Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Do they have the Internets at the U of M Law School?

Here's the lede in a City Pages Blotter article this morning:

The Minnesota Daily reported yesterday on the ruckus currently unfolding at the U of M Law School over the hiring of Robert Delahunty to teach a Constitutional law course next semester. Delahunty formerly served in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. In that capacity he co-wrote one of the so-called "torture memos" that seemingly justified the psychological and physical abuse of detainees in the war on terrorism.

As you can read in the article--and as Spot has mentioned before--Delahunty is a former sidekick of John "Professor Organ Failure" Yoo when they were at the Justice Department.

To their everlasting credit, some of the profs at the law school have objected and requested reconsideration of the hiring decision. You can read their five-page letter here. And God love 'em, the letter even has footnotes.

Link to City Pages - The Blotter - Do they have the Internets at the U of M Law School?

Mr. Rocketseed, your witness

Judge: Mr. Rocketseed, your witness.

Johnny Rocketseed: Thank you, Your Honor. Mr. Lauer, you testified a moment ago that Iraq is in a civil war. Correct?

Matt Lauer: Yes, Iraq is in a civil war.


Counsel for Matt Lauer: Objection. Argumentative.

Judge: Sustained. It's also not a question. Please refrain from trying to testify Mr. Rocketseed.

JR: Okay. It's just that . . . well, never mind. Mr. Lauer, have you ever been to Iraq?

ML: Well yes, several times.

JR: Oh.

[uncomfortable pause]

Judge: Please continue Mr. Rocketseed.

JR: Mr. Lauer, I hand you what I have marked as Exhibit X for identification. [handing Lauer a single sheet with a big red "X" in crayon scrawled at the bottom] Can you tell me what this is?

ML: [after examining the document for some time, looking puzzled] I have no idea what this is.

JR: If I told you it was a blog post that I wrote criticizing NBC for calling the civil war in Iraq a civil war—strike that—if I told you it was blog post that I wrote criticizing NBC for calling the situation in Iraq a civil war, would that refresh your recollection?

ML: In view of the fact that I've never seen this before, I'd have to say no.

JR: All right. Nevertheless, would you read the document to the Court?

CML: Objection. The document hasn't been authenticated. It's not in evidence. Its contents are hearsay and an attempt to offer expert testimony without qualifying the expert.

Judge: Overruled. This might be fun.

[ML reads the document aloud, stumbling over the opaque syntax at several places]

JR: Mr. Lauer now do you admit that NBC is wrong and that it's not a civil war?

ML: Based on this specious twaddle? No, of course not.

JR: Objection! Scandalous!

Judge: Mr. Rocketseed, you can't object. You can move to strike, though.

JR: Then I move to strike the answer.

Judge: Overruled. Why don't you ask Mr. Lauer about some of the points you made in your little essay?

JR: That's a good idea. Mr. Lauer, didn't I write that Iraq was not in civil war because it's not really a war because there aren't soldiers marching around and stuff?

ML: It's absolutely true that you wrote that.

JR: Do you agree with it?

ML: No, of course not. The Lebanese civil war from about '75 to '90 was a guerilla conflict but a civil war nevertheless. You could say the same thing about the recent Balkan conflicts precipitated by the breakup of Yugoslavia. The overthrow of the French regime in Algeria was certainly a guerilla conflict, at least for the Algerians. And of course, let's not forget the Vietnamese campaigns by the Viet Minh and the Viet Cong in their civil war, the one you probably think of as being primarily about communism.

JR: Move to strike.

Judge: On what grounds?

JR: I don't like that answer.

Judge: Overruled. Move on, Mr. Rocketseed.

JR: I also made the point that Iraq is just not violent enough to be a civil war. Do you agree with that?

ML: [sighs] No, I don't agree. Over 3700 civilians were killed in Iraq just in October of this year. Look at it this way: Iraq has, or had, a population of about 26,500,000 people. Multiply 3700 by a factor of 12 to compare that figure to the US population, and you get 44,400 people. If that many people were killed here in a month, you can bet we'd call it civil war.

JR: Okay, we'll move on.

Judge: That's a good idea, Mr. Rocketseed.

JR: I also said that it couldn't be a civil war because the violence was isolated in a couple of places. Isn't that true?

ML: Cutting to the chase here, it's a specious argument. Moreover, it isn't factually true. All you have to do is read a couple of days of news reports, or a summary of them in a place like Informed Comment, and you'll see that there is sectarian violence all over the country. That's even true in the Kurdish north.

JR: I have no more questions for this uncooperative witness.

Judge: Mr. Lauer, you are dismissed.

JR: I would like to call a rebuttal witness, Your Honor.

Judge: Who?

JR: I would like to call Johnny Rocketseed to stand.

CML: Objection!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Until the last Iraqi is dead

 That's how long we'll be in Iraq according to President Bush:

RIGA, Latvia, Nov. 28 - On the eve of a high-profile trip to Jordan to meet Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq, President Bush on Tuesday dismissed suggestions that Iraq had descended into civil war, blamed Al Qaeda for the latest wave of sectarian violence and vowed not to withdraw troops until the mission is complete.

Chris Floyd said in a post some time ago (can't find it offhand) that every time George Bush open his mouth bits of clotted blood and corpse flesh fall out.

Source: Bush Declines to Call Situation in Iraq Civil War - New York Times

Memo: keep the helicopters gassed up

 From a dispatch by Peter Cockburn for the Independent, via Cursor:

Iraq is rending itself apart. The signs of collapse are everywhere. In Baghdad, the police often pick up more than 100 tortured and mutilated bodies in a single day. Government ministries make war on each other.

A new and ominous stage in the disintegration of the Iraqi state came earlier this month when police commandos from the Shia-controlled Interior Ministry kidnapped 150 people from the Sunni-run Higher Education Ministry in the heart of Baghdad.

Iraq may be getting close to what Americans call "the Saigon moment", the time when it becomes evident to all that the government is expiring. "They say that the killings and kidnappings are being carried out by men in police uniforms and with police vehicles," the Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said to me with a despairing laugh this summer. "But everybody in Baghdad knows that the killers and kidnappers are real policemen. [italics are Spot's]

Source: Independent Online Edition > Middle East

Presiding over the morgue that is Iraq

That's the title of Jim Klobuchar's post at Vox Verax about a St. Cloud Minnesota State professor, an ethnic Iraqi, who went back to Baghdad to help his family. Klolbucher's post contains a recent and horrifying email message from the professor. He describes the continuing deterioration of Baghdad and the increasing violence there. Klobuchar ends with a quotation from the professor, and then a valediction of his own:

“On a more personal subject, I still haven’t been able to see my family and it's becoming increasingly out of the question. You can imagine how frustrating and sad that is for all of us.

“Again, I so much wish I could be writing to you with hope and optimism and a sense of better things to come.”

Abbas [the professor] didn’t return to Iraq, a place he actually loved as a boy and young man, to write an obituary. But he may have.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The alpha buffalo speaks!

There are certainly more unserious and inconsequential political figures who have written to give the Democrats advice than Tim Penny, but Spot cannot think of who they are at the moment. Ah yes, Tim Penny, the intellectual godfather of the Independence Party in Minnesota: the man who drew a line on the tree at 16% in the governor's race in 2002 and dared Peter Hutchinson to beat it. Alas, poor Peter could not best this mighty feat!

Thus established as the alpha buffalo, it is incumbent on Tim to tell the incoming Democratic Congress how to govern. "Heed me or perish!" thunders Tim, "I am the White Buffalo. I am the vessel in which the sacred broth of fiscal responsibility is simmered!"

Here's Tim's principal policy prescription:

From the Iraq war to ethics, to deficits, the Democrats spent the election season criticizing Republican mismanagement of the people's business -- while seldom offering a coherent alternative of their own. Now they are in charge of Congress and must deliver. What will they do? What can Democrats agree upon? Thankfully, Democrats will be led by two experienced and respected Budget Committee chairmen, John Spratt (S.C.) in the House and Kent Conrad (N.D.) in the Senate, both of whom are serious about reducing deficits. Spratt has recently gone on record calling for a balanced budget within five years.

To reach that goal, they might start by looking to the Blue Dog caucus -- comprised of 44 moderate and fiscally conservative members (nine of whom were newly elected this fall). Their prescription for fixing the budget morass created in recent years by Republicans is worth a serious look.

That's right: the Blue Dogs have the answer. A caucus of less than 10% of the Congress (that's even less than 16%, Tim!) will lead us out of the wilderness! Tell us Tim, the wisdom of the Blue Dog:

Among other budget disciplines, the Blue Dogs have proposed restoring "pay as you go" budget rules, tighter restrictions on emergency spending, and limitations on appropriation earmarks (commonly called pork-barrel spending).

Tim, these are all things that got out of control with the Republicans in charge, right? The new Congress hasn't even take the oath of office yet; perhaps you could save your sanctimonious flaying of the innocents at least until January.

