Thursday, October 31, 2002


Didn't I just say that? (Check the P.S.)

Whiny Republicans

Does anyone else just want to tell Republicans to "toughen up"? It seems to me that, although the memorial for Paul Wellstone may have gotten a little out of hand, it was still much more dignified than the 15 years of political vampirism the Republican party has practiced by invoking Ronald Reagan every 20.3 minutes. Does anyone believe that the 40th president's funeral is going be a bipartisan affair?

Safire has lost it

Today William Safire has finally shown that he's gone around the bend. Saying that he was vindicated in saying that the snipers were "inspired" by Al Qaeda because the man had changed his name to Muhammad, he goes on to say that he now feels justified in (apparently) making any wild leap of judgment he wants.

First, there's no evidence that John Muhammad was "inspired" by anything but the voices in his friggin head. Just because someone's a Muslim doesn't mean they buy what Bin Laden's selling. Anyone who likes that level of elasticity in their evidence will probably believe that child-murderer David Allen Westerfield was inspired by Rush Limbaugh. Remember that Muhammad wrote messages on tarot cards and tried to get Catholic priests to speak to the police for him. Do these sound like the actions of a hardline Muslim? (No they don't, says David Walsh, Ph.D., president and founder of the National Institute on Media and the Family, it shows he was a player of video games.) Does anyone see Mullah Mohammed Omar calling up a priest to speak for him? Perhaps we finally have the evidence we need to arrest Cardinal Law. While we're at it, let's pick up Miss Cleo, too.

Safire goes on to make a wild leap of faith, saying that the Senate will go Republican by two or three and the House Democratic by a dozen. Seems a bit of a stretch. Something that someone might guess if they were really starting to go loopy. I suggest that someone who loves him should start checking Safire's food for aluminum and surveying the lead content of his house paint or, my hunch is that his columns will start reading something like this:

"All of you who sent me letters saying that I was foolish for predicting that monkeys are reading our minds are laughing out the other side of your faces now, I'll bet, after clear evidence was made available on Animal Planet last night. You saw that monkey looking at me. Peanut brittle. There are no ham-based hats anymore, but the indictment against Hillary Clinton will be here any day now. Whisker pants fill the red wagon with flapjacks. Slide down the chocolate pinpoint, right? Gaaa gaaa gaaa flufty toodle bongo."

Wednesday, October 30, 2002


I just realized that Josh Marshall hadn't gotten what he deserves: a good listing. That's fixed.

(Wasn't it Hamlet who said, treat every man as they deserve and who would escape a listing?)

One in the very unfavorable category

I was polled by Zogby last night. Finally, after all my work for the cause, The Nitpicker gets to be a faceless statistic.

Michael Kelly misses the point (Gasp!)

First, it should be pointed out that the rest of us were on one side or the other of the whole "Chicken Hawk" debate several months ago, but the ever-current Mr. Kelly only recently seems to have taken his head out of his ass for a quick gulp of air and noticed it was there.

What Kelly fails to realize is that the people who are pointing out the blatant cowardice of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney aren't saying that civilians can't control the military. We're not. We're simply saying that these people are quite free with other peoples' lives, when they themselves ran like scared little rabbits when they were asked to serve.

Remember when people called Clinton a draft-dodger? Many people would like to say that you cannot compare Clinton's action and Bush's. Bush, after all, joined another branch of service, so was unavailable to serve in Vietnam. I say that, in a way, you're right. You can't compare the actions of Clinton and Bush. You can't compare their actions because Clinton was actually qualified to receive his deferment.

Remember that, no matter what you may think of the man, Clinton is one smart guy. He attended Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship during the Vietnam War. Clearly, he was the type of man for whom the student deferment was intended. Unlike, say, Trent Lott, who sent the Department of Defense his regrets because he was too busy being a college cheerleader.

Bush, on the other hand, received a score of 25 percent on a pilot aptitude test, yet passed over a waiting list of more than 500 in gaining a coveted Air National Guard commission. At the time his father was a Texas senator and, no matter what Bush might say now, politics was obviously involved in his being accepted.

