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wThursday, July 31, 2003

LOWEST BID WINS, YOU STUPID $&%*#$%! My GOD, I can't read these articles without getting headaches. Do they even KNOW the principles of economics?! If you want the contract, bid lower than your competitors. Is that so hard to understand?!

posted by Violet at 6:28 PM
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Indulge me in my Shatner & Nimoy obsession:
LEONARD Nimoy, who ruffled religious feathers last year when he published a nude photography book, "Shekhina," based on his study of the Jewish mysticism Kaballah, is taking his act to the stage. Elisa Monte, a former principal dancer with the Martha Graham dance company, is choreographing a piece based on Nimoy's photos that bows Nov. 19 at NYU's new Skirball Center. Meanwhile, Nimoy hasn't been keeping close tabs on former "Star Trek" shipmate William Shatner. The former Mr. Spock told us he was unaware that Shatner was hosting "Iron Chef USA" on the Food Network. "Bill has his own energy," Nimoy chuckled to PAGE SIX. "We're very good friends, but we don't necessarily follow what each other is doing."

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 3:35 PM
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Dean's Environmental Speech in SanFran.

Strange, he seems to be stealing lines from Clark. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But I wonder if they've been chatting.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 12:40 PM
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wWednesday, July 30, 2003

The Quiet American is out on DVD this week. I saw it in the theater with Lou a few months back - probably the best movie I'd seen since The Two Towers (and I haven't seen a better one yet).

You should rent it, if you're in a movie mood any time soon.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 12:19 PM
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Best Legal Document Of The Year
Yes, five months remain in the year, but we're ready to announce the winner of the prestigious 2003 Legal Document of the Year award. The below motion was filed earlier this month in connection with a criminal charge filed against a Colorado teenager. The boy's troubles started when he was confronted at school by a vice principal who suspected that he had been smoking in the boys bathroom. When presented to the principal, the kid exploded, cursing the administrator with some variants of the "F" word. For his outburst, the boy was hit with a disorderly conduct rap, which was eventually amended to interfering with the staff, faculty, or students of an educational institutional. Faced with what he thought was a speech crime, Eric Vanatta, the teen's public defender, drafted the below motion to dismiss the misdemeanor charge. The District Court document is an amusing and profane look at the world's favorite four-letter word, from its origins in 1500 to today's frequent use of the term by Eminem, Chris Rock, and Lenny Kravitz. The criminal charge, Vanatta argued in the motion, was not warranted since the use of the popular curse is protected by the First Amendment. TSG's favorite part of the motion is the chart comparing Google results for the "F" word and other all-American terms like mom, baseball, and apple pie. Sadly, Vanatta never got the chance to argue his motion before a judge. Because ten days ago he cut a plea deal that deferred prosecution of his client for four months--if the kid stays out of trouble during that period, the charge gets dismissed.
Oh, you have got to read this. I love lawyers.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:27 AM
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Bring 'em on

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:04 AM
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I like Kerry, I swear.

Best damn story every written about the Kerry campaign.

Leave a comment, I'm curious what you guys are thinking every now and again.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 1:06 AM
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wTuesday, July 29, 2003

Hee hee...

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 5:07 PM
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posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 12:02 PM
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More Fun in Texas

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:52 AM
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Tuesday Krugman: You Say Tomato

Goodness me, he sure is mean to our Dear Leader.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:38 AM
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The Dean of Surprises
The early line isn't good. Word from the field is that the impetuous Dean makes Bob Dole look soft and cuddly, that he's little more than a fad, and, worst of all, that he's a one-trick pony who doesn't have the legs for a long presidential run.

So I arrived up here half expecting the candidate to be disemboweling bunnies in his spare time, screaming at staff about the dripping entrails, and railing nonstop about Iraq. I expected, in short, to find someone to be dismissed.
Tee hee

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:24 AM
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Slate is really out-doing Salon's coverage of the primary season this time around. When are they going to hire Jake Tapper back to do some real reporting?

Howard Dean's Low Rent Allure

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:09 AM
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wMonday, July 28, 2003

Quote Of The Day
“In combination with Saddam,” he says. “They (Bush and Voldemort) both have selfish interests and are very much in love with power. Also, a disregard for the environment. A love for manipulating people. I read books four and five, and Fudge”—Rowling’s slippery Minister of Magic—”is similar to Tony Blair. He’s the ultimate politician. He’s in denial about many things. And everything is for the sake of his own persona, his own power. The way the Iraq thing was handled was not unlike the way Fudge handled affairs in book four.”

- New Harry Potter Director, Alfonso Cuaron

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 4:37 PM
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Two things to check out today.

1. Dean's fundraising. Check the blog. I put up another $50, in case you were wondering.

2. Learn French. Read Montreal's Indymedia.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:03 PM
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wSaturday, July 26, 2003

Hunter S. Thompson Lays into Basketball Player Trail, Bush Administration.

In what may be my personal favorite quote of Thompson's, he says about America, "We are losers, and that is the one unforgivable sin in America."

And indeed it is, if you haven't noticed, the only sin ahead of being liberal, perhaps, or maybe (obviously) not being a Christian in a nation who's political leadership seems to consist of bible-thumpers and the people that use them...

I don't really know if I have any other commentary, except that while I observe Thompson with equal parts vauge amusement, incomprehension, and actual admiration, I note that he is only a little off on the O.J. Simpson case. I suspect the Kobe case will never be as big, even if it gets just as stupid and messy. His comments on the Bush Administration, however, could not have been said better, except, perhaps, by me.

Also, and of near-equal importance to me, Bill Maher explains the California recall in a way I can understand.

posted by Weston at 1:57 PM
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Arianna vs. the Terminator

Let's be honest with ourselves, Davis is out in California, which is why all of the discussion on who will be running next is so heavy. Whlie I don't think he's out yet, it must be hard for the guy when he doesn't seem to have any Democratic support pulling as loud as the Repulicans, and his own party is busy discussing if they will actually run a candidate against the Republican party.

While they still may, they've said they won't in an attempt to force the public to elect a Republican or, less likely, a 3rd party person and have them deal with the results. That brings me to two of the most interesting would-be runners : Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Republican ticket and Arianna Huffington on the Whatever ticket.

To be frank, I like Huffington a lot and I think that she'd probably be fine at the job. Moreover, from what I've read, (She's featured a lot on Salon) she's outspoken about several Republican gaffs including the misguided war on Iraq and the obscene breaks on SUV's. On the other hand, I think California could do worse then having Schwarzenegger as the winner.

I want to get a few things straight with the Schwarzenegger race, then. First, if he runs it will become a "Can this guy really win?" race. It will become the Schwarzenegger race. He'll have a hard time getting people to take him seriously. But, he's a moderate Republican who's light on gun restrictions, supports gay adoptions, and spoke out against the Clinton scandel, saying he was "embarressed to be a Republican" at the time of the greatest pressure on the ex-President. What I'm saying is, at least it's not Rush or Savage.

In any case, does anyone know more about the candidate's policys?

posted by Weston at 9:27 AM
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wFriday, July 25, 2003

Republican-backed Head Start bill survives by one vote, Gephardt misses tally
Democratic presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt missed a House vote Friday on a Republican-backed bill that would overhaul the landmark Head Start education program, a measure that survived in the House by a hairbreadth margin.

The 217-216 Republican victory came after midnight Thursday and was so tenuous that Rep. John Sullivan, R-Okla., recovering from a car accident, was brought in by wheelchair. But Gephardt, the former House Minority leader, had left Thursday evening for a two-day campaign swing through South Carolina, and the Head Start vote became one of hundreds he has missed this year.
This sort of thing is starting to bug me. I mean, he's already said he's retiring if he doesn't win - so why doesn't he go ahead and quit now? Of course, of the nine, only one of them stepped down to run...

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 4:41 PM
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People here know George Bush is a liar. Most people in meat space either trust him, or think they're all crooked and he's just one of 'em.

But that isn't true. Bush is a lot worse than most politicians in his relationship with the truth.

And Cowboy, someone is callin' you out.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:55 PM
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Why Does Merle Haggard Hate America?
My closest buddy in 1951, had just got out of the Marine Corps, because they found out he was to young to be a Marine. Besides that, he received an undesirable discharge for whippin' his sergeant. He wanted to reenlist because he was now 18. He straightened up his past don't you see. I was 14 and we thought it might be better to change our names. We enlisted under the names of Bobby Eugene and Roy Leslie Davis. Point being we wanted more than anything to be Marines during the Korean conflict. My older brother James L and cousin Gerald harp were both decorated Marines and saw active battle in world war 2 in the battle of Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and Patalou, I went to both of their funerals with my family. I still get goose bumps when I think about the 21-gun salute and the Marine with a tear in his eye who handed the flag to my brother's wife, Fran. I doubt there are few who care more about the flag than I do.

