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Blair and Falwell



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Readers of The Nation are reminded again and again that those who
sought to expose communist spies during the 1950’s were paranoid,
conspiracy nuts.

Thus the shock of reading the magazine’s June 9th issue, in which Patricia
Williams suggests in her column (not available online) that the New York
Times might have been a victim of an enemy subversive within its ranks:


[Former Times reporter Jayson] Blair … is a con man who used his
considerable literary talent — and imagination — to discredit one of the
world’s great papers and the last genuinely liberal voice in America. . .
.Blair’s deceit was calculated, multifaceted and skillful. Let me suggest
the following, not conspiratorially but rather in the spirit of
individual responsibility: Surely if Blair, who attended Jerry Falwell’s
Liberty University before transferring to the University of Maryland, were
white, wouldn’t the question of ideological motive at least flicker across
the table?

Full disclosure: I worked for Dr. Falwell during the mid-1980s and had a
chance to meet and work with several Liberty University students. They
were all good kids with strong religious convictions, but their political
opinions varied quite a bit more than those of the staff of the New York
Times.

Buy Exxon



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The New York Times gives a good reason to only buy gas from Exxon. (Somehow, though, I doubt that was the intent of the story.)

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Maybe Krugman Is Unraveling



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America’s most dangerous liberal pundit — Paul Krugman of the New York Times — has a new book to sell. Problem is, the title’s wrong, the angle’s wrong, and — as usual — the author’s wrong. In the latest installment of the Krugman Truth Squad, NRO Financial’s Don Luskin writes, “[Krugman's] book is called The Great Unraveling, but right now most things seem to be raveling. I’m thinking remainder bins.” Still, Krugman wants to sell books, so he’s at his catastrophic best in his latest column — a Keynesian roadmap for travelling the dark and plunderous highways of deflation and the liquidity trap. Liquidity what? Anyway, no worries. The Truth Squad is all over it.

Web Briefing: January 29, 2015

Mission Accomplished



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Rummy’s Verse



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Well, in the first place, Kathryn, I have recently decided (after some
equivocal remarks in earlier writings) that I am utterly opposed to
so-called “free verse.” (“‘Free verse’? You may as well call sleeping in a
ditch ‘free architecture’.”—G.K. Chesterton.) But to the matter in hand.
“September 11th cubed” could be interpreted in several ways. As “September
September September 11th 11th 11th,” for instance. “911″ cubed is
756,058,031. “91101″ cubed is 756,082,928,903,301. If “cubed and squared”
are to be understood as successive operations, then we are raising to the
sixth power, so the results would then be 571,623,746,239,596,961 and
571,661,395,378,994,114,706,608,696,601, respectively. A
scientifically-minded person would of course prefer to work from the Julian
date
, in which
the event “9/11″ happened at around 2,452,163.88, which, if you raise it to
the sixth power, gives
217,418,725,854,466,990,276,235,742,262,044,129,399.204957917184. Then
again… Kathryn? Hello? Kathryn?

A Poem That Kinda Made Me Think of The Derb



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IT
It’s enormous.
It’s not September 11th,
It’s September 11th, cubed and squared.
I’d have to really go back
Mathematically
And see what cubed and squared
Would produce
Do you know?
–From Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld (“It” is excerpted from a July 19, 2002, interview DR did with the Washington Times)

Return of The Idol (2)



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As mentioned in the Corner over the weekend, Berlin’s government is thinking about re-erecting a statue of Lenin in the DDR’s old capital. Perhaps they might want to use this one (apologies – the article is in, ahem, Freedom) instead. It’s literally (if you stand in front of it for a very, very long time) as well as figuratively dangerous, and thus gives a better sense of the man. Thanks to the reader who spotted it.

Meanwhile, another reader has this suggestion:

“They should put the Lenin statue back, albeit, with a different plinth. [He] should be placed on a base of crushed and broken bodies held aloft on the bent backs of ragged workers. A true tribute to East Germany’s identity”


Eu Constitution, Again



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Good summary of the latest version from the Daily Telegraph.

Amongst the, er, highlights:

“The Union shall work for a Europe of sustainable development based on balanced economic growth, with a social market economy aiming at full employment and social progress.”

Social market, eh? Check out today’s German economy for further details as to how that works.

“The Constitution, and law adopted by the Union’s Institutions in exercising competences conferred on it, shall have primacy over the law of the Member States.”

Well, that speaks for itself.

“The Union’s competence in matters of common foreign and security policy shall cover all areas of foreign policy and all questions relating to the Union’s security, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy, which might lead to a common defence.

Hmmm, I think we know what that means.

“The European Council, deciding by qualified majority, with the agreement of the President of the Commission, shall appoint the Union’s Foreign Minister. He shall conduct the Union’s common foreign and security policy.”

Chris Patten, call your office.

Of course, it is always possible for the UK to quit the EU so long as it can come to an agreement that “shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.”

Winston Churchill, don’t bother calling yours.

As Mrs Thatcher once said in a not so different context, “No! No! No!”

As blogger Philip Chaston (who has plenty more good stuff on this at Airstrip One) wrote today:

“Expect plenty of fireworks and a realisation by Labour that they are now stuck between a eurosceptic populace and their wish to be at the heart of Europe. (If they really want this, they could always sod off to Belarus, where the centre of Europe actually is).”

Nicely put, although to be pedantic it’s actually in Lithuania, but why should that splendid country have to put up with Labour’s ghastly europhiles? Chaston is right, even if it’s for the wrong reasons. Belarus would be a far more suitable destination for Brussels’ Labour brigade.