Ben Barnes, speaker of the Texas House in 1968, admitted in a sworn deposition in 1999 that he had made calls to Guard officials on Bush's behalf at the behest of a Bush family friend.

I will admit that I understand, as most should, Bush's desire to avoid Vietnam. I would like to think that, as a veteran myself, I would have chosen a different path than he, but who can say?

What cannot be understood (and should not be overlooked) is that after receiving an opportunity to avoid service in wartime, Bush did not fulfill the commitment that kept him out of the war and was basically AWOL for an entire year.

In May 1972, Bush requested a transfer to an Air National Guard unit in Montgomery, Ala., in order to assist with a Republican senate race. (The transfer was, by the way, denied by the Air Reserve Personnel Center, but Bush went anyway.) This request was a strange move for a man who now touts his "love" of flying, as the unit in question was a postal unit. One possible explanation for this move was unearthed by London's Sunday Times, which discovered that, later in that year, Bush would be grounded for failing to take a physical that included a drug test. The policy was a new one in 1972, implemented only one month before Bush requested his transfer to Alabama.

But Bush would still have had to take the drug test in Alabama. The only way he could have avoided it was to simply not show up.

Which is exactly what he did.

From May 1972 to May 1973, there is no record in Bush's military service record that he fulfilled even one day of his 36-day military obligation. Retired Gen. William Turnipseed, commander of the Alabama unit, has backed this up, saying that Bush never reported for service in his unit.

It should be remembered that, while Bush has admitted to having something of a wild youth, he has commented about drugs only to say, in 1999, that he could have passed the strictest oath required for federal service which says that the applicant has not used illegal drugs in 25 years. Bush, therefore, has only said that he hasn't used drugs since 1974, when he was already out of the Air National Guard.

Bush has denied allegations that he went AWOL, but not very strongly. He said, through a spokesperson, that he had "some recollection" of attending his required drills.

Let's remember a statement Bush made to National Guard Review in 1998. In an interview, Bush was recalling the camaraderie among Air National Guardsmen when he said, "I can remember walking up to my F-102 fighter and seeing the mechanics there. I was on the same team as them, and I relied on them to make sure that I wasn't jumping out of an airplane. There was a sense of shared responsibility in that case. The responsibility to get the airplane down. The responsibility to show up and do your job."

I know this is all old business, but this is why we're so pissed, Michael. It's not that the war will be run by civilians or people who stayed out of Vietnam on principle. We're pissed because lying cowards are getting ready to send Americans to die in a war with only the slimmest of justifications. We call them chicken hawks because they want to start a fight. Otherwise, we'd just call them chickenshit.

P.S. Kelly also compares Bush to "such notable 'chicken hawks' as Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt." The former comparison is a lie and the latter is just stupid. Lincoln joined up in 1832 to fight in the Black Hawk War and was chosen as the Captain of his company. When the company disbanded, he re-enlisted as a private to continue the fight. Chicken hawk? I think not. As for FDR, he did have polio.

You're a stupid, stupid man, Mr. Kelly.

Friday, October 25, 2002

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest

We mourn the passing of Sen. Paul Wellstone: the last man in office who wasn't afraid to be called a liberal; the last man who wasn't afraid to be the lone voice of dissent in a 99-1 vote; the last Democrat with balls.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

It's that time of year

Richard Cohen writes today in the Washington Post about Bush's "willingness to tolerate almost any tactic on his way to a goal." This includes lying, as was pointed out earlier this week by several sources, including the shifty and untrustworthy Dana Milbank. Luckily, we have the ever-vigilant Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler to remind us that Cohen embarrassed himself repeatedly back when it mattered -- during the election.

I can't help wondering, though, why everyone has decided to choose this week as the week to cover their asses. Is this just the once a year article where pundits tell the truth so that, when someone calls them biased, they can say, "Check the record, I've written that the Bush Administration hasn't always been truthful"?

