The Facts Machine

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

Saturday, November 09, 2002


Looks like T.O.'s stunt last month has been great for business over at Sharpie. So much so, that they've decided to make a football-themed tv commercial.

See, the whole thing was silly! We can all now move on with our lives, and focus on the good and wonderful things we have, as well as use Sharpies for their more conventional purposes.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Also from Bartcop, I had to post this here so someone in particular could see:

Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles echoes the sentiments of yesterday's Bartcop:

Uh, Tom, you work for the WaPo now, thinking like that is gonna get you into trouble there!

Jerry Falwell says some objectionable stuff in this release regarding the aftermath of the midterm elections. That's to be expected from a nut like him. What gets me is his analysis of why the Dems didn't fare well this time around:
Actually, Democrats are too busy licking their wounds right now to appreciate the political juggernaut that shook the nation.

House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt is the first casualty, announcing he will step down. Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe will almost certainly follow suit, his political career possibly in ruins.

One of the challengers for Mr. Gephardt's job is House Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi - a liberal's liberal. She reportedly has the support of more than 100 House Democrats. I, for one, hope she gets the job. Such a move would prove to voters that this is the party of the left. Tuesday's mass triumph illustrates that this is a losing scenario.

Apparently, Democrats have not grasped what actually happened in the momentous election on Tuesday
. (emphases mine)
Is that so? Not only is Jerry wrong, but he essentially contradicts himself in those few sentences. Falwell the Hutt thinks the Democrats lost because they were too far from the center. Riddle me this, dude: What was it that congressional Democrats did that pissed off the left base so much that many of them stayed home on election day, causing the Rethuglican congressional sweep? They lined up in droves to kiss Bush's ass on Iraq, that's what! Sucking up to Bush and running from their own left wing was what created the losing scenario for the Democrats, Jabba. His "eyes of reason", as Ben Franklin would put it, are certainly closed.

Jerry cites Gephardt's resignation as well, but tries to tie it into the idea the Democrats lost because somehow they were too liberal. Nevermind that Gephardt resigned because his very conscious strategy of moving to the center this election backfired majestically.

Here's what he gets right: Nancy Pelosi is a "liberal's liberal"... and that's precisely what the Democratic Party needs to rediscover its soul, its inner-Wellstone. Next on the agenda for the Democrats: Articulating a coherent message that can be understood by swing voters.

This is bad news for Republicans. I'm not talking about Pelosi's ascent to Minority Leader. I'm talking about Falwell's statement. He talks about all the things he and the Xian right hopes get accomplished this session. This is the beginning of the far, far right wing cashing in its chips, and pressuring the Repubs to pass their far-right agenda. The backlash in '04 will be considerable. Hopefully, it will cost Smirk his job. At least Falwell has his fundamentalist university to fall back on.
From Bush's once-every-several-months press conference:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush answered more than 20 questions at a news conference but ducked the last one with a mischievous wink.

"What did you give your wife?" a reporter asked as the president was leaving the podium Thursday.

First lady Laura Bush celebrated her 56th birthday on Monday and the couple marked their 25th wedding anniversary on Tuesday. The president has been playing coy all week about his choice of gifts.

"Not telling," he said when asked on Tuesday. "Let me just say that I remembered."
Whoa! Slow down! Too much information! I suppose that's one of the few tasks that Dubya's actually capable of completing. It goes on:
Bush's spokesman Ari Fleischer got into the act, too, telling reporters he could not reveal what the president gave his wife. "That's super-duper top secret information," he said.
Ohh, my mistake! He gave her Dick Cheney's energy policy meeting papers.
Your Speaker of the House, January 2005:

I am pleased. Very pleased.

A narcissistic Bush-bootlicker from Missouri is replaced by a principled (voted against the Iraq resolution) San Francisco liberal. Perfect.

Her previous rival, Martin Frost of Texas, had repeatedly urged the Democratic party to move towards the center. Uh dude, they've gone quite far enough that way for my tastes. No coincidence, then, that he conceded his candidacy due to lack of support.

