"To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?" -- C.S. Lewis

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Editorial Clinic: Check this from today's Washington Post:

...according to U.S. intelligence estimates, North Korea probably continues to build weapons and process nuclear material. It may be looking beyond Libya for new customers for such products. Maybe there is no way to neutralize this threat, but the Bush administration needs to rethink its own failing policy.

An example of why I prefer the Post's editorial board over the NY Times' for relevant criticism of the Bush Administration from the semi-progressive political left. To me, it makes all the difference that the Post is willing to concede that there may be nothing the U.S. can do to solve the North Korean problem. And thus its criticism retains a degree of intellectual honesty which is absent from the Times. That's not to say that the Post approves of Dubya's policy towards North Korea--it does not. But it doesn't pretend there are ready answers.

When you open the Times, not only do you find yourself in a partisan fantasy world where the answers to the North Korean problem are "known," these answers are thought to be obvious to all but utter fools.

The Times no longer seeks to provide constructive commentary on current events; it has thrown in with the Democratic Party in the struggle for raw political power. Democrats=Good. Republicans=Bad. The nuances of the issues be damned.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Planting Bad Seeds: From an editorial in today’s NY Times:

When President Bush took office four years ago, he immediately began distancing himself from the Clinton administration’s approach, which had stopped the most imminent North Korean nuclear weapons program in its tracks.

Is there any way the Times can defend this statement? It’s just thrown in as if it stands on its own, and then the editorial proceeds without so much as taking a breath.

The North Koreans took the Clinton Administration for a complete ride; and here we have the Times claiming the fictional opposite, but couching it as if it were an understood fact. My guess is that the Times is taking the Paul Krugman approach: Slip an absurd reading of history into a column, let it sit for a week (or a few), and then use it as a building block for further fanciful constructions of partisan criticism.  At some point, certain swaths of the Times’ readership won’t remember (if they ever knew) the non-fictional version of events.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Muslim Etiquette: I’m liking the way Harpers.com is using its Web space to re-publish past nuggets from the magazine. In a 1985 issue, Harper’s had some fun with a book released that year: “A Clarification of Questions,” by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Therein Khomeini was nice enough to offer his answers to 3000 questions that might arise in everyday life.

I will here rename it: All I Really Needed to Know I Learned from the Ayatollah or The Weekender’s Guide to an Islamo-Fascist Society. Some excerpts:

#2,629—It is not unlawful to swallow the food that exits from between the teeth as a result of flossing if one’s nature has no aversion to it.

#64—Evacuation is unlawful in four places. First, in dead-end alleys. Second, on the property of a person who had not given his permission. Third, in a place assigned to a specific group of people, such as some schools. Fourth, over the graves of the faithful, if it would be considered disrespectful.

#2,637—It is loathsome to eat the meat of a horse, a mule or a donkey if someone has had coitus with the animal.

I bet many Muslims in 1985 Iran were blessed with an innate sense that guided them through such circumstances. But, for those who weren’t, the Ayatollah’s book must have been indispensable.

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Update On Deep Secrets III: Kevin McCarthy’s full Rehnquist/Deep Throat theory here.

More Deep Secrets: Remember the film version of All The President’s Men when Carl Bernstein flies out west to interview a real weird daddy (maybe the actor was weirder than the fellow he played) named Donald Segretti? Segretti and Bernstein sit out on an apartment balcony and talk about political dirty tricks.

Well, Segretti tells NBC4 in LA that he thinks he knows the identity of Deep Throat and that he can rule out former presidents Ford and H.W. Bush as being, ahem, Throat. He goes on to say that Deep Throat is not sick “at this time.”

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Deep Secrets V: Maybe John Dean’s alleged conversation between Bob Woodward and Len Downie occurred a few weeks ago, and is no longer relevant.

Yes, my day has been slow.

Deep Secrets IV: Howard Kurtz provides a follow-up to Dean’s op-ed during a “Media Backtalk” session with Washington Post readers:

[Woodward’s executive editor] Len Downie told [Kurtz] he had no information about Deep Throat being ill, not from Woodward or anyone else. That doesn’t mean Throat isn’t ill (Downie, unlike Bradlee, doesn’t know the source’s identity). Presumably he’s of advanced age and is not going to live forever. But I was trying to check the one fact in Dean’s column that could possibly be verified, and did not get what I consider to be a non-denial denial.

Don’t you love instances where writers refer to Woodward’s source as Throat?

Deep Secrets III: In an LA Times op-ed on Sunday, John Dean writes:

Bob Woodward … has advised his executive editor at the Washington Post that Throat is ill. And Ben Bradlee, former executive editor of the Post and one of the few people to whom Woodward confided his source’s identity, has publicly acknowledged that he has written Throat’s obituary.

So everyone’s on the hunt for Watergate cast members who are ill.

Dallas radio personality and veteran JFK conspiracy theorist Kevin McCarthy offers up William Rehnquist as a possibility. McCarthy points out that Rehnquist was an important source for Woodward’s book, The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court.

I’m not endorsing this theory, mind you.  Just one of the more interesting ones I’ve come across.

Monday, February 7, 2005

Deep Secrets II: And another Deep Throat theory emerges: George H.W. Bush?

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