June 21, 2008

‘Liberal’ Hollywood doesn’t always want to be green

Like Pierce Brosnan, sniffing at the idea of limiting his next domicile to 2,400 square feet in order to get LEED certification.

Or other people complaining because LEED is too “inflexible.”

(Obviously, people like you complainers would cheat if LEED were more flexible, which is why it needs to be “rigidly honest,” not “inflexible.”)

Besides that, LEED has four certification levels. If you don’t want to jump through all the hoops, fine, just don’t shoot for platinum-level recognition.

That’s the problem with actors. Due to what they do for a living, most of them wouldn’t recognize hypocrisy if it bit them in the ass. And, that’s part of why many liberal actors are such foot-in-mouth types when it comes to getting involved with politics.

David Broder joins Bob Woodward on hypocrisy hot seat

Earlier today, I blogged about Bob Woodward, BUCKraker and hypocrite. Woody’s hypocrisy included ignoring his boss Ben Bradlee’s criticism.

Apparently, David Broder doesn’t listen to his old boss either.

No wonder Broder criticized Bill Clinton for allegedly not respecting D.C.; the “dean of the press corps” is up to his unethical eyeballs in public speaking hock to D.C. big money.

And, Ken Silverstein cites specific examples where Broder speeches, what they were about, and who paid for them, appear to have influenced subsequent columns.

Update: Ken Silversteinreports that Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell is giving both Woody and Broder a slap on the wrist, while promising “further investigation.” Why does this sound like the Bush Administration?

Bob Woodward – buckraker and hypocrite

Not muckraker but buckraker. No wonder Woody has wanted that quasi-independent editorial stance vis-à-vis the WaPost all these years. Not only has it let him write new books in advance as serialized pre-releases in the paper, it’s insulated his buckraking from Ben Bradlee criticism.

And, Bobby W. doesn’t come cheap. Ken Silverstein says he makes $30-$50,000 every time he opens his mouth on a dais.

Woodward, meanwhile, tries to halowash (my term for charity-focused whitewashing) his grubby fingers and image:
In a 1996 Frontline interview, Woodward said he gave all of his lecture money to charity, the charity in question being a foundation run by him and his wife, the Woodward Walsh Foundation. Woodward seems to have greatly increased his speaking appearances in recent years, which probably helps explain why his foundation’s assets have soared, from assets of $347,602 in 2000 to about $1.8 million last year.

Yet the foundation doesn’t seem to do much genuine charitable work. Last year it doled out a meager $17,555 in grants. Over recent years more than half of the foundation’s money went to Sidwell Friends, one of the richest private schools in Washington (with a reported endowment of over $30 million) that caters primarily to the children of the local elite (like Woodward’s children). Meanwhile, the foundation has also supported needy causes like “Citizens for Georgetown Trees,” which prettifies Woodward’s neighborhood, the “Little Folks Nursery School” (“For the 2007-2008 school year, the tuition is: For morning only–$12,150. For the full day–$14,900”), and In Town Playgroup, a private daycare outfit.

Beyond that, Woodward giving the money to charity doesn’t take full account of how he profits from the speeches.

First, he gets a tax deduction for all these charitable contributions. So, actually, he gets back one-third the value of his charitable donations.

Second, I’m sure he’s paid airfare, motel, etc. to show up at these places. He’s not donating a cash equivalent of that to charity, is he? Nor the frequent flier miles he’s racking up, assuming he buys his own flights and then gets reimbursed.

Third, what if he takes advantage of corporate largesse to get comped an extra night’s lodging by the organization to whom he is speaking, or by the hotel chain, and takes a little vacation time?

So, to sum up, his charitable donations actually only cost him about 67 cents on the dollar, they help him lower the cost of his kids’ education and boost his property values, he’s not donating everything to charity anyway and he’s probably taking some freebie vacations in there somewhere.

In addition, as Silverstein hints, other people at some of Woody’s speaking gigs are the type of people he used to investigate for their financial dealings.

And, Woody’s suck-up-itis shouldn’t be surprising anyway.

Update: Ken Silverstein reports that Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell is giving both Woody and Broder a slap on the wrist, while promising “further investigation.” Why does this sound like the Bush Administration?

Green Party Prez candidates in radio debate

With perfect timing after Obama the sellout, Green Party presidential candidates will debate on the radio, streamed at BlogTalkRadio from 7-8:30 p.m Central time tonight.

And, yes, Texans, even though the Green Party failed in its ballot access drive, (and deservedly so for lack of organization, at least from what I could tell about Dallas Greens), you can still write in the eventual Green Party presidential nominee by name in November.

Chinese found guilty of dumping steel pipe

The Chinese have been found guilty of dumping steel pipe in a case brought against the country by six pipemakers and the Steelworkers union. The International Trade Commission ruled unanimously in favor, which opens the door for a variety of anti-dumping penalties of up to 701 percent should be imposed on Chinese imports of circular welded pipe, which is used in a variety of construction jobs, such as home plumbing and sprinkler systems.

I say “should be,” as opposed to the original story saying “will be,” as you never know with the Bush Administration, which had to be pushed and prodded for years before it would agree to officially treat China as a market economy subject to sanctions for violating trade agreements.
The pipe case is the first to clear all the government hurdles for the tariffs to go into effect. Last year, the Commerce Department imposed penalty tariffs on imports of Chinese glossy paper, but the trade body blocked the tariffs by ruling that the domestic industry had not proven it was being materially harmed by the imports.

Some Congressional Democrats are talking about making it easier to file similar such suits.

Gitmo habeas calls BushCo cases bluff

So, the Bush Administration wants to rewrite the cases against Guantanamo Bay detainees:
At a closed-door meeting with judges and defense attorneys this week, government lawyers said they needed time to add new evidence and make other changes to evidentiary documents known as “factual returns.”

Sounds like “factual returns” is the government oxymoron of the week, if not decade.

United is determined to piss off business travelers

Checked bag fees and continued price hikes aren’t enough. Starting in October, it’s minimum stay requirements.

Details of the length of the stay required depend on destination, length of trip and ticket price.

Will other legacy airlines follow suit?

The hype about hydrogen — Honda FCX Clarity

Couldn’t say it better myself about Honda’s whiz-bang marketing vs, reality, but the hydrogen car is still basically all hat, no cattle, as far as having any real-world impact.
I woke one day this week to find the future had arrived. Honda had made the hydrogen car a reality through its FCX Clarity. I yawned and went back to bed. Nothing had really changed. Hydrogen cars were still an appealing fantasy, a mirage that recedes just when it seems within reach.

