September 10, 2006
MESSAGE: EVERYTHING SUCKS! The teaser for my local news was “Concern over falling oil prices — what this could mean for you!”
Uh, cheaper gas? Yeah, I’m really concerned.
MESSAGE: EVERYTHING SUCKS! The teaser for my local news was “Concern over falling oil prices — what this could mean for you!”
Uh, cheaper gas? Yeah, I’m really concerned.
Soon after Freeh received these reports, he went to Berger’s West Wing office to tell him that they might finally have the evidence necessary to bring indictments. Freeh told Berger that he was looking into whether the United States could take testimony in Saudi Arabia for a grand jury in the States; it was a novel legal concept, and the Saudis had not yet agreed to it. Almost before Freeh could finish, Berger demanded, “Who else knows about this?” Did the press know? This was the last question that Freeh expected from a national-security adviser. Not many people knew, Freeh replied. The information was very closely held. Berger also questioned some of the statements linking the bombing to the Iranian government.
“That’s just hearsay,” Berger said.
“No, Sandy,” Freeh replied. “It’s testimony of a co-conspirator in furtherance of a conspiracy.” Berger, Freeh later thought, was not a national-security adviser; he was a public-relations hack, interested in how something would play in the press. After more than two years, Freeh had concluded that the Administration did not really want to resolve the Khobar bombing.
When I asked Berger about this, he seemed baffled by Freeh’s interpretation.
After the pants incident, its hard for me to respect Berger, and easy for me to see him as overly concerned with how things will play in the press. Read the whole thing and form your own opinions.
UPDATE: Austin Bay is watching it too: “I see why Clinton is afraid of it. The movie serves as a reminder of all of the terrorist attacks and attempted attacks. Clinton went eight years and Bush eight months playing cops and robbers while Al Qaeda was implementing unrestricted warfare.”
Yes, the Democrats have shown their usual instinct for the capillary. While worrying about minor bits, they’ve missed that the real harm is simply the reminder of the terrorist threat, which they’ve tried to downplay, but which they’ve magnified in people’s minds by making a stink. Going on the offensive like this just reminds people that they’ve been downplaying it for over a decade.
If they’d kept their mouths shut, this would be about the terrorists, which would be bad enough. Now it’s about the terrorists and the Democrats.
MORE: Best line so far: “War is about killing the enemy and destroying his property. It’s not about sitting around in a conference room and covering your own asses.” From 1998.
Clinton looks very bad. So does Sandy Berger.
Massoud: “Are there any men left in Washington, or are they all cowards?”
Madeleine Albright looks pretty bad, too, on the question of informing the Pakistanis that we were trying to kill bin Laden in time for him to get away. Easy to see why she’s unhappy. Is that bit true? I’m not sure.
Tenet looks like an ass-coverer. So, so far, I’d say it’s pretty accurate . . . .
Upside for Clinton: Osama’s jihadis emptying pistols into a TV screen showing him, and shouting “Clinton is Satan!”
FINALLY: I’ll try to roundup critiques tomorrow. But I think it was a big mistake for Democrats to draw attention to this film by attacking it and trying to block its broadcast. I wouldn’t have watched it without the hype, and I’ll be that’s true for a lot of people.
Meanwhile, Richard Clarke seems to be ass-covering in the after-show news segment. But George Tenet is getting hammered.
And Hot Air has a side-by-side comparison of edited and unedited scenes.
C.J. Burch emails:
I didn’t watch it, but let me make a bet with you. Over the next couple of weeks the networks will do so many stories “debunking” the show that I’ll feel like I have to see it just to get a fair look at all the facts. And I won’t be the only one. Look for this to be a huge seller on DVD for just that reason. Oh, and Sandy Berger will be on television alot over the next couple of weeks as well which will lead to booming business for the blogs willing to take another look at his pants stuffing incident. Becuase the networks sure won’t. The Democrats have a huge problem here. The problem is that people are beginning to wonder what the hell they’re hiding. With the AP thing and the Rueters photos thing and the Rathergate thing and the Eason Jordan thing and the Censorship for access thing and the staged photos thing the networks have the same problem. Look for some surprises come November.
ANTI-KHATAMI PROTESTS AT HARVARD: Robert Mayer has photos and video. “From the beginning, I noticed that there were two sides to this protest. The first is outrage that Khatami is in the United States and speaking about tolerance and a dialogue of civilizations when there is no dialogue of any kind within his own civilization. The other is that Harvard is giving him the venue to do so.” The turnout seems to have been rather large.
