I’m not sure if I’m allowed to name names here (let’s just say the company name: Blog Labs), but a nifty little site launched today called Today’sPapers. The concept is akin to Google News, but also covers blog editorials and has the ability to comment and trackback (useful if the site mentioned does not do that). It feels a lot like a cross between GNews and Technorati and will probably be a good one to watch.
Author Archives: Stephen VanDyke
The Washington Post has compiled an article based on studies from various scholars which contends that both Kerry and Bush are habitual campaign misrepresenters. From the article “From Bush, Unprecedented Negativity”:
Kerry, too, has made his own misleading statements and exaggerations. For example, he said in a speech last week about Iraq: “They have gone it alone when they should have assembled a whole team.” That is not true. There are about 25,000 allied troops from several nations, particularly Britain, in Iraq. Likewise, Kerry said several times last week that Bush has spent $80 million on negative and misleading ads — a significant overstatement. Kerry also suggested several times last week that Bush opposed increasing spending on several homeland defense programs; in fact, Bush has proposed big increases in homeland security but opposed some Democratic attempts to increase spending even more in some areas. Kerry’s rhetoric at rallies is also often much harsher and more personal than Bush’s.
But Bush has outdone Kerry in the number of untruths, in part because Bush has leveled so many specific charges (and Kerry has such a lengthy voting record), but also because Kerry has learned from the troubles caused by Al Gore’s misstatements in 2000. “The balance of misleading claims tips to Bush,” Jamieson said, “in part because the Kerry team has been more careful.”
Good to see we’re back to voting for a lesser of two evils. You’d think people would learn than they should be more concerned about moral clarity and straightforward-ness instead of terms like “electability”.
From Bush, Unprecedented Negativity [Washington Post]
An apology has been issued to the website Military Corruption for the actions of a member of the Pentagon staff who sent an email to the website with abusive and incendiary language:
?Ã„ÃºI could hardly believe my eyes, even after his threatening e-mail of last week [see related stories],?Ã„Ã¹ MacDonald said. ?Ã„ÃºUsually when an officer ?Ã„Ã²flips out,?Ã„Ã´ like that, or is extremely offensive, he (or she) does it verbally over the telephone so as to cover their behind.
?Ã„ÃºThis time – the offender, LCDR Dan Hetlage ?Ã„Ã¬ sent us a series of profanity-laced e-mails that only confirmed how unsuitable he is for the job he currently holds. Maybe he can be sent to a combat zone like Iraq or Afghanistan for more than a few days in a luxury hotel so he can really risk his life like our editor-in-chief did (from 1966 – to – 1969) in the bloody war in Vietnam.
In addition to an earlier e-mail, where the out-of-control PAO threateningly told us to ?Ã„Ãºbe prepared for the consequences?Ã„Ã¹ of our news articles and declared that all the contents on MilitaryCorruption.com are against ?Ã„Ãºall that this county stands for,?Ã„Ã¹ Hetlage attacked our editor, a multi-tour combat veteran, as a ?Ã„Ãºpussy-wimp,?Ã„Ã¹ claimed we ?Ã„Ãºsupport terrorists,?Ã„Ã¹ and said MAJ MacDonald is considered a ?Ã„Ãºf – - king joke?Ã„Ã¹ in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld?Ã„Ã´s office.
The Department of Defense has said it regrets the action and has reprimanded the officer with counseling. Yeah, counseling. You can read the original article which prompted the explosive tirade: “Fire Rumsfeld now”.
Apology Issued to MilitaryCorruption.com from DoD Press Office [Military Corruption]
Pentago PAO Attacks MilitaryCorruption.com [Military Corruption]
Fire Rumsfeld now [Military Corruption]
Alexandra Polier, the the woman fingered in the Kerry scandal that wasn’t a scandal (but instead was just a load of tripe), has written her own account of an extensive investigation into the rumor. Her story unfolds in “How I Got Smeared”:
Our conversation was unsettling, but it was hardly conclusive. I tried to understand the chronology of events, and then discovered that Drudge’s “exclusive” wasn’t even an exclusive. On February 6, six days before Drudge, an obscure political Website called Watchblog.com ran a commentary by someone calling himself Son of Liberty. “Rumor has it that John Kerry is going to be outed by Time magazine next week for having an affair with a 20-year-old woman who remains unknown,” Son had confidently predicted.
