Saturday, May 27, 2006

Angelides for Governor

My initial gut-reaction (Stephen Colbert would be so proud) to the Phil Angelides v. Steve Westly has been this: that of a principled liberal (Angelides) versus a Pro-corporate (as is typical in Washington these days) Democrat.

And what I've learned since has only confirmed my view.

Now we learn that Westly is just the man the corporations would love to see run against Schwarzenegger. From their point of view it would be win/win: which ever guy wins he'll still be in their pockets.

From the LA Times:

SACRAMENTO — Controller Steve Westly aided retailer Barnes & Noble's fight to avoid a multimillion-dollar California tax bill at the same time he was arranging a fundraiser at the chain's East Coast headquarters.

Using his position on a state tax board, Westly joined Barnes & Noble's push in 2004 to be forgiven as much as $22.8 million in sales taxes, interest and penalties — money owed for years of not collecting sales tax on goods sold online. Westly, a Democrat, has been campaigning for governor as an opponent of corporate tax loopholes.

Ah good ol' business as usual: say one thing, do another.
And even better than the corruption is his campaign's obliviousness:
Westly spokesman Yusef Robb said it was appropriate for the controller to enlist Barnes & Noble in his quest for campaign cash while lobbying California's tax board to settle the case. "Why shouldn't he?" Robb said.

Yes, why not indeed?

[Cross-posted at Daily Kos]

Have the Terrorists Already Won?

By which I mean, have they managed to destroy the essence that once was America?

Will we continue to regard the protection and promotion of human dignity as the essence of our national character and purpose, or will we bargain away human and national dignity in return for an additional possible measure of physical security?

Written by some Michael Moore loving lefty? Not exactly:

The writer, who retired as Navy general counsel last year, wrote a memo to Pentagon officials two years before the Abu Ghraib scandal that warned against circumventing international agreements on torture and detainee treatment. This article is excerpted from remarks he made upon receiving a 2006 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hey, he's more convincing than Bill O'Reilly

Further proof that GOPers are immune to irony. Just "click to play" and you'll see what I mean.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

So, illegal wire-tapping's ok but...

All I can say is, well, finally.

After quietly accepting, when not actively abetting BushCorp™'s assault on all rights not there own, Congress is finally saying enough already.

Sure it took an FBI raid on the offices of one of its own, and sure it's, no doubt, triggered by fear that further investigation will further expose the corruption that lies at the very heart of the GOP dominated Congress.

None the less, if you can't defend a right being excersized by your adversaries, what good is that right at all? (By the way, Jonathan at Past Peak yesterday posted an essay on Justice as Fairness that seems on point).


It seems that "allegedly" corrupt Democratic Congresscritter William Jefferson has done his nation a service: waking a Congress that has here-to-for been asleep at its Constitutional wheel. From The Nation:

To their credit, Republican leaders of the House have reacted with appropriate fury.

Speculating about "whether people at the Justice Department have looked at the Constitution" lately, House Majority Leader Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, declared that "Congress will clearly speak to the issue of the Justice Department invasion of the legislative branch." In explaining the character of that defense, Boehner said, "I've got to believe at the end of the day it's going to end up across the street at the Supreme Court. I don't see anything short of that." Hastert left no doubt that he saw the need to address the issues raised by the raid as essential to the maintenance of the provisions of the Constitution written to protect the independence of the Congress.

"The Founding Fathers were very careful to establish in the Constitution a Separation of Powers to protect Americans against the tyranny of any one branch of government. They were particularly concerned about limiting the power of the Executive Branch," explained the speaker. "Every Congressional Office contains certain Legislative Branch documents that are protected by the Constitution. This protection-as the Supreme Court has repeatedly held-is essential to guarantee the independence of the Legislative Branch. No matter how routine and non-controversial any individual Legislative Branch document might be, the principles of Separation of Powers, the independence of the Legislative Branch, and the protections afforded by the Speech or Debate clause of the Constitution must be respected in order to prevent overreaching and abuse of power by the Executive Branch."

Hastert needs to wage this battle. And he ought not be mocked for the seriousness with which he has approached it.

Now I realize that it is VERY tempting to mock speaker Hastert for being so late to recognize the Constitutional abuse BushCorp™ has wreaked on this country. And one wonders whether this is simply a calculated way for Congress to distance itself from a wildly unpopular president.