Preliminary, this is a positive sign as to the direction of the Democrats in congress.

Guns n' Roses cancelled the opening date of their big North American comeback tour, in Vancouver. Fans riot, chanting "bullshit!", and break stuff.

"Behind the Music" fans: Does this happen every time Gn'R goes to Canada?

In a related story, I'll be in Northern Cali during the holidays, and Axl and his new gang are putting on a New Year's show in San Jose. I'm doubtful to attend, but it's interesting to think about.

Link via Hesiod:
Since it's the threat of obscurantism we're hoping to thwart, let's be blunt: The Bush administration's plan to strip the Government Printing Office's authority is a threat to democracy.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels wants to transfer control of information management from the printing office to individual Cabinet agencies. That would spell the end of the current system, in place since the Jeffersonian era, which requires executive branch agencies to send their documents and reports to neutral librarians, who then make them available to the public both online and in 1,300 public reading rooms nationwide.

Daniels would replace that system with a more secretive one in which individual agencies would manage -- and possibly sanitize -- their own electronic databases.

Currently, a federal agency such as the Pentagon can't delete an embarrassing passage from a historical document without first going through the hassle of asking each reading room to obscure the passage with a black marker.

If Daniels gets his way, all an agency will have to do is call up the document in Microsoft Word and quietly hit Control X to delete the passage for eternity. (full story - registration possible required)
So the most secretive administration in history (Nixon included) could become even more secretive. No 9/11 investigation, no release of Cheney's energy policy meeting papers, stonewalling on Harken and Halliburton, the list goes on and on. Who controls the past controls the future, etc.
Really, you should all read the Onion A.V. Club's interview of Eddie Vedder. I love the guy.

TFM's Disgruntled Democrat Challenge: Find a portion of one of Eddie's comments, where the real cause of what he cites comes in his following response, yet he doesn't link the two. Ok that's a little weird-sounding. It's late. (:

Thursday, November 07, 2002

The funniest thing I've heard from anyone about this election, this comes from Bartcop:
"Everyone knew this election would come out like this, didn't they? The party of the elected president always loses out in the midterm right? I don't see what's so shocking about all this."
Hehehehe. Sad but oh so true.
Sorry about the lack of posts today after the mostly election-inspired flurry of tuesday and wednesday. I am mired in midterm season.

In the meantime, if you are now especially put off by the current state of our three branches of government, TFM deems this to be a viable, practical solution to hold us over for the next two years.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002


To go along with my discussion of the possible consequences of the GOP running the entire show, Daily Kos discusses some Democratic seeds planted for 2004, those being some Democratic gubernatorial pickups in potential battleground states, as well as big states like Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Check out the three Simpsons covers of the current Rolling Stone!

I needed a laugh!

Here's how TFM ranks them: The album that came first is the best Simpsons cover, and chronologically on like that. All three are great though.

Josh Marshall has been teasing us with this line all day:
But there is a faint silver lining here. I think these results are actually bad for President Bush's reelection prospects in 2004. We'll be saying more about this ...
Well, he's been teasing us long enough, so based on my hunch, here's what I think is on his mind, because it's on my mind as well:

Bill Clinton's first two years. It is generally accepted that '93 and '94 were Clinton's worst two years, and it was those years that set up the Republican takeover in the 94 midterms. What made those two years different from the other six? He had strong Democratic majorities in congress. That alone isn't a problem, in fact it's a strong asset for a president to have congress on his side in terms of his agenda. But what happened when Clinton took office was that it was the first time the Democrats controlled both the executive and legislative branches for a long time. The more progressive Democratic base saw this as their big opportunity to get their agenda passed. The prime example that everyone remembers is universal health care (which was, and still is an excellent idea, not that the current fascist congress will ever give half a shit about the 30-40million Americans without access to health care).

