Monday, February 06, 2006

"I don't care what Kanye says, I do TOO care about Negroes."

Today’s Incongruous Headlines:

Bush Lauds Dance Theatre of Harlem


A White House tribute to Arthur Mitchell's Dance Theatre of Harlem put President Bush and wife Laura in a dancing mood Monday night.

Following a dinner in the State Dining Room toasting 71-year-old school founder Mitchell, the president and first lady took in a performance featuring dancers from the school and some all-star singers — and then showed off some moves of their own.

Bush honored Mitchell at the dinner, saying: "Tonight, I offer a toast to the achievements and continued success of Arthur Mitchell and the Dance Theatre of Harlem."

Full ludicrousness here.

Bush’s $2.5 Trillion Budget Plan Slashes Funding for Arts, Education


President Bush plans to unveil a $2.5 trillion budget today eliminating dozens of politically sensitive domestic programs, including funding for education, environmental protection and business development, while proposing significant increases for the military and international spending, according to White House documents.

About 150 programs in all would be shuttered or radically cut back to help meet Bush's goal of shaving the budget deficit in half by 2009. One out of every three of the targeted programs concerns education.

More immorality here.

If the President says it, it must be true

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Who Would Jesus Starve?

Bush Sends Congress $440 Billion Defense Budget


Congress Slashes $39 billion from Medicaid, other social programs

And here.

Today's GOP: Habitat for Inhumanity

These stories just in:

Congress Passes Budget Bill; Slashes $39 billion from Medicaid, Foster Care, Child Support Enforcement and Student Loans

Bush to Request $70 Billion More for War Funding

Same shit, different day from the Repugnicans. But then, what else would you expect on Groundhog Day?

Rep. Boehner Elected House Majority Leader

Boehner Shares Broad Network of Lobbyist Ties With Tom DeLay


Boehner, 56, who has been in Congress since 1991, has said he and DeLay have had conflicts in the past, and other lawmakers say they are not close. Even so, Boehner has strong connections to lobbyists: He met weekly with leading lobbyists to enlist their support and discuss strategy during his four years as House Republican Conference chairman, from 1995 to 1998.

Sallie Mae

The top donor to Boehner's leadership PAC in 2003-2004 was SLM Corp., the Reston, Virginia-based student-loan company better known as Sallie Mae. SLM contributed $65,170 to Boehner's Freedom Project, more than twice as much as the second-biggest donor, New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The money came as the House Education and Workforce Committee, which Boehner chairs, prepared to write new legislation governing student loans.

In 1995, Boehner handed out campaign checks from the tobacco industry to members on the House floor at a time when lawmakers were considering eliminating a tobacco subsidy.

Representative Chris Shays, a Connecticut Republican, said he believes that Boehner is even closer to lobbyists than Roy Blunt. ``The problem John faces is that he's so close to K Street; that's the challenge he's got,'' said Shays, who's backing Blunt.

Full story here.

(P.S. Nice form, Congressman. But you seemed to have whiffed. Need a mulligan?)

George W. Bush: "America is addicted to oil..." Philip Morris: "...but not to nicotine."

$80 Million Judgment Against Philip Morris Is Upheld


The Oregon Supreme Court upheld on Thursday a $79.5 million punitive damages award to the family of an Oregon smoker who died of lung cancer, saying the amount isn't excessive given the "reprehensible" conduct of tobacco giant Philip Morris in marketing cigarettes.

"Philip Morris knew that smoking caused serious and sometimes fatal disease, but it nevertheless spread false or misleading information to suggest to the public that doubts remained about the issue," the court said. "It deliberately did so to keep smokers smoking, knowing that it was putting the smokers' health and lives at risk, and it continued to do so for nearly half a century."

The Oregon court upheld a 1999 Multnomah County jury award of $79.5 million in punitive damages to the family of Jesse D. Williams, a janitor who died in 1997 of lung cancer at the age of 67. The man's family also was awarded $500,000 in non-economic damages, to compensate for pain and suffering.

According to testimony in the trial, Williams started smoking in the 1950s when serving in the Army in Korea, and later he smoked three packs of Marlboros a day. Williams' family said he kept smoking because he did not believe a company would sell something that was truly harmful.

Full story here.

I hear there’s uproar on the Internets

Over this:

Seems that the wingnuttosphere is aghast that Washington Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles would demean our troops in such a callous way.

