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Step off, old man!
Friday, 30 April 2004
More liberal media
Again, more evidence of the liberal media. Curious why this happened? Just check out the bolded area. Gee, you think the Bush Administration's policy of deregulation and favoritism towards big broadcast companies has anything to do with this? Nah.

Here it is:

"Sinclair Broadcast Group has ordered its seven ABC stations not to broadcast Friday's "Nightline" that will air the names and photographs of the more than 500 U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war.

In a statement online, the Sinclair group said the "Nightline" program "appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq."

Sinclair's decision, announced Thursday, drew angry calls from the public and a sharp response from ABC News.

"We respectfully disagree with Sinclair's decision to pre-empt 'Nightline's' tribute to America's fallen soldiers," ABC News said in a statement. "The 'Nightline' broadcast is an expression of respect which simply seeks to honor those who have laid down their lives for this country."

The show, titled "The Fallen," will air at 11:35 p.m. Friday. In it, newsman Ted Koppel will read the names of the U.S. troops killed in action while their pictures are shown to viewers.

As of Thursday, 533 U.S. troops have been killed in action in the Iraq war; another 204 troops have died from nonhostile incidents.

According to campaign finance records, four of Sinclair's top executives each have given the maximum campaign contribution of $2,000 to the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.

The executives have not given any donations to the campaign of Sen. John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, the records showed.

Posted by brettdavey at 8:45 AM EDT
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Just like Dean...
Remember when candidate Howard Dean was on "Meet The Press" and estimated the number of troops that were in Iraq. He gave a range, something like 110,000 to 120,000, which turned out to be right. Tim Russert, who only asks tough follow-up questions to Democrats, jumped all over him like he'd just kicked Nancy Reagan. "If you want to be Commander-In Chief, you need to know exactly how many troops are there," Russert shrieked. (I'm paraphrasing.)

Soooo, let's see if Russert goes ballistic with this story about Paul Wolfowitz, who has had his greatest fantasies fulfilled by invading Iraq. Here's the story from the AP:

"Asked how many American troops have died in Iraq the Pentagon's No. 2 civilian estimated Thursday the total was about 500 -- more than 200 soldiers short.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was asked about the toll at a hearing of a House Appropriations subcommittee. "It's approximately 500, of which -- I can get the exact numbers -- approximately 350 are combat deaths," he responded

"He misspoke," spokesman Charley Cooper said later. "That's all."

Yeah, that's all. Turns out he misspoke about a lot of things.

Posted by brettdavey at 8:41 AM EDT
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Bill Maher speaks, I listen
Bill Maher is at his best when he is on a show like Larry King or Chris Matthews. I've only seen his HBO show once and it was a little stale, but maybe I'm spoiled by Jon Stewart. Anyway, here are a few of the things he said on "Hardball" a couple nights ago.

"Look, one guy went into the National Guard, which back then was a way of getting out of it. On top of that, he had the nerve to say to Tim Russert, 'You know, if my Guard unit had been called up, I would have gone.' How very brave, Mr. President, considering ... only 8,700 Guard people were ever called up there, 0.03 percent. So there was no chance he would have been called up.

That`s George Bush for you: 'Hold me back, hold me back'."

.......................

"I`m not even talking about the decision to go into Iraq, which, you know, doesn`t look so good nowadays. I`m looking at this news about Fallujah, and I hear what President Bush is saying. Do you remember 'Baghdad Bob,' the guy we all laughed at because he was saying things that were completely crazy? Well, President Bush sounds like Washington Bob right now. He`s saying, "It`s only a few troublemakers. It`s a few rotten eggs that we`re fighting over there." Are you kidding? Is he joking?

He`s getting the media to cover this nonsense about John Kerry`s medals. So Joe public, as President Bush would call him, sits home and goes, 'Well, gosh, there was a controversy with Bush`s military history and now there`s a controversy with John Kerry`s military history. I don`t know who to vote for.' It`s nonsense.

One guy actually has honor and integrity, although I will admit that John Kerry certainly is not burdened with charisma, and the other guy only has the words `honor and integrity.' He`s never connected them to anything.

....................

"John Kerry`s campaign slogan should be 'Do not resuscitate.' He's cold. I`m sorry. But you know what? That`s who he is. Why do people have to like the guy? I hear people say, 'I don`t know if I`m comfortable with John Kerry.' You know what? You don`t have to go to bed with him. Just vote for him.