Teresa Hummel has a report with more photos, too.
WHAT HE SAID THEN:
MR. ROCKEFELLER: Mr. President, we are here today to debate one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my 18 years in the Senate. There is no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein is a despicable dictator, a war criminal, a regional menace, and a real and growing threat to the United States. The difficulty of this decision is that while Saddam Hussein represents a threat, each of the options for dealing with him poses serious risks, to America’s servicemembers, to our citizens, and to our role in the world. . . .
As the attacks of September 11 demonstrated, the immense destructiveness of modern technology means we can no longer afford to wait around for a smoking gun. September 11 demonstrated that the fact that an attack on our homeland has not yet occurred cannot give us any false sense of security that one will not occur in the future. We no longer have that luxury.
September 11 changed America. It made us realize we must deal differently with the very real threat of terrorism, whether it comes from shadowy groups operating in the mountains of Afghanistan or in 70 other countries around the world, including our own.
There has been some debate over how “imminent” a threat Iraq poses. I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. It is in the nature of these weapons, and the way they are targeted against civilian populations, that documented capability and demonstrated intent may be the only warning we get. To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? We cannot!
For some, the change brought about by September 11 was short-lived.
UPDATE: It’s the return of unfrozen caveman Senator!
DAILYPUNDIT’S WEEKEND COOKING THREAD IS UP, and I agree with this offhand remark: “There should also be a little nook in Hell reserved for the son of a bitch who invented those little stickers that get put on fruit and vegetables.”
SO I WENT TO THE SHOOTING RANGE but had to come home. It was too crowded, and I didn’t have time for the hour-plus wait. Business has been better since Guncraft Sports became Coal Creek Armory (slogan: “Automatics for the People”) but I was still surprised.
The explanation: “Tomorrow is September 11th.” Come to think of it, that’s how I observed the anniversary last year.
I agree. I agree with this part, too: “This strikes me as an extremely unwise strategy on a number of levels.”
A HARVARD protest against Khatami tonight. If you go, email me some pics!
TECHNOBABBLE: That’s me!
READER DEANNA HEAVEN emails that she just watched The Path to 9/11 in New Zealand:
Seeing all the attacks of the 90s laid out and dramatized (with a couple of screwed-up attempts to get Bin Laden thrown in) was kind of shocking, even for someone who is already familiar with the facts. I understand why the Clinton people do not want this to air. About the two disputed scenes: Berger does not slam down the phone but he comes of very very badly anyway. The scene with Albright doesn’t look to have changed at all (from descriptions I heard earlier). I tend to share Lileks’ (and your) view about pre-9/11 actions getting a pass, but I must say, seeing one incompetent act after another does make me angry with the Clinton Administration. I imagine it might have the same effect on other viewers.
It is not the most exciting or well paced film, but it is nonetheless completely riveting. Watch it.
Well, we certainly could have saved ourselves a lot of trouble if we’d acted more vigorously in the 1990s. But hindsight is always 20/20.
UPDATE: Best take yet: ” It’s too late to decide to attack Bin Laden, so let’s attack this TV show.” Don’t miss the “prurient right-wing video.”
MORE: I agree with this comment: “This firestorm is a lose-lose for Dems. Any rational voter can compare the Bush reaction to Farenheit 911 and the current Clinton reaction, and draw appriopriate conclusions.”
More on the film and the controversy, including another viewer report from Down Under, here.
CORY MAYE UPDATE: Radley Balko has been pursuing this story indefatigably, and he’s now identified the informant whose call led to the wrong-house no-knock raid:
After the guy realized the investigator was working for the defense team, he clammed up. When Bob Evans — Cory Maye’s lead attorney — called to tell him that if he didn’t talk, they’d compell his testimony with a subpeona, the informant flipped out. He called Evans, and left a rant on Evans’ answering machine that, when Evans played it for me the other night, blew my mind. It’s a 45-second clip of absolute fury, brimming with f-bombs, anger, hate, and — by my count — at least four utterances of the word “nigger.”
This is the “trustworthy” informant whose tip led to the raid on Cory Maye’s home. An unabashed bigot. Makes you wonder how many other black people have been raided, arrested, and imprisoned based on this guy’s tips.
