Thursday, October 4, 2007

Know-Nothings Breaking for Thompson?

"Being smart isn't everything."

That's what a George W. Bush supporter told me at a pro-Bush rally a few days before the 2000 election.

Elections are certainly not contests of IQ or knowledge. If you believe abortion is murder, you're not likely to vote for a candidate who favors abortion rights over one who wants to criminalize abortion, even if the abortion rights supporter clearly has more candlepower. But as the election of 2000 showed, being smarter did not help Al Gore. The media held him to a different and higher standard than Bush, who was widely regarded by many reporters as not all that bright. And Bush even exploited the fact he was no smarty-pants, deriding Gore for actually making arguments with facts and figures. Know-nothingness worked out well for Bush (at least it helped him reach the White House). It's now entered the 2008 race.

Reporting on Fred Thompson's recent swing through Iowa, Politico 's Roger Simon noted,

John Rich, the country music star, is campaigning with Thompson in Iowa. Rich wears a big, black Stetson and has "Fred 08" picked out in spangles on his guitar.

"Fred Thompson speaks the common man’s language," Rich tells audiences. "He doesn't try to dizzy us with facts and figures."

Yes, please don't impress us, Senator, with a command of facts and figures. Who wants that?

It's true that Jimmy Carter's intelligence did not make him an effective president. But is there anything wrong with knowing stuff and backing up empty rhetoric with details and actual information? ("Let's keep doing what works and quit doing what doesn't work," Thompson told one gathering in Iowa.)

On the campaign trail, Thompson, who once made hundreds of thousands of dollars a year as a Washington lawyer and lobbyist, shows little interest in policy specifics. Why bother? he seems to be saying. He's just going to share his good ol' common sense notions with you-the-people and folksy his way to the nomination and the White House. No need to dizzy anyone with facts. And why not? It's worked before.

COMING ATTRACTION. The House committee on government oversight and reform is holding a hearing today on corruption within the Iraqi government. Former Judge Radhi (see below) is expected to testify. I intend to be there and to report later on the proceedings.

Posted by David Corn at October 4, 2007 07:56 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

"Being smart isn't everything."

Sadly that mindset is the opposite of what has kept us nearly hairless primates with car keys alive as a species.

Being smart isn't everything but being dumb is deadly - just ask any of the 3,800 of our dead troops or one of the million or so dead Iraqis.



micki said...

A draft statement prepared for Pete Domenici's formal announcement Thursday disclosed that the 75-year-old New Mexico Republican has a progressive disease that can cause dysfunction in the parts of the brain important for organization, decision-making and control of mood and behavior.

micki said...

A draft statement prepared for Pete Domenici's formal announcement Thursday disclosed that the 75-year-old New Mexico Republican has a progressive disease that can cause dysfunction in the parts of the brain important for organization, decision-making and control of mood and behavior.

micki said...

I guess I couldn't resist posting twice.

capt said...

Domenici expected to announce his retirement on Thursday in Albuquerque (9 p.m.)


The reasons behind Domenici's decision not to seek re-election are unclear. But a Domenici adviser said lingering concerns about his health are the main reason.

Domenici has been under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee since earlier this year after a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group accused him of trying to pressure former U.S. attorney David Iglesias to rush a corruption probe against Democrats to sway the 2006 elections. Iglesias claims he was dismissed from his job for resisting Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., who both have said they did not pressure him.

In March, Domenici called the controversy "hell" like he had never experienced in his Senate career.

Domenici, a Republican, was first elected to the Senate in 1972 when New Mexico was still a reliably Democratic state. He has never been seriously challenged since.


*****end of clip*****

There is more to his story than just health issues.

concerns about his health are the main reason.

Just like all good little GOPhers he traded credibility and ethics to overreach in a blatant abuse of power - all for "Commander guy" Bunnypants. Pete showed more loyalty to the “party” than to the citizens he was suppose to be representing.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.


capt said...

Mother Jones Lures David Corn From The Nation

“I think my bureau will be almost as big as the Time magazine bureau,” David Corn was telling The Observer on Monday afternoon, a kid-in-a-candy-store excitement in his voice. That morning, Mr. Corn—whose name for years has been synonymous with the Washington coverage of the country’s most prominent magazine of the left, The Nation—had been named the D.C. bureau chief of Mother Jones, the San Francisco–based liberal bi-monthly.

He’s not wrong: Time currently has seven Washington reporters devoted to covering politics—the same number as Mother Jones, with the addition of Mr. Corn. The magazine’s aggressive Washington strategy, coming as it does at a time when most mainstream news outlets are cutting back, may be a sign that in this election season, the lefty media is generating all the heat.