We`re such babies about this. In the days before television, people didn`t judge presidents on whether he was sunny, warm, or likable. They judged on whether he was the best man for the job. I would like to bring that criteria back now that we`re at war."

..............

Posted by brettdavey at 8:35 AM EDT
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Thursday, 29 April 2004
Fun with the press
I work in PR so I'm always amused by these transcripts of the White House reporters meeting with the press secretary. Here's what I find strange: The questions are often times contentious but the reporting usually follows the Administration's script. Here's a transcript from today.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Okay, the President had his usual briefings this morning. And the meeting with the 9/11 Commission started right on time, at 9:30 a.m. this morning. And they are continuing to meet right now.

QUESTION: Who is in the meeting, for your side?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Hang on. I'll come to questions. I'll go through my routine here. Other than that, all I have is that I'm briefing at 1:15 p.m. and State Department is briefing at 12:30 p.m. That's all I've got. Now, go ahead.

QUESTION: So who is in the meeting, from your side?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Well, I'll go over everybody that's in there. You have all 10 commission members, you have one member of the commission staff present. Then you have the President and Vice President; Judge Gonzales is there, and two staff members from the Counsel's Office are there as well.

QUESTION: Who are the staff members?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: I'm not going to get into the names of the staff that's present.

QUESTION: Why?

QUESTION: Why?

QUESTION: Why?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Just, Judge Gonzales. They're lawyers on the White House Counsel staff. I know you all want to call them and talk to them afterwards, but I'll just say, two members of the White House Counsel staff.

QUESTION: No, that's not why, we just want their names.

QUESTION: For God's sake, this is a matter of historical record.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: It's a private meeting, Helen.

QUESTION: It's not a private meeting, it's a public meeting.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: I just told you who is present.

QUESTION: It's doing the nation's business.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: These are two members of the Counsel's Office that have been working closely with the September 11th Commission.

QUESTION: Why the secrecy?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: I don't look at it that way.

QUESTION: But we do.

QUESTION: It is a good question. It is an historic moment. This is -- in a public event.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: I'll talk back with these individuals and see if -- but --

QUESTION: Just for the record, really, just for the record.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: I'll talk back with these individuals, but I'm not in the habit of just going and naming every staff members that attend all these meetings.

QUESTION: But this isn't just another meeting.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: I understand.

QUESTION: You're the spokesman for this White House, and you should give us the basics.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: I'll check with those individuals, but I'm not going to get into naming staff members without their --

QUESTION: Why did the White House feel there was a need for three staff members --

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: -- without talking to them about it.

QUESTION: -- versus one for the commission of 10 members?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Well, you have 10 commission members there, too. So you have a lot of members of the commission. These are two staff members that have been very involved in working on these efforts.

QUESTION: What is their purpose, Scott? Are they there to record what takes place?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: No.

QUESTION: Are they there to advise the President --

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: No, I'm sure they'll be taking notes.

QUESTION: -- or Judge Gonzales --

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: No.

QUESTION: What is the purpose? What is their purpose?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Because they're two members of the Counsel's Office that have been very involved in working on these issues with the September 11th Commission. And they'll be there taking notes, just like a member of the commission staff will be there taking notes.

QUESTION: So they're actually there more to record what happens.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Well, take notes, yes.

QUESTION: Are there two note takers?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Yes, I expect both of them will be taking notes. I expect members of the commission will be writing information down, as well.
QUESTION: You said there was one note taker. Is there an official note taker or are these both --

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: I said there would be at least one member yesterday, and then yesterday afternoon when I was updated, I said that there would be two members of the Counsel's Office present.

QUESTION: Who are they?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Helen, I'll check with them. And I don't want to go and just name them without talking to them first.

QUESTION: Where are they all sitting? Is the President at his desk? Where is the Vice President?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: The President and Vice President are sitting in the chairs in front of the fireplace. And the commission members are sitting on the couches and in chairs in the Oval Office.

QUESTION: Who got the couches? How did they decide who got the couches? What, did they run in, and -- (laughter.)

QUESTION: Why in the Oval Office? Why not in a place where all of them could sit at a table?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Well, the President has lots of meetings in the Oval Office. He meets with world leaders there on a regular basis --

QUESTION: There's 10 members of the commission.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: -- and this is a similar setup. Well, it's like yesterday, when we met with -- when the President met with Prime Minister Persson of Sweden. You have several members of the staff -- of each other's staff in there. You have the ambassadors and you have other members of staff in there. And they all sit around on the couches and chairs. That's where we sit when those meetings take place. It's a similar setup to that.

