Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Kenny & The Grey Lady Rock
...never thought I'd write this but...
Thanks, Ohio secretary of state J. Kenneth Blackwell.
With paper ballots from the 2004 presidential election in Ohio scheduled to be destroyed next week, the secretary of state in Columbus, under pressure from critics, said yesterday that he would move to delay the destruction at least for several months.....
Lawyers for J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Ohio secretary of state, said although he did not have the authority to preserve the ballots, Mr. Blackwell would issue an order in a day or two that delays the destruction and that reminds local elections officials that they have to consult the public records commissions in each county.....
The planned action of Mr. Blackwell, a Republican who is running for governor, and the threatened suit could draw attention to possible irregularities in the election that he supervised.
Although, obviously, the activists and online peeps deserve credit for this tiny, tiny maybe-just-fleeting victory, I think it's doubtful that this would have happened if The New York Times hadn't come a-knocking, since they pushed their story back a day before publishing.
Alan Keyes and Randall Terry: Wingnuts Unite
This just in from a RightMarch.com email: "This is a SPECIAL MESSAGE from Dr. Alan Keyes, on behalf of Randall Terry: Dear Fellow Conservative: In less than 48 hours, I will board a plane and fly into the epicenter of one of the most critical and hotly contested campaigns in the nation. And I'm asking you to join me..."Alan Keyes will use that campaigning magic, that served him so well in Illinois, to aid Randall Terry. Jeb Bush has endorsed Terry's opponent Jim King and issued this public dissing.
"Randall Terry made no positive contributions related to the issues related to Terri Schiavo," Bush said.Terry does have the endorsement of Thomas Croom. Newspapers have not been so kind to Terry. It's that evil liberal media. Terry and Kayes both don't live by their own families values. Keyes threw his daughter Maya out of his home when she told him she was gay. Terry has a son who is gay and another daughter who became a Muslim. The Youtube video contains more on the story. My experience is people who are extremely intorant have serious personal issues.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Armitage Had Motive
With all due respect to Michael Isikoff and David Corn, this chitchat stuff is just nonsense.
Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage wasn't gossiping when he spoke to Bob Woodward and Richard Novak in the spring and summer of 2003, he was busy actively defending the Bush Administration against a then-beginning-to-rage firestorm concerning the intelligence on Iraq's WMD capabilities and intentions which prompted the preemptive invasion.
Armitage had a vested interest in quieting critics in the spring and summer of 2003, "partisan gunslinger" or not.
Almost one month after Novak's first column which outed former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, on August 13, 2003, Richard Armitage gave the Keynote Address for a conference held at the Asia Society AustralAsia Centre in Sydney, Australia, in which he continued to assert Iraq had WMD:
Now, I don’t want to leave this podium without addressing something that has aroused a great deal of concern here and in my country, and that is the fact that we have not yet found enough evidence of Saddam Hussein’s programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. We will. I have absolute confidence about that. Indeed, the fact that it has taken us this long to find the evidence is a chilling reminder that these programs are far too easy to move, and I believe far too easy to hide.
Consider, for example, that UNSCOM was only able to confirm the existence of a biological warfare program that Saddam Hussein claimed not to have after years of inspections, because a high level defector walked in and gave them the evidence. Dr David Kay was part of the original UN inspection team, and today he is back in Iraq working for us, continuing the search. He’s making solid progress in finding the evidence of Saddam Hussein’s WMD program. But he’s also finding that deception and concealment were an extensive and embedded part of the program perfected over the course of two decades. It’s going to take some time to find not just the weapons, but the equipment and the people and the materials that made up this program.
President Bush has made it crystal clear that we don’t intend to stay in Iraq any longer than is necessary, but I will make it crystal clear to you today that we are not going to leave until we find and destroy Iraq’s capability to produce biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.
At the time, Armitage had a very strong motive to try to get journalists to stay away from the "disinformation" being spread by Joe Wilson by suggesting that his trip was only a "boondoggle" set up by his wife. Armitage was still publicly insisting that the intelligence was accurate and that Iraq had WMD, so anyone insisting otherwise wouldn't only be attacking President Bush, but also the Deputy Secretary of State himself.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Armitage in '03: Find WMD 'we will'
The following excerpts come from a speech given on April 30, 2003 by former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, who we're being told had no axe to grind against critics working to expose how the Bush Administration had been much-more-than-misleading about the threat of WMD in Iraq:
A little more than a month after military operations began, some of our warriors are already returning home to a hero's welcome, while some will stay in place for some time to continue clean-up activities. But without question, the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein is gone.....
We will continue to hunt down the terrorists who have used Iraq as a safe-haven for far too many years and of course, we will continue to seek out Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.....
