optics of the Democrats opposing this administration in a … Continue reading U-N-I-T-Y