I went to volunteer for the Marines at the tender age of 14 and I'm convinced I would have given my life. I'm sure if necessary. I'd do the same today. But 14-year olds don't ask questions and they certainly don't begin to understand politics. This nation has a history of being a warrior. Young men always pay the dues. And it was America's way to always be behind what America was doing. And the issues and the reasons why were always argued after the fact. Speaking of after the fact it's a national shame the way we treat our vets. You see, to be an American you want to respect everything you know about this great country. Those who have the gumption to investigate, know that the reputation of honesty between the government and the people cannot reflect the reason for a single man to have confidence in what were doing in current day conditions. I'm suspicious, I'm paranoid, and I'm afraid. And the person who says he isn't has not looked up or around lately.

I don't even know the Dixie chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion. It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching. Whether I agree with their comments or not has no bearing. And in the same breath let me say that I have become a fan of this new little kid, Toby Keith. There is some humor in me calling Toby Keith little. God bless this great country and I pray he keeps a close eye on us in these last days. And God knows the headlines of today surely indicate that were living in that time now. Seems lately we're awfully quick to criticize and pleased with ourselves to be part of the majority. As a country we need to look inward for the answers to the energy of the future. We need to bring down our demands for oil, rebuild some bridges and highways and allow the farmers to grow something that replenishes the soil. Those who don't know what that is, should do some research. The problem is not in Iraq and the answers are not in Iran. I hope were not buried alive beneath this pending financial collapse if the pipeline doesn't get through. Surely everything doesn't depend on oil!

- Merle Haggard June 2003

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:44 PM
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Good letter to Greens by Kucinich. If we're going to beat George Bush, we have to find a way to come together as a party large enough for Dennis Kucinich and Joe Lieberman to sit on a stage together and both belong. I don't think the Democrats have done that yet - I don't think the Democratic party has been a united majority party since Harry Truman desegregated the military.

Of course, we gotta stamp the Greens out if they run a candidate again in 2004, Corleone style.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:40 PM
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This from da Horse:
Dear Esteemed Horse:

Let's see, during her homecoming yesterday Private Lynch thanked Sen. John Rockefeller, a Democrat, and Gov. Bob Wise, also a Democrat.

She thanked her boyfriend. She paid tribute to her fellow soldiers. She even thanked the Iraqi people who helped her survive.

There was one name that was glaringly omitted, however. That would be none other than her Commander-in-Chief.

Nicely done, soldier.

Best regards,
Ron Shapella
West Amwell Township, NJ
Poor kid from West Virginia (Byrd is the word) joins the army for college money so she can be a teacher? Sounds like a Republican to me.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 12:57 PM
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This deserves to be on the front page. C/o Mr. Meyers:
we get tax cut!
tv turn on.
it's you.
how are you citizens!
all your cash are belong to us
what you say!
you are on the way to deflation
you have no chance to survive make your time
ha ha
There's more that could be done with this... know anyone experienced in Techno re-mixes?

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:50 AM
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Right, so Gary Trudeau has a Q&A thing on the Doonesbury site that he updates fairly frequently. Today's is great:
Q. What's up with Trudeau running a big Howard Dean campaign the last few weeks. Is Trudeau in the tank?
-- M. Mahoney, Sacramento, CA

A. Damn near. Here's the skinny for full-disclosure buffs: GBT and Dr. Dean were childhood buddies and college classmates. During a wrestling tournament, the feeble Trudeau pinned the athletic Dean twice, an humiliation (attention, biographers) that has haunted Dean ever since. After graduating from college, the two pretty much lost track of one another until Dean became governor of Vermont and told a reporter that he'd developed his sense of humor hanging out with Trudeau. Trudeau wrote him to protest, because when the two had been tight as teenagers, GBT didn't actually have a sense of humor. This may explain why reporters don't think Dean has one, either. Actually he does, at least around Trudeau, so GBT gave him $2000 (maxing out early) on the promise of relief from daily Dean For America fundraising spam, a promise that his friend has yet to make good on. Dean has also refused to soften his position on gun control, drug reform, or any other issue of importance to GBT, so a lot of good it's done.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:49 AM
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Krugman For Fed Chief!

Dropping the Bonds

Someone set us up the bond. All your base are belong to Greenspan.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:24 AM
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wThursday, July 24, 2003

Someone read this, I'm busy moving.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 4:10 PM
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US to report on 9/11 failings
The report will criticise the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) but will conclude they had no evidence that gave specific warnings about the attacks, leaks to the American media suggest.

The 900-page report is expected to provide details of missed opportunities to disrupt the terror plot by denying entry to the hijackers and keeping them under surveillance.

The report was completed in December, but it has taken until now for it to be declassified.

But it reportedly leaves unanswered questions about whether Saudi Arabia funded or had any knowledge of the al-Qaeda hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi nationals.

The Bush administration has refused to declassify 28 pages of the report that deals with the actions of the Saudis and other foreign governments.

Senator Bob Graham, one of the leaders of the joint House and Senate investigation, and a Democrat who wants to challenge President George W Bush for the White House next year, has accused the administration of protecting foreign governments.
If they lied about Iraq, what else would they lie about?

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 12:19 PM
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More celebrity Dean news... he counts Mel Brooks as a backer as well.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:08 AM
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wWednesday, July 23, 2003

More Durbin Action

It gets even better (see article below). I queried Thomas (the Congressional Record Service) to find out what my Senator actually said yesterday (can I mention again that I voted for him?). I'm quoting the whole thing, because you should read it.
Mr. DURBIN . Mr. President, last week there was a historic meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee, of which I am a member. Director Tenet of the Central Intelligence Agency came before us. There has been a lot written and said about that meeting of the Intelligence Committee.

I think what is important is we reflect on what has occurred since that meeting because I think it speaks volumes about where we are in America when it comes to the issue of being critical of this administration, its policies, and its use of intelligence.

At issue, of course, were 16 words in the President's State of the Union Address last January. This address on January 28 included the following statement by the President of the United States:
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
This sentence was part of a speech delivered by the President, the most important speech any President delivers in the course of a given year, at a time in our Nation's history when we were asked to rally behind our troops and our President to invade the nation of Iraq. This was a moment, of course, of great consequence because not only was America's foreign policy about to be decided in relation to the Middle East, but families across America were going to be asked to send their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and loved ones into harm's way. The words have to be measured carefully because the consequences of those words are so serious.

Many people have said, What was wrong with the President's statement? The British intelligence was insisting that they had evidence that, in fact, Iraq had tried to obtain uranium, fissile material to build nuclear weapons from Niger, an African nation. It turns out there was much more to the story. In addition to the efforts of British intelligence , our own intelligence agencies had been looking closely at the same issue and had come to the opposite conclusion. They decided that the evidence presented did not make the case. In fact, in October of 2002, when President Bush was going to give a very important speech in Cincinnati, OH, outlining the reasons he believed we should be mindful of the threat of Iraq, White House staffers--Mr. Hadley, who was with the security portion of the White House--wanted to include in that speech the same reference to this sale of uranium from Niger to Iraq. He was cautioned by the Central Intelligence Agency in October not to include it because the sources of the information , according to the American intelligence agency, were not credible; the claim was dubious. So the charge was taken out of the President's Cincinnati speech in October.

Then comes the President's State of the Union Address in January. Once again, the same White House staff--I am not alluding to Mr. Hadley again, but someone on the White House staff came forward and said these words should be included, even after being warned 3 months earlier that they were not accurate.

So Director Tenet came before us last week to explain what happened, why words that were disqualified from the President's earlier speech were then included in this State of the Union Address. As the Director came before us, we knew several things. A week before, the President of the United States said the words should not have been included in the speech, and Director of the CIA, Mr. Tenet, said he took personal responsibility for not removing them; that the Central Intelligence Agency, responsible for reviewing that kind of wording in the speech, should have stopped the President from using those remarks a second time in the State of the Union Address.

I said publicly and on the floor of the Senate that what Director Tenet told us was important, but equally important was the question as to what individual or group of individuals within the White House was so adamant in their pursuit of including this important language in the speech, in the President's State of the Union Address--particularly after the White House had been told not to say that in an earlier Presidential speech.

I made that point after the hearing. I certainly did not disclose the name of the White House employee given to us during the course of the Intelligence Committee hearing. I said, as I believe now, that as a result of that hearing it was clear that when we make this inquiry, all roads lead to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We have to really look to the White House staff and the role they played in pushing for and putting this language in the speech which led the President to mislead the American people.

I have said and repeated, there is no evidence or indication that President Bush knew this statement was wrong--none. If that comes out at some later time, so be it.

