Sunday, January 30, 2005

It starts with an "L" and rhymes with "choose her"

It seemed to me that Tim Russert, in his Meet the Press interview with John Kerry this morning, kept returning to one theme. Maybe it was just me. Read this excerpt from the transcript and see what you think.

MR. RUSSERT: Senator Loser, you lost the presidential election big-time. Why do you think you lost so badly? Is it because you're a loser?

SEN. KERRY: I mean, look, I think we waged a great campaign. Did we make some mistakes? You bet we did. I take responsibility for them. You know, I am the person in charge, my campaign, I am responsible. I am not going to sit around worrying about what we did or didn't do. But we did some unbelievable things. We raised more money than any Democratic campaign in history. We involved more volunteers than any campaign in history. I won more votes than any candidate on the Democratic side has ever won in history. I lost, Tim, to an incumbent president by a closer margin than an incumbent president has ever won re-election before in the history of the country, and if you add up the popular vote in the battleground states, I won the popular vote in the battleground states by two percentage points. We just didn't distribute it correctly in Ohio.

So I think we did a great job, and we are going to continue to build on that campaign as I am now with my Kids First health plan. We have over 400,000 co-sponsors through the Internet who want to fight for this, and we are going to fight for it.

MR. RUSSERT: At the Clinton Library dedication on November 18, a few weeks after the election, you were quoted as saying, "It was the Osama bin Laden tape. It scared the voters," the tape that appeared just a day before the election here. Do you believe that tape is the reason you lost the race? Or is just that you're a loooo-ser? [Mr. Russert makes "L" sign with hand; holds it in front of his giant face]

SEN. KERRY: I believe that 9/11 was the central deciding issue in this race. And the tape--we were rising in the polls up until the last day when the tape appeared. We flat-lined the day the tape appeared and went down on Monday. I think it had an impact. But 9/11, you know, it's a very difficult hurdle when a country is at war. I applauded the president's leadership in the days immediately afterwards. I thought he did a good job in that, and he obviously connected to the American people in those immediate days. When a country is at war and in the wake of 9/11, it's very difficult to shift horses in midstream. I think it's remarkable we came as close as we did as a campaign. Many Republicans say we beat their models by four or five points as to what they thought we could achieve.

I am proud of the campaign, Tim. And I think if you look at what we did in states, I mean, millions of new voters came into this process. I won the youth vote. I won the independent vote. I won the moderate vote. If you take half the people at an Ohio State football game on Saturday afternoon and they were to have voted the other way, you and I would be having a discussion today about my State of the Union speech.

MR. RUSSERT: But we're not. Because you lost. You cast yourself as a potential commander in chief during the campaign, particularly at the convention, "I am John Kerry reporting for duty." What effect do you believe this book, "Unfit for Command" [holds up book], published by Regnery Publishing, now available for $19.01 at Amazon.com [camera focuses on book cover; it fills the entire screen], and the Swift Boat Veterans had on your candidacy? Do you think you lost because of this book, or did you lose because you're a loooo-ser? [Makes "L" sign with hand in front of humongous forehead]

SEN. KERRY: Well, that's for others to judge, Tim. I don't know. I mean, obviously I could have and should have responded faster and more forcefully, I think, to that. But lies and smears were proven in the front pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal. My crew, others, all spoke to those lies and will continue to. But, you know, there's a new communication structure in America. And I think we could have done a better job of addressing it obviously. But that wasn't--you know, what decided this race in the end was really 9/11. And, you know, I am not going to worry about the past. I am going to go forward to the future.

MR. RUSSERT: See if you could clear up one issue that I think has been left over from the campaign. And that is Steve Gardner, who was a foregunner on your PCF-44 boat, cut a commercial for the Swift Boat Veterans and made a very specific charge. Let me just show that and you can come back and talk about it a little bit.
(Videotape, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad):

MR. STEVE GARDNER: John Kerry is a baby-bayonetting coward who claims that he spent Christmas in 1968 in Cambodia, and that is categorically a lie. Not in December, not in January, we were never in Cambodia on a secret mission ever.

