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IF IT WEREN’T FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS, THEY’D HAVE NO STANDARDS AT ALL: Elizabeth Warren Again Calls for ‘Equal Pay,’ Ignores Pay Gap in Own Office: Warren’s women staffers earned 71 cents for each dollar earned by men in 2016.

IF THE MEDIA DIDN’T HAVE DOUBLE STANDARDS, THEY WOULDN’T HAVE STANDARDS AT ALL: Questions about Trump’s alleged “I fired Comey the nut job” remark.

IF IT WEREN’T FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS THEY’D HAVE NO STANDARDS AT ALL: Silence from Hill, Liz on Maher speaks volumes.

We just had a vivid, striking example of what Zoob and King were talking about, courtesy of two faux feminists who shamelessly masquerade as heroines of their gender and guardians of our culture.

Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren would have us see them as they see themselves, towering women whose values and principles cannot be compromised.

So it was not surprising that neither could contain her horror when Donald Trump was heard making vulgar, sexist comments in a private conversation.

Both had bully pulpits and wasted no time using them to clobber him.

Then HBO’s foul-mouthed Bill Maher, looking for new ways to tear down the president, reached to the bottom of the barrel to imply he was having an incestuous relationship with his daughter Ivanka.

Anyone with a modicum of decency understood Maher had crossed a line; ideologies notwithstanding, nothing could justify such depravity.

But because it was aimed at Trump, not a peep was heard from Hillary or Liz, suggesting Maher’s smuttiness didn’t ruffle their feathers a bit.

It also suggested they assume their constituents are too superficial to connect the dots and see them for who and what they really are.

Here’s hoping they’re wrong.

We’ll see.

CBS’S SCOTT PELLEY LOSES A FIGHT RIGGED IN HIS FAVOR: Ever since it was created by Don Hewitt in 1968, CBS’s Sixty Minutes has functioned as a sort of ritual kabuki for its audiences: it made stars of its left-leaning investigative journalists, who would grill the offending conservative politician or businessman of the week. By the mid-’80s, the show’s formula was summed up brilliantly in the classic parodies by Martin Short’s Nathan Thurm character on Saturday Night Live, who would be drenched in sweat and chain-smoking Marlboro 100s by the time he was done attempting to survive the hammering from the crusading journalist on the other side of the desk.

But CBS made its bones during the days when, as Rob Long wrote of NBC’s Johnny Carson, “There were three big channels—and maybe an old movie on one of those fuzzy UHF stations—so if you didn’t like what was on, you were out of luck. Network television didn’t compete with cable channels or Hulu or Amazon Prime. It competed with silence.”

And such lack of competition allowed the networks’ news divisions to create self-contained worlds where they could absolutely control the dialogue, as Walter Cronkite did throughout his career at CBS, while signing off each night “And that’s the way it is.” His successor’s career at CBS ended there with a Sixty Minutes segment…well, we all know how it ended there, right?

Which brings us to CBS’s Scott Pelley and his recent interview with Mike Cernovich, whom Breitbart.com’s Ezra Dulis describes as “a lawyer, independent blogger/author/filmmaker, and a dominant voice on Twitter,” and whom BuzzFeed describes as “a troll.” The latter Website of course is home of the infamous Trump golden showers with Russian hookers story and an editor who believes covering Trump “sometimes…means publishing unverified information in a transparent way that informs our users of its provenance, its impact and why we trust or distrust it.”

Whatever Cernovich’s excesses, assuming this transcript of the full unedited interview is accurate, it’s fascinating much more for what it reveals about Pelley, watched by six and a half million viewers on the CBS Evening News, than for Cernovich. Here’s how the transcript begins:

Scott Pelley: How would you describe what you do?

Mike Cernovich: I’m a lawyer, author, documenter, filmmaker, and journalist.

Scott Pelley: And how would you describe your website?

Mike Cernovich: Edgy, controversial content that goes against the dominant narrative.

Scott Pelley: What’s the dominant narrative?

Mike Cernovich: The dominant narrative is that there are good guys and there are bad guys. The good guys are liberals. Everybody on the right is a bad guy. Let’s find a way to make everybody look bad. Let’s tie marginal figures who have no actual influence to anybody we cannot overwrite. That’s the narrative.

Scott Pelley: That’s not a narrative I’m familiar with. Who’s narrative is that?

In 2008, Pelley compared global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers. Ben Rhodes, who until January was Obama’s deputy national security advisor, is the brother of CBS News president David Rhodes. John Dickerson, the host of Face the Nation and the “political director” for CBS, wrote an article for Slate in 2013 charmingly titled “Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.” Katie Couric, whom Pelley succeeded as Evening News host, read a poem on her broadcast to shill for the passing of Obamacare, and after leaving CBS had a Rathergate-like moment of her own, attempting to marginalize gun owners.

But back to the transcript of Pelley and Cernovich, where eventually, the hunter is captured by his prey:  

Scott Pelley: You wrote in August a story about Hillary Clinton’s medical condition the headlines said, “Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s disease. Position confirms.” That’s quite a headline.

Mike Cernovich: Yeah, Dr. Ted Noel had se-sent a story to me anonymously, that I checked out, analyzing her medical condition. And –

Scott Pelley: It isn’t true.

Mike Cernovich: How do you know?

Scott Pelley: Well, she doesn’t seem to have any signs of Parkinson’s disease.

Mike Cernovich: She had a seizure and froze up walking into her motorcade that day caught by a citizen journalist.

Scott Pelley: Did you, well, she had pneumonia. I mean –

Mike Cernovich: How do you know?

Scott Pelley: Well, because that’s what was reported.

Mike Cernovich: By whom? Who told you that?

Scott Pelley: Well, the campaign told us that.

Mike Cernovich: Why would you trust a campaign?

To ask the question is to answer it. In a post headlined “‘Shamefully Stupid’: CBS’s Scott Pelley Loses a Fight Rigged in His Favor,” Breitbart.com’s Ezra Dulis adds in response, “Pelley has no answer for those six words — ‘Why would you trust the campaign’ — as his entire profession goes berserk with literal-minded fact checks for every tweet from President Trump. Pelley also seems to forget the fakery that Clinton World attempted hours before its pneumonia statement — with the candidate smiling and waving outside her daughter’s apartment, greeting a little girl, and assuring reporters everything was a-okay.”

More:

Mike Cernovich: So let’s be, let’s be honest with one another, which is that you are reporting that the Hillary Clinton campaign-

Scott Pelley: I didn’t report that she had Parkinson’s disease.

Mike Cernovich: You just told me she’s healthy though. Based on what was told to you by the campaign. See? That’s what I’m saying about the double standards which is I don’t take anything Hillary Clinton’s going to say at all as true. I’m not going to take her on her word. The media says we’re not going to take Donald Trump on his word. And that’ why we are on these different universes.

Scott Pelley: Why should anyone take you on your word?

Mike Cernovich: Oh, you should always double-check. You should always fact check. And if people don’t agree with me, people express that disagreement, and I’m completely, completely open to criticism.

Insert Glenn Reynolds’ Rathergate-era comments about the positive nature of the Internet being a low-trust environment here. Not to mention Michael Crichton’s Gell-Man Amnesia Effect.

Let’s give Pelley the exit quote: “Well, the benefit of intermediaries is having experienced editors check things out and research people. Check the facts before it goes out to the public. You don’t do any of that.”

Mary Mapes could not be reached for comment.

UPDATE: “Was Pelley not around in 2004?” John Hinderaker asks at Power Line. “Has he forgotten how stupid that refrain sounded then? (‘Layers and layers of fact-checkers’) Does he not realize how false it rings today? We have been here before: the liberal media are in a panic because their authority is being challenged. It must be worse now, though, than it was in 2004. Then, Time’s refrain was a relatively benign ‘Who owns the truth?’ Now, they ask, ‘Is truth dead?’ We can translate: ‘Is the liberal news media monopoly dead?’”

IF THE TEA PARTY HAD DONE STUFF LIKE THIS TO DEMS IN 2009, THE MEDIA WOULD HAVE CALLED FOR MASS IMPRISONMENT IN FEMA CAMPS: Breaking: Mob Gathering Outside Mitch McConnell’s Home in Kentucky. Just remember, lefties: Every time you do stuff like this, you open up the possibilities. The days of hiding behind double standards are gone.

REPORTERS UNEARTH ANCIENT DOCUMENT: With Trump, Media Strike a Pose as Sticklers for the Constitution. Tom Kuntz at Real Clear Investigations:

When Barack Obama was president, most members of the media apparently believed in a fluid interpretation of the Constitution. Constitutional sticklers were dismissed as dinosaurs or worse—especially if they identified themselves with the Tea Party movement. Except for Glenn Greenwald and the occasional lonely voice or two, the ladies and gentlemen of the press raised barely a peep about the administration’s drone killings, even of U.S. citizens. Executive-branch rewrites of health, immigration and environmental law were met with a collective yawn in the Fourth Estate.

That attitude certainly changed quickly. Donald Trump has turned the mainstream media into strict constructionists, or so they would have us believe. The Constitution they sternly invoke against the new president’s moves is now one carved in granite with words bearing unimpeachably plain meaning in their favor.

This is happening even as Trump – whom they routinely cast as a Constitution-destroying authoritarian – puts forth a Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, who is notably skeptical of expanding presidential power and by most accounts really thinks the document ought to mean what it says.

The media’s new enthusiasm does not require a lot of close reading.  Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who lost a son in the Iraq War, waved the Constitution at the Democratic convention last summer and invited Trump to read the text, evidently hoping that the mogul would find immigration wisdom within.

I don’t know if Trump ever took him up on the offer, but I did. I didn’t see the words “foreigner” or “non-citizen” or “immigrant” or “refugee” anywhere in the document, nor mention of any right to enter the country.

It may be that policy or legislation or court precedents have created or divined such rights, but those are not what Khan waved at the podium. And, more to my point, that’s not something the media have bothered to explain in their copious sympathetic coverage of Khan – whose law practice includes securing visas for immigrants — and others who pummel Trump as a constitutional transgressor.

If it weren’t for double standards . . . .

 

 

JOURNALISM PROFESSOR: Boycott Kellyanne Conway.

New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen floated the idea of denying Conway access to television on a Recode podcast. Her ability to befuddle interviewers and parry questions and accusations from journalists frustrated Rosen, who served as department chair from 1999 to 2005.

“This is somebody who can speak for the Trump administration. But if we find that what Kellyanne Conway says is routinely or easily contradicted by Donald Trump, then that [reason to have her on] disappears,” he said. “It’s not just lying or spin or somebody who is skilled in the political arts of putting the best case on things or not answering a question, which is a pretty basic method of doing politics. It’s that when you are done listening to Kellyanne Conway, you probably understand less. That’s a problem.”

Rosen’s concern for spin appears to be new-founded. He was critical of President Barack Obama for allowing reporters to control the narrative during press conferences.

“You’re the President of the United States standing at the podium in the briefing room? You can steer the conversation any damn way you want.”

If it weren’t for double standards…

IF IT WEREN’T FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS, THEY’D HAVE NO STANDARDS AT ALL: Trump’s Presser Shows Media Double Standard On Politicians Attacking The Press: The idea that this kind of singling out of press members by politicians is new and especially catastrophic is odd. Remember de Blasio and Obama doing the same? “There was also the time the Obama adminstration named Fox national reporter James Rosen a co-conspirator in violating the Espionage Act so they could spy on his phone records, whereabouts, and personal emails. Or the time the Obama administration seized two months of AP reporters’ phone records. Also, don’t forget the time Obama booted three newspapers’ reporters from his campaign plane because he didn’t like their coverage. So, there’s that.”

That’s different, because shut up.

HOWIE CARR ON HATE-CRIME HYPOCRISY:

Finally, yesterday, the Chicago police charged the four aspiring rappers with a hate crime for allegedly beating, torturing and kidnapping a white mentally disabled kid from the suburbs.

They were screaming “Bleep white people!” and “Bleep Trump!” but none of the PC posse wanted to … uh, jump to any conclusions.

Take Obama — please. His flack Josh Earnest was asked if this was a hate crime.

“I think it’s too early to tell.”

No call from Obama for a “national conversation” about hate crimes. He didn’t even call it “workplace violence.” . . .

This wasn’t the first post-election black-on-white hate crime on the West Side. In November, a 50-year-old white man was dragged from his car by four people screaming obscenities about Trump. That hate crime was likewise recorded on videotape.

Police arrested Rajune Lewis, Dejuan Collins, Julian Christian and a juvenile and … do you remember seeing anything about this on the network newscasts? Me neither.

Compare this kid-glove treatment for all these thugs to what happened to the two Babson College students who drove over to Wellesley College after the election. Let’s let Babson President (and former Lt. Gov.) Muffy Healey describe how her students “engaged in behavior that was, at a minimum, insensitive, unacceptable and contrary to our core values.”

Their crime? They were yelling “Trump 2016!” and “Make America Great Again.”

Muffy banned them from campus and they were kicked out of their frat. They had to hire lawyers to fight Muffy’s fake news.

If it wasn’t for double standards, the alt-left wouldn’t have any standards at all.

True.

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: How Trump Clears Obama’s Minefield.

Before moving into the White House, President-elect Trump needs to double check the Oval Office for trip wires. His predecessor has spent the last month setting traps to ensnare the new administration.

President Obama has more on his mind than an effort to solidify a legacy and nail down policy. He has adopted a guerrilla strategy designed to defame and debilitate. Inherently political, it’s administrative sabotage by extra legislative means and it threatens to hobble Trump.

Obama has prepared what looks like a classic episode from Mad Magazine: Executive vs. Executive. Instead of delivering on his own agenda, Trump will be forced to deal with the aftermath of his predecessor’s final binge. They could consume a notable portion of Trump’s first 100 days, but if left unaddressed it would stain his administration long term.

To avoid that hazard, an examination of President Clinton’s final days in office is helpful. After all, Obama didn’t develop these tactics on his own. He lifted them directly from a manual written by the Clintons.

Just days before President George W. Bush’s inauguration, Clinton weaponized EPA regulations to set a trap for the new administration. Despite complaints from rural communities about crippling compliance costs and a lack of a scientific consensus, Clinton adopted aggressive arsenic standards for drinking water. When Bush eased the mandate, it unleashed a torrent of criticism that had been long planned, most notably from Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.

Despite calling for studies based on “sound science,” Bush couldn’t shake accusations that he wanted to poison children. The attacks found their mark, and Bush later remembered the experience as one of the worst mistakes of his young administration.

Now Obama’s running the same play. But while his midnight regulations haven’t escaped media attention, journalists continue giving the Obama administration charitable coverage. By focusing on the policy impact, they ignore and amplify the coming political fallout. . . .

Although Obama promised a smooth transition, he’s moved unilaterally to make that impossible. He lacks the grace and modesty to recognize that the country does not want him or his policies any longer. His indefinite oil ban in the Arctic Ocean provides a perfect example. Overturning the ban would require congressional action and incur significant political opportunity cost. For every regulation Trump overturns, he risks letting another slip into the Federal Register forever.

None of this should dissuade Trump from delivering on his pledge to roll back regulation. But he should proceed with the proper preparation and study on both the substantive policies and on the public relations.

Trump would be wise to condemn early and often Obama’s weaponization of executive action. Remember how Obama blamed everything on Bush until, oh, about the sixth year of his presidency. Trump should make sure the public knows where the blame really lies.

I expect he will.

IF IT WASN’T FOR DOUBLE-STANDARDS, THEY’D HAVE NO STANDARDS AT ALL: Gutless Liar, Harry Reid, Smears James Comey As A ‘Partisan’

IF IT WASN’T FOR DOUBLE-STANDARDS, THEY’D HAVE NO STANDARDS AT ALL: Roger Simon on the Democrats’ Nauseating Putin Hypocrisy.

IF LEFTIES DIDN’T HAVE DOUBLE STANDARDS, THEY’D HAVE NO STANDARDS AT ALL:

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Related:

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WHEN REPUBLICANS USED OBAMA’S MIDDLE NAME, THEY WERE CALLED RACIST: If these people had no double standards, they would have no standards at all. Poor Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.

WHAT’S SAD IS, I’VE ALWAYS THOUGHT OF GEORGE MASON AS LESS P.C. THAN AVERAGE: George Mason Needs To Get A Grip.

My school, George Mason University, has been triggered.

I know this from the seven — yes, seven — university administration emails I received in less than 24 hours advertising forums described as “post-election conversations” and “healing spaces.” These forums are offered as “a space for students to gather in the wake” of the election to “discuss and make sense of the outcomes.” Counselors from the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services will be available for “students wishing to discuss the recent election results in a safe environment.”

Although “snacks and refreshments” will be provided, the emails say nothing in the way of binkies or diapers; students may need to bring their own.

Okay, fine, I should not joke. There are, after all, some very sinister undertones hidden in these emails.

First, let’s strip these forums of all pretext: such “post-election conversations” are intended for those unhappy with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s victory. I can only speculate, but I think it is safe to assume the university would not take such ridiculous measures had Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won. Professors would have outwardly exalted checking off the “madam president” box, students would have celebrated preserving our nation’s indifference to abortion, and much of George Mason would have been cheering what conservatives view as the destruction of individual liberty.

Moreover, such sweeping liberal changes would have bolstered left-wing hubris, giving conservative Americans ample reason to fear for their freedom, beliefs and even personal safety. Just ask David Wilcox, Omar Mahmood, Jade Armenio, Ben Shapiro, the North Carolina and Delaware GOP or these Republicans. Given past edicts of the Democratic Party (e.g., providing space to “those who wished to destroy”) and the viciously anti-conservative censorship culture on most of America’s college campuses, it is not at all clear conservatives would have been safe to disagree.

So, yes, conservatives were completely justified in fearing a President Clinton.

With their true purpose exposed, however, George Mason’s “post-election conversations” become even more disturbing. . . .

Conservatives have suffered many disheartening setbacks in the past few years, many of which kept us up at night in worry and anger. Yet we saw no comforting emails from administrators or invitations to use “special resources” (not that we would have used them; we value our dignity). Rather, we were left to endure the harassment, intimidation and death threats all by ourselves. And we’re still here and still going strong.

Students and faculty and George Mason: get a grip.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

And let me note that, even though I’m at a state university in a conservative state, a university that has a green-light rating from FIRE for free speech, I’ve had lots of conservative students say they’re afraid to speak out, whether in support of Trump or on other topics.

And the author of this piece, Thomas Wheatley, is a law student at George Mason. I hope that more students will be inspired to push back against these double standards at their own schools.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

● “We have proof, in exit polls, that white women will pawn their humanity for the safety of white supremacy.”

What Happened on Election Day, The New York Times, yesterday.

