Archive for November, 2004

November 26, 2004

THIS ECONOMIST ARTICLE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE and Dan Rather gets it right:

Mr Rather’s retirement epitomises two broader shifts of power. First, the old media are losing power to the new. And, second, the liberal media establishment is losing power to a more diverse cacophony of new voices.

For most of the post-war era the American media were dominated by a comfortable liberal consensus. The New York Times was the undisputed king of the print news, while the network anchors lorded it over TV news. That consensus is now under siege. The attacks are partly coming from the cable networks—particularly from conservative Fox News. (Charles Krauthammer once quipped that Rupert Murdoch had spotted a niche market—half the country. Sure enough, Fox is now America’s top-rated cable news network.) But old media also face a newer and more unpredictable source of competition—the blogosphere. Bloggers have discovered that all you need to set yourself up as a pundit is a website and an attitude. . . .

The erosion of the old media establishment probably does entail some shift to the right, if only because so many of the newer voices are more reliably pro-Republican than Mr Rather. But the new media are simply too anarchic and subversive for any single political faction to take control of them. There are plenty of leftish bloggers too: such people helped Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. And the most successful conservative bloggers are far from being party loyalists: look at the way in 2002 that they kept the heat on the Republicans’ then Senate leader, Trent Lott, for racist remarks that the New York Times originally buried. It is a safe bet that, if the current Bush administration goes the way of previous second-term administrations and becomes consumed by scandals, conservative bloggers will be in the forefront of the scandal-mongering.

No doubt.

November 26, 2004

VIRGINIA POSTREL PRAISES SHOPPING MAGAZINES:

For all their blatant materialism, however, Lucky and its kin actually represent cultural progress. Their unabashed presentation of goods as material pleasures keeps materialism in its place. They don’t encourage readers to equate fashion with virtue or style with superiority. They’re sharing fun, not rationing status. . . . Reading Vogue or, worse, Harper’s Bazaar often feels, by contrast, like returning to the vicious status competition of middle school. Would-be authorities arbitrarily proclaim what–and, by implication, who–is in or out. “You are only as good as your last jacket,” explains an author in the August edition of Bazaar, telling readers how to dress for other women.

Interesting take.

November 26, 2004

NORM GERAS interviews Ann Althouse.

November 26, 2004

UKRAINE TV is breaking with the government. And lots more news has been rounded up at The Command Post.

November 25, 2004

The dark parts are where the rosemary crust has caramelized, which is yummy.

ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL THANKSGIVING: It’s all cleaned up now, and everyone has either gone home, or to bed, except me. The Insta-Daughter, by the way, made the rolls and the dressing this time.

I think it’s my favorite holiday, nowadays.

UPDATE: All right, all right, I’m busted. You can’t fool the blogosphere!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Heh.

November 25, 2004

IN RESPONSE TO MY EARLIER POST about things to do to help the troops, a couple of readers emailed asking what they could do to help British troops serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Here’s a post with a couple of ways to do that. Good idea.

November 25, 2004

MAUREEN DOWD relives the (two-year-old) story of Laura Crane’s breasts. More here. Once again, the blogosphere is ahead of the curve.

UPDATE: Related thoughts from Omri Ceren — blogged from an airport, no less — here.

November 25, 2004

MORE UKRAINE UPDATES HERE, AND HERE. Also here. Plus there’s a roundup at Fistful of Euros. And scroll down to the many other linked blogs for more.

Lech Walesa is “cautiously optimistic.”

UPDATE: More from Arthur Chrenkoff:

Poland is now right in the thick of things, trying to peacefully resolve the stand-off. The “Solidarity” icon and Poland’s first non-communist president, Lech Walesa is already in Kiev talking to the crowds and imploring the West to help Ukraine on its road to democracy. Poland’s current president Aleksander Kwasniewski is expected to fly in on Friday, after being asked by apparently both the opposition and Ukraine’s outgoing president to mediate. . . . Poland’s support for Ukrainian democracy is sincere (albeit coupled with a desire for a democratic buffer between herself and the increasingly autocratic Russia).

I hope it works. Once again, bravo for Poland. And read this.

November 25, 2004

THE MARKET TAKES CARE OF ANOTHER DEEPLY FELT NEED, with the Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie : Practical Mind Control Protection for Paranoids. I’m going to start emailing this link to various correspondents . . . .

November 25, 2004

Browning nicely, thanks to rosemary, paprika, and my secret browning sauce made of merlot and brown sugar.  Okay, it *was* secret, until Sandy Berger left the recipe room with a bulge in his pants.

IT’S NOT A TOFU TURKEY, or a plastic turkey. It’s 21 pounds and I’m cooking it on the grill, with a rosemary herb crust, to make room in the oven for other things.

It’ll soon be joined by the leg of lamb that’s marinating in red wine, olive oil, and garlic right now.

UPDATE: But this turkey is much bigger.

November 25, 2004

REFLECTIONS ON THE FIRST THANKSGIVING, from Jim Lindgren.

November 25, 2004

UKRAINE UPDATE: “The Supreme Court of Ukraine has barred the publication of disputed presidential election results until it can examine opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko’s appeal. The court will conduct its examination on Monday, the Interfax news agency said.”

November 25, 2004

Maj. John Tammes, with rocket shrapnel.

INSTAPUNDIT’S AFGHANISTAN PHOTO CORRESPONDENT, Major John Tammes, sends this self-portrait and a Thanksgiving message:

Sir,

I wanted to wish you, the Instawife, Instadaughter and all the rest of the Instafamily (even your now-blogging-historian-Instabrother) a peaceful Thanksgiving.