The result of this was that universal health care, while again a good idea, was slimed by the Republicans with all their might as -- gasp! -- "socialist", and it never made it to a vote. The GOP accomplished their mission there, which was to not let it "play in Peoria". So as a result, undecided voters -- lied to by Republicans who said that universal health care would have drastically raised the average American's taxes -- turned on Clinton and the Democrats. This is how we got Newt Gingrich and the Republican Contract For (on) America.

My thinking (and possibly that of Marshall) is that a similar process could happen to Bush and the Republican congress, perhaps even to a greater degree. The most conservative wing of the Republican party -- the extra-chromosome Falwell/Robertson/Limbaugh assholes -- are licking their chops, seeing that the GOP controls essentially all three branches of government. The far right sees this as an opportunity to turn their agenda into reality: Drilling in Alaska, the end of abortion rights, corporate deregulation, deregulation in general, privatization of social security, confirming "strict constructionist" judges and justices, more infiltration of our private lives (except with guns, of course!), rolling back civil rights, rolling back environmental standards, ending the estate tax for good, making their reverse-Robinhood tax cuts permanent, passing even more tax cuts, and bombing whatever the fuck countries they feel like.

Will they have the votes for this stuff? Yes, a lot of it.

Is this a good agenda? Hell no, IMO, and that of any other sane person.

But more importantly: Is this a popular agenda?

Not in particular.

And that will be the Republicans' undoing. Their agenda, played out in all its full colors (well, just white), will be seen as repulsive in the eyes of swing voters across America, people who care about civil rights and the environment and other important issues. And 2004 could be much more dangerous for George W Bush than 94 was for Bill Clinton. Why? Because Bush is running for president in 04, while Clinton had two years to fight after the Republican takeover. If I'm Karl Rove (and thank Jebus I'm not), I'd be worried.

One problem, of course, is that this is going to take a strong effort from the Democrats to work out. They need to have a strong, positive agenda of their own. They need to take clear stances on issues (stances that are easily understandable for the stupid undecideds who decide every election these days), put themselves out there, and not just be the opposition party. Also, they need to find some real possibles for 04, and they had better soon. Not Kerrey, probably not Edwards, and definitely not Lieberman.

Anyway, the main thrust of my point is, as Jesse says: Keep hope alive!
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The more time an office worker toils in front of a computer, the more likely he or she is to suffer a host of physical, mental and sleep-related ills, Japanese researchers report.

While video display terminal (VDT) use has become commonplace in many types of jobs, there is little information on how long a person can safely use a computer each day. To investigate, Dr. Tetsuya Nakazawa of Chiba University and colleagues surveyed over 25,000 office workers who responded to three questionnaires between 1995 and 1997.

Participants answered questions about the amount of time they spent in front of a VDT, their sleep habits, and physical and mental ailments including headache, low back pain, eyestrain, depression and anxiety. Their findings are published in the October issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. (full story)
So... no cancer then? Good. Carry on like before!

Full story

Well, someone had to take the fall. Is Daschle next?

Nancy Pelosi and Martin Frost have already thrown their hats in the ring to replace Gephardt. I'm pulling for Nancy (the current Minority Whip), good to have a local girl in there. (TFM's Barbara Lee hopes appear to be dashed) Best thing about Pelosi? She's probably not thinking about running for president. And she voted against Iraq! I love Bay Area rep's!
If you're upset with last night's events, particularly if you're upset with the Democratic leadership (perhaps an oxymoron at this time), the DNC and/or the DLC, you should go to and vent! Also make sure you sign the petition to get rid of Terry McAuliffe.

As for me, I'd blame Gephardt and Daschle before I blamed McAuliffe, but he's gotta go.
TFM wants to be the first to say...

Welcome, McCain-Feingold!!!


I've known my Congressman, Tom Lantos (D-CA) since I was very young and he visited my elementary school. He's an immigrant Holocaust survivor, and the ranking member of the House International Relations Committee (he did vote for the Iraq resolution, though). And he always wins my old district.

