Monday, June 25, 2007

Howie Kurtz says that Nellie Bly was just a liar

After all, Bly was a groundbreaking undercover journalist, but how are her exploits different than Ken Silverstein's?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Marty, Marty, why ya buggin?

Martin Peretz is desperately out of touch.
I CONFESS. I didn't know who Darryl McDaniels was until I read an article about his political opinions in this week's New York Observer. I am not exactly sure that I know now either. But, to put other rap illiterates in the neighborhood like me, he's the founder of Run-D.M.C., which the weekly paper for the rich Upper East Side characterizes as "the immortal, pioneering rap group [that] ... smashed Billboard records with songs like 'Walk This Way,' 'Raising Hell' and 'My Adidas'." Wow! As I said, I didn't know any of this. And, of course, like those of you to whom I've just given this information, I now understand why the Observer ran a 2/3 page article with the headline, "A Rap Legend Digs Hillary - Also, Obama."


D.M.C. is also for Hillary "because it's gangsta." A wonderful compliment, truly wonderful. And the "rap legend" came to her fund-raiser at the "swanky Capitale nightclub in Manhattan" (how come I never heard of it?) "to experience something I can talk to my grandkids about."
Sad. Surely Peretz realizes there's a reason he might not be getting invites to swanky nightclubs, right? The man's never heard of "Raising Hell"--the triple-platinum album that not only opened rap up to skinny, pale white boys like me (it was the first cassette tape I ever bought), but also reinvigorated the career of Aerosmith--so why would anyone want to hang with him at a nightclub while he complains about how loud the music is and how it sounds like a "shoe in dryer"?

Of course, Marty knows (and is saddened by) the fact that far more people listen to to Darryl McDaniels than read the magazine he destroyed through a dedication to "contrarian" liberalism, a.k.a. neoconservatism. Think of all the greats whose writing once graced the pages of The New Republic: Auden, Hart Crane, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Joyce, Mencken, D. H. Lawrence, Orwell, Virginia Woolf, Yeats, Edmund Wilson, etc. But, since Marty took over, it has dwindled to the point that, when Stephen Glass was busted for making up stories, it was only shocking in Washington. In the real world, people saw two column inches in their local paper and thought, Is that still being published? And, when it turned out the only person who thought that Lee Siegel (who coined the term "blogofascism") was worth defending was his own alter ego, it was funny to bloggers, but it barely dented the credibility of the magazine since, after all, it could no longer claim any credibility. Or readership.

Yet, all the young dudes and the punk rock mafiosi know that it's McDaniels not McDonalds ('cause the rhymes are Darryl's but, on the other hand, the burgers are Ronald's).

D.M.C. went on to explain in the article that supporting Hillary is "gansta" because it means he "ain’t doing what everybody else is doing." So, not only do more people care what the rapper has to say about the election than have even heard of Marty Peretz, McDaniels, by saying it's "gangsta" to support Hillary is, in effect, saying it's the contrarian thing to do. Poor Marty. Nobody likes him or listens to him and the rappers are stealing his moves.

Well, lucky for Marty, there are still some people who, like him, are not only out-of-touch, but proudly so. Neither "Patterico" nor Ilya Somin know who Jay-Z is, for God's sake. Hell, Patty has never even heard of LeBron James!

I wonder: How do Republicans or pseudo-libs like Peretz plan to go about what Walter Lippmann called the "enlisting of interest" in their causes if they are so distant from the "low culture" of "rap music...trashy movies and sitcoms" from which so many Americans get entertainment? And why are they still surprised they're being left out of the goings-on in both the Capitale and the capital?

Friday, June 22, 2007

So simple, anyone can use it!

Someone please point Dick to this government site for kids.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Does Dick Cheney know that his BFF Rush Limbaugh seems to agree that the picture below was only made possible by "pure selfishness"?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Suddenly a man of few words

The other day, Rich Lowry wrote that things aren't as bad for Republicans as you might have heard.
You hear a lot about how the polls are awful for Republicans these days.

