The Facts Machine

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

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Back in the stormy-ass Bay Area. It's just as I remembered it, all those weeks ago . . . well, two.

Funny stuff linked at the now-almost-famous Eschaton:

"When Robert Kennedy ran for president, we supported him. We're proud of it. And if he had lived and been elected, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years." -Bill Clinton at the RFK Memorial
Today is a travel day for TFM, so you will not see any posts here until late tonight probably. Then tomorrow I will be going to Candlestick for the 49ers-Packers game. Woohoo!

Let me quickly go over all the stuff that went on yesterday:

-Cardinal Law resigned. Good
-Henry Kissinger resigned from the 9/11 commission. Thank friggin god.
-Mary Matalin resigned. Score it: Carville 1, Cheney 0.
-Trent Lott remains defiant, wont step down. Surely he can't be serious. It wont last.
-Zimbabwe president Mugabe has sworn vengance on the white people of his country. Say, would you mind not doing that while my girlfriend is there? (yes yes, i'm not worried, Mugabe is talking about the white farmers in his country, this has been going on for a while)

Also, there are whispers that Gore might not run after all, and would rather let a fresh face challenge Bush in '04. I'm not sure I buy that. This is quite the blitz he's putting on, more than just a "book tour". Still, some of his friends are saying that he feels stung by the media, which has been trying to protray Gore as "reinventing" himself yet again. Whatever, we'll find out in january.

Ok, off to my last final, and then back to the bay area for me!

Friday, December 13, 2002


Just caught a fun little bit of possible plagiarism of at my California Patriot Watch blog. And I conducted actual serious journalism too! I emailed the plagiaree, and he lets the Patriot offender off with a warning... for now.

Thursday, December 12, 2002


Congratulations, Michael Moore!
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Bowling for Columbine," about gun culture in America, gained momentum on Thursday as it rolls toward the Oscars, racking up the honor of best documentary of all time from the International Documentary Association.

Director Michael Moore also had the No. 3 nonfiction film on the list with his 1989 title, "Roger & Me," in which he took on automaker General Motors Corp. and its then-Chief Executive Roger Smith over a plant closure at Flint, Michigan that left thousands of employees jobless.

Coming in No. 2 was 1988's "The Thin Blue Line," about wrongful convictions in the 1976 murder of a Dallas, Texas policeman, and rounding out the top five were 1994's "Hoop Dreams" about high school basketball players and 1969's "Salesman," about four door-to-door Bible salesmen.

"All these films provide an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the human condition," said the association's executive director Sandra Ruch. "They make you think about things you might not have ever considered before."

The International Documentary Association, or IDA, was formed in 1982 to serve as a forum for documentary filmmakers, and has since grown into a respected organization for nonfiction films with some 2,700 members in 50 countries.

For the most part, documentaries are relegated to film festivals and cable television channels because the material is generally considered too cerebral for mainstream moviegoers.

But "Columbine" has been an exception, and it is considered a front-runner for this year best documentary Oscar, which is Hollywood's top film honor handed out each year in March.
Wow, front-runner? I sure hope he really wins it, though I'm not sure the Hollywood establishment would let him. But I really hope so.

As much as I may disagree with him from time to time, that movie was spot-on.

To those who have been attacking of the veracity of the film, I have two things to say:
1) Get over it, it's an incredible movie, and
2) Please attack something pertinent to the thrust of the movie's message, not fringe tidbits. This is EXACTLY like what happened when Blinded by the Right came out: Conservatives, unable to cope with the fact that Moore is, well, right, resort to trying to nibble around the edges of the movie and try to use that to undermine the movie as a whole. Hey conservatives: If Michael Moore is so wrong because a few peripheral niblets may or may not be in question, then how can Ann Coulter be right if her entire point is based on complete and utter bullshit???

You guys are a laugh-riot.

For the rest of my life, every time I see a report like this in the paper or on TV, about our willingness to use nukes (no matter what the context), I'm always going to think of The War Game:

It's a must-see movie, an Academy Award-winning documentary from 1966 (originally planned for a 1965 release but BBC banned it). All the consequences of nuclear war that you don't immediately think of when you see "The Sum of All Fears", "The Peacemaker", "True Lies", "Crimson Tide", "Matinee", "Terminator 2", "Independence Day", or even "Austin Powers"... are here in this movie. So many unforgettable images. And every statistic in the movie is not only dilligently-researched, but just about all of them are still strikingly relevant and correct to this day.