Watchblog was the creation of Cameron Barrett, who–as it happened–went on to work for the Clark campaign. I enlisted some reporting help from Robert Kolker, a more seasoned political journalist who works for this magazine. He reached Barrett by instant message.
Without even being asked, Barrett declared that Son’s story had nothing to do with himself, Lehane, or Clark. A day later, Son himself e-mailed, saying that he was willing to be unmasked as Stephen VanDyke, a 25-year-old computer programmer in Atlanta. Claiming to be inspired by James Thomson Callender, the original American muckraker who chronicled the scandals of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, VanDyke says now that he was merely trying to make a name for himself by posting the rumor. “What I tried to break,” he explains, “was that the rumor did exist. I didn’t know whether it was true or not.
I know now it’s not.
“It looks as though someone may have been just passing out disinformation,” he continued. “And I may have become part of that cycle.” Kolker asked him if he knew why I had been named. “She may have just been convenient,” VanDyke suggested. “Someone who ran off to, where did she go, Kenya? It made an excellent opportunity for someone to finger-point at her.”
It was becoming clearer: No single person had to have engineered this. First came a rumor about Kerry, then a small-time blogger wrote about it, and his posting was read by journalists.
I must say, I was duped: I was interviewed by Bob Kolker, yet she is the one writing the article. [correction] I would much rather have spoken directly to Polier to let her know that my intention was not malicious, but just informing. James Thomson Callender was actually the originator of the term “hammer of truth”, meaning the truth is not partisan. I felt it was my duty to inform of a rumor and I did it in a manner that examined political rumors, not in the context of scandalmongering. But I think there is a lot of unleashed rage — some of it deserved, and some of it vented at me — in this article that people will be buzzing about for a while.
For anyone who is interested in the way in which I had broken this, it is not summarized in that sentence. Please read my piece that I had written under the pseudonym SoL (Son of Liberty) entitled “Rumor: A Kerry Affair & Push Polling”, the second line of which acted as the leveller:
At present, this is nothing more than a rumor; and after such sordid tactics as the “push polling” that took place in South Carolina in the 2000 elections, can such rumors be credible during campaign cycles?
You can also read the other commentary articles that I wrote for WatchBlog covering the purported scandal: Rumor Machinations: Who gains from it? Woman Denies Rumors of Kerry Affair. If you compare Polier’s article and how I covered the alleged rumor, you will find some striking similarities in trying to discern truth from fiction, as well as investigating motive and who would best gain from it.
Correction: Apparently I was made aware that Polier was writing the article (honestly, I probably wasn’t paying attention if that was said, but it was a recorded interview and I don’t doubt Bob’s word on the matter), I have of course posted a full retraction and apology on this at “Polier Article Correction: Yeah, I Make Mistakes”
If you have to work on Monday, then hang out on Newgrounds instead of coming here, because I’m not posting anything until Tuesday.
Either way, remember why you have this day off: it’s a solemn day to commemorate our fallen soldiers of wars past and present, just and unjust alike.
New York Magazine is running a story on the much-ballyhooed Internet rumor from early February concerning an affair between Senator John Kerry and Alex Pollier. Of course,who somehow remained anonymous while spreading the rumor. I’m pretty sure Wonkette already knows this one, it’s not that hard.
It looks like Wonkette has a very rough edit of the story (or just a part of it) based on the attrocious grammatical and punctuation errors from Pollier’s interview:
…of course, i still remained unsure how it was that I got dragged into this thing. My relationship with Peter [Maroney, Kerry's Finance Director] had put me close to the senator,
My guess would be that the interview was conducted via email; And Pollier was supposed to have a journalism degree? Pffft.
Cookie to anyone who can put two and two together on my “Related Entry” below.
It’s finally making the rounds that the Department of Homeland Security was mostly clued-out as to the recent warning that Al-Qaida was ready to strike. DHS is supposed to be responsible for issuing warnings and acts as a clearinghouse and conduit between intelligence agencies, however something seems to be misfiring in the communication between agencies. Newsday has the full story in :
Officials said the Homeland Security Department knew in advance about the news conference but expected it to focus on seven suspects with ties to al-Qaida who were wanted for arrest or questioning. Department officials were caught off guard when Ashcroft went further and warned that al-Qaida “is ready to attack the United States.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Ridge spoke on morning television shows and appeared to downplay the threat that Ashcroft would later trumpet, officials said. He told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the threats are “not the most disturbing that I have personally seen during the past couple of years.”