MR. RUSSERT: Now, the New York Daily News editorial wrote an editorial, and it said this. "As for Kerry, he might ask why the Swifties' attacks have been effective. The answer is his propensity to exaggerate. ... It's looking more likely that he exaggerated, if not worse, when he claimed through the years that he was in Cambodia on Christmas Eve '68. He said the memory was `seared' into him, but it's now clear Kerry was elsewhere, at least at that time. He has yet to explain. Until he does, the Swifties will have a powerful weapon in their arsenal."
And they refer, Senator, to a speech on the floor in which you said that you were there, that the president of the United States was saying you were not there, that there were troops in Cambodia. You have the memory seared in you. In a letter to the Boston Herald, you remember spending Christmas Eve '68 five miles across the Cambodian border. You told The Washington Post you have a lucky hat given to you by a CIA guy "as we went in for a special mission to Cambodia." Were you in Cambodia Christmas Eve, 1968?

SEN. KERRY: We were right on the border, Tim. What I explained to people and I told this any number of times, did I go into Cambodia on a mission? Yes, I did go into Cambodia on a mission. Was it on that night? No, it was not on that night. But we were right on the Cambodian border that night. We were ambushed there, as a matter of fact. And that is a matter of record, and we went into the rec-- you know, it's part of the Navy records. It's been documented by the other guys who were on my boat.

MR. RUSSERT: [cough] LOSER!! [cough]

SEN. KERRY: And - pardon me?

MR. RUSSERT: Nothing. Go on.

SEN. KERRY: And Steve Gardner, frankly, doesn't know where we were. It wasn't his job, and, you know, he wasn't involved in that. But we did go five miles into Cambodia. It was on another day. I jumbled the two together, but we were five miles into Cambodia. We went up on a mission with CIA agents--I believe they were CIA agents--CIA Special Ops guys. I even have some photographs of it, and I can document it. And it has been documented.

MR. RUSSERT: What about this allegation that you shot a fleeing pregnant woman in the back, and then cut her baby from the womb and sacrificed it to Satan? Do you think that cost you some votes, or do you think you just lost because you're a big fat loser?

SEN. KERRY: Tim, that allegation is just a vicious lie, a vile and disgusting smear and I can't believe that you'd dignify it by repeating it.

MR. RUSSERT: But you can't disprove it, can you, Senator Loser? Jerome Corsi, the co-author of this book, says he's moving to Massachusetts and will run against you for the U.S. Senate in 2008.

SEN. KERRY: Well, that's terrific. I'm not thinking about 2008 right now, but he can do whatever he wants.

MR. RUSSERT: Will you run for re-election in the Senate in 2008?

SEN. KERRY: Tim, I'm not thinking about 2008 right now. I'm really focused on what we're doing now. I'm excited about what I'm doing now. There are any number of potential things that I may wind up doing, and I'm going to keep all my options open.

MR. RUSSERT: Including running for president?

SEN. KERRY: I'll keep all my options open.

MR. RUSSERT: Could you run for the Senate and the presidency in 2008?

SEN. KERRY: I haven't even thought about it, honestly.

MR. RUSSERT: You lost this last presidential election. The mark of the loser is upon you [makes "L" sign again; holds it in front of his gigantic face]. With that in mind, are you going to run for the presidency in 2008?

SEN. KERRY: I don't know.

MR. RUSSERT: What about the Senate, Senator Loser? Will you run for the Senate again?

SEN. KERRY: As I said, I'm keeping my options open.

MR. RUSSERT: So are you going to run for the presidency in 2008? And possibly go down in humiliating defeat yet again?

SEN. KERRY: Tim, I don't know.

MR. RUSSERT: Will you run for the presidency again in 2008? Because you'll lose, you know.

SEN. KERRY: Tim, I - I've answered that question as best I can. I'm keeping my options open.

MR. RUSSERT: The 15 Democratic senators who won across the country all had more votes than you in each of their respective states. Why do you think that is? Is it because you're a loser?

