Cold Coq

Yeah, it was, uh, Flash and XML malfunctions, that’s the ticket!

Sexual double entendres were removed overnight from Burger King’s new website,, but the company claims it has received no complaints from consumers or other outside groups, AdAge reports. The deleted content included captions, under photos of young girls, that read: “Groupies love the Coq” and “groupies love Coq.” The captions were there when the site went live yesterday, but according to Edna Johnson, SVP for global communications for Burger King, malfunctions in the Flash and XML programming were responsible for putting the captions up. A misspelling of “Burger King” had also been fixed, she said.

Willing to Listen to the DLC

Yes, Will Marshall of the Democratic Leadership Council’s Progressive Policy Institute joined Karl Rove in impugning the patriotism of liberals, saying that they “seem torn” about it, accusing us of “anti-Americanism,” and decrying our fixation on Bush’s disaster in Iraq. “Decidedly dovish” is how he puts it, although he might as well have said décidément pacifique.

Still, I’m willing to listen to the leaders of the DLC: people like Tom Vilsack, Tom Carper, Hillary Clinton, and Artur Davis. All they have to do to get my attention is to tell the truth about Iraq, which, regrettably, they’ve failed to do so far. President Bush, famously, hasn’t been able to think of any mistakes he’s made in the war on terror. We know that there have been many, many mistakes made. When the leaders of the DLC are ready to start talking publicly about the mistakes that have been made in the prosecution of the war on terror, instead of, say, sex in video games; when they can act as something other than enablers for the Bush administration and start telling the American public the truth, yeah, I’ll listen to them.

“The Daily Show” Newsletter Fun

I got my weekly emailed newsletter from “The Daily Show” while I was out for lunch, and have to wonder whether the show’s talent booker is laughing her/his ass off.

===== This Week on TDS =====

Monday, 7/25: SENATOR RICK SANTORUM, of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, 7/26: DIANE LANE, star of "Must Love Dogs"

And, of course, the money quote:

SANTORUM: … That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality —

AP: I’m sorry, I didn’t think I was going to talk about “man on dog” with a United States senator, it’s sort of freaking me out.

Blind to Reality

Atrios’s “Wanker of the Day” last Wednesday, CJRDaily writer Paul McLeary, penned these immortal words on the fight over whether bloggers qualify for the legal protections of other journalists.

Say that blogs are granted the same protections as news organizations. What is to stop, say, corporations or trade unions from setting up stealth blogs to promote their agenda, while collecting funds from the public or to spend on ads to promote their own interested point of view?

I wrote this in an email to him.

From: Darrel Plant
Subject: Blogs
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2005 17:34 -0700 (PDT)

Mr. McLeary,

This is a slightly edited version of your second-from-last para:

“What is to stop, say, the Republican Party from setting up a television network to promote their agenda, while collecting corporate advertising revenue to promote their own interested point of view?”

Personally, I’d like to see a return to the days of the equal time rules, but that doesn’t seem to be on the horizon. The fact that Fox News can be considered a “news organization” worries me more than “stealth blogs”.

And got this breezy response.

From: Paul McLeary
Subject: Re: Blogs
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 20:19 -0400 (EDT)

Thanks for the email, Darrel. FOX shouldn’t worry you all that much.
Those who believe will tune in, knowing exactly what they’re
getting, those who don’t believe, won’t.

Which just seemed to me to be so amazingly simple-minded in its disconnect with reality that I responded.

From: Darrel Plant
Subject: Re: Blogs
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 18:43 -0700 (PDT)

That sounds like you’re shooting down your own argument about “stealth blogs,” Paul. I think that the average person would give more credence to a news source that appears in their cable listings and features interviews with government officials all the way up to the Vice President and President than they would to a site they ran across on the Internet.

McLeary apparently worked with Eric Alterman during the Republican campaign last fall, so I have to assume that he’s not an idiot. But to say something as politically tone-deaf as that only people who believe will tune in to FOX makes me seriously question his judgment. I know people who watch FOX. I know people who used to be Democrats who watch FOX and believe the things FOX tells them. Why shouldn’t they? They’re on the public “airwaves” in the minds of many people. Major government figures appear every day on the channel. If they were lying, someone would be stopping them wouldn’t they?

Pretending that someone could come in to the blog world at this point and set up disinformation sites that would have more of an influence than FOX News is just amazingly naive about the amount of sway it has.

SATting 1,000

President Bush’s Secretary of Education sat down with TIME magazine for their “10 Questions” interview segment in the issue that features Karl Rove on the cover. I was struck particularly by this question:

HOW WELL DID YOU DO ON YOUR SATS? Pretty well. I don’t remember the number off the top of my head. The test has been recalibrated twice since I took [it]. I know I made well over 1,000—1,000 was the target to shoot for back when I was in high school, back in the golden days.

Who would remember that the test had been “recalibrated twice” since they took it but not more accurately remember their score? Or at least a general range for their score? More surprisingly, how does someone who’s worked for the Texas education reform commission, as the associate executive director for the state school board association, and is now the Secretary of Education not know that number, if for no other reason than as a baseline comparison?

