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April 10, 2004

Meanwhile back on the ranch
This is Bush's 33rd visit to his ranch since becoming president. He has spent all or part of 233 days on his Texas ranch since taking office, according to a tally by CBS News. Adding his 78 visits to Camp David and his five visits to Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush has spent all or part of 500 days in office at one of his three retreats, or more than 40 percent of his presidency.

Nice work, if the Supreme Court can get it for you.

(Story.)

Holy cow
Washington, D.C., Nov. 3, 2000 — The fire and smoke from the downed passenger aircraft billows from the Pentagon courtyard. Defense Protective Services Police seal the crash sight. Army medics, nurses and doctors scramble to organize aid. An Arlington Fire Department chief dispatches his equipment to the affected areas.

Don Abbott, of Command Emergency Response Training, walks over to the Pentagon and extinguishes the flames. The Pentagon was a model and the "plane crash" was a simulated one.

More, via Atrios.

The center cannot hold

Not good days for the Bushies, as the house of cards they've built for themselves begins to collapse eight months too soon. Iraq appears to be morphing into an unholy combination of Vietnam, Beiruit, and the West Bank...while on the home front, some, if not all, of the 9/11 commissioners are clearly fed up with the stonewalling and bullshit--hence the deliberate revelation during public testimony of the title of the infamous August 6 PDB, as well as the leaked description of its more damning contents in major papers this morning. (The latter attributed to "several people who have seen the memo"--gosh, who might that be?)

From the Times:

WASHINGTON, April 9 — President Bush was told more than a month before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that supporters of Osama bin Laden planned an attack within the United States with explosives and wanted to hijack airplanes, a government official said Friday.

The warning came in a secret briefing that Mr. Bush received at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., on Aug. 6, 2001. A report by a joint Congressional committee last year alluded to a "closely held intelligence report" that month about the threat of an attack by Al Qaeda, and the official confirmed an account by The Associated Press on Friday saying that the report was in fact part of the president's briefing in Crawford.

The disclosure appears to contradict the White House's repeated assertions that the briefing the president received about the Qaeda threat was "historical" in nature and that the White House had little reason to suspect a Qaeda attack within American borders.

And from the Post::

Bush had specifically asked for an intelligence analysis of possible al Qaeda attacks within the United States, because most of the information presented to him over the summer about al Qaeda focused on threats against U.S. targets overseas, sources said. But one source said the White House was disappointed because the analysis lacked focus and did not present fresh intelligence.

New accounts yesterday of the controversial Aug. 6 memo provided a shift in portrayals of the document, which has set off a political firestorm because it suggested that bin Laden's followers might be planning to hijack U.S. airliners.

In earlier comments this week, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and other administration officials stressed that intelligence officials were focused primarily on threats to U.S. interests overseas. But sources made clear yesterday that the briefing presented to Bush focused on attacks within the United States, indicating that he and his aides were concerned about the risks.

No wonder even some Republicans are beginning to second-guess Karl Rove on the wisdom of holding the convention in NYC:

But then came Richard A. Clarke, the 9/11 commission and a rising insurgency in Iraq. Now, as the administration faces increasing scrutiny of its handling of pre-9/11 terror threats and the wisdom of extending the war on terrorism into Iraq, the question has emerged whether New York is the best place for the Republicans to be gathering this summer.

"I would assume that it has turned from a win-win to a maybe not," said a Republican political strategist who spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

And next week, Ashcroft appears before the 9/11 commission, and it's likely to be contentious, given his initially lackadaisical attitude toward the terror threat:

On September 10 (2001), the last day of what is now seen as a bygone age of innocence, Mr Ashcroft sent a request for budget increases to the White House. It covered 68 programmes, none of them related to counter-terrorism.

He also sent a memorandum to his heads of departments, stating his seven priorities. Counter-terrorism was not on the list. He turned down an FBI request for hundreds more agents to be assigned to tracking terrorist threats.

I doubt if any of the commissioners will go this far, but what I'd really like to see someone ask is why he himself stopped flying commercial jets the summer before 9/11:

Nevertheless, he began using a chartered private jet to travel around the country, rather than take commercial airliners as Ms Reno had done. A justice department spokesman said this was done as a result of an FBI "threat assessment" on Mr Ashcroft, but insisted that the assessment was not specifically linked to al-Qaida.