SEN. KERRY: Because the vote for president is different and because security was the overwhelming issue and because, as I said, there was a 9/11 hurdle. There's a lot of evidence in the aftermath of the analysis that people found it hard to shift commander in chief in midstream. And, you know, I can understand. That's a difficult hurdle to get over. It's never been--nobody's ever gotten over it in history, and this was no exception.

MR. RUSSERT: Do you think, Senator Kerry, if you were to run again, your own mother would vote for you?

SEN. KERRY: My mother is dead.

MR. RUSSERT: So she wouldn't vote for you.

SEN. KERRY: She can't vote. She's dead.

MR. RUSSERT: So you would have to concede, would you not, that your own mother would not vote for you.

SEN. KERRY: How can she? She's DEAD.

MR. RUSSERT: If there is a vacancy for chief justice of the United States and the president nominated Antonin Scalia to take that position, would you vote for him?


MR. RUSSERT: Ah-HA! You have walked into my cunningly laid journalistic trap, you fool. God, I'm good. In 1986, when Scalia was put on the court, he was confirmed 98-to-nothing, and this is what John Kerry said then about Judge Scalia. "I believe Judge Scalia is a man of principle and integrity. I believe that his conservative view of the role of the judiciary will provide a valuable and needed balance on the Court. ... While I may often disagree with Judge Scalia's views, I respect him as a jurist, a legal scholar. I believe that he will make a positive contribution to the Supreme Court, and I support his nomination." What about THAT, Senator Loser? What about that statement? How do you reconcile that 18 year old statement made before Justice Scalia had compiled a record as a Supreme Court Justice with your position today? Huh? Huh?

SEN. KERRY: I was wrong.

MR. RUSSERT: Senator John Kerry, we thank you for joining us. Thank you for your views.

SEN. KERRY: Thank you.

MR. RUSSERT: We'll see you opening day at Fenway when the Red Sox play the New York Yankees.

SEN. KERRY: That'll be a deal. [MR. RUSSERT and SEN. KERRY chuckle convivially]


Saturday, January 29, 2005

He just didn't recognize her with her panties on

Actress Sharon Stone hijacked the staid World Economic Forum on Friday in Davos, Switzerland, interrupting a panel on poverty with a spur-of-the-moment fund-raiser that within minutes brought in more than $1 million to fight malaria in Africa.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., was moderating a session on anti-poverty efforts when Stone stood to address a panel that included Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the presidents of Brazil and Tanzania.

“Please identify yourself,” said Frist, perhaps one of the few men on the planet who couldn’t visually identify the sultry star of such hit movies as “Basic Instinct” and “Casino.”

Please forgive me, readers. I know that was screamingly obvious . . .

Glass houses

You know, when you look like this, you should probably avoid making fun of the way other people look (warning! Instahack link).

But honestly, isn't Glenn exactly what you imagined in a right-leaning libertarian type who works for a state funded university? Wispy hair, dweeby expression, beady eyes, pasty skin, weak chin. A man whose look, like his rhetoric, is flabby and lame - the best that can be said of it is that its blandness defies any attempt to categorize it by era.

Heh. Check out this picture. Nothing says "I'm a bad-ass rebel" like a t-shirt that simultaneously celebrates guns and makes fun of diversity, worn by a white guy with a receding chin and a bad haircut.

I thought Cheney was supposed to be the grown-up


Thursday, January 27, 2005

But WarrBuffett72@hotmail.com said he had great business acumen . . .

From the Myrtle Beach Sun News:

More discrepancies into the references of former Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park master developer Barry Landreth have surfaced, including a statement from Goldman Sachs saying the investment firm has never done business with him.

Other references submitted last year before the Downtown Redevelopment Corp. picked Landreth in May came from individuals using e-mail accounts through Yahoo, Hotmail and Coxnet, not the business firms those references claimed to represent. Copies of those references were given to Mayor Mark McBride, who requested more information about the original background checks. McBride wants the city to take over downtown redevelopment from the corporation.