Due to the double standards being played by the mainstream media, the Clintons have been able to hide their racist skeletons.  The Clintons’ “Birth of a Nation” tactics have gone unnoticed by many White people, but best believe that African-Americans peeped it in South Carolina and definitely in Pennsylvania as we witnessed Hillary chant over and over again to her predominately White audience “he’s not one of us”and “I will fight for you.”   Well, people here’s the iceberg to HRC’s already sinking Titanic:  The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). The UDC is a neo-Confederate organization that is affiliated with white supremacist groups including: the Council of Conservative Citizens and the League of the South, to name a few.  The organization was formed in 1894, and limits its membership to white women who are related to Confederate veterans of the “War Between the States.”  Now how are the Clintons affiliated with them? Oh, they’ve  just only written letters lavishing praise upon the organizations values and ideology for more than 10 years!!  I can’t believe this woman has audacity to say she’s more electable.

The Clintons’ Link to White Supremacist Group-UDC, the Daily Kos, May 8, 2008.

An unhinged tirade by Air America Radio host Randi Rhodes has led to an unprecedented suspension from the network, according to its new management and several left- wing websites. This is a breaking story with details still emerging.

In a rant so salty it could make a sailor blush, Rhodes repeatedly called Hillary a “big f***ing whore”, to both cheers and jeers from the audience. The afternoon drive talker was there on behalf of Air America at an event sponsored by the local affiliate.

In addition, Rhodes referred to former Democrat vice presidential candidate [and Hillary campaigner in ’08] Geraldine Ferraro  as a “David Duke in Drag”.

Randi Rhodes Suspended; Calls Hillary ‘Big F—ing Whore,’ NewsBusters, April 3, 2008.

If Hillary pulls it out in Pennsylvania, and she could, and if she follows it up in Indiana, she can make a credible case that she deserves to be the candidate; these last primaries will show which of the two Democratic candidates is better at overcoming the bias of a vast chunk of the population that has never in its history had to vote for anyone but a candidate who could have been their father or their brother or their son, and who has never had to think of the president of the United States as anyone other than someone they might have been had circumstances been just slightly different.

Hillary’s case is not an attractive one, because what she’ll essentially be saying (and has been saying, although very carefully) is that she can attract more racist white male voters than Obama can. Nonetheless, and as I said, she has a case.

—Nora Ephron, “White Men,” the Huffington Post, April 20, 2008.

— Father Micheal Pfleger, in Obama’s Trinity United Church, circa 2007-2008. In May of 2008, CNN reported that “Obama has known Pfleger for more than 20 years.”

“JURORS AWARDED A UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA ADMINISTRATOR $3 MILLION MONDAY FOR HER PORTRAYAL IN A NOW-DISCREDITED ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE ARTICLE ABOUT THE SCHOOL’S HANDLING OF A BRUTAL GANG RAPE A FRATERNITY HOUSE,” AP reports tonight, adding, “Jurors found that the magazine and its publisher, Wenner Media, acted with actual malice because they republished the article on Dec. 5 with an editor’s note after they knew about the problems with Jackie’s story. The jury also found that Erdely acted with actual malice on six claims: two statements in the article and four statements to media outlets after the story was published. Jurors awarded $2 million to Eramo for statements made by Erdely and $1 million for the republication of the article by Rolling Stone and Wenner Media. Rolling Stone could appeal the verdict.”

Rolling Stone is currently facing a $25 million defamation lawsuit from the UVA fraternity whose house was where Jackie claimed she was raped,” Bre Payton of the Federalist adds.

Earlier: “Rolling Stone Can Take Their Defamation Statement And Shove It,” Mollie Hemingway wrote on Friday:

When Rolling Stone published “A Rape on Campus” in 2014, it was attempting to drive a sketchy narrative for progressive political results. That’s what Sabrina Erdely has done with many of her pieces over her career. That’s why Rolling Stone hired her. They took a very serious issue of how the sexual revolution has led to all sorts of abuses on college campuses and decided instead to focus on the dubious “rape culture” message pushed in recent years by progressive activists. Abuses on college campuses — and especially off college campuses — are real, but the recent “rape culture” craze has led to attacks on the civil liberties of men and created a panic built on emotion more than reality.

Rolling Stone has spent the last half century fostering that aforementioned sexual revolution, and has pushed hard for numerous additional examples of relaxing social mores. As Jonah Goldberg wrote in a recent G-File, “If we can’t immediately grasp why some old practice, some ancient tradition, some venerable custom or Chestertonian fence is worthwhile, we tend to instantly dismiss it as outdated and old-fashioned. But again, as Chesterton and Hayek alike understood, simply because something is ‘old-fashioned’ doesn’t mean it wasn’t fashioned in the first place. And by fashioned, I mean manufactured and constructed. Customs are created because they solve problems. But they get less respect in our present age because they have no identifiable authors. They are crowd-sourced, to borrow a modern phrase for an ancient phenomenon. The customs and institutions we take for granted are crammed full of embedded knowledge every bit as much as prices are. But most intelligent people are comfortable admitting they can’t know all the factors that go into a price, but we constantly want to dissect the whys of every custom.”

Let’s assume for a moment that Rolling Stone’s base story was true. Or as Jann Wenner was quoted as saying late last month by the New York Times while defending the story as being fake but accurate (to quote a Times-approved phrase):

“We did everything reasonable, appropriate up to the highest standards of journalism to check on this thing,” Mr. Wenner said in a libel trial in federal court here. “The one thing we didn’t do was confront Jackie’s accusers — the rapists.”

As he has previously, Mr. Wenner assigned much of the blame to the woman at the center of the article, identified as Jackie, whose account of being raped began to fall apart shortly after the article was published two years ago. Mr. Wenner said there was nothing a journalist could do “if someone is really determined to commit a fraud.”

He said that while the magazine rightly retracted “the Jackie stuff,” he disagreed with the decision to retract the entire article in the wake of a damning report on it in April 2015 by The Columbia Journalism Review. He said the bulk of the article detailed ways that the University of Virginia could improve its treatment of victims of sexual assault.

Does Wenner feel that Rolling Stone, his life’s work, bears any responsibility for creating the conditions he describes in the above passage?

IF IT WEREN’T FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS, THEY’D HAVE NO STANDARDS AT ALL: On Accepting Election Results.

IF IT WEREN’T FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS, THEY’D HAVE NO STANDARDS AT ALL: When Democrats say the ‘system is rigged’ the media doesn’t seem to mind.

IF IT WEREN’T FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS, THEY WOULDN’T HAVE ANY STANDARDS AT ALL: UNC Rape Case Reveals Race Double Standard.

IF IT WEREN’T FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS, THEY’D HAVE NO STANDARDS AT ALL: The White House’s top spokesman refused on Wednesday to condemn the company or its top executive, whose father is a Democratic senator, for dramatically increasing the price of EpiPens.

“As it relates to this specific issue, you know, obviously I’m not going to make specific comment or specifically second-guess the pricing strategy or the business practices of one private enterprise,” Josh Earnest, President Obama’s press secretary, said on Wednesday.

He was reacting to reports that Mylan N.V. had boosted the price of the life-saving allergy shot 400 percent, to roughly $500 per dose. Earnest and other officials have had more violent reactions to similar price spikes in the healthcare industry that have often been blamed on corporate greed.

Earnest also had no comment on the fact that Mylan CEO Heather Bresch is the daughter of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

She also got a phony MBA degree from WVU while Manchin was Governor.

IF IT WEREN’T FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS, DEMOCRATS WOULD HAVE NO STANDARDS AT ALL. Philadelphia’s Disgusting DNC Double Standard on Alcohol:

Pennsylvania is known for its restrictive alcohol laws — venues cannot sell alcohol after 2 a.m. or provide happy hour specials, and all drinks must be purchased at vendors run by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB). But the state gave a special dispensation for the Democratic National Convention this week.

State legislators in Harrisburg have implemented temporary “national event permits” allowing bars to circumvent these restrictive rules, but only for DNC events. This raises the puzzling question of why outside visitors for the Democratic convention can be trusted with alcohol, while native Pennsylvanians cannot.

Know your place, Pennsylvania peasant!

WHY NOT? THERE ARE DOUBLE STANDARDS FOR EVERYTHING ELSE. Is there a plagiarism double standard?

Melania is a potential first lady, not the actual candidate, so the criticism she’s getting seems outsized compared to the plagiarism (h/t Heavy) of past candidates Joe Biden and Barack Obama.

When Biden was running for president in 1987, he had to admit to plagiarizing a law review article when he was in law school. He claimed at the time that his plagiarism was not “malevolent” but merely a “mistake” because he “misunderstood the need to cite sources carefully.”

We’ll have to take him at his word that back in the 1960s, people who made it through high school, their undergraduate studies and into law school wouldn’t properly know how to cite sources.

Biden also stole passages from the Welsh Labor Leader Neil Kinnock during a visit to a state fair. Biden has used quotes from Kinnock before, but had always credited him.

Biden also straight up stole details from Kinnock’s life and used them as his own, like claiming he was the first in his family to go to college. Oh, and Biden also stole passages from Robert F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey.

Despite the blatant, serial plagiarism, Biden has been our vice president for the past eight years. It might have kept him from the presidency (not really, he wasn’t that well known in 1988 and in 2008 he was up against Barack Obama), but it didn’t keep him from the Senate or the vice presidency.

President Obama also plagiarized a part of a speech. In 2008, he gave a speech that sounded suspiciously similar to a 2006 speech from then Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Patrick closed party ranks and defended Obama after the accusation.

Democrats do that for their own. And so does the press.

WHY ARE DEMOCRATIC ADMINISTRATIONS SUCH CESSPITS OF SEXISM? Obama White House still pays women less than men.

If activists are going to use median annual salaries to claim women are paid less than men, then they ought to be consistent and call out President Obama’s White House.

Female staffers in the White House earn 89 cents for ever dollar that male staffers earn. That’s on par with one of the numbers often reported for the misleading “gender wage gap,” which finds women earning 77 or 78 or 89 cents to a man’s dollar.

American Enterprise Scholar Mark J. Perry, who analyzed the White House data, found the median salary for the White House’s 271 female staffers to be $68,658, while the median salary for the 198 male staffers was $76,928 in 2016.

“Therefore, female staffers in the Obama White House currently earn 89.25% of the median salary for male staffers, or 89.25 cents for every $1 men earn, and there is a 10.75% gender pay gap at the Obama White House,” Perry wrote. “That pay gap is slightly smaller than the 15.8% gender pay gap at the White House last year, but is still more than 2.5 times greater than the average gender pay gap for the Washington, D.C., labor market of only 4% according to the most recent data available from the Department of Labor.” . . .

Activists, naturally, don’t want to acknowledge that Obama’s White House pays women less because, as they’re almost exclusively all Leftists. They would have to tie themselves in knots to explain how this pay gap is different from some other pay gap.

But it’s not different — it uses the same over-simplistic measurement as all similar derivations of the gap. The main reason women earn less in the Obama White House is that more senior positions are occupied by men and more junior positions are occupied by women. You can judge the intention here for yourself, but if you’re going to make excuses for Obama, you might want to apply the same excuses to any other employer where this is the case.

If it weren’t for double standards, “activists” would have no standards at all. But remember: They don’t care about people, they care about power.

IF IT WEREN’T FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS, SHE’D HAVE NO STANDARDS AT ALL: Senator Warren’s Glaring Hypocrisy.

IF IT WEREN’T FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS, DEMOCRATS WOULD HAVE NO STANDARDS AT ALL: Israel Rejects Effort by Democrats to Launch Legal Probe of Jewish State.

IF THEY DIDN’T HAVE DOUBLE STANDARDS, THEY WOULDN’T HAVE ANY AT ALL: Flint v. Chicago — Democrats’ dirty double standard.

WITHOUT LIES AND DOUBLE STANDARDS, COULD MODERN FEMINISM EXIST AT ALL? Feminist organization still defending Rolling Stone rape hoaxer.

The National Organization for Women must be hurting for publicity and must also adhere to the old saying that there is “no such thing as bad publicity,” because their recent decision to come to the defense of the woman who lied about being gang raped to Rolling Stone is otherwise astonishing.

Police found no evidence to back up the allegation (although they haven’t officially closed the case). The accuser, Jackie, named the man she claimed took her to a fraternity party and initiated the gang rape — and no one by that name was a student at the University of Virginia or even existed in the United States.

There was no party at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house on the night she claimed to have been raped. Her story changed in material ways over the years. At one point, she claimed he had been forced to perform oral sex on five men. At another, she said she had been raped by seven, including with a beer bottle. Every detail she provided to Rolling Stone was either absolutely proven false or cast into very deep doubt — from her bloody and torn dress to the way her friends and a university administrator treated her after she came forward.

Despite all of this, NOW is calling Jackie a “survivor” and condemning the U.Va. dean who is suing Rolling Stone and requesting documents to prove she was defamed by the magazine.

Well, they fundraised a lot off this. If they admit it’s bogus, people might want their money back.

IF IT WEREN’T FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS, THEY’D HAVE NO STANDARDS AT ALL:

cnn_teabagging_schlonged_12-25-15-1

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Alan Dershowitz Goes Off on PC College Culture: ‘the Fog of Fascism Is Descending.’ “It is free speech for me, but not for thee. Universities should not tolerate this kind of double standard… If you’re going to be a college administrator or a professor, if you have tenure, you have to speak back to the students, you have to call these things what they are: double standards, hypocrisy, bigotry, McCarthyism, and the fog of fascism is descending quickly over many American universities.”

JOHN COCHRANE: Sclerotic growth is the overriding economic issue of our time.

From 1950 to 2000 the US economy grew at an average rate of 3.5% per year. Since 2000, it has grown at half that rate, 1.7%. From the bottom of the great recession in 2009, usually a time of super-fast catch-up growth, it has only grown at two percent per year. Two percent, or less, is starting to look like the new normal.

Small percentages hide a large reality. The average American is more than three times better off than his or her counterpart in 1950. Real GDP per person has risen from $16,000 in 1952 to over $50,000 today, both measured in 2009 dollars. Many pundits seem to remember the 1950s fondly, but $16,000 per person is a lot less than $50,000!

If the US economy had grown at 2% rather than 3.5% since 1950, income per person by 2000 would have been $23,000 not $50,000. That’s a huge difference. Nowhere in economic policy are we even talking about events that will double, or halve, the average American’s living standards in the next generation.

Even these large numbers understate reality. GDP per capita does not capture the increase in lifespan—nearly 10 years—in health, in environmental quality, security and quality of life that we have experienced. The average American today lives far better than a 1950s American would if he or she had three rather than one 1950s cars, TVs, telephones, encyclopedias (in place of internet), or three annual visits to a 1950s doctor.

But even these less quantified benefits flow from economic growth. Only wealthy countries can afford environmental protection and advanced healthcare.

Yes, but policies that produce strong economic growth produce insufficient opportunities for graft, and our political class — which controls the policies — values opportunities for graft above all else.

IF IT WEREN’T FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS: They’d have no standards at all. Everyone Freaked Out When the Bush Sisters Did It. Here’s the Response to Malia Obama Partying…

DOUBLE STANDARDS: University dismisses male student’s harassment claim.

How are male and female students treated differently under the anti-discrimination law Title IX? Not only are men accused of sexual assault denied due process or the assumption of innocence, but male accusers are often ignored.

Case in point: A male student from Northwestern University brought forward sexual harassment claims against a male microbiology and pathology professor but had them dismissed by the school. Now, the male student waited two years to report the sexual harassment, which allegedly occurred between 2007 and 2010. The male student reported the harassment to his adviser in 2012, who then reported it to the school’s Title IX coordinator.

Setting aside the merits of the case and my initial skepticism, the university dismissed the student’s accusation, claiming Title IX required reporting to be done within 180 days of the alleged harassment. The timing claim, however, applies to filing Title IX lawsuits with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, not to filing claims with schools.

Regardless, the male student tried again one year later, this time by appealing to the Title IX coordinator directly. The adviser acknowledged that comments made by the professor to the male student were “ill-advised and unwelcome,” but maintained that they did not rise to the level of sexual harassment.

The student had accused the professor of “making suggestive comments” and “ogling.” He also claimed he was once invited to the professor’s room to have his hair cut and that the professor asked other students about the accuser’s sexual orientation.

Now imagine, as the College Fix does, what would have happened had a female student made similar allegations against a professor.

Related: Prosecutors support more due process for accused students.

ASHE SCHOW: Democrats tweet sexist attack on Carly Fiorina.

For those who weren’t watching the debate, Fiorina wore a pink suit. Of all the disbelief GIFs the Democrats could have chosen, they chose one of a small blonde girl in a pink jacket?

Had this been a tweet from the Republicans about Hillary Clinton, the phrase “war on women” certainly would have been attached. It should be no difference for the Democrats.

While the Left wants to claim that every criticism or slight from a Republican is rooted in sexism, their own Twitter account compares a female Republican to a little girl. Maybe they should look in the mirror the next time they accuse a Republican of being sexist.

If it weren’t for double standards, they wouldn’t have any standards at all.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Ivy Honors And The Justices: “The differential treatment of justices on the right and left of the Court provides more evidence of the high double standards of higher education. It also offers some indirect evidence that professors on the right likely suffer discrimination in the elite legal academy. After all, the faculty and the administration of the law schools likely have some influence on who gets honorary degrees. And no doubt there is likely to be a similar message in many classrooms about which justices are worthy of emulation.”

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D). THIS SHOULD WORK. Judge sends strong message with teacher’s sentence.

Saying there is no room for double standards, an Oakland County judge sentenced a 30-year-old female teacher to spend the next six to 15 years in prison for having a sexual relationship with a student. . . .

Grant was dismayed by letters asking for leniency for Ronk, a former teacher at Bishop Foley High School in Madison Heights, but making no mention of concern for the boy.

“You are dealing with children that are still developing emotionally,” Grant said Wednesday. “To have this continuing double standard is unacceptable. The law does not recognize a double standard, the law is clearly on point in terms that these children are developing human beings. This was a person in position with power and influence over him.”

If we’re going to end this pervasive culture of female sexual entitlement, there will have to be consequences for abusive behavior.

THE HACK REPORTER’S NAME IS STEVEN ROSENFELD: The Killer, the Reporter, and the Southern Poverty Law Center: Reporter interviews source about murderer, doesn’t ask about murderer’s apparent fondness for source’s organization. “No, I don’t think the SPLC deserves any blame for the crime. That would be ridiculous. But the SPLC itself has a long history of throwing around blame in precisely that ridiculous way, so it would have been nice to hear how Potok reacts when an event like this lands in his own backyard. Double standards deserve to be challenged, right?”

Not by hacks who write for Alternet, and get reprinted in Salon and The Raw Story. They’re not reporters. They’re Party Indoctrination Officers. And Party Indoctrination Officers look at SPLC/HuffPo supporters and write: “We can safely say that Craig Stephen Hicks fits the profile of the most common type of domestic violent extremist—a white man with grievances and guns.” But it would be nice if some actual reporter put Potok on the spot.

CHARLES C.W. COOKE: The Left’s “Climate Of Hate” Hypocrisy.