I am not making any allegation about the President's motive of including it. But I will say this, unequivocally. The President was let down by his staff in the White House. They had a responsibility to make certain what he said to the American people was true, and they knew better. In October, they had been warned by the CIA that this information was not accurate, was dubious, could not be backed up. Yet they persisted in January in including these same remarks.

After I made the statement, it was interesting the reaction from the White House. The next day, the White House Press Secretary, Mr. Scott McClellan, called my claims nonsense and went on to say that because I voted against the use of force resolution when it came to the invasion of Iraq when it was before the Senate last October, that I was, in fact, trying to justify my vote by the statements I was making.

That was the White House interpretation of my remarks. They did not go to the heart of the issue, obviously, as to whether there was anyone in the White House staff insistent or persistent when it came to including these remarks and what action might be taken by the White House to take that staffer off the case, perhaps to remove them completely from the White House because they had misled the President. No, that was not the issue. The issue was this Senator and my credibility. Well, I understand that. Politics isn't a bean bag. I was not born yesterday. You have to have a tough mental hide if you are going to aspire to this office and be in a national debate. But it was interesting, on the first day, when the time came to address the issue, instead of attacking the problem, they attacked me. So be it.

But then there was more to follow. On the following day, on Friday, the White House press operation started floating the story that there were Senators in this Chamber who were asking for my removal from the Senate Intelligence Committee because of the statements I had made. And when pressed as to what those statements were, the White House said DURBIN has disclosed classified information and, therefore, should be removed from the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Now, that is a very serious charge. I can think of perhaps only once or twice in my entire congressional career that I have ever heard a similar charge. So, of course, the reporters who called said to the White House: What did he disclose? And they said two things: First, he disclosed the name of the White House staffer who was responsible for writing this speech. And, secondly, on the floor of the Senate, at this very desk, he said there were 550 suspected sites of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq identified by the U.S. Government before our invasion.

The White House said: Both of those items are classified, DURBIN disclosed them, and he should leave the Intelligence Committee.

Well, the facts are these: No. 1, I never disclosed the name of the White House staffer--to this day--who was involved in the preparation of the speech. And, secondly, the information I gave on the floor of 500 suspected sites of weapons of mass destruction had been declassified a month earlier, declassified and made public. So the White House allegations to back up my removal from the Intelligence Committee, attacking my credibility, saying that I disclosed classified information , were, in fact, false and inaccurate.

Sadly, what we have here is a continuing pattern by this White House. If any Member of this Senate--Democrat or Republican--takes to the floor, questions this White House policy, raises any questions about the gathering of intelligence information , or the use of it, be prepared for the worst. This White House is going to turn on you and attack you. They are going to question your patriotism. They are going to question the fact of whether or not you are living up to your oath of office here in the Senate. And they are going to question as to whether or not you belong in this debate on intelligence ; whether, for instance, you should be a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. I think that is a very serious outcome. It is one that all of us should reflect on for a moment.
Then, continuing to play the game balls to the wall, Durbin inserts the entirety of Paul Krugman's column from yesterday ("Who's Unpatriotic Now?") into the congressional record. Yes, he's that cool. Continuing...
Mr. DURBIN . This morning, in the New York Times, Paul Krugman wrote about another episode. I would like to read from it because I think it indicates what I have been through over the past several days is not unique.

We are aware of the fact that Ambassador Joe Wilson, who has served the United States, was called on by this administration to go to Africa and to establish whether or not the sale of uranium took place. He came back, and it is my understanding he made an oral report to the administration questioning whether or not there was any background evidence to support the claim that Iraq had tried to obtain or had obtained uranium fissile material from Niger. He made the report to the administration, which is part of the cumulative evidence of the weakness of this assertion by British intelligence .

And, of course, a week or two ago, in the New York Times, Ambassador Wilson published a column indicating the timeline and substance of his involvement with this issue, and making it clear that based on the request of the administration, he had gone to Africa, came back with the information , and told the administration he could not make this claim.

Let me read from Paul Krugman's article today about Ambassador Joe Wilson and what has happened to him since he went public with the fact that he had warned this administration that saying anything about the uranium coming from Africa was really not credible, of dubious background. Here is what Krugman writes:

And while we're on the subject of patriotism, let's talk about the affair of Joseph Wilson's wife. Mr. Wilson is the former ambassador who was sent to Niger by the C.I.A. to investigate reports of attempted Iraqi uranium purchases and who recently went public with his findings. Since then administration allies have sought to discredit him--it's unpleasant stuff. But here's the kicker: both the columnist Robert Novak and Time magazine say that administration officials told them that they believed that Mr. Wilson had been chosen through the influence of his wife, whom they identified as a C.I.A. operative.

Think about that: if their characterization of Mr. Wilson's wife is true .....
And Krugman writes that Wilson refuses to confirm or deny it--
Bush administration officials have exposed the identity of a covert operative. That happens to be a criminal act; it's also definitely unpatriotic.

So why would they do such a thing? Partly, perhaps, to punish Mr. Wilson, but also to send a message.

And that should alarm us. We've just seen how politicized, cooked intelligence can damage our national interest. Yet the Wilson affair suggests that the administration intends to continue pressuring analysts to tell it what it wants to hear.
End of quote from this Krugman article.

Mr. President, I am going to ask the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the ranking member to investigate this matter. This is an extremely serious situation. If, in fact, administrative officials have publicly disclosed the identity of Mr. Wilson's wife, who is allegedly, according to these news articles, working for the CIA, this is an extremely serious matter. In their effort to seek political revenge against Ambassador Wilson for his column, they are now attacking him and his wife, and doing it in a fashion that is not only unacceptable, it may be criminal. And that, frankly, is as serious as it gets in this town.

I would say to my colleagues in the Senate, understand what this is all about. If you come to the floor of this Senate, or stand before a microphone, and are critical of this administration for their policy or use of intelligence, be prepared for the worst. You are in for a rough ride.

Certainly what happened to me was minor league compared to what happened to Ambassador Wilson. In my situation, they merely questioned my integrity and asked I be removed from the Senate Intelligence Committee. In Mr. Wilson's situation, they have set out to destroy the career of his wife. That speaks volumes of where this administration has gone when it comes to this essential issue.

People have asked me: Why are 16 words so important? Why does it make any difference if the President happened to make a mistake? And maybe technically he didn't. He attributed this information to British intelligence. Tony Blair was here last week and says he still stands by it.

I think it is important in this respect: We spend billions of dollars each year accumulating important intelligence information to protect America. We can count on the dedicated men and women in intelligence agencies around the United States and around the world to keep us safe. They risk their lives to do it. They are as fine and patriotic as any man or woman who has ever served this country in uniform. And they try to bring this gathered information together, to sift through it, establish what is credible and what is not, and to alert the policy leaders--the President and others--as to the steps we need to take as a nation to defend ourselves.

That is always an important job, but in a war on terrorism it is essential. That intelligence becomes increasingly important. Without that intelligence data, how can we possibly protect this Nation from another 9/11?

Second, there is a question as well; that is, not only whether we are gathering accurate intelligence but whether that intelligence that we have gathered and that information is being accurately and honestly reported to the American people. What is at issue is not just the intelligence data but the honesty and credibility of the policymakers who use it and portray it.

The question we have before us is whether the intelligence information in this important statement about nuclear weapons in Iraq was somehow spun, hyped, or exaggerated. If that is true, what was the motive? How far up the chain does it go? Is it only one zealous White House staffer who was trying his best to put this information in a speech or is it more? It is an important question. It is one which I am certain the administration doesn't want to face. But in this age where intelligence is more important than ever, it has to be faced.

Let me go into the chronology of how the White House has responded as we have questioned whether those 16 words should have been included in the State of the Union Address. This is over a span of about 5 or 6 weeks.

On June 8, 2003, on Meet the Press, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said that the uranium claim in the State of the Union address was "mistaken," but that the White House had not known about intelligence doubts until afterward. Rice claimed, "We did not know at the time--no one knew at the time, in our circles--maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency, but no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery." Since then, it has been shown that the National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was indeed aware of deep doubts regarding this claim. In fact, the CIA prevented one of Dr. Rice's chief deputies from including the uranium reference in an October 2002 speech the President gave in Cincinnati.

When Dr. Rice said on June 8, 2003, on "Meet the Press" that, "We did not know at the time--no one knew at the time in our circles" that there were opportunities and suspicions that this might be a forgery, that ran in direct contradiction of the simple facts that have been disclosed. The CIA had advised the White House and the national security portion of the White House not to include the same words in the speech 3 months earlier.

Let us go to July 7, 2003.

Prompted by a New York Times op-ed article in which Joseph Wilson, former U.S. ambassador to Gabon, contended that the Bush administration ignored--and possibly manipulated--his findings regarding an Iraq-Niger uranium connection, the White House acknowledged that Bush should not have made the claim because of concerns about the intelligence behind it. Then White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer tried to shut down the story in its tracks, insisting it was old news.

