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

Friday, March 4, 2005

Blog Law: For some reason a California judge thinks Internet journalism should be treated differently than broadcast and print. Specifically, this judge believes bloggers deserve less protection under the law than traditional journalists.

I doubt this opinion will stand many tests. The medium of transmission doesn't help define whether something is journalism. And one-man press shows have existed before: I.F. Stone comes immediately to mind.

Maybe California's shield law needs to be re-written to cover Internet media. If so, then let's get it done.

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Sign Of The Times: With the announcement that John Tierney will attempt to fill William Safire's conservative shoes on the NY Times' op-ed page, Editor & Publisher quotes CJR's Zach Roth:

On several occasions, writing for the Times magazine, for his column, and in other parts of the paper, he's advanced arguments in ways that border on outright intellectual dishonesty ... either by willfully ignoring major sides of the debate, or by flouting basic journalistic norms whose observance might weaken his case.

And that will separate him from Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd... how?

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Momentum In The Middle East: As grateful as I am to the Opinion Journal for posting this transcript from The Daily Show, it's too bad the Journal feels the need to assure its readers that Opinion Journalists don't usually watch Jon Stewart.

Their loss. The Daily Show is one of the most dependably entertaining programs on television--cable, satellite, or terrestrial.

But back to the transcript: Jon Stewart's in a quandary. He sees the news from Lebanon. He's seen the election day celebrations in Iraq; and, all of the sudden, it's occurring to him that some of these things happening in the Mid-East are good; and Bush's policies may have caused them.

Says Stewart:

[D]o they [the Bush Administration] understand what they've unleashed? Because at a certain point, I almost feel like, if they had just come out at the very beginning and said, "Here's my plan: I'm going to invade Iraq. We'll get rid of a bad guy because that will drain the swamp"--if they hadn't done the whole "nuclear cloud," you know, if they hadn't scared the pants off of everybody, and just said straight up, honestly, what was going on, I think I'd almost--I'd have no cognitive dissonance, no mixed feelings.

For people who've been paying attention--and I would have thought Jon Stewart was one--it's well known that the Bushies did offer a "drain the swamp" argument for toppling Saddam; and they offered many others.

But, more importantly, Paul Wolfowitz had a little theory: By planting a seed of Democracy in one country in the Middle East, the entire region might be changed. And so, yes, the Bush Administration does understand what it has unleashed.

Jon Stewart may be late to the game, but he's not blind.

The State Of Bin Laden: The news that Bin Laden would like Iraqi-based Al Qaeda militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to attack the U.S. homeland seems to hint that maybe Bin Laden is finding that he can't get that job done on his own. Is Bin Laden--as the Bush Administration claims--currently so weakened and isolated that he cannot operate his organization? Now there's a happy thought.

Meanwhile, Christopher Hitchens is questioning the strength and popularity of the Bin Laden image in the Arab world:

Of course, every now and then one still reads polls, conducted by who knows what measurement, that appear to state the contrary. For some reason, the Pew Center seems especially keen on publicizing these sorts of mass-opinion finding. You've seen them: Nine out of 10 Moroccan teenagers have a poster of Osama Bin Laden on their bedroom walls and so forth. Yet these findings don't seem to translate into anything much: The Muslim population with the closest experience of Bin Laden was the Afghan one, and the Afghan street, to judge by all available evidence, rejected him and ignored his threats in crushing and overwhelming numbers.

Good points. Let's hope Hitch is on to something.

Note from BSB: Some sort of virus knocked me flat a few days ago, and I'm just now recovering--hence the light blogging this week. No sore throat, no stuffy head. Not an infection; and not the flu. All internal pipes ran normal. Just a straight-ahead assault of chills and sweats. Wasn't fun at all.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Separated At Birth?: This one took some remembering, and I'm rather proud of myself for finally making the connection. If you're a faithful viewer of Fox's 24, then you know that Jack's current girlfriend is temporarily attached to a smarmster of a husband--Paul Raines is the character's name. The end of the last episode thrust Mr. Raines into the thick of the plot.

Well, I knew--or thought I knew--I'd seen this actor as a much younger man in a movie back in the 80's. And it took some thinking to remember where.

Turns out I was wrong. But, you'll have to admit, they do look like the same guy at different points in the aging process. Compare 24's James Frain to My Bodyguard's Chris Makepeace.

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