Consider, if you will, the recent behavior of Salon’s Joan Walsh, who yesterday suggested in earnest that the conservative-led condemnation of the “climate” that supposedly provoked the shootings in New York City represented the unconscionable “politicization” of murder. “To blame the peaceful movement against police brutality that’s emerged nationwide,” Walsh wrote, is “the worst in demagoguery.” “Right wingers,” she added, “are using a terrible tragedy to make sure that no one can find middle ground.” Prima facie, I concur with Walsh, of course. But what, we might ask, has finally led her to this conclusion? After the shooting of Gabby Giffords in 2011, Walsh fretted dramatically about “the rhetoric of violence”; asked aloud, “Will any prominent conservatives denounce ‘reload’ and ‘crosshairs’ imagery?”; inquired dishonestly, “Is it really controversial to suggest that the overheated anti-government rhetoric of the last two years, with its often violent imagery, ought to be toned down?”; described Sarah Palin’s pretty standard political-campaign map as “unconscionable”; hoped that Republicans would find it in their hearts to “listen to Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who denounced ‘the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about the government’ at a Saturday night press conference”; played a remarkably dishonest game of “But Anyway . . . ,” repeatedly noting that there was “no evidence” that Jared Loughner had reacted to any right-wing rhetoric before insinuating in the next breath that he must have; and, when her well was running dry, went so far as to suggest without any attestation at all that the shooter was a registered Republican.

Later, talking characteristically out of both sides of her mouth, Walsh proposed that “even if Tuscon exists in a vacuum,” it would still be the case that the “Tea Party’s violent rhetoric is dangerous.” Naturally, these accusations were part of a trend. Two years earlier, Walsh had cynically blamed conservative talk-radio for a shooting at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. The perpetrator turned out to be a neo-Nazi.

If it weren’t for double standards the left would have no standards at all.

Related: The Monsters Who Screamed For Dead Cops.

A little over a week ago, a group of people marched down the streets of Manhattan and called for police to be killed. But exactly who cried out for violence has been something of a mystery as New York goes through its most tense moment in more than a decade.

Evidence from photos, videos, social-media posts and interviews suggest that a group—the New York chapter of the Trayvon Martin Organizing Committee, or TMOC—might have been involved. There is no definitive proof that TMOC led the call for dead cops, but there is a web of circumstantial ties with the group at its center.

TMOC’s own social-media posts put them near the scene of the cry for police blood. Some of the slogans used that night—including “arms up, shoot back!”—are the same as the ones used by TMOC. And recently TMOC has been soliciting money for the legal defense of people it calls its “comrades” who were arrested for allegedly assaulting police officers on the Brooklyn Bridge, just hours after the “dead cops” chant was recorded.

The bedrock of TMOC’s politics, judged by their social-media output, is hatred for police and endorsement of violence against them. The group seems to blend “black bloc” anarchist street violence with social-media campaigns. Keeping their organizing online, members can plan and incite without coming out from behind their digital masks until they hit the streets. (The group did not respond to repeated requests for comment.)

Finding TMOC started with an interview of the man who shot the video showing marchers chanting, “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!” . . . It would be interesting to find out more about the radicals whose slogan is “shoot back.” What we know now is that, out of the people arrested on the bridge, one is a Harvard-educated poet and another was making more than $100,000 a year working for one of the most the most powerful unions in New York City.

I think further inquiry is worthwhile. And if this were a Tea Party event, every journalist in New York would be tracing all the connections. But the Tea Party famously leaves places cleaner than it finds them. The left, not so much.

THE NEW CRITERION ON DOUBLE STANDARDS: “Why is it acceptable for celebrities or other certified feminist icons to prance around in pornographic splendor when men are expected to behave with Mrs. Grundyesque rectitude?” Because feminism, as practiced, is all about expanding women’s options and diminishing women’s responsibilities, while doing the opposite to men. Because equality!

NICK GILLESPIE: Journalistic Hypocrisy Over Hacked Emails vs. Celebrity Pics.

It was just a few months ago that everybody and his grandmother was truly livid—or at least feigned anger before firing up our search engines—when hackers released naked pictures of celebrities ranging from Jennifer Lawrence to Kate Upton to Dave Franco. Curiously, such outrage is almost completely missing in the media’s response to the massive hack attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, which may be linked to the North Korean government and has dumped private emails, contracts, files of unreleased movies, and more all across the Internet.

This time around, there is unapologetic prurience at the chance to get a real behind-the-scenes look at an industry long notorious for its wicked, backbiting, and hypocritical ways. Big-shot producer Scott Rudin tells Sony co-chair Amy Pascal he thinks Angelina Jolie is “a minimally talented spoiled brat”? A-List director David Fincher is as difficult as Hitler was anti-Semitic? Tell us more!

Whatever the differences in public responses, the episodes underscore two basic points that are worth learning fast: First, nobody cares about other people’s privacy, especially if the divulged material is juicy enough. Second, privacy is itself a highly fluid concept that will have probably changed yet again by the time you finish reading this article. Once upon a time, for instance, the Supreme Court ruled that federal agents didn’t need warrants to tap phones. Privacy is invented more than it is discovered.

And if journalists didn’t have double standards, they’d have no standards at all.

MEGAN MCARDLE: Campus Rapes And Kangaroo Courts.

I’ve heard some version of this argument over and over in discussing campus rape prosecutions: “not a big deal, because this is not the government depriving you of your liberty, it’s just a help for victims to get away from their rapists, and nothing really bad happens to the boys.

In the first place, the government is pushing for these relaxed standards of evidence and due process, via Title IX, which means that this is the government doing something to you. Not putting you in prison, to be sure. But — and I hardly believe I have to say this — getting expelled on a sexual assault charge is, in fact, something very bad happening to you. I don’t know why people keep saying that this is “all” that happens, as if it were the educational equivalent of having to change hotels mid-vacation.

Read BuzzFeed’s account of what happened to men who went through these college disciplinary processes to see just how big this can be. One man lost his job after an anonymous caller notified them of his “convictions” — which were for “non-consensual kissing.” It can go on your permanent record, making it hard to get into grad school — you might possibly recover from a youthful bad grades, or plagiarism, but our society doesn’t offer much rehabilitation for sex offenders. You’ll probably lose credits, and for those attending selective schools, it seems likely to me that a man with such a notation on his record would have a hard time enrolling in another elite school.

When people say this is “no big deal,” how many of them would shrug off having this happen to them, on the basis of a hearing where the odds are stacked in favor of believing the accuser, and double standards are often rigorously applied? Which is to say: when two people who are equally drunk have sex, the girl can be presumed to be unable to consent—while the boy is held to be fully capable of determining her level of intoxication, and of making the informed decision not to have sex with someone too much the worse for wine. And this in the name of promoting equality between the genders.

It’s like there’s some entirely different agenda actually at work here.

DOUBLE STANDARDS: If She Hit Him, He Probably Deserved It. “Mitchell points out Skoien’s small size – ‘5 feet 4 inches and 110 pounds’ – but as we know, if it were a diminutive man doing the beating, it wouldn’t lessen the crime, just make the bullying somehow more psychologically charged. Should her husband have called the cops on her?”

ASHE SCHOW ON THE LATEST COLLEGE CRAZE: Thought experiment: Let’s reverse the sexes in this story about drunk shaming.

These upstanding citizens take photos of women after they have passed out, drawing crude Images on their face, arms and legs with markers or posing next to them in suggestive ways.

These men completely degrade these women while they don’t have the situational awareness to respond or defend themselves.

Is this not worthy of feminist outrage?

Well you can stop being outraged, because the sexes in this story are actually reversed.

Using the hashtag #CantHang, college women are doing the above shaming to men.

But of course there’s no outrage there right? I mean, who cares if this kind of stuff happens on college campuses, so long as it’s happening to men, am I right, feminists?

If it weren’t for double standards, they’d have no standards at all.

COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW: Are Female Journalists Softballing Jill Abramson Because She’s A Woman?

Here’s the thing. I don’t begrudge Abramson the right to pick the journalists she believes will give her the warmest embrace, or will accept her terms for an interview. Why shouldn’t she do that? In this case, she’s not in the role of “journalist,” she’s the newsmaker trying to spin her version of events. And on that score Abramson has a deft touch. She is not only brilliant at overseeing the news, she is also brilliant at managing the news, particularly when it’s about her. In the weeks since her firing, the public relations skirmish looks something like: Abramson 7, The New York Times 0.

But it is an absurd display of credulity and clubbiness on the part of her interviewers to take dictation on whatever Abramson says, to accept her version of highly controversial events surrounding her firing at The Times and then call it a day.

There are plenty of questions still to be asked: What about Abramson’s compensation battles with her bosses and, if true, her extraordinary decision to hire a lawyer when she was the executive editor? What warnings was she given that she might be fired? What did she tell then-managing editor Dean Baquet about the prospect of another managing editor coming in? Is his version of events complete?

I happen to be one who thinks there indeed was a double standard operating in the executive suite at The Times, and that a man would not be dismissed for his management style when his performance as a journalist was unsurpassed. But I was hoping for some better understanding of this issue when Abramson finally started speaking.

I’m beginning to think the details may never come out. Abramson has mainly dodged male reporters. And the male reporters I know would just as soon stay clear of the whole matter anyway. Most men don’t go rushing to cover tempestuous stories of sex discrimination.

That means it’s probably up to female journalists to seek complete answers to an event that’s still of no small importance in some quarters, particularly the quarters containing the young female journalists Abramson says she cares about most.

If female journalists want to be treated equitably, they should abide by their own principles of fairness. That means not giving your own a slide because you think they deserve it. Behaving otherwise is convenient, but it’s not journalism.

If it weren’t for clubby double standards, today’s journalism wouldn’t have any standards at all.

CATHY YOUNG: The Surprising Truth About Women And Domestic Violence: Traditional stereotypes have led to double standards that often cause women’s violence—especially against men—to be trivialized. “Family and intimate relationships—the one area feminists often identify as a key battleground in the war on women—are also an area in which women are most likely to be violent, and not just in response to male aggression but toward children, elders, female relatives or partners, and non-violent men, according to a study published in the Journal of Family Violence.”

21st CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: How Will Sexbots Change Human Relationships? Nobody tell that notorious robophobe Matthew Yglesias.

But if you’re going to worry, as this author does, that “female” sexbots will shape male expectations of real women, what about vibrators? The oldest of all sexbots, have they shaped female expectations of men? Plus, note this old post on double standards. Plus, a discussion in the comments here.

SHIKHA DALMIA: Does NYT’s Jill Abramson Have It Worse Than Her Indian Sisters?

Now, much of the agenda of American feminists—wage gap, not enough female CEOs, tax payer-covered birth pills, and, the emerging cause celeb, the absence of paid menstrual leave—strikes me as special pleading masquerading as gender justice. (What’s next? All expenses paid bikini waxes?) But sexism—holding women to different behavioral standards than men—is a genuine issue in America, especially in workplaces.

That’s true, but the double-standards work both ways. All sorts of behavior that would be punished as sexual harassment if done by men is ignored when done by women, for example.

#WARONMEN: Shocking video shows how members of the public intervene when they see man attacking his girlfriend… but stand by and LAUGH when the roles are reversed.

A hard-hitting experiment has revealed how strangers react differently when seeing domestic abuse depending on the gender of the aggressor.

A video filmed with hidden cameras at a London park shows a male actor attacking his ‘girlfriend’ in front of onlookers who immediately rush to help, with one shouting: ‘Oi mate, what’s wrong with you?’

The man is told ‘someone will call the police if you carry on doing that to someone’, before a passer-by says to the woman: ‘You don’t have to put up with that honey, he’s not worth it’.

The experiment is then conducted with the same actors – but this time, the woman is the aggressor, attacking him and saying: ‘Don’t try to walk away – listen to me when I’m talking to you.’

However, instead of reacting with shock, nobody watching even attempts to help the man. They actually seem rather entertained by the incident, stopping to stare and laughing about it.

If it weren’t for double standards, nowadays, we’d have no standards at all. Video at the link.

JAMES TARANTO: Drunkenness And Double Standards: A balanced look at college sex offenses.

Winerip notes that between 2005 and 2010, “more than 60 percent of claims involving sexual violence handled by United Educators”–an insurance company owned by member schools–“involved young women who were so drunk they had no clear memory of the assault.” We know from Sgt. Cournoyer that the accused young men typically are drinking to excess, too. What is called the problem of “sexual assault” on campus is in large part a problem of reckless alcohol consumption, by men and women alike. (Based on our reporting, the same is true in the military, at least in the enlisted and company-grade officer ranks.)

Which points to a limitation of the drunk-driving analogy. If two drunk drivers are in a collision, one doesn’t determine fault on the basis of demographic details such as each driver’s sex. But when two drunken college students “collide,” the male one is almost always presumed to be at fault. His diminished capacity owing to alcohol is not a mitigating factor, but her diminished capacity is an aggravating factor for him.

As the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education notes, at some campuses the accuser’s having had one drink is sufficient to establish the defendant’s guilt. . . . In theory that means, as FIRE notes, that “if both parties are intoxicated during sex, they are both technically guilty of sexually assaulting each other.” In practice it means that women, but not men, are absolved of responsibility by virtue of having consumed alcohol.

That is self-evidently unjust, yet it turns out to be a matter of high principle for many feminists. Last fall Slate’s Emily Yoffe, the mother of a college-age daughter, was the target of a Two Minutes Hate for a post titled “College Women: Stop Getting Drunk,” even though she offered the same advice to college men: “If I had a son, I would tell him that it’s in his self-interest not to be the drunken frat boy who finds himself accused of raping a drunken classmate.”

Women are obviously too fragile to handle college. They should just get married young, have babies, and stay home. Luckily, ObamaCare encourages that!

CLAUDIA ROSETT ON THE HYPOCRISY OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONDEMNING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OVER SEX ABUSE:

That’s rich coming from the U.N., which has still not solved its own festering problems of peacekeeper sex abuse, including the rape of minors. Exposing abusers and holding them to account is a great idea. The Vatican has spent years addressing the scandal of its own past handling of such cases. But the U.N. hardly engages in the transparency it is now promoting.

The U.N. releases only generic statistics on violations committed by personnel working under its flag. The U.N. doesn’t share with the public such basic information as the names of the accused or the details of what they did to people the U.N. dispatched them to protect. Blue berets accused of sex crimes are simply sent back to their home countries, where in the majority of cases they drop off the radar.

Though the U.N. has been recording a drop in sex-abuse cases since it began releasing numbers in 2007, the number of alleged instances of rape and exploitation each year still runs into the dozens. (This may understate the realities, given the hurdles to victims coming forward, often in societies in tumult or at war.) From 2007-13, the U.N. reported more than 600 allegations of rape or sexual exploitation, with 354 substantiated—many of them involving minors. The numbers do not convey how ugly some of these cases get. Details can occasionally be gleaned when an incident seeps past the U.N. wall of omerta and makes it into the news, as with the peacekeeper gang rape in 2011 of a Haitian teenager, whose agony was caught on video.

If it weren’t for double standards, the U.N. would have no standards at all.

INDEED: Hate Speech Against Gun Owners Shows Double Standard. Hey, if it weren’t for double standards, the left would have no standards at all!

Plus: “If liberals and left-wingers get any more civil, conservatives and Republicans might have to start wearing body armor.” Start?

LAW, JOURNALISM, AND DOUBLE STANDARDS: David Gregory, Meet James O’Keefe.

Howard Kurtz dismisses the legal concerns. Gregory may have violated the law, but he was just engaged in a media stunt. ”I don’t think Gregory was planning to commit any crimes,” Kurtz writes — no crimes other than violating D.C.’s gun laws that is. But who cares if it was illegal, it was good TV! Tell that to James O’Keefe who, Kurtz may recall, was prosecuted for his own legal indiscretions when trying to film some stunts of his own. Prosecutors wisely allowed O’Keefe to plea to a minor charge, but he wasn’t let off the hook just because he was attempting act of journalism. Why should David Gregory and his NBC colleagues be held to a different standard?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall Kurtz springing to O’Keefe’s defense.

UPDATE: This is all over Facebook.

David Gregory Gun Crime

ANOTHER UPDATE: Guns And Posers: Why Isn’t David Gregory In Jail?

MORE: The David Gregory meme started at Legal Insurrection with this post: Feds and media jump to David Gregory’s defense as race card goes missing.

ENEMIES LISTS: From Nixon to Obama. “For those of use who lived through Watergate, it must be at least slightly surprising how little attention Strassel’s columns have drawn. . . . The mainstream media are of course missing in action. An election is looming and if it weren’t for double standards they wouldn’t have any at all.”

Yeah, if you wonder how Watergate would have played out under a Democratic President, well, wonder no more.

WILL AMAZON’S PUSH FOR SAME-DAY DELIVERY destroy local retail? “Physical retailers have long argued that once Amazon plays fairly on taxes, the company wouldn’t look like such a great deal to most consumers. If prices were equal, you’d always go with the ‘instant gratification’ of shopping in the real world. The trouble with that argument is that shopping offline isn’t really ‘instant’—it takes time to get in the car, go to the store, find what you want, stand in line, and drive back home. Getting something shipped to your house offers gratification that’s even more instant: Order something in the morning and get it later in the day, without doing anything else. Why would you ever shop anywhere else?”

Avoiding stores is mostly a plus, not a minus. Maybe if physical retailers had better staff. . . .

UPDATE: Reader Hunt Brown writes:

Hypocrite.

I like your page, and I enjoy your perspective, but when you start slamming bricks and mortar retailers about the time involved… without mentioning that absent the cost of gas looking on line for an item can be as infuriating as Burdines on December 24… well, that’s not entirely transparent, especially when you are taking a percentage of all online sales that slip through your site. You rail about Obama’s double standards and duplicity, perhaps it’s time you considered your own.

Tough love sucks.

Hey, Farhad Manjoo wrote that passage, not me. (And my Amazon Affiliate status is hardly any secret). But I’ve seldom had to spend much time finding things online — and nothing like the experience of looking in a crowded brick and mortar store. (And I just bought a new skillet at Williams-Sonoma, ending my boycott over their maltreatment of the Insta-Daughter.)

There are some things (shoes, nicer clothing) that I prefer to buy at brick-and-mortar stores; for everything else, I’d personally rather shop online. I do feel, though, that brick-and-mortar stores ought to be trying harder to make the shopping experience pleasant. Instead, I often get the feeling that the staff views me as a disturbance to their texting-their-friends time. I wrote a column nearly eight years ago about how brick and mortar stores could compete with online selling, but most of them seem not to have listened. Oddly, places that compete most directly with online — like Best Buy — seem to try the least.

Meanwhile, reader Grace Kittie has another complaint:

You have touched on a subject near and dear to my heart! I agree that dealing with what passes for “staff” these days is a fine reason all on its own for avoiding local shops, however the feature that has driven me to my laptop and comfy chair is the music that assaults the shopper the instant one steps through the door. It is not uncommon to have two or three different “tunes” floating through the air at once if the shop is large enough. Whatever happened to the concept of quiet contemplation? My first push to the online approach was a few years ago when a locally owned book store, where for many years I had enjoyed wonderfully peaceful browsing, started sponsoring live music events. I complained but was clearly in the minority. I was gone shortly thereafter. (So was the bookstore, come to think of it.)

