s skippy the bush kangaroo: June 2004

skippy the bush kangaroo



Wednesday, June 30, 2004

who needs to see democracy when we've got last comic standing?

the folks at the dc brought this article from the hill to our attention. it seems that the major networks are not going to broadcast too much of the conventions this year:

the major tv networks are planning to cut coverage at the political conventions, ignoring major speeches early in the week.

the republican and democratic parties hope to nudge the networks into more live coverage, but broadcasters have concluded that there will be little news to report.

“we know we’re going to cover the nomination and the [nominee’s] speech,” said one network’s spokeswoman, but “we’re not sure about the first two days.”

previously, networks covered each day of the convention.

sen. john kerry (d-mass.) and president bush have already locked up their nominations, so the networks don’t feel obliged to cover the four-day windup to their acceptance speeches.

“they are very tightly choreographed events,” said the spokeswoman. “there is virtually no news that is made at the conventions any more.”

sources say each networks will likely reduce coverage from four years ago, even though coverage in 2000 already was scaled back from historic levels. networks could provide as little as an hour of live coverage on the penultimate nights (wednesdays), with perhaps two hours for the thursday finale.
posted by skippy at 9:04 PM | 0 comments

it's nice with dead trees media agrees with us

richard goldstein, writing in the village voice, hit many of the same points about lisa myers' "fact checking" of f911 that we did last week (part one and part two and part three):

nbc ran highly negative assessments of the film on both its nightly news and its cable channel msnbc. the network referred to its coverage as a "truth squad report." as part of this exposé, senior correspondent lisa myers targeted the hilarious moment in fahrenheit 9/11 when moore asks legislators to sign up their children to fight in iraq. myers noted that moore had failed to include comments by republican congressmember mark kennedy, who appears in that scene looking baffled. "my nephew had just gotten called into service and was told he's heading for afghanistan," kennedy told myers. "he [moore] didn't like that answer, so he didn't include it." moore had addressed this allegation in the stephanopoulos interview: "when we interviewed [kennedy], he didn't have any family members in afghanistan. . . . we released the transcript and put it on our website." but nbc made no mention of these readily available rebuttals. (a network spokesman declined to comment.)

note that none of the facts in fahrenheit 9/11 are in dispute. what abc and nbc called into question is moore's extrapolation and interpretation of information; in other words, his slant. but by using loaded phrases like "truth squad" and "fact or fiction," and by omitting moore's answers to key questions, these networks did the very thing they accuse him of doing. i would argue that this sort of distortion is far more dangerous in the context of a news broadcast than in a clearly opinionated film.
we always liked the village voice.


posted by skippy at 6:18 PM | 0 comments

moore stupid president tricks

the top ten list from last night's letterman show:

the top ten george w. bush complaints about fahrenheit 911

10. that actor who played the president was totally unconvincing

9. it oversimplified the way i stole the election

8. too many of them fancy college-boy words

7. if michael moore had waited a few months, he could have included the part where i get him deported

6. didn't have one of them hilarious monkeys who smoke cigarettes and gives people the finger

5. of all michael moore's accusations, only 97% are true

4. not sure - - i passed out after a piece of popcorn lodged in my windpipe

3. where the hell was spider-man?

2. couldn't hear most of the movie over cheney's foul mouth

1. i thought this was supposed to be about dodgeball
posted by skippy at 5:12 PM | 0 comments

winning the argument

we haven't given enough quality time to extolling the virtue's of judd legum's excellent new blog winning argument.

more than just posting rants and links to stories that make the rest of us rant and link, judd and his co-blogger rachel systematically lay out cogent, well-structured talking points, with cites, sources and links, that can be used to decontruct whatever current meme is being bandied about by the repubbbs. and done in a way that even dumb guys like the staff at skippy can understand and utilize.

excellent case in point: yesterday's debate by rachel about the so-called economic recovery.

1. the jobs being created are lower quality than those being lost. a widely cited cibc world markets report found that higher wage industries such as manufacturing, transportation, and natural resources are shedding jobs. since the current economic expansion began in 2001, the total number of jobs in higher wage sectors has decreased by 2%, while the number in lower wage sectors has increased by 1.2% …

2. real wages are still shrinking. although weekly wages appeared to grow .3% in the month of may, adjusting for inflation yields a wage decline of .4% in may, and.5% during the last year. on average, then, it has become more difficult for people to afford goods and services…

3. healthcare costs are rising. annual employer-based health insurance premiums have risen 37% for individuals and 41% for families since 2000. out-of-pocket costs associated with these plans are up 52% for individuals and 49% for families during the same period. almost 20% of household personal income now goes towards healthcare costs…

why they’re wrong:

cheerleaders of the recovery stress the recent positive trend in job creation as evidence that economic prosperity is returning to Americans across the socioeconomic spectrum. but neither the unemployment rate nor the number of “discouraged workers” who have given up on the job search is falling. employment and wages are the foundation of long-term economic health, and, until these numbers improve meaningfully, the recovery will continue to be incomplete.
we'd recommend a trip to winning argument every day.
posted by skippy at 4:46 PM | 0 comments

moon over my hammy

the rev. loon's crazy shenanigans are finally making their way into the mainstream press. dennis roddy in the pittsburg post-gazette:

the rev. sun myung moon's self-coronation at the dirksen senate office building before a dozen members of congress provides a window into the doings of a cult leader with a criminal record who is steadily buying his way into the mainstream of political life.

billed as an awards ceremony organized by the interreligious and international federation for world peace, the widely ignored march 23 gathering began unremarkably. members of congress, like roscoe bartlett, r-md., were handed "crown of peace" awards. u.s. rep. curt weldon, r-pa., gave a speech about his official visit to libya.

then, in an exquisitely bizarre finale, u.s. rep. danny davis, d-ill., carried a bejeweled crown to the front of the room. moon and his wife donned crowns and robes and moon told the crowd of doings in the spirit world where marx, lenin, hitler and stalin have learned from him.

"they have declared to all heaven and earth that rev. sun myung moon is none other than humanity's savior, messiah, returning lord and true parent," moon beamed. "this resolution has been announced on every corner of the globe."

the story in the next day's moon-owned washington times diplomatically ignored its founder's assertions of godhood. it took three months and some very strange photos of moon and his wife in crowns and robes to push the story out of the margins...

but as moon gets crazier, he also seems to get more access to power and his lieutenants become more skillful at husbanding it. he has a long history of seeking out the powerful, currying favor and looking like just another statesman, even after recklessly free-associating like a psychic on lsd...

twenty years ago, moon was sent to prison for 18 months for tax evasion. upon his release, he held another in his series of mass weddings for couples he had personally paired. ordinarily, this sort of behavior would scare off power-brokers in washington, but moon has instead refashioned himself as a billionaire donor with a few eccentric notions. his organization claims membership in the millions worldwide, a number more likely to fall somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 with at most 10,000 in the united states, according to hassan. but with an array of businesses on four continents, and an array of official-sounding organizations, moon purchases legitimacy.
anybody wonder why we worry about our government?
posted by skippy at 10:07 AM | 0 comments

you dropped a google bomb on me

we ran across a page complaining that when googling fahrenheit 911 or michael moore, the results produce more negative notices than positive:

why then does google’s main index consistently return specific sites in the #1 position that are most damaging to michael moore’s movie for literally dozens of search phrases?

why does search phrase after search phrase bring back the same manipulative messages that fahrenheit 9/11 bears absolutely no resemblance to reality? that michael moore is a liar and hates america?

taking this question to several search engine experts and marketing firms generated some very interesting professional opinions.

“the chances of these sites ranking so consistently high goes beyond logical probability”, stated one industry professional. “it counters the very nature by which google utilizes to sort and present all the data within the google database”.

