January 31, 2005
THIS occurred to me, too. Jeez.
THIS occurred to me, too. Jeez.
THE 2008 RACE IS HEATING UP: There’s already a Draft Condi website.
TOM MAGUIRE REMAINS hot on the trail of the Plame affair.
UPDATE: A reader emails: “I still wonder why the Valerie Plame story still keeps getitng kicked around, but Sandy Berger’s alleged theft of classified documents seems to be off the radar?”
HAVE WE PASSED THE GLOBAL TEST AFTER ALL? Looks like it.
HEH: “Hey Crown Prince Abdullah, that’s a nice regime you’ve got there. Be a shame if anything were to happen to it . . .”
SOME IRAQI ELECTION PHOTOBLOGGING from a guy who doesn’t like Bush, but who listens.
DAN DARLING writes that Zarqawi gambled — and lost. He also looks at what might come next.
A U.S. SOLDIER WRITES IN THE GUARDIAN:
Every cycle has a mission in Iraq. The units we relieved, the first cycle, were called upon to defeat the major war elements of the Iraqi army, and oust Saddam. The ones that relieve us, the third cycle, will build up the strength of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). Our job as the second cycle was to see that Iraq took over its own affairs, and kept the peace intact while they were doing so. Soldiers of this cycle were in Samara and Falluja to do just that. We have built schools and poured money into the infrastructure of this country, trying to get them to ready to stand on their own. To me, that has always been the visible aspects of our mission. That is the stuff that never seems to make CNN. . . .
For all the talk of this being a war for oil, I’ve seen hundreds of thousands of dollars of oil burn in industrial accidents without being ordered to lift a finger to help. For all the talk of being a tool of the imperialist powers trying to take advantage of a little country, I’ve spent hours in the hot sun training the local forces to replace me, and endless hours waiting for our command to come out of local meetings where they hear the local problems and try to assist them. And now, our last mission is complete, the elections went through and Iraq has taken another step toward its own freedom. We can pass this country to the next unit knowing we have done the job. This has been my Iraq and, someday, I want to look back and be proud.
I think he’ll have more to be proud of than some other people.
INSTAPUNDIT’S AFGHANISTAN PHOTO-CORRESPONDENT, Major John Tammes, sends this report:
After a visit with the governor of Parwan province, my group went by the single gym in Charikar. Our Force Protection Officer, Squadron Leader William “Jamie” Kendall of the RAF Regiment met an Afghan who had represented his country as wrestler at the Olympics. After a playful challenge (the Squadron Leader said the other fellow was quite strong) the two emerged to show us the true Olympic Spirit.
THE ELECTIONS IN IRAQ: A big victory for Bill Clinton? I discuss the question, over at GlennReynolds.com. My editor: “I wonder which side will send the most hate mail over this one.”
ECONOBLOGGING FOR THE MASSES! This week’s Carnival of the Capitalists is up.
THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE RECIPES IS UP: Enjoy!
ERIC MULLER REPORTS that the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History appears to be a neo-Confederate secessionist.
That’s a bit too politically-incorrect, don’t you think? I have to say that while I understand, to a degree at least, people’s fascination with the Civil War, I’ve never understood the romanticization of the Confederacy. It didn’t last very long, it was horribly run and governed, it accomplished nothing but disaster and defeat, and it existed in the service of a horrible cause. I once angered an alumnus of Washington & Lee by suggesting that Robert E. Lee, however personally admirable he might have been in some ways, bore huge responsibility — if he had honored his oath to the Union, the war probably would have been over in six months, leaving everyone (and especially the South) better off.
One suspects that for a certain sort of infantile mind, pro-Confederacy statements provide the same sort of thrilling sense of nonconformity that Marxism has provided. This, I guess, explains the weird strain of pro-Confederate sympathy that one finds among a certain segment of libertarians. Or, of course, there’s always racism as an explanation — an explanation you’d rather believe didn’t apply, but that clearly does sometimes. Muller makes a pretty persuasive case that it applies here, and author Thomas Woods seems to have connections to some of those fringe libertarians.
As a political force, neo-Confederate sentiment is pretty trivial at the moment, even compared to the decaying remnants of Marxism. But that’s no reason not to smack it down when it appears. That’s particularly true because — as Muller’s discussion of Wood’s belief that the War on Terror is the product of a Jewish conspiracy illustrates — the overlap between crazy-left and crazy-right is getting more significant. (Indeed, there are people on the Left talking about secession, in terms that Woods might find congenial). And there’s no place for either one, especially these days.
Way back when the term “idiotarian” was coined, it was quite explicitly aimed at the idiots of the Left and Right equally. The idiots of the Right have been somewhat quieter lately, but they’re no less idiots for that.
This is not really a conservative take (“arch” or otherwise) on American history, after all. At its core, The Politically Incorrect Guide (or PIG) is more wheezy propaganda from the Old Confederacy. . . . On the most important matters, it weaves together all the familiar fictions: the sovereign states reserved a Constitutional right to secede, the so-called Civil War was really the War of Northern Aggression, Lincoln was a smooth-talking lawyer bent on tyranny. Blah, blah, blah. Some people never learn.
No, apparently they don’t.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Justin Raimondo appears in Muller’s comments to defend the book. But of course!
MORE: A reader sends this:
This reminds me of the time in 1966, I (aged 6) sat on my grandmother’s porch in a small farming town in Missouri. As the “yahoos” drove by in their el caminos with Confederate flags painted on the hood and horns that played Dixie on the way to the “Dog Prairie Tavern”, my grandmother clucked disapprovingly. Asking her what was wrong, she (in her late 70′s) replied: “My father fought in that war. If I could catch one of them boys, I’d give ‘em a piece of my mind. I’d tell ‘em: THEY LOST.”
YESTERDAY, I noted the following paragraph in a New York Times story on the Iraqi elections:
But if the insurgents wanted to stop people in Baghdad from voting, they failed. If they wanted to cause chaos, they failed. The voters were completely defiant, and there was a feeling that the people of Baghdad, showing a new, positive attitude, had turned a corner.
Reader Chris Fountain also noticed that it was moving steadily downward in the story as the day went on. Today he emails:
Glenn: as predicted, the offending paragraph was missing from this
morning’s hard copy. New lede: “Bombs Kill 35.”
Indeed. And as Ann Althouse noted, the headline has changed on the web, too. Sigh. They just can’t help themselves.
UPDATE: On the other hand, they’re not pumping this story about a lot of missing money at the CPA. Does that mean that there’s not much to it, or that they don’t want to look too negative? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
DARFUR UPDATE: “A keenly awaited U.N. investigation into human rights abuse in Sudan’s Darfur region does not describe violence against villagers there as ‘genocide,’ said Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail.”