So what happened? Did Ashcroft get a little overzealous in his press conference? Are these mixed signals part of an ingenious plot to make terrorists think our intelligence agencies are little more than Keystone cops tripping over each other? What gives?
The Independent Institute has an excellent analysis of the current prisoner interrogation and handling fiasco that is besetting the White House and Pentagon. From their article:
If today the U.S. government were to put itself on trial, on the same basis it employed to try the Nazis at Nuremberg, for actions taken in Afghanistan and Iraq in recent years, it might have to convict itself–if only for the sake of consistency. Justice is no respecter of person. Can anyone sincerely maintain that what was a crime for Hermann Goering and Alfred Jodl is not equally a crime for Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney?
Evidently, leaders of the Bush administration have given serious consideration to the possibility that their actions might lead to an indictment for war crimes, and they have taken legal measures to minimize their exposure to such prosecution. In a January 25, 2002, memorandum obtained and publicized recently by Newsweek, Alberto R. Gonzales, counsel to the president, outlined the pros and cons of the government?Ã„Ã´s decisions about the treatment of prisoners in the so-called war on terrorism.
The argument isn’t your typical liberal rant on prosecuting administration officials for war crimes, in fact the institute is highly regarded as a bastion of reason. This one is actually very well thought out and argues mostly for the case of consistency and judicial equality on the part of the United States. We’ll see if this has any legs, but the story may already be dying down as other news developments take it’s place.
[The Independent Institute]
John Kerry is floating a plan to um… get out of Iraq, by adding 40,000 more troops to the fray. The plan calls for half to be those specializing as military police and for civil affairs, and the other 20,000 would be combat troops. Bloomberg has the full story in “Kerry Calls for More Troops to Bolster U.S. Military”:
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry called for increasing the U.S. military by 40,000 troops, probably for a decade, in order “to match its new missions” in the war on terror and homeland security.
“Kerry has to be careful in the campaign not to be perceived as too eager to change the course of U.S. policy toward Iraq,” said Mark Rozell, head of Catholic University’s politics department in Washington. “His policy options are limited by what Bush decides and he cannot say too much in a critical way or else he risks being perceived as undermining the U.S. war effort. It is a delicate balancing act for him.”
You have admit though, it doesn’t sound too different from the Bush doctrine. But funny enough, in the run-up to the June 30th handover, the Pentagon has been pulling more troops out of Iraqi cities and handing the security over to local militias — such as Al Sadr loyalists in Najjaf.
What strikes me as funny is that the Bush administration has had high attrition since the Iraq war began, and has been actively calling up dormant reservists. Which could make anyone ask: Where the heck does Kerry think these 40,000 troops are going to come from?
TODAYonline is running an article that speculates on the timing of the most recent terror alert. Full story in :
Mr Ashcroft said several upcoming events – which include two major American holidays, a Group of Eight summit, political party conventions and US elections in November – could be attractive targets for Al Qaeda.
Observers say that the vague new warning might not be just a call for heightened vigilance.
One thing they missed is that Attorney General John Ashcroft never contacted the Department of Homeland Security on the latest warning. However, Ashcroft notified the nation of the warning along-side FBI Director Robert Mueller. Tom Ridge, the director of DHS, is said to be fuming at the White House for being left out of the loop. Which begs the question: Why have a Department of Homeland Security if no one is going to tell them anything?
It’s kinda ironic in a sad way when you read about stuff like this on the Memory Hole Blog:
I’ve received email from a person with an [army.mil] address. This person is stationed in Iraq, and he/she tells me that The Memory Hole is blocked on military computers. Trying to get to the site results in the following message:
Access Denied (content_filter_denied)
Your request was denied because of its content categorization: “Extreme;Politics/Religion”
For assistance, contact your network support team.
How interesting. I post raw documents created by the government, military, and corporations. These days, that apparently amounts to “political extremism.”
Naturally, I’ve filed a FOIA request about this blocking.
The Memory Hole Banned in Iraq [MemoryBlog]
Andy Rooney, the octogenarian voice of CBS’s 60 Minutes, has written an excellent analysis of how the Abu Ghraib scandal will haunt us in the books of history:
The day the world learned that American soldiers had tortured Iraqi prisoners belongs high on the list of worst things that ever happened to our country. It’s a black mark that will be in the history books in a hundred languages for as long as there are history books. I hate to think of it.