This time around, his feeble opponent was Republican Michael "Bigot Holding Sign On Sidewalk" Moloney, and early returns showed Lantos to be trouncing him. Then suddenly, around 11pm pacific time, MSNBC's resuslts page showed this:
District 12
71% of precincts reporting
Michael Moloney (REP) 52%
Tom Lantos (DEM)* 43%

(TFM paces around the living for a while, and checks out the Daily Show for comic relief)

When I returned a halfhour later, all was well again, for suddenly order was restored, as with 80-something percent of precincts reporting, Lantos was back up at 68%, with pathetic racist Moloney down at 25% where he belongs. Looks like we caught MSNBC's tight ship in an slight error there. Perhaps Pat Caddell ate some of the ballots.

Daily Kos is dignified in defeat. The comments are pretty good too, including some interesting insight from, of all people, Jay Caruso:
Well, as much as I hate to say it, the big winner in tonight's elections was none other than Al Gore.

Gore is the only Democrat who was willing to take on Bush regarding the economy and the war on terror. He can now go out and say, "Hey, look what happened. They (Daschle, Gephardt etc.) didn't speak out the way I have."

Granted, Gore doesn't really have anything to lose at this point, but he's been able to stir the Democratic base. And now with this election night, where there is a strong possibility the GOP could take back the Senate, he'll have that much more of an advantage over his fellow Democrats.
I'd really like to see what Gore does in the coming months. But as for Daschle and Gephardt as minority leaders, dump 'em. TFM proposes replacing them with Robert Byrd and Barbara Lee, respectively. Haha like that'll happen.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002


What were my choices tonight for election coverage and discussion?

NBC News: Rush Limbaugh (aiiyyeee!), and that friggin shill Russert

Fox News: Brit, Tony, Fred Barnes, Bill Kristol, and the oft-muzzled Juan Williams

MSNBC: Tweety, Howard Fineman (ugh), Peggy Noonan (double ugh), and one-time Democratic pollster (35 years ago) Pat Caddell (triple ugh!)

CNBC: Oh crap, there's Fineman again.

Verdict? Thank god for CNN, with their shout-free coverage, the sure-handed Aaron Brown, the amusing Jeff Greenfield, the badly-lit Judy Woodruff, the little-bit-sexy Paula Zahn, and the invigorating cast of Crossfire.
Hesiod's reaction is pretty similar to mine:
I'm happy.

No. Seriously.

At first I was pissed, then depressed. Then...I realized something.


No more ass kissing the Bush Administration. No more rubberstamping.

We can fight the good fight, and for Democratic Party principles, without worrying whether we'll piss off a bunch of Bubba's South of the Mason-Dixon line.

We can be Democrats again.

We'll be back. With a vengeance.
Amen, brother!

This will likely clinch Bush a 2nd term. And with Jeb's victory, could we be looking at 16 straight years of Bushes? (shudder)

And here comes the flood of anti-choice, idealogue judges.

And look out, mighty ANWR, the Republicans are coming.

It is downright shameful that a pathetic chickenhawk like Saxby Chambliss won after questioning the patriotism of Senator Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in 'Nam.

To Karl Rove: Okay, right about now you can go ahead and send the "We can openly support privatization again" memo.

To Ralph Nader and the Green Party: Looks like you got what you want, the GOP controls everything, and our "cold shower" begins. I sure hope you're right, I really do. The problem is the supposedly "liberal" mainstream press, who have been butt-boys for Dubya ever since he took office. The GOP will try to use them, and in an Orwelian fashion, try to "freeze time". Reagan and Bush 1 made it 12 years, with an opposition congress. Imagine what will happen here.

ATTENTION LIBERALS OF ALL SHADES: We're not dead yet! Remember in Braveheart, how the Brits fire arrows at the Scots, injuring and killing some, right at the start of the first battle? What happened next? Wallace and the Scots stood up, and YELLED at the top of their lungs. We may be down, we may be battered and bruised, and we may be dealing with the slings and arrows of this black tuesday. But we're not out. The up-to-now spineless Democrats in the Senate are no longer in the business of trying to protect their thin majority. Hopefully their consciences will be more free. Attack, attack, attack. Be strong and courageous, speak the truth. As Al Gore put it several months ago, "Let 'er rip!"