Penny couldn't let the occasion of getting some ink in the Strib go by without mentioning the most serious offense to his asceticism: entitlements:

Sadly, not even the Blue Dogs have proposed taking a serious look at reducing entitlement spending. Yet, with the retirement of the babyboom generation just a few years away, the cost of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will soon skyrocket. Medicare is already in fiscal straits and Social Security will be in a cash flow crunch by 2017, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Here's the fundamental dishonesty. Social Security has been wracking up surpluses since the eighties, and for most of Spot's working life as a employee, and as an employer. Politicians did not have even a teeny problem using the surpluses to fund other parts of the government. Now, in 2017 there will be a "cash flow crunch" according to Tim.

What Tim means is that in 2017 we will reach the point where regressive social security taxes will no longer be available to borrow for other uses, and the government will have to start to "pay back" monies into the system to fund benefits. This doesn't seem so unfair to Spot; it seems, in fact, responsible, to use one of Tim's favorite words.

Also in fact, the boomers aren't, alas, going to live forever. Isn't sauce for the social security goose sauce for the overall budget gander? In 2050, or 2060, or maybe never, when the social security "surplus" is all used up, why can't social security borrow a little general tax revenue until all the old geezers are dead?

Isn't that at least worth considering as an alternative to taking the current system and yanking it out by the roots to be replaced by a privatized system that has been mostly unsuccessful where it has been tried?

That seems about right to Spot

 Via Buzzflash, a British MP describes Saddam's blueprint for the war:

A couple of years ago I had a chilling conversation with a very senior British general who was then intimately involved in our efforts in Iraq.

The trouble was, he said, that Saddam had thought it all through. He knew he hadn't a hope against the Pentagon, so he had a three-stage strategy. First he instructed his army not to put up much resistance to the Patton-like thrusts of the US army. Then, when Baghdad had fallen, he encouraged his soldiers to melt away to their homes and keep their weapons. The third stage, said this British general, was the one we had been embroiled in ever since: a guerrilla war, spiced with sectarian violence, to become gradually more intense until it became no longer possible for the allies to remain in Iraq.

Source: Telegraph | Comment | I remember the quiet day we lost the war in Iraq

Friday, November 24, 2006

Navel Academy

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani! Conservatives around the country are trying to figure out why they got spanked at the polls earlier this month. Answers vary: from it was the corruption, to we just weren't conservative enough:

Spot thinks the best answer comes, however, from a recent article in the American Conservative. Written by former director and trustee of the National Review (and recently asked to resign by the aforementioned Bill Buckley) Austin Bramwell. He said this about the notion that conservatism should return to its roots:

Another group pleads for the conservative movement to return to its alleged first principles. “If only people would still read Russell Kirk,” one hears. But the movement never had any first principles to begin with. Although it boasts a carefully husbanded canon of supposedly foundational texts, the men who wrote them—Kirk, Strauss, Voegelin, Weaver, Chambers, Meyer—were notorious eccentrics given to extravagant claims whose policy implications remain largely obscure. Russell Kirk, for example, even as he shrewdly positioned himself as the intellectual godfather of the conservative movement, had almost no political opinions whatsoever.

In other words, my odious little ducky friend, there's no there there. (Lasting fame to the grasshopper who can tell Spot who wrote that and about what, or maybe about where it was written.) The emperor not only has no clothes: he never had any!

But Spotty, maybe conservatism is more of a cultural thing, you know, based on local loyalties and associations.

About that, Bramwell says this:

Still others eulogize local attachments and ancestral loyalties. They invoke a litany of examples: family, church, kin, community, school, the “little platoons” in which Burke found the basis of political association. Celebrating such “infra-political” institutions may well have made sense in the 1950s, the high tide of American nationalism and federal government prestige. At most other times, however, ancestral attachments are dangerously subversive. The U.S. could not have survived had it not ruthlessly extirpated the ancestral loyalties of both natives and newcomers; Great Britain suffered endless civil wars before the great constitutional oak that Burke praised took root; the West itself succeeded precisely because it cut short the reach of the extended family or clan. Ancestral loyalties are the curse of uncivilized peoples, most especially in the hypermnesiac Middle East. Most ominously, praise of local attachments now comes in the guise of multiculturalism, perhaps the most insidious threat to a just order today. Not for nothing did communitarianism become a left-wing vogue. [we'll discuss this last sentence another time]

Bramwell delivers this valediction of the conservative movement of which he was a part:

But “conservatism” has no mystical essence. Rather than a magisterium handed down from apostolic times, it is an ideology whose contours are largely arbitrary and accidental. By ideology, I mean precisely what Orwell depicted in 1984. I do not mean, of course, that conservatism is totalitarian. Taken as prophecy, 1984 has little merit. Taken as a description of the world we actually live in, however, it is indispensable. 1984 reveals not the horrors of the future but the quotidian realities of ideology in mass democracy. Conservatism exemplifies them all.

Wow, Spotty! No wonder Bill Buckley asked him to resign.

Indeed, grasshopper. You are encouraged, boys and girls, to read the entire article. The watershed event for Bramwell's rejection of the conservative movement is the war in Iraq, but it's clear this has been building up in him for some time. Just let it out, Mr. Bramwell.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow, we commemorate that early Pilgrim celebration of survival with the Indians that helped them make it. However, don't turn your back on a Pilgrim: he can turn on you in an instant. Here's Howard Zinn's account of events that took place a scant ten years after that first Thanksgiving:

It started as early as 1630 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony when Governor John Winthrop uttered the words that centuries later would be quoted by Ronald Reagan. Winthrop called the Massachusetts Bay Colony a 'city upon a hill.' Reagan embellished a little, calling it a 'shining city on a hill.'

The idea of a city on a hill is heartwarming. It suggests what George Bush has spoken of: that the United States is a beacon of liberty and democracy. People can look to us and learn from and emulate us.

In reality, we have never been just a city on a hill. A few years after Governor Winthrop uttered his famous words, the people in the city on a hill moved out to massacre the Pequot Indians. Here's a description by William Bradford, an early settler, of Captain John Mason's attack on a Pequot village.

Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword, some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived that they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy.

That turkey tasting a little dry?

Source: Howard Zinn: The Power and the Glory

Update: General J. C. Christian has more on the thankful sensibilities of our pilgrim forefathers.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Kate Parry in sackcloth and ashes

Here's the backstory. Scotty Johnson at Power Line gets word that a Star Tribune editorial used some similar-sounding language, including the "subcontracting" of policy matters to corporate interests, to a Hendrik Hertzberg comment in the New Yorker. Regardless of the fact that two different people might use similar words to describe a mugging, Scotty accuses the Strib of plagiarism. Spotty is sorry to ask you to do this boys and girls, but please go and read Scotty's entire pedantic summation. Scotty says that the Strib is terrible, except for Katherine Kersten, of course.

Now comes Kate Parry, always ready to throw a Strib staffer under the bus for Power Line, who writes a mea culpa for the incident, expressing her sorrow at her inability to engage in some more flagellation of the editor involved. This affair sent Spot on a trip down memory lane, recalling another case of following a little too closely by, guess who, Katherine Kersten. Here's a reprint of his post Conservative Reverb from September 15th of last year, just after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast:

Conservative Reverb

"Here in the blogosphere, Spotty means. Why yes, there is. Katherine Kersten's Thursday column in the Star Tribune, titled Gratitude, not anger, comes from Astrodome [the column is no longer available on the Strib website], sounded suspiciously familiar to Spotty. He decided to sniff it out.

What Spot found is evidence of the right wing echo chamber at work, and echoes that percolated up from the winger blogs almost directly into Katie's column. Before we get into that though, let Spotty describe the column.

Katie tells, or rather retells, the story of Jim Lodoen, a Minneapolis attorney who was in Houston last week to visit his mother, in the hospital, which Spotty always approves. While he was there, he spent several days at the Astrodome as a volunteer, and he also raised several thousand dollars from colleagues in Minneapolis, which he distributed in the form of Target gift cards and cash. Very commendable. [ . . . ]


Katie says that Lodoen told her that reports of the criticism of the federal government response were wrong.

Back at his mother's hospital room, Lodoen saw television reporters interviewing victims who appeared angry and indignant. "I thought, 'Where are they coming up with these people? I'm not seeing them.'" He was also shocked at the shrill finger-pointing on the news. "All around us, politicians are focused on the blame game. Yet the victims themselves are blaming no one. I didn't hear one complaint. In fact, I was overwhelmed by the love, faith, determination and compassion that everyone shared."

Who is Katie's stringer, Spot wondered? In just a few moments work, he found out that Lodoen is a right wing side kick of Peter Swanson of Swanblog and Scott Johnson of Power Line. These are, of course, two blogs in the vast right wing circle jerk. Lodoen is also the guy who put this question to Vin Weber at a conclave at the Center of the American Experiment right after last fall's election:

I've got a quick follow-up to the Supreme Court discussion. Is it going to be difficult to replace Rehnquist or possibly Antonin Scalia with a justice of similar position and strength, or Bush won't [probably should read won't Bush] be able to move to the right of there? Will he lose ground and move a little bit more toward center?

