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1 Putin party scores landslide win in Russian election

by Sebastian Smith, AFP

1 hour, 3 minutes ago

MOSCOW (AFP) – President Vladimir Putin’s party won a huge majority in Russian parliamentary elections Sunday tainted by fraud allegations, early results showed, paving the way for the Kremlin leader to retain power after leaving office.

The United Russia Party won 62.3 percent of the vote, according to official results with 12 percent of the ballots counted and with opposition complaints mounting.

United Russia and its allies, A Just Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party would enter the State Duma with a collective 86.3 percent of the vote, according to an exit poll by the All-Russian Centre for the Study of Public Opinion.


You know, I’m actually a great believer in transparency.  On levitra discount coupons The Great Orange Satan I’m the one you turn to to explain how things really work and here I am not merely an Admin I am a-

find discount cialis online Super Admin!

Super Duck

That story will be the punch line at the end.

On Civility (Reprint)

This document represents the standing policy on civility here at DocuDharma.

Everyone should read it.

I will be happy to answer any questions.

Originally Published 9/16/07

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Once upon a time we had a sun porch that was covered all in windows and each Holiday season Emily would tape up stencils and paint them in Tempra and leave the light on for a stained glass effect.

That same house had a balcony with a window that my sister and I would play “store” at.

In the near back yard was nothing much but grass, but in the near far back yard was a playset with a swing and a sandbox next to it.

The far, far back yard was forest until you came out above the Texaco Station.

We were three houses from the stoplight across the street from the school where mom worked, and a hundred yards from the A&P where we shopped.  A quarter mile from the butcher who sold prime beef and penny candy.

We went to church in the big church in Hartford with the bowling alley in the basement that the sixth grade Sunday school class studied in (yeah it was duck pin bowling and yeah I stuck out Sunday school long enough to find out they didn’t actually let them bowl).

There were lots of nooks and crannies including a Choir Loft at the top of the top most tower just past the Music Director’s Office and the parlors the Sewing Circles (what?  Bible Study?) used during the week.

Also a Hall/Auditorium where we had big church suppers and amateur theatricals.  Richard had great enthusiasm and delivery but couldn’t (and still can’t) remember his lines so he is hard to work with.

Glenn Greenwald: Write That Novel!

Remember this quote that I like from Stephen Colbert (the same one I link to- yay Frederick!)?

… let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works: the president makes decisions. He’s the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put ’em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know – fiction!

Glenn Greenwald likes it too-

Everything that is rancid and corrupt with modern journalism: The Nutshell

Glenn Greenwald,

Tuesday November 27, 2007 18:46 EST

In this twisted view, that is called “balance” — writing down what each side says. As in: “Hey – Bush officials say that there is WMD in Iraq and things are going great with the war (and a few people say otherwise). It’s not for us to decide. It’s not our fault if what we wrote down is a lie. We just wrote down exactly what they said.” At best, they write down what each side says and then go home. That’s what they’re for.

In reality, they don’t even usually fulfill this clerical role fairly or well. After all, Klein’s entire column presented only the lies from the Republicans about this bill as fact, and didn’t even mention that there was another side (just as Time, in a lengthy article by the now-promoted Tyrangiel, presented only the Bush view to its readers about Saddam’s scary stockpiles of WMD and didn’t bother to mention that there was another side).

So to Time, Klein’s so-called “reporting error” wasn’t that he falsely described the bill. No; describing the bill accurately isn’t the role of a journalist. Klein’s only “reporting error” was that he only wrote down what one side said (the Republicans). He “forgot” to write down what the Democrats said. Now that the Editors noted in passing that the Democrats disagree, everything is fixed. Their job is done. That’s what they just said about explicitly as it can be said. And they don’t even realize that saying this is a profound indictment on what they do. They think that’s what they’re supposed to do.

I can’t recall a recent incident that has shone as much bright light on the ugly, vapid, propagandistic practices of our national media. The more they speak, the more they reveal what they are.

But it’s not just that- it’s that they’re such bad stenographers-

Bad stenographers

Glenn Greenwald,

Wednesday November 28, 2007 06:41 EST

I worked for years with highly professional stenographers in hundreds of depositions and court proceedings. Their defining trait is that they have a fierce devotion to transcribing accurately everything that is said and doing nothing else. It’s not uncommon for lawyers, in the heat of some dispute, to attempt to recruit the stenographer into the controversy in order to say who is right.

Stenographers will never do that. They will emphasize that they are only there to write down what is said, not to resolve disputes or say what actually happened — exactly like Time Magazine and most of our press corps. If someone in a court proceeding voices even the most blatantly false accusations, stenographers will faithfully write it down and publish it without comment — exactly like Time Magazine and most of our press corps, at least when it comes to claims from the government and its GOP operatives.