“should be pretty obvious that google feels at some executive level that they have a personal stake in a bush reelection”, reflected another search engine strategist. “it looks to me like google is actively leveraging their enormous market share to help provide “damage control” to the bush administration.”


now, we're not convinced that the execs at google (if there are such a thing) are programming their search engine to produce specific results. we wouldn't be surprised if wing nuts haven't googlebombed the bad reviews.

so, let's return the favor. as readers of this space know, f911 has garnered a "solid majority" (as the networks say about any number over 53% that awol gets) of positive reviews.

look at the rotten tomato page. 84% positive.

so, let's make that page, with an url of http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/Fahrenheit911-1133649/into the link for fahrenheit 911.

fahrenheit 911!

fahrenheit 911!

fahrenheit 911!

fahrenheit 911!

fahrenheit 911!

link it where ever you go! spread it everywhere!
posted by skippy at 9:48 AM | 0 comments

let's do it like they do on the discovery channel

sentinel online columnist francis volpe has decided the administration belongs on the animal planet network:

leahy replied with his own perceived republican offenses in regard to judicial nominations, at which point cheney said ... well, i can't tell you because of sentinel policy regarding vulgar language. suffice it to say that you see the crucial word's literal meaning acted out between males and females several times a day on the animal planet network.

in a delicious irony, this was the same day the senate passed the "defense of decency" act 99-1. since cheney only gets to break tie votes, we know that lonely vote against was not his...

it would be too easy to point out that cheney was one-half of the electoral ticket that campaigned on a promise to "restore honor and dignity to the white house." but it is pertinent to note that congress is constantly passing bills and holding hearings on the issue of vulgarity in the mass media.

so it would seem these folks are automatically holding themselves to a higher standard, and the president of the senate as much as anyone needs to adhere to it.

besides, anybody whose first name is dick really ought to be more careful about slinging around vulgar insults.
francis also delves into the jack ryan affair, it's a column worth reading.



posted by skippy at 9:41 AM | 0 comments

haiku? geshundteit!

our friends at the daily cookie sent skippy a bush birthday haiku:

president dubya
fed halliburton too well
now crawford awaits
remember, awol's birthday is july 6.

posted by skippy at 9:30 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

say hello

to middle earth journal.
posted by skippy at 10:50 PM | 0 comments

now we know why he stays in those undisclosed locations

the fans love the yankees, but hate cheney. at tonight's yanks-sox game, from the sfchron:

cheney, who visited both clubhouses after batting practice, watched part of the game from the box of yankees owner george steinbrenner and part from a first-row seat next to the yankees dugout, where he sat between new york gov. george pataki and former new york city mayor rudolph giuliani. cheney was booed when he was shown on the right-field videoboard during the seventh-inning stretch.
take him out of the ball game!

addendum: espn also confirms it. and here's some more fun with google!
posted by skippy at 7:55 PM | 0 comments

yet another quote of the day

from matt tabbai in the nypress, yet again provided by atrios:

michael moore may be an ass, and impossible to like as a public figure, and a little loose with the facts, and greedy, and a shameless panderer. but he wouldn't be necessary if even one percent of the rest of us [journalists] had any balls at all.
posted by skippy at 6:43 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to pooponpolitics: analyze this... and to andrew smith's homepage and rodger a. payne's blog.
posted by skippy at 4:35 PM | 0 comments

military town loves f911

the fayetteville online brings us this account of how f911 is doing in that mostly military town in north carolina:

this has broken all of our past records," said nasim kuenzel, an owner of the cameo art house theatre. "the movie that i thought would make us hardly any money - i never thought it would break all the records."

both showings sold out friday at the cameo, the only theater in fayetteville to carry the michael moore film. a midnight showing added at the last minute friday brought in 60 more people.

saturday and sunday were just as busy, kuenzel said, with nearly 1,000 tickets sold over the weekend. as many as 75 percent of moviegoers were soldiers or military families, kuenzel said…

"i think it's going to open my eyes a little, and that worries me," [movie goer and military wife natalie] sorton said before taking her seat.

lea barnes, a republican, seemed giddy as she and a friend bought tickets monday.

"i'm not pleased at all about the way things are going" with the war, barnes said. "i trust michael moore. he can be out there a bit, but he's for the common man."

negative reactions have been few, kuenzel said. the theater received three calls and two letters in opposition of carrying the film, she said. no one has protested, though some people handed out anti-war fliers on the street friday evening.
posted by skippy at 4:22 PM | 0 comments

why work hard when a master can do it so effortlessly

we had been working on a rough draft of a rant about our opinion as to why the media is so angry at f911. luckily, before we did too much hard work, we found that atrios put it so much more succinctly and gracefully than we ever could have:

but, anyway, the reason michael moore's movie is so popular is mostly because he's presenting a certain point of view which is almost entirely missing from mainstream media. basically, it's 3 things - 1) bush isn't such a great leader, 2) it's fair to question bush's motives, and 3) the iraq war was a really bad idea. now, whatever the rightness or wrongness of those perspectives, they aren't being articulated in the mainstream.
exactly! the mainstream media only have themselves to blame for moore's success. if they had even just mentioned the stories, positions and ideas that moore touches on in his film, then america wouldn't feel that there was a dearth of wide-ranged perspective in the marketplace of ideas.

but since the only media position seen is "our fearless leader, god's gift to the world," then people are starving for another viewpoint.

moore, to be frank, is not our favorite commentator, nor favorite film maker, nor even particularly an amusing talk show guest. but he is the only one who dares to say that debating policy is not only not unamerican, but rather the very basis of what america is all about.

thank god we don't have to work hard on that essay now.

posted by skippy at 4:04 PM | 0 comments

scotus? it nearly killed us!

no, we have no idea what the headline means, either. but talkleft provides us with house dem leader nancy pelosi's statement about yesterday's decisions by the supremes concerning the ability of "enemy combatants" to argue their day in court:

the supreme court's decisions in the hamdi case and the case involving the guantanamo detainees are triumphs for the rule of law. the notion that the president has the unchallengeable authority to define the circumstances of a person's detention, especially that of a united states citizen, is contrary to our nation's history and experience...

the right to counsel and the right to contest government actions in court are among our most cherished liberties. we cannot, and we must not, allow our civil liberties contained in the constitution to become a casualty in the war on terrorism.
talkleft also gives us a partial line-up of the speakers at the upcoming dem convention.
posted by skippy at 3:50 PM | 0 comments

stupid president tricks

as much as michael moore is doing the left's cause a big favor with his movie, let's not forget david letterman, who nightly points out the feebleness of this administration. for instance, the "iraqi handover timeline" from last night:

9:00 AM - president bush congratulates "iraqi president what's-his-name and prime minister blah-blah-blah."
9:30 AM - paul bremer explains the reason the transfer took place two days early - "i have yankee tickets."
10:00 AM - iraqi officials inspect damage, refuse to return united states' security deposit.
10:30 AM - new tourist slogan announced: "iraq - why the hell would you want to come here?"
11:00 AM - inspired by president bush, interim prime minister ayad allawi leaves for a month-long vacation.
11:30 AM - in its first official act, interim iraqi government sends congratulatory note to newly engaged britney spears
Noon - dedication of the sean penn turnpike
12:15 PM - every member of the government automatically goes on halliburton payroll.
12:30 PM - president bush asks president ghazi al-yawer to change his name to something easier to pronounce like "jeb."
2:00 PM - interim prime minister ayad allawi makes a pass at his first intern.
3:00 PM - bush goes to see "fahrenheit 9/11." enjoys a good laugh at what a dolt he is.
4:00 PM - donald rumsfeld provides united states ground commanders with plans to invade and conquer the new iraq.
6:00 PM - president bush begins process of handing over control of the united states to john kerry.
and speaking of nightly, tonight's guests are ambassador joe wilson (yellowcakegate) and keira knightly, the dish from pirates of the carribean!
posted by skippy at 12:30 PM | 0 comments

quote of the day

from the nytimes' paul krugman, via atrios:

let's say the obvious. by making iraq a playground for right-wing economic theorists, an employment agency for friends and family, and a source of lucrative contracts for corporate donors, the administration did terrorist recruiters a very big favor.
posted by skippy at 12:23 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to fountains of angst, who reminds us of the daily howler's take on gwen ifill's myersing* of f911:

but what were moore’s “allegations?” and what were those “different conclusions? despite calling the movie “over the top,” brownstein didn’t bother to say. meanwhile, clarke said on may 25 that he was the person who okayed those saudi flights (he said the opposite back in march). so according to brownstein, we’re supposed to be surprised when the man who okayed the flights says the flights were a-ok! of course, ifill—loving facts though she does—made no attempt to lay out the facts of this debate either. all we got was a current establishment script: moore’s film is over the top.

*myersing (noun, from the verb, to myers): to avoid debating facts immediately after stating you are going to debate the facts, (from lisa myers "fact-checking" of f911).

