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Peter’s Subtle Scandal Slant



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On Friday night, Peter Jennings began: “Good evening everyone. It has happened to other Presidents. They go off on a trip to some part of the world and as much as they would like the news to be about them and where they are, sometimes they cannot avoid the news at home or from somewhere else. President Bush’s trip to Africa — and it’s an important trip — had been overshadowed for several days by the war in Iraq.” He folllowed that by reciting new poll numbers that a majority now find the level of casualties “unacceptable.”

So viewers might assume that ABC always hounds presidents on foreign trips with disturbing domestic questions. Wrong. In May of 1997, ABC White House reporter John Donvan reported with President Clinton from Mexico as he denied any “factual discrepancy” whatsoever in his wife’s statements about her fishy lawyering work for Clinton business partner Jim McDougal, convicted of mucho felonies: “Mexicans could care less about Whitewater. They are joining the administration in calling this summit a success.” Four days later, Donvan was at it again: “When the President fended off a Whitewater question by saying, ‘Look, I’m just down here doing my job,’ the Caribbean journalists burst into applause, in part because they had heard enough about Whitewater and wanted to talk more about bananas.”

Silliest Explanation to Date of The Iraq War



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Why did we go to war with Iraq? James Pinkerton knows. It’s because Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & Rice had been reading too many chivalric romances.

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Bremer and Socialism



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On the same page, E. J. Dionne Jr. has an op-ed claiming that Paul Bremer’s desire for all Iraqi citizens to benefit from Iraq’s oil wealth is “socialist.” Not that that’s a bad thing. Hostility to socialism is “ideological claptrap” that we wisely ignore. Medicare and Social Security are “socialist” programs, after all.

Actually, Dionne’s characterization is an overstatement. But hey, fine with me: Let’s not complain the next time a Republican backbencher or conservative direct-mail piece warns of creeping socialism in America.

As for Iraqi oil: Dionne says that the American equivalent of Bremer’s idea would be to take “all the profits from the oil industry–or, perhaps, the entire energy sector–and split[] them up among all Americans. Bremer is operating here in teh tradition of the legendary Louisiana populist Huey Long…” The analogy would work just fine, if America’s energy sector had previously been nationalized. In the world we actually inhabit, the idea of giving Iraqis shares, preferably tradable, has been talked up more by conservatives and libertarians than by progressives. Glenn Reynolds is no socialist.

Web Briefing: August 29, 2014

School Choice Fight



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Milwaukee may have a school-choice program, but the fight on its behalf continues. Supporters currently hope the Democratic governor will lift the cap on the number of students allowed to participate. Here’s a story.

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“Black Thursday For Bush”



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A shadow now hangs over Bush’s bright hopes for a second term. It’s true. David Broder says so. It is the shadow of–well, actually, Broder doesn’t complete the metaphor. I guess it’s the long shadow of unemployment, missing weapons of mass destruction, and intelligence failures. That shadow. Broder thinks this shadow is eroding confidence in Bush. His poll numbers are slipping. This is true, but it doesn’t take you very far. There is no reason to assume that the unemployment numbers next fall will be where they are now. (And anyway, I think unemployment drives a lot fewer votes than it used to do. The last time it turned the election was in 1982. But that’s a story for another day.) WMD and intelligence are great issues–for Bush. Even Bush’s declining poll numbers are a good thing for him. Both facts tempt the Democrats to do things they shouldn’t: attack Bush’s honesty, trash the Iraq war, and generally go negative. This is not to say that Democrats and Republicans shouldn’t raise real questions about intelligence. But I really don’t think Bush is in danger.

It Was 24 Years Ago Today



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The infamous malaise speech (though President Carter did not use the word).
Just another event that ushered in the election of Ronald Reagan.

Hmm, Bastille Day, Malaise Day . . . what could tomorrow bring?

Wassup in Massachusetts



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The court waived its internal procedural deadline that mandated they decided the gay-marriage case this month. What that means is anyone’s guess.

“Considering The Source”



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Apparently Keith Olbermann said this last night to Jerry Springer: (Thanks to the guys at MRC.):


“Jonah Goldberg of the National Review said on CNN that you would bring ’slack-jawed yokels, hicks, weirdos, pervs, and what-not’ — and apart from considering the source there, at what point did we stop letting yokels, hicks, weirdos, pervs and what-not vote. I mean, we let Jonah Goldberg vote.”

A N.K. Strike



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The North Korean problem is the most serious issue facing our country right now. Thank goodness President Bush dispatched Saddam Hussein before he became an “imminent danger.” Korea is an imminent danger right now, and that’s exactly why it’s so hard to do anything about it. I hope to write more about Korea just as soon as I get a chance. But here is the bottom line. We need to at least consider a strike against North Korea, even if that puts Seoul at risk. A strike against North Korea may not be the right policy, but it has got to be openly debated. We have to understand that in very short order, we could lose the war against terror. In fact, we may be losing it right now. Korea has every reason to sell bombs to Iran and Al Qaeda. They may already have the capability to do so. If Saddam were still around, the North Koreans would be sell him a bomb as well. This country is wasting its time on a silly debate about Iraqi WMD and missing the point. There really is an axis of evil. Any part of it with nuclear capacity will sell bombs to all the rest. The end result will be the destruction of a major American city–possibly the decapitation of our government. After that, we face military rule and at least the temporary suspension of government as we know it. We are at great risk. Yet for the most part, the press is silent about this.

War With North Korea



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We are drifting toward war with North Korea. That is the message of former defense secretary William Perry, as reported in today’s Washington Post. I think Perry is right. In fact, I said as much some time ago in, “The Other Imminent Danger,” “It’s All About North Korea,” and “An Ominous Cloud.” Former Secretary Perry appears to believe that the Bush administration ought to be negotiating with Kim Jong Il, offering him economic aid and a non-aggression pact. I think that is folly. The administration is divided and, to a degree, paralyzed by disagreement between accommodationists and hard-liners. The punditariat has been relatively silent on Korea, chiefly because there is no good answer to the dilemma. Personally, I have been frustrated by the need to attend to the Title VI and gay marriage issues. I want to be writing more about Iraq, about our too-small military, and above all, about Korea. But lately it’s been impossible to find the time.

Iron Uxbridge



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John, that story about the Marquess of Anglesey (better known as Lord Uxbridge) is marvellous, but may be apocryphal. What is true, however, is that Uxbridge, an inspired leader (who had previously also shown his courage by eloping with Wellington’s sister-in-law) lost a leg at Waterloo. Years later he returned to the scene of the amputation and enjoyed a hearty meal served at the same dinner table where the surgeon had once lopped off his shattered limb. At no time is Uxbridge thought to have gone through ‘counselling’.

Makers of Fine Whine?



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Ramesh, Cathy Young scores some points against Alterman, but her desire to seem even-handed goes overboard into insulting those of us who get to critique the media for a living.

Start with the sentence: “Right-wing diatribes against the ‘liberal media’ often have an unpleasant whiff of whining.” This is the first refuge of every talk-radio scoundrel. But it’s ridiculous, unless every NAACP complaint, every Sierra Club study, every Heritage Foundation report on educational progress, in short every investigation of a policy shortcoming, is similarly dismissed with the “whiff of whining” line of argument. I imagine this is how King George greeted the Declaration of Independence, suffused with the “unpleasant whiff of whining.”

Young also feigns balance by saying Bernard Goldberg’s Bias and Ann Coulter’s Slander are “seriously flawed,” that Goldberg had too much overwrought rhetoric and Ann Coulter is somehow Michael Moore. I would agree that both books overstate, probably in an attempt to move the merchandise. But that’s not a “serious” flaw, unless you’re serious about convincing your friends that Katie Couric is roughly comparable to Eva Braun. Anyone looking for evidence to sustain a persuasive conservative media critique will definitely get find their money’s worth in either of these tomes.

Finally, Young annoys by giving credence to the old media professional’s spin that “bias is in the eye of the beholder.” While it’s true that liberals are more upset about criticism of liberal ideas and leaders, and conservatives the opposite, some facts about media coverage cannot be spun with “beholder” arguments. Young cites that “Alterman is exercised over the rough treatment of Al Gore during the 2000 campaign but oblivious to the rough treatment of Newt Gingrich after the Republican takeover of the House.” But Young does not consider that the liberal case about “rough treatment” of Gore is much more debatable than the treatment of Gingrich. For starters, Gore was never mocked as Ebenezer Scrooge or the Grinch on the cover of a news magazine. Hard facts about coverage, not mugwumpish spin about beholders and whiners, ought to win the day.

Some Clans Have All The Class



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P. 495 of The Clinton Wars, where Sid reveals his son Max (then a student at the U. of Pennslyvania) joined in the premature celebrations of impeachment’s end after the 1998 elections with his “epic Clintoniad,” which reads:


Goodbye Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

You cast the first stone into a river of lies

A double minded man who shoulda never tried

Goodbye Newt you big fat fruit

Go back to Georgia and play your skinny skin flute

Goodbye Ken Deathstar

You can’t shine a light when you hyde from your own shadow

Your lizardly molestigation is

Just a crutch for pale political pyromania

Burning America in a cast of stagnation

But that cast cracked when we turned our votes in…
[End of Daddy's too-indulgent reproduction]

More On The Box



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The best case for the ossuary box may be read here. For the case against, go here.

U.N.Worthy



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You can call me abortion obsessed (some of you have, perhaps rightly), but it will always be a mystery to me why liberal feminists in the U.S. cannot get upset about forced sterilization in Peru, coerced abortions in China. The U.N. Population Fund has a lot to answer for–but, for the most part, it’s only the pro-lifers who are the ones sounding the warning bells. Unfortunately that means the Left gets to portray congressional debates over UNFPA money (they’ll be a vote in the House on this today, as Tim mentioned yesterday) as just more attempts to make abortion illegal and unavailable throughout the globe. While I certainly wouldn’t shed a tear at the prospect, women’s groups show their colors again and again when they gloss over these kinds of human-rights violations, and America’s ability to influence their end. (See here and here and here and here for some background.)

Boxing Competition



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Remember that ossuary box last year? The one that once possibly held the bones of James, “brother of Jesus”? In June, reports indicated that its inscription was a forgery–and much of the archaeological establishment cheered because the box had surfaced on the antiquities market rather than in an excavation, which is to say outside the purview of the academy. Well, the fight is far from over, as this report indicates. We’re probably headed for Shroud of Turin territory–you’ll be able to believe whatever you want to believe, and have scientific reasons for doing so. I don’t have a personal opinion on the authenticity of the box or the inscription, though I wish archaeologists would quit feeling like they have to trash anything that comes to light by some means other than a member of their profession digging it out of the ground.

A&A



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Growing up, I loved playing Risk and Stratego–especially Stratego. I can’t wait for my own kids to reach the age when they can play (we’re currently hitting the checkers phase). As an adult, I’ve played a fair amount of Diplomacy. Until about a year or two ago, I had a little group of right-wingers meet at my house every couple of months for a game. Oddly, the player who had France seemed to win a lot of games. The board game that has most fascinated me since high school, though, is Axis & Allies. Best way to describe it: A more complicated version of Risk, based on the Second World War.

Sang Froid



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Just one more from the Iron Duke. During the battle of Waterloo, the
Marquess of Anglesey (in charge of the British, Hanoverian, and Belgian
cavalries) was standing beside the Duke of Wellington when a shot pierced
his right knee. “By God, sir,” he simply remarked, “I have lost my leg.” “By
God,” Wellington replied with a nod, “I believe you have.”

Re: This Gentleman Has a Point



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Nerd? NERD? Who does this guy think he’s talking about?

—Derb (level 45 Dragonmaster)

The Gop & The Darkside



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One wonders what the NACCP would do if a Herman Cain ran, as a Republican, for a top-slot.

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