I spent a good part of the day tramping through fields, vineyards and farm paths examining 107mm rocket impact sites. Somebody really wished us ill this past week. At least when I got back, I was able to follow the original purpose of Thanksgiving by being appropriately thankful for all the support from you and others – I have been astounded at the outpouring of help my family and I have been offered and have been given. After being thankful, I then nearly put myself into a food coma…

Sincerely,

Major John Tammes
Ordnance Corps, US Army
Bagram, Afghanistan

I’m thankful for Major Tammes, and those like him, every day. Here’s a list of ways you can help the troops.

Max Boot writes today in the Los Angeles Times:

It is all too easy to take the all-volunteer armed forces for granted. They’ve been around now for 31 years, ever since the draft was abolished in 1973. We have become used to having a high-quality military filled by dedicated young women and men willing to put their lives on the line for less money than Donald Trump hands out in tips every week.

It is worth remembering how extraordinary and unusual our service members really are — and how much we owe them this Thanksgiving.

He’s right. Read the whole thing.

November 25, 2004

THE HAVEL JUGGERNAUT just keeps rolling!

November 25, 2004

A SECOND STATEMENT FROM VACLAV HAVEL to protesters in the Ukraine: “‘All respected domestic and international organisations agree that your demands are justified. Therefore I wish you strength, endurance, courage and fortunate decisions,’ Havel said in a statement from Taipei where he was travelling.”

UPDATE: More developments, including an appearance by Lech Walesa:

Deputy economy minister Oleh Hayduk resigned in protest of the fraudulent vote count in the Ukrainian election, Ukrainian News reported.

“When the European Union doesn’t recognize the election results, what kind of European integration can we talk about?” Hayduk said Nov. 25 on the Channel 5 television station.

“That’s my position as a citizen. I wrote a declaration of my resignation yesterday, and now I’m confirming it,” he said.

Hayduk, 39, has been a deputy economy minister since April 21 of this year.

The news was read to the hundreds of thousands of protestors thronging Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) on this third full day of protests against Ukraine’s Nov. 21 run-off presidential vote, which has been widely condemned as fraudulent. Solidarity leader and the first post-communist Polish president Lech Walesa also addressed the crowd, which was in high spirits as it gathered under blue skies on this clear, windless day.

Much of central Kyiv is now a solid block of protestors, most bedecked in orange, the signature color of opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko. A carnival atmosphere predominates.

Estimates place the crowd at up to a million.

Stay tuned.

November 25, 2004

ORIN KERR is thankful for our civil liberties: “Public debates about the war on terrorism are filled with lots of delicious ironies. The fact that the French government has many powers that are orders of magnitude greater than anything in the Patriot Act surely ranks up as one of the better ones. . . . It’s also worth noting that in the French system, judges don’t serve as a check that can monitor potential abuses of the executive branch. Rather, French judges work closely with investigators and themselves are in charge of gathering the evidence. On this Thanksgiving Day, let’s all give thanks that we live in a country that respects civil liberties a lot more than that.” Indeed.

November 25, 2004

HELPING THE TROOPS: Reader Ron Ford sends this very comprehensive list of support-the-troops websites — click “read more” for the full list.

Continue reading ‘HELPING THE TROOPS: Reader Ron Ford sends this very comprehensive list of support-the-troops websit…’ »

November 25, 2004

UKRAINE UPDATE: The Washington Post editorializes:

Some have described the crisis in Ukraine as a contest for influence between Russia and the West, with the West backing opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko in the same measure that Russian President Vladimir Putin has supported the official candidate. That is a gross distortion. For the Ukrainians who have spent four freezing nights in the streets of Kiev, the fight is not about geopolitical orientation — most favor close relations with Moscow — but about whether theirs will be a free country, with an independent press and courts and leaders who are chosen by genuine democratic vote. Mr. Putin, who has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars into the prime minister’s campaign, is backing the imposition of an authoritarian system along the lines of the one he is creating in Russia — with a propagandistic regime, controlled media, official persecution of dissent, business executives who take orders from the state, and elections that are neither free nor fair.

Nice to read that the Post sees “business executives who take orders from the state” as a sign of thuggish autocracy!

Anti-government rallies continue, and are reportedly growing larger. More blog-photos here.

November 25, 2004

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I just put the turkey in the oven, and have some other preparations to make, but I’ll be back and blogging intermittently as time permits. I hope you’re having a good one. And you might want to spend a few moments contemplating the James Lileks Hummel figurine. Talk about losing control of the brand . . . .

UPDATE: Out in California, my cousin-in-law Brad has photos of a Turducken being prepared. At least it’s not a Tofu Turkey!

November 24, 2004

LOSING CONTROL OF THE BRAND. And then some.

November 24, 2004

THE WASHINGTON POST has video of Ukrainian protesters outside the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, D.C.

UPDATE: A rally in Krakow. Pictures and audio here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Protests continue in Kiev. More here. And Canada has rejected the election result.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s a roundup story from The New York Times.

November 24, 2004

THANKSGIVING IN FALLUJAH: Firsthand reports from Marines via email.

November 24, 2004

RALPH REED, LIQUOR LOBBYIST: “Long ago, Bruce Yandle postulated the ‘Baptists and Bootleggers’ theory of regulation . . . until now it has been thought to be metaphorical, but with Ralph Reed on the wholesaler’s payroll, it appears that it has become literal.”