I've written before about the cost to taxpayers of Bush's campaigning, but I can't help notice how Democrats and major media outlets refuse to broach this subject. Today, The Washington Post reported on Bush sending out his minions to campaign for Republicans. Why does no one try to figure up the cost of this? Only a few watchers, like Joe Conason and Taxpayers for Common Sense have even mentioned it. But Republicans like Senator Larry Craig were all over Clinton during his tenure in office for this same thing, but to a much smaller degree than Bush. Craig wrote the following in 1998:

"In 1997, President Clinton spent 111 days on the road on domestic travel . He has already surpassed that in 1998 with 114 days. In 1997, he used at least 28 of those trips for fundraising. Through September of thisyear, President Clinton has already used at least 37 of those days for fundraising.

"That is part of the story, but here is the rest of the story that really concerns me. Do you know how much it costs to fly AirForce One? Mr. President, in 1992 figures it was $42,000 an hour. Mr. President, that is for you and the entourage. How doyou balance that off between important domestic travel and fundraising? I hope you are keeping an accurate record, or the taxpayers will be paying a phenomenal amount for our President to be out of the White House.

"President Clinton was out of town 149 days in 1997; 155 days through September of 1998. The President spent a total of 304 days outside of Washington in just the last 21 months."

Look what The San Francisco Gate's Mark Sandalow says about it.

I blame my fellow Democrats for letting this slide. Over the past few weeks, we've seen how Bush and his buddies accused Clinton of being partisan and wasting taxpayer dollars only to install the most partisan administration yet and to use taxpayer dollars to send the president and his cabinet hither and yon in order to help out their party. Let's put a little outrage in our voices, kids. The Republicans beat us in 2000 because they were willing to fight hard and throw the hard punches.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Bush to press: "Clinton hypnotised me!"

That's the only way that Bush could explain the fact that, as much as his buddies want to heap the blame for North Korea on Clinton, his administration is the one that cancelled inspections:

"Under the 1994 Agreed Framework an international consortium is building two proliferation-proof nuclear reactors and providing fuel oil for North Korea while the reactors are being built.

"In releasing the funding, President George W Bush waived the Framework's requirement that North Korea allow inspectors to ensure it has not hidden away any weapons-grade plutonium from the original reactors.

"President Bush argued that the decision was 'vital to the national security interests of the United States'."

Then he said: "Take that, you Evil Axis Member, you!"

(Thanks to Lean Left for pointing that out.)

We interrupt this broadcast

It's election season, we've had an extremely (and increasingly) divisive two years of politics, but, on the plus side, autumn is here. Take time to go for a walk. Wear a wool sweater and pet your dog. Relax a bit. Dip into the questions bigger than politics. Read this.

And this.

And this.

And this.

And this.

I do love this season.

Dear Dana

So, I gave Dana Milbank some props yesterday, despite his past work. Sisyphus pointed out, though, that Dana's still the guy "who announced on TV that he despised Al Gore so much that if Gore ran again, he would have to recuse himself" and succinctly stated her anti-Dana position: "Dana Milbanks is an asshole and a bad, bad journalist."

I owe her thanks, though for pointing out this further rundown of Bush lies at PLA, for which I thank her and her achy foot. PLA has really done the homework. My great appreciation goes out and, if it means anything to anyone, add them to my short, short list at the left.

Poor memory on race

Joel Himelfarb is either stupid, forgetful or he just doesn't care about the truth. Today in The Washington Times he writes that "when Jim Crow ruled the South, state Democratic Party machines saw to it that blacks were disenfranchised..." On the surface, this is a correct statement, but the problem is that, because of Democrats like Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedys, all those southern Democrats he's talking about became something different. They formed a group called the States' Rights Democratic Party -- more commonly known as "Dixiecrats." They opposed the Democrats' attempts at desegregation and found support among "the party of Lincoln" in the form of Barry Goldwater and his ilk. To say that Democrats are a racist party because there were (and probably are) racists in its ranks is akin to saying that the existence of Log Cabin Republicans make the Republican party gay.

