Monday, October 31, 2005

Oh, shocking -- another white male justice

It's no damn surprise to me ... just proof in the pudding. C'mon - George is a simple guy with a simple plan.

He doesn't give a sh*t about a Supreme Court that represents all Americans. He certainly doesn't think of the seat he's filling as belonging to a moderate justice, but that's his right. He wants a court that represents his America -- corporate, white and male. Unfortunately, these are the spoils of the election of 2004and the very thing that should have driven many more democrats to the polls.

So he nominates Miers and no one can dare to suggest that maybe he did so knowing that she'd never get to the hearings. Knowing that she'd be blasted for being unqualified and knowing that she would back out when she was hammered in the press. She was a lamb sent to slaughter.

No matter, he always intended to send up a reactionary conservative and a white male. By shoving Harriet in front of a train, he can say he tried. Baloney.

So all that crap he floated about the importance of diversity? Forget it. He sure will -- quicker than Scooter Libby will lose all recollection of when he first heard about ... what was her name?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Justice Poetic

There once was a bonehead named "Scooter"
Whose fortunes landed right in the pooter
He lied, cheated, stole
Then dug quite a hole
As his nose grew longer, dropping cooters

Then came the good guys, like Fitz
He asked all the questions, took no shits
He charged Scooter - bam
Five big counts, quite a jam

The defense we are told
Is planned to be bold
Because Libby was busy
He'll claim t'was a tizzy
He'd forgotten the facts - oh, that's old.

And it doesn't rhyme with anything, but crap like this you wouldn't accept from you 8-year-old.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Getting Mier'd Down

Pathetic. Read Harriet's why-I-can't-take-that-great-job-offer letter to Bush.
What a visionary. She's suddenly realized that she'd have to either hand over records or testify to her views on issues that have come up while she was White House Counsel? Oh, no ... she must preserve executive privilege? For the sake of "this great Nation" ... what, the magazine? Why is that capitalized? Why is " ... your Administration" capitalized?

You know, I think the English language can be difficult to navigate, but not as tough as the U.S. Constitution. If the woman doesn't know how to follow the rules of English grammar, I feel pretty sure that looking up all those big words would have been too much for her. Put simply, this job was waaaaay over her head and this withdrawl, for whatever reason, is simple, obvious proof that Bush made a brazenly incompetent choice.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

More Savage Inequalities

Jonathan Kozol, author of "Savage Inequalities," has another book out, revealing the continuation of obscene inqualities in America's Schools. Read about it on or at the publisher's site.

If you still think it's not about race ... uh ... you're blind.

Sure, blame Maureen

Interesting to me is that this morning radio talk show host Don Imus asked NY Times Columnist Maureen Dowd about this column (see below) which he aptly described as "dropping a safe" on Judy Miller. Dowd's response: "If I'm going to hold accountable institutions I care about, then I have to be willing to do the same for an institution like The Times, which I love."

Imus (pig that he is) said that the "attack" on Miller "seems personal." Does this sound familiar? What's next? "You-should-have-called-me-before-you-ran-this" ?

Miller, according the Wall Street Journal, is on the way to the parking lot.

Anyway ... Dowd's column is now available on the Times' website only to readers who subscribe to their "Tmes Select" product, so I'm pasting it in here. They can sue me (and a hundred other bloggers). Dowd, for proving her integrity, has been moved to Saturday after 10 years on the Times' Sunday edit page. Lame. Cheap. Pathetic. Maybe we should throw our Sunday papers back at the newsstand or something.

If you EVER thought about writing to a newspaper to complain about the bad treatment of a columnist who was holding her management to an appropriate standard of professional conduct, now is the time. Send a letter to the editor by e-mailing or faxing (212)556-3622.

But first, make sure you read this column, which ends with a helluva punch:

Woman of Mass Destruction
By Maureen Dowd
The New York Times
Saturday 22 October 2005