November 24, 2004

CORRUPTION AS A WAY OF LIFE AT THE U.N.:

Even the much praised UN technical agencies, such as those dealing with refugees, are bastions of waste and corruption. No need here to discuss the disaster that is called UNRWA and what it has done to set back peace in the Middle East for nearly 55 years, all the while providing lucrative employment for generations of UN bureaucrats. The much-ballyhooed UN Development Programme (Note: Although the USA pays the lion’s share, the UN uses British spellings) likewise is hugely expensive, over-staffed, painfully slow in delivering meaningful assistance, and rife with anti-Americanism. These programs [or, if you prefer, programmes] generate a blizzard of statistics showing that everything, everywhere is getting worse all the time, and desperately requiring more money for more UN programs and agencies.

The American taxpayer is getting ripped off in a big way by the UN. The “need” to play the UN’s political games damages the US ability to act forcefully in its own interests. If the UN wants to stay in New York and frequent the bad restaurants and bars that have sprung up around UN HQS, that’s fine — but not with US tax money.

It’s time for the US and other serious countries (e.g., Australia, Israel) to get out of the UN.

Or to replace Kofi Annan with Vaclav Havel!

November 24, 2004

THE QUEEN OF THE SKY: Cathy Seipp writes on politically correct prudery at 30,000 feet.

November 24, 2004

THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES IS UP: Check out the many linked blogs. You might find some new ones that are worth reading daily. Or more often!

November 24, 2004

MORE UKRAINE-BLOGGING HERE, AND HERE — and scroll down for many more links to continuously updated sites, many of them from within Kiev.

November 24, 2004

INDEED:

If CBS were a car company, Rather would be universally condemned as a business and moral failure, one who broke faith with his colleagues, his customers, and his shareholders. Fortunately for Rather, CBS is a media organization. So he will exit the scene hailed as an American legend and a hero for our time.

But nobody’s fooled.

November 24, 2004

MORE PROBLEMS FOR KOFI ANNAN:

Staff representatives adopted a resolution yesterday criticising senior management after a string of clashes during the past year with their bosses at UN headquarters. The rebellion is an embarrassment for Mr Annan, and comes as he faces intense criticism for corruption in the UN’s “Oil-for-Food” programme in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

The UN chief suffered another blow yesterday when he was forced to admit that civilian and peacekeeping personnel on UN duty in Congo had committed acts of gross misconduct.

Officials plan to make public on Monday the lurid results of their investigation into UN officials having sex with under-age local girls.

Oxblog’s Patrick Belton notes that this is part of an overall crisis of moral legitimacy at the U.N., brought about by a mixture of corruption, dishonesty, and anti-democratic behavior.

We need Vaclav Havel!

UPDATE: The Havel juggernaut is starting to roll!

November 24, 2004

“CHARLIE’S ANGELS” IN IRAQ: Lileks will be pleased that there’s a Fargo connection.

November 24, 2004

JOHN PODHORETZ: “Oliver Stone’s Alexander, which opens today, isn’t just bad. It’s Springtime for Hitler bad. I haven’t guffawed this hard since I saw Airplane for the first time 24 years ago. This is one of the colossal catastrophes of all time.”

Maybe it’ll be a sleeper hit — a Plan 9 for the 21st Century! Followed by an Oliver Stone biopic starring Johnny Depp!

November 24, 2004

IT’S NOT PLAGIARISM — they’re “managed books:” “Managed books, Professor Gardner said, are a recent phenomenon in which some academics rely on assistants to help them produce books, in some cases allowing the assistants to write first drafts.”

I don’t think that’s good.

November 24, 2004

PEACEFUL GUIDANCE IN A WORLD OF WAR: Austin Bay has a Thanksgiving column up:

The old saw that there are no atheists in a foxhole isn’t quite true. I’ve known two or three. These men were fine, reliable soldiers. One fellow in particular had a distinct, visceral disdain for religious faith, but all were thankful when a patrol or convoy returned to base with no one killed or wounded. Instead of thanking God or even thanking goodness, they chalked it up as “a good mission.”

For me, a good mission was great, but merely noting the success was never quite good enough.

Read the whole thing.

November 24, 2004

HERE’S ANOTHER BLOG reporting on Ukrainian events.

November 24, 2004

DAN KENNEDY:

You might think that basing a high-profile investigative report on phony documents would be a once-in-a-career event – mainly because afterwards you wouldn’t have a career to go back to. But it turns out that the fiasco over George W. Bush’s National Guard documents was not the first time Dan Rather had treaded into such troubled waters.

Read the whole thing.

November 24, 2004

DONALD SENSING has a very nice Thanksgiving photo essay.

November 24, 2004

UKRAINE UPDATE: “Europe Mumbles, Poland Shouts.”

Here’s a roundup of what happened overnight.

UPDATE: Here’s a new portal site devoted to Ukrainian democracy.

November 24, 2004

THE IDEA OF REPLACING KOFI ANNAN WITH VACLAV HAVEL seems to be picking up support: “This is a great, wonderful, humane, inspired idea.”

November 24, 2004

MARK WHITTINGTON looks at space policy in the Bush Administration — and likes it much better than space policy in the previous Bush Administration.

November 24, 2004

KARL ROVE’S PAYBACKS? Hollywood stars dis Bush, and now they’re being replaced by robots: Coincidence?

November 23, 2004

THE FINAL WORD ON RATHERGATE, I think, is found in this statement from Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) on Wolf Blitzer’s CNN program: “The media certainly is not in our hands any longer.”

Indeed.

November 23, 2004

THE TRANSATLANTIC INTELLIGENCER has much more on the Ivory Coast shooting incident involving French troops. “It does not require a very elaborate demonstration to be able to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if it were not the French, but rather the American military that was caught on videotape firing into a crowd of civilians, it would be all over the airwaves 24/7.”

Read the whole thing.

November 23, 2004

BAGHDAD SHOEBLOGGING: Hmm. I think this might be a covert blog-op by these two.