And …
If you live outside of California, you will likely never see an FCX Clarity on the road.

Writer Lawrence Ullrich then applies the coupe de grace, saying Honda isn’t building this car to actually do anything about either global warming or Peak Oil.

Rather?

It’s all about the greenwash.

Honda’s U.S. R&D chief says mass market fuel-cell cars are at least a decade away.

June 20, 2008

RIP civil liberties – with House roll call of surprising turncoats

The Turncoat Yeas?

Topped by the Turncoat-in-Chief, Passive Pelosi™. And followed, among others, by her loyal lieutenant John Murtha.

Not even close, overall, with many, many Democratic “cavers” in a 293-129 vote.

Call it a “supercave,” in fact, if Kit Bond likes it this much:
“I think the White House got a better deal than they even they had hoped to get.”

And TPM has an inaccurate headline: Only SOME Dems “vented.” About 45 percent of Democrats crossed the aisle, 105 in all, with just one Republican, Illinois’ Timothy Johnson, joining the 128 Democrats in opposition.

Among Texas Democrats, locally, Eddie Bernice Johnson voted no. Turncoats include Silvestre Reyes, of course, Nick Lampson, Chet Edwards, Al Green, Gene Green and Ruben Hinojosa. (More below on the surprising, even shocking, amount of turncoats in the Congressional Black Caucus.)

Nationally, more surprising turncoat Dems include Norm Dicks, Jane Harman, Colorado’s Mark Udall, Bucks County, Pa. freshman Patrick Murphy, who I had hoped wouldn’t be that much of a Blug Dog type, and Steny Hoyer, refuting Glenn Greenwald’s alleged insider news that Steny would be hypocritical enough to vote against it after pushing for it.

Also, stalwart black Democrats and Congressional Black Caucus members like Jim Clymer, Alcee Hastings, Sanford Bishop, Corrine Brown, G.K. Butterfield, Emanuel Cleaver, Artur Davis, Gregory Meeks, Laura Richardson and Bennie Thompson, who should know better based on government spying on Martin Luther King, if nothing else, were also turncoats. All told, about 25 percent of the CBC caved.

Even the Congressional Progressive Caucus had a few defectors. They include Brown and Richardson from the CBC, and Luis Guitierrez of Illinois.

Here’s the roll call.

And Obama is OK with the vote.

Then, to top it all off, Dems send out a fundraising e-mail Friday afternoon.

The creationist brand – literally – for eighth graders in public school


An Ohio public school teacher and classroom creationist indoctrinator stands accused of branding crosses on students’ arms as well as openly displaying a Bible in the classroom. One family is suing both John Freshwater and his school district, Mount Vernon.
Eighth-graders who were taught by John Freshwater frequently had to be re-taught in high school what they were supposed to have learned in Freshwater’s class, according to outside investigators hired by the district.

Given that the school district had ordered Freshwater to remove the Bible from his desk once, and he didn’t, then got a second order, and ditto with his teaching of creationism and intelligent design, I hope the district, as well as Freshwater, gets its ass sued off. I also hope the suit gets expanded to name Freshwater’s principal and superintendent, and the Mount Vernon School Board trustees, all individually by name, in the lawsuit. That will help stop crap like this:
Today, the family’s attorney, Jessica Philemond, said it was unfortunate that the school district didn’t do anything sooner to stop Freshwater.

“These concerns had been going on for at least 11 years and the school had not done anything,” she said.

Sue away and expand that suit.

The utter repugnance of House Democrats to ask for money

The very afternoon after the Nancy Pelosi-led FISA cave, just after Obama publicly supported the sellout, a new fundraising e-mail was sent out over Passive Pelosi™’s signature.
As Speaker, I can tell you that we need a Democrat in the White House and a strong Democratic majority in Congress to drive change forward. Our June 30th FEC deadline is vital to our success in November. All eyes will be on Democrats' fundraising totals as a measure of our party's unity and strength.I ask that you please help to show our commitment to across-the-board victories this November by making a contribution of $35, $50 or more.

Rather than money, here’s my suggestion.

Take a crap, a BIG one. Use Ex-Lax to help if you need to.

Put it in a box, wrap it up and mail it to Pelosi’s office.

To quote MasterCard? “Priceless.”

Stocks cave today

The Dow sinks below 12,000 on more oil and credit worries. Merrill Lynch the biggest worry, followed by Moody’s downgrading the top two bond insurers.

Obama a sellout on FISA

Obama is totally cool with the House FISA bill.

Oh, and although I’m sure he will pull the “D” lever too, in a much milder way, Josh Marshall says Obama is at least a disappointment, if not a sellout.

So, all you Obamiacs? All you last-ditcher Democrats who hate people like me mentioning the phrase “Green Party”? Read my lips:

Just.Another.Politican.™

Vote Green.

Add that to the Passive Pelosi™-led House sellout, and why would any real progressive vote Democratic?

Unless you want to continue to be an “enabler,” of course.

Friday scatblogging – get your scat jazz groove in Fort Worth

It definitely ain’t “Cowtown” at Scat Jazz Lounge, in the old Woolworth’s building.

And that said, while Fort Worth isn’t Chicago or New York, jazz isn’t outré there, anyway:
Fort Worth’s history of jazz has taken innumerable forms since the 19th century. It probably starts with a combination of street-corner singers, moaning the blues in exchange for tossed coins, and a succession of ragtime saloon pianists during the heyday of the cattle-driving Chisholm Trail.

And, playing off the Cowtown riff, Fort Worth is the home of Western swing, arguably a countrified jazz, or jazzified country.

Lamar Smith – character assassin

That’s what New York Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler called Texas GOP Rep. Smith during the House Judiciary Committee’s hearings on Scott McClellan’s comments in his new book. Although the hearings got cut short for debate on the new FISA bill, the Dallas Morning News’ political blog has some outtakes.

New driving psychology – gallons per mile

Duke University researchers say people would be more fuel-economy conscious if we all, from automakers on down, talked in terms of “gallons per mile” rather than the current “miles per gallon.”
“The reality that few people appreciate is that improving fuel efficiency from 10 to 20mpg is actually a more significant saving than improving from 25mpg to 50mpg for the same distance of driving,” said Richard Larrick.

