s skippy the bush kangaroo: July 2004

skippy the bush kangaroo

Saturday, July 31, 2004

and there's always zoloft for those veterans with amputated limbs

an aide to awol's campaing suggests that poor folk take prozac if they're unhappy with their jobs. the nydailynews:

"why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy - or go on prozac?" said susan sheybani, an assistant to bush campaign spokesman terry holt.

the comment apparently was directed to a colleague who transferred a phone call from a reporter asking about job quality. when told the prozac comment had been overheard, sheybani said: "oh, i was just kidding."
in a related story, vice president dick cheney said he definately was not kidding when he told sen. pat leahy to go f^ck himself.
posted by skippy at 4:51 PM | 0 comments

no love for awol on the road to campaign
protesters keep on showing up where awol goes on his campaign.  in missouri, ktvo tv tells us:

hundreds of chanting protesters gathered across the street from the downtown ball field where president bush spoke to supporters in springfield today.

the protesters booed loudly each time cheers arose from the crowd inside hammonds field. chants of "no more bush" also filled the air.

outside the ball field today, police moved the protesters to three different locations before settling them on a street corner hundreds of feet from the podium. officers were seen leading three people away. it's not clear if they were arrested.
the springfield news-leader tells us:

with most presidents, i'm usually concerned about one or two issues," said reuthebuck, 32, of springfield. "this one, i'm concerned about all of them: disabled citizens, medicaid and medicare, our free will and choice being taken away."

not counting canines, close to a couple of hundred protesters turned out friday, voicing their discontent with homemade signs and anti-bush chants.

"no blood for oil," they shouted in unison as bush's motorcade rounded east trafficway onto sherman avenue, one black vehicle after the next, bearing miniature american flags.

protesters were first corralled into the rear of a gravel parking lot across the street from the baseball stadium, but springfield police officers gradually allowed them to move closer once most of the spectators were inside.

the vocal crowd eventually positioned itself on the southeast corner of jordan valley park, many of them assembling atop an enormous berm.
ah, there's nothing like  an enormous berm to get your blood boiling.
posted by skippy at 11:37 AM | 0 comments

good news from zogby
pollster john zogby reports that things are looking pretty good for john kerry all over the country:

the most recent zogby poll shows deeper trouble for president george w. bush beyond just the horserace.  mr. bush has fallen in key areas while senator john kerry has shored up numerous constituencies in his base.  the bush team’s attempted outreach to base democratic and swing constituency has shown to be a failure thus far, limiting his potential growth in the electorate.

the most important group in this election now is the undecideds and mr. bush’s standing among them is weak.  he is generally well liked among the undecideds, having a strong favorability (56%), but his job performance is another story.  only 32% approve of bush’s job in office and only 31% believe the country is headed in the right direction…
the most recent zogby poll shows deeper trouble for president george w. bush beyond just the horserace.  mr. bush has fallen in key areas while senator john kerry has shored up numerous constituencies in his base.  the bush team’s attempted outreach to base democratic and swing constituency has shown to be a failure thus far, limiting his potential growth in the electorate.

the most important group in this election now is the undecideds and mr. bush’s standing among them is weak.  he is generally well liked among the undecideds, having a strong favorability (56%), but his job performance is another story.  only 32% approve of bush’s job in office and only 31% believe the country is headed in the right direction…

mr. bush has also shown weakness in what is considered to be his best region, the south.  while kerry’s choice of senator john edwards gives him his biggest boost, his economic populism and courting of veterans are also key in his eroding of mr. bush’s support.  not only has kerry now come to a tie with bush in favorability in the south (55% for both), the kerry-edwards ticket has pulled ahead, 48% to 46% in the south.  president bush’s job performance is down to only 44% in the south, and only 43% of southerners think the country is headed in the right direction.

mr. kerry is also performing well in blue states, among young voters and among single voters.  in the blue states, mr. kerry is winning 50% to 38%, while in the red states, mr. bush is only winning 48% to 46%.  among single voters, mr. kerry is winning huge by a total of 69% to 19%.  and among young voters – 18-29 year olds – a group al gore only won by 2 points in 2000, kerry is winning in a landslide, 53% to 33%.
thanks to atrios for the link!
posted by skippy at 9:42 AM | 0 comments

fanmail from some flounders
zizka points out all the dirt on awol in the 911 report over at seeing the forest.

nathan newman has an action alert to help defend new york's working poor.

and the daily cookie sends us the good news from the sfchron that the vibrator case in texas has been dismissed. (couldn't it "stand up" in court?)
posted by skippy at 9:18 AM | 0 comments

Friday, July 30, 2004

george w. bush, ghost writer
william saletan, writing in slate, talks about how kerry's speech wasn't written by kerry himself, but rather by...awol!

in his determination to unite the right, bush hasn't just united the left. he has lost the center. look at last week's new york times/cbs news poll of registered voters. "do you think the result of the war with iraq was worth the loss of american life and other costs of attacking iraq or not?" fifty-nine percent say it was not. "which do you think is a better way to improve the national economy—cutting taxes or reducing the federal budget deficit?" fifty-eight percent say reducing the deficit. "when it comes to regulating the environmental and safety practices of business, do you think the federal government is doing enough, should it do more, or should it do less?" fifty-nine percent say more.

one more bush voter on the right, balanced by one more kerry voter on the left, plus the tilting of one more voter in the middle toward kerry, is a net loss for the president. that's the lesson of this administration, this election, and this convention. kerry doesn't have to write any good lines. he just has to read them.

which is more than awol can do!
posted by skippy at 6:52 PM | 0 comments

freep msnbc
though apparently you don't really have to!  right hand side bar, the question of the day:  "did john kerry convince you he's ready to be president?"
posted by skippy at 6:47 PM | 0 comments

kerry gets higher ratings than gore (but not seinfeld reruns)

abcnews reports that john kerry's acceptance speech drew higher numbers than did al gore four years earlier, though this convention lost viewers compared to 2000.

based on television ratings, americans were more interested in what john kerry had to say in his nomination acceptance speech than they were for al gore in 2000.

an estimated 24.4 million viewers watched kerry's speech on the six biggest networks thursday night, compared to 21.1 million people who saw gore four years earlier, nielsen media research reported on friday.

despite thursday's surge of interest, the overall television rating for the four-day democratic convention was the lowest it had been since nielsen began keeping records in 1960. in terms of viewers, it was roughly on a par with 2000, nielsen said…

nearly three million fewer viewers watched the convention's final night on those three networks than did in 2000. the difference came in the cable networks: 15.6 million people watched kerry speak on abc, cbs or nbc, while 8.8 million saw it on cnn, fox news channel or msnbc.
but dave barry, that scamp, offers his view of kerry's ratings for knight ridder:

was kerry's speech effective? pollsters who've been tracking undecided voters are reporting today that, quote, "they were all watching `seinfeld' reruns.'' the tv ratings for this convention, like those of all recent political conventions, have been horrible. if they want people to watch these things, they're going to have to start making the speakers eat live cockroaches or something. i'm just thinking out loud here.

the big problem with this particular convention, from an entertainment standpoint, was that the speakers weren't allowed to talk about the one issue the democrats all feel strongly about, which is how much they hate george w. bush. party leaders, wanting to keep the message positive, censored the harsh anti-bush rhetoric from the speeches, which meant that the speakers had to go with subtle innuendo:

speaker: and that, my fellow democrats, is why we must defeat this lying fascist criminal warmongering scum-sucking vermin toad, who, in the interest of remaining positive, i am not going to mention by name.
dave, you should have read the blogs!
posted by skippy at 6:29 PM | 0 comments

extry, extry, read all about it, kerry speech a hit!
editor and publisher reports that the nation's top newspapers approved of kerry's acceptance speech:

one paper that found fault, the washington post, called the speech a "missed opportunity," noting that he had "elided the charged question of whether, as president, he would have gone to war in iraq." and the chicago tribune opened with: "well, not bad."