Wealth of Nations



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Here’s an example of the antiquities market–despised by many professional archaeologists–helping preserve great cultural treasures: The oldest book in the world is now on display in a Hungary museum. It was donated by an anonymous owner. The book is Etruscan; the article doesn’t mention that Etruscan is one of the last great undeciphered languages.

Re: Working For The Enemy



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Dave, that makes one look a bit differently at this.

Labor-Union Blegg



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Spit Happens



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Spitting is a fundamental part of Chinese culture, reports the New York Times today. Something tells me this is the first time the term “dollop of phlegm” has ever appeared in the first paragraph of a Times article. (History in the making, folks!) The story focuses on how the Beijing regime now discourages spitting because of SARS. This is a job for the multiculturalists: Defending an age-old practice from Western notions of health and cleanliness.

Working For The Enemy



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Al Jazeera’s director general has been fired, The Times reports, following the discovery that he was working with Saddam Hussein’s secret police.

Matrix in The News



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Columnist Diana West connects “The Matrix” to various homicides in which the perpetrators claimed to be acting against the omnipresent matrix of control. The most notorious of these appears to be accused sniper Lee Boyd Malvo. Well, Charles Guiteau, who assassinated President James Garfield 1881, was an ardent Bible reader and advocate of “Bible Communism.” Although the Bible is rife with violence, and with killings ordered God, that doesn’t mean that the people who wrote the Bible bear the slightest responsibility for Guiteau’s deranged attempt to use the Bible to justify murder. Timothy McVeigh quoted John Locke, and the Unabomber is reported to have owned heavily-annotated copy of Al Gore’s “Earth in the Balance.” But artists and authors can’t be blamed for wicked acts which there was never any intention to incite.

Cartoon Quotes



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Thanks! That was plenty. Much appreciated. Will fill ya in tomorrow. Going to sleep now.

Clinton’s Non-Rebound



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USA Today columnist DeWayne Wickham is ecstatic about a recent poll: “Some two years after he left office hounded by right-wing detractors and stained by his affair with Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton now ranks as this nation’s third best chief executive, according to a recent CNN/USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. Only Abraham Lincoln (chosen by 15%) and John F. Kennedy (13%) finished ahead of Clinton (11%) in the April poll, which asked Americans who was ‘the greatest’ president. George W. Bush managed to tie Clinton for third place. Ronald Reagan, a conservative icon, garnered 10% of the vote, followed by Franklin Roosevelt, George Washington, Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter. Bush’s father, the 41st president, was chosen by just 2% of the respondents, tying with Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson. These results have to cause a lot of gnashing of teeth among those who tried to make Clinton’s private missteps the legacy of his public service. . . . All of this makes me giddy. . . . This has to make conservatives squirm.”

I suppose if the poll has brought some happiness to Mr. Wickham’s life, it should not be begrudged him. But really, aren’t these sorts of polls the least informative around? Every year there are news reports about who the “most admired” people in America, or the world, are; you only need to win the admiration of 13 percent of the public to win the contest. If the percentage of Americans who hold a favorable view of Clinton or his presidency were up, that would suggest a real shift in public opinion. This poll, on the other hand, looks useless.

Democrats On Pfc. Lynch



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A few House Democrats are seeking a probe into the BBC’s allegations that the rescue was staged–including Rahm Emanuel, who’s supposedly a moderate.

Blegging -Simpsons, South Park Etc



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I need quotes — backed up with citations on web if possible — to back up the assertion that cartoon shows — South Park, Simpsons, King of the Hill etc — were the best outlet for scathing un-P.C. humor in the 1990s. As many and as good as you can come up with would be appreciated. Please send them to [email protected] Please put “cartoon quotes” or some such in subject header. Thanks!

Time For Tv Disclosure



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But, what the press could really use is a big sweaty round of full-disclosures about how television news is produced. People get away with stuff in television editing that would be considered outrageous in print. For example, in print, if I quote you, I’m required to let you know if I’m quoting from different spots in our conversation. I can’t take the tail end of sentence # 127 and splice it on to the begining of sentence #3 without using elipses (…) or some such. In television, they do that in almost every interview. In fact, whenever you see a conversation on “60 Minutes” many people might like to know that every time they cut to a tight shot of Ed Bradley or Leslie Stahl nodding and then back to the interviewee they’ve probably also edited vast chunks of conversation as well. But they make it sound like he just took a breath.

Or, lots of people might like to know that interviewers often re-ask the questions without the interviewee in the room. They also shoot “reaction shots” in which the interviewer nods and smiles as if they are having a conversation when their not talking to anybody (they use these re-asks to splice together the different quotes). Or, they might like to know that many interviews are conducted by speaker phone from a different city, sometimes with the re-asks and reaction shots pasted in. I could go on and on.

More Full Disclosure



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Ok, more seriously, this full disclosure stuff is going to get really exciting if carried to its logical conclusion. I just listened to an NPR report on the Bragg story while walking Cosmo (another largely uncredited contributor to my columns. Let’s just see him get Howie Kurtz on the phone to rat me out). Of course, NPR had to reveal that many of its stories feature interviews not conducted by the reporters who deliver them on air. A pointy-head from the Poynter Institute suggested that reporters should work from a simple rule: put yourself in the position of the news consumer. What would they want to know?

I think this is a pretty good rule of thumb. But ultimately editors and managers will still have to decide because there will always be judgement calls to be made and policies to set.

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