November 23, 2004

HERE’S VACLAV HAVEL’S STATEMENT on the Ukrainian elections.

And here are more blog photos from Kiev.

UPDATE: Dan McLaughlin writes: “Is there any way to get Havel to come out of retirement to succeed Kofi Annan as head of the UN, please? I mean, if ever there were a guy with the guts and moral clarity to insist that the UN live up to its ideals, it’s Havel.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: The more I think about it, the more I like the Havel-for-S.G. idea. Here’s something Havel wrote recently in the Miami Herald:

Let’s not allow ourselves to be manipulated into believing that attempts to change the established order and objective laws do not make sense. Let’s try to build a global civil society that insist that politics is not just a technology of power, but must have a moral dimension.

At the same time, politicians in democratic countries need to think seriously about reforms of international institutions to make them capable of real global governance. We could start, for example, with the United Nations, which, in its current form, is a relic of the situation shortly after World War II. It does not reflect the influence of some new regional powers, while immorally equating countries whose representatives are democratically elected and those whose representatives speak only for themselves or their juntas, at best.

We Europeans have one specific task. Industrial civilization, which now spans the whole world, originated in Europe. All of its miracles, as well as its terrifying contradictions, can be explained as consequences of an ethos that is initially European. Therefore, unifying Europe should set an example for the rest of the world regarding how to face the various dangers and horrors that are engulfing us today.

Indeed, such a task, which is closely tied to the success of European integration, would be an authentic fulfillment of the European sense of global responsibility. And it would be a much-better strategy than cheaply blaming America for the contemporary world’s various problems.

He’s got my vote.

MORE: Perhaps it’s not too late for Democrats to take Russ Smith’s advice and push this idea:

In retrospect, John Kerry could have picked off hundreds of thousands of votes—maybe in Ohio!—from lukewarm Bush supporters if he’d demanded, perhaps at his Boston convention, that Kofi Annan resign as secretary general of the United Nations. It’s not a hard case to make, given the corruption Annan has shoved under the Persian rug in his well-appointed digs, but Kerry, afraid of alienating the world community, kept mum. So did Bush, for that matter, but he already had the upper hand on foreign policy. A smart Kerry adviser would’ve counseled the candidate to angrily tell his far-left supporters to leave the “No Blood for Oil!” posters at home and replace them with the words “No Food for Oil.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Claudia Rosett has been dogged on this issue, calling the scandal (Nov. 17) “the biggest fraud in the history of humanitarian relief,” and it’s only now that attention is being paid to the hearings led by GOP Sen. Norm Coleman and Rep. Henry Hyde, that will likely, even at a glacial pace, cause Annan to retire in disgrace before his term is up. His departure can’t come too soon: As the Chicago Tribune editorialized on Nov. 21, Annan was quick to call the U.S. invasion of Iraq “illegal,” and condemn the assault on Fallujah, but on the subject of Saddam Hussein funneling billions of dollars intended for humanitarian aid but instead diverted to his military and construction of palaces, the U.N. leader, who increasingly makes Al Sharpton look virtuous, looked the other way.

Kofi out, Havel in. It’s an idea whose time has come.

November 23, 2004

THE NEW Seinfeld DVD set is out. I was going to buy it, but then I looked at the several unwatched DVDs on the shelf already and decided to wait. I wish I could order up some free evenings as easily as I can order DVDs . . .

November 23, 2004

CLAY CALHOUN is posting messages from former Congressman Bob Schaffer, who has been in Ukraine as an election observer.

UPDATE: Schaffer reports here, too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: TulipGirl has more reports.

November 23, 2004

JOHAN NORBERG:

Right now in the freezing cold, almost 100 000 Ukranians are protesting against the stolen election in central Kiev, and a huge demonstration has also started in the city of Lviv. The municipal councils in both cities have said they only take orders from the liberal presidential candidate Yushchenko, the real winner of the election. At the same time, security forces have said that they are ready to put down the protests “quickly and firmly”.

Where are the concerned European politicians who should condemn the fraud, and who could be with these crowds to show their support? And where are the “human shields”? A lot of young westerners were willing to risk their lives to stop the war on Iraq. Aren’t they willing to risk some discomfort to stop one of Europe’s biggest countries from slipping back to dictatorship?

Not obviously. (Loads more Ukraine links here at this Ukrainian English news portal site.)

UPDATE: A Fistful of Euros is gathering reports of protests at Ukrainian embassies by Ukrainian expats.

November 23, 2004

PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: Hard on Tom Delay, and on Tom Delay’s accusers.

November 23, 2004

THERE’S A WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT on the Ukraine elections:

The United States is deeply disturbed by extensive and credible indications of fraud committed in the Ukrainian presidential election. We strongly support efforts to review the conduct of the election and urge Ukrainian authorities not to certify results until investigations of organized fraud are resolved. We call on the Government of Ukraine to respect the will of the Ukrainian people, and we urge all Ukrainians to resolve the situation through peaceful means. The Government bears a special responsibility not to use or incite violence, and to allow free media to report accurately on the situation without intimidation or coercion. The United States stands with the Ukrainian people in this difficult time.

Stay tuned.

November 23, 2004

READERS MAY REMEMBER New York Times reporter Chris Hedges for having been booed off the stage when he delivered an anti-American commencement speech last year. Now he’s found a friendlier venue — the Association of Opinion Page Editors, for delivering remarks like this:

We’re absolutely reviled around the world, as we should be.

And, no, he wasn’t talking about the American press after Jayson Blair, Eason Jordan, and RatherGate.

