May 31, 2003


Putting Salam Pax and his post-war propaganda aside for now, let's talk about Salman Pak instead. The Democrats have come crawling out of their bunkers and, in statements indistinguishable from those of Baghdad Bob, they've accused Bush "lying about WMD." The fact that we found connections to terror, and Saddam even used foreign terrorists to fight the war, has been lost in the spin.

"Which is worse: lying about a girlfriend or lying about a war?," Begala complained on Thursday. "There aren't 169 [U.S. troops] dead over Monica Lewinsky," Democrat strategist added sarcastically.

...President Bush shouldn't wait a second longer to introduce Iraqi defectors Sabah Khodada and Abu Zeinab to the American people, and fire whomever it was in his administration who advised him to ignore the defectors' eyewitness accounts tying the Baghdad terrorist training camp Salman Pak to the 9/11 attacks.

...The accounts of Khodada, Zeinab and Duelfer are backed by two other eyewitnesses - a third defector and a second U.N. inspector - all of whom testified earlier this year in a lawsuit brought by 9/11 victim families against Iraq.

In a decision that should have been seized upon by the Bush administration - but wasn't - on May 7 Manhattan U.S. District Court Judge Harold Baer ruled that the Salman Pak evidence was persuasive enough to tie Baghdad to the 9/11 attacks.

...Instead of relying on evidence that would have dispelled all doubts about making war on Iraq, the as yet unidentified presidential advisor counseled Bush to hinge his Iraq war rationale on the threat of weapons of mass destruction, evidence that - so far, at least - has yet to materialize.

The blunder has given Democrats their most potent ammunition yet in their bid to unseat Bush in the 2004 presidential election.

In an embarrassing series of statements on Friday, Bush challenged reports contending that Iraqi WMDs were still MIA - only to be contradicted by U.S. experts on the ground.

While I think the biolab trucks are proof enough of a WMD program, this is still a good point. The political problem began when we had too many reasons to attack Iraq, and Democrats were using the "confusion" to campaign against the war. We decided to settle on the WMD reason primarily because we first decided to go through the UN while building up our forces. This strategy then allowed Saddam to disperse his WMD to Syria, while importing all the terrorists and Fedayeen that threaten us with counterattacks even now. It's also allowed the Democrats to now launch a parallel post-war counterattack in the media.

Had we used Salman Pak as our primary cause for a clear war of self-defense on a terrorist state, we wouldn't have had the UN and the French to damage our power and prestige. Then the American people (and Turkey) would have also jumped onboard much faster. The warplan was very different for that political track, but the Pentagon had a plan, and we then could have had a measure of strategic surprise in our attack timing.

Unfortunately, the NY Times put that leaked plan on the front page, hoping to force us to abandon it or get our troops killed in larger numbers. That was treasonous, and it's a shame people got away with it. But the plan still could have worked with Turkey onboard, while not having to fight all the Fedayeen psychos would have made up for having less forces, etc. Lesson learned I hope. The NY Times lesson was not learned, and I predict more people will die in Korea, Syria or Iran when Howell Raines and his Clinton loyalists in the Pentagon leak those war plans too.

There is a logical way out of the Dems "Baghdad Bob" argument for Saddam though. They imply that, since we focused on WMD, it matters whether we find WMD in Iraq or not. As Michael Schrage pointed out, it doesn't matter a bit. We were still legally justified. His article needs to be held up as the standard against the latest nonsense, otherwise Saddam's defenders may win the propaganda war once again. The problem is communicating this more intellectual argument to the American people so it fits in a sound bite. I tried to do that here, and hope others can do the same sort of thing.

Meanwhile, Vanity Fair gave Paul Wolfowitz the Maureen Dowd misquote treatment (or is it the AP/Santorum treatment?) when he discussed the justification for war. Bill Kristol explains:

What gives with this Vanity Fair interview, then?

What gives is that Tanenhaus has mischaracterized Wolfowitz's remarks, that Vanity Fair's publicists have mischaracterized Tanenhaus's mischaracterization, and that Bush administration critics are now indulging in an orgy of righteous indignation that is dishonest in triplicate.

...The failure so far to discover "stocks" of WMD material in post-Saddam Iraq raises legitimate questions about the quality of U.S. and allied intelligence--though no one doubts that Saddam's regime had weapons of mass destruction, used weapons of mass destruction, and had an ongoing program to develop more such weapons. Furthermore, people of good will are entitled to disagree, even in retrospect, about the wisdom and probable effects of Saddam's forcible removal. But distorting an on-the-record interview with a Bush administration official in order to create a quasi-conspiratorial narrative of deceit and deception at the highest levels of the U.S. government is a disgrace.

Baghdad Bob, where are you? I think he's a mainstream U.S. media consultant now.

UPDATE: Tony Blair tells the war critics to chill out, and they'll see the proof very soon.

Baghdad Bob is reportedly alive and still in Baghdad. He fears Iraqis might try to kill him, and the NY Times or CNN might try to hire him. Well, assuming he still cares about his credibility, I made up the last part.
Posted by Chris Regan at 03:27 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 30, 2003


Jeff Jarvis has a Salam Pax litmus test post.

He also has the details about Salam's appearance in The Guardian. They have an detailed article about him with some dubious editing, and a new blog/column by him coming soon.

Then Salam has a new post defending himself against critics. No, I didn't send him the email. I'm sure he's getting lots of questions from people who wonder the same thing, but most don't want to post their thoughts publicly and be descended upon by his glassy-eyed followers. He says his dad is now a VIP "farmer" and his mom now a housewife. No word on when they rejected Baathism and ditched their former careers, or how they still gave him his life of privilege on the Dora farm.

What he fails to realize in his complaints about fame is that, as Iraq's "chosen one" in the blogosphere, he has some responsibility that comes with his notoriety. He can make Americans think Iraqis are like the ungrateful French if he feels like it, but it's not the responsible thing for him to do. He might want to reflect on the opinions of Americans who might have also lost friends and family in the war to liberate him from pure evil. Then again, if he was already personally free under Saddam, but now resents "stupid" American questions and their evil "cluster bombing of civilians," I can see why it's not a big deal to him.

Recently, he made a snide comment saying it's Americans that need to "take responsibility" (as if we aren't already) to keep him safe from mullahs. In other words, we're still expected to die for him on the streets of Iraq so he can live, surf the Internet cheaply and then bash Americans trying to help him. Whatever Salam.

UPDATE: Here's the cluster bomb story. Brought to you by the anti-landmine crusaders (and probably the same people campaigning against DU).

Its revelation raises fresh questions for Tony Blair and George Bush, who insisted that post-conflict Iraq would be a safer place than it was under Saddam Hussein.

