4/30/2005 12:40:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Chron 2, Reason 0 I just got the new issue of Reason magazine, and it contains a lengthy feature article on gun control by Bobby VerBruggen, my fellow Northwestern Chronicle scribe. No link yet, but pick up the new issue (with the "how schools cheat" cover) if you see it.|W|P|111487934015129665|W|P||W|P|4/29/2005 07:43:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Daniel Henniger Says ...
For Democrats, judicial philosophy is a cultural Armageddon. Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy have turned the Senate into a Branch Davidian compound. No one in the liberal cult is allowed to leave, including the hostage nominees--unless they recant their conservatism. How many Senate Democrats plan to be in this bunker when Bill Frist's ATF squad detonates the "nuclear option"?
Did he just say that Senate Republicans are like Janet Reno?|W|P|111481826941778589|W|P||W|P|11/09/2005 06:46:00 PM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|your a fucking faggot go fuck your self you fucking misarable fuck you have no life and should turn gay so that everyone would fel bad for you4/29/2005 10:35:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Desperation So I'm watching Fox while cleaning up my apartment, and they have this "financial expert" on, saying things like you can "put your money in the bank" if it's privatized and that you'd have a better rate of return if you stuffed your money "under your mattress" instead of investing it in special-issue treasury bonds. I ask myself, "Who is this idiot?" Unfortunately he's Jonathan Hoenig, a Northwestern graduate who runs Capitalist Pig Management LLC. In order to get a friendly voice on privatization, Fox had to go to a Badnarik voter who runs a fund called Capitalist Pig. I think to myself, "Wow this Social Security plan is really crashing on the launchpad." And then Fox shows this. I'm pretty sure you could drop acid and produce a more sensible line-up than Fox News right now.|W|P|111478602190375050|W|P||W|P|4/28/2005 09:00:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|My reaction to the press conference IT BURNS. UPDATE: To clarify, it drives me nuts that no one ever thinks to ask why the treasury bonds in the Social Security Trust Fund are "IOUs sitting in a file cabinet," yet treasury bonds in personal accounts are "backed by the full faith and credit of the US government." This is literally nonsense. Perhaps he means that under a privatization plan, since the government will be responsible for less of peoples' pensions, there will be less debt. Still, I'd like to actually hear that said. UPDATE II: Has anyone else noticed that Joe Scarborough is extremely erudite and honest when commenting on MSNBC's reaction roundtables? That's weird.|W|P|111473645944103288|W|P||W|P|4/28/2005 08:02:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Over your head I've heard a couple talking heads discuss tonight's Bush press conference as a way of "taking his case directly to the American people." If so, then what was the 60 Stops in 60 Days tour? I always thought the presidential press conference was a sort of inside-the-beltway, business as usual thing. Helen Thomas goes to it, for chrissake. So is the press conference more of a direct-to-the-people event than a town hall?|W|P|111473345381169609|W|P||W|P|4/28/2005 06:57:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The world needs laughter. CBS News ...
"I fully recognize that the personal retirement account is not the only thing needed to solve Social Security permanently," Mr. Bush said. "But it's a part of the solution." The president has not spelled out the size of benefit cuts that would go along with the private accounts. He continued to stress that the Social Security system would be "flat bust" in 2042, when it will be able to cover about 73 percent of benefits owed. And he repeated his pledge not to change benefits for those already getting checks or those 55 and older. A heckler in the Nebraska crowd wasn't buying it. "Quit lying ... you liar," he yelled. "We love free speech in America," Mr. Bush replied and then continued his speech.
I love the ellipsis (...) in that quote.|W|P|111472916003750130|W|P||W|P|4/27/2005 07:02:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I'm your bogeyman I think this story Kos links to is bullshit. The Guardian's cover today shows "internal polls" that put 100 Labour seats at risk. Thing is, the Guardian is totally in Labour's thrall, and I think the party leaked them this info to put the fear of God into their apathetic voters. No one actually wants to vote Labour, but their base (around 37%, enough to win 376 of 646 seats) can be motivated by fear of electing Michael Howard, the Tory leader. Howard is a fairly loathed veteran of the Thatcher and Major governments who symbolizes much of what put voters off Tories in the first place - imagine the Democrats nominating Janet Reno and you get a picture of what Howard symbolizes and how disliked he is. I mean, Tony Blair said Saddam Hussein had weapons that could kill your children in 45 minutes, and Howard is still seen as less "trustworthy."|W|P|111464348980167634|W|P||W|P|4/27/2005 05:04:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|In praise of William Hague (For full affect, imagine me ostentatiously holding a martini as I say this first part.) So I was talking with Andrew Sullivan last night, and in between interruptions by people who wanted to query him about Catholicism to watch the veins in his neck turn blue, I asked him about William Hague. Sullivan's profile of Hague in 2001 was the first piece of his I'd ever read, and having lived in England only 10 months before the article's publication, I had come to the same conclusion as Sullivan: This was a decent man getting a raw deal. Even if you don't agree, you've got to think he's got an interesting story. Hague was a young, brilliant conservative who in 1977 gave one of the key speech at the Tory party conference. He looked like this. He went on to Oxford and was elected to parliament in 1989, at age 28. He was in the cabinet by age 34, and when the Conservatives lost the 1997 election, he was elected one of the youngest party leaders in Europe. The trouble was, he looked like this. Yes, he had the same features he had at age 16, but now he was bald. In this age of media and image and spin, this led to him earning possibly the meanest political nickname of the past 50 years: the "Fighting Fetus." This gave cartoonists the inspiration to draw him as a little boy in short pants, as seen here: It's a bit difficult to imagine the same level of vitriol directed at a politican by our press. Hague just wasn't taken seriously at all. He became a convenient punching bag for journalists to take out all their grievances against the Tories, and his popularity went septic. The 2001 election, which wasn't winnable anyway, turned into a rout, and at age 40 Hague basically entered a forced retirement from the front edge of politics. Sullivan's take on this was that Hague should have calmly stepped aside in the 1997 leadership race and let some poor slob like Michael Howard (the current leader, elected in 2003 at age 58) take the hit in the 2001 election. Probably true, but what thirtysomething gets a chance at power like this and says "best to sit and wait a bit"? Hague's got a new biography out, of William Pitt the Younger. I'm sure it's good, and it'll be interesting to see if it makes any progress in rehabilitating his reputation.|W|P|111463855431166650|W|P||W|P|4/27/2005 04:23:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Shorter Charles Johnson John Kerry made shit up about his Vietnam service, which means the Abu Ghraib scandal never happened. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to chew my own leg off.|W|P|111463360288087557|W|P||W|P|4/27/2005 04:21:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Things which must be said That woman in the GoDaddy.com ads is seriously fugly. Admit it.|W|P|111463332469717366|W|P||W|P|4/27/2005 04:16:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Shorter Matt Drudge Well, as you know, President Bush's agenda is hitting some serious roadblocks and his support OH MY GOD HEY LOOK OVER THERE.|W|P|111463322695298946|W|P||W|P|4/27/2005 12:53:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Caesar's Bath Awesome. Jeremy Lott has given in to my pathetic arm-twisting and passed me the Caesar's Bath meme.
Behold, the Caesar's Bath meme! List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can't really understand the fuss over. To use the words of Caesar (from History of the World Part I), "Nice. Nice. Not thrilling . . . but nice."
