Saturday, October 08, 2005

Today's Hoot!

The value of a two-newspaper city:
One of the great losses of the decline of newspapers is the end of many of the "two-newspaper cities," when there are rival papers that catch each others' mistakes. Competition breeds excellence, and any newspaper that lacks that is incredibly susceptible to laziness.

Luckily, Boston is still a two-newspaper town. The Boston Globe (owned by the New York Times) has its own take on the news, but fortunately for Bostonians the Boston Herald (a scrappy tabloid) delights in one-upping the Boring Broadsheet.

And it's when both papers cover the same story that the differences stand out in stark contrast.

Take, for example, the coverage of a shooting in Boston recently. Jason Collins, 30, is a wheelchair-bound Boston man who was recently shot by gang members. The Boston Globe's story is filled with the tragedy of the tale...
And it's a 3 hanky story, indeed.
And then you pick up the Boston Herald. From the very first sentence, you learn far more about the story than you did from the entire article in the Globe.
Sorry, no spoilers, but you can put away the hankies.

Where old hacks go to get their juices flowing

David Frost Joins JihadTV, Feels "Excitement." Woo Hoo! And a new wardrobe too!

But then, we always knew what ole Dave did for money.

Plastic Turkey Alert!

Big Lizards:
The BBC planned to stake their reputation on the claim that President Bush said that God told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. But will they actually broadcast this story, now that their only source is backpedaling like a circus clown on a unicycle?
It is a problem for the great journalistic minds, I'm sure. I mean it's fake but soooo accurate, right?

Tim Blair:
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and White House spokesman Scott McClellan have since both issued denials; Nabil Shaath now says he didn't take Bush's alleged words literally; and even the BBC is backing down (although, as Damian Penny points out, this is assumed by The Guardian to be the result of shadowy Murdoch influence rather than any doubts over the story).
They want to believe and they need to believe!

Tim then tracks down the flock piling on this latest plastic turkey. My favorite is The Independent's Rupert Cornwell:
But the BBC account is anything but implausible, given that throughout his presidency Mr Bush, a born-again Christian, has never hidden the importance of his faith.
Stories that Rupert has carnal knowledge of canines are anything but implausible too, I guess, given his rich, fulfilling fantasy life. Remember, kids, fake but accurate.

And for you youngsters who may think that this kind of behavior by the press is something new under the sun, I recommend reading Keith Windschuttle in The New Criterion on Mao and the Maoists:
In the summer of 1936, the American journalist Edgar Snow left Peking for China's northwest to visit the new territory taken over by the Chinese Communist Party. There he conducted a number of lengthy interviews with the party leader Mao Tse-tung. He wrote them up and published them as The Mao Tse-tung Autobiography, the first and only extensive account of his life Mao ever gave. Snow interviewed other Communist leaders and then converted all his material into his own book, Red Star over China, published in English in 1937-1938.
Red Star over China was an account of the civil war in China between the Communists and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists. It examined their response to the 1931 Japanese invasion and occupation of China and told the story of the Long March of Mao and his army in 1934-1935 from their base in the south to a new home in the north. Until then, the rest of the world knew the Chinese Communists only through the denunciations of their enemies, but Snow transformed their reputation. He portrayed Mao and his supporters as heroic figures, dedicated to liberating their country from both the foreign invaders and the hopelessly corrupt Nationalists. Snow depicted them less as socialist revolutionaries and more as agrarian reformers, determined to break the shackles of feudal agriculture and liberate the peasants from their rapacious landlords. The Communists, he wrote, were not tied to the Soviet Union and sought friendship with the U.S. In defense of their ideals, they had been subject to ambush and massacre by Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists. Only 26,000 of the march's original 80,000 troops survived. They had endured an almost superhuman 7500-mile exodus across the country. Mao had walked alongside his rank and file foot soldiers almost all the way.
The new biography Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday shows that every major claim made by Snow was false.
Some samples:
Rather than opposing the Japanese invasion, Mao had welcomed it. He hoped the Japanese would engage and destroy his rival, Chiang Kai-shek, and would also draw Soviet troops into China. Mao avoided armed conflict not only with the Japanese but also with the Nationalists. Rather than being a champion of independence for his country, Mao since the 1920s had been an agent of the Soviet Union, taking its arms and money, doing its bidding, and accepting its control of the Chinese Communist Party.... He redistributed no land and liberated no peasants. His initial "red base" at Ruijin in Jiangxi province, southern China, had been achieved not by a revolutionary uprising of the masses but through military conquest by the Red Army, armed and funded by Moscow. His rule was identical to that of an occupying army, surviving by plundering the local population and killing anyone who resisted.