ALPHECCA’S WEEKLY REPORT on media bias regarding guns is up.
ARTHUR CHRENKOFF rounds up good news from Iraq — and there’s more of it than usual. Arthur does a great service by compiling these reports, and the Wall Street Journal’s OpinionJournal does a great service by publishing them. Read the whole thing, and you’ll be amazed how much gets left out of the usual media reports. Maybe that’ll change now.
UPDATE: Reader Gerald Boisvert emails:
In your Chrenkoff post this morning you end by saying “Read the whole thing, and you’ll be amazed how much gets left out of the usual media reports. Maybe that’ll change now.”
Well, 6:00am MSNBC news leads with …. Michael Jackson. For two years they’ve come out of the chute with Iraq and all that’s wrong with it and our administration, but today Iraq just doesn’t seem that important. Go figure.
Yeah, go figure.
VOLOKH CONSPIRATOR TODD ZYWICKI is running for Trustee of Dartmouth College. If you’re an alumnus, you may want to support him.
CAN’T SAY I’M SURPRISED: “Arab broadcasters report more positively on Iraq election than German broadcasters.”
JOHN J. MILLER looks at the NRA’s successful pro-gun-rights election work:
In the new Congress, the NRA has a realistic hope for the first time in a decade that it can enact pro-gun legislation. There are about 50 pro-gun Democrats in the House and about a dozen in the Senate. With this dynamic, the NRA believes President Bush may soon have an opportunity to protect gun manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits and repeal the District of Columbia’s gun ban.
But has the broader Democratic party learned a lesson from the Gore and Kerry experiences?
IS THIS A GREAT COUNTRY, OR WHAT? Our drunks are more lethal than their insurgents.
HERE’S A REPORT from a counterterror protest in Los Angeles.
WE’RE WATCHING THE ARNOLD BIOPIC that’s advertised to the right (hey, they bought an ad, I can at least give ‘em a couple of viewers). It’s not bad. The guy who plays the young Arnold is excellent. The guy who plays the current Arnold is only so-so. Arianna Huffington is the heavy, and is, er, played to perfection. The L.A. Times is repeatedly hammered as dishonest and biased.
UPDATE: Not bad. The Insta-Wife — a huge Arnold fan — liked it a lot. It ended with not one, but two, references to amending the Constitution so that Arnold could run for President. They’re getting that meme out early . . . . (And, yes, I know it was already floated in Demolition Man back in 1993, but that wasn’t serious. Or was it . . . .? ).
AXIS OF EVIL UPDATE: “In interviews for this article over many months, western policymakers, Chinese experts, North Korean exiles and human rights activists built up a picture of a tightly knit clan leadership in Pyongyang that is on the verge of collapse.”
But this is the best part: “According to exiles, North Korean agents in Beijing and Ulan Bator are frantically selling assets to raise cash — an important sign, says one activist, because ‘the secret police can always smell the crisis coming before anybody else’.”
I MENTIONED IT EARLIER, but Steve Stirling’s comment-Fiskings over at Democratic Underground deserve their own post:
“All the media keeps talking about is how happy the Iraqis are, how high turnout was, and how “freedom” has spread to Iraq.”
– that’s because Iraqis, like other people, want a democracy.
You know, like the Germans and Japanese, countries that are also democratic thanks to American military occupation.
In those cases, conquest and occupation were undertaken during the great Democratic administration of FDR, who understood that American power was the world’s main force for good.
My father-in-law, a working stiff, lifelong Democrat, and BAR gunner in the 2nd Infantry who fought all the way from Normandy to Bohemia in WWII, also understood this.
Plenty of Democrats do — Joe Liebermann, for example.
A little examination of history would show you that occupation by the US is the best thing that can happen to a badly governed country; contrast and compare North (mass famine with 2,000,000 dead) Korea and South (obeisity problem) Korea, if you want an example.
al-Zawqari, leader of the Iraqi “resistance” (he’s a Jordanian, btw.) has made plain that he doesn’t like democracy.
Quote “We have declared fierce war on this evil concept of democracy”, unquote. He’s also declared that the Shia majority of Iraq are “idolators and apostates” who deserve to die.
Now, here’s a question: are you for the people who want votes and democracy, or for the fascists?
“I had to turn off CNN because they kept focusing on the so-called “voters” and barely mentioned the resistance movements at all.”
– the one trying to kill the people who want to vote and chose their own government? The one that’s declared “fierce war” on democracy, and said they want to kill anyone who votes?
Fortunately, their threats turned out to be mostly empty.
“Where are the freedom fighters today? Are their voices silenced because some American puppets cast a few ballots?”
– 8,000,000 ballots. Turns out most Iraqis are… “American puppets?”
“I can’t believe the Iraqis are buying into this “democracy” bullshit.”
– sorry, fellah, down here on Planet Reality, most people want democracy. Including Arabs.
“Maybe they’re afraid and felt they had to vote. That’s the only way I can explain it to myself.”
– since they were threatened with death if they _did_ vote, there’s a bit of a contradiction there.
In fact, they put on their festive clothes and in many cases danced to the polls, elevating their fingers to defy the “insurgents” who’d threatened to kill anyone whose finger was marked with the ink showing they’d voted.
“Becuase if it’s not–and if the Iraq vote is seen as a success that spread “freedom”–the world is screwed.”
– let’s see… the world is screwed if democracy spreads among the theocrats, kleptocrats, and general tyrants characteristic of the Middle East.
Run that one by me again?
Now let’s sponsor elections in Saudi Arabia. I would just love to see the Saudi princelings in exile, clipping their coupons and complaining about how the Americans betrayed them.
“they only increase the fight and take down those who betrayed their country today by voting in this fraud election.”
– you want to kill off 8,000,000 Iraqis? Awesome, dude.
We Democrats obviously have some work to do before we can expect to win any national elections. I think I’ll toodle on over to “The New Republic” and see what the sensible people are saying.
Nice to know that somebody’s making good points over there. He has a bunch of posts (start at the top and search “joatsimeon” on the page to read them all — better hurry before the moderators take them down!) Maybe there’s hope for the Democrats yet, if Steve’s still in there swinging.
I would buy one of his books in gratitude, but I already own ‘em all!
DEMOCRATIZATION IS A PROCESS, NOT AN EVENT, of course — though it’s mostly the predictable carpers who are making that point. But here are some useful comments from some non-carpers. Here’s one:
The process by which we succeed in Iraq (if we do) can be thought of as a series of events by which one party keeps faith with the others. First, we kept faith with the people of Iraq by remaining in force to rebuild the country after we toppled Saddam and carried out our search for WMD. Then, the Shiite majority kept faith by rejecting the radical elements when they rose up against the occupation. We then kept faith with the Shiites by scheduling elections and seeing them through as scheduled. And today, the Iraqi people kept faith by turning out and voting.
