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May 17, 2006

unless you mean in the sense of 'being held responsible'

This is the lead sentence from this morning's TPMMuckraker:
Criminal probes, convictions, and halfhearted "reformist" posturing by members is having a chilling effect on the Washington status quo, Roll Call reports.

I don't want to harp on TPMMuckraker too much, as I am a big fan of their muckraking, but as long as we're talking about the slush fund of graft, bribery and illegal financing that is K Street, I would advise that "chilling effect" is a big don't-say.

Let's reserve "chilling effect" for its more apt meaning -- "the effect of discouraging otherwise permissible behavior".

If the K Street Project qualifies as "otherwise permissible behavior", then go ahead and throw me in jail with Duke Cunningham, Michael Scanlon and Jack Abramoff.  I'll save space for Reps. Bob Ney, Conrad Burns and John Doolittle.

"Chilling effect" is not synonymous with "appropriate law enforcement activities".

And no, wingers, I did not include Reps. Allan Mollohan and William Jefferson on the list of soon-to-be-shitbirds.  Not because they are Democrats, and not because they aren't going to be shitbirds, because they might, but rather because they did not need the K Street Project to be corrupt.  They did it all on their own.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:52 AM

clearing the link brush

Time for some housework.  I'm cleaning out the links.  There's no need to link to a site that everyone's Aunt Fanny already links to on their MySpace page, right?  So I've applied a certain standard of ubiquity, and if it's a blog or left-wing site that's signed a book contract or guested on a Sunday morning talkshow, it's been yanked.  Exceptions: Olbermann, because his posts are very good (the two posts a month he churns out), and Maud Newton, because Maud Newton is a friend of mine, and you watch your mouth.

I'm also putting The Blotter at the top of the newsy links over there.  I swear to God a week ago I'd barely heard of The Blotter.  Then Brian Ross breaks the story that his Deep Throat warned him to get new cellphones, and I and everyone else landed there.  I clicked around, and it hit me -- Brian Ross and his posse are journalists.  Like, journalists as they used to be in those old movies where everyone talks real fast.  Ross and his crew break news.  They have sources.  They investigate.  The Blotter team are each wearing a piece of paper in their respective hatbands that says "Scoop", and this is why I am giving them all this Wednesday morning love.

Also new surpise.  Not so surprising, but useful.

It's these admin posts that really put the "ogg" into "blogging".

Posted by mrbrent at 10:13 AM

May 16, 2006

i think it must be a con

Haven't seen much in the way of fun stuff, what with bears eating monkeys and all.  So then, let's go dark.

In the same vein of the President's courageous offer to give undocumented immigrants a check for $100 if they leave (or whatever he said last night), them with the rabid paranoia over our unregistered friends (we will call them 'border hawks') have been amping up the ugly rhetoric.  Here, a selection from a WorldNetDaily article (via Steve Gillard's NEWS BLOG):

If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society, it couldn't possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don't speak English and are not integrated into American society.

I find it hard to believe that anyone, even a border hawk, could subscribe, in print, to the Adolph Hitler School of Population Management, but there you go.

It may not be fair to pull the comments of one border hawk out of context to paint all the other border hawks as eeeevil, no.  I accept that logic.  But, if that statement is true, is it also unfair to let one craven, Holocaust-referencing statement go unnoticed, in fairness to the breadth of opinions of all the border hawks?  I don't think so.  And I'm sure there is some writing from a border hawk that is an inclusive message of hope and love to immigrants -- a message that will counter-balance message of small-minded xenophobic hate.  There must be one out there.

I'd look for it right now, but I'm too busy giggling as the GOP struggles to accommodate its Holocaust reimplementation faction.  Bird, meet roost.

Also, two extraneous points concerning the screed in question.  First, in the original WorldNetDaily piece, the author refers to "Mexican nationals who have helped lower America's wage rates by 16 percent over the last 32 years".  It is very interesting to me the skewed understanding of cause and effect that these little rageballs have.  American wages drop over time, and the blame resides with someone other than the party that actually pays the wage?  Dude, cheap labor is not why you lost your landscaping gig.  You lost your landscaping gig because your boss fired you, and he fired you because he found some marginalized class that would work for less than you.  Blame the boss, or blame the employer.  Blame "market forces", if you want to be accurate.  But don't blame the poor fella who's willing to work for less than you.  Someday someone cheaper will come along (like a robot), and your immigrant friend will be as out of a job as you are.

Second, for argument's sake, the six million Jews over four years hypothesis may hold true, but please keep in mind that the end of this four years was marked by the fall of Germany.  And the suicide/apprehension of those responsible.  So be careful what you wish for, Hateface.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:48 PM

blind spot

Yesterday I got pretty worried.  Brian Ross, the Chief Investigative Correspondent of ABC, reported that a "senior federal law enforcement official" had warned him that the Administration had been tracking their phone calls to anonymous sources.  Hours later, Ross followed up with confirmation from the FBI that the phone records of reporters were being targeted:
Officials say the FBI makes extensive use of a new provision of the Patriot Act which allows agents to seek information with what are called National Security Letters (NSL).

The NSLs are a version of an administrative subpoena and are not signed by a judge. Under the law, a phone company receiving a NSL for phone records must provide them and may not divulge to the customer that the records have been given to the government.

This news gave me the freaking heebie jeebies.  Sure, I've been making "1984" jokes for the past years, but I don't think that even George Orwell could conceive something as rights-abridging and ominously-named as a "National Security Letter".  Big Brother reminds you that the innocent have nothing to fear, you panty-waist reporters.

Today, though, I am reassured.  After sleepless moments last night, thinking about the various intelligence apparati tracking down whistleblowers for silencing, I bought the New York Times first thing.  You know, so I could read more on this important breaking news story.

So I checked the front page, and then flipped through the National Section.  I then reread the whole section again, this time including the International Section.  Pouring over pages A-1 through A-26, I could find no mention.  Not word one.

Therefore, it didn't happen.

And to think that I got all worried.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:42 AM

May 15, 2006

extree, extree, read all about it

I didn't really think this morning was creepy, but the Yahoo! Rectangular Headline Container disagrees:
• Baby's hand severed at chocolate factory

In lieu of the four or five working punchlines from this stance, I would like to thank Yahoo! for the "news".  Baby fans everywhere are appalled, and chocolate fans are shocked.

Also, if Yahoo! is going to waste our eyeball-time with "news", they could at least try not to go there, icky-wise.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:03 AM