Jeez. You have to have informants for some law enforcement tasks, of course, but the peculiar dynamics of the Drug War lead to much more reliance on these usually unsavory types, and drastically higher risks of tragic outcomes when, as here, they’re paired with no-knock raids on what turns out to be the wrong house.
Another reason, among many, for getting rid of the Drug War, of course.
MARTIN AMIS on The Age of Horrorism:
I will spell this out, because it has not been broadly assimilated. The most extreme Islamists want to kill everyone on earth except the most extreme Islamists; but every jihadi sees the need for eliminating all non-Muslims, either by conversion or by execution. And we now know what happens when Islamism gets its hands on an army (Algeria) or on something resembling a nation state (Sudan). In the first case, the result was fratricide, with 100,000 dead; in the second, following the Islamist coup in 1989, the result has been a kind of rolling genocide, and the figure is perhaps two million. And it all goes back to Greeley, Colorado, and to Sayyid Qutb.
Things started to go wrong for poor Sayyid during the Atlantic crossing from Alexandria, when, allegedly, ‘a drunken, semi-naked woman’ tried to storm his cabin.
Read the whole thing. (Via Amit Varma, who has some further thoughts.)
MURDERER IN THE CATHEDRAL: Andrew Marcus and Richard Miniter are reporting on Khatami at the National Cathedral. It’s some useful background you’re unlikely to see elsewhere. Plus, hot Iranian protest babes.
A TROUBLING FIND in a Knoxville used book store.
A DEBATE ON PRISONER TREATMENT, at the Washington Post’s PostGlobal blog.
A BLOGGER fighting for his life.
TIM RUTTEN: “SURVEYING the smoking ruin that is ABC’s reputation after the ‘The Path to 9/11′ debacle, it’s hard to know whether you’re looking at the consequence of unadulterated folly or of a calculated strategy that turned out to be too clever by half.”
Meanwhile, Patterico sees the development of weird conspiracy theories.
UPDATE: The European trailer for the film, plus some useful comments.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Boldly standing up to censorship, RedState has posted clips from the unedited film.
MORE: Heh. “The world is now safe.”
AN EXPLOSIVE TURN IN BOLIVIA: Publius has a report.
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION is sometimes criticized for being too close to the Saudis. Here’s more such criticism.
ERIN CHAPIN videoblogs from Neyland Stadium.
NETANYAHU SPEAKS AT NYU: Video here.
What a wacky world we live in.
Republicans have spent more than Democrats, and now Democrats favor censorship.
A third, non-idiot, party would be nice.
RUBY TUESDAY’S — the restaurant for fat people!
That slogan won’t sell, but I’m not the only one to complain about their new menu. Danny Glover writes:
I recently had a business lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s. I used to like going there because of the numerous healthy options on the menu, but they were gone on my last visit. I’m actually on a low-carb diet right now, so I was still able to order a steak and vegetables. Still, I was irritated that it was my only option.
Weirdly, my earlier post got me some abusive emails accusing me of betraying market principles and libertarianism by complaining about Ruby’s menu. But I wasn’t calling for the government to regulate them, just complaining about their new menu. A view of market capitalism in which customers aren’t allowed to express their dissatisfaction is . . . weird.
The real power of Posner’s effort is that he stands back and measures whether Guantanamo Bay and wiretapping are really worth it. It’s proof that the best cure for partisan shrieking is a good old-fashioned game of cost-benefit analysis.
Our podcast interview with Posner can be found here.
UPDATE: Here’s another positive review of Posner’s book, from Peter Berkowitz.
HOW WRONG CAN A FIVE-SENTENCE AP STORY ON GUNS BE? Eugene Volokh counts the ways.
FUTUREGIRL VIDEOBLOGS ON — what else? — houses of . . . the future!
MARTIN ALBRIGHT wonders if it’s time for station wagons to make a comeback:
If Mom and Dad had it, we don’t want it. The principle has been an article of faith since homo sapiens first stalked the savannah. Bouffant hairstyles? Brylcreem? Gedoutta here. Eighteen-hour girdles? Puh-lease. When it comes to vehicles, there’s nothing stodgier than Mom’s old station wagon. If thirty or forty-somethings think about the genre at all, it’s with mocking derision. From National Lampoon’s “Family Truckster” to That 70’s Show’s Vista Cruiser, the station wagon is the ultimate icon of suburban conformity and, well, blah. It really IS your father’s Oldsmobile. . . .