On July 10, 2003--Four days into the controversy, as Bush was dogged with questions while visiting Africa, Secretary of State Colin Powell said there was no intention to deceive and called the outcry "overwrought and overblown and overdrawn." In defending the process by which the President allowed such a statement in the State of the Union speech, he said "There was sufficient evidence floating around at the time that such a statement was not totally outrageous."

Is that the standard? It was not totally outrageous?

Frankly, it is interesting that a few days after the President's State of the Union Address when Secretary of State Colin Powell was in careful preparation of his presentation before the United Nations Security Council, he consciously decided not to include that same reference in the speech to the United Nations Security Council. He knew better, and he knew that the standard of credibility of America is not whether something is or is not totally outrageous.

On July 11, 2003: first Condoleezza Rice, then President Bush himself, pointed fingers at the CIA for not removing the claim while vetting the speech.

There was even some discussion on that specific sentence, so that it reflected better what the CIA thought. And the speech was cleared. Now, I can tell you, if the CIA, the director of Central Intelligence , had said, "Take this out of the speech," it would have been gone, without question.
President Bush said:
I gave a speech to the nation that was cleared by the intelligence services. And it was a speech that detailed to the American people the dangers posed by the Saddam Hussein regime.
At that point, July 11, CIA Director George Tenet made his statement concerning this particular episode. He said in a statement that CIA officials reviewing the draft remarks of the State of the Union "raised several concerns about the fragmentary nature of the intelligence with National Security Council colleagues. Some of the language was changed." The change included using British intelligence as the source of the information . The CIA, however, continued to doubt the reliability of the British claim, and in fact doubted the credibility of the statement made by the President of the United States, which is certainly asserting the same claim.

Between July 11 and July 14, a new line of defense was established by the White House. Dr. Rice and Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld appeared on three Sunday talk shows to offer a new explanation: Bush's remark was technically accurate because he correctly described what British intelligence had reported:
It turns out that it's technically correct what the president said, that the UK did say that and still says that. Even though the words should not have been included in the speech, they're not necessarily inaccurate. The British say they believe that it is accurate, and that may very well be the case. We will just have to wait and see.
Dancing on the head of a pin, the Secretary of Defense, moving back and forth between whether this statement is accurate or not, says that the British intelligence discredited by our intelligence agency said maybe we have to take a wait-and-see attitude and see maybe if they are right and maybe if they are wrong.

Again, is that the standard for statements by the President of the United States in preparation for a war where we are about to risk American lives? I certainly hope the standard is much higher.

On Monday, July 14, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer emphasized that the British could be right. He said:
We don't know if [British intelligence claims were] true but nobody--but nobody--can say it was wrong. The fact of the matter is whether they sought it from Africa or didn't seek it from Africa doesn't change the fact that they were seeking to reconstitute a nuclear program.
That was a statement made in his Monday press briefing. Now they are basically saying it really doesn't make any difference whether what we said was truthful or not. According to Ari Fleischer, we all knew they were setting out to reconstitute a nuclear program. But it turned out that this was one of the two major pillars the Bush administration was using to argue that nuclear weapons were a threat from Iraq.

First, the aluminum tube controversy, which went in circles many times as to whether or not these tubes would be used for nuclear weapons or conventional munitions and the fissile material and uranium coming from Africa. What we have here is a situation where they are trying to build the case, and build it with the shakiest evidence already discredited by the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

Between July 10 and July 18, there came a new strategy from the White House on the issue.

Scott McClellan, who succeeded Fleischer as White House spokesman, also tried to dismiss questions. Over four days, he told reporters 20 times that the particular question they were asking had already been "addressed."

On July 16, 2003, Scott McClellan said claims by Senator DURBIN that White House officials applied pressure on the CIA to keep the uranium reference in the speech were "nonsense" and accused skeptics of trying to "politicize this issue by rewriting history." At the same time, the White House tried to redirect the debate onto the overall danger posed by Saddam's chemical and biological weapons--uranium or not--and onto Bush's resolve in acting to confront that threat.

On July 17, 2003, McClellan cautioned that Senator DURBIN --and possibly other Democrats--were "lying about the little things" related to CIA Director George Tenet's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The "little thing" was whether Tenet has named names of these responsible at the White House.

Although I refused to disclose any names mentioned by the CIA Director, I will say this: I stand by my statement.

Let me explain for a moment the issue at hand. We have made it clear that Director Tenet would appear before the Intelligence Committee. That was public knowledge. The fact is that Director Tenet sat at the committee table in the Senate Intelligence Committee with several people from his agency. What he said, of course, was given to the members of committee. Questions from members of the committee were directed to appropriate members of the staff, and he would indicate which member might give an answer to a question.

I took great care in commenting about his testimony to limit any reference to anyone in the room, specifically to Director Tenet, so that I would not even disclose the names of the CIA employees who were in the room. Perhaps I was over cautious. But that caution on my part was then used against me by the White House. Because when we asked Director Tenet pointblank who was the White House staffer responsible for the State of the Union Address--in fact, it has now been publicly disclosed by the CIA and others--he turned to Alan Foley, an assistant who worked on the speech, and Allen Foley gave the name to the committee with a nod by Director Tenet. So my caution and care not to even disclose the name of Alan Foley who sat at the table with the CIA Director was turned and used against me by the White House, saying that I was lying to the American public as to whether Director Tenet disclosed the name.

The fact is, Director Tenet was testifying. He turned to Mr. Foley, his assistant, who said the name. Whether Director Tenet repeated the name, only the record of the hearing can reflect. But what I was establishing was the fact that the identity of the person involved was disclosed during Director Tenet's testimony. I stand by that.

On July 18, on Friday, the White House press staff began leaking word that one of the leading White House opponents, Senator Durbin of Illinois, had released classified material regarding names of those involved in the controversy and the number of suspected WMD sites in Iraq. As a result, the White House said some Senators were contemplating having me, Senator Durbin , removed from the Intelligence Committee.

Our office pointed out to reporters that no classified material had been released by this Senator. I had refused to name the White House staffer or characterize specific witness testimony. And the number of suspected Iraqi WMD sites, 550, which I disclosed on the Senate floor, had been declassified this year in June. It is public information .

The White House, when they were confronted with the fact that their accusations against me were not true said, they would "Look into that."

After attacking my honesty and integrity and suggesting I be removed from the Senate Intelligence Committee, they were unable to produce any evidence of the disclosure of classified information . I have gone to great lengths to avoid that, and I will continue.

Then on July 18, that same day, the White House took the rare step of declassifying and releasing eight pages of a 90-page top secret national intelligence estimate that was used to write the questioned portions of the State of the Union Address. Instead of putting a lid on the controversy, the document showed prewar divisions within the U.S. intelligence community that were glossed over by administration spokesmen. The State Department, for instance, termed the reports that Saddam Hussein was shopping for uranium in Africa as "highly dubious."

That is the chronology. It is an important chapter in our political history. It is an important chapter in the history of the collection and use of intelligence here in the United States.

I am glad the Senate Intelligence Committee will continue its investigation. It is my understanding the chairman and ranking Democrat have said they will call White House staffers before the committee to ask what led up to this situation and why we are in the position we are today.

I can recall times in the past when the Intelligence Committee and its members had been challenged as to whether they disclosed classified information and called on to take polygraphs for fear they may have said something that was top secret and should not be public knowledge. I understand the concern of the administration. That should be the concern of every American. We have to take care not to disclose classified information .

But I have to ask the obvious question: How can this administration declassify things, drop certain items into the press that are complimentary and positive from their point of view and get away with it and not be held to the same standard as members of the committee? When we are in a situation where we are given a body of information and draw a conclusion from that but cannot speak to that publicly, while the administration discretely drops into the public domain information they think is helpful to their side of the case, that is a one-sided argument. It does not serve this Nation well, and the administration is pushing the envelope when they do it.

I am glad the Senate Intelligence Committee is going forward. There is a lot more we need to do. I will say to my colleagues in the Senate, please do not back off from our responsibility. We have a responsibility to the people who elect us and to the American people at large to hold this administration--indeed, every administration--accountable for honesty and accuracy when they speak to the American people, particularly in areas of the discussion of intelligence information which could lead to military action which could, in fact, endanger the lives of Americans and their families. That is our most serious and sacred duty. We should not back off of it because of threats from the White House or efforts by the White House to silence us.

I yield the floor.

The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Delaware.

Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, before Senator Durbin leaves the floor, I want to say that the concerns he has raised are serious and grave. They deserve serious attention, not just of this body but of the people in this country. I thank him for bringing them to us today and join him in voicing the gravity of the situation. The kind of actions he has described, if they are true, should not be permitted. They should not be countenanced.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:45 AM
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IL to MO: My Dick is better than your Dick
"If any member of this Senate . . . questions this White House policy, raises any questions about the gathering of intelligence information or the use of it, be prepared for the worst," said Durbin, a Democrat. "The White House is going to turn to you and attack you. They are going to question your patriotism."