...Although some of the munitions are from the 1991 Gulf war and will have originally been fired by Iraqi forces, experts in the field believe that most have been left since the recent conflict.

...The victims are often young children scavenging for the valuable metal that encases the explosives.

Will future wars be fought using pumpkin cannons, bubble gum bullets and MRE bombs so children can safely play with and eat munitions?

Should we now just clean up the WMD capability and cluster bomblets, fix the neglected infrastructure, then allow Saddam and sons with the Baathist police force to take over and crack down on the lawlessness? Wait...before you answer that, remember that the Husseins know where the priceless looted art pieces are hidden, and they can restore the museum. See, now you're thinking! That's what people really want, not bumbling Americans asking stupid questions. All we need, according to liberals, is a piece of paper saying that Saddam will behave from now on. War was so unnecessary and harmful to the paradise Saddam had built. We need to apologize to him and his people.
Posted by Chris Regan at 05:22 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack


In her latest column she uses the complete Bush quote she distorted earlier, but then goes on to distort the meaning of it regarding the War on Terror.

In other words, she's saying, "It really doesn't matter to me, or my editors, that I intentionally misquoted the president on a national security issue. I can make the same argument again with the full quote too. So there you go idiots, thanks to you I get to write two columns bashing Bush on the same subject. Try outing me as a quote fabricator again and I'll do the same thing."

It was not even a lame grudging half-correction as most are interpreting it. It was a slap in the face to Times readers and editors. She refused to humble herself and instead got even more arrogant and incoherent. It seems like most people missed the fact it was really a bold anti-correction.

Anyhow, just use this evidence to refute her misrepresentation of the battle against al Qaeda. (link via Neophyte Pundit)
The story--part detective yarn, part spy tale--is one of unsung heroes. It is a story of nameless CIA analysts who matched tortured renditions of Arabic names with cellphone numbers around the globe, of Pakistani soldiers killed while smashing down doors of al Qaeda, of Jordanian interrogators who wore down some of bin Laden's craftiest killers. Much of this has not been told before. A windfall of intelligence has led to a newer, more profound understanding of bin Laden's secret network, intelligence officials say. They have built up dossiers on his followers from a scant few hundred before 9/11 to over 3,000 today. They have identified the core group's sworn membership, now thought to number only 180 true believers. And bin Laden's personal fortune, investigators say, is all but gone.

There's more. The investigators have unearthed a secret history of al Qaeda, discovering documents in bin Laden's own hand, along with records identifying donors to the terrorist group. They have forced captured operatives to help target their comrades--even listening in as a terrorist made a phone call that led to the assassination of a top al Qaeda leader.

On the run. Al Qaeda's wounds run deep. Over half of its key operational leaders are out of action, officials tell U.S. News. Its top leaders are increasingly isolated and on the run. Al Qaeda's Afghan sanctuary is largely gone. Its military commander is dead. Its chief of operations sits in prison, as do some 3,000 associates around the world. In the field, every attempt at communication now puts operatives at risk. The organization's once bountiful finances, meanwhile, have become precarious. One recent intercept revealed a terrorist pleading for $80, sources say.

See how I nicely balanced that last post below? Fair and balanced blogging. We can celebrate the many victories in the war, while highlighting key continued weaknesses, and still be truthful and consistent. It's curious that people like Dowd will lie to elevate the power of al Qaeda, yet not be concerned with the open border issue that gives even weakened terrorists an easier shot at us.
Posted by Chris Regan at 03:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I'm just wondering if the next big terror attack will be this Sept 11, or are they saving up for 2004 and the election? The current immigration policy says that unless you're already a known criminal, you get to roam around the country until you commit a crime or terrorist attack. Haven't all illegal aliens already pulled off at least one illegal act?

While the so-called "catch-and-release" strategy isn't a new practice for many local police departments, some of the most recent cases have been occurring despite the Department of Homeland Security boosting the nation's terrorist threat level to orange, or "high," and that has drawn criticism from immigration-reform advocates.

"Catch-and-release is actual [federal immigration] policy and refers to precisely that," said John Keeley, director of communications for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. "It's problematic, particularly when one such released turns out to be an infamous sniper-in-training (Lee Boyd Malvo)," he said.

...In some cases, entire cities, such as Seattle, have adopted local ordinances forbidding police from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

But it was the cases where federal officials are called and don't respond, especially during a state of heightened national alert, that drew criticism from immigration reform groups.

"It is true that local police departments across the country routinely ignore the immigration status of those they come across in the course of their duties, and we have seen, as in the case of at least one of the 9-11 hijackers, just how dangerous that can be," said Craig Nelson, a spokesman for Friends of Immigration Law Enforcement.

This is Bush's achilles heel, but the Democrats want open borders even more than he does, so they won't say a word for now. Everyone knows the Dems are practically begging Osama for a domestic attack to blame on Bush before 2004. The Saudi bombing temporarily excited them, but they were disappointed when they threw it at Bush and it didn't stick. When we get the next domestic attack though, just watch, it will be blamed on "Bush's open borders" and he will be accused of "criminal negligence."

The Democrats will be in a frenzy, and partly right for once. But any work to close the borders even then will be just for show. Many in both parties and all levels of government are negligent for their winking at illegal aliens at the expense of real Americans of all nationalities just waiting to die. Oh, Diversity! How we love thee!

UPDATE: Fresh al Qaeda infiltrating U.S.
Al-Qaeda had not only survived the US-led crackdown against it, but was exploiting loopholes found in its pursuers' tactics, officials in Washington said.

Of particular concern are indications that the terrorist network has infiltrated essentially untraceable operatives into the US. Some of them were believed to be planning suicide bombings on soft targets such as subway stations within the next few months, officials said....

"They have done their homework and figured out ways to get people in who can evade scrutiny and the techniques that have been successful in the past."...

"We thought we had a really good picture of it," the US official said of al-Qaeda's present membership.

"But what we're now seeing is that there are a lot of new cells, many of them beyond the penetration of the CIA. They're ciphers."

Authorities believe the Riyadh bombers belonged to one of several Saudi-based al-Qaeda cells, and that hard-core members are plotting further attacks in the kingdom.

Another Saudi-based al-Qaeda cell might be trying to sneak into the US to launch attacks, the Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, said recently, citing evidence from the investigation.
Posted by Chris Regan at 02:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Not a true ally, not quite an open enemy:
President George W. Bush said Thursday he was ready to move on when it comes to Franco-U.S. ties, but then slammed the French government with one of the most damning indictments of an ally possible by saying it wasn't clear that France cares whether U.S. citizens live in safety and security.

...when asked directly if he had "forgiven" France, Bush sidestepped the question. "I look forward to working with France to achieve common objectives," Bush said.