I’ve always believed wagons were God’s chosen vehicles. After all, what can a four-door sedan do that a station wagon can’t? Other than the sedan’s [highly subjective] advantage in the appearance department, nothing. Pistonheads will protest that station wagons don’t accelerate, corner or brake as well as their non-wagon counterparts. And no wonder; manufacturers usually delete the sedan’s high-performance parts from the station wagon’s OEM equipment list. When a station wagon gets the right greasy bits (think WRX, Magnum SRT-8) their performance is pretty damn close to the trunk-equipped version– and they retain the utility that makes a wagon, well, a wagon.
I agree. I drove a Passat wagon for years — had to have something that would hold the sound equipment — and it was a great car, roomy, comfortable, and fairly quick. I replaced it with the Highlander hybrid, and it’s an even better car, but it’s basically a station wagon with plausible deniability. Had I been able to get one, and had the InstaWife and InstaDaughter not threatened revolt over replacing the old car with something virtually identical, I would have probably gotten the Passat TDI wagon — not zoomy, with its diesel engine, but nearly as quick as the gas model and getting 38+ mpg.
DON’T MESS WITH NURSES: “A nurse returning from work discovered an intruder armed with a hammer in her home and strangled him with her bare hands, police said.”
I think this makes her a “murderer” in the opinion of some lobby groups. I disagree.
UPDATE: Don’t mess with wheelchair-bound grannies, either:
As muggings go, it began like many others. A 56-year-old woman was leaving her building in her wheelchair, her only company the small dog perched on her lap.
Her attacker came from behind, the police said, and there was no one else around. But this attempted robbery had an ending unlike many others. As it turns out, the would-be victim, Margaret Johnson, has a permit to carry a .357 handgun — and she carries it often.
The mugging ended seconds after it began, the police said, when Ms. Johnson pulled out her gun and shot her attacker in his arm. Last night, the man accused of the attempted mugging, Deron Johnson, 45, was in stable condition at Harlem Hospital Center with a gunshot wound to his elbow, the police said. He was under protective custody and is facing a robbery charge, the police said.
Even in New York, armed citizens can take a bite out of crime. Which is why they should have more of them. Nice to see the NYT reporting this kind of story. And note this bit: “The man accused of attacking her, Mr. Johnson (no relation), was described by the authorities as a ‘robbery recidivist,’ with nine previous arrests.” Not that surprising.
HERE’S MORE on the earmark transparency bill, from CNN:
Now that the blogosphere has revealed the “secret senator,” bloggers are claiming another victory after a bill authorizing a Google-like database of public spending passed the Senate.
Late Thursday, the senators passed the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act by unanimous consent after holds from “secret senator” Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia, were lifted. . . .
News of the bill’s passage was received triumphantly in the blogosphere, and one of the bill’s orginal co-sponsors, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, credited “the army of bloggers and concerned citizens” for their victory.
Coburn and the bill’s other original co-sponsor, Sen. Barak Obama, D-Illinois, said they had reached agreement with sponsors of the House version, which was passed in June. The House could take up the new language as early as next week.
The Porkbusters podcast interview with House Majority Leader John Boehner can be found here.
MY FAVORITE THEORY SO FAR on the reason for Khatami’s visit: “Khatami and Cheney are negotiating or conferring on how to best get rid of Ahmadinejad, and that a few hours on the ground provide enough opportunity.”
Well, I’d certainly like it to be true.
FOILED CRUSHING OF DISSENT: Will Vehrs, suspended from his job for blogging, has won his grievance hearing. The complaint against him always seemed bogus to me, and has merely served to call attention to the poor economic prospects of Martinsville, Virginia — and the petty and otherwise deficient character of its town fathers.
A (MODEST) CIVL RIGHTS VICTORY at the University of Utah.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The House and Senate have reached an agreement on the earmark reduction bill. House Majority Leader John Boehner reports:
House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.), U.S. Senators Tom Coburn (Okla.), Barack Obama (Ill.), and Tom Carper (Del.), and Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (Va.) today announced that they have reached agreement on legislation to increase accountability and transparency by establishing a public database to track federal grants and contracts. House Majority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) announced he plans to schedule the agreed-upon language for House floor consideration next week.
