Filtered news 12/24

We’ve made our list and checked it twice…

NAUGHTY: Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), for , the first Muslim elected to Congress.
NICE: Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), for still .

NAUGHTY: The 109th Congress, for .
NICE: The 110th Congress, for .

NICE: Nancy Pelosi, for becoming the .
NAUGHTY: The Capitol, for having .


NAUGHTY: President Bush, for , An Inconvenient Truth.
NICE: , for giving teachers that “were (NSTA) after apparent pressure from Exxon and oil industry advocates.”

NAUGHTY: The 109th Congress, for and allowing it to fall to its lowest level since 1955.
NICE: Voters in , for raising the minimum wage.

NICE: Fox owner Rupert Murdoch, for not subjecting America to .
NAUGHTY: Fox owner Rupert Murdoch, for subjecting America to a .

NAUGHTY: Rush Limbaugh, for — and then refusing to apologize.
NICE: Michael J. Fox, for speaking out about the need for embryonic stem cell research and .

NICE: Tom DeLay, for engaging Americans by starting a .
NAUGHTY: Tom DeLay, for having someone else .

NICE: William Cullen, for .
NAUGHTY: Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), for .

NAUGHTY: The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), for causing cervical cancer.
NICE: The Food and Drug Administration, for , the first HPV vaccine.

NAUGHTY: “Experts” at the Competitive Enterprise Insitutute, who say that “the .”
NICE: The state of California , for .

NAUGHTY: Former Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), for for his legal problems.
NICE: The federal district court, for .

NAUGHTY: Larry King, for .

A Christmas miracle After an “” from residents, the mayor, and a federal lawmaker, Clear Channel Radio has agreed to keep Air America on air in Madison, WI. (My home town.)

Now this is torture Celine Dion AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long. Frightening. Don't make me say anymore.

"Everyone who listens to Bush knows he is a liar. It's frightening to have to constantly listen
to him repeating, 'I'm a president in a time of war.' Of all human vices, the worst is to lie."
-- Gore Vidal,

A lot of us are in a lot of trouble by Robert Parry Excerpt: The United States will never win the "war on terror," in part, because Bush keeps applying elastic definitions to the enemy, most recently expanding the conflict into a war against Muslim "radicals and extremists." With almost no notice in Official Washington, Bush has inserted this new standard for judging who's an enemy as he lays the groundwork for a wider conflict in the Middle East and a potentially endless world war against many of the planet's one billion adherents to Islam. Indeed, it could be argued that the "war on terror" has now morphed into the "war on radicals," allowing Bush to add the likes of Moqtada al-Sadr and the leaders of Syria and Iran to his lengthening international enemies list.

Don't pretend there's no anti-gay prejudice

Excerpt: Miss Nevada Katie Rees couldn’t cry her way out of naughty pictures that surfaced. Yesterday, the Miss Universe folks stripped Rees of her title. The latest bombshell comes after racy shots surfaced of the young beauty queen exposing herself and performing explicit sexual acts on other girls. Oh please. I'd hardly call that "explicit sex acts on other girls."

Can she be dumber than her hubby? Scooter Libby, the former Chief of Staff for Vice President Cheney, has been charged with “.” His trial is scheduled to start in January. Libby’s lawyers plan “.” Today on Fox News, Lynne Cheney, the wife of the Vice President, described Libby as “a man who spent a great deal of his life as a dedicated public servant who’s done an awful lot of good.” Ms. Cheney said putting Libby on trial “does not reflect well on our judicial system.”

Let the racism ring free! The White House to condemn the anti-Muslim comments of Rep. irgil Goode (R-VA) and conservative commentator :

White House officials said they were aware that some Democrats and Muslims were urging President Bush to admonish Representative Virgil H. Goode Jr., Republican of Virginia, and Dennis Prager, the conservative commentator, for suggesting that the first Muslim elected to the House had no place in Congress. “We’re aware of the situation,” said Dana Perino, a spokeswoman for Mr. Bush, “but no judgments have been made.”

I might quibble with The Times' characterization of Goode's remarks. He didn't just suggest Muslims have no place in Congress. He they have no place in the United States.

Or not... The , on Rep. Virgil Goode's "" moment: "He shouldn't apologize for his beliefs because that would just pile the sin of hypocrisy onto the heap of bigotry."

