Wednesday, November 30, 2005
John Fund Transcription Service
I'm wondering which transcription service these guys use? Here's John Fund, who got the ball rolling, quoting, I guess, this video:
I heard that Osama bin Laden died in the earthquake, and if that's the case, I certainly wouldn't wish anyone harm, but if that's the case, that's good for the world.
Hm. Well, that's not exactly what he said. Watch it for yourself.
I heard today that he may have died in the earthquake that they had in Pakistan. Seriously. And if that’s the case -- I certainly wouldn’t wish anyone harm -- but if that’s the case, that’s good for the world.
Sure, nothing major there. But still, John Fund does pass himself off as a reporter. How about getting the basic nugget of a quote right?
UPDATE: Here's a quote from Donald Rumsfeld from early in November in U.K's Telegraph. The article's thrust was whether bin Laden had died in the earthquake, and Rumsfeld responded, and then did a little nudge, nudge, wink, wink:
Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, attributed bin Laden's low profile to his fears for his safety as American and Pakistani forces hunt down al-Qa'eda members.
"Osama bin Laden hasn't been seen in a video for a hellishly long time," Mr Rumsfeld said in Berlin. "That could be because he's become shy - but wasn't before."
I don't know, that comes perilously close to leaking sensitivie information. What does Rumsfeld know about bin Laden's shyness?
Good day for hallucinators
PITTSBURGH Nov 30, 2005 — Designers of a Flight 93 memorial have made a bowl-shaped piece of land its centerpiece, replacing a crescent-shape design that some critics had said was a symbol honoring terrorists, officials announced Wednesday.
The new design for the memorial, to be built on the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, crash near Shanksville, features most of the details of the original, which was unveiled in September after a worldwide design competition.
But a round, bowl-shaped area would replace a "Crescent of Embrace," a crescent-shaped cluster of maple trees.
In September, Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., criticized the design in a letter to the National Park Service Director, saying many questioned the shape "because of the crescent's prominent use as a symbol in Islam and the fact that the hijackers were radical Islamists."
Paul Murdoch, president of Paul Murdoch Architects, which designed the memorial, had called the criticism of the crescent an "unfortunate diversion," but said they were sensitive to the concerns.
Whew. Thanks the Gods. I mean, if that crescent thing had been built, I just might've strapped me on a bomb belt and headed to Shanksville.
[via an exultant and, I believe, panting Michelle Malkin]
UPDATE: Oh, this is too rich. Apparently, this guy still thinks it looks like a crescent.
The redesigned flight 93 memorial, announced today, still contains all of the features that made it a terrorist memorial. Architect Paul Murdoch's infamous red crescent is still there, still planted with red maple trees, still inscribed in the exact same circle as before, and with the same two crescent tips still intact. Thus the crescent bisector defined by these crescent tips is also the same as before. It still points almost exactly to Mecca, making the crescent a Mihrab (an Islamic prayer station, where the believer faces into a crescent, towards Mecca, to perform his ritual prostrations).The design still incorporates a separate upper terrorist-memorial wall, centered precisely on the red-maple crescent. There are still 44 translucent blocks on the flight path to the crash site, matching the total number of dead, instead of just the forty translucent blocks that are dedicated to the forty murdered Americans. Lastly, the Tower of Voices part of the memorial is still an Islamic prayer-time sundial.
Kooks. And just follow that last link, which seems to suggest that the "44 translucent blocks" are meant to memorialize the four dead hijackers. It has a lot of anaylsis of "pixels" and other flim-flammery, but comes down to this: The designer has said that the date of the crash will be inscribed on the "four blocks" not the names of the terrorists. But a dumbass like this, of course, calls this a "cover story." (For what, printing the date of the crash?) What a nut.
[via the ever-credulous Corner]
Jerk of the year
PORTLAND, Ore. -- In a surgical strike from Capitol Hill, Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho) has eliminated a little-known agency that counts endangered fish in the Columbia River.
The Fish Passage Center, with just 12 employees and a budget of $1.3 million, has been killed because it did not count fish in a way that suited Craig.
"Data cloaked in advocacy create confusion," Craig said on the Senate floor this month, after successfully inserting language in an energy and water appropriations bill that bans all future funding for the Fish Passage Center. "False science leads people to false choices."
Here in Portland, Michele DeHart, a fish biologist who is the longtime manager of the center, said she is not mad at Craig.
"What's the point?" asked DeHart, 55, who for nearly 20 years has run the agency that keeps score on the survival of endangered salmon as they negotiate federal dams in the Columbia and Snake rivers.
"I have never met the man," she said. "Never talked to him. No one from his office ever contacted us. I guess I am flabbergasted. We are biologists and computer scientists, and what we do is just math. Math can't hurt you."
But the mathematics of protecting salmon swimming in the nation's largest hydroelectric system can hurt your pocketbook -- particularly in the Northwest, where dams supply power to four out of five homes, more than anywhere in the country.
Salmon math has clearly riled up Craig, who in his last election campaign in 2002 received more money from electric utilities than from any other industry and who has been named "legislator of the year" by the National Hydropower Association.
The Fish Passage Center has documented, in excruciating statistical detail, how the Columbia-Snake hydroelectric system kills salmon. Its analyses of fish survival data also suggest that one way to increase salmon survival is to spill more water over dams, rather than feed it through electrical turbines.
Damn fish counters. Yay hydroelectric power! [via email from old friend Jason MacDonald]
Idiot # 1
Except, of course, the news isn't "fake." Biased? Yes, but it's supposed to be - it's part of the propaganda campaign. Propaganda is important in any war, but it's vital in a media war.That's not fascism; that's fighting a battle where no one gets shot at and no one gets killed.
Idiot # 2
The truth of the matter is, we need to win the war before we can worry about leaving behind a pristine democracy, and what is happening here, it seems to me, is no different than, say, the LA Times or the New York Times reprinting press-releases from the anti-gun lobby—the difference being that while there is clearly a problem with such “journalism” in a free and long-established democratic republic (with an established “free” press), I’m not so sure I see “largely factual” pro-American “propaganda” as too much of a problem if it helps to burnish the image of Americans in the eyes of skeptical Iraqis long under the boot heel of a tyranical dictator—and in doing so, helps save soldiers lives and expedites the victory on the ground and the establishment of a strong and viable Iraqi government.
Idiot # 3
See the forest, not the trees. This is not the LA Times against the US government. This is the LA Times lashing out at newspapers that are actually making money.
Hey, what's a little fake news, eh? It's good enough for this country, after all.
And by the way, doofuses, it's not clear at all whether these stories are or are not fake. From the LA Times article:
The storyboards, several of which were obtained by The Times, read more like press releases than news stories. They often contain anonymous quotes from U.S. military officials; it is unclear whether the quotes are authentic.
"Absolute truth was not an essential element of these stories," said the senior military official who spent this year in Iraq.
Not "fake" but "not absolutely truthful."
Bill Sammon, super-moral truth teller
That moral compass will allow you to connect with mainstream America in a way that the mainstream media is not doing right now.
Hey that's super! And what examples can he give of that moral compass guiding his work? Why Al Gore in 1999, in a story that Sammon "broke" about Gore allegedly releasing water from a dam to take a canoe ride:
Another moment for bringing moral clarity to news coverage occurred when Sammon covered Al Gore’s campaign during the 2000 presidential election. On one campaign stop, Gore took a canoe ride down the Connecticut River to promote his support of environmental policies.
