The Facts Machine

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

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Looks like Landrieu is going to pull it out. More on this soon.
From Daily Kos, in the comments for Kos' post on Trent Lott, Southern Racist:
g. nelson:

I'm contrasting the news coverage of this with that following the Wellstone memorial. Someone remind me once again why it wasn't perfectly appropriate to boo Trent Lott (and others) who had absolutely no business being there because I've quite forgotten.
Well said.

From the post itself, Kos sums up another point rather nicely:
The best thing the Democratic Party ever did was get rid of assholes like Strom Thurmond.
Christ? Or Antichrist?

(who's the smartass who took this picture?)

Lots of people (particularly Raines-haters, you know who you are) are criticizing the New York Times' campaign against the Augusta National Country Club for their policy of not admitting women as members.

The conservative Raines-haters (Kaus, Sully, etc) charge that this is a politically-correct crusade guided by the extreme agenda of the lefty ideologue Raines. But I don't listen to them, they're obsessed with the NYT because they are inferiority-complex conservatives of some sort.

The critiques that do interest me, however, are those of sports columnists. Their arguments against the NYT center around two points:
1) Tradition
2) We're talking about a country club for the super-rich, and whether or not they should allow super-rich women to become members, so this isn't exactly an everyman (or everywoman) issue.

As to point #1, get over yourselves. Of all types of journalism, it is sports journalism that has the most ignorant allegiance to tradition. If the flagstick for the 18th hole at Augusta had the stars&bars on it, sportswriters would leap to its defense, citing "tradition", or worse, "heritage".

Point #2 has the potential to be a valid one, but consider the old Vulcan proverb: "Only Nixon could go to China". Augusta gets a lot of exposure every year, and it would be nice to see the higher-ups in the "ism-belt" set a good example for once. You conservatives believe in trickle-down economics? Well howabout trickle-down tolerance?

There's been a bit of a stir about Trent Lott's comments at Strom's century day party. Not enough of the stir, considering that Kerry's haircuts received more national coverage than Lott's "I wish we had elected a segregationalist" comments.

In case you missed it, Lott said:
"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."
Thurmond ran in 1948 as a States-Rights Democrat, a pro-segregation group that splintered off of the Truman bandwagon. So whatever Lott says in trying to explain all this away (and the excuses his spokesman made in the WaPo piece are quite lame), that "we wouldn't have had all these problems" comment sticks out.

The Civil Rights act of 1964 was a "problem".
The Voting Rights act, a couple of years later, was also a "problem".
And since Thurmond ran in '48, was Brown v. Board a "problem" as well?

The guy will be Senate Majority Leader in January. Maybe he wants to fill the racist void left by the departing Thurmond and Helms.

(and by the way, how DARE he make partisan comments at a birthday party!)
From the Washington Post's puff piece on Laura Bush's holiday decorations:
...Mountains of ripening pears, apples and pomegranates have been strung in garlands across mantels in the Green and Red rooms. And a charming papier-mache menagerie of 25 presidential pets has been loosed on the antique pier tables throughout the house.

"Every president has had animals," the first lady said, adding that "really what the Christmas theme symbolizes is the majesty of creation."

Astute political observers will note that two recent presidential pets, Buddy and Socks Clinton, are missing from the papier-mache lineup. Chief florist Nancy Clarke, whose team masterminded the replicas as well as the decorations, explained their absence as without political meaning. The choice of pets was guided, she said, by the placement of presidential portraits and Bill Clinton's simply isn't up.

"It was not a slight," she said. "There is no portrait here," and thus, "no appropriate location yet."

Yeah, sure, "he whupped daddy's ass" had absolutely NOTHING to do with it. Nothing at all.

Meanwhile, Socks the cat is going to be Grand Marshall of the Little Rock Annual Holiday Parade...

...THIS JUST IN! In a joint statement, R.Emmet Tyrell and Christopher Hitchens are reporting that Socks the cat intends to visit a local airstrip the night before the parade and deal coke, while being fellated by both Paula Jones and Juannita Broderick simultaneously! Remember, this is a Facts Machine exclusive.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq handed the United Nations a huge dossier on its military programs on Saturday, denying Iraq has any banned weapons and setting the stage for a confrontation with Washington.

