Tuesday, June 28, 2005

'Sending more troops would undermine our effort'

Did he really just say that? Really?

UPDATE: "Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight. "

Transcript here.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:21 PM

Eerily quiet

Has anyone noticed why no one is clapping here? This is Ft. Bragg, and I thought I saw a cutaway shot of actual human soldiers here, right?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:15 PM

"Progress Has Been Uneven"

That statement is about as close as you're going to get to an admission of mistakes made in Iraq from Bush. Uneven, indeed.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:12 PM

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Who you calling a terrorist?

Just so we have this straight: The insurgency is filled with murderous terrorists with whom we would never, ever negotiate because that would show the world how wobbly-kneed -- and perhaps empathetic, like those wimp-ass liberals -- we are with regard to these hateful monsters, right?

A trip down memory lane:

04/04/02 President George W. Bush:
Terror must be stopped. No nation can negotiate with terrorists. For there is no way to make peace with those whose only goal is death.

OK. With you so far...

6/25/05 President George W. Bush:

The military track of our strategy is to defeat the terrorists and continue helping Iraqis take greater responsibility for defending their freedom. The images we see on television are a grim reminder that the enemies of freedom in Iraq are ruthless killers with no regard for human life. The killers include members of Saddam Hussein's regime, criminal elements and foreign terrorists. The terrorists know that Iraq is a central front in the war on terror, because they know that a stable and democratic Iraq will deal a severe blow to their ideology of oppression and fear. The terrorists' objective is to break the will of America and of the Iraqi people before democracy can take root.

Right on, brother!

6/26/05 Washington Post:

"U.S. Talks With Iraq Insurgents Confirmed; Goal Is Sunnis' Political Inclusion, Rumsfeld Says"

The U.S. military in Iraq has been holding face-to-face meetings with some Iraqi leaders of the insurgency there, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the U.S. commander in charge of Iraq confirmed yesterday.


Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:01 PM

Friday, June 24, 2005

Rove "evil genius" baloney

Look, I don't get what people are saying here about this brilliant Rovian plan.

First, he makes the speech on a Wednesday night in New York, and only TWO news organizations are present: AP and NYT. The only video available is grainy and bad. The NYT thought the story was so huge, in fact, that they splashed it across Page A13, in all its 491-word glory. If Rove had intended to use this speech as part of a grand scheme to slap around liberals, he did a pretty half-assed job.

And if Rove is such an evil genius, why do we have the White House's communications director and the RNC chair furiously attempting to massage Rove's clear, in-context words slandering liberals everywhere and try to parse the meaning of "liberal"? Seems to me the White House thought Rove went too far, no?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 2:09 PM

Bias everywhere!

The Cornerites are dabbing their tear-stained cheeks at the big play being given to the Rove "Liberals want American troops dead" comments:
The Washington Post puts the Karl Rove "controversy" on the front page today. That's funny. Durbin's remarks never made the front page (June 17, A-11; June 18 in briefs, A-5; June 19, A-6; June 22 apology, A-6). This seems like Democratic party news judgment, not an independent person's news judgment. Durbin compared American soldiers to Soviet henchmen in the gulag, and that's less outrageous to the Posties than saying liberals thought therapy was the answer to terror. Durbin was dead serious. Rove was in campaign red-meat humor mode.

Uh, Timmy, first of all we refer you to the "motive" quote in which Rove suggests liberals want American troops dead. 'Humor mode,' my fanny. Second, on news judgement: Durbin is a nobody Senator who most had never heard of prior to his comments and Rove is the president's Chief Political Strategist. A bit of a difference, there.

Full transcript of Rove's remarks here.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:20 AM

And another thing on Kelo

Do you own your riverfront or waterfront home? Are you kind of not well-off? Is the neighborhood a little dowdy? Well, watch out. Only the rich -- excuse me -- "revenue enhancers" -- have an absolute right to that property now. This is what your US Supreme Court said. Sandra Day O'Connor, dissenting, has this exactly right:

Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded.


The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the state from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall or any farm with a factory.


Permalink posted by Jonathan : 7:23 AM

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The last throes of Dick Cheney

Did he really just say that?
If you look at the dictionary definition of 'throes,' it can still be a violent period.

The Webster's Defense -- always a winner. [Don't have a tscript yet. From interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer].

And in case you were wondering: throe n. 1. Extreme pain; a violent pang; anguish 2. Agonized struggle or effort.

Background here.

UPDATE: Video is online here. Part II. Part III. Part IV. Transcript here. Watch it. Here's the exact 'dictionary' quote.
If you look at what the dictionary says about ‘throes,’ it can still be a, you know, a violent period. The throes of a revolution.


Permalink posted by Jonathan : 5:08 PM

They're coming for your property

Courtesy of the Supreme Court. Hey, as long as it's something for the "public,"and generates tax revenue like a shopping mall, a sports arena for millionares or a golf resort, the government can come with the bulldozers and sweep you away.

