The Facts Machine

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

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Never thought I'd see it.

That did nothing to diminish my demand for a tour.

Good show.

And just as they reached the really rockin part of the "Money" instrumental, the cameras zoomed in on the Animals smokestacks, which appear to be quite nearby. Or at least ones that looked exactly the same. Cute!

I'm half-watching today as I read and complete other important tasks...

Green Day playing "We Are the Champions" is fucking cool.

(I'm one of those terrible people who loves Green Day and yet just can't get into The Clash)

When in doubt, CNN sticks to it's bread and butter.
Larry O'Donnell on his outing of Rove.

Newsweek is going to break this big-time tomorrow, word is. I don't think the administration will be able to blame any foreign riots on this one.

UPDATE: Kevin thinks it's gonna get ugly fast. He identifies a number of things that could happen:
[F]urious counterattack. Karl did nothing wrong. Everybody knew about Plame already. Wilson is on a witch hunt. Patrick Fitzgerald is out of control. Liberals are just trying to get even for Clinton. Etc.
True, but don't forget, the usual suspects will rehash their attacks on Joe Wilson based on minor discrepancies in the record that have nothing to do with the violations of the law that Patrick Fitzgerald has been investigating. Of course, the whole thing is "bogus" anyway...

Check out the current online poll, the text of which I'll reproduce here in case they take it down:
Will President Bush's next Supreme Court nominee be
A conservative []
A moderate []
An unknown []
Yes, I admit, it's not bloody likely that Bush will nominate a liberal. But come on, CNN, throw us a freakin bone! Do you guys view liberalism as haveing been assimilated into the realm of the "unknown"? I expect to see a MediaMatters piece on this.

(by the way, "conservative" is winning with 80% of the vote as of 5:30am eastern)

In a semi-humorous protest of the FEC, Atrios has turned his "blog" into "An Online Magazine of News, Commentary, and Editorial". Greg at The Talent Show was the first to make such a statement. Both have mused that now that they are legitimate media sources, subject to the protections others in the media receive, such as CNN, they will now devote a greater share of their news coverage to shark attacks and missing white girls.

(Go here to see who else is in on the fun)

I think I'll get in on the act. Not that I demand respect as a media member or anything, it's just that bandwagons are sometimes charming.

While the others fret about blondes in Aruba and sharks in Florida, I think they're all missing out on the cornerstone of cable news network coverage. And that is...

Semi-trivial celebrity birthdays.

Retired Outfielder / Hypodermic-pincushion Jose Canseco turns 41 today.

No doubt this will become a regular feature on TFM Magazine. In fact... I have an idea...

Friday, July 01, 2005


As others have pointed out, one of the cardinal rules for reading Instapundit is that you always, always click the link. Don't take his word for shit.

Case in point...

Here's a Glenn post from this afternoon, with all of his formatting preserved:
I'M SURPRISED THAT THIS POLL didn't get more attention:
Gallup announced yesterday that it had taken a snap poll after the speech given by George Bush on the war in Iraq from Fort Bragg. The poll showed some movement bolstering support for the war. In fact, it showed Bush picking up ten points on whether we are winning in Iraq (up to 54%), twelve points on keeping troops in Iraq until the situation improves as opposed to setting an exit date for their evacuation (now at 70%/25%), and seven points on whether Bush has a clear plan for handling the war in Iraq (up to 63%/35%).
This would seem pretty newsworthy to me. (Emph. added).
The link, you'd assume, goes to the Gallup site's story, or a news site's story on the poll. Er, no, it doesn't. It goes to Captain's Quarters, a righty blog run by Ed Morrissey who, generally, is intellectually honest. Being so, Ed notes a couple things that Glenn does not, including:
All of these gains were made, Gallup points out, despite the fact that the speech had the lowest ratings of any prime-time presidential address in Bush's terms of office. Only 23 million people watched the speech, and Gallup notes that most of them consisted of Bush supporters.
(emphasis mine) I'm not sure what the viewership numbers for the speech has to do with its effectiveness, so I guess Ed is on his own on that one.

Also, Ed's principal charge about the poll -- that CNN did not cover its own poll -- was retracted in an update at the end of his own post ("my bad" is how he put it).