The senator's 45-minute denunciation comes as President Bush is under fire for a claim in his State of the Union address that Iraq had sought to obtain uranium from Africa. On Tuesday, the White House acknowledged that the CIA had sent two memos months before the speech warning that the information was not credible.
We've been over my crush on Durbin before.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:12 AM
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The Democrats' War Trap
Dick Gephardt deserves Howard Dean. In a sense, he created him.

If anyone has personified the failure of the Democratic establishment to provide the party with a distinct profile during the Bush presidency, it's Gephardt. As House Democratic leader, Gephardt clung to Bush's Iraq policy until it all but unraveled over the past month. Gephardt's endorsement last fall of the administration's war resolution effectively derailed a bipartisan effort in the Senate to require the White House to win more international backing.
Of course, at the end he ends up saying Kerry is probably the better candidate. I just don't think he can do it. I think the surgery took more out of him than he's admitting, and I don't think he can campaign as hard as Dean. That matters a lot, but no one talks about it.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 9:57 AM
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wTuesday, July 22, 2003

A conversation I will relay:

Friend: Do you want to join in the ban on French goods?
Me: No fucking way in hell. That’s ignorant.
Friend: You would be surprised on what they own. Did you know they own Universal Studios?
Me: Next we will be sending back the State of Liberty.
Friend: Oh, did you also know we officially changed French Fries to Freedom Fries?
Me: I heard about that months ago. That’s a really old story.
Friend: Well, I didn’t know. It’s funny.
Me: It’s stupid. If they can dick around and change the name of French fries, they can do something about unemployment, but here people are, without jobs. Mmm, those freedom fries sure are tasty. Lots of oil. Stupid fuckers.

posted by Violet at 8:00 PM
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Matt will find this hideously boring, but I think it's an interesting tidbit of news: What goes on behind the scenes. It's entertaining, to say the least, but admittedly useless information.

posted by Violet at 7:48 PM
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This Just In: Dick Morris is still an idiot.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 6:51 PM
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We now have pictures of Paul Krugman on vacation in France.

1. It's hip that he vacations in France.
2. His wife is hot.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 6:15 PM
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Sadaam's sons killed

Several interesting things:
1)The label is not “Operation Enduring Freedom” but a more accurate “Attack On Iraq.”
2)Everything is always “They opened fire on American forces”, not “We shot the living fuck out of them.”

I’ve been thinking on doing a writing project on how the news would handle events of the Revolution, like “Terrorist rebels dump tea into the seas”, “Protestors assaulted His Majesty’s soldiers with snowballs”, and things like that.

posted by Violet at 4:52 PM
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Gephardt: Foreign policy isn't a John Wayne movie, where we catch the bad guys, hoist a few cold ones and then everything fades to black."

posted by Violet at 4:30 PM
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Well, I just saw Baby Jessica come home on TV. Apparently they choppered her out of the well in an army helicopter. Strange, I had no idea she was still down there.

Seriously though, do you have any doubt that if this had happened to a male POW, he'd be referred to as "Private Lynch" at all times?

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 1:28 PM
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This from The Note today: Kirsten Dunst is a Dean Supporter. You care.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 12:38 PM
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Oh, this is a wicked cool electoral map.

Fuck the South. If we can get every state Gore got and pick up Ohio, we win. There are other scenarios, but I see that as the most plausible.

(The list of States that could swing the election all by themselves is actually pretty big: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia - but I think Ohio will likely go blue.)

Of course, Arizona's on the edge too, and with his harsh anti-immigration policies following 9-11, Bush hasn't kept the promises he made to the hispanic community. Of course, in about two more cycles, Texas will probably go blue too. We call that an "Electoral Lock". So cheer up, young liberals, you won't have to live in George W. Bush's America that much longer.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:52 AM
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Tuesday Krugman: Who's Unpatriotic Now?

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:18 AM
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Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman are bunched together in the top tier of Democratic presidential candidates in California, according to a new poll.

Dean was favored by 16 percent of those likely to vote in the state's Democratic primary next March, according to a poll released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Field Research Institute. He was followed closely by Kerry of Massachusetts at 15 percent and Lieberman of Connecticut at 14 percent.
Full Results

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:11 AM
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wMonday, July 21, 2003


Too thrilled to speak!

posted by Violet at 5:50 PM
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Republicans Attempt Riot Control of House Democrats

You know, there isn't much more to say then that this amused me. Then again, wierd things amuse me, but I think you'll like it too.

posted by Weston at 4:43 PM
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Saletan examines some British White Papers that Bush ought to be reading.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:56 PM
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Quote Of The Day
"We ARE the shitty Beatles." - John Linnell, They Might Be Giants

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 1:00 PM
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wSunday, July 20, 2003

Dead U.K. Weapons Adviser Was BBC Source

So, this guy who was the BBC's source of information on chemical weapons of mass distruction killed himself as he went for a walk one morning. From what i understand, he had spent a lot of time under investigation as the press and everyone else tried to find out if the British government exaggerated claims of the weapons in an attempt to get public support for a war in Iraq.

In any case, I doubt it was anything like an assassination, though the thought had crossed my mind. Of course, if two or three more weapons experts turn up toast, I figure I'll go consipiracy nut on you guys. Poor guy was probably just tired of being screwed with all the time. Still an interesting foot-note to the investigation as a whole.

In other news, Bush spouts the familiar rhetoric of war towards a host of blacklisted nations. His quote, "The Iraqi people are no longer captives in their own country,” in regards to these nations oppression of their populace makes me think that he hasn't finished taking third world countries down a peg or two. I doubt that he'd have time to muster support for a second war though, or finish it, but if he gets re-elected I'd bet you money that we end up attacking Iran. I read in the paper the other day that Bush was attempting to get the U.N. Security Council allow for an investigation to find Iran's weapons of mass distruction, and I don't doubt that we'd end up doing this in the same way, even if we don't have the same kind of hate towrds Iran that we did of Saddam.

Shit, I'm willing to bet that most people don't even know the difference. Like Toby Keith. What a prick.

posted by Weston at 9:57 AM
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wSaturday, July 19, 2003

Threat rating: extremely low. You may think you can
subvert the government, but if you should try
you will be smited mightily because God likes
us best.

What threat to the Bush administration are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Talk about on topic................

Which threat are you?

posted by Andrew at 2:15 AM
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wFriday, July 18, 2003

Can someone tell me the terms of the settlement Shatner reached with his ex-wife regarding packaging horse semen?

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:05 PM
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Blair Speech

Hey, I still disagree with him, but it was a good speech, so find a way to watch it (I saw it on C-Span last night.)

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:04 PM
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Ho-lee shit

"I hate being right all the time." - Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

You do recall me bitching every so often about Cheney's Energy Documents? The ones I was sure told the tale of the administrations ties to Enron, and it's culpability in helping to exacerbate the California Energy Crisis? The truth is much, much worse.
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse, said today that documents turned over by the Commerce Department, under court order as a result of Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as 2 charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.” The documents, which are dated March 2001, are available on the Internet at: www.JudicialWatch.org.
Full Story

And in case you feel compelled to STILL defend the administration - let's not forget that this energy comission was supposed to be finding ways to explore energy solutions for America. Find me Occam's Razor and shave off an answer to the question - what the fuck are the Iraqi oil fields doing in that analysis.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:24 AM
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T.G.I.Krugman: Passing It Along

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 9:27 AM
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Mech Smash!

The other day, I was talking to Violet, who was talking about the addition of pop-culture to this, which she considered a primarily political blog. Of course, it's a dual-function blog though, which she remembered shortly before I commented that there wasn't as much popular culture as maybe there ought to be on here.
Interestingly enough, I've never been interested in pop-culture as much as I've been interested in geek culture, which may explain my incredible love of giant robots. this article from Kuro5hin explains a phenomenon that plagued me for many, many years before I managed to forget it - something I call Mechwarrior.

Large machines aren't anything new, but the American envisioned war machines from Mechwarrior are very different from the machines of Japanese animation. Where as the latter are huge but flexible and nearly human like in proportion and design, the mechs of American gaming and television are more like mobile weapons platforms on legs - more flexible and powerful then tanks, perhaps, but limited by terrain and weight in a way that no Japanese machine would ever admit to. I spent most of my time designing weapons systems, cockpits, and everything else for these. In any case, if you're interested in the Mechwarrior history like I've been, you might want to try the above link.