Sammon learned that Gore had instructed local officials to release water from a dam upriver and raise the water level by a foot in order to facilitate his canoe ride. Because the area was experiencing a drought, the water level in the river had fallen. Officials refused to raise the water level previously in order to preserve water for other uses.
After confirming his information, Sammon wrote a front-page story for The Washington Times exposing Gore’s promotion of policies to protect the environment while simultaneously wasting water during a drought.
“It caused quite a little scandal for a number of days and even weeks,” he said.
Great story. But I'm left to wonder if shading the truth, misquoting sources and leaving out important contextual information is all part of Sammon's moral compass?
As the incomparable Bob Somerby explained at the time, the dam people released water every single day, and officials there merely moved up the release by a few hours, apparently at the request of the Secret Service, not Gore. And Sammon ignored those facts:
...How hard did Sammon work to avoid saying "daily?" Here's how he quoted one official, smoothly avoiding the word:
SAMMON: Bill Shaheen, husband of the governor [of New Hampshire] and chairman of the Gore 2000 campaign in New Hampshire, downplayed the significance of the water discharge, saying the utility periodically releases water anyway.
"Periodically" replaces "daily" in Sammon's effort to maintain his gimmicked-up tale. In two full days of reporting his story, Sammon never told readers the dam releases water every day. As we've mentioned, he did quote a dam employee saying, of the water release, "It's a first for me, and I've been in this job for 16 years." Local papers explained to readers about the daily release of water. Sammon, a sophist spinning a story, decided to deep-six that fact.
Bill Sammon, man of morals.
He's rubber, you're glue
I'm not exactly in a great position to throw stones about name-calling, but I do it less than I used to and I always try to do it in the context of an argument.
That sounds about right. He's way into visual name-calling now:
For instance, from a Washington Post article:
Other swimmers who have been through similar transitions, whose success has brought increased notoriety, say there's only one way to handle the shift: Grow up. Fast.
The Boston Globe:
Filling the reality vacuum is Bluff's closest thing to a celebrity or, for that matter, a patriarch. Ennis Lauer won his notoriety on a TV endurance contest called "Grit!" His fame translated into finances, which enabled him to sponsor a "mission" to "Terrestria," AFA-speak for the country beyond Bluff.
The Sacramento Bee:
When Thomas remarked that it would be awesome to have a drink named after him, Marcum obliged with The Paul Thomas, a rum and Coke-like concoction with the requisite secret ingredients."Maybe one day, it'll be in every bar, nationwide, coast to coast," Thomas said, eyes going soft at the idea of his imminent notoriety. "I can dream."
It is not a stand-in for "popular." OK?
Acutally, now that I think about it, that's more of a direct quote.
And one simple question for Krauthammer: What if the miscreant you so gleefully hang by his thumbs turns out to be innocent? Do we still get to keep our moral authority?
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Making a list, checking it twice
A Message from Bill: Media Operations that Traffic in Defamation
The following media operations have regularly helped distribute defamation and false information supplied by far left websites:
- New York Daily News
- The St. Petersburg Times
These are the worst offenders. In the months to come, we expect to add more names to this list. We recommend that you do not patronize these operations and that advertisers do the same. They are dishonest and not worth your time and money.
How simply adorable! Unhelpfully, O'Reilly doesn't bother to explain why, exactly, these places are 'defaming' him, so I guess we'll just have to take him at his word that we will no longer be able to enjoy our absolute favoritist evening host Rita Cosby whose staff was "simply buzzing" the other day about interviewing non-has-beens like Dennis Rodman.
I'm intrigued that Bill hasn't provided a bigger link to this hideous defamation on his main web page. Just wander around, the only way you can get to it is if you click on "About Bill" and then scroll down to "Media Defamation." (which immediately made me wonder whether some evil anti-American was defaming the media)
BONUS: And check out Bill's favorite books. The Quiet American? Interesting choice. And how about favorite films? Shampoo? Saturday Night Fever? Easy Rider? We're seeing a theme, methinks.
[via Media Matters, which provides some classic O'Reilly fascisitc bluster]
Monday, November 28, 2005
Reporting vs. "Reporting"
Ahem. If this dispatch were handed to me by a person who called himself a reporter, I'd chuck it back at him and tell him to go back and get me a story. Wandering around a city with a guide, noting the squalor, reading some signs and remarking that children played in the street and smiled does not count as reporting. It is Third World tourism.
Look, it's all well and good that Michael Totten is in Lebanon for some reason. It's great that he's read up on his Lebanese, Syrian and Israeli history. But if he wants to be a real reporter, you know, the kind that Reynolds and his ilk take pains to sneer at ad nauseum, he needs to actually stop talking to his guide and start engaging the people who live there. Knock on some doors. Talk to the shopowners. Find out what they really think. Find a soldier. Talk to him. Talk to an NGO. Find everyone you can grab and later fashion something that resembles some sort of truth.
Otherwise, you're left with an amateurish travelogue, not reporting.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
He knows gasbags
And the lead editorial --huge in its length-- is titled >"The way forward in Iraq."
Like I --or hundreds of thousands of other Golden State residents-- am going to read that. The involuntary laughter at pretension that vast was followed by a head shake. They just don't get it at Spring Street, do they?
Just a guess: No one on the editorial staff has a day's experience in uniform, or a week's run in the Pentagon or the White House. They are all college newspaper alums, and a couple have been to a lecture by a professor recently returned from Baghdad. Just a bunch of gasbags on the west coast telling each other they know the score, and "the way forward." That's actually funny beyond expression. It is aHoliday Inn commercial.
How cute! Hewitt mocks what he can't be bothered to read (A not absurd assumption, since he doesn't even link to the massive, unwieldy, way-too-long, 1,105-word editorial). Hugh is the height of intellectual honesty.
And that line about "a week's run in the Pentagon or the White House," is precious. Anyone who knows Mr. Hewitt's history knows that he was a low-level Reagan administration operative and builder of the Nixon library (good for you, Hughie!), which apparently gives him extra-special street cred when it comes to critiquing Supreme Court justices, the media, the Iraq war and anything else that comes down the pike.
Yes, I'd love for Mr. Hewitt to explain how low-level White House hacks and Nixon-lovers have more credibility to comment on matters of state than the editorial page of one of the top-ranked newspapers in the country.
EXTRA CREDIT: For those who can count the number of times the phrase "anti-American" can be found in Hewitt's post.
In Vietnam, the brass talked happy-talk, the press talked to grunts and reported that the war was going worse than we were told. But now it's Americans who are talking to the grunts, and, as StrategyPage noted last year, getting a different picture of how the war is going:
It's not surprising, then, that the more connection people have to the war, the better they think things are going. That's precisely the opposite of what we saw in Vietnam, of course.
A liberal hawk who supported -- and still supports -- the war, from March 2005:
The Vietnam analogy is at work in a more pernicious sense as well. Simply put, U.S. officials in Baghdad have in the past tended not to tell the whole truth. It is of course in their interest to convey good news. They've performed their job so well, however, that no one believes them anymore. The public's exposure to this has mostly been confined to shifting reports about the numbers of Iraqi forces and other upbeat but hollow assessments put out by U.S. officials. Embassy and military officials in Iraq have told me and others, with a straight face, that the airport road is the safest road in Iraq, that Iyad Allawi will win the election by a landslide, that U.S. forces have killed more insurgents than the same officials have said even exist, and other tales too numerous to list. Dedication to the mission, career advancement, an impulse to spin--whatever the motive, the public face of the U.S. mission in Iraq has been so disconnected from reality for so long that were its assessments eventually to jibe with the whole truth, it would have no more persuasive power than the boy who cried wolf. For if the Baghdad press corps has a bias, it is a bias against bullshit.
