Daily Show audience smarter than O'Reilley's

Okay, so this really isn't much of a surprise, but apparently, Jon Stewart was on "the Factor" a while back and O'Reilley said "You know what's really frightening? You actually have an influence on this presidential election. That is scary, but it's true. You've got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night and they can vote."

Comedy Central wondered about the intelligence level of their audience, so they did a little research.

Viewers of Jon Stewart's show are more likely to have completed four years of college than people who watch "The O'Reilly Factor," according to Nielsen Media Research....

Comedy Central also touted a recent study by the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey, which said young viewers of "The Daily Show" were more likely to answer questions about politics correctly than those who don't.

Comedy Central had no statistics on how many people watch "The Daily Show" stoned.

I know who I'd rather get my news from.

An open letter to CBS News

Hey CBS News folk,

You want to regain your reputation as journalists? Here's a hint--do the fucking work correctly and tell anyone who doesn't like your conclusions to go to hell, my side included.

Your journalistic integrity is in greater danger now than it ever has been before, not because you got suckered by someone with some phony documents--but because you didn't do your due diligence on those documents before you rushed to air. So learn from that mistake--get the story right next time and don't rush to judgment before you've got the facts straight. But don't start pulling your punches now.

You're screwed on the Killian story--no question. Hard line right-wingers who have been accusing you of bias for years now think they have their smoking gun, and they're brandishing it above what they believe is your bloody corpse. If you cave and stop doing your first job--reporting facts--then they really will have destroyed your reputation, and fair-minded people of all political persuasions will never trust you again.

But beyond your reputation, you have the entire journalistic community to think about as well. You can't think that NBC, ABC, CNN and MSNBC aren't watching this unfold with fear and trepidation. They know that they could easily be next if you guys fold under this pressure.

The press is supposed to be the fourth estate--the outside check on the power of the government. If you stop airing critical pieces about the people in power because you're afraid of the backlash in an election year, then you've abdicated your power and your responsibility to the people of this nation and to the people of the world. Don't fold. Don't let the ratfuckers win.


Ever just feel ashamed to be from the same place as someone who winds up in the press somehow? And I'm not talking about "share the same name with a sorry-ass celebrity" ashamed--I'm talking about "oh my God, that person has just defaced my entire state" ashamed.

I grew up in Louisiana, and when I was a kid, in 1982 to be exact, this happened. A plane taking off from New Orleans International Airport crashed into a neighborhood in the suburb of Kenner. My best friend's grandparents lived there, and we were all worried until we heard from them.

Too bad it didn't take out this one. From C-SPAN:

PETER SLEN, HOST: Kenner, Louisiana, good morning.

CALLER (in a very airy voice): Good morning. I’m going to vote for President Bush because, after all, you know, God made us there, you know, in His image, free from any black color and all [Host looks up, surprised]. The only church that Kerry can go to is where they say the Black Mass, and that is in the Merriam-Webster Pocket Book dictionary, where it says that that is the devil worshippers. [Host looks uncomfortably off-camera, at producer?] I would never vote for, you know, Senator Kerry.So, definitely, I would never vote for, you know, Senator Kerry.

And that isn’t the only reason. Also, in the Bible, God said … God … that, uh, also, like (unintelligible) and faggots, that he says, anybody that lays down with another man and has sex with his own sex, and any woman that lays down with another woman and has sex should be put to death and their (unintelligible) upon them. It also says that about interracial marriages and everything. So that’s the reason why I’m voting for my president, Bush.

SLEN: What do you do in, uh …

CALLER: And that isn’t the only reason. They also have other reasons also. The other reason is political, because like the political terrorists, they’ve been out there for eight months, and they’ve been out on the road, and they’ve been talking about … they’ve talked against our president. They put him down in every way. And God knows that that is wrong. He’s out there doing God’s work. He’s taking care of all our children.

Like when Clinton was in, he made – he tried to make whores and faggots out of our little girls – whores out of our little girls. He put the pornography in the schools. And God’s gonna condemn him for that.

SLEN: What do you do in Kenner?

CALLER (talking over question): And that’s the reason why … he even went to the hospital and everything.

SLEN: Caller, what do you do in Kenner, Louisiana?

CALLER: Pardon me?

SLEN: What do you do in Kenner? Do you have a job?

CALLER: I’m a housewife.

SLEN: A housewife? Where do you go to church?

CALLER: I go to different churches. I go to, sometimes, in New Orleans, I go to the Cathedral. And I believe in my God, and I know that God is here to protect everybody. And if Kerry comes in … God helped the whole world, because God loved … Kerry … oh, that’s another thing …

SLEN (cutting her off): Thanks, caller. I’m afraid – I’m afraid we’re out of time. I wish I could let you go on, but I’m afraid we’re out of time.

