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Saturday, June 24, 2006
Great Cycling Tunes

Probably more remembered for the video than the song, but it's a terrific cycling tune with a catchy beat. Excellent start of the ride song.
Peretz on the TNR Slam by Kos

He reminds us that he is not part of the vast right wing conspiracy:

So here goes: The New Republic is very much against the Bush tax programs, against Bush Social Security "reform," against cutting the inheritance tax, for radical health care changes, passionate about Gore-type environmentalism, for a woman's entitlement to an abortion, for gay marriage, for an increase in the minimum wage, for pursuing aggressively alternatives to our present reliance on oil and our present tax preferences for gas-guzzling automobiles. We were against the confirmation of Justice Alito. And, institutionally, TNR was against several policies that I favor, including allowing the government more rather than less leeway in ferreting out terrorists and allies of terrorists. From today's newspapers: I see nothing wrong with the feds scrutinizing international monetary exchanges in the dragnet for enemies of not just our civilization but civilization. But TNR is a heterodox institution, a concept Kos surely cannot fathom.

But of course they oppose Kos, so they must be right-wingers!
Murtha Buffoon

Jack Kelly takes a few swipes at Mr Okinawa:

Mr. Murtha's howlers about Okinawa obscured a more revealing comment he made earlier on CNN. He cited President Clinton's abrupt withdrawal from Somalia after 19 Rangers were killed there in 1993 as an example of the policy the U.S. should follow in Iraq.

Osama bin Laden gave the "change in direction" in Somalia Mr. Murtha applauds as the chief reason why he thought al-Qaeda could strike the United States with impunity.

"After a few blows … [the U.S.] rushed out of Somalia in shame and disgrace, dragging the bodies of its soldiers," bin Laden told ABC's John Miller in a 1998 interview.

Because he is a retired Marine Reserve colonel who served in Vietnam, Mr. Murtha is regarded as one of the Democrats' leading strategic thinkers. This, sadly, may be the case. But Mr. Murtha sounds less like a Marine colonel these days and more like a male Cindy Sheehan.

Voters in his district should take a close look at Diane Irey, the Republican who hopes to put an end to the embarrassment to Pennsylvania that Jack Murtha has become.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Animal Farm

The Commissar has a terrific post on Kos as Napoleon. Four legs good, two legs better!
Saddam's Hunger Strike Over

It lasted all of one meal.

The former Iraqi leader announced the hunger strike through his lawyer Wednesday in protest over the killing of one of his lawyers by gunmen.

"He has resumed eating after skipping one meal," Lt. Kevin Curry told FOXNews.

Other members of the ex-president regime who joined the hunger strike have also resumed eating, Curry said.

Speaking of hunger strikes, Cindy Sheehan is threatening to start one on Independence Day.

"We hope the fast will galvanize public attention, invigorate the peace movement, build pressure on elected officials, and get our troops back home," Sheehan said in a statement posted on the anti-war blogosphere.

The fast, organized by Code Pink and Sheehan's Gold Star Families for Peace, will begin on Independence Day in Washington, D.C. In her statement Sheehan said she would move the fast to Crawford, Texas, where the president owns a ranch and often vacations.

She should be nice and slender by the time August rolls around.
In Defense of the Christianists

Our longtime buddy Patrick Hynes takes on Andrew Sullivan's attempt to smear the religious.
Terror Suspects Turned in By Muslim?

It's interesting to read between the lines of this article:

Acosta said the group came to law enforcement's attention when the alleged ringleader, Batiste, approached an individual about waging jihad inside the United States. This unidentified individual went to authorities with that information and later posed as an al-Qaida member, Acosta said.

He would not more fully describe the individual other than to say it was a person "who was working with us."

The age of the conspirators certainly indicates this was a genuine threat, not just some kids blowing off steam:

The seven individuals — ranging in age from 22 to 32 — were indicted by a federal grand jury in Miami. Six were taken into custody in Miami Thursday when authorities swarmed a warehouse in the Liberty City area, removing a metal door with a blow torch. A seventh was arrested in Atlanta.
Moron Kosola

Jason Zengerle prints some more emails from the liberal "townhouse" list.

Finally... what if it is true? We really need to hear from Jerome - regardless of whether or not this blows up. I will not be a republican rubber stamp. If Jerome was involved in some recent financial chicanery and he doesn't have an adequate defense, how does that make him different from any of the rest of the DC lobbyist/consultant class that will do anything for a buck?