November 23, 2004

THERE’S ANOTHER short Web-video film over at Amazon, this one starring Blair Underwood. They’re putting a lot of money and effort into these, I think. That’s good, because I think they’re one of the few organizations with the resources to make a difference with this stuff.

November 23, 2004

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH (now back at his regular site) observes: “I won’t cry for Rather. He still gets to work–ironically enough–on 60 Minutes, and he has more money than he knows what to do with. Shed a tear, however, for the cause of responsible journalism–which has suffered so mightily thanks to the lack of professionalism displayed by people like Dan Rather, and hope that there may be some kind of revival of standards in the near future–especially with blogs keeping the media’s feet to the fire.”

November 23, 2004

RATHERGATE.COM says that CBS hasn’t done nearly enough by easing Dan Rather out of the anchor chair.

Meanwhile the mockery continues: “Dan Rather Scrambles to Confirm Story of His Resignation.” Heh.

Lots more here.

UPDATE: RatherBiased.com makes a good point:

While he would have preferred to retire after his 25th anniversary as anchor, the scuttlebutt inside CBS had Rather stepping down soon after the 2004 elections due to a combination of bad ratings, long-time affiliate discontent, and viewer dissatisfaction over CBS’s ‘Memogate’ story.

Frankly, it’s a shame that it has to end this way for Dan. In the end, he became the person he most despised, Richard Nixon. Had Rather and the CBS management been more serious about viewer input and fairness, they would never have had to stonewall about a story they shouldn’t have run.

Indeed. And, ironically enough, the overwhelming desire of both Rather and producer Mary Mapes to “get” Bush wound up helping him, and producing another bad week for the Kerry campaign.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt:

Rather’s announcement is more like Ron Artest announcing his retirement, if only Artest would. Both Dan and Ron have consistently lowered the standards of their various games, and have recently taken to attacking their customers because the customers booed.

Ouch.

November 23, 2004

MORE PRAISE FOR THE INCREDIBLES: “I haven’t felt more thrilled and exalted in a movie theatre since experiencing the very first Star Wars — and yes, that was a quarter of a century ago.”

November 23, 2004

HERE’S MORE ON UKRAINIAN EVENTS, with some useful, if not terribly encouraging, political background.

UPDATE: Continuously updated stuff on developments at The Periscope, including translations of radio broadcasts.

November 23, 2004

FOX NEWS AND ABC RADIO ARE REPORTING that Dan Rather will be stepping down in March.

UPDATE: But we’re still waiting for the RatherGate investigation.

And Jim Geraghty says that CBS is “more than a day late and a dollar short:”

And now I really want to see the results of that CBS internal investigation.

There’s no way CBS will face the music and admit that the “60 Minutes II” story was a cheap-shot, amateur, sloppy, partisan, nasty, half-witted bit of hackery and that the guys in pajamas ran rings around them. If it was, they wouldn’t be letting Rather stay on to keep doing “60 Minutes II” reports.

And they wouldn’t be delaying his “Evening News” departure until March.

No, the arrogant suits at CBS are going to ignore the hard, accurate work of the blogs, the scolding from other media, the blatant culture of bias, cynicism, and disregard for the facts that has taken root in the news division. To face the music would be too hard.

Indeed. But they’re not fooling anyone except themselves. If that.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan: “Why on earth is Rather staying on full-time at Sixty Minutes, the show whose reputation he besmirched by rashness and partisanship? . . . A simple question: How can you rehire a man for Sixty Minutes when you haven’t even published your own investigation into the journalistic meltdown that he presided over? Shouldn’t you wait until you know what actually happened before you declare that someone will stay on full-time? And how long does such an investigation take, for Pete’s sake? My bullshit detector just went through the roof on this one.” Indeed.

Meanwhile, Ed Morrissey notes that the CBS News Division seems to be dissing Rather in its coverage.

And then there’s this take, from Daniel Casey. Heh.

November 23, 2004

PAUL BOUTIN is now writing for The New Republic, where today he’s offering political and technological advice to U2.

November 23, 2004

RATHERGATE UPDATE: Dan Rather wins a Worst of 2004 Award: “He jumped the shark. Then he scared it away.”

November 23, 2004

LE MONDE ON INSTAPUNDIT: “Glenn Reynolds is part of the (imagined) world-wide popular wave trying to stand up to (and only to) the Bush administration, its ‘lies,’ and its ‘illegal’ war (as well as Yankee capitalism and imperialism).”

UPDATE: As should have been obvious to anyone who followed the link (or, judging by the parentheticals, anyone who didn’t) the above isn’t a quote from Le Monde, but a quote about Le Monde’s coverage.

November 23, 2004

IVORY COAST UPDATE: More information, and video, on the alleged massacre of civilians by French Troops, here.

UPDATE: Much more here — and scroll down for the photo.

November 23, 2004

I HAVEN’T PAID ENOUGH ATTENTION TO THE UKRAINE MESS:

KIEV (Reuters) – Up to 200,000 protesters rallied outside an emergency session of Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday demanding authorities admit they cheated in a presidential poll which showed the country’s Moscow-backed prime minister had won.

Parliamentary deputies held the session in response to calls from supporters of West-leaning challenger Viktor Yushchenko, who says he was robbed of victory in Sunday’s second-round run-off by backers of Prime minister Viktor Yanukovich.

I don’t know much about this, but it seems like a big deal.

UPDATE: Other bloggers have been on the job. Check out A Fistful of Euros, and Blog de Connard, a Kiev blog, which has photos and firsthand reporting. And there’s more at Neeka’s backlog, by Ukrainian journalist Veronica Khokhlova. Check out Europhobia, too. I’m not very familiar with these blogs, but they’re posting interesting stuff. Meanwhile Jim Geraghty predicts a domestic spin.