“This process has focused on enhancing the accountability and transparency in the federal budget process,” Blunt, Boehner, and Davis said. “The federal government awards approximately $300 billion in grants to roughly 30,000 different organizations. Each year, roughly one million contracts exceed the $25,000 reporting threshold. We need to be sure that money is spent wisely. Our legislation creates a transparent system for reviewing these expenditures so that Congress, the press, and the American public have the information they need to conduct proper oversight of the use of our tax dollars. The package we’ve agreed to move requires the Administration to establish searchable databases for both grants and contracts.”
“I’m pleased that the House leadership agreed with us that all federal spending should be accessible through this website. It doesn’t matter if it’s a grant, an earmark, or a contract, this legislation will allow the public to know how their tax dollars are being spent,” said Sen. Obama.
It’s a small but important step. It’s worth noting, though, that as important as structural changes like this are, we also need to change the culture. That’s starting to happen, too, but we’ve got a long way to go. Transparency should help with that, though.
Here’s more from Americans for Prosperity. I certainly hope that this part is true: “With this online spending database now headed for reality, I have a feeling that those grassroots taxpayers and bloggers will soon show that they’ve just been getting warmed up.”
BLASTS IN INDIA: This time targeting Muslims. Amit Varma reports.
HERE’S MORE on McCain-Feingold.
A LOOK AT HOW ABC MAY REMEMBER the 50th Anniversary of 9/11.
DRIVING A HYBRID, I only fill up every couple of weeks, and when I filled up last night I was pleasantly surprised to be paying $2.50/gallon, which was much less than I paid last time. I thought it was good news, but it turns out it’s all part of the insidious Big Oil conspiracy to lower prices.
UPDATE: Kathy Grim emails: “You may be really frustrated to know that you should have waited one more day to fill up. I filled up for $2.399 at Callahan and Central Ave Pike this morning.”
Those bastards! I blame Halliburton.
DANIEL DREZNER LOOKS AT THE LATEST SALVO in The New York Times’ jihad against Wal-Mart, and is deeply unimpressed: “This leads to a fundamental question — what on earth motivated the New York Times to put this article on the front page of its Business section? Properly headlined, an article that blares, ‘Little Money Flowing Between Wal-Mart and Washington Think Tanks’ wouldn’t even have run, much less on the front page.”
UPDATE: David Bernstein spots an amusing double standard in the story.
THE PAJAMAS MEDIA Blog Week in Review podcast is up, with Austin Bay, Roger Simon, Gerard van der Leun, and Tammy Bruce.
JOHN LEHMAN ON THE 9/11 FILM:
9/11 Commissioner John Lehman had some interesting takes on the controversy. “The larger truth,” he told us, “is that neither administration fully grasped what the threat was. Partially it was inadequate intelligence but you can’t blame it all on the inadequate intelligence — there was, I think, a very naïve view held by some in the Clinton administration, mainly Albright and Janet Reno that force was counterproductive.”
Lehman, a Republican, told us that the campaign against the film by the Clinton officials misses the point. “I think what they’re trying to do is to take the fact the specific scenes portrayed were fictional and to try to refute the underlying reality that the Clinton administration just didn’t get it. And by the way before 9-11 neither did the Bush administration.”
Yes, and that’s why I’ve never been too critical of the Clinton Administration, or the pre-9/11 Bush Administration. Hindsight is 20-20, but not many people took the threat of Islamist terror seriously enough before the World Trade Center attacks, and I certainly didn’t. As I noted a while back:
Before 9/11 — and what we learned afterward — I agreed with the basic strategy of trying to contain Islamist terror until it collapsed under the weight of its own stupidity. That was before I realized how widespread it was, and how thoroughly intertwined with hostile states it was. I don’t fault the Clinton people for not catching on before I did.
But I do fault the people who are peddling the absurd story that Clinton had this terror thing under control until Bush screwed it up. That’s partisan twaddle, and a real disservice in time of war.
By making a big noise over this film, the Clinton people are implicitly disavowing the “pass” they’ve enjoyed, and in the process inviting more, rather than less, scrutiny of that Administration’s antiterror record, which strikes me as very unwise, politically.
UPDATE: James Lileks has it right:
Just so you know: 9/11 reset the clock for me. All hands went to midnight. I’m interested in what people did after that date, and if the movie shows that before the attack one side lacked feck and the other was feck-deficient, I don’t worry about it. It’s like revisiting Congressional debates about Hawaiian harbor security in November 1941. Y’all get a pass. The Etch-A-Sketch’s turned over. Now: what have you said lately?
Jay Reding has further thoughts.