Himelfarb also fails to mention that those racist southern Democrats eventually fled the Democratic Party and were welcomed with open arms into the Republican fold. Jesse Helms did it. Strom Thurmond did it. In fact, during the last presidential campaign, he accused Al Gore of trying to be Harry Truman, and released a statement on Bush Campaign stationery that read, "Mr. Gore, I knew Harry Truman. I ran against Harry Truman. And Mr. Gore, you are no Harry Truman." He ran against him on -- get this -- a pro-segregation platform.

So, Mr. Himelfarb, when you say that Democrats are racists, you should bring some context to what you're writing. We Democrats got rid of our segregationists. They're on your side of the aisle now.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Greens: Ruining it for everybody

Can anyone really be this obtuse? Can the Green Party really think that they are doing anything in this country but siphoning votes away from the only people who can get elected who share even a fraction of their interests? Yesterday, Reuters reported that the Greens may screw up some tight races again, which could give Republicans control of the Senate.

But Democrats and Republicans are both controlled by business and special interests, they say. Both are just as bad.

First, anyone who has voted for either party should be offended. The Greens are saying that you are stupid. You might as well not have voted, because it's all the same anyway. Second, by taking away votes on the left, they are creating an environment where the only people able to win elections as Democrats will have to be more and more "centrist." They are, therefore, depriving themselves of friends and creating a Democratic Party filled with "blue dogs."

More importantly, however, the Greens are showing their own stupidity when they say they can't tell the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Just check out the National Resource Defense Council's rundown of the Bush environmental record and notice how many of those policies would not have been enacted if Gore had been in office. Note that most of the policies that Bush has imposed or has scrapped didn't have to go through Congress. He's been screwing up the country single-handedly and every vote for Nader was a vote that helped him do it. If you don't believe me, if you want to believe the Gore screwed it up all by himself, then check out this complaint by Greens in Washington State, who say that Republicans were helping to get them onto ballots -- just to take votes away from Democrats.

I repeat: Every vote for the Green Party is a vote for a Republican Washington.

Update: As soon as this was posted, a reader sent me this link to a site that points out the damned big difference between Republicans and Democrats.

Defending the VNS

I know that, somewhere, someone has probably made this point before (and made it better than I), but I don't know why everyone feels justified in badmouthing the Voter News Service. Today, the New York Times writes that "network executives blamed the service for providing flawed exit poll data that led them to call Florida initially for Al Gore." Why do they blame the VNS? Because they supposedly got their numbers wrong.

But wait. Remember the "butterfly ballots"? Remember retirees weeping because they thought they might have voted for Pat Buchanan? Remember how many "overvotes" got thrown out because people checked off the Al Gore box, but then, for good measure, wrote his name below as well. All of those people -- call them fools if you must -- left the polls believing they had voted for Al Gore. So, when they met the VNS people standing outside, that's what they said they had done. It's not the fault of the VNS that those people were confused and, it could be argued, it's not the fault of the people, either. It's the fault of a flawed system.

Thanks, Dana

While there are bloggers who have spent a large portion of the past two years pointing these things out, the "major media outlets" have continued to let Bush fold, spindle and mutilate the truth whenever he feels like it. Today, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank showed up to work with a list of Bushy B.S. In today's climate this probably means he's never going to speak to anyone in the White House ever again, so we appreciate him having the cojones to tell this story. (Although, if everyone in the press corps would push back when pushed, the White House just might have to start capitulating. The problem is, everyone's scared to report the truth because, if they do, conservatives squeal "Liberal Media!")

Update: The Daily Howler has Dana's back (but he does bite him in the ass a bit, too).

Monday, October 21, 2002

Read this now. I command you!

Mr. Capozzola over at the Rittenhouse Review knocks a sizable hole in the idea that the Republican party is the party of "fiscal responsibility."

