Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Batwoman Comes Out

Good news. Batwoman is a lesbian. And doesn't she make Batman and Robin look like wimps?

Rightwingers can legislate all they want, the real battle is fought in the trenches of the culture.

Batwoman is a lesbo, and the intolerant rightwingers are losing the cultural war.

Speaking of wimps, wouldn't Billie Frist make a great Boy Wonder?


Comic book heroine Batwoman is to make a comeback as a "lipstick lesbian" who moonlights as a crime fighter, a DC Comics spokesman has confirmed.

The new-look Batwoman is just one of a wave of ethnically and sexually diverse characters entering the DC Comics universe.

Others include Mexican teenager Blue Beetle - who replaces the character's previous white incarnation - and the Great Ten, a government-sponsored team of Chinese superheroes.

Regular characters Firestorm and The Atom, meanwhile, have been reinvented as black and Asian heroes respectively.

The characters are part of a wider effort to broaden the make-up of comic-book creations in line with society as a whole.

Batwoman, who first appeared in July 1956, has not been seen since September 1979 when she was killed by the League of Assassins and the Bronze Tiger.

Bill Maher: Impeach Bush for Fish Tale

If you're suffering from Bill Maher withdrawal, like me, you can see the Impeach Bush clip from his last show here.

Via The Unknown Candidate .

For a few more reasons to Impeach Bush, see ImpeachPAC.

Photo seen at Digital Journal where Maher is featured in a cover story.

Jesus for Prohibition

Billboard - Wet / Dry Vote, off Highway 31 in Hartselle, Alabama.

Via Nashville is Talking.

It's official. There are weirdos in Alabama.

I guess Jesus was a stoner.

South Dakota Abortion Ban on the Ballot in November

The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families has collected almost double the number of signatures needed for the goal of repealing the state's draconian abortion ban. It looks like the abortion ban will soon be on hold until voters decide the issue in November.

"If at least 16,728 signatures are certified as valid, the scheduled July 1 implementation of the ban would be nullified and voters would be allowed to decide the issue in a November election."

The South Dakota ban permits no exceptions for rape or incest and provides for the imprisonment of doctors who perform abortions. Under the nightmare legislation, even children are required to reproduce their rapists.

Cuz rightwingers love the fetus but hate the child.

South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families:

Today, the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families announced the filing of nearly 38,000 signatures on petitions to repeal the extreme abortion ban passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Mike Rounds on March 6. Petitions will be filed with the Secretary of State at 2 pm today.

At press events in seven South Dakota communities, supporters of the repeal announced the tremendous support they received circulating petitions across the state.

* 1,200 volunteers from 138 cities and towns circulated the petitions.
* All petitions were circulated by volunteers as opposed to paid staff used by many petition drives.
* People from every county in the state have signed the petitions and are calling for the repeal of this extreme measure.
* Business leaders and homemakers, ministers and doctors, nurses and teachers, students, construction workers and store clerks joined our effort to ask the voters of South Dakota to repeal the extreme ban on abortions.

"This abortion ban was pushed by radical groups who want our state to be the center of the national legal battle waged in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade," said Jan Nicolay, Co-Chair of the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families. "Defending this extreme law, that is clearly unconstitutional, could cost the taxpayers of South Dakota millions of dollars and drag the good people of South Dakota into the center of the national abortion debate," Nicolay continued.

"While the South Dakota legislature refused to let voters have their say on this important issue, we will offer them that chance," said Dr. Maria Bell, the official sponsor of the petition drive. "We are so proud and humbled today, to announce that 37,846 South Dakota voters have signed the petitions and are calling for the repeal of this extreme ban on abortions," Bell continued.

Bush Picks Pro Kyoto Protocol Nominee

Bush is off his meds again. Or maybe he's been taking too many long naps with Cheney. Or perhaps he's been listening to Al Gore's message and has decided that since the GOP ship is sinking fast, he may as well make a wild stab at pulling in a few liberal votes. Good luck with that Bushie.

A member of the reality based community in the Bush Administration. What will they think of next?

You really never know what the madman will do next. But nominating the pro Kyoto Protocol Henry M. Paulson Jr. for Treasury Secretary is weird, even for Bushie.

Think Progress:

President Bush’s new nominee for Treasury Secretary, Goldman Sachs Chairman Henry M. Paulson Jr., not only endorses the Kyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse emissions, but argues that the United States’ failure to enact Kyoto undermines the competitiveness of U.S. companies. Here’s a statement from the Nature Conservancy, where Paulson serves as chairman of the board:

The Kyoto Protocol is a key first step to help slow the onslaught of global warming and benefit conservation efforts…Until the United States passes its own limits on global warming emissions, innovative companies based here will lose out on opportunities to sell reduced emission credits to companies complying with the Kyoto Protocol overseas. Additionally, without enacting our own emission limits, U.S. companies will lose ground to their competitors in Europe, Canada, Japan, and other countries participating in the Protocol who are developing clean technologies.

Once again, rightwingers are banding together to fight yet more of the 'crazed' actions of their dear leader. Stay tuned, it should be fun.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Another Election Year, Another GOP Effort to Smash Your Vote

Ever wonder why so few people in this country vote? If you do, you haven't been paying enough attention to your Republican lawmakers. As always, the best winning strategy the GOP can come up with is to keep 'we the people' away from the polls.

If ever a country was in need of a little election day monitoring by the United Nations, it's the good old USA. Or perhaps we could simply banish lawmakers from the entire process and put the people at American Idol in charge of the vote.

Today's New York Times editorial reveals the latest in the continuing saga of the GOP's sick and twisted efforts to stop your vote.

Prepare to be sickened.

Block the Vote (snippets):

In a country that spends so much time extolling the glories of democracy, it's amazing how many elected officials go out of their way to discourage voting.

Florida recently reached a new low when it actually bullied the League of Women Voters into stopping its voter registration efforts in the state. The Legislature did this by adopting a law that seems intended to scare away anyone who wants to run a voter registration drive. Since registration drives are particularly important for bringing poor people, minority groups and less educated voters into the process, the law appears to be designed to keep such people from voting.

It imposes fines of $250 for every voter registration form that a group files more than 10 days after it is collected, and $5,000 for every form that is not submitted — even if it is because of events beyond anyone's control, like a hurricane. The Florida League of Women Voters, which is suing to block the new rules, has decided it cannot afford to keep registering new voters in the state as it has done for 67 years. If a volunteer lost just 16 forms in a flood, or handed in a stack of forms a day late, the group's entire annual budget could be put at risk.

In Washington, a new law prevents people from voting if the secretary of state fails to match the information on their registration form with government databases. There are many reasons that names, Social Security numbers and other data may not match, including typing mistakes.

Congress is considering a terrible voter ID requirement as part of the immigration reform bill. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, introduced an amendment to require all voters to present a federally mandated photo ID. Even people who have been voting for years would need to get a new ID to vote in 2008. Millions of people without drivers' licenses, including many elderly people and city residents, might fail to do so, and be ineligible to vote. The amendment has been blocked so far, but voting-rights advocates worry that it could reappear.