The story adds that the research findings suggests people who use two different cars equally will always save more on fuel by improving the least efficient car.

And, thus and unwittingly, the state of Texas is onto something. Its program to give owners of old, polluting oil-burners vouchers to get newer, less-polluting cars will also help the gas consumption in the state a fair amount.

Science policy questions for Cornyn and Noriega

And, Eddie Bernice Johnson and her challenger, Fred Wood, while we’re at it.

From the folks who TRIED to bring us ScienceDebate 2008 during the presidential primary season, but for the pointed lack of cooperation of both Republican and Democratic candidates, with the input of readers, here is the list of seven questions related to science policy that every candidate for the House or Senate should be asked.

The basic categories are innovation, climate change, energy, education, water, research and health. Read the whole thing for a detailed question in each category and more, as well as links to learn how to fire science-related questions at your candidates.

A list of questions for the presidential candidates is forthcoming.

Turley — House FISA cave is CYA by Dem leadership

Constitutional law scholar Jonathan Turley spells out the same thing a number of us bloggers have said — the cave on telco immunity in the new FISA bill is a huge cover your ass for the Democratic Congressmen who have known too much for too long about warrantless wiretapping and other apparent illegalities.

Remember, as House Minority Leader before 2007, Passive Pelosi™ herself was privy, ex officio, to all the select intelligence briefings from the White House.

Turley’s comments are blistering:
“The Democrats never really were engaged in this. In fact, they repeatedly tried to cave in to the White House. … I think they’re simply waiting to see if the public's interest will wane.

How true he speaks.

More comments by Turley, both transcribed and on video, at the link.

Call your Representative if you haven’t yet.

So much for Texas not being in a recession

The Dallas-Fort Worth jobless rate jumped half a percentage point last month. Statewide numbers were up four-tenths of a percent.

Ginco first Gitmo detainee to file habeas

McClatchy has the story of Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak al Ginco, who has had the misfortune of having been tortured by the Taliban before being arrested by the U.S. — after first being freed from the Taliban.

Ginco, who was a university student at one time, seems innocent of everything except being the wrong man in the wrong place. That wrong place?

The middle of Afghanistan, with Americans throwing out monopoly money for people to bring in Taliban members. Ginco was surely someone who made somebody else a fast $50 or whatever.

It seems his is about the best case, from a human rights and expose-Bush perspective, that could be the leadoff hitter in the post-Boumediene climate.

June 19, 2008

Kay Bailey and Big John Cornyn won’t talk mortgage

In the wake of allegations that Sens. Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad got preferential treatment from Countrywide Financial, The Politico decided to contact all 100 senators and ask them about their mortgages.

At the time of this post, the online political mag was still waiting to hear from about half the Senate, including Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn.

The two of you get sweetheart deals from a friend of Tom DeLay or Jack Abramoff?

That said, nationally, Democrats shouldn’t get too smug. They outnumber Republicans 29-20 among nonrespondent Senators.

Smell the Obama ‘change’ in the Veepstakes

So Sam Nunn, who’s been out of office a decade, and John Edwards, who wouldn’t even campaign as a Veep four years ago, are the latest rumor-monged names on Barack Obama’s short list.

Coming from the same ‘agent of change’ (admittedly, he didn’t like the slogan himself at first) who has Warren Christopher, aka Dracula, as a top foreign policy advisor, this isn’t surprising.

Because Barack Obama is Just.Another.Politician.™

Will the JAP filibuster the FISA renewal bill when it gets to the Senate?

WHAT KIND of contempt will Rove get from Conyers?

Let’s face it. Karl Rove is NOT going to show up at the House Judiciary Committee’s July 10 hearing on the possible political motivations of the trial of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

Let Conyers subpoena away, like he did with Harriet Miers and John Bolton in the U.S. Attorney firings. Attorney General Mike Mukasey refused to enforce the contempt citations, so the House filed a legal motion.

But, in that case, the court could simply tell Conyers that he hasn’t exhausted all his possibilities yet, namely that of inherent contempt.

The flip side to that, though, is that inherent contempt only applies to the Congress sitting at the time. So, Conyers et al would have to compel testimony from Miers and Bolton (or Rove) with the clock ticking toward the clichéd Labor Day start of the campaign season.

And, even with inherent contempt, what if they still refuse to testify? Is Passive Pelosi™ going to swear out the Capitol police to go to their houses with warrants?

Telecom immunity not 9/11 related but is secretive

Here’s a few of the details on the FISA immunity bill (full PDF).
‘‘SEC. 802. PROCEDURES FOR IMPLEMENTING STATUTORY
DEFENSES.
‘‘(a) REQUIREMENT FOR CERTIFICATION.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a civil action may not lie or be maintained in a Federal or State court againstany person for providing assistance to an element of the intelligence community, and shall be promptly dismissed if the Attorney General certifies to the district court of the United States in which such action is pending that—
‘‘(1) any assistance by that person was provided pursuant to an order of the court established under section 103(a) directing such assistance;
‘‘(2) any assistance by that person was provided pursuant to a certification in writing under section 2511(2)(a)(ii)(B) or 2709(b) of title 18, United States Code;
‘‘(3) any assistance by that person was provided pursuant to a directive under section 102(a)(4), 105B(e), as added by section 2 of the Protect Amer
ica Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-55), or 702(h) directing such assistance;
‘‘(4) in the case of a covered civil action, the assistance alleged to have been provided by the electronic communication service provider was—
‘‘(A) in connection with an intelligence activity involving communications that was—
‘‘(i) authorized by the President during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on January 17, 2007; and
‘‘(ii) designed to detect or prevent a terrorist attack, or activities in preparation for a terrorist attack, against the United States; and
‘‘(B) the subject of a written request or directive, or a series of written requests or directives, from the Attorney General or the head of an element of the intelligence community the deputy of such person) to the electronic
communication service provider indicating that
the activity was—
‘‘(i) authorized by the President; and
‘‘(ii) determined to be lawful; or
‘‘(5) the person did not provide the alleged assistance.

So, the warrantless wiretapping cases under lawsuit do not have to be 9/11 related.

“Activities in preparation for a terrorist attack.” What a Mack truck loophole. And, since this is subject to presidential certification that it was an actual terrorist attack that was being planned, the Miami ‘terrorist’ wannabe wannabes could have been illegally surveilled and BushCo would argue for the suit to be dismissed.

