The Facts Machine

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

Saturday, January 08, 2005


This is a brilliant idea. Serves the kids right.

Friday, January 07, 2005



Rams 20
Seahawks 26

Jets 17
Chargers 27


Vikings 17
Packers 31

Broncos 13
Colts 38

Since I just graded Right Wing News' "40 Most Obnoxious Quotes of 2004" and found the list spotty at best, I think it's only fair that I take a look at Media Matters' list of the Top Ten Most Outrageous Statements of 2004 (Link pops up), and see if the same problems persist there. So let's check it out, shall we?

They don't number them, and there's only ten of them, so I will reprint the quotes here.
* Rush Limbaugh on the Abu Ghraib photos: "I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some steam off?"
At best, Rush is keeping an open mind, offering a counterhypothesis as to why our men and women were doing that to Iraqi detainees. But even without saying something to him like "come ON!" (definitely worth saying), the obvious problem is that he sees no problem (and worse, refuses to see a problem) with what went on at Abu Ghraib. I could go on -- promoting the idea that otherwise disciplined soldiers would so quickly degenerate into such madness... while at the same time arguing that things are going great in Iraq -- but you get the idea.
TFM Grade: A-

(NOTE: This quote is very different from Michael Moore's. Consider the following two sentences. 1: "If you occupy a country, of course there's going to be resistance!" 2: "If you occupy a country, of course you're going to systematically abuse and torture Iraqis, many of whom aren't guilty of anything!")
* Ann Coulter: "[Senator John] Kerry will improve the economy in the emergency services and body bag industry."
Frankly, I've heard worse from her. This just sounds like her normal rhetoric to me, something she'd say to Chris Matthews. It's an artful, if over-the-top way of saying "If Kerry is elected we'll have more terrorist attacks and dead Americans." You could have agreed or disagreed with that statement of course (I disagreed), but from Coulter, this is no McVeigh-NYT quote.
TFM Grade: C
* Tony Blankley called philanthropist George Soros "a Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust."
This is just low and dumb, along the lines of the "shoot Rummy" thing on the other list. The irony, of course, is that the quote comes from Blankley, an employee of the Washington Times, and thus of shady messianic financier Sung Myung Moon. Anything Blankley, Pruden, Gertz and their ilk say about Soros is merely projection.
TFM Grade: A
* Michael Savage: "When you hear 'human rights,' think gays. ... [T]hink only one thing: someone who wants to rape your son."
But...but... Diana Kerry is concerned about Australia! By the way, don't bother checking the ellipsis, it hides nothing that changes the context of the quote. Time for some indignance: Such characterizations have no place in serious discourse, and are immoral.
TFM Grade: A
* Oliver North: "Every terrorist out there is hoping John Kerry is the next president of the United States."
Is that what Terry Nichols, Eric Rudolph and Buford Furrow would've hoped? Perhaps observing a campaign so closely leaves one desensitized; everyone knew Bush would make a centerpiece of his campaign be "Kerry is soft on terrorism", so when people like North say such things, I'm simply not surprised by them. It's not clear exactly what Ronnie's Fall Guy is basing his statement on, of course. One problem with this quote is that it's the Democrats who could've taken this dimension of the argument off the table if they were a bit more aggressive in going after Bush on terrorism.
TFM Grade: B-
* Pat Robertson on gays and lesbians: "[S]elf-absorbed hedonists ... that want to impose their particular sexuality on the rest of America."
When Dubya pats his wife on the butt, he is imposing his sexuality on the rest of America. Pat Robertson is terrified of the idea that people consensually unite penises and anuses. That's it. So are millions of his minions. They will say and do anything to keep people of other sexual orientations from gaining acceptance. The sickening irony of their opposition to gay marriage is that they'd rather homosexuals were barred from the opportunity to legitimize their committed relationships, thus allowing the 700Club types to keep branding them as promiscuous and "self-absorbed hedonists". Their hideous myth dies with the extension of equal rights to all Americans.
TFM Grade: A-
* Pat Buchanan: "[H]omosexuality is an affliction, like alcoholism."
Oh god, not this again. He said this in the aftermath of the Mary Cheney situation. Many right-wingers, to their own intellectual detriment, put forth hypotheticals regarding other personal traits, and wound up equating homosexuality to abortion, adultery, alcoholism, and even obesity. You can read my original coverage of that whole situation here.
TFM Grade: A-
* Bill O'Reilly to Jewish caller: "[I]f you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel."
This came from the "Christmas UNDER SIEGE!!!" non-issue that the righties were pushing in the run-up to Xmas. This is too silly to be "outrageous". I don't get these conservative pundits: if they think that Christianity is so great, why are they so darn worried about it having a little competition in America? Marketplace of ideas, guys! But this is what they do: manufacture crises to keep people afraid, and in line. Ironically, these are the same people who accuse anybody who criticizes neoconservatives of being anti-Semitic.
TFM Grade: B
* Bill Cunningham (Clear Channel radio host who appeared as a guest on The Sean Hannity Show): The election is over because "Elizabeth Edwards has now sung."
Pointless, mean-spirited ad hominem. Good for MMFA for pointing it out. An irony about obesity: Elizabeth Edwards is, I'd estimate, about as overweight as Dick Cheney and Dennis Hastert are, yet she's the only one who gets called fat. What gives?
TFM Grade: A-
* Jerry Falwell: "And we're going to invite PETA [to "wild game night"] as our special guest, P-E-T-A -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. We want you to come, we're going to give you a top seat there, so you can sit there and suffer. This is one of my special groups, another one's the ACLU, another is the NOW -- the National Order of Witches [sic]. We've got -- I've got a lot of special groups."
Obviously this is red meat for his audience at Thomas Road Baptist Church. TFM is of the opinion that Witches get a bad rap, like, say, sharks, snakes and Roma (known to non-PC types as gypsies). Furthermore, I'm surprised and impressed by Falwell's grasp of the alphabet. The initial part of the quote reveals that wonderful staple of Falwellian Christianity, you know, "taking pleasure in watching people suffer". Still, wordplay and taunting of interest groups doesn't quite break the outrageous barrier for me. Surely there were better Falwell quotes from 2004 than this one, starting with "Blow them all away in the name of the Lord".
TFM Grade: C-

