Don't let me ever catch anyone around here calling Norah O'Donnell a ditzy, pretty-girl news reader. No sir. Norah's pretty all right, but she's a dog — a pit bull — when it comes to getting in the face of a 17-year-old girl, a high school student from Michigan waiting in line to have Going Rogue signed by Sarah Palin.
Happily, in the Age of the Internet, that girl can give her side of the story, where she explains how O'Donnell ambushed her.
Read the girl's post for yourself. But a few highlights:
1. O'Donnell's "gotcha" that Palin supported the TARP bailout is a real yawner, even by MSNBC standards. Was Palin really supposed to oppose the position of the man on the top if her ticket? And we've come a long way from the initial financial bailout to Obama's moves to consume whole industries — not to mention that one could have supported, in the initial crisis, a bailout of some financial firms in crisis and not endorse the perversion of public trust it has since become.
2. As the girl notes, O'Donnell — after seeing the girl's shirt — got on her Blackberry to have the precise quote Palin uttered in support of McCain's position. She plays it, however, as if she knew it all along — and berates a 17-year-old girl for not having O'Donnell's resources to get the "facts." Pathetic.
3. Did I mention O'Donnell's target of attack was a high school kid waiting in line to have a book signed? In other contexts — meaning the adulation of Barack Obama — O'Donnell's attitude toward school kids is quite different.
Nice work, Norah. I always thought you were an elitist airhead with an inflated sense of your journalistic competence when we were colleagues covering the Bush re-election campaign in 2004. I've seen little evidence over the years that my perception was wrong.
Murray hammers Beck at AEI's American blog:
So here’s the unbearable paradox. Beck really has had important effects on the way the Obama administration and its legislation is perceived. It is conceivable that if healthcare goes down to a razor-thin defeat, Beck will have made the difference. If that turns out to be the case, he will have made a far greater contribution to the survival of the American project than ink-stained wretches like me can dream of having. And I want to shut him up?
I don’t really want to shut him up. I want him to change. Take those enormous talents and make all the arguments that he can legitimately make. Keep the cutesy gimmicks (I understand that we’re talking entertainment here), but have an iceberg of evidence beneath the surface. Fox is making so much money from the show that it can afford the staff to do the homework.
Absent that change, and I’m not holding my breath, let me suggest to my colleagues who want a better public policy debate that we’ve got to avoid the if-I-were-God fallacy. It’s not in our power to decide whether Glenn Beck’s show continues. He will save the Republic or fail to save it whatever we do. All we can do is be honest about what we think. I’ll go first. I say it’s spinach and I say the hell with it. What Beck does is propaganda. Maybe propaganda has its place, but let’s not kid ourselves. Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann are brothers.
I don't care if Beck changes or not, honestly. I can't stand him or his show, and his opinions don't speak for me or influence my thinking one iota. But recall that Murray's colleague at AEI, our friend Steve Hayward, had a somewhat different take on Beck in the Washington Post last month.
(Hat tip: Ramesh Ponnuru at the Corner.)
I'm not sure why I'm so angry about this, but I am (maybe it's because I had just read another story about mistreatment of blog comments).
The director of social media for the Post-Dispatch (not some kid, either--he says he's been a journalist since 1982) used the IP address of a comment poster to notify his employer (a school), costing the person his (or her) job. The initial story is here, and his even more infuriating follow up is here.
This is so idiotic that I have trouble even responding. He didn't tell anything private, just how and where to find the guy?
... you "import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant, with some limited exceptions, taken in violation of the laws of a U.S. State." (Update: "...or any foreign law that protects plants." See comments.)
You'll remember that a few days ago, I wrote about how LA Times blogger Elizabeth Snead had suggested Sarah Palin should "lie back and submit" to sexist coverage of her book campaign. It was a crassly vulgar image to use, and it incensed me so much I left a comment at Snead's blog to that effect. I wasn't the only one angered. Several people in the comments highlighted the "lie back and submit" language.