Sounds like our relationship with the Saudis.
Posted by Chris Regan at 01:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 29, 2003


I know that doesn't sound like a compliment, and people like to bash Santorum for not speaking perfectly clear off the cuff on complex matters of law, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about someone who was mocked mercilessly for trying to stop the onrush of our "progressive" culture, only to be proven right after all. Just as Dan Quayle was eventually vindicated years after after being mocked by the elites for his comments on the dissolution of marriage on television, Rick Santorum is already being vindicated.

...if neither marriage, nor consent, nor tradition provides the criterion for deciding which forms of consensual sexual conduct are to enjoy constitutional protection and which are not, then what does provide the criterion? If Sen. Santorum is wrong to suggest that there is no such criterion, his critics should be able easily to refute his argument by producing it. Why haven't they done so?

They haven't done so, and won't be able to do so, because Rick Santorum is right: There is no principle that courts can employ in picking and choosing among the range of possible consensual non-marital forms of sexual conduct for purposes of assigning constitutional protection. If marriage is overthrown as the principle that distinguishes protected from unprotected conduct in matters of sexuality, it will have to be replaced, in the end, by the idea of consent. No non-arbitrary grounds will be available for deciding that sodomy and fornication are "in," but consensual adultery, group sex, commercial sex, etc., are "out." The rational pressure for consistency will move courts in the direction of imposing by judicial fiat the agenda of fundamental social libertarianism. And that was Rick Santorum's point.

Advocates of sexual liberation will say, of course, that retaining marriage as the criterion of constitutional protection is unfair since persons of the same sex cannot legally marry each other. But this objection reveals their ultimate goal: the destruction of marriage as it has been understood in Western law and culture and the substitution of a new concept in line with sexual-liberationist ideology.

Too bad Santorum didn't keep his powder dry in that AP interview so he could take on another TV show, and reinforce the moral argument that went with his bulletproof legal point. Last night was the debut of a family-oriented reality show with the legal fiction of a gay "married" couple sanctioned by CBS (of Murphy Brown fame of course). The "married" gays are meant to push de facto cultural acceptance of the new progressive definition of marriage in order to shatter the bedrock of human society. It's also meant to stick it to the military since one guy is a former officer. Nice job once again CBS, you even beat MTV at their own game. At least the guys aren't getting married on the air at the end of that show, or in Bravo's new Boy Meets Boy.
"We have created a gay world where the straight guys are in the closet," Ross said.

If one of the straight men is chosen at the end, he wins a cash prize. If the leading man chooses another gay man, the lead character wins the prize and a vacation.

``We really wanted to attract the straight population,'' Ross said. ``By adding in this twist, we thought it would bring in a larger audience and would challenge the notions of all of our viewers -- both gay and straight.''

As the protest chant goes, "We're here! We're queer! And we're in your face!!!"

To answer a question posed in the article by a stunned critic...Yes, Boy Meets Sheep is probably the next evolution of reality TV. I bet HBO has it trademarked already, and descibed as Fear Factor meets Temptation Island. That will probably come after a NAMBLA sponsored Man Meets Boy series on MTV, hosted by Michael Jackson.
Posted by Chris Regan at 06:57 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


For those curious about what's going on with the political spin for Hillary in Sydney Blumenthal's book, Dick Morris has the scoop.

Hillary’s own book is due out next month. The platitudes that are likely to festoon the former First Lady/presidential wanabee’s book are not the real Hillary: Sidney's book is her true voice. In a world in which ghostwriters assist celebrity authors in their memoirs, this book is an odd role reversal. Here, Hillary is the ghost putting her prejudices, animosities, biases, resentments, fulminations, and paranoid mutterings in Sidney's mouth.

Hillary needed someone to affirm her credentials as a New York Yankee fan, so Blumenthal obliged. She wanted a benign description of her acceptance of the need to have a special prosecutor, so his book portrays her as philosophically accepting it. (By contrast, both George Stephanopoulous and I recall her obstinate refusal and tearful ranting against the appointment.) Mrs. Clinton needed to affirm that she was the author of It Takes A Village so Blumenthal attests to it, despite the fact that her ghost writer was paid $120,000. Hillary wants to grab some undeserved credit for the Irish peace process, so Blumenthal obligingly informs us that her "work" made it all possible.

Anything that needs doing, Blumenthal does in this book, like he did in the White House. This 800-page job application for a job in a Hillary White House shows his willingness to buy any line she hands out and treats it as gospel.

That book is now followed by Bill Clinton's transparent comments about America needing to allow more than two terms per President. His timing and comment is a finger in the face of Susan Estrich. The Clintons are not going to get out of the way, period. With Hillary's "history" book coming out in two weeks, they're determined to prevent a non-Clinton Democrat from winning the Presidency in 2004 if Hillary chooses not to run.

The Clintons don't want an incumbent Democrat running for re-election in 2008. They want to make it very clear to all pretenders to the throne that "The Family" is the only choice for Democrats in the next election (when Bush is prevented from serving three consecutive terms). If Hillary is unelectable then, they want to make sure Bill can run again in 2008 or 2012. The third choice for him will be to get the UN rules changed to allow him to be the UN Secretary General.

Hugh Hewitt has another option for Bill -- Governor of California.

On-air tonight I began to wonder what would happen if Bill Clinton declared residency in California and accepted an invitation from a united Democratic party to serve as the “back-up” to Gray Davis when the recall vote is held out here in the fall. There will be a vote, and if 50% plus one of the voters says throw the bum out, Davis will be recalled. On the very same ballot will appear a list of possible replacements. The largest vote getter among them gets to be the new Governor. Clinton would win such a poll in a walk, I think. Does he have the brass to do it?

More details on the 2004 strategy from Dick Morris -- 'Clintons Want Bush Re-elected'
Posted by Chris Regan at 05:43 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


It's not just Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown caught up in a strange Middle Eastern cult lately. I understand the pre-war media coverage created a cult of personality around the interesting Salam Pax, but lately I've noticed a curious tone in the angry replies from those like "button" and "Swopa" on this and other blogs. As Cait mentions in her response, this debate is not the usual left-right debate. To me, it has a pseudo-religious feel to it rather than a political one. The knee-jerk Salam defenders actually remind me of Scientologists attempting to suppress online dissent and exposure of their leader. They have me wondering about the psychological dynamics behind the progression toward Salam Pax worship:

"People who end up in cults are normal people. They are usually intelligent, open-minded and honest. They're willing to make sacrifices for the greater good of the group. They're interested in self-improvement and in the improvement of the world...." -- Dr J W West, Professor of Psychiatry, University of California

...At its beginning the cult consists of a small group of people focused around a benign leader to whom individuals are attracted. At its end, it can become a manipulative, exploitative, multi-national organization.