One more question: where the hell is John Kerry right now? You know, tall fellow, somewhat cadaverous looking, running for President? Shoulder surgery or no, isn't it time for him to be getting back into the spotlight, taking a stance on Iraq and the 9/11 revelations, generally showing some backbone, some leadership? I've told this story before, but after this cartoon ran, after Wellstone died, someone from Kerry's office emailed and requested a signed copy. I thought about that for awhile, and finally decided to inscribe it, "Senator Kerry--please prove me wrong."

Well, the jury's still out.

...I missed this. "Arrogant, inept, reckless and ideological foreign policy"--that's more like it.

--------------------

April 09, 2004

End of the week fun with composite photos

Warning: these are decidedly not work safe, nor in particularly good taste.

Here's John Ashcroft made of porn pictures. And here's George Bush, made up entirely of little pictures of human sphincters.

Either of these will haunt your dreams, so don't say I didn't warn you.

A law unto himself

This is outrageous:

HATTIESBURG, Miss (AP) — Two reporters were ordered Wednesday to erase their tape recordings of a speech by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a Mississippi high school.

Scalia has long barred television cameras from his speeches, but does not always forbid newspaper photographers and tape recorders. On Wednesday, he did not warn the audience at the high school that recording devices would be forbidden.

During the speech, a woman identifying herself as a deputy federal marshal demanded that a reporter for The Associated Press erase a tape recording of the justice's comments. She said the justice had asked that his appearance not be recorded.

The reporter initially resisted, but later showed the deputy how to erase the digital recording after the officer took the device from her hands. The exchange occurred in the front row of the auditorium while Scalia delivered his speech about the Constitution.

The deputy, who identified herself as Melanie Rube, also made a reporter for The Hattiesburg American erase her tape.


Why are you reading this, don't you know there's a war on?

Some highlights from Condi Rice's testimony:

RICE: If you'll just give me a moment, I will address fully the questions that you've asked.

First of all, yes, the August 6th PDB was in response to questions of the president _ and that since he asked that this be done. It was not a particular threat report. And there was historical information in there about various aspects of al-Qaida's operations.

Dick Clarke had told me, I think in a memorandum _ I remember it as being only a line or two _ that there were al-Qaida cells in the United States.

Now, the question is, what did we need to do about that?

And I also understood that that was what the FBI was doing, that the FBI was pursuing these al-Qaida cells. I believe in the August 6th memorandum it says that there were 70 full field investigations under way of these cells. And so there was no recommendation that we do something about this; the FBI was pursuing it.

I really don't remember, Commissioner, whether I discussed this with the president.

BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.

RICE: I remember very well that the president was aware that there were issues inside the United States. He talked to people about this. But I don't remember the al-Qaida cells as being something that we were told we needed to do something about.

BEN-VENISTE: Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6th PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?

RICE: I believe the title was, Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.

Now, the ...

BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.

RICE: No, Mr. Ben-Veniste ...

BEN-VENISTE: I will get into the ...

RICE: I would like to finish my point here.

BEN-VENISTE: I didn't know there was a point.

RICE: Given that _ you asked me whether or not it warned of attacks.

BEN-VENISTE: I asked you what the title was.

RICE: You said, did it not warn of attacks. It did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information. And it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States.

* * *

RICE: It had a number of discussions of _ it had a discussion of whether or not they might use hijacking to try and free a prisoner who was being held in the United States_ Ressam. It reported that the FBI had full field investigations under way.

And we checked on the issue of whether or not there was something going on with surveillance of buildings, and we were told, I believe, that the issue was the courthouse in which this might take place.

Commissioner, this was not a warning. This was a historic memo -- historical memo prepared by the agency because the president was asking questions about what we knew about the inside.

BEN-VENISTE: Well, if you are willing ...

RICE: Now, we had already taken ...

BEN-VENISTE: If you are willing to declassify that document, then others can make up their minds about it.

Let me ask you a general matter, beyond the fact that this memorandum provided information, not speculative, but based on intelligence information, that bin Laden had threatened to attack the United States and specifically Washington, D.C.

There was nothing reassuring, was there, in that PDB?

RICE: Certainly not. There was nothing reassuring.