It's my opinion that large machines blowing up cities and each other has reached saturation of the mass media enough for me to post it here.

posted by Weston at 9:12 AM
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wThursday, July 17, 2003

Some more women's/religious history: Susan B. Anthony was unitarian. If you're not aware, unitarian is the church I'm interested in joining when I get to Chicago. They're also very open to homosexuality, which is very rare among Christian religions.

posted by Violet at 7:59 PM
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You'll be hearing my name a lot soon.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 4:27 PM
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"Nobody died when Clinton lied."

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:08 PM
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Durbin says W.House pushed for disputed Iraq charge
A Democratic senator charged on Thursday that CIA Director George Tenet had told members of Congress that a White House official had insisted on including a disputed allegation about Saddam Hussein's push for a nuclear weapon in a presidential speech.

The allegation by Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin was quickly denounced by White House spokesman Scott McClellan, who called it "nonsense" in the latest cross-fire between the Republican White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill over the issue.

Durbin told ABC's "Good Morning America" program that Tenet had told the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed-door session on Wednesday that a White House official had pushed for including a line about Iraq's attempt to get uranium from Africa in President George W. Bush's State of the Union speech last January.

"He certainly told us who the person was who was insistent on putting this language in which the CIA knew to be incredible, this language about the uranium shipment from Africa. And there there was this negotiation between the White House and the CIA about just how far you could go and be close to the truth," Durbin said.

McClellan denied the charge and pointed out that Durbin opposed the war.

"I think that characterization is nonsense. It's not surprising coming from someone who is in a rather small minority in Congress that did not support the action that we took," he said.
I voted for Dick Durbin, that makes me cool. He's definitely one of my favorite Senators I like watching on C-Span (Feingold, Kennedy, Kerry, McCain, Harkin, Boxer, and Byrd being the others...)

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:53 AM
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Like a Rock Star

I am sooo going to Chicago.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:03 AM
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wWednesday, July 16, 2003

Hey, Ruth Dwyer gave Bush $150 for his campaign.

She's the chick that Dean smashed the last two times he was elected in Vermont.

Anywho, the Bush Donor Lookup is fun. Know anyone who gave to his campaign? You can find them there.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:43 PM
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I am a firm believer in preventative medical behavior!

Masturbating Lowers Prostate Cancer Risk - Study
Australian scientists have shown that the more men masturbate between the ages of 20 and 50, the less likely they are to develop the disease that kills more than half a million men each year.

They suspect that frequent ejaculation has a protective effect against the cancer because it prevents dangerous carcinogens from building up in the gland.
Joycelyn Elders was a visionary before her time...

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:11 PM
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As you'll no doubt recall, Gary Trudeau was my favorite Dean contributor from Quarter One (and he's been making an even bigger contribution in the strip the past few weeks). And for Quarter Two? How about Robbin Williams?

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:03 PM
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Some thoughts...

I'd sure as hell pull the lever to decapitate Gray Davis. Man, we ought to have recalls more often, this is great! As Arnold continues to flirt with the idea of running for Governor, liberals in California are waxing postmodern, and thinking of getting another accented candidate to run - Arianna Huffington.

He's from Austria, she's from Greece - how typically Californian would it be if the two top contenders are rich immigrants?

And just as big, tough, stupid Schwarzenegger is a perfect representative of the Republican party, sassy, classy, working mom Arianna would be a great standard-bearer for progressives (she's a registered independent).

California has a long history of providing this country with entertainment, it's nice to see that tradition continue.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:09 AM
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Quote Of The Day
"The country right now is at war, our economy is bad, 455 billion dollar deficit, and the Democrats are saying: 'How are we going to beat this guy?'"
- David Letterman, last night

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:58 AM
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So. Many. Jokes.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:37 AM
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wTuesday, July 15, 2003

Want to be really disturbed?

Like, really, really, really messed up?

Click here.

(via Not Geniuses, a blog you should read.)

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 5:01 PM
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Ex-Inspector's Book Attacks Bush, U.N.
Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter released a new book, accusing President Bush of illegally attacking Iraq and calling for "regime change" in the United States at the next election.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:28 PM
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Good Questions
Lo que quiero saber es porqué los republicanos creen que merecen el
voto latino si no han hecho nada por esta comunidad.

Lo que quiero saber es porqué no tenemos asistencia médica para cada
hombre, mujer, y niño, incluyendo a los hijos de los inmigrantes.

Lo que quiero saber es porqué la gente que trabajan duro durante varios
años, que pagan sus impuestos y contribuyen a la sociedad americana -
no pueden ser reconocidos como parte de nuestro país.

Lo que quiero saber es porqué este presidente, que hizo su campaña
basado en la unidad, no en la división, durante toda su administración
ha tratado de dividirnos por raza, por etnia, por género, y por

Soy Howard Dean - represento a la parte Democrática del Partido
Demócrata - y durante mi presidencia me dedicaré a lograr nuestra
unión - la de Latinos, negros, blancos, hombres y mujeres - todos,
porque en los Estados Unidos de America, somos todos iguales.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 1:20 PM
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What is up with Ohio, is there something in the water there? See Kucinich, See Springer, See Lou.

Ohio: land of freaks with political views I find strangely appealing.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 12:47 PM
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The Wit Of Gibson
I'd link directly if it the page wasn't so long.

Tuesday, July 1st, 2003
posted 12:04 PM

Bear makes the point that I don't much abide by those rules myself. This occurred to me also, shortly after I posted them.

I think the new usage that has struck me as most barbarous, in Orwell's sense, in my lifetime, has been the expression "politically correct".

I can actually remember the very first time I heard it. In Seattle, as it happened. I assumed that the person who'd used it was (1) using it entirely ironically, and (2) having as I thought coined it just then, was far cleverer, and funnier, than I'd previously given him credit for. My horror, subsequently, at discovering that his usage was entirely irony-free, was...Orwellian.

I suppose, in the meantime, that those people capable of using it without irony have pretty much ceased to use it (though not, I'd guess, to think it).

It bothered me more, even, than that more actively barbarous late 20th-century expression, "ethnic cleansing", probably because I've never met anyone who would admit to being in favor of...actually I don't like to use this phrase, because it seems so inherently, er, politically incorrect.


Earliest experience of "PC". I'd guess late Eighties, for me.

posted by Weston at 12:46 PM
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Quote Of The Day
"America's health care system is second only to Japan ... Canada, Sweden, Great Britain ... well, all of Europe. But you can thank your lucky stars we don't live in Paraquay!"
-- Homer Simpson

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 12:12 PM
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Geeks For Dean

Oh, the giggles:

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:43 AM
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Bad News for Dick and Joe

Gephardt falls far short of fund-raising goal with $3.87 million

Internal battle leads to new finance director for Lieberman

Neither of them are approaching the "throw in the towel" stage yet, but they certainly aren't picking up any steam.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:34 AM
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Remember, that's the deficit, not the debt. And it doesn't include the costs of the Iraq occupation, which is going to run somewhere around four billion a month. By the way, latest census estimates put our population at a little under three hundred thousand people. I'm sure you kids can use a calculator to see how much we each owe on this .

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:16 AM
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So I'm reading that some of Gray Davis's supporters are filing a legal challenge to the recall. I've just got one question...

Davis has supporters?

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:51 AM
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Return of the Jedi

Or, at least, the Krugman: Pattern of Corruption

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:19 AM
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wMonday, July 14, 2003

End of an Era
Mokhiber: Ari, in the 2002 election campaign, the Republican Party took in $7.2 million from convicted criminals. Is the President okay with his party taking millions of dollars from convicted criminals? Ari

Ari Fleischer: I have no idea what you are referring to -

Mokhiber: I'm referring to, let me tell you -

Ari Fleischer: Obviously, if money is received - both parties from people who are later found out to be people who shouldn't be giving money - then it gets returned.

Mokhiber: These are actually major corporations convicted of crimes. ADM gave $1.7 million, Pfizer $1.1 million, Chevron $875,000. Is the President okay with those companies giving direct contributions to the Republican Party after being convicted of crimes?

Ari Fleischer: Russell, as you know, the Presidential campaign takes no money from corporations.

Mokhiber: I'm talking about the party.

Ari Fleischer: Well, you'll have to address your questions to the party.

Mokhiber: Well, as the titular head of the party, is he okay with the party taking money from convicted criminals?

Ari Fleischer: I don't know what information you have where you can that this corporation is a criminal.

Mokhiber: Convicted - they pled guilty to crimes.

Ari Fleischer: Were the crimes of such a nature that they are no longer in existence?

Mokhiber: ADM pled guilty to one of the most massive antitrust crimes and paid a $100 million fine.

Ari Fleischer: I think you need to address any questions about specific companies with the specifics in mind, and if that company is still doing business and is still in operation, that means it is still in operation with the law, and every case is individual, and the party decides about whether the money needs to be returned or not. But I don't have specifics.

Mokhiber: One follow-up.

Ari Fleischer: Go ahead, Russell.