but other larger papers found much to admire. the dallas morning news, in president bush's home state, said, "all in all, it was an impressive performance and one that should serve kerry well in his quest for the white house."

the philadelphia inquirer said kerry did a "solid job" linking domestic proposals to "family values," borrowing one of bush's themes…

the [los angeles times ]said, "it's only malcontents who won't want to steer in the direction that he's mapped out. kerry's skill at seamlessly drawing upon vietnam produced a portrait of master and commander."

the san francisco chronicle [said] "he was clear and forceful in accentuating his differences with bush. he succeeded in the mission of the night: he made the case that there is going to be a real choice in november."

the milwaukee journal sentinel provided one classic line: "if it's the national security, stupid, john kerry demonstrated thursday night that he isn't stupid."

while [the new york times] cast the democratic convention in a positive light, saying it "did its job" introducing the candidates, it criticized kerry for not admitting his vote to support the iraq invasion was a mistake. "it's clear now that mr. kerry isn't going to go there, and it's a shame," said the times, which itself decided to "go there" earlier this month.

the seattle times said kerry offered better "oratory" than his norm, adding that he seems "capable of becoming a strong commander in chief."

but the washington post [said] "mr. kerry was right to chide mr. bush for alienating allies unnecessarily. but what is 'the job' in iraq? he didn't say”…

the chicago tribune, while neutral, pointed out that there were moments in the speech "when you had to remind yourself that this was the democratic nominee for president who was speaking -- such as when kerry promised a larger military force, tax cuts, public school accountability, and a focus on family values"...

the new york post was extremely critical...
[ed. note:  stop the presses!]

posted by skippy at 6:14 PM | 0 comments

repubbblicans love cocks!
thanks to the gang at ampoljo, we find the latest on how far repubbbs will go to protect their cocks!

the nytimes reports that the repubbb agriculture commissioner of south carolina has been charge with taking payoffs to protect a cock fighting ring.

charles sharpe, 65, was indicted on federal charges including extortion and money laundering. he was accused of accepting the money from an organization involved in breeding and raising birds for cockfighting. cockfighting is illegal in south carolina…

gov. mark sanford immediately suspended sharpe, as required under the south carolina constitution, and will search for an interim commissioner to appoint. if convicted, sharpe, who was elected in 2002, would automatically lose his office. the two extortion charges alone carry up to 20 years in prison each…

sharpe was accused of taking the payoffs in 2002 and 2003, while he was a state lawmaker and then agriculture commissioner.

u.s. attorney j. strom thurmond jr. said sharpe escorted a law enforcement officer to the south carolina gamefowl management association's cockfighting arena and falsely told the officer that the fighting there was legal because it was done only to test the bloodline and hardiness of the birds. the officer was working undercover for the fbi and recorded the conversation…

the indictment also said sharpe tried to convince a candidate for aiken county sheriff that the bird operation was legal. the candidate, michael hunt, who was elected last year, also worked undercover for federal investigators.
talk about family values! as someone once said, cock fighting is a grueling sport, because the competition is pretty stiff.
posted by skippy at 6:05 PM | 0 comments

we'd say 'say hello to'
marco's cyberspace travels, but he's on hiatus.  (however, he does say skippy is 'always good for a laugh,' which is, after all, a big part of our mission statement!)
posted by skippy at 5:59 PM | 0 comments

feel the love
talkleft has some pictures of the police as they confront the protesters at yesterday's convention.

remember, these are the democrats!  we can't wait to see new york in august! 
posted by skippy at 12:36 PM | 0 comments

freep cnbc
they're asking how john kerry's speech went.  you know what to do.
posted by skippy at 9:12 AM | 0 comments

happy end of july from the bush economic team
things are looking great for the economy, if you don't count...well, the economy!

initial unemployment claims are up, and cost of benefits on the job (health insurance and pension) rose much more than wages in the last 12 months, says the kancitystar.
wages and salaries, stymied the past three years by a weak economy and lackluster job growth, climbed 0.6 percent in the second quarter, the same increase as the first quarter of this year.

over the past 12 months, wages rose by 2.5 percent, down from a 2.7 percent increase for the 12 months ended in june 2003 and far below the 4 percent rise for the 12 months ended in june 2000, when the country was still in the midst of a record 10-year economic expansion.

however, benefit costs have risen much more rapidly, climbing 7.2 percent for the 12 months ended in june, the biggest 12-month gain since early 1990. benefit costs include health insurance and pension benefits for employees who have pension coverage in their jobs.

“though wages remain under control, benefit costs are still soaring at an unacceptable pace,” said joel naroff, head of a holland, pa., forecasting firm.

in a second report thursday, the government said new claims for unemployment benefits edged up last week, climbing 4,000 to 345,000, indicating the labor market is improving after three years of lackluster job creation.

last week's increase followed a drop of 9,000 the previous week. claim figures have been volatile in the past month because auto plants shut down earlier than normal for retooling, which skewed the department's seasonal adjustments.
and as if that wasn't bad enough, the gross domestic product also slowed, because nobody was spending any money. (here's a hint: nobody had any money!) bloomberg:

the u.s. economy grew at a 3 percent annual rate from april through june, the slowest rate in more than a year, as rising energy prices led to the weakest pace of consumer spending since the 2001 recession.

the change in gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, followed a 4.5 percent rate in the first quarter that was faster than the previously reported 3.9 percent, the commerce department said. u.s. treasury notes rose.

consumer spending slowed to a 1 percent annual rate after a 4.1 percent gain in the first three months. gasoline prices above $2 a gallon crimped sales at retailers such as wal-mart stores inc. consumer confidence and chicago-area manufacturing rose this month, signs the economy may emerge from what federal reserve chairman alan greenspan called a ``soft patch'' in june.
we're beginning to think the real soft patch is in greenspan's head.

posted by skippy at 8:51 AM | 0 comments

berger not fried
holden caufield alerted us to pie's post over at eschaton pointing out not only has sandy berger been cleared of any wrongdoing in the 9/11 document fiasco, but nobody in the national media has bothered to report this side of the story:

officials looking into the removal of classified documents from the national archives by former clinton national security adviser samuel berger say no original materials are missing and nothing mr. berger reviewed was withheld from the commission investigating the sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks...
the conclusion by archives officials and others would seem to lay to rest the issue of whether any information was permanently destroyed or withheld from the commission. 
archives spokeswoman susan cooper said officials there "are confident that there aren't any original documents missing in relation to this case." she said in most cases, mr. berger was given photocopies to review, and that in any event officials have accounted for all originals to which he had access.
where's bill o'reilly and sean hannity on this one?
posted by skippy at 8:37 AM | 0 comments

ketchup dust up
the kids at the daily cookie sent us this alternet article detailing not only what really happened between teresa heinz kerry and the man she told to "shove it," but the long inacrimonious history between her and the richard mellon scaife rag he works for:

the tribune-review routinely sniped at teresa heinz during her marriage to pennsylvania's republican former senator john heinz. when the senator died in 1991, and the massachusetts junior senator john kerry stole teresa's heart, the paper's attacks grew increasingly slanderous. on december 28, 1997, the paper featured an anonymously penned cover story falsely insinuating that a woman named sheila lawrence had had affairs with both bill clinton and kerry. "far from giving all to bill, there was still something left over for sen. john kerry," who had "a very private tete-a-tete" with "sexy sheila," the columnist alleged. in another column, the tribune-review mocked john kerry as "mr. teresa heinz."