Protecting the integrity of voting is important, but many of these rules seem motivated by a partisan desire to suppress the vote, and particular kinds of voters, rather than to make sure that those who are entitled to vote — and only those who are entitled — do so. The right to vote is fundamental, and Congress and state legislatures should not pass laws that put an unnecessary burden on it. If they do, courts should strike them down.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Swift Boating the Planet

Climate Lies
by Paul Krugman

A brief segment in "An Inconvenient Truth" shows Senator Al Gore questioning James Hansen, a climatologist at NASA, during a 1989 hearing. But the movie doesn't give you much context, or tell you what happened to Dr. Hansen later.

And that's a story worth telling, for two reasons. It's a good illustration of the way interest groups can create the appearance of doubt even when the facts are clear and cloud the reputations of people who should be regarded as heroes. And it's a warning for Mr. Gore and others who hope to turn global warming into a real political issue: you're going to have to get tougher, because the other side doesn't play by any known rules.

Dr. Hansen was one of the first climate scientists to say publicly that global warming was under way. In 1988, he made headlines with Senate testimony in which he declared that "the greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now." When he testified again the following year, officials in the first Bush administration altered his prepared statement to downplay the threat. Mr. Gore's movie shows the moment when the administration's tampering was revealed.

In 1988, Dr. Hansen was well out in front of his scientific colleagues, but over the years that followed he was vindicated by a growing body of evidence. By rights, Dr. Hansen should have been universally acclaimed for both his prescience and his courage.

But soon after Dr. Hansen's 1988 testimony, energy companies began a campaign to create doubt about global warming, in spite of the increasingly overwhelming evidence. And in the late 1990's, climate skeptics began a smear campaign against Dr. Hansen himself.

Leading the charge was Patrick Michaels, a professor at the University of Virginia who has received substantial financial support from the energy industry. In Senate testimony, and then in numerous presentations, Dr. Michaels claimed that the actual pace of global warming was falling far short of Dr. Hansen's predictions. As evidence, he presented a chart supposedly taken from a 1988 paper written by Dr. Hansen and others, which showed a curve of rising temperatures considerably steeper than the trend that has actually taken place.

In fact, the chart Dr. Michaels showed was a fraud — that is, it wasn't what Dr. Hansen actually predicted. The original paper showed a range of possibilities, and the actual rise in temperature has fallen squarely in the middle of that range. So how did Dr. Michaels make it seem as if Dr. Hansen's prediction was wildly off? Why, he erased all the lower curves, leaving only the curve that the original paper described as being "on the high side of reality."

The experts at, the go-to site for climate science, suggest that the smears against Dr. Hansen "might be viewed by some as a positive sign, indicative of just how intellectually bankrupt the contrarian movement has become." But I think they're misreading the situation. In fact, the smears have been around for a long time, and Dr. Hansen has been trying to correct the record for years. Yet the claim that Dr. Hansen vastly overpredicted global warming has remained in circulation, and has become a staple of climate change skeptics, from Michael Crichton to Robert Novak.

There's a concise way to describe what happened to Dr. Hansen: he was Swift-boated.

John Kerry, a genuine war hero, didn't realize that he could successfully be portrayed as a coward. And it seems to me that Dr. Hansen, whose predictions about global warming have proved remarkably accurate, didn't believe that he could successfully be portrayed as an unreliable exaggerator. His first response to Dr. Michaels, in January 1999, was astonishingly diffident. He pointed out that Dr. Michaels misrepresented his work, but rather than denouncing the fraud involved, he offered a rather plaintive appeal for better behavior.

Even now, Dr. Hansen seems reluctant to say the obvious. "Is this treading close to scientific fraud?" he recently asked about Dr. Michaels's smear. The answer is no: it isn't "treading close," it's fraud pure and simple.

Now, Dr. Hansen isn't running for office. But Mr. Gore might be, and even if he isn't, he hopes to promote global warming as a political issue. And if he wants to do that, he and those on his side will have to learn to call liars what they are.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Cannes Landslide for Al Gore

Al Gore's Comeback
by Frank Rich

Let it never be said that the Democrats don't believe in anything. They still believe in Hollywood and they still believe in miracles. Witness the magical mystery comeback tour of Al Gore.

Like Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" before it, Mr. Gore's new documentary about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," has wowed the liberal caucus at Cannes (who needs landlocked Iowa?) and fueled fantasies of political victory back home. "Al Gore Takes Cannes by Storm — Will the Oval Office Be Next?" Arianna Huffington asks on her blog, reporting that the former vice president was hotter on the Croisette than Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis and Penelope Cruz. In a "fantasy" presidential poll on the liberal Web site Daily Kos, Mr. Gore racks up a landslide 68 percent, with the closest also-ran, Russ Feingold, at 15. Liberal Washington pundits wonder whether the wonkishness that seemed off-putting in 2000 may actually be a virtue. In choosing a president, Margaret Carlson writes on, maybe "we should give a rest to that old saw about likeability."

Still, the unexpected rebirth of Al Gore says more about the desperation of the Democrats than it does about him. He is most of all the beneficiary of a perfect storm of events, the right man in the right place at the right time. It was just after Mr. Gore appeared on "Saturday Night Live" to kick off his movie's publicity campaign that long-rumbling discontent with the party's presumptive (if unannounced) presidential front-runner, Hillary Clinton, boiled over. Last week both New York magazine and The New Yorker ran lead articles quoting party insiders who described a Clinton candidacy in 2008 as a pox tantamount to avian flu. The Times jumped in with a front-page remembrance of headlines past: a dissection of the Clinton marriage.

If Senator Clinton is the Antichrist, might not it be time for a resurrected messiah to inherit (and save) the earth? Enter Mr. Gore, celebrated by New York on its cover as "The Un-Hillary."

There's a certain logic to this. Mrs. Clinton does look like a weak candidate — not so much because of her marriage, her gender or her liberalism, but because of her eagerness to fudge her stands on anything and everything to appeal to any and all potential voters. Where once she inspired passions pro and con, now she often induces apathy. Her most excited constituency seems to be the right-wing pundits who still hope to make a killing with books excoriating her. At least eight fresh titles are listed at, including my own personal favorite, "Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation From Mussolini to Hillary Clinton." (Why settle for Il Duce when you can go for Hitler?)

Since no crowd-pleasing Democratic challenger has emerged at this early date to disrupt Mrs. Clinton's presumed coronation, the newly crowned movie star who won the popular vote in 2000 is the quick fix. Better the defeated devil the Democrats know than the losers they don't. Besides, there are at least two strong arguments in favor of Mr. Gore. He was way ahead of the Washington curve, not just on greenhouse gases but on another issue far more pressing than Mrs. Clinton's spirited crusade to stamp out flag burning: Iraq.

An anti-Hussein hawk who was among the rare Senate Democrats to vote for the first gulf war, Mr. Gore forecast the disasters lying in wait for the second when he spoke out at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Sept. 23, 2002. He saw that the administration was jumping "from one unfinished task to another" and risked letting Afghanistan destabilize and Osama bin Laden flee. He saw that the White House was recklessly putting politics over policy by hurrying a Congressional war resolution before the midterm elections (and before securing international support). Most important, he noticed then that the administration had "not said much of anything" about "what would follow regime change." He imagined how "chaos in the aftermath of a military victory in Iraq could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam."

At the time, the White House professed to ignore Mr. Gore's speech, but on cue in the next five days Condoleezza Rice, Ari Fleischer, Donald Rumsfeld and the president all stepped up the hype of what Mr. Rumsfeld falsely called "bulletproof" evidence of links between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Democratic leaders in Congress, meanwhile, blew off Mr. Gore for fear that talk of Iraq might distract the electorate from all those compelling domestic issues that would guarantee victory in the midterms. (That brilliant strategy cost Democrats the Senate.) On CNN, a representative from The New Republic, a frequent Gore cheerleader, reported that "the vast majority of the staff" condemned his speech as "the bitter rantings of a guy who is being politically motivated and disingenuous in his arguments."