Don’t believe it. Just look at the new survey in which NBC News and The Wall Street Journal asked Americans about their impressions of a number of institutions and people...
And then he went on for another 500-plus words comparing Bush's poll numbers to Congress's and saying, aw shucks, things are tough all over.

Unfortunately for Lowry, things aren't just bad for Republicans. They're awful. A recent poll found "generic Republican" losing to "generic Democrat" by 21 points and, when you get specific, well, Lowry seems not to want to talk too much about it.
A new Gallup poll shows Republicans losing in every 2008 national matchup with Democrats. Here they are...
Someone please take the sharp objects from Rich Lowry's office.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Picking on Romney's faith

Who could have predicted this?
An aide to GOP presidential candidate Sam Brownback has been reprimanded for sending e-mail to Iowa Republican leaders in an apparent attempt to draw unfavorable scrutiny to rival Mitt Romney's Mormonism.

Emma Nemecek, the southeastern Iowa field director for Brownback's presidential campaign and a former state representative candidate, violated campaign policy when she forwarded the June 6 e-mail from an interest group raising the questions, the Brownback campaign said Sunday.

The e-mail requested help in fact-checking a series of statements about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Among the statements: "Theologically, the only thing Christianity and the LDS church has in common is the name of Jesus Christ, and the LDS Jesus is not the same Jesus of the Christian faith" and "The LDS church has never been accepted by the Christian Council of Churches."
Oh, yeah. It was me.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Helping Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn has the time and patience to write this generations version of the Turner Diaries, but can't be bothered to type the word "bookstore" into Google.
Twerpwatch update! [Mark Steyn]

Re my observations on Judge Reggie yesterday, a reader writes:
The Libby judge is a "whiney twerp" for complaining about harassing letters?

This from the blog where conservative pundits habitually whine about the nasty looks they get from the nose-pierced clerk at Barnes & Noble when they buy the Collector's Edition of "Why Reagan is God, Part XXXVIII" - hyperventilating as if they're one step away from the gulag.
Er, you wouldn't happen to have a reference for that post, would you? Can't seem to find it in the archives.
Well, since Steyn isn't smart enough to find the reference, I thought I would help:
John Derbyshire: I must say that, joking aside, I think this is pretty awful. As a book-lover & lifelong patron of bookstores, I am depressed & mildly outraged to learn that this noble business (Samuel Johnson's father was a bookseller) has fallen into the hands of puritanical lefties.

From a Corner reader, posted by Jonah Goldberg: Your comment reminds me of the time I was in a bookstore, waiting in line to purchase a book. The cashier, a smug young man, wore a button that said "I read banned books." I said, "So do I - the Bible." He exchanged his smug look for one of horror!

John Derbyshire: Practically all the people who work in bookstores are granola-eating, mountain-bike-riding, Nation-reading, NPR-listening, Dean-voting, nail-biting, bedwetting L-E-F-T-I-E-S, who scratch one side of their head with the opposite hand, collect old Peter, Paul & Mary LPs, and think that Bill O'Reilly is a beastly bully. They HIDE books by any author to the right of Al Franken. This is a well-known fact. Thank God for Amazon!

Warren Bell: I went yesterday to my local superchain bookstore to buy Party of Death. I rehearsed rhetorical feint-and-jab combos on the way, expecting to have to harangue some assistant manager into keeping the book on display instead of buried in the storeroom somewhere. I was a bit disappointed, I must admit, to find it right up front on the "New Non-Fiction" table, next to all the Bush-basher books and the stunning array of DaVinci Code spinoffs. I had a last-ditch hope for a sneer from the checkout clerk, but all he did was offer extra savings by signing up for a superchain bookstore frequent buyer super credit card - a consumer culture trend which needs to stop, by the way.

John Derbyshire posts: A reader in upstate New York: "Dear Mr. Derbyshire--Just a quick FYI, I was browsing at Barnes & Nobles on Wednesday night and had the urge to take a look at your book Prime Obsession (I am a bit of a freeloader, I like to read the books in the bookstore, since I graduated from college last May the first job does not pay all that well). I had trouble locating it in the math section so I asked one of the helpful Marxist clerks if he could help me find it. He looked around and could not seem to find it, and then he consulted the computer and said that the computer records indicate that they should have seventeen copies in the store. We went back to the math section and then the science section but to no avail. The clerk said that the last name Derbyshire sounded familiar and I mentioned you write for National Review and NRO and he kind of chuckled. In closing, I think either your books are being shoplifted at an alarming rate OR your books are stowed away in the History of Feminism section."