perhaps the most spurious of the tribune-review's attacks came in december, 2003, when it ran
a piece accusing heinz-kerry of secretly "funneling cash" from her heinz endowment to the tides foundation, a group that "supports extreme left wing groups... anti-war protests... unlimited abortion rights, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy, as well as and [sic] environmental extremism." the piece was based on research conducted by the right-wing think tank capital research center, yet failed to mention that scaife granted the center $240,000 in 2002 or that he was connected to it in any way. the article also omitted the fact that the heinz foundation's grants were all strictly earmarked for mainstream western pennsylvania environmental charities, an inexcusable omission that could have been avoided if the paper had bothered to call either the heinz foundation or the tides foundation to confirm its wild claims.
posted by skippy at 8:16 AM | 0 comments

out of the mouths of dead presidents' sons - part deux
ok, technically, this isn't out of his mouth...but rather from the pen of ron reagan jr.

he writes in equire a scathing attack on awol's presidency:

 it may have been the guy in the hood teetering on the stool, electrodes clamped to his genitals. or smirking lynndie england and her leash. maybe it was the smarmy memos tapped out by soft-fingered lawyers itching to justify such barbarism. the grudging, lunatic retreat of the neocons from their long-standing assertion that saddam was in cahoots with osama didn't hurt. even the enron audiotapes and their celebration of craven sociopathy likely played a part. as a result of all these displays and countless smaller ones, you could feel, a couple of months back, as summer spread across the country, the ground shifting beneath your feet…

the l-word was in circulation. not the tired old bromide liberal. that's so 1988. no, this time something much more potent: liar.

politicians will stretch the truth. they'll exaggerate their accomplishments, paper over their gaffes. spin has long been the lingua franca of the political realm. but george w. bush and his administration have taken "normal" mendacity to a startling new level far beyond lies of convenience. on top of the usual massaging of public perception, they traffic in big lies, indulge in any number of symptomatic small lies, and, ultimately, have come to embody dishonesty itself. they are a lie. and people, finally, have started catching on.

none of this, needless to say, guarantees bush a one-term presidency. the far-right wing of the country—nearly one third of us by some estimates—continues to regard all who refuse to drink the kool-aid (liberals, rationalists, europeans, et cetera) as agents of satan… but these protestations have taken on a hysterical, almost comically desperate tone. it's one thing to get trashed by michael moore. but when nobel laureates, a vast majority of the scientific community, and a host of current and former diplomats, intelligence operatives, and military officials line up against you, it becomes increasingly difficult to characterize the opposition as fringe wackos.

does anyone really favor an administration that so shamelessly lies? one that so tenaciously clings to secrecy, not to protect the american people, but to protect itself? that so willfully misrepresents its true aims and so knowingly misleads the people from whom it derives its power? i simply cannot think so. and to come to the same conclusion does not make you guilty of swallowing some liberal critique of the bush presidency, because that's not what this is. this is the critique of a person who thinks that lying at the top levels of his government is abhorrent. call it the honest guy's critique of george w. bush.
(thanks and a tip of the bush kangaroo hat for the link to el payo in houstonia's daily kos diary).
posted by skippy at 12:23 AM | 32 comments

you are the 525,000th visitor to skippy!
posted by skippy at 12:07 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, July 29, 2004

2/3 of a good idea is better than none (which is how much of it he wanted in the first place)
judd legum makes the case over at winning argument that letting awol get off with implementing only part of the 911 commission's recommendations is not only more pr than policy, it's just bad policy altogether.

cherry-picking allows the administration to avoid difficult but critical reforms. the administration has already hinted it will reject some reforms recommended unanimously by the bi-partisan commission. homeland security secretary tom ridge has "signaled administration opposition to the idea of a new intelligence chief" – a key recommendation of the commission. if the administration selects a subset of the recommendation it will enable officials "defend their turf" by lobbying against changes that would reduce their influence. this is the same mentality that contributed to the intelligence failures leading to 9/11. the cherry-picking could result in the administration "choosing harmless changes that involve little more than moving boxes on an organization chart."
more winning arguments at winning argument.
posted by skippy at 4:19 PM | 33 comments

out of the mouths of dead presidents' sons - a skippy rant
last night on msnbc's convention after hours with joe "what's this dead woman doing in my office" scarborough, ron reagan jr. finally said out loud what the rest of the media (and the politicians) should have been saying for almost three years now.

turning to joe "i never touched the body" scarborough, reagan said something to the effect of (and here we paraphrase badly, which is, of course, the very definition of paraphrasing in the first place):

the problem with the war on terror is that 'terror' is a concept, so it's like the 'war on obesity,' you're fighting against a concept, and not individuals.
and to give joe "she had lots of medical problems before this" scarborough credit, he agreed.

we would refine rr jr's complaint a bit more precisely, ourselves.  'terror' is actually a technique, not a concept.  "loving all mankind" and "the will of the people" and "more fun than a barrel of bloggers" are concepts.  terror is a specific technique used by, admittedly, desperate and crazy people, in lieu of standing armies and icbm's. 

it's rather like declaring a war on 'garroting,' or on 'torture,' or on 'surprise attacks.'  these are tools of war. 

'terrorism,' at least as defined by today's standards, is a relatively new technique in warfare (though we are wondering about the historical terms berserkers and kamikaze).  so the old school warriors are at a loss as to how to defend against and fight this new approach.   and it won't be pretty, or easy.

but you can't wage war against an idea, or concept, or technique.  because even if you kill every single one of the mothercheneys who wage war in this manner, and wipe them off the face of the earth, someone somewhere later down the line will remember how they did it, and try it out themselves.

war is waged against nation states and groups of people.  not against how they wage war (at least, not if you want to win the war.  be sure you know who you are fighting).

the phrase 'war on terror' is simply a sound byte made up to stir the masses who think in black-and-white-us-v.-them-batman-v.-the-evil-doers ways of thought. 

and in the end, as ron reagan was implying, this very two-dimensional approach only hurts the cause, not help it.
posted by skippy at 3:52 PM | 0 comments

say hello
to scrafford and the apostropher.
posted by skippy at 3:47 PM | 0 comments

say hello
to a very funny cartoon, fighting words.
posted by skippy at 8:23 AM | 0 comments

and homeland security is looking into those holes
reader and contributor laura sends us this bit of sugar from reuterssec investigating krisy kreme

krispy kreme doughnuts inc. on thursday said federal regulators are investigating the doughnut chain's repurchase of franchises as well as its recently lowered earnings outlook.

the informal probe by the u.s. securities and exchange commission comes as krispy kreme is struggling to revitalize slumping sales, particularly in supermarkets.

the company in may slashed its profit forecast for the year by 10 percent, blaming the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets such as the atkins and south beach, which frown on starchy foods like pastries and bread. 

but most importantly, what's dick cheney going to do for breakfast now?
posted by skippy at 8:13 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

nancy just says no to gop
our buds at resident bush alerts us to thomas defrank's piece in the nydaily newsnancy & ron reagan spell dubya trouble:

much to the dismay of the bush campaign, nancy reagan has just said no to appearing at the republican national convention next month.

gop strategists had hoped the former first lady and hollywood actress would make a cameo appearance onstage after a video tribute to her late husband, particularly after her bush-bashing son, ron, agreed to speak at the democratic convention last night… 

gop sources, meanwhile, confirmed his mother will not be at their aug. 30-sept. 2 convention - and some speculated her son might be behind the snub.