But there’s a fundamental difference: stenographers are far better at their job, since they give equal weight to what all parties say. But Time and friends exist principally to trumpet government claims and minimize and belittle anything to the contrary, and they pretend to “balance” it all only when they’re caught mindlessly transcribing these one-sided claims and are forced to write down what the other side says, too. The bulk of our establishment journalists aren’t merely stenographers. They’re bad stenographers.

For that reason, when establishment journalists are called “stenographers,” the real insult is to professional stenographers, who are scrupulous about recording what everyone says with equal weight. But our media class gives enormous weight to government sources and, correspondingly, GOP operatives. If anyone doubts that, just look at our establishment media’s forced confessions of their most consequential stenographic errors over the years:

It’s really worth a look just for the linky goodness I’ll not attempt to dupicate here except for this one to Markos.

Yesterday, well-

Time tries again

Glenn Greenwald,

Wednesday November 28, 2007 17:54 EST

But by noting merely that the bill does not “explicitly” include what Klein (and his GOP source) claimed it did, and thereafter quickly noting that “Republicans believe it can be interpreted that way,” Time actually compounds Klein’s original error by now misleading its readers into believing that there is some genuine dispute over whether the House Democrats really did give the same rights to foreign Terrorists as they gave to American citizens. Time is thus encouraging its readers to believe that perhaps Klein was right — that the Democrats’ bill does exactly that which it explicitly says it does not do.

Finally, Time leaves uncorrected the multiple other errors in Klein’s piece, including his bizarre claim that there was some great bipartisan bill agreed to by the House Intelligence Committee which Nancy Pelosi “quashed.” Nobody has any idea what Klein is talking about, including Intelligence Committee member Rep. Rush Holt (who would obviously know), because no such thing ever happened.

And then there’s Klein’s claim, citing Chris Dodd, that “when the President takes the oath of office, he (or she) promises two things: to protect the Constitution and to protect the nation against enemies, foreign and domestic.” Klein warns Democrats that to win in 2008, they must “find the proper balance between those two.” But the oath of office which the President takes actually says nothing of the kind:

Each president recites the following oath, in accordance with Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Directly contrary to what Klein said, Presidents only swear to “defend the Constitution,” not to “to protect the nation against enemies, foreign and domestic.” So that was completely wrong, too; all those serious errors packed tightly into an 855-word column.

Don Imus, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh.

Hope you dig your new career in standup Joe.  What’s it like writing for People?

The Village

In a piece yesterday digby outlines the genesis of ‘The Village’ label (you can call it a frame if you like) as a catch-all for the petulant whiny inbred incestuous elitist idiots who populate the festering swamp (there is a reason the blog is called Swampland) that is the Beltway.

It is rapidly becoming my favorite phrase next to ‘blogtopia’ (thank you skippy) and ‘pre-Whoring’.

Now I didn’t know that we had Sally Quinn to thank for it-

see url In Washington, That Letdown Feeling

By Sally Quinn, Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, November 2, 1998; Page E01

When Establishment Washingtonians of all persuasions gather to support their own, they are not unlike any other small community in the country.

But this particular community happens to be in the nation’s capital. And the people in it are the so-called Beltway Insiders — the high-level members of Congress, policymakers, lawyers, military brass, diplomats and journalists who have a proprietary interest in Washington and identify with it.

“This is our town,” says Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the first Democrat to forcefully condemn the president’s behavior. “We spend our lives involved in talking about, dealing with, working in government. It has reminded everybody what matters to them. You are embarrassed about what Bill Clinton’s behavior says about the White House, the presidency, the government in general.”

NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell adds a touch of neighborly concern. “We all know people who have been terribly damaged personally by this,” she says. “Young White House aides who have been saddled by legal bills, longtime Clinton friends. . . . There is a small-town quality to the grief that is being felt, an overwhelming sadness at the waste of the nation’s time and attention, at the opportunities lost.”

“We have our own set of viagra drug stores new york village rules,” says David Gergen, editor at large at U.S. News & World Report, who worked for both the Reagan and Clinton White House. “Sex did not violate those rules. The deep and searing violation took place when he not only lied to the country, but co-opted his friends and lied to them. That is one on which people choke.

“We all live together, we have a sense of community, there’s a small-town quality here. We all understand we do certain things, we make certain compromises. But when you have gone over the line, you won’t bring others into it. That is a cardinal rule of the village. You don’t foul the nest.”


Just a pack of filthy hippie barbarians storming the village we are, ready to pillage and burn.  Their lamentations music to our ears.  I’ve carried my shield a long time and the axe is sharp enough.

Now I happen to think it’s going to take a long time, but revolutionary change is all around you- the world will be a very different place in 5 years.  What I do know is this- without our effort to change things for the better, they won’t.

Maybe what we do won’t be enough to change things as much as we hope in the direction that we want but the one thing I don’t want to live with is regret.  I regret nothing.  The good.  The bad.  It’s all the same.

William Saletan: Another Joe Klein.

Well I found this on Atrios first, but he has an ‘A’ in his name and I’m way too lazy to pay attention to time stamps.  It seems we have some more trouble with ‘truthiness’ and this time at Slate.

Perhaps you remember William Saletan-

Created Equal

Liberal Creationism

from: William Saletan, Slate

Posted Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007

Last month, James Watson, the legendary biologist, was condemned and forced into retirement after claiming that African intelligence wasn’t “the same as ours.” “Racist, vicious and unsupported by science,” said the Federation of American Scientists. “Utterly unsupported by scientific evidence,” declared the U.S. government’s supervisor of genetic research. The New York Times told readers that when Watson implied “that black Africans are less intelligent than whites, he hadn’t a scientific leg to stand on.”

I wish these assurances were true. They aren’t. Tests do show an IQ deficit, not just for Africans relative to Europeans, but for Europeans relative to Asians. Economic and cultural theories have failed to explain most of the pattern, and there’s strong preliminary evidence that part of it is genetic. It’s time to prepare for the possibility that equality of intelligence, in the sense of racial averages on tests, will turn out not to be true.

If this suggestion makes you angry-if you find the idea of genetic racial advantages outrageous, socially corrosive, and unthinkable-you’re not the first to feel that way. Many Christians are going through a similar struggle over evolution. Their faith in human dignity rests on a literal belief in Genesis. To them, evolution isn’t just another fact; it’s a threat to their whole value system. As William Jennings Bryan put it during the Scopes trial, evolution meant elevating “supposedly superior intellects,” “eliminating the weak,” “paralyzing the hope of reform,” jeopardizing “the doctrine of brotherhood,” and undermining “the sympathetic activities of a civilized society.”

Now the extended entry referenced by Atrios to Lawyers, Guns and Money’s Robert Farley mentioned that there were at least 2 other stories in this embarrassing sequence but didn’t link them and I’m having trouble cranking around the Slate search engine so I can’t prove it.

Still there is this quote from the very short apology I’d like to highlight-

I don’t want this role. I’m not an expert. I think it’s misleading to dismiss the scenario, as some officials have done in response to Watson. But my attempts to characterize the evidence beyond that, even with caveats such as “partial,” “preliminary,” and “prima facie,” have backfired. I outlined the evidence primarily to illustrate the limits of the genetic hypothesis. If it turns out to be true, it will be in a less threatening form than you might imagine. As to whether it’s true, you’ll have to judge the evidence for yourself. Every responsible scholar I know says we should wait many years before drawing conclusions.

Now where have we heard that before?

I’ve spent the past few days nosing around in the ongoing dispute about what the House FISA Reform bill (The Restore America Act) actually says. I’ve reached no conclusions.

An intelligence community source who deals with the FISA court told me he believed the word “persons” could be interpreted by the court to mean individuals. A Democratic source from the House Intelligence Committee referred me 50USC1801(m), which defines persons  as “an individual or any group, entity or foreign power.” In other words, Al Qaeda is a “person.”

I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who’s right (ADD: about this minor detail of a bill that will never find its way out of the Congress).

So why are you drawing paychecks you lying sacks of crap?

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Well the bird tree is quiet so it must be fall.

What the heck’s a bird tree?

A bird tree is the one in the parking lot you don’t want to park under unless you want to present a challenge to your car washer.  Every time they get excited the tree (which looks totally normal until then) explodes in a blur of tweets and expands like a balloon.

Who likes Hitchcock?

So not too long until skating season though it does come later and later each year.  Time to break out your layers and bundle up.  Bell ringing in the streets.  Blizzards not of snow but of obligations and scheduling (people think I’m a task master).  Time grows as short as the day.

Everything is pretty much so naked and raw that it hurts to look at, but you can’t close your eyes while you’re driving.  That leads to unfortunate circumstances that can easily be avoided by staying on the road.

Winter is kind of better because there are snowy bumper cushions to soften the hard edges and cover up the dirt.  There is something sharp about fall, but I do give it this-

It’s not black fly and mud season.