None-the-less, I believe the House leadership is on the right side of this particular outrage.

And my hope (likely vain I realize) is that this incident will draw more attention to the abuses this administration has heaped on all of us.

[Update: It now appears that the FBI is indeed investigating Hastert in relation to the Abramoff case.

And to think that I entertained any thought that the GOP's outrage over the Jefferson search warrant was actually principled.

Just what I deserve for abandoning cynicism, even momentarily. Well, to quote our Dear Leader: "Fool me twice, won't get fooled again".]

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

More Al Gore

Great new article on Gore in New York Magazine.

It's long, but extremely insightful and well worth the time if you are interested in this country's, this world's future.

I'm not going to reprint or really write much about it at the mo', you should just go read the thing. But one paragraph discussing the politics of a Gore 2008 primary race struck me as possibly prophetic:

No surprise, then, that the prospect of Gore redux is causing queasiness in the Clinton ranks. For some time, the thinking there has been that only two potential candidates have the capacity to toss the chessboard in the air, altering Team Hillary’s carefully calibrated plans: Barack Obama and Gore. And it is Gore who would produce the biggest fits—not least because he would bring to the surface all the old internecine rivalries and interfamilial weirdness of the Clinton years. [Emphasis mine-SK]

Gore/Obama in 2008? It's something to think about.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Gore in '08?

The drumbeat continues with a major article by Ezra Klein in American Prospect. If the possiblity of a Gore comeback intrigues you, as it does your CaliBlogger, I strongly suggest you read the whole article. But in the meantime here are the concluding paragraphs:

It’s hard to believe that Gore doesn’t wish to correct the record on himself, rewrite his legacy. In a sense, that’s what he’s been doing since 2000. Andrei Cherny, a former close aide of Gore’s interviewed for this piece, protested that “Gore was never a prototypical New Democrat. He never thought of himself that way. ... There were a lot moments of overlap, but he always had a much more populist streak than the DLC did. Partly his father’s son, that old southern populist tradition.”

Since his loss, that old populist tradition has burst through the membranes of caution and ambition that once constrained it, and Gore has exploded back into the Democratic consciousness. In the late 1980s, his reputation as a New Democrat propelled him to the party’s vanguard; in 1992, it netted him the vice presidency. Today, his leadership as a New New Democrat, enabled by his disintermediated communication strategies, has begun restoring his reputation among liberals and allowed him to step forth from the wreckage of 2000 as a progressive statesman. The question, of course, is whether he could retain that standing in the chaos of a presidential campaign. The Internet may well have reinvented Gore, but for Gore, the issue may be whether it’s done the same to politics.

Now I realize it's way too early to be thinking about 2008. But the more I ponder the Gore question, the more I want to ponder it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Not a monkey's uncle exactly...

Hmm, turns out our closest relatives may be even closer than we think.

From the Washington Post:

When the ancestors of human beings and the ancestors of chimpanzees parted ways 6.3 million years ago, it was probably a very long goodbye. Some of their descendants may even have gone back for a final tryst.

That is the conclusion a group of scientists has reached, using a comparison of the genes of humans and their closest animal relatives to sketch a picture of human origins far more detailed than what fossil bones have revealed.

According to the new theory, chimps and humans shared a common apelike ancestor much more recently than was thought. Furthermore, when the two emerging species split from each other, it was not a clean break. Some members of the two groups seem to have interbred about 1.2 million years after they first diverged -- before going their separate ways for good.

I love stories like this, and not just because I find scientific discovery inherently fascinating, though that is a large part of it. As someone who loves puzzles, scientific inquiry sometimes seems like solving a Sudoku, though on a grander scale:
Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes that contain about 30,000 genes. Each gene is made of strands of DNA "letters" in a specific order, and the letters can change, by mutation, over time. The rate at which changes occur is fairly constant -- and very slow.

As a result, genetic mutations can be used as a kind of evolutionary clock. The number of DNA differences between two species' versions of the same gene is an indication of how long the species have been separate -- how long since individuals were last interbreeding and sharing genes.

When Nick Patterson of MIT and his colleagues at the Broad Institute compared the genes of humans and chimps, they found that one of the chromosomes -- the female sex chromosome X -- was 1.2 million years younger than the others. It appeared the two species shared a common ancestor who gave them both their X chromosomes, and did so more recently than the ancestors who gave them all the other chromosomes.