"i do not expect her at our convention but she knows she is welcome," republican national committee chairman ed gillespie told reporters here yesterday.

"if all of you might just keep in mind for a moment the year that mrs. reagan has had and be a little understanding of that, i think that would be appreciated by the public and, i suspect, by mrs. reagan," gillespie added.

republican officials refrained from publicly criticizing nancy reagan for the no-show. privately, however, some were upset as well as disappointed by the decision, which has been known to the white house for some time.

"i don't think she could have missed the symbolic significance of her son going to their convention and her not going to ours," a senior gop official told the daily news.

a downcast senior gop official confirmed nancy reagan had never committed to appearing at the convention, but was nevertheless dubious of the official explanation…

"the 'not feeling up to it' line is bull----," the official said. "something happened in the last month, and whatever it was was real."
an 83 year old woman feeling bad after her husband just died? the slacker!
posted by skippy at 10:09 PM | 0 comments

say hello
to a complete bunch of pants.
posted by skippy at 6:30 PM | 0 comments

we're skippy international, and we approved this blog
thanks to cvcobb01's daily kos diary, we found the latest awol ad, by will farrell (via america coming together).
posted by skippy at 3:32 PM | 42 comments

meanwhile, back in iraq...people die
today saw the worst violence in iraq since the handover of power a month ago.  a huge car bomb exploded north of baghdad, killing over  60 people, among other bloody incidents.  the international herald tribune:

a minibus packed with explosives blew up near a police station north of baghdad on wednesday, killing 68 people and wounding 30 in the worst attack since the handover of power exactly a month earlier. ..

seven iraqi police officers and 35 insurgents were killed in clashes southeast of baghdad, a u.s. soldier was killed in a bomb attack, and a police officer was assassinated.

iraqi officials have said they expected attacks to intensify as the country tries to edge toward democracy, and they worried a major political conference to chart iraq's future scheduled for saturday will be a target.

a health ministry official said 68 people had been killed and 30 wounded in the blast, which happened shortly after 10 a.m. in baquba, an often violent town 65 kilometers, or 40 miles, north of baghdad.

in other violence, 35 insurgents and seven iraqi soldiers were killed in early morning clashes in the city of suwariya, southeast of baghdad, lieutenant colonel artur domanski of poland, a multinational force spokesman, said in a telephone interview.

posted by skippy at 3:17 PM | 0 comments

free speech cell
talkleft has some pictures of the free speech zone at the dem convention...we've seen gas station toilets that looked more inviting.  and here's a rundown of exactly who is protesting there in bean town.

talkleft also has a pic of jerry springer, and a contest running about naming the bloggers in this photo.
posted by skippy at 12:47 PM | 0 comments

letters...we get letters
left is right thinks kucinich is awol on his promise, so left is right is now awol on kucinich.

the kids from the daily cookie link us to this nytimes piece about the votes from florida's electronic voting machine being lost in cyberspace...permanently.

judd legum of the progress report and winning argument sends us this bit of irony:

the first family...does not snack...they are very good at respecting meal time hours and do not eat between meals...there is no snacking..."

- white house pastry chef roland mesnier, whitehouse.gov,

"president bush fainted for a brief time sunday in the residence of the white house while eating a pretzel and watching a professional football game on television."

- cnn,

posted by skippy at 12:36 PM | 0 comments

say hello
to flutterby, and thinking rocks and tripe soup.
posted by skippy at 8:48 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

lost in transcription
we are pleased as punch to find the transcript of cnn's show "live today" in which daryn kagan mentioned this blog.

daryn was talking about the blogging of the convention with aol on line advisor regina lewis, who was her guest yesterday when the original comments (about bloggers and rumors) that skippy took such exception to were made.  (these comments, alas, are not available on yesterday's transcripts.  c'est la blogue!)

the relevant part of today's program, en toto:

kagan: and here's a blogging angle for you, regina, you might know about. the bloggers are actually watching this show, and they watched your segment yesterday.

lewis: oh, absolutely.

kagan: i received an e-mail from a blogger named "skippy the bush kangaroo." not really sure where that comes from. but he or she, whatever skippy is, took offense at our discussion of perhaps that bloggers are not putting complete truth out there, and he said, "aren't mistakes sometimes made in journalism as well?" skippy, point taken. and we appreciate you watching.

lewis: yes, and i think what you're seeing is -- yes, i'm glad to hear that. the lines are blurring, too. you know, there's the opinion pieces, and a lot of the bloggers are also linking to resources like the associated press and talking about what they see on cnn. so it's kind of the merging of the best of both worlds, if you're mindful of what you're reading and where it's coming from.

kagan: absolutely, and we want all the bloggers out to know that this is a blogger-friendly program, and we do appreciate your viewership.
now, we are quite happy to be named on a national cable news network, and especially by someone other than wolf "how's my beard" blitzer.  so we are never one to look a gift horse in the mouth (though, to be honest, ms. kagan is much prettier than a horse).

however, we find it amusing that ms. kagan, when continuing the discussion of veracity in different media (cable news versus blogging), actually completely misquoted what we said, thereby continuing to prove our point for us.

granted, our email was more actually personal than what she made it out to be, in that we asked her how she could impune the fact-checking abilities of bloggers after her own on-air presentation of the white house contention that letterman doctored a video of awol (he didn't).  however, let it go on the record that, while we may have been snarky, we weren't mean or uncivil, merely ironic to the point of being embarrassing, if broadcast media had any shame at all (they don't).

we never said anything about "mistakes."  we never even said "aren't" or "sometimes" or "made" or "in" or "journalism" or "as" or "well."

we were 100% misquoted.  and not just some of our words.  all of our words.

after all is said and blogged, we are too smitten with ms. kagan's national attention to call her on it.  after all, when she mentioned us by name, our hit counter stood straight up.

but, still, when will the broadcast media ever get it right?

erratum:  upon further review, we find we were incorrect in the assesment of being 100% misquoted.  it turns out we did use the word "as" in the original email.

we apologize for the error.
posted by skippy at 4:00 PM | 0 comments

tidbits from the cookie
the kids at the daily cookie send us a couple of items:

this spinsanity article questioning the liberal use of the word "liberal" when describing the kerry/edwards ticket.

and a daily scribble musing about a candidate's wife, a reporter, and the words "shove it," versus a sitting vice president, a senator, and the words "go f^ck yourself."

posted by skippy at 3:54 PM | 0 comments

for whom chris bell tolls
markos zuniga, aka the daily kos, who is blogging from the convention, had a great interview/talk with rep. chris bell, the texas democrat who courageously brought charges against tom "bugman" delay up to the house ethics committee (we say courageously, because not only is delay a bully and a user of strong-arm techniques, but chris broke the "truce" between parties on ethics charges delay and gephardt wambled into existance five years ago).

some interesting tidbits:

i want the committee to investigate the matter. it's all i ask. if [delay] has nothing to hide, then the investigation will show that," bell said. his staff have put together a thorough package dealing with abuse of power (involving the faa and homeland security in an effort to track the fleeing killer d's during the redistricting saga), the use of prohibited corporate money for state legislative battles in texas, and the exchange of legislative favors for campaign contributions (westar's perks in the energy bill). and they could've added more...

last week, a decision on the complaint was delayed 45 days. many of us saw it as a bad sign, but bell is actually encouraged. "they could've swept it under the carpet. i take it as a positive sign that they are taking the complaint seriously."

interestingly, while some republicans initially threatened retaliatory ethics complaints, they were quickly swatted down by the gop leadership. and indeed, the parties agreed that frivolous complaints would not only be swatted down quickly, but their filers would suffer sanctions. a good sign indeed.
posted by skippy at 3:28 PM | 0 comments

fan mail from some flounders
let's open the ol' skippy mailbag!

zizka, over at seeing the forest, argues that the 911 commission report does not exonerate awol.

reader and contributer rose sends us this washpost piece by richard cohen, doubting awol's claims to be considering the 911 commission's recommendations.

and the kids over at the dc send us this slot machine where the jackpots are 10 reasons to stop bush.
posted by skippy at 9:31 AM | 14 comments

say hello
to the sarasota springs, new york, democratic committee.