A punch to Bush's nose In a wonderful example of guerrilla op-ed writing, the New York Times went ahead and published a piece by Flynt Leverett today that the White House had tried to eviscerate on national security grounds. Will that get them in legal hot water? No. You see, they published it This is delicious because people usually don't get a sense of just how heavy-handed the Bush White House (and other White Houses) are in using national security as an excuse to stamp "Top Secret" on documents that are merely inconvenient or embarrassing. In this case, the redactions make clear that Leverett was simply providing some detail about post-9/11 contacts with Iran that the Bush administration is anxious to keep concealed because it undermines their "no talks with terrorists" showboating. Embarrassing, maybe, but dangerous to national security? Not a chance. Leverett even provides a complete set of links to demonstrate that every word he wrote had been previously reported.

It's a Republican war Kevin Drum brings up a good point of discussion here:

-- There's no question that conservatives will try to hang our failure in Iraq around liberal peacenik necks, but that's not what's important. What's important is whether they succeed. Public opinion is key, and if they go ahead and do their surge, and it fails, it's going to make the conservative story a lot harder to tell. The public just isn't going to buy it.

One thing BushCo did and did well was in branding this war an exclusively Republican War and cutting Democrats out of what they thought was going to be the credit for it. So, my guess would be the public is already not going to buy any whining excuses that the media/hippies/bloggers/tree huggers lost the glorious GOP War. And any stragglers still shopping at Right-wingmart aren't going to let a little thing like reality disrupt their purchase.

Nevertheless, it wouldn't hurt to remind people every chance we get -- especially as revelations of fraud or profiteering come to light, more Americans die, and even politicians with a purple stain on their finger run away screaming from Bush and his war over the next year -- that this is a Republican War started by a Republican President managed by a Republican Cabinet enabled by a Rubber-stamp Republican Congress and cheered on by Republican media operatives. In short: Republicans Lost The War.

Let's not forget the media's role in the war chant looks back at commentary on the early days of the Iraq war:

But to piece together the truth in those days you had to scrounge for it, ignore the ignorance and lies pouring out of Donald Rumfeld's mouth and defy the prevailing political tide of arrogant triumphalism. Very few journalists, and even fewer politicians, were willing to do that. Some in Left Blogistan were (Kos, Needlenose and Steve Gilliard, among others, also come readily to mind). As a result we presented a far more accurate picture of the war to our readers than the corporate media -- with a few honorable exceptions -- did to its own. I'm proud enough of that to want to remind the world, and the moronic media blog bashers in particular, of it.

The war party "National power" and "military force" aren't the same thing. This is an old and banal distinction. And yet, it still eludes an awful lot of conservatives, who tacitly assume that unswerving support for every single one of America's various wars over the past few decades is the sine qua non for being thought serious about terrorism and national security.

This is, of course, nuts. Some wars are justified and some aren't. I'd be pretty suspicious of anyone who supported every war we've been in for the past 30 years, just as I'd be suspicious of anyone who had opposed every single one of them. Responding to in the current issue of the Weekly Standard,

If we're going to talk about military enthusiasms, Continetti owes it to his readers to spend some time grappling with the wisdom of GOP militarism. There are nearly 3,000 American consequences, and more to come, of this predilection. What has it gained America? What did it gain America to invade Lebanon in 1982? etc. Sometimes the exercise of military force is justified (Afghanistan, the Gulf War, we can debate the Balkans) and sometimes it isn't (Iraq Iraq Iraq Iraq Iraq). Relying on military force all the time is a recipe for rapidly increasing the sphere of circumstances in which it becomes necessary. And in a democracy, that isn't even sustainable for the War Party -- if nothing else, ask a GOP congressman as he cleans out his office. Continetti implies that there's a patriotic rot in the sentiment that "American power is not always a force for good in the world." But of course it isn't always a force for good in the world; one should question the judgment of those who would issue such blandishments. For it's clear enough where they lead: to war, again and again and again.

My brain is already winding down for the holidays, so I don't have much to add to this. Aside from the fact that it is, you know, almost self-evidently correct. So why do so many people not get it?