And then something interesting happened: The offending paragraph disappeared. As did every comment on the blog criticizing Snead's choice of words. Gone down the memory hole, with no explanation whatsoever. At this point you'll just have to take my word that Snead made the offensive comment; I assure you she did. (Update: I wasn't the only blogger who noticed.)
Here's the good news: Somebody at the LA Times -- maybe Snead herself, maybe one of her editors -- realized that she'd said something way beyond the bounds of good taste and decided to withdraw the comment. Fine.
Here's the bad news: It was done without any transparency whatsoever. Reputable bloggers and journalists, when they make an error of taste or fact, highlight the error and offer apologies. Even if you think Snead was right to quietly edit the blog post, however, there's still a problem: The deletion of all the comments that criticized her choice of words.
Having worked at newspapers awhile, and with their comments specifically, I can tell you it is generally considered bad form to delete a comment that merely criticizes the content on display. You boot a comment for making racist or libelous comments, for posting private information about other people or for just being too big a jerk. But you don't delete comments that criticize you, because it's fundamentally dishonest.
Which is why Snead and the LA Times were wrong to merely unpublish her inflammatory remarks without offering a public explanation. They didn't just quiet her; they silenced all the people who pointed out what a poor choice she made. And that deeply undermines the credibility of the LA Times. As it should.
Today, FOX News host Gregg Jarrett was talking about Republican Sarah Palin's book tour and the crowd she is drawing at the start of it -- no small turnout, with some 1,500 people lining up early this morning for a chance to get into this evening's premier book-signing for Going Rogue in Grand Rapids.
"Sarah Palin continuing to draw huge crowds while she's promoting her brand new book,'' FOX's Jarrett told his viewers. "Take a look at -- these are some of the pictures just coming into us... The lines earlier had formed this morning.''
But it turns out that Happening Now had pulled some video of something that happened last year: Displaying video today from Palin's campaign for the vice presidency, on the ticket with the GOP's Sen. John McCain -- which also drew considerable crowds, as shown today in video of a smiling Palin before an adoring campaign crowd.
Recall that last week, as Joel noted here, The Daily Show pointed out how Sean Hannity's program used old B-roll to apparently distort the crowd size of the Nov. 5 "Kill the Bill" tea party event on the Washington Mall. Hannity apologized (more or less). I didn't quite believe Fox's excuses, but I didn't quite see malice aforethought, either.
This, however, is embarrassing and beyond sloppy, even if sloppiness turns out to be the root cause. Shenanigans of this sort lend credence to Fox News' conspiracy-minded critics, of course. It also further validates the Bradbury Rule.
Update: Fox News explains the different footage was a control room gaffe. As much as it pains me to link to Think Progress, you can watch the video of the on-air apology there.
The White House is a real meat grinder when it comes to personnel. You might have heard about the departure last week of White House Counsel Gregory Craig. Craig was in charge of the failed effort to close Gitmo by President Obama's January deadline.
Anyway, Craig is yesterday's news. His replacement is attorney Robert Bauer. Or, as he's been called in the news stories, Bob Bauer. Bauer is the husband of Anita Dunn, the White House communications chief who led the clumsy effort to stigmatize Fox News and who named Mao Tse Tung and Mother Teresa as two of her inspirations in a very bad speech.
The name "Bob Bauer" rang bells with me, but I couldn't quite put my finger on why. Then I saw this item at The Corner today:
No one should forget that it was Bauer, as the general counsel for the Obama presidential campaign, who wrote a letter to the Justice Department on October 17, 2008, asking that a special prosecutor investigate Republicans like John McCain for talking publicly about voter fraud. According to Bauer, such talk was not only evidence of a “partisan political agenda,” but supposedly intended to “suppress voting” by harassing voters and impeding “their exercise of their rights.”
The spurious claims made in the letter were pretty outrageous at the time, but what is even scarier is that we now have a White House counsel who has asserted that anyone who talks about voter fraud, including the type of massive voter-registration fraud committed by ACORN, should be investigated and prosecuted by the Justice Department for voter intimidation.
