The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Saturday, September 21, 2002

A good line from Maureen Dowd in her sunday column:

As my girlfriend Dana said: "Bush is like the guy who reserves a hotel room and then asks you to the prom."

Of course, referring to Bush's "case" for Iraq. The more interesting implications she tackles are that an Iraq war would constitute a continuation of the "culture wars" which came to their previous peak in the 90's, only it appears the warriors have replaced their prior target (President Clinton) with Saddam Hussein. That's two mentions of the culture wars in a day and a half, the prior being the trip down memory lane in Phile Donahue's friday interview with Matt Lauer and Katie Couric of the "Today" show.
If any of you out there are John Mayer fans, about a month ago I deconstructed "No Such Thing" on my website. Check it out, I think it's a fun and interesting read.
George O'Leary edition

FULL DISCLOSURE... In 4 days I will be a fourth-year junior at UC Santa Barbara (a "redshirt junior", lol), who left college altogether for over a year and pursued performing arts, music, and Italian opera (believe it).
2ND FULL DISCLOSURE... Summer '02 grades at Berkeley: PolSci 129b = A, Geog 138 = A, Geog 130 = B+

Today, Notre Dame, just like Cal the week before, beat Michigan State in East Lansing. The Irish are coached by former Stanford head coach Tyrone Willingham. How did Willingham get that job? It was offered to him after the brief-but-disgraceful 6-day tenure of previous hiree George O'Leary. O'Leary resigned when it was discovered that he lied, blatantly, about his academic and athletic history. He claimed to have received a masters at NYU, when in fact he never received such a degree at all, say NYU officials.

How does this relate to the Patriot? A source has emailed your humble blogger with information that suggests that there are some quite Leary-esque misstatements in the biography pop-up of one member of the Patriot staff. The claim made by the emailer is that one staff member, who refers to themself as a UC Berkeley senior, flunked out of the school, hasn't been let back in, and has earned a sum of units comparable to those of a sophomore.

I'm not sure what to make of it, so I will again reiterate that these aren't my claims. Assuming the claims made are true (one person's word against another person's staff bio), I'm not about to hold such things against a person. After all, I've went through times of academic problems, as many have. And a number of the smartest people I have ever met have essentially flunked out of college, including one from my kindergarten class at Baywood. However, I would hold blatant lies and misrepresentations against people.

(note: The reason I haven't named the person here is that at TFM we won't be attacking people personally. We'll leave that to Ken Starr.)

If you ask me, there are worse misrepresentations and half-truths that have come across the pages and web-pages of the Patriot. Nevertheless, if it's true, "fool me once . . . shame on . . . uh . . . shame on you!"

Whether or not any of this is true, there is zero likelihood whatsoever that the bio in question will change; conservatives never admit that they're wrong. Also, whether or not any of this is true, it's still nice to know that I'm getting the all-important attention that I probably don't deserve. (:

[cheap ironic extra joke: maybe the first draft of the bio had the person inventing the internet and serving in the alabama national guard!]

(NOTE: As most of you probably know, before I started this blog, I was running a watch blog, keeping an eye on UC Berkeley's local clumsy student-run conservative publication, the California Patriot. The blog was tastefully named California Patriot Watch. Ok here we go...)

I just keep getting printed. First, Media Whores Online, and now the Patriot, which is the ideological polar opposite of MWO. Patriot managing editor Seth R. Norman informed me that the about-to-be-released issue will include my letter to the editor(for some reason my old blog's permalinks are being ill-behaved, it's the bottom entry on the front page).

Norman described it as their only negative letter, out of around six hundred, regarding the Patriot's stance in the 9/11 anniversary controversy at Cal. Frankly, I'm not terribly surprised by that. My hypothesis is that the majority of Berkeley's active left really don't care that much about what the Patriot-types say or do, and it took a semi-outsider like myself to provide their viewpoint. Besides, the only reason I'm involved is because I know two of the people involved with the publication from high school.

Conservative publications and websites (NewsMax, Free Republic,, the Weekly Standard, and even the Patriot) tend to be enclosed societies, run both by and for conservatives, and that also provides an explanation for my lonely, solitary (sniffle) stance.

I was also happy to provide a civil contrast to the hate emails and phonecalls some of the Cal-freepers were making.

My Iraq/Baseball analogy has been printed by Media Whores Online, one of the best sites on the web IMO. My piece appears right below an anti-Peggy Noonan snippet from another blog, and just above a rather whore-ish Dana Milbank article.