So there you have it: Glenn presents a poll as cut and dry, wondering why the media hasn't been paying attention to it. Click the link and you find out the truth: It was a limited poll of a skewed sample, and yes, it was reported.

Always click the link.

Rove the Plame leaker?

If that's the case, no more needs to be said about the motives of Karl Rove.

UPDATE: Drudge has the full quote (I wont link). And if this turns out to be true, not to toot my own horn, but I speculated last Thursday about Rove's 9/11 comments:
Perhaps this is a ploy for Karl Rove to make a dramatic exit soon, because he knows Patrick Fitzgerald is going to serve his ass with an indictment over the leaking of the name of an undercover CIA agent to Bob Novak in 2003. Not likely, but just throwing that out there.

It was a pleasure turning on public tv this morning and seeing Ahhnuld get booed yet again, this time at Antonio Villaraigosa's inauguration.

The two most important American cities west of the Rockies now have young, charismatic Democratic mayors. Antonio's speech was really something too.

The following items...
--Passage of unconstitutional anti-abortion laws

--Passage of symbolic abortion-related laws such as the Unborn Victims of Violence Act

--Calls for intervention to save Terri Schiavo

--The claims that liberals are out to destroy Christmas

--The erection of a Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama State Courthouse by Chief Justice Roy Moore

--Introducing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage

--The opposition to the ascent of Gene Robinson to the position of Bishop in the Episcopal Church

and of course,

--The impeachment of President Clinton for lying about a blowjob
...were never meant to produce a tangible victory on matters of substance for the culture-war right. What they were geared to was to enhance a false perception of victimhood. The culture warriors are much more comfortable doing that than pursuing actual victory. It works much better for the Two Minutes Hate that their disciples get from Rush, Coulter et al.

"We have come to it at last . . . the great battle of our time."

Here's the story.

In the last couple hours, I've received something like 20 mass emails from the various organizations for which I have signed up. A veritable who's-who of the online progressive presence.

The Christitarian right thinks, no doubt, that this is their Big Chance to overturn Roe. Until Bush announces a new nominee, this is quite the coathanger. Er, I mean cliffhanger.

Surely they haven't forgotten that Bush devoted a lot of breath in the 2004 campaign to the culture war wedge issues they love so -- opposition to abortion, the 'sanctity' of marriage, etc. They've also noticed that since election day, Bush has all but forgotten these issues, in favor of Social Security and taxes, Schiavo-esque distractions notwithstanding. If Bush nominates a center-right clone of Justice Kennedy, or O'Connor for that matter, will there be a backlash from the fundy right? Hmm, after reading Tom Frank's book, I'm not sure. But there will be considerable pressure on him to get another Scalia in there.

But those emails got me thinking. A majority of Americans support the continued legality of abortion. For the last couple of decades, that majority has been complacent, mostly because over that period of time reproductive choice has had multiple layers of defense, from Democratic Congresses to a Presidential veto to a majority on the Supreme Court. With O'Connor's retirement, we may soon see a reality in which none of those layers are in place. If Bush nominates an anti-Roe judge, could it awaken a public-opinion sleeping giant?

It would sure put moderate Republicans in a tough position. Not that Bush gives a shit about them.

Here's something else to consider about the culture warriors on the right. The struggle of the culture war right isn't about winning, it's about losing. They prefer choosing the battles that allow them to claim victimhood at the hands of a shadowy liberal intellectual elite who pull America's strings and bring us closer to Gomorrah. The culture war has never been about triumph, it has always been about misery: Misery for the fundy right and its foot soldiers who believe that all high-level decisions are really made by atheist professors and effete intellectuals who only incur God's wrath even further, and misery for the left who worry that the progress train could at anytime be hijacked and put in reverse.

(Important note: There is a distinction among the culture warriors between the politician/media warriors and the lay warriors. Most of the former group are primarily interested in political gain for the Republican Party and will manipulate the (usually) more genuinely-felt beliefs of the latter group to that end.)

Remember, the rhetoric that opponents of abortion rights have employed is that abortion is "murder". We hear about the "slaughter" of "millions of innocent babies". Even "genocide" is thrown around from time to time. But the actions of the elected Republicans who oppose abortion rights over the past couple decades have amounted to little more than "milking" the issue, stretching it out as far as possible, without a definitive result, for the sole purpose of electoral gain.

