Friday, May 13, 2005


[Added this link after writing everything below--this link should settle this argument. It's from the Department of Justice website and it says in black and white how many judicial positions there are to fill and how many are vacant. The 95% number is correct.]

So in my local paper today, there appeared these two letters to the editor (how come they don’t print two antiwar letters on the same day?) that both favored triggering the nuclear option because in their minds, Bush has had less of his judicial appointees approved than Clinton and others. Just read through these two letters to see why we’re all screwed:


GOP should use nuclear option

Well, Mr. Warren ("An 'attack on people of faith?'" May 10), thank you for bringing this up. Now I will set the record straight.

What the Democrats are doing to judicial nominees is unheard of. Not in the history of the Senate have judicial nominees ever been filibustered. You see, the rules are these: the nominees must go through committee; if they pass the committee, then there is to be an up-or-down vote in the Senate. The Democrats know they will lose this, so instead of following and upholding the Constitution, they filibuster.

Basically, they are breaking the Constitution, so the Republicans have to - which is legal, by the way - use the "nuclear option."

When Bill Clinton was in office, he got over 70 percent of his nominees through. And there was not one filibuster. That is the average of any president in history. Until now.

Most of George Bush's nominees have made it through committee. Only 50 percent have made it through the whole process - the lowest of any president. If you look as to why these men have not, it is very clear that it is due to the fact that these men claim to be men of faith. Not only do they claim this, but they live up to the claim, which scares the Democrats because these men will uphold the Constitution - unlike the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California or the courts that ruled in the Terri Schiavo case.

One more thing: George Bush should not consult with the senior Democrat on the committee. The voice of the people was heard. It's called elections.

Jim Hogan


Getty Israel of Jackson stated in the Hattiesburg American Opinion page Wednesday that the Republicans seek "absolute power." She also quotes that President Bush had a confirmation rate of almost 95 percent. I have yet to locate a source for this confirmation statement.
President Bush has or had the lowest judicial confirmation rate from what I have found on the Internet.
All the Republican Party really wants is an up-or-down vote on its nominees. Is that too much to ask of our representatives?
Ammon Cranford

The problem, of course is that these two writers come at this issue with a different set of facts than we liberals do. Who’s right? In this particular part of the debate, there can only be one right answer. Either Bush has a 95 % confirm rate or he has more or less half that.

There is a foolproof and mathematical way to determine which percentage is right. And of course, that is to look at the number of confirmations versus the number of nominations and derive a percentage. But, the problem is that neither you nor I nor most of us in the great unwashed have the time, research resources, or the inclination to figure out this easy math problem. This is true of most, if not all, political situations.

So we have to trust the media to give us facts.

So there’s the rub–if I pointed out to one of these letter writers that The Washington Post verifies a near 95% confirm rate for Bush, you’d think that would settle the issue, right? “Oh hell no,” this writer and millions like him would say–“the Washington Post is biased in favor of the liberals–it’s part of the elite liberal media.”

Now this particular accusation about the Washington Post may or may not be true. Is the Washington Post part of the “liberal media?” Well, yes and no–it depends on what the word “liberal” means, and it means a little something different to everyone. Except the people who buy into the idea of “the liberal media,” who almost uniformly think “liberal” means “evil” and/or “anti-American.”

OK, maybe the Washington Post is liberal. For the sake of argument, let’s just say it is. But is it right about the 95% confirm rate? If the Post is correct about this, their perceived “bias” should not matter. A fact is a fact. However, the conservatives’ greatest victory has been to make their cohort blind to facts when there is suspicion that some media outlet might be biased.

And time and again, it has been shown that those who consume primarily conservative media, i.e, Fox News, etc., don’t have the facts right. Like this study that showed that Fox viewers believed Iraq was behind 9/11 even though the 9/11 commission and their dear beloved president said that such a thing was not so.


So this is the problem. People have to see that there is only one correct set of facts about any given issue. Citizens are entitled to feel any way they’d like about these facts and the reporters of these facts, but facts are facts.

But how can this be fixed? I don’t know the answer, I’m just posing the question. I think one way that it might start to be fixed is to bring back the Fairness Doctrine in some form or another. For example, too many radio stations across the South (and, I’m assuming, the entire country) have nothing but right-wing opinions from sign-on to sign-off (or if there are left-wing opinions, they’re broadcast during hours when there are the least listeners). And no, that is not “making up” for how there were supposedly hours and hours of leftist opinion being broadcast in the past. If that had been the case (and perhaps it was, I didn’t really pay much attention until the Fairness Doctrine was rescinded), there was the Fairness Doctrine to which citizens could appeal to get their side heard. And so forth...

How can we solve any problems when each side claims completely different facts? Only one set of facts can be right. And that takes me back to the beginning–either Bush has 95% confirm rate or he has much less than that. Which is it?

And it matters which it is, because if 95% confirm rate is correct, that makes Bill Frist and the Republicans look unreasonable. And if the other is correct, then the Democrats do look like obstructionists. And that’s the whole reason this stupid debate matters–who’s really the party being unreasonable here?

And according to most conservatives, no one should trust the nation’s oldest and most respected newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post to tell them the answer because they are “the liberal media.” Instead, they argue, you should trust alternative papers like the Washington Times or the New York Post, both owned by men (Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Rupert Murdoch, respectively) who are openly and vehemently conservative, much more than the owners of the Times and Post are similarly liberal. So such papers can clearly be said to have a conservative bias.

