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Step off, old man!
Wednesday, 15 December 2004
Kerik's second pad
There's another article in the NY Times today about the various skeletons in Bernard Kerik's closet. If you believe he withdrew because of nanny problems, you're sadly misinformed.

There's a nice little tidbit from the article about Kerik and his various affairs. Many people were wondering how he could afford a second apartment, set up stricly so he could carry on with other women.

The Times says the apartment was donated as a resting place for police officers who were working at Ground Zero. Kerik used it instead as his own personal bedroom.

Yes, another true Republican hero.

Posted by brettdavey at 2:12 PM EST
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Joe says no
They say that Joe Lieberman was twice offered the Homeland Security job and twice turned it down. I'm no fan of Lieberman's, but I have to give him a thumbs-up on this one. It was obviously a political calculation on the part of the White House.

Even though Lieberman is rather hawkish, he did more than his fair share of Bush-bashing during the primaries. Of course, at other times, he has had his head squarely up Bush's ass.

The White House was hoping to add another Republican senator to the roster if Lieberman accepted. He didn't, which is to his credit. If he had, the Democrats would have hated him for giving up his seat. It's the same way Dems hate Zell Miller for blasting his own party and the way Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)raises the ire of hardline Republicans.

Posted by brettdavey at 2:07 PM EST
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Monday, 13 December 2004
Conservative Idiots
One of the best things on the web is "The Top 10 Conservative Idiots of the Week," posted every Monday on

Here are a few from this week (the last one is a little offensive in its language, but since it was said by a staunch Catholic, it must be OK:

Wasting Everybody's Time
Last February, FCC Chairman Michael Powell told a Senate hearing that the number of indecency complaints received by the FCC had greatly risen in recent years, from fewer than 350 complaints in 2001 to almost a quarter-million in 2003. According to Powell, this was proof that there was "a dramatic rise in public concern and outrage about what is being broadcast into their homes."

Shocking, huh? I guess America really is morally outraged.

Not so fast though - it turns out that what Powell didn't mention during the Senate hearing was that 99.8 percent of the complaints filed in 2003 came from the Parents Television Council, a conservative activist group run by right-wing nutjob Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center.

"Why does it matter how the complaints come?" said PTC spokeswoman Lara Mahaney. "If the networks haven't done anything illegal, if they haven't done anything indecent, why do they care what we say?" Right... and this comes from an organization which hires people to watch "Sex and the City" and write down every line that violates their arbitrary standard of purity.

Aren't you glad that folks like the Parents Television Council are wasting government time and money looking out for you?

Coincidence Of The Week
Moral Values Watch: Back on October 6 the Rev. Mike Hintz, a First Assembly of God youth pastor, appeared at a Bush campaign stop in Iowa to laud the president's tax policies. "Where we are in this world, with not just the war on terror, but with the war with our culture that's going on, I think we need a man that is going to be in the White House like President Bush, that's going to stand by what he believes." Hintz said he supports Bush's values.

In a remarkable coincidence, last week a Rev. Mike Hintz, of Des Moines, Iowa - who, funnily enough, also used to be a First Assembly of God youth pastor until he was fired on October 30 - turned himself in to the police after being charged with the sexual exploitation of a child.

I wonder if they're related?

Hollywood Jews Hate Jesus, Like Anal Sex
And finally, I'm going to have to start watching cable news again if this is the sort of thing I'm missing:

PAT BUCHANAN: Bill Donahue, what do you think about "The Passion of the Christ"? And as a practical matter, even if Hollywood hated the film, it seems to me as an artistic work of art, a smashing triumph, a film of great controversy and interest, it ought to at least be nominated for best picture. It pulled in more money than any other picture all year.

WILLIAM DONAHUE, PRESIDENT OF THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE: I spoke to Mel a couple of weeks ago about this. And I don't think it really matters a whole lot to him. It certainly doesn't matter to me. We`ve already won.

Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, OK? And I'm not afraid to say it. That's why they hate this movie. It's about Jesus Christ, and it's about truth. It's about the messiah.

Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost.

You have got secular Jews. You have got embittered ex-Catholics, including a lot of ex-Catholic priests who hate the Catholic Church, wacko Protestants in the same group, and these people are in the margins. Frankly, Michael Moore represents a cult movie. Mel Gibson represents the mainstream of America.

Posted by brettdavey at 9:34 AM EST
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Saturday, 11 December 2004
Repubs for porno
Turns out Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzalez' stepson is a website designer for Larry Flynt of Hustler magazine fame. He just resigned his job, probably because it doesn't look too good as his father gears up for the nomination process.

Immediately, my mind raced to Neil Bush and his on-the-record dalliances with prostitutes in Hong Kong.

What the hell is it with the Republicans family obsession with illicit sex you have to pay for?

Copy and paste this link to learn about Gonzalez' son:

Posted by brettdavey at 9:02 AM EST
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Fear Factor
I wonder how long the frightfest is going to continue? There are a host of people who hope to keep scaring America with the spectre of 9-11 and some of them hope to keep it up for a while.

Suppose Giuliani wants to run for President. That means during the presidential election season of 2007, he'll have to run primarily on 9-11. Please, please, please Democrats, act tough for once if Giuliani runs. Start a fake organization-- "Americans for Decency" maybe -- and attack Rudy for having an affair with his press secretary and dumping his wife.

I'm not minimizing 9-11, but do you have anything else to say? On his behalf, Giuliani did act heroically on 9-11, as opposed to Bush who ran like the rich, gutless prep school boy that he is.

I hate to return to this but why hasn't any major media outlet done a story on the fraud that is Bush's Texas "ranch". This guy has lived most of his life in rich, gated communities. His ranch was built while he was running for President. It is a prop.

This is from the NY Times about Bernard Kerik taking a dive in his quest to replace Tom Ridge. He quit obstensibly because of an issue with an immigrant housekeeper, but there was increasing pressure as people looked at some of his shady dealings.

I only excerpted my favorite part of the story, which details the excellent family values of this upstanding Republican.

"A former New York City official who knows the circumstances of the withdrawal said that the housekeeper, who had worked for the Kerik family for about a year, left for her home country two weeks ago. Her name and nationality were not disclosed. Mr. Kerik lives in Franklin Lakes, N.J., with his wife, Hala, and their two small children. Mr. Kerik has two older children, one from a previous marriage and one whom he fathered while serving in the military in Korea."

Posted by brettdavey at 8:52 AM EST
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Friday, 10 December 2004
Support the troops -- dump Rumsfeld!
It's the incompetence, stupid!

This is from a site called

Just a passing thought. Back in 1993, following the infamous "Blackhawk Down " disaster in Somalia, Clinton's Secretary of Defense Les Aspin resigned amidst allegations that he had failed to provide the troops in Somalia with the armored support they needed to do their mission. House and Senate Republicans, including several who hold majority leadership positions today, were in the forefront calling for Aspin's ouster.

Why then aren't these same voices calling for the resignation of Donald "As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time." Rumsfeld? Aspin's Somalian botch resulted in the deaths of 18 US servicemen and the wounding of 75. Rumsfeld's apparent failure to insure proper armor protection for US troops has already, to date, resulted in more lives lost or maimed than happened in Somalia.

Meanwhile Rumsfeld's off the cuff musings that, "If you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can be blown up," has to rank as one of the great non-sequiturs of any modern Defense Secretary. Does this mean you might as well go into combat naked, painted blue with beards tarred like the Celtic warriors of old? I thought the goal was to produce tanks that blew up the other side before they blew up you and armored vehicles that kept soldiers from dying at the hands of low-grade homemade bombs? Rumsfeld's job is to make sure the troops go into combat with everything they need to minimize loses. That he should have done so and hasn't is indicative of incompetence, if not outright criminal negligence. That he makes light of it by essentially telling the troops "Life's not fair - tough cookies--borders on reckless endangerment. For Republican members of Congress not to call for his head, they way they did with Democrat Les Aspin a decade ago, is partisan hypocrisy of the most brazen and dangerous kind.