In the past few months, Mother Jones has assembled a team of liberal-media name-checks like James Ridgeway, the longtime Washington correspondent of The Village Voice; Laura Rozen, a national-security writer for The American Prospect; and Stephanie Mencimer, a former editor of the Washington Monthly and National Magazine Award nominee.


*****end of clip*****

I can’t wait. I don’t think it will be hard to beat the old crusty (WaPo and NYT’s) in quality of content. THAT is what is best expressed online - quality and a healthy dose of honesty, with those the competition doesn’t stand a chance.

"kid-in-a-candy-store excitement" is a gross understatement for me.


capt said...

Bush, Congress Hit New Lows in AP Poll

Public approval for President Bush and Congress has sunk to the lowest levels ever recorded in The Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

Only 31 percent said they approve of the job Bush is doing, according to the survey released on Thursday. His lowest previous approval in the survey was 32 percent — a virtual tie with the new reading — recorded several times, most recently in June.

Only 69 percent of Republicans voiced approval of Bush, about where he has been in recent months but still an anemic showing for a president within his own party. That included only 29 percent from the GOP who said they strongly approve of the job he is doing.

Underlining the widespread political polarization sparked by the Iraq war and other issues, just 7 percent of Democrats and 19 percent of independents gave positive marks to Bush's work.

With the war dragging on and fears of recession at home, the poll showed public discontent with Bush on issues across the board.

A record low 34 percent said they approved of his handling of the economy, which has been battered by a major credit crunch and a feeble housing market. His prior low in the poll in that area was 37 percent.

Bush also hit a new low with 31 percent approving of his work on domestic issues like health care, just below June's 32 percent. The poll was taken as the president was about to veto a measure adding $35 billion to children's health coverage.

Twenty-nine percent approved of how Bush is handling Iraq, a slight dip from last month's 33 percent and virtually even with the record-low of 27 percent last December. Bush last month approved a plan to gradually reduce the number of troops in Iraq from more than 160,000 to just above the 130,000 who were there when this year's force build up began.

On foreign affairs and terrorism, 36 percent approved, just below September's 40 percent measure and about tied with the 35 percent low point he hit in December.

Congress' job performance was approved by just 22 percent, continuing a steady decline in the public's assessment since Democrats took over in January. Unable to force Bush to wind down the Iraq war, just a quarter of Democrats gave a thumbs-up to Congress' work, compared to a fifth of Republicans and independents.

Congress' lowest approval reading in the poll had been 24 percent, recorded most recently in July.

AP-Ipsos polling began in December 2003.

President Truman's approval ratings of 23 percent in both 1951 and 1952 were the lowest ever recorded by the Gallup Poll. Congress' Gallup Poll low was 18 percent in 1992.

The AP-Ipsos poll was conducted from Oct. 1-3 and involved telephone interviews with 1,005 adults. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.


*****end of clip*****

New lows for Bush because of what he is and what he does and new lows for congress because of what they aren’t and what they don’t do.

Seems simple enough but the D’s (too many of them) are still either bought and paid for or too effin stoopid to realize that the 31% really means rock bottom.


capt said...

'Phony soldier' comments continue to roil Iraq war debate

Comments by conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh that troops who oppose the Iraq war are "phony soldiers" are still stinging more than a week after he made them. The controversy comes only a week after the liberal group ran an ad in The New York Times calling US Army Gen. David H. Petraeus "General Betray Us." That event drew similar criticism, and some observers speculate that liberals are focusing on Mr. Limbaugh now to draw attention away from the ad incident. The continuing fallout has prompted some observers to remark that politicians who have pounced on the comments and the ad are both eager to sound off before the elections and unable to take a firm stance of their own on the war.

The controversy started on the Sept. 26 edition of Limbaugh's radio program, The Rush Limbaugh Show, when he spoke with a caller about antiwar protesters. The caller lamented that, "what's really funny is they [activists] never talk to real soldiers. They pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and spout to the media." At which point, Limbaugh interjected, "The phony soldiers." The caller agreed, and after finishing that particular discussion, Rush summarized a news item from one of his earlier shows.


*****end of clip*****

Maybe the CSM is more believable? Surely no neoconman could confuse himself into thinking HRC controls or owns the CSM, or am I giving too much credit?


capt said...

Home-grown terrorism now main threat

FIVE years ago, the average terrorist was in his mid-20s, married with kids, university-educated, middle-class, psychologically stable and probably an engineer.

