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Entries by Arianna Huffington from 07/2005

4th of July Thoughts: Is Dissent Unpatriotic?

| Posted 07.01.2005 | Huffington Post

As we head into the long 4th of July weekend, together with thoughts of fireworks and cookouts, my mind is turning to questions of patriotism and national pride… Given the administration’s ongoing with-us-or-against-us mindset, patriotism is a lot more complicated than it should be. The Bushies want us to believe that you can’t rally around the flag while still expressing dissent over the acts being perpetrated in the name of that flag. Which, of course, you most certainly can. Far from dissent and love of country being contradictory, in many ways dissent is the most patriotic of patriotic acts. The thing that got me thinking about all this was a completely under-reported exchange (thanks to blogger dhonig at Mydd for flagging the story) that took place last week when Don Rumsfeld appeared in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee and was questioned by Robert Byrd who, tired of Rummy’s hedging, said, “The administration says we're unpatriotic if we ask questions, but that's our job." Indeed it is. It’s all of our jobs to keep asking questions… and demanding answers. Even if it means causing a Roman Candle to go off in Rumsfeld’s head. So why haven’t we heard more about this story? Maybe when the media get back from Aruba, they can look into it.

On the Blog Now

| Posted 07.01.2005 | Entertainment
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Lots of timely blogging on the HuffPost today. Be sure and read David Sirota’s smart and insightful take on the behind-the-scenes maneuvering alrea...

Army Recruiting Woes: Don’t Blame the Bad News from Iraq, Blame the Media for Reporting It

| Posted 07.01.2005 | Politics
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Good news! The Army recruiting dilemma has been solved. Sophisticated political thinker Sen. James Inhofe has done Oklahoma proud once again with the discovery that the enlistment shortfall isn’t due to little things like the fact that June was the fifth deadliest month of the war for U.S. soldiers or that we continue to send out troops into battle without the proper equipment to keep them safe. No, according to Inhofe, the reason the military is having trouble attracting people is “all the negative media.” You see, the Senator feels the media are covering Iraq too much. They’re just not devoting enough attention to things like white girls “missing in paradise,” shark attacks, and celebrity trials. If only we could get the media to stop obsessing on what’s going on in Iraq then maybe all those parents discouraging their kids from enlisting wouldn’t be as reluctant to sign their kids right up. Every time Bush and Cheney come out and give their Pollyanna assessments of what is going on in Iraq, why do the America-hating media insist on undercutting them with the truth? Don’t they know that only leads people to distrust the president and make parents less likely to put the lives of their children in George Bush’s hands?

Clinton in the Blogosphere

| Posted 07.01.2005 | Politics
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Comparisons to Bill Clinton are all over the blogosphere today. Here are three: 1) According to Zogby, 42 percent of the country favors impeaching P...

The Russert Watch: Tim's Green Room Overfloweth

| Posted 07.01.2005 | Media

It’s a jam-packed show this week as Tim is joined by Arlen Spector and Pat Leahy to discuss the implications of the O'Connor retirement, and Chris Dodd, Chuck Hagel and Duncan Hunter to talk about Iraq -- because, as the Meet the Press website puts it, "the war in Iraq still dominates the hearts and minds of the American public". Hey, thanks for noticing… Here are two of the questions I'd like to hear Russert ask his guests: "Sen. Hagel, at the end of last month, you said, 'The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It's like they're just making it up as they go along.' Since then, Don Rumsfeld has defended the progress of the war in front of the Senate and the President has tried to convince the nation that the war in Iraq is connected to what happened on 9/11. What is it going to take before this administration starts leveling with the American people?" "Rep. Hunter, you've been a very vocal defender of the treatment prisoners in Guatanamo Bay receive, arguing that their menu includes items such as oven-fried chicken, rice pilaf, and pita bread, and that 'the average inmate in Guantanamo has gained five to seven pounds last year.' My question: Isn't it possible to feed a man rice pilaf and still subject him to torture?”

Reader Questions for Russert

| Posted 07.02.2005 | Media

It’s Saturday, and faithful Russertwatchers know that means more questions for Russert before tomorrow’s Meet The Press. Before we get to your q...

Sunday Roundup

| Posted 07.03.2005 | Politics
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First this Sunday morning check out Lawrence O'Donnell's new post responding to Karl Rove's lawyer. Then in our Sunday roundup we've put together pos...