AHA! That Bob Bauer. He was one of the inspirations for the headline on this occasional series of posts. The ACORN business was just one of his efforts to use the hammer of government to stifle Obama campaign critics. Here is what I wrote about him last year concerning an earlier incident: "The censorious antics by Obama campaign attorney Robert Bauer deserve further scrutiny and perhaps even official sanction." Read the entire post for more background and context. Suffice to say, no sanction or scrutiny was forthcoming, and it appears that Bauer's thuggish perfidy has been rewarded with a plum White House job -- or a place at the front of the meat grinder conveyor belt, take your pick.
Keep an eye on this man and this administration's worrisome posture toward the First Amendment.
I like Jules Crittenden's take:
Mocking pols is not only a fine American journalistic tradition, it’s an important part of our nation’s political discourse. My own newspaper put an Elmer Fudd hat on Mitt Romney when he claimed to be a hunter, a party hat on Deval Patrick for living large, had steam coming out of Boston Mayor Tom Menino’s ears, and periodically culls the photo archives for pol shots that will illustrate the tone of the story. Hillary looking like she’s about to claw your eyeballs out and the other where she looks like she just sat on a whoopie cushion are perennial favorites. My newspaper has a Bozo lookalike on the front page today to represent teachers unions that are … behaving like Bozos. But political mockery has become a (selective) minefield largely thanks to the kind of people who are now unexpectedly leaping to Palin’s defense.
There’s a saying in my business. Tabloid journalism is like rough sex. You need to know when to hold back. There’s always a risk of a little good clean fun going badly wrong, though Newsweek may have been caught off guard by the friendly fire in this case.
In this case, Newsweek is trying to make Palin look like a vapid, chirpy cheerleader. Did anyone think Newsweek was playing down the middle in this fight in the first place? I’d put this in the category of “they spelled her name right.” She looks great. They might think they look clever. But Newsweek might want to rent “Legally Blonde” for a simple, easy-to-understand allegory on the dangers of underestimating perky. Also, look up all the B-movie cowboy hits on Reagan. Apparently a lot of lefty feminists just woke up to the fact that Sarah Palin has been unfairly disparaged. Nothing new about that. A whole lot of other professional women and moms out there, if they didn’t know it already, will be able to do the math pretty quickly when they see it on the newsstands. Keep it up, Newsweek. You might even get her elected.
(Update: I changed the headline. It didn't quite fit with the previous two posts on "California's coming dark age.")
It's at once too late and too early for coherent commentary on the lead story in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times, but the headline is enough to give you nightmares: "California faces a projected deficit of $21 billion."
According to Shane Goldmacher's story:
Less than four months after California leaders stitched together a patchwork budget, a projected deficit of nearly $21 billion already looms over Sacramento, according to a report to be released today by the chief budget analyst.
The new figure -- the nonpartisan analyst's first projection for the coming budget -- threatens to send Sacramento back into budgetary gridlock and force more across-the-board cuts in state programs.
The grim forecast, described by people who were briefed on the report by Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, comes courtesy of California's recession-wracked economy, unrealistic budgeting assumptions, spending cuts tied up in the courts and disappearing federal stimulus funds.
"Economic recovery will not take away the very severe budget problems for this year, next year and the year after," said Steve Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.
In fact, after two years of precipitous revenue declines, the new report projects relatively stable tax collections for the state, said those who were briefed. But that won't stop the deficit from climbing to nearly $21 billion.
And it gets worse from there.
Dan Weintraub spoke ominously in our podcast about the coming budget reckoning in the Golden State. Truth is, there must be more cuts. But there might be tax increases on top of cuts. In a over-regulated state such as California, with one of the highest unemployment rates and worst business climates in the nation, tax hikes would be another body blow to a battered economy. It's well past time that the state government scaled back its ambitions.
But about that, more anon.
I guess we're supposed to conclude that President Obama's bow to Japan's emperor was no big deal. I conclude that good, old-fashioned American anti-monarchical republicanism went by the boards a long time ago. Pity.
