Subject to Change, version 2.0
I'm a goddamed liberal. Deal with it.

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Monday, June 13, 2005

Another Welcome New Recruit to the Order of the Shrill.

Joe Gandelman is a professional voice. His schtick on the internet is that of a professional moderate voice, someone who is reasonable, who avoids the excesses of partisanship, who takes a deep breath and realizes that there are two sides to every story and that we need to be... calm, reasonable, and thoughtful always. He reads Peggy Noonan. His brain explodes. Now he is one of us! Embrace your destiny! Feel the power of Shrillness! Welcome to the Ancient and Hermetic Order of the Shrill, Mr. Gandelman--those of us who have been driven into shrill unholy madness by the mendacity, stupidity, incompetence, recklessness, and idiocy of the Bush administration and its allies. Your personal copy of the Krugmanomicon (along with additional promotional material containing many valuable offers) is on its way. Do not read more than ten pages a day, under pain of falling even further into shrill unholy madness. Your rank is Palaeozoic Tentacled Swamp-Dweller, 2nd Class. When in your non-human form, remember not to devour any endangered amphibians. Pray vainly to the dead, uncaring stars at least once a month, preferably when the moon is in the second decant. Clear the weekend of July 37 for the annual...

[Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal]
9:26:10 PM    

An Historical Document: Long-Term Capital Management CEO John Meriwether Asks for Money.

I believe this to be authentic. Meriwether was right in what he wrote on September 2, 1998: LTCM's portfolio and trading strategies promised very high returns. But, as Andrei Shleifer and Robert Vishny say in their "Limits to Arbitrage", the moments when your expected returns from "convergence" strategies are highest are the moments when you have just taken a huge bath--and few are willing to add to your stake when the past month's results suggest that you aren't in control....

[Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal]
9:25:33 PM    

David Sirota: Finally, More Democrats Taking a Stand on Iraq

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the most important vote on the Iraq War that Americans hadn't heard about (thanks to the media, the GOP and certain factions of the Democratic Party). It was a vote in the House on a simple non-binding resolution that would ask the President to submit at least some details of an eventual exit strategy from Iraq. The resolution, supported by a gutsy group of Democrats and a few Republicans, tried to honor the War Powers Act of 1973 (specifically, section 4b). Unfortunately, it was voted down by both Republicans and Democrats.

Now, though, with a new poll showing almost 60 percent of Americans favor a withdrawal, more Democrats are springing into action. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), for instance, courageously announced that he will be introducing a Senate resolution that is almost the exact same resolution that was voted down in the House. Meanwhile, House Democrats - ALL of them - will have another shot at actually standing up for something now that Republican Rep. Walter Jones (NC) has said he will be re-introducing a similar resolution.

Clearly, the GOP may try to make it seem as if any new initiatives on Iraq mean Democrats are just responsing to polls. But, whatever - I'll take it. Hell, I'll take anything if it means more Democrats will stand up and give voice to the majority of Americans who want to see our Iraq policy seriously altered.

And make no mistake, America's Iraq policy is not going to change with the current idiots running the show. President Bush, in fact, seems to think everything's going just fine. He regularly bills Iraq as part of the War on Terror, yet says that in that same War on Terror, it "seems like there's maybe no action taking place, that maybe the enemy is not active."

Of course it seems that way to him - he continues to refuse to go to even one funeral of those soldiers who have died fighting for a cause that America was lied to about. But to those of us who actually pay attention to the thousands of casualties that continue to mount, it's time for a change. Let's hope every Democratic Senator signs onto Feingold's legislation, every House Democrat signs onto Jones' bill, and Bush is finally forced to own up to his disastrous policies.

- David Sirota

[The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
9:24:53 PM    

India deports US missionaries.

Four American missionaries are asked to leave India for what police say is a violation of visa regulations.

[BBC News | South Asia | World Edition]
12:54:34 PM    

India and Iran finalise gas deal. Iran and India on Monday agree a $22bn deal for Tehran to supply five million tonnes of gas every year to India. [BBC News | South Asia | World Edition]
12:54:01 PM    

One Nation, Uninsured.