Happy 4th

| Posted 07.03.2005 | Politics
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It’s a red, white, and blue Monday on the HuffPost and to celebrate we’ve got a great collection of very independence-minded Fourth of July posts. From Lawrence O'Donnell, a Rove update, and from me, a look at Sunday’s Meet the Press, which, in contrast, was another example of the congealed, inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom. The show opened with Senators Arlen Specter and Patrick Leahy, the ranking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, talking about the upcoming Supreme Court fight -- and offered a preview of how the Washington press is going to cover the nomination fight: as a story about rhetoric and process rather than about the rights and freedoms at stake (guest host Andrea Mitchell was very concerned that the rhetoric would get “heated up”). But pray tell me, if Bush picks a right-wing zealot, is anyone going to be saying in five years, “Sure, Justice so-and-so has been a disaster for the country, but at least the rhetoric during his nomination wasn’t overheated”? During the civil rights movement, there was a lot of overheated rhetoric -- some of it from those struggling for equal rights and some of it from those fighting to maintain Jim Crow. It wasn’t all the same then, and it’s not all the same now. It turns out one side was right and one side was wrong.

A Pill for Every Ill

| Posted 07.04.2005 | Politics
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I’ll take my teachable moments anyplace I can find them… even if it means jumping into the middle of the celebrity spitting match between Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields. And thanks to Tom and Brooke, and Tom and Oprah, and Tom and Matt, this is certainly a teachable moment to be grabbed by those of us who have been raising our voices for years about the epidemic of mood-altering drugs being prescribed to our kids. There are now over a million children on Prozac and its equivalents, and more than six million on Ritalin. And although there are undoubtedly children who are properly diagnosed as clinically depressed and are legitimately prescribed antidepressants, as a country we’ve gotten into the habit of treating childhood as a disease. Indeed, the official psychiatric diagnostic manual describes as symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder “squirms in seat,” “interrupts or intrudes on others,” and “is often on the go.” Sounds a lot like...uh, childhood -- a condition that -- when left untreated -- tends to cure itself over time. Isn’t it a supreme irony that we have no problem turning our kids into legally drugged up zombies at an earlier and earlier age and then expect them to just say no to illegal drugs down the line?

Checking In With Scottie: Has Turd Blossom Really Stepped Into It This Time?

| Posted 07.05.2005 | Entertainment
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So the 4th of July is over. How did you spend it? Fireworks? Cookout? The beach? Trying to stay out of jail? If your name is Karl Rove, it’s probably that last one. This weekend, Lawrence O'Donnell broke the story that the e-mails Time Magazine agreed to turn over to the special prosecutor investigating the Plame leak reveal that Matt Cooper’s source was none other the Boy Genius himself. But let’s put Rove’s legal troubles aside for a moment and look at the political ones. These don’t hinge on how truthful he was in his dealing with Justice Department investigators. They hinge on how truthful he was to his pals in the White House. Think Progress unearthed an exchange from a September 2003 White House briefing, where presidential mouthpiece Scottie McClellen is asked point blank whether Rove, Elliot Abrams or Scooter Libby had outed Valerie Plame. “I spoke with those individuals,” replied Scottie, “and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. And that's where it stands.” Since Rove’s lawyer has admitted that his client did speak to Cooper about Plame, there is no doubt that Rove is -- at the least -- "involved in this." And further, that, if what Scottie told those reporters is true, Karl Rove’s “assurances” were apparently bald-faced lies. Looks like Turd Blossom might have really stepped into it this time.

Gonzales: Why the Enemy of Our Enemy Isn’t Really Our Friend

| Posted 07.06.2005 | Huffington Post

Hello from Aspen. Last night, I was at the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival. Chris Matthews was moderating an after-dinner discussion at the "Belly-Up Bar" between Ted Olson and David Boies. Olson summed up the president's High Court strategy: nominate someone who will both satisfy the base and get confirmed. And Boies predicted that if Bush nominates Alberto Gonzales, he'd be confirmed. But a Gonzales nod clearly won’t appease the right wing base, which is pushing the president hard on his choice to replace Justice O’Connor. How hard? Well, the other day, I suddenly found myself, for the briefest of seconds, sympathizing with the guy who gave the legal go-ahead to the torture techniques employed at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. That’s right, Dobson and Bauer and Schlafly and Perkins, and groups like Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America have been so focused on sticking a knife through Gonzales’ Supreme Court chances that hearing their collective pining for “another Scalia or Thomas”, and reading rants like the National Review’s “conservatives would be appalled and demoralized by a Gonzales appointment,” I actually had a brain freeze moment where, I’m ashamed to admit, I thought: Gee, I hope Bush picks the man who thinks the Geneva Conventions are “quaint”. I wonder if that’s what happened to Boies too when he made his prediction, without voicing any concern, that Gonzales would be confirmed.