Clearly, a man of liberal political sentiment. It would be ungrateful of a hurricane survivor to complain to a complete stranger giving you money, of course. But are Lodoen and his blogger and columnist buddies just trying to put a brave face on the criminal ineptitude of the Bush administration? Spot thinks so.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, here are just a few of the echoes from the blogosphere that wound up in Katie's column.

From an email from Lodoen reprinted in Swanblog:

The people are comfortable and the Houston operation is very well organized. A lot of food is available although the selection is not too extensive at the moment, and doesn't work for special diets. Free stores stocked with clothing, personal items and games are well stocked. Social Security, FEMA, Job Service, etc. are all in place and helping people. Volunteers are on laptops helping people find family and friends. People are very secure with police everywhere.

And then from Katie:

Once in Houston, Lodoen made his way to the Astrodome complex, which houses thousands of victims displaced from ravaged New Orleans. He was prepared to find chaos. Instead, he says, he was struck by how well-organized the massive operation was. "There was lots of food, and free stores stocked with clothing, personal items and games. Volunteers on laptops were helping people find family and friends." FEMA, Social Security and other agencies were out in force.

From Swanblog:

In fact one family spent their first four days in the stadium seats at the Astrodome after arriving in Houston because the cots on the floor were full. They slept in the stadium seats. I said, "That must have been terrible." She said, "No, it was o.k. I was just grateful to have food, air conditioning, lights and a roof over us."

Katie actually embellishes this one a little:

He met a family that had slept in stadium seats for four nights. "I said, 'That must have been terrible.' 'Oh, no,' the woman said. Instead of focusing on what they lacked, they were deeply thankful for what they had: food, lights, a roof, each other."


One husband/wife with 4 kids had both been working two jobs to buy their first house. The closed on Friday and stayed at the house that evening, moved in on Saturday, waited out the storm on Sunday and evacuated on Monday. They were grateful for the two days they had in their home. The father shared that all he does in life is about and for his family, and he needed to get them out. (His wife took me aside and shared that he is thinking that he did not do as much as he should have to protect his family so when he and I spoke I was able to give him a big pat on the back for saving his family, etc.) They left the house hand in hand with the two youngest on he and his wife's shoulders and walked through blocks and blocks of water up to their necks to a bridge where they waited for buses.


Another family told of fleeing their first home two days after moving in. The mother and father left hand in hand with their children perched on their shoulders, struggling through water up to their necks. They were awestruck at nature's power, and grateful to survive. Now, at night, the parents plan their future as their children sleep.

Actually, Katie, you got that last part messed up in the transcription, because Lodoen attributes the planning for the future while the children sleep on cots to a different family mentioned in a different post:

Michael said they try to go out for ice cream twice a week and that this was a real treat for them to do this again. His focus tomorrow is to try to get a job with a Houston division of the water delivery company he worked for and to work with his insurance company, etc. to see what their new beginning will look like financially. He and his wife are busy planning their future at night as their children sleep on the cots next to him.

And finally, commenting on volunteer help:

First Swanblog:

However, the kind words or hugs of the volunteers working for the charities, or a contribution "from some friends at Lindquist & Vennum in Minneapolis", does something more by letting people know someone--an actual person or group of persons--cares! That makes them feel special--like we are all in this together. And we are!!

And Katie:

Lodoen acknowledges that hurricane victims need government aid. "But volunteers can do something more. With hugs and kind words, they can let people know that someone -- an actual person or group of persons -- cares. "That makes the victims feel like we're all in this together. And we are."

Then, of course, Power Line has to get into the act:

September 14, 2005
Houston without CNN
My colleagues Gene Allen and Peter Swanson have been working overtime to get out the story of Jim Lodoen, the Minneapolis attorney who personally brought the generosity of the Minneapolis legal community to New Orleans evacuees in Houston. Peter is the proprietor of Swanblog and has written about Lodoen here, here, and here.
Our friend Katherine Kersten knows a good story when she sees one, and better yet knows how to tell it. That's what she does in her moving column in tomorrow's Star Tribune: "Gratitude, not anger, comes from Astrodome."
Posted by Scott at 11:14 PM

Actually, Scott, it appears that Katie only knows a good story when it comes up and kicks her in the ass."

Now ask yourselves, boys and girls, who did a better copy job, the editor or Katie? Let's see a show of hands. Who thinks Katie? Ah, most of you.

Spot called Katie's column to Kate Parry's attention, and this is what he got back:

I reviewed the allegation in the blog and brought it to the attention of the editor. He reviewed the blog posting alleging there was a problem, the original blog where the emails were posted and Katherine Kersten's column. Then he interviewed Kertsen and her editor, Doug Tice, about the reporting process for the column. Here is the editor's conclusion after that review:

The paper is always interested in criticism and takes complaints of any kind seriously. This is one of the reasons we have long had a reader representative position and hold every staff members to high standards of accuracy and precision. When we looked into the concerns raised about Katherine Kersten's column, we found that the complaints were without basis.

The column she wrote last week was based on three interviews with the subject, Jim Lodoen, who had also written down his recollections of the trip that he shared with Kersten and had posted on a website. Katherine drew from her interviews and used his written comments to compile the story of his trip. As is often the practice in our newsroom, she went over the quotes with Lodoen, as the primary source for the piece, before filing the story to make certain she had every word right.

The complaints about this column suggest there's something wrong with the work because the story is similar to the email notes. That would of course be the case, since both are coming from the same place. In at least one instance, Katherine's interviews with Lodoen cleared up some confusion in his notes, and she wrote the story as he determined it happened. Another suggestion is that there's something wrong with the column because parts of the story circulated on the internet before it appeared on the paper. Newspaper stories can originate in every imaginable place, including accounts on the internet. The job of the newspaper is to seek out what's happened, confirm its accuracy and run stories that our readers will be interested in. This is exactly what happened in this case.

Anders Gyllenhaal

If you have further concerns, please feel free to contact me.

Kate Parry
Reader's Representative

And so it goes; the cub reporter gets special treatment.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A new Spotty: Hypocrisy Revealed Division

Robin Marty, the den mother at Drinking Liberally and at Minnesota Monitor, wins a Spotty for scoring an absolute bulls-eye for her observation today:

Hotdish Sunday - Sausage and Eggs

Nov 19, 2006 -- 10:58 AM CST Robin Marty

Quote 1 "Now, of course, the anti-negro revelers are jumping for joy that Brad Johnson will get his opportunity to continue being old and washed up. It won't matter if we lose as long as we have guys we like at the helm."

Quote 2 "[Brees]'s white, too, which certainly guarantees more tolerance among that segment of Vikings fans that wears Purple to cover red necks. This isn't a theory, but a fact demonstrated by the muted response to Brad Johnson's stink-a-thons against Pittsburgh and Baltimore at season's end."

One of these quotes was written by the pseudonym Rahelio Soliel at the blog "American Hot Sausage" and has been called a "racial barb" on the A1 page of the Star Tribune, above the fold.

The other was written by Star Tribune sports writer Patrick Reusse on March 11th, 2006.

Spot's has had his dust-ups with Rahelio Soleil, but the sanctimonious hypocrisy surrounding the Tammy Lee parody site has reached a fever pitch. The Star Tribune is adding fuel to the fire, irresponsibly in Spot's view. While it may have been a clumsy in execution, the parody site did raise a definite subtext of the campaign: race.

Don't believe it? What about the newspaper advertisement (a rather large one at that) in the Star Tribune - perhaps it appeared elsewhere, too, but Spot didn't see it - by a group of primarily DFL, and primarily white, supporters of Tammy Lee? This group didn't support Peter Hutchinson, Robert Fitzgerald, or, well you get the idea.

Remember, boys and girls, a Spotty is awarded to the author of a letter to the editor, op-ed piece, or a blog post or comment that Spot wishes that he had written. As always, cash value 1/20th of a cent.

Source: Minnesota Monitor

Saturday, November 18, 2006

It's the corruption, not the incompetence!

Here's the lede from Mona Charon's column in the Star Tribune today, Saturday:

America is the world's hyperpower. No other nation or group of nations can challenge us militarily or economically. Unlike sickly Europe, we are growing, not contracting. But we are about to be defeated in Iraq by a few thousand cutthroats.

How did this happen? It's simple: The only thing powerful enough to defeat us is ourselves, and we've done it.

Well Mona, Spot says we're clearly the most (self) hyped power!

Mona goes on to remind us that she believes that the Republicans lost the election in 2006 because so many of them were dishonest:

In my last column (Nov. 14) I argued that the 2006 election was lost by Republicans through a combination of corruption and complacency. Dissatisfaction with the progress of the war in Iraq didn't help (though I don't believe it was decisive).