Ugh. I'm almost certain this attitude isn't typical of Bush supporters--I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt because I'd fear for my life if anywhere near half the country felt this way--but damn, people. We let people like this vote?

Finally! The L-word makes an appearance.

John Edwards made an appearance on Lou Dobbs today and he came loaded for bear.

DOBBS: Turning to the mess in Iraq. The -- you have been referred to by Vice President Cheney and Speaker of the House Hastert as basically soft on the war on terror. What's your reaction?

EDWARDS: My response is, it's a lie, and it's an outrageous thing to be said. I mean, the very idea that all of us don't want to do everything possible to keep this country safe -- to take one of the great tragedies in American history and try to use it as a cheap political trick is absolutely wrong. And they ought to be held accountable and responsible for the outrageous things that they're saying. And I believe the American people will hold them accountable. People aren't as foolish as they think they are. Voters in this country have good sense, and they will see this fear-mongering for exactly what it is.

I might add, since we're on the subject -- since you mentioned the subject of Iraq, you know, you think about what this administration -- I'm convinced George Bush and Dick Cheney are literally the last two people in America who believe they've made no mistakes in Iraq and everything's going well. I mean, you just watch what's happening there. They told us they had a plan for Iraq, Lou. Not true. They told us we had enough troops going in. Not true. They told us this war would pay for itself. Not true.

I mean, why in the world did George Bush and Dick Cheney have any credibility whatsoever? This gets to be a pretty simple thing. If the American voter wants four more years of the situation we have in Iraq and potentially getting much worse over time, then George Bush is their guy. If they believe we could do better than that -- and John Kerry laid out our plan yesterday in New York -- they need to put John Kerry in the White House.
It's about damn time that one of the big two said something like this. Cheney is a liar, plain and simple, and is never called on it by anyone near the top of the ticket, at least not till today. Here's how Edwards finished the interview off.

EDWARDS: I'm going to make sure that this administration is held accountable when they lie. I'm going to make sure that they're held accountable for their failures, both here and in Iraq and around the world. I want to make certain that when voters go to the poll in November that they know we have a president whose cost them millions of jobs, millions of people their health care, put millions of people into poverty. A typical family's income is down, not up. On top of the mess we have Iraq, I want to make certain that everybody knows that.

And when they say things that aren't true, we're going to call those things the lies that they are. And we're also going to make sure that people know that we can do better and what our plan to do is better. So the answer to your question is, I'm going to fight with absolutely everything I've got for my country.
Nice. Very very nice.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

If ever there were a movie where the previews absolutely turned me off beforehand, this was it. I'm glad I saw it anyway.

A lot of love went into this film. It's over the top silly, and Jude Law is the perfect leading man here. I've never been a big fan of Gwyneth Paltrow or Angelina Jolie, but they both do well in this film, perhaps because the characters are all caricatures--but in this film, any attempt at real depth in character would have rung false. It's just a rollicking good time, as long as you roll with the cheesiness, and the cheesiness is so infectious that it's hard not to.

The 700 Club (and not the crazy fundamentalist kind)

Short and sweet posting here. Barry got number 700 tonight, and I was there.


A post-election Iraq hypothetical.

Sid Blumenthal has the lead story today over at Salon, and it scared me to death.

From the article:

Gen. Hoare believes from the information he has received that "a decision has been made" to attack Fallujah "after the first Tuesday in November. That's the cynical part of it -- after the election.

This got me to thinking--we can all believe that Bush would do this, whether or not he won, maybe even more so if he lost. The real question for me is--if the neocons know they're going out, and that they're not likely to make a comeback, is there anything they wouldn't consider? Would they potentially lob a "fuck you" nuke into the Sunni Triangle on January 18th and leave a brand new Kerry administration to pick up the pieces?

The Killian Memos

Are they forgeries? I don't know. And I don't care, personally. But if it turns out that they are, I'm gonna be pissed at CBS for one simple reason. They'll have reopened the debate on whether or not the "liberal media" exists.

The "liberal media" doesn't exist, of course. It's been debunked by people far more informed than me and I'm not going to go into the details. Read the books on the subject and argue with the authors if you want.

But after making some real headway into the destruction of the "liberal media" meme over the last couple of years, suddenly CBS has reopened it, and because of the particular way it has been reopened--especially if the memos end up being forged--CBS is now going to be unable to criticize George W. Bush for the rest of this campaign without the wingnuts dismissing it as "liberal bias." And the other media outlets--who are already doing a weak job at best--will be worried about backlash as well. Our jobs just got harder.