With O'Connor's retirement, we have reached what some opponents of choice may see as a critical mass moment, their best chance in a generation to end abortion as we know it in America. The Democrats had a similar moment in 1993-94, and President Clinton used it to try to get a universal health insurance program passed. The effort failed miserably. Republicans remember this, and given that a strong majority of Americans support abortion rights, and that some in their own ranks are not as anti-abortion as others, they don't want to risk a 1994-style reprisal at the polls.

Which brings us to President Bush. My guess is that he'll nominate someone further to the right of O'Connor, an opponent of abortion rights, someone objectionable enough to Democrats that he/she would warrant a filibuster. It's the only solution that allows Bush to appear genuine in his opposition to abortion rights, while also continuing to "milk" the issue, in a critical mass situation. (a scenario like this isn't terribly preposterous)

Furthermore, if Bush gets an anti-Roe nominee confirmed, it means that the Democrats will have laid down, and Bush will have some measure of bipartisan cover. On the other hand, in spite of such cover, it wouldn't last; the confirmation of an anti-abortion nominee, and the following possible court decision ending a constitutional right to abortion -- which could occur in June 2006 in such a scenario -- could very well set the table for a 1994-style backlash at the polls in the midterm elections. It could put moderate, pro-choice Republicans like Pataki, Giuliani and even Ahhnuld in a very sticky position, particularly given the gubernatorial elections in CA and NY in 2006.

The abolishing of abortion in America would make things very uncomfortable for the Republican Party. There is a silent majority in favor of choice, a sleeping giant that does not know its own strength. It may soon find out.

In the meantime, perhaps Dubya will see if Senate Dems are willing to endorse private accounts in exchange for a centrist nominee.

I'm joking. At least I hope so.

UPDATE: Jack Agrees that the impending confirmation of Sandra's replacement will be brutal.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Dick Cheney's favorite website sure didn't like Bush's speech on Tuesday.

-Vladimir Putin, 17-year member of the Soviet intelligence agency known as the KGB.
"I was able to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country"
-George W Bush, press conference with Vladimir Putin, 2001
Hey right-wing bloggers: By the Bush standard, newly-elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gets one free "soul-look", right?

UPDATE: TBogg offers a different comparison.

Clearly in defiance of the Al Qaeda terrorists who killed many of its citizens in March of last year, Spain legalizes same-sex marriage.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Karl Rove gets letters in San Diego.

Looks like it, if Senate confirmation is the only way Bush is willing to get him through.

Between Bush's speech last night and Karl Rove's absurd speech last week, it's clear that the administration is trying desperately to get Americans in the 9/11 mindset that bailed them out politically in the past. A recess appointment of Bolton would detract from that effort, so I'm skeptical that Bush will try that. It's not impossible though.

Canada passes same-sex marriage legislation.

More on this, and other issues, tomorrow. I just finished reading Thomas Frank's book on Tuesday, and I'm planning to post on some of the issues therein in the coming days. Which should be interesting, since I have already lent the book to a friend of mine.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


--Yep, nothing new. The consensus seems to be that this is a more "sober" speech than the others he's given on the subject, but on the whole there was no new information or policy outlined within it.

--We didn't find out how long a "last throe" lasts for.

--Years later, the conflations of Iraq and 9/11 were stronger than ever. I'm not talking about the "a free Iraq is a strategic blow against the terrorists" stuff, I mean the persistence of artfully-constructed insinuations about Iraq and the attacks.

--Think Progress is all over the speech. Yep, they noticed that there wasn't a single mention of WMD too. They can take it from here.

Well, we're minutes away from Bush's damage-control-palooza. What's interesting is that this speech is solely for the purpose of stopping Bush's slide in the polls, both on Iraq policy and in general. His handlers say there will be "specifics", but we've heard that before. No doubt the anchors of the major nets will be left scratching their head as to why this speech was newsworthy. Yet this will not stop the networks from cutting into their primetime coverage for future speeches.

Ok here we go... I will not be live-blogging it.