We can argue whether the bullet to the brain or the one through the heart was "more fatal," but it is absurd to say that the state of the war in Iraq merely "didn't help."

Poor Mona. Now not only the Democrats but the "realist" Republicans are arrayed against her:

The only alternative to the surrenders on offer by the Democrats and by the "realist" Republicans is a renewed determination to win. The assassins in Iraq pursue their dirty war despite the cost because it is succeeding. They know they are on the cusp of driving us out. But if, just to fanaticize [she really said fantasize] for a moment, we were to redouble our efforts, send more troops, kill the insurgents and convey our unflinching determination to win, the psychological effect would be enormous. And all wars are, to one degree or another, psychological.

Coming to a theater near you: Triumph of the Will by Leni Riefenstahl with a new introduction by Mona Charon! Don't miss it!

People have finally come to the conclusion that Mona's "few thousand cutthroats" simply do not pose a threat to our national existence. We were sold a bill of goods.

So the dissembling and the war do have something to do with each other, after all. We've learned our lesson, and as Prezinut Bush says, ya can't get fooled again!

Friday, November 17, 2006

I know you’re in there, Mark!

Scene: somewhere on Capitol Hill
Time: last week during "freshman" orientation

Knock. Knock. Knock. [pause for a response]

Knock! Knock! Knock! [more insistently this time] Come on, Mark, I know you're in there.

Go away. There's nobody here.

Don't be an ass, Mark. If there isn't anybody there, how did I just get an answer to my knocking?

It's my secretary. Oops. I mean I'm Mark's secretary.

Oh come on. I've met Mark's secretary. She's a nice young woman who sounds nothing like you.

Cough. Cough. I have a cold.

Mark, there are people standing out here with me, with cameras, and they're starting to laugh.

Maybe they're laughing at you Michele.

Mark, dammit – oh, the cameras aren't rolling are they? – you know you have to leave that office so I can move in. I won your seat!

I won't go. I thought I was going to the Senate, but I'm not, so I'm not going. I was here first.

But you won't be a congressman anymore.

I want my old job back. Ken Mehlman said I could have it.

He did not.

Did too.

He did not. Besides, Ken Mehlman is history.

He is? Ooh, that's bad.

Do I have to go and get a key? Don't make me do that. I tell you what, Mark. Just open up the door and let me look inside. I just want to see what the office is like, ok?

Well, ok. But just for a minute.

Just for a minute, Mark.

[door opens a crack, and Mark Kennedy's head appears in the crack] Ok, I'm going to duck down and you just look over the top of my head.

Mark, I can't see anything. Just a little wider. Please?

Ok, but no funny stuff.

You really have the place fixed up nice, Mark. Is that a bust of Ronald Reagan over in the corner?


I will not. [pushing hard against the door with Mark pushing back] Ooof. Mark, you don't want to know what I'm gonna do to you when I get in there!

I'm not afraid of you.

Well, you should be! You're just a squatter now. Get out! Lemme in! Marcus, help me you dolt!

[Marcus takes a run at the door, slams into it; there is a kind of hollow "thwonk" sound and the resistance from inside ceases]

[Michele pushes the door open and walks over and stands astride the unconscious Mark] This is what happens when you defy God's will! Take him away!

[onlookers grab Mark by the feet and drag him into the hall]

[breathing heavily] What a fight! [Michele pauses and looks at Marcus] Are you as turned on as I am?

[shutting the door behind him] Even more, baby!

David Sirota writes:

 Here's the first bit of a David Sirota blog entry about the idiocy of James Carville. Link from Spot's favorite aggregator Cursor.

Its true. James Carville is right. Howard Deans 50-state strategy had nothing to do with Democrats winning in places like Kansas and New Hampshire, where groups like the DCCC all but abandoned its own candidates And hes right, it was really awesome that Rahm Emanuel blew $3 million on one losing Illinois House race so he could be a local power broker, rather than giving more to people like Gary Trauner or Dan Maffei, who lost by a few hundred votes. Hes also right that no one should ask questions about why Hillary Clinton spent the most of any Senate candidate - $30 million - on reelection, despite having no serious opponent, and despite the fact that a fraction of that money could have been used to help win more House or Senate seats.

Source: David Sirota

Thursday, November 16, 2006

These guys are on a roll!

Here's another post from the Power Line boys about the Dems picking their leadership:

It's Hoyer

It didn't take long for Nancy Pelosi to suffer her first setback as Speaker-elect. Steny Hoyer has held off the challenge of John Murtha and will be the House majority leader in the next Congress. The vote was not close. Hoyer's margin was 149-86.

This is a good result. Hoyer, who represents a Maryland district not far from where I live, is a pretty sensible guy and a friend of Israel. Murtha is the leader of the hard-defeatist wing of the congressional Democrats and an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the Abscam case.

It's difficult for me to say whether this result means that non-leftist Democrats will have much of a say in the House. Murtha's poor performance may have had more to do with the taint of corruption, Hoyer's tireless campaigning for congressional candidates this year, and Hoyer's status in the old-boy network than with ideology. Moreover, the race was probably a mixed-bag ideologically if one factors in domestic issues.

In any case, it's interesting to compare the two sets of nominators in today's contest. Murtha was nominated by Nancy Pelosi, Loretta Sanchez (a lightweight who once tried to throw a fundraiser at the Playboy mansion), Kendrick Meek (a self-styled populist who "inherited" his seat from his mother, and once staged a sit-in in Jeb Bush's office in defense of racial preferences), and wild Dennis Kucinich. Hoyer was nominated by Henry Waxman, Elijah Cummings, Dennis Cardoza, and Brad Ellsworth, a freshman from a normally Republican district in Indiana.

JOHN adds: The Democrats stepped back from the cliff on this one. Two years of Jack Murtha as a visible symbol of Congressional Dems would have gone a long way toward regaining the majority in 2008. [italics are Spot's]

Posted by Paul at 12:07 PM

Boy, that John always has his two cents to add, doesn't he?

To all this nattering, Spotty just observes from the 7th chapter of Matthew:

Or how will you tell your brother,'Let me remove the speck from your eye;' and behold, the beam is in your own eye?

Rather than worrying about the "speck" John Murtha, Spot tells the Power Line boys to worry about the "beam" Trent Lott. Image from Whiskey Bar.

The Hirohito Watch, Spotty edition

 In a shameless rip-off of Billmon at Whiskey Bar:

This Could Be Fun

Last Tuesday's election results were not what we were hoping for, of course. [italics are Spot's] Still, the next two years could be fertile for us on-line commentators. The Quote of the Day comes from this morning's Washington Times:

Senate Democrats emphasized the need for Republican cooperation. "We really need bipartisanship," said incoming Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, the Illinois Democrat who helped lead the filibusters of President Bush's judicial nominees.

It strikes me that it's a little late in the day for the Democrats to start thinking about the need for bipartisanship. [as opposed to "Two Terms I Have a Mandate Bush"?]

Meanwhile, later today the House Dems will most likely select Jack "Unindicted Co-conspirator" Murtha as Majority Leader. Yes, this could be a rewarding two years for us pundits. [didn't happen, of course]  Posted by John at 08:38 AM

Source: Power Line


"Despite the best that has been done by everyone . . . the war situation has developed not necessarily to our advantage."

Emperor Hirohito
Radio Broadcast Announcing Japan's Surrender
August 15, 1945

Purge the counter-revolutionary elements II

Well, the jury is back. TPaw is no longer a conservative. No less an arbiter than Katherine Kersten, our dear Katie, says so. TPaw has gone over to the dark side. When he picked up the paper from the steps this morning, Spotty could hear Katie keening before he even slipped the paper out of its plastic bag:

If you think Gov. Tim Pawlenty has a conservative bone left in his body, read the news reports about his statements Tuesday at a Minneapolis health care conference.

Pawlenty announced that he would use the machinery of government -- and a "surplus" of taxpayer money -- to "start moving toward universal health coverage." How? First, by "covering the state's 70,000 to 90,000 uninsured children." He proposes either to expand MinnesotaCare, the state's publicly subsidized health coverage program, or create a brand new state program.

If you don't hear an echo of Scotty's Power Line post on the same subject here boys and girls, you need to get your hearing checked.

Katie continues:

It's clear that health care policy needs reform in this country. The problem isn't quality of care. We've got the best in the world. The challenge is paying for that care and ensuring that coverage is as broad as possible.

Those four sentences are true, false, false, and true. The health care delivery system in the United States is capable of delivering excellent care to those people with meaningful access to that care. The rest? Well never mind.

Katie tells us that the problem is that consumers are "insulated" from the economic effects of their health care decisions because of the third-party payer (generally speaking insurance) system. Well, Katie those 70 to 90 thousand kids are certainly insulated from the economic effects of their health care decisions! They're insulated from the health care system period.

