The Facts Machine

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

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Two interesting posts on the Social Security "crisis":

--Kevin Drum outlines his entire position on Social Security in one post (a useful idea). It amounts to "We don't need to do anything right now, and private accounts might be a good idea as a principle but they must be created in a fiscally honest manner".

--Greg at The Talent Show tackles the Rove memo, particularly Rove's comment about the "six-decade" battle over Social Security.

Greg's post gives much more weight to the "decapitation" motivation on the right that I discussed in this post a few weeks ago, while Kevin deals with the idea of private accounts as something that has the capability to be done right. I'm 80/20 in Greg's camp on this one.

Busy through Saturday night, don't expect much.

I'll be out of town from Friday morning through late Saturday night, so let's do these now. Don't listen to me, as I'm picking the Eagles to take a dive on Sunday.


Jets - 10
Steelers - 27

Rams - 23
Falcons - 37


Vikings - 20
Eagles - 17

Colts - 28
Patriots - 27

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Out all day, back tonight or tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Why are people surprised about His Holiness Mel's comments on Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 9/11?

Just in case you missed this, he made the comments at the People's Choice Awards, where his Jesus epic The Passion of the Christ and Moore's documentary cleaned up.
"I feel a strange kinship with Michael," Mr. Gibson said. "They're trying to pit us against each other in the press, but it's a hologram. They really have got nothing to do with one another. It's just some kind of device, some left-right. He makes some salient points. There was some very expert, elliptical editing going on. However, what the hell are we doing in Iraq? No one can explain to me in a reasonable manner that I can accept why we're there, why we went there, and why we're still there."
(Naturally, the AP wire story being used by Fox News omits the latter portion of the quote)

Don't people remember this?
"I am having doubts, of late. It mainly has to do with the weapons [of mass destruction] claims."
That comment was made in an interview with Sean Hannity, way back in March 2004. The interesting thing is that Moore's movie dealt very little with pre-war claims about WMD, and yet Gibson has other reasons for liking it. Interesting. At least this is confusing the Freepers.

Ukraine pulls out of Iraq.

Monday, January 10, 2005


The last few days...

--Atrios provides some much-needed perspective on the aftermath of the Rather/CBS/documents affair.

--I went a sorry 1 for 4 on my NFL Wildcard picks. I got the Packers/Vikings score exactly right, only with the teams reversed. And I predicted the precise margin of victory for the Colts (25). But darn it, the home-team rule didn't exactly work, did it? Anyway, don't take anything I write to the bank, unless it's an endorsed check.

Picks for the Divisional Playoff round will be posted on Friday.

--Election in Palestine. Media goes apeshit at the possibility . . . that Brad left Jen for Angelina. Eh. In all seriousness, however, this is a great step. What we've seen is not only that the people of the Palestinian territories have chosen a peace-seeking, consensus-building, intifada-criticizing moderate in Abbas, but also that to win, Abbas was able to do a lot of the same sort of power-brokering that occurs in the long-standing democracies of the west. Though there was no Abbas TV commercial with puppies in it. Can't have everything, I guess.

I have a long thought on my mind about the election and what it means, but that can wait for its own post. In the meantime, I hope that these recent events help rid us of that tired argument about whether or not the Arab Middle East is fundamentally "able" to have open democracy. The left--at least the lefter-than-me left--has incorporated this debate into their opposition to America's role in the Middle East, saying that democracy is just a conduit for our imperialist, globalizing needs. The right--at least the administration and some of the neocons--has incorporated this debate into their case for the Iraq war, with Dubya tossing out an occasional strawmen about how racist it is that "some people" think Iraqis and other Arabs aren't able to engage in democracy. He doesn't say "racist", of course, but that's the obvious implication.

It's not that either side is wrong, the problem is that it's a dumb metric, and hopefully one rendered irrelevant by the Palestinian elections. Hopefully this bodes well for the Iraqi elections, less than three weeks away. Of course, that's a more complicated issue than Abbas' victory at the polls, and there will be much discussion of it. TFM continues to believe that the problem isn't whether or not there can be democracy in the Middle East -- of course there can -- but it's what kind of leaders the people there elect. Our actions in the last two years have rendered the election of Islamic fundamentalist theocrats more likely than they otherwise would've been if we had coupled our global war on terrorism with a genuine effort to reach out to mainstream Muslims with a leading edge that wasn't all bullets and bombs.

--Al Gonzales. Ha ha ha, Ted Kennedy, Chappaquidick, you guys are all so funny. What's Lindsey "I do believe we've lost our way" Graham's excuse, then? Wasn't he a House Manager in the Clinton impeachment trial?

--Three giant stars -- the largest known to date -- have been discovered by astronomers, each with a diameter of at least 1 billion miles. (the stars, not the astronomers, silly!) The most distant one is 9,800 light years away. So if you're a young-earth creationist scoring at home, that means the star in question, KW Sagitarii, is about 3,800 years older than the universe. Better get those warning labels!

--If it's just Armstrong Williams, I'll be really surprised. he doesn't think he's alone either. It's possible, though, that he was the One Poor Sap who used idiotic judgment and made a stupid decision, sort of akin to Dan Rather and the TANG docs. Then again, everyone, right to left, is throwing Williams to the wolves on this one, partially because they don't want to have to think about how an administration paying private journalists/commentators to say what they want them to is, you know, wrong and not particularly ethical/legal. It's reminding me of the sudden "It's all the CIA's fault!" chorus from the right immediately following David Kay's "We were all wrong" testimony. I hope some people are doing the requisite digging and making the right FOIA requests.

Who's it gonna be? Hannity? Ingraham? Dr Phil? Pat O'Brien? Vin Scully? Time will tell...