I've noticed some people accidentally writing about things which flat-out suck, and that's probably easier but not as fun. I'm going to try and stick to things that most of my friends have opinions on, too. 1.)24. I have watched the entire first season of this show, and episodes from all the other seasons, and ... meh. It's certainly better-written and cast than your average action series, but it's still a damn action series. And in order to meet its weekly adreneline quota, it jerks the characters around to a level that's just plain annoying. One kidnapping I can understand ... one "I'll trade my life if you let so-and-so go" is good. Not several of each in a 24-hour period. 2.)Chicago. I chose my alma mater (Northwestern) blind, partly because of the assurances that I'd be close to a "world-class" city. And that may be right. After all, Brussels is a world-class city. It's also boring. The same can be said of Chicago. I think it's cumbersome and hard to get around in - the city is longer than it is wide, and cool neighborhoods are absurdly hard to reach from the suburbs. If you're trying to reach something west of the Chicago river, you travel all the way downtown and transfer to a train that takes you back north. If you're trying to reach Hyde Park, you take the red line all the way through the city, then hop on another train altogether. Mind you, this is mostly a problem for college kids living in the northern suburbs. But while I wouldn't turn down a chartered limo taking me to key music stores, the city's still sprawling and mostly dull, unless you're a business consultant who wants to pick up other business consultants in Wrigleyville. And did I say it's cold? It's cold. 3.)Rock concerts. You'd figure I'd love going to concerts, since I spend all of my surplus cash on music and now have around, oh, 2800 CDs. But the rigamarole of a live concert is just unbearable. Admit it. Do you enjoy running ahead of your fellow fans to elbow up to the stage? If you're alone, do you enjoy drumming your fingers on said stage for 2 hours until the opening act comes on? If you're with friends, do you enjoy SHOUTING AT THE TOP OF YOUR VOICE to keep some kind of conversation going? Do you enjoy silently, cooly scheming to grab the set list as a dozen other hipsters hatch their own plots beside you? Pretty often a concert will be kickass enough to make you forget this stuff, but for me the huge waiting period before a concert is enough to scare me away from most shows I could see. "But Dave," you may ask. "Aren't you just bitter that your girlfriend broke up with you after a concert?" Maybe that's part of it. 4.)Instapundit. Actually, I reckon most people in my "circle of friends or peer group" are pretty split on Instapundit, and few would argue that he's totally awesome. But few would argue, as I do, that he's gotten plain mediocre. It was bound to happen - when blogs were new and the world was green, Glenn Reynolds had plenty of time to scan the small blog universe and post everything he found interesting. But the blog world has expanded, and blog hype has expanded expontentially, giving Reynolds lots of distractions and some obvious sense of triumphalism. The site has ceased to be a go-to blog aggregator. Now, it's the journal of a center-right law professor with some famous friends (Hugh Hewitt, Mickey Kaus, James Lileks). This isn't bad - it's just not very compelling, and nowhere good enough for the level of popularity and cred that Reynolds continues to enjoy. 5.)The Washington Monthly. There seems to be this consensus that the WaMo "came to life" in the last few years, and it's heads and tails above other liberal magazines. Yes and no. It did get more interesting around 2001-2003, but it seems to have taken a turn for the boring since Joshua Green left, with too few breaking stories and too many analyses of well-trod topics. I couldn't find anything much of interest in the last issue with the Lindsey Graham cover and, remember the "Bring back the draft!" cover package? Yeah, I thought so. As liberal magazines go, it's not even one of the three best - I'd say The Nation is actually the most entertaining these days, followed by the American Prospect, and then TNR, whose interminable "LIBERALS SUCK GRAHH" editorials are cancelled out by the terrific reporting and reviews. TNR and The Nation seem to take a lot more flak than the Monthly, and I don't think that's fair right now. I pass the baton to John Tabin, Ellen Shapiro, and Shawn Macomber.|W|P|111458044089427619|W|P||W|P|4/26/2005 03:19:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Balls I think that's what you call this. This is starting to remind me of the second act of "Eight Men Out." I wonder if Bush put a huge bet against his Social Security plan on Tradesports, and stands to make a ton if it goes down in flames.|W|P|111455371165589537|W|P||W|P|4/26/2005 02:12:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Our first lesbian president Tim Graham is right, damn him. The choice of Cynthia Nixon to play Eleanor Roosevelt in HBO's new FDR movie is insanely flattering to the former first lady. Here's Cynthia Nixon. And here's -- augh! Turn it off! Turn it off! Also, if you've been buying any magazines with house ads for this movie, did you notice the new ads digitally insert a cigarette holder into Kenneth Branagh's mouth? Golly, I hate that. The last really creepy example of a digital mulligan happened with Julia Stiles' sorta-hit "The Prince and Me." Here was the image used in first-run publicity. And here's the manipulation they used for the DVD release. Note how a picture of Stiles' head from an entirely different situation was slapped on her neck. Dunno why, but this bugs me. UPDATE: Oh, I should've known - Graham managed to work some MRC paranoia into his post after all. He calls this HBO's "latest" FDR biopic and snarks "I'm sure it will be just as nasty as that Showtime film on the Reagans, right?" This is stupid. The movie is called "Warm Springs" - it's about FDR's futile struggle to walk again after getting polio in 1921, and it ends in the late 20s, when he re-entered politics in a run for governor of New York. In that 1928 race, FDR was seen by many as a token candidate - his crippling was widely-gossiped about, and people wondered whether the Democrats were giving up on the race by fielding a guy who, presumably, couldn't campaign hard, in a year that Republicans (under presidential candidate Hoover) were going to win New York state anyway. But FDR campaigned like a bastard and won. It's a fascinating human story that is in large part responsible for FDR's enduring appeal (not just the 1928 race, but the fact he lost the use of his legs and came back stronger than ever). I think Bob Dole's personal story, about his injury in Italy in 1945, is also responsible for Dole's appeal - Dole is considerably more popular and warmly regarded than any defeated presidential candidate in memory. Graham probably didn't consider then when he posted - regardless, it's a stupid comparison to make.|W|P|111453956431695319|W|P||W|P|4/26/2005 11:35:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Wishes do come true "The more the president goes out there, the worse his numbers," says Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat who opposes Bush's plan. After Bush visited Cedar Rapids, a statewide poll by the Des Moines Register showed just 26% of Iowans approved of his Social Security plan; 65% disapproved. Harkin jokes that Democrats have advice for Bush: "Extend the 60-day tour to 120 days." - USA Today, April 24 "President George W. Bush's strategy for wrapping up his 60-day, 60-stop tour to whip up support for revamping Social Security is simple: ignore the calendar and keep on stumping. As the scheduled May 1 conclusion of his speaking tour approaches, Bush is planning to extend his campaign-style travels across the country in an effort to reverse the dwindling public support for his plan." - Bloomberg, April 26|W|P|111452995254983373|W|P||W|P|4/26/2005 11:07:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Can't you see that I am being serious? So I feel totally like Homer in the Simpsons episode where he finds a Japanese detergent product that apparently has his picture on the box. I'm reading this comic strip Jerk City* and I see this: What? The? Fuck? *This strip is typically filthy, and produced the wrongest piece of commentary on the Terri Schiavo matter that you shall ever see.|W|P|111452823667868218|W|P||W|P|4/26/2005 01:06:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Look out honey 'cause I'm using technology No one ever answers my technical questions, but I currently have two, so let me float them once more. 1.)My iPod has an annoying dent on the back. Is there a way to get this fixed without replacing the whole thing? Is that iPodmechanics site worth a shit? 2.)I lost the cap on my SanDisk Cruzer Micro, and their website won't sell me a replacement without a Commerce.MtsTxPipeline error '80020101'. Where can I buy a new cap? Thanks in advance.|W|P|111449215048230638|W|P||W|P|4/26/2005 12:11:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The end of my Michelle Malkin-bashing She really is pathetic, isn't she? I'm guessing she can't have gotten so far in journalism with a low IQ, so she purposefully dumbs herself down in order to become a high-profile pundit, and that's even worse. I mean, look at this dumb shit.
ACCENT ON LIBERAL BIGOTRY File this under Party of Tolerance follies: A Democrat candidate for governor in Virginia is apparently mocking how people in his state talk.
No, he isn't. Tim Kaine is running for governor of Virginia (where I now live) against Jerry Kilgore, a youngish Attorney General who has a thick lisp. Probably for this reason, Kilgore has not been speaking in his own radio ads, whereas Kaine has been speaking in all of his. And Kilgore's ads are the usual negative boilerplate - Kaine is a liberal, he'll raise your taxes, he doesn't share your values. So Kaine released a radio ad which features him saying this.
"I'm Tim Kaine and I'm running for governor. If I have something to say, I'm not afraid to say it myself. But Jerry Kilgore has been making things up about me and letting slick radio announcers do his dirty work. Virginia deserves a leader who says what he believes, himself."
(And then the usual campaign talk.) So the ad doesn't mention Kilgore's accent at all. It doesn't mention any accent. The point is that Kilgore is being a wimp and not dishing out his attacks personally. And the Kilgore campaign very cleverly saw a 2-day press release factory they could craft out of this, based on something Kaine "implies." They're trying to turn a weakness into a strength, which is smart, because I seriously believe Kilgore could lose some votes from people hearing his voice and thinking he's gay. Now, what gets me about Malkin is that she (along with the GOP officials in the links) wants to use this as proof of liberal intolerance and elitism. This is hypocritical, because conservatives use regional prejudice like a giant hobnailed club and don't get called on it. When it was announced that the Democratic convention would take place in Boston, Dick Armey - who was then the retiring House Majority leader - said "If I were a Democrat, I would feel a heck of a lot more comfortable in Boston than, say, in America." This was a joke of sorts, but it's pretty much Republican policy to bash Boston and Massachusetts. Do your own googling and see how many laugh lines Bush got out of it in 2004. Now - try to imagine a Democrat saying "if I were a Republican, I'd feel a lot more comfortable in Alabama than, say, in America." You can't, because it's not how they politick. Oh, and it would be suicidal. In summation, Michelle Malkin is wrong and stupid, but mostly wrong. Well ... like 59% wrong and 41% stupid. (He's not a Republican politician, but may I point out that James Taranto is still deriding John Kerry as "French-looking" five months after the election? Ha, ha.) UPDATE: John Tabin tells me to go after Larry Sabato, who is quoted in one of the cited Washington Times articles. But Sabato is right. He says: "This relates to the Southwest Virginia accent. It shouldn’t be a handicap, but it is. There is a prejudice about it. The implication of the accent, as it hits the ear of supposedly sophisticated suburbanites, is that it belongs to a country hick." But that doesn't mean Sabato agrees with the ridiculous claim that Kaine was mocking peoples' accents. Sabato is saying the reason Kilgore isn't on the air is because his voice may actually be a political handicap. This is the difference between saying "John Kerry's anti-war activities could become an issue" and saying "John Kerry hates Vietnam veterans."|W|P|111449183812368929|W|P||W|P|4/24/2005 12:01:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Little Green Fuddy-Duddy I think it's just cute that Charles Johnson is whipping out the Hate Stick for Maggie Gyllenhaal, for her crimes against the state ... namely, saying "I think America has done reprehensible things and is responsible in some way and so I think the delicacy with which it’s dealt allows that to sort of creep in." For some reason I picture Johnson as Sinead O'Connor in that career swan-dive on Saturday Night Live, ripping up a picture of the Pope/Gyllenhaal and saying "Fight the real enemy!" And what sort of American Patriot could hate this? |W|P|111435872472976990|W|P||W|P|4/22/2005 11:08:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Iowa low The Des Moines Register has this for us:
President Bush's job approval ratings in Iowa are sagging like never before, with Iowans particularly critical of his drive to change Social Security and his handling of the federal budget. A new Iowa Poll, conducted for The Des Moines Register, shows that 42 percent of the state's adults approve of the job that Bush is doing as president, while 53 percent disapprove and 5 percent are undecided.