Also, The Poor Man turns TV docent and shows you what's on PBS tonight.

Also, I saw The Ring this weekend. Very good. Anyone who says that it should make more sense (like this guy) or be better explained should be forced to stand in a corner and recite "Jabberwocky" 100 times. The film explains itself very nicely, thank you, and makes perfect sense in the world it creates. For Pete's sake, people, how much sense does Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory make?! It even has a nifty web site, featuring some nice design work and creepy audio (I recommend you use your headphones, cube cattle).

Also, I can't tell which is weirder here: the theft of Hitler's golden bookmark or finding out that such a thing existed. Apparently, it was given to him by Eva Braun in order to cheer him up after Germany's loss at Stalingrad. Next, the gang who stole it intends to go after Genghis Khan's "I Took the Black Sea" beach towel; Patton's ivory-handled boot brush; Judas Maccabeus' "We're here, G-d's will is clear, Get used to it" protest t-shirt; and the puppy given to Osama Bin Laden to perk him up after being chased from his favorite cave. I hear it's a rat terrier named Sniffy.

Kaus v. Straw Man

As I mentioned Friday, conservative bloggers love to attack Paul Krugman. What's interesting, though, is that they rarely fight him on the issues, but, rather, find some bit or piece of his column to argue with which is at best peripheral to the column's point. Take the column I mentioned Friday for example: Krugman wrote a wonderfully cogent essay which showed that, despite his stated goal of "changing the tone in Washington," that tone has gotten much, much worse. He used examples of Senators Gramm and Grassley comparing Democrats to Hitler -- just because they disagree with Republicans on tax policy. The argument is there. The examples are there. The point, my friends, is made.

Yet, Mickey Kaus, a chief anti-Krugman fanatic, has decided to attack the column. It's deliciously illustrated, though, that he can't argue with the substance. Instead, he calls Krugman an egomaniacal ideologue who hates Bush and uses a single sentence -- an aside about Michael Kinsley coming late to the realization that Bushies are unable to uphold a solid argument -- to prove his point. (Scroll down to "Krugman vs. Kinsley.") Anyone who reads the column in question will see that A) this is a ridiculous sidebar and B) Krugman's right.

Kaus tries to say that Krugman is taking apart a rival and elbowing out his competition as head Bush-basher: "Kinsley's a challenger for the same ecological niche Krugman occupies, so Krugman has to somehow establish dominance by not-so-subtly boasting that he bashed Bush first ....True, this is a cheap armchair Darwinian analysis, but in my experience cheap armchair Darwinian analysis is almost always right." (Because we want to deal with his substance, we'll let that last sentence slide, but you should feel free to consider that gem at your leisure.) The point of Krugman's article is that conservatives talk bipartisanship, but their walk is pure party line. You're either with them or you're a Nazi terrorist sympathizer. While Kinsley has made excellent points showing the Bushies lack of substance, he's only recently come around to realizing that the Administration doesn't want an honest debate or a fair fight. That's Krugman's point -- that Kinsley, among others, has been very good at pointing out the weakness of Bush's punch, but has been looking the other way while he gets in low blows.

P.S. Make time to read Krugman's excellent essay in the NYT Magazine about how the rich are just getting richer and you're getting screwed.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Great lines

I worry that people will expect this sort of thing all the time, but what can I do? I want to point out some of the good lines I've read across the web today in places that may or may not have anything to do with politics.

"(Nick Cook's) a careful investigative reporter, but once you start talking about UFOs and Nazi antigravity you're not far from hidden tunnels under the White House full of lizard-men disguised as Freemasons." - Adam Rogers writing in Slate about NASA's 'gravity modification' experiments.

"As soon as she watches it, the halfway plausible world in which the film opens -- a dreary, rain-soaked Seattle that looks like it might be David Lynch's screen-saver -- starts to melt and drip like one of Salvador Dalí's pocket watches." - Andrew O'Hehir in his review of The Ring in Salon. (I don't like the Dalí part so much as the Lynch part.)