MORE: ShrinkWrapped doesn’t like Democratic officeholders’ threats against ABC: “Not only is there is no awareness that the campaign they are running against the Disney Corporation is dangerous but they revel in their ability to use all the forces at their command to intimidate a media outlet. If Republicans did this, the howls of outrage would know no bounds, yet the Democrats, champions of civil liberties as they fancy themselves to be, propose censorship without a trace of irony.”
This is generating more blowback elsewhere: “This is exactly the sort of behavior that forces me to vote Republican even when I disagree with half their platform. Hopefully, the American people still believe the First Amendment should be upheld by both parties, and will act accordingly in November.”
STILL MORE: Reader Susan Voss notes that Peggy Noonan was ahead of the curve, writing in 1998:
Maybe, of course, I’m wrong. But I think of the friend who lives on Park Avenue who turned to me once and said, out of nowhere, “If ever something bad is going to happen to the city, I pray each day that God will give me a sign. That He will let me see a rat stand up on the sidewalk. So I’ll know to gather the kids and go.” I absorbed this and, two years later, just a month ago, poured out my fears to a former high official of the United States government. His face turned grim. I apologized for being morbid. He said no, he thinks the same thing. He thinks it will happen in the next year and a half. I was surprised, and more surprised when he said that an acquaintance, a former arms expert for another country, thinks it will happen in a matter of months.
So now I have frightened you. But we must not sit around and be depressed. “Don’t cry,” Jimmy Cagney once said. “There’s enough water in the goulash already.”
We must take the time to do some things. We must press government officials to face the big, terrible thing. They know it could happen tomorrow; they just haven’t focused on it because there’s no Armageddon constituency. We should press for more from our foreign intelligence and our defense systems, and press local, state, and federal leaders to become more serious about civil defense and emergency management.
Not enough people were thinking this way, obviously.
CRYSTAL MORNING: A video remembering 9/11, from Evan Coyne Maloney.
IN THE MAIL: Ronald Dworkin’s new book, Is Democracy Possible Here?: Principles for a New Political Debate. Dworkin is unhappy with the present polarized state of political debate, and of course he’s right to be. On the other hand, when a lefty author writing on this sort of theme gets a lukewarm review from Publisher’s Weekly it’s a bad sign. Perhaps there will be a civil discussion in the Amazon discussion forum for the book.
CLAUDIA ROSETT says that five years after 9/11, we need to be doing more.
Regarding Mayor Bloomberg’s “sting” of gun dealers — The total conviction count is one dealer pleads to disorderly conduct. Bloomsberg’s police seize the gun store inventory, then return it quietly a week later.
He sues out of state dealers, two have filed counter-suits, and he offers to settle against the others for supervision — for which NYC will pay.
Comes now the Queens’ Ledger to proclaim it a great success.
I guess the standards for success are pretty low in Queens.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: My mention of Consumer Reports’ article on the subject led to an email from a staffer at the magazine, who noted that they have this online guide to disaster and emergency preparedness too. No subscription required.
MEGAN MCARDLE looks at “potentially truly appalling statistics” on median household income. “You can’t compare apples to oranges just because the apples are prettier.”
This statement suggests that she doesn’t have much of a future in the newspaper business.
UPDATE: Don’t miss this post from Stuart Buck, either.
STOP THE PRESSES: Armitage says he was source of Plame leak. “The confirmation of Mr. Armitage’s role, long the subject of media speculation, shows that the initial disclosure of Ms. Wilson’s identify did not originate from the White House as part of a concerted political attack, but was divulged by a senior State Department official who was not regarded as a close political ally of Vice President Dick Cheney.”
Over three years of the press hyperventilating about nothing. And, I might add, pretty obviously nothing. But it served its goal, which was to drive Bush down in the polls, so I don’t think the hyperventilators regret it much.
At least I get the satisfaction of saying I told you so.
JIM PINKERTON: “Reporters, meanwhile, like to say that they are there, in the battle zone, to ‘tell the story’ — although most people know, or at least most people believe, that reporters are there to shape the story, to shape opinion in a certain way. Therefore, depending on one’s point of view, journalists are either an asset, or a liability; but they are anything but neutral.”