November 23, 2004

JIM GERAGHTY:

There’s one set of rules for regular folks, and another set of rules for celebrities, former high-ranking government officials, and other “important” people. If we break the rules, we pay the price. If a Dan Rather lies on the air, or Sandy Berger steals classified documents, there’s no consequence.

Anybody feel like contacting their CBS affiliate? And saying, “that’s it, we’re taking out our frustration on you guys, because we trusted you when you guys said, ‘the network is investigating, and we’re confident they will handle this properly’”? I mean, the suits at CBS are laughing at us.

And the pajamahadeen always laugh last.

Call me crazy, but I think there’s a connection between that sort of double standard, and things like this.

November 23, 2004

MUSIC, BOOKS, AND THE WEB: My TechCentralStation column is up.

November 23, 2004

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH is blogging at his backup site temporarily.

November 23, 2004

IT’S NOT JUST UNSCAM — The U.N. has other problems:

The United Nations is investigating about 150 allegations of sexual abuse by U.N. civilian staff and soldiers in the Congo, some of them recorded on videotape, a senior U.N. official said on Monday.

The accusations include pedophilia, rape and prostitution, said Jane Holl Lute, an assistant secretary-general in the peacekeeping department.

Yeah, I know that pointing out the double standards is considered unsporting — but imagine how this would be playing if American troops were involved.

UPDATE: Patrick Spero has some observations on this story.

November 22, 2004

THE BLOGGERS’ FULL-EMPLOYMENT ACT OF 2004 JUST PASSED: Jonathan “Pajamas” Klein has just been named President of CNN.

New slogan: “CNN — now with the credibility of Sixty Minutes!

November 22, 2004

SORRY FOR THE LIMITED BLOGGING: I drove to Birmingham, and back, today to pick up my grandmother (now 90) for Thanksgiving. I meant to post a note before I left, but forgot.

November 22, 2004

IN THE MAIL: An advance copy of John Scalzi’s new book, Old Man’s War. I haven’t read it yet, but the blurb from Cory Doctorow says that it’s like Starship Troopers without the lectures, or Forever War with better sex.

There seem to be a lot of blogger books out. Scott Ott’s Axis of Weasels continues to do well in the Amazon rankings. Bill Whittle has a new book out. And Jim Bennett’s new book, The Anglosphere Challenge, owes a lot to the blogosphere, which picked up his Anglosphere idea and ran with it.

November 22, 2004

ARTHUR CHRENKOFF’S ROUNDUP OF UNDER-REPORTED IRAQ NEWS is posted. Don’t miss it. Meanwhile StrategyPage notes that the Sunnis are trying to block the elections, and are likely to fail:

While the Sunni Arab thugs have the edge in experience, and reputation, their violence is not overwhelming. The army and police are fighting back, killing and arresting thousands of Sunni Arab gunmen. The Sunni Arabs don’t like to dwell on the fact that they are only a fifth of the population, or that they get slaughtered whenever they get into a fight with American troops. Trying to disrupt the January elections is now a major goal for the Sunni Arab extremists. They can do some of that in Sunni Arab areas. But in the next ten weeks, the number of Sunni gunmen available for this may be too low to make much of an impression. The Sunni Arabs are fighting a losing battle. Trying to bring back the good old days of Sunni domination will only work if the Shia Arab and Kurd majority is too weak to resist. No wonder the Sunni Arabs hate foreigners so much.

What’s funny is how many foreigners — like Michael Moore — have been rooting for them.

November 22, 2004

ONE SMALL STEP FOR SPACE TOURISM, over at GlennReynolds.com.

November 22, 2004

“CLIMATE OF HATE ROCKS COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY:” Surely not.

November 22, 2004

I’M NOT MUCH OF A JOINER, so I haven’t joined a “team” for the Spirit of America blogger challenge. But they’re a worthy cause — I’ve donated to them myself — and I encourage you to consider donating.

November 22, 2004

VIRGINIA POSTREL loved The Incredibles: “Even while I was watching it, I was dying to see it again.” It got a thumbs-up from the Insta-Daughter, too.

November 22, 2004

SIMON WORLD’S ASIAN BLOG ROUNDUP has been posted.

November 22, 2004

KEVIN SITES RESPONDS TO HIS CRITICS, and has a long post on his blog about the circumstances of the Fallujah shooting incident.

UPDATE: Reader John MacDonald isn’t impressed: “Maybe if Sites went into the houses first, before the Marines, he might have a better idea of what was going on in this Marine’s mind.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: More perspective here: “U.S. forces say they have found nearly 20 houses in the Iraqi city of Fallujah where they believe foreign hostages were tortured and killed — including one with the wire cage where a British hostage begged for his life before being beheaded.”

Guess which story will get more attention.

MORE: Greyhawk at The Mudville Gazette says that Sites deserves respect, and hasn’t done anything wrong.

And some perspective here: “Marines from the 1st Marine Division shot and killed an insurgent who while faking dead opened fire on the marines who were conducting a security and clearing patrol through the streets.”

November 21, 2004

WATCHED 13 Going On 30 this weekend with the Insta-Wife and Insta-Daughter. It got lukewarm reviews, but I was willing to watch it anyway because it has Jennifer Garner. It was a lot better than I expected, and a good film for a pre-teen to watch. When you’re 13, it pays to think about how you really want to turn out when you’re 30.

November 21, 2004

RATHERGATE UPDATE: Or non-update, as the case may be. It has now been two months since CBS President Andrew Heyward promised that the investigation would be over and public in “weeks, not months.”

It’s been months, now. Just another statement from CBS that turned out to be false?