QUESTION: Scott, are we going to hear from the President today?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Look, if there's any change in the schedule, I'll keep you posted.

QUESTION: So does that mean maybe?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: No, I'm not ruling anything in or out at this point, but we'll keep you posted, obviously, on the meeting.

QUESTION: What does that mean? What are your plans to read this out in some way, or give us your take on what happened?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: One, don't expect a readout on the discussion. I think I've kind of indicated that over the last few days. This is a private meeting. But let's let the meeting take place, and then we'll go from there.

QUESTION: But we could hear from the President.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: I'm not ruling anything in or out, David. We'll keep you posted.

QUESTION: Scott, what was the preparation prior to this? How many times did the President and Vice President together meet with the White House Counsel?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: I provided a general description of what he did to prepare for this. And I talked about how over the last couple of days he continued to visit with members of -- the President continued to visit with members of the White House staff -- specifically Condi Rice and Andy Card and Judge Gonzales, and that he looked over materials and documents that were provided to him by the Counsel's Office.

QUESTION: But specifically, what did he and Judge Gonzales talk about, because if he's just taking notes today, he already knows what the President apparently is going to say.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Well, one, April, keep in mind that a lot of this occurred two-and-a-half and three years ago. And the President wanted to refresh his memory and look over documents from that time period to make sure he can provide the commission as complete account of events as possible. I mean, this is a good opportunity for the President to sit down with members of the commission and talk with them about the seriousness with which we took the threat from al Qaeda, the steps we were taking to confront it and how we have been responding to the attacks of September 11th. The President believes their work is very important, and it is very important to helping us win the war on terrorism. He's pleased to sit down with the commission and answer their questions so that they can provide the American people with as thorough and comprehensive a report as possible. And that's what's going on right now.

QUESTION: Scott, a follow-up to that real quick. I know it's been a couple of years, but it was such a poignant time for this administration. What does he really need to be refreshed on?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: April, this is two-and-a-half years ago. Of course he wanted to look back at the documents to make sure that he's providing the commission as complete an account as possible about the events prior to September 11th, the events on September 11th. And I think that that's -- that anyone would want to do that prior to sitting down and visiting with the commission.

QUESTION: But in news interviews, he was able to go off and just rattle off the events. But what specifically --

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Well, I'm sure that -- well, I'm sure, April, that they have some specific questions going back to that time period, and we're talking about two-and-a-half, three years ago.

QUESTION: Scott, will the White House release a photo of this session this morning?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: I don't -- I don't anticipate that.

QUESTION: Why not? And also, did the President say anything before he -- before he went into --

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Yes, the meeting is going on right now, Terry, so I don't --

QUESTION: Did he say anything to you or anybody else before he went in about how he felt --

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: No --

QUESTION: -- or what he was feeling?
SCOTT MCCLELLAN: No, he was looking forward to it. Like I said, he's pleased to sit down with the commission. I talked to him this morning, and he -- the way I would describe it, he believes their work is very important to helping us win the war on terrorism, that the President's most solemn responsibility is to protect the American people. And that's the way in which he looks at this, that he wants to do what he can to help the commission piece together all the information they've been provided access to so that they can complete their work in a timely manner. He wants to -- he looks forward to seeing their report and he looks forward to seeing their recommendations and seeing if there are additional steps that we can take beyond what we are already doing to win the war on terrorism.

QUESTION: Did he and the Vice President open with statements? Did they plan to open with statements?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: It's going on right now, Wendell. That wasn't the plan. That wasn't the plan.

QUESTION: It was not the plan for them to open with statements for the committee?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: No.

QUESTION: Scott, what time is the next event on the President's schedule today?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: He's got some events scheduled this afternoon, some meetings that he has, I know. He meets regularly with members of his Cabinet department. I think Secretary Ridge is coming this afternoon, two something, 2:30 p.m., something like that. And he's got some other staff meetings and personnel meetings, things like that.

QUESTION: Will the President be able to explain why the bin Laden family was flown out of the country right after the event?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: I think that that matter has already been discussed and addressed previously, Helen.

QUESTION: And also why the FAA didn't go up?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Helen, I don't know what questions the commission is going to be asking. The President looks forward to answering their questions.