MMFA Cumulative GPA: 3.22 Much better than Hawkins, but still needs improvement.

(For Part 1, either scroll down or click here)

Once again, we'll be using a letter-grade system, with an A being a quote that is universally obnoxious, and an F being a quote that either isn't obnoxious, is fundamentally true, or reveals partisan hackery from Mr Hawkins.

Once more, here's the link (pops). Onward!


#20: Walter Cronkite, talking about Karl Rove.
Eh? This just sounds to me like he's saying that the Bin Laden tape which surfaced right before the election would be politically helpful to Bush's reelection campaign. There were plenty of Bush allies saying that at the time; calling it nothing short of "a gift". This just seems like a fancy way of putting it, as if to say "this will be so helpful to them, it's a wonder Karl Rove didn't put him up to it". If Hawkins and his ilk think Walter was serious, then they're being idiotically obtuse.
TFM Grade: D

#19: Ken Layne's little rant.
I'd never seen that one before. Frankly, I was very amused by it. While it does provoke thought, and puts forward a compelling theory as to why many Americans vote against both their economic interests and their not-getting-blown-up-by-insurgents interests, it is very, very shrill.
TFM Grade: B+

#18: Ted Kennedy.
We'll ask Alberto "Memo" Gonzales and Don "Copper Green" Rumsfeld about this one.
TFM Grade: D+

#17: Bill Moyers.
I wonder where he got that idea... Could it be...

TFM Grade: C-

#16: Lawrence O'Donnell.
It's no "you go to war with the army you have", of course. But John? Troops follow orders, and orders come from above. That's how this whole civilian-controlled Army thing works. My theory: Hawkins wanted to use something from O'Donnell's shouting match with John O'Neill, but couldn't find a good enough quote, so he settled on this one which, even if it's obnoxious, doesn't deserve to be this high up. That said, the 2nd half the quote is problematic, and similar to Sully's "do what they are told" quote.
TFM Grade: B

#15: Alan Keyes.
I'm not exactly sure how someone "votes to behave" in a specific way. This would get an A, but Keyes is so darn entertaining that I just can't tag him as wholly obnoxious.
TFM Grade: A-

