The Facts Machine

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

Friday, July 23, 2004

(McCarthy edition)

President Bush spoke to the Urban League in Detroit today, and posed some questions for black Americans.
Does the Democrat party take African American voters for granted? It's a fair question. I know plenty of politicians assume they have your vote. But do they earn it and do they deserve it? Is it a good thing for the African American community to be represented mainly by one political party? That's a legitimate question. How is it possible to gain political leverage if the party is never forced to compete? Have the traditional solutions of the Democrat party truly served the African American community?
(emphases mine) What is this mythical political party to which Bush is referring? Because gee, I could swear that I'm a registered member of something called the Democratic Party.

For the uninitiated, it was none other than Senator Joe McCarthy who popularized referring to the Democratic Party as "the democrat party" in a derogatory manner.

Still, props go out to the Associated Press for repeatedly referring to the party by its correct "Democratic" name in a paragraph just before quoting Bush saying "Democrat".

Thursday, July 22, 2004


And not only that, but he said some of the things I'd been fantasizing about:
With the same passion and commitment I demonstrated in my own campaign for President, I intend to reach out on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards ticket to unite our party with all those who may have felt left out. I will let them know that the time has come to unite in a common effort for change which is essential not only for America but for the world.

John Kerry can win because there is a place within the Democratic party for everyone, including those who may be thinking of supporting Ralph Nader. Most people know I have many of the same commitments Ralph has.

If there is room for me in the party and the Kerry-Edwards campaign, there is certainly room for Ralph and for his supporters.

Let's unite to create a new government, a new direction, a new opportunity, and new progress.
(link via Political Wire)

Dennis Kucinich was the first primary candidate I ever saw give a speech. He was passionate, very positive, unflinchingly progressive (with the lone exception of his flip epiphany on abortion), and surely inspiring. I do believe that in my lifetime the Democratic Party (or whatever left-of-center party that will be kickin ass at that point) will nominate someone with his politics for President. Dennis is a window to the future, held back by what many cynically refer to as "the heartland", the sticky, gooey middle of America that has been bludgeoned repeatedly by Rush and his clones to closely associate "liberal" with "evil/crazy/commiebastard/etc".

Anyway, kudos to him. We are spirit, and we are stardust!
Somehow, Tbogg got into Rick Santorum's office.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Fuck the Colonel, or at least their suppliers:
A US supplier for Kentucky Fried Chicken has fired 11 workers after a video showed the poultry being kicked, stamped on and slammed against walls.
Pilgrim's Pride vowed to root out all who were responsible for the abuse at its Moorfield plant in West Virginia.

It came after the animal welfare group Peta released a secretly taped video showing workers "stomping on, kicking and throwing live chickens about".

KFC said it had suspended the buying of chicken from Moorfield.
Well you know, some people might say that this video was leaked to Peta in the interest of proving, once and for all, that yes, that is chicken you're eating.

Could we please sic Taguba or Sy Hersh on these people?

...every so often there comes a worthwhile, non-aggravating, and dare I say, amusing Instapundit post.

Today, one appears in which our well-endowed hero from Tennessee tackles the politics . . . of taste-testing ketchup.

The great thing about Glenn's permalinks is that you don't have to look at any of his other posts.

From the NY Times:
Nearly half of the nation's air traffic controllers will reach the mandatory retirement age in the next decade, according to government estimates, forcing the Federal Aviation Administration to triple its current rate of hiring and training at a time when air traffic is expected to grow significantly.
Well gee golly, how did that happen? It's like they were all hired at the same time or something...

I'm a President, not a...
The following assertions were collected from public statements made by George W. Bush and his official spokesmen since 1997. Originally from Harper's Magazine, May 2004.

The President of the United States is not a fact-checker.

I’m not a statistician.

I’m not a numbers-cruncher.

I’m not one of these bean counters.

I’m not very analytical.

I’m not a precision guy.

The President is not a micromanager.

I’m not a member of the legislative branch.

The President is not a rubber stamp for the Congress.

I’m not a censor-guy.

I’m not a lawyer.

I’m not a doctor.

The President is not an economist.

I’m not a stockbroker or a stock-picker.

I’m not a forecaster.

I’m not a predictor.

I’m not a pollster, a poll-reader guy.

I’m not a very good prognosticator of elections.

I’m not a committee chairman.

I’m not of the Washington scene.

I’m not a lonely person.

I’m not a poet.

I’m not a very good novelist.

I’m not a textbook player.

I’m not an emailer.

I’m not a very long-winded person.
There's more.

From Reuters:
After launching two wars, President Bush said on Tuesday he wanted to be a "peace president" and took swipes at his Democratic rivals for being lawyers and weak on defense.

With polls showing public support for the war in Iraq in decline, Bush cast himself as a reluctant warrior and assured Americans they were "safer" as he campaigned in the battleground states of Iowa and Missouri against Democrat John Kerry and his running mate, former trial lawyer John Edwards.

"The enemy declared war on us," Bush told a re-election rally in Cedar Rapids. "Nobody wants to be the war president. I want to be the peace president... The next four years will be peaceful years." Bush used the words "peace" or "peaceful" a total of 20 times.

Bush has called himself a "war president" in leading the United States in a battle against terrorism brought about by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America. "I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind," he said in February.
Over to you, Hitchens!