Further acts of faith will be required. The Shiites must now keep faith with the U.S. and the Sunnis by developing a consititutional system that respects (both on paper and in practice) Sunni interests. The Sunnis must keep faith by participating in that system. The U.S. must keep faith by continuing to provide security, train Iraqi forces, and assist with the reconstruction. Even if these things happen, the insurgency probably will not end. But Iraq will develop the institutions and the forces that should enable it to deal with the insurgency with far less help from us.
Will the parties continue to keep the faith? I don’t know. But so far, every time a party has needed to rise to occasion, it has. And never more spectacularly than today.
And then there’s this:
Viewed as an end in itself, establishing democratic forms of government in Afghanistan (you remember the vast quagmire of Afghanistan, right? The one that swallowed the Soviet Union and was going to swallow us, according to the America-hating lefties?) and Iraq is not the ultimate solution to the problem of Islamofascist terrorism, but as part of an overall strategy that includes the destruction of those regimes actively supporting, financing, and using Islamofascist terrorists, then the establishment of workable democracies in that region becomes a superb weapon aimed at the heart of our enemies.
Look. It’s simple. Freedom works.
Indeed. Or in these words: “To borrow from Churchill, the capture of Baghdad was the end of the beginning. The national vote was the beginning of the end.”
JOHN COLE emails with this request: “Could you please explain to readers that John Cole and Juan Cole are not the same person?” I think if they read the blog, they’ll know.
GREG DJEREJIAN WONDERS why there’s not more support for the Iraqi elections on the Left.
UPDATE: It was my understanding that there would be no math.
MORE: The Arab press seems to think the Iraqi elections are important.
STILL MORE: Here’s a comparison of Iraqi voter turnout with that of other countries where no one was threatening to behead the voters.
QUICK — CHANGE THAT HEADLINE! “Really, that is one of the most pathetic things I’ve ever seen the New York Times do.”
A BLOG OF ONE’S OWN: For famed blog-commenter Dennis the Peasant.
BOB BECKEL ON KERRY’S WET-BLANKET STATEMENTS on the Iraqi elections:
Yeah, this is no time for “buts”. I mean, whoever is advising him politically made a terrible mistake.
“Whoever is advising him?” Blame the staff!
GREG DJEREJIAN: “Professor Cole, alas, can’t quite bring himself to come out and state the obvious. Which is that the insurgents suffered a major blow today–because Iraqis courageously came out in droves to vote and because there were far fewer insurgent attacks than anyone dared hope.”
Or as a commenter to this post observed: “The vaunted Arab Street finally speaks.”
UPDATE: Reader James V. Somers emails:
Glenn: For most of the past two years, the debate on how well Iraq is going seems to boil down to this: one group says that it’s a complete disaster, the only successes are tactical, not strategic, and the insurgency is gaining strength. The other group says that it’s going quite well, thank you, and the insurgency’s successes are only tactical, not strategic. In short, you either believe that Iraq is mostly a success, or you believe it’s mostly a failure. (Andrew Sullivan appears to be in both groups.) In any case, weren’t today’s elections the biggest test yet of whether the glass is mostly full or mostly empty over there? Yeah, there were some attacks by the insurgents that met with some tactical success, but a whole lot of people showed up all over the country and voted. It seems to me that after today, there can no longer be much debate about who’s in control of most of Iraq, or as to whether most people there want to participate in a democratic process that moves the country forward from where it’s been.
The Afghan election worked so well that, there being insufficient bad news out of it, the doom-mongers in the Western media pretended it never happened. They’ll have a harder job doing that with Iraq, so instead they’ll have to play up every roadside bomb and every dead poll worker. But it won’t alter the basic reality: that today’s election will be imperfect but more than good enough. OK, that’s a bit vague by the standards of my usual psephological predictions, so how about this? Turnout in the Kurdish north and Shia south will be higher than in the last American, British or Canadian elections. Legitimate enough for ya?
But look beyond the numbers. When you consider the behavior of the Shia and Kurdish parties, they’ve been remarkably shrewd, restrained and responsible. They don’t want to blow their big rendezvous with history and rejoin the rest of the Middle East in the fetid swamp of stable despotism. The naysayers in the Democratic Party and the U.S. media are so obsessed with Rumsfeld getting this wrong and Condi getting that wrong and Bush getting everything wrong that they’ve failed to notice just how surefooted both the Kurds and Shiites have been — which in the end is far more important. The latter, for example, have adopted a moderate secular pitch entirely different from their co-religionist mullahs over the border. In fact, as partisan pols go, they sound a lot less loopy than, say, Barbara Boxer. Even on the Sunni side of the street, there are signs the smarter fellows understand their plans to destroy the election have flopped and it’s time to cut themselves into the picture.
Read the whole thing. Though actually, as noted below, the coverage has been better than most of us expected.
SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE found at the Democratic Underground!
UPDATE: Intelligent, but short-lived — an update says the posts have been erased. Down the memory hole!
ANOTHER UPDATE: Steve Stirling is administering comment-Fiskings (he’s JoatSimeon). In response to the claim that Saddam was our creature, he observes: “Incidentally, Saddam was consistently aligned with the USSR during the Cold War. Did you wonder where all those T-72 tanks came from? This is the sort of nonsense that gives Democrats a bad name.”
ZEYAD REPORTS FROM AMMAN:
The turnout in Iraq was really like nothing that I had expected. I was glued in front of tv for most of the day. My mother was in tears watching the scenes from all over the country. Iraqis had voted for peace and for a better future, despite the surrounding madness. I sincerely hope this small step would be the start of much bolder ones, and that the minority which insists on enslaving the majority of Iraqis would soon realise that all that they have accomplished till now is in vain.
Another surprise was to see some Iraqis who had fled the country in fear of reprisals, such as the families of ex-regime figures and ex-Ba’athists, actually voting and encouraging others to vote! I know some of those from school and college and I imagined they would be bitter about the whole process, but many were not.
Jordanians were wishing Iraqis luck these few days everywhere on the streets. One young man at a mall, on recognising my Iraqi accent, asked me who I would be voting for. I politely told him that I would vote for who I believe is sincere. Strangely, he said that he personally preferred Allawi and hoped most Iraqis would be voting for him. I wished his country luck as well since the King had promised direct elections for municipal councils as a first step. He dismissed that as nothing much and said that “One should start from the ‘Head’ down, not the other way around”.
Heh. No wonder Abdullah was down on the elections. Kings usually are.
NORM GERAS reports from Manchester:
Here’s a story for our time and it’s from my neck of the woods. Demonstrators against the Iraqi election were chased off by people who weren’t too impressed with their demonstration. The demonstrators were from an Islamic group; the ones who got upset with them were… Iraqis.