UC Berkeley economist and former Clinton Treasury Department official Brad DeLong suggests that the economy could get a lot more depressing before Happy Days Are Here Again:
For 2 1/4 years now I have been saying that there is no chance of a repeat of the Great Depression or anything like it--that we know what to do and how to do it and will do it if things turn south.
I don't think I can say that anymore. In my estimation the chances of another big downward shock to the U.S. economy--a shock that would carry us from the 1/3-of-a-Great-Depression we have now to 2/3 or more--are about 5%. And it now looks very much as if if such a shock hits the U.S. government will be unable to do a d----- thing about it. (Bowdlerization in the original.)
Click "read more" below for the rest of this post.
Ben and Joel are joined this episode by Dan Weintraub, a newly independent journalist and columnist for the Bay Area edition of the New York Times. Weintraub, who's covered California politics for more than 20 years, is author of Party of One: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of the Independent Voter (Polipoint Press). And until about a month ago, Dan was a senior editor and columnist for the Sacramento Bee -- where he and Ben briefly (very briefly) crossed paths. He's currently working on a nonprofit health care policy news site, which is scheduled to launch in February 2010.
Among the questions we discuss:
• Is nonprofit journalism the future, or a future, of journalism?
• What can a nonprofit news site do that a traditional media organization cannot?
• What is the New York Times doing in the Bay Area?
• Is Arnold Schwarzenegger a failed governor?
• What's the deal with Jerry Brown?
• Is California governable?
• Does California need to be governed so much?
Music heard in this podcast:
• "Land of Soul" - Shawn Lee
• "We're Not Gonna Take It" - Twisted Sister
• "California Dreamin'" - The Bald Eagles
• "California Uber Alles" - Iquattrocentocolpi
• "California Here I Come" - Al Jolson
• "Chancer" - The Von Bondies
On Twitter, Dave Weigel says the L.A. Times' Andrew Malcolm "doesn't really know anything about Japan." I don't know about that, but it's fairly clear Dave Weigel doesn't really know anything about America.
Some pages of Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" leaked ahead of next week's publication date and pundits are in a frenzy. The excerpt deals with Palin's interview with Katie Couric and efforts by the McCain campaign to keep her out of the media spotlight. Of the critiques I've read so far, Ann Althouse is perhaps the most unsparing. A sample:
"I really didn’t have a say in which press I was going to talk to, but for some reason Nicolle seemed compelled to get me on the Katie bandwagon."
Why didn't you have a say? There's that "really" hedging: You didn't really have a say. You're pleading passivity and impotence but you want us to think you have what it takes to be President of the United States?
Bottom line: "If these 2 pages of 'Going Rogue' are any evidence, she is displaying her weaknesses all over again, and she is still too dumb to be President. And, most scarily, she doesn't know how dumb she still is."
Ouch. There is plenty more where that came from -- including some interesting reader comments. The book lands in stores on Tuesday.
Joel and I tackle the Fort Hood massacre in this week's Scripps-Howard column, specifically this notion that Major Nidal Hasan's killing-spree could inspire a backlash against Muslims in the military and in society. Joel thinks there might be something to it (so does Montel Williams, although I don't think Joel is worried about concentration camps). But I think it's all hooey. We need to confront facts, not phony fears.
Have you ordered your copy of Sarah Palin's memoir yet? I wasn't planning to, but with Amazon selling the $28 book for nine bucks plus shipping, I really couldn't pass it up. (By the way, how can HarperCollins possibly afford that deep of a discount?) In any case, I'm sure the book will provide fodder for the column, the podcast and, well, this here blog.
Time's Mark Halperin clues curious readers to what is and isn't in store for them. My favorite detail:
Once source who has seen “Going Rogue” says it does not include an index. That would give Palin a subtle revenge on the party's Washington establishment, whose members tend to flip to the back pages and scan for their own names. If they want to know what Sarah Palin has to say about them, they will have to buy the book—and read the whole thing.
I'm not head over heels for Palin, but I'm looking forward to reading the book, which is scheduled to land in stores -- and on my front porch -- on Tuesday.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Sean Hannity Uses Glenn Beck's Protest Footage|
I have an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee today about the mindless insipidity -- or is it the insipid mindlessness? -- of school zero-tolerance policies. It's sort of a saner, soberer, shorter version of the series of posts I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the Matthew Whalen case in upstate New York, with a California twist.