It started with a rare and unusual letter to the Post from the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff, which read in part:

“We believe you and Mr. Toles have done a disservice to your readers and your paper's reputation by using such a callous depiction of those who have volunteered to defend this nation, and as a result, have suffered traumatic and life-altering wounds. ... As the Joint Chiefs, it is rare that we all put our hand to one letter, but we cannot let this reprehensible cartoon go unanswered."

That was followed by a great post by John Aravosis of AmericaBlog, which included this:

"Now that the Joint Chiefs have addressed the insidious threat cartoons pose to our troops, perhaps they can move on to less pressing issues like getting them their damn body armor."

Which was then followed by the Post’s own defense of the cartoon by Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt:

"While I certainly can understand the strong feelings, I took it to be a cartoon about the state of the Army and not one intended to demean wounded soldiers."

And by Toles himself after recent remarks by Rumsfeld about "battle-hardened" troops

"…what came soon to mind was the catastrophic level of injuries the Army and members of the armed services have sustained . . . I thought my portrayal of it was a fair depiction of the reality of the situation. I certainly never intended it to be in any way a personal attack on, or a derogatory comment on, the service or sacrifice of American soldiers. I think it's a little bit unfair in their (the Joint Chiefs’) reading of the cartoon to imply that is what it's about."

But the wingnuts are all a titter, claiming the cartoon embodies the left’s lack of support for the troops. Aravosis posted some of the hate mail he has received, including this from a man purporting to be a retired Marine :

“In reference to your recent above have no idea
what the hell you are talking about! Once you wake up from your
stupor and grow in maturity maybe then you will start to gain
some real perspective about what is going on in Iraq/Afghanistan
and how one successfully fights a war. Until then, I strongly
suggest you keep your inane, arrogant comments to yourself!”

I gotta tell ya, it was perfectly clear to me that Toles was being critical not of the soldiers but of Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon’s mismanagement of the war in Iraq. Somehow that mutated in the minds of the tinfoil-hat crowd as liberals being anti-soldier.

Hey nutjobs: highlighting and criticizing the DOD’s tactics in prosecuting the war in a way that puts soldiers at greater risk – e.g. by not equipping them with enough body armor – is a much more effective way to support the troops than by putting a $2 magnetic ribbon on your pick-up truck.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Someone in Washington Finally Apologizes to Cindy Sheehan

Too bad the President wont.

Charges against Sheehan dropped


Capitol Police dropped a charge of unlawful conduct against antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan on Wednesday and apologized for ejecting her and a congressman’s wife from President Bush’s State of the Union address for wearing T-shirts with war messages.

“The officers made a good faith, but mistaken effort to enforce an old unwritten interpretation of the prohibitions about demonstrating in the Capitol,” Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said in a statement late Wednesday.

“The policy and procedures were too vague,” he added. “The failure to adequately prepare the officers is mine.”

Gainer added that he was asking the U.S. attorney’s office to drop the charge against Sheehan. The statement also said he apologized to the Youngs and “share the department’s plans for avoiding this in the future.”

“A similar message has been left with Mrs. Sheehan,” Gainer said.

Full story here.

Letterman said it best, to Bill O'Reilly:

"I'm very concerned about people like yourself who don't have nothing but endless sympathy for a woman like Cindy Sheehan. Honest to Christ. Honest to Christ."


"Poor man wanna be rich,
Rich man wanna be king,
And the king ain’t satisfied
‘til he rules everything."

- Lyrics: Bruce Springsteen
- Graphic: Bartcop (Tip of the Top Hat, Bart)

Reality bites

I don't know what to thimk

A Million Little Lies

Literary Agent Drops Disputed Author Frey

Full story here.

This is what should happen when someone blatantly, consistently and unrepentantly lies.

Too bad Oprah is the only media person willing to hold someone accountable for telling them.

Frey lied; nobody died.

Why not these two?

AFP: Prince Harry could be sent to Iraq

Full story here.

I guess Jen and Babs aren't part of the Coalition of the Willing.

A Public Service Announcement from The Ringmaster

Think getting telemarketing calls at your home is maddening?

Later this month, all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls. Isn't that exciting? Not only that, if you pay for minutes, YOU will pay for these calls.

To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222. It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time and it blocks your number for five years.


Cell phone companies typically charge $1.00 or more for 411 / information calls when they don't have to.