In the history of the world, several great civilizations that seemed immortal have deteriorated and died. I don’t want to seem dramatic tonight, but I’ve lived a long while, and for the first time in my life, I have this faint, faraway fear that it could happen to us here in America as it happened to the Greek and Roman civilizations.
Our Darkest Days Are Here [60 Minutes]
Police in Portsmouth, NH have a new friend in the war against under-age drinking and drug use: Pizza delivery guys and hotel desk clerks. The Associate Press has the full story in:
Portsmouth Police Sergeant Mike Schwartz said the program is called the “Booze Bounty.” He said food delivery people and hotel clerks would receive $50 if their anonymous tips of suspicious activity leads to the arrest of a party host.
It’s funny because the police think that the stoner pizza guy is going to turn in his buddies instead of spending a little extra time with his friends and drinking a beer. Aww, isn’t big brother just so naive?
There’s a little buzz developing around the leftist talk radio host Mike Webb, who has a late-night show on KIRO radio in Seattle. He was discussing Abu Ghraib and speculating whether top-level White House officials knew what was happening in the prison and whether they had authorized the abuses. WorldNetDaily has the full story in “Talk host: Death penalty for Bush”:
“If this is proven to be true, that he knew what was going on [at Abu Ghraib prison], it’s a violation of the Geneva Conventions,” Webb stated. “When you commit a war crime, which is punishable by death.”
Webb then asked: “Should George Bush get the death penalty? I say yes.”
Now while his statements are over-the-top and a bit overzealous — considering we only know that there were memos flying around in early 2002 that discussed White House culpability on breaking Geneva Conventions — he’s incorrect in assuming that all war crimes are punishable by death. As in the Nuremberg trials, the majority of sentences for guilty verdicts turned out to be prison sentences.
Let’s ratchet the rhetoric down a little folks, I’m all in favor of investigating White House and Pentagon complicity in violating Geneva Conventions, but calling for death sentences is a bit premature and only arms the screaming heads (both sides) with more juicy propaganda. You can also read Webb’s blog online where he’s in denial that he went too far.
How many times does Senator John McCain have to say no? Apparently many more times in order for people to realize that no, he is not going to be running as John Kerry’s vice president. CBS News explores the outlandish in their piece “Poll: McCain/Kerry Ticket A Winner”:
McCain has continued to face questions about joining his fellow Vietnam veteran Kerry on a ticket, despite having insisted that he is not interested in doing so. America?Ã„Ã´s voters, meanwhile, do have interest in such a bi-partisan slate: a hypothetical Kerry/McCain pairing holds a 14-point advantage over President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney, nearly double the 8-point lead Kerry has alone over Bush.
I mean, holy crap, two Vietnam veterans who have diametrically opposed views on economics and social reform? Let’s pee ourselves in glee at how Machiavellian this match-up would be, no matter how improbable.
Poll: McCain/Kerry Ticket A Winner [CBS News]
Hoo boy, everyone is getting on the New York Times bandwagon, unfortunately it has “tar and feather these bastards” scrawled on the side. The reason for the renewed aggression at the Times? No, they didn’t rehire Jayson Blaire… they issued an overdue mea culpa for relying on the notorious Ahmed Chalabi for much of their WMD information. The retraction is available in the article “The Times and Iraq”. I’ll give you a rundown of my favorites:
AngryFinger writes in “Our National Embarrasment”: “Yesterday the New York Times published an editor’s note to admit how bad they blew it in the months leading up to and following the start of the Iraq war. The piece was called ‘The Times and Iraq’, it should have been called, ‘How the New York Times Became the Bush Administration’s Propaganda Bitch’”.
Jeff Jarvis of Buzz Machine writes in “The Kremlinology of Iraq and The Times”: “In one view, this is The Times going after Bush: By admitting they were stupid to rely on Ahmad Chalabi and his henchmen for stories, they can put themselves up on a pedestal of late-blooming virtue and say that Bush was even stupider to rely on Chalabi and his henchmen for intelligence that led to war. The problem I have with that is that The Times is being quite selective in its sword falling.”
Power Line thinks that the Times will be even harder on Bush now that everyone knows they are full of crap in the article “No More Mr. Nice Guy at the Times”: “faults itself for publishing reports of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq without 1) expressing sufficient skepticism, or 2) doing follow-up investigation to show that the reports weren’t true [...] In other words, between now and November we will see a constant drumbeat of articles in the Times, driving home the theme that “Bush lied!” about the weapons of mass destruction.”