Much of Snow's account of the Long March was also untrue. The march's objective was to establish a new base in the north, near the Mongolian border, in order to have ready access to Soviet supplies and arms. Many of Snow's tales of outnumbered Communist forces bravely breaking through Nationalist lines were pure invention. Chiang Kai-shek, in fact, largely determined Mao's route by giving him free passage through selected regions, while blocking alternative routes. ... Some of the most famous battles of the Long March never took place. The celebrated crossing of the suspension bridge over the Dadu River at Luding, for instance, had not been in the face of Nationalist machine gun fire. No Communists were killed there at all. And Mao shared few of the privations of his troops. Instead of trudging over mountains and through swamps, he and the other leaders were borne throughout most of the march in litters, shaded by tarpaulins, carried by long bamboo poles on the shoulders of their bearers.
Well, doesn't that beat all? A plastic turkey on a pole! Much more by following the link.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Internet WankFest at The Guardian!

Charles Johnson catches them with their hands all sticky:
I suspect very few Americans are aware that the “international community” is preparing a power grab of monumental significance—taking control of the internet’s root servers: Breaking America’s grip on the net. Britain’s al-Guardian rag thinks this is just groovy, of course.
Salient al-Guardian fantasy:
A number of countries represented in Geneva, including Brazil, China, Cuba, Iran and several African states, insisted the US give up control, but it refused. The meeting “was going nowhere”, Hendon says, and so the EU took a bold step and proposed two stark changes: a new forum that would decide public policy, and a “cooperation model” comprising governments that would be in overall charge.

Much to the distress of the US, the idea proved popular. Its representative hit back, stating that it “can’t in any way allow any changes” that went against the “historic role” of the US in controlling the top level of the internet.

But the refusal to budge only strengthened opposition, and now the world’s governments are expected to agree a deal to award themselves ultimate control. It will be officially raised at a UN summit of world leaders next month and, faced with international consensus, there is little the US government can do but acquiesce.
Gosh, what part of "go pound sand" don't they understand?

As Charles observes:
Participating in the attempted coup: Brazil, China, Cuba, Iran, and several African states. Besides being abusers of human rights and enablers of terrorism, what else do most of these areas have in common?

Answer: their management of the internet in their own countries is totalitarian, censorious, but worst of all, totally inept. Huge amounts of spam email emanate daily from South America, China, and African countries.
Here's a modest suggestion. We'll keep the Internet and these folks can build their own Skanknet. We lose the spammers, script kiddies, and con artists and they can indulge their autoerotic fantasies. See ya! Don't let the garage door hit your wide load on the way out. And fer gosh sakes, take with ya!

Howard Dean doing what he does best

Howard Dean bares it all
(Hat tip to Zacs Mom)

When I declared Ronnie Earle the comedy smash of the fall season, little did I know that an old favorite would make a comeback.

Here's a huge honking surprise!

The Failure of a Nobel Experiment:
The International Atomic Energy Agency has to be one of the biggest jokes in the world today. Charged with enforcing the Non-Proliferation Treaty and shepherding research and development of nuclear power into peaceful paths, they have a stellar record of accomplishments.

Unfortunately, that stellar record is of failures.
So, with this colossal amount of failures on their watch, what should be done with the IAEA? Major reforms? Give it some "teeth" to enforce its mandate? Abolish it entirely?