The best explanation, the scientists think, is that ancient humans and chimps broke away from each other not once, but twice. The first time was more than 6.3 million years ago. The second time was at least a million years later.

What probably happened was that some of the evolving human ancestors bred with the evolving chimps. This was perhaps not as strange as it seems, for although there were some physical differences between the two groups, "the early humans must have looked pretty much like chimpanzees," said Mallet, the London geneticist.

Males have only one X chromosome, which is necessary for reproduction. As is often the case with hybrids, the male offspring from these unions would probably have been infertile.

But the females, which have two X chromosomes, would have been fertile. If some of those hybrid females then bred with proto-chimp males, some of their male offspring would have received a working X from the chimp side of the family. They would have been fertile -- and with them the hybrid line would have been off and reproducing on its own.

But as much as I love this kind of stuff, what really pops my cork is the image of all those IDiots out there whose veins must be ready to burst when reading such stories.

Though I'm not at all sure what Neal Horsely will make of all this. Perhaps he'll start cruising the zoo for dates?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Some thoughts on immigration

In an effort to distract from his incredible shrinking poll numbers, the Preznit delivered a speech on immigration policy designed to make Lou Dobbs' head explode. But rather than deconstruct presidential proposals that have no hope of passing our xenophobic House, I thought I'd take a stab at the whole immigration thing myself.

After all, I grew up in San Diego, doesn't that make me an expert? (That's a joke folks).

Anyway, here goes:

Maybe I'm way off base, but shouldn't we be encouraging immigration?

Robert J. Samuelson's op-ed in today's WaPo helped crystalize a thought that's been rolling around in my cerebral cortex for a while now: that immigration could actually help resolve the demographic problems with Social Security and Medicare.

With the aging of the baby-boom generation and concomitant increases in both Social Security and Medicare expenses being born by a relatively smaller number of younger workers, there seems to me just a few options. Either a) decrease the amount of benefits paid out, either by reducing benefits to all seniors, reducing the number of seniors eligible for benefits (e.g. increase the eligibility age, or means test benefits), or b) increase the dollars coming into the system by either increasing taxes on current workers, or increasing the number of workers paying taxes.

Frankly I believe that the answer will lie in some combination of all those approaches, but the one I'd like to look at is the last: increasing the number of workers paying into the system.

Think of it this way, the main challenge facing Social Security is too many seniors relative to active workers, or to re-phrase, too few active workers relative to too many seniors.

At the same time we have 12 million workers (and potentially hundreds of thousands more annually), some of whom are actually paying into a system whose benefits they'll never reap, but most of whom are participating in underground economies where the main beneficiaries are their employers.

Hmm, the US needs workers, and these folk need work, doesn't it seem like we should be able to work something out?

Now just letting millions of unskilled, untrained workers flood our labor market does us little good (though I've yet to see any convincing numbers as to the societal costs of undocumented workers relative to their societal contributions), but be that as it may, certainly skilled, trained (or trainable) immigrants would certainly better benefit the economy.

My thoughts for solutions are as follows.

First, make a commitment to integrate all immigrants into our society as quickly as possible.

This requires both a clear path towards citizenship, as well as a commitment from the immigrant to take that path. I have some thoughts on what these steps should be, but I'd love input from the group.

Second, institute qualifying criteria for fast-track immigration. And throw out the current limitations on the numbers of highly qualified immigrants.

Third, implement pro-labor policies. This last may not seem germane to the immigration issue, but stay with me. Current lefty opposition to more liberal immigration reform is often based, and rightly so, on the effect of unlimited numbers of unskilled workers on wages. But to admit such is not to buy into the GOP canard that there are some jobs Americans won't do. I'd submit, rather, that there are jobs Americans won't do for slave wages, and neither should immigrants.

The GOP effort to drive a wedge between immigrant communities, and the Black community that should be, in fact, its natural ally must be stopped. Imagine the impact of both communities joined in demanding, for example, a raise in the minimum wage, as well as increased support for labor organizing, or universal healthcare?

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts. But, regardless, I just can't seem to shake the feeling that there's a solution in there somewhere. What I'm hoping for is some input from you folks.

Am I completely missing something here?

[X-posted at DailyKos. Be sure to read the comments, which are quite superior to my little scribblings]

Monday, May 15, 2006

Al Gore in 2008?