Supreme Questions

| Posted 07.06.2005 | Politics
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So just what can and can’t be asked of a Supreme Court nominee? Sadly, there is no Judicial Miss Manners to lay out the do’s and don’ts of proper confirmation hearings etiquette. So Senate Republicans and White House sources have helpfully begun providing some parameters. It seems that it boils down to this: the nominee can be asked about anything… as long as it has absolutely nothing to do with jurisprudence. For those of you who are really confused about what is and isn’t a proper line of questioning -- especially you Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- I have, through my White House sources, been slipped the following list of approved questions (And for any special prosecutors out there, I will never divulge the source of this leaked information… not even in an email to Lawrence O’Donnell): “Given your experience as a judge, and drawing upon your years of legal training, who do you like better on Desperate Housewives, Bree, Gabrielle or Edie?” “Aren’t puppies cute?” “Do you think these pants make me look fat?” “Do you think Tom really loves Katie, or is the whole thing some sort of publicity stunt?” “What size robe you gonna need?”

Rove-Plame: The Word from Aspen

| Posted 07.06.2005 | Politics
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How is it that the second most powerful man in America is about to take a fall and the mainstream media are largely taking a pass? Chatter about the Rove story has come to dominate the downtime at the Aspen Institute’s five-day Ideas Festival. One such discussion took place just after David Gergen had finished a conversation with Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life. A cluster of high-powered media insiders quickly switched over to “The Gossip-Driven Reality.” The well-informed suppositions were flying faster than the peloton at the Tour de France...

Rove-Plame Update: Out of the Game?

| Posted 07.07.2005 | Politics
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Another after-dinner discussion at the “Belly-Up” bar. During a panel on “American News Media in Crisis?” moderated by Ken Auletta, I asked N...

Online vs. Print: A Front Page Pic Tells the Whole Story

| Posted 07.07.2005 | Politics
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Obviously, the big news today is all about London. And, sure enough, when I picked up this morning's New York Times there was a headline about London. Except that the above-the-fold, front page story was about London landing the 2012 Olympics, and came complete with a big color picture of jubilant Londoners… an image that had been completely surpassed by the much bigger news out of London today. If one needed more proof of the ascendancy of online news, this morning put the Internet vs. print battle into stark relief -- and foretold the Net’s inevitable victory. News happens every second of the day -- it doesn't stop after the next day's newspaper is put to bed -- and blogs and Internet news sites are clearly better equipped to keep up with this never-ending news cycle. So as this tragic story continues to unfold, I know exactly where I'll be getting my up-to-the-second news from -- and it won't be from the old-before-it’s-new paper sitting on my doorstep tomorrow morning. Is there any doubt that more and more millions will be doing the same? And not just news, but real time commentary, like our posts from Jamie Rubin, Simon Jenkins, Jann Wenner, Andrei Cherny, Tom Hayden, and Marty Kaplan.

London: Bush’s Flypaper Theory is Blown to Pieces

| Posted 07.07.2005 | Politics
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Odds are we probably won’t be hearing for a while the Bush mantra that the reason we're fighting them over in Iraq is so we don't have to fight them here at home. For the last few months, this ludicrous shibboleth has been the president’s go-to line -- his latest rationale for slogging on in Iraq. Not only was this flypaper theory empirically disproved by the London carnage, it directly contradicts the president’s other most often used justification for the war -- that we invaded to liberate the Iraqi people. So let me get this straight: we invaded them to liberate them... and to use them as bait to attract terrorists who we could fight on the streets of Baghdad rather than the streets of London and New York? Of course, it didn't take the London bombings to reveal this premise as a sham. The presence of American forces in Iraq didn’t keep the enemies of western culture from attacking Madrid. And it didn’t keep them from planting explosives in London’s tubes. And it won’t, in and of itself, keep them from striking here. Indeed, it’s helping terrorists recruit new followers -- and hone their deadly skills. If Iraq is like flypaper, it unfortunately looks like we’re the ones who are stuck there. Any predictions of what Bush’s rewrite boys will come up with next?