When you need to use the 411 / information option, simply dial 1 800 FREE 411 or 1 800 373 3411 without incurring a charge at all (except for the minutes required to make the call.)

Black History Month

As we begin Black History Month, I couldn’t help but reflect on all the ways the Bush administration is doing their part to make blacks history.

I’m sure Kanye West agrees.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Day is done

Coretta Scott King passes away in the morning.
Cindy Sheehan is arrested for wearing an antiwar tee-shirt in the evening.

We shall overcome, some day.

Weak POTUS; Weaker SOTU

His worst SOTU yet.

Prediction: He not only gets no bounce, he sinks further in the polls

Conclusion #1: He proves again that there are lies, damn lies and State of the Union lies.

Conclusion #2: Bush complaining that America has an addiction to oil is like the CEO of Philip Morris complaining that America has an addiction to nicotine.

Conclusion #3: Bush's has spent his political capital and it's America that's broke.

Let’s Put Together a Party

Not that kind of party.

Let’s face it, the Democrats’ lackluster attempt to filibuster the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court was a joke. But it serves as yet another opportunity to assess where the Democratic Party is and where it wants to be, now and in the future. And with so many Democrats voting with the Republican majority to confirm Alito after the filibuster threat evaporated, it is critical to realize that the very attributes that could easily make the Democrats the majority party are the same ones that conspire to place it in jeopardy of becoming a near-permanent minority party. Just as Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Grover Norquist and Rick Santorum would have it.

The Democratic Party is by nature inclusive, a so-called “Big Tent” (and The Ringmaster loves a Big Tent.) It is a tent filled with a loosely-connected coalition of unionists and scientists, ethnic immigrants and racial minorities, entertainers and environmentalists, students, teachers, pro-choice, pro-peace and pro-equality populists – in short, a large majority of Americans. Yet its support seems evanescent, tentative, shallow: a mile wide and an inch deep. There hasn’t been any life in the party since Bill Clinton’s presidency. Hell, Clinton was the party, or at least the life of it. Then, the clock seemingly struck midnight and the party was pretty much over.

Both Al Gore and John Kerry were dreadful candidates – not only because of their own individual limitations, personality quirks and eccentricities but also by the shortcomings of their party. Ironically, Gore - who actually won the 2000 election before he lost it – and Kerry – who got more votes than any other Democratic presidential candidate in history and also lost – could have won their respective elections but both failed. They failed to connect with voters on a personal level, failed to define themselves, failed to neutralize the labels placed on them by the GOP smear merchants and swift-boaters, and failed to enunciate a vision for the country – because each had none. But this doesn’t explain how the Republican Party - especially this ghastly incarnation of it - whose core support is largely limited to conservative business interests and fundamentalist religious and social ideologues, is able to convince people to vote against their own self-interest and win national elections.

So how does this keep happening? Perhaps Shakespeare put it best: the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

The same amorphous blob of an alliance that constitutes the Democratic electorate also comprises its elected officials. It is a party so disparate and diffuse in views, it cannot even hold a united front against an illegitimate war, an immoral national budget, a criminally monarchical President or a radical Supreme Court nominee. The party is so unsure of itself that it adopts the slogan, “Together, we can do better”, but can’t define what it does now, let alone what it can do. Better. Together.

As one blogger – Media Girl - noted recently on the website, BlogSheroes:
“What does the Democratic Party stand for, what does it represent, if it can't even put together a coherent message about progressive values, civil rights, human rights and basic equality? What good is a Democratic Party if it won't even stand up to the egregious and offensive push by the now-so-radical Republican Party to regulate one's body and one's bedroom?”
Much will be said and written in the coming months about what the Democrats must do in the 2006 midterm elections to start reversing their recent trend of marginalizing themselves out of power, and I will humbly add my $.02. Paradoxically, however, the way out of the margins is not through the center, but left of it. Just as young students need to master the fundamentals – the ABC’s - and a winning football team has to master the fundamentals - blocking and tackling - so, too, does a political party have to master the fundamentals - appealing and re-appealing to a core group of supporters: its base.

In a post I will put up shortly, I will attempt to remind the Democratic leadership and those empowered to make strategic decisions for the party, about their fundamentals - the ABC’s.


Today's business headlines:

"Wages Up by Smallest Amount in Nine Years"
Story here.