David Reese has given the New York Times a well-deserved body-slam in his latest installment of Get Your War On. As always, humorous and insightful at the same time:
Get Your War On #36 [David Reese]
This article is a bit dated — December 2002 — but it’s still an interesting read to compare crash tests of the 2002-04 MINI Cooper and the 1997-2003 Ford F-150. I’ve actually seen a 60 Minutes segment comparing the 2004 F-150 to the previous model and showing how much better it handles the same crash test (it did better, but the MINI still wins in my opinion).
Also, check out the great article that’s linked from this: “Big and Bad: How the S.U.V. ran over automotive safety”. It was in the New Yorker a few months ago as a print-only piece, but it’s now online. It examines the “passive safety” of SUVs and compares it to the “active safety” of normal sized cars.
Crash Testing: MINI Cooper vs Ford F150 [Bridger]
Big and Bad: How the S.U.V. ran over automotive safety [Malcolm Gladwell]
MSN Slate has a humorous editorial up on how we can get the hell out of Iraq in only three simple steps (no, step two isn’t ‘???’). The strategy is laid out in all it’s tongue-in-cheek glory in “Exit Strategy: How to leave Iraq in three simple steps”:
1) Kill all the ones who are trying to kill us, in such a way that none of those who presently do not want to kill us suddenly start wanting to kill us.
2) At the moment of the death of the last person who wanted to kill us, race quickly out of the country before some additional person suddenly decides he/she wants to kill us, thus necessitating our continued presence in Iraq, in order to kill him/her.
Step 3, of course, is still “Profit!”. Read on to see why I called it humorous instead of a jaded diatribe exhorting large amounts of killings.
Exit Strategy: How to leave Iraq in three simple steps [MSN Slate] [via Wonkette]
In an unsurprising end to the controversy surrounding John Kerry’s Machiavellian scheme to postpone his acceptance for five weeks after the Democratic National Convention, . The supposed problem stems from the timeframe bewteen the Democratic Convention and the Republican convention — which will take place in New York and end on September 2nd. When the general election begins, which is the point at which each candidate accepts their party’s nomination, they are allotted $75 million dollars to spend in the general election.
I guess this says a lot about the Democrat’s fiscal conservacy if didn’t think they could make $75m last for a few weeks longer than the Republicans.
William Blaze over at American Dynamics has Wonkette. Of course, we also know that all those search engine hits are coming from .gov websites, so we’ll just wink and pass along the pics (click the picture to go to American Dynamics):(AKA Jessica Cutler). I saw a couple of these but most of them are new. He says he posted the images “because people seem to want them, not because we care…”. Yeah, yeah… we know you’re watching your search engine traffic and seeing the same voracious apetite for scantilly clad Washington staffers nuzzling with
Air America Radio—the radio show called the “liberal response to conservative talk radio”—has been floundering in recent weeks. But you probably haven’t heard about the closures of it’s Los Angeles and Chicago offices, nor the scandal embroiling their health care plan—where employees had insurance premiums deducted from their paychecks, but were never covered.
That’s because, according to Media Research Center, news stations hyped Air America’s rise, but didn’t see fit to cover the fall of the liberal outlet. In their analysis, “Hyping Liberal Radio’s Rise, But Not Its Fall”, they expose the coverage gaps:
Newsweek highlighted the debut in a big three-page spread. Newsweek.com also featured an April 12 Al Franken interview with tough questions like Why are Democrats such wimps? Why don’t they fight back? Coverage since then? Zero.
President George W. Bush has another search term to add to his collection: “failure“. Typing the word into Google now turns up Bush’s biography on the White House website, and interestingly enough Jimmy Carter’s bio is number two and Michael Moore’s website trails in third. Previously, it took the complete phrase “miserable failure” to return Bush in the top position, but some people have apparently decided to strip him of his “miserable” status.
In what has become a war of political search-engine manipulation, John Kerry’s presidential campaign site is the number one term for “waffles” and a search for “weapons of mass destruction” lists a faux error page claiming that “These Weapons of Mass Destruction cannot be displayed”.
A Google-bombing occurs due to Google’s search algorithm which assigns higher scores based on the way people link to items. For example: enough people have linked to Kerry’s campaign with the word “waffles” in order to push that word to the top of the results.
Meanwhile, a search for “viable alternative” is as of yet, still not google-bombed.