[ed. note:  catchy title!]
posted by skippy at 9:15 AM | 0 comments

skippy keeps cnn honest 
we are pleased as punch that daryn kagan, responding to our email to her story about bloggers (and their inability to check facts), mentioned skippy's site by name this morning on cnn live today.

skippy himself was in the kitchen making coffee and trying to wake up, when mrs. skippy, in the living room, shouted out "skippy the bush kangaroo!  she just said 'skippy the bush kangaroo'!"

at first we assumed cnn was doing a piece about 60's australian children shows, but we walked in to hear ms. kagan talking about the email skippy sent her.  ms. kagan said that skippy pointed out that broadcast media often make mistakes, too, and ms. kagan conceded it was a point well taken.

we appreciate ms. kagan's good natured mea culpa, and are thrilled she would mention our site by name (the google searches for "skippy the bush kangaroo" have hit the roof in the last hour).

but we must point out that that's not really what we said in our email.

what we said was, where would ms. kagan put herself on the scale of "not checking facts" and "rumor mongering" in light of her own misinformation reporting about the white house's accusation that dave letterman edited together a phony tape of a kid falling asleep behind awol's speech, when in fact it was completely above-board, real, and true.

however, at least ms. kagan admits broadcast media can make mistakes, even though she cleverly refused to mention herself by name.

and in the spirit of that, we admit bloggers can be snarky!
posted by skippy at 8:46 AM | 0 comments

Monday, July 26, 2004

he was probably trying to chew gum at the same time
now this is getting ridiculous.

today awol fell off a bike for the second time in two months.  reuters:

during an 18-mile ride, as bikers often do, the president took a minor spill and scraped his knee," spokeswoman claire buchan said. she said the president did not require medical attention after the spill.

bush had a similar mountain bike mishap at his ranch in late may, when he toppled over while riding downhill on soil loosened by rainfall, and suffered minor cuts and abrasions.

last year, he toppled off a high-tech segway scooter at the bush family estate in kennebunkport, maine.
and don't forget when he fell down after choking on a pretzel. 

sounds to us like he actually fell off the wagon.
posted by skippy at 11:20 PM | 0 comments

what?  no brittney spears or toby keith?
thanks to eric alterman, we find this  latimes piece that tells us a ton of talent plans to tour the country this fall doing concerts to speak out against awol.

bruce springsteen, neil young, r.e.m., pearl jam and a deep roster of other rock stars will unite for politically minded concerts this fall that will give voice to dissatisfaction with the bush administration…

other artists expected to join the lineup include [steve] earle, the dave matthews band, the dixie chicks, bright eyes, ani difranco, death cab for cutie and international noise conspiracy. there also are reports that bob dylan and james taylor may be part of the bill.

the shows reportedly will benefit several organizations, chief among them moveon.org, the advocacy group that champions a liberal agenda through web-based grass-roots efforts.
with death cab for cutie on the bill, they'll draw thousands!

and now, it time for skippy's esoteric trivia guessing game!  who can correctly tell us the band who sang the song from whence 'death cab for cutie' got their name, and for a bonus, who can name the act that band was parodying in that song?
posted by skippy at 4:01 PM | 0 comments

say hello
to steve westly's convention blog.

steve is the california controller, and co-chair of california for kerry.   you can sign up for an online chat this wednesday with delegates at the convention on steve's campaign site.

 so says his online communications director, joel bush (no relation, joel tells us).
posted by skippy at 3:48 PM | 0 comments

take this reporter and shove it
mrs. ketchup stepped in it yesterday, as she was caught on tape telling a so-called jouranlist to "shove it" because he kept insisting on misrepresenting her words.

we personally think more people ought to tell the mainstream press to go cheney themselves when they massage the meanings and twist the context of what folks say. (right, tucker "jacuzzi lawyer" carlson?)

apparently, an op-ed editor (not even a reporter) from a richard mellon scaife conservative rag, the pittsburgh tribune review, asked ms. heinz kerry what she meant by "unamerican activities" in remarks she just gave about the campaign process.

only trouble is, she didn't say "unamerican activities" which is a loaded red-baiting mccarthy are you now or have you ever been kind of phrase.

she said "unamerican traits."  a whole different kettle of fish.  the pittsburg patriot news:

citing negative ads president bush's campaign is airing about her husband, she said, "we need to turn back some of the creeping un-pennsylvanian and sometimes un-american traits that are coming into some of our politics."

when pittsburgh tribune-review editorial page editor colin mcnickle asked which un-american activities she was talking about, heinz kerry accurately denied that she used the word "activities." then, despite taped versions of her remarks, she repeatedly denied she had said the word, "un-american."

"i didn't say that, i didn't say that word," she told mcnickle. an aide rushed her off down a rope line, but heinz kerry shoved back past her aide, and leaning forward, shook a finger at mcnickle and said, "shut up. shove it." 
heinz kerry (and the entire democratic party) have a history of tension with richard mellon the hunting of the president scaife.  so it is no surprise that she told an operative from his paper who was twisting her words where to go.

it could have been worse.  she could have told him to go cheney himself.

but the question is, how is the news media covering this incident?  well, if you google "heinz kerry shove it" you get 210 entries.

"heinz kerry shove it activities"  you get about three.

for instance, the reuters report of this incident says:

"we have to turn back some of the creeping, un-pennsylvanian and sometimes un-american traits that are coming into some of our politics," she said. morning television shows broadcast the remarks.

when a reporter from a conservative pennsylvania newspaper, the pittsburgh tribune-review, pressed heinz kerry what she had meant by "un-american" she said repeatedly, "no, i didn't say that, i didn't say that."

she then turned away only to return moments later. "you said something i didn't say, now shove it," she said, pointing her finger at the reporter.
gee, it sounds a lot worse than what the patriot news said, doesn't it? 

maybe you'd like to give reuters some feedback to the editor .  here's what we said:


in your reporting of teresa heinz kerry telling op-ed editor colin mcnickle (not a reporter as you stated) to "shove it,"  you left a couple of important points out of the story, making her sound like a rude woman.

first of all, mcnickle asked her what she meant by "unamerican activities" which is not what she said.

we are sure you are aware that the phrase "unamerican acitivities," with its ties to mccarthy red scare hearings of the 50's, is so much more incendiary than what ms. heinz kerry actually said.  for mr. mcnickle to twist her words and put new words in her mouth would be aggravating to anybody.

secondly, you failed to mention that the pittsburgh tribune review has often mischaracterized john kerry and in fact the entire democratic party, so no love is lost between the principals involved.

since you fail to provide context in your story, which could have been done in one more little paragraph, you are as guilty of twisting the facts as mr. mcnickle.

shove it.
posted by skippy at 12:16 PM | 0 comments

more americans get their news from millionaires than any other place
yeow!  thanks to buzzflash's democratic convention blog, we get this list of the annual salaries for various news anchors:

 according to the book "news flash" (2004), by bonnie anderson, here are examples of some of the salaries that would be at risk if mainstream television news personalities told us the truth:
peter jennings  $10- 11 million
dan rather $7 million
tom brokaw $7 -8 million
katie couric $12-15 million
paula zahn $2 million
yikes!  guess we won't be seeing katie at the wal-mart anytime soon.