But I can also tell you that there was nothing in this memo that suggested that an attack was coming on New York or Washington, D.C. There was nothing in this memo as to time, place, how or where.This was not a threat report to the president or a threat report to me.

BEN-VENISTE: We agree that there were no specifics. Let me move on, if I may.

RICE: There were no specifics, and, in fact, the country had already taken steps through the FAA to warn of potential hijackings. The country had already taken steps through the FBI to task their 56 field offices to increase their activity. The country had taken the steps that it could given that there was no threat reporting about what might happen inside the United States.

BEN-VENISTE: We have explored that and we will continue to with respect to the muscularity and the specifics of those efforts.

The president was in Crawford, Texas, at the time he received the PDB, you were not with him, correct?

RICE: That is correct.

BEN-VENISTE: Now, was the president, in words or substance, alarmed or in any way motivated to take any action, such as meeting with the director of the FBI, meeting with the attorney general, as a result of receiving the information contained in the PDB?

RICE: I want to repeat that when this document was presented, it was presented as, yes, there were some frightening things _ and by the way, I was not at Crawford, but the president and I were in contact and I might have even been, though I can't remember, with him by video link during that time.

The president was told this is historical information. I'm told he was told this is historical information and there was nothing actionable in this. The president knew that the FBI was pursuing this issue. The president knew that the director of central intelligence was pursuing this issue. And there was no new threat information in this document to pursue.

BEN-VENISTE: Final question, because my time has almost expired.

* * *

KERREY: In the spirit of further declassification, this is what the August 6th memo said to the president: that the FBI indicates patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking.

That's the language of the memo that was briefed to the president on the 6th of August.

RICE: And that was checked out and steps were taken through FAA circulars to warn of hijackings.

But when you cannot tell people where a hijacking might occur, under what circumstances _ I can tell you that I think the best antidote to what happened in that regard would have been many years before to think about what you could do for instance to harden cockpits.

That would have made a difference. We weren't going to harden cockpits in the three months that we had a threat spike.

To summarize: they did not know al Qaeda was planning to attack within the United States, even though they knew there were al Qaeda cells within the United States and the title of the August 6 PDB--a document prepared at the request of the President--was "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States." However, the document was apparently one of the most grossly misnamed reports in the history of governance, because, according to Rice's testimony, it "did not warn of attacks inside the United States." Except, of course, for the part where it talked about suspicious activity consistent with preparations for hijacking. And anyway there was nothing they could have done because they weren't specifically told when and where the hijackers were going to strike, and it's not like they could have hardened the cockpits in time even if they'd tried, which they didn't.

Or so Condi Rice explains it, with the smug condescension of a precocious nine year old who fully expects that her answers will earn her one of those little sticky gold stars--which, she will be the first to tell you, she richly deserves.

It's just that simple
"We've got tough work there because, you see, there are terrorists there who would rather kill innocent people than allow for the advance of freedom," Bush said in a speech in El Dorado, Ark. "That's what you're seeing going on. These people hate freedom. And we love freedom. And that's where the clash occurs."

(Source.)

--------------------

April 08, 2004

Quick link

CAP factchecks Condi.

(Busy today, doubt I'll be posting much.)

The face of this war

Here. (Via TBogg.)

...here's the original source, with some commentary by the creator.


--------------------

April 07, 2004

Speaking of corporate America

Via The Talent Show, an extraordinary statistic:

More than 60% of U.S. corporations didn't pay any federal taxes for 1996 through 2000, years when the economy boomed and corporate profits soared, Tuesday's Wall Street Journal reported, citing the investigative arm of Congress.

The disclosures from the General Accounting Office are certain to fuel the debate over corporate tax payments in the presidential campaign. Corporate tax receipts have shrunk markedly as a share of overall federal revenue in recent years, and were particularly depressed when the economy soured. By 2003, they had fallen to just 7.4% of overall federal receipts, the lowest rate since 1983, and the second-lowest rate since 1934, federal budget officials say.

The GAO analysis of Internal Revenue Service data comes as tax avoidance by both U.S. and foreign companies also is drawing increased scrutiny from the IRS and Congress. But more so than similar previous reports, the analysis suggests that dodging taxes, both legally and otherwise, has become deeply rooted in U.S. corporate culture. The analysis found that even more foreign-owned companies doing business in the U.S. -- about 70% of them -- reported that they didn't owe any U.S. federal taxes during the late 1990s.