But in truth, as with global warming, Mr. Gore's stands on Iraq (both in 1991 and 2002) were manifestations of leadership — the single attribute most missing from the current Democrats with presidential ambitions. Of the potential candidates for 2008, only Senator Feingold raised similar questions about the war so articulately so early. The Gore stand on the environment, though still rejected by the president and his oil-industry base, has become a bipartisan cause: 86 evangelical Christian leaders broke with the administration's do-nothing policy in February.

If this were the whole picture, Mr. Gore would seem the perfect antidote to the Democrats' ills. But it's not. The less flattering aspect of Mr. Gore has not gone away: the cautious and contrived presidential candidate who, like Mrs. Clinton now, was so in thrall to consultants that he ran away from his own administration's record and muted his views, even about pet subjects like science. (He waffled on the teaching of creationism in August 1999, after the Kansas Board of Education struck down the teaching of evolution.) That Gore is actually accentuated, not obscured, by "An Inconvenient Truth." The more hard-hitting his onscreen slide show about global warming, the more he reminds you of how much less he focused on the issue in 2000. Gore the uninhibited private citizen is not the same as Gore the timid candidate.

Though many of the rave reviews don't mention it, there are also considerable chunks of "An Inconvenient Truth" that are more about hawking Mr. Gore's image than his cause. They also bring back unflattering memories of him as a politician. The movie contains no other voices that might upstage him, not even those of scientists supporting his argument. It is instead larded with sycophantic audiences, as meticulously multicultural as any Benetton ad, who dote on every word and laugh at every joke, like the studio audience at "Live With Regis and Kelly."

We are also treated to a heavy-handed, grainy glimpse of Katherine Harris, Michael Moore-style, and are reminded that Mr. Gore is not a rigid blue-state N.R.A. foe (he shows us where he shot his rifle as a farm kid in Tennessee). There's even an ingenious bit of fearmongering to go head to head with the Republicans' exploitation of 9/11: in a worst-case climactic scenario, we're told, the World Trade Center memorial "would be under water." Given so blatant a political context, the film's big emotional digressions — Mr. Gore's tragic near-loss of his young son and the death of his revered older sister from lung cancer — are as discomforting as they were in his 1992 and 1996 convention speeches.

If "An Inconvenient Truth" isn't actually a test drive for a presidential run, it's the biggest tease since Colin Powell encouraged speculation about his political aspirations during his 1995 book tour. Mr. Gore's nondenial denials about his ambitions (he has "no plans" to run) are Clintonesque. Told by John Heilemann of New York magazine that his movie sometimes feels like a campaign film, Mr. Gore gives a disingenuous answer that triggers an instant flashback to his equivocation about weightier matters during the 2000 debates: "Audiences don't see the movie as political. Paramount did a number of focus-group screenings, and that was very clear." You want to scream: stop this man before he listens to a focus group again!

Even so, let's hope Mr. Gore runs. He may not be able to pull off the Nixon-style comeback of some bloggers' fantasies, but by pounding away on his best issues, he could at the very least play the role of an Adlai Stevenson or Wendell Willkie, patriotically goading the national debate onto higher ground. "I think the war looms over everything," said Karl Rove this month in bemoaning his boss's poll numbers. It looms over the Democrats, too. But the party's leaders would rather let John Murtha take the heat on Iraq; they don't even have the guts to endorse tougher fuel economy standards in their "new" energy policy. While a Gore candidacy could not single-handedly save the Democrats from themselves any more than his movie can vanquish "X-Men" at the multiplex, it might at least force the party powers that be to start facing some inconvenient but necessary truths.

Thanks to Donkey o. d.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Bush Marriage Breakup Story

Will the Liberal NY Times Do A Front-Page Story on the Bush Marriage Break-up?

'Nasty Fights' - 'Booze Problems' - 'Laura Urges Counseling. . .'
Speaking of the New York Times' infamous front page gossip piece on the Clinton marriage, Media Matters says it's time for a little fair play.

As you can see, the good folks at Media Matters have even gone and done the research for our elite and liberal friends at the Times.

Also, Digby has a related and important piece on the special fondness the media has for putting the Mommy Party in her place.

This is good stuff -- Media Matters:

In his May 23 front-page article in The New York Times, staff writer Patrick Healy asserted that "[w]hen the subject of Bill and Hillary Clinton comes up for many prominent Democrats these days, Topic A is the state of their marriage" and how it "might affect Mrs. Clinton's possible bid for the presidency in 2008." Healy offered no specific reasons for this purported interest among "prominent Democrats" aside from the amount of time the Clintons spent apart, a mention of a decade-old affair, and a reference to year-old "concern[]" over a "tabloid photograph showing Mr. Clinton leaving B.L.T. Steak in Midtown Manhattan late one night after dining with a group that included Belinda Stronach, a Canadian politician." Healy continued: "The two were among roughly a dozen people at a dinner, but it still was enough to fuel coverage in the gossip pages."

It was also enough to fuel a front-page New York Times article, and the rapt attention of the Washington press corps, as Media Matters has documented.

Healy did not identify the "tabloid" in question, but he seems to be referring to the Globe magazine, which in the spring of 2005 ran a headline about Clinton and Stronach that read "Bill caught with blonde AGAIN! New divorce battle with Hillary."

Media Matters does not endorse the decision by The New York Times, NBC's Tim Russert, MSNBC's Chris Matthews, The Washington Post's David Broder, and countless other elite media figures to take their cues from tabloids like the Globe, or to pry into the personal lives of political figures. But if they are going to do so, we expect them to be consistent.

As it happens, the cover of the May 29 edition of the Globe contains another sensational headline about another high-profile political couple:


On Pages 20 and 21, the Globe announces "Bush and Laura's 29-year marriage FALLS APART," adding: "They barely talk to each other," "[t]hey argue when they do speak," and "[s]he's afraid he'll hit the bottle." Quotes in the article attributed to "a longtime friend" include the assertion that "[w]hen the cameras aren't on, they have nothing to do with one another," and that "[f]or all practical purposes, they've broken up." The "family friend" continues: "After their last fight over booze, they just stopped talking -- period." The Globe's report that Laura Bush is concerned that President Bush may "hit the bottle" is reminiscent of a September 21, 2005, National Enquirer article about "Bush's booze crisis," which reported: "Faced with the biggest crisis of his political life, President Bush has hit the bottle again."

Media Matters wonders when we can expect The New York Times to assign a reporter to tally the number of nights the Bushes spend together and to conduct 50 interviews with Republicans to assess their interest in the state of the Bush marriage, or in President Bush's reported relapse -- and when it will run a 2,000-word front-page article on the topic.

Dowd: Don't Become Them

Haditha Killings
by Maureen Dowd

When I started in newspapers, I shied away from police brutality stories, letting other reporters cover them.

I knew there were cops who had no right to be cops. But I also knew, because my dad was a detective, the sort of blistering pressure men and women in uniform were under as they made snap life-and-death decisions. I'd cringed at the 60's refrain that the military and the police were "pigs."