and we really don't want to offer an opinion about the others, but if paula zahn is worth $2 million, we've got a bridge we can sell cnn!
posted by skippy at 12:07 PM | 0 comments

15 minutes of blogging fame
congrats to pandagon who had his web page prominently displayed on cnn this morning as daryn kagan discussed the phenomenon of bloggers at the convention, though ms. kagan seemed less than impressed concerning bloggers' record for "fact-checking." 

true, daryn, we're not as good as the national media when it comes to fact checking.  by the way, anybody find those wmd's yet?

addendum: over lunch one of our copy editors pointed out that it was daryn kagen who reported on air the white house claims that dave letterman had edited together a fake clip of a kid falling asleep during one of awol's speeches, when in fact it was a real, unedited clip, and cnn later claimed the white house never said anything about it to them.  fact checking, anyone?

here is the letter we sent to ms. kagan:

dear ms. kagan:

we watched your piece today on bloggers at the convention with great interest.

yet we detected from you a bit of, shall we call it, doubt, as to the veracity of what bloggers say.

perhaps it was when you mentioned that bloggers don't have to stick to "facts," insinuating that they spread rumors instead.

(no, it wasn't when you smirked and called the howard dean meeting with internet users a "love-fest."  we know you were just being playful).

here is what we want to know:

if bloggers are less worthy to be listened to because they don't "check facts," and instead "spread rumors," then where are you on that scale?

wasn't it you who reported on air that the white house claimed that david letterman edited a videotape of that young man falling asleep behind a george w. bush speech?

how hard did you check those facts?

and, as it turned out to be not true, could you not also be accused of "spreading rumors?"

we'd like to know.  please respond to our email address at ....
etc. etc.

posted by skippy at 9:02 AM | 1 comments

Sunday, July 25, 2004

bloggers in the news
not much news at the convention, apparently, because all the dead trees media are talking about our friends.

the nytimes starts off its piece on convention blogging with an anecdote about our bud talkleft receiving her blogging credentials.  it goes on to mention tom burka and markos zuniga.

but alas, no bush kangaroos!
posted by skippy at 8:31 PM | 0 comments

our hearts are in boston, though our beans are in la
though we are not technically blogging on the east coast this week, our words are getting out there via the blogtopian convention information superhiway (yes!  another pharse that we proudly coined!).

as you may or may not care, we are contributors to the american street, which, in turn, has several bloggers at the convention (including our buddy jeralyn merrit of talkleft, dave johnson of seeing the forest, and the very funny tom burka).

so, the amstreet is being aggregated, or syndicated, or what ever the geek term is, on various blogs about blogs about the convention.  aside from the dnc convention bloggers news aggregator, whom we mentioned earlier this weekend, the amstreet's posts will be seen on politics.feedster, another aggregator.

(we don't even know what an aggregator is.  we thought it was a crocadile that worked on a farm).

ergo, we will be posting a lot on the amstreet this week, just to make it look like we're in boston.

we love blogtopia!  and we love that we coined that phrase!
posted by skippy at 2:12 PM | 0 comments

don't fear the blogger - a skippy rant
david shaw's media matters column in sunday's latimes makes a quick mention of the fact that bloggers are at the convention this week.

after commenting that the networks are scaling back their coverage to three hours a week (when in the old days it used to be gavel to gavel), mr. shaw then spends one paragraph on blogging:

yes, i know. bloggers are the wave of the (not-too-distant) future, the unfiltered voice of true democracy, the one opportunity for the independent little guy to have a say in a world increasingly dominated by massive, nameless, multimedia conglomerates. but too many bloggers sound like a cross between a guy in a barroom and a guy on a soapbox. or maybe a guy on a soapbox in a barroom. this isn't to suggest that they don't have value. many do, whether as simple tip services or as the expression of intelligent, provocative, unique (if often stupefyingly solipsistic) viewpoints. but bloggers are more the cyberspace equivalent of columnists than reporters — opinion-mongers, not news-gatherers. and at a convention, i'm more interested in news and insight than i am in opinion and outrage.
well, where do we start?

yes, we're on a soap box in a bar room.  but if that's so, the national news media are the pr firm for the soap company, doing ads for the bar.

please, mr. shaw, give us an example of a national news "reporter," a "gatherer," who isn't an "opinion-mongerer."  cnn's william schneider, who gets air time continuously?  msnbc's lisa myers, who said she was fact-checking michael moore, when all she did was disagree?  anybody on fox news? 

no sir.  by choosing what facts to present to the american public, the national news media are themselves "opinion-mongerers."  it's been years, if not decades, since two sides to a story, conventions included, have been presented on the nightly news.

no wonder we bloggers are outraged.  apparently the exclusive club of news "reporters" can only be attended by the rich and well-connected, as opposed to those of us who want to hear as many facts as obtainable.

the news media is actually quite fearful of the blogging phenomenon.  not because we present opninion with our facts, because, after all, the news media does it daily, just far more subtly than we care to (they've got the bucks to hide their agenda so much more effectively than we).

no, it's because a huge part of the facts and opinions that bloggers are spreading around call into question the competency and indeed, very veracity of the mission statements of the news media.

they don't like us because we're holding them up to standards that they've let go of sometime in the last century.

anecdotal proof of our premise can be found in mr. shaw's own column.

he starts out by presenting two recent announcements about how the conventions will be covered:

one, the networks will cut back, and two, the bloggers will be there.

then, in the next 23 paragraphs he uses to analyze these two announcements, 22 of them are devoted to television cutting back.

1 paragraph, the (rather condescending) one we quoted above, is devoted to the bloggers.

out of sight, out of mind, eh, mr. shaw?
posted by skippy at 1:31 PM | 0 comments

crumbs from the cookie
the kids at the daily cookie have sent us a few tidbits:

in california, the sfchron points out that the execs at pg&e gave themselves $83 million worth of bonuses for handling their bankruptcy proceedings so well.

gail sheehy in mother jones points out the 911 commission report does not answer why awol was awol (along with rumsfeld and others) on that fateful morning.

and the asspress via truthout reports on the fracas in the michigan state legislature over one repubbb's comment about needing to "suppress the detroit" vote.
posted by skippy at 12:59 PM | 0 comments

say hello
to the buzz democratic convention blog, maintained by buzzflash.
posted by skippy at 10:09 AM | 0 comments

anybody remember a little place called iraq?
u.s. soldiers are still dying there.

two soldiers (and nine iraqis) were killed and one soldier wounded by a roadside bomb outside of samarra on friday, says the daily star.

one soldier died and one was wounded by explosive devices near bayji on saturday, says the multinational force newspage.

and, in a terrible tragedy not necessarily related to iraq, two soldiers, a husband and wife recently returned from the war, were found dead in their fort hood home in an apparent murder-suicide, says the asspress.
posted by skippy at 10:00 AM | 0 comments

must see tv
bloomberg is reporting that 6 out of 10 americans plan to watch kerry's acceptance speech on television.

now if those same 6 out of 10 amerians plan to vote for him...
posted by skippy at 9:51 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, July 24, 2004

say hello
to what would you say raymond.
posted by skippy at 11:00 PM | 0 comments

seems like the truth just blew by you
thanks to the kids at ampoljo, we find out the truth of what happened to linda ronstadt at the aladdin.  and the answer is:  nothing.

the tucson citizen had a telephone interview with their native daughter, who reported that she didn't even know the aladdin was mad at her until an hour after she had left the place:

singer linda ronstadt was not asked to leave a las vegas casino saturday after she endorsed michael moore's controversial film "fahrenheit 9/11," the tucson native told the tucson citizen wednesday.

and she was not booed off the stage by a concert crowd that had erupted in mayhem, she said.

speaking by phone from san francisco, ronstadt said that she left the aladdin resort & casino immediately after the concert and was not aware that the management was irritated by her comments until an hour after she left the show.

aladdin management declined to comment on the incident yesterday, referring the citizen to a statement issued monday…

the los angeles times and associated press reported that ronstadt was escorted off the property, not allowed to return to her room and booed off the stage and that people were throwing drinks by the close of her show.

none of those things happened, she said…

"this woman comes huffing up to me and says, ‘i'm afraid i can't let you leave.' i said, ‘what?' and she said, ‘you can't leave yet because the owner is on his way over here to talk to you.' " the singer said…

"i thought she was going to read me my miranda rights or make me start writing things on the blackboard," she said.