Mokhiber: One follow up. It's actually a broad philosophical question. Is the President okay with taking money from convicted criminals?

Ari Fleischer: I informed you that the President does not take money from corporations.

Mokhiber: No, I'm talking about - as titular head of the party, is he okay with the party taking money from convicted criminals. For example, in Enron -

Ari Fleischer: I just have to differ with your notion that because a company has been fined -

Mokhiber: No, they pled guilty to crimes. They pled guilty to crimes.

Ari Fleischer: Even so - I don't know what specifics you are referring to - that that company is a convicted criminal.

Mokhiber: If you plead guilty to a crime, you are a criminal.

Ari Fleischer: Does that mean that they need to go out of business?

Mokhiber: I'm asking - should the Republican Party take money from convicted criminals?

Ari Fleischer: You need to address your question to the Republican Party.

Mokhiber: But he's the titular head of the party.

Ari Fleischer: And the titular head of the party refers you to the party.

Today was Ari's last day. Kinda sad, isn't it? Rats leaving a sinking ship...

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 4:53 PM
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Grrr. Grrr.

The Only Way Howard Dean Won't Be the Democratic Nominee

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 4:45 PM
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Quote Of The Day
"Are more people going to die? You bet!"

- Donald Rumsfeld, July 13

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 3:28 PM
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Bush's Data Dump
The Bush administration is finally facing tough questions about its selective use of intelligence in selling war with Iraq. But Americans shouldn't just be skeptical of what the president says about WMD. They should be skeptical of what he says about GDP. In economic policy even more than in war policy, the Bushies have successfully suppressed, manipulated, and withheld evidence to serve their policy purposes.
I've got a lot of tough questions for any conservative who claims to understand the economy...

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:54 AM
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Keller named NYTimes Executive Editor.

I think I approve, I'm going to have to go check in with the Liberal Hive-Mind before I can be certain though. I like the guy's columns, but I don't know his history.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:40 AM
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Ignore Pollsters - Just Tell The Truth
These days, my name is back in the news. I'm being held up as some kind of sober warning to Democratic candidates. Don't be another George McGovern, the warning goes. Don't be too liberal. Don't be too outspoken. Watch what you say and play to the middle, so that you don't end up losing 49 states, too.

It may not surprise you that I regard this as political baloney. I said exactly what I believed in 1972. I told the truth while my opponent betrayed the American public and violated the law repeatedly, engaging in campaign finance dishonesty and illegal wiretapping, invading the confidential files of a doctor, urging the CIA to halt an FBI investigation — to say nothing of running unethical and unlimited campaign advertising that distorted my positions on major issues. These kinds of tactics got him elected — but they also made him the only president in our history forced to resign in disgrace.
Man, I love George McGovern.


posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:13 AM
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wSunday, July 13, 2003

It's kind of doubtful that they'll go all out, but in the city that I remember most as winning the "City Most Likely to Have a Stick Up It's Arse" award, any loosening is an improvement. They are, in fact, allowing bungee jumping in an attempt to seem more relaxed.

"In fact, so changed is our mind-set that we will even allow reverse bungee." said Prime Minister Oh Choke Tong.

I think the real question, for me is, is Singapore just what we need? I hate the idea of a lack of freedom so intense that I would, until just last week, need to buy black-market chewing gum. Yet, Singapore holds the highest standard of living in all of Southeast Asia, and to people looking to scale back crime and 'inappropriate activities', this seems like a likely rolemodel. To be honest, I've really got no idea how they maintain this kind of lifestlye so I don't know how it works, but I don't think I would like living there.

I'm a little curious - what do you people think?

Will Singapore Really Loosen Up?

posted by Weston at 10:46 PM
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wFriday, July 11, 2003

After long reflection, I've decided that the hottest woman in the Senate is Maria Cantwell (D-WA). More as this develops.

Update: Without a doubt, Mary Bono (R-CA) claims the honor in the House.

...yeah, I think I'm going to go home now.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 3:55 PM
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Anybody out there actually think Steel Tariffs are a good idea?

Neither does the WTO.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:24 PM
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The Kerry/Lennon photo making its way onto Kerry fliers in New York. As The Note is fond of pointing out, Kerry's life in pictures resembles Forrest Gump's.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:22 PM
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wThursday, July 10, 2003

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 4:12 PM
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Santorum's got a column in USA Today...err, today. I couldn't be bothered to read the whole thing, but there's a link if you're a braver soul than I.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 3:46 PM
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Whoa, go read the front page of the Dean site. He just came out swinging. (Don't forget to check out the timeline, either.)

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 2:38 PM
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Show Me Dean Fundraiser

August 15th, conference call with the Gov just for St. Louis folks.

Fifty bucks a head, $35 for students and old folks. I just signed up.

Yeah, that lone $50 on the contribution page is mine, baby!

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 1:50 PM
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Man, this recall shit in California is Fuuuuuuunny. You really gotta take a look at some of these guys, they're all idiots. Maybe sometime soon I'll put together a brief summary of the players.

And to think back in '99 I thought Davis should've gotten the VP slot with Gore...

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:13 AM
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Warm Reception

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:01 AM
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Shows what they know! David Bowie would disagree...

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:59 AM
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The Reunion Upon a Hill
After five years of family reunions, relations between the two sides of Jefferson's extended family have gone from bad to worse.
If we want to talk about racism, let's talk about real racism, mkay?

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 9:49 AM
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wWednesday, July 09, 2003

Hey, here's a favorite topic of mine, Racism.

The Media Action Network for Asian Americans is irritated because the father character of Lucy Liu in the new Charlie's Angels movie is white when "clearly she is not."

"Lucy Liu is clearly Asian, predominately Asian at the very least, but she is definitely not half," MANAA says. "To now imply that she’s half Asian belittles the pleasure and relief Asian Americans and fair-minded audiences had when they saw an Asian woman standing up for justice and overcoming great obstacles."

MANAA claims to have gotten an early copy of the movie script in which Liu’s father was Chinese and her mother Jewish. They apparently liked this mix, praising it as a "very unique bi-racial couple that is rarely seen in film," but took offense at the final version in which John Cleese play’s Liu’s father and a voiceless extra plays her Chinese mother.

And, while we're on the subjet of Racism, let me combine that topic with the recent commotion on Re-Education Camps. Click here and you'll see an article I find amusing and scary at the same time.

posted by Andrew at 6:07 PM
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(I have no spellcheck where I'm at, but this is not a serious article, anyway ^^)
"See, what we need to do is send the Palestines to France, and the French to Isreal. The Isrealies like to fight, and the French like to surrender. It's a winning combination!"

--from last night's Conan

posted by Violet at 2:39 PM
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Some Comments and an Open Question

First off, I'll try to check the spelling of this post, but I can't exactly run spell check, considering my computer has been on the fritz and I don't have Word or any program like it. If you have serious problems, take the post and run it through word, then edit it yourself. I'd like to, but I don't know how bad my gammer/spelling will be. ^.-

Now for the my comments, mostly concerning the Tranquility Bay post and subsequent discussion. A couple of the responses tended to surprise or anger me a bit, and I find the whole matter important enough to put on a main post. First of all, I posted the article not to start a 'crusade', as Matt so eloquently put it, but to consider the implications of this island camp and people's perception of it. Now, while I have a lot of thoughts about that in particular, what I'm concerned with is the fact that it was blown off as if it were not important in the slightest.

Naturally, those of you who blew it off will tell me that that's the point, that it's not important. Matt said "mounting a crusade for better treatment of delinquent rich kids by a private offshore company ain't my bag. Especially when they have the parents full consent." Then you go on to say that you're more interested in Civil Rights. I suppose that rich people don't have any rights? These children, many of whom have done nothing seriously wrong, are being exposed to the same kinds of tactics that frighten us when we read "1984" or "A Clockwork Orange". Of course, their parents say it's ok, so it's alright to take them from their home in the middle of the night, fly them to a different country, and torture them until they act 'properly'. And of course, it's foolish to worry that the U.S. is ok about this.

Perhaps this isn't what you meant, but your condescending tone angers me, and quite honestly, I've noticed that if you didn't post it or it doesn't directly connect to one of your pet causes, it's not important. In the past, you've told me that the things I think or post really arn't interesting or important enough for you to bother reading. It makes me wonder why I bother to post here at all. Furthermore, the comment "And really, Nick, when did you become a crusader? I thought you were a Republican." is a little juvenile, in my opinion. What you're saying, in effect, is that Nick's worries about the inhumane treatment of others don't matter or count for anything because he's a Republican. Quite frankly, I worry that you've wrapped yourself in your ideology so tight that you refuse to listen to others because of a title. How close minded...