[ed.note: yes! we coined that phrase, too!]
posted by skippy at 12:05 PM | 0 comments

this is the army mr. kerry

here's the transcript of the army times interview with john kerry. notice how he plays to his audience:

q: what you’re describing isn’t terribly different from what the army is doing now.

kerry: no. it’s talked about but they haven’t had the leadership that has actually moved especially into that transformation. there have been some good ideas on the table; i don’t pretend to reinvent the wheel or that everything has to be new. i think some of rumsfeld’s proposals have been reasonable and thoughtful, but if anything, there’s been a hollowing out of the military once again, because of an arrogance and an ideological rigidity that disregarded and disrespected professional military advice. i think they’ve cast a pall on the professional military. i think these guys have behaved so overbearingly.

q: you’re talking about [former army chief of staff gen.] eric shinseki here.

kerry: no, it is beyond shinseki, although shinseki is the most visible example of it. there are countless examples from friends and others of the way people are shunted aside and proposals are shouted down and people are not, in fact, engaged in a legitimate process by which you really think through consequences and needs. i think the civilian military leadership has to be extraordinarily respectful of the professional leadership that is there through years of schooling and training and warfighting and deployments and experience. i have a lot of respect for those voices and i listen to them. i am proud to have a lot of them advising me now, as a matter of fact. people like [former joint chiefs chairman army gen. john] shalikashvili and [former u.s. pacific command chief adm. charles] larson.

posted by skippy at 10:44 AM | 0 comments

moore smileys

abcnews tells us michael moore will be on the tavis smiley show tuesday night. among other things he will give us this bit of information:

...his scathing anti-president bush documentary "fahrenheit 9/11" ranked no. 1 in each state that voted for bush in the 2000 election.
if you like audio, here's npr's piece by kim masters on the attempts to keep theater owners from booking the flick.
posted by skippy at 10:30 AM | 0 comments

don't see f911 in atlanta

according to one letter writer to the atlanjoucon (remember to register) seeing f911 was not a pleasant experience in atlanta, because of the police presence:

at a screening of "fahrenheit 9/11," armed police officers took our ticket stubs. when i asked why they were there, they said they are present at every sold-out show -- but i have never seen them there.

at the end, as the credits were beginning to roll, the film was stopped and replaced by advertisements. also, the theater manager was infuriated that people were passing out voter registration forms and had the police stop them.

to me, the atmosphere in the theater reeked of fear. fear of a majority, fear of people expressing their opinions -- fears that we, as americans, should not have to deal with.

max martin
decatur
posted by skippy at 10:05 AM | 0 comments

Monday, June 28, 2004

mister mojo has risen higher than anyone else

box office mojo says that f911 has grossed higher per screen average than any film in 2004, and get this now...including the passion of the christ!

fahrenheit's $27,558 per theater average ranks as the second highest all time for a wide release (adjusting for ticket price inflation knocks it down to no. 11) and the best of 2004, ahead of the passion of the christ's $27,554 and shrek 2's $25,951. however, they were super-saturation releases playing at 3,043 and 4,163 theaters respectively -- the lower the theater count, the easier it is to have a high average as the release isn't diluted by less populous locations with lower ticket prices.
that's right! the beatles are bigger than god!
posted by skippy at 5:49 PM | 0 comments

because i never heard it he obviously never said it

atrios and fair.org are both pointing out that on the howard kurtz whizbang & funtime tv show, howie was talking about the media's fixation with the rumor that vince foster's suicide might actually have been murder. he ran a clip where bill clinton mentioned rush limbaugh as one of those spreading the rumor.

then laura "i'm not the little house on the prairie chick" ingraham insisted that limbaugh never did no such thing:

ingraham: i never heard rush limbaugh say anything of the like. and i'm certain he didn't say that.
well, atrios has a couple of quotes to the contrary from limbaugh's tv show, and fair has this from rush's radio program (on march 10, 1994):

limbaugh: ok, folks, i think i got enough information here to tell you about the contents of this fax that i got. brace yourselves. this fax contains information that i have just been told will appear in a newsletter to morgan stanley sales personnel this afternoon.... what it is is a bit of news which says...there's a washington consulting firm that has scheduled the release of a report that will appear, it will be published, that claims that vince foster was murdered in an apartment owned by hillary clinton, and the body was then taken to fort marcy park.
gee, why not email laura and let her know what rush said, and when he said it?



posted by skippy at 3:15 PM | 0 comments

the supremes accidentally uphold human rights

the supreme court issued three decisions today, mostly ruling against awol and his band of merry thugs, in relation to the rights of "enemy combatants" to be able to sue for their

not being lawyers, we went to our favorite lawyer in blogtopia (y!wctp!) talkleft, who in turn, sent us to the goldstein & howe blog scotus for the skinny on the supremes:

this is based upon a very cursory first read, but it appears to me that hamdi and padilla in conjunction are a huge loss for the government...the government, recall, acknowledged that detention of these persons was necessary and proper principally for purposes of interrogating them for intelligence reasons. (hence the denial of counsel, etc.; see the jacoby declaration in padilla.)

in padilla, it appears that only four justices reach (or even discuss) the question of the lawfulness of the detention. justice stevens writes that "the non-detention act, 18 u. s. c. â§4001(a), prohibits -- and the authorization for use of military force joint resolution, 115 stat. 224, adopted on september 18, 2001, does not authorize -- the protracted, incommunicado detention of american citizens arrested in the united states"...

in hamdi, four justices, including justice scalia, conclude that hamdi's detention itself is unlawful -- a result that hamdi himself barely argued for (his briefs being more focused on the opportunity to challenge his enemy-combatant status).
basically, after all the lawyer hoo-ha, it comes down to this: what the government has been doing for the past three years, declaring someone to be an "enemy combatant" and thusly not in possession of any rights, is illegal.

like we needed the supreme court to tell us that. but apparently awol did.

here's the nytimes for those not versed in legaleze:

the supreme court ruled today that people being held by the united states as enemy combatants can challenge their detention in american courts — the court's most important statement in decades on the balance between personal liberties and national security.

the justices declared their findings in three rulings, two of them involving american citizens and the other addressing the status of foreigners being held at the guantánamo bay naval base in cuba. taken together, they were a significant setback for the bush administration's approach to the campaign against terrorism that began on sept. 11, 2001.

"due process demands that a citizen held in the united states as an enemy combatant be given a meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis for that detention before a neutral decisionmaker," an 8-to-1 majority held in the case of yaser esam hamdi, a saudi-born united states citizen seized in afghanistan in 2001. only justice clarence thomas dissented from the basic outlines of the decision

justice sandra day o'connor wrote that the campaign against terrorism notwithstanding, "a state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens."
this blog has been following the plight of mr. hamdi since the beginning, and we are happy for today's ruling.

and here's a link to the reuters version of today's events, just because we love the headline: u.s. high court deals blow to bush.
posted by skippy at 12:06 PM | 0 comments

us avoids terrorism; hands over power to iraqis when nobody's looking

the coalition forces transferred power to make speeches in front of cameras over to the interim iraqi government two days early, surprising pundits who weren't scheduled to drone on and on about the hand over until tuesday. reuters:

the united states handed sovereignty to an interim iraqi government two days earlier than expected monday, aiming to forestall guerrilla attacks with a secretive ceremony formally ending 14 months of occupation.

the low-key handover ceremony was over before it was announced and came as a surprise to ordinary iraqis. its hurried and secret nature appeared to reflect fears guerrillas could stage a spectacular attack on the scheduled date of june 30.
let's hope the repubbbs don't try a similar thing with the november election!!
posted by skippy at 11:52 AM | 0 comments

we have a winner!

madkane has a winner for her "think up another name for food stamps contest."

the winner gets $10 in paypal money! oboy!
posted by skippy at 9:17 AM | 0 comments

house of bush-wacked again

craig unger, author of the house of bush house of saud, sends us a letter linking to his site where he's posted the on-going wrangling with newsweek magazine, which continues to misrepresent his book as well as michael moore's f911 flick.

(michael isikoff, you will remember, was seen on the show joe scarborough's dead intern debating, and we use the word in the loosest possible sense, with chris lehane about this very point). craig says:

in "under the hot lights," michael isikoff (link) attacks fahrenheit 9/11 by asserting that "craig unger appears, claiming that bin laden family members were never interviewed by the fbi." the article then goes on to say that this assertion is false.

unfortunately for isikoff, i make no such statement in the movie. i do report--accurately-- that the bin ladens and other saudis were whisked out of the country without being subjected to a serious investigation...

it would be one thing if isikoff had simply made an honest error; but clearly that is not the case...instead, he attributes claims to me that are simply not in the movie.
newsweek responds, standing by their report, citing the 911 commission which said the interviews of the saudis were "detailed." ergo, the way f911 represents the flights out were misleading, ergo, we suppose michael moore is a big fat liar.
posted by skippy at 9:01 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, June 27, 2004

freep harris poll interactive

bottom right hand side: "what kind of effect do you think the documentary film, fahrenheit 9/11, will have on public opinion toward the bush administration?"