"i didn't know they were mad at me until we were gone, and i didn't know what they were mad at me about until about an hour later, when apparently they called up one of the people that was traveling with us and went, ‘she's talking about michael moore, and this is a place for entertainment, not politics,' " ronstadt said.
the article quotes ms. rondstadt as saying she had been dedicating the encorse, "desperado," to michael moore during the entire run of her tour, with mixed results, but people always start cheering once she actually sings the song.

she also said she was only trying to get people to think:

now i don't think somebody should take my word. because i'm a singer doesn't necessarily make me an expert in world politics, though i'm well read. but i think my obligation at this point is to try to steer people into just thinking."
funny how we didn't hear this version on the national news.
posted by skippy at 11:34 AM | 0 comments

one picture is worth a thousand blogs
congrats to markos moulitsas, aka the daily kos, who got his pic and a nice profile on cnn's write up of bloggers at the convention!

moulitsas, who will be blogging from boston, massachusetts, site of the democratic convention, works closely with the party. he says he has raised more than $400,000 for democratic candidates.

"i'm going to focus on what my audience really craves, which is information on senate and house races, and the chances democrats have in picking up particular races," he said.

and a big congrats to glenn reynolds of instapudit fame for also being pictured and quoted!

and even we got mentioned:

poynter's [howard] finberg says original reporting and timeliness keep readers coming back to blogs.

"but there is a lot of silliness out there, finberg said. "and there's lots of ranting out there. that's going to be the challenge for political bloggers and others, to be heard over the din."
silliness, ranting and din! three mentions! all right, we scored!
posted by skippy at 11:08 AM | 0 comments

quoth the blogger, "never more"
we don't know why, but ayn clouter has written about the sandy berger debacle in the style of edgar allen poe.

we won't be impressed until she discusses the plame affair as if h.p. lovecraft covered the story  ("wilson's eyes widened in horror.  'yellow cake?' he cried out, but nobody heard him as the rove covered his mouth, renering him mute...")
posted by skippy at 10:57 AM | 0 comments

dear mom, boston is great, so many beans...
thanks to our buds at the dc, we found the dem convention news aggregator for the bloggers who will be attending.

(of course, we aren't there, but only because we are on the opposite coast.  if it was held anywhere from tiajuana to port angeles, we would have hitch hiked our way and bring you our own view of the convention!)

however, it's a fine line up of bloggers, and we'll be checking this site daily.

posted by skippy at 10:44 AM | 0 comments

Friday, July 23, 2004

error in the skies
you may have heard about a recent incident (or, more precisely, lack of incident) on a northwest flight into los angeles from detroit, where a freelance writer, one annie jacobsen, was alarmed that some middle eastern men stood in the aisle and went to the bathroom.

after landing, she subsequently wrote a piece about it for womenswallstreet.com, describing her fear and trepidation at watching what possibly could be another repeat of 9/11.

it wasn't.  it turned out the middle eastern men were a syrian band on their way to a gig at a casino (perhaps to replace linda ronstadt).  and apparently they went to the bathroom because, well, they had to go to the bathroom.

but womenswallstreet.com got millions of hits the day ms. jacobsen's nail-biting account was put online.  as the ms. jacobsen reports in a follow-up piece on wws, then the media began calling, including nbc, abc, and others:

the following statement was made by daniel drezner, an assistant professor of political science at the university of chicago, on his website danieldrezner.com:

"i received a mass email linking to this disturbing first-person account by annie jacobsen... i can say that the e-mail sent to me and other bloggers was cc-ed to movers and shakers in the mediaspere -- bill keller, david ignatius, george will, anne applebaum, and nicholas d. kristoff. so they're certainly aware of the story... i'd like to see real journalists dig deeper into this."
wow!  george will and nicholas kristoff!  heavy hitters in mediatopia  (yes!  we coined that phrase!  but we're not proud of it).

we can understand why the media jumped all over this.  after all, they didn't have to do any investigating beyond clicking a few links.  it's much easier than walking to the fax machine to get the rnc talking points for the day.

so many questions needed to be answered.   ms. jacobsen put it succinctly:

then i spoke with a producer from abc.  she explained that she could not get dave adams, head of public affairs of the federal air marshal services (fam), on the phone.  so she asked me some of the questions that she had wanted to ask him:  where exactly did this band of 14 musicians play?  what was the name of the band?  who booked the band and what kind of music did they play?  did anyone follow up and actually witness these 14 men performing at their desert casino gig?  i had none of the answers, even though i had asked adams these exact questions myself when we spoke last week. the abc producer also asked me other questions which had crossed my mind after hanging up with adams.  did i know anything about their return flight on jetblue? did the men go back to syria? did i believe fam's story?
well....it turns out, the answers to those questions are, in order:  an arab music show at the sycuan resort and casino (near san diego), nour mehana and his backup band, booking agent james cullen, mehana is known as "the syrian wayne newton", yes, yes, yes, and it really doesn't matter if you believe it, lady, because apparently everybody else on board thought you were a trouble maker.

eric leondard of kfi news:

undercover federal air marshals on board a june 29 northwest airlines flight from detroit to lax identified themselves after a passenger, “overreacted,” to a group of middle-eastern men on board, federal officials and sources have told kfi news.

the passenger, later identified as annie jacobsen, was in danger of panicking other passengers and creating a larger problem on the plane, according to a source close to the secretive federal protective service…

“the lady was overreacting,” said the source. “a flight attendant was told to tell the passenger to calm down; that there were air marshals on the plane.”

the middle eastern men were identified by federal agents as a group of touring musicians travelling to a concert date at a casino, said air marshals spokesman dave adams.

“in concert with the flight crew, the decision was made to keep [the men] under surveillance since no terrorist or criminal acts were being perpetrated aboard the aircraft; they didn’t interfere with the flight crew,” adams said.

the air marshals did, however, check the bathrooms after the middle-eastern men had spent time inside, adams said.

fbi agents met the plane when it landed in los angeles and the men were questioned, and los angeles field office spokeswoman cathy viray said it’s significant the alarm on the flight came from a passenger.

jacobsen’s husband kevin told kfi news he approached a man he thought was an air marshal after the flight had landed.

“you made me nervous,” kevin said the air marshal told him.

“i was freaking out,” kevin replied.

“we don’t freak out in situations like this,” the air marshal responded.

federal agents later verified the musicians’ story.

“we followed up with the casino,” adams said. a supervisor verified they were playing a concert. a second federal law enforcement source said the concert itself was monitored by an agent.