Or, another case. Were Bush protestors in New York City at the 2004 Republican National Convention “terrorist related”? I'm sure BushCo would claim the answer is “Yes.”

And, the government’s allegations can all be made in camera, ex parte, so the public will never know what is actually going on.

That’s the biggie, beyond immunity itself. Steny Hoyer may say, well, at least this isn’t the Kit Bond amendments proposed last year that would have had the FISA court determine telco immunity, but it’s hardly better.

Those good old states rights Republicans and their Democratic enablers forbid state courts to hear such suits. Nor can state attorneys general conduct their own investigations of warrantless wiretapping. Nor can they use state public utilities commissions or other regulatory agencies to get any information.

And, we may get more “reform” after this, as the FISA amendment bill calls for a one-year report by the IG of the Department of Justice and/or the Director of National Intelligence.

And, ultimately, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out, with the main factor of a “Presidential permission slip,” discussed in secret, being telecoms’ “get out of lawsuits free” card, other “compromises” really don’t mean anything.

And, that’s not even looking at the rest of the FISA renewal bill and whether it’s really all that necessary.

If you have not yet done so, it is still not too late to contact your Member of Congress.

‘Prosperity is just around the corner’ — NOT

Once again, Wall Street has been shown to be lying about the severity of the credit crisis and the date of its resolution.

It is now estimated worldwide financial sector losses may hit $1 trillion. That’s “trillion” with a T, according to nobody less than the International Monetary Fund.
With each passing quarter, Wall Street’s top bankers have indicated that the worst of the market turmoil was over — only to face more pain months later.

“We thought this was going to be the kitchen-sink quarter, and we’re finding out that CEOs and CFOs still don't have a handle on the credit crisis,” said William Rutherford, a former state treasurer of Oregon who now runs Rutherford Investment Management. “We haven’t disinterred all the dead bodies. What else is out there?”

Beyond the Lehman Bros and other big internationally-connected investment banks, though, many regional-level banks are also shaky. And the losses might not peak until next year.

Iran anti-Israel talk is actually oil price talk

That’s Jon Markman’s take, in one of his rare columns that actually makes sense.

Markman says that, in essence, Prime Minister Ahmadnejad et al deliberately make anti-Israel comments just to up the “oil insecurity premium.” It’s obviously worked.

Pier 1 misses the financial dock

The Fort Worth-based home furnishings store had a sales decline and a net loss in its March-May fiscal first quarter.
The retailer reported a net loss of $32.8 million, or 37 cents a share, in the period ended May 31, compared with a net loss of $56.4 million, or 64 cents, a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a loss of 15 cents a share. First-quarter same-store sales declined 5.4 percent from last year.

This is the latest clear sign that the housing slump is more than just the bursting of a subprime bubble. Many Alt-A, or even full prime, as well as subprime loans that haven’t gone into foreclosure are adjustable-rate mortgages that are resetting right now.

Those resets mean less to charge on maxed-out credit cards that are getting tougher to pay off.

Note to Democratic voter enablers – vote Green

How many progressive Democratic voters are gong to bitch after Passive Pelosi™, Slippery Steny and Hardly Relevant Harry Reid ram telecom immunity down the collective public throat, but then pull the “D” lever in November, not just for their particular Member of Congress, but for Democrats as a party?

You know the answer.

Lots.

You’re enablers.

And spare me the bullshit about electing Republicans by voting Green.

In the middle of the Gilded Age, Greenback Party and Populist Party voters didn’t buy that bullshit. They kept voting populist as James Garfield

And eventually, starting with William Jennings Bryan, Democrats started incorporating elements of the Populist platform

Did Socialists back down from supporting Eugene Debs in 1920 for fear of Harding becoming president, even though Debs was running for president from a jail cell? Hell, no, and he got his best showing ever.

Did millions of Progressives shy away from voting for Henry Wallace in 1948? Not at all.

Send some love to Cindy Sheehan in her campaign against Pelosi. Don’t “enable” Democrats any more.

El Salvador in Iraq? It wouldn’t work anyway

It looks like the U.S. military establishment has considered that analogy as one possibility for moving beyond the current situation in Iraq.

We would find the Iraqi equivalent of right-wing murderous thugs, train them, at School of the Americas establishing a satellite campus in Iraq or something,

The nightmare of El Salvador, and the nightmare squared of using that as a model in Iraq, aside, I doubt this would actually work.

I don’t doubt our government would be dumb enough to try, though.

First, it was a right-wing government in El Salvador. Throwing out Cold War understandings of “right” and “left,” the Maliki government in Baghdad still doesn’t fit the bill.

The only people friendly to us all along are Chalabi’s secular Shi’ites, now laughably and thoroughly discredited.

The Awakened Sunnis? They’re not the government, never will form a majority, and never will get close to that if they’re suspected of getting any more backing than they’ve already gotten.

The Kurds? Only if we’re OK with a de facto autonomous Kurdistan, rather than a Kurdish government ruling a united Iraq.

Corporatist Obama – and what about you, Ralph?

I don’t need Ralph Nader to tell me this, either.

But, at the same time, have you divested from all the Big Oil stocks you had in 2000?

And, have you admitted you were wrong in taking the Bill Frist interventionist stance in the Terri Schaivo case?

I don’t know what the first answer is, but the second is “no,” I know that.

Oceans warming faster than thought

The latest worrisome news on the climate change front is now in: Oceans have warmed 50 percent faster over the past 40 years than previously believed.

Higher temperatures, of course, expand the water, in addition to any water level rise from melting glaciers and icebergs with global warming. The new estimates will also affect climate change computer modeling — for the more accurate, but probably not for the more hopeful.

Coming soon to a police department near you

A fuel surcharge on speeding tickets.

Holly Springs, Ga., just adopted the idea of a $12 surcharge. Neighboring big city Atlanta says it’s interested in the idea. Other cities are calling Holly Springs.

Columbus refuted 2,247 years ago today

No, not about the earth being round. Everybody who was anybody knew that in 1492. But, the reason Columbus got laughed out of the Portuguese court before visiting Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain was that he claimed the earth’s circumference was only about 17,000 miles, per Ptolomy.

Well, a few centuries before Ptolemy, and a couple millennia before Columbus, a Greek named Eratosthenes proved otherwise.

Yes, proved.