I have one hope--well, two. Either the memos will be proven to be legitimate, or the forger will turn out to be a Republican operative in the pay of someone connected to Karl Rove. I'm not holding out much hope for either.


Yesterday, I posted the text of a diary I wrote over at the Daily Kos which generated a ton of attention in that net community. Well, it seems we had an effect.

Timothy Noah of Slate's Chatterbox column posts this beautiful story.

After summarizing Gobbel's situation, and quoting the original article (in much the same way I did), Noah adds this bit to the story.

The story was picked up by Daily Kos, a political Web log, and spread quickly around the Web. By this morning, Geddes, who has declined to comment publicly on the matter, had apparently had enough of the bad publicity. Through an intermediary, he offered Gobbell an apology and said she could have her old job back. But Gobbell said she wouldn't return without some written guarantee that Geddes wouldn't turn around and fire her once he was out of the spotlight. Then, late this afternoon, Kerry himself phoned Gobbell. "He was telling me how proud he was that I stood up," Gobbell told me. "He'd read the part where Phil said I could either work for him or work for John Kerry. He said, 'you let him know you're working for me as of today.' I was just so shocked."

I only just found out about this--I've been at work and at the dental school all day. There is no better way to come out of a root canal than to find out that you had a hand in correcting an injustice and helping a person in need.

I'm not taking any credit for this. Even if I had never written about this on the Daily Kos, someone else would have--I feel certain of that. It was the combined efforts of that community, as well as the other net people who got involved and gave these people hell that made the difference. I'm proud to be a part of that community.

Woman fired for Kerry bumpersticker
This story has been generating some buzz both at the Daily Kos (where this was originally posted as a diary) and at the Smirking Chimp (where a close friend started a thread), so I figured I'd post it here as well. Mega-props to the people at the Daily Rotten for posting this on their site, and bringing it to my friend's attention.

Here's my diary from the Daily Kos.

I wish to God I was making this up. Sorry.

Lynne Gobbell of Moulton, Alabama, was told by her boss that she had to remove her Kerry/Edwards bumpersticker from her car or she would lose her job.

Gobbell gave this account:

"We were going back to work from break, and my manager told me that Phil said to remove the sticker off my car or I was fired," she said. "I told him that Phil couldn't tell me who to vote for. He said, 'Go tell him.' "

She went to Gaddis' office, knocked on the door and entered on his orders.

"Phil and another man who works there were there," she said. "I asked him if he said to remove the sticker and he said, 'Yes, I did.' I told him he couldn't tell me who to vote for. When I told him that, he told me, 'I own this place.' I told him he still couldn't tell me who to vote for."

Gobbell said Gaddis told her to "get out of here."

"I asked him if I was fired and he told me he was thinking about it," she said. "I said, 'Well, am I fired?' He hollered and said, 'Get out of here and shut the door.' "

She said her manager was standing in another room and she asked him if that meant for her to go back to work or go home. The manager told her to go back to work, but he came back a few minutes later and said, " 'I reckon you're fired. You could either work for him or John Kerry,' " Gobbell said.

"I took off my gloves and threw them in the garbage and left," Gobbell said.

But wait--it gets worse.

Seems the owner, Phil Gaddis, had been placing this letter in his employees' paycheck each month.
"Just so you will know, because of the Bush tax (cut):
I was able to buy the new Hammer Mill
I was able to finance our receivables
I was able to get the new CAT skid steer
I was able to get the wire cutter
I was able to give you a job"
It further says:
"You got the benefit of the Bush tax cut. Everyone did."

So it's okay for the owner to push his politics on his employees, but not for them to express themselves on their private property? God, I wish Alabama were anything remotely resembling a swing state.

Anyway, does anyone know how to set up something to help this woman out? I get paid on Wednesday, and I'd kick in a couple of bucks to help her out until her unemployment starts. I've got no idea on how to contact her, but I'm glad to hear suggestions and recommendations.

Has Kerry grown a set?

Damn. If he makes statements like this the rest of the way in, I might not have to take a shower after voting for him in November.

In his statement Sunday, Kerry complained that Cheney "continues to intentionally mislead the American public by drawing a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 in an attempt to make the invasion of Iraq part of the global war on terror.

"The president needs to answer the question: Who do you think is right? Vice President Cheney or Secretary Powell? And if it's Secretary Powell, will you direct your vice president to stop misleading the American people?"

Cheney has been shamefully making the connection for years now--3 to be exact--and it's no truer now than it was in 2001.

Now if only Democrats in general would get past their abhorrence of the word "lying," we might get somewhere, because there's really no other way to describe what Cheney does every time he links Iraq and al Qaeda. It's not "misleading;" it's not "obfuscation;" it's lying, plain and simple, and it's past time that someone high up in the Democratic party called him on it. Preferably to his face.