Again, thanks Horse! Keep up the excellent work.

Friday, September 20, 2002


Word from Matt Drudge (not the most reliable word in the world) is that Rupert Murdoch wants to give us a presidential candidate game show.

People will eliminate potential candidates by phone-vote a la "American Idol". This brings three problems:
1) If Justin made it to the finals of "American Idol", I fear for the future.
2) People voted hundreds of times a day in some instances in "American Idol". Somehow, the actual parties show a bit more integrity when nominating candidates.
3) Will all those Floridians wrongly purged from the rolls for supposedly being convicted felons 2000 get to vote for this?

Of course, odds are there are bound to be eligibility/constitutionality/cynthiamckinney problems. Or perhaps nothing will come of it. Besides, Murdoch still has NewsCorp, the Faux News Channel, NY Post, etc, so we all know where his allegiances remain. However, all overly-powerful rich guys are allowed one Howard Hughes-esque I-Run-The-World overstep. Right?

The irony, of course, is that given all the shameless sucking up to Dubya present in almost all of our mainstream media, this seems a shade redundant.

George W. Bush and his father, George H. W. Bush, are the two fans.

Saddam Hussein is the first base coach.

Europe, NATO, the UN, moderate Arab leaders, Scowcroft, Baker, Eagleburger, Shwartzkopf, a number of Republican lawmakers, and most Democrats are the Kansas City Royals.

...and Osama bin Laden is on a football field somewhere.
Remember when journalists used to ask serious, tough questions? Well, The Nation's Eric Alterman hasn't forgotten such a skill, and has plenty of them for the smirk in chief.

This fellow who beat up the KC Royals 1st base coach last night, I wonder what his party afiliation is. Perhaps that would help us understand whether he's guilty of aggravated assault or not.

In the meantime, The Smoking Gun has unearthed some of this fellow's criminal history...
Atrios points us to yet another documentation of America's favorite mutant species.

I've misjudged the San Francisco Examiner. From the looks of it's tabloidy format (remember the 9/11 headline: "BASTARDS!"), you'd think that there's Murdoch-NewsCorp money in there.

But you gotta hand it to them for taking this Washington Post story on the immense wealth of members of Bush's cabinet, and fronting it. It's one part "wow!" and two parts "duh", but interesting nevertheless.

The stats?
Paul "Genius of Capitalism" O'Neill: $253 million
Rummy: $115.8 million
Cheneyburton: $104.1 million
Colin Powell: $65.5 million
Don Evans: $47.4 million

The only disappointment is that they didn't mention Army Secretary Thomas "Enron" White. Thankfully, though, the always-reliable Paul Krugman took care of that pretty well this past tuesday.
In other news, that guy from the 'Naked Gun' movies was arrested for murder?

Just watched a rerun of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's performance on Letterman from around six weeks ago. It made me wonder: How many of the young people of America think of them as "that band with the Conan O'Brien guy and the 'Sopranos' guy"? Somehow, I'm scared to ask.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Two thoughts on this lil' nugget:

1) I should try that
2) Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi and Adam Sandler could not be reached for comment

Political cartoons make for good short-attention-span fun from time to time. And with all the hoopla coming from the Bushies on how we have to go to war with Iraq NOW, the Washington Post's oft-amusing Tom Toles draws attention to a potential reality that the chickenhawks sure aren't talking about, and probably aren't even thinking about.

As Tom Friedman pointed out several weeks back, Iraq's recent pre-Saddam track record for democracy, or even the rule of law, is virtually non-existent. In fact, Iraq's last significant experience with the rule of law may have been the code of Hammurabi, three millenia ago.

Everyone loves a catchy, memorable or silly title for their website or their blog. (my personal favorite is Eric Alterman's "Altercation") Mine's title is "The Facts Machine", which at first seems kind of pedestrian and blah, I'd admit.

But I have my reasons:

"Facts Machine" is, of course, a little pun on "fax machine". Played? Yes. But combine it with my little descriptive blurb (left side of the page) and its meaning becomes clear: It is an ode to a misinterpretation of the initial lyric to ACDC's 1980 hit "You Shook Me All Night Long". To me, it always sounds like "she wants a fax machine", though I'm not certain if I ever really thought it was that. For me it's doubly relevant because it's a favorite song of someone special to me. As for the rest, you're on a need-to-know basis (:
...coming soon... the excitement builds...