"Consumer Confidence Highest in Three Years"
Story here.

Some things seem to defy explanation.

State of the Union...

...Wesley Clark-style

"Will we choose to emphasize boastful rhetoric or constructive engagement abroad? Will we lash out in anger with military force, or will we pursue every reasonable avenue to avoid the terrible destruction of war? Will we “fight fire with fire,” relying on the means and techniques of our adversaries, or live and lead by the higher standard of the values we have professed? At home, will we persist in shortsighted partisanship, or will we follow a stronger vision to the deep reforms needed to secure our future? Will it be selfishness or shared sacrifice that is our rallying cry?

These are the choices before us."

Full speech here.

Right now, I'm leaning Wes's way for '08.

Pin the Tale on the Donkey

Chris Matthews: “Ted Kennedy, the guy that molested Samuel Alito’s wife”

Margaret Carlson: “Democrats who don’t applaud at Bush’s State of the Union speech will look bad.”

Deborah Howell: “Democrats received contributions from Jack Abramoff, too.”

Scott McClellan: “Bill Clinton also approved wiretaps without first obtaining a warrant”

Just some of the recent ones.

It would be a task of which I am not worthy to try and list all of the ways in which Republicans – aided by the so-called liberal media – have created an image of Democrats as a bunch of whining, flip-flopping, obstructionists with no agenda, simply by planting and spreading the same phony memes.

The Dems inability to dispel these images by crafting their own unified message and forwarding their own agenda is a source of never ending amazement to many, and should be an embarrassment to the party’s leadership.

I'll have more thoughts on this in a future post.

Narrowly defeating Camilla Parker-Bowles

Jack the Ripper chosen 'most evil' Briton


Jack the Ripper, despite never having been identified, has been chosen in a poll as the "worst" Briton of the past 1,000 years.

The serial killer who preyed on prostitutes in the Whitechapel area of London in 1888 has lost none of his notoriety. Nearly 5,000 people voted for their least favourite figure from a shortlist representing each century over the past millennium in a poll for BBC History Magazine.

The Ripper received 24 per cent of the vote, more than twice that of his nearest rival. Thomas Becket, who divided England as Archbishop of Canterbury by quarrelling with Henry II over the rights of the church before being assassinated around 1170, came second with 11 per cent.

Others making the top 10 included Eadric Streona, King Aethelred II's chief counsellor, who betrayed his country by switching sides when the Danish king Cnut invaded England in 1015, and Robin Hood's nemesis King John.

The British Fascist leader Oswald Mosley, a Tory MP in the 1930s before becoming disillusioned and founding the notorious Blackshirts, was 10th.

The legends surrounding Jack the Ripper have become a complex muddle of genuine historical research, conspiracy theory and dubious folklore. The lack of a confirmed identity for the killer has led authors, historians and amateur sleuths to suspect a wide variety of candidates.

Dave Musgrove, editor of BBC History Magazine, said: "The choice of Jack the Ripper over the likes of Oswald Mosley as the worst Briton reflects the fact that the Victorian murderer remains an iconic figure today, and perhaps is seen as the forerunner of today's serial killers."

The top 10

1. Jack the Ripper (19th century)

2. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury (circa 1120-70)

3. Eadric Streona (died 1017)

= King John (1167-1216)

= Sir Richard Rich, Lord Rich of Leighs (1496/7-1567)

= Titus Oates (1649-1705)

= Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1721-65)

8. Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury (1353-1414)

= Hugh Despenser (the younger)

10. Oswald Mosley (1896-1980)

Jack the Ripper, despite never having been identified, has been chosen in a poll as the "worst" Briton of the past 1,000 years.

The serial killer who preyed on prostitutes in the Whitechapel area of London in 1888 has lost none of his notoriety. Nearly 5,000 people voted for their least favourite figure from a shortlist representing each century over the past millennium in a poll for BBC History Magazine.

Full story here.

We Shall Overcome

Coretta Scott King
1927 - 2006

Today has not gotten off to a good start.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The State of Our Union is...Nucular

If you don't like the State of The Union address the Preznit gives tonight, listen to this one.


And you'll know THEM by their white hoods

Brownback: 'Fruits' Comment Not Gay Joke


Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), a potential presidential candidate, said Monday he meant no offense to homosexuals when he used the word "fruits" in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

In a lengthy profile titled "God's Senator," the magazine quotes the Kansas Republican as criticizing countries like Sweden that allow civil unions between same-sex couples.