...Following the leader is believed to be the only route to enlightenment or salvation - as defined by the cult. The leader lives in luxurious circumstances at the members' expense, removed from the main body of the group. The leader is largely inaccessible except to a privileged few.

The leader makes prophecies of future events [like post-war Iraq?] which the group prepares to encounter. The members manifest almost unquestioning submission to the leader treating him or her like a celebrity or saint.

...Listed below are the 16 stages of cult evolution. Not all religious cults will pass through each stage and stages will overlap:

1. People encounter an attractive, small group within which a leader has emerged or is self-appointed

2. The leader is charismatic and people focus around him or her

3. The followers gradually isolate the leader by elevating him or her

4. The group enlarges and members form emotional bonds, united by common aims and activities

10. People desiring power and control gravitate to the leader and form a clique around him or her

11. The clique protects the leader in order to protect its own interests. The leader is now out of control - testing her/his autocratic powers to their limits. The power clique attempts to prevent followers from recognizing the deterioration in the leader. People on the fringes of the organization are mostly unaware of what is happening at the centre.

12. News begins to leak out to the membership. The leadership comes under attack both from outside and within the group

13. Law suits are served by the organization against those publicly expressing criticism of the group. Former members challenge the group with counter suits.

14. The leader and power clique resort to increasingly extreme and desperate measures in order to maintain their position and silence opposition.

Just something to think about before you follow Salam and send all your money to support CIVIC. You'd be more productive supporting Iranian dissident bloggers pushing for regime change there, than defending a naive petulant Iraqi pseudo-dissident whining about how our removal of Saddam and installation of democracy was not surgically clean and fast enough. Salam obviously has no enduring sympathy for those Iraqis who were executed or endured suffering, torture, or hid inside walls with a radio for decades under Saddam -- while he had fun surfing the web and traveling the world. He's now upset about higher Internet prices, and distorting the unavoidable civilian casualties in war to make his political points against America. He's learning quickly how to be an elitist liberal. Sue me if you want. It's just my impression, and I don't hang on every word uttered by the "boy Baathist" as his true-believers do.
Posted by Chris Regan at 12:27 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

May 28, 2003


I'll be off the blog for a short while, hanging out in Japan. Visiting friends and family, dodging SARS, eating sushi, mangling the hits of the 70s at the local karaoke bar, the usual.

Interesting note about Japan and SARS. All of Japan's neighbors are plagued with the disease, yet Japan is largely unaffected. It has had only two cases that I know of so far, even though a Taiwanese man unknowingly carried the disease through several major Japanese cities a couple of weeks ago. So why aren't the Japanese getting SARS?

I have a theory (of course I do, I'm a blogger--spouting half-baked theories is what we do). Japanese culture is a touch-free thing. You don't hug, you don't shake hands, you don't back-slap or touch or anything. Well, unless you're a dirty ogisan standing next to a pretty girl on the trains, but that's another story and those guys tend to get slapped these days as they should. In general, Japanese just don't touch each other. They bow. They proffer business cards, but they only touch the card when they accept it--no hand contact. They don't share drinking glasses or straws, and they wash their hands pretty much all the time.

SARS is a corona virus. Such virii are generally spread through fluids. I won't get graphic, but you can imagine the various ways that bodily fluids can get on hands, which unwashed can transfer said fluids to anyone and anything touched. China and most of the other Asian countries are more contact-driven societies--they do their share of bowing as far as I know, but they also touch more than Japanese do. Not to sound culturally superior, but they also tend not to wash their hands as often as Japanese do. And they tend not to adhere to the same standards of public cleanliness as Japan. They just don't seem to have the same mania for sterility that the Japanese have. Maybe that's why they have SARS and Japan doesn't. No touching=no SARS? It's possible.

Anyway, Chris will be the lone blogger in these parts for a while. Be nice to him. I'll try to post once or twice from the Far East if possible.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Post-war, a few internet cafes offer access for a few bucks an hour connecting via satellite phone. But pre-war, Saddam's Iraq was a hostile land for netizens:

The country of 24 million was one of the last in the region to join the Internet community, counting only about 250,000 users, almost all of whom surfed the Web in state-run cafes, Abdulla said.

Home access was only permitted last year, with just 25,000 accounts. The entire country used less than 10 megabits per second of Internet bandwidth, about the same amount as a big-city office building in the United States and the lowest of any Arab country, according to TeleGeography, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based consultancy.

Iraq’s Ministry of Information blocked much of the Web and permitted only e-mail from Iraq-based servers that sent copies of messages to the government, Abdulla said. No private Yahoo e-mail, no chat rooms, no opposition news or political sites. No porn.

All of which raises a few questions in my mind. How did Iraq's lone pre-war blogger get his emails out of Iraq? How did he get online to post to his blog, or to find out about blogs in the first place and set one up himself? It's safe to assume that he didn't post from a state-run cafe, so he must have been one of the 25,000 home users. He had to have connections to the regime, which translated into privileges that common Iraqis didn't enjoy such as home net access, or he wouldn't have been able to blog.

Not that I want to get into any of this stuff again...
Posted by B. Preston at 03:39 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack


As unlikely, indeed impossible, as that seems, it just might be happening. Unitarians, who range in creeds from just about anything to just about anything else, seem to be experiencing a stirring of the Spirit, or Great Spirit, or, well, something (link requires free registration). But ironically, such a revival would probably wipe out the tiny beliefless sect:

The president of the liberal Unitarian Universalist Assn. has touched off a controversy by suggesting that the denomination needs to reclaim a vocabulary of reverence by not being afraid to talk about God.

In a series of sermons and articles in the last five months, the Rev. William Sinkford has called for a reexamination of beliefs, because current principles "contain no hint of the holy."

"I'm not suggesting that Unitarian Universalism return to traditional Christian language," he said in January during a Fort Worth talk. "But I do feel that we need some language that would allow us to capture the possibility of reverence, to name the holy, to talk about human agency in theological terms."

The possibility of reverence, but no traditional Christian language. It's still too sectarian a non-call to non-faith for some:

The Rev. Sydney Wilde, pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston, Va., said she is not opposed to the discussion but wants to see more of it grow out of the pews, with enough room for diversity.

"It's the definition of 'God' that concerns me," said the self-described mystical humanist. "I have no difficulty with the use of that word, but I want a broad enough definition that includes all of us."