Coincidentally, the Lansingburgh, NY, Board of Education is scheduled to hand down its decision as early as today on whether to repeal Whalen's suspension and expunge his record. I hope the board does the right thing, for the reasons I lay out in the piece.
On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a fitting tribute...
I noticed over the weekend a couple of stories that made passing reference to the weapons U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan used in his rampage at Ft. Hood last week. This AP dispatch is characteristic:
The most powerful type of ammunition for the FN 5.7 gun is available only to law enforcement and military personnel. Gun control advocates call it a "cop killer" weapon because that ammo can pierce bulletproof vests, and its use by Mexican drug cartels worries police.
It is not clear what kind of ammunition was used in the Fort Hood attack.
Although I don't know much about the FN 5.7, I've read enough bad reporting about guns to know the AP correspondents come off as typical know-nothings who went the predictable alarmist route. I also noticed the subtle shift in terminology. Years ago, we heard about "cop killer bullets" -- ammo usually coated with teflon that could supposedly penetrate body armor. Now it isn't the bullet, but the weapon. Except it isn't. I thought to myself, Maybe there's a post in this...*
Turns out, there is a post. Bob Owens wrote it and posted it over at Pajamas Media. Owens points out:
It may seem counterintuitive to many, but the high velocities that enable the Five-seveN’s .22 bullet to drive through soft body armor are thought to be mostly wasted on unarmored targets.
The 5.7 is a relatively new cartridge with limited distribution and so actual “real world” ballistic performance is anecdotal at best, but high-velocity pistol bullets like the .38 Super noted earlier and the 7.62×25 Tokarev have been around almost 80 years. Their established track record is that of bullets with excellent penetration characteristics but with questionable stopping power. The 5.7 round uses a far lighter bullet at higher velocities and the high velocity gives the bullet the distinct possibility of fragmenting. But even then, a high-velocity bullet that only weighs 40 grains (as does the legal SS197SR bullet Hasan used) is at a distinct disadvantage when compared to other pistol cartridges. Instead of dumping the bullet’s energy into the body of the person shot, these high-velocity rounds typically stab a long narrow wound channel completely through a human-sized target, or they erupt into fragments that cause narrow wound channels.
Slower, heavier bullets such as those found in the .40 S&W and .45 ACP hollow point cartridges favored by American law enforcement dump most if not all of their energy in the human body. The difference between a wound from a 5.7 bullet and a .45 ACP is not dissimilar to the difference between the wound from an ice pick and the wound from a sledgehammer. The ice pick will penetrate far deeper, but the sledgehammer will cause far more traumatic injuries.
Most journalists wouldn't know any of that, and so their reporting reflects an ignorance underscored by the received wisdom of activist groups that peddle in nonsense like "cop killer guns" and "assault rifles that fit in your pocket."
Owens's kicker is spot-on: "The American media has a long and ignoble history of firearms ignorance often based upon the propaganda of anti-gun organizations. Finally, if but for once, that ignorance and fact-free hype may have served to actually save lives." Read the whole thing.
* An aside: A Google search led me to this post by "Orange County Conservative Examiner" Gregory Dail, whose hysterics make the Associated Press reporters sound like PR flacks for the NRA. Dail, like so many others, doesn't know what he's talking about and confuses means with ends.
(Hat tip: Instapundit)
The House of Representatives on Saturday night passed the Pelosi-Obama health care bill, 220-215. One Republican congressman, Anh Cao of Louisiana, voted for the bill. Thirty-nine Democrats voted against.
Cao explains himself at his Web site:
“Tonight, I voted to keep taxpayer dollars from funding abortion and to deliver access to affordable health care to the people of Louisiana.
Cao said: “I read the versions of the House [health reform] bill. I listened to the countless stories of Orleans and Jefferson Parish citizens whose health care costs are exploding – if they are able to obtain health care at all. Louisianans needs real options for primary care, for mental health care, and for expanded health care for seniors and children.