(found thanks to gdoyle's daily kos diary)

addendum: while you're at it, why not rate the film at the nytimes?
posted by skippy at 9:47 PM | 0 comments

the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about at all

we are sure michael moore is especially appreciating oscar wilde's bon mot these days.

we are also sure that this letter in the uber-conservative chronwatch is indicative of several opinions forming over the next few weeks:

i've always considered myself a patriot and have followed your postings on the website. i, too, am concerned about people misusing popular media to spread lies and disrespect everything that makes america such a fine nation. your concern over michael moore's movie ''fahrenheit 9/11'' peaked my curiosity--i've always thought he oversimplified everything and stretches the facts to fit his agenda. but i completely differ from you in your belief that the movie should be boycotted, censored, or prevented from being shown. how do you square that opinion with freedom of speech or freedom of the press, two of the foundations of our constitution? what kind of ''patriotism'' is that? sounds more like repression to me, the types of things that dictators like stalin or castro resort to. if we are patriots, then we believe that our country is strong enough to absorb a multitude of opinons and not be torn apart…

i went and saw this film over the weekend. i figured if i'm going to take a stance against it, i should at least know what i oppose. i think anything less than this is just ignorance. well, i was stunned. i was prepared to see a lot of left-wing hysteria and simple-mindedness, with no regard to the big picture. what i wasn't prepared to see was how bumbling and inadequte our president seemed whenever he was asked tough questions. i was trying to give him every benefit of the doubt, but it was very troubling to see him not able to express himself without a script. and the fact the he had no reaction at all when told about the planes hitting the world trade center--what on earth is happening in that man's mind? anything at all? what kind of leader is that? should he be in charge of 130,000 soldier's lives? i was very dismayed by the lack of leadership, or competence displayed by president bush and his cabinet…

i hated bill clinton for his dishonesty, but i should hold george bush to the same high standard. it sure seems that he is either very unqualified or very dishonest. i never knew much vice president cheney, and was quite shocked to hear how much money his former companies are making in profit from this war in iraq. what kind of morals do these people have, to make corporations rich off the blood of young boys and girls getting killed in iraq?
of course, the editor of chronwatch accuses the letter-writer of buying "the moore message hook, line and sinker." which actually is good for our side. if seeing the film and making up your own mind is buying the moore message, then by all means, we've got a message for sale.
posted by skippy at 9:39 PM | 0 comments

quote of the week

the quote of the week comes by way of clarence page writing in the chitrib, who says marsall macluhan once opined, "propaganda ends where dialogue begins."

feel free to quote that to anybody who calls f911 "propaganda."

mr. page goes on to say:

michael moore's documentaries like "roger & me" and "bowling for columbine" are hits precisely because they are not objective. a lot of conservative radio talk-show hosts could say the same. like the radio talkers, moore's movies are the big-screen version of what op-ed columnists or editorial cartoonists do in newspapers.

pollsters tell me that people tune in to radio conservatives to be entertained and to be informed, but more often than not, to be hardened even more firmly in their views. the preacher preaches, the choir listens.

all of which makes it even more amusing to me that so many people are trying desperately hard to put a muzzle on moore's little movie, simply because they don't like its politics. most of them seem to be people who usually complain the loudest about liberal "political correctness."

first walt disney co. blocked its miramax division from distributing the film. disney did not want to offend its family-oriented audience with divisive politics, a spokesman said at the time. yet disney doesn't appear to mind broadcasting conservative voices like rush limbaugh and sean hannity on its radio stations like wabc-am in new york.
posted by skippy at 9:36 PM | 0 comments

f911: the point at which the box office catches fire

it's official: fahrenheit 911 is the #1 movie in america, beating out dodge ball and white chicks. e!online:

michael moore's clip package assault on president bush was even hotter than anticipated, earning a searing $21.8 million at only 868 sites, for a blockbuster $25,115 per screen average…

the audience was almost 50/50 male/female and the highest demographic was 25-34 year olds. anticipating that excellent word of mouth will carry over, the distributors plan to add hundreds more screens next week, although they will be going up against the anticipated summer blockbuster spider-man 2…

however making the disney duck-out look particularly bad business is the fact that the mouse house's ultra expensive family adventure around the world in eighty days, which only opened an abysmal ninth last week, dropped out of the top ten. falling 44 percent to eleventh place, it earned just $4.2 million from a $1,520 per screen average to brings its currently gross to a woeful $18.2 million.
posted by skippy at 9:29 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to omblog, who is reporting that dale earnhardt, jr. has advised his pit crew to go see f911, and this has the freepers in an uproar (they are apparently threatening to ruin his career like they ruined the dixie chicks. first, we'd like to see them try, as earnhardt is one of the more, if not most, drivers on the nascar circuit, and second, we don't think the dixie chicks' careers are particularly ruined).
posted by skippy at 9:21 PM | 0 comments

no blue dress, but quite a stain

one of the diaries at the dkos brings us a link to this atlantic monthly editorial: bush's monica moment.

in his autobiography, my life, previewed on 60 minutes, clinton calls his affair with monica lewinsky a "terrible moral error" that sprang from the "darkest part" of his "inner life." lying about it under oath got him impeached by a republican house led by newt gingrich, who was having an affair with a younger aide at the time, just as the voluble clinton scourge, william bennett, rested from his indignations with the las vegas chapter of the moral majority…

moore stipples his film with damning (and in some cases doubtful) statistics—for example, that mr. bush spent 42 percent of the first eight months of his presidency on vacation—and vituperation. but, [nytimes writer philip] shenon concludes, while "mr. bush's slow, hesitant reaction to the disastrous news has never been a secret,…seeing the actual footage, with the minutes ticking by, may prove more damaging to the white house than all the statistics in the world."

that moment exposes bush's character. it reveals what his press conferences proclaim: his incapacity. if he were george w. smith, what job would he be qualified for?

…moore stipples his film with damning (and in some cases doubtful) statistics—for example, that mr. bush spent 42 percent of the first eight months of his presidency on vacation—and vituperation. but, shenon concludes, while "mr. bush's slow, hesitant reaction to the disastrous news has never been a secret,…seeing the actual footage, with the minutes ticking by, may prove more damaging to the white house than all the statistics in the world."

that moment exposes bush's character. it reveals what his press conferences proclaim: his incapacity. if he were george w. smith, what job would he be qualified for?
posted by skippy at 1:34 PM | 0 comments

"you've got graft!"

here's an email we received from a friend:

how to start your week with a positive outlook

1. open a new file in your pc
2. name it "george w. bush"
3. send it to the trash
4. empty the trash
5. your pc will ask you: "do you really want to get rid of george w. bush?"
6. answer calmly, "yes," and press the mouse button firmly.


posted by skippy at 11:11 AM | 0 comments

mister mojo rising

f911 rules, according to box office mojo!
posted by skippy at 10:32 AM | 0 comments

say hello

to bartcop e! entertainment!

we've read bartcop since even before we knew what a blog was, so we are quite happy to have been linked by the bartcop crew!
posted by skippy at 10:04 AM | 0 comments

the 411 on 911

here are some letters to michael mooreresponding to fahrenheit 911. we provide a few excerpts, so you get the gist:

...my friends and i rushed to the theater to find crowds, camera crews and some disgruntled onlookers. the theater was packed, and the filmed received an uninterrupted 5-minute standing ovation at its conclusion...

...they were showing the film every hour on the hour in two different theaters, and were still selling out...

...when i went to pick up my tickets, there was a line of 200 people waiting outside because there wasn't enough room in the theater to fit everybody...

...i even got my republican father a ticket to see the movie in orange county. needless to say after he saw the movie he now plans to vote against the bush. he has voted republican since nixon"...

...pleased to report that the 4 p.m. show was full. we were in the 3rd row back. the theatre is showing the film hourly, between two theatre rooms. sold out all the way through until tomorrow...

...you sold out five performances. ticket taker told us in his 2 years there no show had ever sold out even one performance...

...three generations went, my father (veteran), my 12 year old daughter, and me...

