Monday, May 23, 2005

ANOTHER Thing I agree with in the Times!

Hell must be getting colder because Dan Okrent, the outgoing "Public Editor"(ie Ombudsman) of the NY Times says what everyone who can read and think objectively has been saying for years, that "Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults". He also says Maureen Dowd had been wrong about Alberto Gonzales position on the Geneva Conventions for two months after the Times admitted it's own error (The "quaint" complaint, as it were). It's a shame he's leaving, but his final column, linked above, has all sorts of interesting tidbits for liberals and conservatives to chew on. Good stuff.

The New York Times Writes a Story I Can Get Behind

Of course, it's actually an art page piece that pays homage to
John William's excellent "Revenge of the Sith" score. This was easily Williams best score of the prequel trilogy, and Anthony Tommasini gives Williams his due for being such an important part of the Star Wars series. "Sith" is a much better film than I was expecting, perhaps than it has any right to be, and the excellent soundtrack is part of what makes "Sith" work. Kudos to the NY Times for writing an article about a populist composer. And thanks to John Williams for writing such fun music over the years.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Just For You Burns!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Back By Request

The Keith Olbermann is a jackass bandwagon:

Also for any people that have cancelled their Newsweek subscriptions, but still have some old issues lying around the house, here's an idea:

I value Mr. Burns’s opinion that Isikoff should be able to keep his job and I'm tempted to agree. I certainly don't want reporters losing their job every time they make a mistake. But yet, in the end, I don't agree with Burns. I want to tear down the entire elitist media establishment (apparently unlike my Washington Post-sympathizing friend). I want a country whose citizens engage in a free-exchange of ideas bolstered (not hampered) by a fact-gathering truthful free press.

And I see no better way than those citizens 1) canceling subscriptions/turning the channel/clogging up toilets with subversive anti-American rhetoric passing as weekly news; and 2)demanding severe consequences for reporters who fail to excise even minimal due diligence when the a particular story fits an "editorial premise", the so called to-good-to-check stories.

Isikoff's 20+ years of service and previous good work only further damn him on these charges, namely: He knew the rules (i.e. do not report anonymous sources that claim that an item will appear in a future document without corroboration) and willfully broke them.

This was not an article about the annual May Day Parade. This was a news item that leveled serious and unfounded allegations against the United States Military during a time of war. Worse, it served to add fuel to the fire (think: Cubs bullpen) of our sworn enemies on-going propaganda campaign. If Isikoff knew the charges to be false (which he clearly did not, his mistake was in good faith), he would be hung for treason. That is the seriousness of the misdeed!

People lost their lives. That has got to be worse than Rather-gate by any standard of measure. While not excusing the monsters that did the killing, their actions were reasonably foreseeable and therefore Newsweek cannot be absolved from blame.

Sorry Burnsy, I know where you're coming from. I've always hated Rather and was glad to see him exposed (again). And I've never really had anything against Isikoff. But based on the gravity of the crime, losing his job is the proper punishment.

But in other, more concilitory, Rather-hating news: 60 Minutes II was cancelled!! Heh!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tom Maguire Blogs on Newsweek So I Don't Have To.

As I was eating lunch today, I sat thinking that when I came back to my computer I was going to pen a piece for the blog that I thought would punch some major holes in the "fake bu accurate" meme that the Left is peddling. Susan Hu, the Kos poster that I just linked to, has gathered a large amount of sources that point to general mistreatment of Koran at the hands of guards at Gitmo. Now, it's all hearsay, really, as I trust the military a bit more than I trust the Islamists, but there was one confiremd case where the prisoners had a hunger strike after the Koran had been "tossed in a pile". See, I can believe that would happen, and I think the jihadists are nutty enough to strike over it. What I found odd was that if Koran's were being tossed into toilets, or buckets, or whatever on a consistant basis, why hadn't the entire population of detainees at Gitmo gone nuts over it? The absence of a protest over what is considerably worse than a Koran being tossed casually on a pile would seem to stick several holes in the whole "fake but accurate" idea. I was going to come back here and post this whole theory but I returned to notice that Tom Maguire had beaten me to it. So he put the pieces together faster. Damn. But I have one final point relating to Susan Hu's post at Daily Kos.

Ms. Hu, to her credit, does actual research before she posts. She related, in a post picked up by Andrew Sullivan that she called a DC lawyer who represents 10 detainees at Gitmo. After going to extreme lengths to establish that his clients never see each other(which seems a bit odd since a hunger strike would have to involve communication outside of tapping on cells) she tells us that she asked him if he had heard about abuse of the Koran:

[quote]He replied, "Yes, two detainees told me completely independently that they had witnessed a Qur'an being thrown in the toilet. Another told me that he had witnessed a Qur'an being stomped on. And another told me he had witnessed a Qur'an being urinated on."[/quote]
Seems disturbing, eh? Yet why no hunger strike? And Ms. Hu ignores the fact that Al Qaida tells it's members that if captured, talking about how the evil Americans descreatesd the Koran is SOP. My point is, if you distrust the military as much as Ms. Hu does, why should she trust the thrid hand accounts of jihadists who have been trained to lie. The fact that all these men who don't see each other ALL told about abuse of the Koran when prompted points more to a Al Qaida policy of making up horrifying stories of mistreatment(see all of Ms. Hu's other entries, which should be taken with a pound and a half of grains of salt) then it does about US policy, which sounds like it may not be uniformely perfect, but hardly seems to be breading people more sadistic than the Islamists themselves.

ETA: I would liek to add that I don't think Newsweek Reporter Isikoff should be fired or forced to resign( Drudgre reports he offered to and they said no). Unlike my colleague Kang, with whom I spoke about this yesterday, and unlike Milhouse, I don't think he was acting maliciously or doing as poor a job as CBS News did with "Rathergate". I also disagree with many on the right who think Newsweek has blood on it's hands. Newsweek's error, while leading to 16 deaths, was obviously not meant to inflame anyone. I would hope that commentators take the position of Irshad Manji and ask how messed up is the world of the Islamists that this rumor would cause major rioting? Perhaps instead of defending Isikoff, sites like Kos and Co. will realize that the terrorists really are as terrible as the President has been saying, and the Right can use it's ample platform to give voice to moderate Muslims who wonder who these crazies who hijacked their religion are. Let Isikoff off the hook. But someone stop Jim Lampley!

Time to Ressurect the Keith Olbermann is a Jackass Bandwagon.

As perfect an example of why Sports reporters shouldn't do politics that Jim Lampley is, he still can't hold a candle to the sheer idiocy that is Keith Olbermann. Keith, the former ESPN anchor who left sports because he didn't want to live in Bristol, spent over a month chasing a story that didn't really exist last fall, when he tried to singlehandedly discover that Karl Rove had stolen the Election for the Republicans. He took rumor and innuendo as fact and hyped up the righteous, self-important "Conyers Committee" that failed to prove election fraud in Ohio (but had LOTS of rumors and innuendo!).

Now Keith is defending Newsweek against the White House, by saying that the adminsiatration is to blame for their screwing up the story, and that somehow Scott McClellan is guilty of treason! I Know! Keith thinks that because the Administration offered "No Comment" on the Koran-flushing story that it MUST be true, especially since several members of Al-Qaida, who have actually been trained to invent stories like that, said similar things have happened. Olbermann, as he often does, looks past the fact that the previous allegations were just that: allegations. The Newsweek case is different because it claims to have been from an authentic, forthcoming Pentagon report. It doesn't matter though, because Olbermann is not interested in facts. They get in the way. What a moron.

PS: Read that Keith piece and watch him claim that the "Right" owes Isikoff because he broke the Monica story. Does Keith think that Isikoff, who was essentially handed they story by Linda Tripp, should have sat on it? Isikoff is not a "right-wing hero" in any book but the one Olbermann keeps. Isikoff is an experienced reporter who should have known better than to write rumor as fact. But again, Keith thinks rumors ARE facts, so again, blame the adminsitration.

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Most Annoying Part of "The Huffington Post"

Arianna's look at me blog, dahling! vanity project that I thought might tbe fun to make fun of is indeed an ongoing car wreck, but unlike a regular, sad car wreck, this car wreck is like if a couple of clown cars ran into each other and the occupants started tumbling out like, you know, a clown car. Imagine about 500 makeup-clad clowns flying through the windshield, and you'll get the funny image. I promise.

Anyway, the real problem with the "blog" is that you can't actually send little corrections or comments to the various bloggers. I mean, shouldn't reasonable people with actual eductions who understand politics be able to email Arianna and ask her what makes Jim "Glass Jaw" Lampley a useful political commentator, let alone a one-man media apologist/Karl Rove Conspiracy theorist? Can't we ask Lampley? I want to know where he gets those awful Tux's for fight night. Maybe someone could teach him how to properly link to articles posted in other sources, seeing as he fails at that as well.

I also have a few questions for Laurie David, shrill environmentalist activist wife of comedian Larry David who seems to be a bit of an eco-facist. She seems to think that the paper industry is evil incarnate! Damn them for producing paper that people need to write screeds denoucning them! What, exactly, are HER qualifications to comment on the Environment. Click on her bio, and you'd wonder, as I did, if she's ever read a real scientific text.

Fianlly, I'd like to write to Robert Greenwald and ask him why he doesn't think that California Nurses Unions that are more concerned about their political standing than they are about saving the collapsing Califronia Hospital system and teachers who don't seem to be want to be held accoutable for anything are not special interests. Plus, I want to ask him if he thinks teacher's Unions opposition to accoutability reall should be free from critisism. In a state that is falling apart finacially, he is cheering it's ruin, brought on by Democratic control of the state house and the governship of Grey Davis, a leadership that attempted zero reform. God forbid Arnold try to save it before it falls apart completely. Does he have a solution, and fianlly. does he think that getting a hit piece on a Republican governor into the pages of the NY Times is an actual accomplishment, or more like a "what took so long" siutation?

Obviiously, plenty of fodder for good humor and head shaking as the Huffington Post goes on. Groupthink has set in faster than I anticipated. David Frum should post more often, if only to piss the lefties on the site off. Oh well, there's always Instapundit!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Newsweek lied...

...and people died.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Byron York Knocks Our Jim Lampley in One Round

Responding to boxing commentator Jim Lampley's sudden bizzare insistance that Vegas odds and Exit Polls prove Bush stole the 2004 election, the great Byron York knocks out the glass-jawed Lampley with a great written punch, over at Huffington Post, which seems to be making up for it's general balance in the last two days with near-constant GOP/Red State/Conservative in general bashing. Still funny though!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Canada in Crisis

The Canadian House of Commons voted today to ask the Public Accounts Committee to amend its report of 28-Oct-04, to recommend that the government resign. The opposition is claiming that this is as good as a vote of no confidence, and the government must accordingly resign. The Liberal House leader, Tony Valeri, says that it's not a vote of no confidence, and it has no legal effect until it is adopted by the Public Accounts committee, the committee amends the report, pursuant to the opposition directive, and the report is adopted by the House of Commons.

I hate to say this, but I think Valeri's right on this one. The motion that passed did not express the House's lack of confidence in the government, it merely asked a committee of the House to recommend that the government resign. An MP could claim with a straight face that while he still has every confidence in the gov't, they're clearly in trouble, and he thinks it would be a good idea for them to resign and take the mess to the people, and he thinks the Public Accounts committee should recommend that course of action to the gov't. If the c'tee did so, it would then be up to the gov't to decide whether to act on the recommendation or to ignore it. It's not unreasonable to suggest that at least three MPs were thinking along those lines, and therefore that this vote doesn't prove the gov't has lost the House's confidence.

Of course, if the gov't were sure of winning a confidence motion, they would have made one. But not being sure of winning isn't the same as being sure of losing. They didn't want to take the chance, and there's no legal or consittutional reason why they should.

We'll just have to wait until there's a real confidence motion. And then hope against hope that the voters won't just return the crooks, as they've done before.

The Huffington Post: If nothhing else, a fun read.

The big talk aroung the blogosphere is The Huffington Post, the celebrety group blog/drudgereport wannabee. It launched yesterday, and highlights include a kinda pathetic satrical post from "Seinfeld" creator Larry David about John Bolton, a strong feature called "Eat the Press from Harry Sheaer, former member of Spinal Tap and the voice of Mr. Burns, among others, on the Simpsons. Yes he's a liberal entertainer, but a surprisingly well-read one who just seems to loathe the press in general. Also, he's Mr. Freakin Burns. He gets my respect.

Huffington Post actually has some Cons and even neo-Cons on the rolls, like David Frum, his wife Danielle Crittenden, and John Fund, among some others. They tend to write current events posts that make sense. The left is represented by a couple Dem issues people, who at least know what they're talking about, but less admirably by Rob "Meathead" Reiner, John Cusak, and, oddly enough, HBO Fight Night commentator Jim Lampley.

Lampley heads off into barking Moonbat territory with his first post 'The Biggest Story of our Lives" in which Lampley uses the Vegas odds of a Kerry victory last November on election night as a jumping off point to declare that the election was obviously stolen. Clearing just waking up after several months in a coma, Lampley seems not to have realized that even Democratic Underground posters gave up on the theory after no credible witnesses could be brought forth. He also missed the massive debate about the exit polling and why it was off the mark, as he seems to have mistaken the early polling results that Drudge got ahold of that statisticians more competant than him have already gotten through. Lampley then suggests that all the "well-educated people" on Huffington's blog start a new revolution to right this epic wrong. Good lord, it's a hoot.

Other great nuggets from celebs, semi-celebs and others can be found on the page, including a laugh-inducing screed from Larry Gelbart, who created the hideously awful "M*A*S*H" TV show, certainly the most overrated piece of tripe ever to hit the airwaves. He raises the Orwellian flag pretty quickly. If only the Korea War hadn't lasted 11 years! Maybe he wouldn't be so paranoid. (Yes, yes, I know Alan Alda made the show worse than it was when he got all maudlin, but Gelbert took a funny, jocular left-leaning comic and turned him into a weeping leftist. Check out early Alda, not his recent roles. He's still funny, and he has talent.)

All in all, Arianna has created something that can be mocked incessetly for years to come. I thank her for that, if nothing else.

On 10-May-1869, the first USA transcontinental railroad was completed at Promontory UT. Four precious metal spikes were used in the ceremony: two golden (one commissioned by Leland Stanford, the governor of CA, the other by the San Francisco News Letter), one silver (from the governor of NV), and one of an alloy of gold, silver, and iron (from the governor of AZ). But the real final spike was an ordinary iron one, which was rigged to automatically send a telegram as it was driven in, letting the world know that the railroad was complete. Except that it didn't work, and the telegram was sent by hand.

The silver spike and Stanford's golden one, as well as the silver hammer with which they were driven, may be in the Stanford museum. The gold-silver-iron spike has disappeared. But the second golden spike was probably returned to the News Letter offices, where it remained until 18-Apr-1906, when it was taken by a chrononaut, just before the building was destroyed in the earthquake and subsequent fire.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Dutch Boys

Three years ago, gay-neocon icon Pim Fortuyn was assasinated by a PETA-type terrorist. He was on the verge of becoming Prime Minister of the Netherlands; had he lived, and been able to do something about the Islamist plague, Theo van Gogh might never have been murdered.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Hide and Seek

Instapundit points to this story about explosives found in Terry Nichols's home, 10 years after it was searched by the FBI, and wonders what this says about the competence and/or efficiency of FBI teams looking for Al Qaeda sleeper cells.

This reminds me of a funny-only-after-the-event story that happened to someone I know in London. This fellow, with one of those Jewish names that could just as easily be Irish (and there seem to be a lot of those), owns some rental property, and had a tenant who actually was Irish, seemed to be behaving suspiciously, and then suddenly left. So he called the police, who came, searched the flat, found nothing that shouldn't have been there, pronounced it clean, and reassured the landlord that he had nothing to fear, the house wasn't going to blow up one morning. Years passed, and eventually a subsequent tenant pulled up some floorboards, saw explosives hidden under them, and called the police. Who came, saw said explosives, and immediately went to have a serious conversation with the landlord with the Irish-sounding name. Who said "look, I called you years ago when that suss tenant left, and you assured me that there were no bombs hidden in my house!"

I'm not sure what the moral of all this is, except that just because you've already looked somewhere doens't mean that there's nothing still hidden there.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Arthur Dent Filibuster

I continue to believe that it would be best to set off the 'nuclear option' now, and get rid of the power to filibuster judicial nominations, a power so entrenched in history and tradition that it has never ever been used, not even once in all the years that it's been theoretically available. To those who say the Republicans should keep it because they might one day find it useful, I say:
  1. If they've never found a use for it in 200 years, why think they ever will?
  2. If there ever comes a time when there's a Democrat majority and president, and the president nominates someone so unacceptable to the minority (but acceptable to the majority) that they would consider trying a filibuster, do you really believe the Democrats won't immediately use this 'nuclear option' themselves? Do you think they'd hesitate a moment?
But there's a problem with normal filibusters too. Filibstering legislative proposals is an old Senate tradition, but it used to be quite rare, reserved for the most outrageous excesses of a majority gone wild. In the past 20 years or so it's become a weapon of choice for both sides, exercised several times a year by whoever happens to be in the minority. And the reason for this increase is obvious: no longer do filibusters involve actually speaking through the night, reading the phone book, or poetry, while resorting to extreme measures to keep the floor. That kind of filibuster has gone the way of cigar smoking and fist fights on the Senate floor.

Instead, we've got the Arthur Dent filibuster: the minority announces its intention to speak for as long as needed, and trots out 41 senators who will vote against cutting off the debate, and then suggests that since they are prepared to speak all night, and the majority is prepared to stay up and watch them, they don't need to actually do so; instead, they might as well both nick round to the local for a quick half. Or, in this case, pretend the debate is still going, and get on with the rest of the Senate's business. C-SPAN viewers see the usual sight of senators going about their business, while the filibuster with all its antics has been moved to Room 3B of Unseen University.

And so the filibuster has become cheap - the minority pays no price for using it, so why shouldn't it do so whenever it feels like it? I'm really surprised that it's been used so sparingly - logically every single bill should be filibustered, and there should at all times be 10 filibusters going on simultaneously, in Room 3B.

Getting rid of the Arthur Dent filibuster, returning to the old days when filibusters actually cost the minority, in personal comfort and in dignity, should mean that they'd return to being what they once were, a 'nuclear option' useful as a threat, but only actually fired very rarely, and with great reluctance.