Finally, we are all on the same team now. There is no better time than now to unite against our common enemy: The corrupt, unelected, and corporate-suckup (and criminal) Bush regime, and their minions in congress.

The Democrats have been properly punished for their timidity. Time for a 180. Remember Wellstone. Listen to Byrd. Look to the future.
Drudge's current banner headline reads: "MAY THE BEST CANDIDATES WIN"

Hmm. That's pretty masochistic for a wingnut like you.

JERUSALEM, Nov. 3 -- There is "clear evidence" that Israeli soldiers and their commanders committed war crimes against Palestinian civilians -- including unlawful killings and torture -- during a three-month campaign last spring in two Palestinian cities in the West Bank, the human rights group Amnesty International charges in a report to be released Monday.

In a study of Israeli army operations in the cities of Jenin and Nablus from April to June, the human rights group cites the killing of Palestinian women and children, the "wanton" destruction of houses, the torture of Palestinian prisoners and the use of Palestinian civilians by Israeli soldiers as "human shields" during military operations. The group says in the report these constitute violations of the Geneva Conventions. (full story)
And just so no one says anything, Eric Alterman reminds us that Amnesty International condemned suicide attacks by Palestinians as crimes against humanity and war crimes.

But hold your horses, everybody! Netanyahu's back! Soon enough, he and Sharon could be staring eachother down in future special elections. Sometimes it seems that no matter where in the world you are, conservatives end up in these one-on-one melodramatic intra-party struggles. Here, this aint Bush and McCain. In this case, pick your poison.

Monday, November 04, 2002

Krugman on why we should all vote. Just read it.

If you want Senate predictions from actual qualified people, you should head over to Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo to read the picks of a number of notables (Reich, Sully, Tomansky, etc).

But before you do something worthwhile like that, check out my Senate predictions here at TFM!

Colorado: Strickland edges Allard. This race is a rematch of the one that Allard won six years ago, but the political landscape in the big-ass rectangle state is changing.
Texas: Cornyn over Kirk by 4-5 points. Turnout could decide this one, but I don't see a Democrat getting elected Senator in Texas right now.
Arkansas: Pryor over Hutchinson by 6-8 points. Hutchinson's "Jerry Lee Lewis School of Family Values" will be too much to overcome. Oh, and the immigrant stuff looks really, really desperate.
New Jersey: Lautenberg routs Forrester by 15-18 points. When you're Forrester, and the central thrust of your campaign is "I'm not Robert Torricelli", and your opponent can say "I'm not Torricelli either", then your campaign probably isn't going anywhere.
Tennessee: Lamar! over Clement by 5-7 points. This will mean two straight elections in which a man from Tennessee who likes to wear earth tones wins a race. Problem is, only Lamar! will get to serve. But don't worry, that other guy has another chance in two years.
Iowa: Harkin trounces Ganske by 15-17 points. That one was easy! Did you see Harkin's speech at the Wellstone service? Inspiring stuff. Anyway, Tape-Gate was stupid and backfired on the GOP here.
South Carolina: Graham holds off Sanders by 3-5 points. South Carolina is a funny place. The Sanders ads have more guns in them than the Graham ones do! I wish that Graham, a House Manager, would go down in flames, and I'll do a rain-dance to that effect tonight, but it's just not gonna happen in Gamecock country.
Georgia: Cleland holds off Chambliss by 2-3 points. When you question the patriotism of someone who lost three limbs in Vietnam, you don't deserve to win an election. Plus, Zell Miller's TV spots should put Max over the top.
North Carolina: Dole edges Bowles by 1 point, maybe less. Erskine has all the momentum, and I despise Liddy, but she holds on here.
Louisiana: Landrieu in a December runoff. Louisiana has an interesting electoral quirk, similar to mayoral elections or, say, Russian elections, where if you don't get 50% the first time around, you enter into a runoff against the #2 candidate. Landrieu will get around 48%, and win the runoff next month.
New Hampshire: Shaheen over Sununu by 2-3 points. Her stock has been rising for a while. The incumbent Bob Smith was knocked out during primary season, and many of his supporters may be casting write-in votes for him tomorrow. Some of them will probably peel off back to Sununu, but not enough.
Finally, there are the big three midwestern races, where the Bushies have hand-picked three candidates, referred to as the "three amigos" (a wonderful movie ruined by this association), who he hopes will deliver him a majority in the Senate...
Minnesota: Mondale defeats Coleman by 6-8 points. Righty bloggers like Glenn and his young minions have made a big deal about one aberration of a poll which shows Coleman up by 6 points (when every other poll has Mondale up by 4-7). Nevermind that the poll they're pushing surveyed a full 300 people LESS than the other polls. The second Mondale stepped in, he became the frontrunner, and his solid performance in this morning's debate (check it out) solidifies his fate.
South Dakota: Johnson ekes it out over Thune by 1 point. Bush vs Daschle by proxy, but Johnson holds on. The GOP dirty tricks team has been hard at work here, fluffing up a BS scandal about absentee ballots (Drudge, Rush and co. have been happy to do their part as well), but it won't be enough.
Missouri: Talent barely beats Carnahan, by less than a point. Carnahan was, of course, an appointed Senator who took the job after her late husband Mel was posthumously elected. There isn't much precedent for appointed people winning these sorts of elections. Jean did score some points with her scolding of Talent after he questioned her patriotism in a recent debate. If she wins, it would be because of very high turnout.