...i was in a sold out theatre of mostly veterans and senior citizens. the theatre was so full they had to of exceeded the fire code. the amount of people standing through out the whole movie was roughly around a third of the amount of people sitting. including 70+ year old people...

...the right-wing attack machine was wrong. it wasn't left-leaning nut jobs in the theatre. i saw families, couples, americans of all ages (from kids prime for the draft, to an elderly couple that hobbled in on walkers). at the end of the film, you received a hearty round of applause from this cross section of the country. something my father said as we left the theatre. he was on the national mall last week, and a college student asked him to sign a petition to remove the president from office. my father thought that was a rude thing to ask and declined to sign. leaving the theatre today, he was ready to sign...

...this is a largely republican rural county in northwest nj, and the lines to see the early show were out the door. but the best part is, the crowd at this showing was so large that the theatre cancelled shrek 2 next door and showed 9/11 instead!...
unfortunately, it wasn't all democracy in action and free speech for everyone, as we could have predicted. at a mall in florida:

when we left the theater, we saw several members of various progressive groups handing out flyers. however, the off duty police officer (the florida state highway patrol) told them that they were not allowed to hand out flyers in front of the theater and they had to go across the driveway to the plaza parking lot (which they did). when someone asked the officer for her name and badge number, she said her name was florida state highway patrol and walked away. then as a group of us were talking in the plaza parking lot, the other off duty police officers (pinellas county sheriff) came over and said that we needed to leave. they said that the management has asked them to instruct us to leave. what management? the theater appreciated our business and showed the movie so we would be there. someone asked for their names and badge numbers and they said they would provide that information (which they never did). one of the group had a camera and pulled it out to take a picture of the police officers, but naturally, they had a call across the parking lot and batted away in their cars. i guess this is part of the patriot act that congress didn't read.
posted by skippy at 9:51 AM | 0 comments

open thread

possible topic of conversation: white chicks vs. dodge ball.
posted by skippy at 1:09 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, June 26, 2004

mojo risin

box office mojo predicts f911 will be the top grossing movie this weekend.
posted by skippy at 11:25 PM | 0 comments

a blog is a terrible thing to waste

thanks to the sideshow, we find out that hesiod at counterspin has ted barlow disease!
posted by skippy at 11:17 PM | 0 comments

looks like the goose step is on the other foot

sure, the self-righteous wing whined when a couple of kids entered moveon.org's contest with a home-made film where awol morphed into hitler.

the way everyone screamed, you'd think al gore had called for open worship of satan in public schools.

but now, apparently, it's ok for awol's official campaign website to include a pic of everyone's favorite 20th century despot with a group of democrats.

once again, it's obvious that an action is only intolerable if the left does it.

thanks to wanted: a vast left-wing conspiracy we found the dnc's petition to demand that awol take the offending ad down off its website. please go sign it.

we've got a feeling the white house will just tell the dems to go f*ck themselves.
posted by skippy at 11:07 PM | 0 comments

freep the denver post!

how many stars would you give f911? go vote!
posted by skippy at 6:09 PM | 0 comments

laura!!!!!!! laurrrrr-aaaaaa!!!!

imagine awol as stanley kowalski.

addendum: thanks to the kids at us4clark, here's an image capture of mr. t-shirt.
posted by skippy at 3:50 PM | 0 comments

there's 8 mill disney won't be seeing

the asspress tells us f911 made more than 8 million dollars on its opening day. (you may need to register for the san jose mercury news).

"fahrenheit 9/11," michael moore's assault on president bush, took in $8.2 million to $8.4 million in its first day, positioning it as the weekend's no. 1 film, its distributors said saturday.
based on friday's numbers, "fahrenheit 9/11" was on track for an opening weekend that would surpass the $21.6 million total gross of moore's "bowling for columbine," his 2002 film that earned him an academy award for best documentary...

friday grosses for "fahrenheit 9/11" ran about $1.5 million ahead of its closest competitor, the wayans brothers' comedy "white chicks." the performance of "fahrenheit 9/11" was even more remarkable considering it played in just 868 theaters, fewer than a third the number for "white chicks."
[ed. note: !!!!!!!]

"fahrenheit 9/11" benefited from a flurry of praise and condemnation. supporters mobilized liberal-minded audiences to see it over opening weekend to counter efforts by some right-wing groups to discredit the film.

"it always helps when there's a group out there that says, `don't go see this movie. it's bad for you,'" said jonathan sehring, president of ifc films, one of the film's distributors.
kids, don't go see that film!
posted by skippy at 3:31 PM | 0 comments

at last! peace in our time!

as if we needed any other proof that the current contingent of repubbb thuggery are simply reactionaries living in the past, the upi brings us this headline:

bush declares peace with europe
posted by skippy at 3:18 PM | 0 comments

moore less for disney

reuters is telling us disney's decision to not distribute f911 may come with a price tag...a very big one:

michael moore's gain will be walt disney co.'s lost opportunity when anti-bush film "fahrenheit 9/11" opens this weekend, distributed by rivals after disney shunned the controversial movie.

but many disney investors said that from a financial perspective they were not concerned by the company's decision.

showings of the film, which mocks president bush and criticizes his policy in iraq, have sold out in new york theaters and the movie is set to open on 868 screens on friday, a record for a documentary.

lions gate entertainment corp., which is distributing the movie with ifc films, saw its stock climb about 3.5 percent on friday. ifc is co-owned by a division of media major viacom inc.

investors in disney, which dwarfs lions gate, generally were not worried about chief executive michael eisner's decision to avoid the political movie, which filmmaker moore hopes will help unseat bush in the november election...

"i think they are going to regret it, and it is sort of satisfying to see corporate cowardice come with a price tag," said eli pariser, campaign organizer of moveon.org, which has 115,000 members pledged to see the film.


posted by skippy at 12:25 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to the yeekyakairforce blog.
posted by skippy at 12:11 PM | 0 comments

other views on myers' view on moore's view

we must certainly thank our buddy atrios for linking to our screeds on lisa myers' self-proclaimed "fact-checking" of f911. atrios also reminds us just how objective and integrity-filled a journalist lisa myers is. he links us to the article in bob somerby's daily howler about myers editing audio tapes of the hubbells discussing hillary clinton to create the illusion that hillary was guilty of some crime (and she never bothered to tell the audience the tapes were edited).

also a shout out to the fair.org media page, and the gang at ampoljo, both of whom mention (along with atrios) public opinion's fine deconstruction of ms. myers' inept "fact-checking."

too bad none of these folks work for msnbc.
posted by skippy at 11:45 AM | 0 comments

Friday, June 25, 2004

let's be fair to msnbc (even though they're not fair to us)

in spite of lisa myers' "fact checking" (minus any facts) on that "news" channel, msnbc online did manage to report that most reviews of fahrenheit 9/11 are favorable:

while saying moore’s latest work can fairly be classified as propaganda critics generally praised the film as an artfully rendered critique of president bush, his war on terror and the u.s.-led invasion of iraq.

“unabashedly partisan, wearing its determination to bring about political change on its sleeve, ‘fahrenheit’ can be nit-picked and second-guessed, but it can’t be ignored,” wrote kenneth turan of the los angeles times…

in a similar vein, new york times critic a.o. scott calls moore “a credit to the republic” and writes of the movie: “it is worth seeing, debating and thinking about, regardless of your political allegiances.”

one of the more surprisingly glowing reviews came from fox news.com columnist roger friedman, who called the film “a tribute to patriotism” and “a really brilliant piece of work...that members of all political parties should see without fail.”
rotten tomatoes averages 84% positive notices for the flick!
posted by skippy at 9:52 PM | 0 comments

man featured in f911 visited by fbi agents for expressing his opinions

the oakland tribune reports about a bay area man whose heated conversation lead to being called on by the fbi:

barry reingold, 62, of oakland, after a not-so-public debate in his gym's locker room, had an unusual encounter with two fbi agents, and the incident is recounted in "9/11."

on thursday in his apartment near lake merritt, reingold talked about the experience. two weeks after the sept. 11, 2001, attacks, reingold said, he had been working out at a 24 hour fitness health club near where he used to work…

"somebody said, 'osama bin laden is a real a------ for killing those people.' and i said, 'that's true it's a terrible thing, but bin laden will never be as big an a------ as bush, who has bombed all over the world for oil,'" reingold recounted…

two weeks later, reingold was taking a nap in his apartment when the outside bell rang. reingold buzzed in the visitors, and a moment later there were two fbi agents at his door…

reingold, a retired telephone company employee, said they asked him if he had been talking about president bush, osama bin laden and oil production…the agents reminded him he was living in the united states, and although he had a right to his opinion, they would have to take a report.