The over-examined life As long as we're on the subject of Hillary Clinton -- and we are on the subject of Hillary Clinton, aren't we? -- Mother Jones has a long cover story by Jack Hitt this month on

Not since Richard Nixon has the body politic been treated to so many variations on the same person. "The New New Nixon" was introduced with such frequency once upon a time that it became shorthand for a kind of political marketing joke. Hillary has assumed that cultural niche, always inventing a new look and more "humanized" self for each situation. And in turn, we've seized upon various elements of her changeling character to shape, a la Daniel Edwards, our own private Hillarys. She is a Cosmo quiz of an enigma, so let's cut right to the answer key in the back pages and find out what kind of Hillary you see.

The Martha Stewart Hillary....

The Tammy Wynette Hillary....

The Eleanor Roosevelt Hillary....

The Dianne Feinstein Hillary....

The Barbara Boxer Hillary....

The Lisa Simpson Hillary....

The Diana Prince Hillary....

The Lady Macbeth Hillary....

What does it all mean? Read the story to find out! I'll vote for "Eleanor Roosevelt Hillary" myself.

"I guess America's stellar "news" media is still pretending that the Iraq War wasn't started
under false pretenses and constructed on a hundred lies. Reporters continue to go along with
Bush's delusional notion that the war isn't already lost. The press continues to report Bush's plans
on the war, shortsighted and dense as they may be, as though he is a President of legitimacy.
If a lot of people weren't needlessly dying just so Bush could show the public that he is still
the Decider-in-Chief, it would almost be comical."
-- A. Alexander,

"The precise definition of 'shitbag' is unclear, but Complainant and Respondent agree that it is a derogatory term." Glad we got that cleared up.

Homeland Security strikes again There's nothing the Bush administration likes more than slipping out embarrassing documents on a Friday, with hopes that they'll be forgotten by Monday. And what better Friday for burying reports than the Friday before Christmas?

Among the documents hustled out this week is on the Secure Flight program. This was a program that allowed creation of "profiles" of travelers so that trusted folks could be hustled along, while suspected terrorists could be quickly stopped. The program allowed the collection of as many as "50 fields of data," including such things as phone numbers and email addresses, employers, and... whatever they wanted.

The Transportation Security Agency, operating under the auspices of Homeland Security, had publicly pledged two years ago--in official notices describing the Secure Flight program--that it "will not receive" or have access to dossiers on American travelers compiled by a Beltway contractor.

However, the program has been challenged repeatedly over privacy concerns. It includes not only the few fields directly input by DHS, but also links to data held in commercial databases maintained by Acxiom, Insight America and Qsent. This data included everything from purchasing patterns to Social Security nmbers. Data which DHS promised would be very closely held.

That promise turned out to be untrue, according to a report published Friday by DHS' privacy office. The commercial data "made its way directly to TSA, contrary to the express statements in the fall privacy notices about the Secure Flight program," the report says.

This program was already found to be in a report issued last year, but the DHS seems to have responded by collecting more and spreading it further. Having promised that it would not create portfolios on Americans, the DHS next step was to create... portfolios on Americans, . Naturally, there is no means for anyone to view or correct the information in this profile.

Paired with the report on Secure Flight was another on the now thankfully defunct, "MATRIX" system. Among the tidbits in this report is the news that, although MATRIX was sold as a system for locating terrorists, over 97% of investigations that were launched by the program had nothing to do with terrorism.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

How extreme were conservative commentators in their remarks this year? How about calls to nuke the Middle East and an allegation that a "gay ... mafia" used the congressional page program as its own "personal preserve." Right-wing rhetoric documented by Media Matters for America included the nonsensical (including Rush Limbaugh's claim that America's "obesity crisis" is caused by, among other things, our failure to "teach [the poor] how to butcher a -- slaughter a cow to get the butter, we gave them the butter"), the offensive (such as right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel's question about "Barack Hussein Obama": is he "a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?"), and the simply bizarre (such as William A. Donohue's claim that some Hollywood stars would "sodomize their own mother in a movie"). Since there were so many outrageous statements, we included a list of honorable mentions along with the top 11, which, if not for Ann Coulter, we might have limited to 10.