And that's the problem, really. Humans trying to define God. It's easy if you try, I guess, as long as you don't actually consult Him or exclude any possibility--even the ones that are mutually contradictory. And if your definition doesn't cater to the broadest possible concerns of Diversity! then you just ain't a good Unitarian, baby. Which means you're going to end up incorporating all manner of nonsense so you don't exclude anyone. It just doesn't work, and can't hang together. Rev. Sinkford will not be sunk, though. He's on a crusade mission quest to bring the Spirit (or a spirit, or I guess the essence of a spirit, or the possibility of a spirit) back to his church:

Last month, in an article in the church's UU World magazine, Sinkford responded, writing: "Many of you, I know, are bothered by the use of the word 'God.' " He said, however, that " 'religious language' doesn't have to mean 'God talk.' "

Sinkford, who was elected in 2001, said he is responding to a growing desire within the 220,000-member church for a spirituality deeper than the group's traditional anything-goes philosophy.

"The new persons who are joining our congregations — most of them are coming in wanting to engage religion through religious language," he said in an interview. "They're not afraid of talking about God and what that means."

Imagine that--wanting to engage religion through religious language. What will they think of next--engaging an Englishman through the English language? Sinkford and others are worried that unless their "church" learns to be an actual religion with, you know, beliefs and stuff, it will go the way of the Shakers. But their own universalist beliefs will abort that effort--religious beliefs are by their very nature exclusive. They require that believers identify themselves and hold to a set of norms or standards that non-believers don't accept or understand. Universalism says all beliefs are equal, and no one standard is the right one. It's the Church of Do What You Want To, and that philosophy is incoherent. It doesn't actually demand anything of believers (not even belief), and doesn't point the way to anything better. It's basically a social club with pseudoreligious trappings and a bit of post-modern philosophy sprinkled on top. Unitarians seem to be sensing all that, but if they act on it their church will disappear as they figure out that other churches actually teach coherent ideas. If the Unitarians don't act, their church will probably disappear anyway. Who wants to attend a church that doesn't actually believe in anything? What's the point? So the Unitarian revival may in fact spell the end of the Unitarian Universalist church.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I'm surprised no one has mentioned this recent story since the Times scandal broke. The public relations aspect of the scandal is interesting, and it goes back to what I see as the Chief Moose Issue. Let's first flashback to the New York Post's Page Six on Jan 24, titled Flack Howells Over a Column:

The spiking of a piece about the public relations business has staffers at the New York Times wondering: was the column killed because it attacked a P.R. technique often used by flack Krystyna Stachowiak, fiancee of Times executive editor Howell Raines?

The axed piece by Manhattan publicity executive Jeff Barge blasted his industry as a 'deceptive business' in which newspapers are fed 'quotes that are just plain fabricated by the P.R. people.' It might have cut too close to the bone, because eloquent Stachowiak, 38, has in the past provided newspapers with English-language quotes from her non-English-speaking client, Polish president Alexander Kwasniewski." [bold mine]

It looks like this one cut too close to a main artery. Howard Kurtz had more details:

Times editor Brent Bowers told Barge in an e-mail that Sunday Business Editor Judith Dobrzynski "just now killed the piece. She says it is too self-promotional and didn't like the anecdotes. I totally disagree with her, and argued my case, but she is the boss."

The explanation was odd because most of the "My Job" columns are self-serving, while Barge was trashing his own profession. "I AGREE!!!!" Bowers wrote Barge after he pointed this out. "I made the same argument. That was when her jaw tightened and her face froze in an unfriendly way."

In the spiked column, Barge also boasts of press releases that spurred articles in Business Week and The Washington Post. He now accuses the Times of "a form of censorship" to spare the paper "possible embarrassment."

The strange decision and strange reaction sure does make it seem like the spiked column was Howell Raines' call. Beginning with Jayson Blair's personal connection to Raines...the saga gets more interesting:

Raines may be more deeply tainted by the [Jayson Blair] scandal than had immediately been apparent.

News clerk Zuza Glowacka, who reportedly had a romantic relationship with Blair, has left the paper, although it’s unclear if it was voluntary. The 23-year-old has not been at work since Blair left May 1.

Fair or not, that’s led to in-house speculation that she may have helped Blair with his misdeeds. She worked on the photo desk during part of Blair’s tenure and would have had access to pictures of sites that he claimed to be reporting from while he was actually in New York. This friendship with a photo desk employee was not mentioned in the Times story.

...Glowacka’s mother, journalist [and Public Relations specialist] Ewa Zadrzynska, is good friends with Raines’ wife, Krystyna Stachowiak.

The buzz around the newsroom is that Raines may have given Blair second and third chances that other reporters would not have received because of his romance with a family friend.

Reaction within the Times to the case has ranged from anger that editors let Blair continue when they’d known about his sloppiness to suspicion about Glowacka and her relationship with Raines’ family. [bold mine]

Looks like Blair's girlfriend lived with her PR specialist mother:
Glowacka's last known address was her parents' Upper West Side apartment where Blair was a regular visitor, neighbors said.

Now her mom is likely running this damage control for her daughter after her initial PR attempt at national fame fell flat.

Since her close friend's downfall, Glowacka has seemed to revel in the media attention.

She agreed to pose alongside Blair for magazine and newspaper photos, and also sat with him during an interview with The New York Observer as he mocked his former editors and accused The Times of racism.

Now she says his comments were "hurtful and hateful."

"When the piece showed up in the press, it seemed as if I had tacitly agreed with him, and we were even described as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde," she writes in Newsweek. "When I put it all together, I realized that my presence in the articles made me look not only like a loyal friend, but also like a co-conspirator."

Glowacka and her parents, Polish emigres, are friends of Times executive editor Howell Raines and his Polish-born wife, Krystyna Stachowiak.

Times staffers have questioned whether her connections helped Blair, a 27-year-old reporter, win better assignments. She has denied she ever helped him deceive the paper by getting him photographs that he used to fabricate stories.

In Newsweek, Glowacka said that before the scandal, she was just "another aspiring novelist with a job at a big-city newspaper."

Imagine her PR stage mom saying, "Oops, sorry honey! My bad. I thought we could make you a celebrity and get you that book deal."

Besides Jayson Blair shopping his book with his literary agent, he got another visit from a friendly PR agent:
...Ted Faraone, a PR agent who had worked with Blair on stories at the Times, told NEWSWEEK he called the reporter after reading about his career suicide.

“...I put him in touch with one of my clients, Ian Rae, who did ‘A Current Affair.’ I’m hoping things work out for him.”

Then Faraone added another thought. “If one thing can be said about this from a literary standpoint, the American people tend to be very forgiving if you come clean. They’ll watch the TV movie and pay $9.50 to see the feature film.

Chief Charles A. Moose had that same idea. Just months after turning (many police say dangerously extending) the sniper shooting spree into an unnecessary drama about racial profiling gone utterly mad, he signed a book and movie deal with Jayson Blair's literary agent David Vigliano.