ASSOCIATED PRESS: “Arabs Mesmerized by Iraqi Elections.”
GOALPOST-MOVING EFFORTS spotted.
I’ve been reading the coverage, and watching the pundits. This appears to be the new line of dissent:
“Yes, Iraqis voted today in massive numbers. But voting isn’t democracy.”
I agree. But that’s also like saying that the best college basketball team didn’t win the NCAA championship. It may be true, but they ARE wearing the rings. Wanna see my purple finger?
Meanwhile, one of Andrew Sullivan’s readers suggests: “Why not ask people to wear blue marker on their index fingers this week, as a sign of solidarity and a tip of the hat to the courage of the Iraqis today?”
Good suggestion. I hope that the meme spreads. And read this post on turnout by Roger Simon: “Before the spin doctors get a hold of the ‘how big was the turnout’ question in Iraq (60%? 70%?) and use that to denigrate this great step forward that has just taken place, let’s remind ourselves that turnout in recent US Presidential elections is barely over 50% of eligible voters and that in the nascent days of our democracy, 1824, it was 26.9%.”
THE son of the United Nations secretary-general has admitted he was involved in negotiations to sell millions of barrels of Iraqi oil under the auspices of Saddam Hussein.
Kojo Annan has told a close friend he became involved in negotiations to sell 2m barrels of Iraqi oil to a Moroccan company in 2001. He is understood to be co-operating with UN investigators probing the discredited oil for food programme.
The alleged admission will increase pressure on Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, who is already facing calls for his resignation over the management of the humanitarian programme.
I suspect that the new Iraqi government will not be amused.
AUSTIN BAY notes that the profusion of Iraqis with inked fingers represents a major blow to the terrorists:
That’s an identifying mark – one that almost literally shoves a finger in the eye of terror.
Yep. The terrorists have been revealed, not as “minutemen” but as, well, terrorists.
Meanwhile, here’s a look at some of the people who are trying to throw a wet blanket on this accomplishment.
Brian Dunn offers a prediction of what the next round of negative talk will be.
UPDATE: And more wet-blanketry — actually, it’s a lot worse than that — over at the ironically named Democratic Underground:
All the media keeps talking about is how happy the Iraqis are, how high turnout was, and how “freedom” has spread to Iraq. I had to turn off CNN because they kept focusing on the so-called “voters” and barely mentioned the resistance movements at all. Where are the freedom fighters today? Are their voices silenced because some American puppets cast a few ballots?
I can’t believe the Iraqis are buying into this “democracy” bullshit.
MORE: “Those who churlishly denigrate today’s vote really do identify themselves as blind ideologues of the worst sort.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: More on churlish denigration here.
And here’s a roundup of Democratic Underground comments. Sigh.
MOHAMMED AND OMAR: “The people have won.” Read the whole thing.
ANOTHER IRAQI VOTER proudly displays an ink-stained finger.
Sissy Willis observes: “You know what? This is the best thing ever for freedom and human happiness since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
It’s certainly good news.
UPDATE: The New York Times is even reporting a “party atmosphere” in Baghdad.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Chris Fountain notes that this paragraph keeps moving downward in the NYT story above, and he’s right — I’ve still got the old window open and it’s dropped several paragraphs. So here it is, in case it disappears:
But if the insurgents wanted to stop people in Baghdad from voting, they failed. If they wanted to cause chaos, they failed. The voters were completely defiant, and there was a feeling that the people of Baghdad, showing a new, positive attitude, had turned a corner.
At least give ‘em credit for leading with it initially.
The Belmont Club has an interesting post, too, responding to predictable negativism from Juan Cole.
I’ll observe, as James Taranto did last week, that high turnout among the Afrikaners wasn’t seen as the test of the South African elections’ legitimacy. Likewise, high turnout in pro-Ba’ath areas shouldn’t be the test here.
Reader Peter Ingemi, meanwhile, offers a prediction:
I’m remembering the coy saying about the French resistance. “If everyone who claimed to be in the resistance really had been, there would have been nobody left to collaborate.”
I make the following prediction: In 20 or 25 years (it might not even take that long) all the people who where saying that the war was wrong and Iraq was wrong will talk about how America brought democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan and how they were a part of it due to their protests and desire for democracy and the end of tyranny. (of course they will not mention that the tyranny that they meant was us.) If the same people who write the current history books write them again be sure that this will happen.
Heh. Yeah, just like everybody pulled together during the Cold War.
CNN is reporting a 72% turnout. [Later: Some readers think that will turn out to be high, with the final number more like 60%. Still a lot, in the face of widespread death threats. We don't to that well, very often, and the worst we have are long lines.]
Power Line: “Somehow, I had missed the fact that Iraqi expatriates are voting in Syria. Thus, Iraqis living in Syria can participate in a democratic process, but Syrians can’t. A bit odd, that, but it’s another example of the impact this election could have in the Arab world.” Yes, I imagine some Syrians are noticing.
Meanwhile, Robert Fisk appears in his usual role as punching bag. And he remains well-suited for it.
UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg is giving the media coverage a thumbs-down:
So far, I think the coverage has been moderately scandalous. This morning CNN kept its regularly scheduled medical show (though last night they were better, if mostly pre-taped). The major nets seemed to treat this like a fairly ho-hum story. I just walked over to my computer after seeing that the Today Show was offering viewers a segment on new shaving technologies for men.
If things were going badly, they’d be all over it, of course. More evidence that the elections are a success!
MORE: James Dwight:
The polls just closed, and there was 72% turnout with mimimal sporadic violence. The ball is now in the MSM’s court. Or, to use perhaps a more appropriate cliche, the Iraqi people have given the MSM plenty of rope.
FROM THE BBC REPORTERS’ LOG:
(Basra) People have been literally streaming towards polling stations. I have never witnessed this huge turnout for long time.
(Fallujah) A number of polling stations have opened in the city in the north, north-east, and inside the public park. The turnout to all these stations is very low.
(Baghdad) We have seen voting here in the capital, and in the streets close to the BBC office the atmosphere was almost euphoric.
One elderly Shiite man told us his two sons had been executed under Saddam and he was voting now to make sure there was no return to the old days.
Lots of interesting stuff there.
POLLS JUST OPENED IN IRAQ: And Roger Simon will be liveblogging the elections.
UPDATE: There’s more at the Iraq Election Wire.
And, of course, don’t forget Friends of Democracy. And scroll down for lots more links.
Call me a cynic, but the best sign that these elections are likely to succeed can be found in the U.N.’s positioning. (Via the blogad to the right).
JOHN COLE HAS A “DAMNING BUT” ROUNDUP that, despite its extensiveness, is probably just a foretaste of what’s to come.
THE BELGRAVIA DISPATCH has a big Iraqi elections post that’s worth reading.