The top 11 (in chronological order):

William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights: "Well, look, there are people in Hollywood, not all of them, but there are some people who are nothing more than harlots. They will do anything for the buck. They wouldn't care. If you asked them to sodomize their own mother in a movie, they would do so, and they would do it with a smile on their face." []

Fox News host John Gibson: "Do your duty. Make more babies. That's a lesson drawn out of two interesting stories over the last couple of days. First, a story yesterday that half of the kids in this country under five years old are minorities. By far, the greatest number are Hispanic. You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic. Why is that? Well, Hispanics are having more kids than others. Notably, the ones Hispanics call 'gabachos' -- white people -- are having fewer." []

Right-wing pundit on The New York Times' decision to report on the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program and a Treasury Department financial transaction tracking program: The Times had done "something that could have gotten them executed, certainly did get [Julius and Ethel] Rosenberg[] executed." []

Coulter responding to Hardball host Chris Matthews' question, "How do you know that [former President] Bill Clinton's gay?": "I don't know if he's gay. But [former Vice President] Al Gore -- total fag." []

Nationally syndicated radio host : "That's why the department store dummy named Wolf Blitzer, a Jew who was born in Israel, will do the astonishing act of being the type that would stick Jewish children into a gas chamber to stay alive another day. He's probably the most despicable man in the media next to Larry King, who takes a close runner-up by the hair of a nose. The two of them together look like the type that would have pushed Jewish children into the oven to stay alive one more day to entertain the Nazis." []

Coulter on Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), an African-American: "Congresswoman Maxine Waters had parachuted into Connecticut earlier in the week to campaign against [Sen. Joseph I.] Lieberman because he once expressed reservations about affirmative action, without which she would not have a job that didn't involve wearing a paper hat. Waters also considers Joe 'soft' on the issue of the CIA inventing crack cocaine and AIDS to kill all the black people in America." []

Nationally syndicated radio host , blaming America's "obesity crisis" on "the left," "liberal government," and "food stamps": "Because we are sympathetic, we are compassionate people, we have responded by letting our government literally feed these people to the point of obesity. At least here in America, didn't teach them how to fish, we gave them the fish. Didn't teach them how to butcher a -- slaughter a cow to get the butter, we gave them the butter. The real bloat here, as we know, is in -- is in government." []

Coulter on Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI): "They Shot the Wrong Lincoln." []

Conservative pundit and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan: "Look, [Rep. Jim] Kolbe [R-AZ] is gay. He is an out-of-the-closet gay. [Rep. Mark] Foley [R-FL] was gay. The House clerk who was in charge of the pages [Jeff Trandahl] was gay. Foley's administrative assistant, Mr. [Kirk] Fordham, The New York Times tell us, was gay. You hear about a lot of others. What's going on here, Joe [Scarborough, MSNBC host], is basically these, this little mafia in there looked upon the pages, I guess, as their -- sort of their personal preserve. And it stinks to high heaven what was done. And it stinks to high heaven that it was not exposed and these types of people, thrown out by the Republican Party." []

CNN Headline News host to Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN): "OK. No offense, and I know Muslims. I like Muslims. ... With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, 'Let's cut and run.' And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' " []

Right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel on Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL): So, even if he identifies strongly as a Christian ... is a man who Muslims think is a Muslim, who feels some sort of psychological need to prove himself to his absent Muslim father, and who is now moving in the direction of his father's heritage, a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?" []

Honorable mentions (also in chronological order):

Beck: "Cindy Sheehan. That's a pretty big prostitute there, you know what I mean?" []

Republican strategist Mary Matalin: "I mean, you know, I think these civil rights leaders are nothing more than racists. And they're keeping constituency, they're keeping their neighborhoods and their African-American brothers enslaved, if you will, by continuing to let them think that they're -- or forced to think that they're victims, that the whole system is against them." []

, host of the Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club: "But it does seem that with the current makeup of the court, they still don't have as many judges as would be needed to overturn Roe [v. Wade]. They need one more, and I dare say before the end of this year there will be another vacancy on the court." []

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and host of the daily Christian radio show The Albert Mohler Program: "Well, I would have to say as a Christian that I believe any belief system, any world view, whether it's Zen Buddhism or Hinduism or dialectical materialism for that matter, Marxism, that keeps persons captive and keeps them from coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, yes, is a demonstration of satanic power." []

Nationally syndicated radio host Neal Boortz on Rep. Cynthia McKinney's (D-GA) hairstyle: "She looks like a ghetto slut. ... It looks like an explosion in a Brillo pad factory. ... She looks like Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence. ... She looks like a shih tzu!" []

