Senate Minority Leader Fuels the Flames

ThinkProgress got the email that Mitch McConnell’s staffer claimed he had not sent out.

Seen the latest blogswarm? Apparently, there’s more to the story on thekid (Graeme Frost) that did the Dems’ radio response on SCHIP. Bloggershave done a little digging and turned up that the Dad owns his ownbusiness (and the building it’s in), seems to have some commercialrental income and Graeme and a sister go to a private school that,according to its website, costs about $20k a year ‹for each kid‹despite the news profiles reporting a family income of only $45k forthe Frosts. Could the Dems really have done that bad of a job vettingthis family?

Gosh. You think maybe the mainstream press, which claims to pride itself on its accuracy, will admit that this smear was not solely blog-driven?

Don’t answer that.

Blogger in the Eye of the Beholder?

The NYT manages to understand that the Republicans went overboard with their attacks on Graeme Frost. But there’s something else they don’t seem to understand.

In recent days, Graeme and his family have been attacked byconservative bloggers and other critics of the Democrats’ plan toexpand the insurance program, known as S-chip.


But Michelle Malkin, one of the bloggers who have stronglycriticized the Frosts, insisted Republicans should hold their groundand not pull punches.

“The bottom line here is that this familyhas considerable assets,” Ms. Malkin wrote in an e-mail message.“Maryland’s S-chip program does not means-test. The refusal to doassets tests on federal health insurance programs is why federalentitlements are exploding and government keeps expanding. IfRepublicans don’t have the guts to hold the line, they deserve to losetheir seats.”

As for accusations that bloggers were unfairlyattacking a 12-year-old, Ms. Malkin wrote on her blog, “If you don’twant questions, don’t foist these children onto the public stage.” [my emphasis]

You see, according to the NYT, if someone does something so far beyond the pale that all sane people would object, that person must be a blogger.

To be fair, the first known attack on the Frost family came from a Freeper. And Michelle Malkin did Read more

AT&T’s Latest Censorship

It’s a good think I chose Comcast’s oligopoly service for broadband internet service and not AT&T (my two easy choices for real broadband). That’s because I tend to point out that our government is becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T. And AT&T just changed its acceptable use policy to prevent you from using AT&T’s Toobz to tell others about the bad things AT&T is doing (via boing boing).

Failure to observe the guidelines set forth in this AUP may result inAT&T taking actions anywhere from a warning to a suspension ofprivileges or termination of your Service(s). When feasible, AT&Tmay provide you with notice of an AUP violation, via Email orotherwise, and demand that such violation be immediately corrected.AT&T reserves the right, however, to act immediately and withoutnotice to suspend or terminate Service(s) in response to a court orderor other legal requirement that certain conduct be stopped or whenAT&T determines, in its sole discretion, that the conduct may (1)expose AT&T to sanctions, prosecution or civil action, (2) causeharm to or interfere with the integrity or normal operations ofAT&T’s network(s) or facilities, (3) materially or repeatedlyinterfere with another person’s use of AT&T’s Service(s) or theInternet (4) damage or disparage the reputation of Read more

Checking In

Things I’m going to get in trouble for saying publicly at Duke:

  • That 80% of what is out in the blogosphere is crap. Hodding Carter had said half was. But I wasn’t thinking about anyone in this corner of the blogosphere.
  • That we bloggers were parasites on the legal teams of the mainstream media, who pay lawyers a lot of money to make sure things like the Libby grand jury recording gets released to the public.

Other than that, nothing too earthshattering newswise. I learned that the WaPo did get beat up by Lurita Doan’s lawyers for releasing the draft of the report on her Hatch Act violations. Which set off a very interesting discussion about whether publishing PDFs of draft documents would and should affect the WaPo’s reputation.

Mr. Sulzberger, Tear Down That Wall

My buddy Pinch Sulzberger wrote me today. He said:

We are ending TimesSelect, effective today.

The Times’s Op-Edand news columns are now available free of charge, along with TimesFile and News Tracker. In addition, The New York Times online Archiveis now free back to 1987 for all of our readers.

Why the change?

Sincewe launched TimesSelect, the Web has evolved into an increasingly openenvironment. Readers find more news in a greater number of places andinteract with it in more meaningful ways. This decision enhances thefree flow of New York Times reporting and analysis around the world. Itwill enable everyone, everywhere to read our news and opinion – as wellas to share it, link to it and comment on it.

Shorter Pinch: We thought we could live without the Dirty Fucking Hippies. But it turns out we needed them more than they needed David Brooks.

Though having learned to live without Brooks, I say we just treat him like the troll he is and continue to ignore him.

Free Press Asks for Details

Ask and someone shall FOIA it for you…

A couple of days ago, I wondered why it was that DOJ would decide to intervene against Net Neutrality–months after the comment period to do so closed. Well, Free Press was wondering the same thing and has submitted a FOIA request to find out. They’re asking for:

  1. All shared or public calendars of the above-named employees for the above-noted dates, including, but not limited to, entries listing all meetings with non-government individuals, businesses, trade associations and/or other organizations and the subject of the meeting.
  2. All email or print correspondence, during the above-noted dates, to or from any of the above-named employees concerning the FCC’s Broadband Industry Practices inquiry, or including the words “network neutrality,” “net neutrality,” or “broadband industry.”
  3. All email or print correspondence on any subject during the above-noted dates between the above-named employees and any employee of, or attorney, government relations specialist, or lobbyist for: AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, Hands off the Internet,, Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, US Telecom Association, Qwest, Cisco Systems, and Corning Inc.
  4. Any studies, assessments, reports, or factual data (or drafts of studies, assessments, reports, or factual data) gathered, during the above-noted time period, by the above-named Read more

Why Would DOJ Oppose Net Neutrality … Now?