Posted by brettdavey at 2:56 PM EDT
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Chickenhawk
It's funny how the language of influential blogs eventually makes its way into mainstream political language. Yesterday, Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey blasted Vice President Dick Cheney as "the lead chicken hawk", while defending John Kerry.

The term "chickenhawk" has been incredibly prevalent on the internet for the last couple years. There are a number of sites with lengthy lists of politicians who avoided war themselves, but never hesitate to send someone else to get their limbs blown off. Hence the term: chickenhawk.

It's funny how the current Repugs, who play dirty politics like it's never been played before and have the media in the palm of their hands, cry when someone says something about them.

Hey, it's the truth. Cheney said he didn't serve in the military because he "had other priorities." There's nothing wrong with that. Just admit you said it and continue sending people to war.

Posted by brettdavey at 8:09 AM EDT
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Doesn't want to get his hands dirty
There's no denying that for all his tough talk, GW doesn't have much stomach for hand-to-hand combat. After all, the guy was a cheerleader. Anyway, Josh Marshall made this point recently with a column that came after longtime Bush advisor Karen Hughes (who Bea Arthur will have to play in the movie..) attacked Kerry. Here's what Marshall wrote:

"What's the signature pattern of the president's life?

When he faces a challenge or a tough scrape, he lets his family and friends bail him out, do his fighting for him. You see it again and again through failed businesses, legal scrapes, the whole matter of ducking service in Vietnam and then getting help cleaning up subsequent unfortunateness while he was serving in the Texas Air National Guard.

It's even come up again and again on the campaign trail. George W. Bush has faced three opponents (McCain, Gore and Kerry) since he came onto the national political stage -- each served in Vietnam, though each under very different circumstances. He's had his lieutenants attack the service of each one.

So here we have the same pattern again -- no different. The president wants to challenge John Kerry's military service. So he gets Karen to do it for him. You can get tripped in the chutzpah of this because this not only throws light on an earlier period when the president couldn't fight his own fights, it repeats the pattern."

Right-O.

Posted by brettdavey at 8:02 AM EDT
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Monday, 26 April 2004
Deny, Deny, Deny
Did you see "Meet The Press" yesterday? The second segment was with Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the United States. I work in public relations but I could definitely learn something from this guy.

Every time Tim Russert presented him with evidence of Saudi support for terrorism, Bandar laughed it off and spoke condescendingly, "Tim, Tim, that is completely false. Ha. Ha."

My favorite rebuttal of his was when Russert showed a clip of the Saudi royals holding a televised telethon to raise money for Palestinian suicide bombers. That was the intent of the telethon!

Bandar said the Saudis had made some mistakes in supporting terrorists, but 9-11 had made them reassess what they were doing. Only one problem: the telethon took place in April 2002! When questioned about this, Bandar said, "Ahhh, Tim, Tim. Ha. Ha." or something like that.

It was a mind-blowing perfomance. I can't wait for Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show" to get ahold of it.

Posted by brettdavey at 9:03 AM EDT
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Someone help me
It seems that every year the Red Sox lead the Yankees in the standings when June rolls around. So it's important to temper any excitement about this weekend's sweep of the Yanks or the fact that the Sox have won 6 of 7 against New York.

Still, I can't help it. It just feels different. Someone help me! Please! (That is the cry of a Red Sox fan who feels himself going down the same road again!)

Posted by brettdavey at 8:57 AM EDT
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The Empire strikes back
This comes from a recent Molly Ivins column about the mindset of those who think the democratization of Iraq is our responsibility.

"The perpetually peevish pundit George Will has condescended to explain to us all that our problems in Iraq are but the obligations of empire. Yup, Bwana Will-ji says we gotta take up the white man's burden. "Regime change, occupation, nation-building -- in a word, empire --are a bloody business. Now Americans must steel themselves for administering the violence necessary to disarm or defeat Iraq's urban militias."

That's us, gotta steel ourselves to administer the necessary violence because THEY are making us do it. One assumes after penning this advice, Bwana Will-ji grabbed the memsahib and headed on down to the Imperialists' Ball."

Boy, that's not what the Administration told the country when we went to war. You think if we explained to the country early last year that we were going to Iraq to spread democracy, people would have jumped on the bandwagon so quickly?

I don't think so either.

Posted by brettdavey at 8:47 AM EDT
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Thursday, 22 April 2004
Baby puke
There's nothing like seeing your kid puke really bad. Just wanted to share that.

Posted by brettdavey at 9:37 AM EDT
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