It was quite good. As with Michael Moore's latest, there wont be much new information for the blog-initiated, but also as with Moore, it's nice to see all that information organized and presented in such a fashion.

The O'Reilly "shut up" montage was rather entertaining. And I had never seen the Jeremy Glick segment before, though I had read a lot about it. Still, I felt a bit shortchanged in the field of outright falsehoods and lies. Then again, there was a lot to talk about, mainly focusing on Fox's technique, and they had to get to everything. Still, I wouldn't have minded if the doctored Richard Clarke testimony found its way into the flick, but that's alright.

Oh, and during the "flip flopper" montage of Fox talking heads criticizing kerry, I saw a familiar, nearly-hypnotic pair of thick, black eyebrows below a reflective bald dome.

The short version seems to be that Sandy Berger did something really, really stupid, but not earth-shatteringly consequential, given the passive nature of the Justice Dept investigation against him. (the investigation has been going for many months, and he hasn't even been interviewed)

Also the "down his socks" thing sounds like the 9/11 boxcutters: It sounds good to write about, but it's probably not true. (for those who don't know, apparently the hijackers may have used pocket knives and pepper spray)

Gosh, if only Berger had used the classified documents he stupidly took home with him to politically discredit someone, maybe Ashcroft would be patting him on the back.

Still, this complex equation still holds:

(Wilson's exaggerations + Berger's supidity) < (Chalabi's bullshit + OSP's bullshit + Cheney's repeated assertions of Iraq/AQ ties)

Lastly, some people are wondering who leaked this story out. Kevin thinks it was a Democrat, arguing that a Republican would have waited until "late october" to leak it. This would make sense in that it falls in line with the "pre-emptive leak" strategy some Democrat may or may not have employed regarding the bogus Kerry-intern story last spring.

On the other hand, my gut, or my spider-sense or something, tells me that breaking a story on Sandy Berger would not translate to voters turning on Kerry or the Democrats. I would guess that Berger seems like a very distant name to a lot of Americans (at least those whose votes might change on a whim), and they wouldn't make that close an association, even if the RNC blast-faxed it to every house in flyover country.

However, the story is more relevant to the 9/11 Commission and their final report, due in a couple days. In that regard, yes, the timing is fishy.

In the end, both of these are plausible.

Meanwhile, Laura Rozen notes that for all the harping on Joe Wilson's credibility in certain circles, his central claim is, well, true. And Kevin just posted on this too.

UPDATE ON BERGER: Via Yglesias comes this tidbit from the 9/11 Commission:
Al Felzenberg, spokesman for the Sept. 11 commission, said the Berger investigation will have no bearing on the panel’s report.
In other words, Berger didn't take anything with the intent of hiding it from the Commission, and nothing in fact was hidden. So to recap: Still stupid, still illegal probably, but not to deliberately hide or hinder anything.

I watched a bit of Last Call with Carson Daly tonight, for no reason other than that Franken was slated to be a guest. He was his usual self, but this made me reach for the remote control:
FRANKEN: The utter hubris of this administration...

DALY: What does "hubris" mean?

FRANKEN: It means arrogance and...

DALY (interrupting): Thanks, I should really know that by now.

FRANKEN (deadpan): Yes. You really should.
Ugh. That boy needs to blow up, and take all those ex-girlfriends of his with him. *Click*

Monday, July 19, 2004


Kevin Drum has put together a very handy primer for understanding the general in's and out's of former ambassador Joe Wilson's now-questioned credibility. It's a good starting point for those uninitiated. From there he also provides links to bloggers on both sides of the aisle covering the matter pretty closely.

Also, over at War and Piece: Is Britain backpedaling on its non-forged Niger sources? And should Bill Safire stick to Hillary rumor-mongering?

Via Political Wire I see that John McCain -- George W. Bush's first choice for running mate in 2000 -- has ruled out replacing Cheney on the ticket, or accepting any post in Bush's cabinet.

Then there's also this AP story:
Campaigning in California with Republican Senate candidate Bill Jones, Arizona Sen. John McCain repeatedly insisted Sunday that he would not replace Vice President Dick Cheney as President Bush's running mate -- even comparing the job of vice president to his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

"As far as me and the vice presidency is concerned ... I spent a number of years in a North Vietnamese prison camp in the dark and (was) fed scraps, and I don't know why I would want to do that all over again," McCain said at a rally in San Diego.
Yes, McCain was making a bit of a joke, invoking his experiences serving his country to an audience from a very military-friendly city, San Diego. But referring to his own sacrifices in Vietnam to draw a (humorous, I admit) contrast with serving in the Bush administration is quite telling of him.

But on the other hand, if McCain really doesn't want to go through another Vietnamesque lost cause, then why is he campaigning for Bill Jones? (:

Sunday, July 18, 2004


Tomorrow is Outfoxed house party day, in which thousands of house parties across the country will be held around showings of Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism. I will be attending the showing at Casa Zimbabwe coop in Berkeley at 6pm Sunday evening, if anyone has any real interest in stalking me, and bashing Fox while they're at it.

Rupert isn't all bad, is he? Thanks to him, we get...

--The Simpsons
--A daily dose of British mammary glands
--Those 3 or 4 episodes of The O.C. that I watched

I guess that's it.