Depending on exactly how long you say the ancient Greek stadion was in modern units of measurement, he was either about 1.5 percent low or 3 percent high. But, he knew it was about 25,000 miles around the earth, not 17,000.

And, that’s not all this polymath did.

He was the first person to calculate the length of the year precisely enough that he knew a leap day was needed every four years.

And, he took the first serious stab at the Earth-Sun distance.

For more about his discoveries, read the story or read his read the story.

BushCo does not ‘condone’ torture

It just practices it without linguistic niceties.

Maj. Gen. Anthony Taguba:
“After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes.”

Doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it?

For more details of the ugliness, see this in-depth newspaper series by McClatchy.

Kucinich ups impeachment ante on House Dem leadership

Were 35 articles of impeachment not enough? Dennis Kucinich promises 60 more unless the House Judiciary Committee, Chairman John Conyers (and the ultimate puppetmaster, Speaker Nancy Pelosi), get cracking.

Kucinich, in comments originally reported at a WaPost blog, gives Conyers 30 days to act.
“The minute the leadership said ‘this is dead on arrival’ I said that I hope they believe in life after death; because I’m coming back with it,” Kucinich vowed in an interview with the Sleuth this week. “It’s not gonna die. Because I'll come back with more articles. Not 35, but perhaps 60 articles.”

Sounds generous to me, actually.
I don’t know whether Kucinich is being generous, or he’s trying link his pressure to the status of FISA renewal and specifically the issue of telecom immunity.

June 18, 2008

US and UK team up to restrict oil speculators – will it make a difference?

First, the biggest regulatory concern has been solved, with both Washington and London involved.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and its British counterpart reached a deal with ICE Futures Europe to impose regulations on West Texas Intermediate oil contracts that trade on the London-based electronic exchange within 120 days.

That said, the head of the exchange warned American lawmakers that he doesn’t think rampant speculation is a major driver in oil prices:
Charles Vice, president and chief operating officer of the Intercontinental Exchange, based in Atlanta, said it was “highly unlikely” that ICE Futures Europe was the “primary driver” behind WTI prices.

The CFTC is hedging its bets, probably to appease Congress:
The CFTC acting chairman, Walter Lukken, whose agency is conducting an inquiry into oil markets, acknowledged that “the environment is ripe for those wanting to illegally manipulate the markets.

However, the top U.S. futures market regulator said there was no “smoking gun” indicating that speculators were to blame for record oil prices.

And T. Boone Pickens says it’s a waste of time:

Other people disagree with Vice and Pickens, including Mark Cooper, director of research for the Consumer Federation of America, and Michael Greenberger, the CFTC’s director of trading under President Bill Clinton.

I agree with Cooper, Greenberger and others that the additional oversight is helpful. However, as for actual effect on oil prices? I’m pretty much in Boone Pickens’ camp.

Delta latest legacy airline to further cut flights

With Delta’s pledge to cut its flight capacity 13 percent in the second half of 2008, up from 10 percent, about all the legacy airlines are in full retreat from high gas prices.

Delta’s case is complicated, of course, by its proposed takeover of Northwest.

That said, between the capacity cuts and the checked bag charges, I have to believe Southwest is sitting in the catbird seat. It’s given no indication so far that it will follow either trend.

I’ve not read Jim Jubak or other MSN analysts in a week or two, but, if I were buying stock later this year, I’d take a look at Southwest.

Feh on Obama foreign policy team and ‘change’

Nice to see Obama is a neolib/DLCer under the radar in foreign policy as well as the domestic side.

Hell, Warren Christopher was old 16 years ago; what the hell is he doing advising Obama now? Do we even know for sure he’s not senile?

Boy, Obama’s whole foreign policy team says “dead mackerel on a hot summer street,” not “change.” Or, “bland as Wonder bread soaked in water.” Other old-timers include David Boren, Madeleine Albright, Sam Nunn, Tony Lake and Tim Roemer.

But, some oldtimers are missing too, as Kevin Drum notes. Zbigniew Brzezinski and Richard Holbrooke, who would actually think outside the box. So would Bill Richardson.

Is Obama running scared of McCain on the foreign policy side, pandering to centrists, or both?

Canadian govt conservatives also anti-enviro and anti-laws

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, reading from the Bush-Cheney environmentalism playbook, has decided to simply ignore a Canadian court ruling that declares Exxon Canada’s work in Alberta’s oil sands is an environmental hazard in the waiting.

And, Canadian newspapers get dinged, too, for putting the story inside their business sections.

Nice to know that the U.S. ain’t the only place with an “MSM” problem at times, either.

Rall – Gitmo torture NOT an ‘aberration’

In talking about “oops nation,” Rall takes us on a quick tour of U.S. history. Our “oopses” go back to Salem’s witch trials, through the Alien and Sedition Acts, to Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus (overall, a halfway justified real war measure), and beyond.
Some Americans are good. Other Americans are bad. And the good ones are often lazy, willing to let the bad ones get their way.

If Hannah Arendt could talk about “the banality of evil,” perhaps Rall is right about “the laziness of good.”

Countrywide Senate buddies pile up lies

Kent Conrad says it was “serendipity” to wind up on the phone with Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo. I guess it was “serendipity” to get into Countrywide’s VIP loan program, too.

In the same story, Chris Dodd said he assumed it was a “courtesy” when told he was in the same program. And, Countrywide folks never said another word to you about anything? Like mortgage-related legislation, Chris? Just a “courtesy” because you’re such a wonderful senator?

Well, scratch Dodd from the Obama VP list, if he was on it. And, probably, from any Obama Cabinet position.

As I said before, in today’s Net-driven instant journalism era, to riff on Watergate:
It’s not the impropriety, but the appearance of impropriety, that gets you.

A couple of senators haven’t learned that yet.

Pelosi and Reid cave on FISA ‘fix’

This has been rumored since last Friday, when I first blogged about it, but five days incubation time makes it less palatable, not more so.

There’s several interesting takes, starting with Carl Hulse at the NYT.

First, Hulse is reading a mythical alternative to the actual bill:
House and Senate leaders of both parties said negotiators were near a deal on extending the authority to track terror suspects overseas while protecting the civil liberties of Americans as spy agencies sift through cell phone calls and other electronic communications that did not exist when the surveillance law first came into being.

Punting the telco immunity issue to a court, especially if it gets punted to FISA court and not the U.S. district courts involved with telco suits, doesn’t protect MY civil liberties.