A sensible person may well ask, "so what?" And he or she might continue, "Bush isn't running again, you jackass. And Democrats aren't going to get anywhere if their 2006 election strategy is 'Bush sucks!'" All true. And it's worth remembering that the only successful performance of an incumbent president's party, in his second midterm election, was Bill Clinton's Democrats in 1998. They faced Republicans whose basic theme was "Clinton sucks and let's impeach him." Oh, and the election is still 19 months away. I bring this up because severe weakness for the president and his agenda will be crucial for Democrats in 2006. The key to Republicans' 2002 success was Bush's popularity, and his (and Cheney's) tireless stumping in swing states like Georgia, Florida, New Hampshire and Missouri. Bush nationalized the campaigns of candidates who might have otherwise fallen short, and replaced their attributes with his own. The National Exit Poll showed 66% approval for the president, which ticked up to 71% on the "war on terrorism" and even 58% on the then-shitty economy. Overall Republican support (adding up the votes from all federal races) went from 50-50 in 2000 to 53-47. But no one expects Bush's approval to hit 66% again anytime soon, and no one expects the issue cocktail of 2002 - homeland security dept., Iraq invasion - to be replicated. Imagine the field for Democrats if his approval sits where it is now - mid-40s nationwide. Bush is essentially taken out of the game in states that voted for Kerry but are holding tight-ish Senate races, like Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Vermont, New Jersey and Maryland. In the last three states I imagine his approval is actually in the 30s. Bush would be a drag on Republican candidates. If the Social Security battlefield keeps sliding away from him, Bush's stumping power is limited in Florida, too. He can raise money for candidates, sure. But he won't have the power to push candidates over the top via making their races votes in confidence for his leadership. Even more promising for Democrats is the basket of issues that could be on the table. If Iraq is going well, or even if Osama bin Laden is caught, Bush's best issue fades into the background. Democrats will probably run first and foremost against Social Security privatization, which is not only unpopular, but unpopular among the huge bases of reliable senior voters in most swing states. That holds promise even if Bush's approval ticks back up. Remember, in 1986 Reagan had a 63% approval rating (National Exit Poll again) and had just won every single state except Minnesota and the vast majority of counties and congressional districts. (Compare the 1984 county map to the 2004 one. For Pete's sake, Reagan won every county in Vermont.) By Michael Barone's thinking, Reagan should have picked up dozens of House seats and a veto-proof Senate. Quite the contrary - he campaigned harder than any president in history for a midterm election, explicity said that voters were voting on his agenda, and lost seats in both houses. So I think Bush's approval numbers will continue to matter, although they'll only be one component of a possible Democratic success.|W|P|111418447659581419|W|P||W|P|4/22/2005 12:48:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Television man I haven't had a good, senseless rant here in a while, so how 'bout we talk about commercials? Specifically, the commercials that run nonstop on the CNN- and Fox-set TVs in my office. - Burger King I'm quite fond of the will-work-for-food-literally ad featuring Darius Rucker (of Hootie and the Blowfish) rejigging "Big Rock Candy Mountain" to sing the praises of a chicken sandwich. (I watched my friend Dave order a "Hootie sandwhich" in tribute to this.) I'm less fond of the oddball breakfast ads, which feature the chain's plastic mascot sneaking into mens' houses to give them fatty egg and biscuit products. The killer is the announcer, this weirdly enthusiastic black dude who seems to have been told, "enunciate or I'll shoot your kids." Meat and cheese become "MEEEEEET! And ... CHEEEEESE!" Annoying. - Ditech What the fuck is it with this company? Did someone die and will them trillions of dollars to use in daytime cable advertising? It's not that just that they run lots of ads - it's that they seem to come up with an entirely new ad, with new actors, every other day. The one standby is the chubby, hapless mortgage broker who is always losing "another loan to Ditech!" He's ok. I'm less comfortable with the "hard sell" pitchmen, another avuncular man and a Linda Vester-ish automaton who walk along THX1138-y sets telling us how low their APRs are. And I'm especially uncomfortable with the "regular people" who, having taken advantage of Ditech's services, are gripped by the desire to destroy their credit cards. One guy throws them in a wood chipper. One guy melts them in a campfire. One guy taking them to a fucking shooting range, says pull, and blows up these curiously-CGI looking cards. Please, can we raise interest rates sky-high or something to kill this weird company? - Any political ad except the AARP one I kinda like the AARP ad, because it doesn't feel like the bilious ads that devoured our screens for most of 2004. But all the rest? Shit. MoveAmericaForward, with their "Clinton ate my production studio!" technical quality, are probably the worst. The lefty 527s are next - all that money, and they can't get a focus group to tell them "that ad showing a guy washing his hands is oddly unconvincing"? People for the American Way are succeeding in getting me to hate firefighters AND common sense. And Progress For America ... well, they're actually sort of fun, because they started off promoting social security privatization with positive "isn't Bush awesome?" ads, and they've been getting steadily more desperate and sad. The one with an ominous stopwatch ticking off to remind us of all those Democrats who don't have any ideas is the harshest so far. Next I'm hoping they step up and show a Harry Reid impersonator raping and beating a 18-30 year old. - Direcway What the hell is it? Some magical microwave-based method of getting DSL? The redhead is sort of hot, though. - TIAA's "Somewhere" Fuck you, TIAA, for making me hate David Sylvian. Apparently he's one of the vocalists on this conceptual stink bomb, wherein various important people move in slow motion as different singers sing "Somewhere" from "West Side Story." The volume's such that you always want to flip around and hear where this noise is coming from - and whammo, there's this pretentious horseshit about a bank or something. - Nortel's "This is the Way Same thing, basically, except instead of overemotive singers belting "Somewhere" it's a chorus of small children (bound and tortured at the bottom of a fallout shelter, I goddamn hope) singing "This is the way we sweep the floor." What the hell am I supposed to do with this?|W|P|111414711637463317|W|P||W|P|4/21/2005 11:39:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Somebody toss him a hanky John Hinderaker is getting the vapors over this picture, of a dog wearing a shirt that reads "Senator Santorum sodomized me."
American political history is often not pretty. But I don't think we have ever experienced anything remotely approaching the current descent of liberals into hate. Not only hate, but weird hate. And it will continue until voters definitively reject the Democratic Party.
Lord, let's hope he never googles "Santorum." (Oh, and whenever someone says "I've never seen such political nastiness," please cough and say "The Clinton Chronicles" as obviously as you can. It's just naive to pretend the left or the right is blameless in this.)|W|P|111414505357232807|W|P||W|P|4/20/2005 11:33:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Bernie Sanders for Senate Please don't expel me from the libertarian/conservative family. Vermont's gonna have a liberal or Democratic senator anyway, so it might as well be a guy who says things like this.
There are a lot of people in Congress who talk about freedom, freedom and freedom but, apparently, they do not really believe that the American people should have the "freedom" to make the choice about what they listen to on radio or watch on TV. There are a lot of people in Congress who talk about the intrusive role of "government regulators," but today they want government regulators to tell radio and TV stations what they can air. I disagree with that. A vote for this bill today will make America a less free society. Mr. Speaker: I am not a conservative. But on this issue I find myself in strong agreement with Mr. Adam D. Thierer, the Director of Telecommunications studies at the Cato Institute - a very conservative think tank.
Woot!|W|P|111405458751839984|W|P||W|P|4/20/2005 05:09:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Welcome to Errordome Two factcheckers enter, one factchecker leaves David Brock's Media Matters attempts to smack down a USA Today column that I fact-checked, here. I like Media Matters, but I think they're off base. Says them:
In an April 19 USA Today op-ed, Ross K. Baker spread the false -- but often-repeated -- claim that former Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey was prohibited from speaking at the 1992 Democratic National Convention because he opposed abortion rights.
Even though our Gannett and USA Today stories verified this anecdote, I was aware of this issue, and emailed Baker about it. I included the New Republic article cited by Media Matters, as it's the most high-profile article pushing this theory. But it didn't disprove Ross's point. The people who claim Casey's diss had nothing to do with abortion were James Carville, Paul Begala and Ron Brown. Michael Crowley, the author of the piece, refers to them as "Democratic hacks" and basically considers their points of view circumstantial evidence. Crowley then presents Casey's evidence. First, he sent a letter to organizers asking to give a pro-life speech and never got a response. Then he wanted to "speak against the platform" - typically, this is done to bring attention to a plank or an issue, so it sounds like Casey was still trying to address abortion. Crowley's conclusion isn't very definitive, either.
Casey's claim that he fell victim to an orchestrated campaign to silence his pro-life views has never been proven and, based on the available evidence, isn't very persuasive. Its currency stems mostly from his indefatigable promulgation of it. Yet the media have accepted the story at face value. At the very least they should be aware that, in so doing, they are playing into Casey's--and the Republicans'--hands.
So, it seems like Casey wasn't really dissed because of abortion, but he said he was. And there's no way of verifying it. Ross and I didn't think this was evidence enough to change his sentence - which, remember, is true according to the telling of Bob Casey, Sr. Media Matters disagrees. Go fig.|W|P|111403220184509082|W|P||W|P|4/19/2005 01:28:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The biggest douche in the universe I should be a natural mark for this new book "South Park Conservatives," but I flipped through it in Borders over the weekend and the first thing I noticed was that my friend Ruben's name had been misspelled. Strike one. And yesterday, I saw author Brian Anderson interviewed on O'Reilly. Strikes two through ten million.
O'REILLY: Are there "South Park" liberals? Are they liberals who... ANDERSON: Sure, sure. I mean, there must be. You know, you don't see them very evident in the media these days, but, you know, the show "South Park" itself goes after conservatives once in awhile.
Once in a while, as in the Terri Schiavo episode two weeks ago that featured Satan's henchman giving orders to Republicans. Nothin' major.
But there's a kind of humorlessness to today's left, an inability to laugh both at themselves and at the world as a whole. O'REILLY: I think -- I think you're on to something, because Limbaugh puts on a funny show. ANDERSON: Sure. O'REILLY: Ann Coulter, as far right as she is, is funny. ANDERSON: Yes. She's an entertainer. O'REILLY: She's trying to be. She's entertaining. ANDERSON: Laura Ingraham is very funny. O'REILLY: Right. She uses a lot of sound.