I've always wondered about the Happy Iraqers. The ones who continue to note how dispatches from the front lines tell a supremely positive (and more factually accurate) story compared to what is reported in the hideous, anti-American mainstream press, who apparently want us all to fail. Personally, I think the milblogs are a fanatastic thing, and I want more of it.
But let's be serious. In Happy Iraq, things are going super. And who doesn't want to see us succeed? Who doesn't want a peaceful, democratic Iraq? But what are you really getting from a front-line grunt: We killed some insurgents. We painted some schools. We did some good. And good for them, we need more of that. But a soldier -- or anyone involved in Iraq -- wants to believe that what they are doing is succeeding. I would want to succeed. So, of course, I would play up what went right. I would hope for that to be true. But, ultimately, the real unanswered question, is are they really winning us the war?
That, of course, is an an altogether different matter, and difficult for anyone to answer. Are we stopping sectarian strife? Are we stopping torture and honor killings and assassinations? Are we not already in the midst of a civil war? It would be a hard thing for anyone -- let alone a single soldier in, say, Mosul, to argue otherwise.
And before we go, Prof. Reynolds reminds us again why it is wrong -- so very wrong -- to criticize anything President Kerry would have done in Iraq:
UPDATE: This seems different, too:
Seventy percent of people sursaying morale is hurt "a lot," according to a poll taken by RT Strategies. Even self-identified Democrats agree: 55 percent believe criticism hurts morale, while 21 percent say it helps morale. . . Just three of 10 adults accept that Democrats are leveling criticism because they believe this will help U.S. efforts in Iraq. A majority believes the motive is really to "gain a partisan political advantage." It's just not 1969, however much some people might wish otherwise.veyed said that criticism of the war by Democratic senators hurts troop morale -- with 44 percent.
Thanks, professor. We'll file this post under: Nascent Fascism
UPDATE: Missed this previously, but Ezra Klein links to this great post by right-of-center blogger John Cole (which includes an email from an Iraq veteran). Some of the best analysis of the media coverage I've seen yet. And, for the record, I agree. The broadcast -- and to a certain extent print -- media do sensationalize the bad, an occurence that happens in every media market from Topeka to Tampa to Timbuktu. I think it's reasonable to critique the coverage on that basis. But to automatically conclude that the reporters there are rooting for us to fail is, I think, childish and unhelpful, a point I've made several times in the past.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Is Lanham, Md., urban?
Of many challenges in a low-achieving school, sometimes getting students to class is the hardest. Anderson learned that again this month, when six students were arrested after a school bus fight morphed into a melee. Police used pepper spray and a stun gun in an incident that spun strangely out of control.
Anderson has one of the toughest jobs in education: leader of an urban public high school with nowhere to go but up. High teacher turnover, low test scores, transient students, a reputation -- perhaps overblown -- as a "tough" school, racial achievement gaps, a working-class parent population that can be hard to reach. It's a litany familiar to many principals across the country.
Now why would they call it urban? It's not located in the District, indeed, Prince George's County, Md., is most certainly a suburb of Washington, DC. But here's the rub. PG County has a lot of 'minorities' in it. So, if you live in a community of detached, single-family homes, but you happen to live around a number of black people, you are necessarily "urban." Otherwise, you live in the pleasant "suburbs" of, say, Fairfax or Montgomery counties.
Admittedly, this is picking nits, but I think it speaks to a greater point about assumptions, identity, and race. I'd expect better from The Post.
Friday, November 25, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
The facts, yet again, are biased
My 17 year-old daughter is conservative but not across-the-board, and she has a very open mind. In fact, she led the family rebellion that caused us to re-subcribe to the Washington Post after I had cancelled our subscription in the summer of 2004.
I'm glad she did. Now, every morning she reads the headlines from both the Post and the Washington Times. Often the bias of the Post headlines leaves her shaking her head.
Today, the Post's headline for its story on Vice President Cheney's speech was "Cheney Again Assails Critics of War." (The Times said "Cheney hits Democrats on war tack). By using the word "again," the Post signaled to its readers that there was nothing new to report, and that Cheney was merely up to his old tricks. Nowhere in the article, however, does the Post make any mention of a prior instance in which Cheney "assailed" war critics.
Really. How dare the biased Washington Post point out in a perfectly true headline that Cheney has twice assailed critics of pre-war intelligence? It's like they're trying to tell us what really happened or something.
I'm telling you, these people don't even know what they're angry about any more.
And Scott, reading is tough, but, yes the Post does reference his previous attacks in the general context of the ramped-up campaign coming from the White House.
During his speech, Cheney sought to draw a distinction between what he called legitimate debate over the war and "dishonest" and "reprehensible" charges that the administration twisted prewar intelligence to justify invading Iraq in March 2003. Cheney repeated assertions -- disputed by some senators -- that members of Congress had access to the same intelligence that was provided to Bush about the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction under the rule of Saddam Hussein.
Actually, there's a nit to pick there, since Cheney quite clearly steers away from the "same intelligence" line that Bush asserted, falsely, to a mere mention of "the intlligence." So.
Chris Whitley dead at 45
If you haven't heard him, you've missed out. Living with the Law is a good place to start, followed, I think, by Dirt Floor, then Rocket House. Just simply an overwhelming artist who played his National steel guitar with an ancient blues ache.
He was a heavy smoker who apparently was diagnosed with the terminal illness only very recently. I can attest to the heavy smoking part. When I saw him play a few year's back at Joe's Pub in New York, in between songs, he asked the audience for a smoke. No one had one, so he simply strode offstage, leaving the audience looking uncomfortably looking at one another. He came back about a minute later. That was also the show where he threatened to shoot the board operator, explaining: "I've got a .45 in my case."
He had a notorious drug problem, and something seemed to be up this summer when he cancelled a string of shows (including one I intended to go to in Hoboken).
What terrible news. What a terrible loss.
UPDATE: Reuters reports that a new album entitled "Reiter In" is in the can. Whitley was a hell of a productive guy over the last few years. When the new album is released, it will mark five records over the last two years of his life. I wonder if he knew something was up.
LATER: A really fine interview with Whitley, from 1995. He says things about Living with the Law, and the strength of the songs on that album as acoustic numbers, that I tend to agree with.
LATEST: Aw, hell, this is a great story about the rise, fall and semi-righting of the Whitley ship. Fine writing.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Another crusade against phantoms
"Guys are getting shot at in the Middle East, and the wives and kids of the military veterans have to come to the base and buy this stuff?" explained the army soldier, who did not want to be identified for this article. He also noted that he believed the military would probably not sell any clothing lines that could be construed to be Christian-themed.