I want to be clear here today that I am extraordinarily confident that Iraq had those capabilities. Rarely have the intelligence agencies of this country and our allies been so unified on any subject. Now, I know there are those, probably in this audience, that think because we have found little so far, that there's nothing to find. But I'd like to suggest to you a more frightening reality, and that is that it is far too easy to hide and to move these capabilities, and far too difficult to find them, especially in the face of a determined and practiced effort to conceal them. And the regime of Saddam Hussein was nothing if not practiced. They had years of close scrutiny in which to learn how to deceive inspectors. And then they had four unfettered years to do as they pleased.
What emerged was a well-developed and sophisticated strategy of dispersal. For example, Secretary Powell told the United Nations Security Council on February 5th, "We know that Iraq has embedded key portions of its illicit chemical weapons infrastructure within its legitimate civilian industry." And as for Iraq's biological weapons program, Secretary Powell pointed out that multiple sources have told us of mobile facilities built while UNSCOM inspectors were actually in Iraq and designed especially and only to avoid detection.
Now, whether it is the mobile labs or weapons disguised as industry, we are finding now that the capabilities were even more dispersed and disguised than we had thought. The evidence of Saddam Hussein's programs is likely to be spread across many hundreds and even possibly thousands of sites in Iraq. It is going to take us months to find this material, but find it we will.
Don't forget that it was information provided by defectors, including members of Saddam Hussein's immediate family and scientists from within the program, that was critical and at times, essential, to revealing what UN inspectors were able to figure out and find out in the past. That is one reason why an inspection regime based on anything other than genuine disarmament by the now-defunct regime was doomed to fail in Iraq.
Indeed, my optimism that we will find evidence of Iraq's weapons soon is largely a function of the cooperation that we are beginning to get from Iraqi scientists and former Iraqi officials. We're interviewing these people and continuing to seek others based on the intelligence we have about who was instrumental in each of these programs. And the people we have found are already leading us to other people, as well as to computer files and documents. And with these sources of information, we can say with a high degree of confidence that we will find Iraq's unconventional weapons.....
Iraq is an object lesson in what can happen if we leave the problems of proliferation to a solution of the past. The use of military force to destroy a perverse political culture was a point of no return we don't want to keep coming back to. But if we are to avoid doing so, we must have effective and peaceful means of achieving and enforcing that change. And yet, while Iraq illustrates the gaps we have in our global architecture for dealing with weapons of mass destruction, it is not the template. This is not a one-size-fits-all policy. In fact, our President has stated that the threat we face from North Korea's nuclear problem is something that can be dealt with through patient, deliberate and multilateral diplomacy. And indeed, we're working now, well, with the governments of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea toward that end.
By the way, the title of that speech was Iraq and the Global Challenge of Proliferation, as if they were one and the same.
Obviously, it's a tragedy what happened in Kentucky, but this manufactured controversy is completely ridiculous.
Isn't it strange how the majority of folks complaining about a comedy sketch had little to say a year ago when someone quite a bit more important than a Finnish president 'lookalike' strummed a guitar while people drowned?
A fireman was killed fighting a fire in the Bronx yesterday. Does that mean FX should postpone Tuesday's finale of Rescue Me?
Friday, August 25, 2006
More Coulter Call-it-what-you-will
In Chapter 11 of Godless (p. 271), Ann Coulter writes of Margaret Sanger:
In her 1922 book Pivot of Civilization, she advocated the elimination of "weeds....overrunning the human garden"; the segregation of "morons, misfits, and the maladjusted"; and the sterilization of "genetically inferior races."
From a column published in the Wall Street Journal in 1997, The Repackaging of Margaret Sanger written by Population Research Institute president Steven W. Mosher:
In her 1922 book "Pivot of Civilization" she unabashedly called for the extirpation of "weeds ... overrunning the human garden;" for the segregation of "morons, misfits, and the maladjusted;" and for the sterilization of "genetically inferior races."
In a 1939 manifesto titled "Birth Control and the Negro," she noted that "the poorer areas, particularly in the South...are producing alarmingly more than their share of future generations."
In 1939 she and Clarence Gamble made an infamous proposal called "Birth Control and the Negro," which asserted that "the poorer areas, particularly in the South ... are producing alarmingly more than their share of future generations."
Her "religion of birth control" would, she wrote, "ease the financial load of caring for with public funds ... children destined to become a burden to themselves, to their family, and ultimately to the nation."
Sanger recommended birth control to lessen the financial burden of caring for such wees, "destined to become a burden to themselves, to their family, and ultimately to the nation."
Needless to say, Mosher and The Wall Street Journal are not credited in the Chapter 11 endnotes of Coulter's Godless for the author's selected examples of Sanger's work from which she apparently just copied.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Hotel Motel Holiday Inn
A coalition of conservative groups that "strongly believe" hotel porn is prosecutable have issued an "urgent appeal" to the Department of Justice to "immediately investigate" two leading in-room adult movie distributors, RAW STORY has found.
"Pornographic movies now seem nearly as pervasive in America's hotel rooms as tiny shampoo bottles, and the lodging industry shows little concern as conservative activists rev up a protest campaign aimed at triggering a federal crackdown," David Cary reports for the Associated Press.