"You'll know them by their fruits," Brownback said, quoting a biblical passage from Matthew 7:19.

Full story here.

What's the word I'm looking for? Oh, yeah...


I hate to seem petty. I guess I just get the same visceral reaction every time I see Republican leaders with their smug, unctuous, sycophantic gloats.

Democrats Can't Muster the Sam Alito Filibuster; 19 Cross Over to Vote with Republicans on Cloture; Full Senate Confirmation Expected Tomorrow

And a nice little State of the Union gift to George W. Bush.

Hapless Senate Democrats once again took a page from John Kerry's failed playbook and decided to execute another strategy that has resulted in one election loss after another.

Their approach today on the filibuster is the prolongation of a passionless course of action that continues to demonstrate the impotence of the Democratic party. No party discipline, just a bunch of meaningless rhetroric to mask a defeatist attitude. No attempt to act on principle, just a vote for what they think is best for the party. How about what's best for the country? Afraid to take a stand for fear it would make them look obstructionist. To whom, Republicans?

Playing not to lose is the best way to insure defeat. The Democratic party will never enjoy power again until it develops, embraces and promotes populist ideas forcefully and confidently, no matter what the political consequences.

What's the difference between an elephant and a donkey?

From “Sutton Impact” by Ward Sutton, via The Village Voice:


Republicans can take nothing and turn it into a Democratic scandal.
Democrats can take a Republican scandal and turn it into nothing.

Republicans run on what they believe and win elections.
Democrats run on what they believe will win elections and lose.

Full ‘toon here.

Enough Already

There is a point at which it’s time to tell the news organizations that we admire them for telling the story, but the IED-infested streets on the front line of the war in Iraq is not the place to embed reporters who have families and young children, for Chrissakes.

It’s horrific enough that we have to send soldiers there.

Sandy, we hardly knew ye

The Supreme Court's Surprisingly Unanimous Abortion Decision: A Parting Gift for Justice O'Connor?


In what will likely be the last opinion she authors for the Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor recently announced a surprisingly unanimous decision in an abortion case. In Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, the Court invalidated a New Hampshire law requiring minors seeking abortions to notify their parents. The law was deemed unconstitutional because it failed to include an exception for circumstances in which a serious but non-life-threatening medical emergency requires an immediate abortion.

Ayotte is the first unanimous abortion decision since the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which itself was 7-2. Some of the Court's most important abortion rulings, including the 2000 decision striking down Nebraska's "partial-birth" abortion ban in Stenberg v. Carhart, were decided by a 5-4 margin.

Full story here.

Doing Dick Cheney Proud

Exxon Sees Record Profits for Any U.S. Company


Exxon Mobil Corp. posted record profits for any U.S. company on Monday — $10.71 billion for the fourth quarter and $36.13 billion for the year — as the world's biggest publicly traded oil company benefited from high oil and gas prices and demand for refined products. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations and Exxon shares rose nearly 3 percent in morning trading.

The company's earnings amounted to $1.71 per share for the October-December quarter, up 27 percent from $8.42 billion, or $1.30 per share, in the year ago quarter. The result topped the then-record quarterly profit of $9.92 billion Exxon posted in the third quarter of 2005.

Exxon's profit for the year was also the largest annual reported net income in U.S. history, according to Howard Silverblatt, a stock market analyst for Standard & Poor's. He said the previous high was Exxon's $25.3 billion profit in 2004.

Exxon's results lifted the combined 2005 profits for the country's three largest integrated oil companies to more than $63 billion.

Full story here.

As a businessperson, a small investor and a libertarian, I tend to view corporate profits as a good thing. I mean, hey, we’re all in business to make money.

But when a company’s profits come as a result of a confluence of natural and man-made events - hurricanes, artificially inflated prices, price-gouging, access to government officials through secret meetings, etc. – and the rest of the country suffers, I view that as the worst kind of malevolent greed. An insatiable gluttony of wretched excess; an offense with prejudice and special circumstance. So typical of companies like Enron, Halliburton and others who lurk and work in the shadows, and create policies that enrich themselves at the public's expense.

Question for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the Republican Congressional Leadership: Why the hell does an industry with the highest profits in American corporate history need tax breaks to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge when many Americans can’t afford to heat their homes with the products these companies make??