"Being a Marine, of course I believe that the Army has sold out to political correctness," said Marine Lt. Col. Rick Miles after being shown a Mecca t-shirt purchased from an Army PX. Miles is currently home on leave from Fallujah, Iraq. (See Photo)
Mary Nagle, whose daughter is with the U.S. Army Reserve Military Police stationed in Qatar, said her first impression was to think of Islam when viewing the Mecca t-shirt. "I think people would think of Islam, and it's something that they would not want to be involved with," Nagle said. "What we have seen so far in the foreign land having to do with Mecca [is that it] has to do with killings," Nagle added.
The clothing manufacturer Mecca USA, claims that the name was derived from the hip-hop slang term for the Manhattan borough of New York City and has no affiliation with the holy city of Islam.
"Mecca has been around way before 9/11. It really has nothing to do with Islam, terrorism and all of that crap," insisted Matthew Sprague, the director of Mecca USA, in an interview with Cybercast News Service.
However, Cybercast News Service discovered that the hip-hop slang term for Brooklyn is Medina, the other holy city of Islam. Hip-hop music is said to have a heavy Islamic influence dating back to at least the 1960s, having become very
influential by the late 1980s. And the substitution of the name "Mecca" for Manhattan may have its roots in an Islamic group known as the Five-Percenters, a breakaway sect of the Nation of Islam.
Really, this is just too much. And it goes on like this.
Novakula attacks, again
According to our unofficial mascot on the flight, Novak was boarding an American flight to Chicago when he cut in front of another passenger while entering first class. The guy protested and laid a hand on Novak -- who responded by socking him and threatening to knock his teeth out.
Not mild-mannered Bob? We reached Novak in Maui, just minutes into yesterday's game."Some guy pushed me and I pushed him back," he said, shouting into the phone from the stands. "That's all there was to it." Both offending parties were scolded by airline staff and huffed to their respective seats.
Get this man into the ring.
On the afternoon of last year's New Hampshire primary, Robert Novak was in the Merrimack Diner in Manchester broadcasting a segment of Crossfire. It was a garden-variety event for Novak, then on his 12th presidential campaign and his umpteenth edition of CNN's gabfest, until a local man, furious with Novak for outing a covert C.I.A. agent in his syndicated column, started shouting at him during a commercial break. "You're a traitor!" he shrieked. "You're a traitor!" The man was hushed up, the program resumed, and Novak talked more politics.
But afterward, as Novak made his way to the CNN bus, his tormentor followed, taunted him some more, and allegedly shoved him from behind. Novak, a short septuagenarian whose three-piece suits hide a considerable gut, grabbed the much larger man by the arm and gave him a shove back, sending him sprawling. Then he prepared for more serious skirmishing. "Novak looked like a little caged animal, fist locked and cocked back," an unsympathetic observer later wrote, "like a garden troll gone insane." Before he could take another swing, his Crossfire counterpart Paul Begala dragged him away.
Like a garden troll gone insane. Priceless.
At least Novak will have another career to turn to when he hands in his pen.
[Hat tip, Romenesko.]
Scalia in Bizarro world
November 22, 2005 -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says the high court did not inject itself into the 2000 presidential election.
Speaking at the Time Warner Center last night, Scalia said: "The election was dragged into the courts by the Gore people. We did not go looking for trouble."
Uh, Justice Scalia? Bush filed the suit to block the recounts on Nov. 11, 2000, not Gore. Just read here Jeffey Toobin in the indispensible "Too Close to Call" to get a sense of how principled Republicans like John Danforth resisted the idea to use a lawsuit to win the presidency. [Via TPM]
Never let the facts get in the way of a great story.
It's Jean Schmidt. Run away!
WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 - A colonel in the Marine reserves has taken issue with how his views were represented in a Republican attack last week on Representative Murtha.
Speaking on the House floor on Friday, Representative Jean Schmidt, Republican of Ohio, asserted that the colonel had "asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, marines never do."
But a spokeswoman for the colonel, Danny R. Bubp, said Ms. Schmidt had misconstrued their conversation.
While Mr. Bubp, a Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives, opposes a quick withdrawal for forces, "he did not mention Congressman Murtha by name nor did he mean to disparage Congressman Murtha," said Karen Tabor, his spokeswoman. "He feels as though the words that Congresswoman Schmidt chose did not represent their conversation."
Asked to respond on Monday, the congresswoman's office said only, "Mrs.
Schmidt's statement was never meant to disparage Congressman Murtha."
Super toxic Schmidt.
UPDATE: I see others are all over this. Here's the Enquirer story.
But we fed those people we tortured!
Whereas the Baghdad detainees appeared to have been starved and were covered with lacerations and bruises, terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have bulked up from their three square Halal meals a day and are receiving sophisticated medical care—often the first medical care they have received in their lives. The Baghdad prison contained instruments of torture, like a medieval-style mace; the American rules for interrogation in every theater of conflict required that the detainees be treated humanely, and the authorities have investigated and punished any deviation from that standard.
That's swell. I'm sure this will be great comfort to, for instance, the guy at Bagram whose legs were pulpified by repeated beatings. But, hey, he died with a full stomach so it's all cool.
Her main thesis seems to be: Well, sure we abuse, we do "torture-lite" and we perform all sorts of other college-type pranks (who doesn't?), but we don't do it systematically and we don't do it real bad like the Iraqis in Baghdad do.
Is this what it's come to?
Sunday, November 20, 2005
PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH: You would think the myth that General Shinseki was fired because of his comments on troop deployment in Iraq wouldn't get any traction anymore.
Yeah, it's a big myth. Shinseki just voluntarily stepped away and wandered off into the wilderness.
Do the both of these gentlemen really believe that the Bush administration didn't grease the skids for Gen. Shinseki? The evidence seems fairly clear that movement was afoot to get him the hell out. Just take a look at this post by a former Colonel, and a person who despises Shinseki, who remarks just how unusual a 14-month-in-advance replacement announcment is.
So was Shinseki fired? No. And, yes, he served out his term. Let's be accuate about that. But what's the real point here? Bush and Rumsfeld tried desparately to force him out, neuter him, make him irrelevant, and embarrass him for speaking candidly about the (completely accurate) need for more troops -- both privately and before Congress.
So, in the end, he was punished and marginalized for speaking the truth. For some people in this crazy country, I guess, that's a good thing.
...The war in Iraq is steadily being won. And, since the terrorists in general and al Qaeda in particular have chosen to make conquering Iraq their number one priority, the victory is far more important than the original ousting of Saddam and his Baathists. The latest evidence that things are going our way appeared today in the form of advertisements in three Jordanian newspapers, paid for by 57 of al-Zarqawi's relatives, including his brother...
Yeah, funny thing that. Can someone remind me how it was that al Qaeda made conquering Iraq their number one priority? Can someone remind me whether it was a breeding ground for terrorists before we liberated it? Anyone?
In Washington, a U.S. official said the identities of the terror suspects killed was unknown. Asked if they could include al-Zarqawi, the official replied: "There are efforts under way to determine if he was killed."
That seems like some weak stuff to me. Arab outlets seem to be more confident, but the sourcing on this is non-existent. And remember, Zarqawi has been killed off about half-a-dozen times prior to this, so we'll have to see and hope.
UPDATE: Not much new, just a lot of echoes and speculation. But I can't let this pass from Daily Pundit, who quotes an Associated Press story that appeared on the LAT's website:
U.S. forces sealed off a house in the northern city of Mosul where eight suspected Al Qaeda members died in a gunfight -- some by their own hand to avoid capture. A U.S. official said today that efforts were under way to determine if terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was among the dead.