It is kind of interesting to see who gets invited to the liberal email list. Glenn Greenwald, who insists he's not a liberal despite spending virtually every waking hour denouncing Bush (and right-wing bloggers), checks in with this:

The "Dean-paid-Kos" story from a couple of years ago got relatively little traction, and is virtually never mentioned outside of a small circle of right-wing bloggers, because Markos put the facts on the table so quickly, candidly, and comprehensively that it became clear that there was nothing there. To similarly kill off this story quickly and prevent it from taking root, I really think Jerome -- or at least someone on his behalf -- needs to do something similar, and soon. Terse denials and politician-like refusals to talk about it will, it seems clear to me, only inflame things further.

True enough, but of course as I said at the time, there was nothing right-wing bloggers could do about Kos; it was clear that each side was going to have to police its own. As one of the other emailers said, it's all about credibility, and Kos didn't have any of that to lose with me.

I suspect that this other post over at TNR will get more attention from the blog-bullies.

Even beyond the thuggishness, what I despise about so many blogurus, is the frivolity of their "readers." DailyKos might have hundreds of responses to his posts, but after five or six of them the interminable thread meanders into trivial subjects that have nothing to do with the subject that briefly provoked it. The blogosphere's lack of concentration is even more dangerous than all its rage. In the Middle East, they struggle with belief. In the United States, we struggle with attention. The blogosphere's fanaticism is, in many ways, the triumph of a lack of focus.

I'd guess that a number of big lefty bloggers will post that paragraph, and their commenters will prove that paragraph to be right.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Terror Plot Foiled?

Involving the Sears Tower, which I believe is still the tallest building in the USA.

Law enforcement sources told CNN that the arrests disrupted what may have been the early stages of a domestic terrorist plot to attack the Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois, the FBI building in Miami, and possibly other targets.

For many years the tallest buildings in a city have commanded the highest rents. I suspect that may be changing now. Who would want to work in a signature office tower?

Residents living near the warehouse told The Associated Press that the men taken into custody called themselves Muslims and had tried to recruit young people.

The men slept in the warehouse, Tashawn Rose, 29, told the AP.

"They would come out late at night and exercise," she said. "It seemed like a military boot camp that they were working on there. They would come out and stand guard."

The residents told the AP that FBI agents spent several hours seeking information from people in the neighborhood. They said the suspects, who appeared to be in their teens or 20s, had lived in the area for about a year, the AP reported.
USA Soccer

I was disappointed that they didn't make it through to the elimination round, but really our soccer is nowhere near the level of other countries, and people who think otherwise are fooling themselves.

For example, consider the case of Freddie Adu. Adu is obviously a rare talent, playing in major league soccer at the tender age of 14 years. But his relative youth also indicates that American soccer is nowhere near as advanced professionally as, say, American baseball.

Adu is now 17 years old (barely). Who's 17 years old and playing in major league baseball? Answer: Nobody. In fact, it's been quite a while since a 17-year-old played in a major league game; Larry Dierker just missed in 1964, playing in his first contest on his 18th birthday. I believe that Ed Kranepool and Ed Kirkpatrick, both of whom played late in 1962 are the last two 17-year-olds in the major leagues.

I did a quick look at how many at-bats players 19 years old and younger have had in the majors by decade:
Beg. ABs
1870 3593
1880 5468
1890 2679
1900 1378
1910 1865
1920 1169
1930 1399
1940 1834
1950 1281
1960 2429
1970 933
1980 455
1990 355

As you can see, the general trend has been for fewer and fewer at bats by gentlemen 19 years old or younger in baseball. There was a brief upsurge in the 1960s, although the vast majority of that comes from a few players (Rusty Staub, Ed Kranepool and Tony Conigliaro), and is probably attributable at least partially to expansion.

Why has this happened? Well, mainly because the major leagues have gotten extremely efficient at funneling the best players to the majors, so that it's harder for a teenager to crack the team. The few teens that do make it to the major leagues are either a) extraordinarily talented (Ott, Yount, Griffey) or b) play for desperate teams--the Houston Colt 45s of 1963-64 started an incredible eight different teenagers.

So that's the problem with major league soccer in this country; it's just not competitive enough to have forced Freddie Adu to continue playing high school soccer, which is why the USA's not playing in the next round.

Ditto with Michelle Wie and the LPGA. If she's competitive at that age, it's a pretty good sign that women's golf hasn't yet gotten good enough, although I'm a little hesitant since it seems possible that the peak of athletic performance comes quite a bit younger in women than it does in men.
Venocchi: Bring Back the Draft to End the War

Ah, the irony. Back in the 1960s every boomer liberal hated the draft; now that they're safely past induction age they're pining for it.