I think of every idiot around my age that I know who says things like "we should nuke Saddam", or that we should've nuked Vietnam. Do they even know what they're saying?

To them, I submit two things:

John Hersey's Hiroshima

and The War Game
or, "Council of Compassionate Conservative Citizens"

It doesn't matter how many times Trent apologizes, or how eloquent he is when he does it. The sentiment of his original comment remains the same. And even though all this stuff has been discovered before, we're finally looking closely at his connections to the Council of Conservative Citizens, the brief he filed on behalf of Bob Jones University, his Southern Partisan interview from 1984, his refusal to support a holiday honoring three slain civil-rights workers, and that rally from 1980 where he said, verbatim, exactly what he said last week.

(btw wow has marshall been doing great work on this or what!)

Hmm, Bush denounced the comments but doesn't think Lott should resign. Wow, it only took about 20 hours, but Lieberman's trap worked perfectly! But to be honest, there wasn't much Bush could've done once Lieberman set the "Bush needs to condemn him" trap. Wait, I know! Howabout saying something, much, much earlier!? That would've helped!

Still, Bush's "don't repeat your daddy's mistakes" tendences could get the best of him here. Ditching Lott has the possible effect of alienating Bush's base... but it also will sure energize the Dem's base, by leaving a lightning-rod like Lott in place. Of course, that requires the Democrats to actually be forceful about something, always a longshot with Daschle running the show . . . now Gore, on the other hand...

Still, tomorrow's friday, which means the end of the news cycle. So if Lott is gonna go, it'll be tomorrow. As for me, I doubt it. I understand if Bush wants to keep his base happy. But what the fuck does that say about his base???

Keep the heat on Lott, everybody. Yes everybody, from Jackson to Sullivan, all of you, keep hammering. You all may have your differences, but we must all agree that supporting evil, evil policies is not something any politician in the 21st century should be doing.
One of the best things about the finals grind is that celebrated tradition of textbook buyback. It's practically found money! It's similar to that feeling I would get after a night of singing Italian opera at my restaurant, with a wallet bloated by tips.

Despite the fact that I just came from my econ final, I would still assert that there is such a thing as a free lunch!!! (:

Wednesday, December 11, 2002


Just in time for the new Lord of the Rings movie, a look at what the last movie could have been. Feel free to laugh or something.
Oliver Willis has a rather nifty flash ad up...

Go Janeane Garofalo!
GAROFALO: I think the mainstream media has been guilty of under- reporting a vast and growing peace movement. I've been attending some peace rallies for months and months now. And every time you read about them in the paper, it under-reports how many people. I'm not accusing you on this point. I'm saying I'm skeptical about


CHUNG: Are you saying we're actually counting these people and misrepresenting how many people are there?

GAROFALO: No, I'm saying you are probably actually undercounting these people. And, again, we are getting off point for that.


GAROFALO: I don't understand the rush to war that puts Americans in further danger. It's going to put Israel and Palestine in more escalated danger. I just don't -- I feel the mainstream media has decided it's real ratings coup to be excited about war. That's me as a citizen talking. You are skeptical.


GAROFALO: And, actually, like I said, I really feel that there's something wrong again with the mainstream media, to keep using that phrase. I feel, again, as a citizen, I'm just not getting any information. And all I keep hearing is war, war, war. It's this showdown in Iraq. It's this very aggressive and inflammatory and dangerous rhetoric that is pouring out of U.S. televisions.

And the innocent Iraqi people are not Saddam Hussein, you know? A lot of innocent Iraqis will suffer if we have a military strike against Iraq, and Americans as well, and Israelis and Palestinians.

CHUNG: Janeane Garofalo, Mike Farrell.

[MIKE] FARRELL: Hear, hear. Hear, hear.

GAROFALO: Thanks, Mike.
I've always had tons of respect for her (going back to the short-lived Ben Stiller Show, remember that?), but she's off the charts right now. When was the last time you heard our side in the Iraq situation represented on CNN?

Tuesday, December 10, 2002


With the finals grind heating up, I am unlikely to post at my usual frequency for the next few days. But who knows, I might just surprise myself.

For those of you who are still entrenched in the academic food chain, I say to you, bon chance!

And for you college freshmen in American Government, a sample question from your Senate Majority Leader:
The Civil Rights Act of 1964:
A) Was signed by President Johnson.
B) Effectively ended the Jim Crow laws.
C) Was a problem that could have been averted if only Strom Thurmond had been elected president. He stood up against them there Trumanite fascists who wanted to end lynching and other aspects of "our way of life". Oh, and I like the way them CCC fellers think.
D) All of them above answers there.
Again, good luck!