The basic federal corporate-tax rate for big corporations is 35%. But the federal tax code also offers many credits and loopholes that allow many companies to pay far less than that.

Despite the rising rate of tax avoidance among corporations, collections from the federal corporate income tax rose to more than $200 billion in 2000, from $ 171 billion in 1996. But over the next three years they fell each year, reaching $131.8 billion in 2003 -- the lowest annual total since 1993. They are projected to reach $168.7 billion this year.

More than 60% of U.S. corporations paid no federal taxes for 1996 through 2000.

Think about that on April 15.

Nickel and diming

The Times had an article this weekend about the apparently common practice of time shaving--altering the time cards of low-wage employees so that they lose hours and the company saves a few bucks.

Experts on compensation say that the illegal doctoring of hourly employees' time records is far more prevalent than most Americans believe. The practice, commonly called shaving time, is easily done and hard to detect — a simple matter of computer keystrokes — and has spurred a growing number of lawsuits and settlements against a wide range of businesses.

Workers have sued Family Dollar and Pep Boys, the auto parts and repair chain, accusing managers of deleting hours. A jury found that Taco Bell managers in Oregon had routinely erased workers' time. More than a dozen former Wal-Mart employees said in interviews and depositions that managers had altered time records to shortchange employees. The Department of Labor recently reached two back-pay settlements with Kinko's photocopy centers, totaling $56,600, after finding that managers in Ithaca, N.Y., and Hyannis, Mass., had erased time for 13 employees.

I find this incredibly infuriating. When you're earning on this level, ten or twenty bucks can make a huge difference. Trust me, I speak from way too many years of personal experience on this one.

This practice--and reports that Wal Mart has recently been caught overcharging customers--inspire South Knox Bubba to write:

Companies like Walmart and Microsoft and Citicorp et. al. are the natural result of competition and free markets. I'd like to think, though, that someday we might value something other than just monetary profits in business and commerce. You know, things like honesty and integrity, respect for workers and suppliers and customers and the community at large -- in other words, holding them accountable for being responsible citizens like individuals are supposed to be.

It seems to me that we could measure these kinds of "profits" and "losses" somehow, like the prosperity of their employees, and their impact on communities where they do business and the industries in which they operate. We need to figure out how to get this on the balance sheet somewhere.

This reminded me of a link Wil sent me awhile back, which I meant to post but never did, in which a businessman discusses the responsibility he feels toward his employees:

As you may or may not know, I own my own business (Quizno's franchise). I've been in business for over six years. How did I get this franchise? My second father, retired 1st Sergeant Tyson Vale, invested in me 100%. Part of the deal involved me going to all sorts of franchise management and small business classes and he owning a 51% stake in the business the first year. This fairly rich man treated me with dignity and fairness. After I proved I could handle things. He pulled his ownership back to 40% after 2 years. After 4 years, Tyson pulled is ownership back to 25%. After over 6 years of profits, Tyson wanted to give me full ownership since he has made his investment back plus a healthy, juicy return. Out of respect for this man, I argued and argued with him to hold on to 10%. He wouldn't hear it. So we agreed to 5%. As he told me:

I took a chance, invested, and made my money. You don't need me and I don't want to be part of YOUR BUSINESS now.

Now Tyson Vale exhibited alot of qualities that the many fairly rich to very rich don't exhibit. It wasn't all about the money to him. He loved helping someone else create and maintain a business. He then pulled back when his work was done. That's some serious character.

I remember speaking to a gentleman named Zachary Tabor at a franchisee convention over 5 years ago. He owned 10 Sonic Drive-In franchises in the in several Midwest states. He told me that the key to being profitable and keeping employees was to pay more than the average "fast-food" restaurant. I remember his words like they were spoken yesterday.

See young man, you may not make the obscene amounts of scratch but you will do very well. Your employees will respect you more and be loyal. If you make $300,000 as a owner, what's wrong with you getting $200,000 and the other $100,000 added to your payroll budget? The 100 grand will make 'em be there for you no matter what. Been doing business like that for 20 years. Heck people line up for my Sonics when there's a job opening.

Those words stuck with me and it why I have very little turnover and unbelievable loyalty. But that is not the norm. Not by a long shot.


The blogosphere in a nutshell

From the archives of the Onion, via Atrios.