Of course, what they're really pining for are the good old days of the Vietnam antiwar movement. So far the ponytails in the peacenik crowd are a little too gray; they want to "youthenize" the movement.
Brokeback Zarquawi

John at My Take On Things has the video (Language warning).
The Worst People in America

John Hawkins polled a bunch of center-right bloggers (including yours truly) on that topic, with the caveat that serial killers need not apply.

Looking at the list I sent, I can see I missed a couple (how did I forget John Murtha?), but almost everybody on my list popped up on at least a couple other ballots, with the exception of Dylan Avery (not famous enough yet) Laurie David (ditto) and Arianna Huffington. I left #3 off my list, because she's much better than a lot of the other people on the list. Don't want her to be president but you'd have a hard time convincing me that she's worse than Jimmy Carter or Nancy Pelosi.
A Majority in a Minority Party

Kos fires back at TNR.

People talk about the need for the left to work together and have a unified message in the face of a unified conservative noise machine. So a google group was created called "Townhouse", and it included many bloggers and other representatives of the netroots as well as a large number of partisan journalists and grassroots groups. It allowed us to discuss policy, issues, tactics and coordinate as much as you can ever get a bunch of liberals to coordinate.

There was one big rule for this list, an important cog in the growing Vast Left Wing Conspiracy -- everything discussed was off the record.

That was obviously violated today as the New Republic betrayed, once again, that it seeks to destroy the new people-powered movement for the sake of its Lieberman-worshipping neocon owners; that it stands with the National Review and wingnutoshpere in their opposition to grassroots Democrats.

True enough, I suppose, but could it be that TNR opposes the netkooks because they want the Democrats to actually, you know, win elections? Whereas Kos seems to be happy driving out moderate Democrats like Joe Lieberman.

This is an argument that the Democrats have been having for about 20 years now, and it shows no signs of being resolved. The left wing of the party claims that the Democrats have to move to the left, to offer a real choice. The centrist wing claims that the Democrats have to move right to attract the middle.

To a certain degree Bill Clinton proved the centrists (as represented by the DLC and TNR) right. Clinton ran as a "third way" candidate and became only the second Democrat elected to the presidency since 1964. But a new generation of activists has come along which declines to learn the lessons its elders were taught the hard way. And the elders on the Left are happy to encourage them, hoping that this time around they'll be proved right.

If you looked at the transformation in American politics that took place coming out of the 1960s, what would you suggest that the Democrats did wrong?

1. They allowed a cadre of antiwar activists to take over the party.
2. They moved significantly to the left on economic issues.
3. They abandoned the anticommunism of JFK and Truman.

Any of those three might have been problematic, but combined they were a disaster. No Democrat since those days has gotten over 51% of the general election vote; only Carter (1976) has even gotten 50%.

In 1992, Clinton tried to tug the party to the right on economic issues and the anticommunism issue largely went away. And so lefties allowed themselves to dream that they didn't really have to accept the rightward movement on economic issues.

Kos, of course, wasn't political during those years and so he has no idea that all the stuff he suggests has been tried in the past.

Update: The Leather Penguin catches the "It's the Joooos" part of Kos' rant. Good call!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Boehlert Hits Sour Note

I'm not one of those guys who starts his day with ABC's the Note, but that's just me. But liberal author Eric Boehlert lays into the writers over there with some zest.

The first thing you notice about The Note is that it sounds like it's written by high school students. Smart high school students--really smart students, even--but nevertheless teenagers who crack themselves up with their wit, rely on hard-to-decipher references to up their hip insider quotient, and have a penchant for words like "ginormous" and multiple exclamation points. Cutesy, creepy, and relentlessly effusive towards the media elite, The Note confirms the old adage that life really is like high school, with The Note filling the role of cheerleader-meets-yearbook editor, keeping tabs on where the cool kids are eating lunch, what they're wearing, and who's having the big party this weekend.

Gee, you mean it reads like Wonkette without the anal sex references? But of course the snarky, cynical attitude that Boehlert describes is everywhere--in Slate, in the Huffpo, in every Maureen Dowd column. The difference of course is that the Note is not as relentlessly liberal as those outlets.

Boehlert claims that the media aren't really liberal because they're not as liberal as he is. This despite all the data that indicates that the media in general are more liberal than the average Democrat in Congress. Essentially his gripe with the Note is that it does not follow every quote from a Republican with the words "he lied".

Like everybody else on the left he way overinflates the importance of the Terri Schiavo case:

Let's begin in March of 2005. The Note was all onboard for the Terri Schiavo saga, at one point linking to twenty separate Schiavo stories in one day. It also thought Republicans had themselves a winning issue with the right-to-life story: "The Republican leadership seems to have succeeded in framing the discourse around a moral question." At the same time, on March 21, The Note's parent, ABC News, released the findings from a Schiavo poll that found 67 percent of Americans thought elected officials were acting for political advantage rather than for the principles involved. The Note did its best to spin the results in favor of the White House, writing that the Republican intervention in the Schiavo matter had been met with "some public opposition." Only in the 2005 Beltway media environment could a controversial GOP initiative that was rejected by a broad cross-section of Americans--including 58 percent of self-identified conservative Republicans--be described as having been met with "some public opposition."

Two days later, detecting widespread mainstream criticism of the Republicans' heavy-handed intervention, The Note reported it was "perhaps the beginning of a media backlash." [Emphasis added.] When Bush's own poll numbers began an immediate decline in the wake of the Schiavo intervention--dropping seven points in seven days, according to one national survey--editors at The Note scratched their heads, declaring it was impossible to figure out "what exactly accounts for the President's droopy poll numbers."

This of course is post hoc reasoning at best; does anybody really believe that Bush lost seven points because of Terri Schiavo? I wasn't big on that issue myself, but I certainly didn't see it as damaging to Bush.
Lib Blog Blackout of Kos Shenanigans?

TNR claims that it's an orchestrated strategy requested by Kos.

TNR obtained a missive Kos sent earlier this week to "Townhouse," a private email list comprising elite liberal bloggers, including Jane Hamsher, Matt Stoller, and Christy Hardin Smith. And what was Kos's message to this group that secretly plots strategy in the digital equivalent of a smoke-filled backroom? Stay mum!

It continually amuses me that Matt Stoller is one of the elite liberal bloggers.
Global Warming and Me

ABC News wants to know how Global Warming has affected me.

It seems hard to believe, but only a few months ago, I was wearing sweaters in the evening, and tomorrow it's going to hit 109 degrees. This is completely baffling to me and could only be due to Global Warming. Or the summer sun.
Honesty Is The Best Policy

I don't know why, but I just love this story.

The tale began when Guttman's best friend Ivanna left her cellphone in a taxicab, like thousands of others before her. After Ivanna got a new Sidekick, she logged on to her account - and was confronted by pictures of an unfamiliar young woman and her family, along with the young woman's America Online screen name.

The 16-year-old, Sasha Gomez, of Corona, Queens, had been using the Sidekick to take pictures and send instant messages. She apparently did not know that the company that provided the phone's service, T-Mobile, automatically backs up such information on its remote servers. So when Ivanna got back on, there was Sasha.

Using instant messages, Guttman tracked down Sasha and asked her to return it. "Basically, she told me to get lost," Guttman recalled. "That was it."

Well, as you can probably guess, that was not it.
To Know, Know, Know Him....

Is to hate, hate, hate him. John Kerry is about as popular as a fat guy passing gas on an elevator.

Senate Democrats have been loath to express their opinions publicly, determined to emphasize a united front. But interviews suggest a frustration with Mr. Kerry, never popular among the caucus, and still unpopular among many Democrats for failing to defeat a president they considered vulnerable. Privately, some of his Democratic peers complain that he is too focused on the next presidential campaign.

Mr. Kerry now describes the war in Iraq as a mistake, even though he once supported it. His critics say they believe the new stand reflects more politics than principle, and ignores other Democrats' concern that setting a fixed date will leave those in tough re-election fights open to Republican taunts that they are "cutting and running" in Iraq.

Exactly. As we have discussed here many, many times, Kerry's current position on the war has been calibrated to bring him popularity with the base, just as his position on the war in 2004 was calibrated to make him appear "electable".

Kerry knows that he's going to have to knock off Hillary, and that in order to do that he'll need the support of the netkooks. And the only way he's going to get those dolts on his side is to join in with John Murtha in calling for a deadline. But it puts those in tough districts at a disadvantage, because Murtha's plan only has support among the far left. By forcing those candidates to vote, Kerry gives them two options: lose the support of the activists, or loose the support of the centrists.

But of course Kerry's only interested in what helps John Kerry.
Jarred L. Adams, Hero

For which he is awarded the Silver Star.

Adams, who is serving in Iraq, earned his Silver Star in January 2005 in the city of Husaybah in the Al Anbar province, an insurgent hotbed near the border with Syria, according to the Marines' account online.

Insurgents armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades attacked a Humvee carrying Adams and several other Marines, according to the account written by Cpl. Antonio Rosas of the 7th Regimental Combat Team.

The attack killed one Marine and wounded others, including Adams, who was hit with shrapnel and burned by the disabled Humvee. Adams took position and returned fire.

Adams then returned, under fire, to the Humvee, removed the body of the fallen Marine and carried him back through an open intersection "while broadly exposed to enemy fire," Rosas wrote.

As usual, with true heroes:

"I don't think I did anything any other Marine wouldn't do," Adams was quoted as saying in an online Marine News account posted June 10.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Nifong Releases Email to Newsweek

But of course we don't get to read it for ourselves but instead get the summary.

"What has surprised me is the utter lack of any degree of skepticism on the part of the national media with respect to the claims of the defense attorneys, many of which are misleading and some of which are absolutely false," he writes in the e-mail.

He continues to say that some of the defense claims are misleading and that the job of defense attorneys is to create reasonable doubt. He suggests defense attorneys might deliberately leave out facts and hints at how the defense might make some documents public record.

"Is anyone surprised that the defense attorneys are spinning this case in such a way that things do not look good for the prosecution?" he asks.

No. Is there any surprise that the media were spinning the case in your favor when you were leaking details to them?

Looking a couple moves down the road, Nifong sure seems in trouble. But he may be able to ride it out with no trial until after the election.
Merritt on Plamegate

Kudos for owning up to the fact that she was wrong:

While Raw Story and Truthout broke news in the Plame investigation, they are not bloggers, but alternative news sites with their own investigative journalists. Most bloggers covering every detail of the Plame investigation, like Just One Minute, TalkLeft, Empty Wheel and Firedoglake, concentrated on reporting and analyzing the legal developments. Were those of us wrong who speculated Rove would be indicted? Yes. But we also were careful to detail and present our reasoning as our interpretation based upon media reports, statements attributed to Luskin and other attorneys involved in the case and pleadings in the Judith Miller/Matthew Cooper subpoena and Scooter Libby cases. How many mainstream journalists bothered to read every pleading, available transcript and court order in both cases? By and large, it was the bloggers, not the mainstream media, who gathered documents from the courts’ Web sites and made them available for all to read and interpret for themselves. Bloggers also educated readers on the legal process, from how grand juries work to the meaning of criminal statutes and the mechanics of cooperation deals.

I think she's right there, and where she points out that Truthout is not a blog, but an alternative media source. Good, thoughtful article. If only the rest of the lefty blogosphere was as reasonable!
Poll Rigged Against Hillary?

CNN claims that 47% of Americans say "No way" when asked if they will vote for Hillary:

Regarding potential Democratic candidates, 47 percent of respondents said they would "definitely not vote for" both Clinton, the junior senator from New York who is running for re-election this year, and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the party's candidate in 2004. (Poll)

Forty-eight percent said the same of former Vice President Al Gore, who has repeatedly denied he intends to run again for president.

The Ankle-Biters are not impressed with the poll, and stick up for Hillary (!)
Connie Chung's Nutty Exit

This is just plain weird:

We Don't Need Any Stinking Heroes

Oh, for chrissakes! Now the New York Times is debunking Sgt. York?

It was easier to create heroic stories in 1918 when the press was more pliable and the public more gullible, and the popular media had a fondness for uplifting tales of uncomplicated bravery. Though newspaper articles at the time refer to members of Sergeant York's platoon who challenged the accounts of that day, the doubters were given only enough attention to dismiss them.

I've talked in the past about how leftists hate heroes, because they rise above the common rabble. Leftism is all about how you can't rise above your station, that we are all helpless without the awesome power of collective effort.

Granddaddy Longlegs remembers a character from a classic novel who also tried to demolish heroes. I have talked about Toohey myself in the past.

Hat Tip: Ranting Profs.
When You Lie Down With Nuts

You get up a little squirrelly. Discussing the recent 9-11 "Truth" convention in Chicago, the Journal of Higher Education notes a particular wackadoodle named James Fetzer, one of the co-founders of "Scholars" for 9-11 Truth:

On the second afternoon of the conference, Mr. Fetzer gave a speech in one of the hotel salons to a standing-room-only crowd. It began like an introductory lecture in moral philosophy he might have given at the University of Minnesota. He discussed different theories for the origins of right and wrong — moral egoism, utilitarianism, deontological moral rights. Then he came to the emergency.