Support the Troops-- Dump Rumsfeld!

Posted by brettdavey at 3:26 PM EST
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Here's another sweet example of the troop-hating Bush Administration. Imagine if this happened under Clinton. This poor New Yorker would be on every Axis of Evil (Hannity-O'Reilly-Limbaugh) telecast for the next month.

If you're a Bush fan, please repeat: The troops are disposable to me.

Now, you're thinking like your Commander-In-Chief.


Middletown - He lost his arm serving his country in Iraq. Now this wounded soldier is being discharged from his company in Fort Hood, Texas, without enough gas money to get home. In fact, the Army says 27-year-old Spc. Robert Loria owes it close to $2,000, and confiscated his last paycheck.
"There's people in my unit right now - one of my team leaders [who was] over in Iraq with me, is doing everything he can to help me .... but it's looking bleak," Loria said by telephone from Fort Hood yesterday. "It's coming up on Christmas and I have no way of getting home."
Loria's expected discharge yesterday came a day after the public got a rare view of disgruntled soldiers in Kuwait peppering Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with questions about their lack of adequate armor in Iraq.
Like many soldiers wounded in Iraq, Loria's injuries were caused by a roadside bombing. It happened in February when his team from the 588th Battalion's Bravo Company was going to help evacuate an area in Baqubah, a town 40 miles north of Baghdad. A bomb had just ripped off another soldier's arm. Loria's Humvee drove into an ambush.
When the second bomb exploded, it tore Loria's left hand and forearm off, split his femur in two and shot shrapnel through the left side of his body. Months later, he was still recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and just beginning to adjust to life without a hand, when he was released back to Fort Hood.

AFTER SEVERAL MORE MONTHS, the Army is releasing Loria. But "clearing Fort Hood," as the troops say, takes paperwork. Lots of it.
Loria thought he'd done it all, and was getting ready to collect $4,486 in final Army pay.
Then he was hit with another bomb. The Army had another tally - of money it says Loria owed to his government.
A Separation Pay Worksheet given to Loria showed the numbers: $2,408.33 for 10 months of family separation pay that the Army erroneously paid Loria after he'd returned stateside, as a patient at Walter Reed; $2,204.25 that Loria received for travel expenses from Fort Hood back to Walter Reed for a follow-up visit, after the travel paperwork submitted by Loria never reached the correct desk. And $310 for missing items on his returned equipment inventory list.
"There was stuff lost in transportation, others damaged in the accident," Loria said of the day he lost his hand. "When it went up the chain of command, the military denied coverage."
Including taxes, the amount Loria owed totaled $6,255.50. The last line on the worksheet subtracted that total from his final Army payout and found $1,768.81 "due us."
"It's nerve-racking," Loria said. "After everything I have done, it's almost like I am being abandoned, like, you did your job for us and now you are no use. That's how it feels."

Posted by brettdavey at 3:01 PM EST
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Rumsfeld puts the troops in their place
Is there any question that in an administration of unbridled incompetence that Donald Rumsfeld is the worst of the worst?

First, that old cranky jackass talked to the troops at his recent town hall meeting like he was scolding one of his children. Then it turned out he wasn't even telling the truth. Shocker, huh?

Bush & Co. don't love the troops. They regard them the way they do the hired help. Soldiers are invisible pawns to them. And the Bush-lovers who think he is a friend of the troops are delusional. You can believe the Tooth Fairy and professional wrestling are real, but just because you believe it doesn't make it so.

From today's Boston Globe:

WASHINGTON -- Despite Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's assertion that the military is outfitting Humvees with armor as quickly as possible, the company providing the vehicles said it has been waiting since September for approval from the Pentagon to increase monthly production by as many as 100 of the all-terrain vehicles, intended to protect against roadside bombs in Iraq.

Army officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged yesterday that they have not approved new purchase orders for armored trucks, despite the company's readiness to produce more. They said the Pentagon has been debating how many more armored Humvees are needed.