Nah. Let's give them the Nobel Peace Prize!
Hey, maybe ole "Bad Teeth" ElBaradei got it for trying to swing the 2004 election to Kerry?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Today's Hoot!

Al Gore Morph
(Hat tip: MarineBrat)

Did we dodge a bullet with Al Gore or what?

All you need to know about Harriet Miers

Harry Fauntleroy Reid says Harriet Miers is thure thwell
Harry "Fauntleroy" Reid says "Yay!"

On the other hand, the advantage of Harry Reid saying Harriet is yummy is that it momentarily shut up Ralph Neas.

On the main point, David Frum:
So if I don't dislike Miers and want the president to succeed, why am I speaking out? Aside from all the substantial reasons I have cited to date, I am speaking out because there are so many others who want to speak but cannot. I have spent hours over the past three days listening to conservative jurists on this topic - people who have devoted their lives to fighting battles for constitutionalism, for tort reform, for color-blind justice, people who fought the good fight to get Bork, Scalia, Thomas, and now Roberts onto the high Court.

Their reaction to the nomination has been almost perfectly unanimous: Disappointment at best, dismay and anger at worst. Here's the tough truth, and it will become more and more important as the debate continues: There is scarcely a single knowledgeable legal conservative in Washington who supports this nomination. There are many who are prepared to accept her, reluctantly, as the president's choice. Some still hope that maybe it won't turn out as bad as it looks. But ask them: "Well what if the president had consulted you on this choice," and the answer is almost always some version of: "I would have thought he was joking."

Good ole Ronnie Earle!

Forget the rest of the new TV season, we already have the comedy hit of the year! He's not just a partisan hack abusing his office, he's amusingly incompetent:
So, as many of you already know, Ronnie Earle rushed to empanel a new grand jury when Tom DeLay's lawyer moved to quash the, uhhh, "indictment" he already had in hand. The reason? The law he was indicted on was passed in 2003. The transaction [that] supposedly violating that law occurred in 2002.

Talk about loose sh*t. I guess Ronnie Earle was absent the day they taught law in law school.
But ace legal eagle that he is, Ronnie ran right out to find another grand jury, only they weren't buying his BS - Grand Jury Saw DeLay Prosecutor As Lacking:
A prosecutor tried to convince a grand jury that Rep. Tom DeLay gave tacit approval to a series of laundered campaign contributions and became angry when jurors refused to indict, according to two sources directly familiar with the proceeding.
The sources, who only commented anonymously because of grand jury secrecy, said Travis County prosecutor Ronnie Earle became visibly angry when the grand jurors last week signed a document declining to indict, known as a "no bill."

One source said the sole evidence Earle presented was a DeLay interview with the prosecutor, in which DeLay said he was generally aware of activities of his associates. He is charged in an alleged money laundering scheme to funnel corporate money to Texas legislative candidates in violation of state law.

The source said that Earle tried to convince the jurors that if DeLay "didn't say, 'Stop it,' he gave his tacit approval."

The mood was unpleasant," another source said, describing Earle's reaction.
It's a laff riot! But the fun doesn't end there:
After his initial indictment of Tom DeLay fell apart, he went to a second grand jury, presented his evidence, and the grand jury refused to return any charge against DeLay. Undeterred, Earle then went to a third grand jury that was more pliable and agreed to a "money laundering" indictment on the basis of what could only have been, at most, a few hours of "evidence."
Stay tuned - more episodes to come! But remember folks, he's not really a lawyer, he just plays one on TV and in the movies.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

George Clooney hasn't gotten any brighter

Aim for George Clooney!

Brit Hume:
Movie star George Clooney is warning other Hollywood liberals to keep their mouths shut when it comes to politics, saying they're likely to hurt the candidates they're trying to help. Clooney says he declined to campaign for John Kerry last year because critics would use his involvement to paint Kerry as beholden to liberal Hollywood. But while he thinks it's dangerous for actors to go public with their politics, Clooney still defends his left-leaning views, saying, “It's pretty hard to find a time when liberals were on the wrong side of an issue."
But they just can't tell anyone, I guess.