"A coalition of 13 conservative groups — including the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America — took out full-page ads in some editions of USA Today earlier this month urging the Justice Department and FBI to investigate whether some of the pay-per-view movies widely available in hotels violate federal and state obscenity laws," Cary writes.
The advertisment featured a remote control above two outstretched, handcuffed hands.....
At its Website, the coalition provides a list of offensive adult videos offered by OnCommand and Lodge Net, including such titles as MILK and COOKIES after School, Hustler’s ALL GIRL Slumber Party, and Bi Bi American Pie.
"The lists speak for themselves," Citizens for Community Values President Phil Burress said in a press release. "This is not mere nudity. We’re talking about every conceivable form of degrading, distorted sex."....
Although the advertisement didn't single out any hotel chains "by name because of legal concerns," a spokesman for Hilton slammed the coalition for targeting adult entertainment.
"Really ultraconservative groups try to target the hotels in their zest to eliminate porn," Hilton's Kathy Shepard told the A.P. "In their zest to have their personal morals prevail, they're eliminating choice for others.""If what begins with a click can end as a registered sex offense, it's time we rethink hardcore porn," the ad said (PDF link).
Read the rest at Raw Story.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
'Atheists in fox holes' want respect
I forgot to link to this article I wrote for Raw Story the other day, 'Atheists in foxholes' demand respect, recognition and honor, (probably because I was too busy trying to forget that Monday was my birthday...and that didn't work either):
"'There are no atheists in foxholes,' the old saw goes," begins the Beliefwatch column in the latest issue of Newsweek. "The line, attributed to a WWII chaplain, has since been uttered countless times by grunts, chaplains and news anchors."
"But an increasingly vocal group of activists and soldiers—atheist soldiers—disagrees," the column continues.
"It's a denial of our contributions," Master Sgt. Kathleen Johnson tells Newsweek. "A lot of people manage to serve without having to call on a higher power."
Master Sgt. Johnson founded the group, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF) as "a community support network that connects military members from around the world with each other and with local organizations."
"In addition to our community services, we take action to educate and train both the military and civilian community about athiesm in the military and the issues that face us," reads the "About" page at MAAF's Website. "Where necessary, MAAF identifies, examines, and responds to insensitive practices that illegally promote religion over non-religion within the military or unethically discriminate against minority religions or differing beliefs."
MAAF keeps a running list of "Atheists in Foxholes, in Cockpits, on Ships, and Hitting the Beach," who are willing to "come out" on the Internet.
Read the rest at Raw Story.
Monday, August 21, 2006
I heard of anti-censorship activist Seth Finkelstein long before I heard about just about anyone else in the blogosphere. I've long enjoyed the inciteful comments Finkelstein leaves at assorted blog postings, and I've seen his name bandied around a lot - especially when the topic of unsung Web heroes comes up. I've even taken part in a number of e-mail list cc exchanges with him.
But somehow - after close to three years of blogging here - I stupidly forgot to include him on my monstrous blogroll.
So, along with Seth's Infothought, I'll be adding a few blogs to my roll soon, and removing some of the ones that went out of business.
Censorship is certainly an issue addressed here a lot, and it's surprising that Finkelstein's name has never come up, but I'll make up for it in the future because he's certainly not unworthy.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Show with Coulter links Darwin, Hitler
From my latest Raw Story article, New TV special featuring Coulter ties Darwin to Hitler:
An upcoming television special produced by a Christian broadcaster that features conservative pundit Ann Coulter links Charles Darwin to Adolf Hitler, RAW STORY has learned.
"Author and Christian broadcaster Dr. D. James Kennedy connects the dots between Charles Darwin and Adolf Hitler in Darwin’s Deadly Legacy, a groundbreaking inquiry into Darwin’s chilling social impact," announces a press release issued by Coral Ridge Ministries. "The new television documentary airs nationwide on August 26 and 27 on The Coral Ridge Hour."....
Coulter carries on the theme from her best-selling book released in June -- on 6/6/06 -- which attacks liberalism as a Godless religion.
"I think Darwinism is popular as a story because it allows atheists not to have to explain why we're here," Coulter says in the special. "There's no such thing as morality. There's no such thing as our consciousness of our mortality."
"We're about one step above a porpoise," Coulter adds, "although many of them seem to believe we are below a porpoise because we have nukes and we pollute [chuckles] and have hate crimes and don't recycle."
Coulter has been widely criticized for her attacks on evolution, which she called "one notch above Scientology in scientific rigor."
"What's annoying about Coulter (note: there's more than one thing!) is that she insistently demands evidence for evolution (none of which she'll ever accept), but requires not a shred of evidence for her 'alternative hypothesis," wrote Professor Jerry Coyne from the University of Chicago's Department of Ecology and Evolution in a recent book review.
Full article can be read at Raw Story.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Hip Hop's Turnin' Republican
Keeping on the political rap tip...
