Thursday, April 08, 2004

Arianna loves the blogosphere!


I've got a confession to make. I've got a big-time crush. I'm talking weak-in-the-knees infatuation. But it's not Brad or Orlando or Colin or any of the cinematic hunks du jour who have set my heart aflutter. No, it's Atrios and Kos and Josh Micah Marshall and Kausfiles and Kevin Drum and Wonkette. Bloggers all. Yes, when it comes to the blogosphere, I'm a regular cyberslut. And I don't care who knows it. Bring on the fines, Michael Powell!

...........When bloggers decide that something matters, they chomp down hard and refuse to let go. They're the true pit bulls of reporting. The only way to get them off a story is to cut off their heads (and even then you'll need to pry their jaws open). They almost all work alone, but, ironically, it's their collective effort that makes them so effective. They share their work freely, feed off one another's work, argue with each other, and add to the story dialectically.

And because blogs are ongoing and daily, indeed sometimes hourly, bloggers will often start with a small story, or a piece of one -- a contradictory quote, an unearthed document, a detail that doesn't add up -- that the big outlets would deem too minor. But it's only minor until, well, it's not. Big media can't see the forest for the trees. Until it's assembled for them by the bloggers...............

.............I also love the open nature of the form -- the links, the research made visible, the democratic back and forth, the open archives, the big professorial messiness of it all. It reminds me of my schoolgirl days when providing the right answer wasn't enough for our teachers -- they demanded that we "show our work." Bloggers definitely show their work. It's why you don't just read blogs -- you experience them.

All of which has made the blogosphere such a vital news source in our country -- and has made me besotted with blogs. It's a crush that I'm betting will quickly progress to going steady.

-Arianna Huffington / Salon On Line
Democracy Now
Iraqi citizens confused and terrified in Sadr City
"... if you drive around Sadr City, you walk around Sadr City, you see posters would be almost difficult to imagine how many posters there are of Muqtada Sadr, and not just in Sadr City, in Shia neighborhoods all over Baghdad. I haven't been down south for a few weeks, but they're certainly also in the mostly Shia cells of Iraq. There's a considerable number of people who ...either support Muqtada... or they support Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the other senior religious leader here for the Shia, the most senior religious leader here for the Shia -- but they will say they condemn the [American] attacks which have been happening....and, you know, the Mehdi army has been -- people can see with their own eyes that they have been conducting exercises -- not with guns, mainly marching and -- because it's a religious festival here at the moment for 40 days, and they're often seen on the streets. We know they are well armed...."

--Michael Birmingham, currently in Iraq with the group Voices in the Wilderness

Major Events in Iraq since the beginning of the war
More bad news: Iraq's Interior Minister steps down

In an interview last month Iraqi Interior Minister Nuri Badran, who held one of the key internal security portfolios, had told Reuters he didn't believe his ministry was ready to take over responsibility for security after the 30 June handover in Iraq.

Today he quit.

Clear Channel Drops Howard Stern

The FCC proposed $495,000 in indecency fines against Clear Channel Communications today for broadcasts by Howard Stern. Clear Channel dropped Howard. They can't have any of that tittie-talk.

Clear Channel loves those pro-war rallies, though.

The Dixie Chicks were unpatriotic whores who deserved to have their CDs burned and banned by Clear Channels.

The same folks who wouldn't allow DJs to play John Lennon's song "Imagine" on 9-11, held pro-Iraq-war rally after pro-Iraq-war rally.

Howard's response:
"This is not a surprise. This is a follow up to the McCarthy type "witch hunt" of the administration and the activities of this group of presidential appointees in the FCC, led by "Colin Powell Jr." and his band of players. They and others (a senator from Kansas City to a congresswoman from New Mexico) are expressing and imposing their opinions and rights to tell us all who and what we may listen to and watch and how we should think about our lives. So this is not a surprise. It is pretty shocking that governmental interference into our rights and free speech takes place in the U.S. It's hard to reconcile this with the "land of the free" and the "home of the brave". I'm sure what's next is the removal of "dirty pictures" like the 20th century German exhibit in a New York City Museum and the erotic literature in our libraries; they too will fall into their category of "evil" as well.
---Howard Stern, April 8th 2004
A quote to beat all current quotes