General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, used to ask: "Why should the Devil have all the best tunes?" Looks like Old Nick has all the bookstore clerks, too. Grrrrr.
As James Wolcott has pointed out, the bookstore is "already a derivative setting in the nascent field of blog drama." The brave uprising against the bookstore clerk/librarian/emo record store guy/[insert stock character here] and the foundational mythos of have been already done to death. Conservatives love to tell "war stories" about their brave trips into "hostile territory," as Jay Nordlinger pointed out in the pages of National Review itself.

Considering the way Steyn distilled all of Islam into a stereotype worthy of the finest propaganda posters, one would think he would have been saving these references for his next book, Steyn Alone: How I bravely bought a sandwich, a book and rode a bus with my ethics intact. Since he has been letting them slip through his fingers, however, I'm glad that I can assist with his research.


Doesn't this sound like Fox's entertainment reporter thinks that risking your life to report on terrorists and covering the red carpet are similar?
Our report yesterday about Angelina Jolie banning press from interviews and requiring interviewers to sign contracts touched off a firestorm. Mostly it was from colleagues who were relieved that we’d finally lifted the veil on all this craziness.

And it wasn’t just about FOX News getting banned from the red carpet. That was bad, but it wasn’t the central issue. Jolie treats all the press with hostility unless she can control the outcome of an interaction. Insisting interviewers sign contracts was an affront, considering that her movie is about the murder of a reporter who tried bravely to do his job. And then to pretend empathy by raising money at the movie for Reporters Without Borders. The hypocrisy and arrogance were overwhelming.
What a whiny little bastard Friedman is. Apparently he doesn't realize she wasn't raising money for Reporters Without Velvet Ropes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Joe Klein is of two (or more) minds

During this podcast interview with Ana Marie Cox, he says:
The other thing I would mention specifically is the tendency in places like Kos to value tactics over substance, to try and force Democratic politicians to take tactical positions that Markos thinks are good ones, that may or may not be good. I happen to think you don't do tactics on an issue like the war, like war and peace, life and death, you do, you vote what is the right policy.
Doesn't that sound wonderfully noble? However, he goes on to say:
The important thing here is--was my feeling, which was then, remains to this day, that voting against the funding for Iraq was a really bad idea substantively and tactically for Democrats.
Tactics, in other words, should not be mentioned unless they agree with what Joe Klein believes.

There's much more, of course, and Klein comes off as pissy and whiny, continually referring to his 38 years of reporting experience. But what has he learned? Quote:
Sorry, this is a war we're talking about and I really don't care about these stupid little details.
Of course, my pointing out that he said that is, he says, just part of a concerted effort to undermine his credibility.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Fouad Ajami in 180 degrees

Conservatives have been working overtime to confuse people about the Libby case. Today Fouad Ajami writes that Bush should take advantage of that confusion to pardon Scooter.
You are not a lawyer, Mr. President, nor is the vast populace out there. The men and women who entrusted you with the presidency, I dare say, are hard pressed to understand why former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who was the admitted leaker of Mrs. Wilson's identity to columnist Robert Novak, has the comforts of home and freedom and privilege while Scooter Libby faces the dreaded prospect of imprisonment.
Translation: People are too stupid to realize this was a perjury case.

The key phrase in Ajami's quote, of course, is "Armitage...was the admitted leaker." If, perhaps, Libby had simply admitted his own role in this case, a pardon wouldn't be necessary. As the Mankato Free Press put it in the best editorial yet written about Libby's sentence, Libby "chose to be dishonest."