One of these days, Def Jam will release the second retail album by my favorite rapper next to Jay-Z, Jersey City's Joe Budden (my top five current rappers for about three years running are all Js - which is fitting I juess - other 3 being Jadakiss, Juvenile and Nas aka Nasir Jones...for all time Tupac and Chuck D. replace Juvey and 'kiss).
I confess that I thought Joey was a joke when a former roommate of mine brought home his first CD a little over three years ago. I knew him from D.J. Clue mixtape appearances, and loved "Pump It Up" from the first time I heard it - still do - but I had no idea that he was such a gifted lyricist. His best songs - not the released singles - are full of raw emotion, clever wordplay, and that undescribable quality which compels people like me to make and update top rapper lists.
Anyway, here's some excerpted lines from one of Joey's best mixtape releases this year, the nearly eight-minute-long freestyle "Dumb Out" off of the street release Mood Music 2, and also where I snagged the title of this post:
Stuck between platinum and flop, underground and mainstream
Conscious, backpack...scratch that, same thing
I'm somewhere between the real and the fakeness
The red pill, blue pill, real and the Matrix
And I can't take this
If The Game needs a new look, I'm between a tummy tuck and a face lift....
And these dudes might as well be Jamie Foxx
Trying to sound like somebody that already died
The kid keep a snub wit 'em, good pair of gloves wit 'em
Your first week ain't right, they can't fuck wit 'im
Now if you don't sell 5 mill, they had enough of 'em
Let me find out Hip Hop's turnin' Republican
Here's a video I found on Youtube some fan made of "Dumb Out" which kicks some serious ass (the "Hip Hop's turnin' Republican" line is about 3:45 seconds in):
The other week, Joey talked about those bars with AllHipHop.com:
AllHipHop.com: On "Dumb Out," you said "Let me find out Hip-Hop turned Republican." What’s that mean to you?
Joe Budden: It did, it did, it did, it did – especially from a fan’s standpoint. Nowadays, the people supposed to enjoy the music – the "Hip-Hop activists" – they’re like a rarity now. Everybody’s in the business. Everybody’s so concerned with numbers and budget and fuckin’ Soundscan, and image, and everything that Hip-Hop never stood for. It’s just pretty fucked up. I feel like on one side, you’ve got the Democrats which would be – I don’t wanna "the backpackers" – but [them], but the people that are in it for the love of the music and the art of it. [Then you’ve got] the Republicans – the people who are in it for the money, the people who stand for other things.
According to that interview, and a few other ones that go back to last summer when The Growth was supposed to drop, Joey tackles subjects ranging from the environment to child molestation on the new album. Can't wait.
And really can't wait to hear the full version of "The Unforgiven" which is based on the Metallica song (you can hear a little bit of it here). But Metallica isn't sampled on the album version...Joey says they redid the song with him.
Def Jam President Jay-Z better ship this album out quick because the game needs it badly (at least until The Game record drops...who rounds out my current top 10 list along with Eminem, Kanye West, Daz & Kurupt, and Ghostface but loses out to - obviously since I left him out so far - Notorious B.I.G. on the all-time list...Biggie's the only rapper on either list I ever met and man was he cool, friendly, accomodating and witty).
And a holla out to Joe if this is really your Myspace site.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Post-Katrina Pyrex Revolution
Of all the insane things that have transpired over the last six years, to me the response to Hurricane Katrina ranks at the top.
But I'm not talking about just the FEMA response or the federal government response in general or the response by the media.
The public's response was the most insane.
I mean not that I'm an anarchist, but if there was ever a situation that called for mass rioting then the shameful and slow government reaction to Katrina was it. It was difficult watching the television and not being able to understand how it could even be happening. It was almost as if the Bush Administration was sitting around hoping the entire city of New Orleans would be swallowed up instead of shipping in the clean water, food, and provisions that people sorely needed at the time. People were pissed for a few weeks, maybe, but most of the anger dissipated well before the elections last year.
New Orleans based rapper Juvenile has been one of my favorite artists for a few years now, but for his flow and his mic skills...not at all for his lyrics. The typical Juvenile song is usually about one of three things (sometimes all three): slanging crack or spending cash or shaking that ass. Hell, most southern rap sticks to the same script. Crunked up or screwed up or chopped up, southern rappers are all about how they flow instead of what they flow about.
But Juvey lost his house in Katrina, and it seems like that inspired him to write probably the most powerful song of this year, "Get Ya Hustle On," for his album Reality Check, which dropped about six months ago.
"Get Ya Hustle On" is all about Katrina, but it's also about revolution.
"That's right, it's crunch time now fellas," Juvenile announces at the start of the track. "No time to be cryin for momma now, it's the movement."
What is Juvenile's call to action precisely?
What exactly is this "movement" all about?
Katrina survivors are urged to take their "FEMA checks" and invest their money...in crack.
"Everybody need a check from FEMA," Juvenile raps, "So he can go and score him some co-ca-llina."
The concept of financing a revolution of sorts with drug money isn't new, of course, but Juvenile's song isn't as "cut and dried" as that.