After my dad killed a robber in self-defense — the man had tried to shoot him point-blank in the face, but that chamber of the gun was empty — he told a police psychologist that he could not swallow or eat because he felt as though he had fish bones in his throat.

So I felt sickened to hear about the marines who allegedly snapped in Haditha, Iraq, and wantonly killed two dozen civilians — including two families full of women and children, among them a 3-year-old girl. Nine-year-old Eman Waleed told Time that she'd watched the marines go in to execute her father as he read the Koran, and then shoot her grandfather and grandmother, still in their nightclothes. Other members of her family, including her mother, were shot dead; she said that she and her younger brother had been wounded but survived because they were shielded by adults who died.

It's a My Lai acid flashback. The force that sacked Saddam to stop him from killing innocents is now accused of killing innocents. Under pressure from the president to restore law, but making little progress, marines from Camp Pendleton, many deployed in Iraq for the third time, reportedly resorted to lawlessness themselves.

The investigation indicates that members of the Third Battalion, First Marines, lost it after one of their men was killed by a roadside bomb, going on a vengeful killing spree over about five hours, shooting five men who had been riding in a taxi and mowing down the residents of two nearby houses.

They blew off the Geneva Conventions, following the lead of the president's lawyer.

It was inevitable. Marines are trained to take the hill and destroy the enemy. It is not their forte to be policemen while battling a ghostly foe, suicide bombers, ever more ingenious explosive devices, insurgents embedded among civilians, and rifle blasts fired from behind closed doors and minarets. They don't know who the enemy is. Is it a pregnant woman? A child? An Iraqi policeman? They don't know how to win, or what a win would entail.

Gen. Michael Hagee, the Marine Corps commandant, who has flown to Iraq to talk to his troops about "core values" in the wake of Haditha and a second incident being investigated, noted that the effect of this combat "can be numbing."

A new A&E documentary chronicles the searing story of the marines of Lima Company, 184 Ohio reservists who won 59 Purple Hearts, 23 posthumously. Sgt. Guy Zierk recounts kicking in a door after an insurgent attack. Enraged over the death of his pals, he says he nearly killed two women and a 16-year-old boy. "I am so close, so close to shooting, but I don't." he says. "It would make me no better than the people we're trying to fight."

Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste, one of those who called for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, told Chris Matthews that blame for Haditha and Abu Ghraib lay with "the incredible strain bad decisions and bad judgment is putting on our incredible military."

While it was nice to hear President Bush admit he had made mistakes, he was talking mostly about mistakes of tone. Saying he wanted Osama bin Laden "dead or alive" would have been O.K. if he had acted on it, rather than letting Osama go at Tora Bora and diverting the Army to Iraq. At his news conference with a tired-looking Tony Blair, Mr. Bush seemed chastened by Iraq, at least. But he continued to have the same hallucination about how to get out: turning things over to the Iraqi security forces after achieving total victory over insurgents and terrorists.

Stories in The Times this week show that Iraqi security forces are so infiltrated by Shiite militias, Sunni militias, death squads and officers with ties to insurgents that the idea of entrusting anything to them is ludicrous.

By ignoring predictions of an insurgency and refusing to do homework before charging into Iraq on trumped-up pretenses, W. left our troops undermanned, inadequately armored and psychologically unprepared.

It was maddening to see the prime minister of Britain — of all places — express surprise at the difficulty of imposing a democracy on a country that has had a complex and ferocious tribal culture since the Gardens of Babylon were still hanging.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Rhythm Method Kills Embryos

Gawd, these people get crazier from one day to the next. Let's see now, they are for rampant reproduction but against sex.

And now comes the theory that unless you have sex during a woman's most fertile period, you are killing embryos!

Good fucking grief!

New Scientist:

The range of birth control choices may have become narrower for couples that believe the sanctity of life begins when sperm meets egg. The rhythm method, a philosopher claims, may compromise millions of embryos.

“Even a policy of practising condom usage and having an abortion in case of failure would cause less embryonic deaths than the rhythm method,” writes Luc Bovens, of the London School of Economics, in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

With other methods of contraception banned by the Catholic church, the rhythm method has been one of the few options available to millions.

In using the rhythm method, couples avoid pregnancy by refraining from sex during a woman’s fertile period. Perfect adherents claim it is over 90% effective – i.e. one couple in 10 will conceive in an average year. But, typically speaking, effectiveness is estimated at closer to 75%.

Now Bovens suggests that for those concerned about embryo loss, the rhythm method may be a bad idea. He argues that, because couples are having sex on the fringes of the fertile period, they are more likely to conceive embryos that are incapable of surviving.

Bovens calculates that, if the rhythm method is 90% effective, and if conceptions outside the fertile period are about twice as likely to fail as to survive, then “millions of rhythm method cycles per year globally depend for their success on massive embryonic death”.

“If you’re concerned about embryonic death,” Bovens says, “you’ve got to be consistent here and give up the rhythm method.”

Update: Okay, so this puts some of the more militant anti choicers in a real bind, which is one of the points the author is making. I must be paranoid since I jumped to the hasty conclusion that the author, Luc Bovens was just another crazy anti choicer. How could I be so paranoid?

BTW, the Right to Lifers are coming to downtown Nashville for their conference (June 22, 23 and 24, 2006).

Waas: Rove Was Novak's Source


"National Journal's Murray Waas reports that Karl Rove was in fact columnist Robert Novak's source for learning Valerie Plame's identity, and that the two men, upon learning of a federal investigation, spoke and may have created a false cover story to hide the truth.

In other words, there's mounting evidence that Novak and Rove not only lied to the FBI and grand jury, but they conspired to obstruct justice."

A Test of Our Character

Gore's Movie
by Paul Krugman

In his new movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore suggests that there are three reasons it's hard to get action on global warming. The first is boiled-frog syndrome: because the effects of greenhouse gases build up gradually, at any given moment it's easier to do nothing. The second is the perception, nurtured by a careful disinformation campaign, that there's still a lot of uncertainty about whether man-made global warming is a serious problem. The third is the belief, again fostered by disinformation, that trying to curb global warming would have devastating economic effects.

I'd add a fourth reason, which I'll talk about in a minute. But first, let's notice that Mr. Gore couldn't have asked for a better illustration of disinformation campaigns than the reaction of energy-industry lobbyists and right-wing media organizations to his film.

The cover story in the current issue of National Review is titled "Scare of the Century." As evidence that global warming isn't really happening, it offers the fact that some Antarctic ice sheets are getting thicker — a point also emphasized in a TV ad by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is partly financed by large oil companies, whose interests it reliably represents.

Curt Davis, a scientist whose work is cited both by the institute and by National Review, has already protested. "These television ads," he declared in a press release, "are a deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public about the global warming debate." He points out that an initial increase in the thickness of Antarctica's interior ice sheets is a predicted consequence of a warming planet, so that his results actually support global warming rather than refuting it.

Even as the usual suspects describe well-founded concerns about global warming as hysteria, they issue hysterical warnings about the economic consequences of environmentalism. "Al Gore's global warming movie: could it destroy the economy?" Fox News asked.

Well, no, it couldn't. There's some dispute among economists over how forcefully we should act to curb greenhouse gases, but there's broad consensus that even a very strong program to reduce emissions would have only modest effects on economic growth. At worst, G.D.P. growth might be, say, one-tenth or two-tenths of a percentage point lower over the next 20 years. And while some industries would lose jobs, others would gain.

