• America, America, God Shed His Grace on Thee

    Ladies and Gentlemen, your United States of America: Even as the young Afghan man was dying before them, his American jailers continued to torment him. The prisoner, a slight, 22-year-old taxi driver known only as Dilawar, was hauled from his cell at the detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan, at around 2 a.m. to answer questions about a rocket attack on an American base. When he arrived in the interrogation room, an interpreter who was present said, his legs were bouncing uncontrollably in the plastic chair and his hands were numb. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days. Your land of the free: Mr. Dilawar asked for a drink of water, and one of the two interrogators, Specialist Joshua R. Claus, 21, picked up a large plastic bottle. But first he punched a hole in the bottom, the interpreter said, so as the prisoner fumbled weakly with the cap, the water poured out over his orange prison scrubs. The soldier then grabbed the bottle...
  • With Friends Like These

    In something of an odd move, NARAL has given Lincoln Chafee their early endorsement , and their first of the 2006 campaign. Stupid stupid stupid. They've been missing the forest throughout the race, driving Langevin, who could've unseated Chafee (and was stomping him in the polls), out of the running, and now offering Lincoln their preemptive stamp of approval. Assumedly, this is to prove their independence from the party. But you know what? NARAL isn't actually independent from the party because choice, in reality, isn't actually independent from the Democrats. That's why Langevin couldn't have done much harm. A Democratic majority is going to protect the right to choose even if one or two of its members are uncomfortable with the concept. A Republican majority is going to work feverishly to abrogate it even if one or two of its members, like Lincoln, support choice. I see where NARAL's coming from on this, but by cutting pro-life Democrats off at the knees they're keeping some...
  • NetFlix: 1

    Netflix picked up its first scalp today, driving Wal-Mart from the movie rental business and absorbing all their customers. Long-time readers will know my feeling on Wal-Mart, and thus can imagine the many tears I shed for them on this hardest of all days.
  • Birds of a Feather

    Yes Barbara , that was a blatant, self-serving publicity attempt. But then, when in Huffpost Rome...
  • You Know What's Weird?

    When you run a google search for something and you're the sixth result. Who knew I was such an authority on Health Savings Accounts?
  • Just Not a Bright Guy

    Yes yes, by now, you all know that Rick Santorum sauntered down to the Senate floor and said: “Some are suggesting we’re trying to change the law, we’re trying to break the rules. Remarkable. Remarkable hubris. “I mean, imagine. The rule has been in place for 214 years that this is the way we confirm judges. Broken by the other side two years ago, and the audacity of some members to stand up and say, ‘How dare you break this rule?’ “It’s the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942: ‘I’m in Paris. How dare you invade me? How dare you bomb my city? It’s mine.’” I think folks are missing the point. The real beauty of these remarks is in the image of Rick Santorum in his office, late last night, desperately searching for an apt metaphor. Could've used Hussein and Kuwait but, nah, too over the top. Could've used America and the Indians but, nah, that came out in the Democrat's America's favor. Could've used a hypothetical kid who takes over a hypothetical neighbor's sandbox but, nah, too...
  • Minimum Wage Woes

    Heather Boushey of the CEPR has written a stunning report on America's minimum wage. Required reading. Except, you guys don't actually ready things when I say that, so here's a summary: • Most minimum wage workers are adults. Less than one in five is under the age of 20 and more than half are between the ages of 25 and 54. • A full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $10,300, putting her below the poverty line for a one-parent, one-child family. Health care, of course, is but a dream. • Many workers get stuck at minimum wage, meaning that, three years after they began, they'd netted neither a promotion nor a raise. Mobility is better for men, native citizens, those who change jobs (indicating mobility and skills), and union members. • The minimum wage itself hasn't increased since 1997. Thanks to that, inflation has made the already-paltry $5.15 an hour worth about 1/6th less in real terms than when it was instituted. • Minimum wage workers earn an average of 68% of their total...
  • Fire Rumsfeld!

    Kevin identifies one portion of the Newsweek story that's getting consistently overlooked. If Newsweek really was pursuing such a pack of lies, why then, when they ran the story by the Pentagon, didn't the officials flag it as false? They gave them the heads-up, hell, they gave them the text! And yet no one seemed to think the upcoming government report wasn't going to include the Korans-in-toilets factoid. That right there should tell you plenty about why the piece ran. It's reminiscent of the National Guard memos, wherein the Bush administration clearly figured they were true and declined to challenge them when the story broke. in both cases it seems that the facts were essentially straight, its the sources who were out of line. But you can't fault Newsweek -- they gave the higher-ups the opportunity to correct the error and, if you believe the article caused riots, to preempt those, too. The Pentagon failed.
  • Yes, But The Peach People Are Exterminating the Blueberryites

    Shakespeare's Sister is getting a bit tired of her comrades-in-pigment: If you want to know why I prefer to identify as Kinda Peachy, eschewing labels like white and straight and all that junk, it’s because even I’m starting to think of straight white folks as being completely and utterly fucking nuts. Yes, I know there are plenty of decent straight white liberal people, and I also know there are sickos and weirdos and freaks of every race and creed and orientation, but between the evil dipshits* running the country, the crackpot Dominionists trying to Jesusize the country, and the slew of deranged psychos that have been in the news lately (BTK serial killer, the dude who kept his dead mom in the basement in a chunk of ice, etc.), I’m just going to pack my bags for a permanent move to Kindapeachistan. Considering the story she flags as the coup de grace, a child abuse/bestiality cult with a Texas Chainsaw Massacre level of sadism and widespread community acquiescence, I can't blame...
  • Oh, And John Kerry Was a Flip-Flopper

    In the middle of a sobering, grim article on Iraq's worsening prospects comes this bit of carefully placed, lovingly-crafted spin (italics mine): Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top American officer in the Middle East, said in a briefing in Washington that one problem was the disappointing progress in developing Iraqi police units cohesive enough to mount an effective challenge to insurgents and allow American forces to begin stepping back from the fighting. General Abizaid, who speaks with President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld regularly, was in Washington this week for a meeting of regional commanders. Sound familiar? Like from every Bush administration press conference you've ever heard? Yeah, I thought so too. Gotta respect that sort of message discipline, coming as it is from New York Times reporters. The rest of the article, however, is very good, and you should read it. Looks like Iraq isn't prgressing as swimmingly as we'd hoped.