Monday, December 09, 2002


He was just fine, got two full segments (a rarity on Stewart's ship), was humorous (as he's been a lot lately), and played well off Stewart's neurotic, tangent-heavy interviewing style.

Repeating his point from yesterday's This Week, he again asserted that it wasn't enough that Bush get a new economic team, but that he needs to get some new economic policies to go with it.

SNL is gonna be the big enchilada in this first wave of the Gore comeback.
Something I had always been curious about...

From the A Perfect Circle website (you know, that pop-Tool band, hehe), Maynard answers some questions about "Judith":
What is the song 'Judith' about?
Blind faith.
Do you hate God?
I don't hate anyone. When I say "fuck your god" I'm not speaking of the actual god. Just YOUR god.
Well, uh, glad you cleared that up!

Hmm, this explains a lot.

Perhaps Glenn, but especially Mickey, felt rather inadequate after spending a week looking at John Kerry's beautiful, full, flowing hair. Or Trent Lott's for that matter.

And judging from Mickey's appearance, one wonders if Augusta National is hosting an open audition for "Grease".
Very good Krugman piece on Lott's racist comments, of course it's not news to those of us who sit on our asses reading blogs all day, but hey (:
From here, though, Mr. Lott's retroactive endorsement of a frankly racist campaign seems more important than Mr. Kerry's hair. The question is, who will make something of it? Not the media, apparently — but maybe it's time for the Democrats to make an issue of Mr. Lott's views.
A small pack of people making something of it is beginning to form, and at the head? Al Gore. (once again, Daily Show, two hours from now if you're on the west coast!)

Kaus was sure happy last night. Laaate last night:
Bush to NYT: Drop Dead! This is too good to be true, but Bush's pick for Treasury Secretary, John W. Snow, appears to be a member of the Augusta National Golf Club...
You're right, it was too good to be true, he just resigned from Augusta. Can't wait for tomorrow's KF:
Snow to NYT: Uncle!
Oh how sweet it is. On a slightly-related note, isn't it nice to know that our probable new Treasury Sec runs a company that hasn't paid any income taxes in three of the last four years despite turning profits?

On monday evening's O'Reilly Factor, the perpeutally-annoying pundit/host welcomed a historian, Dr. Brinkley, into his not-so-veritable "no-spin zone", to discuss Trent Lott's comments at Strom's birthday party. During their exchange, O'Reilly took the position that Lott is not a racist, basing his argument on Lott's voting record, and that Lott was merely "pandering" to the Thurmond audience (though the gasps, mixed with a couple confused chuckles, suggest Lott didn't do that good a job of pandering... listen for yourself, go to minute 32). Needless to say, there was no mention in the discussion of those 14 articles Lott has written over the years for the Council of Conservative Citizens.

Then O'Reilly gets into trouble. To more clearly define Lott as not ever being a racist, he points to the examples of Thurmond and George Wallace, saying he thought that despite their public repudiations of their past opinions and actions, that they hadn't really changed and still carried their prior philosophies at heart...

...Mr Brinkley then brings up Lott's conduct at the University of Mississippi, where he fought "tooth and nail" against allowing James Meredith to become a student there. O'Reilly's response?
"Oh come on, how old was he then?"
Well golly, suddenly people can change! No-spin zone, my ass.

(note - if/when transcripts of tonight's show are made available, I will provide the relevant passages here)
Al Gore and Tom Daschle, compare and contrast.

"To say that the problems that we have in America today, some of them, stem from not electing a segregationist candidate for president ... is fundamentally racist," Gore said.

Asked if he believes Lott is a racist, Gore said, "Trent Lott made a statement that I think is a racist statement, yes. That's why I think he should withdraw those comments or I think the United States Senate should undertake a censure of those comments.

"It is not a small thing, Judy, for one of the half dozen most prominent political leaders in America to say that our problems are caused by integration and that we should have had a segregationist candidate. That is divisive and it is divisive along racial lines. That's the definition of a racist comment," Gore said.
Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, said Monday that he believes Lott did not intend for his comments to be interpreted as racist.

"There are a lot of times when he and I go to the mike and would like to say things we meant to say differently, and I'm sure this is one of those cases for him as well," Daschle said.
One of these two men has an apparent spine. Thus, one of these two men has a snowball's chance in Texas of being elected president.