The New London neighborhood that will be swept away includes Victorian-era houses and small businesses that in some instances have been owned by several generations of families. Among the New London residents in the case is a couple in their 80s who have lived in the same home for more than 50 years.

City officials envision a commercial development that would attract tourists to the Thames riverfront, complementing an adjoining Pfizer Corp. research center and a proposed Coast Guard museum.


Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:33 AM

Karl Rove, man of our times

Karl Rove was in Manhattan the other day, and here are some of the delightful things he had to say:

Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.

Not red meat enough for you? Wait, there's more!

Mr. Rove also said American armed forces overseas were in more jeopardy as a result of remarks last week by Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who compared American mistreatment of detainees to the acts of "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others."

"Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year?" Mr. Rove asked. "Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."

So there you go. Liberals: their only intent is getting our troops killed.

UPDATE: Welcome Eschatonians.

LATER: Also, a hearty Blogoland welcome to Americabloggers, Crooks and Liarites, and countless others I have probably failed to mention. Did you catch that press Q&A with McClellan? Not pretty. "Different philosophies and different approaches," indeed. Also, Rove is slated to venture into Scarborough Country tonight. 10 PM. Set your TiVos.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:30 AM

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I know

Yes, lack of posting. Working. Making money. These are good things.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:46 PM

Monday, June 20, 2005

Protesting loudly

Hey, it's Slam Slate Day at Blogoland!

Just a few days ago, Mickey "even liberal" Kaus whimpered that the conservatives of the world were just aghast at the new Edward Klein smear job on the former First Lady, the ironically titled "The Truth About Hillary"
The real story--too subtle for a paper that has to dispatch a correspondent to cover conservatives the way they'd send a foreign correspondent to India--is that the right-wing reception of the new Hillary book has been wary and remarkably hostile.
Uh, sure, Mickey. So remarkably hostile that that the National Review teases big on its website its Q&A with the author. So remarkably hostile that these are the questions lobbed by a wary Kathryn Jean Lopez:
NRO: Might it have been more trouble than it was worth simply to relay that the Clintons have a "bizarre" relationship? Surely there are more polite examples.

NRO: Are you now part of some "Republican scream machine"? What was your intention in writing the book?

NRO: Is Sidney Blumenthal still "Hillary's brain"?

NRO: How is HRC like Nixon?

And so on. Such hostility.

UPDATE: And who can forget everyone's favorite mainstream drug addict, Rush Limbaugh, who subtly proclaimed on his program:
LIMBAUGH: I've got some interesting, juicy details on this book on Hillary by Ed Klein, but I'm not going to be the first to mention them. I'm not going there. It will come out eventually. It has to do with sexual orientation, and I'm not going to be the one. That's the book that everybody says is going to be presenting a firestorm.

Reeks of hostility.

LATER: I see Kevin Drum is wavelengthing with me.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:24 AM


So Robert Horry beat the Pistons on a last-second three-pointer last night.

I wonder if Slate will be updating this article: "Sideshow Bob: Is Robert Horry the NBA's best clutch shooter or its best con man?" [The author goes with the latter argument].
Horry's reputation as a great team player is a bit of a mix-up. It's more accurate to say he's been the teammate of great players: Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston, Shaquille O'Neal in Los Angeles, and Tim Duncan in San Antonio. Horry has made his career coasting on other player's coattails. He's 6-feet-10, yet he lets his teammates scrap in the paint for offensive rebounds while he hovers vulturelike at the three-point line. On offense, he's incapable of creating an open shot for himself. Instead, he stands around waiting for the defense to double-team his superstar teammate, hoping for an open look.


Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:48 AM

They are most certainly watching us

Why, the government has no interest in getting library records from US citizens, right?


And here's the best part of the story. After telling us for years that the feds have not actually pursued library records based on the Patriot Act, and the library association exposes them as liars, here's the defense from the Justice Department hack:
Kevin Madden, a Justice Department spokesman, said that the department had not yet seen the findings and that he could not comment specifically on them. But Mr. Madden questioned the relevance of the data to the debate over the Patriot Act, noting that the types of inquiries found in the survey could relate to a wide range of law enforcement investigations unconnected to terrorism or intelligence.

"Any conclusion that federal law enforcement has an extraordinary interest in libraries is wholly manufactured as a result of misinformation," Mr. Madden said

What a joke.

And this sums it up nicely:

Ms. Sheketoff at the library association acknowledged that critics of the study may accuse the group of having a stake in the outcome of the Patriot Act debate. "Sure, we have a dog in this fight, but the other side has been mocking us for four years over our 'baseless hysteria,' and saying we have no reason to be concerned," she said. "Well, these findings say that we do have reason to be concerned."

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:23 AM

This seems good

Always tough to tell, this Lebanon thing, but still, this looks like a remarkable turnaround in just a few months. From Syrian domination to well, something clearly better than that.