Even worse than Ajami's point that "most people aren't lawyers" is his argument that Bush should pardon Libby for political reasons:
The Schadenfreude of your political detractors over the Libby verdict lays bare the essence of this case: an indictment of the Iraq war itself. The critics of the war shall grant you no reprieve if you let Scooter Libby do prison time. They will see his imprisonment as additional proof that this has been a war of folly from the outset.
Ajami's views sure have changed since he said:
We have to send a message that we stand for something above and beyond the hunt for terrorists--that we stand for democracy, we stand for the rule of law and we think that these are universal values.
Apparently Ajami has forgotten that the "taunting" of "vengeful men" often accompanies justice. That Ajami dislikes the sound of those taunts doesn't mean the punishment of Scooter Libby is unjustified and should be overturned.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

You know who hated chickenhawks? Edmund Burke

I cannot conceive any existence under heaven...that is more truly odious and disgusting than an impotent, helpless creature, without civil wisdom or military skill, without a consciousness of any other qualification for power but his servility to it, bloated with pride and arrogance, calling for battles which he is not to fight, contending for a violent dominion which he can never exercise, and satisfied to be himself mean and miserable, in order to render others contemptible and wretched.
Go read Scott Horton's full article. It seems Burke wouldn't have been a big supporter of Gitmo, either.

But we must send someone posthaste to poor Jonah Goldberg's house to begin the suicide watch. The man he calls the "father of conservatism" called him a pussy.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The National Review editors embarrass themselves

From their editorial calling for the pardon of Scooter Libby:
The problem was that Fitzgerald not only did not charge Libby or anyone else with those underlying crimes, he never even offered any evidence in court that those crimes, as carefully defined by the statutes involved, ever happened. His throw-the-book-at-him sentencing recommendation contradicted the conclusion reached by probation officials, who in their pre-sentencing report pointed out that “the defendant was neither charged nor convicted of any crime involving the leaking of [Valerie Plame Wilson’s] ‘covert’ status.”

Going one step farther, Fitzgerald also argued that Mrs. Wilson was, without any doubt, a covert CIA agent as defined by the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. In court filings, he offered what he said was a CIA-authored summary of her job status affirming that, at the time her name was revealed by Novak, she was covert, and that the CIA was taking “affirmative measures to conceal her identity,” as required by law. But many months ago, when Libby’s defense team was begging for such information, Fitzgerald refused to provide it. He pointedly declined to call Plame “covert.” He said her job status was irrelevant to the case against Libby. He even argued that it was irrelevant whether Mrs. Wilson worked at the CIA at all. Agreeing with Fitzgerald, Judge Walton barred both sides from discussing Mrs. Wilson’s status at the trial.
But, as even the ridiculous conservatives at the New York Sun reported:
Mr. Libby's attorneys are also seeking to exclude from the trial any talk that Ms. Plame's employment at the CIA was classified or covert. Such a ruling would leave jurors with little or no understanding of why Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation began. Instead, Mr. Libby's trial would become a sterile, seemingly-random discussion of inconsistent recollections between a former White House official and several reporters about conversations four years earlier.

However, the defense argued that such a constrained trial is the necessary result of the government's refusal to hand over documents detailing the secrecy surrounding Ms. Plame's employment. "It would be manifestly unfair to allow the government to put into issue a matter that Mr. Libby has been denied any real opportunity to investigate and contest," the defense lawyers wrote.
In other words, Libby's lawyers attempted to use a "graymail" defense strategy, but were denied that opportunity. Therefore, they chose to block any discussion of Plame's status including, one supposes because of its mention of October 2005 as the date they chose to declassify her status, the very CIA summary Fitzgerald presented for sentencing.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Is it common for a currently serving general in the American armed forces to write letters praising convicted criminals? And the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, no less? Seems odd to me, especially when you consider this passage from "The Armed Service Officer" (pdf link):
In a pragmatic sense, an officer’s career will span that of at least four presidential administrations. Budgets will change, national priorities will run a spectrum, and those politicians who represent the nation will come and go as a reflection of that will. The economy will fluctuate, universities will open and close, and even religions will grow and shrink in emphasis and influence. Nations will come into being and disappear. In short, the business of the planet will continue its checkered progress.

a. The constant in this warp and weave will be the service officer, whose commitment to the Constitution, morals, ethics and the nation is the real shining light of liberty. It is the bedrock that will guarantee the freedom of the American people and the continuance of our nation.

b. The nation can accept nothing less. Armed Forces officers have no right to determine national policy. They must not, as has happened in our nation’s history, distort information to serve the ends of anything other than the Constitution. Any such temptation must be ruthlessly controlled and stopped in its tracks.
Is it just me?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Almost sad

We might not have Rick Moran to kick around anymore, since his wife seems prepared to tell him it's time to put his toys away and get a real job.