STRATEGYPAGE ON THAILAND:
The 32 months of violence in the Moslem south have so far caused nearly 4,300 casualties (40 percent of them fatal). During that period, there were some 5,500 incidents of Islamic terrorist violence. That’s an average of 5-6 a day, among a population of 2.4 million (some 80 percent Moslem). The violence was largely directed at the 400,000 or so non-Moslems. The terrorist attacks have had the effect of doubling the normal murder rate in the south. A religiously inspired crime wave, so to speak. But the terror is very real as well, especially for non-Moslems. Since most of the deaths are among the non-Moslem minority, the death rate for that community has risen to about 15 per 100,000 per year. The rate in the U.S. is about 6 per 100,000 people per year.
While the number of bombings has increased this year, the casualty rate has gone down. This is largely because of the thousands of additional soldiers and police sent to the south. These security forces are everywhere down there. But the damage has already been done, and thousands of non-Moslem Thais have fled the south. The main objective of the Islamic terrorists is to expel all non-Moslems from the south, and then set up a religious dictatorship.
Sounds like ethnic cleansing by terror. Why isn’t the UN protesting? If this sort of terror were directed at Muslims in Israel, or the United States, it would be an international cause celebre.
UPDATE: Grim has more on Thailand.
DID ABC GIN UP THE WHOLE CONTROVERSY over the 9/11 film?
I LINKED THE OTHER DAY to Ron Bailey’s piece on Norman Borlaug. It’s worth also linking to this piece by Malcolm Gladwell on another unsung hero of the 20th Century, Fred Soper.
THE CARNIVAL OF CARS is up!
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparancy Act, S. 2590 has unanimously passed the Senate.
Take that, secret-holders! Bill Frist reports:
The passage of this legislation is a triumph for transparency in government, for fiscal discipline, and for the bipartisan citizen journalism of the blogosphere.
Without the efforts of ordinary Americans empowered by the Internet, including many hardworking members of the iFrist Volunteers, this legislation might easily have been successfully obstructed. Instead, the unprecedented synergy between online grassroots activists and Senate leadership provides a new model for participatory democracy in action.
I look forward to reconciling S. 2590 with its counterpart in the House and delivering this deserving legislation to the desk of President Bush for his signature.
Onward and upward. Or, in the case of pork spending, hopefully downward.
PROGRESS FOR AMERICA ROLLS OUT a new war on terror ad.
ANDY ROTH POSTS a huge McCain-Feingold iron curtain roundup. Lots of bloggers are unhappy.
NEW INVESTMENTS in citizen journalism.
STRATEGERY: ” Kos Willing To Trade Dem Control Of Senate For Lamont Moral Victory.” And I think Republicans would be willing to make that trade, too!
Though reading the post I’m not quite sure that Kos really meant that.
BLOGGING FROM BELARUS: Robert Mayer interviews a Belarusian student who’s been punished for speaking out against the Lukashenka regime.
A LOOK AT THE RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE, and various attacks thereon:
Needless to say, the “gunfights after every traffic accident” which were predicted by the gun control advocates have not transpired in any state adopting such “no retreat” measures.
But make no mistake, they continue to fight such legislation. Their latest tactic? Identifying the death of any armed home invader or rapist at the hands of his intended victim as a “murder,” they have launched a Web site opposed to these new self-defense laws, dubbed www.licensetomurder.com. . . .
At the risk of belaboring the obvious, these are lies. Shooting in self-defense is not “murder.”
No, it’s not. (Via Dave Hardy).
THE MANOLO looks at Dictator Chic, and without ignoring the important role of “the super hotty she-devils.”
Plus, Ahmadinejad is no Qaddafi: “Qaddafi, he’s not just the despot, he is the Arab Superfly, White Shaft in Africa! And, and you, you’re just the crazy Mr. Ahmadinejad, the scourge of the first period homeroom.”
I hope somebody translates that into Farsi.
ANN ALTHOUSE: “We’re going to mark the 9/11 anniversary in an especially shabby way this year. . . . If you haven’t caught up with the spirit of 2006, you might want to keep the TV off for the next few days and stay away from the internet.”
SCHEMAXPERT is a program that “dynamically and accurately creates XML documents from XML schemas.” To be honest, I have only a vague understanding of what that means, or why it’s useful. But my lovely and talented sister-in-law has been laboring over SchemaExpert for months, so if you understand that more than I do, be sure to check it out!
JEFF GOLDSTEIN celebrates the clarifying impact of elections.
THERE’S A NEW PARLIAMENTARY REPORT ON ANTISEMITISM IN BRITAIN: It sounds pretty hard-hitting. Norm Geras has a link-rich roundup.