Boortz on McKinney's hairstyle (again): "I saw Cynthia McKinney's hairdo yesterday -- saw it on TV. I don't blame that cop for stopping her. It looked like a welfare drag queen was trying to sneak into the Longworth House Office Building. That hairdo is ghetto trash. I don't blame them for stopping her." []

Limbaugh discussing a videotape by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the then-leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq: "[I]t sounds just like the DNC [Democratic National Committee] is writing his scripts now." ()

Beck: "Blowing up Iran. I say we nuke the bastards. In fact, it doesn't have to be Iran, it can be everywhere, anyplace that disagrees with me." []

Jonathan Hoenig, managing member of Capitalistpig Asset Management LLC, on Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto: "I think when it comes to Iran, the problem is we haven't been forceful enough. I mean if you -- frankly, if you want to see the Dow go up, let's get the bombers in the air and neutralize this Iranian threat." []

Fox host Geraldo Rivera: "I've known [Sen.] John Kerry [D-MA] for over 35 years. Unlike me, he is a combat veteran, so he gets some props. But in the last 35 years, I've seen a hell of a lot more combat than John Kerry. And for a smart man like that in a political ploy to set a date certain only aids and abets the enemy, and the Democrats are at their own self-destructive behavior once again." []

Savage: "I don't know why we don't use a bunker-buster bomb when he comes to the U.N. and just take [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] out with everyone in there." []

Boortz: "I want you to think for think for a moment of how incompetent and stupid and worthless, how -- that's right, I used those words -- how incompetent, how ignorant, how worthless is an adult that can't earn more than the minimum wage? You have to really, really, really be a pretty pathetic human being to not be able to earn more than the human wage. Uh -- human, the minimum wage." []

Syndicated columnist and Fox News host Cal Thomas on businessman Ned Lamont's victory in Connecticut's Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate: "It completes the capture of the Democratic Party by its Taliban wing. ... [T]hey have now morphed into Taliban Democrats because they are willing to 'kill' one of their own, if he does not conform to the narrow and rigid agenda of the party's kook fringe." []

Fox News host , two months before the November midterm elections: "This is the moment to say that there are things in life worth fighting and dying for and one of 'em is making sure [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi [D-CA] doesn't become the [House] speaker." []

Beck: "The Middle East is being overrun by 10th-century barbarians. That's what I thought at 5 o'clock this morning, and I thought, 'Oh, geez, what -- what is this?' If they take over -- the barbarians storm the gate and take over the Middle East (this is what I'm thinking at 5 o'clock in the morning) -- we're going to have to nuke the whole place." []

Savage: "My fear is that if the Democrats win [in the November midterm elections], and I'm afraid that they might, you're going to see America melt down faster that you could ever imagine. It will happen overnight, and it could lead to the breakup of the United States of America, the way the Soviet Union broke up." []

Republican pollster Frank Luntz on Nancy Pelosi's appearance: "I always use the line for Nancy Pelosi, 'You get one shot at a facelift. If it doesn't work the first time, let it go.' " []

Limbaugh on the Middle East: "Fine, just blow the place up." []

Fox News host (on his radio show): "Do I care if the Sunnis and Shiites kill each other in Iraq? No. I don't care. Let's get our people out of there. Let them kill each other. Maybe they'll all kill each other, and then we can have a decent country in Iraq." []

New York Post columnist Ralph Peters on Iraq Study Group co-chairman James Baker: "The difference is that [Pontius] Pilate just wanted to wash his hands of an annoyance, while Baker would wash his hands in the blood of our troops." []

Conservative syndicated radio host Michael Medved on the animated movie Happy Feet: The film contains "a whole subtext, as there so often is, about homosexuality." []

Fox captions

Additionally, although these are not examples of specific conservative commentators making outrageous comments, we would be remiss if we did not mention that Fox News made a regular practice of attacking Democrats or repeating Republican talking points in on-screen text during its coverage of political issues. Some examples:

"All-Out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?" []

"Attacking Capitalism: Have Dems Declared War on America?" []

"Dems Helping the Enemy?" []

"A Lamont Win, Bad News for Democracy in Mideast?"

"Have the Democrats Forgotten the Lessons of 9/11?"

"Is the Democratic Party Soft on Terror?" []

"The President on Mideast Matters: George W Bush?" []

"Is the Liberal Media Helping to Fuel Terror?" []



December 25, 2006 - 4:03pm