The secret of radio success! It's beyond me how you can have this discussion of the long march of hilarious right-wingers against humorless liberals, and carefully ignore Jon Stewart or Michael Moore, to name their most notable mediaheads. Anderson made up his mind that the Left is humorless and he set out to prove it. Yawn. UPDATE: John Tabin informs me that the book is actually way more substantial (than a 5-minute interview! Think of it!) and addresses the popularity of liberal comedy. My bad. I'll probably read it after all - this is a theory that's been kicking around for years, and my college years provided some evidence to bolster it.|W|P|111393211964366185|W|P||W|P|4/19/2005 12:38:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Thoughts upon the election of Pope Benedict XVI Thank God I'm a Methodist.|W|P|111393169596112159|W|P||W|P|4/18/2005 04:18:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|More Coulter Aha, I put my finger on what weirded me about the Coulter cover: She's over. Her last book, "How to Talk to a Liberal: If You Must," debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at #2 on Oct. 24, 2004. It stayed at #2 for another week, then started falling, tumbling out of the top 15 on February 13, 2005, fell off the list entirely on February 20. Compared to the #1-bestselling, zeitgeist-influencing heft of her last two books, this really blows. The best time for a Coulter cover may have come and gone - I'd say the months after "Treason" came out were the high point of her career. Ah, the way we were. |W|P|111385551097044252|W|P||W|P|4/18/2005 03:05:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Give 'em an inch Holy crap, some conservatives are actually complaining about the Time magazine Ann Coulter cover because *choke* *sniff* the picture was weird. What did Time editors hope to gain in doing something nice for Coulter, anyway? They would have gotten the same reaction if they titled the piece "Ann Coulter: Cunt on a Mission." (Probably saving that for the Michelle Malkin package.) Says one conservative:
Do you know if Time posed the question to anyone who was not a conservative who was on the cover? John Kerry - is he good for America? George Soros - is he good for America?
Good question! Actually, Time publishes shady covers with liberals or Democrats semi-frequently. June 28, 2004 - Fairly normal picture of Bill Clinton, but it bears the slightly accusatory title "Bill Clinton Explains Himself." At least one letter-writer pointed out that this implies Clinton has something to apologize for. Jan. 12, 2004 - Howard Dean as a paint-by-numbers picture. Not too harsh, but I can imagine the reaction if they tried this in 2007 with Sam Brownback or something. Aug. 11, 2003 - Howard Dean cloaked in shadow, eyes blazing like the Mu'ad D'ib. Not too flattering. May 19, 2003 - A newsworthy topic: Why do Democrats suck so bad? Dang, I'll have to update this later - Time's server for the covers database is sucking wind.|W|P|111385198482147596|W|P||W|P|4/18/2005 11:37:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Liberal media distortion! Ann Coulter is a little testy, eh?
"Why can't they just photograph conservatives straight?!" blasted this week's TIME magazine covergirl Ann Coulter. The bestselling author and controversialist slammed magazine editors for fronting a photo of her, she claims, which is so distorted "my own mother would not even recognize me!" The photographer, Platon, appears to have used a wide "Fisheye" lense for the cover snap, stretching Coulter's legs and feet -- while shrinking the rest of her body.
Bitch, bitch, bitch. And, um, bitch. At least she doesn't get the Michael Moore treatment and look like she's about to crush the spirit of America in her gigantic hands.|W|P|111383881288634914|W|P||W|P|4/18/2005 11:14:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Over a dead body Aha - I was waiting for NRO to weigh in on this.
I heard this morning that Dean made a speech over the weekend in which he said he plans to make Schiavo a big campaign issue in the next two cycles. If he's serious, THAT's a bonehead move. The seemingly pro-death polls on Schiavo were dependent on two things (a) misinformation spawned by the media about basic facts of the case, and (b) the high emotion of the days prior to Terri's death. A campaign that scrutinizes what happened in Florida is most likely to correct the misinformation -- and may even swing things in the other direction (given that the pro-life forces correctly predicted worse cases like the one down in Georgia, and that all the legislative movement at the state level seems to be in the direction of tightening laws to prevent someone like Terri from being killed by someone like her husband under ambiguous circumstances). Plus, how is Dean ever gonna sell that a bandwagon Ralph Nader and Jesse Jackson leaped on with both feet is somehow a right-wing assault on civil liberties?
I think this is based on an incorrect interpretation of Dean. What he said comes from reports of a breakfast with gay groups, so it's probably mangled, but USA Today has this.
"This is going to be an issue in 2006, and its going to be an issue in 2008 because we're going to have an ad with a picture of (House Majority Leader) Tom DeLay saying, 'Do you want this guy to decide whether you die or not? Or is that going to be up to your loved ones?'"
Which sounds like Dems will just use Schiavo in a hint-hint, nudge-nudge way to work Republicans over on the "intruding in your lives" issue. I don't think Democrats would be dumb enough to resurrect the Schiavo case en toto for ads, because they wouldn't need to. I get the feeling that Republicans aren't thrilled with this, either. The RNC has had two days to make hay out of Dean's comments and all they've put out was a short quote by a low-level spokeshack.|W|P|111383805611909080|W|P||W|P|4/18/2005 11:02:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Holy fuckpile Just saw this Time magazine poll while researching something else ...
The government's regulations over program content should be extended to cover ... Basic Cable Yes - 49% No - 45% Pay Cable Yes - 31% No - 64% Satellite Cable Yes - 33% No - 57%
This is unbelievable. What possible justification is there for regulating the basic cable that I pay for? Is it that the cables run through public dirt and grass? A majority of Americans support this? I guess I'm going to need to stack more money in my DVD budget. And 31% support regulating HBO and Showtime? Fuck that. Tax these dimestore Michael Medveds to pay for my $50 cable bill, if they're so worried about the cuss words and boobies.|W|P|111383701043719284|W|P||W|P|4/18/2005 10:31:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I win, I win, I don't lose, I win!* The blogosphere's Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf is still stamping his little feet and claiming he was right - right, damn you! - to accuse the Washington Post of falling for a "fake" memo that turned out to be real.
The finely worded story that appeared in the Post's final March 20 edition reported that the memo had been "distributed only to Republican senators." We know now that the memo was not prepared by party leaders, contrary to the version of the story transmitted by the Post to its wire service on March 19, and that it was distributed by Republican Senator Mel Martinez to Democratic Senator Tom Harkin; we do not know of a single Republican senator to whom the memo was distributed. Getler takes no account of the fact that if the memo had been described by the Post in a manner consistent with the known facts, it would hardly have merited a news story.
The emphasis is mine, because Hindrocket is retroactively creating a world unlike our own, where the memo was a "news story" and not three grafs in a 27-graf story. I mean, is he saying that without the memo, there was no story? Or that there was no way of implying that this act of Congress was, um, political? Hindrocket's been peddling another fib about this story, too, that I haven't touched on in my bemused blogging about this. He keeps contending that the Post should apologize for saying the memo was created by "party leaders," as it was only created by the staff of freshman Sen. Mel Martinez. But the Post's context explains why this was a fair use of shorthand.
The Senate met with just three senators -- Frist, Harkin and Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) -- on the floor, surrounded by two dozen pages, clerks and parliamentarians. Santorum, who was in the chair, prayed at the start of the session because no chaplain showed up. Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) also returned to the Capitol.
Not only was Martinez the prime mover of the bill, being the Republican senator from Florida - this was an extraordinary case where only four senators were in the chamber for the vote. Someone who read the Post article saw this, and knew that Allen wasn't writing about a memo written by the official GOP leadership staff distributed to 55 Republicans. Oh, and is Hindrocket still trusting the word of GOP senators on whether or not they saw they memo? Given that at least one of their offices lied about it? Wow. *This is, of course, a reference to "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law"|W|P|111383573501820683|W|P||W|P|4/17/2005 10:53:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Time and satire go together like salmon and fudge Wow, this is hilarious. A line-up of satirical right-wing groups - ProtestWarrior and Communists For Kerry - are pictured in the new Time magazine "protesting" Ann Coulter. I would say "wow, did no one at Time think of typing in this group's URL to check if they were joking?" but it's probably moot, since Time put together its issue ignoring its own poll showing 79% of Americans don't know who Ann Coulter is.|W|P|111379308828082060|W|P||W|P|4/17/2005 12:34:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Dramatic! I imagine people will buzz about Time magazine putting Ann Coulter on its cover, but I see something else interesting. Here's Time. And here's the cover of New Jersey power pop band Dramarama's 1991 masterpiece "Vinyl." So the real story here is the Time graphics department's justified devotion to one of America's great Reagan-Bush era rock groups.|W|P|111375263075514303|W|P||W|P|4/16/2005 04:14:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Ewwwwww From the "shit I didn't need to know" file over at Andrew Sullivan's ...
In deference to my relationship (and my sanity), I'm not blogging in the early hours any more. I'm spooning.
