The Facts Machine

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

Saturday, February 05, 2005


So THAT'S what the "frivolous asbestos claims" thing was about!

Josh Marshall catches Bush lying about Social Security, or at least forgetting to remember what he himself actually said.

UPDATE: Brit Hume's a liar too. I don't get how those who scream "RATHER!" can't see how routine it is that people like Brit do stuff like this.

Friday, February 04, 2005


Wonderful, wonderful news from New York:
Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in New York State, a court ruled on Friday in a decision that Lambda Legal called "a historic ruling that delivers the state constitution's promise of equality to all New Yorkers." Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit last year, representing five same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses in New York.

In a 62-page decision issued Friday morning in New York City, state supreme court justice Doris Ling-Cohan said that the New York state constitution guarantees basic freedoms to lesbian and gay people and that those rights are violated when same-sex couples are not allowed to marry. The ruling said the state constitution requires same-sex couples to have equal access to marriage and that the couples represented by Lambda Legal must be given marriage licenses.

"I was even more moved than I thought I'd be when I heard about this ruling. All of us cried--me, Mary Jo, and our 15-year-old daughter," said Jo-Ann Shain, a 51-year-old New York City resident who is a plaintiff in the case with her partner, Mary Jo Kennedy, 49. "For the first time, our family is being treated with the respect and dignity that our friends, coworkers, and neighbors automatically have. Last week Mary Jo and I celebrated our 23rd anniversary together, but we've never had all the protections and rights that come with marriage. We need these protections to take responsibility for each other and for our daughter, and we are enormously grateful that the court saw that and said our family should be treated equally."
Obviously, as a result of this ruling, thousands of heterosexual marriages in New York were immediately terminated, citing "desanctification". Hahaha.

I predict a similar turn of events to those from Massachusetts' scenario, only less extreme. Some outcry from conservative upstaters, some measured grumbling from Pataki (similar to the likewise grumbling from Mitt Romney), some talk among Republican state legislators about amending the New York constitution, all of which dissipating relatively quickly when people notice that same-sex marriage has no effect on your relationship with your wife/husband!!!

Freedom is on the march, baby!

I'm sure everyone's heard this news about Rummy:
As the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal roiled the Pentagon last spring, President Bush twice rejected formal offers by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to resign, Mr. Rumsfeld said in a television interview broadcast on Thursday.

"I submitted my resignation to President Bush twice during that period and told him that - that I felt that he ought to make the decision as to whether or not I stayed on," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "And he made that decision and said he did want me to stay on."
In his speech on Abu Ghraib last May, President-In-Exile Gore called for the resignations of Rummy, Condi Rice and George Tenet. Tenet bailed pretty quickly after. Rice wasn't going anywhere. Yet these revelations show that Gore came very close to going 2 for 3. But wait... he's crazy! Everybody knows that! Charles "The Stealth Speechwriter" Krauthammer sure does!

Thursday, February 03, 2005


From The Borowitz Report:
New Jersey Toy Seller Spots Hoax

In an elaborate hoax perpetrated on millions of Americans, last night’s State of the Union address was delivered not by President George W. Bush but instead by a plastic action doll, the White House confirmed today.

The trickery might have gone completely unnoticed had it not been for Roland Celenza, a New Jersey toy store owner who was watching the speech and identified the figure at the podium as the George W. Bush Elite Force Aviator™, a popular item released after Mr. Bush’s famous landing on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003.

"I was sitting there looking at the TV and I practically fell out of my chair," said Mr. Celenza, who owns the Toy Explosion store in Teaneck. "I said to my wife, that’s not the president, that’s a toy."

The Elite Force Aviator™, dressed in civilian clothes instead of its customary flight suit, emphasized Social Security in the speech, which was interrupted by partisan applause dozens of times.

On Capitol Hill today, congressional Republicans such as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) refused to criticize the White House’s decision to use a plastic action doll to deliver such an important speech, saying only, "That toy hit it out of the park."
He's funny about 60% of the time, but I prefer Tom Burka. For example,
Iraqis hailed the Iraqi election this past weekend as a "good first step" step toward a representational democracy, but, with a mixture of sadness, hope, and courage, acknowledged that more needed to be done. "We have much to do before we can claim the kind of successful representative democracy that America has," said Fawad Ghreib, an Iraqi election official. "For one thing, in this election we barely had any three-hour-long waits."
It goes on from there.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

More asbestos!
More asbestos!
More asbestos!
More asbestos!

Get a conference room. Get an audience. Not another friggin empty room. Harry Reid: steeeerike one!

This won't happen under Chairman Dean.
"Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and nine other countries have captured or detained al-Qaida terrorists. In the next four years, my Administration will continue to build the coalitions that will defeat the dangers of our time."

Translation: Uh, nevermind what I said at the inauguration!
No 9/11 until 6:38 (pacific time). Wow.
"Raised homeownership to its highest level in history". Yeah, that's like "raised stamp prices to their highest level in history". Anyway...
Byebye, Enterprise.