Sandy, Sandy, Sandy

Berger Faces Probation Revocation:
Two days after landing on probation for walking out of the National Archives with classified documents, former national security adviser Sandy Berger was rung up in Virginia for reckless driving. While only a misdemeanor, the September 10 incident amounts to a probation violation that could land Berger in a federal lockup for three to nine months...
Let that be a warning! Don't rearrange the docs in your socks while driving. Actually it was going 88 in a 55 MPH zone, but it's the fun that counts.

Today's Hoot!

James Taranto:
This is becoming a pattern. As we noted last week, Sullivan also attacked the charming children's book "Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed!" on the basis of what turned out to be a parody that featured, according to this press release, "a caricature identified as Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) clad in inappropriate pants."

Sullivan has gotten so error-prone in his mudslinging, it's as if he's a cross between David Brock and Emily Litella.
Barney Frank in inappropriate pants? The mind boggles.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Nothing like good news!

Digger's Realm:
Beginning with the Class of 2006, students must pass the California graduation exam to receive a diploma. The exam has two parts, math and English. Students in the 12th grade must demonstrate proficiency at the eighth-grade level in math and at the ninth-grade to tenth-grade levels in English to graduate.
Hmm, I see two problems already, but wait, there's more!
Unfortunately, the students' success rate needs improvement. According to a report by the Virginia-based Human Resources Research Organization (HRRO), about 20 percent, approximately 100,000, of the state's high school seniors have not been able to pass the exam.
Wait for it:
Naturally, the usual suspects have protested. Disability rights advocates, minority rights advocates, special education advocates, and high school students have loudly voiced complaints of being victimized by an unfair system. All in all, the protesters want the requirements to be dumbed-down, with everyone getting special consideration.
Sheesh, why not just give 'em diplomas when they're born and save the taxpayers some dough? Miraculously, the California Superintendent of Public Instruction is sticking to the requirement. At least for now.

Finally! An explanation for the NY Times!

The Curmudgeon 'splains it all - Inside the Times Shower Room:
When the Times' TV critic Alessandra Stanley wrote that she witnessed Fox News' Geraldo Rivera nudging a Katrina rescue worker out of the way, so his camera crew could tape him as he helped lift an older woman in a wheelchair to safety," she was lying. I watched the tape the next day, and could tell it was not a factual story. Even the WaPost's Howard Kurtz was quick to defend Geraldo. It took the Times a month and a threatened lawsuit to admit the "error." Here's what's really going on.

Such is the climate at the Times, that Stanley wanted to join in the towel snapping, ass slapping camaraderie that is prevalent in the New York Time's locker room -- for those who write anti-conservative articles.
*Snap* Good one Kruggy, you nailed Rove on that one.
*Snap* Maureen you beautiful bitch, nobody is better at calling Bush a snot.
*Snap* Frank Rich, you magnificent bastard. "Bush is a Nazi!" OMG, Let me buy you lunch.
Hmm, The New York Times locker room. There's a thought I'd rather do without.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

I wonder if Floyd Abrams gives refunds?

Judy Miller jumpsuit from Floyd Abrams
Just helping ya out, Floyd!

Is Floyd Abrams incredibly incompetent or is something sneaky is going on? Ole Floyd apparently wants us to believe the former and I'm always willing to suspect incompetence before malice, but it does seem hard to believe that he's such an utter and complete goof.
I still think it almost inconceivable that Judith Miller, or anyone else, would sit in prison for three months, if all she needed to get out was a letter from Libby saying, in effect, "I meant what I said a year ago," without ever asking Libby for such a letter or communicating to him that it was on his behalf that she was in prison. That scenario, as outlined by Abrams, seems senseless to me.
Follow the link for what the pesky rascals may be up to.