 It's time to consider a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system of national health insurance. Seventy-two percent of Americans agree.

12:48:05 PM    

Hooman Majd: Gitmo Forever!

Well, we have it on the authority of Dick Cheney, speaking on Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes tonight, that the administration has no intention of closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, despite even some Republican senators questioning the wisdom of the extra-judicial jail. End of story, or at least Dick hopes so. Cheney says that there are some “bad people there”, and that the U.S. needs to have the ability to imprison detainees captured in the war on terror. Yes, Dick, there might be some ‘bad’ people there, and no one is denying America’s right to defend itself against terrorism. But what sane, rational people fail to understand, Dick, is how taking suspects to an island in the Caribbean, locking them up in cages, never charging them with any crime, and occasionally torturing them is either protecting us here on the mainland or defeating terrorism in general. If we know they’re bad, then let’s do what every civilized nation would do: charge them. If we’re not sure, or don’t think we can prove a case, even at a military tribunal, then we’re just going to have to let them go. That, Mr. Vice President, is how a proper judicial system works, and until fighter-bombers are crossing our airspace, enemy subs are surfacing off Long Island, the media stops caring about the Michael Jackson verdict, and our boys our standing in line to sign up for the army, you’re not going to convince me that we’re a nation at war.

Forget for a moment that America’s image is being harmed, or that the Muslim world has another reason to hate us. Let’s say that we neither give a damn about image nor do we give a rat’s ass about whether Muslims will like us or hate us. But how on earth do we live with ourselves when we allow our government to run roughshod over the civil liberties of others in the name of protecting ours? I don’t think any American likes to read about Mohammad al-Qahtani, the Saudi detainee that Time magazine reports this week was forced to bark like a dog, had his beard shaved off, was force-fed liquids, made to stand for hours on end and was subjected to “invasion of space by a female”. He confessed to working for Al Qaeda, but so might I if I was subjected to the above (except for the female ‘space invasion’ thing of course, which apparently involves a woman straddling the prisoner. The Gitmo lap-dance?). And imagine what knowing that one could be in Cuba for the duration of the “war on terror”, i.e. the rest of one’s life, would do to one’s general outlook on life.
It’s time to stop the madness.

- Hooman Majd

[The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
12:47:33 PM    

News and analysis .

American Stranger at Blah3 says Howard Dean is on to something: I'm sure the Rightards and not-so-liberal media will go into another attack of righteous indignation for another few days over this. but I'm starting to see just what Dean is doing. He is single-handedly re-defining the landscape, and he's voicing obvious truths with just enough hyperbole to guarantee media coverage. Brilliant is what it is.

So what is it that Dean said? "The chairman of the Republican Party as you know has made a big deal about attracting African-American voters," Dean said to conference attendees. "And this is a litmus test. If you aren't going to support the extension of the Voting Rights Act, I don't know what right you have to go to a black church and show your face." Too right!

Personally, I think it's hilarious that raving crackpot barbarian Dick Cheney thinks he is in any position to criticize Dean. Left in the West has a good take on that, too.

Time magazine has a big piece looking "Inside the Wire at Gitmo." The right-blogosphere is having a big yawn over it, but Juan Cole looks at it a bit differently, along with numerous other stories under the heading, Things You Wouldn't expect to Happen if You Listened to Bush and Cheney.

Meanwhile, Josh Marshall notes a mysteriously bad real estate investment and sudden economic turnaround. Funny about that....

[The Sideshow]

8:15:30 AM    

Segregation with a smile

St. Albans? Of course he can't go there. Are you serious?

Vouchers Breathe New Life Into D.C. Catholic Schools

Tuition Rates, Morals Appeal to Parents

By V. Dion Haynes

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, June 13, 2005; Page A01

The fourth-grade girl with shoulder-length cornrows looked out at 160 students organized by grade level in nine rows across the gymnasium floor.

Wearing a red sweater and khaki shorts uniform, she stood in the "prayer space," which was consecrated with a small candle atop a round table, and led the children in reciting prayers of intercession to admired saints.

Finally, all the students shouted the Positive Pledge: "I am somebody. I'm capable and lovable. I am teachable; therefore I can learn. I can do anything when I try. I will respect myself and others. I will be the best I can be each day. I will not waste time because it's valuable. I'm so precious and bright. I am somebody."