That was right after Blair used a "local law enforcement" source to successfully draw public attention away from the questions surrounding Chief Moose, and splashed his front page story blamed the feds for bungling the sniper confession. Who were the sources that fed Blair the story to bail Moose out of a PR problem? The Times and Blair still say the sources exist, but they refuse to investigate. Blair could have made it up, but he now says that one is a rare true story with sources.

Of course, very real sources could have lied for their own personal reasons. Chief Moose, bitter about losing the Hollywood movie ending that would have come from him getting the confession in Montgomery county, may have been a source saying the sniper was just about to confess -- before the feds interfered on orders from the White House. It's a great fictional tale either way. This is why it's crazy to relax ethics rules for the police (or people like Judge Ito). We don't want them focused on maintaining their celebrity, and planning the book and movie, while killers are not yet convicted. It will cause them to alter reality and leak stories to match the heroic fiction in their minds.

Jayson Blair followed up with Chief Moose recently when he interviewed him (on behalf of literary agent David Vigliano?) to help defend the questionable ethics of Moose's book deal in a crafty PR piece for the New York Times. At the time, we now know Blair was under a similar ethics cloud, since he also tried to negotiate with Vigliano for a book on his sniper reporting, his hard life and fascination with sniper Lee Malvo. Vigliano told him to hold tight as he was trying to get Moose's book out first, but he kept in touch with him. Now Vigliano and Blair are going with a new book that doesn't compete directly with the Moose stalled book. It's interesting that Blair makes it pretty clear in the NY Observer articles that he engineered his own very public demise, while he had this bio book and a notebook full of dirt on the Times ready to go. Vigliano and his two clients may be much smarter than people think.
Posted by Chris Regan at 01:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


...would be to listen to Andrew Sullivan. He apparently isn't content with merely opposing social conservatives on philosophical or theological grounds--he wants us driven from the public square on the ruse that we're actually, in our heart of hearts, anti-conservative. He even goes as far as use a David Horowitz article that at the same time criticizes Christian conservatives but nonetheless recognizes our intrinsic value to the conservative coalition to make his point that we're not really conservatives. Ooooookay. And he accused Maureen Dowd of distortion.

Let's take a look at Andy's fantasy world. If he were to succeed and split us off from the rest of the GOP, you'd have a rump of a GOP left. Social cons make up somewhere between a quarter to a third, and in some states a half, of the GOP base. Without us, the Republicans would have an ineffective, semi-permanent minority status, resulting in a drastically weakened national security stance, the return of Big Government, high marginal tax rates, and perhaps most importantly, a disregard for the rights of the unborn and for basic Constitutional rights and freedoms such as the right to bear arms. That's what the Democrats would usher in if the GOP lost its social conservatives and thus its political viability.

One important fact to consider: As traditional Christians re-discovered politics in the 50s and 60s, they looked around for a party or parties which would become our political homes. For a variety of reasons, the majority of us chose the Republicans. As we moved toward the GOP, its viability on the national stage increased. What had been essentially a party only of the White House became a party of the state house, too, and of the US House, and of the Senate, as we social conservatives helped the GOP organize grass-roots efforts and brought our very significant numbers to bear, resulting finally in the capture of a majority of governorships and majorities in the Congress. We aren't the only reason for the GOP's ascendancy, but we're a major reason for it. Cutting us off would be a huge mistake for the GOP, and as Sullivan offers nothing--not one single solitary thing--as a potential replacement for us, it would probably mean the end of the Republican Party as a force in American politics. With the Republicans' demise, conservatism would find itself marginalized.

Does Sullivan think gays would come en masse to the GOP if only the social cons were out of the way? That's folly for several reasons, not least of which is that even if every single gay person in American suddenly voted Republican their numbers would never and will never match ours. We could break off and form a third party which would be more viable than the rump GOP, whether it had the gay vote or not. Does he think independents and libertarians would suddenly flock to the Party of Lincoln? Not likely. Indies would likely stay as such; libertarians aren't numerous or organized enough to matter much. The fact is, without social conservatives, the GOP and conservatism are doomed. Horowitz understands this, and offers up fair criticism (with which I disagree to some extent, though I find myself irritated at the strategic boneheadedness of my fellow social cons to some extent too). Sulli takes Horowitz's fair critique and turns it into a platform for political pogrom against Christians.

Conservatives, Republicans--don't listen to Andrew Sullivan. He claims to mean well, but in the end his politics are entirely self-serving. You'd follow him to your ruin.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:41 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


First Jayson Blair. Then Rick Bragg (who's gotten a bit of a bum deal imo, though like many others my sympathies run pretty shallow). Now Maureen Dowd? Apparently her willfull distortion of President Bush's "they're not a problem anymore" quote has caught the eye of Times' fact-combers.

Dowd's not alone in this caper: Lots of Dem spinmeisters and apologists used the same trick--Eric Alterman, for one. They all should take a hit in the credibility, and career, for this one.

(thanks to Times Watch, which seems to have beaten everyone to the punch on this story)
Posted by B. Preston at 10:40 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


One of the things about deeply researching a story--any story--is that you run across facts, incidents and tales that you find interesting but ultimately don't make the cut for one reason or another. Most of the time, you just forget them or keep them in your notes, thinking that they may be useful someday. For me, in researching the Red River Run story, I remembered one such tale and came across one such fact, which to my mind are related and interesting, but didn't make it into the story for reasons of space and clarity.

Here's the tale. Back in 1992, Texas was experiencing its first election under the Martin Frost redistricting plan, the "shrewdest gerrymander" of its time as Michael Barone put it. That map put urban, high-tech and business-oriented Plano (a Dallas suburb) in the same state senate district as agrarian, rural, down-home Hunt County and some of the surrounding area, which was where I happened to work as news director for a couple of radio stations. That area had been represented in the state senate for three terms by Democrat Ted Lyon of Rockwall, and the Democrats hoped his record and ties to law enforcement would offset anything the GOP would throw at him and they would keep the seat. The Republicans ran a Plano businesswoman, Florence Shapiro, to challenge him. She was very focused and driven, very smart and articulate, in every way what you'd expect from someone who built a business from the ground up and then decided to run for office. Lyon was an old-school Texas Democrat politician, former cop turned lawyer, a conservative on most issues but basically a good old boy (and I don't mean that in a perjorative sense at all--in Texas, "good old boy" is generally a complement). The race between Shapiro and Lyon quickly became a nasty slug-fest. As a news director, I got hit from both campaigns daily throughout the summer and fall of that year--faxes from one campaign accusing the other of something, followed by a counterstrike and countercharge from the other guys, ad nauseum. It got tiresome to say the least, though I grew to personally like people in both campaigns. One of the weirder tactics that the Democrats tried was to tar Shapiro as a Jew. Now, she happened to be Jewish, but why the Democrats made an issue of it was lost on me and most voters, but it was something that the Democrats decided should be an issue so they made it one. They did it by bringing up the fact that she'd moved to Texas some years back from up north somewhere--New York, I think--and basically said words to the effect of "How can a New York Jew possibly understand rural farm life, or even life in Texas and how we do things around here?" It was a fairly ugly thing to say, given the fact that Shapiro's faith really shouldn't have been a campaign issue at all. But it was, because either the Lyon campaign or the state Democrats or both decided to make it one. So that's the tale that didn't make the cut.