If the reporting holds up, it seems like the Syrian-backed President will remain, which is a problem, and there appears to be a flowering of sectarian pride and other worrisome issues, but on the whole, this is a very good start for Lebanon.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:49 AM

Sunday, June 19, 2005

What's really motivating the Durbin-censure goons

Prof. Reynolds:
As the Herald points out, Trent Lott lost his leadership position over less.

As I suspected.

Some perspective from a conservative here.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:21 AM

Saturday, June 18, 2005

What a week!

Story here

Transcript here

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 6:18 AM

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Posting lack

Sorry for the lack of posts today, was out trying to make some money and do real work.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 7:08 PM

Monday, June 13, 2005

A question for rightie bloggers

Here’s a question for the right-of-center bloggers like Prof. Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan: How do you feel about putting up on your website an advertisement for a book that baselessly alleges that the former president raped his own wife – a rape that resulted in their only child? Is this a book you want to be affiliated with? Just wondering.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 12:03 PM

Best 'Star Wars' reference used in modern political story

The award goes to Anthony Soares, Hoboken city councilman. His concern? That the current mayor, David Roberts, will wield too much power if he wins election:
"Have you seen 'Revenge of the Sith'?" said Anthony Soares, a city councilman allied with Ms. Marsh and up for re-election. "That's what Hoboken could be like. If the mayor controls the entire Council, it'll be a disaster."

Mayor Palpatine? No doubt he'll hunt down the peace-loving members of the Fund for a Better Waterfront.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:19 AM

Who's yelling the loudest on anonymous sourcing?

Guess who? The Right. And why? Because nothing of substance about what's going on in this country would likely be reported without the use of our modern-day Deep Throats. And that would be a very good thing for many, many people. This article [via Romenesko] has it perfect:
What Woodward said, the reporter told me, was that at the present pivotal historical moment, the great danger to America is the formation of some kind of secret, unaccountable government, and so a hyperaggressive press is more important than ever.


I think very few people—essentially only the ones complaining to [fmr. NYT ombudsman Daniel] Okrent—have any real opinion on anonymous sources. And I bet most of those use the methodological cavil as a cover for political disagreement, criticizing anonymous sourcing because they object to what some anonymous source has said.


Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:35 AM

Sunday, June 12, 2005

We really should give Bush credit for this

AP: "Anti-Syrian candidates concede in Lebanon"
Anti-Syrian candidates apparently suffered major losses in a third round of elections Sunday to fill nearly half the seats in parliament, a senior opposition leader conceded after a campaign that led to some surprising alliances.

Of course, I'm sure there'll be some too stubborn and hate-filled to acknowledge the New Day Rising in the Middle East.

UDPATE: Welcome Eschatonians, and thanks for the linkage! Check out the further musings of a scabby, dead-eyed hunchback.

LATER UPDATE: Upon further reflection, it's hard to know what's really going on in Lebanon, considering that I have no idea how their political system works or have any background into that society. Very perplexing, and I think the reporting mirrors this uncertainty. No one seems to know what any of this means. This guy is even arguing that a guy like Aoun allying with pro-Syrian factions is a good thing, presumably because a large, diaffected minority of Syrian-ophiles would be a bigger problem. That strikes me as silly, but any help would be appreciated.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 6:33 PM

Go Phils!

Now everyone knows I'm a pretty Negative Nellie, so the first thing I'd be worried about is jinxing anything, but if the playoffs began today, the Philadelphia Phillies would be in, as the Wild Card.

I've probably just doomed them.

UPDATE: Yup, I did.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 6:29 PM

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The origins of Clinton-hatred

The NYT Book Review runs a piece this Sunday on John F. Harris's The Survivor -- the most recent Clinton tome. The reviewer of the piece argues that Bill was probably the most-hated President in recent history -- save for FDR -- and he puzzles over this fact. (But he was a centrist! being one of the examples) . Harris's thesis? Clinton was a baby-boomer:

If, as Harris believes, Clinton was in the most important ways a competent president -- and certainly not a combative or ideological one -- then the conundrum of Clinton-hatred remains essentially unsolved. Harris does try to explain it. He suggests -- as others have -- that Clinton, not entirely through his own doing, suffered as the embodiment of a generation and a set of values that much of the country had never understood or been willing to accept. He was the tangible symbol of the Baby Boom, its conceits, its self-absorption, its lack of discipline and failures of responsibility. He was a child of the 1960's preaching to millions of people who had never come to terms with the 1960's and didn't want to be reminded of them.

Well, I find it curious that, right in the wake of the Deep Throat outing and the re-fighting of the Nixon resignation that it didn't occur to Alan Ehrenhalt that the Clinton wars were nothing but payback for Nixon [and, to a lesser extent, Iran-Contra]. In other words, it didn't really matter who Clinton was, what he believed, or how he governed, the GOP kooks just wanted to extract their pound of flesh, and they launched their goons and subpoenas and whatever else they had at him.