I admit, I hardly knew ye. My aversion to Scott Bakula prevented me from doing so. Oh well.

Here's the State of the Union guest list. Nothing exciting or unexpected...

--Three supporters of privatization private accounts personal accounts.

--Various military guests, including the family of a soldier slain in Fallujah (a family supportive of Bush's policy).


--"A representative of the faith-based community". Um, that's a wide net! Is that going to be Osama Bin Laden in chains a la King Kong? Maybe he'll be forced to double-up with Spongebob!

--An OB/GYN who "stopped delivering babies last year because of rising insurance premiums", and supports Bush's position on malpractice reform. Of course, those premiums might have something to do with malpractice, but that would be just too darn communist.

From there it's the usual, some small business owners, some specific issue advocates, and so on. At the top of the list, however, are "two unnamed guests" of the First Lady. TFM predicts that they will be revealed as:

1) A 6-foot-tall, 400-pound index finger doused in ink.
2) Chamed Alabi

The General has a preview of sorts, along with some suggestions.

It appears that Dubya will tell Congress and the American people that Social Security is headed toward bankruptcy. One wonders if he will make this statement within a paragraph of two of talking about how privatization private accounts personal accounts would do very well given an optimistic set of stock market projections. Of course, the market growth projections made by the privatizers personalizers could only happen with a strong economic situation, one that would keep Social Security perfectly solvent and then some anyway. I'd love to see someone get Dubya on the record about this conundrum.

The Bushies did release a few more details of their privatization proposal, discussed by Yglesias and Atrios.

On Iraq, we're sure to hear more of the same, but this time with some glowing talk about the courage of the Iraqi people vis a vis their recent election. Implying, of course, that opponents of the war question their bravery. This stuff is always Thought #1.5 for these guys whenever something good happens; case in point, today's Moonie Times. On the other hand, Charles Pierce gets it. (scroll down)

Lastly, here's Jesse with the betting line.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Monday, January 31, 2005


Ah, a good idea:
The two top Democrats in the U.S. Congress challenged President Bush on Monday to draft an "exit strategy" in Iraq and work with them in his drive to revamp the Social Security retirement program.

With Bush set to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, the Democratic pair made a political preemptive strike or, as they put it, a "pre-buttal," in a joint appearance of their own at the National Press Club.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, hailed as "a milestone" Sunday's Iraqi elections, when millions defied threats and went to the polls.

"But on Wednesday night," Reid said, "the president needs to spell out a real and understandable plan for the unfinished work ahead: defeat the growing insurgency, rebuild Iraq, increase political participation by all parties ... and increase international involvement."

Without offering a timetable, Reid added, "Most of all, we need an exit strategy so that we know what victory is and how we can get there."

House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, focused her remarks on domestic matters, and took aim at the administration's drive to revamp Social Security by allowing workers to invest part of their payroll taxes in stocks and bonds.

Many oppose such private accounts, fearing that they could undermine, rather than strengthen, the program.

"We can solve this long-term challenge without dismantling Social Security and without allowing this administration's false declaration of a crisis to justify a privatization plan that is unnecessary, unaffordable and unwise," Pelosi said.

"To be sustainable, any long-term solution must be bipartisan," Pelosi said.
Thank you Nancy, you go girl. And thank you Reuters for not listening to the Bush administration's attempts at Newspeak and saying "private accounts".

The good idea? The pre-buttal. These last to Dubya SotU speeches have been followed by Democratic rebuttals that seem better suited for local-access TV coverage of city council.

2003: Gary Locke, then-Governor of Washington, talked straight into the camera in an empty room. He's a good guy, but it came off very... local. Especially since Dubya had just spent an hour speaking in the gravest voice he could muster, in describing the threat of Saddam Hussein (uranium and aluminum tubes aside, of course).

2004: Tom Daschle and Nancy Pelosi on couches. Just this side of the Golf Channel, man.

So to have the rebuttal beforehand, on a different day from Bush speech (drawing away the aesthetic comparisons) and at the Nat'l Press Club, all of these are improvements. Thanks, Harry!
Via Teagan Goddard, is your senator hot or not?

Sunday, January 30, 2005


Split infinitive alert! Headline in the print edition of today's SF Chronicle:
Iraqis boldly vote despite steady violence
My blanket sentiment about the Iraqi election is that I hope it all ends well, and that the higher the turnout is over a wider variety of the population, the better. For coverage and personal takes, check out Juan, Ezra, Yglesias, Kevin (who guesses at the potential makeup of the resulting assembly), and for the even less optimistic I suppose, Wolcott and Jen from Gilliard's blog, and lastly a detailed on-the-scene recounting from Christopher Allbritton.

(sorry about my absentee-ism as of late, been busy, and will resume normal operations tomorrow)