On the other hand, when you shop online sometimes music starts up in another browser tab and it’s hard to find it and shut it down. At least when you have as many tabs open as I do.

And reader Marc Bacon writes to tell me where I should be shopping: “At Publix. Where shopping really is a pleasure…really.”

Well, we’re getting a couple of new Publix stores later this month. Happy to have someone challenge Kroger’s near-monopoly anyway, but on that recommendation I’ll definitely check them out.

And reader Clay Register gets the last word:

Funny this came up today. Last night I ordered a new $30 weather station from Amazon at about 8 P.M. (tree ants got my remote for the old one). It arrived this afternoon from Kentucky (I’m in FL). I told the UPS guy that, even if I had to pay taxes, this kind of service would be better than driving to the store and possibly not finding what I wanted

You know, I’ve never really considered moving to Florida, but if you’ve got ants that can carry away a remote, I’m pretty sure I never will. But yeah, that’s pretty good. Meanwhile, some related thoughts from Megan McArdle.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Tina Parker emails: “My son, an Economics doctoral student, just came in from the local games & graphic novel store. He browsed, bought a card game, and a couple of books. He said he realized he could have bought the game for less at Amazon but decided he wanted to reward the store for their customer service and game selection. Service will be the only way brick and mortar stores will survive online buying.” That’s what I keep trying to tell them.

MORE: Reader Mike Reynolds (no relation) writes:

First, Thank you for the site, love it, I will keep visiting. Second, in response to your reader Hunt Brown who called you a hypocrite, I must call foul. Having visited your page on a regular basis over the years I know you are affiliated with Amazon. You have told us so and have indicated our patronage of the Amazon link puts a little money in your pocket. I get that. It’s called capitalism. I actually appreciate your recommendations. I shop Amazon weekly and will continue to do so because I get what I need at a great price and with Prime, I get it quick.

If you want to use my name, you may. It’s Reynolds, and even though we are not related, I will continue to visit your site throughout the day.and click through to Amazon. Then I might hit The Corner, or Wired.

And reader Michelle Dulak Thomson emails:

Unless I’m listening to music for work (I’m a classical CD reviewer) at my computer, or watching online video/podcasts/whatever, I just turn the speakers off. There is too much loud and obnoxious music tied into websites these days (or, more often than not, to the pop-up ads associated with them, which Firefox isn’t catching as often as it used to).

Re: Amazon, the sales tax business doesn’t affect me at all, as I’m in Oregon. But if they can leverage their capitulation on the tax thing into even quicker shipping, good on them. I’ve noticed, as Manjoo did, that my Amazon orders are frequently coming ahead of schedule.

Indeed.

SO MUCH FOR THAT “NEW CIVILITY” BULLSHIT: Creepy Democrats Now Stalking Republicans At Home.

Related: Alternator Belt Cut On Romney Bus.

UPDATE: Speaking of double standards, reader John Casey writes: “There was a certain US Senate candidate who complained about video recordings made during his 2004 campaign, and I’ve suspected that the ‘invasion’ was blown out of proportion by the press, which was working for him even then.” Ya think?

They always go all have you no decency? when it’s done to them.

Plus, on the Romney-alternator story, from the comments: “Nobody knows whether Robert Gibbs cut the alternator belt on Mitt’s bus.”

And where’s the Secret Service? Romney’s the presumptive nominee, and anybody who could cut the alternator belt could have cut a brake line, or planted a bomb.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Obama vs. Romney: Bully vs. Nerd.

Romney’s big problem is that he grew up in another America. He was raised to believe there is a clear standard for adult conduct, that even politics has rules and that it is the duty of a president to unite and lead the nation through its economic crisis.

Timing could be his great misfortune. Fate has given him a demoralized electorate that is growing distant from that old America and an opponent who spouts its verities, but actually believes in none of them.

Barack Obama believes that politics is a knife fight, and the only rule is that he must win. His conduct reflects the unholy mix of a messiah complex with the muscle of The Chicago Way. His goal, he tells us, is to “transform” America, not fix it.

This culture clash explains a presidential campaign operating in parallel universes.

Old-fashioned America’s remedy for bullying: Punch the bully in the nose. Twice as hard. Think Romney knows that?

MORE: A Secret Service reader emails:

Regarding your “where’s the Secret Service?” response to the sabotaged Romney bus: frequently used motorcade vehicles are always under lock and key or attended by agents. If a vehicle is only occasionally used (like, say, a campaign bus), we don’t guard it, but the vehicle is carefully checked for bombs and sabotage prior to return to service.

And reader John Pennell writes:

I just finished the first two of Peter Godwin’s books about Zimbabwe, this smacks of the very early stages of Mugabe’s tactics which have kept him in power. One has to wonder if/when the “occupy” crowd becomes our own “war vets”.

By the way, the three books are available on Kindle and very much worth reading. 1) Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa, 2) When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, and 3) The Fear.

I think that may have been the intent with Occupy, but it’s hard to get good goons these days.

SUDDENLY NOTICING “ONLINE HARASSMENT.” As Stacy McCain emails, if it weren’t for double standards, they’d have no standards at all.

WHEN CUPCAKES ARE OUTLAWED, ONLY OUTLAWS WILL HAVE CUPCAKES: In Massachusetts, “Bake sales, the calorie-laden standby cash-strapped classrooms, PTAs and booster clubs rely on, will be outlawed from public schools as of Aug. 1 as part of new no-nonsense nutrition standards, forcing fundraisers back to the blackboard to cook up alternative ways to raise money for kids.”

RELATED: Shocker: FLOTUS’s plan to weed out “food deserts” failing to bear much fruit.

UPDATE: An Insta-reader emails some thoughts on the Orwellian doubletalk in the “War on Food:”

Food desserts are alleged to cause obesity. I am talking about the alleged epidemic of “hunger”.

“The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is a significant step forward in our effort to help America’s children thrive and grow to be healthy adults. Thanks to the dedication of this Congress and First Lady Michelle Obama, more kids will have access to healthy, balanced, nutritious school lunches. By increasing the number of students eligible to enroll in school meal programs and improving the quality of food served, this legislation simultaneously tackles both hunger and the obesity levels currently affecting too many communities across this nation.

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius

How can we have epidemics of starvation and obesity at the same time? A statement like the one highlighted above should be the subject of constant ridicule (e.g. The Fat Children are Starving…). At the very least the government should be forced to pick one or the other area in which to overreach.

My children (who are not overweight in the slightest) are subject to monitoring and now food restrictions at school. Meanwhile, they are dragged to community service at the local food pantry and badgered about “walking for hunger”. This is Orwellian doublespeak at its finest, and nobody is talking about it.

This sounds like it would make for great updates to the next editions of both Liberal Fascism and the Tyranny of Cliches.

OOPS: Obama Fares Worse Among Women after Month-Long Contraception Mandate Battle. “The bottom line is that it’s not clear at all that the fight over the contraception/abortifacient mandate has hurt Republicans.”

UPDATE: So how’s that anti-Limbaugh campaign working out?

“The dust up over Sleep Train, along with the blowback suffered by Carbonite over that company’s public denunciation of Limbaugh… demonstrates that the iconic radio talk show host is dealing from a position of strength in the campaign to deprive him of advertisers. One tends to prosper when one advertises on Limbaugh’s show. But cross him, and one will suffer.”

Writes the lefty Drudge Retort, noting that Limbaugh hasn’t lost listeners (and has probably gained listeners, people who are “curious about what the fuss is all about”).

Stay tuned. Things don’t seem to be following the narrative here. More from Prof. Jacobson.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, reader William Moselle writes that he just quit HBO: “Had it for a decade or more. Loved it and ignored Maher. But the time came to make a bit of a statement, no matter how small, about the utter hypocrisy and double standards. Being Breitbart (in my own little way).”

I’d be interested to know how many people have done the same over the past week or so.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Oh my: Obama’s approval rating hits new low in CBS poll.

MORE: On HBO, reader Bill Ryan emails:

I tried to quit HBO yesterday and I was told I was getting it for free and I had been getting it for free since Nov. My wife talked to them about a TV package back then but had no idea we were getting HBO for free. I told them I wanted to quit anyway because of Maher and their anti-Palin movie and their left wing bias.

This reminds me of when I tried to quit the Denver Post. They kept delivering it for months afterwards even though I called them to stop delivery. They kept delivering and offered the paper free if I would buy the Sunday edition.

I wonder how many other “subscribers” to HBO are getting it for “free.”

Heh. I don’t know. I’d like to know, though.

STILL MORE: Reader Ray Toohey writes:

Hey Glenn, you asked who has canceled HBO recently. I’ve never had it, so I couldn’t cancel it. BUT I did have Carbonite.

I called them last week and said “cancel me as of today.” The guys response was, “does this have anything to do with the recent troubles?” Yep!

He said they wouldn’t refund my money (I only had a month left before renewing.) I told him I don’t care I just wasn’t interested in their service anymore due to their politics.

Dropped them and got IDrive. (following a recommendation from another of your readers). Enough is enough!

Keep up the good work!

And reader John Hickey emails:

Just a quick note to let you know I’m another one of those Brietbart types who cancelled my subscription to HBO. I was able to cancel with ATT Uverse on line, but I did follow up with an email to HBO listing “Game Change” and Bill Maher as a couple of reasons for leaving. They never gave me the courtesy of a response.

I am Breitbart!

Stay tuned. Plus, one more reader email:

One explanation for the Obama administration/media misstep in the contraception contretemps is that the decision makers may be thoroughly cocooned that they really could not see how this would play out.

I think it is entirely possible of Obama’s inner circle and (to a lesser degree) the MSM that a) they don’t know many practicing Catholics b) they really did not recall how much more often left wing commentators and entertainers had said things about right wing women that were far more vile than anything Rush Limbaugh said, and c) Sandra Fluke seemed like a person whose life story would resonate, because her story is so similar to about half of their circle of friends.

A little more contact with the real world would have led them to the cautionary advice that a) many Catholics _actually believe_ that forcing religious institutions to pay for contraception and abortion in health coverage is a violation of their religious freedom, b) the Left says horrid things about conservative women all of the time, and they really would lose a tit-for-tat on this subject and c) Georgetown law students who want free contraception are really not as awesome of a victim group as it might seem on first look.

I don’t think this will be the last time during this campaign that Republican “losses” and Democrat “wins” get revised in the court of public opinion.

No name if used, please.

Like I said, stay tuned.

And note this, from the New York Times:

At a time of rising gas prices, heightened talk of war with Iran and setbacks in Afghanistan, Mr. Obama’s approval rating dropped substantially in recent weeks, the poll found, with 41 percent of respondents expressing approval of the job he is doing and 47 percent saying they disapprove — a dangerous position for any incumbent seeking re-election.

Hey, wait, I thought those dumb Republicans had thrown away their chances last week.

And reader Eric Rauch writes: “I just canceled HBO with Directv and the young man knew why I was canceling before I had to explain it to him. He said HBO is getting canceled a lot because of Bill Maher and the Palin movie. If I understood him correctly he offered discounts for 6 months of HBO free. Of course I canceled anyway.”

Plus, from reader Leslie Eastman: “A business model in which you cannot even give away your product for free is full of fail.”

And reader Eugene Dillenburg emails: “I don’t see what the big deal is. All that’s happening is the conservatives want to ‘make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.'”

TEN YEARS AGO ON INSTAPUNDIT: DOUBLE STANDARDS FOR FAILURE:

John Tierney says there’s a double standard, with the government foulups and coverups that led to September 11 barely even being investigated — even though thousands died — while Enron’s foulups and coverups have already got people calling for criminal prosecutions. Tierney’s lesson:

“If you’re going to make that kind of mistake, do it on government time.”

Well, we’ve certainly seen that observation borne out.

CLEVELAND? REALLY? Obama praises Cleveland as the ‘tech belt.’

UPDATE: Reader C.J. Burch emails: “If he gets a second term Cleveland and Detroit will have the highest standards of living in the country. It won’t be because either of them improved, either.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader William Jamieson emails:

If The One called Cleveland the tech belt, he’s the only one who’s done so, to my knowledge. Maybe some local, rah-rah guys from the chamber of commerce have, but that’s just the spin and the hype, which no one believes. Seriously, aside from some nano stuff nearby, I’m not sure what The One might mean.

We’re an old blue-collar, factory town, and once thrived as a producer of cars and steel. We made things. Now, I don’t know how you’d describe us, as I don’t think we’ve made any real transition to a new business base.

I work in the midst of the projects, but only a few miles from the University Circle area and the Cleveland Clinic complex. Some of the best medical facilities in the world, along with one of the best art museums and orchestras in the world, are a 5 minute drive from my work.

But you wouldn’t know it from my work’s immediate neighborhood, which is rife with abandoned houses and the barrack-style projects built immediately post WW II, or so they look; around another corner, brick multi-story buildings, which once housed factories, but have been abandoned 10 or 20 years, are only now being torn down. Who’s the largest employer near us? RTA…the Regional Transit Authority, as in public transportation, heavily subsidized, of course. It’s a pretty depressed and depressing area.

If you want to see what 25 or so years of single party rule (democrat) have done to a city and county, and don’t want to go to Detroit, you should come here. Democratic mayors, congressional reps on east and west sides, county commissioners and other county officers, many of whom are going to jail….you think Chicago is corrupt, you should come here.

We’ve had the feds crawling all over some of these county guys for 3-4 years now, nailing one after the other. The County Auditor pleaded guilty a few months ago, in exchange for a light sentence for his son, also convicted of corruption, and is soon off to jail for 20+ years, the bastard. A county commissioner is going down with the ship, too. Of course, he’s innocent. I hope he gets double the auditor’s sentence.

Meanwhile, jobs have melted away, high school graduation rates every year hover at 50%, little new commercial construction has started, save for government buidlings….and, seemingly, no new businesses are moving in.

Gee, I wonder why?

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED OVER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND, if you were off having a life or something:

Advice to the new Congress: My Sunday Washington Examiner column.

Dollar goes down, oil goes up.

More airports consider ditching TSA.

2010: A Momentous Year For Commercial Spaceflight.

Why California has become the epicenter of unemployment.

Lee County School Board doubles down on stupid.

Some fascinating automotive history.

Brain-dead anarchists for socialism.

Blizzard-inspired thoughts on low-budget disaster preparation. And a followup here.

Thoughts on sexual double standards.

Instead of plowing, NYC snowplow guys got plowed.

The James Cole controversy won’t go away.

Austan Goolsbee’s debt problem.

ANN ALTHOUSE WILL BE LIVEBLOGGING the State Of The Union. And Jason Pye emails that the folks at UnitedLiberty will be liveblogging, too.

Stephen Green, of course, will be drunkblogging it, and has links to various State Of The Union drinking games. Jim Treacher will be liveblogging, too, and while it isn’t formally “drunkblogging,” well, informally it just might be . . . .

The country’s in the very best of hands. Our future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades. So sit back, relax, and watch!

Plus, Sandy Levinson on a SOTU catastrophe. “If we really do believe that there is, say, a 1% probability that a successful attack will take place on the Capitol when everyone gathers for the State of the Union address, that’s a good reason either to revert to an earlier tradition, when Presidents delivered written messages, or, at the very least, telling most of the Cabinet and Justices, for starters, that they can, like the rest of us, watch it on TV. (I note that Dick Cheney did not attend the immediate post-Sept. 11 address to Congress, but did seemingly attend all of the States of the Union address thereafter. But why? I ask this as a fully serious, and not cheap-shot, question.)” Well, Hillary isn’t attending tonight, but not as a security holdout. What does that mean?

UPDATE: More liveblogging from a panel of experts at the Cato Institute.

Also the inimitable Dana Loesch.

Plus, Jules Crittenden is doing the drinking games.

From the Cato Liveblog: “The assertions about the Depression we would have had are outrageous. Their forecasts of the stimulus’s impact have been horrible, so how can they have any credibility on this kind of issue? ” I think it’s full speed ahead, here, credibility be damned. Plus this: “Bastiat is spinning in his grave.”

The “stimulus” didn’t produce any jobs, but if we pass a new stimulus and call it a “jobs bill,” it will!

On Facebook, Alex Lightman writes: “I was looking forward to the State of the Union speech. Then I read most of it, and got depressed. It’s as if he’s running for office, not holding office. I didn’t hear anything about what’s going to be cut. Anyone can make promises to spend other people’s money.”

Reader C.J. Burch writes: “‘The worst of the storm has passed.’ Forget Green and Crittenden, what the Hell is Obama drinking?”

More from Cato: “Wonderful, more government-directed investment. That worked really well with Fannie and Freddie.” Plus this prediction: “He’ll pivot from a new $100 billion jobs bill to cutting the deficit.”

Ann Althouse: “Small businesses are good. (Come on, talk to them.) Big business sucks though. We want to help small business grow… so it can become big business and then we can hate it.”

Seems pretty much like a recycled campaign speech to me.

And not just recycled campaign speech — the Cato folks note this:

“Through stricter accounting standards and tougher disclosure requirements, corporate America must be made more accountable to employees and shareholders and held to the highest standards of conduct.”

–George W. Bush, 2002 SOTU

They told me if I voted for John McCain we’d see a third Bush term. And they were right! [LATER: Tad DeHaven keeps running quotes from Bush SOTUs that match what Obama’s saying tonight.]

More from Cato: “He has decided to run against lobbyists. The populist turn again. Carter did that too.” Those guys are on fire. Just head over there to catch all the gems. But here’s one more: “This is the most awful anti-trade position of any president in a long time.”

More liveblogging from Jason Van Steenwyk.

Ed Driscoll: The Semiotics Of The Anointed.

Stephen Green: “’Our approach would bring down the deficit by as much as one trillion dollars over two decades.’ Fine. But when those two decades mean another 20 or 30 trillion dollars of debt, you’re talking about scooping pee out of the ocean with sieve.”

Plus this: “’Let me know.’ Dude, the voters of Massachusetts just did.”

And: “The guy who just bragged of his (mysterious) 25 tax cuts just ragged on the Bush tax cuts.”

An Obama speech word cloud.

“But we took office in a crisis — and never let a crisis go to waste!” Okay, I kinda interpolated the second part. . . .

Hey, does this sound familiar?

Many of you have talked about the need to pay down our national debt. I listened, and I agree. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to act now, and I hope you will join me to pay down $2 trillion in debt during the next 10 years.

It’s from George W. Bush’s 2001 SOTU.

A reader emails: “Oh for heaven’s sake. It’s a freaking stump speech. You’ve been elected all ready Mr. President. Now you have to do things. See the difference?”

The freeze starts next year? And I start my diet tomorrow.

From Dan Mitchell at Cato: “We’ve all done something very naughty if this is the government we deserve.”

Now Obama, after delivering an hour-long stump speech, criticizes the perpetual campaign. Luckily for him, most people will be watching Teen Mom on their Tivo by now.

A reader sends a link to Reagan’s 1982 State Of The Union by way of comparison.

The Insta-Daughter: “He needs to quit referring to Bush. It’s weird.”

Nick Schulz: The Definition of Chutzpah.