UPDATE: More here, too.
And here are some pictures of Iraqis voting in California.
MORE: Two predictions from Donald Sensing.
Read this, too.
STILL MORE: Thoughts on metrics for success, here.
IN RESPONSE TO MY EARLIER POST, lefty reader Joe McReynolds emails:
You rightly point out that we liberals must do our best to shout down, disassociate ourselves, do everything we can to make ourselves no longer the party of Michael Moore, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, et al.
And as you noted, the Right does do a better job of quieting its ‘idiotarians’. The only problem is, they essentially do it with the “bribes and promises” approach. Jerry Falwell, even when muzzled, knows that to some degree he and the people he represents will get a hearing from the White House and congress, the American seats of power.
On the left, we are a minority in all branches of government. How can we cast off the extremists if we have nothing to offer to placate them, nothing to drive them away with? It makes it harder to easily dismiss them, and as we get drawn into a serious debate with them (which we’d handily win), the Republicans will simply say, “Look, the Democrats can’t even stop their circular firing squad, how can they run the country?” and we’ll lose more seats in Congress.
I’m with the College Dems at my school, and the reactionary extremism is so thick you could cut it with a knife. What’s the solution for people like me? What *can* we do? Casting out the extremists seems an awful lot like putting salt on a bird’s tail.
You’ve got a big pulpit. Help show us Dems how to make a party that’s sane, but doesn’t believe that America is a Christian nation or homosexuality is a sin or that all the poor are poor because they deserve it.
Well, I don’t believe any of those three things — I don’t even think this is a “pulpit!” — but I confess that I don’t know how to save the Dems. I think that the “silent majority” — those genuine moderate Democrats/Liberals that I keep hearing about, but don’t hear a lot from on the national stage — needs to realize the damage that the kooks do — as the Republicans figured out — and quit regarding extremism as evidence of “commitment” or “passion.” I tried to sketch something like that alternate approach here, but though it’s not hard to imagine, I think it would be hard for the Democrats to do.
I do think, though, that many people (me included) would cheer the Democrats for trying to make those changes, and while there might be a little bit of sniping from Republicans, that sniping would actually help the Democrats by calling attention to what was going on.
The alternative is for the Democratic party to get smaller as it gets angrier, and angrier as it gets smaller, until it just doesn’t matter anymore. At some point the Republican Party will then likely split into a social-conservative wing and a libertarian wing, and I can join the latter, I guess. I’m not ready to call the Democrats the new Whigs, but it’s not impossible for me to imagine.
The question is, will the Democrats be willing to do to Ted Kennedy, for his remarks on the war, what Republicans did to Trent Lott, for his remarks on Strom Thurmond and the 1948 election?
UPDATE: Reader Maria Gordon emails:
I read your posting from Joe McReynolds with a sinking heart. I voted for George W. because I felt he was the better candidate (not ideal, just better). Having said that, I would most willingly vote Democratic if they could field someone that would reflect those that are middle of the road. The Democrats continue to dish up candidates so left of center they fall off a cliff. (caveat, we just moved from SF (to Virginia) where the politics go beyond the pale; if you don’t agree with them you must be wealthy, wicked and evil. So much for healthy debate to challenge ones views; which by the way, we are not wealthy, both have MBA’s and have never considered ourselves non-charitable) The Democratic Party today reminds me of the Tories after John Major. Their biggest problem is the Tory Party. Today, the Democratic Party’s biggest problem is the Democrats themselves. Heaven help us if they can’t figure this out as I for one, do not wish to have a one party system. It makes me uncomfortable to have all three branches of government in one party’s hand but what can we do when not given a true choice?
I agree. Hugh Hewitt can have a slogan calling for the end of the Democrats’ power on his site if he wants, but I’d much prefer seeing a functioning two-party system. It does seem to me that Karl Rove wants to do to the Democrats what Tony Blair’s Labour has done to the Tories. And it also seems to me that the Democrats are helping Rove a lot, just as the Tories helped Blair. I don’t think it’s a good thing in either case, but what can I do besides point it out?
Meanwhile, Jeff Jarvis asks: “are we on the left really reduced to the Mr. Blackwell party?”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Eric Hall has a different British example in mind:
For the Dems to win, they need to muster the balls to split from the hard-left. This is both the means to the end, and the end itself.
A moderate centrist party that pulls in the majority of independents and also saps the harder edges of the spectrum simply would not be beat. What we need is a party that: avowedly embraces the many benefits of capitalism and industry while also protecting investors and labor; that understands how foreign policy depends on negotiating from a position of strength instead of a position of weakness; that personal libertarianism has to be balanced with the need for communities to be able to define their own laws and norms according to their social systems and beliefs, and most of all, that America is already a force for good in the world and not a font of evil.
That could be the Democrats, but for them to get there they have to become the centrist party. This means, primarily, that they need to encourage the establishment of a more powerful “true left” party (eg, the greens or the socialists), and force the hard-left elements into that party. They would also have to recruit centrist republicans and independents so that they could grow the center into an actual majority (or a sizable plurality anyway). Since this strategy necessarily dictates that the Democrats would become smaller before they became larger, it is not likely to happen on purpose, of course. However, since they are already on track to becoming smaller anyway, this may happen on its own, just as Blair rescued Labour after it had been destroyed by itself.
I hope that this happens. Single-party dominance doesn’t make for great government, at least from my perspective.
MIKE HENDRIX SUMS UP three and a half years of blogging in one post.
MONKEYS WILL PAY TO SEE MONKEY PORN: And they’re into “celebrity gossip,” too:
The rhesus macaque monkeys also splurged on photos of top-dog counterparts, the high-ranking primates. . . . The scientists actually had to pay these guys, in the form of extra juice, to get them to look at images of lower-ranking monkeys.
I guess that’s why Oliver and Max blog about InstaPundit so much more than the reverse . . . . (Via Slashdot).
THIS doesn’t sound like very sophisticated diplomacy.
UPDATE: Reader Billy Hollis sees beneath the surface:
Maybe it was just all a series of mistakes. Then again, the Iranians probably came away with the idea of “those crazy, blundering Americans – there’s no telling what they’ll do”. And that may be exactly what we want them to think.
Heh. I sure hope we’re that smart . . . .
IRAQI ELECTION COVERAGE ON C-SPAN TOMORROW will include a section with Spirit of America.
And here’s a huge roundup of Iraq election coverage, courtesy of Jeff Jarvis.
UPDATE: The Mudville Gazette has more, including these comments to Dan Rather:
Johnson says the Marine presence has changed life in Hasweh. His convoys are being attacked much less frequently. The market is busy. Schools, which were closed last year, are open now. And there is water and electricity most of the time.