As the sixties began to fade, Dennis Hopper's "Easy Rider" - in a way - taught a generation that freedom couldn't be bought with money earned from selling drugs.
"We blew it," declares Peter Fonda's character - Wyatt or Captain America - shortly before the tragic conclusion.
Of course, the "we" refers to more than just the two main characters - the "easy riders" - and more than just the counterculture generation. "We" is America.
Cashing in and dropping out isn't a way to achieve the "American Dream," especially when most don't even have the faintest idea what exactly that dream is supposed to represent.
Apparently, "Easy Rider" aired on the American Movie Classics channel shortly after the events of Katrina, as a commenter noted in an Amazon.com review of the DVD.
"The film represents the death of the American Dream; but, in respect to the KATRINA disaster, represents the death of New Orleans, and the Death of America itself in the aftermath of the hurricane," wrote Timothy D. Pyle. "Capt. America comes to this realization, as did so many Americans in late August 2005, that 'We blew it.'"
Slanging crack to empower one's self or their community is not something that Juvenile invented in 2006. One of the earliest political rappers, Ice Cube, rapped that "a bird in the hand is worth more than a Bush" over fifteen years ago when 41 was President.
Juvenile only refers to one politician in his rap, and it's not a Republican, but Democratic (sort-of) Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin.
Talk to 'em - your mayor ain't your friend, he's the enemy
Just to get your vote, a saint is what he pretend to be
Fuck him! Ah-listen to me, I got the remedy
Save your money up and find out who got 'em for 10 a key'
("Key" stands for kilo for those not in the know)
Obviously selling crack isn't for everyone. And, heck, if everyone sold it the market would collapse. But Juvenile really means it as a metaphor, more than anything.
"Take what you got and make something out of it," Juvenile (born Terius Gray) told NPR in May. "You don't necessarily have to be selling drugs or nothing like that. Get your hustle on. Y'know what I'm saying. Do something."
Juvey raps that "if you don't hustle don't use your energy" then "you gon' be a cellmate or wind up as a memory."
If the song was just about slanging crack then it wouldn't make sense for Juvey to warn those that aren't willing to "hustle" that they could end up in prison. It's those that have the vision...those that have a grasp of what an "American Dream" entails are best equipped to pursue it.
The "American Dream" isn't about earning enough money so you can dress up in bling-bling, it's about uplifting one's self. It's about taking care of your family and your community and coming together.
The final verse of "Get Ya Hustle On" contains the strongest lines.
"We starvin!" Juvey raps. "We livin like Haiti without no government. Niggas killin niggas and them bitches is lovin it."
"Fuck Fox News! I don't listen to y'all ass, couldn't get a nigga off the roof when the storm passed," raps Juvenile (but I still gotta give props to Fox anchor Shepard Smith for this unforgettable broadcast).
And after all that build-up, wait until you see this video.
Even if you hate rap. Even if you think this track I've described sounds like a bunch of bullshit. Take the time to watch this video.
"This is a tribute to those who died in the wrath of Hurricane Katrina," captions announce at the beginning. "The storm may have passed but for thousands the struggle is just beginning."
Not quite in black and white, the video's colors have a tinted washed-out bluish-green quality, as "the wrath of Hurricane Katrina" is showcased with shots of the bleak vision of hell that New Orleans' Ninth Ward has now become. Destroyed houses and automobiles compose the landscape, including a quick shot of a videotape for the movie "Armageddon" littering the ground. A man holds a sign in front of what's left of his house that says "2005 or 1905." Another sign simply says "You already forgot."
Three young black children find cardboard masks in the piles of garbage that once represented their neighborhood which sport the message "HELP IS COMING" written on the back. The masks are of President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
"We take the Pyrex and then we rock with it, roll with it," sings Juvenile in the chorus. "Take the Pyrex and then we rock with it, roll with it!"
"Pyrex" is a reference to crack pipes, but - unless I'm really reaching - I'm pretty damn sure Juvenile chose the word for his chorus because it's similiar to "pyre."
The Ninth Ward of New Orleans, as shown in Juvenile's video, has been reduced to a series of "pyres" which memorialize the hundreds that died one year ago, and it's up to future generations to "rock with it, roll with it" so that they didn't all die in vain.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
What The Hell Does Right Mean?!!
It's really disturbing that one basically has to take for granted stuff like this.
From President Bush's speech to the National Counterterrorism Center:
The enemy has got an advantage when it comes to attacking our homeland - they've got to be right one time, and we've got to be right a hundred percent of the time to protect the American people.
"Lucky" or "successful" or "on target" work. Terrorists being "right" does not.
One final thought.
Does President Bush also feel that murderers and thieves and rapists also hold the "advantage" against society for the very same reasons?
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Media goes ga-ga for Rapture Index
Excerpts from my article at Raw Story, Internet 'Rapture Index' has been garnering major media attention during war in Lebanon:
A Website devoted to "calculating" how long the world has until "endtimes" arrive has garnered a lot of media coverage since the war in Lebanon began a few weeks ago, RAW STORY has found.