Then, there’s this wonderful comment by Harry Reid:
“They’re very close to working out a fix.”

Reid doesn’t want to touch the House with a 10-foot pole, but, as when the Senate passed its initial version of FISA renewal, with immunity, he’ll find some excuse like “Senate procedural rules” to take a pass on actually standing up for Americans.

Meanwhile, back at the House, Passive Pelosi™ is also ducking her responsibility:
“We want to pass a bill that will be signed by the president.”

Well, since Georgie-Porgie won’t sign a bill without telco immunity, you’ve officially thrown in your hand.

This, in turn gives further credence to the theory that you’ve “stuffed” Kucinich’s impeachment efforts for 18 months in part because YOUR ASS would be on the online on the warrantless wiretap counts.

That, then, reminds to remind you:

1. There’s a petition to remove Pelosi from the Speakership.
2. Cindy Sheehan is still running against Pelosi. You can check her website here here.

Finally, Glenn Greenwald has an excellent about what’s really at stake — long-term control of the House, and not necessarily for Democrats as a party, but the power of individual Dems such as Majority Leader Steny Hoyer:
What people like Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel are pursuing is the consolidation of their power so that they become entrenched and can control Congress for the next decade, at least. That's obviously their first and only objective, and they are willing to sacrifice anything that they perceive at all threatening to that goal — including efforts to stop the war in Iraq, basic constitutional liberties, protections against warrantless eavesdropping, and the equal and firm application of the rule of law.

And, to complete the hypocrisy, Glenn says Hoyer will actually vote against the bill when it comes up to wash his hands of it.

But ‘Impeachment is off the table!’

I don’t like linking to Kos, but Meteor Blades’ review of these two books reinforces my disgust with Nancy Pelosi.

My disgust for George W. Bush needs no reinforcement.

June 17, 2008

Chris Dodd refuses to mouth the Conrad Burns confessional

Unlike his fellow senator, Chris Dodd refuses to fess up to at least the appearance of impropriety on the sweetheart loan he got from Countrywide Financial.

Again, though, Dodd continues to parse his words carefully. He still only says that he refused to seek preferential treatment without addressing the more substantive issues of whether or not he got preferential treatment (unsolicited) and, if so, did it affect any votes of his related to mortgages, etc.?

Parallel to the old Watergate saying, “It’s not the impropriety, but the appearance of impropriety, that gets you.”

Is Big Pharma dumping drugs on Iraq vets?

Yes, it’s the Washington Times,, but it’s still a real story. The Veterans Administration, throwing $30 incentive fees at veterans that are probably still waiting to get disability ratings, is testing about everything in the pharmacological kitchen sink as a possible PTSD treatment.

Distinguished ethicist Arthur Caplan gives the VA an “F” grade for this:
“When you’re taking advantage of a very vulnerable population, people who have served the country, and the agency that's responsible for their welfare isn’t putting their welfare first, that's a pretty serious breach of ethics.”

Given the combo of Chantix’s black-box warnings, including about it possibly increasing suicidal ideation, and some of the possible symptoms of PTSD, including possible suicidal ideation, it should have been a no-brainer to not use it.

A total of 21 vets out of 143 in the Chantix program reported some side effects.

And who makes Chantix? Pfizer.

That said, both the WaTimes and ABC fall short on their reporting. What all else is being used besides Chantix? Let’s start asking the VA more questions.

Questions such as:
1. What other drugs are being used in PTSD studies?
2. Had they been studied before for possible help in combating PTSD?
3. WHY was each of these particular drugs chosen, especially if not previously PTSD-tested?
4. What Big Pharma gifts have each of the particular doctors involved with the tests received?
5. What papers have they written on PTSD, and have they recommended particular drugs in those papers?

And, albeit while reserving the right to change his mind, Kevin Drum kind of gives the story short shrift.

Racism at Texas GOP convention

And it was pretty blatant racism, capped by the Obama pin and also including other snide ones.

If you’d like to voice your outrage at Republican Market, click here.

Ethanol, beef, Cokes and corn flakes just got pricier

Even a week or so ago, corn and soybean futures were pushing higher due to all the Midwestern flooding. Well, now that the details of the Iowa flooding start to come in, rest assured those commodities futures will go higher yet.
owa alone is estimated to have lost between 1 million and 3 million acres of corn production. That's about 7-21 percent of the overall production by the nation's top corn producing state.

Corn futures hit a record intra-day high Monday. And, with flooding on the Mississippi still expected, I’ll bet corn futures go up at least another 5 percent by Friday.

Ford to close SUV plant for nine weeks – for now

Well, it hopes this closure is only for nine weeks.

With Navigator sales down 37 percent and Expedition sales down 43 percent in May, and gas prices not going down since then, I expect that plant idling is going to last more than nine weeks. And, even when it reopens, it will be with less than full staff.

Lancaster ISD has a ghettofabulous school bus

Or maybe more than one. I’ve only heard of one.

Supposedly, one of the buses that Lancaster ISD — apparently illegally, as no provision in its 2004 bond issue mentioned using bond money to buy vehicles — bought with 2004 bond money has exterior stereo speakers. And also, supposedly, some sort of designer rims.

That said, the bus was a first-of-its-kind model with the add-ons free. That still doesn't negate the base price of the bus possibly being an illegal purchase.

I also heard that Superintendent Lewis was married before his current wife, too. Supposedly, the first Mrs. Larry Lewis works at Duncanville ISD.

And, I also heard that Tom Allen thinks Dallas Morning News reporter Kathy Goolsby might be "on the take" from the school district because she accepted a Thin Mint cookie from Teri Wilson.

And, Tom, you exemplify exactly the type of nutbar thinking I said Jeff Melcher did. No wonder you saw nothing wrong when I noted it in him.

Bush tests fair use law and parody

No, Shrub is not publishing a parody of his bedtime reading, “My Pet Goat.” Rather, many books, including some children’s classics — although I don’t know about “My Pet Goat” itself — are becoming parody gold mines for anti-Bush authors (and others).

And, the courts are just now trying to settle things.

For example, a non-BushCo spoof, “Yiddish with Dick and Jane,” saw the authors sued by the owners of the Dick and Jane series copyright.
“Parody as fair use is a developing area of the law,” said Pamela Golinski, an entertainment lawyer in New York, “and as a result, whether a given parody merits the shield of the fair use doctrine is a complex question.”