President Saddam Hussein meanwhile issued an apology for Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, urging Kuwaitis to turn against "infidel" Western allies and join Iraqis in fighting them.

Hussam Mohammed Amin, head of the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate, said that in the dossier delivered to U.N. inspectors in Baghdad:

"We declared that Iraq is empty of weapons of mass destruction. I reiterate Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction."

President Bush said on Saturday his administration would take some time to judge the declaration, but repeated that it would disarm Iraq by force if necessary. Earlier this week he said bluntly that Iraq did indeed have weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. officials said on Friday Washington was expected to declare Iraq in "material breach" of last month's U.N. resolution 1441 if it stated it had no such weapons, setting the stage for a possible military attack on Iraq by the United States.

But they said Washington would not cite the breach as immediate grounds for war, letting U.N. inspections continue while Bush courts partners to help strike Iraq if needed. (Full story)
You have to love this president of ours. After all this legitimate process, going through the UN, getting the inspectors back in there, and everything else, the Bushies are back at their "you have weapons of mass destruction . . . because we say so!" square one. Please, show us the evidence. They wont, last time they tried that was with the IAEA report, and the British were sure unhappy about that!

Of course Bush is going to take some time with it. Our government needs to track down and rehire those six homosexual translators. Also, Bush has never come close to reading that sum of pages throughout his life combined! As governor, when given a ten-page document, he'd ask for a summary. Only this time, the phrase "could you run that by me again in English?" is a bit more literal.

TFM suspects that what I had previously predicted -- that this document would contain not only enough to upset Dubya, but also enough for France Germany and Russia to make the case for patience -- has probably come to pass.

Oh, and you can't prove a negative. Don't forget that.

Friday, December 06, 2002


Look up in the sky . . . it's a bird . . . it's a plane (over cambodia)...
Another career option for Paul O'Neill?
I had been wondering when the rain would finally make it to Santa Barbara. There's mister nino now!
from Political Strikes, via Bartcop


Via TNR's &c., an excerpt from the Esquire article that goes far beyond Bush's "major-league asshole" comment from the 2000 campaign.
Here's the audio of Limbaugh getting spanked by the mysterious "Gregg from Orlando"

So let me get this straight: Republicans keep saying that Democrats need to get over the 2000 election, yet they put Katherine "Cruella de" Harris front-and-center by making her assistant majority whip even before she'd served a single day in office?

This will end up being a stupid mistake by the Republicans. But it was most likely born out of a conflict. Sure, she's a controversial figure at best (and this could help the Gore campaign in the long run). BUT conservatives just can't avoid patting eachother on the back and rewarding hacks like her in ways like this.

Even Jonah Goldberg over at the National Review has noticed that in firing O'Neill and Lindsey, the Bushies are doing precisely what Al Gore said they should do. According to CNN, the boys handed in their resignations "at the request of the president". Ok, let's apply a little syllogism to that:

1) O'Neill and Lindsey were requested by the president to resign
2) Al Gore was elected president in November of 2000
3) Al Gore fired them!

It's that simple! (it works the other way too, as a way to prove that Gore was elected)

Gore's been on a streak of being right about things lately. He was right about the Democrats in congress and Iraq, vindicated by the woodshed-episode the appeasing Dems experienced in the midterms. He's been shown to be right about the Bush economic team. And he'll be just as right about a lot of things in the near future.

Goldberg suggests that this move was part of Bush's genius:
This could be another classic example of the Bushies flummoxing their opponents by doing exactly what they say. Other examples include: Democrats: Go to the UN, Bush: Goes to the UN; Democrats: You must have a vision for Israel, Bush: My vision is Arafat must go; Democrats: You must have a department of homeland security, Bush: here is my department of homeland security....
That's lovely, but once Bush scratches the surface of each of those Democratic demands, he doesn't follow up worth a shit. Just like we learned from the Dilulio letter, the Bush administration is nothing but an empty shell of politics. Look at what Bush did:

He went to the UN, as the Democrats urged, but is now trying to verbally undermine the inspections.
He came up with a vision for Israel, as Democrats urged, but has completely abandoned the situation, rather to push for an oil-war in Iraq.
He (eventually) supported a Homeland Security department, as Democrats urged, but then he turns around and appoints Henry Kissinger to chair the 9-11 commission.