--------------------

April 06, 2004

Laff-master Brooks

David Brooks' latest excursion into banality starts off with a Wacky Premise: since liberals and conservatives favor different media outlets, why, they might as well fly different airlines too!

As you might expect, much zaniness ensues.

The experience of flying on Liberal Air will be different than flying on normal airlines, and the company will be structured in different ways. For example, the frequent flier program will reward customers the less they fly, just to make things even. Airfares will be symbolic, since everything is paid for by George Soros. Pilots, who look disturbingly like Arlo Guthrie, will greet passengers at the door of the plane to apologize for the oil they are about to consume.

George Soros! Arlo Guthrie! You'll have to excuse me for a moment as I pull myself off the floor, where I have fallen, overcome by spasms of sheer hilarity.

The planes themselves will be designed by a really interesting fuselage cooperative in Oregon. Seating will be divided between coach class, working class (mostly screenwriters in flannel shirts) and faculty.

Oregon! Flannel shirts! Screenwriters! Stop--you're killing me!

In addition, pilots will provide a running travel commentary over the P.A. system ("Ladies and gentlemen, if you glance out of the left side of the aircraft, you'll be able to look down on the people of Kansas"), and there will be encounter sessions for Democrats who know in their heads they had to go with Kerry but who now miss the excitement of Dean.

Ha ha! Those elitist liberals, always looking down on the midwest!

And just when you think it can't get any crazier, Brooks aims his laser sharp wit at his comrades on the right!

All Right Wing Express flights will leave exactly on time, though for national security reasons the pilots will not reveal the identity of the destination cities. The Hummer-brand planes will have ample headroom for big-hair ladies, dozens of pews with easy access to the putting greens, and drop-down TV monitors, which will show libido-crushing abstinence education videos. There will also be ample bathroom facilities for heterosexuals of both genders.

Right Wing Express flights will not only land at airports, they will occupy airports. Passengers might sometimes find the flight attendants a tad abrasive ("You want me on that wall. You need me on that wall . . ."), but the cigarettes will be free and plentiful, and each passenger will be greeted with an appropriately conservative mantra, "Welcome to Right Wing Express, how can I help you help yourself?"

Hummer planes! Abstinence videos! Putting greens! Whoosh! I haven't laughed this hard since the last time I watched the Dennis Miller show!

The rest of us in this funny-joke-making business might as well just pack it in. We have met our match.

The news today

The usual suspects on the right are busy proclaiming the chaos in Iraq a Good Thing--sort of a sequel to the Flypaper Strategy, bringing the enemy out into the open, yadda yadda yadda. Personally, I have a hard time seeing the bright side of escalating body counts, but hey, maybe that's just me.

(Speaking of the Flypaper Strategy--why didn't that one get the mock outrage treatment? I mean, suggesting that it's good news that terrorists are going after our troops abroad because it keeps them busy? Talk about disrespecting the military.)

Josh Marshall reminds us that the brilliant strategists who got us into this mess expected to have no more than 30,000 remaining troops on the ground as early as late last summer. Doesn't quite seem to be working out that way:

American commanders in Iraq are developing contingency plans to send more American forces to the country if the situation worsens, and administration officials said Monday that the new surge of violence by Shiites represented a worrying challenge to their plans to turn over power in less than 90 days.

And then there's this:

Since the war began a year ago, senior military leaders have given frequent assurances to troops and their families that Iraq duty would be no longer than a year.

Now, those assurances have met the reality of Iraq, where military leaders are planning for the possibility that anti-U.S. violence will spread. U.S. troops are stretched thin around the world, and the Pentagon has few options to increase the force in Iraq if necessary.

On Monday, a senior official with U.S. Central Command said that the return home of about 24,000 U.S. troops who were scheduled to leave in the next few weeks would be delayed as their replacements arrive. Central Command's responsibility includes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With the 24,000 remaining and others who have arrived as intended replacements, there are 134,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

Chaos in Iraq, the troops and their families getting the royal shaft--no wonder there's been so much bluster about Kos and his little outburst. Much easier than thinking. And speaking of the outsourcing of military responsibilities to private contractors--even those America-haters at Time magazine find something a little hincky about that situation:

The work of the four American civilians slaughtered in Fallujah last week was so shadowy that their families struggled to explain what exactly the men had been hired to do in Iraq. Marija Zovko says her nephew Jerry said little about the perils of the missions he carried out every day. "He wouldn't talk about it," she says. Even representatives for the private security company that employed the men, Blackwater USA, could not say what exactly they were up to on that fateful morning. "All the details of the attack at this point are haphazard at best," says Chris Bertelli, a spokesman for Blackwater. "We don't know what they were doing on the road at the time."