If you've seen this Harold Meyerson quote already, it may have been at Eschaton or Josh Marshall's Talking Points site. It's making the rounds. It's so true, though, that I just feel compelled to repeat it here...sweet and simple:
"The only unequivocally good policy option before the American people is to dump the president who got us into this mess, who had no trouble sending our young people to Iraq but who cannot steel himself to face the Sept. 11 commission alone."
Speaking of Eschaton, I'm glad Atrios points to the suspicion that Howard Fineman's a bit of a whore. I hated the bandwagon denigrating he chirpingly joined to rip away at Howard Dean's integrity in the post-Yee-ha(!) days. Haven't trusted him since.
James Lileks on John Kerry, MTV, and Diplomacy

I love James Lileks' writing style. He's delightful to read, even if I disagree with his outlook on U.S. foreign policy much of the time. I got a charge out of his commentary about Sen. John Kerry's appearance on MTV. He provided his own imaginary Kerry replies and I sensed he was having plenty of fun with Kerry's real replies. I was particularly amused by this part:
MTV Question: "Any writers or musicians that you think would do a good job serving in office?"

Kerry's reply: Sure there are. Of course there are people, absolutely. I mean, I'll tell you. Carole King, who has been out campaigning for me hard in Iowa, New Hampshire and various places, is as knowledgeable about the issues as anybody I have ever seen.

About which James comments: Carole King. Carole King? Look, this doesn’t exactly connect with the MTV audience. This connects with the guys in the Obligatory Rectal Examination demographic, and they’re not watching MTV.
I really think James seems to be missing something essential in the following sequence of his rumninations:
Kerry commented: This administration has been arrogant. I think they have been reckless. They have been overly ideological. They have pushed our allies away. I will bring our allies back to us.

James comments: By “allies,” of course, he means Germany and France. And perhaps our deep long-standing ally Russia. Kerry’s statement indicates that either he doesn’t know about the French government’s vested financial interests in Iraq, or he does know and thinks we don’t. Or he dismisses the story as irrelevant to the larger goal: building a body of international resolve that will meet any challenge by sending diplomats to exchange Frank and Honest Views in conference rooms, with that nice lemon tea they serve. Do they use a zest, or a peel, or just run the lemon along the rim of the cup? Whatever they do, it’s quite delicious.
My first thoughts upon reading this were about the greater wisdom behind the action of re-engaging allies while sitting around the table. "Allies" don't mean the same as "trusted friends" means coalescing for the greater good for citizens of all involved nations. We do not approach the table as a model of can we say that we have no vested governmental interest in Iraq...presently/in the past/future? If we're going to be Frank and Honest, then let's lay it all out. Not only are we imperfect..we're in a major jam over there in Iraq.

We have bungled the Dick Cheney-Hearts-n-Roses/Hearts-n-Minds 2004 tour.

France has their great faults, but if you ask any Frenchman if he loves terror, I doubt you'd find many who'd admit it. If we can spread the greatness of our ideas with honey rather than bombs, I say why the heck not? We just might provide a new way for some of our U.N.-based totalitarian allies. (Totalitarian allies? Can you imagine? These are two words which sound scary together...but our example of humility-in-greatness could carry us a long way in diplomatic world influence.......the question is: are WE sincere?)

If our common challenges can be met by sipping tea, I've got to say it's a sweeter scenario than seeing babies and soldiers (our sons and daughters) with their limbs blown away and heads sheared off at the neck with no apparent strategy or honest reason for the war in which we're engaged. We should be on our knees by now begging those allies to take us a sappy B-movie. Instead, our leaders' pride will cost more blood, more lives. France schmance. Stop being stupid. Tea's good. Pass the friggen tea. Let's get a solution with our best buddies' allies' help and involvement.
Thomas Friedman-
once again a bitter disappointment
"...Iraqi "insurgents" opposing the U.S. today cannot plausibly claim to be the authentic expressions of Iraqi nationalism.."
--Thomas Friedman
Bullshite, they can't. Unless the smothering of the Chalbi nationalists combined with the overwhelming force of American military dominance (and Thomas Friedman) TELL the Shia they have no right to express their 'Iraqi-ness' or stake their claim as citizens in a democracy. Just wait until the reality of popular Iraqi opinion steamrolls over Mr. Friedman's opinion. It may not be heard in stacked polls. It will be heard in Viet Nam-esque battles to come. Hello? We bombed a mosque yesterday. Sunni or Shia..bombing a mosque (whether being used as shelter for insurgents or not/whether it was "just a compound wall" or not) is the one rare thing that will bring Sunni and Shia together in a common cause. Billmon mentioned Friedman "picked a really bad day to stop taking his thorazine". I couldn't have said it better. I think Mr. Friedman may have the Utopia in his head confused with the fact that we've already lost the hearts and minds of the Shia in Iraq. And it's only going to get worse from here.