Political dirty tricks and other bullshit

It looks like an innocuous story about people stealing Kerry/Edwards campaign signs from yards. It's bush-league, it's grade school, and according to a local Republican, it's not limited to Kerry/Edwards signs either.

But then there's this little nugget in the story:

Bryan Platt, chairman of the Jackson County Republican Central Committee, said he had heard of only one report of Bush/Cheney signs taken recently.

He pointed out that there aren’t many locally, however, because the Bush/Cheney campaign has selected Sept. 11 as the big day for putting up signs.

Remember back when the Republican party swore up and down that they would never, ever, ever try to use the 9/11 attacks for political purposes?

Time to take him down.

The original GW (George Washington) has apparently gotten a little too full of himself, so it's time for Rowboat Vets for Truth to swing into action. Check out the "Truth v. Myth" page--it's cute.

Classy folks, these Bush supporters

First it was this guy kicking a female protestor who was defenseless on the floor of the Republican National Convention, and now it's a group of rowdies at a Kerry campaign rally shouting down a 70 year old woman who'd had several throat surgeries.

This was the most polarized event I have seen on the trail with supporter of President Bush yelling throughout Senator Kerry's speech and the candidate's supporters shouting back and the candidate hitting back on the stump. There were approximately fifty Bush supporters, including a very vocal group of about ten who were drinking lots of Busch beer. Senator Kerry stayed on message and delivered a short and focused speech, taking questions instead of talking endlessly to the crowd.

Now of course, something like would never happen at a Bush event, mainly because you get whisked away by the Secrete Service if you're not a loyalty-oath signing, praise-Jesus Bushite. But Busch beer? Punny or not, how can you drink that shit?
The Bush supporters did not let up shouting while an elderly woman who had several throat surgeries tried to tell her tale, prompting Senator Kerry to say to the cameras and the crowd, "While the Bush people were rudely shouting...a 70-year old woman was trying to tell the story of how she has to go out and work because she needs to take pills."

Like I said--classy.

In many of the forums where I spend far too much time, people are constantly claiming that Kerry's too busy talking about Vietnam to talk about real issues. Maybe they're not hearing him talk about real issues because they're too busy shouting down 70 year old women with bad throats and kicking women while they're on the ground.

P.S. I know I'm painting with an awful broad brush here, and I'm not trying to imply that all Bush supporters are these kinds of goons--but I certainly haven't heard anyone stepping up and calling these assholes out so far.

Outraged yet?

You ought to be.

Bob Graham, former governor of Florida, current Senator, and keeper of excruciatingly detailed diaries (for which he was unfairly ridiculed during the primaries--largely by Republicans) is releasing a new book, and with Graham's penchant for detail, you know any charges it makes are going to be solidly backed up.

And what charges he makes.

WASHINGTON - Two of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers had a support network in the United States that included agents of the Saudi government, and the Bush administration and FBI blocked a congressional investigation into that relationship, Sen. Bob Graham wrote in a book to be released Tuesday.

The discovery of the financial backing of the two hijackers "would draw a direct line between the terrorists and the government of Saudi Arabia, and trigger an attempted coverup by the Bush administration," the Florida Democrat wrote.

And in Graham's book, Intelligence Matters, obtained by The Herald Saturday, he makes clear that some details of that financial support from Saudi Arabia were in the 27 pages of the congressional inquiry's final report that were blocked from release by the administration, despite the pleas of leaders of both parties on the House and Senate intelligence committees.

It gets worse. Graham notes that General Tommy Franks was pulling resources out of Afghanistan--notably the Predator drone--for future use in Iraq in February of 2002, long before there was any public discussion, much less congressional approval for such action. And remember that "slam dunk case" that CIA chief George Tenet claimed existed for the WMD charge?
In October 2002, Tenet told Graham that "there were 550 sites where weapons of mass destruction were either produced or stored" in Iraq.

"It was, in short, a vivid and terrifying case for war. The problem was it did not accurately represent the classified estimate we had received just days earlier," Graham wrote. "It was two different messages, directed at two different audiences. I was outraged."

You know something Senator? You're not alone. Order the book.

Bush's speech tonight
Didn't see it. I was busy having a root canal done by a dental student at the University of the Pacific. I think I wound up in less pain than I would have otherwise.

The Daily Show does it again
This ad appeared--a quarter page large--on the op-ed of the New York Times today. Thanks to PBJDiddy over at the Daily Kos for the scan.

I really like the bit where, along the defense perimeter, the first level is "Ann Coulter with stick."

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