"i thanked them very much and told them our conversation was over and stepped back into my apartment and closed the door," he said.

reingold said the visit from federal agents felt like intimidation and possibly a violation of his rights, so he reported the incident to the national lawyers guild and american civil liberties union.
mr. reingold is going to wait a couple of weeks to see the film, because, apparently, according to the tribune, "several theaters are reporting sell-outs" of showing of the movie.
posted by skippy at 8:53 PM | 0 comments

good thing this wasn't in florida

since fahrenheit 911 is already surrounded in controversy, the main street cinemas in yuma, arizona (a red state) weren't sure whether to book the film or not.

so, they put it to an online vote, asking the yuma citizenry their opinions.

the answer? a resounding yes!

the yuma sun reports:

the theater has a poll on its web site asking, "do you want to see michael moore's 'fahrenheit 9/11'?" residents have the option of voting “yes” or “no."

as of thursday morning, the overwhelming response was in favor of the movie, with 80 percent voting yes.

cassandra salapatas-metz, co-owner of the theater, said that thus far there appears to be a lot of interest in the film. she said people are not only going online to find out when or if the theater will be getting the documentary, but they are also calling the theater...

more than 1, 000 people voted yes in that poll, and the movie came to yuma, salapatas-metz is hoping the same thing will happen with "fahrenheit 9/11."

the web site "gives us an idea of what the people in yuma want to see," salapatas-metz said. she also said the results from polls on the site are a great way to convey interest to film distribution companies.

"the web site has been a real asset to the theater," she said. "i'm very pleased with it."

if yumans decide they want to see the movie, and if the theater can secure the film, salapatas-metz said it would play for a minimum of two weeks — or longer, depending on ticket sales.
too bad msnbc didn't poll us to see whether lisa myers should keep her job or not!
posted by skippy at 7:49 PM | 0 comments

why doesn't msnbc start worrying about tv news being factual? - part 3

[ed. note: ok, we screwed up. this is part 3. part one immediately follows, so go read that one first. then part 2, right after that. then come back up here and read part 3. then do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around.]

this one is our favorite. in "fact checking" fahrenheit 911, lisa myers makes a big deal about this "fact":

michael moore shows plenty of images of iraqi children suffering and hurt during and after the invasion. but, and get this...he doesn't show iraqi children suffering and hurt by saddam hussein! and that's a fact! lisa checked it!!

we are sorry, but when did "fact-checking" morph into "nedra picklering"?

the definition of "fact checking" (sorry, lisa, but since you used a dictionary to question moore's product, we assume the right to do the same with, or rather, "to," you). from the editorial services guide of the bay area editors' forum:

a fact checker does not make editorial changes, but simply verifies the accuracy of content as specified by the publisher. one client may request that the fact checker verify all statements, while another client may request the verification of addresses and trademarks only. the publisher specifies the degree of accuracy required.
so, nedra...er, we mean, lisa, the question is, was moore's statement of facts about the iraqi children's condition since the invasion correct? or not?

sure, he didn't talk about how they were during saddam hussein's regime. he also didn't talk about how they were under the third dynasty of ur, either. if moore's facts about the kids' conditions now are correct, you cannot say they aren't.

[ed. note: sure she can. she works for msnbc]

even worse, ms. myers takes to task moore's portrayl, or more accurately, showing footage, of awol sitting in the school room for seven minutes after the first plane hit the tower.

ms. myer thinks this is not a fact, because, as she said, the democratic (heavens! it must be true!) head of the 911 commission said he was glad awol stayed calm for those seven minutes.

ok. fine. good. we're glad he stayed calm, too. we just wish he that he had done something!! something besides reading my pet goat! and does moore.

ms. myers, see above. is moore lying when he shows footage (shot by the teacher in the classroom, not by moore) of awol sitting there?

lisa, lisa, lisa, the documentary has a point of view. that's a given. even the cinema verite documentaries like hospital and 7up have points of view (see our first post on this subject above).

you set out to question moore's facts, yet you dealt very little with any facts at all. when you addressed the few facts you did question, you failed to mention the reality of how moore presented them, instead relying on repubbb talking points.

lisa, how can you call yourself a journalist?

[ed. note: see our note above]
posted by skippy at 3:56 PM | 0 comments

why doesn't msnbc start worrying about tv news being factual?

we just finished watching msnbc's "fact checker" lisa myers give her estimation of fahrenheit 911 (which is very unfortunate, because earler we had just finished lunch).

ms. myers started out saying she was going to examine the facts and how michael moore portrayed them in his film. but, being a "reporter" in the 21st century, she of course didn't actually deal with the facts, but the spin.

our main complaint was that she said that they (we suppose meaning "msnbc's interns") checked the word "documentary" in several dictionaries, and all the definitions mentioned "objective" and "based on facts."

great. too bad they didn't bother to check actual books about film-making. as students of the cinema, the staff at skippy international have known since theater 101 in high school that there are different kinds of documentaries with different degrees of points of view implicit in each.

we agree wtih mediaknowall.com, which bills itself as "a webguide for film students," when it says

certainly, any images that are edited cannot claim to be wholly factual, they are the result of choices made by the photographer on the other end of the lens...such texts are often constructed from a particular moral or political perspective, and cannot therefore claim to be objective. other texts purport simply to record an event, although decisions made in post-production mean that actuality is edited, re-sequenced and artificially framed. the documentary maker generally establishes a thesis before starting the construction of their text, and the process of documentary-making can be simply the ratification of their idea. perhaps, to misquote eco, the objectivity of the text lies not in the origin but the destination?
the american studies program at the university of virginia, tells us that michael renov, in his book theorizing documentary, says

there are actually four distinct although sometimes overlapping purposes of documentary film:

• to record, reveal, or preserve
• to persuade or promote
• to analyze or interrogate
• to express
take a gander at the documentary film television & video page of definitions of the term "documentary" (from various reference guides and textbooks) and do a search for the word "objective." you won't find it.

finally, cinemasense tells us

the people and events on a documentary are real, i.e. the characters portray themselves (or tell about themselves) in events that are happening or have happened. yet all films are more or less fiction, pieces of composition, and their author's interpretation of the reality.

a documentary film is not the truth and it should not even aim to the one and only truth. rather, it should open possibilities for interpretation and viewpoints to the period that it is depicting.
we will attempt to deal with her so-called fact-checking in later posts.
posted by skippy at 3:52 PM | 0 comments

why doesn't msnbc start worrying about tv news being factual? part 2

one of, if not the only, talking point the repubbbs are screaming about concerining f911 (including ms. lisa meyer, the msnbc "fact checker" - see post above), is the idea that michael moore "says" that the white house allowed members of the bin laden family to fly out of the country on the morning of sept. 11.

it turns out, they say, that the flights were vetted by none other than richard clarke, main opponent to awol's terrorism policies. ergo, if the guy who hates the white house said ok, let the saudi's go, michael moore must be a liar! right?

except, of course, they themselves are lying. first, let's deal with the point that moore claims the saudi's left on 9/11. chris lehane, on scarborough's dead intern (sorry, we mean, "country") says about the film:

first of all, we do not say that flights took off when federal airspace was closed… we make very clear that the flights didn‘t take off until after september 13, which is when federal airspace was opened.

and the saudis that michael is talking about, there were 140 saudis on those flights, 142. only 30 of them were interviewed in a way that was completely inconsistent with usual fbi and justice department protocol. in fact, even in the 9/11 commission report that michael is referring to, it raises some issues about the length of those interviews and the fact that the vast majority of folks who left the country after this terrible tragedy were not interviewed.

there‘s an fbi agent in the movie who personally talks about the fact that this was not consistent with the practices that should have been employed.
of course, that's not good enough for scarborough and michael isikoff, who is one of the main proponents of the "moore is lying about the time frame so he's a nutjob neener neener neener" argument. they insisted because chris wouldn't provide them with an entire transcript of the film he was lying!!! who needs to address the facts when you can obsfucate with minutae?

secondly, as to the point that clarke vetted the flights. chris penny at efilmcritic takes on chris hitchens about this:

it's true that clarke says he authorized the saudi planes to leave us airspace. but clarke worked not for the fbi, who desperately wanted to interview those family members (as interviews with agents in f9/11 point out), rather he worked for george bush's white house. as for the 9/11 commission having nothing to complain about in that respect, hitchens might be better served to note that the commission has said that their only mandate is to investigate the cause of 9/11 - not the subsequent actions that may have helped capture (or free) the organizers of the attack. that means that such questions are outside their arena of interest and are a waste of their time.

but then, to admit such wouldn't serve hitchens' real point here - that michael moore is on the other side of the political spectrum from he and that means he must be smeared at all costs, so that republicans can point to hitchens' article and say "see? the movie is all crap! it's lies! lies, i tell you!"
and, vanity fair, last september, discusses craig "don't call me felix" unger's interview with clarke for his book house of bush, house of saud:

the saudis’ planes took off from or landed in los angeles, washington, d.c., houston, cleveland, orlando, tampa, lexington, kentucky—and newark and boston, both of which had been points of origin for the september 11 attacks. “we were in the midst of the worst terrorist act in history,” tom kinton, director of aviation at boston’s logan airport, tells unger, “and here we were seeing an evacuation of the bin ladens! . . . i wanted to go to the highest authorities in washington. this was a call for them. but this was not just some mystery flight dropping into logan. it had been to three major airports already, and we were the last stop. it was known. the federal authorities knew what it was doing. and we were told to let it come.”