But Johnson doesn’t think that story is getting out. Neither does Sgt. Lewis. “I am tired of hearing the crap,” says Lewis. “The whole, well, ‘We are barely hanging on, we’re losing, the insurgency is growing.’ All that. We are doing fine. It’s just a small, a small amount of people out there causing the problems. I mean, it is a small number, and we’re killing them.”
And from Dan Rather. As Greyhawk writes: “I admit to being surprised” at the tenor of Rather’s reporting. And check out his whole site.
I’d like to ask a favor: Regardless of one’s political inclination, irrespective of your confidence in the electoral process employed, or the decision to invade and occupy Iraq, no matter what the outcome, let us all stand united in our admiration for those courageous Iraqi’s who will brave gunfire, RPGs, bombs, and reprisal, to determine their own fate? For they choose to do so in bold defiance of promised violence and certain intimidation.
DON’T MISS MORE IRAQ ELECTION COVERAGE from Friends of Democracy.
DAVID ADESNIK ON SPIDERMAN IN INDIA: Very interesting. And a great opening: “ONLY SUPERHEROES have superpowers. But are superpowers the only ones who have superheroes?”
UPDATE: Reader Tom Hazlewood disagrees with part of Adesnik’s analysis, though:
Adesnik says, “Yet perhaps it was no accident that the first super-powered alien landed on U.S. soil. From the earliest days of the Republic, American culture has been conducive to fantasies of omnipotence. ”
Comic superheroes are not omnipotent. They always have weaknesses. It’s the omnipresence of great evil that gives realization of the superheroes’ purpose.
Superheroes and supervillians are always able to knock ordinary foes about, the good and the bad, like tenpins. The usual forces of law and order are always incapable of stopping them. Only superheroes can confront a archvillian. The point of the comics is that only superior good can counter great evil.
But too many red-kryptonite plots get kind of old. And speaking of super-limitations, this classic Larry Niven essay, Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex, suggests that Superman may find life a bit frustrating.
CALLING FOR CONSTRUCTIVE ACTION, instead of just complaining about “not enough troops,” a “bipartisan group” of hawks is calling for an increase in the size of the military. (“Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution places the power and the duty to raise and support the military forces of the United States in the hands of the Congress. That is why we, the undersigned, a bipartisan group with diverse policy views, have come together to call upon you to act.”) I’m in favor of this, too, I think. I’m not at all persuaded that we need more troops in Iraq, but I think that the argument for more troops on a global basis is pretty strong.
ADVICE TO LAW STUDENTS: Orin Kerr writes on the exaggerated importance of first-year grades.
I DON’T KNOW WHY KAUS AND SULLIVAN ARE FIGHTING, or how I got dragged into it, but contrary to what Andrew suggests, I’m not sticking my fingers in my ears. I just think that the bad news is more-than-adequately aired in the rather hysterical Big Media — which often act as if they want us to lose — and feel that my time and effort is better spent on the things that I think are important. I also think that Sullivan’s gratuitous slap at The Belmont Club and Power Line is rather unjustified. The Belmont Club’s track record on Iraq, after all, has been rather good, as has Power Line’s. I used to rely on Andrew for this sort of analysis, but now I often have to go elsewhere. I don’t think that reflects badly on Power Line.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Sullivan responds to me, but he fails on two levels. His notion that I should be providing comprehensive and balanced coverage, instead of blogging about what interests me, seems rather, um, old media — as if the only model is that of a newspaper. (Actually, I assume that my readers are getting the daily boom-and-bang news from CNN, the NYT, etc.) It also seems rather odd: Andrew certainly doesn’t seem to feel any obligation to provide “fair-and-balanced” coverage of what seems to be his key issue, gay rights and gay marriage. That’s okay with me, as I expect Andrew’s blog to reflect what he thinks is important, and deserves more attention. I’m mystified as to why he expects something different from me.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Kaus continues after Andrew: “The point isn’t that his standards are going rapidly down, or up, or down and up at the same time. The point is he’s faking it.”
Ouch. I confess that I’ve been trying for a while to figure out what was going on with Andrew on the war, but I’m not sure that “faking it” is the right characterization. Because I can’t figure out what he would be faking. John Cole is confused, too. But I don’t think that Andrew is posting drunk, something that I’ve been accused of — though in this case, approvingly — myself. I’m not sure what’s going on.
MORE: More thoughts here and John Hinderaker of Power Line responds: “Maybe it’s a result of what I do for a living, but I’m hard to offend, and I don’t begrudge Andrew his opinion. I think it’s generally true that we have supported President Bush on Iraq, through thick and thin. But I don’t think this is because we are uncritical or blindly partisan. I think it is because steadiness is a key virtue in a leader, and Bush has been steady and resolute in his conduct of the war against Islamic terrorists.” Which is a virtue.
ANN ALTHOUSE IS CARBLOGGING: I still think she should have gotten the Corvette.
COURAGE at Dartmouth.
TOM MAGUIRE continues to blog on Social Security Reform.
HATE-FILLED STUPIDITY FROM LEFT-LEANING ACADEMICS ISN’T NEWS anymore, which is why I haven’t been paying much attention to the story of Colorado professor Ward Churchill’s comparison of 9/11 victims to Eichmann. But go here and look at the picture.
Isn’t he exactly what you imagined? Shoulder-length hair, grimly self-righteous expression, black turtleneck, Abbie Hoffman sunglasses. A man whose look, like his rhetoric, is frozen in the amber of 1969.
The same kind of guys, looking the same way, were saying the same kinds of things when I was younger than my daughter is now. When will the Left catch up with the times?
UPDATE: Heh. Check out this picture. Let’s do the time warp, again!
ANOTHER UPDATE: Various lefty readers email to say that Ward Churchill is not the authentic face of the Left.
I wish I agreed with that. But, sadly, he is its very image today.
When Ted Kennedy can make an absurd and borderline-traitorous speech on the war, when Michael Moore shares a VIP box with the last Democratic President but one, when Barbara Boxer endorses a Democratic consultant/blogger whose view of American casualties in Iraq is “screw ‘em,” well, this is the authentic face of the Left. Or what remains of it.
There was a time when the Left opposed fascism and supported democracy, when it wasn’t a seething-yet-shrinking mass of self-hatred and idiocy. That day is long past, and the moral and intellectual decay of the Left is far gone.
Don’t believe me? Listen to Naomi Klein:
The great error made during the electoral campaign was that the anti-war movement allowed itself to turn into an anti-Bush movement. So as the logic of anyone-but-Bush set in — and there wasn’t a candidate speaking on these issues — the war itself disappeared. What I mean by that is that the reality of war itself disappeared. The truth is that we were talking about Iraq in the past tense — not about what was happening on the ground during the campaign. And indeed, I believe that continues to be true to a scandalous degree, especially what we’ve just seen in recent months in Iraq. I’m worried that we haven’t learned from that mistake yet.