Actually, the right's panicky response to Mr. Gore's film is probably a good thing, because it reveals for all to see the dishonesty and fear-mongering on which the opposition to doing something about climate change rests.

But "An Inconvenient Truth" isn't just about global warming, of course. It's also about Mr. Gore. And it is, implicitly, a cautionary tale about what's been wrong with our politics.

Why, after all, was Mr. Gore's popular-vote margin in the 2000 election narrow enough that he could be denied the White House? Any account that neglects the determination of some journalists to make him a figure of ridicule misses a key part of the story. Why were those journalists so determined to jeer Mr. Gore? Because of the very qualities that allowed him to realize the importance of global warming, many years before any other major political figure: his earnestness, and his genuine interest in facts, numbers and serious analysis.

And so the 2000 campaign ended up being about the candidates' clothing, their mannerisms, anything but the issues, on which Mr. Gore had a clear advantage (and about which his opponent was clearly both ill informed and dishonest).

I won't join the sudden surge of speculation about whether "An Inconvenient Truth" will make Mr. Gore a presidential contender. But the film does make a powerful case that Mr. Gore is the sort of person who ought to be running the country.

Since 2000, we've seen what happens when people who aren't interested in the facts, who believe what they want to believe, sit in the White House. Osama bin Laden is still at large, Iraq is a mess, New Orleans is a wreck. And, of course, we've done nothing about global warming.

But can the sort of person who would act on global warming get elected? Are we — by which I mean both the public and the press — ready for political leaders who don't pander, who are willing to talk about complicated issues and call for responsible policies? That's a test of national character. I wonder whether we'll pass.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Adventures of Billie Frist: Safari Surgeon

Billie Frist in Designer Safari Scrubs Soaks up Gorilla Testosterone and Ape Sweat in a Valiant Effort to Win the Animal Lovers' Vote.

Will PETA Make a Campaign Contribution?

"The stink of ape sweat and gorilla testosterone soaked his hair and clothes."

You'll need to check the link in order to believe it, but the Washington Post has ventured into a new genre with the never-before revealed plans of Billie Frist, Safari Surgeon, to cure AIDS or cancer, just as soon as Safari Bill has finished his Adventures as the Senate Majority Leader Failure.

"One day, he hopes to cure AIDS or cancer. He sucked on the stem of his glasses. . . "

"I gravitate towards insurmountable problems," Frist said, his long legs spilling between the front seats."

The Onion should be very worried.

The Adventures of Billie Frist: Safari Surgeon

The houses were dark on Bill Frist's street. A morning bird chirped; the others were waiting for dawn. But Frist was awake, and his bedroom light was on. "I'm going to take a shower," the Senate majority leader said brightly. Ten minutes later, the blow dryer roared.

He climbed into the back of his black SUV; his driver steered toward the zoo. "I gravitate towards insurmountable problems," Frist said, his long legs spilling between the front seats. "I try to use creative solutions." One day, he hopes to cure AIDS or cancer. He sucked on the stem of his glasses: "The typical person around here may not understand."

"There's almost a spiritual, poetic component to it," Frist said of treating Kuja. "This oneness, this wholeness. You can't compare it to the Senate floor. I immerse myself in it. This is my real life."

The stink of ape sweat and gorilla testosterone soaked his hair and clothes. "Gorillas, people, men. You look at the people here, a symphonic flow of people pitching in. It's the oneness of humanity."

At 9:30 a.m., Frist opened the Senate, gripping the corners of the lectern, as he had the operating table. Across the city, rolling in a bed of hay, Kuja opened his eyes and grunted. The gorilla kept touching his tongue to his tooth. Something had changed inside of the beast while he slept. Frist smiled and spoke unremarkably from the lectern, reeking of silverback testosterone.

Bill "Get Some Devastation in the Background" Frist has lots more Safari Surgeon photos posted over at the new Washington Post Onion.

Wonkette has: BILL FRIST — Senator by Day, Miracle-Worker by Slightly Earlier in the Day.

Previous Billie Frist Adventures: Frist Sends Out Sexy Party Invites

Charges Against Valedictorian Dropped

After the story made national news, and a laughing stock out of Gallatin High School, the charges against Chris Linzy have been dropped.

The valedictorian who was charged with a criminal misdemeanor for attempting to make a speech at his graduation has finally received his diploma.

Thanks to everyone who called and wrote letters. Unfortunately, Rufus Lassiter is still a little tyrant of a principal, and his school continues to be one scary place.

Criminal misdemeanor charges for disorderly conduct against Chris Linzy, Gallatin High School’s 2006 valedictorian, are being withdrawn, said David Linzy, the graduate’s father.

Linzy said Lassiter called him about 1 p.m. today and communicated his desire to put an end to the issue without criminal charges.

His desire to put an end to it?

Principal Rufus Lassiter was ordered to put an end to it.

“The principal was told by the superintendent to present the diploma to the student,” said Steve Doremus, spokesman for the Sumner County school system.

See: Valedictorian Punished for Speaking at Graduation

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Valedictorian Punished for Speaking at Graduation

Psychotic Principal swears out criminal complaint against top grad for the crime of attempting to speak at commencement ceremony
If you've ever wondered why so many people homeschool their kids in this state, look no further than principal Rufus Lassiter at Gallatin High School in Sumner County, Tennessee.

Rufus Lassiter has filed a criminal complaint against Chris Linzy, valedictorian with a 5.35 GPA on a 4.0 scale.

The valedictorian's crime?

The kid attempted to give a geeky speech at his graduation ceremony. I kid you not! Chris Linzy managed to get out all of two sentences before the mike was turned off. Then like any good geeky kid would, he quietly went to his seat.

You probably thought valedictorians were supposed to give speeches. I guess your kid doesn't go to Gallatin High School. Lucky you! At Gallatin High School, the honor goes to the popular kid, or the popularly elected class president.

And what was the subject of the criminal speech?

The need for this generation to "build a new America upon the values of reason and individuality."

They really don't like smart kids in Sumner County, Tennessee!

I'm guessing principal Rufus Lassiter was not exactly an honor student. Probably he was a jock. Whatever he was in high school, he has since evolved into a class A jerk.

Besides filing criminal charges against the kid, Rufus Lassiter is also withholding the valedictorian's diploma. "School administrators haven't decided whether Linzy will receive his diploma."

But it's not just the principal, the problem appears to be systemic in the public school culture of Sumner County, Tennessee:

Sumner County Schools Superintendent Benny Bills said he was displeased with Linzy’s behavior. “He’s a smart guy; he knew there would be consequences,” Bills said. “He understood what the rules were…Who is he to be different? Just because you are smart you don’t have the right to go against the rules."

Linzy has won numerous academic awards. He has an engineering scholarship to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He has an interest in alternative fuels, and is producing hydrogen fuel in his garage at home in Castalian Springs.

“I’m an engineering geek,” he said. “If there’s one thing I do, it’s always maintain my grades. I’ve taken every advanced course the school has to offer.”

“I had just become slowly disillusioned with the way the school has been the past couple of years,” he said.

Linzy said part of his disappointment is that the achievements of ultra-smart students such as himself are minimized at the school. Since most Sumner County high schools ask the school’s top students to deliver speeches, he said Gallatin High’s tradition disturbed him.

Although he had tried to get the rule changed earlier in the school year, he said he’d given up on it until he heard Lassiter make a statement to the audience Friday night.

