Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Oil-soaked administration

Which comes first for an administration led to two former oil company execs? It is people or fuel? Here's a hint.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A good one

We don't normally go for e-mail jokes that seemingly make an endless circuit through cyberspace. But we'll make an exception in the case of this one at DailyKos:

A cowboy was holding his herd in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses, YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the cowboy "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"

The cowboy looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure. Why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his AT&T cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany.

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of complex formula. He uploads all of this data via an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says the cowboy.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then the cowboy says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a consultant for the Democratic party," says the cowboy.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked; and you don't know anything about my business...

.....Now give me back my dog

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Was she registered at Home Depot?

Officials in Duluth, Ga., have indicted the runaway bride.
Prosecutors want Jennifer Wilbanks to reimburse the money government agencies spent looking for her. Perhaps she should ask if, in lieu of cash, the city would accept a few wedding gifts from where she was registered.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A wild and crazy guy

From the floor of the Senate this morning, John Cornyn, R-Texas, mentioned Rosanne Rosannadanna from "Saturday Night Live" as saying, "Never mind."
Uh, point of order, senator.
Emily Litella said, "Never mind."
Rosanne said, "It always something."
(By the way, both characters were played by the late, great Gilda Radner.)
Don't you just hate it when pols go pop culture and get it wrong.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Copying the work of others ...

.. is not as awful as your third-grade teacher told you. So says an editor of a Focus on the Family publication. Gary Schneeberger writes:
When you earn your living arranging words into sentences, you have a deeper appreciation than most for the power of language.
Or at least you should.
You should choose your terms with the careful clarity of an artist selecting colors; you should understand that missing the mark by even the slightest degree of shading jeopardizes the whole picture.
Too bad, then, that a growing number of editorial page editors at American newspapers have hauled out their rhetorical paint-by-numbers kits to accuse readers like you of "plagiarism" for looking to groups like ours for help in organizing your thoughts into persuasive, publishable arguments.

So a writer from a religious group is defining down the meaning of plagiarism. I guess it all depends on the meaning of the word is is.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

What's important

Ongoing genocide and an attendant crisis in Darfur.
An Iraqi insurgency that won't be quieted.
A U.S. military stretched too thin but adventures in Iraq.
So, what's getting the coverage? Guess.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Another haiku

Pirate Pete responds to my haiku (see post below):

Storm clouds loom
speaker whines again:
liberal press

(pronounce it "lib-ral" and it works)

DeLay haiku

Trouble covers Tom
DeLay ethics do smell
Bugman hollers, "Raid!"

Friday, April 22, 2005

Just too much

Today's e-mail brings another hand-wringing comment on judicial filibusters from a member of the religious right. The most recent is from Gary Cass, the executive director of the Center for Reclaiming America. He writes:
It is time for the Senate to return to majority rule. It is time to place judges on the federal bench who know it is their job to support the timeless truths of the original intent of our Constitution.

Back in the Clinton administration, one senator could block a nominee to the bench by a method called "blue-slipping." Scores of Clinton nominees were blue-slipped by Republicans. These folks never even got a hearing, much less the chance to have their floor votes filibustered.
"Majority rule"? How did that work back in the 1990s when one senator out of 100 could stop a nominee dead in his or her tracks?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Rice transcript

On Arpil 4, members of the National Conference of Editorial Writers met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. I must report that the secretary was very gracious to this fellow Alabamian.
Here's a portion of the conversation:

QUESTION: I'm Bob Davis from the Anniston Star.
SECRETARY RICE: From Alabama, that would be, let me just note.
QUESTION: I thought everybody knew that. Our first speaker, Mr. --and I'm going to mispronounce his name -- Ereli -- he mentioned a concern about an image problem, although not unduly concerned, but there is a concern.
That's how he put it. We didn't have a chance to really flesh that out, so I'd like to turn it on you and ask, does a perception of the United States being a torturer among the prisoners or detainees that it's holding, is that the primary cause of this image problem? And if it is, is that what you're confronting? And if it is what you're confronting, how are you confronting it?

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah. I think the question of America's image in the world, of which the Muslim world is a subset, but image in the world, is a fairly complicated phenomenon. Let me be the first to say that something
like Abu Ghraib doesn't help and, in fact, it was, as the President put it, a stain on us and on the United States.