Meanwhile, CBS remains an object of mockery like this from Dave Barry in the Baltimore Sun: “Yes, it is a tragic but statistical fact that every Thanksgiving, undercooked turkeys claim the lives of an estimated 53 billion Americans (source: Dan Rather). Sometimes the cause is deadly bacteria; sometimes – in cases of extreme undercooking – the turkey actually springs up from the carving platter and pecks the would-be carver to death.”

Then there’s this, from Jack Colwell: “Dan Rather received a Turkey of the Year Award for his exclusive on discovery of the original recipes from the time of the Pilgrims for the first Thanksgiving dinner. The Pilgrims apparently printed them on an hp deskjet printer.”

Not good for the brand.

November 21, 2004

THE NEW REPUBLIC’S REIHAN SALAM rounds up some Democratic contenders for 2008 and leads with Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen:

The Democratic governor of Tennessee is a star. Let’s start with the obvious: He is the Democratic governor of Tennessee. What’s more, he was elected in 2002, a year during which the Republican tide was tsunami-like. What better way to widen the electoral battlefield than to nominate a proven vote-getter from deep in the heart of Red America?

I’ve said here repeatedly that Democrats wanting to win a national campaign should look at what Phil Bredesen has done in Tennessee. He’s not a terribly charismatic orator — but unlike, say, Al Gore or John Kerry, he does very well on conservative talk radio, and he’s not afraid to appear and field questions. Interesting to see that people outside the state are noticing. And I may be wrong, but if the budget deficit matters in 2008 — and I think it will — then Bredesen, who has managed to trim spending and put Tennessee into surplus without increasing taxes, will look especially good.

November 21, 2004

IVORY COAST SHOOTING UPDATE: Aaron at Freewillblog has compressed the video (formerly in unwieldy MPEG format) into something easier to view on the Web. More on the subject here. Despite cautions not to make too much of the video without other evidence, Aaron thinks it’s pretty clear that this was an unprovoked massacre on the part of French troops. I’d certainly like to see some reporting from the scene.

November 21, 2004

THE NEW PROPERTY: Mickey Kaus has some insightful thoughts on Bush’s “ownership society.” Highly recommended, whether you’re a Bushie or an anti-Bushie.

November 21, 2004

GOOD NEWS FOR IRAQ:

PARIS (AP) – Major economic powers agreed on Sunday to write off billions of dollars of debt for Iraq in a deal that marked a significant step in U.S. efforts to help put the Iraqi economy back on its feet.

Under the agreement, the Paris Club of 19 creditor nations will write off 80 percent of the $42 billion that Iraq owes them, the group’s chairman, Jean-Pierre Jouyet said.

The Paris Club includes, the United States, Japan, Russia and European nations. . . . The deal represented a considerable concession from France, just as French President Jacques Chirac’s government is pushing to rebuild ties with Bush’s administration that were damaged by disagreements over the U.S.-led Iraq war. France opposed the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

At a guess, this may explain why the Administration hasn’t been playing up the “UNSCAM” oil-for-food scandal.

November 21, 2004

MODERATE MUSLIMS STEP FORWARD:

Some 20,000 people took to the streets in the western German city of Cologne on Sunday, waving German and Turkish flags, to protest against the use of violence in the name of Islam.

The marchers had two starting points — a mosque and a cathedral — and converged in the middle of the city for the event organized by the Islamic-Turkish Union with the slogan “Hand in Hand for Peace and Against Terror.”

It’s a start.

UPDATE: More pics here.

November 21, 2004

“BUSH’S INVASION” — of Kosovo?

November 21, 2004

USING THE CONTROVERSY OVER ALEXANDER THE GREAT as a jumping-off point, The Belmont Club looks at the unwisdom of getting one’s history from Hollywood.

November 21, 2004

BILL WHITTLE’S NEW BOOK IS OUT: Really, what more do you need to know?

November 21, 2004

Another cool photo by Major John Tammes, U.S. Army Ordnance Corps.

INSTAPUNDIT’S AFGHANISTAN PHOTO-CORRESPONDENT sends this picture, and reports:

Our coalition of Rumanians, New Zealanders, British, Americans, Slovaks and Poles was no match for the Afghanis on Sunday. Not in any sort of fighting, mind you, but a soccer match. Our base put a Coalition team together and played a select team from Parwan Province. The Coalition was bested 3-1. However, the Rumanians did salvage something for us – their goalkeeper was a crowd favorite with his play and some theatrics thrown in for good measure.

One of our officers, 1LT Joshua Walters, a soccer coach when back in the States, was the driving force behind this event [he is even helping the area schools with a coaching clinic and organizing a league they can run throughout the whole province]. Local people told us this was the first time in over 25 years they had a public sports event with a crowd. While I am no great fan of soccer itself, I did see that the people here were absolutely delighted with the whole event. So I guess losing wasn’t so bad after all.

Sometimes it really is about how you play the game. Or even that you bother to.

November 21, 2004

SIGHTED ON PAGE SIX: “Ann Coulter and ‘Kaus Files’ blogger Mickey Kaus sharing a warm goat cheese salad al fresco at Baraonda.” Poor Mickey can’t escape the ‘stalkerazzi.’

November 21, 2004

CHIEF WIGGLES is correcting Tom Brokaw and NBC on some important matters.

UPDATE: Read this report, too. And don’t miss this Iraqi’s claim that Western media aren’t so much missing the story, as twisting it.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The Green Side has firsthand reporting from Fallujah. Chuck Yeager’s grandson makes an appearance.

And Power Line has thoughts on media coverage: “as always, the tone of the coverage of the Iraq war reflects the agenda of those who write the news.”

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: David Adesnik says the Washington Post has dropped the ball in today’s story on Iraq.

