"Disorder in the house. . . reptile wisdom . . . zombies on the lawn, staggering around; Disorder in the house, there's a flaw in the system, a fly in the ointment's gonna bring the whole thing down."
Warren Zevon

Friday, February 13, 2004


Puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

(Thanks Ezra.)

Thursday, February 12, 2004

"Scandal" Notwithstanding. . . 

Clark to endorse Kerry. From the AP. With a Nedra Pickler byline, no less.

Kos on the case. . . 

Kos has the goods on Drudge's "Intern Scandal."
Somehow I expected it to be something like this. Check it out, I'm too busy today to summarize.

Still More Awol. . . 

Atrios is once again your one-stop source for all things AWOL, and has no less that seven (count 'em) consecutive posts which address the issue.

Hesiod parses Campenni, and

Oliver Willis actually actually tracks him down.

Ezra makes the case that it really doesn't matter, but his commenters disagree.

Shoveldog doesn't know whether it matters or not, but is certainly amused.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Awol, Awol, and more Awol 

Via Atrios, today's Dallas Morning News quotes Retired National Guard Lt. Col. Bill Burkett, who stated earlier this week that in 1997, Joe Allbaugh, chief of staff for then Gov. George W. Bush, asked a National Guard chief to review Bush's file to make sure "there's not anything there that will embarrass the governor." Burkett then states that he saw portions of Bush's file "discarded" in a trash can. Although the article further notes that Texas Air National Guard, Lt. Col. John Stanford, "dismissed Col. Burkett's account of the conversation as 'far-fetched,' conspicuously absent is a denial that a converstion between Allbaugh and National Guard officials occurred. "Of the accusation that the files were altered, [Stanford] said, 'I have no knowledge that such an event ever occurred.' Again, no denial.

And poor Scott McClellan. He's also quoted, but the best he can to is keep repeating, ""The president recalls serving both when he was in Texas and when he was in Alabama." Well, W. "remembers" it. That settles it for me. How about you?

He's "Out of the Loop." It's a Family Thing. 

Slate's Fred Kaplan rather diplomatically points out that the best defense offered by conservatives against the charge that George W. Bush frequently lies is the argument that he's not lying, he's, well, stupid out of the loop. Reviewing his "interview" with Tim Russert, and noting Bush's ever expanding language regarding "pre-emptive warfare," Kaplan notes:

"If no commentators have noted, or perhaps even noticed, this new spin on American military policy, it may be because they don't take Bush's unscripted remarks seriously. (It's just Bush, talking off the top of his head. No sense parsing the implications.) That in itself is quite a commentary on this president."

Indeed. No one takes him seriously. The man is a lightweight. Everyone knows it. Not only does he not actively make policy, he doesn't even understand it.

Federal Marriage Amendment 

The wording of the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment is getting a lot of attention from the blogs this morning, and for good reason. Despite being promoted as a compromise position which would allow civil unions, this amendment prohibits far more than same sex marriage. The text in question reads:

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

As I read the second sentence, even if a State passes legislation which requires an employer or an insurance carrier to offer benefits to a same sex partner, such legislation would be unconstitutional and unenforceable. Eugene Volokh and Jack Balkin concur.

Further, a perhaps unintended consequence of this language which I have not seen discussed elsewhere would be the likely demise of common law marriage rights, still recognized in various forms by about a dozen states. As I read this text, no law, state or federal, legislative, judge-made or otherwise, can be interpreted to confer any legal incidents of marriage upon "unmarried couples," including heterosexual couples. In addition to prohibiting future legislation conferring marital benefits upon unmarried couples, this amendment will invalidate existing law which already does so.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Department of Defense Requests Bush National Guard File 

The Washington Post reports that the Department of Defense has requested George W. Bush's payroll records from an archive in Colorado in order to determine how to respond to numerous recent requests from news organizations to make such records public. During his interview with Tim Russert on Sunday, Bush agreed that he would make all records public in order to resolve the issue of whether he reported for duty in from May 1972 to April 1973. From the article:

According to military experts familiar with National Guard records, there are two documents that could indicate whether Bush reported for drills during that year. One is an annual summary of his points, the quantitative measure of his service. The summary includes each date he reported for a drill and how many points he received toward his annual requirement.

His official personnel record, obtained by The Post in 2000, does not include a summary of service for the time in Alabama. There is a sheet, where the name has been torn off, that includes dates for that period, but there is no way to confirm it refers to Bush because his Social Security number has been redacted. Also, no one who served in Bush's Alabama unit at that time has come forward, despite years of publicity on the subject. The brigadier general Bush was to report to in Alabama has said he has no recollection of Bush's doing so.

The other documents that should still be available are Bush's payroll records, which would show what drills Bush was compensated for during that period. Officials said yesterday that the DOD in Washington would review the master copy of Bush's payroll records, which have been stored on microfiche for 30 years at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in Denver.