John Samples at Cato: “I agree with Chris. It is surprising how unsurprising this speech has been, particularly for a president in deep political trouble.”

More liveblogging at Reason. Radley Balko: “wow. no none is better at trivializing opponents’ arguments than obama.”

A call to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I’m for it, but I’ll bet there’s not much follow-through.

Stephen Green: “’I have embraced the vision of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.’ Okay. Except you embraced the competence of Jimmy Carter & Herbert Hoover.”

Jim Harper at Cato: “Following through on his transparency promises would be a great way to actually deliver change.”

Matt Welch: “8-year-olds sending money to the president don’t make me all tingly inside.”

Reader Rob Lain emails:

Others have probably done this already, but I just ran these numbers:

Obama SOTU 2010 First Person Singular Pronoun Count

I – 96 times

me – 8 times

Bush SOTU 2008 First Person Singular Pronoun Count

I – 39 times

me – 2 times

Think this may wind up correlating to their relative contributions to the national debt, when all is said and done?

I dunno, but what’s funny is that I think Obama was restraining himself here . . . .

Okay, it’s over. My sense is that he was trying a bit too hard. Comparing the mood to last year, the Democratic applause and cheering seemed rather forced, too. Plus, I don’t think his public scolding of the Supreme Court was very Presidential — or, for that matter, very smart.

Krauthammer is noting that Obama treats “Washington” as a pejorative, but that he is Washington now.

Matt Welch: “I think I’ve forgotten it already. Except for the I WON’T QUIT part. Don’t worry, it *is* about you, etc.”

Reader Matt Barger writes: “There has never been a SOTU as patronizing as this. God help us.”

C.J. Burch emails again: “A brittle speech by a brittle administration. He’s done as a political force, I think. If not now, soon.” We’ll see.

And Stephen Green concludes: “We’re into the Big Finish… but there’s no new here. For a guy who got his bottom handed to him in three big elections, he’s strangely reluctant to change course. In fact, he’s not even willing to change tone. Which means, whatever you thought of Bush’s lousy last three years, Obama has already outdone him in being tone-deaf. Let me restate that. This guy hasn’t gotten one single thing done since Porklulus was passed 11 months ago, and he just doubled down. Well, you know what? Who cares how much is in the pot when it’s other people’s money?”

Reader Allen S. Thorpe writes: “It is probably better to think of it as a State of My Presidency speech and it’s probably the best chance he’s had since his Inauguration to speech to this size of an audience. He’d better be in campaign mode, because he’s losing the election right now. From the back of my memory, some familiar words are floating up: ‘Lipstick on a pig.'”

Gerard van der Leun emails with praise: “Excellent digest. All the hot liveblogging lines with none of the screen refreshing tedium.”

Thanks! As Leon Lipson once said, “Anything you can do, I can do meta.” But really, follow the links to the other blogs as this is just the merest skim of cream.

And there’s always the Zomby translation.

Plus, Richard Fernandez weighs in. “Since the current administration is doing all these good things, it will stay the course. It won’t let the aforementioned saboteurs and wreckers stand in the way.”

The McDonnell reponse? The bar for these things is low — and he was certainly infinitely better than Jindal last year. But the big story is the subtext: “I was just elected in a state Obama carried, even though Obama campaigned against me. Whatever he may say under the lights, he can’t save you come election day.” Likewise, the Scott Brown mention.

And from Meryl Yourish: Breaking the Obama Code:

Tonight, he addressed the American people, and he addressed Congress. Go back and look at the speech. He was earnest, and his chin was down, his head relatively level, when speaking to Congress. When he spoke to us, his chin rose, and he talked down to us—literally.

Go ahead. Take a look. Note his posture. You’ll see it, too. You and I, we are not his equals. He is above us.

That’s what sets my teeth on edge every time I listen to him.

That’s almost worth rewinding the DVR for, but . . . no, I’ve suffered enough.

Some extensive thoughts from Dan Riehl, including this: “Obama praised the concept of separation of powers, then immediately turned to question the Supreme Court’s recent decision on campaign finance reform. That tendency caused much of speech to ring hollow throughout.”

Alex Castellanos writes: “There were too many Barack Obamas tonight, making too many promises to too many interests. The same president who said he wasn’t interested in relitigating the past . . . did exactly that for over an hour. The same president who yearned for less partisanship also resorted to it without hesitation, often just a few sentences afterwards, blaming his problems on his predecessor one long year into his own administration.”

Jim Geraghty: On His Last Day in Office, Obama Will Still Be Talking About What He Inherited.

More from The Anchoress:

You know, one could argue that President Bush “inherited” Al Qaeda from Bill Clinton, who did little-to-nothing in response to all of Al Qaeda’s provocations throughout the 1990’s and unto the USS Cole bombing. But never, not once, did Bush ever say, “I inherited this…” It’s time for Obama to become a man.

Much more at the link.

John Podhoretz: “One liberal trope after the speech, voiced by Chrystia Freedland of the Financial Times on Charlie Rose, is that Obama is putting Republican politicians on notice he will go after them as the do-nothing impeders of progress. Republicans should pray this is the case, and it may be the case.” In New Jersey, Virginia, and Massachusetts he’s proven impotent. Why should people fear him more now, when he’s weaker?

And reader Eric Naft writes:

You posted a CATO link that mentioned Bastiat, but do you realize exactly how precisely delicious that observation is? In extolling the virtues of the stimulus, President Obama cited several small businesses, including a “window repair company” in Philadelphia.

Having read Bastiat’s influential “That Which Is Seen & That Which Is Not Seen: The Unintended Consequences of Government Spending,” I don’t think he could have chosen more poorly (or perhaps more aptly?). The opening vignette of Bastiat’s seminal work, which demolishes the notion that government spending stimulates anything, is subtitled, “The Broken Window.” It explains that paying to repair broken windows doesn’t help the economy at large because the money used to pay for the repair is money that can’t be used to buy a shirt or to do whatever else the private citizen may be inclined to do with his money.

Has nobody in the administration’s speech-writing team ever read basic economics? Never mind. I think I know the answer to that.

Yes, I do realize. But heck, forget the speech-writing team. What about the economic team?

Plus, what the voters think about Obama’s speech points.

Chris Matthews on Obama: ‘I Forgot He Was Black For an Hour’.

Good grief. Why is this guy still on the air? Oh, wait, he’s not — he’s on MSNBC . . . .

And reader Scott Blanksteen writes:

Obama’s comments about the Supreme Court’s decision enabling foreign corporations to donate in US campaigns are particularly ironic given that it was his campaign that mis-configured their credit-card acceptance software in a way for which the only purpose would be to enable foreign donations!

More on that here, here, and here.

Jules Crittenden: “But seriously, we have just witnessed an extraordinary exercise in presidential oratorical animation that may be without peer or precedent. Can it be said that any American president has ever tried to blame so much on other people, or has been willing to so rapidly abandon his own principles for the betterment of his standing with the people, to seize up the banner against himself in our nation’s time of need, that this nation should not stand against him? For this, the president deserves our unabashed, gaga-eyed astonishment.”

FIVE STATES CAUSED THE FORECLOSURE CRISIS? “The beneficiaries of taxpayer charity will be highly concentrated in just five states – California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Michigan. . . . It turns out that the five states with by far the highest foreclosure rates have some things in common with each other, but very little in common with most other states.”

UPDATE: Some thoughts from Dan Riehl.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails: “Whatever became of Rep. Laura Richardson? The Democratic Black Caucus member that no one talks about at all, the one with the 4 mortgages, all in foreclosure, the one who got to vote on the measure making debt forgiveness a non-taxable event? How about reviving interest in her touching case?”

Well, here’s a story on her multiple defaults from last summer. Plus, some thoughts on double standards.

MORE: Here’s a more recent article on Laura Richardson:

First Rep. Laura Richardson was having problems making house payments, defaulting six times over eight years.

Then after a bank foreclosed on her Sacramento house and sold it at auction in May, the Long Beach Democrat made such a stink that Washington Mutual, in an unusual move, grabbed it back and returned it to her.

This week, in the latest chapter in the housing saga, the Code Enforcement Department in Sacramento declared her home a “public nuisance.” The city has threatened to fine her as much as $5,000 a month if she doesn’t fix it up.

Neighbors in the upper-middle-class neighborhood complain that the sprinklers are never turned on and the grass and plants are dead or dying. The gate is broken, and windows are covered with brown paper.

Seems to me that she and her colleagues are taking about as good care of the country . . . .

Plus this: LAURA RICHARDSON PROMISES TO EXPLAIN ALL THOSE DEFAULTS–AFTER THE ELECTION. I don’t think she did. I love this bit:

“This election is about fiscal responsibility,” she said.

But she is defining fiscal responsibility narrowly.

”My personal [financial] experience is not what this particular election is about,” she emphasizes.

Your political class at work.

NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE? So we’ve had nearly 8 years of lefty assassination fantasies about George W. Bush, and Bill Ayers’ bombing campaign is explained away as a consequence of him having just felt so strongly about social justice, but a few people yell things at McCain rallies and suddenly it’s a sign that anger is out of control in American politics? It’s nice of McCain to try to tamp that down, and James Taranto sounds a proper cautionary note — but, please, can we also note the staggering level of hypocrisy here? (And that’s before we get to the Obama campaign’s thuggish tactics aimed at silencing critics.)

The Angry Left has gotten away with all sorts of beyond-the-pale behavior throughout the Bush Administration. The double standards involved — particularly on the part of the press — are what are feeding this anger. (Indeed, as Ann Althouse and John Leo have noted, the reporting on this very issue is dubious). So while asking for McCain supporters to chill a bit, can we also ask the press to start doing its job rather than openly shilling for a Democratic victory? Self-control is for everybody, if it’s for anybody. . . .

UPDATE: Well, here’s an opportunity to see how they do.

Plus, days of rage.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Hey, it’s not my rage. Remember, I lack fire. “Reynolds, at his most, barely reaches the level of mildly peeved.”

LOSE A NUKE, LOSE YOUR JOB: “Defense Secretary Robert Gates ousted the Air Force’s top military and civilian leaders Thursday, holding them to account in a historic Pentagon shake-up after embarrassing nuclear mix-ups. Gates announced at a news conference that he had accepted the resignations of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne – a highly unusual double firing.” Seems fair. But we also need to clean things up down the line: “The report drew the stunning conclusion that the Air Force’s nuclear standards have been in a long decline, ‘a problem that has been identified but not effectively addressed for over a decade.'”

UPDATE: Background here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails:

I get the impression, from my military acquaintances, that the nuclear forces have been regarded by the rest of the armed services as the weird aunt in the attic nobody talks about. That kind of attitude tends to be hard on the morale of the “weird aunt”, and bad morale leads to carelessness and other manifestations of bad performance.

For whatever it’s worth.

We need to continue taking the nuclear deterrent seriously. I work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and we’ve become a political football over the last few years. Bad morale, reduced performance …. yeah.

Indeed.

MORE: Further background, going beyond the nuke issue to many other Air Force turf battles, from Noah Shachtman.

STILL MORE: A reader emails:

I was an OIC (1st Lieutenant at Minot when I left) in charge of several branches of the 5 MMS (Munitions Maintenance Squadron) WSA (Weapons Storage Area) at Minot in the mid-eighties. That was back when SAC (Strategic Air Command) existed and controlled all of the nations ICBM and Heavy Bomber Nuke forces. Back then, SAC set the standard, DOD-wide, for excellence in Nuclear Accountability and Control…I personally went through many SAC IG, NSA, DNSA and other Nuclear Surety inspections when I was there, and they were absolutely gut-wrenching in their thoroughness…they were terrifying actually…and I am glad they were. Even minor clerical paper-work or simple procedural errors could cause a failed inspection for the entire base…resulting in the Wing Commander and many, if not most, officers in his direct chain of command being fired and removed from the base within 24 hrs of the inspection results being published…my point is that sometime after Clinton’s reorganization of the USAF and the retirement of SAC…these exacting standards seem to have disappeared. Not blaming him, since much of this was on the recommendation of Bush the first’s defense re-organization efforts, but when you remove the elite and professional status that an organization such as SAC had…well, this happens.

And here’s a blog post from Former Spook that goes into some detail, too.

HATE CRIME BILL UPDATE: In the latest National Journal, Stuart Taylor writes on Hate Crimes and double standards:

Consider three criminal cases.

No. 1: Christopher Newsom and his girlfriend, Channon Christian, both students at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, were carjacked while on a dinner date in January, repeatedly raped (both of them), tortured, and killed. His burned body was found near a railroad track. Hers was stuffed into a trash can. Five suspects have been charged. The crimes were interracial.

No. 2: Three white Duke lacrosse players were accused in March 2006 of beating, kicking, choking, and gang-raping an African-American stripper, while pelting her with racial epithets, during a team party.

No. 3: Sam Hays bumped against Mike Martin in a crowded bar, spilling beer on Martin’s “gay pride” sweatshirt. Martin yelled, “You stupid bastard, I should kick your ass.” Hays muttered, “You damned queer” and threw a punch, bloodying Martin’s lip.

Now the quiz.

Which of these would qualify as a federal case under a House-passed bill — widely acclaimed by editorial writers, liberal interest groups, law enforcement officials, and many others — expanding federal jurisdiction to prosecute “hate crimes”?

Bonus question: Why have the interracial rape-torture-murders in Knoxville been completely ignored by the same national media that clamor for more laws to stop hate crimes — the same media that erupted in a guilt-presuming feeding frenzy for months over the far less serious Duke lacrosse charges, which were full of glaring holes from the start and turned out to be fraudulent?

The answers.

The interracial Knoxville rape-murders would probably not qualify as hate crimes. The reason is that although the murderers were obviously full of hate, it cannot be proven that they hated their victims because of race. (Or so say police.)

Both the Duke lacrosse case and the (fictional) barroom scuffle, on the other hand, would probably be federally prosecutable under the bill that the House passed on May 3 by 237-180. This is because the angry words attributed to the accused could prove racist and homophobic motivations, respectively.

Do such distinctions make any sense? Not much, in my view.

He also notes a media double standard: “The reason that the national media have ignored the Knoxville case is that the defendants are black and the victims were white. The media would also be uninterested if both the victims and the defendants were black. But had the victims been black and the accused white, the media would have erupted into the same politically correct sensationalism that characterized the Duke case. And many would have cited the case as proof that we need more hate crime laws.”

I think that’s probably right. The link above is subscriber-only, but you can read the whole thing for the next few days at this link.

Meanwhile, A.C. Kleinheider says “Nazis! I hate those guys!”

UPDATE: More from Nat Hentoff.

WOLFOWITZ RESIGNS.

This should just be the start of a cleanup at the World Bank.

UPDATE: More thoughts from Professor Kenneth Anderson:

One of the many ironies in the Wolfowitz affair, however, is that in many respects, the target of the Bank staff seems to be as much Riza as Wolfowitz – she is a true believer in feminism, and as a true believer, she seems to believe that so many, many things can be traced back to misogyny – and, as a true believer in misogyny, was more than willing to throw fits to get her way by playing the gender card. She deserved, in my view, her raises as compensation for the ending of her career at the Bank, but it is clear that she played the gender card even there – everyone, starting with the Ethics Committee and the human resources department, caved rather than face a scene, and in some respects it was the unwillingness even to face, even to have a meeting with, an angry Muslim feminist whose career, after all, was being sacrificed on the altar of her paramour that is a central reason why that political hack (now hacking away at UNDP, but then the two deserve each other) Ad Melkert would not meet with her and dumped the whole thing back on Wolfowitz. . . . So the rest of the world may talk the gender talk, but it doesn’t mean it, at least not in the way that Americans, following conditions laid down by a combination of Mackinnon and the US Supreme Court, understand it. Maybe they’re right and the Americans are wrong – I’m not a feminist and see many problems with how the United States has evolved on these things. But in any case, in an international organization these rules seem on a collision course with the fact, among other things, of the acceptability of extramarital and other affairs at the Bank and the UN and all sorts of places – unless the institution reconciles them with a large, large dollop of hypocrisy and double standards. That is the usual attitude I have found at international organizations.

Read the whole thing.

WE HAVEN’T HEARD MUCH OF THIS, but finally someone is complaining that the Iranians are violating international law by parading prisoners on TV.

International law is rapidly becoming a joke because of double standards. And, as noted, because of its enforcement problem. At a guess, we’re likely heading toward a regime of strict reciprocity, as that’s all that can work in such a degraded environment.

UPDATE: A few emailers are suggesting that there’s some sort of contradiction here in my pointing this out, as if I’d never discussed the Geneva Conventions before. But, of course, the point is the double standard: the Geneva Conventions never seem to do our guys any good. Our enemies don’t obey them, and our critics use them — even when they don’t apply — as a way to call American troops and their friends torturers and war criminals. That’s what I meant by “degraded environment,” which aptly describes the political and intellectual environment in which such critics operate. As I’ve observed in the past, we don’t operate in an environment of reciprocity now. As Professor Kenneth Anderson has noted, the Geneva Conventions tend to serve more as a source of urban legends for anti-American and anti-Bush writers who often don’t even know, or care, what the Conventions say.

AT ECOTOTALITY: “Why the Gore story matters.”

UPDATE: In all of this, we’re just following in Eric Alterman’s footsteps. Here’s what he wrote in the September, 2004 Atlantic Monthly (not available for free, alas):

Needless to say, Hollywood offers nearly limitless opportunities for anyone seeking to expose hypocrisy in the lifestyles of the rich and progressive. Laurie David, who dedicates herself to fighting for improved fuel-economy standards and reviles the owners of SUVs as terrorist enablers, gives herself a pass when it comes to chartering one of the most wasteful uses of fossil-based fuels imaginable: a private plane. (She’s not just a limousine liberal; she’s a Gulfstream liberal.) One night I visited the home of the former TV star Heather Thomas (The Fall Guy) and her husband, the entertainment lawyer and philanthropist Skip Brittenham. I drove past SUVs and assorted luxury vehicles on what felt like a quarter-mile-long driveway to a mansion large enough to house one of the small Amazonian villages the Brittenhams want to save. Just the energy consumed by the house and all the vehicles would power a sizable chunk of Amazonia. And this was nothing next to the Sunset Strip home of Stewart and Lynda Resnick, where I attended a book party for the journalist and progressive candidate-conspirator-hostess Arianna Huffington. Guests picked at smoked-salmon and caviar hors d’oeuvres beneath twenty-foot ceilings supported by towering Greek columns. Each gilded room was larger than most New York City apartments. The house would not he out of place if plunked down as an extension of Versailles, save for the enormous bust of Napoleon in one of the salons. The Resnicks, Lynda told me, are the “largest farmers in America”; they are the country’s biggest grower of fruits and nuts, and a member of the Sunkist cooperative (she urged me to try the selection of new Sunkist beverages at the well-stocked bar); they also own the Franklin Mint. Later I listened to her refer to the celebrity-laden crowd as “disenfranchised.”

But it’s a rich lode of hypocrisy, and it’s nowhere close to mined out. And who knew that Eric Alterman was the original coiner of the term “Gulfstream liberal?”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Also in 2001, Jonathan Rauch coined the more-euphonious “Learjet liberal,” though he wasn’t really talking about global warming or energy efficiency.