Insurgents, meanwhile, killed an American soldier and a Marine in separate attacks over the weekend, while a British soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in the south.
Daily Pundit opines thus:
Above is an example of how the liberal mainstream media reports any possibility of good news from Iraq - a passing nod to whatever the good news might be, immediately followed by as much bad news from Iraq as they can slip in.
Uh, clearly, Mr. Daily Pundit didn't catch that "By The Associated Press" byline, because he then unwittingly goes on to quote approvingly to an update from, yes, the same AP linked to by WTOP's website. He introduces it by noting: "Below is an example of reporting of the same incident from an actual journalism outlet, rather than a band of liberal and left-wing hack propagandists."
Hey, dumbass. It's the same liberal, left-wing hack propagandist outlet reporting the same story. One story was clearly what is called a "Lead-all" which had a double-barrelled lead including a round-up of all that happened in Iraq that day. The other was a straight piece that focused on the Zarqawi speculation.
Anyone can be a press critic. Unless they're idiots. Then they should just shut up.
The terror hit Ali Nasir Jabr, a 12-year-old with sad eyes, on Aug. 20, when four men with guns entered his family's house in Samarra and began remarking about the family's Shiite identity. Ali, who was feigning sleep on a mat on the floor, said he heard his mother answer that the family had been living in the city for more than 18 years.
Then the men shot to death his mother and father, two brothers and a sister. Ali ran to a neighbor's house to call for help, and he then returned alone to wait for rescue workers.
"I checked them, I kissed them, one by one," Ali said, sitting in a mosque in central Baghdad, his pants cinched tight with a small belt. "Maybe somebody was still alive."
Ali now lives in Kut in southern Iraq with his uncle. Requirements for autopsies, death certificates and funeral plans forced him to travel to three cities with the five bodies in the summer heat. He helped wrap and carry each one. At the funeral in a mixed area north of here, a dozen friends with guns stood guard, his uncle said.
Read it all.
Best preposterous talking point of the day
Several Republicans who were on the House floor said afterward that Ms. Schmidt did not appear to know she was referring to a much-decorated veteran.
"The poor lady didn't know Jack Murtha was a Marine - she really just ran into a hornet's nest," said Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia.
Representative David Dreier of California said, "Very clearly, she did not know that Jack Murtha was a Marine."
Officer, I had no idea smoking crack was illegal. Honest!
UPDATE: Perhaps this is a better analogy:
Mr. Lippman: It's come to my attention that you and the cleaning woman have engaged in sexual intercourse on the desk in your office. Is that correct?
George Costanza: Who said that?
Mr. Lippman: She did.
George Costanza: [pause] Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell you, I gotta plead ignorance on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing is frowned upon... you know, cause I've worked in a lot of offices, and I tell you, people do that all the time.
ALSO: From the last two grafs of the story, couldn't let this pass. Could be the quote of the week:
The 100-proof speech on the House floor may shore up Ms. Schmidt's standing inside her party's right flank.
"I was listening to talk radio today, and people were calling in and praising her," said Chris Finney, a Cincinnati Republican allied with Ms. Schmidt's local rivals. "They like that jingoistic thinking."
That's what this country needs. More jingoism. Now what crappy country can we blow up next?
LATER: Welcome, Talking Points Memorians.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Can't help myself
OSM Media, LLC All Rights Reserved
So it's Open Source Media Media, LLC?
That makes sense.
A non-hackish exploration of the pre-war intelligence furor
The only issue I take with her are these two grafs:
A news analysis in The Washington Post also points to holes in the argument that "Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence."
Of course, many Bush supporters will no doubt say that the Post critique is driven by ideological bias and the desire to take down Bush. And so we're back to square one: it all depends on the political lens through which different commentators view the evidence.
Well, it's all fine and good that Bush supporters think that way. But even if the Post were a Bush-bashing rag made insane by the President's actions, that wouldn't make their assertions untrue. As Ms. Young aptly states: "The charge that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence data either is true, or isn't true. There's no such thing as an unpatriotic fact." [Via Hit and Run]
Pollock, Warhol paintings stolen in Pa.
An oil painting by Jackson Pollock and a silkscreen by Andy Warhol were stolen from a museum by thieves who shattered a glass door in the back of the building, officials said.
The Pollock was likely worth about $11.6 million and the Warhol had a value of about $15,000, experts said.
The thieves had disappeared from the Everhart Museum by the time police arrived _ four minutes after the alarm sounded at 2:30 a.m. Friday. Surveillance cameras were not working, officials said.
The Pollock was on loan from a private collector. Eep.
What personal attacks?
The Democrats mainly expressed outrage over the vicious personal attacks on Murtha by the President and Vice-President--which, of course, never occurred.
Er, perhaps they were referring to this?
In a broadside issued Thursday night, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said that it is"baffling that [Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha] is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party."
I guess The Artist Formerly Known As Hindrocket believes this a compliment.
Memo to Open Source Media
Philly.com just called. They want their logo back.
Lucent tried to call, but they don't have any money.
UPDATE: Welcome, Eschatonians. And, for the record, I am interested in seeing the OSM thing work. I think it'd be good if it were done well. Right now, though it's -- how shall we say? -- undercooked.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Information overload, my eyes are burning
Why change the name? Further research indicated that many OSM bloggers actually blog “au naturale,” like Jeff Goldstein, or in a daring peek-a-boo babydoll, like Frank J.
UPDATE: I really should've kept reading, because this (purportedly satirical) FAQ probably more closely resembles the real business model than the writer realizes:
How will it work? Without getting overly technical, the powerful multi-phase OSM business model has been finely honed through careful analysis. The following Power Point slide illustrates the basic value-creation process:
In Phase A, various important blogosphere blogs are coerced into a mutual non-aggression pact under the auspices of the OSM directorate. This is very similar to NATO, but French people are excluded. In Phase number B, there is large alcohol party in New York, which is an important center for media business discussions. In Phase 3, the system creates values, which are translated into very large checks for everybody. In Phase number D, I drive my new yacht, the “Ha Ha Ha,” to a tax-free Caribbean island.
A good Krauthammer column
Let's be clear. Intelligent design may be interesting as theology, but as science it is a fraud. It is a self-enclosed, tautological "theory" whose only holding is that when there are gaps in some area of scientific knowledge -- in this case, evolution -- they are to be filled by God. It is a "theory" that admits that evolution and natural selection explain such things as the development of drug resistance in bacteria and other such evolutionary changes within species but also says that every once in a while God steps into this world of constant and accumulating change and says, "I think I'll make me a lemur today." A "theory" that violates the most basic requirement of anything pretending to be science -- that it be empirically disprovable. How does one empirically disprove the proposition that God was behind the lemur, or evolution -- or behind the motion of the tides or the "strong force" that holds the atom together?
Yay for Krauthammer.
Calling his bluff
House Republicans sought a showdown Friday with Democrats on a proposal by one of their most senior members to force an end to the U.S. deployment of troops in Iraq.
Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., offered the resolution demanding a pullout. The GOP-run House was expected to reject it — and make a prominent statement about where Congress stands on Iraq — as the chamber scurried toward a Thanksgiving break.
"We'll let the members debate it and then let them vote on it," said Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the acting majority leader.
Now Hastert and Blount are holding a press conference. They say debate will be at 6 PM, vote at 7. Get the popcorn.
