No claims made here to original writing or reporting. These are cut and past bits of interest collected from the Net.


How Big Brother watches you Here's a cool thing from Medill Journalism School -- a Flash presentation showing how your personal data can be used by the federal government or analyzed by intelligence agencies. (Yes, Flash can be annoying, as we've been hearing a lot lately; but there are some things, like this, that it can do very well; so give it a whirl.) It reveals how the government uses data mining and what data, from both public records and private data aggregators, is studied, what the privacy rules are and whether they're followed - and outlines "the digital trails we all leave in our daily lives." That is the question: Who are these people? What do they think he's done a good job at? I'm trying to be fair, but what is he good at? You look at Iraq, you look at Katrina. His appointments, Michael Brown. I don't know where to start. I have Bush Administration Attention Outrage Deficit Disorder. My personal favorite poll number is the President's 2 percent approval rating among blacks. Which is within the margin of error. Which leads to all sorts of mind-boggling possibilities, scientifically: Is it possible that more black people hate the President than are actually alive today? Do you think black ghosts are coming back to hate him? Do you think they can read black sonograms at this point? Are doctors saying, "We don't know if this is a boy or a girl, but we know this baby hates George W. Bush?" --Stephanie Miller

More Swiftboating More on the new venture from the Swift Boat Vets' money man, Bob Perry. Boy, have they been busy.... Another Abramoff related guilty plea -- a big one. Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) has agreed to plead guilty. He rediscovered his spine? Colin Powell, the general who squandered his credibility as Bush's Secretary of State, says Congress should scrap his former boss's desire to nix a part of the Geneva Convention banning torture. His message is unambiguous: "The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. To redefine Common Article 3 would add to those doubts. Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk." I'm surprised I didn't see a headline this morning that read, "Powell wakes to find horse head in bed."

Have we had enough yet? Here's more on the administration's alleged arm-twisting of military lawyers to sign that pro-torture letter.



Politicians Cast Opponents as Villains. No, Really. Yes, that's right, at least according to AP. Republican candidates "are eager to drop names like Pelosi, Clinton and Kerry [Each of these things is not like the others. Discuss.] in an attempt to associate their opponents with liberals and raise fears about what would happen if Democrats took control of Congress." Other boogeymen include Osama bin Laden, Kim Jong-Il, and, yes, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, described in a recent RNC briefing as "a partisan nutroot who turned his hate-filled blog Daily Kos into a leadership post in the Democrat Party." (The blog can be way grating, true; but he's always struck me as a smart, thoughtful type unafraid to call BS on lame Democrats, which is an odd way of being "partisan.") Democrats aren't above using boogeymen in their turn, as in a recent ad "showing a montage of GOP Senate candidates and Bush, followed by images of men sneaking across the border sandwiched between shots of bazooka-toting terrorists, bin Laden and the North Korean resident." (Huh?) The ad was quickly withdrawn when Hispanic leaders complained. All of which explains, for the umpteenth time, why politicians are held in such widespread contempt--both because this kind of denigration by association can work and because the puerility and lameness of the strategy is so self-evident. A big new Pew poll taken right before September 11th shows that the public's still not buying the administration's line on Iraq and terrorism. GOP Presents: The Amazing Race Card is a detailed overview, with pertinent links, of prominent Republican officeholders' views on race. Suggested slogan for Dems: The president is more interested in quoting bin Laden than in catching him. The President launches a series of speeches that repeatedly quote the words of Osama Bin Laden to highlight how terrorists want to kill Americans. Then, a week later, he says that catching Osama Bin Laden is not a priority. Words vs. action. Rhetoric vs. reality. The Bush presidency. Abortion House Democrats announce plan to curtail abortions. The answer is obviously not to outlaw them, but to make them rare. Hey poll nerds! is up and running. Compare and contrast Three weeks ago, conservative Republicans on the House intelligence committee released a report criticizing the U.S. intelligence commtittee for not being aggressive enough about gathering information on Iran's nuclear threat. "We think it's important for the American people to understand the kinds of pressures that we are facing and to increase the American public's understanding of Iran as a threat," explained Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich). Today, the IAEA — which, you may recall, turned out to be right about Iraq — wrote Hoekstra a letter complaining that the report contained "erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated statements." I've reproduced the Washington Post's coverage of these two events below. Do you notice any differences? I've provided some subtle clues in case you're having trouble figuring it out. Hat tip to Jonathan Schwarz, who has more.