And there’s more, over at Creative Destruction.

MORE: Don Surber comments on the coverage:

After reading the Editorialist’s coverage at the Washington Post of Al Gore’s overuse of electricity, I don’t want to hear about Republican hypocrisy ever again.

If Al Gore were a Republican, the story of his consuming 20 times the national average while lecturing the rest of us on cutting back on our energy use would be front page news from coast-to-coast. Late-nite comedians would have a field day. The editorial pages would puff up about Republican hypocrisy.

Instead we get excuses, excuses, excuses. . . .

As a proud member of the mainstream media, let me suggest that this double-standard — this refusal to hold Al Gore accountable for his actions which are contradictory to his words — only feeds the belief that the media is biased in favor of liberals — particularly born-to-the-manor, overfed, limousine liberals who consume 22,000 kilowatts of electricity each year in just one of his three homes.

Well, look at the kind of people who own newspapers . . . .

ANOTHER RECORD HIGH FOR THE DOW yesterday: “Recent company comments and government data have underscored the notion that the U.S. economy is stronger than expected, heading into the end of the year, and that companies will post another quarter of double-digit earnings growth.”

So, is it the economy, stupid? This election will be a test.

UPDATE: Eric Ashley emails:

Its not “the economy stupid” because the MSM gets to change the standards by which they, and in consequence, a lot of people judge events and leaders. Its somewhat like the hour eye-care place where the doc flips through various lenses asking “is this one better, or this one?” until he finds the ones that makes his “EIMG” chart look good.

The difference is the doc’s definition of looking good is clarity. The MSM’s is prettiness of the chart aka ‘voting Democratic’.

And Bart Halls says it didn’t get much on NPR:

A yawn. Didn’t even mention it. “Dow Jones industrials closed up about 20 points.” Nothing to see here. Move along.

I recall back in late ’99 and early ’00 they were crowing about it every single time. Then again, there was a Democrat in the White House. That sort of self-deception is one reason the left are repeatedly disappointed by their electoral results.

Yes, it does seem to me that the economy during the tech bubble got a lot more positive attention.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Duane Simpson blames Bush!

We can’t really blame the press for ignoring the economy, the Administration is just as responsible. “It’s the Economy Stupid” was a quote from Carville to remind Clinton and Co. to constantly talk about the economy. Bush and all of the Republican candidates for office need to be talking economy all of the time if they expect to get any credit for it.

Advice to Karl Rove: Here’s your story hook — get the press to cover the Bush Administration’s failure to talk about how good the economy is! There’s an angle they’ll buy . . . .

TOM MAGUIRE has thoughts on torture. He’s a bit hard on Andrew Sullivan, but not as hard as Sullivan is being on me — Sullivan has brought out the waterboard of blogging, reprinting emails from readers of his who say they’ll never read me again, only Sullivan, from now on. Okay, it’s actually more like the endless-replaying-of-Barry-Manilow of blogging.

I’ve gotten some emails from readers wondering why Sullivan seems to think that my blog is the most important aspect of the torture debate, especially as — once the Bush-bashing and posturing is set aside — my position and Sullivan’s aren’t really very different. (As I wrote a while back, “What would I do? Ban anything that causes injury or outright pain. I’m not so sure about sleep deprivation and things like that. I’d permit playing Barry Manilow, too.” Okay, so now I’m rethinking the Barry Manilow part.) I’ll spare you the text of those emails; I used to wonder about that, but I’ve pretty much given up. Andrew will blog about what he wants to blog about, and I will blog about what I want to blog about. And that state of affairs will bother, well, at most one of us.

Meanwhile, note this comment by Tom Holsinger.

UPDATE: Reader Steven Jens demonstrates that the email thing works both ways:

I’d just like to say that I will never read Andrew Sullivan again. I have been increasingly put off by his hysteria, his double standards, and his rumored habit of squeezing the toothpaste from the middle of the tube. Time Magazine has given him a bully pulpit, and it’s a shame that he can’t be as wise, reasoned, or downright handsome as you are.

Heh. I think we’ve just seen the future of the blogosphere. And it scares me.

UPDATE: Uh oh. Manilow-blogging is spreading.

ANOTHER UPDATE: It’s an out of control blog phenomenon!

THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS published the Mohammed cartoons that have mobs of ignorant thugs rampaging around the world. The reader reaction was favorable:

“Thank you,” was the consistent message.

“Thank you for taking a stand for freedom of the press when so many of our U.S. newspapers caved in,” an e-mail from Breckenridge told me. “My respect for you and the Rocky Mountain News is renewed.”

“Congratulations on being an equal opportunity offender,” another e-mail said. “Well done and well said. The Danish cartoon reveals media double standards, bias and political correctness run amok (all of which continue to be denied, save for you and a few others).”

“Thank you, Mr. Temple, for not bowing to the pressure from the Muslim world concerning the printing of the cartoons,” a third writer said.

“It is time for the Western nations to know that the mere existence of the Western world is an ‘insult to Islam.’ There is a double standard at work here. We must tiptoe around to avoid offending Muslim ‘sensibilities’ while they can clearly state a goal as the destruction of Israel and run cartoons with impunity depicting other religions in an ‘insulting’ manner.

“I believe that political correctness is the downfall of a free society. It stifles free speech and expression and leads to both self-censorship and imposed censorship.”

I received only a handful, literally, of complaints, and three of them were form letters late in the week.

Badly written form letters, at that. The conclusion: “This whole experience of publishing these cartoons has been enough for me to want to wear a Danish flag pin in solidarity with that country and to regret – at least during this test of journalism’s commitment to free speech – my membership in the American Society of Newspaper Editors.”

They keep forgetting that it’s their job to tell us stuff, not to decide what we shouldn’t be told.

A DOUBLE STANDARD ON PROTESTS in Britain?

Once again, the message is that if you blow things up, or even look as if you might, we’ll be nice to you. And once again, I note that this is a very unwise message to send.

I should note, by the way, that last night I spent some time reading an advance copy of Claire Berlinski’s new book, Menace in Europe : Why the Continent’s Crisis Is America’s, Too. It looks very good, and I hope it finds a wide readership. The timing is certainly right.

UPDATE: Berlinski emails from Istanbul:

Evidently there were “hundreds of demonstrators” at the Danish consulate here today. (I missed it; I was happily oblivious until I read the news.) Now, “hundreds of protestors” never congregate in Istanbul without government sanction. There is no such thing as freedom of assembly here; if you’re out protesting, it’s because the government authorized it, period. So Denmark and Turkey are going to be part of one big happy EU family? Sure thing. Tell that to the Danish diplomats cowering in their consulate in Istanbul and nervously reviewing the fire escape plans.

Oh, and someone shot a Catholic priest in Ankara today, too. Not clear yet whether it was related.

That said, “hundreds of protestors” isn’t that much in a city of 10 million, and when I went out today everyone seemed to be their normal friendly selves, including the Islamist grocers down the street, who have never been anything but pleasant to me. So don’t be put off if you’re thinking of visiting, Istanbul is still great, and very safe. (Almost certainly safer than London: I have no doubt that if the protestors get too frisky here, the government will mow them down like dogs.)

Jim Geraghty, also in Istanbul, has a report, too. “The Syrian reaction is intolerable. But the Turkish reaction is honorable. I hope the world can see the difference.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Berlinski — perhaps my most devoted reader in Istanbul today — sends this followup in response to Jim’s post:

Jim Geraghty is absolutely right, everyone should have the right to protest peacefully if they so wish. If you’ve got your panties in a wad over some cartoons, by all means, you should be perfectly free to say so. My point is that people here don’t enjoy the freedom to protest–just ask the mothers of Kurds who have disappeared in Turkish prisons–so when they do, unimpeded, it has a certain significance. He’s right, there’s a world of difference between the Turkish reaction and the Syrian reaction. But Syria’s not applying for EU membership.

Indeed.

MORE: Michael Totten reports on Islamist violence in Beirut and observes: “I strongly suggest the civilized people of Lebanon, Muslim and Christian alike, stage a counter-demonstration downtown where flags are not burned and where buildings are not set on fire.”

MORE STILL: Iraqpundit:

Anyway, since when did stupid, tasteless cartoons start stirring such passions among the Muslims? Arabic language newspapers and magazines regularly run cartoons that offend all sorts of communities. It would be easier to respect all this rage if these angry people applied the same standards all around.

You know, in 2002, 15 Saudi schoolgirls burned to death when Saudi religious police wouldn’t let them escape their building because they were not in hijab.

Waiting for my fellow Muslims to react to that kind of criminality with the same impassioned outrage they save for offensive newspaper cartoons has been rather like waiting for a desert-blown Godot. Our community leaders, as always, fail us.

Indeed.

AND YET MORE: Jim Geraghty sends a correction:

I’m in Ankara, not Istanbul, and the shooting of the priest was in Trabzon, not Ankara. As of 4 a.m. local time, the U.S. Embassy didn’t have any information on motive. The wires ( Link) are reporting the kid was shouting “God is great” as he ran from the shooting scene; if accurate, this would appear to be Islamist terrorism.

Dang.

DANISH EMBASSY BURNED in Syria. Gateway Pundit has a roundup. This really is a case of civilization against the barbarians. The good news is that moderate Muslims are standing up for civilization:

The Danish press has also paid very little attention to the representatives of a group of 80 immigrants who have expressed their support of Jyllands-Posten. A statement by the group placed on the internet carries the caption “We must condemn Islamist threats against free speech.” It goes on to accuse the Islamists of “viewing any criticism or any making fun of the Islamic religion as an affront and an insult to Muslims. In this way they want to prevent any human being from questioning the Islamic religion and its holy book and the prophet Muhammad. … With the same argument Islamic regimes and other forces in the Middle Eastern and Arabic countries have killed thousands of people and issued fatwas against authors, journalists and artists.”

The bad news is that the Boston Globe is siding with the barbarians, comparing the Danish cartoonists to Nazis. Just look at the photo and decide who really deserves that comparison. Michael Graham is unhappy with the Globe, too.

The funny thing is that the Globe views fundamentalist Christians as a god-besotted threat to liberty, but makes excuses for people like this.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has more thoughts. And Michelle Malkin has a must-see video presentation. And a reader points out that the Boston Globe was defending “Piss Christ” artist Andres Serrano’s right to federal funding back in 1990. Apparently, standards of decency have “evolved” at the Globe, or perhaps it’s just a measure of who they’re actually afraid of.

David Bernstein has more on double standards.

MORE: Ashish Hanwadikar says the Europeans are hypocritical in a different way.

And Ed Driscoll has much more, including a look at Serrano’s more recent employment.

Plus, Tigerhawk looks at appeasement and wonders why it remains so popular. “This has been a long time coming — after the Rushdie fatwa, the West cannot claim that it isn’t on notice. It will be a long time in the undoing, too.”

STILL MORE: A Jordanian newspaper is braver than the Globe:

Meanwhile, a Jordanian gossip tabloid on defiantly published three of the cartoons that have triggered outrage in the Arab and Muslim world.

“Muslims of the world, be reasonable,” said the editor-in-chief of the weekly independent newspaper Al-Shihan in an editorial alongside the cartoons, including the one showing the Muslim religion’s founder wearing a bomb-shaped turban.

(Via All Things Beautiful).

Much more here.

EVEN MORE: Of course, the brave Jordanian editor has been arrested:

A Jordanian newspaper editor sacked after publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad has been arrested.

Jihad Momani is accused of insulting religion under Jordan’s press and publications law.

The newspaper had fired him after he decided to reproduce the cartoons – originally printed in Denmark – which have caused a global storm of protest.

Pathetic.

AND MORE STILL: Reader Kathleen St. Onge emails: “Unsurprisingly, I didn’t see any protest babes in the photo you posted. As such, I have to conclude that this is a movement of losers.”

Yes. Angry, bitter losers. But potentially dangerous ones.

ADVANCE STATE OF THE UNION EXCERPTS: Click “read more” to read more.

To the delight of Republicans, Cindy Sheehan will reportedly be in the audience. GayPatriot will be liveblogging. And RightSideRedux has a lot of reports from the blogger event on Capitol Hill this afternoon; just keep scrolling. And reportedly Rumsfeld took a hand. Daniel Glover has more. This early bird report is amusing, too. But David Corn isn’t excited. The Corner is moreso, and is liveblogging.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey will be liveblogging, too. I don’t know if I’ll liveblog, but I’ll at least have some thoughts later.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Full text available now — it’s below the excerpts. Just click “read more” and scroll.

Lots more livebloggers here.

“Every year of my presidency we’ve reduced the growth of nonsecurity discretionary spending.” Not a barn-burner of a line. But a bit later he endorses earmark reform, a key PorkBusters goal!

MORE: N.Z. Bear: “George W. Bush — Porkbuster!” The Bear continues: “Having the Presidential bully pulpit keeping Congressional feet to the fire on the need for earmark reform is a Very Good Thing — and one that I sincerely hope is not a This Night Only performance.”

STILL MORE: I don’t like the cloning ban endorsement, though.

Continue reading ‘ADVANCE STATE OF THE UNION EXCERPTS: Click “read more” to read more.

To the delight of Republicans…’ »

TOM MAGUIRE HAS A BIG SUV / FUEL ECONOMY / CAFE ROUNDUP: Read the whole thing, as it’s link-rich and informative.

A few points worth making here. First, the SUV craze isn’t solely the result of car-buyers being idiots. It’s in no small part an artifact of government regulation. Andrew Sullivan, in a post that Tom links, notes that people used to just toss the kids in the back of the station wagon (at least I hope that’s what he means by the “trunk.”) Do that now, and you’d practically be charged with child abuse. (Accusing SUV owners of treason is a bit, er, excitable, too.)

Now you have to strap them into car seats until they’re quite large. This produces demands for more room, DVD players, etc., to keep them amused, and the like. What’s more, station wagons — at least the big ones that Andrew invokes — were actually casualties of the CAFE standards and other regulations; car makers switched to SUVs to give people the station-wagon-like room while getting to treat the vehicles like trucks for purposes of safety and economy rules. The government didn’t have to set things up that way, but it did, and the result was predictable if unintended. (Also, the ability of self-employed people to deduct high-gross-weight vehicles on more favorable terms plays a big role). [LATER: A subsequent post on Andrew Sullivan’s blog blames the “Bush tax cuts” for this, but actually I believe this policy predates Bush — and it was tightened up (somewhat) in 2004, though it was loosened for a bit before that, I think.]

I lack the religious opposition to SUVs that many have, but I don’t want one. When I bought the Passat wagon over 6 years ago, gas was less than a dollar. I drove a lot of SUVs, and wasn’t thrilled by their truck-like driving and lousy mileage. The newer ones drive better, but $2.50/gallon gas hasn’t done anything to make the lousy mileage more tasteful.

And I’m not terribly happy with the offerings right now. The Passat is still OK, but it’s getting a bit long in the tooth and I’d like to replace it in a year or two, depending on how it does. I enjoy looking at cars, and I’ve looked at minivans — roomy, but dull, and with mileage that only looks good next to SUVs — various “crossover” SUVs (I visited the Knoxville Infiniti dealer and looked at an FX35; it was cool, but pricey, and actually smaller inside than the Passat. The salesman was really pleasant and knowledgeable, though.) and the small crop of wagons out there (the Jaguar Estate is perhaps the ugliest car I’ve seen since the Vega). I want to look at the Toyota Highlander hybrid, but I haven’t yet.

A salesman at Harper VW told me that there was actually a TDI version of the Passat wagon on sale last year that got 38 mpg on the highway, but it’s not offered any more, which seems like bad timing. Or why not a station-wagon version of the Accord hybrid? I’d like to see car makers bring out more vehicles like that — and if gas prices stay this high, they probably will. That would suit me.

UPDATE: Michael Wenberg emails:

You and Andrew have a point about SUVs, but he in particular forgets that some people actually “need” big rigs. As much as I’d like to, I can’t pull 2 tons of hay with my 1987 VW Cabriolet. Same with the horse trailer. And we’re not alone. Out here in the rural west, trucks and SUVs are even more common than the big coastal urban areas. I’m sorry, but just because we happen to own two horses doesn’t make me a closet supporter of Islamo terrorists. We can certainly do more with our energy policy than just give tax breaks, but pummeling SUV owners because they take advantage of moronic tax policies seems to be a wrong way to go about it.

Indeed.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Johnathan Pearce has more thoughts.

Meanwhile, reader Bob Whitehead emails:

I’ve been saying this about car seats and seat belts laws causing SUV’s popularity for three years now to all the liberals I know in Jackson Mississippi and keep getting blank stares in the process. Maybe since they don’t have kids they don’t get it. Don’t forget the passenger-side airbag effect as well, keeping older kids in the backseats with their siblings deep into the tween years. The bottom line is–if you have more than two children, you HAVE to drive an SUV or minivan.

Yes, the airbag issue is a real one.

MORE: A reader notes that the VW.com website lets you build a TDI Passat wagon, so maybe they’re still available after all, despite what I was told. Or maybe the website’s out of date.

Meanwhile, reader Paul Milenkovic emails:

I don’t know whom to blame on this one, but Ford is making a fuel-efficient “crossover-SUV” big station-wagon like thing called the Freestyle in my home town of Chicago, and Ford can’t seem to sell very many.

It is styled like its big brother the Explorer, it has the chassis from a Volvo XC-90, it has the same EPA mileage ratings as a Taurus, and it has gotten top marks in the both the Federal and IIHS crash tests. It has the same 3 litre motor as a Taurus but coupled to a gas-saving transmission that allows this motor to move a substantially bigger and heavier vehicle. That transmission called a CVT works on a similar principle as a hybrid car in that the gasoline engine is operated under more fuel efficient load conditions, but I guess it hasn’t been marketed with the “democracy, whiskey, sexy” hype of the hybrid.

The 3 litre engine and CVT transmission don’t have enough oomph to haul a horse trailer, but then how many soccer mom’s board horses? What gets to me is that every self-styled automotive expert who has reviewed this car whines “not enough power!” or “don’t buy until they come out with the 3.5 litre!” The 0-60 numbers are competitive with other vehicles out there, but the CVT transmission doesn’t give the feel of shift points like you are making progress accelerating the car. If this drive train were called a “hybrid”, everyone would be saying how virtuous it is to drive such a car but since it is simply a gas engine and a fancy transmission, all of the car pundits are complaining.

On one hand the punditocracy is complaining about $3 gasoline and wasteful habits and evil SUV’s, and on the other these same people are writing about how the Freestyle is way underpowered and these things are parked all over dealer lots.

In fact, Ford has reportedly discontinued it, though reportedly there will still be a Mercury version in 2007. Here’s a review of the Freestyle from Popular Mechanics.