OK, I gotta jump off here and get some links put in here and then get some sleep...

THE 95% IS A FACT as a "fact" is generally understood. If we are to doubt this 95% figure that is given to us by our government, would we not have to question many other "facts" given to us by our Republican-controlled government, like whether or not Bush had decided to go to war with Iraq and "fix the facts around the policy" because he and the British all knew Iraq had no WMD?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Everybody wants to hurt him--or that's what Karl Rove wants you to think, so that everyone will love Dear Leader and have sympathy for him and acquiesce when he rises to smite the evildoers with his nuclear fist...first a "grenade" in Georgia, and today, a tiny plane comes within 3 miles of the White House. That shit sucks up all the ink and airtime, while much more important stories like the secret war memo and Tom Ridge's admission today that terror alerts were based on "flimsy" (i.e., politically motivated and campaign motivated) evidence are in the background.

It wouldn't surprise me at all to find out in six months or a year that the pilot of today's plane was personally hired by Karl Rove to fly near the White House so TV cameras could get a shot of it and the cops on the ground could make everybody run so that the Tom Ridge story would get little to no coverage. Such a story would come out on Raw Story or Americablog, maybe make A-17 of the New York Times, and that would be it. No one would ever be held accountable, just like what's happening with the war memo.

The war memo is the single most explosive piece of news to come out since the war started, and what do Rush and Chris Matthews talk about? Hillary Clinton's campaign staffer who's on trial. Because they have to start smearing her now (not that they haven't been smearing her all along). It's never too early to start your election smears. See, they have to start doing it now so that this will drag on for three years and people will just be sick of Hillary Clinton in the news and not want to have anything to do with her just because of that.


The Kurt Vonnegut postcard to Iraq that's making the rounds today is quite Dickhead Rumsfeld said, "Freedom is messy"...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


John Conyers is the man. He's admonishing the media to stop covering the fucking runaway bride that has absolutely consequence for the country and instead, cover this:

"The London Times reports that the British government and the United States government had secretly agreed to attack Iraq in 2002, before authorization was sought for such an attack in Congress, and had discussed creating pretextual justifications for doing so."

Hello!! PNAC, anyone? Lies and falsification? This is an outrage and is so beyond the pale that 1)this happened and 2)the mainstream media is not saying word one about it.

And I felt dirty today because Bush visited my home state today...where he had this to say:

"If you're getting a social security check today, you're going to keep getting your check, I don't care what the propogandists say."

Well, it takes one to know one...and by the way, if you clicked the link to the WLBT "story"--what the fuck kinda piss poor jackassery is that? "Bush made his mark on the state?" "There was no beating around the Bush?" Bush put forth ideas to "Reform [sic] the system?"

The word "reform" means to change something for the better. Bush wants to "deform" the system. For an exhausting yet lucid discussion on Social Security and semantics, see the Daily Howler...

Monday, May 02, 2005


Saw some cool stuff on Book TV this weekend--the LA Times Book Festival. Arianna's letting her hair grow out...nice. I thought Amy Goodman handled the jarhead Bush plant in the audience very well. I also liked her comment about the difference between CNN and al-Jazeera: CNN shows where the U.S. missiles take off and al-Jazeera shows where they land.

Also picked up a few DVDs this weekend--Bill Hicks and Zappa among them. They both stick it to the Repukelicans, so that's an added bonus.

Got a letter to the editor printed this past Friday, my sister's birthday. Here's a link until it goes dead and the whole text is below (with their headline included)...

No justification for the Iraq war

The top weapons inspector in Iraq has now concluded, once and for all, that there were no weapons of mass destruction in the several years prior to our illegal and immoral invasion of that country, and that there is no evidence that the nonexistent WMD were transferred to Syria, as some have argued.

Simply put, Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.

Remember, those figments of the Bush-Cheney imagination were the main justification for our ill-advised foray into Iraq. Remember Bush's reasoning as to why we had to invade Iraq? He said that we were "facing clear evidence of peril," that "we cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

A new Gallup poll this week shows that 50 percent of Americans think that Bush misled the country about WMD. Last week Gallup had a poll showing that 53 percent of Americans don't think the Iraq invasion was worth it. Public opinion is turning against this vile, foul war and with good reason.

The next time you go to the PX - I mean Wal-Mart - look around at the dozens of soldiers you see who are stationed at Camp Shelby before being shipped off to Iraq. How many of them will lose life or limb fighting in an illegitimate war whose main justification has now been proven false, and which is now unpopular with a majority of their countrymen?

How many will have to be sacrificed before we all take heed of those yellow ribbon magnets and really support our troops by ending the war and bringing the troops home?

Clinton Kirby,


Originally published April 29, 2005

They actually printed it right--no errors or anything. Unusual...

Also, great Raimondo article over at today...when he's on, he is indeed on. A little sample of his commemoration of the 2nd anniversary of Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech:

Mission accomplished? If the mission was to create conditions giving rise to sectarian violence, a growing insurgency, and all-out civil war, while dragging us to the brink of bankruptcy, then, yes, you might say that. But only if you were Osama bin Laden.

They only need $60,000 to stay afloat this quarter. Please give 'til it hurts.