It's all the media's fault
The September 11 attacks quickly became the meat of the conversation. But these nice folks didn’t mention the horror or death or the survivors or the wounding of a city or brave firefighters or fatherless children. They didn’t even offer a personal tale of the day. There were no “I remember exactly what I was doing when I heard” stories.
The talk went straight to the media coverage. One woman made comments about how the flow of information about it all slowed dramatically in the weeks shortly after the attacks. Why did “they” stop showing certain pictures from that day, another asked. A mainstream media conspiracy was afoot, it seemed to them. It was clear to me that none of them have ever worked in the news business.
I believe many of these people have come up with the information equivalent of the biggest mistake in dirty politics. As we know in politics, it’s not the alleged crime but the cover-up that takes you down. To some of these bloggers, it is not the story that matters but the coverage. And they want to use the coverage to take down whatever news outlet doesn’t fit in their world.
Just as I suspected, and it's something I'm always struck by when I visit these sites. Nothing, nothing gets the old blood a-boiling at InstaPundit or Power Line than when the coverage turns to the purported slights emanating from the Evil Big Media Jerk-heads. I continue to be flummoxed by it. The press are siding with the terrorists. The press are engaged in a conspiracy. The press are causing us to lose the war. The press are this and that and the other thing.
It's silly and childish.
If we didn't have those 2,100 corpses, everyone would just love this war!
In the triumphalism after seeing Milosevic go down without a single American death, the Taliban implode at very little cost, and Saddam removed from power with little more than 100 fatalities, there was the assumption that the United States could simply nod and dictators would quail and democracy would follow. Had we lost 100 in birthing democracy and not 2,000, or seen purple fingers only and not IEDs on Dan Rather's nightly broadcasts, today's critics would be arguing over who first thought up the idea of removing Saddam and implementing democratic changes.
So without our 2,100 losses, nearly all the present critics would be either silent or grandstanding their support — in the manner that three quarters of the American population who polled that they were in favor of the war once they saw the statue of Saddam fall.
Yeah, that tiny little exception of 2,100 dead. Such a small, insiginificant thing.
You know, I agree with this
But the “Bush lied to us” whine is much worse when it comes from the mouths of those who insisted only three years ago, in voting for the war, that they were taking a heroic stand in defence of national security. Half the Democratic members of the Senate — oddly enough, including all those with serious presidential aspirations — John Kerry, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden — voted for the war in 2002. The awful truth about many of these people is that their cynicism in distancing themselves from their support for the war is only matched by their cynicism in originally supporting it.
Let me be clear: some Democrats — Joe Lieberman springs to mind — supported the war for the right reasons, and continue to do so. Others — Ted Kennedy, Russell Feingold — opposed it all along. But most of those now recanting made a straight political calculation in voting to authorise force in the first place.
These were the ambitious Democrats who thought they had learnt the lessons of 1991. Then you may recall, the vast majority of the party’s senators voted against the first Iraq war. The arguments then were not about right but might, or America’s perceived lack of it. There was talk of hundreds of thousands of body bags. Most of the Democrats, fearing the country was still in the grip of Vietnam syndrome, wanted nothing to do with it. They wanted to be able to say afterwards “ We told you so”, and to reap the political rewards.
In the eventfewer than 200 Americans died, and all those Democrats who had voted against the war were suddenly political carrion. So, confronted with a similar choice in October 2002, they did not want to be on the losing side again. If it was another cakewalk, and they had voted against it, the damage to their credibility as presidential candidates would be irreparable. Best to vote for it to burnish their national security credentials.
But it wasn’t a cakewalk. And now they’re trapped. So they resort to the defence of the coward throughout history: “He made me do it.” Most Americans have better memories.
I'd say that's about right, with the exception of the last point. It's true the Democrats made cynical political calculations -- who doesn't? But it's also true that the President and his cronies quite clearly misled us by distorting the intelligence. Kerry voted for the resolution because he felt at the time that he would have been political dead meat had he not. Hillary figured she'd be done in '08 if she hadn't. I guess it's up to those who voted for them to sort out whether that makes them dishonorable people.
Newspaper memo from the future
It is with great sadness that I, your editor, announce the layoff of 159 people in our newsroom. These people will be offered a generous severance package, featuring a fabulous retirement cake, our hearty thanks for their many years of toil, and 10 percent off their newspaper subscription.
But we must look ahead. The layoffs will leave us with one full-time reporter, Billy Reston, who just graduated from Lincoln High School and says he is healthy enough not to require medical insurance. Billy's job responsibilities will be split among reporting, editing, photography, and keeping our Web page updated every 30 seconds.
This decision will have absolutely no impact on the quality of the newspaper our cherished readers will receive. I have it on good authority, from studying the memos of other editors throughout the country, that it doesn't matter how many people you lay off or buy out, or how many years of experience they have, quality always remains at the same extraordinarily high, prize-winning level.
More "newspapers are imploding" kvetching here.
Worse than Jimmy Carter? Could Be
In the tradition of his former boss Jimmy Carter, ex-CIA director Stansfield Turner has gone abroad to stab his country in the back.
Oh dear. What could he have said? Bush talks funny? Cheney throws like a girl? No, no, much worse.
A former CIA director has claimed that torture is condoned and even approved by the Bush government.
The devastating accusations have been made by Admiral Stansfield Turner who labelled Dick Cheney "a vice president for torture".
He said: "We have crossed the line into dangerous territory".
The American Senate says torture should be banned - whatever the justification. But President Bush has threatened to veto their ruling.
The former spymaster claims President Bush is not telling the truth when he says that torture is not a method used by the US.
Speaking of Bush's claims that the US does not use torture, Admiral Turner, who ran the CIA from 1977 to 1981, said: "I do not believe him".
On Dick Cheney he said "I'm embarrassed the United States has a vice president for torture. "He condones torture, what else is he?".
These words, naturally, give the vapors to the Artist Formerly known as Ass-Missile. Is it just a matter of time before we get an analysis of Turner's use of Blank Verse?
Headline of the Day
These must be really tough times in the West Wing, especially when your blow is pricey and crappy.
You see, when we went up the Mekong with Lt. Murtha, he was like stoned and stuff
I'm surprised it took this long.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Our name is Open Source Media. Or not
Our trade name is OSM, and please note that we have a TM after OSM, not after Open Source Media. We consider Open Source Media to be a description of what we are and do, not a trade name.
There are virtually no corporate names that have not been taken in some state – but what is important is the name used in the public.
We own opensourcemedia.com but we are not using that as our primary URL because we do not consider Open Source Media to be protectable name by anyone ... which is why it’s not our name.
This is getting stranger with each passing moment.
UPDATE: Some background here, and a very friendly "cease-and-desist" letter from Chris Lydon's show. [via The Poorman]
MUCH, MUCH LATER: The more Jeff Jarvis sees, the more he no likey.
...Open Source Media, the whatever-it-is, promises this — with more haughtiness
than I’d ever heard from Dan Rather — on its prevaricating post about the name:
The goal of our enterprise is to bring gravitas and legitimacy to the blogosphere…
Oh, gag me with a mitre.
I don’t think that blogs need to have legitimacy laid upon them … and
who died and made you the legitimizer?
For further updates, go back to the homepage.
An exciting Harry Potter review
Let's just say I'm not a rabid fan of the series. I read the first book, and it was charming, delightful, yah yah. Started the second, but cast it aside when it began to bore me. And haven't had any desire to revisit. I've seen all the movies, except for the first (wife is a big fan).