For proof of this, all you had to do in recent weeks was to listen to the aggrieved Nixonians of the world uttering the word "coup" at every turn. All you had to do was listen to the Limbaughs and Hannities and Ben Steins of the world screeching: What was so terrible about what Nixon did, and anyway, everyone else was doing the same thing, too! All you had to do was hear the wailing, and think for yourself -- How does one exact revenge? The GOP got their flesh, alright, but at what cost?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:08 AM

Friday, June 10, 2005

It's all anti-military bias!

Only a deeply silly man like Hugh Hewitt could come away from reading this troubling take on the effort to stand up the new Iraqi Army and wax nonsensical about, of all things, anti-military bias in the media and, yes, the Palestinian Authority. Read and be amused:

The reflexive production of anti-Bush/anti-Operation Iraqi Freedom pieces in tandem with an endless supply of pieces urging Israeli flexibility and concessions is not surprising giving that the left supports the PA and opposes Bush, and MSM is dominated by the left.

Interesting. I wonder if Hugh Hewitt thinks that this guy is anti-Bush/anti-Operation Iraqi Freedom?
"I know the party line. You know, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, five-star generals, four-star generals, President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld: The Iraqis will be ready in whatever time period," said 1st Lt. Kenrick Cato, 34, of Long Island, N.Y., the executive officer of McGovern's company, who sold his share in a database firm to join the military full time after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "But from the ground, I can say with certainty they won't be ready before I leave. And I know I'll be back in Iraq, probably in three or four years. And I don't think they'll be ready then."
Or this guy?
"Honestly, I don't think people in America understand how touchy the situation really is right now," [Sgt. Rick] McGovern said. "We have the military power, the military might, but we're handling everything with kid gloves because we're hoping the Iraqis are going to step up and start taking things on themselves. But they don't have a clue how to do it."

Or Lt. Cato, again?
But the Americans said the Iraqis hadn't earned respect. "As Arab men, they want
for us to think that they're just the same as us as soldiers, that they're just as brave," Cato said. "But they show cowardice. They'll say to me, 'I wasn't afraid.' But if you're running, then you were obviously not just afraid, you were running away."

Or Sgt. McGovern, again?
"You are all cowards," he began. "My soldiers are over here, away from our families for a year. We are willing to die for you to have freedom. You should be willing to die for your own freedom. If you continue to run away from the enemy, the enemy will continue to chase you. You will never win."

I'm wondering when Hugh Hewitt plans to go to Baiji and tell our military what horrible, skeptical anti-military jerks they all are?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 2:34 PM

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Scary-ass crap

I know there are some people who don't see The Atlantic as a top-tier general interest magazine, but this month's offering is pretty damn strong. In addition to catching Paul Wolfowitz completely pantsless on the question of WMD in Iraq, the tireless James Fallows offers a pretty fascinating, if fanciful, future economic meltdown scenario.

All those were pretty good, but nothing beats the North Korea war game that one writer convened. Former generals, state department goofs and assorted people offer their nuggets of wisdom. The consensus? About 100,000 would certainly die in the first few days alone in a Korean peninsual conflict.

The best part about this whole thing, though, is the wildly divergent views on how we should proceed. Is negotation rewarding good behavior? Well, here's how Robert Gallucci, the Clinton's chief negotiator with North Korea, put it. I quote it at length, because it is pretty fascinating:

"When I came back with the Agreed Framework deal and tried to sell it," he said, "I ran into the same people sitting around that table—the general to my right, Ken across from me. They hated the idea of trying to solve this problem with a negotiation.

"And I said, 'What's your—pardon me—your fucking plan, then, if you don't like this?'

"'We don't like—'

"I said, 'Don't tell me what you don't like! Tell me how you're going to stop the North Korean nuclear program.'

"'But we wouldn't do it this way—'

"'Stop! What are you going to do?'

"I could never get a goddamn answer. What I got was 'We wouldn't negotiate.'"

I pointed out that the North Koreans had—as McInerney emphasized—cheated on the 1994 agreement. "Excuse me," Gallucci said, "the Soviets cheated on virtually every deal we ever made with them, but we were still better off with the deal than without it."

To people who say that negotiating with the North Koreans rewards bad behavior, Gallucci says, "Listen, I'm not interested in teaching other people lessons. I'm interested in the national security of the United States. If that's what you're interested in, are you better off with this deal or without it? You tell me what you're going to do without the deal, and I'll compare that with the deal."

He was adamant that we were better off under the Agreed Framework—cheating and all—than we are now. "When the Clinton folks went out of office, the North Koreans only had the plutonium they had separated in the previous Bush administration. Now they've got a whole lot more. What did all this 'tough' shit give us? It gave us a much more capable North Korea. Terrific!"

That says it all.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:56 PM

Viva blogosphere!

A writer intent on proving demonstrable anti-American bias in the press starts his piece thusly:
In December 1996, Robert Fisk of the London newspaper The Independent traveled to the mountains north of Khartoum where he met Osama bin Laden. The opening sentences of the article he wrote about the meeting went as follows:

Osama Bin Laden sat in his gold-fringed robe, guarded by loyal Arab mujahedin… . With his high cheekbones, narrow eyes and long brown robe, Mr. Bin Laden looks every inch the mountain warrior of mujahedin legend. Chadored children danced in front of him, preachers acknowledged his wisdom.