He got rid of O'Neill and Lindsey, as Gore and the Democrats urged, but which tax-cut-crazy, fantasy-land, Laffer-curve-worshipping ideologues will he appoint to replace them?

Phil Gramm? Jack Kemp? Steve Forbes? . . . Ken Lay?

Over at my California Patriot Watch, I got some unexpected help from one of the more entertaining bloggers out there, TBOGG. TFM/CPW says thanks!
Roger Ebert reviews the movie version of The Trials of Henry Kissinger:
Yes, the film is told from a hostile point of view: It's based on a book by the New Left author Christopher Hitchens, who has made Kissinger-bashing a second career.
I know Roger is just a movie guy, but he should catch up with the times, and note the people that Hitchens is happily cozying up with. Maybe someone should also take the time to inform him about "socialist" David Horowitz just in case that sack o' crap ever makes a movie.

(I will note, though, that this is excellent timing in terms of the movie's release)
Paul McCartney has sparked another Beatles feud with the release of his live album, Back in the U.S.. Against the wishes of John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, the nineteen Beatles songs included on the two-disc set are credited to "Paul McCartney and John Lennon" rather than the traditional "Lennon/McCartney."

"What he did was absolutely inappropriate," says Ono's lawyer, Peter Shukat. "John and Paul had an agreement. This is very petty." Adds Ono, "John and Paul often disagreed on which songs were written by whom. If John was here now, they could fight it out, or maybe they could never agree. But the important point is that John has to be here. He is not."(Full story)
Hey Paul, look I know it's your tour and all, but stop messing with history. "Lennon/McCartney" is how it has always been, it's accepted history, and doesn't need to be politicized all over again. He's dead and you're still feuding with him. Jeez.

From Joe Conason's Journal, Rush gets smacked around on his very own show.

"I think that Bush needs to fire his whole economic team" -President-elect Al Gore

Looks like when Gore talks, the Bushies listen.

Byebye, Paul O'Neill. Treasury secretaries come and go. It's part of the genius of politics. Shmuck. I wouldn't spend your unplanned vacation in Rio if I were you. And trust me, Bono is not gonna call you back.

And byebye, Larry Lindsey. Hopefully you'll make a pit stop at some community college remedial math class, and learn that two minus one does not equal four.
Presidential advisers do not blame O'Neill for the economic problems, but they've long recognized that a shakeup of the economic team would help show voters that Bush is doing everything he can to improve matters.
If Bush really wants to show that he's serious about the economy, he'll replace O'Neill with either of the two Roberts, Reich or Rubin. Not bloody likely, yes, but if he has any interest at all in a second term, that might just be what he has to do.
Don't get taken in by that current Drudge piece on Gore in China. Make sure you read Hesiod's takedown.
GENEVA - Best-selling author Michael Crichton has won a battle with a company in Alberta for control of the Internet address that bears his name. (Full story)
Congrats, Michael. Now can I please get my money back for the "Congo" movie?
ISLA DE ONS, Spain (Reuters) - Thick fuel oil is oozing from holes in the sunken tanker Prestige like toothpaste from a tube, pictures taken by a French submarine revealed on Thursday, showing the wreck off Spain's coast remains an environmental hazard.

Dramatic images taken by the mini-sub Nautile during a dive two miles down to the Prestige's resting place on the Atlantic Ocean bed show strands of oil seeping from cracks in the tanker's bow and spiraling upwards.

The pictures fueled fears that the wreck could turn into a long-term source of pollution, worsening the plight of fishermen in Galicia in northwest Spain, already devastated by 17,000 tons of fuel oil spilled by the tanker before it broke in two and sank on November 19. (Full story)
By the way, that ship carried seven times the oil that was on the Exxon Valdez. Three cheers for America's oil-whoredom!