Cao said: “Today, I obtained a commitment from President Obama that he and I will work together to address the critical health care issues of Louisiana including the FMAP crisis and community disaster loan forgiveness, as well as issues related to Charity and Methodist Hospitals. And, I call on my constituents to support me as I work with him on these issues.
Cao said: “I have always said that I would put aside partisan wrangling to do the business of the people. My vote tonight was based on my priority of doing what is best for my constituents."
Apart from Cao, who probably shouldn't get too comfortable in Washington, nobody seems to be satisfied with the outcome. Here is my round-up of reaction from around the conservative and liberal blogospheres.
Click "Read more" below for more reaction from Saturday night and Sunday morning
So the House today debated an amendment (Update: The amendment passed) to Nancy Pelosi's abominable 2,000-page health care bill that would bar federal funding of elective abortions. Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak offered the amendment as a compromise to protect Blue Dog Democrats from the wrath of their constituents after they vote for this legislative nightmare.
Here is an interesting response on Twitter from a certain Duncan Black:
Stupak (n) - The sepsis commonly experienced after unsafe back alley abortions
A new word! How charming.
(Earlier, Black tweeted that Stupak is "ripe for santoruming, dan savage style." What does that mean, you ask? Click here for an explanation and here for a definition, but be advised that neither is the least bit polite. Oh, no, not polite at all.)
All of this just goes to show -- yet again! -- that Atrios was right.
You'll notice we haven't had much to say around here about Thursday's massacre at Fort Hood. We do not honor the dead by wildly speculating about the motives and the background of their killer, although the we're learning more by the hour. It's usually a good idea to assess the facts before venturing an opinion, especially about an event such as this one.
Citizen-war correspondent Michael Yon set just the right tone last night at the Corner:
First reports are notoriously wrong. The shooter already has been killed then resurrected by the media. Some media are in a frenzy and so the reports are particularly untrustworthy at this time. Now is not a time to psychoanalyze the attacker by using a media-supplied telescope that already said he was dead, and that there were multiple attackers. Media: STOP, please. There will be time to pursue answers and justice after Christmas. We must remember that family members lost loved ones just before the holidays. Justice and answers will come with time.
Most important is to remember that we have just lost a dozen people. Others are wounded. Children and other family members will need care and thoughtful attention.
And over at Right-Wing Nuthouse, Rick Moran helps clear the air a bit. Although I would take issue with a small part of it, this is a post I would have loved to write:
The rationalizations for Major Hasan’s rampage -- his motives, his state of mind, even the environment in which he carried out his horrific attack -- are being tossed about the blogosphere on both sides as if everything that can be known about the circumstances has already been revealed.
This must be the case because without any definitive word from authorities, from his friends and associates, or from Hasan himself, both lefty and righty blogs have already “solved” the mystery of motive and any argument to the contrary is “racist,” or “pro-jihad,” or “hate speech,” or “political correctness.” ...
News flash: Everyone can’t be right. In fact, it is likely everyone is wrong. Was it an example of Muslim extremist terrorism? Or a reaction to bullying and name calling by brother officers? Or the prospect of being deployed to Iraq? A combination? None of the above?
Moran goes on to criticize two bloggers in particular -- Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs and Digby of Hullaballoo -- for their over-the-top speculations. (Moran also throws elbows at Robert Stacy McCain, with whom he's been feuding lately, and Andrew Sullivan, who still attracts an audience for some reason.)
Moran sums up:
This is why the FBI has not ruled out terrorism but is refusing to call it that at the moment. Law enforcement has a little different standard than partisan bloggers; they feel the need to investigate carefully and make a judgment based on the facts and not wild, politically motivated speculation. This may inconvenience those who seek to score political points, or show off their anti-Muslim bona fides. But then, reality is always more boring than what bloggers can come up with to increase their audience, and garner links.