Rumsfeld, questioned by soldiers in Kuwait on Wednesday who said they have had to pick through landfills for scrap metal to boost vehicle protection, said the Army was working as quickly at it could to get armored Humvees to the front. It is "a matter of physics, not a matter of money," Rumsfeld said, adding that the Army was "breaking its neck." President Bush yesterday reiterated that "the concerns expressed are being addressed."

But executives at Armor Holdings in Jacksonville, Fla., as well as Army officials and members of Congress, said Rumsfeld's assertion that the protective equipment is being provided as quickly as possible is not true and added the company has been waiting for more purchase orders.

"We're prepared to build 50 to 100 vehicles more per month," Robert Mecredy, head of Armor Holdings' aerospace and defense unit, said in a statement. The company is producing about 450 armored Humvees per month, up from 50 in late 2003, when a sudden surge of attacks in Iraq exposed a lack of protective armor.

The company says that by February it could be producing as many as 550 fully armored Humvees per month -- with armor plates on the sides, front, rear, top, and bottom -- if given the go-ahead. The company estimated it would cost the military about $150 million a year to pay for the additional 100 vehicles per month.

The company said it also told the Army it could add new production lines and turn out even more vehicles.

More than half of the roughly 1,200 US soldiers who have died in Iraq have been killed by roadside bombs or in ambushes from rocket-propelled grenades. A lack of armor on thousands of older vehicles has been blamed for many of the deaths.

Posted by brettdavey at 2:54 PM EST
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Saturday, 4 December 2004
It's the fear, stupid
Let's drop the horseshit about the morals issue and the Presidential election. The election was decided because the president chose to scare the people in the Red States with those twin evils: terrorism and gays. That's it. It wasn't morals; it was fear.

This is from

Take two iconic states: Texas and Massachusetts. In some ways, they were the two states competing in the last election. In the world's imagination, you couldn't have two starker opposites. One is the homeplace of Harvard, gay marriage, high taxes, and social permissiveness. The other is Bush country, solidly Republican, traditional, and gun-toting. Massachusetts voted for Kerry over Bush 62 to 37 percent; Texas voted for Bush over Kerry 61 to 38 percent.

So ask yourself a simple question: which state has the highest divorce rate? Marriage was a key issue in the last election, with Massachusetts' gay marriages becoming a symbol of alleged blue state decadence and moral decay. But in actual fact, Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country at 2.4 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants. Texas - which until recently made private gay sex a criminal offence - has a divorce rate of 4.1.

A fluke? Not at all. The states with the highest divorce rates in the U.S. are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. And the states with the lowest divorce rates are: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Every single one of the high divorce rate states went for Bush. Every single one of the low divorce rate states went for Kerry. The Bible Belt divorce rate, in fact, is roughly 50 percent higher than the national average.

Posted by brettdavey at 9:33 AM EST
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Wallace, clueless
I've always been somewhat intrigued by Chris Wallace's motivations. His father, the 60 Minutes reporter, seems intent on nailing everyone. I wondered why Chris would agree to go to a right wing hack operation like Fox. If he's as clueless as he seems here, maybe he just didn't know anything about them.

This is from the The funniest part is that Wallace seems to have had very little to do with "writing" his own book and didn't even seem familiar with the contents. (I was going to edit it down but it is too funny to cut.) Here it is:

Pundits have wailed and gnashed their teeth about the end of Tom Brokaw's reign. Meanwhile, Brian Lamb airs his final Booknotes this Sunday--and we'll use the occasion as an excuse to limn a recent, revealing episode of the long-running C-SPAN series. We refer to the October 31 program, in which Fox anchor Chris Wallace discussed his inspiring new book, Character: Profiles in Presidential Courage.

We drew amusement from several aspects of Wallace's oddball performance. First, it was fairly clear, at several different points, that Wallace had only a glancing acquaintance with the material which appears in his book. To his credit, he routinely acknowledged that the book was more-or-less written by committee. Indeed, we had to chuckle when he described the way his project began:

LAMB: How long ago did you get the idea?