MORE BLOGS on McCain-Feingold.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Here’s the latest on developments, from the Christian Science Monitor:
Facing unprecedented public scrutiny and an election this fall, Congress is under the gun to tighten the rules on the time-honored lawmaker practice of slipping pet projects into legislation – and it has about 30 days left to get the job done.
Both House and Senate leaders pledge to change the rules on lawmakers’ earmarks this month, before Congress breaks for the midterm election. But this week, sticking points emerged, complicating their pledge to push the changes through. . . .
“I don’t think senators realized that people cared so much about transparency and responsiveness,” says Zephyr Teachout, national director of the Sunlight Foundation, a broad-based coalition of groups that mobilized bloggers to identify the source of secret holds.
Public support for change should be credited to former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R) of California, whose vast defense earmark-for-bribe scam – some earning his co-conspirators profit margins in excess of 800 percent – stunned many colleagues and sent him to prison. It also raised the profile on the hidden process of securing funds for member projects and mobilized public-interest groups and bloggers to shine a bright light both on earmarking and moves to reform the process.
Even if negotiations fail to produce comprehensive lobby reform, House and Senate leaders say they will change the rules of both bodies to require disclosure of all member projects and their sponsors.
“One way or another, we will address this issue,” said House majority leader John Boehner, as Congress resumed work Tuesday. “It’s important to use taxpayers’ resources wisely – and important [that] we move forward on reform.”
I think that there will be major backlash if nothing gets accomplished this fall.
KILL THE PRESIDENT? Good idea!
BDS has really gotten out of control.
HOWARD KURTZ ROUNDS UP Clintonite complaints about the ABC 9/11 docudrama. Call me crazy, but I don’t regard Sandy Berger as trustworthy on the historical record here, as given his document-removal activity I think he had something to hide.
This response, of course, will only add to that impression.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS — IT’S NOT JUST FOR INSTAPUNDIT ANY MORE: Actually, it never was, but I do go on about the subject. But I notice that my latest Consumer Reports has an article on it, and Slate is covering the subject, too. An ounce of prevention, and all that.
UPDATE: Here’s another installment from Slate.
VIOLENT DEATHS IN IRAQ FOR AUGUST revised upward sharply. Huh. I don’t know what could account for this discrepancy.
ROBERT SAMUELSON writes on the difference between the American education system and the American learning system.
MISREPORTING Bush’s speech.
CNN’S THE SITUATION ROOM had more on PorkBusters, the Earmark Reform Bill, and the secret hold situation. Hot Air has the video.
A LOOK AT WAGES AND PRODUCTIVITY, by John Wixted.
THE CLINTONISTAS are freaking out. Sandy Berger is quoted, though his pants aren’t mentioned.
It seems to me that all this protest is merely drawing attention to the subject of Clinton’s treatment of terrorism, which had previously not gotten a lot. They’d be wiser to stay silent, I think.
UPDATE: Dean Barnett, however, notes the importance of factual accuracy, even in docudramas, on topics of this sort.
And on Sandy Berger, a reader emails: “Now we know what he slipped into his pants and why.”
PLAME UPDATE: Ed Morrissey writes:
The Times scolds Fitzgerald for his lack of response, but they still have not taken responsibility for their own role in this witch hunt. These men and women led the public charge for the investigation to be wrested from the DoJ and assigned to a special prosecutor accountable to no one except a panel of judges, also accountable to no one but themselves. They reversed their own stand on special prosecutors taken during the Clinton administration and demanded this appointment, and they made sure enough Democratic politicians spoke up to get it. Now that the case has utterly collapsed, the Gray Lady acts like a prim schoolmarm, wagging her finger at little Patrick for mischief she thoroughly endorsed.
I confess that it’s kind of fun to watch, though. “Fitzmas” is looking more and more like the wait for The Great Pumpkin. Which I guess is why Tom Maguire can’t finish his list for laughing too hard.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON is fearless.
ACADEMICS: Soft on Fascism?
MICHAEL SILENCE looks at bloggers’ reactions to McCain-Feingold.
I’LL BE ON MSNBC at around 11:30, talking about the midterm elections.
IN THE MAIL: H.W. Crocker’s Don’t Tread on Me: A 400-Year History of America at War, from Indian Fighting to Terrorist Hunting.
“ONE YEAR LATER, some Katrina victims still slow to respond.”