“i asked [the f.b.i.] to make sure that no one inappropriate was leaving,” clarke tells unger. clarke assumed the f.b.i. had vetted the bin ladens prior to september 11. “i have no idea if they did a good job. i’m not in any position to second-guess the f.b.i.”
so, though moore never said what the right is saying he said, and though lisa myers or joe "is that dead body out of my office yet" scarborough never actually addresses the fact that clarke was the cog in the gears turning wildly on 911 (some how it's ok that awol ignored several memos about bin laden, but since clarke said, "let 'em go if you talked to them," he's the guy responsible...sure) then moore is obviously a liar, do you hear! he lies! the movie lies! it's all lies!

lisa myers did not actually "check" any "facts." again.
posted by skippy at 2:40 PM | 0 comments

letters...we get letters

left is right muses that we don't have government by the people, especially in the case of the environmental protetction program fudging the numbers.

spadehammer of hammerdown! looks over the progress we've made in iraq.

the kids at bluegrass roots are taking on their repubbb counterblogs, where civility loses ground to sensationalism.
posted by skippy at 10:09 AM | 0 comments

7 of 9's number one 86'd

the asspress reports that illinois senate candidate jack ryan is dropping out of the race in light of sex-club allegations made by his former wife, actress jeri "now this is what spandex was invented for" ryan.

gop sources say republican jack ryan of illinois intends to abandon his senate candidacy amid sex club allegations.

jack ryan, the party's candidate to replace retiring sen. peter fitzgerald, r-ill., had been politically battered since the release late monday of divorce records alleging he took his ex-wife, actress jeri lynn ryan, to sex clubs and tried to pressure her to perform sex acts while others watched.

in washington, members of the state's gop congressional delegation met with house speaker dennis hastert yesterday to discuss ryan's candidacy.
cnn television is reporting as of this writing that mr. ryan has formerly withdrawn from the race.
posted by skippy at 9:49 AM | 0 comments

tune in tonight

our blogging buddy bill scher of liberal oasis will be a guest on the majority report radio.

you could also check out bill's guest column for eric alterman in the center for american progress.
posted by skippy at 8:51 AM | 0 comments

say hello

to oveis and melpster.
posted by skippy at 8:50 AM | 0 comments

open thread

possible topic of conversation: which is a greater goal for fahrenheit 911 to beat at the box office: passion of the christ or white chicks?
posted by skippy at 8:45 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, June 24, 2004

le guide français des termes utilisés dans le blogtopia! oui! nous avons inventé cette expression!

grâce à la fréquence de verre de lecteur, nous avons trouvé ce grand lexique français de toutes les choses blogging!

si vous avez besoin d'une traduction, nous recommandons les poissons de babel!
posted by skippy at 6:41 PM | 0 comments

guest content from the remarkable kevin hayden

for reasons unknown to all but the cybergods, posting on the american street is now impossible.

therefore, the redoubtable kevin hayden has graciously offered some blogging goodness for our humble site:

the slate review of f911

latimes: the american bar association says our justice system is overloaded, too costly and broken

more from the latimes: did the pakistani nuke proliferator give syria the bomb?
posted by skippy at 6:22 PM | 0 comments

and he didn't mean 'fallujah'

reuters is reporting that vice president dick cheney used the "f word" on the senate floor in response to senator patrick leahy's remarks about halliburton.

u.s. vice president dick cheney has blurted out the "f word" at democratic senator patrick leahy of vermont during a heated exchange on the senate floor, according to congressional aides.

the incident occurred on tuesday in a terse discussion between the two that touched on politics, religion and money, with cheney finally telling leahy to "f--- off" or "go f--- yourself," the aides said on thursday..

according to congressional aides, leahy said hello to cheney following the taking of the senate group photo on the floor of the chamber.

cheney, who is president of the senate, then ripped into leahy for the democratic senator's criticism this week of alleged war profiteering in iraq by halliburton, the oil services company that cheney once ran...

during their exchange, leahy noted that republicans had accused democrats of being anti-catholic because they are opposed to some of president bush's anti-abortion judges, the aides said.

that's when cheney unloaded with the "f-bomb," aides said.
while skippy has often used even stronger words when talking about the vice president's current moonlighting gig, it has always been in privte, and mrs. skippy has always pretty much read him the riot act afterwards.

but for the sitting vice president to do so on the floor of the senate is pretty shocking, at least to anyone who thought the current administration was going to bring dignity to the white house.
posted by skippy at 3:50 PM | 0 comments

we need health care

anna of annatopia brings our attention to a new foundation she is helping to create, hope for health care.

arising out of her friend's tragic loss of her newborn due to lack of health care, anna tells us

in hope's name, we are pledging to work towards universal health care so that no mother ever has to experience what kimmy went through last night. millions of americans are uninsured, and people are literally dying every day because they have to choose between buying groceries or buying medicine. if we are to secure "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", then we must secure our health. please consider visiting the site - soon to reside at hopeforhealthcare.com - and signing the pledge.
please read anna's post and visit the site.
posted by skippy at 3:39 PM | 0 comments

moore news

the fec is being asked by some self-righteous wingnuts to decide if ads for f911 violate federal election laws. the asspress reports:

the conservative group citizens united is asking federal election officials to see if t-v ads for moore's anti-bush documentary "fahrenheit 9/11" violate campaign finance law…

citizens united says ads for the movie break laws regulating when commercials that are paid for with corporate money may feature a presidential candidate. they're banned from airing 30 days before a candidate's nominating conventions and 60 days before the november election.

moore says he'll fight the complaint, and some lawmakers are promising to help him. a ruling might not come for months.
if you want to help, you can call the fec yourself at 800 424-9530 and let them know your opinion!

(phone number courtesy of mitch2k2 at the dkos!)

but meanwhile, the sfchron muses that f911 might be very influential on young voters...and that could make the difference:

"it's not often you get a movie that's focused on a major election year issue ... and 'fahrenheit 9/11' is getting at the issues that young people care about -- in this case, the war in iraq and the war on terrorism,'' said jonathan zaff, president of "18 to 35,'' a nonpartisan organization based in washington, d.c., that tries to encourage first-time voters.

zaff said about one-third of younger voters are registered as nonpartisan -- a considerably higher percentage than among older voters. the themes of moore's film may particularly hit home with such viewers because "around 80 percent of frontline men and women (serving in iraq) are under the age of 35'' -- and they represent the lion's share of casualties there, he said.
the chron goes on to discuss the behind-the-scenes legal publicity and battles the film is enduring:

gop operatives and organizations, including a california-based group, move america forward, have begun lobbying efforts against moore's work. a key organizer, former gop assemblyman howard kaloogian, calls the film "propaganda'' and campaign material disguised as a documentary -- and has posted e-mail addresses of theater owners to urge supporters to demand they not air the film.

that has prompted opponents to complain that kaloogian's group is merely a front for the republican party and to point out that it is being helped by russo marsh and rogers, a gop lobbying and strategy company that has represented a number of conservative causes and candidates.