"Last week, the forums at Rapture Ready, the site devoted to the notion that the endtimes are near, bizarrely atwitter with excitement when Israel and Hezbollah started trading blows," Tom Zeller Jr. reports in Monday's edition of The New York Times. "This week, posts on what the foiled London terror threat means," the article continues.
Rapture Ready is a Website which features the Rapture Index, billed as sort of a "Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity," created by Todd Strandberg, "a night supervisor at the spare-parts store at Offutt Air Force base, Nebraska" according to a UK newspaper.....
An archived cache of Strandberg's Rapture Index from 1997 shows that it once contained a disclaimer of sorts. "The Rapture Index by no means is meant to predict the rapture, however, the index is meant to measure the type of activity that could act as a precursor to the rapture," the site said.
More at Raw Story.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Politics of the War on Terror
From "Foiled Plot Swings Voter Attention to War on Terror" by John D. McKinnon at the Wall Street Journal Website:
Yesterday, a senior White House official took the unusual step of speaking on background to reporters aboard Air Force One about the politics of the war on terror. The official said that the results in Connecticut showed that voters were coming around to the administration's view that the global war on terror must be won despite the high costs.
Mr. Lamont's margin "went from 13 to six to four in the last 10 days of the campaign," the official said. "And I think that's in part because at the end of the day, people look at the consequences of failure and the consequences of victory....So, if you have Lamont Democrats who say, 'Bring 'em home, turn away, and it will all be over,' the American people say, 'You're kidding yourself. We're in a war, and the only way you walk away from a war is as a victor, defeating the enemy.'"
Talk about Spin Insanity. In the middle of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon and ongoing diplomatic crises with Iran and North Korea which could turn more hostile, a senior White House official busies himself with memorizing polling data from before and after a Democratic Senate primary to try to score political points.
But there is absolutely no logic to this argument. A better argument could be made that Lieberman caught up in the polls because he gave some interviews in which he articulated (again, but, also again, not very forcefully) that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should resign.
Or perhaps Lieberman caught up in the polls because just before the election he emphatically declared that President Bush's "agenda was wrong for our country and our future."
Regardless, I would think this senior White House official (first name Dick or Karl perhaps?) has more pressing things to worry about.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
The day the Bush Administration confronts Pakistan for harboring terrorists and selling nuclear technology to rogue nations is the day that the true war against terror will begin.
The story says Wednesday's Washington Post contained the poll but I wasn't able to find it anywhere online early Thursday morning.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
The other day Media Matters did a fine job of showing "Steve Ross, senior vice president and publisher of Crown Publishing Group and publisher of the Crown Forum imprint" that "nineteen pages of hundreds of endnotes contained in Godless" don't mean a thing if Ann Coulter "misrepresented and distorted the statements of her sources," "omitted information in those sources that refuted the claims in her book," and "misrepresented news coverage to allege bias."
7. On Page 195, Coulter wrote:
Until Michael Fumento wrote about Hwang Mi-soon, the South Korean woman who began to walk again thanks to adult stem cells, there was no mention of it in any document on Nexis.56
Coulter was claiming that Michael Fumento, a senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute and former Scripps Howard columnist, was the first to write about South Korean Hwang Mi-Soon, who was treated in 2004 with stem cells extracted from umbilical cord blood after she had been paralyzed for close to 20 years; Hwang was later able to walk with the help of braces and a walker. Coulter cited Fumento's October 20, 2005, Scripps Howard column to support her assertion, though she did not provide the parameters she used in her Nexis database search. But a Media Matters Nexis search of all news outlets in the database during all available dates for "Hwang Mi-soon" revealed 47 articles, 36 of which, mentioning Hwang's newfound ability to walk, were published prior to October 20, 2005. Additionally, a week before Fumento's Scripps column was published, Deroy Murdock, another Scripps Howard columnist and a commentator to Human Events, mentioned Hwang's operation in an October 13, 2005, column, titled, "Embryonic stem cell research unneeded."....
13. On Page 211, Coulter falsely attributed the quote, "[t]he probability of life originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make it absurd," to Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA's double-helix structure, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1962; however, the quote actually belongs to Fred Hoyle, a British mathematician and astronomer.
For some reason, news about the rampant inaccuracies and misinformation in Coulter's work doesn't seem to merit attention. The other week when I showed how messed up Coulter's Willie Horton chapter was...no one cared...then a day later she went on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews and talked briefly about it.
This is what Matthews said to Coulter:
You are a controversial lady. You write beautifully. You have a brilliant brain. I stayed up last night reading your chapter on Willie Horton which was absolutely stunning in its satire, it reminded me of the young [conservative columnist] George Will.
I seriously doubt George Will ever made the kind of mistakes in any of his writing that Coulter either does deliberately or cluelessly. But pundits that call Coulter "brilliant" without even checking her facts come off as even more clueless.