"The threat we face," he said, is "imminent and ominous." He recommended arming the citizenry.

During the question-and-answer session, an audience member asked whether there might be a way to capture a TV station, to get the word out about September 11. Mr. Fetzer upped the ante on the idea.

"Let me tell you, for years, I've been waiting for there to be a military coup to depose these traitors," he said from the podium.

"Yeah!" shouted some men in the audience.

"There actually was one weekend," Mr. Fetzer went on, "where I said to myself, my God, it's going to happen this weekend, and I'm going to wake up and they will have taken these guys off in chains."

His voice was building. "Listen to me," he said. "The degree of perfidy involved here is so great, that in the time of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, frenzied mobs would have dragged these men out of their beds in the middle of the night and ripped them to shreds!"

A scholar pining for the days of mob rule?
Kerry Tries Again

This is pretty typical:

The proposal to be offered by Kerry today would require President Bush to remove nearly all US troops from Iraq by July 1, 2007. The Massachusetts Democrat's initial plan -- to remove troops by the end of 2006 -- received just six votes in the Senate last week, and the later date is intended to build support for the proposal, said April Boyd, a Kerry spokeswoman.

``Every vote for a deadline withdrawal is Congress saying to President Bush that we will not accept war without an end policy in Iraq," Boyd said.

I predict that Kerry's bill will come close to passing when it sets a deadline of August 1, 2013.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Earth to Truthout: There Is No Pony Under the Manure!

(Welcome, fellow Right Wing News readers!)

Sheesh, these guys have decided to go down with the ship:

What appears to have happened is that - and this is where Truthout blundered - in our haste to report the indictment we never considered the possibility that Patrick Fitzgerald would not make an announcement. We simply assumed - and we should not have done so - that he would tell the press. He did not. Fitzgerald appears to have used the indictment, and more importantly, the fear that it would go public, to extract information about the Plame outing case from Rove.

It was the strawberries, that was the clue!

Yes, it does appear that Truthout was used, but not lied to or misled. The facts appear to have been accurate.

Fake, but accurate only counts in National Guard records. Oh, wait a minute, it doesn't count there either!

Our sources provided us with additional detail, saying that Fitzgerald is apparently examining closely Dick Cheney's role in the Valerie Plame matter, and apparently sought information and evidence from Karl Rove that would provide documentation of Cheney's involvement. Rove apparently was reluctant to cooperate and Fitzgerald, it appears, was pressuring him to do so, our sources told us.

Oh, you mean the lefties are going to have to settle for Cheney? Snort, chuckle! That's like telling them, "Yes, it's true there's no pony under the manure--it's a unicorn!"

This is pathetic. It's Mary Mapes muttering about peripheral spacing, it's OJ saying he's going to find the killer.
Jonah On Slate

Here's a great column by Jonah Goldberg on what's wrong with Slate.

There's one last point I'd like to make. Slate takes a pose that it isn't liberal. Indeed, Weisberg insists in interviews that the magazine shouldn't be seen as liberal but rather as—you guessed it—"contrarian." He told the Independent that proof of this can be found in the fact that Slate carries Christopher Hitchens. Please. Hitch is great and Slate is better for having him. But come on. Of course, it's liberal. It offers "contrary" arguments for liberal ends but almost never offers anything contrary to liberalism itself. Indeed, judging from my own informal polling, I would wager that the only people who believe that Slate isn't liberal are liberals—and a minority of them at that. Its editors are liberal. Its writers are liberal. Its story ideas are liberal. Weisberg is a quintessentially liberal pundit and often plays one on TV. Slate's critic at large began an article recently, "David Brooks is America's one genuinely likable conservative." Really? The only one? Only at a liberal publication could such smug silliness be written so un-self-consciously. And only a liberal would hold up an iconoclastic Trotskyist like Christopher Hitchens as a Medusa's head to prove to critics that his magazine isn't liberal.

Slate did a post in 2004 on whom all the employees were voting for. Here's the list boiled down to its essence:

Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Bush (intern!), Kerry, Kerry, Bush (economic writer), Kerry, Not Voting (Canadian), Bush, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, David Cobb (?), Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Badnarik (Libertarian), Kerry, Bush, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry, Kerry.

That's 43-4, if you're keeping track. As I commented at the time, even Hitchens (although of course he was not voting because he wasn't a US citizen at the time) said:

I can't compete with this sort of thing, but I do think that Bush deserves praise for his implacability, and that Kerry should get his worst private nightmare and have to report for duty.