On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs issued a statement to The Sun News saying the investment firm has never done business with Landreth. The e-mailed reference dated Feb. 20, 2004, did not come from the firm. In the original e-mail written from a generic Yahoo account - which local officials said carried a lot of weight because of the firm's reputation - the individual said, "We have had equity commitments with Webster Realty for 3 years."

That wasn't true.

"According to our records, Goldman Sachs does not have any business relationship with Mr. Landreth or his company," said Andrea Raphael, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman.
"Furthermore, the Goldman Sachs employees named by Mr. Landreth do not know him and have never done business with him." [emphasis mine]

Duh. If I'd had any idea how gullible the Downtown Redevelopment Corp. was, I'd have pitched my services as a consultant or something. TedTurner01@yahoo.com and JackWelch66@hotmail.com would have given me glowing recommendations.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Senior moments

Bush today:

Q I never got my billion --

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Because you're not a senior citizen yet. Acting like one, however. Go ahead. (Laughter.)

Q What is there about government that makes it hard --

THE PRESIDENT: Faulty memory. (Laughter.) Go ahead. (Laughter.)

Bush on January 14:

The Post: Will you talk to Senate Democrats about your privatization plan?
THE PRESIDENT: You mean, the personal savings accounts?
The Post: Yes, exactly. Scott has been --
THE PRESIDENT: We don't want to be editorializing, at least in the questions.
The Post: You used partial privatization yourself last year, sir.
The Post: Yes, three times in one sentence. We had to figure this out, because we're in an argument with the RNC [Republican National Committee] about how we should actually word this. [Post staff writer] Mike Allen, the industrious Mike Allen, found it.
THE PRESIDENT: Allen did what now?
The Post: You used partial privatization.
THE PRESIDENT: I did, personally?
The Post: Right.
The Post: To describe it.
THE PRESIDENT: When, when was it?
The Post: Mike said it was right around the election.
The Post: It was right around the election. We'll send it over.
THE PRESIDENT: I'm surprised. Maybe I did. It's amazing what happens when you're tired. Anyway, your question was? I'm sorry for interrupting.

Bush in the third presidential debate:

KERRY: Yes. When the president had an opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, he took his focus off of them, outsourced the job to Afghan warlords, and Osama bin Laden escaped.
Six months after he said Osama bin Laden must be caught dead or alive, this president was asked, "Where is Osama bin Laden?" He said, "I don't know. I don't really think about him very much. I'm not that concerned."
We need a president who stays deadly focused on the real war on terror.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. President?

BUSH: Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations.

Bush in March, 2002:

Q But don't you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.


Saturday, January 22, 2005

"All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors"

unless there's a "Sheikh" or a "Prince" in front of their names.

"Some have unwisely chosen to test America's resolve,

and have found it firm."



(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images. More about what happened to the little girl and her family here.)

Thoughts on the inaugural speech

From Roy Edroso at Alicublog:

Freedom, dignity, honor, integrity, tolerance, and faith are not just words to be planted in a speech, cushioned by classy modifiers and buttressed by vague historical allusions. They are parts of our lives. If our President's use of them does not reflect the experience we have of these things -- if the acts and examples of his Administration are merely festooned with, not embodied by them -- then they amount to nothing more than (to use the words of another poet) sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.

Read the whole post.

More on the "gap between rhetoric and reality" from the WaPo and from Billmon.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

WHAT was he thinking?

Justice Thomas flies to Alabammy to administer the judicial oath to this guy.

Considering that J. Thomas's most noteworthy statement from the bench was an impassioned denunciation of cross-burning and the KKK's reign of terror, it's odd that he would choose to participate in the swearing-in of a man who honors Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Martin Luther King says he doesn't know y'all

Bill O'Reilly and Acidman presume to read Dr. King's mind posthumously.

That's this Dr. King.


Monday, January 17, 2005

Perranoski Prizes

Go vote for my close personal friend, Velociman, for the Drysdale Award. And I'm partial to DohiyiMir for best photo blog.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

The apple does not fall far from the tree

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." George H.W. Bush, August 27, 1987.