The Morning News From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Witnesses testify in Blackwater lawsuit

By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer

44 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury investigating Blackwater Worldwide heard witnesses Tuesday as a private lawsuit accused the government contractor’s bodyguards of ignoring orders and abandoning their posts shortly before taking part in a Baghdad shooting that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead.

Filed this week in U.S. District Court in Washington, the civil complaint also accuses North Carolina-based Blackwater of failing to give drug tests to its guards in Baghdad – even though an estimated one in four of them was using steroids or other “judgment altering substances.”

A Blackwater spokeswoman said Tuesday its employees are banned from using steroids or other enhancement drugs but declined to comment on the other charges detailed in the 18-page lawsuit.

Glenn Greenwald: How Beltway reporters mislead the country

I have recently started visiting some of the blogs in the blogroll (from a meta standpoint I’ll tell you that while a lot of the places you can visit are the same here as at dK, here they open in a NEW window which is a feature I find highly superior).

One author I find is almost as important as Monday through Thursday with Jon Stewart (who memorably said to Tucker)-

  • “It’s not so much that it’s bad, as it’s hurting America.”
  • “It’s not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery.”
  • “You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.”
  • “You know what’s interesting, though? You’re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.”

and Stephen who said this about all of them, the vacant gape mawed Villagers drooling at the trough of slime that turns them into zombies-

… let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works: the president makes decisions. He’s the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put ’em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know – fiction!

is Glenn Greenwald at Salon (that’s a zoom link btw, that way you can decide how you want to open it.  That and using a storyonly/ Permalink are two courtesy lessons I owe to CSI Bentonville).

Every day he comes up with something that is at least worth looking at and today was no exception-

Exactly like a stenographer in a court proceeding, their only job is to record the words that they hear accurately, not to identify what actually is true. And here is Klein admitting — finally — that this is exactly what he did (although in this case, he wasn’t even a good stenographer since he only wrote down what one side said, not both).

The very idea of a reporter and a major news magazine publishing a piece about a crucial bill that neither the reporter nor any editor has ever even bothered to read is amazing. No blogger that I read regularly would ever think about doing that. But that’s how the Bush administration has been able to depict all of its false statements about Iraq, and its illegal spying on Americans, as some sort of complex, impossible-to-resolve “controversy.” GOP operatives say “X” and reporters write it down, and it would be terribly “partisan” for them to point out that “X” is actually an outright lie.

Had Klein even bothered to read the Democrats’ bill before calling it “well beyond stupid” and passing on lies about it, he would have had a real story. This:

Last week, House Democrats passed a bill that allows the government to eavesdrop on foreigners outside of the U.S., but requires court approval to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens inside the U.S. But GOP operatives/politicians have spent the week telling reporters that the bill does the opposite, falsely claiming that it gives the same rights to Terrorists that it gives to U.S. citizens.

Those are the objective facts. That is actually what happened. Yet Klein’s function — like those of most of his colleagues — isn’t to report what actually happened, so he’ll never say that. And thus, Time has yet again completely misled its readers on a critical political issue by passing on GOP falsehoods as fact, and they are highly unlikely to do anything in the way of alerting their readers to what they did, let alone reporting the real story here: how and why that happened.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Former PM Sharif returns to Pakistan

By SLOBODAN LEKIC, Associated Press Writer

1 hour, 15 minutes ago

LAHORE, Pakistan – Exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returned home to a hero’s welcome Sunday and called on President Gen. Pervez Musharraf to end emergency rule before elections, a fresh challenge to the U.S.-backed leader.

“These (emergency) conditions are not conducive to free and fair elections,” Sharif told reporters at the airport after arriving from Saudi Arabia. “I think the constitution of Pakistan should be restored, and there should be rule of law.”

Sharif, the head of one of the country’s main opposition parties, said he had not negotiated his return with Musharraf, who overthrew him in a 1999 coup. Musharraf expelled Sharif when he first tried come back to Pakistan this year.

Weekend News Digest

1 Doom and gloom plays out on Broadway


Sat Nov 24, 9:02 AM ET

NEW YORK – It’s a worst-case scenario that became a reality. As the Broadway stagehands strike enters its third week Saturday, there doesn’t seem to be any way out of the thorny, seemingly intractable dispute that has shut down more than two dozen plays and musicals since Nov. 10.

Losses because of canceled performances are in the millions and climbing each day – a disaster not only for producers and theater owners, but for everyone employed in the theater and for those whose businesses depend on curtains going up.

Both sides are hanging tough and have not talked for almost a week. The standoff has meant dark theaters during the Thanksgiving holiday, usually one of the year’s best weeks for business.

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