In the statement audience members and students were threatened with legal action if they were loud or disruptive with applause or calling out names, said Chris Linzy’s father, David Linzy. They were told they would be ushered out of the gymnasium and that a petition for disruptive behavior would be filed.

Legal action for applause?!?! Whoa! Was this a graduation ceremony or a prison ceremony? Not only does this school frown on brainy kids, it doesn't think much of kids who like to have fun either. I think that means this is a school that doesn't like kids. No wonder kids drop out of Tennessee schools in droves. And I mean droves!

According to the valedictorian's dad, Chris "is probably the quietest person in the world." The quietest person in the world finally gets up the nerve to speak, and he's charged with misdemeanor criminal charges. That'll teach him. (Disclaimer: my youngest daughter is the other quietest person in the world.)

The real criminal offense is that kids have to attend schools run by the likes of Rufus Lassiter. This control freak would be far better suited for the job of warden at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison than guardian of children.

People, stay away from this school!

Here's the kid's criminal speech. Please note the irony.

People who need to be heard are silenced

By Christopher David Linzy

Christopher David Linzy, member of a generation not without heroes but worse with counterfeit heroes.

This is not because those persons that deserve to be role models do not exist but instead because these people that need to be heard most in our society are silenced by the roar of counterfeit personalities.

The great industrialists and philosophers of our society are drowned out by nihilistic and altruistic celebrity voices that preach a message the end result of which is in fact the destruction of our industrial world.

These people have become our generation’s only guides and this is why we live in a moral vacuum. With no one to inspire us to pursue our desires and personal goals we turn instead to the mindless goal of the so called collective mind. Individuals are lost in a sea of disillusion and decay.

This however can be stopped. Our generation can turn back the tide of decay and build a new America upon the values of reason and individuality. We can lead not only ourselves but all who follow us out of the swamp of the mind and onto ground paved with individual morality and reason driven ambitions.

See the kid's apology here.

Update: It appears that just a few short years ago, Rufus Lassiter was a soccer coach (more here) at Gallatin High School. Heh. From coach to principal. It figures.

Please make some phone calls.

Principal, Mr. Rufus Lassiter
Gallatin High School
700 Dan P. Herron Drive
Gallatin, Tennessee 37066
Fax 615-451-5426
Ron Becker, Assistant Principal for Males (!)

Director of Schools, Benny Bills
(615) 451-5205

NY Times Reviews 'An Inconvenient Truth'

"An Inconvenient Truth is a necessary film."

CANNES, France, May 23 --

[Al Gore] is, rather, the surprisingly engaging vehicle for some very disturbing information. His explanations of complex environmental phenomena — the jet stream has always been a particularly tough one for me to grasp — are clear, and while some of the visual aids are a little corny, most of the images are stark, illuminating and powerful. . .

I can't think of another movie in which the display of a graph elicited gasps of horror, but when the red lines showing the increasing rates of carbon-dioxide emissions and the corresponding rise in temperatures come on screen, the effect is jolting and chilling. Photographs of receding ice fields and glaciers — consequences of climate change that have already taken place — are as disturbing as speculative maps of submerged coastlines. The news of increased hurricane activity and warming oceans is all the more alarming for being delivered in Mr. Gore's matter-of-fact, scholarly tone. . .

As unsettling as it can be, it is also intellectually exhilarating, and, like any good piece of pedagogy, whets the appetite for further study. This is not everything you need to know about global warming: that's the point. But it is a good place to start, and to continue, a process of education that could hardly be more urgent. "An Inconvenient Truth" is a necessary film.

"An Inconvenient Truth" is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). Some of the subjects discussed might be upsetting.

An Inconvenient Truth -- Opens today in New York and Los Angeles.

Read the whole thing

See the trailer

Dowd: Enter Ozone Woman

By Maureen Dowd

Al Gore must want to punch Hillary Clinton right through the hole in the ozone layer.

At the National Press Club here yesterday, the New York senator finally took a passionate stand. After giving a courteous nod to her old rival Al as "a committed visionary on global warming," she purloined his issue and his revolution, going his Earth Tones in the Balance one better by wearing a blinding yellow pantsuit that looked as if it could provide solar power to all of Tennessee.

Apologizing for, while really wallowing in, her "wonkish speech," Hillary waxed rhapsodic about "unlocking the full potential of cellulosic ethanol" and getting "the low-sulfur diesel rule fully implemented." She droned on numbingly about carbon dioxide sequestration, biomass liquid fuel bases, "feebate" tax incentives, hybrid plug-ins, flex-fueled vehicles, continuous reheat furnaces, renewable portfolio standards, Danish wind power, Brazilian ethanol and Kyoto greenhouse targets. (And you thought she was incomprehensible on health care.)

She got so far down in the weeds — or switch grass — that she advised her listeners about weatherizing their homes and checking their tires to save fuel. "At every gas station," she chirped, "there ought to be a little sign which says, 'Have you checked to see if your tires are inflated to the right pressure?' "

She made it clear who's in power and who's in Cannes when she ostentatiously promised to take her motorcade back to Capitol Hill and introduce legislation for a strategic energy fund to jolt inert government and insatiable Big Oil into action.

Her timing is cunning. This is supposed to be Ozone Man's moment in the sun. His movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," opens today, buoyed by such raves that his supporters believe his green crusade could net him both a gold statuette and a white house.

He's being hailed as the new Comeback Kid, as New York magazine calls him, a passionate pedant. (Better than a compassionate conservative.)

Shaken by the Asian tsunami, Katrina, gas prices and a literally explosive Middle East, many Americans now see the environment and conservation as the scintillating, life-and-death subjects that Al Gore has always presented them as, rather than the domain of cartoonish sandal-wearing, tree-hugging, New Age-y, antibusiness wackos.

As John Heilemann notes in New York, the Gore boomlet is also driven by "the creeping sense of foreboding about the prospect of Hillary Clinton's march to her party's nomination." Hollywood's top environmental campaigner, Laurie David, a producer on the Gore movie, argued, "It's not time to experiment with trying to put in office the first female president or with somebody people feel is such a polarizing figure."

Some Democrats are secretly compiling data to prove that Hillary is unelectable to derail the notion that she's inevitable. Gore loyalists suggest that they could be co-front-runners — a couple of raccoons in a bag.

The two hall monitors have always bumped against each other, first competing to be Bill Clinton's co-president, and then over Democratic money in the 2000 election.

So we are left with the prospect of a race between these two Democrats (Al, a popularly elected president; Hillary, a co-ruler). Neither was president, but both think they have been. Al's a seeker and Hillary's a triangulator (or you might say she's inflating her tires to the right pressure). They have shared the problem of stiff, situational personae, when they seemed to wake up every morning trying to figure out who they should be, how they should appear or how they should position themselves. By fashioning their identities all the time, they condemned themselves to being seen merely as identity fashioners.

Hillary is keeping Bill at a distance so he doesn't overshadow her, contradict her, embarrass her or hurt her attempt to pander to the right. But Al, who says he and Bill have made up and are now brotherly, may want to embrace the Big Dog this time, realizing the cost of muzzling him in 2000 (and the cost of taking hired guns' advice to soft-peddle the environment).

Since Hillary and Bill often rendezvous to watch "Grey's Anatomy" on Sunday nights, that's a good time for her to soak up his unmatched political smarts.