And Violet, your "Fuck you, and stop putting words in my mouth." ? Very grown up of you. When I told you about this, and you blew me off, telling me that you're not surprised and that it wasn't worth listening to? Perhaps you didn't say 'naive' right out, but your concept that this wasn't worth listening to, even if I worried about it a bit struck me that you thought me very naive for worrying about something like this. I acknowledged right after that I was wrong though, when you said that wasn't the case, so how about a big "Fuck you" right back for not listening to the rest of the conversation after you wrote me off. I never gave you a "Shut up, or I'll kill you look", though I was surprised. Your knee-jerk reaction has surprised and hurt me, and to be honest, the only 'opposing view' you ever bothered to bring up was "I don't care." Not much of an opinion from where I'm sitting. Finally, don't like internet petitions? Don't sign them. Maybe you don't think they accomplish anything, but it's a little silly for you to write eight lines about how stupid they are.

Now, seriously, I'm not trying to piss anyone off by writing this, but I thought all of the replies required an answer and one large enough to list all of my thoughts. I don't doubt maybe Violet will become angry, even if that isn't my intention, but my point is that both of you were so closed off to a discussion that wasn't one of your little pet concepts that it wasn't worth your time to even consider the ramifications of an institution like this. When I wanted to discuss it, you said it was unimportant. Maybe you still don't care what I think, but, if that's the case, let me know so I can leave and stop cluttering up your space.

Update: Spell-checked by my bad ass. - Matt

posted by Weston at 1:46 PM
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Quote of The Day
Do we believe in an America where the family you're born into controls your destiny? Our ancestors left a place of princes and paupers and masters and servants. This is not our America. What we believe [is that] wherever you live and whoever your family is, and whatever the color of your skin is, if you're willing to work hard, if you're willing to take responsibility, you ought to be able to go as far as your God-given talents and hard work will take you.
- Sen. John Edwards
Just so you know, I like Edwards too. He's the son of a mill worker! But the boy needs to stay in Congress a few more years.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 12:16 PM
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Bush Trip Round-Up

Before he even showed up:

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

I wonder why he doesn't do as much foreign travel as Clinton?

And check out this article comparing Bush's trip with Clinton's.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:57 AM
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How To Make Friends
On Goree Island, Bush Visit Sparks Anger

GOREE ISLAND, Senegal (Reuters) - President Bush made an eloquent speech but did not win many friends during his brief visit to Goree Island off Senegal on Tuesday.

"We are very angry. We didn't even see him," said Fatou N'diaye, a necklace seller watching dignitaries file past to return to the mainland at the end of Bush's tour.

N'diaye and other residents of Goree, site of a famous slave trading station, said they had been taken to a football ground on the other side of the quaint island at 6 a.m. and told to wait there until Bush had departed, around midday.

Bush came to Goree to tour the red-brick Slave House, where Africans were kept in shackles before being shipped across a perilous sea to a lifetime of servitude.

He then gave an eloquent speech about the horrors of slavery, standing at a podium under a sizzling sun near a red-stone museum, topped by cannon pointing out to the sea.

The cooped-up residents were not impressed.

"It's slavery all over again," fumed one father-of-four, who did not want to give his name. "It's humiliating. The island was deserted."

White House officials said the decision to remove the locals was taken by Senegalese authorities. But there was no doubt who the residents blamed.

"We never want to see him come here again," said N'diaye, hiking her loose gown onto her shoulders with a frown.

As the sun rose over Goree before Bush's arrival, the only people to be seen on the main beach were U.S. officials and secret service agents. Frogmen swam through the shallows and hoisted themselves up to peer into brightly painted pirogues.

Normally, the island teems with tourists, Senegal's ubiquitous traders, hawkers of cheap African art, photographers offering to take pictures and all the expected trappings of a tourist hot-spot in one of the world's poorest countries.

On Tuesday, shutters on the yellow and red colonial-style houses remained shut. The cafes were closed and the narrow pier deserted, apart from security agents manning a metal detector, near the sandy beach. A gunship patrolled offshore.

"We understand that you have to have security measures, since September 11, but to dump us in another place...? We had to leave at 6 a.m. I didn't have time to bathe, and the bread did not arrive," the father-of-four said.

"We were shut up like sheep," said 15-year-old Mamadou.

Many residents compared Bush's hour-long visit unfavorably to the island tour by former President Bill Clinton in 1998.

"When Clinton came, he shook hands, people danced," said former Mayor Urbain Alexandre Diagne.

As the Bush roadtrip moved on, Goree was returning to normal with children once again diving into the shallows and clambering over the now inoffensive pirogues.
So why isn't every fucking story I hear about this start out "Locals locked up for Bush Photo-op in Senegal?" This is really disgusting, more than the usual disgusting I hear about Bush, this is just plain ugly. But note the quote at the end and don't believe what the thugs in power want you to - people worldwide aren't Anti-American, they're Anti-Bush.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:50 AM
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Am I the only one who doesn't care that Britney isn't a virgin?

Why was that Yahoo!'s third headline last night when I got home?

Why do I keep hearing about it today? How's Scott Petersen doing?

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 10:57 AM
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wTuesday, July 08, 2003

The winner of the "We Already Fucking Knew That, Dumbass" award

posted by Violet at 6:20 PM
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Gays Win The Numbers Game
Democracy is (bleeding obvious alert) a numbers game. I think it's worth wondering whether gay people in this country actually outnumber practising members of the Church of England. In 2001, the average Sunday attendance of church or cathedral worship was 1 million, which is 1.7% of the population. Of course, figures swell enormously on Christmas Eve, but those extra yuletide churchgoers are to the regular lot what people who get off with their same-sex friend for a bet at a Christmas party are to the gay community - not terrifically important.

A national survey of sexual attitudes and behaviour, undertaken in 1990, found that 1.4% of men had had a male partner in the last five years, while 0.6% of women had had a female one. However, when the survey was conducted again 10 years later, excluding people over 45, it found that 2.6% of men and women had had a same-sex partner in the past five years.

So, even if you were to assume that some of those partnerships had expired, to be replaced by heterosexual ones (this would count as the Christmas audience, I suppose), you're still left with the C of E commanding fewer adherents, and you are also faced with the more important truth that churchgoers are an ageing population, whereas gay people are not.
At least in Britain, there appear to be more homosexuals than practicing Christians. And reading op-ed columns not meant for an American audience is fun.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:41 AM
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Classy Dame Sues The Bastards
A former Upstate radio personality says she was fired for opposing the U.S. invasion of Iraq, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

Roxanne Cordonier, who went by the name Roxanne Walker on the air at WMYI-FM/MY 102.5 in Greenville, alleges she was belittled, reprimanded and ultimately fired on April 17 for disagreeing with her co-hosts on the "Love and Hudson" show.

WMYI, its parent company Clear Channel Communications, Bill McMartin, the company's regional vice president and general manager and Greg McKinney, station program director, are all named as defendants in the suit.

A spokeswoman for San Antonio-based Clear Channel said the company does not comment on pending lawsuits. McMartin and McKinney could not be reached for comment.

The suit alleges that co-hosts Herriott Clarkson Mungo III, also known as Bill Love, and Hayden Hudson, also known as Howard Hudson, encouraged Cordonier to join their pro-war discussions regarding the invasion of Iraq.

The conversations became contentious on several occasions and management's tolerance for opinions decreased as war drew closer, the suit alleges. The suit also alleges that Love and Hudson belittled her both on and off the air because of her political beliefs.

"I went through hell," Cordonier told The Greenville News Monday. "I was forced out because I would not comply with their orders to be silent."

Cordonier alleges in the suit that some of the Clear Channel officers and directors have financial ties and are loyal to President Bush and his policies. It alleges that Cordonier was forced to participate in a pro-war rally.

The suit cites a state law that declares a person cannot be fired because of political opinions.

Cordonier, who was named the 2002 Radio Personality of the Year by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, said she believes it's an employer's right to broadcast what it wants, but that it shouldn't stifle opposing views. "Either don't talk about it at all or make it fair," she said.
Yet another argument against Tort Reform. =)

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:16 AM
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Hmm, so I was reminded of something by today's news...
"This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative."
- Ron Ziegler, Nixon Press Secretary, 1973

Shadows of the past, Ari.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 9:49 AM
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WASHINGTON – Howard Dean today became the first 2004 presidential candidate to be declared eligible by the Federal Election Commission to receive federal matching funds. Dean is seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2004.
Remember, every dollar you give up to $250 can be matched.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 9:37 AM
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Dean's Grass-Roots Cash Cow
Howard Dean has issued a virtual rebuke to Democrats who can't stop complaining about how difficult it will be to raise money under the reformed campaign finance system.

The message: Don't whine. Organize.
While political strategists keep wondering how they can raise money like Dean, they're missing a larger point. A candidate who raises mainly small donations from lots of people is free to act in the public interest, while still being viable.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 9:13 AM
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