Mcjoan has a post on how the DOJ intervened all of a sudden into the FCC’s consideration of Net Neutrality. As she points out, there’s something unusual about DOJ’s intervention: it came after the comment period had closed.

It was a curious filing, as IP Democracy’s Cynthia Brumfield describes:

What’s curious about the filing is that, first, it’s an ex parte, orlate, submission in the FCC’s Inquiry on Broadband Practices, mostcommonly known as the FCC’s net neutrality proceeding. DOJ could havefiled comments along with the rest of the world by July 16, thedeadline for all submissions, but it didn’t. Why DOJ waited until nowis an interesting, probably unanswerable question.

A number of people in the comments suggest DOJ intervened as pay-off for the telecoms’ help on our NSA spying program. But I don’t think that can explain why DOJ missed the deadline. I can understand not wanting to file anti-net neutrality comments right before Congress debates whether or not to give the telecoms retroactive immunity for helping our government to spy on us illegally. So that might explain why DOJ wouldn’t submit its comments in mid-July, when Congress was busy discussing amendments to FISA.

Except that Congress is again about to discuss amendments Read more

We’re Sorry for Spiking the News

The NYT has a really weird story out today which tries to explain why news outlets don’t publish "open secrets" about public figures.

Old-fashioned as it seems, there are still tacit rules about when anopen secret can remain in its own netherworld, without consequence tothe politician who keeps it. But now that any whisper can become aglobal shout in an instant, how much longer can those rules apply? Andshould they, anyway?


In the mainstream media, the recent standard for pursuing open secretshas been murky, but generally guided by the notion that privatebehavior matters when it is at odds with public declarations. Mr.Foley’s bawdy flirtation with pages was fair game not least because hehad sponsored legislation seeking to protect children from onlinepredators. Mr. Craig supported a 2006 amendment to the IdahoConstitution barring gay marriage and civil unions and has voted inCongress against gay rights.

Of course, the article gets a bunch of things wrong. The mainstream media let Craig and Foley (and continues to let David Dreier and others) off the hook for years, in spite of their clear hypocrisy. And Jim McGreevy was not outed because of hypocrisy–he was outed because of the clear impropriety of hiring his boyfriend (and here again, the example of Dreier is worth raising). Nor does the mainstream media ever point out the hypocrisy, in this case, of the Republican Party, which likes to mobilize the base by cultivating homophobia while remaining quite tolerant (up to a point–Dreier couldn’t become majority leader, after all) of barely-closeted gay men. At some point, the hypocrisy of the Republican party needs to become part of the story.

And perhaps most curiously, the article doesn’t discuss the reasons to report legal wrong-doing–even if it involves personal behavior. That is, shouldn’t the media have reported on Foley’s behavior with congressional pages, since those pages were underage? Shouldn’t the media report that David Vitter has admitted to breaking the law?

And, finally, the article doesn’t quote either of the two people who ought to be quoted for the story, Mike Rogers and Lane Hudson. Are they afraid to talk to the guys who proved the mainstream media complicit?

Time to Fire the White House Webmaster

I thought it worth mentioning that the Administration has twice made claims in the last week that their website refuted. First came Senator Leahy, who noted that Cheney’s claims not to be part of the Executive Office of the President were disproved by the White House website.

The Administration’s response today also claims that the Office of the Vice President is not part of the Executive Office of the President.  That is wrong.  Both the United States Code and even the White House’s own web site say so – at least it did as recently as this morning.

Then yesterday, CREW pointed out that the White House website disproved White House claims that the Office of Administration was not subject to FOIA.

After learning that the Bush administration claimedthat the Office of Administration wasn’t subject to Freedom ofInformation Act requests, CREW did some research. Seems the White Housewebsite, which is an official voice of the Bush administration, statesotherwise:

In fact, evidence that the Office of Administration is subject to FOIA requests is made here and here and here and here on the White House website and even once on the Department of Justice site here.

Rather than wait for the next ridiculous White House claim to be disproved by its own website, I say we try to anticipate it. What assertion, made on the White House website, do you think we should just ignore as a mirage invented by some over-imaginative White House webmaster? Some of my nominations include this whole section of the website, particularly this one. We ought to assume this, this, this, and this simply aren’t true. And while we’re at it, I’m just going to presume that this never happened–since it’s on the White House website, it must not be true.

See how much fun you can have simply ignoring things you don’t like that appear on the White House website?

Ix-Nay on the Onstitution-Cay

This is ripe. Apparently, the conservative blogosphere realized there wasn’t a good defense for Harriet’s claim of immunity from being subpoenaed, so they called the White House and begged for talking points. And then they published those talking points. Which, first of all, exposes to all the world that conservative bloggers are willing to gobble any kind of shite thrown at them.

If Congress pursues criminal contempt and the DoJ refuses to prosecute,how do they move forward? — No one really knows. There isn’t anyprecedent on this point.

[Ed. both the White House and Ed Morrissey are pretending they’ve never heard of inherent contempt. Snip]

What about the call for a special counsel on Alberto Gonzales? — Thelaw no longer exists for an independent prosecutor, and the "specialcounsel" is accountable to … Alberto Gonzales.

[Ed. Someone better tell Patrick Fitzgerald, Alberto Gonzales, and Paul Clement–because they would all beg to differ, both about Gonzales’ recusal on this matter or the ability to recuse authority over a special counsel more generally.]

It also demonstrates that neither the "senior official" (is this Fred Fielding, giving transparently erroneous legal advice off the record again?) nor a bevy of conservative bloggers have read the Constitution. At least that’s the Read more