"I don't see how you can be president at least from my perspective, how you can be president, without a relationship with the Lord." George W. Bush, January 10, 2005

They can't help themselves

Neocons and "liberal hawks" like Michael Totten have been hard-selling the notion that the left is a hotbed of anti-semitism these days.

But then along comes a rightie blogger to remind us who owns it.

Via Pandagon.

(Thanks to the handsome and talented MD for the pic!)

That's mighty white of you

Letter to the editor of the Charleston Post & Courier:

I was with my wife and two of our friends in a restaurant recently. We were seated beside a group of people who appeared to be from the Middle East. They seemed to be a family with two small children and a young lady who was obviously American. As we sat down I was initially annoyed at their conversation which I did not understand as they were speaking their native language. I think this is probably annoying to most Americans today.

I thought about my relatives and friends in Iraq and Afghanistan while these people were here in our country enjoying their lives and family and this wonderful free and safe country that is America. This made me angry for an instant, then I thought maybe this is the reason my friends and relatives are in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that people can be free to come to this country and be safe here in the greatest country in the world.

My initial anger turned to pride that I was born in the great country that continues to welcome these people to our country.

It's not Shakespeare but

A Chuck Norris movie is on AMC right now. Chuck is an American soldier being held in a Vietnamese prison camp. Chuck yells to the evil prison camp guard, "You may not care about the Geneva Convention now, but SOMEDAY you'll care!" - or something like that (hey, I SAID it wasn't Shakespeare).

To which the evil guard responds, "The Geneva Convention applies only to prisoners of war. You men [American GI's] are not prisoners of war!"

As some people might say, "Heh. Indeed."

Blogging has been lamer than usual lately

because I've been real busy at work. Round-the-clock kind of busy. Double shifts at the ol' Waffle House.

I have tonight off, but will be probably be working like a dog through the end of the month, so bear with me.


Sunday, January 09, 2005

Armstrong Williams: "When does conception begin?"

I was having dinner with friends last night and someone mentioned Armstrong Williams, media whore extraordinaire.

T told us that he had gone to see Jim DeMint and Inez Tenenbaum debate at Coastal Carolina University during the Senatorial campaign. Armstrong Williams was one of the "journalists" asking questions.

Williams asked Ms. Tenenbaum, "So, Ms. Tenenbaum, when do you think conception begins?"

Ms. Tenenbaum replied, "I'm not sure I understand the question."

"When does conception begin?" Williams said impatiently.

Tenenbaum said, "I think you mean, does life begin at conception."

"Whatever," Williams said.

Speaking of Williams, his syndicated column wasn't good for much but it did bring us this gem:

There was a conversation at a 1996 Washington Urban League ceremony honoring Thurmond and myself for the growing bonds between black and white Americans. Backstage, Thurmond leaned over and said, "You know, I have deep roots in the black community ... deep roots." His voice softened into a raspy whisper, "You've heard the rumors."

"Are they just rumors, senator?" I asked.

"I've had a fulfilling life," cackled Thurmond, winking.


Saturday, January 08, 2005

Good news, better news

Good news: Brad Pitt is now available

Better news: So is Jennifer Anniston.

Kidding! I really don't like to see anyone's marriage break up. Just can't resist the cheap joke.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

I'd sell it

That's what I did in my bartending days when I found a baggie full of the stuff on the floor on the floor of the bar after a big night.

I picked it up and said, "Hey, look what I found!"

The bar owner said, "That looks like good stuff! I'll give you fifty dollars for that!"

And I said, "Cool! Okay!" Then when I was putting the money in my pocketbook, I said, "Oh. I guess this makes me a drug dealer."

Of course, I wasn't an experienced drug dealer or I would have known I could sell that stuff for more than fifty dollars.

I hope Waffle House doesn't read this post, because they have a strict no-drug policy and they'd fire my ass for sure. And there's no Bloggers' Bill of Rights to protect me.