So when the dust settles, I see the Democrats picking up two seats tomorrow, bringing the running total to 52 Democrats, 47 Republicans, and essentially-Democrat Jim Jeffords. As for the House of Representatives, I see things staying right about where they are, with either party maybe picking up a seat or two.

Will there be any 2000-style controversies possible after the elections? Well, yes! In two states, actually. First is Louisiana. I said that Landrieu wont get 50% the first time around, so she'll be in a runoff against the highest republican, probably Perkins. I don't think that race will decide control of the Senate (given Colorado NH and Arkansas), but if it's 50-49 before the runoff, the Louisiana runoff could end up being a party vs party WAR, with money coming in from everywhere. But given other senate races, it might not end up like that.

The second state is Missouri. Like I said, I think that Jim Talent, boosted by the rural portions of Missouri, will beat Carnahan. Unlike other Senator-elects, who begin their terms in January, Talent would take over immediately. That means that for six or seven weeks, the Republicans would have a majority in the Senate, and Trent "Rightfully Booed" Lott would be majority leader again until January. If that happens, will Bush and the Republican-controlled Senate try to confirm as many judges as possible before the new congress convenes? You know, the idealogue judges that have no business being on the federal bench? I know that Rove is licking his chops. BUT... there are too many negative political consequences to doing something like that. And also, it is likely that some moderate Republicans (McCain for example) would have problems with this strategy. I'm also thinking of Lincoln Chaffee, because such an action could be the straw that breaks the camel's back and cases Chaffee to finally jump across the aisle, just like Jezzum Jim.

So that's about it for the Senate. As for other races of interest?
-Davis routs Simon
-Jeb beats McBride (damn)
-Kennedy-Townshend and Ehrlich go down to the wire, too close to call
-Romney loses
-Oregon's universal health care measure gets 40-42%, not enough to pass, but enough for the country to take notice

Anyway, have a great Election Day, make sure to vote! I sent my absentee last week, felt good to do it. You should throw a party, put up streamers and stuff.

UPDATE: Factual error on my part! I indirectly referred to Andrew Sullivan as "qualified". My mistake!

Yes, I read Kausfiles. There's nothing like the taste of childish obsession (New York Times, Krugman), pointless hair-splitting (welfare), and mindless speculation on a lazy afternoon.