After his recent SNL appearance, there's been some talk.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

On NSA Spying, Polls and Civil Rights: Your Mom is Right

Much of the chatter (and obfuscation to my thinking) about the recent revelation of the vast extent of the NSA domestic spying program has been focused on a Washington Post poll saying that 2/3rds of Americans approve of it.

And while one can argue over the validity of the polls, point out conflicting polls, question methodology and phraseology, in some cases it just doesn't matter.

The thing about polls though is that sometimes they don't, or at least shouldn't matter, especially when basic rights are at stake, like, for example, the 4th amendment's requirement of probable cause.

I believe Billmon has the right of it:

The whole point of having civil liberties is that they are not supposed to be subject to a majority veto. Hobbes may not have believed in natural rights, but our founders did. And their opponents, the anti-Federalists, were even more zealous about restraining the powers of the federal superstate, which is why they forced the Federalists to write the Bill of Rights directly into the Constitution.

It defeats the purpose of having a 4th Amendment if its validiity is entirely dependent on breaking 50% in the latest poll. It would be nice to have "the people" on our side in this debate, and obviously a lot of them are, even if Doherty's plurality still prefers Leviathan's crushing embrace. But some things are wrong just because they're wrong -- not because a temporary majority (or even a permanent one) thinks they're wrong.

Or as my mom might put it, just because everyone's doing it doesn't make it right.

Thank you mom.

Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

We're the NSA and we're listening to you

In defense of his warrantless domestic spying program the Prezbot has famously stated that if a terrorist is calling you we want to know about it.

And while this characterization of the NSA program is (as is typical for BushCorp™ spin)disingenuous in the extreme, your CaliBlogger is wondering whether, given the latest revelations of the vast extent of domestic spying, the Prez will be using this argument: if your aunt Millie is calling you we want to know about it?

The Moderate Voice has a nice rundown on the story, as well reaction around the blogosphere.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


If this news doesn't enrage you, I don't know what will:

The United States has the second highest death rate for newborns among industrialized nations, according to a new global report.

The death rate for U.S. newborns is 5 per 1,000 live births, the same as Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia, the Save the Children report released Monday showed. Latvia had the worst rate -- 6 per 1,000 -- among industrialized countries, the Associated Press reported.

Japan had the lowest newborn death rate -- 1.8 per 1,000 -- among the 33 industrialized nations. The Czech Republic, Finland, Iceland and Norway tied for second place with 2 per 1,000.

Racial and income disparities are factors in the poor U.S. ranking. Among black Americans, the newborn death rate is 9 per 1,000, which is closer to rates in developing nations than rates in industrialized countries, the AP reported.

A lack of national health insurance and short maternity leaves in the United States may also be factors, the report authors said. [Emphasis mine-SK]

Disparities indeed:
Republicans readied as much as $100 billion in tax cuts for votes in both chambers of Congress, including extending low rates on dividends and most capital gains...


The legislation also would renew for two years a benefit companies such as General Electric Co. and Citigroup Inc. claim when they sell financial products outside the U.S. Lawmakers neared agreement on a second measure that includes continuing a lapsed tax credit for research relied on by companies such as Boeing Co. and Dow Chemical Co.

Wonderful, tax cuts for the rich and powerful, while American babies continue to die at an unconscionable rate.

But wait, simply widening the gap betweeen rich and poor in America isn't the GOP's only tack, they're also seeking to help insurers avoid state requirements for children's healthcare:
Senate Democrats vowed Tuesday to fight provisions in Republican-backed legislation that they charged would reduce health insurance coverage for millions who already have it.

The bill would allow small businesses to join across state lines to buy insurance, which would give them enough clout to negotiate better rates, said Sen. Mike Enzi, the chairman of Senate's health committee and lead supporter of the measure.

"This is something that the small businesses have been asking for for almost 15 years," Enzi said.

But Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said the legislation marked "a retreat from our commitment to cancer. It's a retreat for our commitment to diabetes. It's a retreat from our commitment to mental health parity." He and other critics said it would allow small businesses to purchase insurance that overrode coverage requirements mandated by the states.


Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said he fears the insurance industry would offer plans that exclude childhood immunizations and other important services. They would also be allowed to increase premiums beyond what individuals states now allow.

"What we're doing here is shrinking the amount of benefits offered to people," Dodd said.