In his speech, TPaw reserved a little criticism for HMOs:

In another troubling sign, Pawlenty engaged on Tuesday in pseudo-populist bashing of private companies that are trying to wade through the current health care swamp. According to the Star Tribune, "The governor saved some sharp words for health maintenance organizations":

"'What is the health value of what they do?' he said. 'How have the outcomes improved? Are we less obese? Are we less diabetic? Do we have less heart disease? Do we have less cancer? Are our children more engaged and active? Do we have less mental health challenge?'"

Katie is really the Commissioner of Troubling Signs, isn't she? That's the head of the Department of Troubling Signs, right next door to the Department of Funny Walks. Katie had to admit that the answers to the governor's questions were really, well, NO, but that was no reason to be so mean to the HMOs!

Katie saves the best venom for the end:

There's a lot of talk these days about him as a possible presidential running mate in 2008. I suggest that Rudy Giuliani or John McCain hurry up and make him an offer. Otherwise, Hillary Clinton may beat them to it.

You gotta love it. Scene: 2008 Republican National Convention in the Twin Cities. As TPaw accepts the nomination to run as the vice-presidential candidate, Katie and Scotty are loaded into the black mariah for obstructing the sidewalk entrance to the X with their "Pawlenty is a traitor" signs.

Update: According the WHO, the United States ranks 37th internationally in health care outcomes. The perfidious French are first. At least we beat Slovenia. This is what Katie means by "best in the world."

Source: Gov. Pawlenty's a conservative? Since when?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Purge the counter-revolutionary elements!

Poor Scotty. In a post penned in the pre-dawn cold and titled Say it ain't so, Tim, Scotty starts out this way:

Among the cynical adages that explain a lot about democratic politics is this one: "Vote for your enemy -- he has no one to sell out to but you." It's an adage that seems to apply more reliably to Republicans than to Democrats. In any event, however, our own Governor Tim Pawlenty is in the process of providing a case study in the merits of the adage.

Though he was reelected last week, he now faces substantial Democratic majorities in both houses of the Minnesota legislature and is apparently seeking ground he can cede to them. Now Governor Pawlenty is advocating the extension of "health care access to up to 90,000 uninsured children as a step toward coverage for all Minnesotans." (I'm relying on the Star Tribune account of Pawlenty's speech; I can't find a copy of it on the Internet.)

Yes, Scotty this is terrible. If we take care of the children, where will our matchstick girls and street-corner news boys come from? This is an intolerable interference in the free market. Tim Pawlenty will burn for this!

Actually, he might. When you starting touting TPaw for VP, Scotty, posts like this are going to be waved in front of a lot of Republican activists. Probably not good.

This wasn't Pawlenty's only sin, according to Scotty:

Governor Pawlenty didn't propose any particular method for extending coverage, he simply put the ball in play. The Democrats can be counted on to do the rest. Not willing to leave bad enough alone, Governor Pawlenty also delivered some nanny-state hectoring of pharmaceutical advertising:

Pawlenty said prescription drug ads should be limited or temporarily suspended because they only "create consumer-driven appetites for prescription medicines that do not yield wise decisions."

So much is wrong with this proposition. I recoil from the arrogance of such instruction from public servants who have forgotten their jobs. Sorry, governor, but you aren't the arbiter of the "wise decisions" of a free people.

Don't feel so bad Scotty. Just think, if Pawlenty had made this speech before the election, the base would have deserted him in droves and TPaw probably would have lost the election!

Link to Power Line: Say it ain't so, Tim

Shoot the buffalo II

 Here's a bit from Captain Fishsticks' column in today's Pioneer Press. Sticks apparently penetrated the purple haze to talk to Peter "Distant Third" Hutchinson.

It turned out to be an election about ideas," Hutchinson told me amid the cacophony of closing down the Team Minnesota campaign office. "They co-opted our ideas. They're all about moving forward now, keeping the main things the main things. After you get over being (angered) about it, it is kind of flattering."

Flattering, yes, but compliments don't build parties. History teaches that third parties merge with one of the major parties  think Democrats and Farmer-Laborites in Minnesota - or they grasp an issue and replace a major party - think the Lincoln-led Republicans replacing the Whig Party on the strength of the abolition movement - or they simply fade away.

The Independence Party has no intention of being co-opted or fading away. Despite gubernatorial vote totals declining from Jesse Ventura's plurality win with 37 percent of the vote in 2002, Tim Penny's 16 percent in 2004 to Hutchinson's 6 percent statewide, the Independence Party is stronger than it's ever been.

"It's ironic," said Hutchinson. "We lost and Ventura won, but we sit here today with more party talent and a bigger, better-financed party than we were in 2002. We have a diverse collection of Republicans and Democrats  heavy hitters, influential people. One thing we did this election is branded the IP as not just the party of Jesse Ventura. [italics are Spot's]

You know, you guys really need to get together with Norm "I've got more clout now" Coleman. Peter and Sticks, going from 37% (just a little over a third, by the way) for Ventura, to 16% for Penney, to 6% percent for Hutch establishes the trend line to oblivion. With all its money, the Independence Party may be able to buy better animation for the buffalo, but that won't elect people to office.

Sticks gives the history lesson on third parties - an accurate one - but then fails or refuses to draw the inevitable, irresistible conclusion about the Independence Party.

Hmmm, the farther you get away from the Ventura anomaly, the fewer votes you get, yet you think the party is stronger. Yes, Hutch, that is ironic!

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press | 11/15/2006 | The candidate may have sunk, but his ideas are on the rise

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Shoot the buffalo

 In his election wrap-up post, Nick Coleman writes this:

The Independence Party has begun to give "good government" a bad name. The party called itself "Team Minnesota" but forgot there is no "I" in "team." Peter Hutchinson got an embarrassing 6 percent of the votes in the governor's race, and his statewide total of 141,800 was close to the total received by the LOSING candidate for Hennepin County sheriff, despite the fact many Minnesotans embraced his party's platform. Ol' Hutch can chisel "Finished a Distant Third" on his tombstone, but had no effect on the 2006 election. Except for the spoiler part. The Independence Party is supposed to care about what's best for Minnesota. If so, Hutchinson might have said, "Only one person can win, and it's not me. Please vote for the viable candidate who most favors my platform, Mike Hatch." If just 22,523 Hutchinson voters (16 percent of his total) had voted for Hatch, Hutchinson would be in line for a post in the Hatch administration. Some folks are just too smart for their own good.

  No, Nick, there isn't an "I" in team, but there is a "me." As in making sure the party continues to qualify for public funding for future elections.

Source: Let's review the roadkill from Tuesday's election

Don won’t go!

Tonight, boys and girls, we will explore the fascinating science, nay art, of forensic psychology.

Our subject? The Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Yes, grasshopper, he still holds that post. And he undoubtedly will for at least a few, or perhaps several weeks. Mr. Rumsfeld was scheduled to go to the NATO conference later this month with President Bush in Riga, Latvia. Here's what the Defense Department had to say about Rumsfeld's change of plans:

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has dropped plans to join President Bush at a NATO summit this month in Latvia, in light of his announced resignation, a Rumsfeld spokesman said Monday. [italics are Spot's]

The Pentagon will instead be represented at the meeting by Eric Edelman, the undersecretary of defense for policy, according to Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Karen Finn. Other officials had said earlier Monday that Gordon England, the deputy secretary of defense, might fill in for Rumsfeld at the summit meeting.

The NATO summit is Nov. 28-29 in the Latvian capital of Riga.

You have to ask yourselves, boys and girls, why would Donald Rumsfeld pass up a chance for one last hurrah? Why would someone who obviously loves the limelight forego the opportunity for a valedictory hob-knob with diplomats and heads of state? The answer is he wouldn't unless he had a really good reason.

Do any of you know what that reason might be?

Spotty, because he's afraid to fly?

No, grasshopper. Spotty doesn't think that's it. Rumsfeld used to be a naval aviator and flight instructor.

It doesn't make any sense, Spotty!

Ah, grasshopper but it does. Notice that the Defense Department officials didn't have their story entirely coordinated about who was going to replace Rumsfeld, suggesting that the decision was made in haste. Consider also the story that Spot told you about a few days ago, namely that prosecutors in Germany have recently been urged by detainees who were subjected to torture to press war crimes charges against Rumsfeld and other US officials.

Mr. Rumsfeld doesn't want to risk the chance of being detained on a Interpol warrant for his arrest on war crimes charges.

That's crazy, Spotty! Cray. Zee.

On the contrary, there is precedent for this, or zis, as Sigmund Spot might say. The same thing happened in January of 2005 when a human rights organization sought to have war crimes charges brought in Germany. This was before a conference in Munich:

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld cancelled a planned visit to Germany after a U.S. human rights organization asked German authorities to prosecute him for war crimes, Deutsche Presse-Agentur [DPA] has learned.

