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February 11, 2005

Nothing to see here, folks, move along

Power surge in my neighborhood last night seems to have fried my cable modem, so I'm mostly offline today. Almost certainly won't be posting anything new here.

Update: back online, but swamped.


February 10, 2005

"No one could have imagined...using planes as a missile"

Oh, wait.

In the months before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal aviation officials reviewed dozens of intelligence reports that warned about Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, some of which specifically discussed airline hijackings and suicide operations, according to a previously undisclosed report from the 9/11 commission.

But aviation officials were "lulled into a false sense of security," and "intelligence that indicated a real and growing threat leading up to 9/11 did not stimulate significant increases in security procedures," the commission report concluded.

* * *

The report discloses that the Federal Aviation Administration, despite being focused on risks of hijackings overseas, warned airports in the spring of 2001 that if "the intent of the hijacker is not to exchange hostages for prisoners, but to commit suicide in a spectacular explosion, a domestic hijacking would probably be preferable."

* * *

The F.A.A. "had indeed considered the possibility that terrorists would hijack a plane and use it as a weapon," and in 2001 it distributed a CD-ROM presentation to airlines and airports that cited the possibility of a suicide hijacking, the report said. Previous commission documents have quoted the CD's reassurance that "fortunately, we have no indication that any group is currently thinking in that direction."

Aviation officials amassed so much information about the growing threat posed by terrorists that they conducted classified briefings in mid-2001 for security officials at 19 of the nation's busiest airports to warn of the threat posed in particular by Mr. bin Laden, the report said.

Gannon, cont'd

Salon has an excellent rundown.

And a reader retrieves Gannon's site from the memory hole, via that reliable foe of revisionists everywhere, the Google cache. Some samples of the masterful writing that earned the mysterious Mr. Gannon access to the press room in one of the most secure buildings on the planet:

Social Security reform has long been regarded as the ďthird railĒ of American politics, a comparison of an attempt to change FDRís retirement program to making contact with a subway carís electrical source.† The warning is clear:† touch it and you die.† It has scared off politicians for decades, but President Bush has decided to defy those who lack the moral courage to save a system that most young people doubt will ever pay them benefits.

* * *
The Old Media has been promoting the idea that George W. Bush should tone down or cancel his inaugural celebration because we are at war and the tsunami, world hunger, etc.

Oddly enough there have been no calls for canceling the Oscars, the Super Bowl, the President's Day federal holiday or Donald Trump's wedding.

* * *

There were many more ties between al Qaeda and Iraq than there were between the White House and Enron.† So how come the Democrats spend so much time talking about Ken Lay instead of Saddam Hussein?

"A comparison of an attempt to change FDRís retirement program to making contact with a subway carís electrical source." Whew. If only Bulwer-Lytton had an award for journalists. Or fake journalists as the case may be. (Speaking of fake news, what a shame that the Daily Show is on hiatus this week. This is their fantasy story come to life.)

And by the way, just in case my mention of my own visit to the White House wasn't explicit enough--they take your social security number, they run a background check. It took about two hours for me to get clearance to enter the building. I can't imagine how you'd get in under a fake name, unless the approval came from the highest possible level. And that's the point of this little scandal.

Speaking of which--Kos posts on something I've been meaning to mention, the Eason Jordan so-called "scandal." Said scandal being, basically, that a guy said something they didn't like, which is also what the Ward Churchill nonsense ultimately boils down to. Ironic, considering how much noise the right makes about speech codes on campus.

...as I've mentioned before, when you've got control of all three branches of government, it gets harder and harder to portray yourself as the victim.


February 09, 2005


Haven't had time to comment on Jeff Gannon, International Man of Mystery. Here's a good roundup in case you're not up to speed on this one, which is entirely possible, as the story seems to grow ever stranger by the hour.

And via Kos, here's Rep. Slaughter's letter to the President on the matter:

Dear Mr. President:

In light of the mounting evidence that your Administration has, on several occasions, paid members of the media to advocate in favor of Administration policies, I feel compelled to ask you to address a matter brought to my attention by the Niagara Falls Reporter (article attached), a local newspaper in my district, regarding James "JD" Guckert (AKA Jeff Gannon) of Talon News.

According to several credible reports, "Mr. Gannon" has been repeatedly credentialed as a member of the White House press corps by your office and has been regularly called upon in White House press briefings by your Press Secretary Scott McClellan, despite the fact evidence shows that "Mr. Gannon" is a Republican political operative, uses a false name, has phony or questionable journalistic credentials, is known for plagiarizing much of the "news" he reports, and according to several web reports, may have ties to the promotion of the prostitution of military personnel [...]

And just this morning we have learned that "Mr. Gannon" has resigned his post at the, so called, Talon News amid growing concerns over his controversial background and falsified qualifications. In fact, it appears that "Mr. Gannon's" presence in the White House press corps was merely as a tool of propaganda for your Administration.

The idiot rightwing spin on this seems to be that it's a left-wing anti-gay witch hunt. Because they don't want to discuss what's actually been "outed" here: a shocking degree of administration duplicity.

A few years back, I was given a tour of some of the non-public areas of the White House by a cartoonist-turned-historian-turned-Clinton-speechwriter named Jeff Shesol (who probably has one of the odder resumes you're likely to see)--and I can assure you that you don't get in "backstage," as it were, with a fake name and a phony press pass--unless you have friends in very, very high places.

Question (answered)

UPDATED entry: question answered (and therefore deleted), screen grab problem solved within an hour of posting. I should have asked much sooner. Thanks to all who offered advice--several good options to choose from.

Also: light posting, as you've probably noticed. The joys of home-owning and business-running are catching up with me all at once this week.


February 08, 2005

Odd confluence

Just heard on CNN that"Deep Throat," the anonymous Watergate source, is close to death and we may soon know his identity. Went to CNN.com to find something to link to and came up with this.

Here's the actual story. Anybody know which Nixon-era player is on his deathbed?

Update from reader J.D. Pratt:

The current contender seems to be W. Mark Felt, a high-level FBI employee who didn't get along with the Nixon crew. There was already a strong case for him (including suggestions from Woodward's ex-wife and son that Felt was DT). He's 90 years old, in ill health, and suffering from dementia. If his health has taken a turn for the worse (and I've not seen any news about his current condition, one way or the other), then that would be a very strong sign that Woodward was about to name him.

Woodward actually flew out to meet him (in his little
house in San Jose) back in 1999 when he fell ill,
which suggests a non-trivial link between Felt and


February 07, 2005

Random thought I've been meaning to post

Somewhere recently I saw some idiot rightwinger embarass himself by arguing that Fox News is actually not biased in the least, because they have so many liberals on their various programs.

This should go without saying, but Fox invites liberals on for the same reason that the Harlem Globetrotters used to play the Washington Generals: you look pretty silly out there on the court by yourself.


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