First of all, Mr. Windschuttle gets two very simple, checkable things, very, very wrong. The story is from December 1993, not 1996. And the place the author meets bin Laden is not the mountains north of Khartoum, but the desert in Almatig, Sudan.

Copyright 1993 Newspaper Publishing PLC The Independent (London)

December 6, 1993, Monday


LENGTH: 1088 words

HEADLINE: Anti-Soviet warrior puts his army on the road to peace; The Saudi businessman who recruited mujahedin now uses them for large-scale building projects in Sudan. Robert Fisk met him in Almatig

Whoops! But I’m sure the self-correcting blogosphere will take care of that one.

But what of those ellipses? What could be missing there? Anyone want to venture a guess? Let’s replay that lead, with the omission in bold:
Osama Bin Laden sat in his gold-fringed robe, guarded by loyal Arab mujahedin who fought alongside him in Afghanistan.

Uh-oh. Is this the same bin Laden that helped defeat the Soviets? The same immortalized in Rambo III? The same backed by U.S. money and weapons? Interesting omission Mr. Windschuttle.

But that doesn’t stop our critic from concluding that many war-reporters hate Jews the world over because Jewish lands "contained no aristocrats" (read it to believe) and of course, hate America and are cheering for the other side to win. Did we mention that he believes, from this passage quoted above, that Arab culture “reeks of homoeroticism.” Did we mention that Instapundit links approvingly?

Read the whole thing, as they say.

I'm certainly glad we have mind-readers and motive-diviners like Keith Windschuttle and Glenn Reynolds around to spread the knowledge. One wonders if they even scanned the rest of Fisk’s article from 1993 (not 1996!) Here’s a choice quote:

Outside Sudan, Mr Bin Laden is not regarded with quite such high esteem. The Egyptian press claims he brought hundreds of former Arab fighters back to Sudan from Afghanistan, while the Western embassy circuit in Khartoum has suggested that some of the ''Afghans'' whom this Saudi entrepreneur flew to Sudan are now busy training for further jihad wars in Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt.

Or how about this one?

When the history of the Afghan resistance movement is written, Mr Bin Laden's own contribution to the mujahedin - and the indirect result of his training and assistance - may turn out to be a turning- point in the recent history of militant fundamentalism;

Isn’t it clear? Fisk was rooting for us to fail, in 1993, when no one knew who the hell bin Laden was, when no one was even paying the slightest bit of attention to any of this, when no one other than Robert Fisk was doing any reporting on this.

Look, there are good criticisms to be made of this man’s reporting. This just doesn't happen to be one of them.

Is there anyone who doesn't doubt that the U.S. -- in a very big way -- helped create Osama bin Laden? I would imagine only the most rabid and delusional partisans would.

UPDATE: Just wanted to see what kind of scholar wrote that laughable and error-riddled screed. Well, here's the bio:
Keith Windschuttle is an author and publisher who is a frequent contributor to The New Criterion and Quadrant. He is author of The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists Are Murdering Our Past, which is now in its fourth edition from Encounter Books, and five other books on contemporary social issues. His book The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Volume One, Van Diemen's Land 1803-1847, will be published by Macleay Press, Sydney, in November.

He is publisher of Macleay Press, Sydney. He is a graduate in history from the University of Sydney and in politics from Macquarie University. He is a former academic who taught history, social policy and media studies the University of New South Wales and other Australian universities. His principal research interests are in historiography, especially of Australian and American history, and in the theories of history produced in the last two hundred years.

Pray for his students.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 7:31 AM

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Kurtz: The horror!

Faint-hearted Howard Kurtz is getting the vapors over Amnesty International's use of the word "gulag" to describe conditions at Guantanamo. Why, they're cheapening our discourse! How could they? And, etc. Just soak in the outrage.

Excuse me, but did Schulz say that it's okay to unleash words like "gulag," even if it's not an "exact or literal analogy," because it gets him booked on Fox News? Is that the new standard? Yes, Chris, I called the president a war criminal because it was the only way I could get on Hardball?

I'll bet he unleashed those same outrage guns on the likes of Ann Coulter, a consistently vile and slanderous and lying opinion-monger. Right? Right?

Well, no. In response to some WaPo chatters' impassioned, and correct, denunciations of Ann Coulter, please note Mr. Kurtz's decided lack of opinion -- "I haven't read the piece..." ;"Well, I'm going to wait until I read the story..." Pathetic.

Here's Kurtz in full outrage on Coulter from 1998 :

While Coulter can toss off references to James Madison's view of impeachment as quickly as the next lawyer, she delights in going for the jugular. On "Rivera Live," she said Clinton's use of his secretary, Betty Currie, "is so craven and cowardly. It's like a hostage holding a baby in front of him. . . . He would use taxpayer-funded jobs to pay off his little government-funded brothel.