“we also went to the hotel, determined they had checked into the hotel,” adams said. each of the men were checked through a series of databases and watch-lists with negative results, he said.

the source said the air marshals on the flight were partially concerned jacobsen’s actions could have been an effort by terrorists or attackers to create a disturbance on the plane to force the agents to identify themselves.

but you know what?  the truth is just not good enough for some people.   the desert sun tells us:

brendi rawlin, a spokesperson for womenswallstreet.com, said verifying the syrians were part of a musical band doesn’t completely explain their actions on the plane."they actually still believe this was a dry run, regardless of whether they were musicians," rawlin said, citing responses to the article and quotes attributed to adams. "if terrorists can learn to fly planes, couldn’t they learn to play instruments?"
posted by skippy at 3:44 PM | 0 comments

you mean a bigger bomb than anderson cooper's 360?
there are unsubstantiated rumors that a domestic terrorist group is plotting to attack the media during next week's dem convention.  bloomberg:

the federal bureau of investigation said it received ``unconfirmed information'' domestic terrorists might try to attack television news trucks in an attempt to disrupt the july 26-29 democratic national convention in boston, according to a statement from the fbi's boston office.

the terrorists, who weren't otherwise identified or described, might use explosives or incendiary devices to attack the trucks, which are used by correspondents, producers and camera crews in the field to report stories, the fbi said.
cbsnews tells us the steps being taken to make sure no freedom of speech is actually exercised next week:

the boston globe reports that a federal judge has upheld a plan by boston police to confine protesters to a small area surrounded by concrete barriers, fencing and razor wire.
gee, why would anyone be mad at the media?
posted by skippy at 11:58 AM | 34 comments

ask the bush twins!
jenna and barabar will be online to answer your questions (be nice now) on the official george bush election web site.   you must pre-register first.

they'll be talking between 2:30 and 3:30 real time.  pittsburglive.com has a preview of how it might go.
posted by skippy at 11:49 AM | 0 comments

desperate times call for desperate repubbbs
mark morford, writing in the sfchron, wonders how far the repubbbs will go to steal the election this time:

there is a sense of lawlessness, of desperation, among the republican party right now. it is no longer a question of simply which party will run the show or which platform will have the most influence on policy. rather, it's about a radically polarized worldview: are we going to be an aggressive macho globally disrespected isolationist nation that has burned all bridges and molested all foreign relationships and mocked all global sympathy, or are we, as the gop wants you to believe, going to become some liberal namby-pamby country where gays can marry each other and sexually deviant women can have abortions every day and everybody speaks french?

because there is no middle ground. this is the gop message. you are either with us, or you are a terrorist. you are either on the side of the "patriotic," pro-war party of wmd lies and homophobia and violence toward the global community, or you're a liberal hippie 'nam protester like that jerknose kerry.

what else could they do to guarantee a november win? what are they capable of, in the wake of 2000's stolen election and the rigging of the florida recounts and a sneering, despoiled supreme court? just about anything, really. 

 how about a nice october surprise of suddenly finding osama somewhere in a remote cave in afghanistan, as the news media receives an "anonymous" delivery of a big glossy photo of dubya himself standing outside said cave in a manly flight suit and lookin' all tough in his cowboy boots and confused smirk as he waves an american flag in one hand and holds osama by a chain in the other? what, too obvious? 

 well, then, maybe something a bit more devious? how about the thousands of
electronic, touch-screen voting machines now installed in the nation's polling places, most every one manufactured by corporations run by staunch bush-supporting republicans and many of which don't allow for recounts or paper trails or any means of double checking their completely programmable results. an obvious recipe for election rigging? is that katherine harris, giggling through her botox?
(thanks and a tip of the bush kangaroo hat to no more apples for the link!

posted by skippy at 11:34 AM | 0 comments

blogging around
billmon looks the wall st. journal's report on how the tax cuts created a two-tiered recovery.

eccentricity takes awol's defense of his security policy with a grain of salt.

in case anyone's going to be in boston next week (we can't imagine why),  the nation and the american prospect will be hosting a showing of "outfoxed," after which eric alterman will speak.

orcinus covered the seattle debut of "the hunting of the president," including guest like susan macdougal and gene lyons.

who knew?  the democratic veteran is the pope!  (at least, he says, his claims to be are as legitimate as those saying was no pattern of abuse at abu ghraib).

no more mister nice blog congratulates liz smith, of all people, for debunking a repubbb meme.

bear left wonders if america's chemsitry has changed.

unknown news brings us this headline:  county backs down in dildo battle!

needlenose gets to the good stuff in the 911 commission's report.  so does lambert at corrente.  ditto the side show.

we are ashamed to admit we hadn't heard about the passing of movie composer jerry goldsmith, a giant among film musicians.  thank goodness tbogg had.

the middle earth journal has pictures of giant sun spots.  ooooooohhhhhh!

suckful thinks barbara is prettier than jenna.    oooooooohhhhhh!
posted by skippy at 10:56 AM | 0 comments

justice delayed, the short version
the bosglobe has the most succinct explanation yet of exactly why tom delay is under investigation by the house ethics committee (if you don't count the obvious "because he's a scumbag" approach):

gerrymandering by itself is not illegal. in texas, however, delay used the clout of a political action committee backed by corporate money to secure the gop legislative majority required for the gerrymander. texas law forbids corporate donations in legislative races. when democratic lawmakers took a plane to oklahoma to prevent the legislature from voting on the plan, a delay aide asked the federal aviation administration to track it down. house standards of conduct forbid members from contacting federal agencies for political purposes. in addition, [rep. chris] bell contends, delay sought a campaign contribution from an energy company in exchange for favorable consideration of legislation.
posted by skippy at 8:54 AM | 0 comments

putting words in his mouth
the daily cookie sends us to this site:  george says...

you can write what awol says and pose him, too!
posted by skippy at 8:48 AM | 25 comments

Thursday, July 22, 2004

ani-mail call!
ani-mail!  ani-mail!  hot diggety dog, it's ani-mail!   (ok, so we like animal planet, so sue us).

norwegianity bemoans the dropping like flies of celebs for the dems: 

first they came for the dixie chicks, and i didn't speak up because i wasn't a musician and didn't like country music...

left is right found a website listing pro-choice republican congress women.

and here's your daily dose from the daily cookie

the asspress muses that f911 is making the gop nervous...

two senior republicans closely tied to the white house said the movie from director michael moore is seen as a political headache because it has reached beyond the democratic base. independents and gop-leaning voters are likely to be found sitting beside those set to revel in its depiction of a clueless president with questionable ties to the oil industry. ..
based on a record-breaking gross of $94 million through last weekend, theaters already have sold an estimated 12 million tickets to "fahrenheit 9/11." a gallup survey conducted july 8-11 said 8 percent of american adults had seen the film at that time, but that 18 percent still planned to see it at a theater and another 30 percent plan to see it on video. 

and 22 percent plan to steal a cable signal when it comes to hbo.

faux news talks about an upcoming network which is a conservative answer to mtv:

tun [the “u” network”] aims to challenge what it says is mtv's liberal bias as well as compete with the entertainment channel by including student-based programming and in-house productions co-produced by students like "the w show," a docu-series based on president bush’s 2004 campaign; "dinner and a debate"; at least two military-themed reality shows; and a "positive" spring break special called "make or break." 

gee whiz, wally, all the kids at the soda shop will be dancin' and stuff! 

and finally, reuters reports that free plastic surgery, including breast implants, is being offered to recruits by the u.s. military:
"anyone wearing a uniform is eligible," dr. bob lyons, chief of plastic surgery at brooke army medical center in san antonio told the magazine, which said soldiers needed the approval of their commanding officers to get the time off. ..
the magazine quoted an army spokeswoman as saying, "the surgeons have to have someone to practice on." 

be all that you can d-cup?
posted by skippy at 6:12 PM | 0 comments