Simply put, this last one was a fairly tedious bore, and I've concluded that it's nearly impossible to make these books into coherent, enjoyable movies that include characters with depth that you actually care about. People flit on and off the stage, mutter some lines, the fans giggle, and the rest of us Muggles are left to shrug to one other.
The beginning of the movie is a perfect example. [Sort of Spoiler Alert!]
We see an old man making tea in a house, then going up the stairs, getting passed by a snake, looking into a room with some shifty-looking unshaven men. the men see the old man and the old man gets screwed up by a bony looking man. Cut to Harry Potter waking up (It's a dream! Or is it?) In a house somewhere, with the other Potterites. Now they're hiking, somewhere, with some adults (Ron's parents, I guess) and a new kid suddenly just appears. He's cute! Now they all grab a boot and it spins them around and they wind up in a Medieval festival, and there are a lot of quick cuts and awed-looking Harry. And then they're in a tent. And it's a lot bigger than you'd think. And Harry, I think, at this point says, "I love magic." And now they're at a Quidditch match. And suddenly they're not. And something bad is happening. And some people who look like the Ringwraiths are marching through the medieval festival. And now Harry Potter gets knocked out. And the whole fairgrounds looks like the fall of Srebrenecia, but without the bodies. Somebody is looking for Harry Potter. And now there's a big skull in the sky.
That's just the first 10 minutes.
Well, the NYT seemed to like it. But it's obvious the reviewer is a fan of the books. I submit the movies just arent' very enjoyable if you haven't read the books first.
UPDATE: And, oh geez, how could I forget to mention some of the other weird moments, like the nascent necrophilia (you'll know it when you see it), or ferrets going down people's pants or the way Ron and Harry behave like a bunch of bickering Chelsea boys. Just plain strange.
EVIL REGIMES SET TO TOPPLE?
Keep a sharp eye on fresh developments in both Canada and Cuba, two countries with rogue, corrupt and repressive regimes that don't know when to cut their losses and leave town.
We've really allowed this threat to the north gather for far too long. It's time to drop some acid and kick some Canuck ass.
UPDATE: Welcome, Eschatonians and Crooks and Liarites.
Pajamas on Fire
Would you drink a fluid out of something that said "Bloggers Do It In Their Pajamas"? I think of bodily fluids. But no matter, now the bloggers can do it in their Open Source Media. Or as somebody already quipped: Open Sores Media. Swapping semen for pus, bodily fluids-wise.
But what do you think of the new Open Source site? Is it fun to use and workable? I notice a lot of flabbiness in the writing.
And why should anyone care what these bloggers think? Who are they? Unless you're already sold on blogging, the teasers are laughable: "Blogger Joshuapundit seems quite unhappy," "War to Mobilize Democracy is 'nervous,'" Anything They Say "is pleasantly surprised."There's nothing snappy or exciting in any of that, no sense that these bloggers are likely to come out with anything more interesting than whoever was sitting next to you in the living room where you watched the evening news.
She's right. that site doesn't look good. I'm thinking that once they come down from their Tom Collins hangovers, they're going to realize the venture's not quite ready for prime time. Althouse notes that Charles Johnson of Let's Kill All The Muslims has now begun a right-wing blogger flame war. It's the friendly fire that's always most dangerous. [via Wonkette]
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The Woodward Bombshell
Woodward's statement said he testified: "I told Walter Pincus, a reporter at The Post, without naming my source, that I understood Wilson's wife worked at the CIA as a WMD analyst."Pincus said he does not recall Woodward telling him that. In an interview, Pincus said he cannot imagine he would have forgotten such a conversation around the same time he was writing about Wilson.
"Are you kidding?" Pincus said. "I certainly would have remembered that."
Pincus said Woodward may be confused about the timing and the exact nature of the conversation. He said he remembers Woodward making a vague mention to him in October 2003. That month, Pincus had written a story explaining how an administration source had contacted him about Wilson. He recalled Woodward telling him that Pincus was not the only person who had been contacted.
Woodward, who is preparing a third book on the Bush administration, has called Fitzgerald "a junkyard-dog prosecutor" who turns over every rock looking for evidence. The night before Fitzgerald announced Libby's indictment, Woodward said he did not see evidence of criminal intent or of a substantial crime behind the leak.
"When the story comes out, I'm quite confident we're going to find out that it started kind of as gossip, as chatter," he told CNN's Larry King.
Woodward also said in interviews this summer and fall that the damage done by Plame's name being revealed in the media was "quite minimal."
"When I think all of the facts come out in this case, it's going to be laughable because the consequences are not that great," he told National Public Radio this summer.
Now, let me tell you something. I am a repoter. By the time he was my age, Woodward had already scored the biggest story in American politics in a generation. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the work Woodward has done.
But somewhere along the line, it has become quite clear that Bob Woodward has crawled into bed (figuratively!) with his high-level sources. Look at that above mumbojumbo that Woodward utters. It sounds like it came from the RNC fax blaster.
Further, Bush at War, as most agree, was a book-length work of stenography. Indeed, I distinctly remember hearing an interview with Terry Gross in December of 2002, and nearly drove my car off the road when I heard this exchange: When asked if he thought we were going to war with Iraq, he hemmed, he hawed, he stalled. And then, he gave it a "50 percent chance." Now, either that's self-delusion, or that's buying the transparent crap Bush was mumbling about the U.N. and inspectors and resolutions. It doesn't pass the laugh test.
As for burning those sources, that is another matter altogether. This is an exceedingly painful and difficult case for reporters, and I can sympathize with Woodward on this.
Me write good
So I was poking around there today, and was reading the bio for Roger L. Simon, which I swear, sounds like it was written in High-5th grader-this-is-my-book-report-for-Wind-In-the-Willows style.
Roger L. Simon -- Screenwriter and novelist:
I have a very typical New York City middle-class background, where my father was a doctor. I went to Dartmouth and then to the Yale School of Drama, wanting to be a playwright. I never learned how to be one though. Playwriting is much harder than any other form of writing I’ve ever tried, but a novel I had written got published just after I graduated. And that took me to Hollywood. The book got optioned for a movie that was later made. I wasn’t connected with its production, but it opened the door for screenwriting to me, and I started writing mystery novels at the same time.
Writing is tough. I like writing. I write a blog. Look at me write!
Strawmen are fun to attack!
It's not fair to run headlines like "Battle Deaths Continue to Mount"
And then riffs on it thus:
It's not fair to run headlines like "Battle Deaths Continue to Mount." No shit, Sherlock? A real story would be, "Battle Deaths Decline as Fallen Soldiers Miraculously Resurrected." It's fair to question Bush's policies. It's not fair to act as a conduit for enemy propaganda. It's fair to ask if Iraq is draining resources from our efforts in Afghanistan. It's not fair to complain that Afghanistan isn't perfect yet. It's fair to complain about indecencies at Abu Ghraib. It's not fair to virtually ignore atrocities committed by the other side everywhere else in Iraq.
But our media, aware of their power but ignorant as to its uses, would rather play "gotcha" than provide critical perspective.