Meerrruuugghhh. Well, now you know why I've got so much bloggable time.|W|P|111368256124588543|W|P||W|P|4/15/2005 04:04:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Stuff I done did got My money and I are always quick to disengage, a function of living near awesome used CD and book stores in DC and having friends near similarly fine stores in Delaware and Pennsylvania. So I buy a lot of DVD sets and CD box sets. Why not? They're comprehensive, they're pretty, and they're usually 40%-50% of their retail price. Here's some stuff I've picked up recently and can recommend. Gordon Lightfoot - Songbook Yes, my coolness sunk a few dozen points (what would such points be called? Fonzies? Timberlakes? Olbermanns?) when I picked up 88 songs by the masculine Canadian bard. Don't care. Lightfoot is a consistently strong songwriter who knows ten different ways around pop and folk melodies. (I don't think it's a coincidence that Whitney Houston's pre-crack hit "The Greatest Love of All" sounds partly ripped off from "If You Could Read My Mind.") His 400-odd songs are selected damn well - the first disc collects the cream of his acoustic folk, the second and third disc cover his days as a 70s hitmaker, and the fourth disc traces his (surprisingly listenable) decline in the Age of Singer-Songwriter Doom, also known as the 1980s. I'm told the rareties/live songs choices keep a few great studio versions of songs off here, but I really can't see I'm missing much. This is a vastly entertaining set. Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law This semi-spinoff of the epochal "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" is the most conceptually sound Adult Swim series. Birdman, a truly stupid hero of 60s Hanna Barbara cartoons, works at a law firm representing other Hanna Barbara characters. Shaggy and Scooby-Doo get picked up for marijuana possession, Race O'Bannon sues for custody of Jonny Quest, Dingaling sues a pornographer for ownership of "dingaling.biz". For whatever reason, the show's producers score top-notch vocal talent for all this - Gary Cole (Lumbergh in "Office Space") is Birdman, Stephen Colbert is Birdman's boss (and some other characters), and John Michael Higgins (of the Christopher Guest movies) is Mentok the Mind-Taker, a nominal supervillain/judge who constantly interrupts the proceedings by floating or telepathically scanning people for trivial info.|W|P|111359551416410600|W|P||W|P|4/15/2005 10:32:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Mapes Bad enough that Mary Mapes had her impressive journalistic career tarred by producing the Rathergate story, but is there only one stock photo of her that media can use? She looks like she's been distracted by a UFO on the way to score crack. (On a related note, one of the callers into Mike Krempasky's C-Span interview today started ranting about Rathergate and CBS tried to pull it "two weeks before the election" and it was just like that DUI story. Um. The Mapes story ran two months before the election, on September 8. Bush even made a sorta-joke about it during the third debate, when CBS's Bob Schieffer was hosting. And the DUI story was broken by that legendary left-wing activist "Campaign" Carl Cameron, who was friendly with Bush and went on to work for Fox News as their WH correspondant. Are people really this stupid, or is it the effect of a right-wing radio diet?)|W|P|111357590711182646|W|P||W|P|4/14/2005 03:23:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|British douchebag Arch-douchebag Robert Kilroy-Silk, who I blogged about last month, is leading his insta-party Veritas in the British elections by sounding like a particularly ornery Little Green Footballs commenter.
Euro MP Robert Kilroy-Silk has launched his Veritas Party's manifesto with an attack on multi-culturalism imposed by "liberal fascists in London". The idea that everybody should respect each others' cultures was "nonsense", he said, adding that not all cultures were equal - some were "reprehensible". The ex-chat show host said no-one voted for Britain to become multi-cultural.
And soon, no one will come out to vote for Robert Kilroy-Silk.|W|P|111350719287484676|W|P||W|P|4/14/2005 01:41:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Mo' Money Since it looks likely that the 2006 Maryland Senate race will end with Kweisi Mfume waxing Michael Steele's ass, I checked what Mfume had said about black conservatives. Hoo boy.
"When the ultraconservative right-wing attacker has run out of attack strategy," Mr. Mfume said, "he goes and gets someone that looks like you and me to continue the attacks." Paraphrasing a line from a 2002 speech by NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, he said, "And like the ventriloquist's dummies, they sit there in the puppet master's voice, but we can see whose lips are moving, and we can hear his money talk." In a speech punctuated by cheers from the audience, Mr. Mfume said: "They can't deal with the leaders we choose for ourselves, so they manufacture, promote and hire new ones."
I think Mfume was talking more about guys like Jesse Lee Peterson than Michael Steele, but still - harsh. But this part of the article is way funnier.
Mr. Mfume's remarks about black conservatives are "hypocritical," said conservative commentator Armstrong Williams, because "the NAACP could not survive on membership fees; it relies on corporations." "The NAACP should know about funding from big groups, because it is funded by liberal white organizations," Mr. Williams said. "It gets money and backing from the [National Education Association], the AFL-CIO, and look at who is sponsoring its convention."
I would say something about a pot and a kettle, but I'm afraid my pun machine would explode.|W|P|111350112968603374|W|P||W|P|4/14/2005 12:39:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Wonk'd! I try to avoid blogging about DC events here, but I went to a fairly amusing one yesterday at the Hotel Monaco, and left with Nick Gillespie of Reason and Jeremy Lott of Get Religion, Cato, etc. Exiting the hotel I see Ana Marie Cox, editor of Wonkette, at the front desk. "Hey," I say. "Isn't that Ana Marie Cox?" Nick and Jeremy note that it is indeed Ana Marie Cox, and we amble over to her. And she sees us! So she gives Nick a hug, says hi to Jeremy, and turns to me. "I don't know you," she says. It doesn't occur to me at the time, but a few minutes later I realize she could have said something like "Hi" or - pushing it - "Hi, I'm Ana Marie (Cox)." But no. According to Ellen, this was a very Hollywood way of greeting someone. That's great, but still kind of lame. So I resolve: In the off chance that I become a minor DC celebrity, I will greet non-celebrities and non-friends in a different manner. I will say, "I'm Dave Weigel, you fucking prole."|W|P|111349759901644247|W|P||W|P|4/14/2005 12:10:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Maybe EU're wrong Instapundit links to this treasure trove of EU-skeptic tomfoolery.
The European Dream may have an expiration date: May 29th, 2005. On that day, the citizens of France will quite possibly reject the proposed EU constitution, thereby tossing the contrived union of disparate states into a long, slow death spiral.
And from le commentaire ...
I expect that in the end, Ireland will be back in the UK's orbit. Belgium, France, Italy, Spain will form one loose currency union. Denmark, Germany, Holland, will form another.
But this is wrong, and I think another distinguished commenter is closer to it.
I do think that the constitution will fail, but that won't be the end of the European Union nor of the Euro. Without the constitution, further integration towards an 'ever closer (European) union' will simply come to a halt.
Sounds right, but I think it's equally likely that there'll be a new constitution down the line that has less baggage and more support. That's the plan, at any rate - if the constitution fails, negotiations will be re-opened. It'll be a huge PR blow, but if France passes the constitution, the PR blow will come anyway when the UK smacks it down. But there have been PR blows before. I distinctly remember living in the UK when the Euro came into being, and watching the first round of deathwatch commentary when its value fell to around $.80. Failure! Doom! Thus always to bureaucrats! And now, of course, the Euro is pretty much a huge success. More notably, polls taken of young people in EU countries have shown a steadily increasing sense of European patriotism - people saying they consider themselves "European" rather than "Dutch" or "German" or "Italian." My point: Don't bet on a European collapse. It's been predicted before - it hasn't happened - and the junking of the Mark, the Franc, the lire and nine other currencies for the Euro has made it less likely than ever.|W|P|111349623286922948|W|P||W|P|4/13/2005 03:00:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Estate tax Holy shit, I agree with Steve Sailer.
Eliminating the inheritance tax on the richest of the rich is nuts. The reason we have an estate tax today is primarily because zillionaire Andrew Carnegie endorsed it in his 1898 bestseller The Gospel of Wealth. Other supporters have included, Tom Paine, Teddy Roosevelt, and Warren Buffett. This really shouldn't be controversial. I can't think of a logical reason why we will have a progressive income tax but not an inheritance tax on the extremely rich.
My libertarian instincts are shot to hell by this thanks to my wartime instincts. I just don't see how you can conscience cutting taxes - especially taxes that effect only a few thousand very, very rich people - when you're fighting a war. Hell, our first estate tax was created in 1862 to help pay for the Civil War. I happen to think winning the Civil War was more important than sticking to a low-tax philosophy, and I think the same thing about this war. Perhaps a congressional Republican would disagree with me. I try not to get TOO heated and personal about politicians, too (I save that for writers), but damn if the GOP representatives pushing this on C-Span aren't the most dishonest medicine men I've ever seen. A tax cut for estates worth over $1 million has as much to do with "working families" as a tax exemption for scuba gear, ok?|W|P|111341949084388815|W|P||W|P|4/13/2005 12:30:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Danger George W! John Hinderaker and Michelle Malkin need to chill. They're both running with the idea that artistic statements that endorse the hypothetical murder of President Bush are heinous and indictive of a grave and growing trend on the "left." Malkin's reasoning is a little shoddier than Hinderaker's (she lumps college students throwing pies at David Horowitz into the calcuation), but they're both off base. They're widening the definition of "threats" and "incitement" (Hinderaker's post is called "Incitement To Assassination?") to justify government agents investigating artists who make things that insult the president. There aren't many cases where you can write or draw something fantasizing about murder. You can't draw pictures of your neighbor being impaled on your ceremonial spear and expect to get away with it. But you can do this with public figures. In Hunter v. Bryant, the last SCOTUS case that dealt with this, the prosecution of a guy threatening the life of Ronald Reagan was only found to be lawful because the guy had specifically named a time and place to do the deed. But expressing the general idea that a public figure - the president, the pope, Madonna - should be killed? Perfectly okay. If it wasn't, Mad magazine would have been shut down decades ago. If you're not saying when and where and how you'll kill Public Figure X, you're probably speaking figuratively and emotionally. So the artist that Hinderaker links to is being investigated for very stupid reasons. What's he produced? A college of stamps showing President Bush looking worried as a gun is pointed at his head. What does this tell you about the artist? He doesn't like President Bush. Is he going to track him down and point a gun at his head? No, there's nothing suggesting that. He's about as likely to do that as Andres Serrano is going to stick Jesus Christ in a jar and piss on him. Personally, I think the various "Kill Bush" kitsch is poorly designed and sophomoric. But it expresses an angry political sentiment much like the stuff you'd see at conservative conferences in the 1990s. It's just ... creepy to read these rush-to-censorship and rush-to-investigation defenses. This is the kind of extreme free speech you have to accept if you don't want to turn America into China or the EU.|W|P|111336855147586845|W|P||W|P|4/13/2005 12:26:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Question II Was one of the Comcast servers down tonight? My service was hella slow from 6 pm to until just now.|W|P|111336645818412150|W|P||W|P|4/13/2005 12:26:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Question I have an iTunes playlist called "Love Songs" and one called "Sad Songs," respectively dedicated to requited and unrequited love. Under which heading would Billy Idol's song "Eyes Without A Face" fit? And please don't say the song just sucks. That's incorrect.|W|P|111336645708478776|W|P||W|P|4/12/2005 06:56:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Rich Bunnell makes me laugh Too true.
I like how the new Weezer single sounds like Rivers Cuomo took Steve Miller's "The Joker" and somehow made it shittier. Oh wait, no I don't.
|W|P|111334661708188611|W|P||W|P|4/12/2005 06:48:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Shorter Michael Berube David Horowitz is a cock, and he hates freedom.|W|P|111334617834594049|W|P||W|P|4/12/2005 06:43:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Shorter Michelle Malkin When leftists are throwing pies at conservative activists, can the assassination of President Bush be far behind?|W|P|111334592284205667|W|P||W|P|4/12/2005 06:40:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Shorter Stephen Moore President Bush's Social Security privatization plan is failing in every measureable way, so Democrats had better watch out! One day it will be as successful as missile defense!|W|P|111334574043094606|W|P||W|P|4/12/2005 06:33:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Heh Kriston Capps (via Julian Sanchez).
Just wanted to observe that the New Criterion is still writing about Ward Churchill. For nearly three months they've draped heavy quotation marks around ethnic studies ("ethnic" "studies"), promoted a definition of academic freedom that shushes all the naughty words Hilton Kramer doesn't want you to hear, and otherwise pilloried Churchill, the most significant philosopher-king to ever have led the Democratic Party and all college students.
I haven't bought the NC in months. Has it really jumped the shark? Too bad.|W|P|111334536154802060|W|P||W|P|4/12/2005 03:02:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Hey you! You, who live in DC! You suck! Totally awesome - an annotated list of the 28 most annoying Washingtonians. The only good thing about the New York Press, DC-style! I'm particularly fond of the cold fusion-style scientific advances that produced "An anthropomorphic representation of Safeway," just for the purpose of mocking it. Some late additions: 28A: Ron and Fez These two colostomy bags host a "funny" radio "show" on the late drive home on 106.7. It was bad enough when producers started cutting into Howard Stern to play that atrocious sports show "The Junkies," but that has some semblance of a theme. The Ron and Fez Show coasts on the power of its hosts' personalities, which are dimmer than a keychain flashlight buried under an avalanche. I think they may have made their reputations in another market, so they assume listeners know and care about how lame their old interns were, or how bushy Fez's beard is, or how Ron thinks George Bush talks funny, but when you turn this show on cold you cannot tell what makes them any more radio-worthy than any other 40-something fat bastards hitting on girls in a College Park bar before they irritate some frat boys and get pool cues cracked over their skulls. 28B: Grover Norquist Other men have laid out the reasons to hate on Grover, and they are many. My pet peeve, though, is his strategic invisibility. He'll come out and say that, yes, Republicans want to get rid of Social Security by "starving" the government through tax cuts. And then a Democrat will raise this point and some nitwit will laugh it off - "Are you saying Republicans have a secret plan to destroy Social Security?" You'll hear him speak at something, and he'll say some ridiculous goddamn thing about how the WWII generation were godless communists or how we should legalize full-term abortion for liberals, and then you'll look at the event FAQ and see that this guy is one of the most influential conservatives in America today. And then you'll go home and watch cable show hosts rail at random college professors with close to no influence on Democratic politics, and how they represent the heart and soul of opposition to the GOP. How does Grover get away with it? 28C: Pat Toomey Basically, most of what I said about Norquist. Also, he looks like Beavis. 28D: Joe Lieberman/Lincoln Chaffee (tie) They'll burn their parties in the ass 365 days a year (366 on an election year), handing over vast trucks of ammo to the other party for press releases and tut-tutting appearences on TV shows. But they won't bite down and just leave their parties. There's always a role for politicians to work out of their partys' mainstreams, sure, but these guys seem to take a smirky delight in it. And smirking isn't cool. 28E: Jeremy Lott Why? Fuck him. That's why. 28F: People who call in to "Community Comment" on 89.3 If the answer is "the idiots who hand out 'Recall Tony Williams' petitions and march with International ANSWER do before their morning coffee," the question is "who calls in to Community Comment?" Host Ron Pinchback actually comes across warm and sympathetic as he fields batshit callers who assert that the 2004 election result was a "Skull and Bones inside job" or tell listeners to go read the works of legendary bore Greg Palast. To paraphrase Hunter Thompson: These people voted for Ralph Nader, and they killed Jesus. 28G: James "Jeff Gannon" Guckert I sympathize with those who thought he was witch-hunted out of his job covering the White House for a right-wing web site, but Guckert has done his darndest to reinvent himself as a first-rate douchebag ever since. He closed down his website because his family was getting threats - and then he re-opened it! What happened? Did his mom find the gem of Cytorak? Did they enter witness protection? Or was he bullshitting when he claimed that they were getting threatened in the first place? Then there was his hilarious appearence at the National Press Club, where he expounded on the difference between blue and green America, or how "You can hardly call Fox News conservative." And we have his total lack of irony, where on his blog (no permalinks) he links to a Drudge story about an upcoming Hillary Clinton book that reveals the dirt on "her turbulent marriage," despite objecting loudly when people investigated his personal life and discovered that he was a $200/hour whore. Link courtesy Adrienne Aldredge, all praise be unto her.|W|P|111333376275193013|W|P||W|P|4/12/2005 02:17:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Michelle Malkin: Bint* My goodness, this is dumb.
GAY-BASHING, DEMOCRAT-STYLE Former president Bill Clinton says gay Republican operative Arthur Finkelstein may be "self-loathing." Imagine the outcry if President Bush said that about a gay Democrat.
Imagine! Imagine if the Democratic party in the president's home state included this plank in its platform.
The party believes that the practice of sodomy tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country's founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable "alternative" lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should "family" be redefined to include homosexual "couples." We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, recognition, or privileges including, but not limited to, marriage between persons of the same sex, custody of children, custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner or insurance benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.
In the graf above this, there's a bit about arresting people who issue marriage licences to gays - not unlike the marriage license Republican operative Arthur Finkelstein got in Massachusetts with his partner. Look, I'm willing to discuss whether gays have a place working for the Republican party, but to suggest that there's any sort of equivilence with their place in the Democratic party is retarded. The Democratic party doesn't endorse the right of people to discriminate against gay people. *For a more offensive/accurate slur, see here. UPDATE: Holy shit, James Taranto gets into it too!
John Edwards, John Kerry and now Bill Clinton--that's three. We can now officially speak of the gay-baiting trend among Democratic politicians, though in fairness to Kedwards, we should note that they did not go so far as to imply being gay was loathsome.
Do Malkin and Taranto actually believe this, or is it some dog-whistle sarcasm I'm not grasping?|W|P|111333114044274057|W|P||W|P|4/12/2005 12:09:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|100 albums Since I talked about it the other day, here's my (slightly updated) list of my favorite 100 albums ever. It's all gut feeling - I got over the "is this album too obvious/too hip?" hurdles by just gritting my teeth and reckoning which albums I listen to most often, the whole way through. It starts off obvious, I warn ye. 1. The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds 2. The Beatles - The Beatles 3. The Soft Boys - Underwater Moonlight 4. Guided by Voices - Bee Thousand 5. Ramones - End of the Century 6. The Go-Betweens - 16 Lovers Lane 7. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless 8. The Pixies - Trompe Le Monde 9. Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life 10. Yes - Fragile 11. The Beatles - Rubber Soul 12. Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime 13. Brian Eno - Another Green World 14. Wire - Pink Flag 15. Nirvana - Nevermind 16. Tommy Keene - Songs from the Film 16. The Cure - Disintegration 17. Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks 18. Pet Shop Boys - Very 19. Bad Brains - I Against I 20. The Smiths - The Queen is Dead 21. The Beatles - Revolver 22. XTC - Skylarking 23. Wu Tang Clan - 36 Chambers 24. Husker Du - Warehouse: Songs and Stories 25. Devo - Freedom of Choice 26. George Harrison - All Things Must Pass 27. Ramones - Rocket to Russia 28. Lou Reed - The Blue Mask 29. Guided by Voices - Under the Bushes Under the Stars 30. Morrissey - Vauxhaul & I 31. The Clash - London Calling 32. Prince - Sign O the Times 33. New Order - Power, Corruption and Lies 34. Alice Cooper - From the Inside 35. Elton John - Elton John 36. Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde 37. Blondie - Parallel Lines 38. Warren Zevon - Warren Zevon 39. Marshall Crenshaw - Marshall Crenshaw 40. Ramones - Road to Ruin 41. The Beatles - Abbey Road 42. Rolling Stones - Exile on Main St. 43. Black Sabbath - Volume 4 44. The Beach Boys - Sunflower 45. The Smiths - The Smiths 46. Carole King - Tapestry 47. Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman 48. REM - Life's Rich Pageant 49. Camper Van Beethoven - Key Lime Pie 50. Pet Shop Boys - Behaviour 51. The Cure - The Head on the Door 52. Talking Heads - Speaking in Tongues 53. Todd Rundgren - A Wizard, a True Star 54. Germs - G.I. 55. The B-52's - The B-52's 56. Pavement - Crooked Rain Crooked Rain 57. Jimmy Webb - El Mirage 58. X - Under the Big Black Sun 59. Black Sabbath - Master of Reality 60. Faith No More - Angel Dust 61. The Jayhawks - Tomorrow the Green Grass 62. The Zombies - Odyssey and Oracle 63. Neil Young - Rust Never Sleeps 64. Tom Waits - Raindogs 65. Black Flag - Damaged 66. Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique 67. Mr. Bungle - California 68. David Bowie - Aladdin Sane 69. AC/DC - Back in Black 70. The Teardrop Explodes - Wilder 71. Yes - Close to the Edge 72. The Turtles - Battle of the Bands 73. Psychedelic Furs - Forever Now 74. The Pixies - Doolittle 75. T.S.O.L. - Beneath the Shadows 76. Husker Du - Zen Arcade 77. Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel III 78. Echo and the Bunnymen - Porcupine 79. The Posies - Amazing Disgrace 80. Bob Mould - Workbook 81. Talking Heads - Fear of Music 82. Scott Walker - Scott 4 83. The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground and Nico 84. Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 85. Randy Newman - Good Old Boys 86. New York Dolls - New York Dolls 87. Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet 88. The Stooges - Raw Power 89. David Bowie - Hunky Dory 90. The Go-Betweens - Tallulah 91. Elvis Costello - Blood and Chocolate 92. Joy Division - Closer 93. Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies 94. Sparks - Kimono My House 95. New Bomb Turks - Destroy-oh-boy! 96. Fleetwood Mac - Tusk 97. Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy 98. Sugar - Copper Blue 99. They Might Be Giants - Lincoln 100. Rick James - Street Songs Some figures on this list: - 5 albums by women or bands with female lead singers/songwriters - 6 albums by or containing black people - 10 albums from the 60s - 11 double albums (although most are now sold as one CD) - 36 albums by or containing British people - 48 albums released after my birth in September 1981 - the largest number of songs is 42 (Double Nickels on the Dime). The smallest number of songs is 3 (Close to the Edge). - the two best-selling albums each sold 19 million copies - Back in Black and The Beatles. - No, Sgt. Pepper isn't on here. You want to start some shit?|W|P|111328113190115961|W|P||W|P|4/11/2005 08:20:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Mad not mad So, I'm pretty convinced that CNBC's evening lineup - Kudlow & Company, Mad Money, and Dennis Miller - is the worst block of television ever, in the history of mankind. (Conan O'Brien goes before DM, but it's originally run on NBC, so it doesn't count.) Kudlow's show is just delusional and lame - Kudlow himself seems like everything bores him except for Norquistian economic boilerplate. On Friday's show he introduced a segment on Mel Martinez's Schiavo memo by saying "All right. I have to deal with this Schiavo memo, the so-called Republican talking points. We have learned that it was some kind of unauthorized draft in Senator Mel Martinez's office. They were not distributed, but, yes, there was a draft, and it was drafted by a goofy Republican staffer, who then handed it over to Senator Harkin of Iowa, who may or may not have given it to the press. Ana Marie, I don't really get any of this, to tell you the truth. This is far too sophisticated for me. Can you explain it for me? What's going on here?" This combination of faux cluelessness and faux hominess just grates on me. Dennis Miller sucks too, obviously. But what sends the block over the edge is Jim Cramer's "Mad Money." My god, this is the stupidest show I've ever seen. It's too bad Lexis doesn't host transcripts - I assume it's to avoid torture convictions for forcing the task on its employees. But let me try to explain. Cramer has no desk. He stands up throughout the show, wearing a shirt and tie with his sleeves rolled up, and he re-rolls the sleeves to avoid them falling down, to show off his guns, whatever. As the camera bobs in and out, following him, Cramer prowls the round studio, looking up or down, punching the air, talking about ... stocks. Sorry, I said "talking." That's untrue - he SCREAMS about stocks. It's like he's replaying Howard Dean's Iowa caucus speech for an hour every day. This is sort of sickly amusing, but it's also totally insane. Do adults want to watch a guy scream about where they should invest? Would they trust such a guy? I mean, MSNBC sucks too, but this CNBC lineup reaches tumescent levels of suckography.|W|P|111326688845961567|W|P||W|P|4/10/2005 11:51:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|List-making A few weeks back I participated in a list of "the top 100 albums of all time," hosted by a music community I belong to. I had grand designs about how it would turn out - this is a diverse group, where we're as likely to discuss King Crimson and ELP as DMX. But it turned out like every other album list - 60s-heavy, with four Beatles records in the top 10. I think this underscored the difficulty of making top-anything lists. The tug between one's own taste and what SHOULD be one's own taste is an MF. It's tough to rank your own favorite albums high if there's not some standing consensus that they're great, or at least good. I'm feeling the pressure as I try to slap together a rebuttal to Rolling Stone's asstastic "Top 500 songs" list, which surveyed musicians and critics and came up - hey! - really dull and 60s heavy. But it's hard to toss curveballs on your own list and be proud. For example, I love the vocal melody in "Back On The Chain Gang" by The Pretenders, but I'm not sure if that's enough to say it's better than widely-beloved songs I listen to less - like "The Tracks of My Tears," say.|W|P|111322358680801756|W|P||W|P|4/10/2005 11:25:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Humble prediction A dirt book about Hillary Clinton published in September 2005 will have as much impact, if not more, than a dirt book published about George W. Bush in September 1997.|W|P|111319149593848843|W|P||W|P|4/10/2005 11:16:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Yes, your tears taste so sweet! Oh, for Pete's sake, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs.
[Kevin Drum, you] must be nuts if you think I would post at your blog. You have a really vile group of lunatics and stalkers in there pretending to be me, and pretending to be other LGF readers, posting threatening, libelous comments and inventing ridiculous conspiracy theories, and your only response is to blame ... me? You’re shutting down the thread because of ... me? Nice work. This is why the left is so marginalized, and can’t win at anything.
Yes, that's it. The left (why no capital L?) is marginalized because random blog commenters are mean to Charles Johnson. I've asked this a few times in the past, but I'm still curious - what caused this guy to go off the deep end? He was a pretty mainstream 9/11-war hawk for a while, and somewhere along the line he decided that 1.)"the media are the enemy" and 2.)random left-wingers who offend or insult him are every bit as big a threat to freedom as al Qaeda.|W|P|111318959917292157|W|P||W|P|4/10/2005 12:43:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|It's back! The utterly badass BBC election map is back and kicking ass for the 05 general election. Among the revelations - Slough, that podunk town from "The Office," is a Labour stronghold. Also, you can win a seat in Parliament with around 25,000 votes. I'm pretty sure that's less than you need to win a Delaware State Senate seat.|W|P|111310844569584774|W|P||W|P|4/09/2005 06:43:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|France will vote to ratify the EU Constitution Pourquoi? Because Jean-Marie Le Pen told them not to.
STRASBOURG, France (AP) - The French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen launched an attack on the EU constitution Saturday, saying a 'yes' vote in the upcoming referendum would go against France's national interests. Speaking to The Associated Press ahead of a meeting of his National Front party, Le Pen said the constitution is an attempt to create a superstate at the expense of countries' identities, and called on leading EU countries to reject the charter.
You remember Le Pen. He was the crazed fascist asshole who got into the 2003 presidential runoff and was so hated that Socialists endorsed Jacques Chirac in order to beat him. This was rather like, say, David Duke winning the Republican nomination for president, and George W. Bush endorsing Al Sharpton in the general election. I imagine this turning out like that South Park episode where people try to get the KKK to endorse the old version of the town flag in order to win a vote replacing it with a new flag. I like being able to say "I imagine this turning out like that South Park episode."|W|P|111308701794097404|W|P||W|P|4/09/2005 01:52:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|A bargain at twice the price It comes to my attention that Rhino Handmade's Jimmy Webb box set is going out of print, and what was once $80 is now going for $200 used on Amazon. That's way too bad, but probably to be expected - Rhino made 2500 copies of a CD set that was reviewed in every major music magazine in the US and UK. If you don't to buy this until Rhino ups its production, that's understandable. But this is one of the finest box sets I've ever heard, and if you can toss coin at albums, don't wait. Why the hyperbole? Well, the set contains five albums in their entirety, one CD of demos and rareities, and one live album unreleased until now. (In a fit of badassness, Rhino designed the last item to look like a record actually released in 1972 - contemporary label and everything.) These albums have been out of print in the English-speaking world since basically the moment of release, and they've only been available as limited-print CDs in Japan. All of these records are good - two of them ("Letters" and "El Mirage") are motherfucking fantastic. Like I said, all of this is Jimmy Webb music, but just in case that name's unfamiliar to you, Jimmy Webb is the Oklahoma songwriter who wrote his first top 10 hit at age 20 - "Up, Up and Away" by the Fifth Dimension. In quick succession he knocked off pop songs that were hooky enough to be hits in the 60s but idiosyncratic enough to sound good today - "The Worst That Could Happen," "P.F. Sloan," "Didn't We," and the Glen Campbell tetralogy of "Galveston," "Wichita Lineman," "By The Time I Get To Phoenix," and "Where's the Playground, Susie?" He also wrote "MacArthur Park," which you've heard - but did you know he wrote it as a movement in a 20-minute cantata? Yup. Webb struck gold enough times to score a record deal on his own, and released "Words and Music" in 1970 containing original songs, one medley of covers, and some tunes rejected for some movie called "Love Story." But the record crashed on the launchpad because - this is important - Webb's singing voice isn't very good. Like Randy Newman, he has a very distinctive and limited range. Unlike Randy Newman, he writes vocal melodies that demand wide ranges, and he sings these anyway. He's not horrible - he sounds like Glen Campbell with a cold, basically, and when he reaches for high notes he misses. Listening to these records now, it's a pretty charming effect. But it was enough to doom his records, even when he got George Martin to produce one. Obviously, these records didn't get any more crowd-friendly with age. They're flawed and personal. In my mind, though, they're mostly fantastic - Webb usually shies away from singing his hit songs and writes dense, complex suites and ballads. My favorites are the songs where Webb just forgets his vocal limits and belts it out - "Just This One Time," "If You See Me Getting Smaller I'm Leaving," "Where the Universes Are." But the moody pieces like "If Ships Were Made to Sail" (covered by Scott Walker) and "The Highwayman" (a country hit in the 80s) have their own charm. The only songs that fail to blow me away are the more pretentious, multi-part songs on his first two records - decent enough, but they get boring. The absolute highlight of the set, though, is "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress." Along with "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" (which he sings on the live disc), this is Webb's finest composition and one of the 50 or 60 best ballads of the rock era. "Phoenix" is good no matter who sings it, but "Moon" truly benefits from Webb's limited vocals. The ominous melody builds and builds atop George Martin's string arrangment, and in the third verse the whole thing just explodes, and Webb can barely sing the lines, but he makes it. The line that isn't too impressive in other versions of this song - "I tripped and I missed my star" - sounds like it was ripped right out of his larynx before he collapsed in a heap. So, yes, good CD. I've just made a condensed version (sans live songs) to take on the road, since I don't want to damage the box. P.F. Sloan Love Song Once Before I Die If This Was The Last Song Met Her On A Plane All My Love's Laughter Galveston Simile Catharsis Piano Just This One Time Crying In My Sleep It's A Sin You Might As Well Smile The Highwayman If You See Me Getting Smaller I'm Leaving Mixed-Up Guy Moment In The Shadow Where The Universes Are The Moon's A Harsh Mistress|W|P|111302844605508792|W|P||W|P|4/09/2005 01:51:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Thoughts upon completion of a Vince Clarke compilation CD Erasure is a frigging sweet band.|W|P|111302589780083296|W|P||W|P|4/08/2005 01:57:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Go U Northwestern Damn if my alma mater isn't rivalling Harvard in the "strange news" stakes. Just today we've got ex-Weather Underground member and current NU law professor breaking her silence on her 70s terrorism to write a letter to the Daily.