But I hope that in the way that it was dealt with, people could see why democracies are different than the kinds of dictatorships that have recently been overthrown. We have had people who have been punished for Abu Ghraib.
Their rights were acknowledged. I mean, they had due process, but we've had people who have been punished for Abu Ghraib and people will continue -- there will continue to be investigations of Abu Ghraib. It was all over our newspapers. The Secretary of Defense was be-fore the Congress testifying.

I mean, we have checks against certain -- that kind of be-havior in democracies that do not exist in dictatorships. And it was extremely important, in light of that incident, to make sure that people understood that we operate as a transparent democracy that punishes -- I was on television in Germany not long after it happened and I said, "Look, democracy does not mean that bad things won't happen. Bad things happen in democracies, too. People do bad things. But the difference is democracies are transparent about it and people are punished when they do."

Now, as to the broader question, I think there's several things going on. One is that the United States has had to do some difficult things and make some difficult deci-sions, not all of which were popular. And if you're too worried about how you will be viewed, then you won't make difficult decisions. For instance, it was simply time to take down Saddam Hussein's regime. It was time. This had been 12 long years of a torturer, somebody who -- whatever -- despite the fact that he did not have stock-piles, apparently, of weapons of mass destruction, where you were never going to break the link between Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction, you were simply never going to break the link, where he had desta-bilized his neighbors, where he had invaded his neigh-bors, where he had used weapons of mass destruction, where he was shooting at American and British aircraft trying to patrol the no-fly zone, where you could not con-ceive of a Middle East, a different kind of Middle East, with Saddam Hussein's Iraq in the middle of it. So it was time to do -- to get rid of this regime.

Not a popular decision, but a decision that now, I think, people are beginning to see has unlocked the possibility of a different kind of Middle East, most especially as they saw Iraqis voting on January 30th and as people in Egypt and Lebanon and other places saw Iraqis voting on Janu-ary 30th.

So tough decisions. The decision that Yasser Arafat was a problem and we weren't going to deal with him any-more. Well, now you see how much of a problem he ac-tually was. So yes, we had to say some things and do some things that were not popular.

I also think, though, that we had a bigger problem, which was that for 60 years or so, the United States has been as-sociated with a policy of exceptionalism vis-à-vis the Middle East where it came to issues of democracy. We talked about democracy every place else in the world --
Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe -- but not in the Middle East, because there we talked about stability. And what we learned was we were not getting stability and we were not getting democracy; we were getting a malig-nancy that caused people to fly airplanes into buildings on September 11th. And so the President finally spoke out about that and I think that has started to change people's views in the Middle East of what the United States stands for.

The final point that I would make is that we could do a much better job of getting our message out. It's not well understood that the last several times that the United States has used force, it has been on behalf of Muslims, whether it was Muslims who were being -- in the Balkans who were being oppressed and killed by Serb and Croat forces, whether it was in Kuwait where Saddam Hussein had annexed a Muslim state, whether it was in Afghani-stan where Muslims were being oppressed by the Taliban, or in Iraq where people were suffering in rape rooms and torture chambers. This is the kind of message that needs to get out.

But we need not only to have better messaging out, we need to also make this a conversation, not a monologue, which means that we need to better understand other cul-tures, other languages. Now, I'm a Russianist, Soviet
specialist. I was trained during a period of time when those of us who were good in school were told, "Well, Russian is an important thing for the United States of America. It's a critical language for the United States of

We have far too few people who speak Arabic and Dari and Farsi and all of those languages. We need, as a country, to recognize that we're in a generational struggle in this war of ideas and we have to prepare ourselves
for it by being able to understand cultures and listen to them and speak to them in their own tongue.

So yes, we have a big job to do, but it's a more compli-cated issue than just the latest polls on who likes America and who doesn't.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Government reports and literature

Government reports are supposed to be written by bureaucrats, meaning they are stiff, boring and hard to read.
Maybe that's not fair. Check out the opening to the recently released WMD/intelligence report.
On the brink of war, and in front of the whole world, the United States government asserted that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program, had biological weapons and mobile biological weapon production facilities, and had stockpiled and was producing chemical weapons. All of this was based on the assessments of the U.S. Intelligence Community. And not one bit of it could be confirmed when the war was over.
While the intelligence services of many other nations also thought that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, in the end it was the United States that put its credibility on the line, making this one of the most public—and most damaging—intelligence failures in recent American history.