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Watched the Clinton's DLC speech earlier tonight on CSPAN. I find that it's really important with Clinton (or any Democrat, for that matter), to cut through everything the mainstream media is yelling about and listen directly to what the man says. It upsets me that my father, a usually sound-minded individual, is gonna swallow what Maureen Dowd wrote yesterday about Clinton.

Conservatives are really good about getting their talking points injected into the center of the news and every political debate. We shouldn't stand for this.
The abstinence-only policy the Bushies support is ridiculous and misguided, and rather unperceptive of reality. But being sanctimonious about it has murderous consequences on a global scale.

With that in mind, I'd like to say hey Dubya, your demagoguery is killing people around the world. Thanks Ralph!

via Atrios, here is the Michael Jackson baby-drop game!
WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 — The Bush administration will repeal a Clinton-era rule that allows states to use unemployment insurance money to help people who take a leave from work to have babies or adopt children, officials said today.

The executive action will effectively shut down legislative efforts in as many as 16 states to make unemployment compensation money available to working parents who have taken time off to care for a newborn or adopted child.

The move prompted an outcry among family rights advocates and women's groups, but was welcomed by business groups that had opposed the rule since President Bill Clinton approved it in June 2000. (Full story)
Isn't that just the loveliest way to deal with the economic slowdown? Bush sure hasn't lost his touch with the common man, woman, or parent!

I like the explanation they give:
The Labor Department said the repeal was necessary because the economic slowdown since the Sept. 11 attacks had depleted state unemployment trust funds, leaving 28 states with less than 12 months of benefits in reserve.
...but good god, nothing could ever bring into question that 2 trillion* dollar tax cut, could it?

* The 1.3trillion stat is bogus, after later hidden costs come out, including with the alternative minimum tax (that's going to be fun), the cut will probably cost a lot more than even 2 trillion

Strom hits the century mark.

Congratulations. You don't look a day under dead.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002


Bill Moyers shows us just how much of a bullshit spinster Bill O'Reilly really is.

The California Patriot Watch is back up and running! Check it out, and enjoy!!!

If only this were real. From the Village Voice:

(via tbogg)
I'm glad that the folks at MoveOn are noticing what I'm noticing, that the Bushies are trying to undermine the inspections, and may not be willing to take yes for an answer.

Sign the petition!

Don't you love it when GOP/VRWC/Rove/NewsMax talking points get into Maureen Dowd's columns, of all places?
(Though, being Bill Clinton, he didn't mention that his preoccupation with the Monica threat to his future might have diluted his focus on the Qaeda threat to our future.)
Again, "argh!"

Tuesday, December 03, 2002


Remember monday's Goring of John Kerry by Drudge about Kerry's $150 haircuts? (turned out to be only $75) Well over at No More Mister Nice Blog, we find that Dubya spends a pretty penny on cowboy boots.

How much? Depending on the pair (they were Loveless brand boots), try somewhere between $550 and $3,550.

(link via Atrios)

Thierry Meyssan, author of the conspiracy book 9-11: The Big Lie is coming to America for a book tour, which will start in -- uh oh -- New York City.

God, next thing you're gonna tell me that two NewsMax "journalists" are gonna write a book blaming Clinton for 9-11. Oh... shit.

Regardless of what I think of his case -- and I don't think terribly much of it -- is he CRAZY!?!? If the firefighters were pissed when Bush took their money a few months ago, they'll really be steamed when they hear this guy's coming to town.

Regarding the Pentagon-missile theory: That's makes sense as that there are few eyewitness accounts of seeing a plane hit the building... but where are Olson and the rest of the passengers?

Meyssan is described in the article as "left-wing". Boy, I can't wait for either Hitchens or Sullivan to explain to us how Meyssan's views represent the "decadent left" as a whole, just as they did for Chomsky and Vidal.

You know what would be a really crazy conspiracy theory? If we actually spent years arming Bin Laden and his henchmen back in the 80's. And then one of our presidents got all cozy with his family for oil deals. And then his son called off predator drone tracking of Bin Laden. Isn't that all crazy?

