The Facts Machine

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

Saturday, April 16, 2005


Matthew Yglesias points to this piece of Bush administration hilarity, this time on, oh, a relatively insignificant topic: terrorism.
The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered.
Says Yglesias, "[I]t really does seem to be as simple as that. According to Landay's sources, the administration only wants reports showing that terrorism is going down, and if the State Departments methods don't produce that result, then there report just won't be done. Lovely."

Note that the State Dept defenses of the decision -- few and flimsy to begin with -- are anonymous.

This means a lot coming from a Giants fan: best throwback uniforms ever.

(Then again, this may have something to with that TFM's dad having grown up in Brooklyn in the 50's)

Coming soon: Frists gone wild! Iraq gets slightly better! And more!

Friday, April 15, 2005


From Reuters:
In a recent online poll conducted by Esquire magazine, 11,000 women in 15 countries were asked to rate Bush's sex appeal on a scale of one to 10, and America's commander-in-chief failed to register much more than a two.

Women in Australia, Germany and the Netherlands were the harshest judges of George W.'s sexual allure, giving him an average rating of 1.4 each, Esquire said in its survey released earlier this week.

By contrast, Indonesian women were the most generous, giving Bush an average score of 2.2; American women found their president slightly less appealing, rating him a 2.1.
Hmm. Later on in the article,
And while American women said it takes an average of 5.5 dates with a man before having sex with him, Swedish women said they would sleep with a man after 4 dates, the survey showed.
Goes to show, a five-date waiting period doesn't solve anything! (link via Taegan)

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Mark Kleiman gives Tom DeLay a much-needed civics lesson by way of Alexander Hamilton.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Is it just me, or does the video of Bush in the top left corner of the dnext homepage remind you of the lakeside photo-op scene at the beginning of John Sayles' Silver City?

(link via atrios)

What the hell were a whopping 42 House Democrats doing voting for a permanent repeal of the estate tax?

UPDATE: Keep in mind, of course, that every Republican in the House save one voted for the permanent repeal. Also keep in mind that most of those Republicans are the same people pushing the idea that Social Security is in trouble. Take it away, Josh Marshall:
There's no hidden complexity here. It's a zero-sum game. They say Social Security is in trouble because we don't have enough dollars to make good on the Trust Fund (which today holds roughly $1.7 trillion in Treasury notes). And here they are voting to take a trillion more dollars off the table.

In other words, they could not care less about Social Security and everything they say on the subject is a joke.

If someone tells you that at least the Republicans have a plan and the Democrats don't, laugh in their faces. The Republican agenda (the actual bills they are passing right now) is to keep weakening Social Security at every opportunity, just like they're doing today. The most constructive thing anyone can do under present circumstances to protect Social Security, the only 'plan' that isn't a joke, is to oppose the Republican agenda in Congress, to stand up and say "do no more harm."
Yes. Remember this when Tom DeLay's apologists stand in front of microphones and say that the pressure on him should be blamed on "Democrats who have no agenda of their own". Even if we are to believe that Republicans want to "save" Social Security, they can't think that their other actions, such as this vote, occur in a vacuum. The reality, of course, is that they don't give a damn about saving it. Their agenda can't be to save Social Security by repealing taxes on the super, super-rich. If it is, then they're a lot worse with money than most people thought.

Went to see author, essayist and feminist Barbara Ehrenreich speak at Campbell Hall (on the UCSB campus) on Monday night, and while the entirety of her presentation was strong, she made a very amusing and ironic point about the Schiavo case.

Aside from the obvious hypocracy of the pull-the-plug legislation then-Governor Bush signed in 1999 (given his intervention in the Schiavo case), Ehrenreich also noted that the money spent in the past 15 years to keep Terri Schiavo alive was coming from two places:
1) Medicaid


2) A malpractice suit
Yes! Two cornerstones of modern American conservatism! Without either of those, big decisions about Schiavo's life would've needed to be made a long, long time ago. Funny, I didn't hear Randall Terry or Tom DeLay talking about that.

With the heat on Tom DeLay only growing, his apologists seem ready to scorch the earth to save their man's job. Expect a lot of unfounded accusations against the likes of Pelosi, Reid, etc.

In the meantime, they're looking for anything at all. Today Matt Drudge links to this story, crafting the headline "PAPER: Vermont Congressman Paid Wife And Stepdaughter -- Just Like Delay...". It's clear what the aim is here. But as is often the case with this sort of ethical-equivalency accusation, the blanket charge obscures the important differences in the details. Here's what the story says, and I have taken the liberty of emphasizing the jobs held by Rep Sanders' wife and daughter:
Rep. Bernard Sanders used campaign donations to pay his wife and stepdaughter more than $150,000 for campaign-related work since 2000, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Jane O'Meara Sanders, his wife, received $91,020 between 2002 and 2004 for "consultation" and for negotiating the purchase of television and radio time-slots for Sanders' advertisements, according to records and interviews.

Approximately $61,000 of that was "pass through" money that was used to pay media outlets for advertising time, Jane O'Meara Sanders said in an interview. The rest, about $30,000, she kept as payment for her services, she said.

Carina Driscoll, daughter to Jane O'Meara Sanders and stepdaughter to the lawmaker, earned $65,002 in "wages" between 2000 and 2004, campaign records show.

Driscoll, a former state legislator, served as Rep. Sanders' campaign manager in 2000, his fund-raiser and office manager in 2003 and his database manager in 2004, according to Jeff Weaver, Sanders' chief of staff.

"Both of them are regarded as people who are knowledgable about Vermont politics," Weaver said Tuesday. "They earned every penny they got."
Compare that to Tom DeLay's explanation for the hundreds of thousands of dollars his PAC gave his wife. From the New York Times:
The wife and daughter of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees, according to a detailed review of disclosure statements filed with the Federal Election Commission and separate fund-raising records in Mr. DeLay's home state, Texas.

Most of the payments to his wife, Christine A. DeLay, and his only child, Dani DeLay Ferro, were described in the disclosure forms as "fund-raising fees," "campaign management" or "payroll," with no additional details about how they earned the money. The payments appear to reflect what Mr. DeLay's aides say is the central role played by the majority leader's wife and daughter in his political career.

Mr. DeLay's national political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, or Armpac, said in a statement on Tuesday that the two women had provided valuable services to the committee in exchange for the payments: "Mrs. DeLay provides big picture, long-term strategic guidance and helps with personnel decisions. Ms. Ferro is a skilled and experienced professional event planner who assists Armpac in arranging and organizing individual events."
While the payments to his daughter appear more legit (she's managed some of his campaigns), the explanation for the money he gave his wife (considerably more than what Sanders gave his) is laughable. Drudge's headline is nothing more than the erection of a strawman, trying to confuse the issue by saying paying family members in the first place is the problem, when the real issue is that DeLay seems to have given PAC money to his wife (an a lot of it) for little-to-no actual work. He should stick to making false charges about John Kerry.

UPDATE: As of 6PM Pacific, Drudge no longer links to that story. Oh well!

Monday, April 11, 2005


...that Bush's approval rating has been down lately, in the low-mid 40's, and yet there haven't been any major terror alerts this year? Think it might have something to do with the fact that there isn't an election around the corner?