We also need to more clearly focus on policy demands. I have been arguing for a long time that the anti-war movement should turn itself into a pro-democracy movement, i.e., support the demands for democracy in Iraq. . . .
Quite frankly, there’s a lot of skepticism in Iraq — from what I saw — about the international anti-war movement. In part, it’s because anti-war forces were not critical enough of Saddam. But it’s also because we haven’t proposed this kind of practical solidarity that has to do with improving people’s lives, and not just absolving our conscience. Or saying “Not in our name,” and then going home. . . .
It’s very, very frustrating. What I keep coming across in the U.S. anti-war movement is the acceptance of this idea that Americans are incapable of caring about anyone but themselves. The progressives in the U.S. are fairly self-loathing
And in this, at least, they’re right. Greg Djerejian has more on Churchill:
The relativistic mish-mash and garbage contained above, the laughably simplistic narrative underpinning talk of some nefarious “global financial empire,”–all are shibboleths of 60′s group-think, prevalent among a significant number of baby boomer generation academics, taken to parodic extremes (American capitalism bad, the nefarious “military-industrial” complex a product thereto, anyone working in lower Manhattan near evil Wall Street therefore complicit (part of a nefarious “technocratic corps” with blood on their hands), and thus getting their just deserts (does Ward Churchill even know that the WTC was a ‘back-office’, of sorts, servicing the Gordon Gekko “Master of the Universe” players more likely to work on the 30th floor of 85 Broad or in office buildings lining Park in the high 40s and low 50s?)
But let’s put all this aside. The reason I blogged this tonight, is because, truth be told, these views (if somewhat less extreme manifestations) are much more widespread than we might think. In New York, just a month after 9/11, a leftist female acquaintance of mine (an American!) admitted (with some shame, it should be said) that she felt a tinge of joy in her stomach when she digested the news. America had humiliated so many societies, her thinking went, here’s a comeuppance, of sorts.
Read the whole thing. And read this, from The Belmont Club, too.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Martin Shoemaker emails:
I keep hearing people saying “X is not the authentic face of the left.” Yet I don’t hear them repudiate all of the X’s out there. I don’t hear them stand up and announce that X is wrong. I don’t hear them explaining how they’re going to take the Democrat Party back from the X’s. And I DO hear them defending or excusing all of the X behavior.
If the left/Democrats mean what they say, they have it in their power to stop the decay of the Democrat power. Stand up, speak out, and take the Party back from all the X’s. If they do that, they might win back folks like me. I only reluctantly started calling myself a Republican in the 2004 election, and only then because I didn’t see any Democrats standing up against terror and the divisive folks who abet terror.
Yeah. There’s an endless supply of guys like Churchill. And I’d love to believe that they’re marginal figures. But then I see the embrace of Moore, and the behavior of major Democrats like Boxer and Kennedy, and it’s just hard to believe. There certainly are some well-meaning people on the Left who don’t like that, but I”m afraid that they are the marginal figures nowadays.
Ed Driscoll has further thoughts:
This is a crucial period for the left: they’ve lost two consecutive presidential elections, Congress for a decade, and the Senate for almost as long. They’ve also acted increasingly shabbily in reaction to 9/11, of which Churchill’s (what a paradoxical name for the guy) 3000 “little Eichmanns” quote is merely the latest manifestation. Is there room for a comeback? Only if Hillary runs a brilliant campaign (and even then, she’ll probably have to deal with a Republican Congress and Senate, unless she has very, very long coattails).
Or leftwing elites could try tacking closer to the center.
In the 1950s, Bill Buckley was able to create a new conservatism by casting out the John Birchers and their anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories. Now it’s the left’s turn to try to do much the same.
I wish I saw more evidence of that. On the other hand, this is pretty funny.
On the other hand, Dave Schuler thinks I’m wrong about the Left. I don’t think so, but you can read his post and make up your own mind.
But I suspect that it didn’t even occur to any of the lefties writing to complain about my post to write Prof. Churchill and complain about his remarks. But lefty reader Josh Kinniard writes:
Your largely right on the state of many Americans that supported the Left Wing in the last elections. A large majority of Americans are, simply put, shallow and uninformed. Many people see the faults in George W. Bush, such as his sometimes inability to–as he himself will admit–think on his feet in front of a crowd. They mix these personal attributes they have observed and mix them with unrationally drawn conclusions that are presented to them from other sources without using proper methods of reason–largely because they do not have the resources easily at hand to do anything else.
I voted for John Kerry after proper rationalization. Those of us who did got caught in an election storm where we saw these shallow uninformed joining the
Kerry bandwagon, and we knew their rationalization was wrong, but we were limited to what we could do to stop the tide and educate them. That tide may have cost Kerry the election.
My point: please dont forget those of us that are still active citizens who truly want to participate in the betterment of society.
I haven’t forgotten. But I’m waiting for you to take a more active role in confronting the Ward Churchills — and Michael Moores, and Barbara Boxers — who are doing harm to the country, and even more harm to the Left.
MORE: Dr. Evil is quoted here.
And this review of Steve Earle’s concert in Knoxville — in which he performed before a hammer and sickle — observes:
The Soviet imagery might have seemed corny five years ago, but in the current right-leaning climate, a left-wing backlash is inevitable. Expect to see more of it.
If Kerry had won, would it be understandable for Republican artists to perform in front of swastikas? And how seriously should we take people who wish we had lost the Cold War, and who want us to lose this one?
Still more on Churchill here. And perhaps the best take comes from reader Harvey Schneider:
The irony of the Churchill episode is that Colorado University gets federal money. You would think with his radical Anti-American outlook, The money he makes as an instructor would burn in his hands like Holy Water in a demons hands. He seems to be guilty of the same crime as many in the WTC that day. Being a part of the system.
Heh. And for those who email saying “what about Falwell on the right,” well, it’s worth remembering that the term “idiotarian” was coined with Falwell in mind. It’s just that the right has done a better job of muzzling and marginalizing its idiots, while the Left has embraced them. And if the “backlash” theory set out above is true, it will only get worse, which is bad for the Left, and bad for America.
Oliver Willis emails that my pointing this out is “vitriol.” But in fact, following my advice would be likely to help the Left, and the Democrats, do better in elections. Baby-boomer posturing didn’t even help the Democrats 30 years ago (remember who won by a landslide in 1972). It’s not likely to help much now.
I keep hearing that there’s a silent majority on the Left that doesn’t agree with these things. I keep waiting for it to stop being silent. Perhaps they should listen to this Iraqi reaction to Ted Kennedy’s speech:
I think that AlZarqawy could not have rallied his troops with a better speech. What is he doing giving speeches like this so close to the elections in Iraq? Iraqis will brave threats to their lives to vote in hope that we will stay with them till they are ready. Now a U.S. senator tells them we must pull out quickly and leave the Iraqis with no help.