Reader Francisco Moreno, meanwhile, sends this article from Car and Driver on why diesels are hard to come by:

The trouble with diesels in the U.S. is at the tailpipe. They can’t pass the emissions regs that go into effect in California this year and phase in across the country over the next four years. This may surprise those who’ve seen or sniffed the exhaust coming out of the latest passenger-car diesels—it looks and smells as clean as that of a gas engine to the naked eye or nose. The diesel combustion process, in which the air-fuel mixture is ignited not by a spark plug but by the high temperature and pressure created by a high compression ratio, is naturally clean in terms of carbon moNOXide, hydrocarbons, and other organic gases, so those standards are easily met. But those high temperatures and pressures result in oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and particulate matter—the soot your Olds diesel belched—that are very difficult to clean up, and the new standards apply equally to all fuels. No more special dispensation for diesel.

New technologies may fix that, but many manufacturers are giving up. Finally, Wall Street lawyer-turned Red State soccer mom Jane Meynardie emails on the airbag issue:

One used to be able to put a child below the age (and size) of 12 in the front seat, but can’t do that anymore without risking death by airbag. That means if one has four children, or three children any one of whom has a friend who likes to tag along, one must have a third row of seats (or at least one of those nasty pop-up seats in the cargo area). My one monster-size SUV in which I ferry my 3 boys and their buddies uses less gas than the two vehicles I (and my husband or hired chauffeur)would have to manage if I didn’t have it.

Indeed.

MORE STILL: Ted Nolan thinks we worry too much about safety:

When I was young, and there were no interstates between Columbia SC and Fernandina Beach FL, my parents would prepare the car for the trip by putting a big sheet of plywood across the back seat. This covered the hump, and with blankets spread over it, made a dandy play area for my sister and me to loll and squirm about for the 8 hour drive. If we got tired of that, we could lay down in the shelf between the back seat and the back window. The car may have had seat belts in the front; certainly no one ever used them.

The operative assumption was that my parents were good drivers and they would trust themselves to keep us safe. I think we lost something very important when we lost that presumption. . . . I think sometimes that if we knew where things would end up, we might have gone a different way even though every step seemed to make sense at the time.

I’m a big believer in seat belts, myself, but I take the point. And reader Julie Kelleher Stacy emails:

I hate to email you and take up your time, but this SUV issue strikes very close to home for me. Some people who live in the Northeast, like Andrew (whom I haven’t read in a year), don’t realize that some people in red states own or work on ranches, or work on large government properties, and have kids or guests, and really need these things. Northeasterners sometimes have no concept of how big and diverse this country really is. (By the way, your readers Mr Wenberg and Mr Whitehead have very good points, and I agree with them completely.)

For example, I present my annual childhood summer vacation. Every summer in my childhood of the ’60’s and early seventies was spent at the Big Bend area ranch that has been in our family since the 1880’s. I guess my parents should have had the the foresight in the 50’s to downsize and leave a small footprint on the earth by having fewer kids and selling off my mom’s share of the ranch. But no— instead I was afflicted with the existence of three siblings and a large ranch to help manage. (All working Trans-Pecos ranches have to be large. It takes on average 50 acres to sustain one cow/calf.)

So our parents would stuff all us kids, plus the dog, into the old Buick station wagon (what’s a seatbelt?), drive 350 miles west to the turnoff from the highway (did I mention that Texas is big?), and slowly limp up the several miles to the house. We would park the old Buick in the driveway for the next month, because it couldn’t hack the roads. So instead we would use the ranch pickup for all of our driving. Double cabs did not exist, so it was three people in the cab with a big stick shift between the legs of the child in the middle, and the other kids and dog in the bed of the truck. We even drove 20 miles to town like this to get groceries and library books (no sat dishes back then), at 70 MPH once we hit the highway. I loved riding in the back. We had no idea how dangerous this was, and now it’s illegal in many areas.

When the ranch started buying some early SUVs, first a Wagoneer and then a Suburban, what I liked best was the rear AC units, seemingly heaven-sent. More important was this: SUVs provided ranch families the means to transport humans INSIDE the vehicle, with seatbelts, a huge leap forward in safety for family transportation.

So I intensely resent this demonization of an inanimate object that has so greatly enhanced the safety and comfort of rural families. This is a huge, wealthy, diverse country, with room for people with all kinds of lifestyles. Do I wish SUVs got better gas mileage? HELL YES. I think, hope, and pray that markets and technology will take care of this in time. Faster please.

I’ve gotten a lot of emails along these lines. See also this post from Greg Ransom, and here’s an interesting tidbit on the front-seat airbag problem:

I’d like to point out, though, that we purchased a brand new minivan (a Mercury Monterey) a couple of weeks ago, and it doesn’t have the problem. If the passenger seatbelt latches, and it thinks that it’s an adult-sized amount of weight, it turns the airbag on. If it latches, but the weight is too low, it determines that it might be a child, so it turns off the airbag.

That makes sense, but I didn’t know it was available. That’s a good thing, though it would be even more useful in smaller vehicles, for obvious reasons.

MICHAEL POLLARD WRITES:

Henry Farrell at Crooked Timber writes that “bloggers like Glenn Reynolds …. think that blogs should replace the mainstream media.” I don’t think you’ve written anything that can be fairly interpreted this way, but perhaps I’ve misread you?

I note that in this post you write that “the political blogosphere is to a large degree about media criticism,” and you approvingly quote a reader’s comment that “Blogs are the letter to the editor that the editor does not want to print.” (Here’s another post where you cast bloggers largely as media critics.) Doesn’t sound like you regard bloggers as a replacement (or even potential replacement) for the MSM. On the other hand, you’ve also “pushed the concept of bloggers as news collectors”. I don’t get the impression that you think news collecting blogs will someday replace the Washington Post and New York Times, but like I said, maybe I’ve misunderstood you.

Care to address Farrell’s post directly?

Well, okay. First, Farrell says that I “seem” to believe that blogs will replace big media, and maybe to him I do seem that way, at least to him, though I can’t think of what I might have written to that effect, and apparently neither can he as he provides no link or quote. So maybe he’s just characterizing my views that way so as to create an apparent contradiction that he can exploit. . . .

But I don’t think I’ve ever said that that blogs will replace Big Media. (As I have said, it’s possible to imagine some sort of distributed news-collective that would do the same kind of work that newspapers or TV networks do, but there’s nothing like that in existence, and if there were it wouldn’t be a blog). I’ve generally characterized the relationship between the blogosphere and the legacysphere as symbiotic, with the prediction that blogging would remain an amateur activity by and large. And it is, at least overall. Jay Rosen is right when he says the shift is as much tonal as structural, with blogs forcing a conversation. And as I’ve said repeatedly, the real threat to Big Media is not so much to their pocketbooks as to their self-importance.

My hope (not borne out as much as I’d have liked) has been that blogs would pressure Big Media to do a better job, both by criticism and by force of example. I also think that blogs do a lot to produce reporting of things that Big Media can’t or won’t report — with the tsunami reportage and the AP bogus-boos story being examples from each category. I do think that blogs (and the Internet in general, via things like CraigsList) are pulling eyeballs from Big Media, for which there is considerable evidence. But that hardly boils down to a claim that blogs will replace Big Media, and I don’t know where Farrell gets that idea. Neither, apparently, does he, as he provides no sourcing.

Farrell also conflates InstaPundit with the blogosphere as a whole, by suggesting that my statement that InstaPundit is not a news service somehow means that the blogosphere isn’t up to news-gathering. InstaPundit is mostly about punditry (hence the name) but many other blogs are otherwise. Via this conflation, though, we get a claim of hypocrisy on my part: The argument is: Reynolds thinks blogs should replace Big Media; Reynolds admits he can’t cover everything; Therefore Reynolds is a hypocrite.

So we have an unsupported mischaracterization of my opinion, followed by a duck-and-switch in which InstaPundit is equated with the blogosphere, leading to a charge of hypocrisy. Farrell’s treatment of this issue — in which he accuses me of engaging in a dodge when I say I’m not a news service — is rather dodgy itself, and does him no credit.

What’s more — and Farrell really knows too much to make this sort of mistake, I would think — individual blogs aren’t the unit of analysis, the blogosphere is. Unlike Big Media, who until recently could black out a story with the agreement of a very small number of players, bloggers can’t do that. If I had ignored the tsunami, or RatherGate, other people would have covered them, and my omissions would have made little difference. That’s a fundamental difference in media, and hence in responsibilities in terms of inclusiveness. (And it cuts both ways, as I suggest in a response to Chuck Divine in the comments to this post by Rand Simberg.)

Farrell wants to carve out a niche as a scholar of the blogosphere, and he’s done some interesting work together with Daniel Drezner. Posts like this one, however, make me wonder how reliable his insights are likely to be.

UPDATE: Reader Randy Beck points out this from last summer, which I had forgotten. Fortunately, not everyone had. That’s another thing about Big Media and the blogosphere. In both cases, our readers are smarter than we are. But bloggers both know it and, more importantly, admit it!

Admit it? Heck, I rely on it. Meanwhile, Power Line notes Farrell’s use of the term “slavering right-wing hacks,” but also observes:

I think Farrell is missing the distinction between particular blogs and the blogsphere as a whole. No one blog can cover everything and many blogs, such as ours, deal primarily in opinion. But one can envisage a blogosphere that readers rely on to obtain essentially everything they now get from a newspaper or a newscast. The basic facts of a story would come from links to news services. The analysis would come from specialized blogs or non-specialized blogs that happen to have expertise in the subject area. The op-ed type opinions would come from the opinion blogs. I actually think we’re pretty close to having such a blogosphere, although that’s clearly a matter for debate.

I still think, as I indicated here, Big Media organizations have an enormous advantage in gathering hard news. But that advantage obtains, of course, only to the extent that they choose to employ it, and are trusted when they do.

ANOTHER UPDATE: In an update to his post, Farrell accuses me of being “characteristically evasive.” This assumes that he has a point worth evading, which doesn’t seem to be the case. Farrell says that it is hypocritical of bloggers, like me, to criticize Big media for failing at comprehensiveness and objectivity when we bloggers are neither comprehensive nor objective.

If I were running a newspaper, he might have a point. But for a blogger to criticize a newspaper surely doesn’t require that the blogger run his or her blog as if it were a newspaper. InstaPundit’s tagline is “Making even the dumbest sh*t interesting,” not “All the news that’s fit to print.” Farrell seems to be straining awfully hard to find a basis for criticism here.

However, treating Farrell’s point as worthy of engagement — it is the holiday season after all — I’d say that it fails on its own terms. We’ve seen how little the Big Media standards that Farrell invokes amount to — just look at the response of the Star Tribune’s ombudsman in the Nick Coleman affair, for the most recent example in a long and sad series. Newspapers, etc., claim to be comprehensive and objective, and are not. Bloggers do not claim to be comprehensive or objective, and are not. Who’s being hypocritical here, again?

MORE: Hugh Hewitt suggests, correctly, that Farrell is being rather ungracious. (“Rather than graciously admit how perhaps he might have ‘overwritten’ a bit (‘slavering right wing hacks’), Henry has doubled down, and it isn’t pretty.”) No, it’s not — and it really is going to make it hard for me to take Henry seriously as a scholar of the blogosphere, now that he’s written off half of it so unpleasantly.

But it’s not just Henry. I’ve noticed that others among the lefty bloggers have been rather down on the blogosphere lately, uttering complaints about partisanship and the like, and I strongly suspect that it has a lot to do with the election results.

What’s funny is that the reason why they hate us — Kerry’s defeat in spite of overwhelming and underhanded support from Big Media — is misplaced. The power of the non-lefty blogosphere is, as I’ve written before, largely an artifact of Big Media’s bias in favor of the left.

Meanwhile, King Banaian thinks I’m wrong:

I disagree with Reynolds that “Big Media organizations have an enormous advantage in gathering hard news” unless he means the first AP reports from places like Aceh about tsunamis. On that he’d be right. But blogs get a huge payoff for gathering a piece of information that helps shape stories other bloggers and the MSM are gathering. It does so in an efficient fashion: Spontaneous order occurs because those blogs able to gather good information draw eyes, Technorati rankings and NZ Bear love. In contrast, the marginal value to an MSM organization of getting a particular piece of data is small; ad rates and subscriptions will not be affected by coverage of one particular story nearly as much. As the mainstream media comes to understand that order in the blogosphere, it will rely on blogs more and more to help with the information gathering — rather than compete, there will be some desire for cooperation between the blogosphere and the MSM. See, for a current example, the reliance on Sharkblog’s coverage of the Washington governor’s race by the Seattle Times. I think this absorption will only grow.

Hmm. I think that’s more like the symbiosis I was describing.

Eric S. Raymond has a somewhat different take.

LAST UPDATE TO THIS POST: Jay Rosen weighs in with much more in an update to this post — you’ll have to scroll to the bottom: “Farrell did something I have seen many journalists (Nick Coleman is one) do: refute an argument that isn’t out there about blogging and Big Media. I’m sure someone somewhere has said something like it, but it is extremely rare to encounter any regular observer of the scene, blogger or not, right or left, who thinks the major news media’s army of reporters is about to be “replaced” by bloggers. I just don’t find anyone claiming that, probably because it’s an absurd and overblown idea that falls apart after about a minute of thought.”

MY HAPPY EXPERIENCE with BellSouth’s robot-driven repair service this weekend led to a column, which will be up later in the week at TCS. But here are a couple of thoughts that didn’t make the column.

One is that when it comes to reliable phone service, you still can’t beat the Bells. One of the local cable companies, Knology, offers phone service, as do some other local-phone competitors. I’m glad they’re competitive, but I have serious doubts about the quality and reliability of their service compared to BellSouth’s. (I haven’t heard anything bad about Knology, to be fair, but my mother-in-law has local service from some other provider, and her service calls take, literally, months.)

Another is that the move to internet telephony as something more than a hobby or add-on is going to make reliability worse. Internet telephony seems to be on the verge of becoming a mass-market consumer item — but the Internet itself isn’t especially reliable, by phone standards.

Call me old-fashioned, or more concerned with reliability than most people (and I probably am the latter, at least) but I wouldn’t rely on a VOIP setup as my sole telephone connection. I gather that some people are, but they obviously feel differently about these things than I do.

UPDATE: A reader writes:

I concur with your assessment of VOIP and POTS; when hurricane Charley came through Orlando we lost power for 3 1/2 days, others lost it for over a week, some for longer. I have a good size UPS that supports my PC, cable modem and router, but I didn’t have internet access because the cable company didn’t have power to its boxes.

Being law enforcement and an emergency responder to the county courthouse, I’m on the “special” list for my county-issued cell phone, so I had cell access while my neighbors did not. They could receive calls but couldn’t make them because for the first day after Charley public cell access was restricted to ensure emergency service workers could communicate (911 calls would go through, others would not).

My “dumb” phone from Bell South worked the entire time because Bell has battery backup and generators, and their wired network is independent of everyone else’s.

I was seriously considering VOIP up until we became Hurricane Central. Now, I might add VOIP to get real cheap long distance, but it will be in addition to POTS because of the reliability.

That’s certainly my view. The Bells have a different attitude — and network setup — than most other people. On the other hand, reader Stan Davis emails:

As a Senior Engineer for a small, up-and-coming VoIP company, I can assure you that your fears about the unreliability of VoIP telephony are fast becoming unfounded. It very much depends on the company, of course, but our network has double and sometimes triple back-ups for every piece of mission critical equipment. Our goal is to not have a single dropped or choppy call and we are 99.9% successful in that. Our biggest obstacle lies, ironically, not with the Internet per-se, but with the Bell companies, and others, that provide the DSL (and cable) to the home. This piece is the weakest link and entirely out of the VoIP industries hands. You might be surprised to hear that a very large portion (sorry, don’t have exact numbers, but would guess 80%) of all domestic long distance telephone calls today travel over a VoIP network at some point! The same is true for mobile calls. I hope this will help you to understand the extent that VoIP has penetrated the telephony industry already, unbeknownst to the general public.

Actually I did know that the numbers are big. I’m delighted to hear that people are taking this seriously, because I think that peoples’ primary phone lines should be extremely reliable. Of course, the local-loop segment is the most important, and I don’t think those are treated as carefully for Internet access as for Plain Old Telephone Service, meaning that POTS is still likely to be more reliable.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader John Steele emails:

Further to your item about POTS vs VOIP I can second some of your correspondents comments. We were without power for 5 weeks after Hurricane Andrew and NEVER lost phone service. Without power for that long no matter how reliable they make a VOIP backbone there is no UPS available to mankind that will last that long :-)

Indeed.

ANTISEMITISM IN EUROPE: Some thoughts from Simon Montefiore:

Yet something has changed about the European attitude to Jewishness. One feels it everywhere: we have moved, as it were, from the world of Howard Jacobson back to Franz Kafka. This is connected to Israel, America, 9/11 and Iraq. For more than a decade now, Israel has been the fashionable bete noire of the chattering classes. The response to Israel in the European media, particularly the BBC and the Guardian, has long been prejudiced, disproportionate, vicious often fictitious.

A typical case of the media’s mendacity on Israel was the invented coverage of the Jenin “massacre” (not) by British news organisations, which were so anti-Israel that they popularised an event that they could not have witnessed, because it had not happened. They never apologised – because any Israeli “atrocity” is seen to illustrate a greater truth. Another example was the Israeli assassination of the man whom the BBC called Hamas’s “spiritual leader”: Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was actually a terrorist boss, about as “spiritual” as Osama Bin Laden.

Yet, in the British media, every Israeli sin is amplified, while those of the Arab world are ignored. The million dead of the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam Hussein’s 300,000 victims, thousands more massacred in Chechnya, the Arab militias killing black Sudanese, the torturing Middle Eastern tyrannies are ignored – but in Britain, every Palestinian death is reported like a sacred rite. Our media conceal the venom directed at Israel by Arab clerics, television and the internet, presenting Israeli complaints as propaganda. The Middle East commentator Tom Gross revealed in the National Review that when the “moderate” Saudi cleric Sheikh Abdur-Rahman al-Sudais visited Britain this month, the BBC hailed him as a brave worker for “community cohesion”. Yet his Friday sermons call for Jews – “scum of the human race, rats of the world” – to be “annihilated”. . . .

It is as if, in the mythical scale of 9/11, al-Qaeda had unlocked a forgotten cultural capsule of anti-Semitic myths, sealed and forgotten since the Nazis, the Black Hundreds and the medieval blood libels. Just words? But words matter in a violent world.

Read the whole thing. (Via Eugene Volokh).

UPDATE: This column by Mark Steyn on European double standards in hate speech law enforcement is worth reading, too, in this connection.

HUGH HEWITT HAS SOME COMMENTS FOR PETER BEINART on scandals and media double standards:

The New Republic’s Peter Beinart and I mixed it up today, when after dancing around the fact that he and the staff at TNR had been discussing the Kerry allegations he chastised me for bringing up the DrudgeReport’s allegations on air without any evidence for their veracity. Trap sprung. I asked Peter for the evidence supporting the allegations that Bush was a “deserter” or “AWOL”, allegations that he and the TNR staff have been rolling about in for days. The only “evidence” he could cite was General Turnipseed’s alleged charge.