Now here's the fact. Rep. Martin Frost of Fort Worth has been in Congress for thirteen terms now. He's one of the more partisan Democrats in the House, regularly accusing the Republicans of plotting to starve old people and kick little kids out of their homes--or is it starve kids and kick old people out of their homes? It's hard to keep all the canards straight these days. In researching him and his 1991 redistricting plan for the NRO story, I came across a fact that the GOP has never raised as a campaign issue--Frost is Jewish. Does it matter? Not a whit, and the Republicans have never believed that it mattered and therefore never raised it as an issue. It's not as though they've never had the chance--Frost has run and won 13 times, for a total of about 26 years in the House. And it's not as though he's an obscure Congressman and therefore off the radar--he represents the 24th District, which includes sections of Dallas, Arlington and Fort Worth as well as the mid-cities. I grew up in that area, knew of Martin Frost just about my whole life, yet never once heard that he was Jewish. It was just never an issue, nor should it have been.

So we have a tale of the Democrats running an anti-Semitic campaign strategy for a state senate seat the very first chance they got, and the Republicans never raising the Jew issue in any of 13 chances to do it, all in the same general area of the same state. I'll leave it for you to decide for yourself what, if anything, this means.

Oh, and for the record, in that state senate race I got so fed up with both campaigns that I ended up voting Libertarian that time. I had nothing in common with the Libertarian candidate--he was a hemp-promoting ex-hippie type. It was a protest vote against two campaigns that became uglier then necessary. Shapiro, the Jewish Republican, ended up winning and still holds that seat. It was a rare instance where the Frost plan didn't hold the line for the Democrats. I like to think that their anti-Semitic strategy backfired on them, though there's probably no way of knowing that for sure.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2003


More on the nexus between the Clinton family's multimillion-dollar "non-fiction" book advances and the broader "amorality in liberal journalism" debate...

Matt Drudge is reporting that it took a village to write Hillary's new book. Amazingly, Hillary has decided to give credit to the three other authors who actually wrote Living History. It's very gracious, considering that last time she lied and claimed complete authorship of It Takes A Village:

Clinton, who is scheduled to receive an $8 million advance for the book, thanks author Maryanne Vollers, former Clinton speechwriter Lissa Muscatine and writer Ruby Shamir, sources reveal.

Clinton raised eyebrows in 1996 when she failed to acknowledge a single person in her bestseller, IT TAKES A VILLAGE. Not even ghostwriter Barbara Feinman [ who was paid $120,000] was mentioned. Clinton claimed she wrote the book entirely on her own. The omission created bad publicity, and according to press reports, it also prompted Feinman to strike back by telling Bob Woodward about Clinton's "seances" with Eleanor Roosevelt.

Now we just need to count, sort and catalog all the congenital lies when the book comes out before deciding how much of her "Living History" is actually DOA fiction.
Posted by Chris Regan at 07:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Not quite as bad as flying the French flag, but close.

Amid waning public support of Americans and the Bush administration for the United Nations, one congressman proudly flies the blue and white U.N. flag outside his D.C. office.

While most of his 534 colleagues display banners of their home towns at the entrances to their offices in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill, Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., moved last month to use that platform to demonstrate his longstanding love of the U.N.

"If the U.N. didn't exist, we'd be inventing it right now," Farr told the San Francisco Chronicle, calling the U.N. "the only way to build up the infrastructure around the globe for the human rights, labor, environmental conditions that are fair and equitable."


" forces in Washington recently spent $600,000 of taxpayers' money to renovate the kitchen of the ambassador's Waldorf-Astoria apartment," Snyder said. "I bet Julia Child's kitchen didn't cost 600 grand."

American taxpayers are being looted again. What's the deal with UN goons looting us to satisfy their gastronomic demands?
Posted by Chris Regan at 07:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Howard Fineman on Imus last Monday:

"The three guys (Sulzberger, Raines, Boyd) have sort of gotten themselves in a position where they are at war within their own newsroom...because almost any of the reporters you talk to...are going to tell you that they hate the place right now, and a lot of them want to walk because they are being edited by people who have tipped the scale, by people who are looking for hype artists, and by people who are going to jazz up the stories too far; and they feel that Howell & Co. have created this situation in the institution that can't go on like this. It's really quite serious....

The people I talk to at the paper said that their view of the four-page extravaganza they [printed in the Times] documenting all of Blair's problems misses the point. It's more systemic. What the people are telling me is that they are trying to put it all on Jayson Blair. This isn't about Jayson Blair. This is about a culture that people think exists in the newsroom where people who push the envelope, people who go over the edge...are rewarded for their daring.

After Rick Bragg, we're beginning to find out what he meant.

UPDATE: Jerk Sauce notes that the Times' credibility has been largely gutted no matter who the reporter or stringer may be. Essentially, Raines and Co. are still standing by the bogus reports about the Baghdad Museum looting. They've calculated that, instead of reporting the truth, they can get away with just changing terms like "massively looted" to "largely gutted" and keep much of the world believing the original hoax. (via Instapundit)
Posted by Chris Regan at 07:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


What's up with this? Cha-ching! Jayson is a cash cow for the Times now.

They have so many people linking to the master list of Jayson Blair corrections that they're now charging to view Blair's list of lies. It's like a circus freak show. His articles in the archive still seem to be open to free public examination though. I found another Blair screw-up, and was going to compare it to what they already admitted he got wrong, but I'm not going to give them $3 so they can profit off Jayson Blair's infamy. Soon they'll be offering exclusive pre-orders and excerpts of Blair's book.

I can picture Howell Raines' internal memo: "Hits on the website up 78%! Archive profits up 143%! This is huge! The Times has seen no negative impact from these so-called "scandals." Keep up the buzz guys, the bolder the better. Think Jayson Blair, not Rick Bragg. We'll be selecting and firing one reporter a week from here on out. Your cut of the website advertising and archive revenue awaits you -- contact management for details and a list of available literary agents."

UPDATE: Just when you thought it couldn't get any more weird:

Insiders say that the New York Times is preparing to make a correction on a portion of the massive correction it ran on May 11, regarding the fabrications, factual errors and plagiarism that appeared in disgraced reporter Jayson Blair's stories over several years.
The original 14,000-word correction and article ran on the front page of the Times.