#14: Michael Berg, father of Nick Berg, beheaded by insurgents.
News flash! News flash! Hot off the presses: Father says something erratic about son's untimely death. More at eleven! Anyway... Remember how folks in the GOP leadership were saying things like "you can support the troops without supporting the President" back during the Kosovo operation? One wonders what their ilk said when their children died in that war... what? No Americans died? Anyway...
TFM Grade: D

#13: Diana Kerry.
Hawkins is compelled to re-explain why the quote is obnoxious. That's a bad sign for this one.
TFM Grade: D+

#12: Lew Rockwell.
Okay! An actual dumb quote! Not as much the opinion part as the procedural part. It just sounds like thoughtless knee-jerk moral relativism to me. The only concrete thing we've accomplished in this war is that we put an asshole in jail, and he will be held accountable for his crimes. Now, I wouldn't mind if, say, we weren't so cuddly with people like Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, but that's something we can work on. In the meantime, I'm feeling charitable, so let's give this one a good grade.
TFM Grade: A

#11: John Leguizamo.
With the exception of his role in Moulin Rouge, as an actor John Leguizamo has made a career out of being painfully obnoxious, I'll grant you that. However, this was just a joke. Jeez.
TFM Grade: C

#10: Cameron Diaz.
It's clear that she's addressing th-- wait, Cameron Diaz?!? THIS is how far down the chain Hawkins has gone to pad his list? Fine, whatever. That said, unless you're militantly anti-choice, I don't see anything out of the ordinary here, this is standard, if blunt, pro-choice boilerplate. Rape is, indeed, the unwanted intrusion of one's body.
TFM Grade: C

#9: Linda Ronstadt. Again.
This one reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry's personal assistant tells him that the pilot of the airplane he's taking back to NY from Ithaca is attending his show. While I sympathize with her -- judgment and guilt are quite the mindfucks -- just be a pro, alright? Picture everybody naked if you have to. (Hmm bad idea given the average age of her current fan-base)
TFM Grade: B+

#8: Some UC Berkeley lecturer.
If he had stuck to the word "uprising" instead of "intifada", Hawkins wouldn't have much of a leg to stand on. Of course, it was at an anti-war rally, so no, I don't think he was supporting domestic terrorist acts. However, yes, this is another stupid one.
TFM Grade: A-

#7: St Petersburg Democratic Club fund-raising ad.
Yeah, we're better than this. Hawkins gets his second A.
TFM Grade: A

#6: Amy Richards.
It's called pro-choice vs not pro-choice. Deal with it. If these righties really cared about the great abortion genocide, they'd proritize improving the economy above Bush's dogmatic pushes for more and more tax cuts, thus addressing the #1 reason abortions occur in America: inability to afford raising (and yes, carrying) a child. Remember, abortion rates in America have gone UP, not down, since Dubya took office.
TFM Grade: D

#5: Ted Rall.
Dude, bad form. Keep your (metaphorical) guns trained upward. Rall could've talked specifically about the Lynch case, and some others, in the context of the fabrication of heroism by the administration to boost support for the war. But his big sweeping statement is terribly unfair to our servicemen and women. Their dedication to national service is to be commended, and those who would seek to use it corruptly are the ones subject to blame.
TFM Grade: A-

#4: Michael Feingold of the Village Voice.
I just read the theatre review from which the quote originated. If I had to guess--and yes, I'm guessing--he was going for some sort of wry humor that probably would've come out better out loud than on ink and paper. The over-the-top statement ends up pretty clunky, and not particularly tasteful.
TFM Grade: A-

Another pretty good streak... can he keep it going???

#3: James Wolcott on hurricanes.
A couple years ago I wrote a song that included the metaphor of a space shuttle re-entry... just a month and a half before the Columbia disaster. It is tragic what nature has wrought in southeastern Asia (unless, of course, you are Tom DeLay), so Wolcott's comment is now tarred with some sad irony. However 1) to play devil's advocate, he was talking about American hurricanes (which doesn't help too much), and 2) his point about our treatment of the environment is valid.
TFM Grade: B-

#2: Kos on the mercenaries.
Of course, the quote comes from a child of a guerrilla war, and a veteran of the US Armed Forces, who has a well-developed opinion of mercenaries, people who made the Army's job harder with their lack of discipline and their attitude. I don't know, I wasn't all that impressed by the mock outrage brigade when he said the quote. Though if Hawkins is serious about countering the denigration of mercenaries, he might want to talk to Microsoft and LucasArts, as they are putting out a game for the X-Box called "Mercenary: Playground of Destruction".
TFM Grade: C

Finally, the #1 quote:

Michael Moore.

Let's reprint this one in its entirety:
"The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not 'insurgents' or 'terrorists' or 'The Enemy.' They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win."
Conservatives run into problems when they attack Michael Moore, so I'd like to clear something up for them in the process of analyzing the selection of this particular quote.

Michael Moore is a polemicist, a propagandist, and at times a stretcher of the truth, whose desire to "get" those he views as wrongdoers causes him to go further than is either necessary or suggested (Consider his editing of the Willie Horton ad in BFC and the local newspaper story on the 2000 vote count in F911).

The problem? Moore's most vocal detractors spend most of their time accusing him of something he doesn't do: hate America. This is currently -- and incorrectly -- the centerpiece of the right's critique of Moore. Hell, they even made a movie titled "Michael Moore Hates America". To them I ask: why exactly does Moore keep going back to Flint in his movies? Perhaps because he wants, you know, the best for all the Americans -- middle Americans, HEARTLAND Americans -- who live in Flint and other cities like it.

Frankly, you didn't hear these guys accusing Michael Moore of anti-Americanism when he made The Big One, a movie just as scathing as any other of his. And don't say he wasn't on the radar screen; Roger & Me was about a decade old, and he had a best-selling book under his belt as well (and yes, he has more than that under his belt, save your jokes). He's just as brutal in his assault on American corporations in that movie as he is in any of his others. So why do they lay off that one? One hint: It's the same reason he wasn't accused of treason for his criticism, at the time, of the Kosovo intervention. Who are the hacks now?

Anyway, on to the quote in question.

Possible rationales for why the quote is obnoxious are:

1) "They will win", as in the US Army will not be able to defeat the insurgency. Perhaps, at most, it's pessimistic to look at the current insurgency and our current levels of troop deployment, compare both to their counterparts from the Vietnam war, and say that our goals in Iraq are doomed. Our ever-growing estimates of the size of the insurgency don't exactly paint our government as being all that optimistic either. This is not obnoxious. Hell, if you think a cause is doomed to failure, and you come out and say it in the interest of saving lives (many of them American), that's about as far from obnoxiousness as you can get.

2) It shows that Moore is rooting for the insurgency. BZZT! Wrong! The quote has nothing to do with Moore's allegiance in the war. It has to do with his objective position on the war: Occupying a large, fractured middle eastern country at a time when we're combatting terrorists who want us to invade and occupy a mideast country to prove their point is an awful idea. Sure, he's got a lot more to say, but that's one of his primary points of opposition. But the funniest of the three rationales is the third one...

3) By associating the Iraq insugents with the American revolution ("Minutemen"), Moore is validating their cause. I'm sure the word "minutemen" struck many people who read the quote, certainly those with views similar to those of Hawkins. The idea to this reasoning is, of course, that Moore is assigning the insurgency a credibility and idealism comparable to that of the American rebels, and by extension the founding fathers. Amercian revolutionaries were freedom-loving idealists, while they're just terrorists. Well . . . there was that whole slavery thing . . . and that women-not-voting thing . . . and that decimation-of-the-Native-Americans thing. America has made wonderful strides on so many fronts since its inception. But let's stop bullshitting ourselves; it's okay for early white Americans to not be gods. We'll live.

Moore's point is simple: He offers a counterhypothesis that reevaluates the role of the insurgency in Iraqi society as a whole, that they are more than just "terrorists" and "dead-enders" as our government says. This is not obnoxious.

Someone else said essentially the same thing in 2004. And it was someone far removed from Moore. Who was it? David Brooks. From a May column:
America went into Iraq with what, in retrospect, seems like a childish fantasy. America was going to topple Saddam, establish democracy and hand the country back to grateful Iraqis. America expected to be universally admired when it was all over.