In recent decades, it has become common for states to require that insurance companies offer coverage for certain types of cancer screenings, such as mammograms, 49 states; colorectal examinations, 22 states; and cervical cancer screenings, 29 states.

"If you find cancer early and detect it early, you're not only going to save costs, you're going to save a life," said Daniel Smith of the American Cancer Society. "One of the barriers to going to get screened is if your insurance company won't cover it." [Emphasis mine-SK]

Of course all this avoids pointing out what would really help with the US' newborn death rate, as well as myriad other problems: a progressive tax system that rewards work more than wealth, and single-payer health care which takes insurance costs out of the hands of giant for-profit corporations.

Leggo my Foggo

Another spook bites the dust:

WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) -- CIA Director Porter Goss' No. 3 man at the agency, facing investigation as part of a congressional bribe probe, quit Monday, an official said.

Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, the CIA's executive director, announced his resignation in an e-mail message to agency staff, a U.S. official told United Press International on condition of anonymity.

Yes, a scant week after rumors first surfaced that top CIA officials might be implicated in the brewing Hookergate scandal, and a mere 3 days after the CIA head Porter Goss resigned in shame left to pursue opportunities in the private sector, Goss' handpicked number 3 spy has been frog-marched out of Langley left to spend more time with his family.

Co-incidence? Sure it is.

Though I'm pretty sure the official statement that "When you have a director announcing his departure, there is bound to be some turn-over of senior staff,"
actually translates into: "Let the new guy get his own hookers".

At least that's what I've heard.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Worst. President. Ever.

It's sometimes hard to guess what history will judge to be BushCorp™'s greatest failure.

Its inability to protect American lives on 9/11 despite the warnings of the previous administration as well as that infamous PDB Osama bin Laden Determined To Strike in US?

Perhaps the needless loss of lives, limbs, treasure and international standing that is the Iraq war?

Or maybe the erosion of civil rights so well exemplefied by the Patriot Act and warrantless NSA wiretaps will be W's ticket to historical infamy.

Global warming anyone?

And certainly one of the clearest examples of BushCorp™'s incompetent legacy is the level of fiscal irresponsibility being demonstrated by a purportedly conservative administration. Even the Washington Post gets it:

SHEER COINCIDENCE: Last Monday, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual depressing report. On Tuesday, congressional negotiators handed President Bush a "victory" -- his assessment -- in agreeing to extend his capital gains and dividend tax cuts. Mr. Bush and his fellow tax-cuts-above-all proponents would like you to believe that the two events are unrelated. But taken together they underscore the terrible fiscal predicament that Mr. Bush has chosen to bequeath to his successor.

According to the new estimates, the Social Security trust fund will be depleted in 2040, one year closer than last year's projection, while Medicare's will run out in 2018 -- two years sooner than last year's projection and 12 years earlier than estimated when Mr. Bush took office. These dates may still sound remote, but the problem is more imminent than the customary focus on insolvency suggests. Far earlier than the insolvency date, the programs will be spending more than they take in, in payroll taxes in the case of Social Security, in payroll taxes and premiums in the case of some parts of Medicare. Because of higher-than-anticipated hospital costs, the price of Medicare hospital benefits will exceed tax collections and other dedicated revenue this year -- a situation that will persist and worsen rapidly after 2010. And every year of procrastination makes the eventual solution more painful.

But the best Mr. Bush can come up with is a bipartisan commission -- yes, another one -- to study the problem. And even that seems to be only make-believe. He mentioned a commission in his State of the Union address but hasn't bothered to appoint members. He proposed minimal Medicare cuts in his latest budget and then emitted nary a peep of protest when Congress proceeded to ignore him.

When it comes to ensuring the permanence of his tax cuts, though, Mr. Bush is a lot more energetic. Last Tuesday, after he summoned Republican leaders to the White House, they agreed to extend Mr. Bush's cuts on capital gains and dividends, now set to expire in 2008, through the end of 2010. This means that all the tax cuts Mr. Bush has presided over are now set to expire on the same date, Jan. 1, 2011 -- draining the treasury of needed revenue until then and setting the stage for a difficult decision at that time. Allowing all the tax cuts to expire simultaneously is politically unthinkable and economically unwise. Yet this is also the time when strains on the budget from the retirement of the baby boomers will begin their unsustainable upward path.