WALLACE: About a year and a half ago. And it was a kind of collaborative effort. My--a fellow, an agent, Bill Adler, came up, called me up and said, Have you ever thought of writing a book? And I said, yes, but I never have had an idea. And he kind of had some ideas, and we sort of put the idea together and then we went to, got a publisher, Rugged Land, a small publishing house with a relationship with Random House, and also talked to Richard Neustadt, the great presidential historian.
At this point, Wallace veers into a celebrity tale from his youth. But we couldn't help chuckling when the anchor told us that, although he had thought about writing a book, he had never "had an idea!" Again, one has to appreciate the gentleman's candor--but chuckles did bounce off our great walls as Wallace described the source of his concept. And make no mistake, his concept's a deep one. "And so I thought, Let`s write a feel-good book about American democracy," he eventually said, describing the outcome of his ruminations with Adler. "Let`s write about presidents who don`t do the poll-driven thing, who don`t do the popular thing, who, you know, don`t do what sometimes seems a little craven but who stand up and do what is in their core conviction, what they believe is right for America."

Finally, Wallace had his "idea"--he'd write a "feel-good book about America!"Everybody likes to feel good, of course. But we suffered our most mordant chuckles when the millionaire son of the millionaire TV star told Lamb the courageous tale which most stands out in his book. "One of my favorites is Grover Cleveland," Wallace said. "I love the Grover Cleveland story. Can I talk about it just briefly?" Sensibly, Lamb gave his guest permission--and Wallace provided the perfect profile of Millionaire Pundit Values in action.

What did Wallace admire about Cleveland? The story started somewhat hopefully as Wallace sketched his man's background:

WALLACE: Grover Cleveland--1894--he was a tremendous friend of labor. He had been a reform mayor in New York state, in Buffalo. Then he had become the governor of New York. Then he`d been elected president. He was the president who helped create the federal arbitration system. He was also the president who legalized labor unions.
Wow! It sounded like Wallace would narrate a tale in which a president bravely stood up for the interests of average working people. Our analysts leaned forward in their chairs; after all, what a brilliant rebuke that would be to the values of the author's millionaire pundit class! Indeed, after a second excursion in which the author mentioned the pleasures of his privileged youth, he began to describe a troubling situation, in which a group of working people suffered under a wealthy mogul:

WALLACE: On [Cleveland's] watch in 1894, there had been this big international exposition in Chicago. And it was right around the time when there was a strike, a railroad workers strike that started in Pullman, Chicago. Pullman, George Pullman was the fellow who developed and built the Pullman railroad cars, which was the very great luxury railroad cars that you could sleep in...And he created a town outside, just outside Chicago, which he called, modestly enough, Pullman.
According to Wallace, it was "a classic company town," where "people had to live in the housing. People had to shop at the Pullman stores." At first, thought, life there wasn't half bad; "it was quite nice, quite nice housing," Wallace said. But uh-oh! Within a few years, things had gone straight in the dumpster:

WALLACE: There was a considerable economic downturn in the late 1890s, and [George Pullman] started cutting back the salaries of the Pullman workers, but he didn`t cut back the rent or the cost of food that all these people--so as a result, when they deducted all of that before they`d give people the paycheck, these guys sometimes ended up owing money, or if they got any money, it was just, you know, pennies.

Classic! Workers owed money, after working all month! Trained on feel-good tales of a different era, our analysts expected to hear that Cleveland stepped in to help the oppressed. But no such luck! When Pullman's workers protested this turn of events, Cleveland took a different approach. Refusing to do the poll-driven thing, he broke the law--and shut them on down. Choosing from all of American history, this is Wallace's favorite feel-good tale of inspiring presidential behavior:

WALLACE (continuing directly): And so they decided they were going to strike. And it happened in the context of lots of people coming to Chicago for the international exposition, and it became riots and tremendous civil disorder. And they counted, the labor people, on their friend in the White House staying out, or, if anything, caving in to their demands, Grover Cleveland. Cleveland, who, as I say, was a huge friend of labor, felt that the nation`s security was in jeopardy. And he really went against the Constitution because at the time, there was--you--presidents were not allowed to send troops into a state unless the governor asked for the troops, and Governor [John] Altgeld of Illinois didn`t want them because he was a--he favored labor.