*I'm an optimist, honestly! Alas, reality prevails.*
You've Got to love that Jimmy Breslin!

"Always, I wonder how the poor readers get through these books by bone conservatives. Conservatives cannot write. Yet they sell many books. I am always glad when a writer can make $40 on a book. But I'm shocked at their sentences. I intend to give the National Book Award to a reader...."
George W. Bush FAILED War President
No Lincoln No Roosevelt No Eisenhower No Truman No natural curiosity No Intuition No news-reader No effective pretzel-chewer
No Nuthin'

Elect him again and hide your sons and your daughters in the closet, because the failed WAR PRESIDENT will be coming for them. He's got more 'terr-ists' to bring to justice. He needs to bring them on. He will need our kids to do it. I am sick about what he's already done to our trusting and loyal troops. This Iraq war is wrong, wrong....and either the administration is LYING about representing these Shia uprisings as "minority factions" or they're just plain incompetent! Either way, we cannot trust them with our sons (or daughters). In my opinion, we need a leader we can trust. I recently heard it said that backbone isn't a transplantable organ...and Howard Dean brought the spirit of his own backbone to Democratic politics. I am still shocked that our Democrats allowed Bush to carry out this Iraq war. They dropped the ball. Dean brought conscience and courage back to the discussion. I'm watching Kerry. He voted for the Iraq resolution. It was irresponsible...and most Democrats did it. They also let our Constitution be weakend these past three years. Awful lessons have been learned. I believe, if we don't shift leadership, the future of America's democracy may be destroyed and our world standing will be framed in a state of mockery. A one-party state will emerge. So can we trust Democrats to turn it around? I think it's our only choice. I believe it will be the most truly patriotic choice. If our children are tapped to serve our good nation, let it be for an honest, transparently clear, intelligently upright cause! I trust John Kerry is a man of courage (consider what he did in Viet Nam) and conviction (look at what he did when he returned from Viet Nam). I'm hoping he and the Democratic party find a way to convey that to greater America.
As if, Condi....AS IF!

Today's tesimony from Rice was filled with filibustering spin and quick humility, no accountability, no responsibility, no apology. Richard Clarke was not afraid to express his apology to the 9-11 families. It was the most powerful moment of the 9-11 hearings. It was also a political salvo...and could have been a great opportunity for Rice. Condi's greatest mistake today was not having the emotional intelligence to politically match or neutralize that powerful statement. One panel member, Thompson, acknowleged and confirmed that the Bush administration is at war with the people of the United States when he said that the Bush administration was not "retreating or surrendering" by Condi's appearance. What is that supposed to mean? This woman works for us..the people of the United States. 3000 Americans died on her watch. This administration's blatant hostility to citizens who resist their cultism is going to lose them the next election. (If the realization that Iraq was the biggest blunder in American history doesn't lose it for them first).


"The overwhelming bulk of the evidence was that this was an attack that was likely to take place overseas."

- White House National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, May 16, 2002


"Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US."

- CIA's August 6, 2001 briefing memo to President George W Bush

*Condi says this was "only a historical document" and not a warning. As if that matters in the least.*


"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."

- Condi Rice, May 16, 2002 press conference


"...reading Condoleezza Rice where she said, 'we had no specific information whatsoever of domestic threat or that they might use airplanes'... That's an outrageous lie! And documents can prove it's a lie."

--Sibel Edmonds, former FBI wiretap translator