So yes, the notion that Slate is some middle of the road contrarian publication is ridiculous.
Zarqawi's Mother's Blog

I think we can all agree that much like Cindy Sheehan, Zarqawi's mother has unquestioned authority.

If my son were alive today, he would surely decapitate Star Jones for her treatment of me in the Green Room. All i asked for was Poland Spring water, and the fat negro brought me common tap. She is a despicable fatbag. I would set her on fire but she is not worth the matches. Speaking of matches, i met Mike Farrell at David Geffen's house, and i think I am in love.
One of the Great Huffpo Comments Ever

Kirsten Powers writes about a dippy feminist who believes that women should never quit their jobs to have children, pointing out that this sort of attitude shows why feminists have such a bad reputation. Fairly non-controversial, but get this priceless comment by SB Jack:

I usually like your writings. But watching you bend over backwards to defend something that can't be defended looks harder than some yoga postures.

Ms. Hirshman is right...quitting "life" to be a "mommy" and "hausfrau" IS a waste of a talented mind. Let me make this real clear:


Within the context of that belief, I think you can see why this is such a waste. The world has too many mouths to feed already. The youth of this country get shipped off to die in Corporate Wars fought for the profit of others. Our resources are dwindling, please explain why its a good idea to procreate? Is it your vanity at wanting a "little YOU"? Do you think your "precious" is going to save the world? Is "sweetums" going to change your Depends™ when you get old and gray?

Just why in the hell do you or anyone need to procreate?

To "cement" your loving life commitment with your partner? Someone who, by making this choice, you are going to send off to his own hamster wheel while you grow fat and resentful at home? What a great plan.


Being a mommy WAS a career choice when bearing offspring was about populating the farm with helping hands. Mommy was the shop boss. Now, she's wasting petroleum and incresing pollution driving all over town to take the little ankle-bitiers off to soccer in SUV.

Get an education and then go do something with it other than wipe the snotty noses of your sniveling over-privileged children. There are plenty of uneducated idiots who believe Jay-Sus will provide who keep their legs apart for the ingress and egress of their dip-witted spawn. Witness Britney "Trailertrash" Spears. Now THAT was some career move.

It has nothing to do with "feminism" and everything to do with making smart choices in a f**ked up world. Motherhood is not a career choice.

The Party of Death, anyone?
Oh, The Irony!

The ACLU is trying to limit the speech of its board members?

A lawyer in the New York state attorney general's office informally warned the American Civil Liberties Union that his office had concerns about proposed standards that would limit the group's board members from speaking publicly about policies and internal operations, according to three board members.

Free speech for me, but not for thee?
Fumento With the Band of Brothers

This article is terrific!

The Iraq war is covered mostly by reporters who hole up in Baghdad hotels and send out Iraqi stringers to collect what the reporters deem news, as an article in the April 6, 2006, New York Review of Books described in great detail. The reporters convert these accounts into prose and put them on the wire. Except for that all-powerful "Baghdad" dateline, they might just as well be writing from Podunk. But you can't just blame reporters for the non-coverage. I asked military public affairs for 15 days in Ramadi, was told the request had been granted, flew to Baghdad, and only then was informed that I would instead be sent to Fallujah, with a few days in Ramadi to come later. Last year I was also told I would be embedded in Ramadi, only to have it denied entirely once I arrived in Iraq.

Part of the public affairs officers' reasoning probably is that it's bad karma to lose a reporter, and Ramadi is a likely place to do so as photographer Toby Morris discovered a few months earlier. While on patrol with the 1st Battalion's D Company, he tried to photograph some soldiers while standing in the middle of the road. Big mistake. A sniper nailed him in the thigh, shattering his femur. Sgt. Patrick Meyer leaped to drag him to safety, only to be shot himself in the leg while the sniper pumped a third round into Morris, snapping his ankle. Morris now has a rod in his femur and a plate in his ankle. Meyer is still recovering. Soldiers repeatedly told me this story, which initially I thought was meant to get a rise out of me. Later I realized it was intended as a warning; even small mistakes in Ramadi can lead to pain and death. I promised myself I wouldn’t unnecessarily expose myself for any photograph; nor would any soldier risk his life for me. I would soon break both promises.

Lots of multimedia as well. Highly recommended!
Et Tu, Gore?

Al Gore refuses to endorse Joe Lieberman over Ned Lamont.

Interviewed on Bloomberg TV, Al Gore refused to endorse his former vice presidential running mate, Sen. Joe Lieberman (C-CT), in his re-election race.