And so Cleveland went against the law, went against Altgeld, sent in federal troops, restored order.
Heroically, Cleveland "went against the Constitution" and "went against the law," intruding on the governor's judgment and shutting down the demonstrations. (We have no idea how bad the "civil disorder" may have been. Based on Wallace's overall presentation, we doubt that he has any clue either.) "Of course, the labor--you know, the union types, Debs, all the organizers felt that he had betrayed his background, his history, certainly the popular will at the time," Wallace said. "And his feeling was, I`m going to protect and save the security, the civil order of the country. And you know, it was a profile in presidential courage."

Good grief! With all of American history to choose from, this was Wallace's favorite tale of presidential courage? Our analysts looked around in slack-jawed surprise--but we thought they were getting a helpful look at the values which keep emerging from America's millionaire pundit class. Indeed, how strange are Wallace's instincts and reactions? In response to a follow-up question from Lamb, the author said he had tried to keep his writing lively and journalistic. Quoting the start of his chapter on Cleveland, the anchor revealed more of the strength he saw in this wonderful man:

WALLACE: I begin the chapter on him, called "Constitution be damned:" "Grover Cleveland once killed a man. Two, actually. Of course, they`d already been sentenced to death. As sheriff of Erie County, New York, to avoid wasting government money on a hiring a hangman, he simply hanged the men himself."
"You know, I just love that story," the inspired author ghoulishly said. Indeed, from the standpoint of today's pundit class, what's not to like in Cleveland's class action? Cleveland didn't just break the law to shut down a strike. He even saved the government money by hanging his convicts himself!

"There are a lot of stories in here that I didn`t know," Wallace told Lamb as he continued. "And I got a lot of help in research from this wonderful team at Rugged Land." The author had never had an idea--but he plainly did have his values. With all of American history to choose from, he was drawn to the story of Grover Cleveland. He loved it when Cleveland hanged his own convict--and when he took the side of a millionaire mogul whose employees were working for nothing. But then, who among us doesn't love vibrant stories which reek so of character?

Lamb's long-running series concludes Sunday night. But looking back on the years of Booknotes, has any session done a better job of laying out the puzzling new values which continue to emerge from today's millionaire pundit class?

TEAM EFFORT: Wallace's book was a team effort, which may explain why he seems unfamiliar with so much of its content. For example, here's an exchange about Lyndon Johnson's alleged drunkenness:

LAMB: The chapter right after Andrew Johnson is Lyndon Johnson. And I just want to read what you wrote. "Serving as Kennedy`s second-in-command tortured the competitive Johnson. He soaked his misery in Cutty Sark. Often too depressed to get out of bed, aides had to lift him up and move his arms about to get him circulating." Was this while he`s president?

WALLACE: No, no. This is when he was vice president. This is--

LAMB: Well, I mean--but it was while he was a politician

WALLACE: Yes, absolutely.

LAMB: Not after he`d retired.

WALLACE: No, no, no, no. No. This was--

LAMB: Aides had to lift him up and move his arms about to get him circulated? Where did--do you have any idea where that came from?

WALLACE: You know, I`m trying to--I mean, you`re asking me about something I wrote a year ago. I mean, it`s in the source material. I can`t--I don`t know that I can find--I couldn't say specifically which one of those books it`s from.

Speaking of aides having to lift the boss up and get his arms moving, this haziness extends through the hour-long session. (At one point, Wallace is so surprised by a quote from the book that he asks Lamb to let him see it.) Times change. Cleveland insisted on hanging his very own convicts. By contrast, Wallace seems to have let other people type up his inspiring book.

Posted by brettdavey at 9:26 AM EST
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