"On "Equal Time": "We're now at the point that it's beyond whether or not this guy is a horny hick. I really think it's a question of his mental stability. He really could be a lunatic. . . . I think it is a rational question for Americans to ask whether their president is insane."

Lunatic? Insane? Coulter's inflammatory style, not surprisingly, has its detractors.
Whoa, let her have it, man! At least she's no Amnesty International. Those do-gooder punks.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:21 AM

Bloomberg: Doofus

I was never a big stadium/Olympics proponent -- I stand by my opinion that no multi-billion dollar enterprise should get free money from the public -- but one of the more interesting things to come out of this debacle was the utter political miscalculation and naievete by the mayor and his underlings. They thought they could circumvent the state on a deal of this magnitude? Whoops! You'd think somebody would have figured that out before last summer -- you know, that they'd need Sheldon Silver and Joe Bruno to get approval for the money.

And another interesting sidelight. Reading today's postmortem in the NYT, it seems like Bloomberg doesn't even really understand how to deal with people on a personal-political level. But I went to the guy's grandkids bris! I called him about his dead brother! Yeah, well, politics is a funny, ego-driven, often personal thing. And it wasn't about the money or pork or whatever. Because it was clear that Bloomberg was willing to give away the store for Lower Manhattan. Silver had clearly already thought this through: "They think they can go around me? The Assembly Speaker? From Lower Manhattan? Well, we'll see about that." And he waited. Fascinating.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:09 AM

What's more frightening than Ben Stein's lunacy?

All the mega-kooks who agree with him and his wild rantings. Just keep scrolling and be amazed. USA! USA!

Favorite letter-writer? Step right up, Gail Lammers!
Stein on Nixon, the greatest. We are not worthy! Luckily for me, I am very happily married to a very patient, tolerant and wonderful man, but, if I were a young filly and Ben Stein were not happily married to a wonderful woman with whom he has created a beautiful family... well, I would give him a run for his money. Love ya, Ben!!!-- Gail Lammers

The mind reels.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 12:31 AM

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The genius of George W. Bush

Well, lots of other people, from the conspiracy kooks to the baffled Left, have commented on John Kerry's release of his military records. Not much to add, so read the links. But I was taken by this snide comment/post from Ann Althouse, who, apparently has cornered the market on judging intellegince in a quanatative manner.

He's not smarter than Bush. That's the whole point. People imagined he was smarter, so this is an opportunity to learn something that might be useful ... in the future about how to perceive and analyze the available information.

And the information remains relevant as long as people keep saying Bush is dumb. The response can be, but the other guy was dumber.

Ah ha. And next up for Prof. Althouse? A probing discussion of why Einstein is, in fact, much dumberer than Bush.
Though Einstein studied physics diligently during the summer of 1895 in preparation from the Zurich Polytechnic, he failed the necessary exams for admission.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 2:06 PM

Enjoy it while it lasts

For Yankee-haters the world over, it has cetainly been the Best of Times of late. The Midwest Massacre is in full-swing, with losses to perennial doormats like the Royals and Brewers and the frequent Yankee whipping boys known as the Twins. My heart is content.

Lap it up now, though, because I suspect that the Yankee bats will finally start making timely hits, and by July, we'll see in pinstripes two new starting pitchers, a new set-up guy and a reliable outfielder. Expect an early-August surge, a swoon by the Orioles and Red Sox, and a fight to the finish in September.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 12:56 PM

Monday, June 06, 2005

The facts, spin and Major League Baseball

Much has been made of late about indisputable reality, spin and the increasingly weird world we live in now; a world in which, say, the Vice President can look at the indisputable reality of a massive upswing in violence and death in a Middle Eastern land and see a rebellion in "its last throes."

Now comes Major League Baseball, which, on its website, offers its own alternate reality. Let's say you lack satellite TV, are a lifelong Phillies fan and live in New York. Your only access to the game is the excellent up-to-the second reporting available on its site.

That's not the issue. But when the game ends, they offer a "wrap," in which two different writers, apparently employed by Major League Baseball, offer their own different versions of the game. It's not clear to me how long they've been doing it, but it's fascinating. Let's take today's game. The Phillies, after getting blitzed for five runs in the first inning, rallied in the ninth, but ultimately fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks, 10-8. In the alternate realities of mlb.com, you get the Phillies version: Team fights back valiantly, but winds up defeated. Shows that the team is a plucky fighter. The Diamondbacks version? Home team jumps out to big lead and valiantly holds on against Phillies onslaught, sealing important victory.

Why would baseball offer such a service? Were there complaints from fans that a single write-up produced a biased version? Is it cheaper than running wire copy? It would be interesting to know...

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:07 PM

Idiots on the march

You can't win with these dopes. Criticize the military and you're a traitor. Praise the military and you're a phony. From Power Line:
Professor David Gelernter of Yale University is a man of formidable learning with little patience for phonies. He has detected a tidal wave of phoniness in the celebration of "the greatest generation" by folks with a profile that eerily resembles mine: "Too much, too late."