I've always liked Judy Miller. I have often wondered what Waugh or Thackeray would have made of the Fourth Estate's Becky Sharp.
The traits she has that drive many reporters at The Times crazy - her tropism toward powerful men, her frantic intensity and her peculiar mixture of hard work and hauteur - never bothered me. I enjoy operatic types.
Once when I was covering the first Bush White House, I was in The Times' seat in the crowded White House press room, listening to an administration official's background briefing. Judy had moved on from her tempestuous tenure as a Washington editor to be a reporter based in New York, but she showed up at this national security affairs briefing.
At first she leaned against the wall near where I was sitting, but I noticed that she seemed agitated about something. Midway through the briefing, she came over and whispered to me, "I think I should be sitting in the Times seat."
It was such an outrageous move, I could only laugh. I got up and stood in the back of the room, while Judy claimed what she felt was her rightful power perch.
She never knew when to quit. That was her talent and her flaw. Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, she was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers. She more than earned her sobriquet "Miss Run Amok."
Judy's stories about WMD fit too perfectly with the White House's case for war. She was close to Ahmad Chalabi, the con man who was conning the neocons to knock out Saddam so he could get his hands on Iraq, and I worried that she was playing a leading role in the dangerous echo chamber that former Senator Bob Graham dubbed "incestuous amplification." Using Iraqi defectors and exiles, Mr. Chalabi planted bogus stories with Judy and other credulous journalists.
Even last April, when I wrote a column critical of Mr. Chalabi, she fired off e-mail to me defending him.
When Bill Keller became executive editor in the summer of 2003, he barred Judy from covering Iraq and W.M.D issues. But he admitted in The Times' Sunday story about Judy's role in the Plame leak case that she had kept "drifting" back. Why did nobody stop this drift?
Judy admitted in the story that she "got it totally wrong" about WMD "If your sources are wrong," she said, "you are wrong." But investigative reporting is not stenography.
The Times' story and Judy's own first-person account had the unfortunate effect of raising more questions. As Bill said in an e-mail note to the staff on Friday, Judy seemed to have "misled" the Washington bureau chief, Phil Taubman, about the extent of her involvement in the Valerie Plame leak case.
She casually revealed that she had agreed to identify her source, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, as a "former Hill staffer" because he had once worked on Capitol Hill. The implication was that this bit of deception was a common practice for reporters. It isn't.
She said that she had wanted to write about the Wilson-Plame matter, but that her editor would not allow it. But Managing Editor Jill Abramson, then the Washington bureau chief, denied this, saying that Judy had never broached the subject with her.
It also doesn't seem credible that Judy wouldn't remember a Marvel comics name like "Valerie Flame." Nor does it seem credible that she doesn't know how the name got into her notebook and that, as she wrote, she "did not believe the name came from Mr. Libby."
An Associated Press story yesterday reported that Judy had coughed up the details of an earlier meeting with Mr. Libby only after prosecutors confronted her with a visitor log showing that she had met with him on June 23, 2003. This cagey confusion is what makes people wonder whether her stint in the Alexandria jail was in part a career rehabilitation project.
Judy is refusing to answer a lot of questions put to her by Times reporters, or show the notes that she shared with the grand jury. I admire Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Bill Keller for aggressively backing reporters in the cross hairs of a prosecutor. But before turning Judy's case into a First Amendment battle, they should have nailed her to a chair and extracted the entire story of her escapade.
Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover "the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country." If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands.

Friday, October 14, 2005

When Faith Runs Policy - Wag The Dogma

If I hear one more time (and I will) that Harriet Miers' faith is the reason (wink, wink) that conservatives should "relax and support her," I believe I will throw up. (Get the bucket, here it comes)

Remember "relax and enjoy it" ... the good-ole-boys anti-rape strategy. Throwing up works better for that violation, too.

Being a good lawyer is not a qualification for serving on the high court. Neither is having ovaries. But in his most egregious effort to prove that he can do whatever he likes, George Bush has put his "work wife" up to replace a genuinely qualified and tempered voice on the court, Sandra Day O'Connor -- a judge with whom I have disagreed plenty (Bush v. Gore, 2000) but I respect her and consider her to be a fair judge who is devoted to only one thing professionally -- the Constitution.

But Miers is devoted to Bush - a man she considers to be brilliant. Exactly how much evidence of bad judgment do we need?!

I was always kind of fond of this idea of separating Church and State. Bush's galling "defense" of Miers (citing her faith as the key to his defense) is utterly repugnant. No one can attest to another faith -- that's not just ridiculous, it's completely insulting to Miers and to people of actual faith, which usually involves characteristics of humility and reverence for its deeply personal quality.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Herald-Sun's "More Local News" ="No News"

As is so often true, The Independent's Fiona Morgan has nailed it in this week's "Triangles" section. Don't miss her blast of the Herald-Sun's sorry excuse for coverage of the Durham's Most Wanted (city council/mayor) races. Reporter Ray Gronberg's eventual story was little more than a middle school book report on the News & Observer's right-on coverage of Vincent Brown, then-candidate for mayor and convicted felon.

I won't replay Fiona's story, except to comment that Herald-Sun Editor Bob Ashley makes some disturbing comments for the story (hey, glad he talked to her ... an improvement over the stonewall strategy). He says, for example that they didn't want to just reiterate the N&O's coverage and were looking for a new angle on the story. For five days?! Is he on FEMA time?

Second (and more alarming IF it's true) he said that they routinely do criminal background checks on candidates and that theirs turned up nothing on Brown. Multiple convictions and 100 charges, but they turned up nothing? Maybe the Ouija board isn't the best method, Bob.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Durham's distinguished candidates

Oh, Lord. It's not bad enough that half the candidates for city council in Durham have been convicted of one thing or another, then comes this factor ... holy crap, this one's a real head case.

To wit, Carolina James-Rivera, candidate for Ward #2 (wait, is that the psych ward)? Here are some snippets from her interview/questionairre with the Herald-$un. These are only highlights ... if you really want to enjoy yourself, make some popcorn and read the whole thing.

"To disrespect a USA Military Mans' wife, children and home in front of the world is the lowest of a war crime one can comment."

"It's been over two year since the release of my brain wash daughter that was hardored from home and school with and sexual, physical and mental abuser. My parent rights was stolen as her youth years."

"It took a flood to prove to me that African American are not equal to any human or animal. As well to be reinstated to vote in 2007 clearify the abuse my family experience in front of the whole city of Durham the past eight years."

Within her answer to the question What would be your top priorities in office?:
"to Qestion City Manager and City Mayor of Health Care provider drugging me to cover up scandal."

To the question Why are you qualified to hold this office?
"1) Durham North, Carolina Michael Peterson scandal rebellion, revange, hate crime, copy cat murder case scandal movie."

Monday, October 03, 2005

Follow the bread

We all remember that famous story about Willy Sutton, the 1930s bankrobber, who was asked why he robbed banks. "That's where the money is," he said.

So, if you're in it for the bread, you have to appreciate the giggle in this story of a Chapel Hill restaurant getting ripped off recently. I wonder if the robbers made out with any dough.