America didn't understand the tragic irony that its power is also its weakness. As long as the US seemed so mighty, others, even those it was aiming to help, were bound to revolt. They would do so for their own self-respect. In taking out Saddam, America robbed the Iraqis of the honour of liberating themselves. The fact that they had no means to do so is beside the point.

Now, looking ahead, America faces another irony. To earn their own freedom, the Iraqis need a victory. And since it is too late for the Iraqis to have a victory over Saddam, it is imperative that they have a victory over the US. If the future textbooks of a free Iraq get written, the toppling of Saddam will be vaguely mentioned in one clause in one sentence. But the heroic Iraqi resistance against the American occupation will be lavishly described, page after page.

For America to succeed in Iraq, America has to lose.
How obnoxious! (:

Brooks then argues that the upcoming elections will provide a good enough forum for defiance by the Iraqi people that they will regain the dignity denied to them by our overthrowing Saddam. I sure hope this is the case. I'm concerned that Shi'ites will have problems with our proposal to have quotas of Sunnis in the Iraqi bureaucracy, and that the elections won't get off the ground in enough of the country to be viewed as legitimate. So yeah, given how many corners we've supposedly turned since spring 2003, I'm . . . pessimistic. I hope that's not obnoxious of me.

TFM Grade: F

John Hawkins' GPA for 20-1: 2.42 hey, a little better

John Hawkins' Cumulative GPA: 2.29

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


John Hawkins, he of Right Wing News, has compiled his list of the 40 most obnoxious quotes of 2004. You can probably guess which way they slant (for the most part). The usual suspects (certain documentary filmmakers, Korean comedians, and very, very old former TV news anchors) are aplenty.

But my question is this: To what extent does a partisan viewpoint cause someone to misunderstand (either willfully or not) the line that divides pure obnoxiousness from shrillness that carries with it either fundamental truth or a conventional partisan viewpoint that bears the sin of being from -- gasp! -- the other side?

With that in mind, let's grade the 40 quotes John has selected. We'll use good ol' public school letter-grades (except for you Banana Slugs, hehe), with an A being a quote that is universally obnoxious, and an F being a quote that either isn't obnoxious, is fundamentally true, or reveals partisan hackery from Mr Hawkins.

Here's the link again (pops up) so you can read along, as I won't reprint entire quotes here. Let's go!


#40: Howard Dean's "rebel yell" speech.
Frankly, if the American people had heard the speech, and the scream, exactly as those in the room heard it, it would be a different story. Dean's voice was largely drowned out by the enthusiasm of the crowd (made up of Deaniacs who were tired and sad after their man's 3rd place finish in Iowa), yet it was the sound-board mix which made Dean look like a loon. However, when he specifically called out Kerry and Edwards' home states back-to-back, yes, that was a little obnoxious.
TFM Grade: B

#39: Teresa Heinz Kerry, "...let the kids go naked..."
Her point about the necessity of water and food is accurate, guys. This sounds like a case of righties trying to shoe-horn a not-too-harmful quote into a preconceived narrative about Teresa, just as they love to do to her husband, to Al Gore, to Hillary, and so on. Still, the quote is silly. I find it odd that this made the list and "shove it" did not.
TFM Grade: C-

#38: "Go balloons! Go balloons!" from CNN's Dem Convention coverage.
Didn't we all love that? Sure, he was yelling and all, but obnoxious? Producers of live TV events like political conventions and award shows are notoriously high-strung, so stuff like that is a given. It was CNN's fault for thinking that sticking a mic on the guy was a good idea. Stupid? Yes. Obnoxious? Nah.
TFM Grade: D

#37: Andrew Sullivan.
Well, Lott and Zell were there, right? And Lott is still a Senator, and has been chairing the Rules Committee since 03, right? Kidding aside, there is a deeper reason to why Sully said that. Take a wild guess as to what he was talking about. The only reason this isn't an F is because of a rhetorical distinction: The Dixiecrats went out and said "segregation", while the anti-gay GOP dresses up their homophobia with phrases like "moral values" and "protecting the sanctity of marriage". Some hatreds don't go away, they just morph and become more subtle over time.
TFM Grade: D+

#36: MoDo.
I don't tend to read her that much, because for an op-ed columnist in a leading paper, her writing leaves me with an empty stomach. So part of me says, yeah, go after her, see if I care. Then again, if you're taking a comment about the Rapture seriously, then give me a break.
TFM Grade: D

#35: MCA, aka Adam Yauch, of the Beastie Boys.
Well, Adam has done more addressing the plight of others than Hawkins has. But yes, "putting Americans ahead of others" is a value difference between Americans like me and Americans like Hawkins, so from his viewpoint, that would come across as obnoxious. But then again, John's thinking is the same thinking that willfully misunderstands stuff like Kerry's "global test" for mere partisan gain.
TFM Grade: C+

#34: Margaret Cho.
A joke. Yes, a shrill joke, but a joke nonetheless.
TFM Grade: C+

#33: Al Gore.
Now, this one's just true. This one's on the list because, hey, it stung.
TFM Grade: D-

#32: MoDo again. Come on, man!
John's upset because Maureen said Americans chose a theocracy. Fine, it's shrill, or obnoxious, or whatever. Have a cookie. The whole rampant-lesbianism-and-drug-running-in-the-White-House thing that conservatives bellowed about in the 90's is the sister-obnoxious-comment to this.
TFM Grade: A-

#31: "Hitlery Klintoon"'s lone appearance on the list.
Uh, Hil, I love you and all, but this wasn't exactly the best issue-framing you've ever done. Cancelling Bush's tax giveaways that have yet to occur is neither a "tax increase" nor taking anything away from anyone. Sometimes being surrounded by an audience that understands this can cause a person to strip the polish from their rhetoric.
TFM Grade: B+

#30: Dick Cheney's "Go fuck yourself".
On the Senate floor, no less. Yes, this is obnoxious. I loved that Brit Hume interview a couple days later, when ol Big-time said "it was something that really needed to be said", and Brit nodded appreciatively.
TFM Grade: A

#29: Gore again.
Well, the defense of this is longer than a sentence. Everyone on all sides is taking the internet revolution and using it to pressure the media to agree with their viewpoint. The difference with the people Gore identifies, however, is that they seek to prevent the media from reporting objectively on Iraq for the sake of the administration. Still, Gore oversimplified the "mighty wurlitzer" in his quote, and it came out badly.
TFM Grade: B-

Hmm... a decent streak... let's see if it continues...

#28: Linda Ronstadt.
Sometimes I get the feeling that these guys do a Lexis-Nexis search of various Nazi terms, just to inflate these lists. Linda Ronstadt? We lefties don't need Ted Nugent to inflate our lists! So there! That said, there are better ways to make her point.
TFM Grade: A-

#27: John Kerry's "Son of a bitch" quote.
More narrative shoe-horning. This comment was made in jest. Show me a quote from the Secret Service guy saying he was upset or offended, then we'll talk.
TFM Grade: D

#26: A guy from
TFM Grade: C

#25: Paul Krugman.
Shrill? Of course, this is Krugman we're talking about. But obnoxious? Puh-leeze. Again, this one's on the list because it stings. Hard righties do, in fact, hate "multiculturalism". Where do you think this nonsense about "Christmas UNDER SIEGE" came from? (The mainstream righties went along for the ride on that one, I might add)
TFM Grade: C-

#24: Moby.
Yeah, that obnoxious prick. Doesn't he know there are other ways to do that sort of thing? You know, like "Vote this Wednesday!" fliers in urban precincts, or not printing those "Dems want to ban the Bible!" pamphlets.
TFM Grade: B

#23: Hugh Pearson.
Another Lexis-Nexis search result. I would note that the second night of the GOP convention was the night of Ahhnuld's loud, scary speech. ("FOO-UH MOO-UH YEE-UHHS!!") Pearson's point would be less salient if this wasn't the most stage-managed Presidency in American history, whether on an aircraft carrier or not.
TFM Grade: C+

#22: Wes Clark.
Wow, John Hawkins really doesn't like Nixon! This one gets filed under "shrill and partisan, but not the big O". TFM agrees with Wes, who got a raw deal in 04.
TFM Grade: D+

#21: John Edwards.
Uhh, one Presidential candidate supported more money for embryonic stem-cell research, while the other did not. Embryonic stem-cell lines carry within them the potential for treatments for spinal cord injuries, similar to that of the late Christopher Reeve. He, Michael J Fox and Ron Reagan supported Kerry. Stings! But okay, the quote in question was a tad over the top.
TFM Grade: C+


20-1 tomorrow! That's where the real fireworks will be...

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


In case you hadn't heard, the Anaheim Angels, 2002 World Series champions (thanks to an epic choke from my beloved Giants), are to be referred to in 2005 as "The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim".

Of course, as Ray Ratto points out, this is stupid on many levels. But there's one more: Doesn't that translate to "The The Angels Angels of Anaheim"?

(thanks to ben for the idea)
Wow, what an unbelievable prick Tom DeLay is.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Haha, you can tell me she was celebrating the Texas win in the Rose Bowl, but let's not kid ourselves, we know why she was doing that.

Holy Symbolic Gesture, Batman!
President Bush brought together former presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton on Monday to launch an appeal for Americans to make a donation to help victims of the South Asia quake and tsunamis.

"I ask every American to contribute as they are able to do so," Bush said.

The president's father and Clinton will lead a bipartisan effort to seek out donations both large and small to provide relief assistance to millions left homeless by the Dec. 26 calamity that killed thousands in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

"We are here to ask our fellow citizens to join in a broad humanitarian relief effort," said Bush, joined in the White House Roosevelt Room by his two immediate predecessors.

The U.S. president, whose initial reaction to the catastrophe was criticized as sluggish, called the $350 million pledged by the U.S. government "an initial commitment." Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are contemplating more.

Bush asked Americans to contribute directly to reliable charities already providing help to tsunami victims. He cited as examples the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, the Salvation Army, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children, CARE, UNICEF and America Cares. He directed people to the USA Freedom Corps Web site at for more information.

"As men and women across the devastated region begin to rebuild, we offer our sustained compassion and our generosity and our assurance that America will be there to help," Bush said.
The next sentence is slightly dubious:
The scale of the disaster prompted the White House to put together the rare coalition of ex-presidents to mount a nationwide fund-raising drive.
Suuuure. That said, the greater good is that all of this is happening and the administration is being proactive about this.

In fact, both politically and morally, this is the best thing Bush has ever done as President. Mark your calendars, folks.

The first few days of the administration's nonresponse to the tragedy were a miserable failure. Their initial aid pledge of $15million was less than half of what they planned to spend on the inauguration. Beyond the matter of whether or not that dollar amount was "stingy" in and of itself, the important thing was that a lot of this money would go to Indonesia, the country with the world's largest Muslim population, at a time when we're trying to win over the goodwill of mainstream Muslims against Islamo-fascists and terrorists. To make a Marie Antoinette-ish initial offer of $15million is to hand Al Qaeda and their allies a helpful recruiting tool.

It is my hope that today's events will be a step in counteracting that folly.

Now, this is more than just a symbolic gesture, since it includes a real fundraising drive with real money. Still, standing with the prior two Presidents, representing both major political parties, is an obvious gesture of unity regarding the humanitarian crisis, and for that Bush should be commended. I'm glad his people got the message, for just a week ago they were mocking both Clinton and the idea of making a symbolic gesture.

(And of course, this move gets the Rove seal of approval. It takes two figures reviled among hard-right fundy Republicans -- Clinton and George HW Bush -- and associates them with all them forners with whom they're all so dern uncomfortable. The end result? The Bushies found a way to do the right thing and keep the Falwell wing in line. From a domestic political standpoint, that's not bad at all.)

Sunday, January 02, 2005


This goes back a couple weeks, but it came out on my birthday so I have to post it.

From the Borowitz report:
An interceptor rocket that failed to launch last week during a test of a proposed missile defense system confounded its critics today by receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony at the White House.

President George W. Bush presided over the ceremony, placing the Medal of Freedom around the part of the rocket that would be its neck if rockets had necks.

As he presented the medal, Mr. Bush made no mention of the interceptor rocket’s refusal to leave the ground, saying only that the missile had “made our country more secure and advanced the cause of human liberty.”
There's more where that came from.

Happy new year, from all of us (me) at The Facts Machine.

Rest in peace, Rep. Matsui.