A private university student secretly pines for the local rival public university.

Good for this fellow to trash the USC fight song (what, no mention of the dirty lyrics opposing fans sing to the tune?), yet he fails to mention where the fight song for his beloved UCLA came from... ("grrr-ah!")
Right on the heels of Bush's comments that the weapons inspections in Iraq have "not been encouraging" (Bush is trying to do with his tongue to the weapons inspections what Paul O'Neill did to the Brazilian economy with his), we find out that Saddam will give full accounting of all present weapons by Saturday, one day earlier than required by the U.N. resolution. Also, Kofi Annan is urging patience from Dubya.

TFM is adopting a wait-and-see policy in terms of kibbutzing the inspectors. My sense is that there will be enough compliance for Europe/Russia/etc to make the case to Bush not to start a war, perhaps more than that. Saddam is crazy but he isn't stupid, he knows both his rule and his life are on the line here.
What amazes me is that Dana Milbank stuck to his guns against the Bushies more than this guy.

Don't worry about all of those apologies, the "baseless and groundless" stuff. They don't matter, the truth is in the Esquire article. What's happening now? Dilulio caved in. But again, that doesn't matter. As the AP story notes, one of Dilulio's statements is strikingly similar to what Ari Fleischer said the day before. Sounds like Dilulio cried uncle!

Just because Charles Darwin tried to get right with God as he was dying, that doesn't make evolution any less of a fact. Darwin being afraid has nothing to do with the facts. Same with Dilulio.

Then again, if Dilulio hadn't done this now, the wingnuts would have gone sifting through his personal life.

UPDATE: Atrios does a little bit of compare-contrast between the Fox write-up's lead paragraph and what they quote Dilulio as saying.

Ok good, so it's just mountain biking then.
CHICAGO (AP) - Frequent mountain-biking may reduce fertility in men, according to a small Austrian study that adds fodder to a debate over cycling and male sexual function.

The research suggests frequent jolts and vibration caused by biking over rough terrain may cause abnormalities, including small scars within the scrotum and impaired sperm production.

The abnormalities were found in professional mountain bikers and other "extreme" bikers who logged at least 3,000 miles yearly — or an average of more than two hours a day, six days a week.
I had heard about this possible link, but my theory was that the problem was blocking of bloodflow to the male reproductive organs. So it's all those bumps then. I'll start lobbying for the city fathers of Goleta to get down here and repave the roads.

Until then, I'm leaving my boys in a jar when I go out.

A number of new movie/album/stage reviews are up at my old website (in the "Reviews" section"), of Die Another Day, Punch Drunk Love, Audioslave's Audioslave, Tom Petty's The Last DJ, and a very special review of the stage incarnation of Hedwig & the Angry Inch at the Victoria Theatre in San Francisco, by GForce Sin-ternational Correspondent Marissa Mika.

Monday, December 02, 2002


Kaus attacks John Kerry, partially for his appearance, including his hair.

Over at Uggabugga, this is an opportunity for some entertaining psychoanalysis of the Mickster.

Boy, that Al Gore is terrible. That man would do anything to advance his political career, he is obsessed with becoming president, and he's the biggest fake populist of all time.

Oops, did I say Al Gore? I meant John Kerry.

As Josh Marshall put it yesterday, "The Washington press corps doesn't much like John Kerry. And, as we learned with Al Gore, that's important."

How important? Just 24 hours after he announced his candidacy, the smear-campaign against Kerry has already seen its opening bell, thanks to an immature little Drudge piece about Kerry's haircuts. (not the first time the VRWC has gone down the haircut avenue, mind you.)

You just know that this is gonna find its way into some of them cable news programs. Who first, O'Reilly? Matthews? My money's on Brit Hume's whorefest (Hume: "disgusting" . . . Barnes: "reprehensible" . . . Sammon:"Kerry is a career-obsessed pathological liar, uncomfortable in his own skin" . . . Williams: (silence) ).

The followup question is, of course, which journalist is, for a measure of fairness, going to ask Trent Lott how much he spends on hairspray. How bout that "librul media"!