If Matthews took the time to actually fact check Coulter's Willie Horton chapter (or asked one of his assistants to take a look, at least), he would have seen that there were so many errors that whatever point scoring hoped for is pointless.
Coulter wrote there were only two Horton ads. There were four.
Coulter mixed up all four ads and confused part of each one with the others.
Coulter wrote that there were only white prisoners shown in the official Bush campaign video referring to Dukakis prison furloughs, when there were two blacks and one latino in it.
Coulter never even specifically mentioned one of the most notorious political ads of all time, Weekend Passes, except when she confused its contents with the two that she inaccurately spotlighted.
Coulter falsely claimed that one of the two ads (remember...actually four) only "was probably seen by about six people in West Virginia" when it was broadcast in California to begin with, as part of a large television buy.
Just think how smart a television pundit could look if he or she actually spent a couple hours fact-checking one of Coulter's chapters and confronted her with the mistakes, inaccuracies or downright lies and revisions.
(Hat tip to Agitprop)
Monday, August 07, 2006
Cabooses Follow Engines
On CNN's Reliable Sources the other day, Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks told Howard Kurtz another reason why the corporate media didn't ask a whole lot of questions before we got ourselves back in Iraq.
Ricks explained that "Congress is kind of the engine of Washington, the engine of government," meaning that the caboose tends to follow the locomotive instead of the other way around.
Intrepid journalists, of course, can get the story without hopping on the train, but their editors prefer to remain snug, cozy and reasonably safe as they ride in back. The train might crash but no one ever points to the ass to blame the engineer.
Excerpts from Transcript:
KURTZ: Tom Ricks, your book, "Fiasco", has rocketed to No. 1 on the bestseller list. You argue that the administration is to blame, for not foreseeing many of the problems that are affecting Iraq today and 130,000 U.S. forces there?
RICKS: Well, not just the administration. Yes, the administration made huge mistakes, but the argument of the book is you don't get a mess as big of Iraq just through the mistakes of the Bush administration. That the U.S. military also bungled the occupation, and that other players also helped create this mess, including the media.
KURTZ: Including the media. In fact, you write, quote, in the run-up to the war, quote, "The media didn't delve deeply enough into the issues surrounding war, especially the threat of Iraq and the cost of occupying and remaking the country. We're seeing those costs right now."
Why didn't the media delve more deeply? Was there a certain level of intimidation?
RICKS: I don't think it was so much as intimidation as partly a lack of information, credible information. Congress didn't hold hearings in which credible information was presented that said, no, the administration's case is wrong.
KURTZ: Since when do reporters have to wait for Congress to hold hearings?
RICKS: They don't. But Congress is kind of the engine of Washington, the engine of government. And if Congress is asleep at the wheel, if war seems inevitable, at some point your editors say, why do you keep writing about doubts about this war, when it's going to happen?
KURTZ: Do you include yourself in this indictment? Did you run into that kind of skepticism from your "Washington Post" editors?
RICKS: Absolutely. There was a sense that, look, this thing is going to happen. You've written a lot of stories about the doubts about the war. Give us more stories about the war plan, because it is going to happen, whether or not all these generals oppose it.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Footballer Found Fake Foto
A couple days ago I scoffed at right leaning blog claims that media photographers faked photos at the scene in Qana.
But, apparently, one photographer working for Reuters - who also took shots at Qana - has been caught by some of those blogs altering a Beirut photo:
Reuters withdraws photograph of Beirut after Air Force attack after US blogs, photographers point out 'blatant evidence of manipulation.' Reuters' head of PR says in response, 'Reuters has suspended photographer until investigations are completed into changes made to photograph.' Photographer who sent altered image is same Reuters photographer behind many of images from Qana, which have also been subject of suspicions for being staged...
Earlier, Charles Johnson, of the Little Green Footballs blog , which has exposed a previous attempt at fraud by a major American news corporation, wrote : "This Reuters photograph shows blatant evidence of manipulation. Notice the repeating patterns in the smoke; this is almost certainly caused by using the Photoshop 'clone' tool to add more smoke to the image."
Of course, this doesn't mean that other photographs were necessarily staged or faked, but it does mean that the more times these things happen the more people on the right and the left and the middle will find less reason to trust anything they see or read in the mainstream media.
But that doesn't mean that blog or Internet publications will necessarily benefit, because there's certainly no shortage of misinformation and disinformation on the World Wide Web.
It will just mean that more and more people will have fewer places that they can turn toward to trust. And that's bad.
Reuters did act pretty quickly, so let's hope they put a lot of effort and time into making certain that this doesn't happen again and that all of the photographer's prior work is properly inspected to determine as much authenticity as possible after the fact.
And congrats to the rightie blogs that spotted the manipulation in this particular photo
Search For 9/11 Veracity
Round-up of recent 9/11 related stories:
Excerpts from my article at Raw Story, 9/11 widows question 'veracity' of report:
Four widows instrumental in getting Congress to push President Bush to create the 9/11 Independent Commission are insisting that it "failed in its duties" on the heels of two recent news reports which allege that some commissioners knew they were being "deceived" by NORAD officials, and the widows are now questioning "the veracity of the entire Commission’s report," RAW STORY has found.....