So went the morning routine at St. Benedict the Moor in Northeast Washington, part of a Catholic school system trying to meld its sacred traditions with high secular expectations as it assumes a central role in a new federal voucher program to help low-income students attending failing public schools.

Of the 983 students in the voucher program, which provides federal grants to District children to use toward tuition and fees at private or religious schools, 61 percent are attending Catholic schools -- a percentage that is expected to remain roughly the same when the program expands to about 1,600 students this fall.

Education analysts say it is no surprise that the Archdiocese of Washington schools are so heavily involved in the experiment. Their tuition rates are usually less than the $7,500 maximum that voucher students are allotted, while tuition at the city's elite private schools is much higher. And several of the Catholic schools are in poor neighborhoods where parents dissatisfied with public schools are most likely to reside.

We don't want niggers in our school, we're not for intergration. Keep those niggers in their place, we'll have a better nation.

---Johnny Rebel

What Big Media Matt and other liberal voucher supports miss is that the program is designed to pacify blacks while keeping elite white schools white and ultimately subsidizing them. You can bet if the voucher as the $10-12K Madiera, St. Albans and Sidwell Friends were, it is doubtful that these kids would be admitted. To be fair, Sidwell has a generous scholarship program, but it is unlikely kids failing in Anacostia would be welcomed with open arms. When private schools in New York were asked if they would accept vouchers, they reacted as if you asked if they would be selling heroin at lunch. They didn't want niggers in their schools, except those that they chose or could pay the freight. The idea of kids waving vouchers and demanding entrance into Dalton scared them like few things would.

Voucher programs are sold to black parents as a solution, but in reality offer few alternatives but already existing, and increasing broke Catholic Schools, which desperately need the cash. Their ultimate goal is to subsidize white parents in racist white schools and help cover their costs. So they play on the desperation of black parents and hope enough of them swallow the bait and then they can hide behind them.

[The News Blog]
8:13:28 AM    


As noted previously on ThinkProgress, the American media had failed to report on the British Briefing Papers – covered by the British media last September – that showed that the British felt the pre-war evidence for attacking Iraq was weak and that the U.S. lacked a plan to address the ...

[Think Progress]
8:12:33 AM    

Paris air show opens with Airbus.

The Paris air show opens with star attraction, the Airbus A380 super-jumbo, making its first official display flight.

[BBC News | News Front Page | UK Edition]
8:11:04 AM    

Torture by Christina Aguilera?.

The Drudge Report has got the first glimpse of a secret 84-page interrogation log that Time Magazine has obtained from Gitmo. The details are suitably odd.

Dripping Water or Playing Christina Aguilera Music: After the new measures are approved, the mood in al-Qahtani's interrogation booth changes dramatically. The interrogation sessions lengthen. The quizzing now starts at midnight, and when Detainee 063 dozes off, interrogators rouse him by dripping water on his head or playing Christina Aguilera music. According to the log, his handlers at one point perform a puppet show "satirizing the detainee's involvement with al-Qaeda." He is taken to a new interrogation booth, which is decorated with pictures of 9/11 victims, American flags and red lights. He has to stand for the playing of the U.S. national anthem. His head and beard are shaved. He is returned to his original interrogation booth. A picture of a 9/11 victim is taped to his trousers. Al-Qahtani repeats that he will "not talk until he is interrogated the proper way." At 7 a.m. on Dec. 4, after a 12-hour, all-night session, he is put to bed for a four-hour nap, TIME reports.

8:10:16 AM    

JOURNAL: Efficient Systems Disruption.

Effects based operations planning calls for attacks based on the effects produced -- electricity, transportation, etc based on the % disrupted -- rather than the degree of destruction of facilities/targets. Planners also rely upon precise targeting of specific network...

[Global Guerrillas]
8:09:19 AM    

Non-cooperative COG in Iraq.

MSNBC. The Zapata saga continues. Marines vs. US private military company. “How does it feel now making that big contractor money?”...

[John Robb's Weblog]
8:07:53 AM    

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