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Blogging celebrities



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Of course, you may not see much from Iain Dale today as he and the other bloggers are being swarmed by a media circus.  The attention they’re getting from TV cameras in particular is astonishing.

More Tory Coverage



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The views of the delegates I’ve talked to so far on America mostly seem to fikkiw a simple pattern: strong support for America in general, including reflex gratitude from the older delegates for America’s role in WWII and the Cold War, followed by deep skepticism over the current military position.  There is general disdain for the President, mostly, it seems, based on his perceived inarticulacy and his closeness to Blair.  Not much enthusiasm for McCain, but most delegates don’t seem to have heard of him before yesterday!  In general, the mood seems to be that things will improve for the alliance once the current President and Prime Minister leave office.

If you’re interested in what’s going on over there in more detail, check out Iain Dale and ConservativeHome.

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President Ortega?



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Remember Daniel Ortega, the Sandinista leader of Nicaragua in the 1980s? He’s back–and he’s leading the polls for the presidential election his country will hold next month. The good news is that if these numbers hold up, Ortega will go into a runoff against Eduardo Montealegre, who is the guy to cheer for:

Under the headline “The Game Is Between Ortega and Montealegre”, Nicaragua’s largest newspaper, La Prensa, published the results today from the newest poll in Nicaragua. (The poll was ordered by La Prensa and conducted by M&R Consultants.)

30.9 % – Daniel Ortega (Sandinistas- FSLN)

26.4 % – Eduardo Montealegre (Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance- ALN)

16.3 % – José Rizo (Constitutional Liberal Party- PLC)

15.9 % – Edmundo Jarquín (Sandinista Renovation Movement- MRS)

9.6 %   - Unknown/Undecided Vote 

According to the poll, 66% of the voters identified themselves as anti-Ortega, and 74% of those said they would be disposed to vote for whichever candidate could defeat Ortega even if that candidate were not their first choice.

Web Briefing: April 18, 2014

Would You Want One in Your Backward?



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What if the nuclear facility the Russians are building for the Iranians turned out to be as high quality as oh, say: Chernobyl?

Amir Taheri explores the possibility here .

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Returned to Sender



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Among nominations sent back to the White House Friday were a slate of judges and John Bolton.

Hastert, Saturday P.M.



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Some points the Speaker’s office emphasized on the Foley matter :

–No one in leadership knew about the IMs. They did not surface until Friday.

– The family who contact Rep. Alexander about the e-mail correspondense did not want the e-mails shared.

– The leadership did an internal review immediately as they became aware of the instant messages on Friday.


Here’s the full statement:

From: Speaker’s Media Release
Sent: Saturday, September 30, 2006 5:36 PM
Subject: INTERNAL REVIEW OF CONTACTS WITH THE OFFICE OF THE SPEAKER REGARDING THE CONGRESSMAN MARK FOLEY MATTER

Speaker’s Press Office

United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: 202-225-2800

September 30, 2006 Ron Bonjean or Lisa C. Miller

INTERNAL REVIEW OF CONTACTS WITH THE OFFICE OF THE SPEAKER REGARDING THE CONGRESSMAN MARK FOLEY MATTER

On Friday, September 29, the Speaker directed his Chief of Staff and Outside Counsel to conduct an internal review to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding contact with the Office of the Speaker regarding the Congressman Mark Foley matter. The following is their preliminary report.

Email Exchange Between Congressman Foley and a Constituent of Congressman Alexander

In the fall of 2005 Tim Kennedy, a staff assistant in the Speaker’s Office, received a telephone call from Congressman Rodney Alexander’s Chief of Staff who indicated that he had an email exchange between Congressman Foley and a former House page. He did not reveal the specific text of the email but expressed that he and Congressman Alexander were concerned about it.

Tim Kennedy immediately discussed the matter with his supervisor, Mike Stokke, Speaker Hastert’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Stokke directed Kennedy to ask Ted Van Der Meid, the Speaker’s in house Counsel, who the proper person was for Congressman Alexander to report a problem related to a former page. Ted Van Der Meid told Kennedy it was the Clerk of the House who should be notified as the responsible House Officer for the page program. Later that day Stokke met with Congressman Alexander’s Chief of Staff. Once again the specific content of the email was not discussed. Stokke called the Clerk and asked him to come to the Speaker’s Office so that he could put him together with Congressman Alexander’s Chief of Staff. The Clerk and Congressman Alexander’s Chief of Staff then went to the Clerk’s Office to discuss the matter.

The Clerk asked to see the text of the email. Congressman Alexander’s office declined citing the fact that the family wished to maintain as much privacy as possible and simply wanted the contact to stop. The Clerk asked if the email exchange was of a sexual nature and was assured it was not. Congressman Alexander’s Chief of Staff characterized the email exchange as over-friendly.

The Clerk then contacted Congressman Shimkus, the Chairman of the Page Board to request an immediate meeting. It appears he also notified Van Der Meid that he had received the complaint and was taking action. This is entirely consistent with what he would normally expect to occur as he was the Speaker’s Office liaison with the Clerk’s Office.

The Clerk and Congressman Shimkus met and then immediately met with Foley to discuss the matter. They asked Foley about the email. Congressman Shimkus and the Clerk made it clear that to avoid even the appearance of impropriety and at the request of the parents, Congressman Foley was to immediately cease any communication with the young man.

The Clerk recalls that later that day he encountered Van Der Meid on the House floor and reported to him that he and Shimkus personally had spoken to Foley and had taken corrective action.

Mindful of the sensitivity to the parent’s wishes to protect their child’s privacy and believing that they had promptly reported what they knew to the proper authorities Kennedy, Van Der Meid and Stokke did not discuss the matter with others in the Speaker’s Office.

Congressman Tom Reynolds in a statement issued today indicates that many months later, in the spring of 2006, he was approached by Congressman Alexander who mentioned the Foley issue from the previous fall. During a meeting with the Speaker he says he noted the issue which had been raised by Alexander and told the Speaker that an investigation was conducted by the Clerk of the House and Shimkus. While the Speaker does not explicitly recall this conversation, he has no reason to dispute Congressman Reynold’s recollection that he reported to him on the problem and its resolution.

Sexually Explicit Instant Message Transcript

No one in the Speaker’s Office was made aware of the sexually explicit text messages which press reports suggest had been directed to another individual until they were revealed in the press and on the internet this week. In fact, no one was ever made aware of any sexually explicit email or text messages at any time.

# # #

Woodward Misleads



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Tonight on 60 Minutes  Woodward is going to argue that the administration has been misleading the American people by claiming things are getting better in Iraq, while in fact they are getting worse.

He cites a “Secret” chart showing that attacks have reached almost 900 per week in Iraq, which Woodward says are attacks “against our troops.”  This is misleading on several counts.  First, this blockbuster “secret” information is in fact continually updated and systematically released by the Defense Department in the high-profile quarterly Report on Stability and Progress in Iraq.  ( See p. 31).

Even worse, Woodward implies that the attacks he’s talking about are attacks are ”against our trooops.”  But they are not.  As the Report explains (again, P.31):

For this report, the term “attacks” refers to specific incidents reported in the Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) Significant Activities database. It includes known attacks on Coalition forces, the ISF, the civilian population, and infrastructure.
And in fact, as the following page shows, attacks against Coalition forces have dropped since the summer of 2004, while casualties of Iraqi Security Forces have increased dramatically as ISF have moved to take main responsibility for providing security in the country  ( p.32).  Also the attacks remain confined mostly to one out of 18 provinces (Anbar) and Baghdad, while the vast majority of the country —  14 out of 18 provinces — has remained peaceful and largely secure.  In light of these factors, ongoing progress in the political realm is bad news for the insurgency.  Why?  Because insurgencies fighting a domestic government eventually lose if they cannot win.

Meanwhile, the very statistic Woodward cites in support for his proposition shows that his proposition is fallacious, which I’m sure will prove to be the case with much of his latest Potpourri-of-Beltway-Gossip-Posing-as-a-Book. 

Cameron’s speech



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I missed John McCain’s speech because of the aforementioned delays, but am finally through.  Iain Dale and ConservativeHome are blogging away.  This is a liveblog of his speech.

Cameron has started off with some very effective self-deprecating humor.

Cameras are concentrating on “Tory totty.”

Serious flattery of John McCain – says he would be proud to see such a great friend of Britain as leader of the free world.

Lots of very effective mockery of Labour infighting.

Talks about the need for a clear purpose.  Hmmm.  Yes.  Go on.

Points out Labour’s lack of one.  Good points.

Here’s the meat – setting the stage for the conference debates.  Prepare the ground, lay the foundations and then build the house brick by brick.  The Tories have always won on the soild center ground – praise for Mrs T in doing that.  Wants safer streets, schools that teach, better quality of life.  Tories have talked about different things from the center ground in recent years.  He has a point.

Now is the time to lay the foundations.  Social responsibility is the idea to explain this week.  Fighting crime is not just a state responsibility but a social one.  Parents need to instil values in children, schools need to be disciplined, an end to selling alcohol to children, make violent music socially unacceptable.  Also need to actively promote good things.  This is all very sound stuff.

Blair has been a story of ignorance, arrogance and incompetence.  Can’t argue with him there.

Pretty darn good so far.  More to follow.

More on Cameron



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Goes on to criticize I.D. Cards as wrong and a waste of money (using immigration as an example).

First mention of global warming is an attack on Labour’s regulatory approach to things. Can’t disagree with him there – then goes on to contradict himself by applauding the hideous regulatory burden of REACH.

The thinking here starts from the right place but takes a wrong turn.  This bit needs to be thought through more.

Then he says trust the professionals, not government, in a useful nod to the knowledge problem.

Unintended consequences of regulation is a big theme here.  I can’t disagree with this, but he needs to be more consistent on the issue.

Bringing up children is the greatest challenge of all and Labour’s approach creates a culture of irresponsibility.  Darn tootin’.  “We need a bit more of Supernanny and a bit less of the nanny state.”

Perorating.  Must build these foundations before coming up with the policies to advance them.  Not sure about this – these are all prety basic conservative principles and he’s also tipped his hat on certain specific policies that aren’t properly thought through.

His own one word summary: optimism (sorry, Derb).

Pretty good with the caveats mentioned above.  I give it a B+ verging on A-.

RE: October Surprise



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That there may be no easy breaking through the dramatic story-line in the MSM, of course is no reason not to actually get to the truth of what happened. Mark Levin has some thoughts .

October Surprise



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I think the damage may already be done, further details be damned. The Hill (see Sixers ) says Hastert staff may have seen the non-explicit, just creepy e-mails. But those details will get lost to “they knew [assumption: they knew it all] and Foley remained.”

And every soccer mom and dad has images of Dateline investigations in their memory banks…for one thing, there is no way a Republican wins that House seat.

Foley Fallout



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The news that House Republican leaders may have known about disgraced former congressman Mark Foley’s behavior as early as several months ago is dynamite. We should certainly recognize that there may be a few agendas at work here, from a liberal media that’s hyping the story because it would love nothing more than a GOP pederasty scandal to an emerging Hastert vs. Boehner rivalry that is driven, alas, by personal ambition rather than political philosophy or a desire to get to the bottom of the Foley case.

If House Republican leaders really did avert their gaze from a problem they knew about, however, Foley could become the new Jack Abramoff. Except that whereas the details of Abramoff’s were always a bit complicated for the public to follow closely, the accusations now leveled at Foley are much simpler and more appalling. Foley is on the verge of becoming the poster child of a party that is concerned about little more than preserving its power. This could very well cost Republicans more than Florida’s 16th congressional district, which at this point they probably deserve to lose even if they somehow manage to replace Foley on the ballot or come up with another candidate; it might be the Democrats’ October surprise.

The NIE Seen Plain



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Herb Meyer, one of the smartest people ever to serve in the Intelligence Community, unearths the dirty little secret in the celebrated NIE: it stinks. This is a must-read.

What McCain Is Reading in London



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At the Tory Party Conference



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Things aren’t exactly going swimmingly here for David Cameron’s first conference as leader of the UK Conservative Party.  Hundreds of us are sat in a Theater waiting for some terribly nice chaps to find our passes.

Meanwhile, I read that Dave is going to rule out tax cuts in a “rebuke” to “the right.”

Ho hum.

Bumped into columnist and blogger  Stephen Pollard on the train.  It’s the first time in 17 years he hasn’t been to a Party Conference.  He couldn’t be happier.

For Make Benefit



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My buddy Mike Long attended a screening of the Borat movie last night. His reaction:

Borat is just as good as you would hope.  It is insanely vulgar from beginning to end—a true wiener party.  My sides were sore at the first ten minutes, and that’s no exaggeration.  But make no mistake it is absolutely vulgar.  Not nasty, tho there is some of that, but vulgar.

Dizzy Izzy



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From Sol Stern’s WSJ review (no free link) of those new I.F. Stone books:

After the war, Stone became a passionate advocate for the creation of a Jewish state. He traveled to Palestine on one of the illegal ships filled with survivors of the Holocaust and wrote a popular series of articles for PM about his experience. They later became a book called “Underground to Palestine.” Soon he went back to the Mideast to cover Israel’s War of Independence and then wrote another book titled “This Is Israel.”

You wouldn’t know about “This Is Israel” from Ms. MacPherson’s account; she doesn’t mention it or even list it in her bibliography of Stone’s books. Anyone who reads “This Is Israel” will see why it creates problems for the Stone fan club. It is, hands down, the most pro-Zionist reportage of the 1948 war. Stone describes the Jews as having the only morally defensible position in the conflict. He hardly mentions the issue of Palestinian refugees; he makes it clear that the seven invading Arab armies were bent on eliminating the entire Jewish presence in Palestine.

Addressing Stone’s thinking about Israel’s early days, Ms. MacPherson focuses exclusively on the earlier

“Underground to Palestine,” stressing one sentence there in which Stone speculates about the possibility of a Jewish-Arab binational state as a way of avoiding future bloodshed. Stone said many years later that American Zionist leaders urged him to remove that sentence from the book; when he refused, he allegedly lost out on a promised $50,000 advertising campaign.

By emphasizing this story with a dramatic retelling and leaving out “This Is Israel,” Ms. MacPherson can seem to show a continuity between Stone’s views in 1948 — pro-Israel but prophetically concerned for Jewish-Arab relations — and the blame-Israel stance he took 20 years later.

But there is a contradiction between the Stone who wrote the passionately pro-Zionist “This Is Israel” and the Stone who later composed jeremiads about Israeli “racism” and insensitivity to the plight of Palestinian refugees. Of course, everyone is allowed to change his mind. What was missing from Stone during his lifetime was some candor about what made him swerve so radically from one view of Israel to another. But when we think back on Stone’s Soviet boosterism, even during the worst of Stalin’s crimes, we are reminded that candor was not always his strong suit.

GEORGE ALLEN, THE POST, AND MACACA



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From Sunday’s paper, the Washington Post’s ombudsman discusses whether the paper went overboard in its coverage of George Allen’s “macaca” moment:

Did The Post overplay the incident? Not initially, but the coverage went on for too long after he apologized. The news stories, handled by the paper’s Virginia political reporters, did not go overboard. An editorial was well done. Then the columnists weighed in, along with Style reporters and editorial cartoonist Tom Toles. No one piece was over the line. But when you put it all together, it looked like piling on.

In Defense of Izzy



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From a reader:

Izzy was a bit more complicated than all that. He was an across the street neighbor. He and his wife befriended my very young son and over the years we became friends. When I learned he liked to swim I invited them to join us around our pool on Sundays where others–Richard Perle and Nina Totenberg, for example–were regulars . We’d swim and argue civilly.   Before he died, he told me Perle was right and he was wrong. He thought the Soviet Union would change with economic prosperity and Perle thought only Reagan’s way would work. He said he regarded Richard as the hero .   His wife who ran the business end of the newsletter was a Republican. Her niece, Kathy Boudin, was convicted for her role in the Weather Underground. Her nephew, Kathy’s brother, was a conservative Judge on the US Ct of Appeals for the District of Columbia, appointed by Reagan.   Izzy and Esther’s son-in-law won a Nobel prize for co-inventing Interferon. Their daughter was a feminist poet. Esther never could understand her daughter’s anger at the “patriarchy”. “He won the Nobel Prize for her. What more does she want?”

156 to 1



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I’m not known as an Allen booster around here. But it seems to me they make a pretty good point. They note that the Washington Post is now — now! — complaining about the tenor of the Allen-Webb race and trying to take the high road. The Post editorializes: 

We hope the present discussion won’t drown out a broader debate about what each candidate would seek to accomplish as a senator.

This sounds so High-Minded and Very Serious. But, according to the Allen campaign the Post has run 156 stories relating to the “macaca” stuff and exactly 1 mentioning Allen’s energy proposal. Frankly, I don’t know what his energy proposal is nor have I checked their math on the ratio of stories. But, I’m sure the gist is correct in that I look at the Post everyday, and their coverage of their own Senator (the Post is as much a Northern Virginia paper as a DC paper), has been far less than serious or high-minded.  

 

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