To clarify, I have never endorsed terrorism, the use of violence to intimidate or coerce a civilian (or any other) population. I fought the illegal, immoral war against Vietnam and the organized terrorism of my government -- and I unequivocally oppose the terrorism of governments, individuals, and religious, political and irregular organizations.
Dang! That's bullshit. Google "Weathermen" or "Weather Underground" if you want to see why. Also in the news, but less interesting, is the sudden decision by the student council's executive vice president to quit the race and accuse his fellow leaders of slander. This is kinda cool because the VP is Howie Buffett, aka the grandson of Warren Buffett.|W|P|111298400992689940|W|P||W|P|4/08/2005 10:47:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Party games Sorry for dwelling on this, but I think it's fascinating that the Powerline bloggers still aren't apologizing or backing down for accusing Democrats and reporters of perpetrating a fraud that was just proven to be legit. To wit:
My suspicion that the memo itself was an inauthentic document has proved wrong; I made a mistake in concluding that it was. But the memo was not a "GOP talking points memo" prepared by party leaders or distributed only to Republican senators; it was not what Allen and others described it to be. The difference between what the memo is and what Allen (and others) reported it to be appears to be large and consequential. Who owes whom an apology?
(My emphasis on "appears to be." I think it's worth looking over Radley Balko's post on the matter. Radley had written about the memo originally, then retracted it when some "is it a fake?" articles surfaced, then re-retracted it when Martinez's consul outed himself.
So far, they've completely ignored the fact that they were dead wrong on the memo, that they wrongly cast aspersions on the opposing party, and that they misled their readers. Instead, they simply continue to blame the media, and Democrats. Sorta' like I've been saying all along. The mainstream media certainly needs watchdogs. But the high-profile blogs most critical of the MSM are often guilty of the same shortcomings -- ideological blinders, jumping to conclusions, piling on -- that they criticize Dan Rather & Co. for.
I'd go further - the Powerliners are much more flawed that mainstream journalists because they are unquestioning about power. No mainstream journalist, liberal though he may be, sat by and took Democratic statements for granted during the Clinton presidency. They wouldn't have been satisfied if Clinton said something like, I dunno, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." But the Powerliners are totally deferential and trusting of Republicans. Two days ago, the Washington Times reported that all 55 Senate Republicans had denied seeing the memo.
Mel Martinez, a Republican, also has been the focus of some scrutiny in press accounts because passages of the disputed memo appear to have been lifted from a press release posted on his Senate Web site. He denied any involvement. "Senator Martinez has never seen the memo and condemns its sentiments," spokeswoman Kerry Feehery said. "No one in our office has seen it, nor had anything to do with its creation.".
(My emphasis.) Powerline linked to this article and commented on it unquestioningly. And less than a day later Martinez's office revealed that, hey, someone in the office had seen it and had something to do with its creation. To an independent observer or a mainstream journalist, this would send a bell ringing. He might say: "Wow, the Republican whose office created the memo denied it until Mike Allen got the goods to uncover it." He might conclude that it's risky to trust the word of a Senate Republican on whether they saw a memo that has proven to be a political disaster, and whose author was fired. But the Powerliners don't take this and question Republicans, who have something to hide. They question the journalist. They assert he's wrong about the story based on, well, the fact that official spokespeople deny it. This is a stupid and dangerous way for a public voice to behave. I hope this incident finally punctures the media stardom that the Powerliners have been trying to cultivate.|W|P|111297167267010668|W|P||W|P|4/07/2005 01:04:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The self-correcting blogosphere On the hectic day Congress returned to DC to vote on the Terri Schiavo bill, a few papers - the Washington Post and New York Times among them - reported on a memo on the Hill that called the bill a "great political issue" and "a tough issue for Democrats." In a few days, the conservative blog Powerline - which had been named "blog of the year" by Time for its role in Rathergate - started running posts asserting that the news articles were wrong, especially the ones that attributed the memo to "Republican leaders." The stories didn't mention which Republicans had circulated the memo - only that Democratic staffers had grabbed it and given it to the press. Based on this circumstantial evidence, Powerline pronounced it a hoax and a "Democratic dirty trick." As the saying goes: Ooops!
The legal counsel to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) admitted yesterday that he was the author of a memo citing the political advantage to Republicans of intervening in the case of Terri Schiavo, the senator said in an interview last night. Brian Darling, a former lobbyist for the Alexander Strategy Group on gun rights and other issues, offered his resignation and it was immediately accepted, Martinez said.
Naturally, you'd assume the guys partly responsible for blowing up CBS's bullshit story and speeding Dan Rather's retirement would issue a full mea culpa, right? Well ...
In fact, if the current AP account is correct, the amazingly inept "talking points memo," which got the number of the Senate bill wrong, misspelled Terri Schiavo's name, and contained a number of other typographical errors, did not come from "Republican officials" or "party leaders," but rather from an anonymous, unknown staffer. Senator Martinez himself--forget about members of his staff--is a freshman senator, in office for three months, not a "party leader" or "Republican officials." (The plural in the Post's original article is interesting.) Also, the reporting by ABC and the Post suggested that the memo was widely or universally distributed among Republican senators, while a survey reported by the Washington Tmes indicated that none of the 55 Republican senators had seen it. So, if the current AP story is correct, it confirms that ABC and the Post mis-reported the story--in the Post's case, in an article that was picked up by dozens of other newspapers off the paper's wire service.
Shorter version: Our blog posts were fake, but accurate! It's just stunning that these guys (I'm sorry, I'm slipping out of singular/plural - the main blogger for this stuff was John Hinderaker) won't own up and admit that the recklessly accused Democrats of fraud because a reporter wouldn't burn his source and say were he got a document from. Just check some of his blogging since the "scandal" began. 3/21 Is This the Biggest Hoax Since the Sixty Minutes Story? 3/30 For more than a week, the mainstream media have been beating up the Republican Party over an alleged "GOP talking points memo" that, they argue, proves the Republicans took up the Terri Schiavo case in hopes of political gain. We, on the other hand, have questioned repeatedly whether the memo was authored by Republicans at all, and have raised the possibility that it is a Democratic dirty trick. 3/31 The memo in question is a pathetic piece of work. Any competent person could look at it and see that it is not a product of the Republican leadership. ... And--most fundamentally--it is absurd to think that the Republican leadership would produce a "talking points" memo discussing what great politics the Schiavo case was for Republicans. Those aren't talking points; not for Republicans, anyway. The memo benefited the only party that it could possibly have benefited: the Democrats. ... Circumstantially, it seems extremely likely that it was produced by Democrats as a political dirty trick. But such investigation seems to be beyond the capability--more important, beyond the ambition--of our mainstream press. Only bloggers look critically at documents that cast disrepute on Republicans. Mainstream reporters accept them uncritically, at face value, no matter how inept they may be. Why is this? ... Someone at the Post swallowed the fake memo hook, line, and sinker--Mike Allen, I assume. 4/04 Howard Kurtz follows up on the bogus "GOP talking points memo" this morning. 4/06 ANSWER: YES Brian DeBose and Stephen Dinan ask in today's Washington Times; "Was the Schiavo memo a fake?" This is just sad. Hinderaker rushed into a story with wild accusations, with only the reluctance of journalists to burn sources and politicians to admit they did something terribly unpopular as evidence. He wanted to repeat his glory days of ... well, 6 months ago. And until he says "shit, sorry 'bout that," this is the sorriest sequel since "Exorcist II: The Heretic."|W|P|111285212493770348|W|P||W|P|4/05/2005 03:38:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|British politics I heartily endorse this British 2005 election prediction by Iain Murray. It's been really disconcerting to hear my British friends lose faith in Blair in the last few years - diehard socialists are angry at him over his failure to use a huge majority to nationalize things, and limousine liberals are angry at him over Iraq. (And the majority has been huge - over 400 seats in a chamber of 650. Imagine American politics if Republicans had 67 Senate seats and 330 seats in the House, and decided to use their power to ... raise college tuition!) The quirky nature of British politics, however, works in Labour's favor. After years of backbiting, Labour and the left-wing Liberal Democratic party have reached a truce that allows Labour to run against the Conservatives in seats that would never elect a Lib Deam, and Lib Dems to run against the Conservatives in areas that hate socialists. For example, the posh town of Guildford, near where I used to live, would never, ever elect a Labour MP. But in the 2001 election, they kicked out their blue blood Tory MP and elected a Liberal Democrat. You can see some of the effects of this in this election calculator. If all three parties won 32% of the vote, they wouldn't each have 1/3 of parliamentary seats. Labour would have 325, Conservatives would have 206, and Lib Dems would have 84. That's not far off my prediction where Conservatives will win the popular vote, but parliament will be Lab 329, Con 231, Lib 56. That's a 66-seat Con gain, a 5-seat Lib gain, and a 74-seat Labour loss. Nonetheless, Tony Blair will become the first Labour PM to win three terms. (However, he'd need to serve until March 2018 to become the longest-serving prime minister ever. I do not think this will happen.)|W|P|111273100125912855|W|P||W|P|