OK, it's not Tom Wolfe, but it's not bad.
How about the lead of the 9/11 commission report.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned temperate and nearly cloudless in the eastern United States. Millions of men and women readied themselves for work. Some made their way to the Twin Towers, the signature structures of the World Trade Center complex in New York City.Others went to Arlington,Virginia,to the Pentagon.Across the Potomac River, the United States Congress was back in session. At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, people began to line up for a White House tour. In Sarasota, Florida, President George W. Bush
went for an early morning run.
For those heading to an airport, weather conditions could not have been better for a safe and pleasant journey. Among the travelers were Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari, who arrived at the airport in Portland, Maine.

Maybe it's time to rethink the reputation of "government reports."

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Board. by the details (cont.)

Today's Star editorial on the RMC hospital board concerns a bill sponsored by state Rep. Marcel Black, D-Tuscumbia.
HB245 reads, in part:
Under existing law, a county or municipality may establish a public corporate body for the operation of a hospital. This bill would provide that any such corporation may exercise all powers granted to any health care authority without amending its articles of incorporation.

What that means, according to a story in The Star is:
In short, that means RMC’s board would be able to change how its members are appointed, legislators say.
Currently, city councils in Anniston, Jacksonville and Oxford and the Calhoun County Commission make board appointments. Under the proposed legislation, RMC’s board could change that unilaterally by passing a resolution giving itself the power to nominate a slate of candidates from which each city council or commission would select its appointee.
The process essentially would set up a self-perpetuating board.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

It's history, dude

Linda Campbell, a former colleague and a good friend, references the item that recently got us going the other day. A recent survey finds a poor understanding among high school students of the First Amendment.
Campbell writes:
It's worth noting that the study found 70 percent of the students agreeing that musicians should be allowed to sing songs with lyrics that others might consider offensive.
In other words, they understand that the First Amendment protects their right to hear Green Day and 50 Cent as well as Ashlee Simpson and Hilary Duff (subject, of course, to parental approval).
Do they realize that the First Amendment is about holding a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting in the gym as well as being able to watch South Park?
It's about researching STDs online and reading Judy Blume and attending concerts without government interference.
The First Amendment covers dress codes, city curfews and graduation speakers. It's about how violent video games can be and what words exchanged in a hallway constitute bullying.

The entire column is here.

Ink-stained and ham-fisted

During last night's State of the Union address a few members of Congress dipped their fingers in ink to express solidarity with Sunday's voters in Iraq.
Bob Dart of Cox News reports:
The salute to the voters in Sunday's Iraqi election was organized by Rep. Bobby Jindal, president of the freshman class of lawmakers.
"We all watched with joy as Iraqis dipped their fingers in ink and held them high, proudly proclaiming to the world that they had voted," recalled Jindal in a "Dear Colleagues" letter coordinating the congressional action. He provided the purple ink for both Republicans and Democrats.
"This symbolic gesture will tell Iraqis, and the world, that we believe in their cause and will stand beside them and all peoples who embrace freedom," said Jindal, the president of the House freshman class. "It's been said that partisanship stops at the water's edge. Let us again show that to be true by joining together in this symbolic gesture."

As symbolic gestures go, this is one idea that should have been forgotten. Let's not cheapen the real bravery of Iraqis who voted Sunday under dangerous circumstances.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

SocSac stats

Twenty-three-point-eight percent of the voting age population in Alabama's 3rd Congressional District is a beneficiary of Social Security. This and other Social Security facts can be found at this useful site.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

First Amendment?

A story in Monday's USA Today finds that:
One in three U.S. high school students say the press ought to be more restricted, and even more say the government should approve newspaper stories before readers see them, according to a survey being released today.
The survey of 112,003 students finds that 36% believe newspapers should get “government approval” of stories before publishing; 51% say they should be able to publish freely; 13% have no opinion.