Understand that Turnipseed has never alleged that Bush was AWOL or a deserter. Never. Four years ago he said he doesn’t recall seeing him. On Tuesday he stated that Bush could well have been on the base, but that he just didn’t see him.

In other words, there is no evidence whatsoever to support Terry McAuliffe’s slanderous charge that was repeated in Congress yesterday by a Democratic congressman and by countless pundits including the increasingly repugnant Begala, and widely read websites of the left like Joshua Marshall’s.

But while Beinart and his colleagues of the left have no problem covering the Bush story and shifting coverage from the lack of evidence for the charges leveled at Bush to their dissatisfaction with the completeness of the Bush denials, they are feigning shock that a report from Matt Drudge on alleged Kerry infidelity should be mentioned outside their newsrooms.

The timing of the new allegations is wonderful especially because it throws such a defining light on the bias of the Washington media –ever ready to carry the water of the Democrats and dismayed that they might be obliged to cover some nasty business about the front-runner from the left.

I am, as I’ve said before, underwhelmed by the Kerry scandal. But I’m even more underwhelmed by the National Guard flap. It’s quite obvious that there’s a double standard here, and Hugh is right to chastise them for it.

Scroll down or click here for more.

UPDATE: Then there’s this comment from reader Don Williams:

Given their constant rush to put out breaking news, I was surprised that the TV networks haven’t let out a peep re Drudge’s report of a Kerry affair with an intern.

Then it occurred to me that if Kerry’s “electability” is questioned –if the Kerry bubble pops –then Howard Dean is the last man standing. Given how the TV networks torpedoed the Dean campaign with roughly 473 misleading broadcasts of his “Iowa Scream” (with the cheering crowd edited out) can anyone doubt what a Dean FCC would do to the networks?

Isn’t Edwards still standing?

ANOTHER UPDATE: TNR has responded to Hewitt on its campaign blog. “This isn’t an example of ideological bias. It’s actually the opposite. It’s the press trying to be scrupulously unbiased.”

Yet another reason why all media operations should have blogs.

Then there’s this cartoon, taking a somewhat different perspective.

MORE: Bo Cowgill comments on the TNR response.

STILL MORE: Here’s another response to the TNR post. (“So how can you argue that the AWOL story should be covered because it was being discussed by a major Democratic candidate, but NOT cover the Kerry adultery story even though it was being shopped around by the exact same person?”)

MORE EMBARRASSMENT FOR THE FORD FOUNDATION:

The quip going around nonprofit circles these days is that the Ford Foundation’s support for Palestinian extremists is the one area of funding it could defend on the grounds of donor intent–an allusion to the notorious anti-Semitism of automaker and founder Henry Ford.

But Chuck Grassley, for one, is not amused. In response to a Jewish Telegraphic Agency series detailing Ford’s support for Palestinian NGOs crusading against Israel, the Iowa Republican has announced that the Senate Finance Committee will review the matter. In so doing, we hope it raises a question long overdue for Congressional scrutiny: How U.S. tax laws intended to encourage charity have had the unintended effect of spawning a foundation priesthood funded into perpetuity and insulated from public accountability.

The NGOs and foundations deserve much, much closer scrutiny than they’re getting, both in terms of their activities, and in terms of where the money goes. And that’s even before you get to basic questions of accounting, oversight, and general honesty in advertising. The kind of financial shenanigans that go on in this world make the for-profit business scandals look minor.

UPDATE: A reader emails that this investigative series by the Boston Globe regarding the Cabot Family Foundation is a model for the kind of inquiry that ought to be going on. (Look to the lower right for links to more stories).

ANOTHER UPDATE: Greg Djerejian, who works in NGOs, says I’m wrong to compare NGO corruption to Enron and Parmalat. (Though his suggestion that we should compare dollar amounts seems to miss the point.) But fellow nonprofit reader Rudy Carrasco emails:

Good to see your details about Ford Foundation et al. Big foundations like Ford regularly grill and dissect small nonprofits, and they need to be grilled themselves. Truth is that all ngos need the grilling (it’s usually helpful for us) but there are times when the close inspection is about gate-keeping (keeping ngos that don’t toe the party line out of the money pool) and not about good governance. . . .

Made me mad again – because I get pressured, as a nonprofit bringing in under 400k a year, to govern well and properly – which is fine, it makes us better. But to see this double standard irks me. Good to see Ford held to same standards they hold us to.

Well, I’ve heard a number of horror stories from people I trust who work with NGOs. But, of course, without monitoring it’s hard to know just how deep the problem is. Personally, I think it’s probably pretty deep — because when you have large sums of money, few clear metrics for success, and little accountability to outsiders, it usually is. One useful article on this subject, though it’s now a bit old, is David Samuels’ Philanthropical Correctness: The Failure of American Foundations, from the September 18, 1995 issue of The New Republic. It doesn’t seem to be on the web, but here’s an excerpt:

In the past twenty-five years, however, a startling shift in foundation funding has occurred, away from research and toward the support of advocacy groups and the kinds of social service programs best accomplished by government and private charity. Of 240 grants made by the Carnegie Corporation in 1989, totaling $37 million, only 27.5 percent (sixty grants) went to American universities. Most were relatively small, and many went to non-research oriented projects such as an “international negotiations network” at Emory University’s Carter Presidential Center, or “Reprinting and Disseminating the Handbook for Achieving Sex Equity Through Education and the Sex Equity Handbook for Schools.” Most of the Carnegie grants fell into one of two categories: funding and disseminating a host of high-flown reports by Carnegie-sponsored commissions; and funding advocacy groups including the Organizing Institute, the International Peace Academy, the aclu Foundation, the National Council of La Raza, the Fund for Peace and the Children’s Defense Fund. It is the stuff of which Republican careers will doubtless be made: a multi-billion-dollar tax exemption for the political agenda of liberal elites.

Those who share the broader social concerns of the foundations might wonder as well whether doling out hundreds of millions of dollars to ideologically driven advocates–who lack the time, the training or the inclination to evaluate what they do–is the best prescription for future innovations in public policy. Foundations enjoy their present tax-free moorings because they claim to operate as a nonpartisan force dedicated to the pursuit of innovative solutions to our pressing social ills, sheltered from the shifting partisan winds. The preponderance of foundation grants to advocacy groups, however, suggests that foundations are less devoted to the reasoned pursuit of the public good than to the multiculturalist dogmas propounded by their staff. . . .

No longer subject to academic review, evaluations of foundation programs today are carried out by foundation staff and by grantees themselves. Certainly many of these recipients are worthy and well-intentioned. The trouble is that, under the new system, it’s almost impossible to evaluate what actual good they do. One recipient of major foundation grants, an educator in a Northeastern city who refused to allow his name to be published, described the process with a cynicism that appears to be general: “They think they’re being clever by asking you to come up with your own criteria for success–60 percent of children in the eighth grade will be reading at a ninth-grade level in two years, or whatever. And they ask you to select an independent evaluator’ to report on whatever progress has been made. It’s all very numerical: but the goals you select are always goals that you know you can reach. Maybe 60 percent of eighth graders are already reading at a ninth-grade level. Maybe it’s 70 percent. The foundations don’t know. And the evaluators you select are people with a stake in the project. They’re getting a salary–from you, or an organization related to yours; some part of their income comes from that grant. And so the project is evaluated, declared a success, and everyone–the program officer, the trustees and you–can go home happy.”

Samuels isn’t so much concerned with bags-of-cash corruption, exactly, as with the pumping of huge amounts of money into politics instead of actual effort to help people, and he notes the way in which many foundations have abandoned, or shifted, metrics for “success” so as to make real accountability difficult. Though that’s a form of corruption in itself, and it tends to lead to more traditional kinds of corruption, as well.

I believe that this article created something of a storm at the time, but it doesn’t seem to have changed things, much.

MORE: A reader sends a link to this transcript of an interview with Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) who’s looking at foundation practices. Here’s an interesting fact: “The Ford Foundation, a $9 billion foundation, the government says you need to give away roughly half a billion every year. Almost $100 million of that, almost $100 million of that is overhead.”

As I say, more scrutiny is needed, at a number of levels.

MARK STEYN ON PLAME:

If sending Joseph C. Wilson IV to Niger for a week is the best the world’s only hyperpower can do, that’s a serious problem. If the Company knew it was a joke all along, that’s a worse problem. It means Mr Bush is in the same position with the CIA as General Musharraf is with Pakistan’s ISI: when he makes a routine request, he has to figure out whether they’re going to use it to try and set him up. This is no way to win a terror war.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Meanwhile Mark Kleiman writes:

If you’re used to the idea that the people around George Bush do bad things, then it may be easy for you to swallow burning Valerie Plame as just another bad thing they did. But most of the bad things (bad, that is, in my view) that Bush and his colleagues do don’t seem bad to them, or at least seem justified. (Sliming John McCain to win the South Carolina primary? Just politics; too bad, but that’s the way the game is played.) From the very beginning, it’s been hard for me to see how any of those folks could have talked themselves into an act so appallingly wrong according to their own standards.

It was hard for me to see that, too, but when I pointed it out people were accusing me of shilling for the Administration. Ron Bailey is sounding the same theme over at Reason:

Why would anyone in the White House think revealing that Joseph C. Wilson IV’s wife worked under cover for the CIA would “punish” or “intimidate” him for publishing an article critical of the Bush Administration’s use of bogus information about supposed Iraqi efforts to obtain uranium from the African country of Niger? If disclosing that information was aimed at somehow “discrediting” Wilson, it was just plain stupid. Besides being illegal, it just makes Wilson seem more credible, not less.

Why, yes. That’s what I thought, too. As I noted a while back:

But it doesn’t make sense to me. First, if you want to “intimidate” someone, committing a felony at which you can be caught — and which doesn’t hurt the target — doesn’t seem to be the way to do it. What possible benefit was there to the Bush Administration in saying that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA? When what they could have said is what the British did say, which is that Wilson was gullible and inept? Had Plame been fired on a pretext, or Wilson’s taxes been audited, or some such, then there’d be an “intimidation” argument. But this?

Meanwhile, as Kleiman notes, the “six reporters” to whom the story was allegedly shopped and that we’ve heard so much about may not even exist — rather, they may have been contacted after Novak’s story. Seems like this case really is complicated, after all. Advantage: InstaPundit!

And I grow steadily more suspicious of the CIA role in this as time goes on. I was already in favor of seeing Tenet fired — and have been pretty much since 9/11 — so this isn’t exactly a deciding factor for me. But perhaps it should be a deciding factor for President Bush.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Roger Simon notes: “I think the great mystery that possibly is underlying the entire Plame/Wilson Affair is why Tenet was not fired in the first place after 9/11.”

Well, things are still complicated, so I’m not sure I’ll say that it’s the mystery underlying Plame. But, to me at least, it’s a mystery all its own.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Doug Levene emails:

In addition to your suspicions about CIA treachery afoot, I would add my dismay that Wilson is getting a free ride for perfectly dishonorable behavior, namely writing an Op-Ed about the results of a confidential mission that he undertook for the CIA simply because he was pissed off that the president failed to take his advice. I always thought that if you worked for the CIA, your work product stayed in Langley. That principle applies just as much to a one-time special assignment as to a career employee. Why aren’t all the folks so indignant about protecting the sanctity of the CIA concerned about Wilson’s breach of his duty of loyalty and confidentiality?

I think that the CIA is in desperate need of some re-engineering, and that Bush has been handed an excuse to do it.

MORE: Donald Sensing says that nobody really wants to expose the leaker, regardless of party, for obvious Washington institutional reasons.

But I do!

STILL MORE: Reader Frank Walters wonders:

Quite aside from alleged White House revenge motiations, nothing else about the Wilson/Plame dust-up makes any sense. Does not the CIA realize that assigning a covert agent’s spouse to a special mission doubles the risk to both of exposure should either be revealed (particularly if both relate to WMDs)? I am amazed that they do not have a policy against such paralled missions for spouses. And does not Joseph Wilson have enough experience in public life to realize that stirring up a huge media storm increases whatever danger there is to his wife of being exposed through his mission (even if Novak had revealed her CIA connection earlier)? Finally, was his mission not classified? If so, why is he not in violation of the law by revealing its details? If it was not classified, assigning it to the spouse of a covert CIA agent makes even less sense.

I agree.

MORE STILL: Here.

POLITICAL ADVICE FOR THE DEMOCRATS — they seem to need it, and I’m offering it over at GlennReynolds.com.

I don’t think, though, that anyone would offer me the DNC chairmanship, though it was once held by a law school classmate of mine. And the Democrats were doing better then, too.

UPDATE: John Conyers apparently hasn’t gotten the memo about the youth vote.

And here’s an issue too.

And a reader has more suggestions, as follow:

Continue reading ‘POLITICAL ADVICE FOR THE DEMOCRATS — they seem to need it, and I’m offering it over at GlennReynold…’ »

LAST WEEK I WROTE ON DOUBLE STANDARDS in the treatment of Baghdad’s looting incidents. (That was before I knew that journalists were among the looters, or it would have been triple standards!) But now Andrea Harris identifies more doublethink:

I am intrigued by the idea that the column’s author, one Philip Hensher, apparently thinks that 1) it is possible to fight a “caring” war (how? Drop sympathy cards and flowers along with bombs?) and 2) that the best way to show “caring” would have been to shoot more civilians. The ways in which the minds of anti-Americans work never cease to cause amazement.

Yeah. And that’s why it’s been hard for me to take the looting complaints all that seriously, even before it started to seem likely that at least some of the media types doing the complaining were also pocketing Saddam’s silverware. As I wrote in my earlier piece, if it can be shown that the United States was in a position to stop the looting, and deliberately or callously let it happen, then that should be a big embarrassment and those responsible should be punished.

But, really, the complaints just seem so much like desperate efforts to find something to complain about that it’s hard to take them seriously, even though perhaps we should. (Jay Manifold calls this the bitter fruit of incompetent criticism, noting that the antiwar folks blew their credibility earlier, and now people aren’t listening even to valid complaints.)

A reader wrote me to say that it was worth risking American (and Iraqi) lives to protect the National Museum, even if it meant diverting resources from elsewhere. Well, maybe to some people, but not to me. Mickey Kaus says that the United States should be held to a “strict liability” standard here, with us responsible for anything that happens regardless of whether we actually did anything wrong.

I’d disagree with that. I think a lot of these criticisms underestimate the “fog of war” and the (rather high) likelihood that the Museum was looted before American troops even arrived. To make out a case that goes beyond carping, you have to show (1) that the Museum was un-looted before Baghdad fell; (2) that it would have been comparatively safe and practical for the United States to prevent looting; and (3) that the United States knew all of this, but just refused to act.

There is some evidence that Jay Garner sent a memo on this before Baghdad fell, but that doesn’t really answer the question. I’d have to call the case for negligence here “not proven.” Or as Roger Simon puts it: “It was only a teeny tiny bit our fault.”

Of course, as a mystery writer, he’s a beneficiary of the looting, which will provide MacGuffins aplenty for future works. . . .

UPDATE: Reader Rajat Datta emails:

I wonder how many of those who blame the coalition troops, and Bush and Rumsfeld in particular, for the looting would have held Clinton responsible for the mass expulsions of Muslims from Kosovo by Milosevic and the Servs when we liberated Kosovo. The Serbs were at fault then, and the looters are at fault now, despite the fact that they obviously took advantage of an oportunity that opened up because of our military operations.

Art historian David Nishimura, meanwhile has posts here, here, here, and here. His latest sum-up:

Points to note: the robbers have been heavily armed, quick to shoot, and not easily deterred; there has been extensive insider involvement; and finally, the most secure vaults have successfully defied all break-in attempts. This emerging picture (along with the report noted here that armed intruders had been firing at US forces from the national museum) poses a further challenge to the assumption that the looting of Baghdad’s museums and libraries could easily have been prevented, and was thus the direct result of American negligence.

Stay tuned.

“SNOBBISH, RACIST, AND PLAYING A DANGEROUS GAME OF DOUBLE STANDARDS:” Ian Buruma takes on the world’s reaction to the Miss World riots. Well, the non-Blogospheric world’s reaction, anyway:

Staging the contest in Nigeria might not have been wise, and the journalist may have been courting danger. But some of the reactions in London suggest that the killers may have had a point. There is an odd convergence between fashionable political correctitude and religious bigotry, as though people who have the bad taste to enjoy beauty parades are criminally culpable. Rod Liddle, for example, found it difficult to disagree with the Muslim lynch mob, “from a theoretical point of view”, that Miss World represents everything that is horrible about “western culture”. . . .

Besides snobbery, there is a worse reason for being more outraged by western vulgarity than non-western murderousness. It might be called moral obtuseness, or even moral racism. The assumption appears to be that Africans or Asians can’t be held to our own elevated standards. They are more like wild animals, whose savagery should not be provoked by our foolishness. When we do provoke them, the consequences are entirely our fault. It would be as misplaced to apply our moral standards to their behaviour, as it would be to expect tigers to talk. The murder of Nigerians or Indian Muslims, or Iraqi Kurds, is par for the course, unless we did it, or Americans, or Israelis.

Yes.

PC DOUBLE STANDARDS: Reader Mark Shawhan writes:

I wanted to take issue with your recent post on what you see as a double standard for left and right (the one made on 11/15). Essentially, I’m wondering where the evidence is for your agreement with James Lileks that “Yes, every opinion is valid – but as a famous pig once remarked, some are more valid than others.” So far, your discussion of the matter has cited Mr. Lileks’ post on the subject, the fracas at UT over the hate speech code there, and Martha Burk’s “modest proposal,” and I fail to see how any of these items support your claim of a double standard.

Here’s how I see it: My point in pointing to Burks was that a non-lefty white male who wrote something similar, but aimed at women, wouldn’t be allowed the defense of “spoof.” Lilek’s point was that a non-lefty white male who painted something similar, but aimed at black people, wouldn’t be allowed the defense of subjectivity. And the Kappa Sigma blackface incident seems to me to be proof of both.

Separately, Kevin Drum of the usually excellent CalPundit blog emails that he’s surprised I haven’t censured Kathryn Jean Lopez for “deliberately falsifying” Burk’s piece. I didn’t take from Lopez’s posts that she had done that. Looking at Drum’s blog, I find a post that seems to call me a liar. I don’t see why. (And I don’t think I ever got the email he says he sent, though I get so many I wouldn’t swear to that). But in my post on the subject, I added a link to the text of what Burk wrote, and to a CNN transcript saying it was a spoof, as soon as I got them. You can read the post here, and see if you think Drum’s characterization is justified.

But, as I thought was abundantly clear, my point was that if, say, Hootie Johnson wrote a piece calling for all women to be equipped with Norplant, to be removed only with the consent of their “designated partners” nobody would be bending over backwards to cut him slack because it was a spoof. How hard is this point to understand?

Too hard for some people, apparently. As I say below, a lot of people on the left are so thoroughly blind to the double standard that they can’t believe people who point it out aren’t somehow, pulling a fast one. All I can say is, get real, guys. You’re only fooling yourselves. And the hysterical response that appears every time someone points out the hypocrisy of the left on these matters seems to suggest that you’re having trouble even with that.