Today, he's more likely to be poor, of limited education and a second- or third-generation product of the culture he is attacking.

Former CIA case officer turned psychiatrist Marc Sageman told the Safeguarding Australia Summit in Canberra yesterday the typical profile of a terrorist had changed since the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the Iraq invasion.

The well-educated young men who were radicalised while studying in the West (engineering was the most common degree) and who conducted the 9/11 attacks, had been replaced by self-trained, self-recruited and, thanks to the welfare state, self-financed "terrorist wannabes".

Dr Sageman said al-Qaeda's leaders had been all but cut off from the current crop of jihadists and comprised no more than two dozen people.

The threat was now coming from home-grown young men in their early 20s who recruited mostly on the internet.

Dr Sageman said there were "potentially thousands" of these "new" terrorists, although they were incapable of replacing older terror networks because of their self-organising, independent structure. Many were petty criminals or gang members who eventually drifted back to their Islamic roots.

Their actions were inspired by a sense of "moral outrage" at perceived grievances against Muslims, usually focusing on Iraq, reinforced by personal experiences of alienation in their host countries.

Dr Sageman said that well-intentioned attempts by governments to change attitudes within the Muslim community by promoting moderate interpretations of Islam were likely to fail as a result.

"That's not why they join. They join for the glory," he said.

Kinship bonds were the glue that held most terror cells together, rather than ethnicity, religion or ideology, he said.


capt said...

Iraqi Kurds sign four oil deals

The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq has announced four new oil exploration deals with international energy companies.

The news is likely to upset the central government in Baghdad and the US.

Both have been pressing the Kurds to hold off negotiations until national oil and gas laws for opening up Iraq's energy wealth are in place.

Development of Iraq's oil reserves has been held up by disagreements between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish communities.

These laws will set the framework for investment by foreign energy firms and for dividing oil revenues between the communities.

But increasingly the semi-autonomous Kurdish area has signalled that it will go it alone without waiting for a national consensus.


In the latest move, the Kurdish authorities have announced four exploration contracts and two refinery deals, worth around $800m (£400m), giving rights to look for oil under Kurdish territory.

French and Canadian companies are involved along with other foreign investors that have not yet been named.

There has been no official reaction from either Baghdad or Washington but neither will be pleased.

A few weeks ago the Kurdish government signed agreed its first ever exploration deal with a foreign oil firm, Hunt Oil from Texas.

The Iraqi national oil minister in Baghdad described this deal as illegal.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration sees a national accord on energy policy as central to healing Iraq's wounds and creating the conditions for prosperity.

The Kurdish authorities insist their energy deals comply with the expected terms for national laws.


*****end of clip*****

Chaos demands confusion.


capt said...

Fired Iraqi Judge Testifies Corruption Has 'Stopped' Reconstruction

Here's how bad corruption is in Iraq. An Iraqi corruption judge, Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, the former head of the Iraqi Commission on Public Integrity, is testifying now before the House oversight committee. It's been known that institutional mechanisms in the Iraqi criminal code allow the Iraqi ministers to stifle corruption investigations. But al-Radhi, who is now seeking asylum in the U.S., stated that a whopping $18 billion has been lost to thieves in "nearly every ministry." (That's not the U.S.-provided Iraqi Relief and Reconstruction Fund.) Corruption, he said, is not just getting worse, but has "stopped" reconstruction efforts.

Al-Radhi testified that the Maliki government's corruption "has helped fund sectarian militias," as has that of Maliki's rivals in the Sunni parties. According to al-Radhi, the militias controlling cities like Taji (Sunni) and Basra (Shiite) control oil sales and use the revenue to buy weapons. "These militias are from the parties' blocs, and it is a source of revenue for them." Even worse is what happens to those who try to stop the corruption: The militias have systematically targeted al-Radhi and his investigators. His staff and their relatives have been kidnapped, detained, tortured and murdered. Their bodies have been found hung on meat hooks, tortured with power drills, and attacked by suicide bombers.

He said Maliki -- who recently issued counter-charges of corruption against al-Radhi -- has protected his deputies and "his relatives" from corruption investigations. These are allegations that the State Department tried to stop Waxman from airing publicly.

Video of al-Radhi's opening statement coming shortly


capt said...

Video of Judge Radhi's opening remarks

capt said...

Reid rejects compromise on SCHIP

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) strongly rejected talks of reaching a compromise with the White House on a children’s healthcare bill on Thursday, a day after President Bush vetoed the popular measure and appealed to Congress to find middle ground on the issue.

“That to me is insulting, for this man to talk about compromise,” Reid said.