Ted Kennedy’s latest rant got us to thinking about the contrast between the two greatest American political dynasties of the past half century, the Bushes and the Kennedys. Look at the two most prominent members of each dynasty, and in both cases you will see a study in contrasts.
Somewhat related post, here.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT, GLENN FLEISHMAN: Reader Geoff Osler emails:
Thought you’d appreciate this: I’m on an SAS flight from Copenhagen to Seattle right now, just crossing over Reykjavik. I’m sending this to you via in-flight wi-fi (Connexion by Boeing).
The flight crew are all proud they’ve beat Lufthansa to the punch: they tell me this is the first-ever commercial flight with in-flight wi-fi!
Also, as I was the first to log in on this flight, that makes this the first-ever email sent from a regularly-scheduled commercial flight.
Cool. Though I actually thought that Lufthansa was already doing this on some flights.
SOUTHGATE, Mich. — Joyful tears and frequent applause marked the start of U.S. voting Friday in Iraq’s first independent elections in more than 50 years.
Security was tight at the abandoned store-turned-polling place in this Detroit suburb, with guards checking IDs at the parking lot entrance and using metal detectors at the doors. Inside, an oversized, homemade Iraqi flag hung from the ceiling. One poll worker could be seen weeping.
“We feel happy now. This is like America, this voting,” said Zoha Yess, 64. “We want fair, good government.”
Sounds good to me. And read this piece by William Shawcross, too.
(January 27, 2005) — If you don’t believe that bloggers are giving newspapers a headache, talk to Nick Coleman. A veteran newspaper columnist for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Coleman is in the middle of an old-fashioned feud with one of the leading conservative Web logs in the country.
So far, his battle with Powerlineblog.com — Time magazine’s “blog of the year” — has sparked an anger-spewing column by Coleman, an ombudsman’s clarification, and a threat by a leading bank to pull advertising from the newspaper.
Moreover, it has confirmed the growing ability of blogs to get under the skin of the mainstream media. “This is just the beginning,” an exasperated Coleman warns. “People need to pay attention to [bloggers]. To watch out.”
JAMES LILEKS FOR FCC CHAIRMAN: There’s even a petition.
DONALD SENSING: “As it turns out, the European Union seems not to have put the screws to Thailand over its purchase of the new A380 airliner.”
LOTS OF INTERESTING STUFF on the Iraqi blog Hammorabi, including the observation that the Iraqi example is already putting democratic pressure on its neighbors.
THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE offers a roundup of military bloggers in Iraq.
JAMES LILEKS OFFERS A PREVIEW of Iraq election coverage:
However the election goes will be one thing; how it’s reported is another. The thing to watch is the position of the Damning But, the old DB. The DB will probably bob up in the first or second paragraphs of most dispatches. “The election went as planned in 95 percent of the country, but violence marred polling in the disputed Sunny D Triangle, where insurgents opposed to Tropicana Juice fired automatic weapons into an juice concentrate factory.” That’s one spin. “The election, long anticipated as a flashpoint for insurgent activity, went off with few delays. Despite sporadic gunfire marring the overall mood of success in several provinces, observers said that the process was ‘smooth as a Sade groove,’ adding that they were annoyed Sade had simply faded away instead of letting her career end with a tasteful layout in Playboy.” See? No DB there. We’ll see.
The Sade point is a good one, too.
VIRGINIA POSTREL looks at the surprisingly high benefits of free trade.
JEFF JARVIS GIVES ERIC ALTERMAN BOTH BARRELS for speculating that pro-American Iraqi bloggers must be CIA plants.
Of course, Jeff’s double-barrel assault is figurative; if Eric’s irresponsible comments inspire one, it will be literal.
SO WHILE THE INSTA-WIFE AND INSTA-DAUGHTER watched Joey and The Apprentice, I plugged the headphones into the laptop and watched this William Gibson documentary. It’s quite good, in a low-key way — mostly Gibson riding around in the backseat of a limo, talking to the camera about stuff he thinks is important. I didn’t realize that he was from around here — his family is from Wytheville, just across the Virginia line, and he lived in Oak Ridge for a while.
Sadly, no offers have come in to make the Lileks documentary I envisioned, though.
UPDATE: Well, somebody’s interested.
KURDS IN NASHVILLE:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) For years, the thousands of Kurds living in Nashville have blended into the city’s immigrant community in relative anonymity.
But now they are in the spotlight with Iraq’s national elections that begin Friday and run through Sunday. Nashville is one of five American cities where Iraqi expatriates can vote, and nearly 4,000 of them are registered here more than Los Angeles and Washington. Detroit and Chicago have more. . . .
Many are thrilled to have a chance to vote in a real election without fear of reprisal.
”The ballot before had Saddam Hussein yes or no and if you put no, the bodyguard took you to the jail,” said Ali Almoumineen, 38, who left Iraq with his wife and two children in 1999. He isn’t Kurdish, but found a home in the community nonetheless.
Kurdish expert Michael Gunter, a professor at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville and author of six books on the people of Northern Iraq, said the Kurds who moved to Nashville were comforted by the anonymity of the Music City.
”You can sort of go about the business of becoming an American in Nashville easier than Washington, New York or California, where things are more politicized,” Gunter said. ”Many Kurds just wanted to start a new life and emphasize the private things not keep fighting the public battles.”
I’ve known a few Kurds in Knoxville whose families were in Nashville.
UPDATE: Here’s a report on Iraqis voting in Australia — and on who showed up to protest.
The Gallagher kerfuffle conceals one of the Beltway’s tidy little secrets: Hundreds, if not thousands, of policy experts and advocates receive federal grants and contracts. Federal funding of experts, advocacy groups, and other nonprofits is so widespread that it scarcely ever warrants attention. The real scandal is not that a federal agency paid Maggie Gallagher for her expertise, but that federal agencies dole out millions in taxpayer dollars each and every year to activist organizations that turn around and call for Congress to grant these agencies even greater power. This is the real “political payola” in Washington, and it is about time it received some attention.
And there’s more here:
In furtherance of Jonathan Adler’s point, if you go to Landmark Legal Foundation’s website you will find thousands of environmental groups that receive government grants. The Washington Post has used scores of these groups in its news stories. Does the Washington Post have a policy of disclosing the groups’ government connections in its news pages? Not that I can discern. When the groups’ representatives are on radio and TV shows, do they disclose that they’ve received money from the government? Not that I can discern.
Hey, I’m starting to like the new rules. Disclosure for all!
UPDATE: Bill Quick notes the people who got Enron money and observes: “Want a journalist? Go buy one. They’re cheap. Really cheap. Oh, and relatively inexpensive, too.”