But there is some contentiousness over how or even whether to publish a correction to the correction. "One of the writers of the piece is resisting the correction," said an insider.

...Meanwhile, in the developing saga surrounding the Times' suspended Pulitzer Prize winner, Rick Bragg - alleged to have improperly used stringers to research his stories - the New Orleans-based Timesman says he has no intention of stepping down in the next few weeks, but will take leave at some point later this year. "It will probably be sometime this summer," he said. "There is no specific date."

Bragg already has a two-book deal from Random House, believed to be in the $1 million range. A manuscript for the first, a nonfiction work, is due Dec. 31; the second book will be a novel - his first.
Posted by Chris Regan at 03:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


It's pretty funny that Knopf Books is concerned that their $12 million advance to a known fabulist might be for a work of fiction:
An editor working on ex-President Bill Clinton's memoirs has raised questions about the veracity of his account after reading the book's first draft.

"Did you make half of that stuff up?" the editor asked, according to Clinton's own admission during a ceremony at his Little Rock presidential library on Friday.

In little-noticed comments covered by the Associated Press, the ex-president revealed the unnamed editor's skepticism, saying, "When I first showed my editor the drafts of my memoirs, he said, 'Boy you've got a lot in here about Arkansas.'

"And I said, 'Well, read it before you cut it out.'"

Then Clinton revealed, "He read it and said he laughed and cried and hooted and hollered and he said, 'Did you make half of that stuff up?'

"And I said, 'No it really happened that way.' "

With so much dedicated to repairing his Arkansas legacy, what he will say about his role in the Arkansas Prison Blood Scandal? I'm guessing he ignores taking responsibility for what happened, while just making other stuff up that never happened. Clinton is trying very hard to repair his Arkansas base.
Former President Bill Clinton says this country's media culture tends to distort the true political record. Clinton showed up Friday for the last session of a University of Arkansas at Little Rock class that studied his presidency. He spent more than two hours discussing his administration's successes and failures.

The former Arkansas governor clearly wanted to defend his legacy. He lamented what he called an atmosphere where everybody has an opinion and all you have to do is sound articulate on the television. He said nobody every asks if there's evidence to support a position.

Isn't that exactly how we elected, then re-elected President Clinton? Al Gore's Internet has changed that pattern.
Posted by Chris Regan at 02:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Here's another recent example of where the NY Times' Chris Hedges was coming from when he recently challenged students with his arrrogant and revolting graduation performance:

An artist who painted a fake "CAUTION Low Flying Planes" sign [with a graphic of flames] on a building near ground zero said Tuesday that he did not mean to offend anyone.

...Peterson said he never applied for a permit or notified the building's owner, listed in city records as 17 Leonard St. Inc.

"I just did it," he said. "It was more of a guerrilla art piece."

...He said the painting was meant to as a memorial to the attack on the World Trade Center...

"It's disturbing but I guess it wouldn't be art if it didn't disturb you in some way," said real estate agent Vanessa Low.

Has anyone noticed that paying respect and tribute to people now has a new leftist definition where you selfishly provoke and disturb them?

I think it has something to do with The Death of Right and Wrong.
Posted by Chris Regan at 01:37 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Not High Definition TV, but Howard Dean TV (yeah, they should pay me for that if it doesn's infringe on copyright or something). If you just can't get enough of the cranky anti-war Dem on network TV, you can have Dean's site push Windows Media format video to you as it become available. Yippee.

Seriously, though, while I don't care for Dean's stance on quite a few issues and view a potential Dean presidency as a national security nightmare, the guy or his advisors are ahead of the curve when it comes to campaign tech. Other presidential wannabees should take note.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Earth Liberation Front, the eco-terrorist group, has claimed responsibility for burning homes around Ann Arbor, MI and Philadephia. ELF doesn't operate on the scale of al Qaeda, but they are terrorists, and they are dangerous. Their mission is basically to stop economic advances and defeat capitalism, all in the name of protecting the environment.

Here's my question: Pro-lifers often find ourselves slimed in the media by being associated with people who attack clinics and shoot abortion doctors. Why aren't environmentalists similarly tarred by association to groups like ELF?
Posted by B. Preston at 12:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


A thought just occurred to me while reading Howard Kurtz's piece about the NYT reporter suspended for incorporating the work of stringers into his stories without attribution: TV reporters do this all the time. Not small timers, but big-timers. Here's Bragg's description of his practices:

"I will take it from a stringer. I will take it from an intern. I will take it from a news assistant. If a clerk does an interview for me, I will use it. I'm going to send people to sit in for me if I don't have time to be there. It is not unusual to send someone to conduct an interview you don't have time to conduct. It's what we do."

He's right about that--in the big time, it is what reporters do, especially in television. I know for a fact that CBS' 60 Minutes, for instance, employs an array of producers who often sit in to conduct pre-interviews and even interviews with subjects. The on-camera journalists will parachute in, sit down for a few shots to be edited into the final piece, and then jet off to the next story. This doesn't happen on every story, but it does happen especially on human interest or "evergreen" stories that don't involve major newsmakers or hard-hitting reporting. News magazine shows employ the same practice as a matter of routine--either having producers conduct interviews, or feeding questions to the "talent" from off-camera. True, the producers appear in the show's credits, and in 60 Minutes' case the credits appear alongside the stories, but it's Morley Safer who gets the byline and the glory. And on live network TV, anchors are fed questions from off-camera producers through the IFB all the time.

When CNN's Peter Arnett was engulfed in the Tailwind scandal, his defense was that he hadn't contributed to the script--that he was just the face and voice used to present the story and therefore shouldn't be held responsible for the story's allegations. Though that defense seems to have been true it didn't help Arnett--he and all of the producers on that story were fired or didn't have the contracts renewed. He had exposed himself as a journalistic fraud, but that didn't stop MSNBC and National Geographic from hiring him later on.

I'm not saying that Bragg's practice of getting his toes into some airport justifies a byline from a specific locale, but in context his methods are hardly unique.

MORE: Jeff Jarvis agrees. Jonah Goldberg (a former TV producer in his less famous days) adds more. All of it true.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


My latest, on the hypocritical Texas Democrats and their run for the Red River, is up at NRO. And about that piece--it's a direct, factual refutation of the latest Dem canard, which is that the Texas GOP's redistricting plan is somehow "unprecedented" or a sign of "hubris." Those dogs don't hunt--the GOP plan is neither. It is, according to Michael Barone, less partisan than the 1991 Democrat plan it is meant to undo. Josh Marshall and have been peddling the "unprecedented" and "hubris" lines, and in doing so they are either demonstrating an inability to research and master basic facts, or they are willfully distorting the truth for political gain. I report, you decide.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:02 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack