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Is it too much to ask AP to at least get the story right?



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AP:
Then, at a news conference last month, he asked Bush how he could work on Social Security and other domestic initiatives with Democrats "who seem to have divorced themselves from reality."

That attracted scrutiny from liberal bloggers, who linked Guckert with online domain addresses suggestive of gay pornography. Guckert resigned from Talon News earlier this month.
Gay pornography? Yes, the blogs have no credibility while august news sources like the Associated Press simply make shit up. For the record, we found his 7 prostitution online profiles, and his entire prostitution Web site, selling himself to other men for $200/hr or $1200/weekend.

It's bad enough AP hasn't even reported this story in any serious manner over the past month, but it's not like they don't have the resources to at least not lie about it. Read the rest of this post...

Say goodnight, Ken



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Read the rest of this post...

Your Best Prediction - What Scandal Could the Bush Administration NOT Get Away With?



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A reader suggestion. I like it. Have at it. Read the rest of this post...

Jon Stewart's Daily Show to spoof Gannon/Guckert on Thursday



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Excellent.
The reporter was fake, using a fake name, spoofing alleged fake White House reporter "Jeff Gannon." But the news conference was real serious.

A "correspondent" from the fake news show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, was outside City Hall yesterday to get some answers from City Council Speaker Gifford Miller.

Wearing a badly groomed hair piece, a fake mustache and an ugly 1970s tie, Rob Corddry waited patiently until after the real reporters had posed their questions to ask one about about Social Security.

Standing awkwardly with his legs far apart as though he were getting ready to sprint, nodding in agreement to every word spoken by Miller about the West Side Stadium, Corddry finally raised his hand.

"Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker," he shouted, as if in a White House news conference, identifying himself as "Dino Ironbody"

His question: "How do you feel about the president's awesome plan to privatize Social Security?"
(Thanks to CrooksAndLiars.com for spotting this.) Read the rest of this post...

Evening open thread



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Chat Read the rest of this post...

Torture: It's The American Way



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I've wanted to talk about our country's embrace of torture as A-OK for weeks now. Should I post when the New York Times runs a story on A-11 (deep inside the paper) that casually mentions more cases of torture and then even more casually states that the US has routinely shipped off prisoners to third countries like Saudi Arabia that we know will torture them? How about the fact that virtually the last paragraph even more casually mentions that the President repeatedly insists we never do this, which is known as extraordinary rendition? In other words, the New York Times says the President is lying to the American people but finds this so unremarkable it's barely mentioned in a small story buried in the paper.

Should I bring up torture when the New Yorker runs an exhaustive feature about yet another INNOCENT MAN who was grabbed, bundled off to a third country, brutally tortured and then dumped back into society with no one in government thinking this was unusual or unfortunate?

Bob Herbert of the New York Times finally couldn't wait any longer for outrage to build and asks today if the US has a conscience.

A Kafkaesque country where private citizens are grabbed off the streets and dumped in a hole never to be heard from again. A government that refuses to admit those people have even been detained or confirmed their names. Secret locations where people KNOWN TO BE INNOCENT are beaten, raped, sodomized, tortured, punched in the head and even killed. A leader who believes he is above the rule of law and must answer to no one for his actions. Sycophantic minions who do Orwell proud by insisting they would never torture someone, but simply redefine torture as anything that doesn't lead to organ failure or death. Electric cables attached to your genitals and giving you shocks? Not torture. Punching you in the stomach every day for a year? Not torture. Stripping you naked an d keeping you in a tiny box away from all human contact for six months at a time? Not torture.

This used to describe evil countries like Saudi Arabia, the Soviet Union, China, Iraq, Cambodia under Pol Pot and others. Now it also describes the United States of America. And every day we accept that torture is part of the post 9-11 world, every day we don't write to our elected officials and demand it change (just like we used to write letters for Amnesty International and send them off to OTHER countries), every day we fail to speak out for the innocent people who have been found guilty without a trial or a lawyer or even being told the charges against them, every day that this continues is another day our hands are bloodied and everything we stand for is sullied.

Here's betting this posting doesn't garner more than a handful of comments. Why? This is old news. Read the rest of this post...

Funny



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From the SF Chronicle.
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Hey Red State Guys (and Jeff Gannon), Bush Admin. is coming for your porn



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In keeping with the Bush Administration obsession with sex, the new Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez, has made porn a top priority for the Justice Department according to the Associated Press:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Monday he would move aggressively to prosecute obscenity cases, and he laid out a broader agenda much like that of his predecessor, John Ashcroft.

In his first lengthy address since becoming attorney general in early February, Gonzales said people who distribute obscene materials do not enjoy constitutional guarantees of free speech.

"I am committed to prosecuting these crimes aggressively," he said to a Washington meeting of the California-based Hoover Institution.
The Justice Department is appealing the dismissal of an obscenity case in Pittsburgh in which a federal judge said prosecutors went too far in trying to block the sale of pornographic movies over the Internet and through the mail. The case initially was prosecuted under Ashcroft.
Hmmmm....blocking the sale of porn over the internet. That shouldn't set off any alarm bells in homes across America. All those butch red state guys were thinking that moral issue in the election was whether gays could marry. Wrong. It was really about Bush and company taking their porn away. Be careful fellas, Big Brother Alberto is watching what you watch.

Now, of course, we would love to know what the sanctimonious, anti-smut Mr. Gonzalez thinks of the antics of Mr. Gannon/Guckert. Read the rest of this post...

Bush making AIDS groups pledge to oppose prostitution



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Ok, this takes some balls in the middle of GannonGuckertGate. But MESSAGE TO MAINSTREAM MEDIA, Jeff Gannon being a hooker and working in the West Wing, while the White House STILL hasn't condemned him or even spoken out about him, is NOT an even more interesting story in light of the fact that the Bush administration is now publicly taking on hookers. No, no hypocrisy there, nothing to see, move right along.

Or is this the White House's response to Gannon to placate the religious right? I.e., take a swipe at foreign hookers?

From the Kaiser Foundation:
Bush Administration To Require U.S. AIDS Groups Take Pledge Opposing Commercial Sex Work To Gain Funding
[Feb 28, 2005]

The Bush administration is requiring that U.S. HIV/AIDS organizations seeking funding to provide services in other countries make a pledge opposing commercial sex work, and some Republican lawmakers and administration officials are pushing for a similar policy for needle-exchange programs, the Wall Street Journal reports. Under the new policy, even groups whose HIV/AIDS work in other countries has "nothing to do" with commercial sex workers will have to make a written pledge opposing commercial sex work or risk losing federal funding, according to the Journal. In addition, the Bush administration might refuse to fund HIV/AIDS groups that do not accept Bush's "social agenda" on issues such as sexual abstinence and drug use, according to the Journal. The new policy stems from two 2003 laws, one involving HIV/AIDS funding and another regarding sex trafficking (Phillips, Wall Street Journal, 2/28). One measure was included as an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.), in the legislation (HR 1298) that authorized the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the five-year, $15 billion program that directs funding for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to 15 focus countries. The measure prohibits funds from going to any group or organization that does not have a policy "explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/3/03). The U.S. Department of Justice initially told the administration that the requirement should be applied to overseas groups only because of constitutional free speech concerns in applying it to U.S. organizations, according to the Journal. However, DOJ in 2004 "reversed itself" and said that the administration could apply the rule to U.S. groups, according to the Journal.
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Anti-gay anti-AARP ad scandal getting coverage



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I'm happy to say the media is starting to cover the fact that USA Next appears to have stolen the photo of the gay couple for their anti-AARP ad (I reported on this in a post below). Wonkette covered it, and Congress Daily has a mention of it as well. Read the rest of this post...

White House Correspondents' Association wimps out on GannonGuckertGate



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The following statement was just released by the White House Correspondents' Association regarding GannonGuckertGate. The statement was passed to me from a White House correspondent who isn't a hooker, I think:
Since 1914, the White House Correspondents' Association has operated independently of the White House and the White House credentialing process. We intend for the White House Correspondents' Association to remain independent of that process.

Consistent with the First Amendment, the White House Correspondents' Association stands for inclusiveness in the credentialing process so that the White House remains accessible to all journalists. We hope that individual episodes do not obscure the broader principles of a fair and evenhanded credentialing process that serves the goal of free and full exchange of information.
Yes, the White House Correspondents' Association doesn't want to weigh in on the battle of who is and isn't a journalist. Apparently, the First Amendment prohibits journalists from defining what exactly it is they do for a living. Man, if it's unconstitutional to have any requirements for journalism, then I want to be op ed editor of the Washington Post, or I'm gonna sue.

As one White House correspondent told me today:
"The more the White House Correspondents' Association weighs in on this, the more it makes some of us think the association is best left to throwing a dinner and should stay way from any issues of importance. The White House Correspondents' Association over the last couple of years has been a lapdog outfit answering to this administration."
Read the rest of this post...

Lebanese, pro-Syrian government resigns after protests



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I tip my hat to the united front that the people of Lebanon put forward to protest against the government. After years of fighting amongst themselves the protestors were from all religious groups, united in their demand from an independent government. What is interesting here is that murdered former PM Hariri was appreciated both in Washington and in Paris and both governments had been strong supporters of a Syrian pullout and Lebanese independence. Read the rest of this post...

More Tom Delay scandals



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No, he's not a male hooker. Well, we think. Read the rest of this post...

USA Next accused of stealing photo of gay couple for anti-AARP ad campaign



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Thanks to the DailyKos folks for discovering this story. I got in touch with the couple in the photo on Friday and put them in touch with a lawyer (a rather big lawyer at that). I'm now working as their publicist - not that I wouldn't have covered this anyway. Please help spread the word on this, it's outrageous.

Below is the press release we just sent out. And attached here is the letter the couple's lawyer just sent to USA Next.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2005

Contact: John Aravosis
john@wiredstrategies.com
Spokesman for Richard M. Raymen and Steven P. Hansen

“USA NEXT” MISAPPROPRIATED COUPLES’
IMAGE FOR ANTI-GAY AD CAMPAIGN
Couple: Image Stolen for Campaign Against AARP

WASHINGTON, DC - Conservative front organization USA Next was accused today of illegally using a gay couple’s wedding photo in an anti-gay ad campaign supporting President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security.

The couple in the photo, Richard M. Raymen and Steven P. Hansen of Portland, Oregon, have come forward through an attorney to demand that USA Next stop using their image, and that the organization publicly apologize for using their image in a homophobic and libelous way. The demand, contained in a letter sent today to USA Next Chairman and CEO Charles Jarvis, references the couples’ right to seek damages for the misappropriation of their image.

In one version of the USA Next advertisement disseminated widely on the Internet last week, and aired repeatedly by television news programs nationwide, the couple’s image, superimposed with a green checkmark, is side-by-side a picture of a US soldier with a red “X” across it. Below the photos is the phrase “The REAL AARP Agenda.”

A copy of the ad can be viewed online here:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/21/164929/948

"In 2004, our clients allowed their picture to be taken at their public celebration, as couples getting married do every day,” Christopher Wolf, a partner in the Washington, DC office of the New York-based law firm Proskauer Rose LLP and counsel for Raymen and Hansen. . “They did not volunteer to be models for a 2005 right-wing hate campaign, and never would have consented to having their images plastered in an ad of any kind, much less the one USA Next chose to run. USA Next has violated the law and must take responsibility for the consequences. Tort law is quite clear that USA Next acted illegally.”

“The USA Next ad communicates the false message that gay marriages generally, and our clients specifically, are the antithesis of supporting American troops during wartime,” said Wolf. “Gay marriage, and our clients’ ceremony, have nothing to do with support of the troops. Our clients are patriotic Americans who strongly support our service members.”

USA Next’s ad campaign has generated heated debate about the organization.. Ramen and Hansen have been the subject of hate-filled messages and ridicule as a result of the ad campaign, and have suffered a significant invasion of privacy.

“We never signed up to be Harry and Louise for a hate-mongering group,” Raymen said, referring to the fictional couple used in television commercials to scuttle then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s health care proposal. “USA Next is illegally using our photo to portray us as a threat to American values. How would any citizen like having their image stolen and broadcast for the purpose of tarring our troops and suggesting that you’re un-American?”

On behalf of Raymen and Hansen, Wolf wrote USA Next today demanding that the organization immediately stop using photos of the couple and that it publicly apologize for the ongoing harm it is causing.

“As our clients contemplate their full legal remedies, we are writing to demand that you immediately cease and desist using any photograph of our clients and that you publicly apologize to them for the use you already have made, and the harm you have already caused,” Wolf wrote to USA Next.

Wolf said his clients seriously are considering filing suit against USA Next but, regardless, use of the photo must stop.
Read the rest of this post...

GREAT Philly Inquirer front page story on Gannon



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My God, we may actually have broken through the void - after only one month of this story being out there. This is really a damn good story.
But the Jeff Gannon/James Guckert saga is far from over. It remains unclear how a graduate of a conservative training program, someone with no previous journalism experience, someone whose writings were often lifted directly from White House press releases, still managed to gain access to the White House press room, where he spent two years lobbing gentle questions at the press secretary and the President.

And some political analysts who monitor President Bush's relations with the media insist that Gannon (who, referring to Democrats, recently asked Bush, "How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?") should not be viewed as an isolated case. Rather, they contend that Gannon is symptomatic of a broader White House strategy to undermine the traditional media by disseminating the Bush message in creative new ways.
Read the rest of this post...

Morning open thread



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Gonna be a fun day I think. Read the rest of this post...

What he said



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Tom Tomorrow weighs in on GannonGuckertGate

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That will be the day



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The latest defense of gay hookers from really conservative Republican activists. My favorite line:
Gannon may have the last laugh in an affair that has turned nasty. He could even return to White House briefings.
Yeah, maybe when Jeff Stryker becomes president. Until then, I wouldn't hold your breath. Read the rest of this post...

Chris Rock slammed Bush at the Oscars



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Excellent.

According to the DU crowd, it went something like this:
Bush is a genius. I mean think about it. He was basically reapplying for his job last year at the same time a movie was being played all across the country showing what a crappy job he did. He got into office and we had a surplus. Now, we're like 70 trillion dollars in debt. Now let's say you worked at the GAP. You're closing out at the end of the day, and your register comes up 70 trillion dollars short. You're gonna get in trouble over that. Not Bush. No, he figured out a way to keep his job.

He then went into a similar bit about you working at the GAP and starting a war with Banana Republic because they're selling toxic tank tops, but then after a thousand employees are killed, you figure out Banana Republic doesn't even sell tank tops.
Read the rest of this post...

It's Oscar night?



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Uh oh. I just called Michael in NYC. He's threatened to take away my gay card. Apparently the Oscars are on. Oops. I mean, I'm used to not knowing when the Superbowl is coming, but the Oscars? What are they doing on in February? Oh, have them on now. Did I miss much? Who's hosting? Read the rest of this post...

Sunday night open thread



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Even more snow being predicted now. Read the rest of this post...

Excellent dissection of GannonGuckert's latest revisionism



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A very good analysis that also does a good job of reprising the facts in this case for anyone who may be new to all of this. Read the rest of this post...

Prince Charles whining on again, wants everyone to feel sorry for him



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Now what exactly did this inbred clown ever do in his life besides be born into royalty? The British royals don't mind sponging off of the British people who allow them to keep their silly little titles and not have to work (heavens no, that is not what aristocracy does) and now the guy wants us to feel sorry for him ? Sorry but he lives a very public life, never once stepping down or out of his position and he wants to talk about compassion. Just allowing him and his family to maintain their position is compassion enough. Diana may have been a media whore herself but at least she attempted (at times) to get out of the media spotlight and do something for the good of the world. Good grief. Read the rest of this post...

Afternoon open thread



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They're saying 4 to 8 inches of snow for DC on Monday. Be fun if we actually get it. Read the rest of this post...

What is happening with Syria?



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With few exceptions, mainly the Syrian government, everyone is pretty sure that Syria was behind the murder of former Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri and now fingers are being pointed in the direction of Damascus for yesterdays suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Something tells me that if both of these attacks are related to Syria then they are feeling pretty confident in their newly formed alliance with Iran.

The neocons are looking for a fight with Syria but with our hands full in Iraq, the thought of taking on an Iran supported Syria is not an attractive thought. Who knows how strong those bonds are and iff Iran would actually intervene militarily but Syria is acting as though the relationship is pretty solid. Feeling safer yet? Read the rest of this post...

FYI - There are a ton of Gannon stories in the lesser-known papers today across the country



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It's really quite fascinating. Lots of opinion pieces in small papers I've never even heard of. This one made me laugh out loud:
As for the Republican poseur Jeff/James/Whatshisname - in general, one must choose whether to associate in life with political whores or the more traditional variety. But please, do not try to act all self-righteous and victimized if you get caught trying to cross over.
Yes, I've heard of the St. Petersburg Times, but lots of the others today are in very obscure papers. Read the rest of this post...

The cartoons keep coming



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From J Darcy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Read the rest of this post...

Right-wing Web site says Ken Mehlman isn't gay



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Now this is gonna get interesting. If they can say it so definitively (false allegations, they say), then why can't Ken just come clean publicly and embrace his alleged heterosexuality?

Also, as Atrios points out, they're incensed about NYY reporter Adam Nagourney's secret personal diary, and that no lefties are upset about it.

Well, no one said you had to be particularly bright to be a conservative journalist. Read the rest of this post...

More Maureen Dowd on Gannon/Guckert



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Ok, admittedly, I am a huge fan of Maureen Dowd. And, she has been on a roll with the Gannon/Guckert story.

In her column today about Bush and the media, she wrote:

The only balance W. likes is the slavering, Pravda-like "Fair and Balanced" coverage Fox News provides. Mr. Bush pledges to spread democracy while his officials strive to create a Potemkin press village at home. This White House seems to prefer softball questions from a self-advertised male escort with a fake name to hardball questions from journalists with real names; it prefers tossing journalists who protect their sources into the gulag to giving up the officials who broke the law by leaking the name of their own C.I.A. agent.
Note to other journalists: this is an accurate description...."self-advertised male escort." You aren't really invading the privacy or outing someone who advertises on-line.

Also, today, she was on a panel on Meet the Press with Tom Friedman and William Safire. Answering a question about Bush and foreign policy, she worked in a comment about how the Gannongate...didn't mention him by name...just the idea that the Bush people liked having him in the press corps. Russert, Friedman and Safire all got a big yuck out of that one.

Maureen Dowd just gets it. Love her. Read the rest of this post...

Santorum and his pals kicked around on Soc. Security



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Republicans were met with serious opposition to the plan to destroy Social Security in their home states and districts last week. The leader of the plan in the Senate, Rick Santorum, really got kicked around in PA week during his town meetings on Social Security according to today's New York Times:

Mr. Santorum complained that he was dogged all week by opponents of the White House plan who dominated news coverage. Mr. Santorum, who is the third-ranking Republican in the Senate leadership and chairman of the subcommittee on Social Security, was heckled by college students - the very audience the Bush administration was counting on - and peppered with questions from retirees.

"Clearly the other side is better organized," Mr. Santorum said. "They got people to all these events. They had seniors lined up to ask questions, they had staff people running up passing them notes."
Imagine that, Rick Santorum. Your constituents are opposed to the plan to gut Social Security and they let you know. And you seem to be irritated about it. Tough shit.

And, shock of all shock to the Republicans: The other side IS organized. The Rs really hate that. They want to do things their way without hearing from those pesky voters.

I'm sure Santorum is scratching that pea brain of his, trying to figure out why he gets hard questions. He was at an event with Bush in Pennsylvania a couple weeks ago and everyone loved the President's plan. Kinda different when the real people, who don't have to sign loyalty oaths, get to express their opinions.

According tho the Times, " Mr. Santorum described himself as encouraged at the level of interest..." Let's all make sure that level of interest is sustained and used to defeat him in November 2006. Read the rest of this post...

Bush strikes out with Putin, Iran signs nuclear fuel deal



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What a display of international political skill George. Looks like you've been tossed around like a rag doll by good old Vlad. You sure are making the world a safer place. Read the rest of this post...

The GOP steamroller moves ahead with medical malpractice



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This is yet another issue where the Dem's have allowed the GOP to dominate the discussion. I am not in favor of attorneys filing unnecessary lawsuits but let's look a bit more closely at this issue before everyone starts complaining about out-of-control trial attorneys. I personally have had two doctors screw up on me and I know of a number of friends and family who have had problems which could potentially be called medical malpractice, including one person who went in for a routine operation and died (in his late 40's), but I do not know of any attorney who would take on those cases. Are there bad examples out there? Sure, no doubt. Do those make up a large majority of the overall cases? Doubtful.

The famous tried and true Republican method of locating an obscure abuse or even creating one and then making blanket statements about the entire industry is getting old. I did not buy into it when the GOP loved to talk about the poor, black, welfare mama who picked up her Social Security check in her Cadillac and I'm not buying into it now. A few tidbits from the article:
  • Medical errors are estimated to be responsible for 45,000 to 98,000 deaths a year - more than those caused by breast cancer, AIDS or motor vehicle accidents, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Last year, the Institute for Legal Reform, an affiliate of the Chamber of Commerce, and the American Medical Association, the physicians' advocacy group, spent a total of $33.8 million on lobbying, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks federal lobbying. The trial lawyers' association spent $2.9 million on federal lobbying, PoliticalMoneyLine reported.
  • He [ Todd A. Smith, Partner, Power, Rogers & Smith] says he decides to take fewer than 3 in 100 cases that are brought to his firm. "We say to people right off that a bad outcome does not mean you have a medical negligence case," he said.
Read the rest of this post...

Racists for Gannon



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CrooksAndLiars.com informs us that Ann Coulter has just published a racist defense of Jeff Gannon.

This is what she wrote - which was then edited out by her syndicator who probably realized that racist attacks against Arabs probably aren't the most appropriate thing to publish if your name isn't David Duke. How does this woman even work in this country?



"Old Arab?" What the hell does that mean? Why does the GOP increasingly tie its party to vile, hateful, angry, bigoted people? Yet at the same time they think they're going to convince Latinos and blacks that they love people of color, really they do. Yeah, right. I can't wait to see the day that the mainstream of the GOP has to deal with an influx of Latinos and blacks in the party. That will be a day to remember.

You can see the entire article here. Read the rest of this post...

Late night open thread



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Gnite Read the rest of this post...

Banning abortions of gay fetuses



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Oh, how fun would that be?! Put the right-to-life crowd in a tizzy.
A Republican lawmaker in Maine has introduced a bill to prohibit abortions based on the sexual orientation of the unborn baby.

State Rep. Brian Duprey wants the Legislature to forbid a woman from ending a pregnancy because the fetus is homosexual.

He said the bill looks into the future in case scientists find what he described as a "homosexual gene."
Though the legislator isn't stupid either. He gets the gay community between the same rock and a hard place as the pro-lifers. Pro-choice gays just might like this legislation. What do you think? Read the rest of this post...

What Digby says about Guckert



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It's long. It's good. Read it.

(There is truly nothing you can say about this story that isn't doube entendre.) Read the rest of this post...

Open thread



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I think a nap is beckoning. Read the rest of this post...

Chicago Trib editorial about Guckert and blogs



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While the editorial gives short shrift to the larger implications of the Gucker scandal, it's still the Chicago Trib and helps the publicity on this issue. Also, it restates the facts pretty well, which helps feed the story. And it actually praises bloggers.

It's ironic that the editorials are starting to pile in when we couldn't even get the mainstream media to cover the NEWS aspect of this story. Then the editorials basically take our side, or at least praise us.

Mainstream media needs therapy.
In the former category are the Internet bloggers, cable television news shows and talk radio, all of whom traffic in clear, often loudly expressed opinion that frames everything they report. They're doing "opinion news--news that reflects one's own beliefs and preferences and tends to filter out dissenting views," as a recent report from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press put it.

Is that new? Nah. It's actually as old as the republic, when newspapers from front to back were clearly identified with a political philosophy and a Thomas Paine could rally Americans to embrace independence by distributing "Common Sense" far and wide....

The bloggers have scored some impressive scoops in recent months. They're a force. According to a Pew Research Center poll, "more people are turning away from traditional news outlets, with their decorous, just-the-facts aspirations to objectivity, toward noisier hybrid formats that aggressively fuse news with opinion or entertainment or both."
Read the rest of this post...

Editorial in the Chicago Trib about Guckert, blogs



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While the editorial gives short shrift to the larger implications of the Gucker scandal. Also, it restates the facts pretty well, which helps feed the story. And it actually praises bloggers.

It's ironic that the editorials are starting to pile in when we couldn't even get the mainstream media to cover the NEWS aspect of this story. Then the editorials basically take our side, or at least praise us.

Mainstream media needs therapy.
In the former category are the Internet bloggers, cable television news shows and talk radio, all of whom traffic in clear, often loudly expressed opinion that frames everything they report. They're doing "opinion news--news that reflects one's own beliefs and preferences and tends to filter out dissenting views," as a recent report from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press put it.

Is that new? Nah. It's actually as old as the republic, when newspapers from front to back were clearly identified with a political philosophy and a Thomas Paine could rally Americans to embrace independence by distributing "Common Sense" far and wide....

The bloggers have scored some impressive scoops in recent months. They're a force. According to a Pew Research Center poll, "more people are turning away from traditional news outlets, with their decorous, just-the-facts aspirations to objectivity, toward noisier hybrid formats that aggressively fuse news with opinion or entertainment or both."
Read the rest of this post...

WorldNetDaily REALLY doesn't like Jeff Gannon



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Yet another story on him, and it ain't pretty :-)
The scandal, known as GannonGuckertGate, involves Jeff Gannon – by daylight a credentialed "reporter" covering the White House for both the Talon and GOPUSA.com websites, while allegedly moonlighting as a $200-an-hour male escort and purveyor of explicit websites like HotMilitaryStud.com and MilitaryEscorts.com.

It turns out Jeff Gannon was a pseudonym and alter ego for Jim Guckert, the name under which Gannon allegedly posed for pictures on those sites and advertised his services. He resigned his position with Talon and GOPUSA.com following the disclosures by bloggers.

Although HotMilitaryStud.com and MilitaryEscorts.com – websites suggestive of homosexual pornography – are no longer online, their domain names are now up for sale.

"This is the site you've been hearing about," says the ads for both sites which are listed in the "Adult/Porn" category.

The asking price for HotMilitaryStud.com is $15,000, while MilitaryEscorts.com is asking $7,500. Traffic figures claim more than 66,000 and 24,000 unique visitors to the pages, respectively. No previous offers had been made for either as of press time.
Read the rest of this post...

St Petersburg Times editorial re Gannon and bloggers



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It's quite good. Note Howie Kurtz's quote in the 2 paragraph:
The proliferation of Internet Web logs - so-called "blogs" - has unsettled mainstream news organizations that have become a prime target for bloggers. On the whole, it's probably a healthy development. The news media have a credibility problem and bloggers, for all their excesses, have shown they have a role to play in holding mainstream journalists accountable.

For the first time, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz recently wrote, "millions of people with access to a wide audience (at least among the wired) are looking over the shoulders of journalists, or practicing journalism themselves . . . Many bloggers are careful and thought-provoking, others partisan or mean-spirited. But they are here to stay, and by and large they provide a healthy check on those who once monopolized the news agenda."

....Mainstream journalists have nothing to fear from bloggers if they remain true to fundamental standards of accuracy and fairness. They must remain cautious before passing along information from blogs or reacting to their charges, while continuing to learn from a form of mass media that is evolving before our eyes. Blogging, if practiced responsibly, could boost old media's credibility by making it more accountable to the public.
Read the rest of this post...

Saturday morning open thread



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Good day. Read the rest of this post...

What kind of a "journalist" says something like this publicly about their "reporting"?



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"RAWSTORY reports that Senate Minority Leader Harry 'Soup Lines" Reid will join in the investigation of me. He should be thanking me since I helped get him his promotion." - James Guckert on his new Web site
I doubt even FOX News would be so crass as to say something like this publicly about their own reporting. There is a line between journalists and non-journalists. And yes, it's sometimes hard to define. But like the courts once said about pornography, you know it when you see it.

PS The even stranger part is that Guckert is joking about the fact that he used a totally fictious quote about soup kitchens to blast Senator Reid at a White House press conference. Guckert literally quoted something he heard on Rush Limbaugh's radio show (they don't call him "scoop" Guckert for nothin'). Rush was joking, Guckert didn't get the joke, and then repeated what Rush said as a real quote from the Senator.

Any real journalist would be mortified that they got up in front of the entire White House press corps, on national TV no less, and rattled off a totally fictious quote as true. Guckert, on the other hand, is apparently proud of the fact. Read the rest of this post...

Friday Orchid Blogging



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Lest I forget. (For those of you who are new here, this is an AMERICAblog tradition. We don't own cats (the traditional pet of choice for Friday blogging), so we do orchids.)

Paph (Mach One x Tranchant) 'Absolute Monster' x Western Thunder 'Shock Wave'





I just bought this plant last weekend, so can claim NO credit for the blooms. This is what you call a "bulldog" paphiopedilum, which until I just typed this I didn't get the pun! LOL (Gannon's hooker name is "bulldog.") My bulldog cost significantly less than $200/hour.

It's 6 inches wide, and supposed to be relatively easy to grow, medium dappled light, relatively moist (you don't let them dry out completely). I'm very excited. I've wanted one like this for a long while, I find them amazing. Other friends find this particular type of orchid hideous. What do you think?

PS I got it from Marriott Orchids, an AMAZING orchid grower that's rather expensive. You can check out their stuff here, but beware, it ain't cheap (fortunately, I got mine at a show here in town, it was cheaper than what you see on the Web). Read the rest of this post...

Another open thread



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So many fun stories in the works, Gannon and otherwise. In the meantime, enjoy the evening. It's sci-fi Friday! Read the rest of this post...

Good NY Daily News story too, I missed this one earlier



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Great story, with one small mistake. Gannon has never said, to my knowledge that he only read about the Valerie Plame memo in the newspapers. This is a mistake a growing number of reporters are making. Gannon has recently responded to questions about the memo by saying something to the effect of "you know, the Wall Street Journal wrote about it." Gannon has never said that he actually READ about this story in the Wall Street Journal, that the Wall Street Journal is the way he found out about the story, or, even if he did find out about the story via the Wall Street Journal, that someone else in the administration didn't slip him additional information about it.

I'm quite serious about this. Read his interviews closely. He's cagey as hell about this and only mentions the WSJ obliquely, without ever saying that it was his exclusive source for information about this affair. Read the rest of this post...

SpongeBob's mistake was not being a hooker



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Bill Berkowitz, as always, writes a great commentary on the hypocrisy of religious right groups who suddenly seem to have found a place in their hearts for a gay hooker in the White House. Perhaps some day they can find a place in their hearts for all the gays who aren't hookers too.
They were livid over SpongeBob Square Pants' participation in a video advocating tolerance, and fuming about Buster the Bunny's visit to a lesbian household. So where's the outrage from the Christian right over the Jeff Gannon Affair? Despite a chunk of time having passed since the Gannon Affair was first uncovered, Christian right organizations are still cloaked in silence. As of February 24, there wasn't any news about the Gannon Affair available on the Web sites of Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, or the Traditional Values Coalition. As best as I could determine, no special alerts about the Gannon Affair have been issued; and no campaigns have been launched to get to the bottom of the matter.

Curious about this wall of silence, I phoned several Christian right groups on Tuesday, February 22, hoping to find someone who could comment on the Gannon Affair. This is what I found...
Read the rest of this post...

USANext, those nasty pro-Bush-social-security-plan people



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Seems they're only a junk mail and spam company, according to a report by ThereIsNoCrisis.com. Surprise! Read the rest of this post...

Good GannonGuckert article from Bill Press on WorldNetDaily



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What he said:
...the Bush White House forces the Secret Service to allow a former male prostitute into the White House so he can play reporter and lob softball questions to the president – and what do we get? Silence from the mainstream media. Silence from Republicans in Congress. Support for Guckert from many conservative commentators, who accuse liberal bloggers of anti-gay bias. And the scandal disappears from the radar screen.

If that's not a double-standard, I don't know what is. Why aren't the mainstream media making a big deal of this story? Why aren't they demanding a White House apology? Or a congressional investigation? Because they have no backbone, that's why. They're afraid of the Bush White House. And they've let Bush get away with everything, from lying about weapons of mass destruction to pampering a male prostitute.

Please, no more complaints about the liberal media. Today's White House reporters are in Bush's pocket.
Read the rest of this post...

Open thread



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I finally have a little time to sit back and try to put this story in the larger perspective, and then put that larger perspective in writing, so hopefully the MSM can finally get a grasp of why this matters. Read the rest of this post...

Wall Street Journal Vying With LA Times For Worst Guckert Coverage



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Thanks to tizzie for pointing us to this Wall Street Journal article today about James Guckert. It continues the LA Times angle that this is a case of old media versus new media and who gets to decide what constitutes a real journalist. Again, not ONE quote from a source who argues that Guckert was indeed a fake journalist and that this is a serious issue about national security and the manipulation of the media by the White House.

"The fact is that the history and tradition of the White House have been much more open and accepting" of nonmainstream journalists than other Washington institutions, such as the Congress, says Ari Fleischer, Mr. McClellan's predecessor to the Wall Street Journal. "I think it would be a real shame if that tradition ended. It might be good for the press secretary but not for diversity of opinion."

The story is filled with offbeat reporters who also attend the White House press conferences, though it doesn't make clear whether they all get repeated day passes or have hard passes which demand a security check -- the very security check James Guckert would have failed.

This isn't about his anti-gay, far right politics. If Rush Limbaugh and Maureen Dowd applied for a day pass to the White House press room, they both would deserve to get one.

But, again, this is not old media versus new media or about the difficulty of figuring out what constitutes a real journalist.

James Guckert aka Jeff Gannon received a day pass to the White House press room before he'd ever written a single article for any news media outlet of any sort in the entire world. He wasn't even affiliated with any media outlet -- real of imaginary -- when he received a day pass as a reporter to the White House. I think if you're going to draw the line somewhere, that seems a pretty good place to start.

Yes, a few weeks later, GOPUSA.COM set up the fake news website Talonnews.com and yes, eventually their "volunteer" reporter James Guckert started getting paid half wages because even fake journalists have to get paid something in order to get press passes. But slowly building up a front over the years doesn't change the fact that James Guckert was allowed into the White House press room when NO ONE under any conceivable standard could consider him a journalist.
Read the rest of this post...

British workers getting decent hourly wage



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The UK is raising the minimum wage for Birtish adult workers from 4.85 pounds to 5.05 pounds in October and 5.35 pounds in 2006. That's $10.22 an hour. (People aged 18-21 will make $8.11 an hour.) Tony Blair calls that a "powerful symbol of how [the UK[] is changing for the good." I call that a decent amount for an honest day's work. It's almost DOUBLE the $5.15 an hour workers get in the US. Read the rest of this post...

Anglican Church: Schism Over Gays More and More Likely



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The Anglican Church -- still reeling from the decision to treat women as equal in the eyes of God -- is now breaking apart over the issue of gays. In an unprecedented move, the leaders of the Anglican communion have asked the US and Canadian churches to "temporarily" withdraw members from a key international governing body.

In other words, in order to avoid splitting the Church, they're splitting the Church. Finally, the rightist leaders who can't bear to have women leading service or working at the highest levels of the church are getting their revenge on those wishy-washy leftists who believe all people are equal in the eyes of God. Read the rest of this post...

Open thread



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Have at it Read the rest of this post...

A better question: What is journalism?



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The LA Times story about Gannon says a lot about the state of the mainstream media (MSM).

Somehow, Ms. Neuman has managed to make the Gannon story about them...and it is, but not the way she thinks.

She said, the MSM is being forced to ask: What is a journalist? Here's a better question for the MSM: what is journalism?

Neuman's piece is a classic example of present day journalism. It's an example of how far the MSM has gone to avoid covering the real issues in Gannongate. When describing the research done on Gannon by bloggers, she uses terms "left wing bloggers" "gay activists" and "bloglust." Her words imply a lack of credibility.

When she writes of Jeff, there are no similar "descriptors" applied to him, GOPUSA or Talon News.

Reporters are trying so hard to be fair, and not piss off the right wing, that they are becoming part of the Right Wing Noise Machine. It's actually frightening. Maybe Ms. Neuman talked to some of bloggers from the "left wing." She didn't talk to John Aravosis, who is apparently consigned to the role of "gay activist" as if Americablog is nothing more.

This is the first major story the LA Times wrote about Gannon and they couldn't interview any of the players who broke the story?

I've said it before, this story played out right under the noses of the media. Jeff/Jim was among them. He essentially mocked them....and continues to do so. Maybe that's why they can't cover the story. It involves self-examination and self-criticism. And, it might involve pissing off the White House. Then, they might not get their Presidential nicknames. That would really suck.

The story seems to be about more whores than we realized. Read the rest of this post...

LA Times wins the award for WORST reporting of the mainstream media



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Yes, the Los Angeles Times ran a story today in which 6, count 'em, 6 sources were cited defending Gannon, and ZERO sources were quoted from the other side. And apparently, it's now "gay activists" who exposed Gannon (Markos is gay?!), rather than the top progressive blogs.

I have not seen this shoddy a piece of journalism in years. No one, no one, cites 6 sources on one side of a controversial story and ZERO sources on the other side. Did this reporter even call me? No. Did she contact the Kos people? I don't know, but if she did, she'd know that they're not "gay activists."

Truly one of the worst, shoddiest pieces of journalism I have ever seen. The mainstream media has decided they do NOT want to report this story. Absolutely pitiful.
WHITE HOUSE NOTEBOOK
An Identity Crisis Unfolds in a Not-So-Elite Press Corps
Defining a journalist has always been an inexact science, even before the Gannon affair.
By Johanna Neuman
Times Staff Writer

February 25, 2005

WASHINGTON — Its members work inside one of the most secure facilities in the nation, the White House, and they get to question America's most senior leaders, including the president.

Yet the White House press corps is not the thoroughly screened and scrubbed journalistic elite Americans might presume. Along with stars of the country's major media organizations, it has long included eccentrics, fringe players and characters of uncertain lineage.

And now, a semi-impostor has forced the White House and the mainstream reporters covering it to address a basic question:

What is a journalist?

It's a question the press corps and White House officials have tended to duck in the past — each for their own reasons. For reporters, policing the ranks smacks of undermining the 1st Amendment's guarantee of freedom of the press. For White House officials, it has always seemed like an invitation to endless argument about who should be in and who should not — especially when newsletters, bloggers, cable news channels, satellite radio stations and Internet sites all claim a share of the turf that once belonged to a relative handful of news organizations.

Last month, however, the subject broke into the open after a reporter for the website Talon News asked President Bush how he could work on Social Security and other domestic initiatives with Democrats "who seem to have distanced themselves from reality."

The openly scornful and seemingly partisan description of congressional Democrats startled some veterans of the White House press room. And they wondered how Bush came to call on the relatively obscure reporter — not just this time, but on previous occasions as well.

That was only the beginning.

Left-wing bloggers soon revealed that the reporter, whom colleagues knew as Jeff Gannon, was really named James Dale Guckert. They also disclosed that Talon News was owned by an avowedly partisan website called GOPUSA. The website in turn was the creation of a conservative Texas political activist named Bobby Eberle.

That stirred a furor over how a seeming Republican agent got clearance to attend White House briefings as a journalist. Soon Gannon resigned.

Then gay activists, indulging in what one media critic called "bloglust," [source 1] posted on the Internet homoerotic photos of Gannon advertising himself as a $200-an-hour gay escort.

"I've made mistakes in my past," Gannon told [source 2] the Washington Post's media critic, Howard Kurtz. "Does my past mean I can't have a future? Does it disqualify me from being a journalist?"

Apparently not.

Gannon did not have a permanent White House press pass that requires an FBI background check. Those who carry it have clear access to the White House and frequently travel with the president. And the Standing Committee of Correspondents on Capitol Hill, which accredits more than 2,000 journalists who write for daily news organizations, refused to give him a congressional press pass.

But Gannon was admitted to the White House on a regular basis over the last two years. Applying as Guckert, he was given a series of one-day passes.

Marlin Fitzwater, former press secretary to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, said in an interview that he created day passes in response to a federal court decision in the late 1970s requiring the White House to admit all journalists unless the Secret Service deemed them threats to the president or his immediate family.

The lawsuit involved Robert Sherrill of the Nation, who was denied a press pass on the Secret Service's recommendation because, it turned out, he had punched out the press secretary to the governor of Florida.

The White House press corps has since attracted an array of unusual personalities. There was Naomi Nover of the Nover News Service. No one ever saw her work published, but Nover — whose coif of white hair somewhat resembled George Washington's wig — got past a security cordon during a Reagan trip to China after a reporter showed guards a U.S. dollar bill as evidence of how important she was.

Lester Kinsolving, conservative radio commentator, wore a clerical collar to White House briefings in the Reagan years. His loud voice and off-beat, argumentative questions often provoked laughter. President Clinton, to lighten up the proceedings, often called on Sarah McLendon, who worked for a string of small newspapers in Texas and called herself a citizen journalist unafraid to blast government bureaucrats.

"If you look at the question Gannon asked, it obviously reflected his conservative views," Fitzwater said.

"But it's no different from the ones Helen Thomas [formerly of United Press International, now of Hearst] asked of Reagan, or Dan Rather [of CBS] asked in his more famous comments about Richard Nixon. [source 3]

"This guy [Gannon] got caught and he's a little weirder than most — but he's no weirder than Evelyn Y. Davis," said Fitzwater, referring to the shareholder advocate who covers the White House for her corporate newsletter, "Highlights and Lowlights."

"I've always thought it was dangerous for the White House to get into the business of defining who is and is not a member of the press corps," said Clinton White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry. "That is better done by the news media." [source4]

Reporters, too, seem reluctant to join the fray. The White House Correspondents Assn. met last week with White House spokesman Scott McClellan, but no action has been taken.

"We wanted to err on the side of inclusion," said Steve Scully of C-SPAN, who serves on the executive board. "Once you start dictating who is a journalist, you go down a slippery slope." [source 5]

Former Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, who gave Gannon a day pass even before Talon News was launched, told the trade magazine Editor & Publisher that at one point he hesitated to call on the reporter, then resumed after being assured he was not a GOP plant.

Still, the impression lingers for some that the Bush White House — with its reputation for stage-managing the news — orchestrated softball questions. [no sources cited for the opposing view] Others say the White House is simply a magnet for those eager to usurp its stage.

"I look at the Gannon story — I used to refer to him as Jeff GOP — as demonstrating the impact of televising the press briefing," said Martha Kumar, a political scientist at Towson University.

"The television lens has brought into the briefing room people who have a political viewpoint and find the briefing a way to express it." [source 6]
Read the rest of this post...

Government drug advisors tied to Vioxx & Bextra, voted in favor of keeping products on the market



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Hold onto your hats, because you might be shocked with this news, but 9 of the 10 who were connected to the drug companies voted in favor of keeping those products on the market. Had they voted against, both products would have lost by substantial amounts. Hello, wake up call for our Democratic leaders. Of course, the famous triangulation/strangulation strategy, aka DINO strategy, may mean that the Dem's are heavily involved with Big Pharmaceutical as well.

The real cherry on the top here is that these voters claim to be independent and their past relationships had nothing to do with their vote. Uh huh, right. I would ask how stupid do they think the American people are, but after all, people still think that the FDA is something other than a rubber stamp for Big Pharmaceutical and that it's existence as an independent organization has been gone for years. Despite this reality some idiots also believe that somehow (haven't figured this one out yet) drug imports from places like Canada, Europe, Australia, etc is somehow dangerous. Go figure. Read the rest of this post...

Retired jock to run for Governor in PA



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Thank you Lynn and I wish you the best of luck in the GOP primary, honestly. Your success in the primary will guarentee Democratic control of the PA statehouse. Read the rest of this post...

Salon.com skewers the mainstream media for ignoring the Guckert story



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Eric Boehlert in Salon.com:
Ordinarily, revelations that a former male prostitute, using an alias (Jeff Gannon) and working for a phony news organization, was ushered into the White House -- without undergoing a full-blown security background check -- in order to pose softball questions to administration officials would qualify as news by any recent Beltway standard. Yet as of Thursday, ABC News, which produces "Good Morning America," "World News Tonight With Peter Jennings," "Nightline," "This Week," "20/20" and "Primetime Live," has not reported one word about the three-week-running scandal. Neither has CBS News ("The Early Show," "The CBS Evening News," "60 Minutes," "60 Minutes Wednesday" and "Face the Nation"). NBC and its entire family of morning, evening and weekend news programs have addressed the story only three times....

Meanwhile on the newsstands, through Thursday, there had been no meaningful coverage in USA Today or in the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Detroit Free Press, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Francisco Chronicle, Indianapolis Star, Denver Post, Oakland Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer, to name a few that have effectively boycotted the White House press office scandal....

As for the editorial pages, it's curious that the nation's five largest papers, all pillars of the media establishment (the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today), have been silent on the Guckert saga -- especially when dailies in more out-of-the-way places such as Tulsa, Okla.; Bangor, Maine; Niagara Falls, N.Y.; Augusta County, Va.; and Pensacola, Fla., have all deemed the story troubling enough to require attention, as noted by Media Matters for America, a liberal advocacy group that first raised questions about Guckert and Talon News....
Read the rest of this post...

End of the day open thread



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Gnite Read the rest of this post...

Biden refuses to sign Durbin letter re: Gannon



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Raw Story has the latest on the letter Senator Durbin plans to send to the White House, demanding an investigation of the Gannon affair. And the latest is that while numerous senators like Kerry, Reid, and Kennedy are signing the letter, Biden is refusing.

What makes this interesting is that Biden went on Bill Maher last week and CALLED for a congressional investigation. Then he spoke to the SF Chronicle editorial board yesterday and AGAIN called for a congressional investigation. But now that another Senator is actually writing the president and demanding an investigation, Biden won't sign on.

Apparently, we've had some feedback from folks who have called his office to inquire about this - one person writes:
I called his(Senator Biden) office to recheck my facts, his staffer said he wants:
a) a justice department investigation; or
b)a Congressional inquiry/hearings/ judiciary committee hearings.

"He just doesn't want the White House investigating itself" per Biden's staffer at 11:45am today.

This is why he isn't signing Durbin's letter. He still wants an investigation but not the way that letter has it being done. This was a follow up call to the one I posted at the end of the last thread.
I can perhaps understand that reasoning, but Senator, you fight with the letter you've got. This is the letter we have. It's from the leadership. At the current time it's the best letter we're going to get. Rather than haggling over the details while this scandal slips us away from us, and give the appearance of your not supporting your leadership and your grassroots on the Gannon issue, why not just hold your nose and sign the damn letter? The point of the letter is to make a statement of Democratic resolve on the severity of the situation the Gannon scandal presents. It's not to haggle over who does the investigation.

Please, Senator Biden. Some of us have been very impressed by you on TV, even though our friends told us not to trust you. We'd like to trust you. Do the right thing.

Feel free to give the senator a holler:
(202) 224-5042
E-mail: senator@biden.senate.gov Read the rest of this post...

Special thanks to the Freeway blogger



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Apparently, this has been up along a highway out west for 6 hours now LOL. I had no idea until Freeway just emailed me. Check out his site, he's amazing - note he's planning a special freeway blogging to mark the upcoming death of the 1500th US soldier in Iraq, more here. If you're a reporter, this guy would make a fascinating article.

Read the rest of this post...

Gannon might be interviewing on Keith Olbermann next



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On MSNBC. Hard to tell what's going on - Olbermann is doing the topic, but not sure if Guckert is interviewing. Read the rest of this post...

Open thread



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Another busy day. Have at it. Read the rest of this post...

We have a pornographic mystery on our hands



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It seems that several of the live male prostitution profiles linked to Jeff Gannon have now been taken off the Internet. In addition, the Web archive of the main escort site, usmcpt.com, has now been erased (but have no fear, we have copies of everything). All of this is quite odd since Gannon has been implying that his linkage to male prostitution is all just crazy conspiracy talk. If so, then why did the hooker using the actual profiles remove them? I mean, you can't buy this kind of publicity.

Fortunately, we have screen captures of everything, and one of the profiles is still live - I just grabbed this screen capture of it, not to be salacious, but to prove that this is not someone's "distant past" we're talking about, it's someone's present (once you're at that site, you have to poke around to find it:

Read the rest of this post...

Hannity, Hannity, make me a match...



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The Center for American Progress found out that Sean Hannity is running a dating service on his Web site (I am not kidding). They pulled some of the best ads and reprinted them on their site.

Here's one of my favorites (I am NOT making this up, I checked Hannity's dating page and these are real profiles):


Center for American Progress has found a few other good ones, check them out. Read the rest of this post...

Gannon launches a blog!



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UPDATE: Yes, we know this is him because it's the same Web address he was using while working at Talon News, and he answers emails addressed to him at this address. We have other proof as well, this is him. He pulled his site after he resigned. He's now relaunched it, with a vengeance apparently. I can't imagine Karl Rove is very happy right now.

He's out of his mind.

Ok, I'm reading Jeff Gannon's new blog, and it's simply amazing. Some of the best tidbits I've already found:

Jeff says: Immediately the questions about how I got into the briefing room began to be asked. After all, I had 'no journalistic credentials' despite the fact that I had written over 500 articles for Talon News over a two-year period.

John says: Uh, TODAY you've written over 500 articles, supposedly. The day you walked in the door of the White House, how many had you written? Any? Not to mention, you weren't even working for Talon News when you first walked in the White House as a "journalist."

Jeff says: They dug deep for dirt, dredging up things long past and erecting a fantasy world worthy of a Vince Flynn novel.

John says: Things long past? Like currently LIVE solicitations for prostitution that we found on the Web, still online today?

Jeff says: What they found is domain names and sexy pictures from which sprung rumors and conspiracy theories.

John says: What we found was an entire Web site on which you were apparently selling yourself as an escort - the site included x-rated photos, including an entire series of you urinating. That site remained live for several months AFTER you had started covering the White House. What we found were 7 other online profiles of you selling yourself as a prostitute for $200 an hour and $1200 a weekend, at least one of which is still live today (others were just taken down a few days ago). Which part of this conspiracy theory isn't true? Of course, we don't know because you were asked for comment before the story even ran and you refused to respond, and you still refuse to respond.

Jeff says: If I had been a liberal reporter with the salacious past now attributed to me, I would be the Grand Marshall of the next Gay Pride Parade as well as a media darling, able to give softball interviews.

John says: If you were a liberal reporter you'd have been run out of town by FOX News, the Washington Times, and every single Republican in Congress, and the president would be up for impeachment. If you were a liberal reporter you wouldn't work for, and aid and abet, people who hate you and who want to deny your very humanity.

Jeff says: But because I am a conservative, they continue to try to smear me with allegations of behavior that they otherwise would vigorously defend.

John says: No, Jeff, we wouldn't defend a gay hooker who was writing articles defending Rick Santorum's comments equating gays with man-dog sex, and we wouldn't defend a gay hooker who wrote for a news service that recently referred to Matthew Shepard horrible murder as a "so-called 'hate crime,'" in a clear effort to diminish that horrendous crime.

Jeff says: This is not to say that I have not made mistakes in the past. Like all of us have at one time or another, I made poor choices and exercised bad judgment. But I believe in a forgiving God who changed my life. It was through that renewal that I went on to have a career as a reporter and further blessed to become a White House correspondent.

John says: Really? So, since you now found God and imply that you're born-again, then we can assume that it is NOT you who is currently selling those male prostitution Web addresses, including militaryescortsM4M.com, on Afternic for $7500 a pop?

Jeff says: The Left is [sic] always celebrates about second chances, except when it comes to conservatives. The only exception to that rule is when a conservative goes over to the dark side, like David Brock did.

John says: I know David Brock. David Brock is my friend. You are no David Brock. David came clean with and about his past. David came clean with the fact that he worked for, and abetted, people who hated who he was, what he was. Have you?

Jeff says: These people may have exposed some of my human failings but they have also revealed their own hypocrisy.

John says: What failings? You just denied them. Read the rest of this post...

Mr. Fitzgerald, are you listening?



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Democratic Underground has discovered a few of Gannon's old postings on a conservative Web site bulletin board on which he writes:
"I am one of the only conservatives in the regular White House press corps."
Then, in response to a statement by someone else who tells Gannon "may your tribe increase!" Gannon writes:
"Not likely! There are many obstacles for admittance."
1. What did Gannon mean when he wrote that he was in the "regular White House press corps"? He told the media, and the White House confirmed, that he simply got day passes to the White House. I thought day passes were for media who do not attend on a regular basis, not the White House press corps, no? I mean, if someone with a day pass could be a "regular" attendee in the White House press corps, then why do they have hard passes at all?

2. Gannon in his recent interviews, and the White House, led us to believe that it was a cakewalk for anyone to walk in off the street and get a day pass (simply email the night before with you social security number, then show up at the gate the next morning with your driver's license).

Yet, now Gannon himself implies that he had to go through "many obstacles for admittance." Really? What were those obstacles and how did he surmount them? Obviously, Gannon's not suggesting that having to provide his driver's license and his social at the front gate were somehow "obstacles." So what were these apparently tough-to-conquer obstacles? And how did Gannon surmount them, all on his own? And why did the White House, and Gannon himself, tell us recently that it was pretty easy to walk in?



What we're seeing here is that every time Gannon speaks, more questions arise. It's increasingly clear that you simply can't trust what he says, as it changes daily and with the wind. Possibly the most trustworthy source of information about this entire affair is Gannon's personal diary that, according to an interview he gave to Editor & Publisher, he's been keeping since early 2003. Assuming the existence of this so-called diary isn't just another exaggeration, it could prove one of the only pieces of evidence not tainted by Gannon's penchant for spinning a tale whenever he faced with a press op.

Let's hope US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is taking note.

UPDATE: DailyKos had apparently found this a while back, didn't realize. But the analysis still stands. :-) Read the rest of this post...

Video: Gannon on Today show, today



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Crooks and Liars has the video.

Yet again, the entire interview is him implying that much of the info we've uncovered is wrong. He gets asked about the Web addresses he registered, and says there's a lot of misinformation out there. Gets asked 'were you an escort,' he replies there's a lot of misinformation.

Well, with all due respect, your answers sound like, well, misinformation. Your answers are clearly an attempt to cast doubt on whether you registered the Web addresses and whether you solicited work as an escort/prostitute. The facts say you did. You have refused, to date, to simply say it isn't true, if it is in fact not true.

And finally, I contacted you for comment, before my story linking you to escort services ran, and you didn't respond. I mean, if all of this weren't true, why in God's name wouldn't you respond and say "it's just not true"? Instead, you chose to let the story get bigger and bigger for three weeks now, and still you're not coming clean on the main allegations - rather, you're simply letting the story grow while all the while suggesting major parts of it aren't true.

Key questions surrounding this story remain either unanswered, or your answers keep changing. Then you tell us that you had no ties to the White House, that they had no hand in your work, and we're to believe that THIS time you're not giving us an answer that's going to change in a week when we uncover more evidence. And you wonder why people smell a larger story? Read the rest of this post...

And the cartoons keep coming...



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Read the rest of this post...

FOX News enters the fray



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Sure, it's only their Web site, but still. They actually published a decent story. More importantly, now their readership/viewership is learning about the story, which only helps it grow. Read the rest of this post...

SF Chronicle lead editorial on Ganonn-gate



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SF Chronicle, lead editorial:
Whether Gannon, whose real name is James D. Guckert, was a White House "plant'' may never be known because officials in the Bush administration have taken great pains to distance themselves from the controversy. But passive denials only increase the lack of credibility to explanations of how the White House credentialed Guckert, even though he was representing a pseudo-news operation, using an alias and was linked to X-rated Web sites....

It's hard to say which is worse: That the White House had no idea who it was allowing to be within shouting distance of the president -- or that it knew exactly who Jeff Gannon was and why he was there.
Read the rest of this post...

Gannon/Guckert Today Show Transcript



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Thanks to cadejo4 from the comments, MSNBC has a transcript of the interview:

Brown: You have said that you registered a number of pornographic Web sites. Is that accurate?

Gannon: Well, I registered a number of domain names, that some have suggested are…

Brown: Pornographic Web sites.

Gannon: Well, yes.

Brown: Did you advertise yourself as a gay, male escort for hire on a Web site?

Gannon: I cannot go into those specifics. I can tell you that there is a lot of misinformation out there. There's a lot of fabrication out there, and a lot of misinformation.

Brown: Why can't you then clear it up right now? The cameras are rolling.

Gannon: As I've said, I've been advised not to get into the specifics out there. Is there some truth out there? Yes. Is there a lot of falsehood out there? Absolutely.
Read the rest of this post...

Jeff/Jim does the Today Show



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Jeff/Jim really is becoming a media whore, too.

This morning, Campbell Brown did a taped piece featuring an interview with Gannon/Guckert. She did a pretty good job. After he gave the lame excuse about changing his name, she told him the name isn't that hard to say.

Brown asked him about his hooker past, which he wouldn't answer. He did say there was some truth and a lot of falsehood about him.

It was more of the same from him. He sure intimated he was consulting an attorney and there was more to come.

Campbell concluded by mentioning that Dems were calling for investigations. The way she did her segment sure made it clear they were needed.

After the piece, Matt Lauer said this was a bizarre yet fascinating story.

Yes, Matt, it is. And it is about time that the MSM really started paying attention. Read the rest of this post...

Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports on Dems demanding investigation, subpoena



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From the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Thursday edition:
Reporter's role questioned
Democrats want to expand inquiry of alleged propaganda

By EUNICE MOSCOSO
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/24/05

WASHINGTON — Two prominent House Democrats urged the Government Accountability Office on Wednesday to investigate whether the Bush administration broke a law against using federal money for propaganda by giving what they called "pre-packaged stories" to former reporter James Guckert.

The lawmakers also said that a federal prosecutor investigating the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name should subpoena Guckert's journal. Guckert, who used the pseudonym Jeff Gannon at White House briefings for two years, is one of the reporters questioned about the leak of a CIA memo disclosing the identity of Plame, the wife of Bush war critic and former Ambassador Joseph Wilson....

Sen. Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and House minority whip, is also circulating a letter to colleagues that asks the Bush administration how Guckert was able to gain access to White House press briefings with a false name and no journalism background, Editor & Publisher magazine reported Wednesday....
Read the rest of this post...

Thu. Washington Post gossip piece on Guckert



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I just had to post this. Goodnight now.

From the Reliable Source - the must-read gossip page of the Washington Post:
C'mon, Just a Few More Minutes of Fame?

• Trolling for a date: James Guckert (aka Jeff Gannon) is angling for an invite to the gala White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in April, saying his recent notoriety qualifies him as a great guest. "There is still time," he told Editor & Publisher this week. "There is always someone there trying to make news. Maybe this year it is going to be me." He also revealed that he's trying to line up paid speaking gigs, telling the trade mag: "There are people who are definitely interested in some of my behind-the-scenes work in the press room."

Yes, this is the same guy who, after being linked to gay escort sites a couple of weeks ago, posted on JeffGannon.com: "In consideration of the welfare of me and my family I have decided to return to private life."

Meanwhile yesterday, Democratic Reps. John Conyers (Mich.) and Louise Slaughter (N.Y.) asked the Government Accountability Office to expand its investigation of illegal government propaganda efforts by looking into Guckert's work as a White House reporter for the Web sites Talon News and GOPUSA. They claimed the administration "gave prepacked print stories to Mr. Guckert, which he reprinted wholesale."
Read the rest of this post...

Talon News go dark



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For a "real" news outfit, the loss of one single reporter seems to have shut them down.



"Top-to-bottom review of staff"? Not touching it. Read the rest of this post...

And the Gannon editorials keep on coming



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The Tampa Tribune:
Still, it is incredible to think that a man with Gannon's unusual background could wrangle press credentials while using an assumed name. The White House should let us in on how that happened.
Read the rest of this post...

Open thread



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Another busy Gannon day. Read the rest of this post...

Detroit Free Press editorial on Gannon



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The editorials have begun.
How is it that an administration that screened thousands of people for attendance at Bush campaign rallies repeatedly let a fake reporter into the sanctorum of the White House pressroom under a false name? Who was running that background check? How could a president who declares that national security is his prime concern be so ill served for nearly two years by his own security detail?
And it just gets better from there.... Read the rest of this post...

Ann Coulter likes hookers too



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Man, even Ann Coulter is running to the defense of GOP male prostitutes now. The religious right better do something, and fast, cuz when they were voting for the GOP, I doubt they were thinking Grand Old Prostitute.

PS Note to Ann. You concluded your article by saying "Gannon didn't write about gays." If you actually did a Google search on Gannon, you'd see he wrote a slew of articles about gays. But hey, no one ever accused you of being a big fan of the truth. Big fan of hookers, however... Read the rest of this post...

New Yorker on Guckert



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Money quote:
The unusually blatant sycophancy of the question naturally drew attention to the questioner, and in the weeks since a curious story has emerged. Jeff Gannon, the reporter for the news service called Talon News, turns out to be “Jeff Gannon,” a “reporter” for a “news service” called “Talon News.” His real name is James Guckert. He is not a reporter but a propagandist and (even though his “news reports” have often featured appeals to anti-gay bigotry) apparently a part-time male escort, whose registered Internet domains include hotmilitarystud.com. Talon News is not a news service but a front for gopusa.com, a Texas Republican Web site.
Read the rest of this post...

$10,000 reward offered for info linking Gannon to top administration officials?



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I'm told this Web site is for real. Anyone have any more input on that? Read the rest of this post...

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid joins call for Gannon investigation - but...



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Excellent.

But, check out this part of the story:
As late as Wednesday, Sen. Reid’s office was sending emails directing constituents frustrated with a lack of inquiry into Gannon to the White House. The following email was dispatched to those who wrote to him.
Thank you for contacting me regarding the White House press corps. I appreciate hearing from you.

The White House is in charge of ensuring proper credentials for the press corps. Should you wish you make your views known, I encourage you to contact them by telephone at (202) 456-1111…
The email message also gave the White House mailing address.
Get a friggin clue. Read the rest of this post...

WorldNetDaily savages GannonGuckert



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Jesus. One of the best, BEST, stories ever about GannonGuckertGate and what it means, and why it matters, comes from one of the most - MOST - conservative pro-Bush news sources on the Internet. This guy spells out exactly why this is a story. Exactly why this is so outrageous. And note, his column doesn't even criticize us, the liberal bloggers. It is pure and simple an article about how outrageous Gannon's and Talon's AND THE WHITE HOUSE'S actions were in this entire affair.

These guys are one of the top right-wing news sources. Now, for them to savage GannonGuckert and Talon News/GOPUSA is downright wild. It suggest to me that either WorldNetDaily actually has some scruples, and/or that they are scared shitless about the potential damage this scandal is causing and/or will cause the administration.

I have to say, I was impressed by the piece - it's written by the founder, editor and CEO of WorldNetDaily. I have never been a big fan of theirs - I've been known to call them WingNutDaily - and have always just assumed that they were yellow journalists like FOX and the rest. I'll give them another look, to see if the editor is being truthful when he says they want to print the truth, no matter who it helps or harms. I'd like to think that's true, and am impressed by what he wrote (I'd actually like to meet him, maybe he's on the up and up, ideological differences aside), but sincerely hope it's not just an attempt at White House damage control.

Anyway, GannonGuckertGate is clearly getting the right's attention. And isn't it sad that even a top conservative new source does a better job of presenting this story and implications than the mainstream media. Never thought I'd say it, but two points for WorldNetDaily.
Who knows why this symbiotic relationship succeeded for as long as it did? Perhaps Gannon-Guckert knew something about people in the Bush administration. Or, perhaps some inside the Bush administration knew the truth about Gannon-Guckert. We may never know the full truth....

However, what the political activists pretending to be journalists never understood ? and still do not understand to this day ? is that you can't fool everyone....

There is no substitute for good journalism. There is no substitute for seeking the truth. There is no substitute for upholding high ethical standards. There is no substitute for fierce independence.

What the pretenders did backfired. They have hurt their own ideological cause more than they know. They have tarnished the image of the administration they championed. They have undermined the cause of the responsible New Media and the free press in America.

You might remember the two-year fight WorldNetDaily waged to become credentialed by the Senate Press Gallery. Meanwhile, an activist organization ? pretending to be a journalistic one and ensnared in personal scandal ? pranced into the White House and secured access to the president of the United States.

It raises serious security questions. It raises questions of propriety. It raises questions of judgment. And it raises questions about the role of a free press in a free society.
Read the rest of this post...

Open thread



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I've been negligent Read the rest of this post...