Kudos to Krugman and other stories

Once again, Paul Krugman shows why conservatives (and their apologists) have made a cottage industry out trying to tear him down: he's left, but he's right. Today, he says that Bush has most certainly changed the tone in Washington, but has made it much worse, not better.

Also, "Representative Mark Foley, a Republican who represents West Palm Beach, said there was 'no question' that Governor Bush has used his relationship to the president to help Florida and, presumably, his own political fortunes." There's more.

Also, there is apparently no end to the meaningless things that people can find to worry about, but, this time, I'm on the side of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. "Wha?" you say. Sure, they're spending a bit to much time on a stupid topic, but the side they stand on is right. Check it: Yes, the word Confederate has issues, but to change the name of a building just because our time says the word's inappropriate seems the worst kind of lily-livered political correctness. (Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of offensive words that would deserve removal because they are inherently offensive.) In fact, their claim that removing the name is akin to the Taliban's destruction of giant Buddha statues rings very true. Anyone who would prefer not to attend a ballpark with the name of whatever corporation is currently paying for it plastered on the front should get on board with the UDC this time.

Also, E.J. Dionne hits the trifecta, mentioning three of my favorite topics -- the NRA, guns and Jerry Falwell -- in one nicely thought-out column.

Update: The Economist backs up Krugman.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Enemies of the state

Anyone who knows the Nitpicker knows that he has served in two branches of the military; has gotten teary-eyed on hearing the National Anthem since he was a boy; and watches Mr. Smith Goes to Washington at least every fiscal quarter. In short, I'm a liberal, but I'm about as threatening as Nerf ball.

And yet I'm still a little disappointed to have been excluded from the Free Republic's Anti-American Subversives List. I mean, by the standards they've apparently set -- disagreeing with the president in any way (Pat Buchanan and Chuck D are on the list) and being able to spell Jesse correctly -- I should be in like Flynn.

I'm no enemy of the state, but I would consider it a badge of honor if idiots like this would call me one.

Baa, baa, says Stasi

I expect Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler to pick this up soon, too, and with his wonderfully overdeveloped intellect and ostensibly endless allowance of free time, tear the New York Post's Linda Stasi a new one.

As he's pointed out numerous times:

a) The myth of the liberal media is just that. Gore was covered (and continues to be covered) much less flatteringly than Bush. Check out Bob's "incomparable" archives for the proof.

b) Our press corps is a herd of sheep looking only for a quiet place to lie. Stasi proves this second point all on her lonesome today.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

I've already explained this

But Bush needs to be taught slowly.

Sigh. Here, I explained why a ballistic fingerprinting test seems the best way to keep crazies like the Maryland Sniper from committing crimes -- or, at least, multiple crimes. Bush came out since the attacks began and disagreed with me. The best part is when sophist-for-hire Ari Fleischer said (and I kid you not) "How many laws can we really have to stop crime, if people are determined in their heart to violate them no matter how many there are or what they say?"

First, the fingerprinting wouldn't necessarily stop shootings, but would, after we've tracked illegally purchased weapons back to their straw man buyers, help stem the tide of illegal gun sales.

But here's the kicker. This is a spokesman for the same guy who would love to outlaw abortion and make drug laws tougher. Would he not make abortion illegal because it's proven that people will get abortions anyway? Will he legalize drugs because laws not only seem to not stop their sale, but to actually increase the violence around that sale? Give me a freakin' break!

Update: Bush will now study "whether "ballistic fingerprinting" technology would be an effective crime fighting tool." What do you want to bet the study comes out like his "study" to find out whether his tax cut helps. It seems that not only is Bush some kind of political genius, but is also psychic, because, no matter what happens, current events and the results of his studies always seem to support his prior suppositions.

While you were out

So, I've been away. I was at a conference for my day job, having a ball in the great state of Massachusetts. I personally recommend the clam chowder at Davy's Locker in New Bedford. It was my girlfriend's first ever bowl of the stuff and, woe unto her, she'll never have better. Regina's Pizza in Boston's North End is pretty darn good, too.