*****end of clip*****

WOW! Give ‘em hell Harry!


capt said...

Wilson to seek Domenici's seat

Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M) will run for the New Mexico Senate seat that is expected to open up officially later Thursday when Sen. Pete Domenici (R) declares that he will not seek reelection in 2008, according to a source familiar with Wilson’s decision.

Domenici has taken Wilson under his wing in recent years, and as he has gotten older, Wilson’s name has topped the list of potential heirs.

A strong campaigner, she has survived several multimillion-dollar challenges in a swing district that voted for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. She defeated former state Attorney General Patricia Madrid (D) by fewer than 1,000 votes in 2006.

But she also faces the same U.S. Attorney scandal baggage that would have affected Domenici’s reelection campaign. Fired U.S. attorney David Iglesias said both lawmakers pressured him to be more aggressive with his corruption cases during the 2006 campaign.


*****end of clip*****

From by pal Rick - h/t hombre

It has been an open secret Wilson wants Pete’s position but she thinks it is a given. I don’t think she can even steal the senator slot. I sure hope not.


capt said...

Judge rejects Craig’s bid to withdraw guilty plea

Minnesota judge on Thursday denied Sen. Larry Craig’s (R) bid to withdraw his guilty plea in the bathroom sex sting that upended his political career, adding new resignation pressure to the embattled Idahoan as he clings to office.

Judge Charles Porter of Minnesota’s Hennepin County court released a 27-page order calling Craig’s August guilty plea “accurate, voluntary, and intelligent,” adding that “the conviction is supported by the evidence.”

Craig may pursue an appeal, allowing him to stay in office while he seeks every available option to clear his name, but the ruling is likely to bring more calls for his departure from frustrated GOP leaders who had pressed him to step aside last week as originally planned.


*****end of clip*****

An appeal might be a way to try to save face - until he loses on appeal. Sounds like the judge is on very solid ground. When a person pleads to a charge it is explained to them both the content and consequence of the plea. If not every admission of guilt would appeal.


David B. Benson said...

Craig leaves, sooner or later!

capt said...

Court 'closed', inmate executed

A TEXAS death-row inmate was executed after a local court refused to stay open an extra 20 minutes to hear an appeal.

At 10am on September 25, the US Supreme Court announced it would review in early 2008 an appeal by two Kentucky death row inmates challenging the legality of the lethal injection.

The same day, Michael Richard, 48, was due to receive the deadly cocktail at 6pm in southern Texas for the rape and murder of a woman in 1986.

His attorneys said they rushed to draft an appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state's highest court for criminal cases.

At 4.50pm, the lawyers called the court to ask it to remain open 20 more minutes after they were stalled by a computer malfunction.

"We close at five,'' was the response from the court clerk, a quote widely reported by local media.

In a last-ditch effort, Richard's attorneys took their case to the Supreme Court, which remains open for executions.

The legal move delayed the execution by a few hours, but since the convict did not file his appeal with a local court first, his arguments were not accepted in Washington.

The execution went ahead that evening and Richard was declared dead at 8.23pm.

No other death row inmate has been executed since then.

The court's behaviour angered a leading Texas daily newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, which expressed outrage in an editorial entitled "We Closed at 5".

"Hastening the death of a man, even a bad one, because office personnel couldn't be bothered to bend bureaucratic procedure was a breathtakingly petty act and evinced a relish for death that makes the blood of decent people run cold,'' the newspaper said.

On Tuesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay of execution to convicted murderer Heliberto Chi, 28, a sign that it might step back while the US Supreme Court weighs the constitutionality of lethal injection.

So far this year, 40 of the 41 people executed in the United States have been killed by lethal injection, with one choosing the electric chair.

Most of the executions have taken place in Texas, which has put to death more than 400 people since the reinstatement of the death penalty in the country in 1976.


*****end of clip*****

We have to outlaw killing criminals. It is barbaric.


capt said...

Strange but True: The Largest Organism on Earth Is a Fungus

The blue whale is big, but nowhere near as huge as a sprawling fungus in eastern Oregon

Next time you purchase white button mushrooms at the grocery store, just remember, they may be cute and bite-size but they have a relative out west that occupies some 2,384 acres (965 hectares) of soil in Oregon's Blue Mountains. Put another way, this humongous fungus would encompass 1,665 football fields, or nearly four square miles (10 square kilometers) of turf.

The discovery of this giant Armillaria ostoyae in 1998 heralded a new record holder for the title of the world's largest known organism, believed by most to be the 110-foot- (33.5-meter-) long, 200-ton blue whale. Based on its current growth rate, the fungus is estimated to be 2,400 years old but could be as ancient as 8,650 years, which would earn it a place among the oldest living organisms as well.