Approve the Bush Agenda... or the Terrorists Win!

| Posted 07.08.2005 | Politics
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Don’t you love the way many in the media are trying to spin the London bombings? Instead of focusing on the bloody deconstruction of Bush’s “fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here” strategy, they are using it to promote Bush’s failing agenda. For instance, there was Stuart Varney on Fox, making the case that what happened in London “puts the number one issue right back on the front burner right at the point where all these world leaders are meeting. It takes global warming off the front burner. It takes African aid off the front burner.” So, Stuart, when exactly did global warming become a front-burner issue and the war on terror a back-burner one? Was it after the vice president spent the entire campaign trying to convince voters that another terrorist attack in America was imminent? The London bombings will not make global warming go away. The London bombings will not make the crises in Africa go away. They also won’t make it okay for Bush to appoint right-wing extremists to the Supreme Court or make his plan to privatize Social Security acceptable or make John Bolton a good choice for the UN. And they sure as hell don’t make Bush's lack of a plan for Iraq any less of a disaster for America.

The Russert Watch: Will Tim Be a No-Show or a No-Good-Questions-In-An-Entire Show?

| Posted 07.08.2005 | Media

A bold prediction: Tim Russert will do a much, much better job on this Sunday's show than he did last week. How can I be so sure? Well, Tim didn't ...

Quoting Shakespeare: A Summer Palate Cleanser

| Posted 07.08.2005 | Politics
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After the horrors of this week, we could all use a little weekend palate cleanser. And who better to provide this Saturday summer sorbet than Britain’s own immortal Bard, a writer who dealt with all the darkness of the human soul but also brilliantly celebrated the light and tickled our fancy? The following bit of Shakespearean amusement was concocted by my great friend Bernard Levin, who passed away last year. It was recited to perfection by Michael York at a dinner in Aspen given by Lynda and Stewart Resnick in honor of all the speakers at the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival. If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "It’s Greek to me," you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger, if your wish is father to the thought, if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, the more fool you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare.

Notes on the Flypaper Theory

| Posted 07.09.2005 | Huffington Post

While the blogosphere has been buzzing, the mainstream media have been stunningly silent about how the London bombings should sound the death knell fo...

Sunday Roundup

| Posted 07.10.2005 | Huffington Post

This week on HuffPost was dominated by two stories. It started with the revelations on the Rove-Plame scandal (including the latest scoop from David ...

Russert Watch: You Can Lead Tim to the Truth, but You Can't Make Him Drink It

| Posted 07.10.2005 | Media

Coming in the wake of the London bombings, today’s Meet the Press was a lot about resource allocation. Specifically, given the resources at our disposal, are we using them in the best way so as to maximize our safety? The answer is clearly no. And part of the reason this looks unlikely to change is because of the resource allocation decisions of shows like Meet the Press. Tim’s first guest today was Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. Good guest to have on if you want to talk seriously about, say, our homeland security. But that’s not what Tim wanted. Instead, he decided to allocate a lot of his scarce 60 minutes' worth of resources to parlor game questions. The one he most favored today was: Do you think there will be another major attack on the United States? He asked it three times. And, of course, everybody basically said yes. But what’s the point of this question? Is anybody going to say no? Later, Chertoff, in discussing homeland security funding, said “everything's a tradeoff. We don't want to move money, for example, from ports into rail because then we're going to have an issue with ports.” Yes, exactly! It’s a tradeoff. One of the reasons we don’t have enough money to protect our ports and our railways is because of the tens of billions of dollars we are spending in Iraq. And that’s the massive trade-off Russert failed to bring up.

Summer of Love

| Posted 07.12.2005 | Politics
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I’m leaving for a three-week trip to Europe, from where I’ll keep blogging and sending regular reports on the coalition of the willing -- and the disgruntled. Although this might sound strange, this has already been one of the best political summers of my life… all because of what’s been going on in the West Wing. No, not the real West Wing -- even though the unraveling of Rove is fun to watch -- but that other West Wing, the one created by Aaron Sorkin. Specifically, my 16-year-old daughter Christina has become obsessed with the show, devouring the first five seasons on DVD and tapes. So this summer has featured lots of dinner table talk about politics. But instead of questions like “Is Rove going to be indicted?”, I get: “Mom, do people really talk like this in the White House?” I hated to break it to her but, sadly, a conversation between Karl Rove and Scott McClellan is almost guaranteed not to be as clever as one between Josh and C.J.

Has the Turd Blossom Express Reached the End of the Line?

| Posted 07.12.2005 | Huffington Post

The Rove Scandal Train is picking up momentum (even here in Nice)… just ask Scottie McClellan, who is starting to look more and more like Ron Ziegler with every passing press briefing. Actually, two separate Rove trains have left the station. The legal train and the political train -- heading along two very separate tracks. But it's now clear that the White House damage control team has decided to try and link the two.

Checking In With Scottie: Roll Tape!

| Posted 07.13.2005 | Politics
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Check out this great video from Crooks and Liars and see what I meant when I said that Scott McClellan is starting to look more and more like Ron Ziel...