We'd suggest that those students could use some firming up in the history and civics departments, specifically focusing on the rights guaranteed in the First Amendment.
Sadly, we suspect a fair number of their parents feel the same way.
The First Amendment Center's most recent survey reports:
"The 2004 survey found that just 30 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement, 'The First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees,' with 65 percent disagreeing. The nation was split evenly, 49 percent to 49 percent, on that same question two years ago, in the survey following the '9/11' attacks," said Gene Policinski, acting director of the First Amendment Center.

Alright class, let's review:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

A beating

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is trying his best today to defend our recent flirtations with torture. His real cause is defending Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales.

Cornyn, who fills the seat left vacant when Phil Gramm retired in 2002, is a fine water-carrier for President Bush.

We think we just heard the senator say that what is wanted is more rights for terrorists than are afforded to American citizens. Uh, what?

Cornyn is playing a shameful game. What we already know is damning.

Gonzales and others in the Bush administration have dismissed basic conditions of the Geneva Conventions and other treaties outlining humane treatment of all prisoners.

They looked into ways to skirt torture prohibitions.

A pattern of prisoner abuse has been detailed in places like Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The sources reporting this abuse come from the International Red Cross, the FBI and the CIA.

That's what we know today. What will we know tomorrow? Does Sen. Cornyn care?

A human face on budget woes

The Montgomery Advertiser does a good job putting a human face on Alabama's budget shortfall. "Mary Parks is at risk," is a long but good read explaining what we face as the 2005 Legislature gets started. The story is here.
Here's an excerpt:
With no talk of tax increases in the 2005 regular session, the prospect of further cuts in state services looms large. For 93-year-old Montgomery resident Mary Parks, a third year of spending cuts could mean more than inconvenience. Physically disabled, Parks cannot prepare meals for herself, and the state-funded program that provides her with a hot lunch each day is already reeling from previous budget cuts.

Monday, January 31, 2005

More on Iraq's election

For more depth than the cheerleading found on most cable TV news outlets, try here or here at media critic Eric Alterman's site. It includes a contribution from one of our favorite writers, Charles Pierce, who is a regular on the NPR program "Wait, Wait -- Don't Tell Me."
Pierce writes:
You do not own their courage.
The people who stood in line Sunday did not stand in line to make Americans feel good about themselves.
You do not own their courage.
They did not stand in line to justify lies about Saddam and al-Qaeda, so you don't own their courage, Stephen Hayes. They did not stand in line to justify lies about weapons of mass destruction, or to justify the artful dodginess of Ahmad Chalabi, so you don't own their courage, Judith Miller. They did not stand in line to provide pretty pictures for vapid suits to fawn over, so you don't own their courage, Howard Fineman, and neither do you, Chris Matthews.
You do not own their courage.
They did not stand in line in order to justify the dereliction of a kept press. They did not stand in line to make right the wrongs born out of laziness, cowardice, and the easy acceptance of casual lying. They did not stand in line for anyone's grand designs. They did not stand in line to play pawns in anyone's great game, so you don't own their courage, you guys in the PNAC gallery.
You do not own their courage.
They did not stand in line to provide American dilettantes with easy rhetorical weapons, so you don't own their courage, Glenn Reynolds, with your cornpone McCarran act out of the bowels of a great university that deserves a helluva lot better than your sorry hide. They did not stand in line to be the instruments of tawdry vilification and triumphal hooting from bloghound commandos. They did not stand in line to become useful cudgels for cheap American political thuggery, so you don't own their courage, Freeper Nation.
You do not own their courage.
They did not stand in line to justify a thousand mistakes that have led to more than a thousand American bodies. They did not stand in line for the purpose of being a national hypnotic for a nation not even their own. They did not stand in line for being the last casus belli standing. They did not stand in line on behalf of people's book deals, TV spots, honorarium checks, or tinpot celebrity. They did not stand in line to be anyone's talking points.
You do not own their courage.
We all should remember that.

Well said.