Looks like this one's got legs. We'll see how long it lasts.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall has more on the privacy issues.

Absent Without Leave 

Kevin Drum's latched on like a pit bull to the Bush AWOL issue, and has some new insights.

Atrios points out a blatant lie on the same topic in Bush's autobiography.

It's taken four years, but finally, the issue is being discussed.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

One Upmanship 

Even with the considerable political fallout in Britain from the obvious whitewash of the Hutton Inquiry, George W. Bush has done Tony Blair one better with the appointment of Laurence Silberman to the panel investigating intelligence failures leading up to the events of September 11. As most observers know, Silberman has had a hand in some of the most egregious partisan maneuverings of the last ten years, helpfully catalogued by David Neiwert here. My personal favorite is his collaboration with Judge David Sentelle to orchestrate the replacement of independent counsel Robert Fiske with Kenneth Starr in the Whitewater Investigation. Think of what the country could have been spared had that substitution not taken place.

If, like the Hutton Inquiry, Bush's "bipartisan" panel is to be nothing more that a whitewash, I suppose we should be grateful for such a transparently partisan choice. The appointment of Silberman all but insures that no one will take the findings of this inquiry seriously.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Don't Blame Canada 

Yes, I got it from Drudge.

It's still funny

Monday, February 02, 2004

Grand Exalted Editorial Panjandrum of The Register 

That's me. Shoveldog. And of The Register, no less. Here, read all about it.

Well, actually, maybe you'd better start here,with here being an article, by Andrew Orlowski of The Register, which most appropriately and most deliciously sends up the pretension and hyperbole of the weblog infatuated techno-gurus in the wake of Howard Dean's loss in Iowa. It's one of the few intelligent articles I've read on the subject of those who insist on "attributing magical powers" to the internet and weblogs, and it clearly separates the incredible hype from the realities of the Dean campaign.

Now, this sort of article is the type of thing that really pisses Ed Cone off. Not because he disagrees, mind you, because he says almost exactly the same things, but apparently because someone else said it. Ed has written and blogged extensively about writing and blogging extensively and in the course of such writing and blogging has considered the Dean campaign and its internet strategy. And he's done it very well. Ed was involved in BloggerCon, the convention dreamed up by then relatively unknown Dave Winer. (You remember, the guy who thought he would hold a blogger's convention at Harvard, and invited Atrios and others, telling them that for $500 a head, he'd teach them a few things about blogging? Might have been a good conference, can't say, but the "invitations" rubbed a whole lot of terrific writers the wrong way.) In addition, Ed's now involved with the O'Reilly Digital Democracy Teach-in, and was recently a guest on MPR's"The Blogging of the President."

In between all that, though, he's found time to get really pissed off about this. Yes, this, another Andrew Orlowski article, which Ed inexplicably believes to be an "attack piece" directed toward Dave Weinberger. Read it. Then go figure. I made the mistake of commenting and telling him that I was sure he was correct about any factual mis-statements the article contained, but that I agreed with Orlowski's underlying opinion of the political/blogging gurus and their absurd, hyperbolic predictions about "emergent" phenomena in future campaigns. Which started this. Which prompted this, from Orlowski himself:

Ed - Your writing deserves no more, but no less criticism than anyone else in the political and social sphere. But you've constructed a straw man here, to avoid discussing the points I raise. This can't be construed as a personal attack, because I only discuss some items of David's public cultural product. Where he makes sense, I praise it. Where he doesn't make sense, I criticize it. By (over-)reacting so defensively, you give the impression that you wish to be placed above criticism.
I've encountered this characteristic several times - only people inside the blogging tent are allowed to criticize. And you wonder why world+dog finds this creepy...

Shoveldog - I hereby confer on you the title "Grand Exalted Editorial Panjandram of The Register". You don't have to do any editing, but you may use the title as you wish: to impress the ladies, jump the queue at Starbucks, and play a starring role at blogging conferences. ;-)

Andrew Orlowski • 2/1/04; 4:21:10 PM

You know, Ed knows more about this stuff than I do, and I've told him as much. He's on panels and talk shows and I'm not. He's a professional writer and I'm just a spare-time blogger. But if I wasn't already convinced that Orlowski was right about the arrogance and hubris of the "emergent" class of self-appointed weblog/internet pundits, I certainly am now. Compare this, for instance: Shoveldog: "I'm sure you're right. . . You're in a better position than I. . . Reasonable minds might differ." With this: Ed Cone: ". . . cannot be taken seriously. . . attack piece. . . get your eyes checked."
Shorter shoveldog: "We disagree, but I respect your opinion."
Shorter Ed Cone: "I'm right, and if you don't agree, you're an idiot."

You're really doing your part to disprove Orlowski's points, there, Ed. If he quotes you next time, will that make it better? In the meantime, I'll just take my title and go to the head of the line at Starbucks.
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