Among parodies that DO kick Bush in the pants is “Goodnight Bush,” a takeoff on “Goodnight Moon.”

Tiger and U.S. Open get overhyped

First, contrary to an e-mailer to Jason Sobel’s ESPN blog, it was NOT the greatest U.S. Open in 43 years.

Second, Pat Forde, you’re wrong on this, too, especially when you say this was “arguably the greatest golf tournament ever.

Did you forget about the 1986 Masters? Or the 1997 Masters, arguably? Or the 1999 U.S. Open. Or the 1975 Masters? That's just in 10 seconds thought off the top of my head.

Beyond the sentimentality of Jack’s rally in 1986, the 1975 Masters is NON-arguably the greatest golf tournament of the last 50 years, if not longer.

(And, for all the drama, Jack earned a “measly” $40K for his win. I loved the NBC graphic Sunday saying Tiger had made $82 million on his career. With all of his majors top-10s, Jack would have earned well over $100 million, maybe $150 million.)

Also, Woods’ was not the best injury-ridden performance of all time.

But, in my estimation, neither was Willis Reed’s or Kirk Gibson’s. Reed played half of the game 7 of the 1970 Finals, if that much. Gibby’s pinch-hit homer was his only at-bat in the 1988 Series.

The Injury Ironman? No competition, it’s Jack Youngblood.

Why religion matters – how religion can hurt

It turns out the June 14 fatal roadside toddler beating near Modesto, Calif. was a man killing his own son.

Why?

To “get the demons out.”
“He wasn't acting like a crazy person, running around or screaming,” witness Lisa Mota said. “He said, ‘I’ve just got to get the demons out of him.’ He was very calm.”

Even if he was drunk, high, or had mental illness of some sort, those contributing factors were working on a “base” of fundamentalist religious belief.

Why does Kevin Drum hate caribou?

The Washington Monthly blogger again proves he’s a neo-centrist squish with the statement he would use ANWR as a political trading chip. This is an appalling blogpost that needs extensive quoting:
ANWR’s weird totemic quality has always baffled me. As near as I can tell, the environmental damage from drilling in the tiny portion of ANWR at issue would be pretty modest.

Uhh, Kevin, 123,000 caribou of the Porcupine herd whose summer calving grounds would be disturbed would disagree strenuously.
Personally, I'd look at ANWR as a bargaining chip. I don't have much interest in drilling there, but I'd be willing to trade it away if Republicans were willing to support a serious climate policy in return. This means cap-and-trade (or a carbon tax) in order to price the externalities of carbon properly; it means serious research into clean energy technologies (and, yes, regulation of dirty technology); and it means real efforts to spur greater energy efficiency.

For more on the controversy over ANWR, including the possibility that drilling there could affect a treaty agreement with Canada over the protection of the Porcupine Caribou herd, see here.

Also, Kevin, if you’re OK with drilling in ANWR, are you also OK with harassing polar bears near oil rigs?

You know, this is not just your stupidest post of the week, but, the stupidest of the month, if not the last couple of months.

Drum has again shown the delusional hyper-Obama Kumbaya centrist squish side of his blogging.

It's kind of like Diane Feinstein being a wasted Senator from California, because she’s on the conservative side of California Democrats.

If Washington Monthly wanted a California blogger, couldn’t it have gotten a more liberal one?

Update:And now, just 48 hours later, the Flip-Flop Blogger™ is giving McCain, putatively a Drum-type “reasonable Republican,” a needling over an environmental issue.

June 16, 2008

This is science paging Simon LeVay

Neuroscientist LeVay, pusher of the idea that gays and straights are different in the hypothalamus, has some possible indirect follow-up confirmation to his work.

New findings say that gay men and straight women, and straight men and lesbian women, have brain similarities in the amygdala and hemispheric symmetry differences.

Researches say they don’t know whether the differences result from genetic issues, or the womb environment. (Prenatologists know that, in many instances, the womb environment is as powerful as all post-partum environmental factors combined, if not more so.)

Attention bloggers – AP says stop copying so much

The Associated Press is working to develop its first-ever fair use guidelines for how much of online versions of newspaper stories bloggers can copy and paste in blog posts.

As an “old media” newspaper editor in my day job, albeit one who has rarely been copied by any blogger other than myself, I say, about time.
Last week, The A.P. took an unusually strict position against quotation of its work, sending a letter to the Drudge Retort asking it to remove seven items that contained quotations from A.P. articles ranging from 39 to 79 words.

On Saturday, The A.P. retreated. Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The A.P., said in an interview that the news organization had decided that its letter to the Drudge Retort was “heavy-handed” and that The A.P. was going to rethink its policies toward bloggers.

The quick about-face came, he said, because a number of well-known bloggers started criticizing its policy, claiming it would undercut the active discussion of the news that rages on sites, big and small, across the Internet.

The Drudge Retort was initially started as a left-leaning parody of the much larger Drudge Report, run by the conservative muckraker Matt Drudge. In recent years, the Drudge Retort has become more of a social news site.

(Is that too much to quote from the story? Picture me with a half-ironic, half-sardonic look).

The AP says it still wants Drudge Retort to remove the verbiage, but it’s backed off on its immediate demand while it works on fair use guidelines.

AP vice president Jim Kennedy said his staff was going to meet with representatives of the Media Bloggers Association, a trade group, and others. Kennedy still says he wants to see more summaries and less direct copying by bloggers.

But, as the NYT story notes, the flip side of fair use is whether the creator has lost money due to the infringement.
“The principal question is whether the excerpt is a substitute for the story, or some established adaptation of the story,” said Timothy Wu, a professor at the Columbia Law School. Mr. Wu said that the case is not clear-cut, but he believes that The A.P. is likely to lose a court case to assert a claim on that issue.

Plus, it would take a lot of discovery work to prove out any financial loss, even if it does exist.

First, that means small bloggers will be pretty much off the hook, unless the AP wants to get as ham-handed as the recording industry did with Napster. But Kennedy has already sworn that off:
“We are not trying to sue bloggers,” Kennedy said. “That would be the rough equivalent of suing grandma and the kids for stealing music. That is not what we are trying to do.”

Overall, by meeting with the bloggers’ group, Kennedy sounds like he’s being reasonable about this.

But, it also sounds like he’s what, about 8-10 years behind the curve? At least 5 or 6.

The ultimate answer? American newspapers becoming like the Guardian, perhaps, and incorporating as nonprofit organizations.