"The fact that the Commission did not see fit to tie up all loose ends in their final report or to hold those who came before them accountable for lying and/or making misleading statements puts into question the veracity of the entire Commission’s report," the widows write.....
According to the widows' statement, "the failure to fully and properly investigate all areas, not follow all leads and not address the need for accountability, whether it be bureaucrats lying at a hearing or personnel with questionable performance of assigned duties, continues to leave this Nation and its citizens vulnerable and at risk."
On Friday the Associated Press reported that, in a new book, former Committee Chairmen Republican Thomas Kean and Democrat Lee Hamilton claim that they ended up going "too soft" on former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani during the hearings, largely due to attacks in the press, and that "the 20-month investigation may have suffered for it."
The questioning of Giuliani was considered by Kean and Hamilton "a low point" in the commission's examination of witnesses during public hearings. "We did not ask tough questions, nor did we get all of the information we needed to put on the public record," they wrote.
Commission members backed off, Kean and Hamilton said, after drawing criticism in newspaper editorials for sharp questioning of New York fire and police officials at earlier hearings. The editorials said the commission was insensitive to the officials' bravery on the day of the attacks.
"It proved difficult, if not impossible, to raise hard questions about 9/11 in New York without it being perceived as criticism of the individual police and firefighters or of Mayor Giuliani," Kean and Hamilton said.
"The morning of Mr. Giuliani’s testimony, The New York Post’s cover had the single word 'Insult' above a photograph of a firefighter kneeling at the World Trade Center site," notes Timothy Williams in Sunday's NY Times.
A spokesman for Giuliani calls the criticism "confounding" in Sunday's Times since "[a]t the end of both sessions, Hamilton and Kean said they were pleased and grateful for Rudy’s time and full cooperation."
That's a strange statement. The commissioners said they regret going "too soft" so pointing to their public statements thanking "America's Mayor" (who once blamed US troops in Iraq to protect President Bush, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, etc. from being blamed for not securing 380 tons of explosives reported missing shortly before the 2004 election) proves absolutely nothing.
No word on whether or not the commission chairmen also regret not questioning Bush and Cheney separately, but if they don't, they should, since, for one thing, it's still unclear whether or not the Vice President usurped the President's power on September 11, 2001.
Also, late Friday evening, The New York Times broke the not-exactly-unexpected news online that a soon-to-be-released watchdog agency report will "clear" Pentagon commanders of allegations that they deliberately deceived the 9/11 Independent Commission.
The Defense Department’s watchdog agency said Friday that it had no evidence that senior Pentagon commanders intentionally provided false testimony to the Sept. 11 commission about the military’s actions on the morning of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The agency, the Pentagon’s office of inspector general, said the Defense Department’s initial inaccurate accounts could be attributed largely to poor record-keeping.
The Pentagon initially suggested that the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the military’s domestic air-defense operation, had reacted quickly to reports of the hijackings and had been prepared to intercept and possibly shoot down one of the hijacked planes.
The Sept. 11 commission, which uncovered the inconsistencies in the Pentagon’s account, made a formal request in July 2004 for the inspector general to investigate why senior military officials who testified to the commission had made so many inaccurate statements.
Finally, the LA Daily News has a review of Oliver Stone's World Trade Center written by Ed Rampell, the author of Progressive Hollywood, A People's Film History of the United States which claims that "political and financial pressures notwithstanding, WTC still has many progressive themes," though "more subtle than in Stone's past works," including the "ramifications of [America] being the sole superpower."
Saturday, August 05, 2006
More Bad News For Lieberman
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Anti-Lieberman 'Lie or Die' Ad to Air
From my latest article at Raw Story, ImpeachPAC anti-Lieberman ad to air on Connecticut television:
A Connecticut cable television station has agreed to run an anti-Lieberman ad created by a Political Action Committee called ImpeachPAC, RAW STORY has found....
"The ad, called "Lie and Die," presents Iraq War lies by George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Joe Lieberman," according to a press release announcing that New England Cable News will begin broadcasting it to their 3.5 million subscribers, including 573,000 households in Connecticut.
The new advertisement opens with a shot of President Bush with the word "lie" covering his face next to the quote "Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" as his voice from the 2003 State of The Union Address is heard. A loud crash is then heard, accompanied by a shot of Iraqi children killed in Iraq while the word "Die" fills the screen.
Link to the actual ad is in the Raw Story article, and it's pretty powerful so go check it out.
(Completely off-topic...but I wanted to link to this the other day, also at Raw Story: Report: Some 9/11 Commission members mulled criminal referrals for military officials. The Washington Post article referred to in the article is absolutely essential reading, even more so than the Vanity Fair article that it builds off of. I'll have more on this in some fashion hopefully soon)
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Do You Want To Go For A Ride?