What’s more frightening—coming from the Secretary of Education—is the assertion that “1,000 was the target to shoot for.” According to Table 132 of her own department’s Digest of Education Statistics 2003, the unmodified average combined math and verbal SAT score for the high school seniors in the 1974-75 school year was 906. That was the average. 1,000 was not exactly a hitching your lariat to the moon, even “back in the golden days.”

To put it in perspective, my wife and I bracket Spellings by almost exactly 4 years on either side (she got her BA in 1979, I assume she graduated high school in 1975). Barbara, who took the test as a part of the class of 1971 scored in the mid-1400s. I graduated in 1979, took the SAT in both my junior and senior years, and got 1350 both times. Neither of us put any time into studying for the SAT, we’re just moderately smart.

Maybe Margaret Spellings was using “well over 1,000” to mean something like “several hundred points over 1,000,” but that seems a little at variance with the assertion that a grand was the “target” and the “recalibrated” disclaimer.

It’s not as if an administration composed of “the best and the brightest” can’t get the country into a heaping mess of trouble—far from it—but it would be nice if they’d at least try to pick people who smarter than your average bear to run things like the Department of Education.

Hollywood Prediction

I don’t know if there’s another Austin Powers movie or something similar on the way, but I have this mental image of Dr. Evil doing his little pinkie to the mouth thing and coyly uttering this line:

I’ve said too much already.

Or, God help us, David Spade. [UPDATE: I just discovered that Spade’s hosting SNL this weekend, so that’ll probably be the first oppo). I’ve got a poll going on Daily Kos.

Thank God for That!

Watching Matt Zaffino (who generally seems like a top-notch weatherman) talk about Hurricane Emily last night on KGW, I was struck by the number of times he stressed how lucky it was that the storm was apparently going to miss Texas. I know most US maps stop south of Brownsville, but don’t people care that even if it missed precious American soil that it’s still got to make landfall somewhere, namely the northern Mexico coast?

Muslim Outrage

The theme of the month seems to be to tell Muslims what they need to do to—what? Please Tom Friedman and Tom Teepen? I guess someone at the Oregonian doesn’t think that idea’s been pushed enough.

The Oregonian has at least two similar opinion pieces—an earlier piece by Tom Friedman and one today by Tom Teepen—telling Muslims that they should be more condemnatory of terrorist violence. Never mind the fact that there have been hundreds of such condemnations reported in the press around the world, never mind that most of the victims of such violence in places like Iraq are themselves Muslims. It’s not enough for the two Toms or their ilk.

Well I’ve got news for them. Condemnation—even near-universal condemnation—doesn’t make bad things go away. When was the last time you heard anyone saying anything less than critical about child pornography, for instance? Has it disappeared? Murder’s pretty universally condemned. Has it stopped? Domestic abuse? Drunk driving? Racism may be less acceptable in 21st-century America, but it’s not gone.

For Teepen and Friedman to say that Muslims should be “competing to turn in the most suspects the fastest” to prove which of them are the “best” Muslims is ludicrous. A suicide bomber only has to cover up their activities and plans for a short period of time; people who sexually abuse their own children and serial murderers can often hide their activities from their spouses and other family for years.

Yes, Muslims should condemn terrorism, but people have to stop pretending that that isn’t already happening or that it would solve the problem. There are always going to be people like Timothy McVeigh whose primary contacts are with sympathizers. There are always going to be people like Eric Rudolph, who—even after being identified as a terrorist bomber—can hide out in the hills with support from religious extremists. We need to be prepared for attacks from a variety of fronts. We need the cooperation of all communities—not just Muslims—because murderous extremists can come from anywhere. It took forty years to bring Edgar Killen to justice in Mississippi. And sometimes we’ll have to deal with the fact that they can’t be stopped beforehand.

Great Moments in Etymology

Robert Pape, author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism talking about suicide attacks on NPR’s Morning Edition on July 19, 2005. This quote comes from 1:06 into the story.

The next most famous group in history to use suicide attacks were the Ismaili assassins in the eleventh and twelfth century. They, uh, would attack a sultan and leave a message, uh, which would say there would be further attacks unless you leave our community alone. This was where we get the word assassin from, because of their propensity to assassinate enemy leaders with a suicide attack.

He’s sold me.

Mixed Presidential Scandal Metaphors

Responding to a question from Hardball with Chris Matthews guest host Campbell Brown, about a poll showing only 25 percent of respondents thought the White House was fully cooperating with the Valerie Plame leak investigation:

JOHN FUND, COLUMNIST, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL”: This has been a political firestorm. And the White House has mishandled it on several occasions.

But I have to tell you, the facts are going to come out and I think, ultimately, this is going to be viewed as a tempest in a teapot dome, because we know three facts from the last week.

Yes, soon it will all be water under the gate.

[UPDATE] Linked from Crooks and Liars on 18 July.