But as someone in Bill's circle wryly told Mr. Heilemann, the boy can't help himself: "You can see him talking to Hillary one minute, then ducking into his study to take Gore's call and advise him on how to beat her."

What a contest: two ersatz ex-presidents vying for the support of a real one.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Al Gore Creates Sensation In Cannes

Arianna Huffington has an excellent post about the sensation that Al Gore is creating in Cannes and everywhere else.

Here are some snippets:

Over the weekend, I flew from Washington to Cannes. In Washington, the talk was all about 2006. In Cannes, the talk is all about 2008.

That's because even with Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Penelope Cruz, Jamie Foxx, and Halle Berry here for the film festival, the hottest star in town is Al Gore.

In Cannes for the European premiere of his powerful global warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, Gore has been surrounded by adoring crowds and deluged with interview requests. He told me that he gave 23 back-to-back-to-back interviews on Sunday, Hollywood junket-style (all on only one hour's sleep), and had another 23 scheduled for Monday. . . .

The film is an environmental punch in the gut. Gore 2.0 is a revelation, and a critical smash. When asked at his press conference how he should be addressed, he replied "Your Adequacy." "Hanks himself could not have delivered the line more smoothly," gushed The Guardian. The Washington Post's Sebastian Mallaby labeled him "a hero." Time's Anne Marie Cox called him "a rock star." New York magazine touted his "amazing comeback." And even Fox News' Roger Friedman described him as "funny and relaxed." Talk about killer reviews. . . .

When people are exposed to the new Gore -- authentic, funny, self-deprecating -- you can almost feel their relief and surprise as they suddenly come to face to face with what a real leader could be.

Previously: Al Gore On the Cover of New York Magazine

Secret GOP Fundraiser Subsidized by Tennessee Tax-Payers

About the Nashville Fundraiser, Starring Dick Cheney - Republican Spokesman Chris Devaney "would not say where the home was, who lived there, how many people attended or how much tickets cost for the event. . "

The money raised at Saturday's secret GOP fundraiser in Nashville - starring Dick Cheney - will go toward the project of getting a new GOP man into the Billie Frist senate seat, according to state Republican spokesman Chris Devaney.

That would be either the former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker, or the former U.S. Reps. Van Hilleary and Ed Bryant. The three white men are fighting amongst themselves for the honor of running against the African-American and Democratic U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Memphis.

Devaney boasts that the event raised a quarter of a million dollars for the little project of keeping the Secretive and Incompetent Party in power.

The event was held at an undisclosed location on Post Road, somewhere near Belle Meade. The account in today's Tennessean reveals, "[Chris Devaney] would not say where the home was, who lived there, how many people attended or how much tickets cost for the event, saying he would rather not disclose that information. The White House press office directed questions about the event to Devaney."

The media was not allowed to attend the clandestine political orgy.

What is the Incompetent and Secretive Party hiding this time, you ask? Our sources tell us that Post Road is known to be occupied by several prominent members of the Mafia. Billie Frist and handmaiden Marsha Blackburn were spotted at the clandestine Republican event.

It took 85 police officers to get the Fat-Cat Cheney motorcade from the airport to Post Road. So how big of a secret can the undisclosed location be?

The bill for escorting Dick Cheney to the quarter of a million dollar fundraiser on Post Road will be paid for by tax-payers in Tennessee.

Why are tax-payers in this dirt poor state required to foot the bill for escorting Dick Cheney to secret locations where money is as plentiful as old incompetent white men in power?

Does the Republican Party really need subsidies from Tennessee taxpayers in order to continue its one-party monopoly in Washington?

And why doesn't the Republican Party want the public to know who hosts and attends their clandestine events?

Note: The Tennessean refers to Devaney as the state party chairman, but the GOP website tags him as:
Executive Director.
Chris Devaney

Tierney Takes LSD and Writes About Gore

How else to explain this bizarre column? Because I'm feeling kind and warm-hearted today, I'm presuming that Tierney is on hallucinogentics, otherwise I'd presume that Tierney is out of his fucking mind.

Gore Pulls His Punches

If Al Gore's new movie weren't titled "An Inconvenient Truth," I wouldn't have quite so many problems with it.

He should have gone with something closer to "Revenge of the Nerd." That's the heartwarming angle to global warming. A college student is mesmerized by his professor's bold measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Our hero carries this passion into Congress, where no one listens to him, and then works up a slide show that he inflicts on audiences around the world, to no discernible effect.

But then his slide show becomes a horror movie — and it turns into a cult hit. The nerd becomes the toast of Hollywood, Sundance and Cannes. He is cheered at premieres across America. Audiences sit enraptured through a film starring graphs of CO2 concentrations and close-ups of ice cores.

The documentary doesn't open in theaters until tomorrow, but it's already a cinch for an Oscar, and deservedly so. Getting anyone to voluntarily endure 100 minutes of Al Gore and his slides is a historic cinematic achievement.

Gore isn't exactly likable in the film — he still has that wooden preachiness and is especially hard to watch when he tries to be funny. Yet you end up admiring him for his nerdly persistence. He turned out to be right about something important: global warming is a problem worth worrying about.

But the story he tells in the movie is hardly "an inconvenient truth." It's not really true, and it's certainly not inconvenient for him or his audience.

In his morality tale, global warming has been an obvious crisis-in-the-making for decades, and there are obvious solutions that could have been adopted without damaging consequences. But supposedly America, almost alone among industrialized nations, has refused to do anything because the public has been bamboozled by evil oil companies and Republicans — especially one villain who, we're reminded, got fewer popular votes than Gore did in 2000.

As therapeutic as this history may be for Gore, it has certain problems. Scientists recognized the greenhouse effect long ago, but the question was how much difference it would make. And until fairly recently, when evidence of global warming accumulated, many non-evil economists doubted that the risks justified the costs of the proposed remedies.

Gore calls such cost-benefit analysis a "false choice," as if the remedies really weren't expensive, and he castigates the U.S. for refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol. But most nations that did sign aren't meeting their goals because cutting emissions turned out to be so difficult. Global warming is a genuine long-term risk, but it's not easy persuading voters anywhere to make short-term sacrifices.

Gore's cinematic strategy for rousing them is to present doomsday scenarios and ignore the evidence that civilization may just survive after all. You could argue that the ends justify the means — that only by terrifying the public can you rouse politicians into doing the right thing.

But even as propaganda, the film is ultimately unsatisfying. Gore doesn't mind frightening his audience with improbable future catastrophes, but he avoids any call to action that would cause immediate discomfort, either to filmgoers or to voters in the 2008 primaries.

He doesn't propose the quickest and most efficient way to reduce greenhouse emissions: a carbon tax on gasoline and other fossil fuels. The movie gives him a forum for talking sensibly about a topic that's taboo on Capitol Hill, but he instead sticks to long-range proposals that sound more palatable, like redesigning cities to encourage mass transit or building more efficient cars and appliances.

Gore shows the obligatory pictures of windmills and other alternative sources of energy. But he ignores nuclear power plants, which don't spew carbon dioxide and currently produce far more electricity than all ecologically fashionable sources combined.

A few environmentalists, like Patrick Moore, a founder of Greenpeace, have recognized that their movement is making a mistake in continuing to demonize nuclear power. Balanced against the risks of global warming, nukes suddenly look good — or at least deserve to be considered rationally. Gore had a rare chance to reshape the debate, because a documentary about global warming attracts just the sort of person who marches in anti-nuke demonstrations.