The breathtaking irresponsibility of this won't become totally clear until Mr. Bush is back on the ranch. But history's verdict is predictable: bad enough to squander a chance to improve the nation's health while there was still time; unforgivable to make it so much worse. [Emphasis mine-SK]

Worst. President. Ever.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

More MSM bias

Just as in Iraq, the media always seem to focus on the negative.

What about all the Kennedys who didn't drive drunk last week? During Cinco de Mayo no less?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Just a co-incidence, ahem

I'm well aware that co-incidence doesn't necessarily imply causation, but jeez, look at this time line.

A few days ago, CIA director Porter Goss is alleged to be implicated in Hookergate, the continuation of the whole Cunningham, MZM, Mitchell Wade corruption fiasco.

Next day, he categorily denies participation in the Dukester's hooker poker parties at the Watergate (for Chrissake) and another DC area hotel.

Today, CIA director Porter Goss resigned without explanation.

Hmmmm. I'm sure he just wants to spend more time at home eavesdropping on his own family.

The thing that pisses me off: the Washington Post story doesn't even allude to the possibility that Goss has been implicated in scandal.

And I can understand they don't want to imply causation, but how can they not even mention it? Even buried somewhere in the 17th paragraph?

As you might expect, the blogosphere has not been nearly so circumspect.

Expect to hear A LOT MORE on the topic.

[Update: Josh Marshall has a great summation of the story as we know it so far]

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My $.02 on the Moussaoui life sentence

For my part I believe the decision to sentence Al Qaeda wannabe Zacarias Moussaoui to be the correct. And not only because I'm generally suspicious of the death penalty.

A quote from the Christian Science Monitor story seems dispositive:

Moussaoui stunned many terrorism experts when he testified that he was tasked to fly an airplane into the White House on 9/11 with convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid. The government's own evidence suggested that Moussaoui had preknowledge of the plot, not that he was to become an active participant in it.

Many legal analysts said it suggested Moussaoui wanted to become a martyr and was tailoring his testimony to help achieve that result. [Emphasis mine-SK]

And why should we assist such martyrdom?

No reason I can think of.

A 9/11 victim family member put it best: "Let him rot".

I couldn't agree more.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Colbert's big splash

Stephen Colbert's little chat at the WHite House Correspondents' Dinner has caused a wee firestorm in the blogosphere, a firestorm that seems to be in exact opposite proportion to the deafening silence one (mostly) hears from the corporate media.

A major exception is's Dan Froomkin, who asks the right question:

So was the biggest news of the night that Bush so effectively and humorously poked fun at himself? Or that a captive president -- and, to a lesser degree, the press corps -- had so sit and watch as they were subjected to devastating, vitriolic satire?

Possibly because they themselves were targets, most reporters chose to downplay the Colbert part of the evening.

Elisabeth Bumiller writes in the New York Times with some of her favorite bits: "Mr. Bush: 'I'm sorry that Vice President Cheney couldn't be here tonight. I agree with the press that Dick was a little late reporting that hunting episode down in Texas. In fact, I didn't know a thing about it till I saw him on "America's Most Wanted." '

"Mr. Bridges: 'You reporters would go nuts if you knew the full story. He was drunk as a skunk! On one beer! Light beer! Oh, people were duckin' and divin' for cover. I wish I'd been there. I saw him coming down the hall the other day, I looked at him and said, "Don't shoot!" '

"White House officials and Mr. Bridges said the double stand-up was the idea of the president, who last year ceded his spot on the program to his wife and in previous years relied on slide shows as visual props for his routines. As the 2,500-plus guests at the annual event know, by tradition the president is supposed to make fun of himself in an effort to establish his regular-guy credentials and ingratiate himself with the press."

Bumiller doesn't even mention Colbert at all.

As mentioned, the lack of media attention has rather raised Mr. Colbert's already high status on the left to rather a cause celebre.

If you want to see what I mean, just check out some of the diaries over at Daily Kos, this one, for example, or perhaps this one.

And I'm not EVEN trying to list all the postings at HuffingtonPost and Eschaton.

Where I would like to direct you is to a site created by Kos diarist grokgov: Thank You Stephen Colbert whose mission is to collect a million thank you notes. The site's been up since last night and as I type has collected 15292 thank yous.

If you appreciate speaking truthiness to power as much as I do, click over there and add your name to the list.

Oops, that's 15319 thank yous now.