--snip--

The current business boom is in Iraq. Blackwater charges its clients $1,500 to $2,000 a day for each hired gun. Most security contractors, like Blackwater's teams, live a comfortable if exhausting existence in Baghdad, staying at the Sheraton or Palestine hotels, which are not plush but at least have running water. Locals often mistake the guards for special forces or CIA personnel, which makes active-duty military troops a bit edgy. "Those Blackwater guys," says an intelligence officer in Iraq, "they drive around wearing Oakley sunglasses and pointing their guns out of car windows. They have pointed their guns at me, and it pissed me off. Imagine what a guy in Fallujah thinks." Adds an Army officer who just returned from Baghdad, "They are a subculture."

--snip--

It's still unclear whether the four Blackwater employees found themselves in Fallujah inadvertently or were on a mission gone awry. Even by Pentagon standards, military officials were fuzzy about the exact nature of the Blackwater mission; several officers privately disputed the idea that the team was escorting a food convoy. Another officer would say only the detail was escorting a shipment of "goods." Several sources familiar with Blackwater operations told TIME that the company has in some cases abbreviated training even for crucial missions in war zones. A former private military operator with knowledge of Blackwater's operational tactics says the firm did not give all its contract warriors in Afghanistan proper training in offensive-driving tactics, although missions were to include vehicular and dignitary-escort duty. "Evasive driving and ambush tactics were not—repeat, were not—covered in training," this source said. Asked to respond to the charges, Blackwater spokesman Bertelli said, "Blackwater never comments on training methods and operational procedures."

At the Pentagon, which has encouraged the outsourcing of security work, there are widespread misgivings about the use of hired guns. A Pentagon official says the outsourcing of security work means the government no longer has any real control over the training and capabilities of thousands of U.S. and foreign contractors who are packing weapons every bit as powerful as those belonging to the average G.I. "These firms are hiring anyone they can get. Sure, some of them are special forces, but some of them are good, and some are not. Some are too old for this work, and some are too young. But they are not on the U.S. payroll. And so they are not our responsibility."

--------------------

April 05, 2004

Speaking of Kos

Here's more of that intemperate rhetoric of his:

The one-day price -- 8 Americans and one Salvadoran killed. Both my countries took losses today. That's 13 dead coalition troops in an April just barely four days old. 613 dead Americans and 715 dead coalition total.

Despite the sacrifice in lives (both coalition and Iraqi) we're still losing control of Iraq at an alarming rate. And for what? For Chalabi? For war profiteers? And if we fail, who benefits? The Bathists? Taliban-like Islamic fundamentalists? We're screwed whether we "win" or we lose.

And that's the final testament to Bush's Folly.

By the time we're supposed to "hand over" Iraq sovereignty on June 30, we may no longer have anything to deliver.

Why does he hate America so much?

--------------------

April 04, 2004

Kos

I'm mostly taking the day off today. But I wanted to post links to this and this. Short story: Kos makes an ill-considered remark (which he soon retracts) and every right-wing nutcase online goes ballistic. Proof of the moral degeneracy of the left, Democrats are traitors, blah blah blah. I guess it's easier than thinking.

Some of Kos's advertisers have pulled out as a result. (...and John Kerry's blog has de-linked him.) It's the collision of old politics and new media. A lot of politicians figured out that blogs can reach the base and be an effective fundraising tool, and they wanted a piece of that action. What they didn't realize was that the appeal of the blogs is the unfiltered, off-the-cuff nature of their commentary. Personally, it just reinforces my suspicion that I don't want any candidate advertising on this site.

...one thing I want to add: I consider Markos a friend--I don't know him well, but I know him well enough to know that he's a decent guy. As for everybody piling on him--hey, let's take a magnifying glass to your archives and see how well you stand up. Everybody steps a little too far over the line occasionally.

More here. And Atrios makes the smart decision.

(Editing.)

--------------------

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