Gore could have dared, once he enticed the faithful into the theater, to challenge them with an inconvenient truth or two. But that would have been a different movie.

Via Donkey o. d.

Monday, May 22, 2006

MSNBC: Decision on Rove Indictment Imminent

Raw Story:

"MSNBC's David Shuster declared Monday evening that Karl Rove's legal team expects Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to announce a decision "at any time" in the ongoing CIA leak investigation and that new documents put Cheney's former chief of staff in the hot seat. . . ."

Hardball correspondent David Shuster reports.


DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice over): "It's now been 26 days since Rove testified to the grand jury for the 5th time. Defense lawyers say prosecutors remain focused on Rove's claim of a bad memory regarding a conversation with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper. Rove's legal team and former prosecutors tracking the investigation expect Patrick Fitzgerald to announce a decision at any time."

SCOTT FREDERICKSEN, former federal prosecutor: "Right now is when we would expect the meetings to be wrapped up with his own staff, for him to make the preliminary decision, for him to reach out to Rove's counsel to have the final conversation, or to notify him he is not going forward or to notify him we are going to indict."

SHUSTER: (on-camera) "The CIA leak grand jury is scheduled to meet again this Wednesday."

Read the whole thing

Al Gore On the Cover of New York Magazine

The Comeback Kid

"As Democrats worry about their 2008 chances, out of the wilderness comes a stranger to save them. Wait a minute. That’s no stranger. that’s . . . Al Gore!?! "

"The amazing comeback of the political pariah who might be the one person to stop Clinton in her tracks."

"Gore’s statements about 2008 are as precise and elusive as a Basho haiku: Saying that politics is behind him doesn’t foreclose the possibility that it might also be in front of him. What’s clear is that Gore would love to be president, but the thought of the whole awful business of getting there makes him nearly nauseous. Gore’s awareness of this conundrum is keen and wrenching. How he resolves it will determine not just the shape of the 2008 campaign but whether the New Gore is the real deal or the Old Gore in disguise."

Read the whole thing

Al Gore is also featured in USA Today and the London Observer.

Previous TGW Post on Al Gore: Al Gore Says He Might Run in 2008

Howard Kurtz: Only Reporters With Pristine Lives Are to be Believed

Perhaps Jason Leopold's claim that Karl Rove has been indicted is flat out wrong, but do we really need to have the liberal journalist's personal life examined on the pages of the Washington Post?

To help us evaluate Jason Leopold's claim, Howard Kurtz could have told us about all the times that journalist Jason Leopold got the story wrong, but instead Kurtz chose to tell us about all the times Jason Leopold, the man, made mistakes in his personal life.

Howard Kurtz:

The claim that President Bush's top political strategist had been indicted in the CIA leak investigation was written by a journalist who has battled drug addiction and mental illness and been convicted of grand larceny. That didn't stop more than 35 reporters -- from all the major newspapers, networks and newsmagazines -- from calling Luskin or Rove's spokesman, Mark Corallo, to check it out. . . . Leopold acknowledges in a new book, "News Junkie," that he is a past liar, convicted felon and former alcoholic and cocaine addict."

Gee, Mr. Kurtz, you forgot to say if Leopold has ever had an extra marital affair.

And doesn't this little bio bring to mind the life of pResident George W. Bush?

Can we expect to see Washington Post reporters subjected to the same standards? Perhaps Kurtz and his colleagues have all lived pristine lives. But we need to know! Because if Washington Post reporters have ever made any mistakes or had difficult lives, there is apparently no reason to believe a word they write.

And how are we to ever believe pResident George W. Bush? The man who has, among many other crimes or indiscretions, admitted to being an alcoholic for some 40 years.

Kurtz forgets to examine the personal lives of Rove and his lawyer, other than to tell us that Rove's lawyer has a cat who went to the vet on the day of the alleged indictment.

The cat has an alibi. Jason Leopold has made mistakes. Rove's lawyer denies everything. Case closed.

But wait. Who is Howard Kurtz? Is that his real name? Has he ever had an alcohol or other drug problem? "And what is his connection to the White House beyond being married to Arnold Schwarzenegger's former public relations director, a woman who ran media campaigns for a slew of right wing initiatives in the Golden State?"

And how are we ever to believe a reporter who has a history of trivializing the crime of sexual harassment?

Stand-off at Truthout & Turdblossom Corrals

Has Karl Rove Been Indicted? Who You Gonna Believe? A Bunch of Liberals? Or Lying Treasonous Karl Rove?
And the battle heats up. Truthout has a new article up which effectively charges that Rove spokesman Marc Corallo and Rove Lawyer Robert Luskin are liars. Meanwhile, the defender of Saint Rove, spokesman Marc Corallo fires back that the folks at Truthout are: "bald-faced liars or completely delusional or both."

Truthout continues to maintain that Karl Rove has been indicted, and claims it has "three independent sources confirming" the indictment.

Clearly, Truthout stands to take a major credibility hit, unlike the Rove camp, which has no credibility to lose. The Turdblossom has left a long and bloodied trail documenting an utter disregard for all things related to truth.

Truthout speculates that Rove may be cooperating with Patrick Fitzgerald, or turning state's evidence against Dick Cheney.

Turdblossom turning against a buddy to save his own hide? Mon Dieu!

Here's an excerpt from the Truthout article by Marc Ash. I'll put the link up later because the site is slammed and inaccessible at the moment, but Talkleft has this excerpt and more. (Update: here's the Truthout link.)

I'd like to break this posting into two categories: What we know, and what we believe. They will be clearly marked.

We know that we have now three independent sources confirming that attorneys for Karl Rove were handed an indictment either late in the night of May 12 or early in the morning of May 13. We know that each source was in a position to know what they were talking about. We know that the office of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald will not confirm, will not deny, will not comment on its investigation or on our report. We know that both Rove's attorney Robert Luskin and Rove's spokesman Mark Corallo have categorically denied all key facts we have set forth. We know we have information that directly contradicts Luskin and Corallo's denials. We know that there were two network news crews outside of the building in Washington, DC that houses the offices of Patton Boggs, the law firm that represents Karl Rove. We know that the 4th floor of that building (where the Patton Boggs offices are located) was locked down all day Friday and into Saturday night. We know that we have not received a request for a retraction from anyone. And we know that White House spokesman Tony Snow now refuses to discuss Karl Rove - at all.

Further, we know - and we want our readers to know - that we are dependent on confidential sources. We know that a report based solely on information obtained from confidential sources bears some inherent risks. We know that this is - by far - the biggest story we have ever covered, and that we are learning some things as we go along. Finally, we know that we have the support of those who have always supported us, and that must now earn the support of those who have joined us as of late.

We now move on to what we believe. (If you are looking for any guarantees, please turn back now.)

Further - and again this is "What We Believe" - Rove may be turning state's evidence. We suspect that the scope of Fitzgerald's investigation may have broadened - clearly to Cheney - and according to one "off the record source" to individuals and events not directly related to the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. We believe that the indictment which does exist against Karl Rove is sealed. Finally, we believe that there is currently a great deal of activity in the Plame investigation.

The deafening msm silence around the alleged Rove indictment continues, but look for a Howard Kurtz story on the Truthout claim that Fitzmas is coming.

Previous Related Posts:
Rove Watch: Truthout Almost Apologizes
More on the Karl Rove Indictment Story