Rumsfeld has informed the German government via the U.S. embassy that he will not take part in the Munich Security Conference in February, conference head Horst Teltschik told DPA on Thursday.

The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights filed a complaint in December with the Federal German Prosecutor's Office against Rumsfeld accusing him of war crimes and torture in connection with detainee abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

Rumsfeld made it known immediately after the complaint was filed that he would not attend the Munich conference unless Germany quashed the legal action.

Charges weren't brought at the time. Of course, we know much more about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo than we did in January of 2005.

Sadly, boys and girls, Donald Rumsfeld won't be sunning himself on the Riviera after retirement. If he does, it'll be the Redneck Riviera, the panhandle of Florida. Perhaps he and Henry Kissinger can vacation together!

Fighting them here

Is there anyone out there the slightest bit surprised that the most recent act of domestic terrorism is once again perpetrated by someone on the Freeper/Christianist/Coulter worshipping rightwing end of the political spectrum?

As always, hat tip to David Neiwert, whose Orcinus site is the place to go to keep track of those spouting eliminationist rhetoric on a national level* and those who are carrying it out at their suggestion.

*On a local level, I think you know where to go for our own Radio Rwanda.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Republican senator gains clout!

 Senator "Pollyanna" Coleman had this news for the always guileless AP reporter Fred Frommer:

Sen. Norm Coleman loses two subcommittee chairmanships next year and slides from majority to minority status as the Democrats take over the Senate. But ever the optimist, the Minnesota Republican says he thinks he can pick up some extra clout in the remade Senate.

Ya think, Fred? Today's sleek statesman is just tomorrow's obstructionist goober. With the Dems setting the agenda in the Senate, Norm can go along to get along or be painted as a partisan obstructionist, just as he has been so glad to paint the Dems the past four years.

That's clout? Naw. Spot says it's more like what happened to his friend Rover, who got fixed.

You can read more about this here and here.

Source: MPR: Democratic majority: an opportunity for Coleman?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sort of like the TCF Gophers

This is the lede for Katie's column for tomorrow, November 13th:

Imagine being a fan of a football team known as the Flickertails -- named for a small, wide-eyed ground squirrel. That's what the University of North Dakota sports teams were called back in the 1920s. "It must have been hard to rally people around the Flickertails," says Peter Johnson, UND's associate director of university relations. UND's archrival was the North Dakota State University Bison. A bison, of course, is a hulking creature that can squash a ground squirrel in one step.

In 1930, UND adopted a more formidable name -- the Sioux -- and its teams later became the Fighting Sioux. In 1968, says Johnson, the Grand Forks Herald reported that a delegation from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation traveled to UND to "adopt" its president into the tribe and to give UND the right to use the name for its athletic teams.

Katie's column goes on to explain how the "Fighting Sioux" nickname really isn't so bad after all. Whatever.

Spot has been saying for years that the University of Minnesota was at the back of the line when the rodent names were handed out in the Big Ten. But that was no reason to add the name of a saving and loan to the team name.

Update: Added TCF Goldy image. Image by Avidor.

Tag: ,

Source: Those fighting Sioux nickname lose sight of most Indian views

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Our ideas are fine, really

That's the new meme from the Republicans now that they were soundly trounced in the elections last Tuesday. That was the tenor of David Brooks' remarks on the Jim Lehrer News Hour on Friday night. There have been several other examples of the meme in recent days.

The war in Iraq was really a good idea; it's just that our execution was lousy. A more competent bunch would have won it going away. You think? Well, so says Tom Friedman. And so says Ken "Cakewalk" Adelman and the Prince of Darkness himself, Richard Perle.

The ever fatuous Jonah Goldberg tells us basically the same thing today:

Philosophers and partisans will debate for years the question of whether Democrats deserved to win the 2006 elections, but let us agree that the Republicans deserved to lose.

Through its own crapulence, jobbery and malfeasance, the Grand Old Party lost the House of Representatives, the jewel of the Republican revolution, the engine of conservative policy reform and home to the much-maligned freedom fries. The Democrats needed 15 seats to capture the House, and they passed that mark handily, like a running back carrying the ball through the end zone, into the bleachers and all the way to the concession stand -- and then ordering a hot dog. Then, twisting the knife and mangling this metaphor beyond all human decency, the Senate fell into the Dem column like one enormous hanging chad.

Wise man Jonah's prescription for the GOP? More ideology, stupid:

In other words, just as Democrats insisted, the GOP's drubbing had more to do with competence and scandal than program and ideology.

Indeed, if the conservative base hadn't been disgusted with Republican management, and if so many Democrats hadn't run as social conservatives, the GOP might have done just fine in this election.

Republicans lost because they behaved like self-indulgent politicians, not purists. Conservatives care a lot about ideas, so that's where we'll try to assign blame. But the ideologues aren't to blame. The Republicans are.

Not pure enough. Yeah, that must be it, Jonah.

Friday, November 10, 2006

You forgot William Delahunty

 This is the Who's Who of defendants in a German filing to seek the war crimes prosecution of several people involved in the (mis)treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay:

Along with Rumsfeld, Gonzales and Tenet, the other defendants in the case are Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone; former assistant attorney general Jay Bybee; former deputy assistant attorney general John Yoo; General Counsel for the Department of Defense William James Haynes II; and David S. Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. Senior military officers named in the filing are General Ricardo Sanchez, the former top Army official in Iraq; Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the former commander of Guantanamo; senior Iraq commander, Major General Walter Wojdakowski; and Col. Thomas Pappas, the one-time head of military intelligence at Abu Ghraib.

Absent from the list is William Delahunty, former side-kick to John "Organ Failure" Yoo at the Justice Department, now a professor at the St. Thomas Law School in Minneapolis. Odd.

Why Germany? Well, Germany recognizes the principal of "universal jurisdiction" for the prosecution of war crimes, a proposition that is also supported in international law.

Germany was chosen for the court filing because German law provides "universal jurisdiction" allowing for the prosecution of war crimes and related offenses that take place anywhere in the world.

The pace of the unraveling of the veil covering the brutality, illegality, and stupidity of the war in Iraq is quickening. The prospect of American political and military leaders, pale and quivering in the dock, increases with every day. The souls of thousands of dead and maimed American service people, and the hundreds of thousands of dead and injured Iraqis demand it.

Source: Exclusive: Charges Sought Against Rumsfeld Over Prison Abuse

I don’t want to be president anymore

[in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday, the day after the election]

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

Jesus, Bar. Who could that be at this hour? Somebody better be dead.

[reaching over for the phone] Probably just some crank. It's disgusting how they get through! [answering now] Who is this dammit? Oh, it's you. [turning to George, holding her hand over the mouthpiece and rolling her eyes] It's Junior. He wants to talk to you.

[sighs and rubs his eyes] Kinda late for that, isn't it? [picking up the phone now] Hello Mr. President.

Oh Daddy! Don't call me that! I don't want to be president anymore! Please call me Son or Junior! Call Uncle Jimmy to get me outta here!

Come on Mr. President, I mean Son, this is no time to panic. And you know, Uncle Jimmy is already on the case.

Daddy, please help me. What should I do? Most people hate me. The new Congress is going to pick on me. Iraq is going to shit – Mom didn't hear that, did she? – and I can no longer depend on unlimited money to let it slide until I'm out of office.

It wasn't that long ago that you didn't want my help. Remember? And didn't you learn at Andover to ignore the enmity of lesser mortals? Snap out of it, Junior. You're in luck though, kiddo, although through no effort on your part. Uncle Jimmy and I hatched a plan a few days ago.

Oh please, Daddy, tell me what it is!

Well, we start by firing that clueless Donald Rumsfeld.

What? I can't do that. I told everybody just last week that he was gonna be with me all the way! I'll look like I've cut and run!

Just think of it as cutting and walking briskly, Junior.

But Don's so funny, Daddy! He dances around at press conferences so well. Ties those pesky journalists up in knots.

Yes, Son, that's true. But do you want him as the Defense Department spokesman on Capitol Hill when all those hearings start next year? There are people in Congress, especially some Democrats – some of 'em former prosecutors – who don't think Don's so damn funny. I don't either, by the way. And Don has so many knives in his back already he probably won't make it to the press conference when you announce his replacement.

I see your point. Well, okay. Maybe I should get together with you and Uncle Jimmy to discuss Don's replacement.

Way ahead of you, Junior. Don's replacement is Bob Gates.

Who's Bob Gates? Is he related to Bill Gates?

Jesus, Junior. Bob Gates is an old CIA guy; he was my Director for a while. You must remember Bob. Up to his eyeballs in Iran-Contra, but never ratted me out. Real solid. He'll be in your office first thing this morning.

I'm gonna fire Donny today? But I have to at least tell him this is coming. Wait . . . did you take care of that, too?


How did Don take it?

I don't know. I didn't do it. It was "handled." Badly, I suppose. Anyway, there's a press conference scheduled for later today to make the switch.

Can I praise Don when I fire him?

