Due to a massive increase in comment spam – they appear to have found a way around the spam filters – I’m implementing controls on comments again, for a little while. If you have commented before you are likely already approved. I can approve you as a commenter the first time – the coment will be held until I approve it — or you can get a TypeKey account.
Please leave a comment to test if things are working.
This is temporary, I hope.
Update – troll hat is working now in the comments – go look in some of the comment threads. They are assigned on a comment-by-comment basis, and require me to edit the comment. It isn’t automatic. Level 1 troll: , level 2 troll: , level 3 troll: (no hat, just gone.)
Update – by comment spam I mean ads for drugs, gambling sites, and really bad stuff. Wingnuts are welcome to comment here as long as they don’t get abusive. But I am likely to put a troll hat on them. (By the way, posting obnoxious stuff just to get a troll hat is more likely to get you banned than get you a hat.)

To Be Fair?

Digby comments about Kevin Drum writing about what he calls

the toxic stew of cherry picking, half truths, and outright misrepresentations currently being used to demonize the UAE as a virtual arm of al-Qaeda.

Digby writes,

Like Pakistan, another close ally in the war on terror, the UAE have been playing both ends against the middle for a long time. We all understand that and accept it. They have to deal with the vicissitudes of their own political situation which doesn’t always accrue to our benefit. Welcome to the real world where the black and white formulation of “you’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists” is shown as the bullshit it always was.

I want to comment on what Kevin said, but to a different point.

Continue reading

On Paul Hackett Leaving the Senate Race

Karl Rove Punked Paul Hackett and his Followers by Hesiod. Go read. (And as with all Kos diaries, recommend if you want to bring it to wider attention.)
To be clear, Hackett would have been a GREAT candidate. He is a conservative Dem. Sherrod Brown is a Progressive Dem. I was neutral in that primary race. But now,

Whatever the truth of that charge is, Hackett is deliberately sabotaging Brown’s Senatorial campaign.

Here’s the thing. If you aren’t voting for a Democrat, you are helping put a Republican in. There is no way around that argument right now and it makes a huge difference to the world. If Republicans retain that seat it is one more vote for killing hundreds of thousands in Iraq and around the world, spying on us and calling us traitors, getting rid of pensions and health insurance, shipping jobs out of the country, killing off unions and all the other wonderful things Republicans bring. We must band together to fight the “conservative movement.” After they’re gone, then we can go after each other.

Now Bush Calls Republicans Traitors

The outcry from Republicans over Bush’s allowing the transfer of control of our ports to a company controlled by the government of the UAE has provoked the traditional Bush response — he sent out people to call them traitors:

“If the furor over the port deal should go on, Mr. England said, it would give enemies of the United States aid and comfort: ‘They want us to become distrustful, they want us to become paranoid and isolationist.

Matt Stoller at MyDD, Dissenting Redstaters: Bush Thinks You’re Traitors,

I really hope that principled conservatives start to realize that there is a very unconservative set of threats coming from this administration, and that staying silent about this very unAmerican intimidation by the government is not conservative in the least.

Continue reading

Voting Machines Story

Watchdog Group Questions 2004 Fla. Vote

An examination of Palm Beach County’s electronic voting machine records from the 2004 election found possible tampering and tens of thousands of malfunctions and errors, a watchdog group said Thursday.
… “I actually think there’s enough votes in play in Florida that it’s anybody’s guess who actually won the presidential race,” Harris added. “But with that said, there’s no way to tell who the votes should have gone to.”

Through Brad Blog.

Bill Moyers – Saving Democracy – MUST READ!!

Saving Democracy,

It is a Dick Cheney world out there – a world where politicians and lobbyists hunt together, dine together, drink together, play together, pray together and prey together, all the while carving up the world according to their own interests.
… As great wealth has accumulated at the top, the rest of society has not been benefiting proportionally. In 1960 the gap between the top 20% and the bottom 20% was thirtyfold. Now it is seventy-five fold. Thirty years ago the average annual compensation of the top 100 chief executives in the country was 30 times the pay of the average worker. Today it is 1000 times the pay of the average worker.
… In the words of Louis Brandeis, one of the greatest of our Supreme Court justices: “You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy, but you cannot have both.”
… Since Bush was elected the number of lobbyists registered to do business in Washington has more than doubled. That’s 16,342 lobbyists in 2000 to 34,785 last year. Sixty-five lobbyists for every member of Congress.
The amount that lobbyists charge their new clients has increased by nearly one hundred percent in that same period, according to The Washington Post, going up to anything from $20,000 to $40,000 a month. Starting salaries have risen to nearly $300,000 a year for the best-connected people, those leaving Congress or the administration.
The total spent per month by special interests wining, dining, and seducing federal officials is now nearly $200 million. Per month.
… A recent CBS news/New York Times poll found that 70% of Americans believe lobbyists bribing members of Congress is the way things work. Fifty seven percent thinks at least half of the members of Congress accept bribes or gifts that affect their votes. A Fox News poll reported that sixty five percent believe most elected officials in Washington make policy decisions or take actions on the basis of campaign contributions. Findings like these underscore the fact that ordinary people believe their bonds with democracy are not only stretched but sundered.
… There are, as I said, no victimless crimes in politics. The cost of corruption is passed on to you. When the government of the United States falls under the thumb of the powerful and privileged, regular folks get squashed.
… I have painted a bleak picture of democracy today. I believe it is a true picture. But it is not a hopeless picture. Something can be done about it.

Go read.

The Raid – In Case You Missed It

In case you missed Thomas’ post below, this is what life is like in Iraq:

Last time they had raided my aunts area, they took away four men on their street alone. Two of them were students in their early twenties- one a law student, and the other an engineering student, and the third man was a grandfather in his early sixties. There was no accusation, no problem- they were simply ordered outside, loaded up into a white pickup truck and driven away with a group of other men from the area. Their families haven’t heard from them since and they visit the morgue almost daily in anticipation of finding them dead.

Who Is The Crazy Person In The Room?

I’ve said before that when I try to talk about the stuff that the Republicans are up to, to people who don’t really follow the news, they think I’M the crazy person!

My wife and I share a house with a roommate who doesn’t really follow the news. Today I told him that last week the Vice President of the United States shot a man in the face with a shotgun, and blamed the guy he shot, and then when he got out of the hospital the guy apologized for the pain he had caused the VP — and then this week the President of the United States allowed our ports to be sold to a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates.

You should have seen how he looked at me.

Why we have the 4th Amendment: a profoundly disturbing report from Iraq.

This posting on Baghdad Burning about a “raid” gives me a vastly greater appreciation for, and understanding, of what the 4th Amendment (protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures”) to the U.S. Constitution was put in place for.
This is not how you “win friends and influence people”. Imagine if this were your home, or your neighborhood. Again… profoundly disturbing, even gut wrenching.

New Feature — Troll Cap

Introducing the Troll cap – Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)

I’ll be introducing this feature shortly. In two sizes.

Update – Well, I’ll add it as soon as I can figure this out. Does anyone know enough about Movable Type to help?