DKos Gannon posse has some research requests



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See if anyone can help them. And if you can help them, please click through to their site and post your findings:
Greetings, Kossacks. There are a couple of issues we need some help with regarding the Propagannon research.

1). If you remember, the GOPUSA, Talon News as well as other web sites were scrubbed. We are putting together a time line of when those sites were scrubbed.

We think there is a huge story there. We would like to distribute that story about the specifics of the scrubbing. We are also looking to see when those sites were scrubbed in relation to when the sites were first mentioned in the Plame diary threads which can be found:

here

If anyone has the screenshots of the scrubbed sites as well as archived versions of the Talon News articles and the GOPUSA bios that were scrubbed, please let me know.

2). We are also looking for the quotes from Jeff Gannon concerning what he said he did in order to aquire day passes into the White House briefing room. We would like to be clear about the process he said he went through to gain access. This is important because we have some plans regarding that process.

If you were part of this research initially and have the info or can find it, please post it here so we can proceed with the story and action. I'm asking for help on this issue because many hands make light work.

The story is gaining momentum, thanks to your efforts. We want to keep it going and these details will help us in a big way.

Again, I'm asking for you to recommend so we can get as many people working on this as possible. Thanks, NYBri

Read the rest of this post...

This is cute



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Read the rest of this post...

BREAKING NEWS: Top House Judiciary and House Rules Dems ask GAO to investigate Gannon scandal, suggest Fitzgerald subpoena Gannon's daily journal!



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Now both the House and Senate Dems are getting involved in the scandal.

Today, Reps. John Conyers (Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee) and Louise Slaughter (Ranking Member, House Rules Committee) have asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to include Jeff Gannon/James Guckert in an investigation of "whether the Administration violated the ban on prepackaged news stories by siphoning print stories to James D. Guckert, also known as "Jeff Gannon."

You can see a pdf of the letter here.

And just as good, Conyers and Slaughter wrote to US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who is investigating the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, today letting him know that he might want to subpoena Gannon's daily diary, the existence of which became known yesterday, thanks to Editor & Publisher.

You can see that letter here.

This totally rocks. Read the rest of this post...

ACTION ALERT: Tell your US Senators to sign the Durbin letter about Gannon



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FURTHER UPDATE: Senator Reid has now decided to sign the letter, so no good Democrat has any reason not to. Also, you might suggest the Dems read this article by WorldNetDaily, a VERY conservative news source, talking about what a big scandal this really is.

UPDATE: Still sensing some cold feet among the Senate Dems. True, they are on recess this week, so it can be hard to get the boss to sign-off, but still. They'd better not flake out this time.

I'm reposting this because it's important (please share this info on other blogs, post it as your own alert, I don't care). Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is asking his colleagues in the US Senate to join him in sending a letter to President Bush demanding an investigation of the entire Gannon affair.

This is EXCELLENT. This is newsworthy. Why? Because Durbin is the #2 guy in the Senate Democratic leadership, he's the next in line after Harry Reid. If he is doing this, it means the Democratic leadership is jumping on the Gannon issue.

How can you help?

Durbin is now circulating the letter to other Senate offices, asking them to add their signatures. The Republicans likely won't, though some mods just might. The Dems hopefully will, though some troublemakers might not.

TAKE ACTION

Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to contact your two Senators NOW and urge them to "sign Senator Durbin's 'Dear Colleague' letter about Jeff Gannon, the fake GOP journalist who was wrongfully given access to the White House."

Find your Senators' contact info here - call and email them. Please call the Senators from your home state, and let them know what town you live in, so they know that you really are a constituent. And be nice, as always. Read the rest of this post...

From the mouths of bloggers...



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In a nutshell, what the GannonGuckert story is about and why it matters, from RackJite.com:
This is one of those stories that I don't like writing about as it works on its own. A $200 a night born-again Christian x-Marine male prostitute and right-wing loon who writes anti-gay columns for Talon News were not enough, without credentials and using a false name (his real name is Jim Guckert) he has spent two years in White House Press conferences asking conservative push/pull questions for Scott McClellan and the President.

Forget the horrendous hypocrisy involved, that takes care of itself, the real story is in these days when we are all losing our rights because of exaggerated concerns over terrorism and security, that we are not going to find out how he managed this coup over the FBI, CIA and SECRET SERVICE to so often get in knife throw range of the President. Congress being also controlled by right-wing loons and male prostitutes (I am also going to have to check their names to see if they are false too) they sure don't want to throw it into committee who could hire an independent prosecutor (like maybe Michael Moore) to find God only knows what was going on in the White House.
Read the rest of this post...

CREW says Soc Sec Administration broke the law in not responding to FOIA



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First the White House Hooker, now this. What has family values come to?

Not to mention, the PR/media misinformation saga thickens:
Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, said “although we know that the Social Security Administration has been actively promoting the idea that Social Security is facing a crisis and we know that SSA has paid Fleischman-Hillard nearly $1.8 million since September 2003, we don’t know what role, if any, Fleischman-Hillard has played in manufacturing that crisis. This is what we first tried to learn by filing the FOIA request and what we are now trying to learn by filing a lawsuit.”
Read the rest of this post...

Good Salon story too



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From Eric Boehlert, Salon.com
This is not how the White House press office has traditionally worked. "When I was there we didn't let political operatives in. It was completely contrary to what the press room should be used for," says Joe Lockhart, who served as White House press secretary to President Clinton during his second term. Asked what would have happened if a reporter from a clearly partisan operation, say "Democrats Today," had requested a White House press pass, Lockhart said that if the chief of the Democratic National Committee were attending an event at the White House, then perhaps the Democrats Today reporter might be allowed in for that one day. "But to be admitted as a reporter and sit in a chair and act like a reporter" for months on end the way Guckert did? "No," said Lockhart, "that's not within the realm of what [is] proper."....

The White House, in contrast, said that as long as Talon News or GOPUSA "existed," Guckert was free to attend its press briefings. Yet, in the past, a reporter seeking a permanent White House press pass has had to first secure credentials to cover Capitol Hill. Without those, the White House would not submit the application for a background check. But even though Guckert failed to secure Capitol Hill credentials, the White House waved him into press briefings for nearly two years using what's called a day pass. Those passes are designed for temporary use by out-of-town reporters who need access to the White House, not for indefinite use by reporters who flunk the Capitol Hill test.

To obtain a day pass during the Clinton administration, a reporter "had to make the case as to why that day was unique and why [he] had to cover the White House from inside the gates instead of outside," [former Clinton spokesman Joe] Lockhart says....

So the mystery remains: How did Guckert, with absolutely no journalism background and working for a phony news organization, manage to adopt the day-pass system as his own while sidestepping a thorough background check that might have detected his sordid past? That's the central question the White House refuses to address. And like its initial explanation that Guckert received his press pass the same way other journalists do, the notion first put out by White House officials that they knew little or nothing about GOPUSA/Talon News, its correspondent Guckert or its founder Eberle has also melted away. Instead, we now know, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer personally spoke with Eberle about GOPUSA, so concerned was Fleischer that it was not an independent organization. (Eberle convinced Fleischer that it was.) Additionally, Guckert attended the invitation-only White House press Christmas parties in 2003 and 2004, and last holiday season, in a personal posting on GOPUSA, Eberle thanked Karl Rove for his "assistance, guidance, and friendship."
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Chicago Trib, top of the home page



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Excellent placement of the story. Yes, it's an opinion piece. But it's good. And it's the top thing on the Trib home page. And who cares that they didn't include the hooker angle - the story is great. A snippet:
The question is what the White House knew and when?

Based on my own experience with the Bush people, I have some discomfort about what I have heard so far, lots of little comments about things being checked out and how confusing it is to keep the media straight (whoops! my Freudian slip) in these hectic days of websites and blogging.

Why the doubts?

Because I have dealt with these people.

They are the most diligent people on earth when it comes to finding out where genuine reporters are and what they are doing.

Here is my story about that.

During the campaign last year, I made an attempt to get a ticket as a normal person, not as a reporter writing the Gleaner, to a Bush rally in Holland, Mich. I made exactly one call to an old guy at the local Republican committee to cop a ticket.

Before you knew it, local Republicans, regional Republicans and National Republicans were all over me. No! You can't go as a normal person. You must go as a reporter and sit where the reporters sit.

You may not ramble around.

Well, what fun is that?

I made a half-hearted attempt to follow the rules, got my credentials and went to the event outside of Holland. Once I cleared security, I dashed off to freedom to ask a guy in a funny hat what he was up to.

It took less than two minutes for a woman in a nice blue suit to rush up to me with some "security" in tow and announce I couldn't do that, that I had to sit in the press section and stay there.

Since the "press" wasn't even going to arrive for another two hours, I thought that would be kind of limiting, so I respectfully said, "No @#$%#$ way in hell."

They held a meeting and affixed a tour guide to my side, a nice young woman who turned out to be a good interview because of the details of her life and why they made her think like a Republican.

Soon, she was withdrawn, probably for being too communicative, and was replaced by a fat guy who spent the entire event following me around and asking me if I was "getting what I needed."

That, I thought, was a very personal question.

Think about it this way. The Bush people were so efficient and focused they could reach all the way out to Holland, Mich. and try to put a choke collar on an innocent Rambling Gleaner.

Given that, can there be any doubt about what they knew about the ringer sitting in the middle of the press room for the briefings just about every day?

I don't think so.

Time to come clean.

Did you put him there?
Read the rest of this post...