But either he's a hypocrite, or he doesn't read his own blog. (And given that 99% of bloggers are terribly narcissistic in their writing, there's no doubt he reads his own work)

Mickey Kaus, July 11th, responding to a reader's challenge to find one example of Media Whores Online's "dumb style":
One example? .. Gee. How about "whores," for starters? Why is everyone who disagrees with the MWO position a "whore"? Maybe one or two of them just disagree!
Leave aside the mischaracterization of MWO's use of "whore". In this post Kaus seems to have forgotten that "whore" has contexts outside of its original one.

Flash forward to today's posting:
Meanwhile, why should we think K Street lobbyists are similarly inflexible? My impression of them is that if anything they're too flexible. They'll take what they can get. If Plan A doesn't work they shift to Plan B. If new people come to power they'll adapt and figure out how to make as much money as possible under the new arrangements. They're whores! Whores are nothing if not adaptable.(emphasis mine)
Whoa! Suddenly such usage of "whore" is good enough for the Mickster!

Will Kaus announce to the world that he's had a change of heart on MWO's "dumb style"? Not likely.

But if I had a choice, I'd rather he got rid of those links to Lucianne and Ann Thrax.

I spend most of my time here linking and not being incredibly serious. Against my better judgement, a brief deviation from that pattern is in order:

Remember a few weeks ago, how the Supreme Court decided not to hear the case of a man sentenced to death for a crime committed while he was a teenager? I recently did some thinking about this case...

First of all, without reading the report, gee I wonder which Justices were on which side of this issue?

Yep, the same 5-4 split as Bush v. Gore and many other cases, with the conservatives (read "election theft middlemen") making the majority.

Yes, Justice Clarence "Long Dong" Thomas did make this mindless and unfortunate comment: "[Foster] could long ago have ended his anxieties and uncertainties by submitting to what the people of Florida have deemed him to deserve: execution." But Thomas, who has basically been a lapdog (as you can see, I'm not going full-on Belafonte here) for Scalia and Renquist, isn't the issue here.

My problem is with Sandra Day O'Connor. Remember in mid-2001, how O'Connor made a couple of speeches expressing new doubts about capital punishment? And how they got extensive media coverage?

Well where is that newfound principle now? Surely this was a chance to take her "serious questions" for a spin. She did the right thing in June, siding with a six-justice majority in ruling executions of retarded people to be unconstitutional. But Sandra, where are you now?

There are exactly two possibilities here:
1) O'Connor somehow came to the idea that while execution of the retarded is a question worthy of discussions on its constitutionality, execution of people who committed their crimes as teenagers isn't. TFM believes this does not wash, that it means that Sandra is tacitly reasoning to us, "I have serious questions... but not that serious"
or, more likely,
2) O'Connor's "serious questions" were what now appears to be a pathetically transparent attempt to rehabilitate her reputation and "legacy" after being the "swing vote" in the Bush coup of December 2000. Remember the stories of how she reportedly yelled at the TV when Florida was originally called for Gore? That's the REAL Sandra Day O'Connor. The same one who we have just witnessed in October, shying away from her transparent statements because the dust had settled and the press had moved on.

This is what conservatives do: They put on a little show for the press, and the press gobbles it up and moves on, unaware of the mess that remains. Remember how Bush said he wants to crack down on corporate crime? How they paraded a couple of exec's around in handcuffs (but not Kennyboy) as a show for the media? Well riddle me this: If, Jebus forbid, the GOP gets majorities on both sides of congress, will Bush even THINK about continuing to crack down on his corporate cronies? We already know they want to financially starve the SEC to death.

The moral? What we see from some individual conservatives, like O'Connor, can be something of a window to the GOP on the whole, Smirk included.

Sunday, November 03, 2002


If you go to your local polling place, and you see groups of men standing outside making "suggestions" to you, for pete's sake, do the opposite of whatever they suggest!
There's a very comprehensive handicapping of tuesday's Senate races over at PLA, highly recommended.
LOL! Over at Pandagon, a good laugh is had at the expense of "Crossing Over with" Peggy Noonan.