Saturday, January 28, 2006

An Open Letter To Senator Barack Obama

VIA FAX: (202) 228-4260

January 28, 2006

Senator Barack Obama
713 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Obama:

I write to ask that you actively support the filibuster of Judge Samuel Alito and encourage your colleagues to do so as well.

Judge Alito has proven to be far outside the mainstream of even conservative thought in this country, let alone the thought of the citizens of Illinois. His lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court would be a major setback for all Illinoisans who favor giving women more control of the reproductive rights, not less, and giving the President less authority to make unilateral decisions without Congressional approval, not more.

A vote on the nomination of a would-be Supreme Court justice is one of the most important duties we ask of our senators. Now, more than ever, it is critical that Democrats such as yourself be on record as vigorously opposing any action on the part of this administration and this Congress to further erode the Constitutional rights of all Americans.

Do not fear the so-called backlash many Republican politicians and right-wing pundits predict will befall those who vote against this nominee. Only those who didn’t vote their conscience will feel the repercussions, so let your conscience guide you now. Whether your vote prevails in this matter is an issue over which you have no control; the important thing, however, is to do what is just and what is right.

I hope you will use your considerable influence to promote and support a filibuster and vote “no” on this nomination should the filibuster not prevail.


Friday, January 27, 2006

"No Contest"

Chicago, NYC battle for best U.S. city claims

My a landslide.

King Cormack, 50, a media designer who has lived in both cities and is now in Chicago, prefers the Windy City. He gives New York the advantage when it comes to museums and opera, but wrote on craigslist that Chicago "exceeds NY on so many other quality-of-life issues that there's no contest."
Full story here.

Today's Filthy Roustabout

Ann Coldsore Coulter

Beating Keith Olbermann to the punch, here's today's serve up of why she is once again the Worst Person in the World.

(See earlier post titled "Meet the Stars of Circus Minimus" for descriptions and examples of all the clowns, animals, roustabouts and freaks featured here.)

AP: Budget Office Projects U.S. Deficit to hit Record $477 Billion in 2006

Trust Me

Hello, I’m George W. Bush with another of my 98 reasons why you should trust me to safeguard your liberties.

Reason #12: When you hear the words roving wiretap, it means we have to go to the courts first and get a warrant.

And I’m Henry Block with another of my 42 reasons why you should trust H&R Block to prepare your tax return.

Reason #18: Our specially trained surgeons will come to your home and remove your corneas, enabling you to receive additional benefits as a blind person.

Musings on the Palestinian Elections

The landslide victory by Hamas in the Palestinian elections raises three key questions:

  1. For all the adulation shown Yassir Arafat in life and even more so in death, what does it say about the accomplishments his leadership yielded that barely a year removed from his departure from the scene, the Palestinian Authority would turn so dramatically to an agenda much more radical than his?
  1. For all George W. Bush’s bluster about spreading democracy in the Middle East, what does the ascendancy of Shi’ites in Iraq, pro-Hezbollah fundamentalists in Iran and now Hamas in the Palestinian Authority say about the realistic prospects of American-style democracy taking hold in a region with no such historical tendencies?
  1. Will Bush accept the results of democratic elections in the Middle East when he doesn’t like the outcome?

"You are a partisan - what do you call it - hack"

Chris Matthews has become an insult to professional journalism and the laughingstock of MSNBC. And that's a tall order on a network that features Rita Cosby and Joe Scarborough.

From his on-air bias to his grating style of "interviewus interruptus" to his latest crude joke about homosexuality, Matthews is a poster boy for the mainstream media's complicity in the degradation of public political discourse.

Some legitimate public figure other than Jed Clampett needs to go on "Hardball" and do to Matthews what Jon Stewart did to Tucker Carlson on "Crossfire":

JON STEWART: "I think, oftentimes, the person that knows they can't win is allowed to speak the most freely, because, otherwise, shows with titles, such as "CROSSFIRE" or "HARDBALL" or "I'M GOING TO KICK YOUR ASS" will jump on it.

"…In many ways, it's funny. And I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad.

"…I felt that that wasn't fair and I should come here and tell you that I don't -- it's not so much that it's bad, as it's hurting America.

"…Here's just what I wanted to tell you guys: stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.

"...You are partisan, what do you call it, hacks."

Paging Stephen Colbert.