Sure, Son, but don't say anything you'll regret saying in a week or so. Remember, he's just a burnt offering now.

What happens after that?

We declare victory and come home, of course. Good night, Junior. [click]

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Political blood thicker than Holy Water

Here's part of Katherine Kersten's column on Thursday praising Michele Bachmann, the winning candidate in Minnesota's Sixth District:

One secret to Bachmann's success was her vast "family" of volunteers, she said. "The volunteers have been a pure joy," she told me Wednesday. "We had so many people flood in that we ran out of phones to do our 'get-out-the-vote' calls, and had to go out and buy more phones. One 12-year-old girl made over 800 calls. A home-school mom came in with her five children and said, 'Put us to work.' A couple I've known since I was 16 took two days off of work to do door-knocking. In one day, they knocked on 146 doors."

Despite this kind of support, Bachmann found herself constantly swimming upstream against what she perceives as the religious bigotry of some of her political adversaries. "I was attacked repeatedly for my religious faith, and the media was a willing accomplice," she said. "I'm really disturbed by the media's lack of tolerance and understanding for the belief of a committed Christian."

A campaign low came when bloggers, and then some in the media, suggested that Bachmann's church regards the pope [shouldn't that be Pope, Katie?] as the Antichrist. "It was part of a political trick to convince pro-life Catholics not to vote for me," she asserts.

But she credits the people of the Sixth District for seeing through such tactics. "Catholics didn't buy it," she said. "They know we're not going to refight the Reformation [in 2006]. It was part of an effort to drive a wedge between people of different religious denominations" -- a ploy she finds reprehensible.

In fact, there have been questions raised recently about Bachmann's church's belief about the true identity of the pope [Spot's not a Catholic]. The Wisconsin Lutheran Synod is pretty upfront about its conclusion that the pope is, in fact, the antichrist. [Spot's not a devil worshipper, either]. Spotty imagined a telephone conversation between Michele and Katie about that here.

So Michele, it's reprehensible when somebody raises your goofy religious doctrine in attacking your candidacy, but your attacking somebody else's religous doctrine is fine? (Boys and girls, just put the search terms "Michele Bachmann Islam" into the Google.

And you Katie. You have written on many occasions about how important your Catholic faith is to you. But it doesn't bother you that Michele's church thinks that the leader of your church is the personification of evil? When somebody calls George Bush evil Katie, you go ballistic. Wait. . . . There's a point in there somewhere.

It's fine to drag religion into the public sphere when it supports your conservative political goals, but not when it serves contrary goals or demonstrates your hypocrisy? Is that your point, Katie? My, those are words to live by.

So to sum up, grasshoppers and grasshopperettes, Katie is offended to be thought of as an infidel by a Muslim, but is ok with being thought of as a devil worshipper by a Lutheran, because the Lutheran is a Republican.

Your assignment, boys and girls, is to write a one-page essay on the value of the separation of church and state based on the last paragraph.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani!

Follow the link. You know, Spot is going to miss Katherine Harris.

Link to Jesus' General

Coup d'etat

 This is how Johnny Rocketseed winds up a post this morning, wherein he explains that yesterday's massacre of House Republicans (and now with confirmation of Webb's win, the Senate's leadership shift, too) wasn't really All That Bad:

All of which explains, I think, why conservatives are not as depressed this morning as one might have expected.

He's a brave little fellow, isn't here? Well, Johnny, Spotty says get the Paxil ready, because Henry Waxman with the subpoena power is going to really depress you.

Source: Power Line: What It All Means

Michele’s nightmare

O Lord, my Lord! Why hast Thou forsaken thy faithful maidservant – me?
Hugga bugga ey snosses veerloreen infiiiiidèle deeeeeeeeemócraaaaaaata, ssssaaaaaaaaaaaaaaugt Tiiiiiiiiiiiiit bugga bugga.

Oh Michele, I've been listening to your blubbering several times a day since you were sixteen years old. And what's that last part?

Oh, God I was speaking in tongues. I thought you would understand.

I do, and watch your mouth. By the way, have you been drinking?

No! I swear!

Careful Michele.

Well, maybe just a little. [burps] Excuse me!

Good for you. I have thought for a really long time that you were screwed down way too tight. Now, in standard English, what's on your mind?

What am I going to do?


You know what I mean. I won't be in the Legislature anymore and I'm not going to Congress. I'm a failure, especially in Your eyes.

You are what you are Michele, today, yesterday, and the day before that.

What do you mean?

[sighs] I'm just being inscrutable; I'm entitled to do that. I'm God, remember? Mysterious ways and all that stuff?

Right. You've just never done the mysterious ways stuff to me before. When bad stuff has happened to other people, I always just said that to them and smiled, and then expected them to snap out of it, after all, it was just a husband, or child, or an eye, or a hand. Nothing like this.

Did you make me lose? I prayed so hard.

Yeah, I know. People all over the world been gettin' busy signals for weeks! All right. I admit it. I fixed this one for Patty Wetterling.

You what? I can't believe it! Thou hast forsaken me!

Normally I wouldn't intervene, but there were so many people praying for you to lose, I had to go with the majority. Sorry.

You went with majority rule? Majorities aren't always right, you know.
Really? It's funny to hear you say that Michele.


On this gay marriage ban thing, you wanted "the people to vote." Majority rule.
But this is so dif-- . . . . . Is this one of those "mysterious ways" kind of a thing?
Could be Michele. Think about it.

If it is, You're really being mean to me. You could have just told me what You thought about gay marriage.

You've never been much interested in listening Michele.

But what am I going to do now?

I hereby command you to get thyself home, get rid of some of that make-up, cleave to that putz Marcus, and make some cookies or something.

I don't know if I can do that!

Just kidding.

Oh thank God!
You're welcome. Really, if you love me, feed me sheep.


Just think about that for a while. We'll be in touch.


Michele! Wake up. You're having a bad dream! You've been moaning and speaking in tongues. Are you okay?
Oh Marcus, hold me. I dreamed that I lost and just had a heart to heart with God!

Pulled from the Wreckage

Spotty's off chasing cars, so I'm here to tell you to go read Sara Robinson over at Orcinus. Here's a sampling:
Americans are looking at trail behind them -- the blood and the mud, the stench of corruption and decay, the undrinkable water and unbreatheable air -- and realizing that nothing about this trip looks like the sunny golf courses and well-kept Main Streets pictured in the GOP's bright and happy Morning-In-America travel brochures.

Our Depression-era grandparents could have told us this was coming. After all, the GOP has driven us into precisely the same ditch it ran them into in 1929, fueled by the same ignorance and graft, flaunting the same blatant disregard for any sense of the common good, pillaging our vast accumulated social capital for its members' own private enrichment. Now that the devastating results are coming clear to all but that last deluded 30%, we need to make the words "conservative" and "Republican" forever synonymous with this mess.

We need to teach it in our history classes, and tell the tales to our own grandchildren. This, children, is what happens when you abandon liberalism. This is what's happened every damned time we've ever handed conservatives the keys and let them drive. Don't let them kid you. It's not about two different views of democracy; it's about whether your democracy lives or dies.

It's about whether your democracy lives or dies.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Behind Bush's Nuclear Gift to Terrorism

 A lot of the blood on Saddam's hands is on ours, too:

As I noted in a Moscow Times piece earlier this year, historian Roger Morris reminded us – in broad daylight, in the New York Times, a week before Bush launched his invasion in 2003 – that Saddam's regime had been helped to power by not one but two coups supported by the CIA. The first brought the Baathist Party to power in 1963 – after the CIA had helpfully tried to murder the incumbent strongman, Abdel Kassem, with a poisoned handkerchief. Kassem, who had been Washington's boy as long as he posed a counterweight to Egypt's Nasser and his "dangerous" secular nationalism (oh, for some dangerous secular nationalists in the Middle East today, eh?), left the reservation when he began "threatening Western oil interests" and "talking of openly challenging" American dominance in the Middle East, Morris notes. Operating from bases in Kuwait, American agents lent military intelligence support to the Baathist-led rebels and armed Kurdish separatists – all with the blessing of President John F. Kennedy.

The coup was successful; Kassem was tried for "crimes against the Iraqi people" and executed. The CIA then helpfully provided the successful Baathists with lists of "suspected communists and leftists." The Baathists then proceeded to systematically murder hundreds of people on the CIA lists. American arms were soon flowing to the new "legitimate government of Iraq" – weapons which, as Morris notes, the Baathists turned against the Kurds whom the CIA had armed only months before. Meanwhile, "western corporations like Mobil, Bechtel and British Petroleum were doing business with Baghdad – for American firms, their first major involvement in Iraq."