A team of forestry scientists discovered the giant after setting out to map the population of this pathogenic fungus in eastern Oregon. The team paired fungal samples in petri dishes to see if they fused (see photo below), a sign that they were from the same genetic individual, and used DNA fingerprinting to determine where one individual fungus ended.

This one, A. ostoyae, causes Armillaria root disease, which kills swaths of conifers in many parts of the U.S. and Canada. The fungus primarily grows along tree roots via hyphae, fine filaments that mat together and excrete digestive enzymes. But Armillaria has the unique ability to extend rhizomorphs, flat shoestringlike structures, that bridge gaps between food sources and expand the fungus's sweeping perimeter ever more.

A combination of good genes and a stable environment has allowed this particularly ginormous fungus to continue its creeping existence over the past millennia. "These are very strange organisms to our anthropocentric way of thinking," says biochemist Myron Smith of Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. An Armillaria individual consists of a network of hyphae, he explains. "Collectively, this network is called the mycelium and is of an indefinite shape and size."


capt said...

Please take a couple minutes of your valuable time to read this e-mail. I am a licensed attorney who's tired of reading about the unethical conduct and actions of attorneys work in and for our government including Alberto Gonzales, Kyle Sampson, Monica Goodling, Hans von Spakosky, Ted Stevens, Lisa Murkowski and many others*. News accounts present reference after reference of ethical lapses by these attorneys that range from violations of laws to conflicts of interest. To my knowledge, though, there is no organized effort to address these violations as grievable offenses. The Grievance Project is my effort to do exactly that.

The Grievance Project is located at:

I will be adding posts for attorneys which will include the links to that attorney's bar(s) and the all the information anyone will need to file a grievance including links to the rules and complaint forms and a statement of factual allegations with links to sources that support the allegations. With minimal cutting and pasting, anyone can prepare and submit a grievance. I have already provided in my "States" post all the links anyone would need to file a grievance against any attorney licensed to practice in every state as well as Washington, D.C.

I would appreciate any assistance you can give to the Project, including suggestions, critiques or publicity. At this point, I am attempting to remain anonymous. If this is an issue for you, I will consider disclosing my identity under certain conditions.

Contact the Grievance Project: Grievance.Project (at) yahoo (dot) com
Contact me: Eleven.Eighteen (at) yahoo (dot) com
Because ethics matter.


*My current, unvetted list contains seventy (70) attorneys whose conduct potentially violate their respective bars' rules of professional conduct.

David B. Benson said...

Every smokestack counts:

EPA asked to regulate ship emissions

The world's ocean vessel fleet produces about 2.7% of the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, about the same or a bit more than the U.S. cars and light trucks...

Carey said...

Oh my God Capt. Not Heather! She's undoutedly involved in shenanigans herself as David Iglesias informed us. Then again, what GOPer isn't?

Thank you for the coverage of the evolving plans for Mother Jones and David's upcoming role.

capt said...

David's upcoming role

(from the Observer piece)

"He(DC) said it was the prospect of a real Washington bureau that enticed him to leave The Nation, for whom he’d manned a somewhat lonely outpost in the capital for two decades. “The idea of being in charge of what is kind of a start-up within an existing entity, focused on reporting and news and analysis … was very appealing,” he said. “I’ve always wondered what could happen if there were five of me.


I truly expect some real excellent work.

I think it is a very savvy move for DC and MoJo.


capt said...

Desmond Tutu, Persona Non Grata

Last week’s visit by Iran’s president to Columbia University symbolized to many the openness of American higher education to hearing controversial ideas and individuals. An incident coming to light at the University of St. Thomas, in Minnesota, illustrates that some speakers are denied campus platforms. In this case, the would-be speaker isn’t a Holocaust denier. Nor does he run a government that routinely denies basic civil rights to scholars, journalists or gay people.

The speaker barred at St. Thomas won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who won the prize for his nonviolent opposition to South Africa’s apartheid regime, was deemed unworthy of appearing at St. Thomas because of comments he made criticizing Israel — comments the university says were “hurtful” to some Jewish people. Further, the university demoted the director of the program that invited Tutu after she wrote a letter to him and others complaining about the revocation of the invitation. (She retains a tenured faculty job.)

While the incident happened several months ago, it has only just become public, when it was reported by City Pages, the alt-weekly in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The revoked invitation has some faculty members at the university seething.


*****end of clip*****

Where is the outrage?


capt said...

New Thread