Mister Kerry, prepare to be Gored.

This time, America, please pay attention.

My ol' high school, San Mateo High School, is in the Guiness Book of World Records, for the 1999 canned food drive. Not to toot my own horn (or can) here, but I was in the class of 99, so that puts me in the Guiness Book. Go 99! Here are the details, from former Student Gov't advisor Debby Martin:
The food drive is in the 2003 Guinness book of World Records! We’re in the Inspirational People section on page 23 just above Rudy Giuliani’s picture. It’s for the 1999 drive which was topped in both 2000 and 2001. Last year, the students collected over 63,500 lbs of food and over $68,000 (for an adjusted total of 337,144 lbs with each dollar representing 4 pounds as it has been since we began accepting money).
Yes! I always wanted to be on top of a bad combover!

Former Bush administration official John DiIulio's letter to Esquire Magazine, the basis for Ron Suskind's piece on just how political the Bush White House is.
MoDo sums up the problem of the Kissinger appointment:
It's an inspired choice. Bold, counterintuitive, edgy, outside the box.

Who better to investigate an unwarranted attack on America than the man who used to instigate America's unwarranted attacks?

Who better to ferret out government duplicity and manipulation than the man who engineered secret wars, secret bombings, secret wiretaps and secret coups, and still ended up as a Pillar of the Establishment and Nobel Peace Prize winner?


If you want to get to the bottom of something, you don't appoint Henry Kissinger. If you want to keep others from getting to the bottom of something, you appoint Henry Kissinger.

Bush tells us that so far the current inspection process in Iraq is "not encouraging":
"The inspectors are not in Iraq to play hide-and-seek with Mr. Saddam Hussein," the president said Monday in a get-tough speech at the Pentagon, his first extensive comment on the United Nations weapons inspections since they got underway last week.

"In the inspections process, the United States will be making one judgment: Has Saddam Hussein changed his behavior of the last 11 years? Has he decided to cooperate willingly and comply completely, or has he not? So far the signs are not encouraging," Bush said.
First of all, I thought "weapons inspectors" are supposed to "inspect for weapons". This IS a game of hide-and-seek, that's the entire idea. They aren't there to stick Saddam on a couch and psychoanalyze them. They're there to conduct surprise visits to various factories and installations in Iraq.

But to be fair, what evidence is Bush citing to make this claim?
As evidence, he noted that Saddam's regime has recently fired upon American and British pilots patrolling no-fly zones over Iraq and has responded to United Nations disarmament demands with "protests and falsehoods."
First of all, firing at patrol planes has been par for the course for a very long time. But the 2nd claim is more curious. Here's how they responded to the UN demands after they were passed: "This is bullshit, this is crap, this is dishonest, the west will descend into a pit of fire . . . I accept". The operative part is "I accept". Any nutty dictator like Saddam (or Qaddafi, Kim Jong Il, etc) is bound to spout rhetoric like that, again that's par for the course, just take the bottom line and move on.

It really doesn't matter what goes on with the inspections, or how successful they are, this is about undermining the process. That's why you get Dubya and Cheney making speeches about this on the same day.
Conason on the soft coverage the Kissinger appointment is getting in the mainstream press.

TFM's sentiment is closer to that of the great Get Your War On.

Over the coming weeks, in a rare display of unbridled support for capitalism and materialism on my part, I will provide various suggestions for holiday gifts. They will, however, be fairly economical, as well as characteristically off-beat.

My first recommendation of the season is the talking AFLAC duck.

Yes, it says "aflac!" in the Gilbert Gottfried voice. (hmm, when was the last time someone made so much money for saying just one word?) The good news is that proceeds will go to the AFLAC Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service. They also get kudos for titling their online duck-gift shop "The Duck Shops Here!"

Sunday, December 01, 2002



Since even Drudge has a link up, isn't it about time that winger pundits stop telling us that nonsense about how the Clinton Administration was poll-obssessed while the Bushies aren't?


Tonight I went to see the stage version of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" at the Victoria Theatre in SF. It was breathtakingly good, and I will write about it over at my archaic Geocities website soon.