Anyway, I'm currently way outside the loop. Anyone who's attended one of these "meet the people and drink all night" kind of conferences knows how that works. I will say that I learned a lot and like the people in my field of business, but I can't tell you what that is, so what does it matter, right?

Until I get back up to speed, I suggest that everyone check out, first and foremost, my friends on the left side of your screen. (Thanks to the Rittenhouse Review for adding me to the list of "better bloggers" while I was gone.)

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Because he's cool...

I've added The Poor Man to my slowly growing list of blogs. I have to ask, though: Since his site is so much more comprehensive than mine, am I the poor man's Poor Man?

P.S. Chazz Palminteri and Joe Mantegna. Who's whose poor man?

"Examples of Love"

Matt Drudge (grain of salt not included) is reporting that Jerry Falwell said that "Mohammed was a terrorist" during his interview which will air on 60 Minutes this Sunday. Falwell goes on: "I read enough…by both Muslims and non-Muslims, [to decide] that he was a violent man, a man of war. In my opinion…Jesus set the example for love, as did Moses, and I think Mohammed set an opposite example.”

While the Nitpicker will admit that calling Mohammed a "man of peace" would putting too fine a point on a much more complicated figure, calling him a "terrorist" is just simply ridiculous. A warrior? I'll give you that.

What's weird is that Falwell, who you'd assume has read the Old Testament, says that Moses "set the example for love." I mean, he does know that Moses killed the Midianites, right? Read Numbers, Chapter 31. He orders the Israelites to not only kill every Midianite man, woman (except the virgins), and child, but also to steal all their stuff. He even tells his own people (after the incident of the golden calf), "Each of you, strap your sword to your side. Go back and forth through the camp, from gate to gate. Each of you kill your brother, your friend, and your neighbor." They, the Levites who obeyed him, killed 3,000 that day. (Exodus, Chapter 32)

There's much more violence in the Old Testament. (If you thought the walls falling down was the end of the battle of Jericho, check out Joshua 6:20.) The thing is, God orders the Jews to commit these acts, so, in Falwell's world, it's all OK. What he doesn't realize is that Mohammed felt equally justified in his actions, too.

As a Catholic, I believe that I am in some part an inheritor of the work of Moses, but I would hate for anyone to judge my faith solely by his actions. Falwell shouldn't do the same to Muslims.

Taxpayers pay for hate speech

For countless years, conservatives have been pissing and moaning about things like the NEA's donations to artists who are, admittedly, on the edge. They've jumped up and down about how they shouldn't be forced to pay for a view that they don't support. More recently, the fact that taxpayers paid the salary of the embattled Professor Sami al-Arian at the University of South Florida became a subtext of his castigation and eventual firing.

Then why would Bushies feel comfortable funneling money into the hands of Pat Robertson through their "faith-based" programs initiative? Not only has he disagreed with the plan from the start, he also, you'll remember, is the same guy who blamed America for the attacks of September 11.

While I am vehemently opposed to the Bushies' take on "faith-based" initiatives, what really drives me nuts is that Republicans have been consistently dismissing anyone who questions our policies in the Middle East as blaming America for September 11. (See also. And this.) But this hasn't happened. No conservative can point to any liberal who has said, "This is America's fault." I defy anyone to do it. But, on the 700 Club, Robertson and Falwell expressly blamed America for the attacks. Falwell said that the attack was "probably what we deserve" and Robertson responded, "Well, Jerry. That's my feeling."

I'm all for free speech and I don't think federal money should be used as a bludgeon to make people fall in line, but I will never understand how conservatives can sleep at night, considering the ridiculous and embarrassing contradictions their party espouses.

Excuse the lack of posts. I wrote a long one yesterday and lost it due to a glitch and was too disheartened to continue. Will post today on Robertson and his "faith-based" money.