As a remedy for the phoniness he detects, Professor Gelernter prescribes the teaching of our children the major battles of the war, the bestiality of the Japanese, the attitude of the intellectuals, and the memoirs and recollections of the veterans. I'm already preparing the reading list to comply with Professor Gelernter's prescription.

Sounds like a great class! I'm sure the kiddies will also love it when the Power Line menage gets around to their in-depth discussion on the necrophilia of the Nazis.

Also not to be missed: Power Line describing Gelernter as a "man of formidable learning."

Why that's funny: here and here and here and here.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 11:35 AM

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Mash note to Howard Kurtz

I really don't understand the point of this article. Hey, look, I did a Lexis-Nexis search of Howard Kurtz! 419 articles in one year! Wow! I say that liberal bloggers unfairly attack him, and yet I don't even address one of their complaints! That's good reporting!

And spearking of the latter, here's the biggest howler: "From my reporting, Kurtz appears to meet the burden of fair coverage — no one has found a pulled punch to date."

Do we detect a pattern?

Stoddard is right, Howie does need a vacation. Maybe he can take it with his good bud, Rush.

POSTSCRIPT: Eric Alterman's useful Kurtz observations, from "What Liberal Media?"

And more interesting stuff...

UPDATE: And who could forget this pre-election non-story prompted by Drudge? You know, that ABC held a terror threat tape that they couldn't authenticate? Now why would they would want to do that? No one's ever been slammed for not authenticating something. Included is this classic Drudge quote: "They haven't authenticated previous al Qaeda tapes before airing them," he said. "Why are they waiting to authenticate this? It's election week."

That's not pulling punches. That's called carrying water.

LATER UPDATE: Had thought I included this in the original post, but didn't. Look, I don't begrudge Kurtz's work. He's clearly a tireless guy who often breaks important stories. It just seems to me that he has a pattern -- especially when it comes to right-wing blowhards -- of covering for them. To me, it is bewildering. And so is that CQ article.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:40 AM

Harmonic convergence

I can't prove it now, alas, but yesterday afternoon, after reading this Victor Davis Hanson column, I had one thought:

Shorter VDH: Fuck the muslims. Kill them all.

Decided against posting, for one reason or the other, but it turns out that Tbogg was well ahead of me.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:16 AM

Friday, June 03, 2005

The case for hysteria

Ezra Klein has this exactly right on the Amnesty International/Gulag debate. While reasonable-minded pundits are wringing their hands over the harsh, harsh language ("Guantanamo is the gulag of our times?" No!) and everyone from the President to Cheney to McClellan have roundly denounced the language, the fact of the matter is, that wild and inappropriate exaggeration has done a lot for their case.

The report has burned up the blogosphere. Rush Limbaugh is still talking about it. Fox News Sunday, I heard this morning, is going to have a representative from Amnesty on their show this weekend (the local host I listened to asked Chris Wallace to ask them "What the hell they were thinking?")

Look, for good or ill we now live in a world of degraded discourse; where any wild, scurrilous, unsubstantiated attack is considered reasonable. After all, John Kerry is a war criminal, a traitor and a liar who didn't risk his life for his country as much as game the system in his diabolical plans to one day run for president. Didn't you know? The benefit for the Amnesty folks is that their conclusion is actually based on facts, whereas the Swifties claims were based on, well, nothing. If they want to throw fire, they have joined a large, distinguished crowd. Paging Ann Coulter?

And, dear, dear E.J. Dionne is upset. Glenn Reynolds is wagging his hypocrtical finger about Amensty's lost "credibility." Please. How upset were these people over the revelations of detainee abuse? Not very, as far as I can tell. They seemed more interested in uninformed hypothesizing about the motives of the messenger than addressing the actual body of evidence. Classic sophistry.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 4:15 PM

Learning their lessons well

But what of the children? Well, they think that Felt was a man acting out of spite, possibly a traitor, and one who should have gone "to his superiors."

Gee, those GOP talking points sure are effective. Viva Nixon!

[Via Romenesko]

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 1:17 PM

Ben Stein melts down

Oh my...

Now, we read that Mark Felt's family and Mark Felt put out their story solely to make money off it. So, this makes the family's karma even more unnerving. The father, patriarch, Mark, took out his anger and frustration for being passed over at the FBI, by ruining the career of the peacemaker, Richard Nixon. So, he condemned a whole subcontinent to genocide and slavery and poverty to please his own wounded vanity. (Maybe his nickname should be "sour grapes" and not "deep throat" because he has as much in common with that fox as with a porn star.) And, blood will tell, as the old saying goes: his posterity is now dragging out his old body and putting it on display to make money. (Have you noticed how Mark Felt looks like one of those old Nazi war criminals they find in Bolivia or Paraguay? That same, haunted, hunted look combined with a glee at what he has managed to get away with so far?)