Good lesbian, bad lesbian
Via Alicublog, we learn that Jonah Goldberg, who was OUTRAGED when John Kerry mentioned in a debate that Mary Cheney is a lesbian, is now OUTRAGED that the New York Times didn't mention in its obituary of Susan Sontag that she was a lesbian.

That's not as hypocritical as it seems, y'all - the reason Susan Sontag's lesbianism must be mentioned is because it was her obituary, and also she had "contempt for traditional American values."

Mary Cheney is not dead and does not have contempt for traditional American values, so it would be unconscionably rude to mention that she is a lesbian, even though she is a lesbian.

UPDATE: In comments, Velociman says

Gotta come down faintly on Jonah's side here. Sontag's sexual preference helps explain her ouevre as a famous artist. The Cheney reference was a callow attempt to jaundice the Christian zealots with "Cheney has a fag in the family". Mary Cheney is not really a public figure. In fact, why didn't Kerry mention Sontag instead? She was still alive.

Please, Velociman, can you imagine if John Kerry, of all people, had dropped Susan Sontag's name in a debate? I can just hear the gleeful howling from the right: "John Kerry once again shows how out of touch he is with American values by referring to New York City intellectual Susan Sontag blah blah blah!"

On the other hand, it would have been funny to hear Bush's response: "Well I'm sure this Susan . . . Susan Snotrag didn't choose to be . . . uh . . . let me finish! My point is, my point is this: The sanctity of marriage must be protected. And the Amurcan people know I'm the guy, the guy who will stand up for what he believes in and what he believes in is, is protecting marriage. Thankee."


Monday, January 03, 2005

So many good blogs, so little time

New to the illustrious Rogue Planet blogroll: World O'Crap and SullyWatch.

Go read World O'Crap's Wingnuttiest People of '04 post right now for the excerpts of some deliriously bad writing by one Kerry Marsala.

Speaking of the Rogue Planet blogroll, it does seem a bit tilted to the left. The only rightie bloggers listed are Satan, who doesn't count because he no longer blogs, his work having been completed on November 3, Velociman, Karl Rove's defunct blog, and that grouchy old bastard Acidman. I'd like to strive for fairness, and semi-balance. Does anyone know of any funny right-of-center bloggers that I can add? They have to be funny, mind you. I'm not interested in anything they have to say unless it's funny.

"Torture is not an American value."

Says Digby. Torture-enabler Gonzales will be up for confirmation as AG. Digby explains why the Democrats should show some spine.

Mark Graber at Balkinization is a little more pessimistic:

Guantanamo Bay is no different. Most Americans probably suspect that our nation now routinely tortures persons and that the President has sanctioned this policy. We sort of know this is wrong, but as long as we can maintain plausible deniability, who really cares. Thus, while we profess outrage when stories hit the front page, the outrage vanishes as soon as the stories disappear. Besides, some victims of torture might give up valuable information. Others are no doubt bad people, who might well torture us in appropriate circumstances. Most are people we do not know, and in America, people we do not know are people Americans need not care about. This is the real scandal, and it is about us. Beneath all the media talk of a politics of morality, George Bush and his cohort are deeply amoral people, and American under George Bush is a deeply amoral place. The real challenge for the left is making people care about torture, even when torture is not on the front page.


Nothing I can think of to say would be remotely adequate. American Street has been blogging it with some good links (go and scroll down).

Well, la-di-FREAKIN'-da!

My last post was a joke. In truth, I spent the New Year's weekend with other esteemed thinkers and doers in Charleston, at the Renaissance Weekend. Although we are wealthy and influential in a way unimaginable to you, my readers, we act just like regular folks during the weekend. We wear nametags. And grandstanding is simply not tolerated.

Bill Clinton started to grandstand a little bit, and we all shunned him. Turned our backs on him. He pitched a big hissy fit, but later apologized for his limelight-hogging.

Anyways, I'd tell you all more about it, but then I'd have to kill you.

I'm back

As is my wont, I spent New Year's Day meditating and praying and fasting. In the fetal position, mostly. Whimpering occasionally.


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