Olbermann on the money

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann is going wild over on his blog with SpongeBob-Dobson mania. The host of "Countdown" recounts his experiences ever since being smacked down by Focus on the Family.
Many of the complaints, says Olbermann, are of the nonsensical ranting variety. He writes,
The best of them was not a misspelling but a Freudian slip of biblical proportions. A correspondent, unhappy that I did not simply agree with her fire-and-brimstone forecast for me, wrote “I showed respect even though I disagreed with you and yet you have the audacity to call me intelligent.”
Well, you have me there, Ma’am. My mistake.

And so it goes.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Boss Dobson responds

Religious demagogue James Dobson cries foul for his treatment in the media since the whole SpongeBob and gay-friendly video episode blew up in his face.

In a letter to his supporters, Dobson whines that his remarks have been blown out of context by the nasty media.

This is rich coming from someone who frequently traffics in half-truths and gross distortions. For an example, check out his Oct. 14 comments regarding John Kerry while appearing on Fox News with Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes:

I started to say before the break, Sean, I wanted to give you something to think about in the midnight hours, because I woke up this morning at 4:00 in the morning thinking about this.
Let's suppose that John Kerry squeaks out a victory. And then, he's able to make two to four Supreme Court appointees. And Senator Clinton looks at that situation, and she sees the possibility of eight years of waiting, and she'll be eight years older. And anything could happen in eight years.
And President Kerry then appoints her as chief justice of the Supreme Court. And she would have the opportunity to virtually rewrite the Constitution with the rest of her life. That keeps me up at night.

Cute, huh? Was anyone seriously contemplating Hillary Clinton as a Supreme Court justice? Nope, but Dobson practices in this sort of language that just scares the pants off his followers.

Sen. Clinton seems to be a particular obsession, as evidenced by Focus on the Family "news" story.

For an example closer to home, consider his jihad against "judicial tyranny" surrounding the Roy Moore case.
Ah yes, check out the "tyrants" on the Court of the Judiciary who found that no judge is above the law. These are hardly tyrants. Wonder if their faces shock Dobson out of his slumber?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Smart like a sponge

Is cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants really gay-friendly? Yes, says rightwinger James Dobson. Dobson and his Focus on the Family are attacking SpongeBob's participation in a tolerance video. That's nothing, they also see gay-conspiracy in an anti-bullying campaign.
Do believe people like Dobson and his ilk really hold to this silliness about gay-friendly cartoons? Or does Focus realize that anytime it can get the NY Times and other "elite media types," as they would put it, to make sport of them, it can only help in the fundraising deptartment?
"Look!," their fundraising appeals will say. "The evil, liberal New York Times and other members of radicial leftwing media hate us. We must be doing something right. Please send us more money so we can combat these forces of evil!"

Imagine that

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, in speaking from the floor of the Senate during the Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State confirmation debate, made quite a speech this morning. She supports Rice and in her defense of Rice's role in the mistakes regarding Iraq, Sen. Hutchison said that nobody could have conceived of the type of enemy we would face in postwar Iraq. Who could imagine that these people would blow themselves up?
Crazed fundamentalists strapping explosives to themselves and blowing themselves up. Just imagine that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Approval (?) ratings

An ABC News/Washington Post poll finds President Bush's polling numbers are weak.
Salon digs deeper than just bad low approval ratings:
The Post, though, offers no historical context. If the paper had, it would have cast Bush's current standing in an even more negative light. The facts are that upon easily winning reelection in 1972, Nixon enjoyed a 59 percent approval rating, according to Gallup. The reason Nixon's rating quickly nose-dived to 51 percent in Gallup's Jan. 12-15 survey was that the poll came on the heels of Nixon's controversial decision to bomb North Vietnamese population centers, such as Hanoi and Haiphong, without pause from Dec. 18 to Dec. 30. Otherwise known as the Christmas Bombing, the raids killed an estimated 1,600 civilians; 70 U.S. airmen were either captured or killed. The bombing was condemned worldwide, and for an American public fed up with nearly a decade of war in Vietnam, it sparked a new round of street protests as well as knocking Nixon's approval ratings down nearly 10 points in one month. Yet even against that stark backdrop, Nixon's rating was just one point below Bush's current standing, despite the fact that Bush -- unlike Nixon -- has made no bold or controversial initiatives since November.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

E-mail fictions

A e-mail came over the transom this past weekend that is instructive as to the gulf that divides this nation.
The subject of the e-mail was "The Omission From the New W.W.II Memorial." The e-mail's theme, which is one of a genre that intends to scare the Christian right that it is under attack from within. In this message, we're to believe that FDR's reference to God was scrubbed from the memorial because of zealous censors.
We typically trash this kind of easily debunkable junk, but this time we responded to the sender, who shall remain anonymous. A
link from shot down the message's central claim.
That should have ended this little episode, but no. Our e-mailer had a response,
How can you say that the words were not omitted when they are not present on the wall? The sentence containing those words was omitted; consequently that phrase was omitted. ... We cannot allow the revisionist of history to make such a change.