Friday, June 01, 2007

I don't think that movie was about what you think it was about

Shorter Glenn Beck:
I'm delusional and a fox!

John McCain held hostage by Bill O'Reilly?

So, here's part of the transcript from John McCain's appearance on The O'Reilly Factor:
BILL O‘REILLY, HOST: That would sink the Republican party, I believe, so we‘d have a one-party system, and change, pardon the pun, the whole complexion of America. Am I wrong?

And Bill-O went on to say that the members so-called "far left" which supports more immigration "want to breakdown the white, Christian, male power structure of which you are a part, and so am I." John McCain just nodded.

Now, when I heard about this, I thought this would be the "Macaca" moment for McCain. After all, for a Presidential candidate to smile and nod and agree with the implication that Republicans have to fight to preserve the "white, Christian, male power structure" or "we'd have a one-party system" seems pretty damn shocking to me. The traditional media, however, have pretty much ignored the moment and Newsweek's Howard Fineman knows why they're right to do so:
If you play that segment again in slow motion, Alison, I think you‘ll see an exceedingly high blink rate on John McCain‘s part, and a sort of -- You noticed when he first was asked the question, he kind of shook his head no, as if, you know, I read McCain‘s secret language, and I know what he was saying in his mind, which is, I can‘t believe I have to do this.
In other words, John McCain isn't a blatant, crazy racist, but he does have to kiss blatantly crazy, racist ass in order to win the Republican nomination. Luckily for McCain, his base--the media--understand the secret message he blinks to them from every interview, just like Jeremiah Denton did when forced to spend time with those he despised. That message?
Peggy Noonan says that it's a terrible thing to insult people when they're just trying to follow their beliefs:
The president has taken to suggesting that opponents of his immigration bill are unpatriotic--they "don't want to do what's right for America." His ally Sen. Lindsey Graham has said, "We're gonna tell the bigots to shut up." On Fox last weekend he vowed to "push back." Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff suggested opponents would prefer illegal immigrants be killed; Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said those who oppose the bill want "mass deportation." Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said those who oppose the bill are "anti-immigrant" and suggested they suffer from "rage" and "national chauvinism."

Why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens?
I hope you'll excuse me if I choose to see Noonan's whining as the punchline to the joke she has become. She wrote:
No matter what Mr. Bush chose (to do about Iraq), what decision he made, he would leave some angry and frustrated. No matter what he did, the Arab street would be restive (it is a restive place) the left would be angry (rage is their ZIP code, where they came from and where they live), and Democrats would watch, wait, offer bland statements and essentially hope for the worst. - December 15, 2005

Howard Dean is actually the most in touch with his base of all D.C. Democrats because he speaks to them the secret language of Madman Boogabooga. Republicans are racist/ignorant/evil. This is actually not ineffective. It's a language that quells the base and would scare the center if they followed it more closely, but they can't because it's not heavily reported because "Dean Says Something Crazy" is no longer news. - June 22, 2006
For fourteen years Republicans were in power in Washington because, in part, Newt Gingrich wrote up a list of bad words to call Democrats and his followers used them often (and, remember, that list was called "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control," not "Let's come up with better policies and sell them well") . Being hostile and tossing disingenuous insults at your political enemies often seems the cornerstone of Republican rhetoric. It's the height of hilarity for Peggy Noonan to act shocked--shocked!--to see those on her side of the aisle demonize those with whom they disagree and refuse to believe their opponents might be equally "concerned citizens."

Miss Laura Ingraham, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door

This post is dedicated to the memory of the Myth of the Liberal Media, born April 6, 1954, died October 24, 2006.

The plight of those who still would have you believe there's such a beast as the "liberal media" has become so sad to watch. Late last week, they had another setback when they declared an internal State Department memo "fake" because of a cheesy eagle graphic stuck at the top of the page. It wasn't a fake, but just another example of someone with no design skills trying to brighten up dry documents. If you've worked in or around government, you see that sort of thing all the time.

Then, this morning, Laura Ingraham made snide comments about the supposed liberal slant of CNN to American Morning host John Roberts. She even had proof from that very interview, in fact: John Roberts had called her outspoken. Never mind that Al Franken was called an "outspoken comedian and liberal" by CNN. Or that Hugo Chavez is an "outspoken leftist". Or that Cynthia McKinney, Michael Moore and Nancy Pelosi were all referred to as "outspoken liberal(s)." None of those things matter. In the minds of the Republican hothouse flowers, any word used to describe them--other than heroic or beloved--can be seen as an attack by the dastardly liberal media.

It's even more sad to watch Ingraham and her ilk grasping at straws when you consider that the myth of a liberal media died an ignominious death in 2006. Certainly the myth had been ill--what with Eric Alterman, Gene Lyons and others chipping away at it for years--but on October 24th of last year, the myth lifted its weak head, smiled and expired when Karl Rove accused NPR's Robert Siegel of "exhibiting a bias" by pointing out that Rove seemed overly "optimistic" in predicting Republicans would hold onto the House and Senate in the midterm elections. Rove claimed to have access to more polls than the average American (which wasn't true, thanks to Josh Marshall's Election Central Poll Tracker") and famously told the All Things Considered host, "I'm looking at all these, Robert, and adding them up and I add up to a Republican Senate and a Republican House. You may end up with a different math, but you're entitled to your math and I'm entitled to the math."

At that moment, the myth died.

It didn't pass on because Rove was proven to be wrong by the election which followed, but because Rove, in that interview, provided proof positive that when people like him speak of "liberal media bias," they really mean that members of the media sometimes say things the members of their party don't like to hear.

Don't expect to quit hearing about liberal bias, of course. Some people just can't face certain types of loss. So just like the woman I met who refused to give up on either the beehive hairdo or the idea that Elvis is still alive, people like Ingraham will continue talking about the Myth of the Liberal Media as if it's still here with us, perhaps just waiting in the other room to reappear.

We should show her some compassion. She can't help it.

Update: By the way, Ingraham was also called "outspoken" by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Michael Medved and Fox News' Chris Wallace. Doesn't seem like she got all pissy about those references.

Update: CNN has the transcript up now.
INGRAHAM: It's absurd (for Bush to accuse critics of the immigration bill of being patriotic). I think it was a bad, tactical decision for him to say that. The way to get people on your side is not to insult them, especially people in the conservative movement, who worked tirelessly to get him re-elected. The president has been consistent on supporting this. You have to give him credit on that. I've never questioned his motives in pushing for this type of comprehensive reform. But to insult his base, I mean, I hope he thinks he's going to be saved by the liberal elites at CNN, John, because if he is, then I'll be wrong about this. But I think it's kind of silly.

ROBERTS: Excuse me, what was that last comment?

INGRAHAM: By the way, John, how did you introduce me for this segment before the break. The outspoken Laura Ingraham. Do you guys introduce liberal commentators that way? I'm going to check.

ROBERTS: Yeah, we do actually.

INGRAHAM: OK, I'm going to check that.

ROBERTS: Are you denying that you're outspoken Laura?

INGRAHAM: No, why would you say that?

ROBERTS: I just think that we're appropriately characterizing you.

INGRAHAM: OK, got it.

ROBERTS: You're definitely outspoken. You were outspoken about immigration on Wednesday's show.

INGRAHAM: How about radio talk show host and author. That's quite effective.

ROBERTS: This isn't about a disagreement between you and I. This is about you and your views here. [snip] All right, Laura Ingraham, as always, thanks for being with us, appreciate it.

INGRAHAM: Never outspoken.

ROBERTS: I somehow think that you and I will be exchanging e-mails later on this morning.

INGRAHAM: Yes we will John.

ROBERTS: Appreciate it.