Sorry to those who tried to get through to our site this afternoon but couldn't -- our host experienced a major router breakdown that took much longer to repair than he expected. But all operations are now go again, and no, we can't say were knocked off the air by the same malign forces that are teaching ABC television a thing or two or ten about free speech in the post-Clinton era.
The Spectacle Blog
MoveOn just sent its members an email saying that it was seeking 200,000 signatures for a petition to get the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11" pulled from the air.
And in case you didn't realize it, the film is part of an election year conspiracy:
The Path to 9/11 appears to be part of a coordinated push -- including speeches by President Bush and millions of dollars in advertising -- to exploit the five-year anniversary of 9/11 for political gain. That's not acceptable from anyone -- especially not a news organization like ABC.
Bush-Cheney-Rove-Halliburton-ABC. I don't know how I'd make it through this world if MoveOn wasn't there to enlighten me.
So former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage -- admitting it was he who first "leaked" Valerie Plame's CIA employ to Bob Novak -- says, "Oh, I feel terrible. Every day, I think I let down the president, I let down the Secretary of State. I let down my department, my family and I also let down Mr. and Mrs. Wilson." It's eight years almost to the day since I heard this sincere an apology. On 5 September 1998, Bill Clinton apologized for his "relationship" with Monica.
What both Clinton and now Armitage are sorry for is being found out, not for what they did. If Armitage had a shred of decency left, he'd be apologizing to Scooter Libby. Come to think of it, both Colin Powell and Armitage owe Libby the same apology. And the president, at this sorry point, owes Libby a pardon. Now, please. It's time to send Patrick Fitzgerald-Javert back to Chicago.
Over at Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi first calls Democrats attacks on Rumsfeld, "one of those groan-out-loud coordinated media-sandbag jobs, now standard procedure in American politics, where the various politicians separately make exactly the same pre-prepared 'jokes' in their respective 'extemporaneous' public remarks, delivering their message with all the wit and spontaneity of a Speak N' Spell," and then turns his vitriolic cannon on Joe Biden for a lengthy volley, which begins thusly:
In today's NY Times column (subscription required) Paul Krugman writes:
We are, finally, having a national discussion about inequality, and right-wing commentators are in full panic mode. Statistics, most of them irrelevant or misleading, are flying; straw men are under furious attack. It's all very confusing -- deliberately so. So let me offer a few clarifying comments.
The trouble is, at no point in the article does he quote specific "panicking" conservatives. Instead, he makes statements such as,"Conservative commentators tell us about wage gains for one-eyed bearded men with 2.5 years of college, or whatever - and conveniently forget to adjust for inflation." But isn't that just -- dare I say it -- a strawman? Meanwhile, consider this bit of economic news from today's business section of Krugman's own employer:
When even your damage control is out of control, you're in the catbird seat for the slow-motion crash that is the American automotive industry. Waiting desperately for a click of my mouse -- aside a CBS web report indicating that Richard Armitage "feels terrible" "every day" about having "let down the President" and "Mr. and Mrs. Wilson" (!) -- is a Ford advertisement, one which you may have seen lately, too. The headline? BOLD MOVES. The text? "A video documentary series that takes you INSIDE FORD as it attempts one of the largest corporate turnarounds in history."
The drama! The passion! The -- wait, attempts the turnaround? Video documentary? A click on this link takes you to a full-blown publicity campaign -- sorry, internet documentary -- "documenting the future of Ford." (I knew it wasn't a documentary.) It's replete with exhortations to "tell a friend," "blog it," (!!) and "engage, debate, and get involved in what's happening at Ford right now."
Leave aside the question of whether his characterization of the contemporary GOP is accurate; consider instead the profound ignorance of American history betrayed by the comment that this would be "the first time" that "one of the major parties is, at its core, a religious organization." The Know-Nothings campaigned entirely on Protestant chauvanism. The Free Soilers -- and then the Republicans -- were organized around an abolitionist movement overwhelmingly driven by religious conviction. The Bryanists who controlled the Democratic Party from 1896-1908 explicitly grounded their populist ideology in faith. Those are just the most obvious examples. Can Andrew really know none of this?
The Democrats are the Party fighting for free speech and against the abuse of power!
From a Senate Democrats' letter to ABC about the airing of the Path To 9/11:
The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.
And if that don't work, a swim in the Hudson wearing cement shoes ought to do it!
I missed this earlier in the week (it's been a busy one of supplementary jurisdiction, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and mens rea), but Judge Harvey Wilkinson had an eloquent op-ed in the Post Tuesday arguing against the Federal Marriage Amendment from the perspective of judicial restraint.
I have struggled to see the necessity of the FMA, and Wilkinson cinched it for me. FMA would do what conservatives have decried for years: constitutionalize what is rightly the province of state law.