Said Gore: "I am not involved. I typically do not get involved in Democratic primaries. Joe is my close friend, Joe and Hadassah are close to Tipper and me and it would be very difficult for me to ever oppose him. But I don't get involved in primaries typically. He's a great guy and he's right on a lot of other issues."

Translation: "I'm running for president in 2008 and I need to keep the netkooks on my side.

Let's say the obvious here, which is that Lieberman's going to have to run as an independent. He might as well pull out of the Democratic primary right now and avoid giving Lamont a headline in August. At this point, it's worth wondering whether a credible opponent might be capable of knocking out Hillary in the Democratic primary in New York.
Newsweek: Maybe We Were a Little Hasty--Updated!

On the Duke lacrosse rape story.

The media coverage of the case has been enormous. NEWSWEEK put the mug shots of two of the players—Reade Seligmann, 20, and Collin Finnerty, 19—on its cover the week after they were indicted. Some early accounts raised doubts about the guilt of the players, but the story more typically played as a morality tale of pampered jocks gone wild. Lately, as more evidence from police or medical reports have been filed or cited in court documents by defense lawyers, the national and local media have been raising questions about Nifong's conduct of the case and his motivations.

In fact, most of the bloggers covering the case, with the exception of the hardline feminista blogs, were very suspicious of the case by the time the indictments were handed down. I've more or less stopped covering the case because it seems like such a complete farce (and because the DA has said there would be no trial until 2007).

It appears that Nifong had not actually seen the medical reports when he talked to reporters on March 29 about "my reading of the report of the emergency-room nurse." The medical report was not turned over to the police for another week, on April 5. Rather, Nifong may have relied on what a police investigator had told him. The detective's notes claim that the sexual-assault nurse told him that "there were signs consistent with a sexual assault during her test."

In fact, as noted earlier in the piece the only signs of sexual assault was swelling, which can happenen with ordinary sexual intercourse.

Wizbang notes
that while the rape case may be collapsing per Newsweek, the case against the District Attorney is just beginning.

Update: Durham Republicans to run candidate against Nifong.

Durham Republican County Chairman Steve Monks told ABC News that he will announce his intention to challenge Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong in a press conference at 4 p.m. ET today. Monks and Durham County Republicans acknowledged that the Duke rape investigation weighed heavily in their decision to field a GOP candidate in a traditionally Democratic county.

More excellent coverage of the Duke Lacrosse rape case. Thanks to commenter Betty Friedan for pointing this out.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Rumblings in Kosistan

Interesting post here. Of course, TNR and Kos are deadly enemies, so take it with a grain of salt. There were obvious conflicts with the endorsements/consulting contracts and Kos I am sure takes a scrape from the donations he organizes. But the conflicts of interest have been out in the open; I'm not sure they really matter.
Why Not Just Honor Everybody

Via Althouse, here's the story of a high school with 41 valedictorians.

All those late-night study sessions finally paid off. Christina Azimi graduated as valedictorian of Fairfax's Robinson Secondary School.

So did Travis Halbert, Azimi's friend since elementary school. And Jonathan Cross, who was in her English class. In fact, when Robinson Principal Dan Meier praised the school's top academic talent at commencement Thursday afternoon, nearly two full rows of graduates stood to be recognized as valedictorians.

"At this time, I would like to award all 41 students who have achieved that honor," Meier said as the crowd cheered. "I tell these guys," Meier joked, "the only thing I have in common with them is I rarely received a B in high school myself."

As high school graduates across the region accept their diplomas this month, one tradition has changed greatly. The title of valedictorian -- the coveted top slot for the brainiest student -- is no longer necessarily reserved for the single best student.

It's in response to the usual complaints. The students are too competitive; if we weight the grades somebody will take too many tough courses, while if we don't somebody will take too many easy courses. Gee, you mean they'll figure out what's to their advantage and do it? Can't have that, now, can we?

This is the same feel-good nonsense that results in every member of every team getting a trophy. When I was a kid trophies were few and far between; but they meant something. I won three trophies as a boy; one for winning the most events at a summer camp (my favorite trophy), one for coming in second at the football toss on the Fourth of July, and one for my little league team finishing third in our town league. And yes, the second and third-place trophies were significantly smaller than the ones the first-place finishers received.


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Brainster in the Media

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Cited for Breaking the Christmas in Cambodia story (at Kerry Haters):

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Ankle-Biting Pundits: Our friends Pat and Kitty at Kerry Haters deserve the blog equivalent of a Pulitzer for their coverage of Kerry's intricate web of lies regarding Vietnam.

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