Aside from the utter silliness of these strawmen arguments (who, exactly, is arguing that Afghanistan is not perfect and is thus a failure? How does noting that barbarians are barbarians add "critical perspective" to the atrocities at Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Guantanamo, and -- God knows -- elsewhere?) there's the very minor point of the headline. In a very long blog post with footnotes (!) Green somehow can't manage a link to a story entitled "Battle Deaths Continue to Mount."
I wonder why? Is it because the headline does not exist?
Here's a Google search. Nada.
Then I did a Lexis-Nexis search for past two years on that phrase appearing in any newspaper, or magazine or anywhere, ever. Nil.
You're doing a helluva job attacking the non-existent press, Stephen. Keep up the good work.
P.S. This doesn't mean I don't think there are legitimate complaints about coverage of terror and the war. Let's just be honest about it, OK?
Which leads to Stephen's stab-in-the-back conclusion, which is about as low as you can get.
When a nation loses a war, it looks to punish the people it believes are to blame. After Vietnam, neither Washington nor our Armed Forces were ever the same again. But if we lose this Terror War, our media will be seen as largely to blame. They'll suffer blame for their ignorance and for their petulance. They'll suffer blame for seeing al Jazeera as comrades closer than the privates and NCOs and officers fighting to protect the First Amendment. They'll suffer blame for putting their hatred of a Republican President before their love of country. Whether that assessment is fair or not, it is how the public will see things.
Then the public would demand changes. And they'd probably get them, courtesy of a government looking for scapegoats, real or imagined. Should that day come, we'd lose our free press, and we'd lose our freedoms. We'd lose our country.
You could write a thesis debunking this crocodile-teared assertion. I suppose we'll lose Iraq not because Bush and Cheney and Wofowitz and Rumsfeld and Bremer and everyone else involved in the non-planning for postwar Iraq are to blame. No, no. We'll lose because the press had the temerity to point it out.
UPDATE: Excellent thoughts from Matt Welch:
So, if I'm getting the general vibe of the pro-Pushback crowd right, it's "fair" to declare that the U.S. media (and those who have the temerity, or should I say derangement, to believe that the White House manipulated pre-war intelligence), are deliberately (and again, monolithically) trying to lose the war by siding with America's enemies ... but it's "not fair" to print the headline "Battle Deaths Continue to Mount."
Or maybe it boils down to this -- it's OK to say that "Newsweek lied, people died," but don't you dare say such a thing about the guy who actually commands the world's most powerful military.
Others call it flailing.
What I'm struck by is the almost perfectly opposing theology regarding this renewed argument about pre-war intelligence claims. The arguments include a lot of bad-faith and obscuring of obvious narratives. It's like watching two drunks yelling at each other about who stole the other's bottle of gin.
Amman was bombed by Zarqawi? We win!
Look, only a deeply delusional person could view Iraq being turned into a base for the export of terror, and the subsequent bombings in Jordan claimed by Zarqawi, and say that it is, in fact, a really good thing.
I mean, deeply delusional. Up-is-down delusional.
Monday, November 14, 2005
A Silverman description
Comedian Sarah Silverman is 34 and abnormally hirsute.
Talk about a gratuitous detail that goes nowhere. Interestingly, the writer was able to discover this fact through the power of telephony, as he notes that she was: "Speaking by phone shortly before the New York premiere of her filmic tour de farce..."
Shelby leak probe dropped
The Senate Ethics Committee has dropped its investigation of Sen. Richard Shelby regarding allegations he was the source of a media leak about how the National Security Agency handled messages before the Sept. 11 attacks.
The Alabama Republican said on Sunday he was "gratified" the committee had closed the matter and that he felt vindicated.
"Throughout the life of this investigation, I have taken the position that I never knowingly disclosed any classified information. My position has not changed," Shelby said in a statement.
No comment on why the matter was dropped or whether Shelby was the source of the leak. And interesting choice of words from the Senator -- "knowingly." Hm. This AP report gives more detail on the strict secrecy laws for this type of classified material.
Meanwhile, the CIA has referred the matter of the leaked "black sites" to the Justice Department.
More thoughts on this later.
UPDATE: The Captain believes that this is super-good news for Republicans.
That gets Shelby completely off the hook and the GOP caucus in the Senate clear of any further restraint in pursuing other leak cases -- such as the leak of CIA operations for terrorist holding facilities and an air operation earlier this year.
That's pretty laughable. I don't think it made a difference one way or the other to the Republicans that Shelby was being investigated on this leak probe. Astonishing hypocrisy just doesn't even compute.
Many more details in the National Journal
Saturday, November 12, 2005
A Judith Miller interview full of sturm and drang
No transcript, but you really have to listen to it to hear how near-unhinged Miller sounds. There frequent outbursts, here's one: "Excuse me! You want to argue with me? Fine." And when asked if she had been played for a chump by the Bush administration, this response: "First of all, I’m not going to be insulted by your question."
If you saw her grinning, soft-pillow interview with Larry King this week, this was a big turnaround.
I'm a little disappointed that Garfield spent so much time talking about how Miller chose to approach Libby by saying that she would identify him as a former "Capitol Hill staffer." It's a minor point at best, but Garfield does win it. There are bigger questions that kind of slide by. Oh well.
Friday, November 11, 2005
BUSH SLAMS HISTORICAL REVISIONISTS ON THE WAR: About time. Jeff Goldstein has more.
And read earlier posts on this subject here and here. Also here.
The White House needs to go on the offensive here in a big way -- and Bush needs to be very plain that this is all about Democratic politicans pandering to the antiwar base, that it's deeply dishonest, and that it hurts our troops abroad.
And yes, he should question their patriotism. Because they're acting unpatriotically.
I'm not going to delve into detail on whether Prof. Reynolds is being honest (he's not, read here). But it is good to see that he is questioning everyone else's patriotism again. I was getting worried there for a second.
UPDATE: I'm just as flummoxed by Reynolds's response (for more arm-waving go here) to Kevin Drum as Kevin is. This is a man, after all, who called opponents of the Iraq war "objectively pro-Saddam." I don't know if the thinks that that makes them unpatriotic, but you can make an educated guess.
Kevin emailed me to say, in essence, that Reynolds took the final plunge with this post, that this is the "clearest he's been on the subject" and that he usually "chooses his words a little more shrewdly," and I think he's right. Here is Reynolds, and others, walking up to the line of dissent and patriotism here and here and here.
Look, the issue is not a terribly complex one -- did Bush, perhaps himself duped by his underlings, perhaps bullying his intelligence community, perhaps both -- massage or cherry-pick intelligence to build a misleadingly overwhelming dossier on Saddam's capabilities and, more specifically to show that he was a "gathering (not imminent!) threat." Growing evidence suggests this is the case.
Democrats argue that, well, gee we didn't have the same intelligence information that the president had, therefore, we were deceived into war. Bush and his gang are arguing that Congress of course had the exact same information as the president. Obviously, someone here is lying.
I think it's correct to point out that certain people (specifically, Democratic politicians) are going overboard when they cynically argue that Bush lied us into war. But I certainly don't think it means they're unpatriotic.
LATER: The Washington Post weighs in. "But Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers, who were dependent on the administration to provide the material. And the commissions cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions, were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions."
EVEN LATER: And don't miss this bizarro world take by Power Line, only to enjoy the author's valiant attempt at explaining that the president saying that Democrats had "access to the same intelligence" means exactly its opposite ("Bush didn't claim that the Dems received every piece of paper Bush saw -- he merely said they had access to the same intelligence.")