November 21, 2004

WHILE SOME OF US HAVE BEEN doing Friday cat-blogging, Fletch has been doing Friday buffalo-blogging. I really like this picture, too.

And while I’m mentioning Texas photoblogging, here’s a nice gallery of things you might see while driving around Texas.

November 21, 2004

FRENCH TROOPS FIRING INDISCRIMINATELY ON CIVILIANS? LGF has video.

UPDATE: More claims of a massacre here. Why isn’t this getting more attention?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ed Morrissey cautions:

From what I’ve seen thus far, it appears to show French troops shooting indiscriminately at African civilians. A number of deaths appear to have occurred at this incident, including several women. In fact, it seems like most of the dead were women, but that may have been because the cameraman focused on those victims. And that, just like the Marine shooting the faker in the mosque last week, may be the problem.

The video is highly subjective. Just like with any home movie, it starts and stops at different times with no particular purpose, and no time sequences are shown. When the firing starts, you can’t see who’s shooting, where it’s aimed, or why. In fact, you never see soldiers shooting, at least in part II — you just hear the shots and see the aftermath. Just as with the video in Iraq, the entire presentation lacks context. Who starts the shooting? Did anyone in the crowd have weapons and fire back, or fire first? So far, I can’t tell.

Perhaps this might be the French Amritsar, but the video shown doesn’t prove it; it merely suggests it. Before we leap to conclusions, we need a bit more evidence than these videos provide.

I hope we’ll see some reporting on the subject. Certainly Reuters would be all over something like this if U.S. troops were involved. . . .

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s what Reuters has at the moment:

France vigorously rejected on Sunday charges by Ivory Coast’s president and its leading Roman Catholic cleric that French troops had beheaded young protesters there, dismissing the statements as outrageous disinformation. . . .Alliot-Marie accused Ivory Coast’s leaders of manipulating crowds of protesters in an extremely dangerous way.

“The racist and xenophobe statements made about us by Ivory Coast leaders are intolerable,” she said.

It’s datelined Paris, though, not Abidjan.

November 20, 2004

DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS.

UPDATE: Look, dudes, you were warned . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: This may have been a bigger deal than the original reports suggested. Others, however, are invoking Bush’s rugby days.

November 20, 2004

TIMES VS. TIMES: IraqPundit says that the New York Times is missing what the London Times has figured out. Ouch.

November 20, 2004

OVER AT HIT AND RUN, THEY’RE DISSING Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 “best” rock songs. But over at SKBubba’s they’ve come up with their own top 500 list. I’m happy to see that Terry Hill made the cut. (SKB says that Jesse Fox Mayshark was the driving force behind this, which doesn’t surprise me.) See if you don’t think that the Bubba crowd has outperformed the Rolling Stone folks. Though, to my mind, “Slow Death” is the canonical Flamin’ Groovies song.

November 20, 2004

IS THE NEW YORK TIMES turning Oliver Stone into a cultural martyr? Ann Althouse thinks so. (And what a great quote from Stone: “I don’t want to corrupt history.” Heh. Indeed.) Meanwhile, people in Greece are unamused.

UPDATE: More on the whole Alexander-the-Gay business here at the Agora. Well, that fits!

November 20, 2004

CATS AND DOGS, living together.

November 20, 2004

RETAIL SUPPORT BRIGADE SITREP: Went to the mall today. It seemed quite crowded, quite early, for this stage of the shopping season, and judging by the packages and the lines people were buying things. I don’t think we’re headed for a recession.

Also went to Target, notwithstanding Hugh Hewitt’s objections. (What was I going to do — order my cat litter over the Internet? That’s so 1999.) They seemed busy, too, though they’ve licked the cashier-shortage problem. Yeah, they ought to let the Salvation Army ring the bells out front, but I just can’t get myself into a world-beating snit over it. I think I’ll have to side with Lileks and the Turkeyblog on this one. Nonetheless, I welcome Hugh’s protests as proof that, contrary to rumor, the Dayton Hudson conspiracy doesn’t really control the blogosphere.

Besides, if you really want to hurt Target, don’t call for a boycott. Just open up a Samuel’s across the street. Mmmm, Hebrew National and free wi-fi . . . .

November 20, 2004

DAVE BARRY: “Here’s a newspaper article on blogs, pointing out that they can be inaccurate. It mentions my name: Dave Berry.”

Dan Gillmor’s name is also misspelled. Heh. (Via Tim Blair).

November 20, 2004

SOME VERY NICE landscape photos from Brazilian photographer Alex Uchoa.

November 20, 2004

CNET HAS A LENGTHY REVIEW UP on the new Canon EOS 20D 8.2 megapixel digital SLR. Here’s another from Steve’s Digicams, and here’s one from DPreview. It looks quite good, though as I’m getting excellent 20×30 prints from my 6.3 megapixel Nikon D70, I’m not quite sure what I’d do with the extra megapixels. I’m sure I’d find something!

And though some emailers have accused me of being a Nikon snob and not giving the Canon cameras their due, I’m sure this is a great camera. I nearly bought the 10D rather than the Nikon, and I’m sure I would have been happy with it. The big deciding factor was that the Nikon’s bundled lens was better and — more important still — the Nikon just felt better in my hand. And that’s why I’d encourage people to try these things out in meatspace, and not just look on the web. I’m sure I would have been happy enough with the Canon, but the “feel” of equipment is important to me, and you can’t judge that sort of thing on the Internet. Er, yet, anyway . . . .

November 20, 2004

BIGGEST FIGHT IN SPORTS HISTORY? Here’s a roundup on the Pistons/Pacers brawl.

UPDATE: Here’s video.