Suggested slogan Part II: The president said that getting the guy who masterminded 9/11 is not a top priority, if you elect a Democratic Congress, we will make it a top priority. That is what is riding on this election. If you want Bin Laden captured or killed, you have to vote for a change. Q: Do you have a sense as to why O'Reilly is so popular?

A: Probably because crazy is kind of fun to watch. You're thinking, "Is he really that megalomaniacal? Or is it shtick?" Does he really not get that the guy caught in a phone sex scandal can't lecture people on parenting and family values? -- Stephanie Miller Damn staying the course. The Republican wingnuts complain that we don't have a plan? Well, this is what their plan produced in Vietnam Iraq yesterday: "A suicide truck bomb hit a U.S. Army outpost Thursday in Baghdad, killing two American soldiers and leaving 25 wounded, the U.S. military said. One soldier was killed at the scene of the attack, while the second died of his wounds at a hospital, doctors at a U.S. combat hospital said. ... Two other U.S. soldiers died Thursday in separate attacks around the Iraqi capital, and another one died Wednesday near the northern city of Mosul after he suffered wounds from enemy fire, the U.S. military said." as liberators..."I doubt it'll last 6 months"...oil revenue will pay for it...stuff happens...Mission Accomplished. Had enough? The war on terra. Bob Geiger provides some shocking numbers, and some advice for our team: "[E]very Congressional candidate needs to say this over and over again in the next eight weeks: A 150 percent increase in the number of Al-Qaeda members in the world while we're focused on a civil war in Iraq; Attacks on U.S. troops, Iraqi forces and civilians are skyrocketing, despite assurances from the White House that things are going just fine in Iraq; Our neglected troops in Afghanistan are facing a 1,200 percent increase in Taliban attacks and a 600 percent jump in suicide bombings; And then repeat again and again and again until November 7; Oh, and one more thing: Where the hell is Osama bin Laden?" If it's Friday he's at Jazzaerobics. "One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --Dubya, telling the truth to Perky on CBS, Link How stupid is Dubya? He's so stupid that .... The Bush administration has proposed eliminating funding for two renewable energy sources: hydropower and geothermal power research. Federal studies suggest that the “costs of lost opportunities from dropping such research could be enormous in the long run.” The death of reform Yesterday the House approved a “sham” earmark reform bill that critics say is “filled with loopholes that would still permit anonymous projects to be inserted into law without public scrutiny.” Rep. David Obey (D-WI), former chairman of the appropriations committee, called the bill “the death of lobby reform.” Amnesty: Hizbollah Guilty of War Crimes A new Amnesty International report finds that "Hizbullah’s rocket attacks on northern Israel amounted to deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian objects, as well as indiscriminate attacks, both war crimes under international law. Its attacks also violated other rules of international humanitarian law, including the prohibition on reprisal attacks on the civilian population." Hizbullah fired several thousand rockets into northern Israel, killing 43 civilians, including children. Read the full report here. The world may be two weeks away from another Rwanda. On Sept. 30, the under-manned and under-funded African Union (AU) peacekeeping force in Darfur is set to leave the country. Those 7,000 A.U. troops — dispatched over a region the size of Texas — are the only thing moderating the genocidal violence in Darfur, in which “civilians are usually killed, injured, raped, abducted or forcibly displaced.” Over the last two weeks, the Sudanese government has “dramatically intensified” its air strikes and worked “to drain the region of witnesses,” including aid workers and foreign journalists. If the AU forces leave on Sept. 30 as scheduled, “this is a genocidal black box.” Nancy Grace belongs behind bars Remember her interview with Elizabeth Smart? Now comes this:

Two weeks after telling police that her son had been snatched from his crib, Melinda Duckett found herself reeling in an interview with TV’s famously prosecutorial Nancy Grace. Before it was over, Grace was pounding her desk and loudly demanding to know: "Where were you? Why aren’t you telling us where you were that day?" A day after the taping, Duckett, 21, shot herself to death, deepening the mystery of what happened to the boy.

Here’s the transcript of the show.

Submitted by RKing on