That was coup number one. Five years later, a Baathist faction led by Saddam Hussein's kinsman, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, staged a violent uprising against the government, again with CIA support. Where did Morris get this information? Straight from the horse's mouth: " Serving on the staff of the National Security Council under Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon in the late 1960's, I often heard C.I.A. officers – including [Kermit}Roosevelt, grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and a ranking C.I.A. official for the Near East and Africa at the time – speak openly about their close relations with the Iraqi Baathists." It is unlikely that the lowly thug and enforcer Saddam Hussein would have ever been in a position to take power in Baghdad if not for the assistance of the elist scions of power and privilege whose headquarters now proudly bears the name of one of its later chieftains, George Herbert Walker Bush.

Bush I proved a worthy successor to the illustrious Kermit and his Baathist-loving colleagues. As both vice-president and president, he sustained Saddam in his harsh rule at every turn – up to the very day that Hussein invaded Kuwait, with a nod and wink from Bush's envoy. With Ronald Reagan, he supported the infamous "tilt" toward Saddam in the Iran-Iraq war, with the United States providing military intelligence for Saddam's WMD attacks on Iranian positions, direct encouragement of his "area bombing" of Iranian cities, and diplomatic cover for him in the international community, removing his regime from the list of "terrorist supporters." This bond was sealed, of course, by the visit of Reagan's special envoy to the dictator: Donald Rumsfeld.

Source: Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque - High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium - Behind Bush's Nuclear Gift to Terrorism

Plan to create human-cow embryos

 Oh, this is so much better than using blastocysts that would be thrown away anyway:

UK scientists have applied for permission to create embryos by fusing human DNA with cow eggs.

Researchers from Newcastle University and Kings College, London, have asked the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for a three-year licence.

The hybrid human-bovine embryos would be used for stem cell research and would not be allowed to develop for more than a few days.

Source: BBC NEWS: Plan to create human-cow embryos

It's Puckernacht!

 Spotty completely lost track of time! Guess what, boys and girls? It's Puckernacht! Spot was reminded of the day by Katie's column today. She lays out the divisions and the rhetoric leading up to the election and compares it to past elections. And then, in a great whistling past the graveyard moment, Katie concludes by saying:

Yes, Tuesday is a big day. But whatever happens, the sun will rise Wednesday morning.

You will remember, boys and girls, that today is Election Eve, known as Puckernacht to Republicans. For DFLers, it's a occasion to go trick-or-treating. Here are some rules.

  • Wear your Nancy Pelosi or Bill Clinton masks.
  • Go out only to Republican homes. You can identify Republican homes by the lawn signs. Leave the lawn signs alone for trick-or-treaters coming after you!
  • Ring the doorbell, and then when the door is answered, exclaim trick or treat for Democrats!
  • Don't really expect any treats, and under no circumstance may you perform any tricks. Your vote for the Dems will be plenty of "tricks" enough!

Okay, so you're a Republican, and you don't want a visit from Nancy or Bill? What to do? Here's what Spot recommends. Take down your Republican lawn signs and put up Hatch or Klobuchar or Wetterling signs. Virtually anybody running as a Dem in your precinct will do. Good luck!

Source: Polarized at the polls? Yes, it's an American tradition

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Have a seat, Pastor Ted

[T]he Overseers will continue to explore the depth of Pastor Haggard's offense so that a plan of healing and restoration can begin.

The eponymous Ted Haggard enter the room, facing three men seated behind a table. This is Pastor Ted's old office, now swept clean of all personal effects or any trace of Pastor Ted's occupancy. The room is cavernous and, for the most part, dark. Pastor Ted's eyes dart around the room. He can barely make out the three men behind the table, but he can still see in his mind's eye the pictures of Pastor Ted with George W. Bush and with James Dobson.

Have a seat, Pastor Ted, I mean Mr. Haggard, intones the Chairman of the Overseers.

Thanks. Gosh, it's good to see you guys, well I can sort see you! Overseer Smith, Mather, and Chairman Thunder. I'm really sorry for the circumstances, replies Haggard.

There will be no pleasantries, I'm afraid, thunders Thunder.

Oh, no, Mr. Chairman. Sorry, squeaks Haggard.

Pastor Ted is wishing right now that he had not been such bigot on the gay stuff. He has a feeling it is coming back to haunt him. Oh well, that's water under the bridge, as they say!

We're here to examine the depth of your offense and sin, continues Thunder.

Bingo! thinks Haggard. I was right.

Is is just me, or is the room really hot? asks Haggard. Maybe it's just the bright lights over here.

Temperture's just fine, growls Smith.

Now, Haggard, we can sort of understand the drug abuse and the prostitution, but gay sex? How could you? asks Mather.

Well, it wasn't that hard, now that I sit here and analyze it, replies Haggard. It just kind of happened. Seemed kinda natural to me, you know?

Pfft. Natural my ass! exclaims Thunder. You practice this abomination with anybody else?

Um. . . . No.

We have your appointment calendars here, Haggard. There are some entries you are gonna have to explain.

You know, something just occurs to me fellas! says Haggard.

What's that? says Thunder.

Well, those calendars will show that I've counseled each of you over the years, says Haggard. Matters of transgression, and so forth. Say, Mather, do the words Cindy Lou and Motel 6 mean anything to you?

Uh, Chairman Thunder, may I have a word with former Pastor Ted in private? asks Mather.

You may not! retorts Thunder. Don't try to change the subject, Haggard!

Until this moment, Pastor Ted did not really know what an epiphany was. He emitted a small gasp of delight, and ignoring Thunder, Pastor Ted says, By the way, Smith, how's your son's new roommate - Eduardo, right? - working out there with Johnny in Berkeley?

Haggard, what was said to you was private! screams Smith.

I guess we can all be mistaken about confidentiality, can't we? says Pastor Ted.

Hold on here! More thunder from Thunder. I've got a lot of money invested in, I mean I have contributed a lot of money to, this church! There's even a big angel statute with my name on it. I ain't gonna see that tarnished.

Funny you should mention the angel, Chairman Thunder. Didn't we have a talk about how you got the money for the angel - and a whole lot more - because you had a "special connection" over at the Air Force Academy? And how you might feel a little better about if you gave some money to the church here? I know I remember that. Pastor Ted is humming faintly. It sounds like "Bringing in the Sheaves."

Haggard, this is another side o' you that I ain't seen before, says Thunder. Would you excuse us a minute?

Pastor Ted excuses himself from the room. He can hear heated voices behind the door. After several minutes of arguing, it becomes quiet, and Overseer Smith sticks his head out the door and says, Uh, Pastor, please come back in now.

Pastor Ted returns to his old office where he faces the three Overseers. They are ashen. Chairman Thunder begins, Well, Pastor, we been thinkin'. Maybe we should just let bygones be bygones. You know, you are a reprehensible sinner, but we think it is better if you just go away. You'll do that now, won't you? We'll just destroy these here calendars of yours.

Okay, if that's what you really want, says Pastor Ted.

Oh it is! says Mather. We'll leave you alone. You won't talk to anybody about your counseling either, will you Reverend?

No. That would be pretty hard without the calendars, wouldn't it? answers Pastor Ted. It's been a pleasure talking to you boys again! Good night.

Good night Pastor Ted, comes the reply from all three.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Haggard history II

This is from the Denver Post:

Full text of Saturday's press release

We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard. Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct.

The language of our church bylaws state that as Overseers we must decide in cases where the Senior Pastor has "demonstrated immoral conduct" whether we must "remove the pastor from his position or to discipline him in any way they deem necessary."

In consultation with leading evangelicals and experts familiar with the type of behavior Pastor Haggard has demonstrated, we have decided that the most positive and productive direction for our church is his dismissal and removal.

In addition, the Overseers will continue to explore the depth of Pastor Haggard's offense so that a plan of healing and restoration can begin. [emphasis is Spot's]

Pastor Haggard and his wife have been informed of this decision. They have agreed as well that he should be dismissed and that a new pastor for New Life Church should be selected according to the rules of replacement in the bylaws.

That process will begin immediately in hopes that a new pastor can be confirmed by the end of the year 2006. In the interim, Ross Parsley will function as the leader of the church with full support of the Overseers.

A letter of explanation and apology by Pastor Haggard as well as a word of encouragement from Gayle Haggard will be read in the 9:00 and 11:00 service of New Life Church.

Does it seem to you, boys and girls, that the Overseers are perhaps just a teensy bit too interested in plumbing the depth of Pastor Ted's transgressions?

Source: - Haggard fired by New Life Church oversight board

Haggard history!

 Well, live by the sword; die by the sword. Spot will admit to a little guilty pleasure at the thought of Reverend Ted standing in the dock in front of a bunch of parishioners that he has so carefully nurtured into the bigots they are today.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- The Rev. Ted Haggard agreed to resign as leader of the New Life Church after its independent investigative board recommended removal, saying he was guilty "of sexually immoral conduct."

"We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard," a statement from the church said. "Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct."

A man describing himself as an escort told news media this week that Haggard, who also has resigned as president of the influential National Asssociation [sic, or maybe not] of Evangelicals, had been paying him for sex for three years.