The blogosphere was ever-so-slightly abuzz over a press conference Daschle had planned for this morning. Was he going to announce any switcheroo-action? Was he going to condemn Lott's racist comments? Nope, we find out only that Sen. Joh Corzine will chair the 2004 campaign committee. And no Lott condemnation.

As Jon Stewart said, "You know what the Democrats need? NUT-SACK!"

That's at 11pm, Comedy Central, as I'm sure you know.

He'll be bitch-slapping Matthews on "Hardball" this wednesday.

And he'll take his sophisticated sense of humor to SNL this weekend.
Guns n' Roses cancelled at least six dates on their first tour since 1993, including a show in Philadelphia on Friday and a Washington, D.C. stop scheduled for tonight. Of the thirteen shows remaining on its itinerary, the band has also nixed four additional dates, in Albuquerque, Phoenix, Sacramento and San Jose.

Gn'R, led by frontman Axl Rose, pulled out of the Philadelphia gig due to "band member illness" at 11 p.m., after nearly 14,000 fans were already inside the sold-out First Union Center and openers CKY had played. (Full story)
"Band member illness", you say? Did Buckethead have too much KFC? Was there poisoning by black nail polish fumes?

You know, Axl, I know some guys who know all your songs but aren't sick at the moment. Guys with names like Slash, Duff, Izzy . . . remember them?

From a Times Picayune piece on Landrieu's victory:
The mood inside Sen. Mary Landrieu's re-election campaign headquarters was glum by midafternoon Saturday. Checks of key precincts showed turnout among African-American voters wasn't nearly what the Democratic incumbent needed.

The monthlong national Republican blitz for challenger Suzanne Haik Terrell appeared to be working.

Then the Landrieu team made two critical on-the-fly tactical decisions. About 1 p.m., Kenner native and former Al Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile set up a conference call with Landrieu; state Sen. Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge; and former President Bill Clinton. In blunt terms, according to a member of the Landrieu campaign, Clinton told Fields, a onetime Landrieu nemesis, to step up his get-out-the-vote machinery in African-American neighborhoods and to do it fast.

About 4 p.m., the campaign also shifted the focus of its turnout efforts to eastern New Orleans and Gentilly, aides said. Landrieu raced to the area to canvass the heavily African-American precincts with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin; U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans; and a platoon of volunteers. They worked the streets until the polls closed at 8 p.m.
So much for Al Sharpton blaming the Dems' midterm meltdown on Clinton. The big-haired one was probably thinking more about his presidential aspirations than anything else.

This means that Clinton helped more after 4pm than Bush helped for an entire month! Big Dog's still got it! This, coupled with victories for Immanuel and Richardson (not to mention his chief of staff almost taking the senate seat occupied by a senator who threatened to shoot Clinton if he ever came across the state line), should be enough to shut people up about the non-existent "Clinton fatigue".

Sunday, December 08, 2002


America's most asthetically-pleasing senator lives to serve another term. Ok, so her DINO-esque voting record ain't as pleasing on the eyes, but it's surely a heck of a lot nicer than Suzanne Terrell's stance on abortion, among other things.

If nothing else, Landrieu's victory means that Democrats have something to cheer about, after a lousy year and a lousy midterm election on the whole. She was all but written off a couple of weeks ago.

Did Trent Lott's I-miss-lynching comments at Strom's bday bash do anything to sink the Republicans in LA? I don't think so; given the relatively tiny amount of coverage they've received (they finally made it on to CNN today), I'm not sure how many turnout-conditional voters heard about them. Did the sugar thing propel her to victory? Maybe, maybe not. It certainly got her back in the game, if not over the top.

Word is that after the first election, they brought in the team that ran Tim Johnson's successful reelection campaign to run Landrieu's. Hmm, I guess that's what the folks at MWO have been doing on their vacation!

Anyway, go elsewhere to hear other high minds comment on this. For me, it was just nice to see Shep and the boys on the verge of tears.

I have entered the finals-studying grind earlier than usual, at least for me. Coincidentally, Iraq had their documents ready a day before the UN deadline.

I must be an evil-doer!

Twenty two years ago tonight, John Lennon was senselessly murdered, with a handgun, by Mark David Chapman.

He was a man, a musician, a songwriter, an activist, an advocate, a utopian, and a dreamer. Those who came after Lennon embodied various aspects of him, but none comes close to the whole.

And yet, last year there were over 11,000 gun deaths in America.
How far we've come.

War is over if you want it.