And it gets worse: it's been reported that Mark Felt is at least part Jewish. The reason this is worse is that at the same time that Mark Felt was betraying Richard Nixon, Nixon was saving Eretz Israel. It is a terrifying chapter in betrayal and ingratitude. If he even knows what shame is, I wonder if he felt a moment's shame as he tortured the man who brought security and salvation to the land of so many of his and my fellow Jews. Somehow, as I look at his demented face, I doubt it.

Wow. This Felt gets around. First, he singlehandedly loses Cambodia and Vietnam. Now he's a self-hating half-Jew who betrays noted Jew-lover Richard Nixon and tries to undermine the state of Israel. He's Superman!

By the way, have you noticed how Ben Stein looks like a pedophile?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 12:28 PM

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Two-year investigations move fast

In an otherwise fascinating take on his relationship with Deep Throat, Bob Woodward unleashes this howler:
With a story as enticing, complex, competitive and fast-breaking as Watergate, there was little tendency or time to consider the motives of our sources. What was important was whether the information checked out and whether it was true. We were swimming, really living, in the fast-moving rapids. There was no time to ask why they were talking or whether they had an ax to grind.

Oh please. No time to ask? Now, I'm not going to deign to say that I'm a better reporter than Woodward is, or was back then, but knowing the motivation of your source is probably a good thing to learn, even if the information you get, in fact, "checks out." No time, indeed. That's just crazy. It was a two-year investigation!

Moreover, I suspect there were a number of reasons Woodward did not press his source on his axes and why he was grinding them. Woodward was likely afraid he would lose him. Anyone with a great source knows that you tend to coddle him, flatter him, give him the benefit of the doubt. And that's a perfectly reasonable thing, especially if they have explosive information. But to say there was no time? That's just not credible.

UPDATE: Ben Bradlee seems not to have read his former reporter's first-person account:
Ben Bradlee: Everybody who talks to a newspaper has a motive. That's just a given. And good reporters always -- repeat always -- probe to find out what that motive is. In Felt's case it seemed obvious that he was concerned about abuses of power coming from people who worked for the president. Including his highest advisers, including the attorney general of the United States and that seemed a totally decent motive.

We refer him to the above. Has Bradlee just implied that Woodward isn't a very good reporter?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:27 AM

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Win Ben Stein's Brain

Ben Stein, former Nixon protege, actor and game show host, in a post that you must absolutely read, has these remarkable words to say about Deep Throat, Nixon, and The Washington Post:
So, this is the great boast of the enemies of Richard Nixon, including Mark Felt: they made the conditions necessary for the Cambodian genocide. If there is such a thing as kharma, if there is such a thing as justice in this life of the next, Mark Felt has bought himself the worst future of any man on this earth. And Bob Woodward is right behind him, with Ben Bradlee bringing up the rear. Out of their smug arrogance and contempt, they hatched the worst nightmare imaginable: genocide. I hope they are happy now -- because their future looks pretty bleak to me.

Ah, yes, you see the Washington Post and Deep Throat are directly responsible for the genocide in Cambodia. Is there nothing more logical? I want what Stein is popping.

Also not to be missed, Stein calling JFK a "lying, conniving drug addict." Priceless. Classy.

UPDATE: Rush Limbaugh reads this piece on the air, and then reads again, for emphasis, the excerpt quoted above. I was wondering what that last sentence about "their future" meant, but Rush clears that right up: "By 'their future', of course, he means their future after life." Stunning, and completely batshit crazy.

UPDATE II: Joe Gandelman has much more on this, including questions for Stein about continuity of policy and questions for the very Republican Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger, who apparently, have no responsibility in the Cambodian genocide.

MUCH LATER UPDATE: Here's the transcript from Limbaugh's website.
"...Meaning their future after life. Had they not brought down Nixon, we wouldn't have lost Vietnam. Had we not brought down Nixon, the Khmer Rouge would not have come to power and murdered two million people in a full-fledged genocide. And not even John Kerry could stop it, ladies and gentlemen, when he was dispatched by Nixon to Cambodia, which he never was, by the way. So many people in this with so many lies, all for the sake of propping up and maintaining a myth about the greatness of investigative journalism."
Even funnier than I remembered.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 12:30 PM

Deep Throat round-up: The idiots respond

The kook-fringe right-wing finds its voice. So delicious.

Power Line: Woodward and Bernstein suck!!! All they did was take dictation from a disgruntled employee! Blogz that make up shit rule!

L. Brent Bozell: So what if Nixon was a crook who was exposed by two enterprising reporters? They didn't go after Whitewater with as much frothy-mouthed zeal as I would have preferred. Bias! Bias! Biaasssss! [In the interest of hackery, I will fail to mention that in 1994, The Post wrote 118 front page stories and 789 stories total that reference "Whitewater"].

Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner: Names are fun-ny. I am in need of institutionalization.

Jonah Goldberg: Basing my opinion on absolutely zero evidence, I am willing to insinuate that Woodward is a liar and a fabricator.

Rush: Waaah! Waaah! Waaaaaah!

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:04 AM

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