Of course, the omission is not in doubt. What's in doubt is sequence of Roosevelt's comments.
I responded:
Under your reasoning, they "omitted" a heck of a lot more than four words from the speech. What the snopes story points out is that there are two quotes in the FDR speech that express similar sentiments about absolute victory and total triumph. Only one of those quotes ends with the phrase, "so help us God." It is NOT that quote, however, that is inscribed on the wall. It is the other one. They had room for one short quote. Otherwise, it would have had 200 words. The e-mail you sent out claims that the inscriptions omits the end of the sentence, removing a reference to God. That reference is two large paragraphs away.
The original false story comes from the Washington Times, which is owned by a man, Sun yung Moon, who claims to be the messiah. And that's no urban legend. Read here.

We heard back once more, "I will not argue the omission with you any more; yet I do believe that the phrase should have been a part of the inscription."
Is this what it comes down to? The facts don't matter. The bogus story that is debunked by credible sources doesn't matter. God should have been on that monument and any anecdote, even one based on a faulty remembrance, is OK. Sad.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Columnist payola

Are you now or have you ever been ...
Armstrong Williams is catching flak for taking nearly a quarter-mil to shill for the White House in his columns and talk-radio program.
Over at The American Prospect, they have a nifty idea. Namely, offering an oath for right-wing pundits to take clear their name from this "pay for play" scandal. Here's their suggestion:
I swear that I have never taken money -- neither directly nor indirectly -- from any political campaign or government agency -- whether federal, state, or local -- in exchange for any service performed in my job as a journalist (or commentator, or blogger, or whatever you think I should be called).

The word is that Freedom of Information requests have already been launched by various ambitious Beltway reporters. Time is running short for members of the vast rightwing conspiracy.

Riley's bugged

Gov. Bob Riley, speaking at yesterday's annual PARCA (Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama) luncheon in Birmingham, was dispensing medical truths.
Riley said he had received a flu shot last week, and wanted to report that it worked. "I've got the flu," he deadpanned.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Lost cause in the South?

The LA Times' Ronald Brownstein writes:
Across the 11 states of the old Confederacy, plus Kentucky and Oklahoma, whites constitute a majority of the population in 1,154 counties. Kerry won 90 of them.
By contrast, Bill Clinton won 510 white-majority counties in the South eight years ago.

The Calhoun County Sheriffs Department Web site has local precinct results. Here are a few of note:
Oxford Elementary School
Bush 79.89%
Kerry 19.09%
White Plain High School
Bush 81.78%
Kerry 17.26%
Coosa Valley Saddle Club
Bush 80.09%
Kerry 19.44%
Friendship Community Center
Bush 81.53%
Kerry 17.53%
Anniston -- First Presbyterian
Kerry 51.02%
Bush 47.63%
Alexandria – Civitan Club Center
Bush 76.49%
Kerry 22.89%
Jacksonville -- Westside Baptist
Kerry 58.40%
Bush 40.38%
Hobson City – City Hall
Kerry 92.33%
Bush 7.67%
More county results here. For results from the state click here.
Expanding the circle one more time, the best Web site for national presidential results, including historical votes, is Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.

Moral values and politics: What are yours?

The post-election period has witnessed the rise of “moral values” voters as the symbol for President Bush’s reelection this November.
As Bush prepares for his second term, we’d like to hear first-hand from our readers. What are your moral values? And, more importantly, how do they inform your political preferences?
Let us know in 200 words or less. Remember to include your name, city of residence and phone number. (The phone number won’t be published; it’s for confirmation purposes only.)
Click here to send us your thoughts.