Carter sweater caused our energy problems, nutbar says

Well, Jim Cramer of CNBC jumped not just one shark, but a whole school of them, with this nuttery:
“He created a legacy,” Cramer continued smoothly. “The legacy was, if we conserve, we’re wimps. If we’re wimps, we can’t get elected. … The darn cardigan sweater has cost us more energy independence. … There is a legacy in this country that we should burn fuel.”

Video at at the link.

How do you even answer that?

First, Carter didn’t create that legacy, Jim Cramer. Folks like Dick Cheney and his ilk hung it on him..

Second, people like you perpetuate that myth. Go look in the mirror.

If John McCain can’t stand heat in Claytie Williams’ kitchen …

Then don’t go there in the first place, you idiot. Schmuck Talk Express™ is pissed he’s getting asked about Clayton Williams’ long-ago rape comments.

Well, Schmuck, to quote this fundraiser of yours:
“You might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

I mean, at Schmuck’s age, he’s going to stroke out with veins bulging and jaw tightening like that.

And, as for claiming you didn’t know about it… either you’re lying, which I don’t actually think you are in this case, or, you’ve got some effing idiots running your Texas campaign.

Tiger wins …

But, not the greatest U.S. Open in the last decade, let alone in 43 years, contrary to one ESPN e-mailer.

I’d like to see if Colonial could be tweaked enough for an Open. Wouldn’t it be great to have one here, especially if Dallas had an early heat wave?

Religious hypocrisy on birth control

So, it’s against God’s will to interfere with life by aborting a fetus when you have seven because of fertility drugs, but it’s NOT against God’s will to “accept facts,” but instead take fertility drugs in the first place?

Or, to carry this a step further.

If you’re the Pope, it’s against God’s will to interfere with the reproductive process b y using condoms or birth control pills, but it’s NOT against God’s will to interfere with the reproductive process by taking fertility drugs.

SCOTUS smacks Exxon down on human rights suit

ExxonMobil will have to face the lawsuit music on alleged human rights violations in Indonesia, the Supreme Court ruled this morning.

In an irony alert, Exxon tried to take a page out of Bush’s book, arguing that letting the suit proceed would interfere with the executive branch’s ability to conduct international relations. Unfortunately for Exxon, BushCo itself wasn’t on the same chapter and verse, as Solicitor General Paul Clement was among those urging SCOTUS to reject Exxon’s appeal.

The ruling was made without comment.

Of course, Exxon has already delayed this suit seven years, and will probably delay the trial and actual trial appeals another four or five.

Isn’t it interesting that so many conservatives have an idea of “tort reform” that doesn’t include reforming Big Business’s abuse of the process?

U.S. catches innocents in Afghanistan, abuses prisoners

Well, what a nice double black eye. First, McClatchy reveals more details on what has long been known, that we’ve thrown a bunch of innocent people into the hellhole called Guantanamo, and the Afghan staging prisons on the way to Gitmo.

Second, we’ve got Abu Ghraib-type abuse in some of those same Afghan prisons. That includes beatings, wall shacklings and various forms of retributive violence.

U.S. catches innocents in Afghanistan, abuses prisoners

Well, what a nice double black eye. First, McClatchy reveals more details on what has long been known, that we’ve thrown a bunch of innocent people into the hellhole called Guantanamo, and the Afghan staging prisons on the way to Gitmo.

Second, we’ve got Abu Ghraib-type abuse in some of those same Afghan prisons. That includes beatings, wall shacklings and various forms of retributive violence.

Meet India’s richest man

In the coming years and decades, I think we’ll be hearing more and more about Mukesh Ambani and Reliance Industries. (Any man building a “house” worth as much as $70 million is rich by any definition.)

In fact, as the West finally comes to terms with the limits of Chinese growth, because of environmental and political grounds, we’re going to be hearing more and more about Indian entrepreneurs in general.

And, I hope the mainstream media does a better job of all the complexity of India than some Chinese business coverage has been.

Speaking of that, Ambani seems to be focusing on the idea of doing some sort of business judo on India’s own weak spots in a way that you just don’t hear coming out of China.

June 15, 2008

McCain can look in mirror on Boumediene

It was his caving to Bush on the final version of the Military Commissions Act that helped get us to last week’s SCOTUS ruling, so Schmuck Talk Express ™ can just sit down and shut up on this one.

Yahoo is trying to make me blind

Yes, I’m over 40, but I don’t wear glasses, let alone bifocals, and am not planning on starting.

But, captchas like this one, from a Yahoo Group I just joined, are killing me!

Is that second letter an “e” or a “c”? It’s getting tough to tell!

On the coffee table – ‘The Age of Reagan’

Sean Wilentz’s new book is a good “connect the dots” book. Wilentz breaks no new investigative ground, but does a good job of showing how the “Age of Reagan” carried far beyond the Gipper's end of service. More from my Amazon review:
Actually, this book could be subtitled “The Age of Cheney.”

Whether consciously on his part or not, Wilentz has Cheney “popping up” on a regular basis, usually connected in some way to his defining, formulating and trying to advance his “unitary executive” ideas.

With his “connect the dots” work, Wilentz stimulates some counterfactual history thoughts:
1. What if Reagan had been less amateurish in his 1968 attempt to wrestle the GOP nomination from Nixon? (My prediction: Even the war-saddled HHH would have beaten him and Reagan would have been on the ash-heap of history.)
2. What if George H.W. and not Rocky had been Nixon’s VP appointment?
3. What if Gorbachev hadn’t, in essence, bailed out Reagan’s second term? Would we even be talking about the “Age of Reagan”?
4. How would the Clinton years have been different if he had tried welfare reform before national healthcare?
5. How would they have been different if Jeff Gerth hadn't been ax-grinding at least, mendacious at worst, about his pre-1992 election “coverage” of Whitewater?
6. Would Gore had been better served with another VP candidate than Lieberman, one who didn't care about Clinton’s Lewinsky issue one way or the other, like a governor?

Go to Amazon for more.

Time to dump Pelosi?

Think Nancy Pelosi is doing a bad job, and the feeling is brought to a head by how often she has likely behind the scenes stiffed Kucinich’s articles of impeachment until now? (And, that’s likely been either to protect pro-war 2002 Dems on Iraq War articles of impeachment or herself on warrantless spying articles.)

There’s a petition to remove Pelosi from the Speakership.