but filmmaker moore also has tapped leading democratic operatives to lobby for his cause. he has hired democratic top guns chris lehane and mark fabiani -- both former staffers for former president bill clinton whose expertise in crisis communications has earned them the nickname "masters of disaster.'' they will try to rebut charges against the film from the right, while former new york gov. mario cuomo was hired to fight the movie's r rating, which restricts people younger than 17 from seeing it without a parent or adult guardian. a pg-13 rating would allow teens to see it on their own.
posted by skippy at 12:01 PM | 0 comments

bad day in iraq

at least 85 (and by some reports 89) people have been killed (inlcuding three american soldiers), and hundreds more wounded, in a series of coordinated attacks throughout iraq today. reuters:

at least 85 people have died and more than 320 were wounded in iraq as insurgents launched bloody assaults in five cities to disrupt next week's formal handover to iraqi rule.

three u.s. soldiers were among those killed on thursday in bold assaults on iraqi security forces in baghdad and the mainly sunni muslim cities of baquba, falluja, ramadi and mosul.

a group led by jordanian militant abu musab zarqawi, who washington says has links to al qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement on an islamist web site.
the bosglobe:

most of the casualties were in mosul, where 44 people were killed and 216 were injured in attacks that included a string of car bombs. clashes also occurred in baqouba, ramadi, baghdad and other areas.

the large number of attacks, mostly directed at iraqi security services, was a clear sign of just how powerful the insurgency in iraq remains and could be the start of a new push to torpedo wednesday's transfer of sovereignty to an interim transitional government.

iraqi police entrusted to take a larger role in security after the handover of power appeared outgunned and unable to hold positions in most of the cities under fire. american troops raced to offer support, using aircraft, tanks and helicopters to repel the guerillas.
posted by skippy at 11:43 AM | 0 comments

happy st. jean baptiste day from the bush economic team

much to everyone's dismay but nobody's surprise, initial claims for unemployment rose.

actually, we rather mis-spoke. experts (read: guys with jobs) predicted a rise, but only of 4,000 or so. the actual number was more than triple what was expected. bloomberg:

the number of americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits rose to 349,000 last week, the first full business week for government offices this month, a labor department report showed.

first-time jobless applications rose by 13,000 the department said in washington. claims had been 336,000 the week before, when some unemployment offices closed for a day to mark the funeral of former president ronald reagan.

the four-week moving average of claims, a less volatile measure, rose 1,000 to 344,250...

government offices had been closed the monday of the week ended june 5 because of the national memorial day holiday, and on friday the week ended june 12 for the national day of mourning.

economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 340,000 from the previously reported 336,000 for the week ended june 11, the median of 36 forecasts in a bloomberg news survey. estimates ranged from 328,000 to 360,000.

the number of people continuing to collect state jobless benefits rose by 75,000 to 2.967 million in the week ended june 12 from a revised 2.892 million a week earlier. the statistics are reported with a one-week lag to initial claims.
posted by skippy at 11:32 AM | 0 comments

the ol' skippy mailbag

nathan newman points out that much if not most of the problems in iraq stem from the lack of jobs.

thumb fisked paul harvey (eeewwwwwwww!!) at seeing the forest.
posted by skippy at 9:33 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

say hello

to michael berube online and that good night.
posted by skippy at 7:36 PM | 0 comments

f911 breaks ny box office records

reuters tells us fahrenheit 911 broke two previous single-day box office records at two theaters in new york:

director michael moore's controversial documentary "fahrenheit 9/11" turned on the box office heat in its first day in theaters breaking single-day records at the two new york city theaters where it played.

the movie, which aims a critical eye at president bush and his prosecution of the war in iraq, sold $49,000 worth of tickets at the loew's village 7 theater, beating the venue's single-day record of $43,435 held by 1997's "men in black," according to distributors lions gate films and ifc films.

at the lincoln plaza theater, "fahrenheit 9/11" took in more than $30,000 to top the $24,013 set by "crouching tiger, hidden dragon" in 2000.

a spokesman for lions gate films said the company debuted the movie in the two theaters to help build good word-of-mouth -- friend telling friend -- publicity ahead of the wide debut on friday when it plays in 868 theaters in all 50 states.
usatoady likes it:

among the most powerful moments: interviews with once gung-ho military personnel now uncertain about their iraqi mission. a segment with a grieving mother whose son was killed in the war could appear calculated. but she is a willing participant in her own exploitation, choosing to share her pain in service of a broader message: the inhumanity of the war. fahrenheit's graphic war footage may work more on our emotions than our intellect, but that doesn't make the film propaganda.

the stickier part is moore's depiction of bush as unscrupulous and self-serving. the first president bush has branded the film a "vicious personal attack" on his son. if any of moore's facts prove wrong, then perhaps he'll have a point. but most of fahrenheit's information comes from verifiable sources.
as does the bosglobe:

"fahrenheit" is worth the wait, but it should come with a label: "chew before swallowing." there are no new smoking guns here. instead, moore gives us the case against george w. bush, a fat compendium of previously reported crimes, errors, sins, and grievances delivered in the director's patented tone of vaudevillian social outrage. and it works for much of the film; indeed, the first two-thirds of "fahrenheit" are chunky with damning information and imagery.
posted by skippy at 6:54 PM | 0 comments

did we say going down? we meant, going up, sorry

oops! turned out the administration was 180 degrees wrong when they said in a report last year that terrorism activities were going down, therefore proving that we were winning the "war on terra."

actually, the numbers were wrong, and terror incidents increased, says the bosglobe:

state department officials yesterday blamed inaccurate data from the cia, poor proofreading, and an "antiquated" database for errors in an annual terrorism report released earlier this year that incorrectly claimed that the number of international terrorist attacks had declined to their lowest point in three decades.

a revised report issued yesterday by the department shows that the total number of terrorist attacks rose slightly in 2003 and that the number of "significant attacks" had climbed to the highest it has been in 20 years…

the earlier report, which was released in april, had been used by senior bush administration officials to show progress in the war on terrorism. deputy secretary of state richard l. armitage declared in april that the report provided "clear evidence that we are prevailing in this fight"...

the new report counts 208 acts of terror last year. but the previous report said the number of attacks had declined to 190, down from 198 in 2002 and 346 in 2001. the 2003 figure would have been the lowest in 34 years and would have reflected a 45 percent drop since 2001, bush's first year as president.

the previous report also inaccurately stated that 307 people died in attacks last year, down from 725 in 2002. in fact, more than double that number, 625, were killed, according to the new report.

the revised report said a total of 3,646 people were wounded worldwide in terrorist attacks last year, a sharp increase from the 2,013 wounded in 2002. the previous report put the number of wounded last year at 1,593.
sorry, did we say decreasing? we meant, doubling. but they both start with the letter 'd,' so you can see where the confusion comes from.
posted by skippy at 3:03 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to deborama.
posted by skippy at 3:00 PM | 0 comments

you mean war might not equal peace, and slavery isn't the same as freedom?

this daily kos diary from maryscottoconnor gives us (courtesy of the john kerry for president blog) 21 reasons repubbbs seem confused. a sampling:

1. jesus loves you, but shares your deep hatred of homosexuals and hillary clinton.

2. the united states should get out of the united nations, but our highest national priority is enforcing u. n. resolutions against iraq.

3. "standing tall for america" means firing your workers and moving their jobs to india.

4. a woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all humankind without regulation.

5. being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you are a conservative radio host. then it s an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.
16 more, just as good! go read!


posted by skippy at 2:51 PM | 0 comments

fan mail from some flounders

madkane has her entry for the "rename the food stamp program" contest.

the dc wants us to check out gunnerplace, a blog from the heart of baghdad.
posted by skippy at 11:10 AM | 0 comments

no fact zone

judd legum of the progress report sends us this action alert:

during his appearance last night on "the factor," bill o'reilly asked john podesta for "one example where i smeared somebody." podesta noted that o'reilly compared al franken to nazi propagandist joseph goebbels. o'reilly – displaying his notorious command for the facts – denied it, saying "i did not refer to him [al franken] as joseph goebbels, that was michael moore." o'reilly accused podesta of misstating "what i said." apparently, o'reilly is having a little trouble with his short term memory. on his june 10 show, o'reilly said "joseph goebbels was the minister of propaganda for the nazi regime and whose very famous quote was, 'if you tell a lie long enough, it becomes the truth'...and that's what stuart smalley [o'reilly refers to al franken as stuart smalley, franken's played on saturday night live], and michael moore and all of these guys do." e-mail bill o'reilly at oreilly@foxnews.com and tell him to correct the record on his show tonight lest he destroy the sanctity of the "no spin zone."
posted by skippy at 11:03 AM | 0 comments