We'll know more in due course what drove Nidal Malik Hasan to murder 13 fellow soldiers and injure 28 others. These stories always turn out to be more complicated than they may appear at first. To reiterate what Michael Yon wrote: There will be plenty of time to assess causes and effects and to debate policies and responses. For now, Americans would simply do well to remember Hasan's victims and their families.
Jeffrey Jena at Big Hollywood explains what the 'V' controversy is -- and isn't -- all about:
As it happens, I’m acquainted with Scott Peters who developed and wrote the remake of “V” for ABC...
When I started reading some of the rumors and theories about Mr. Peters’ latest show and the behind-the-scenes politics, I laughed out loud. Let me try to shed some light on the “V” controversy.
The script was not written as a roman a clef or allegory for the Obama administration. The script was written by Mr. Peters during the Bush administration and started before Mr. Obama clinched the nomination. The author, Mr. Peters, is not some evil sleeper right-winger/Obama hater. Mr. Peters, besides being a talented writer and director is a gay man, legally married in California, and a liberal supporter of the President who worked for and donated money to the his campaign. If he’s a mole for some right-wing conspiracy he may be the most committed spy ever. Mr. Peters, who was born in Canada, recently became an American citizen; a process he tried to expedite so he could vote for Mr. Obama, a deadline he missed by two days.
A debate between former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush was canceled, according to the New York Post, after the event's promoter advertised it as "uncensored, unedited and unpredictable."
"This event ... was supposed to be a discussion between the two former presidents, and has been canceled because it was not being billed as such by an overeager promoter," said Matt McKenna, a spokesman for Clinton.
You know what's sad? I first heard about this twist in the story from Craig Ferguson's monologue.
Nicole Gelinas has an op-ed appearing on the Washington Examiner's site today about the global fallout of the 2008 financial collapse. (The piece is adapted from a longer article in the new issue of City Journal, but it isn't online yet.) I asked Gelinas about globalization in our podcast interview.
Here's an excerpt of the Examiner piece, which elaborates on some of what we discussed:
The best regulations would make each nation's financial system and economy more robust to inevitable financial industry failures. Such regulations include stronger, uniform borrowing limits for financial firms and markets, so that firms cannot make hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of promises with negligible cash down.
But global politics is obscuring this reality. The French and the Germans long ago determined that the financial crisis had sprung from "Anglo-Saxon" recklessness. "The U.S. will lose its status as the superpower of the world finance system," Germany's finance minister said in October 2008. French President Nicolas Sarkozy promised that la crise would bring an end to financial "laissez-faire." It seemed inevitable that the world would get much more regulatory "harmonization."
But there is no harmonious world, only a collection of competing nations. The biggest problem with the most sensible financial regulatory fixes (and this is true of the not-so-sensible ones, too) is that each hurts one nation more than it hurts others.
Read (and listen to!) the whole thing.
Ashbrook Center President Peter Schramm shares his trenchant analysis of today's elections in New York, New Jersey and Virginia at No Left Turns:
This New York Times article on Iowa and the "sense of disappointment" that has settled in regarding Obama may be more revealing of the true problem. The Dems will lose in Virginia and NY23, and if they can't get the vote out in NJ--where Corzine has attached himself to Obama rather explictly--then Corzine will lose and today's votes will have to be seen as a referendum on the Obama administration. This is why we don't study physics.
Well, that, and the fact that most political philosophy students are terrible mathematicians. But let that pass.
I haven't followed the New York congressional race as closely as some. Jonah Goldberg made what I took to be a sensible observation about the meaning of that race at the Corner earlier today:
NY-23 is definitely a historically Republican district, that doesn't mean it's a historically conservative one. More and more I hear analysts and pundits talk about what a conservative district it is (Bill Hemmer on Fox just said that it's been "conservative" for more than a century). It voted for Obama by a wide margin. The seat is empty precisely because Obama thought he could flip if he got the incumbent out. The point is important because a lot folks (though probably not Hemmer) want to write off the importance of a Hoffman victory by saying "Well, the district's always been conservative." No, it's always been Republican, but it threw aside the liberal Republican and supported (if he wins) the avowed conservative. That's significant.
If Hoffman wins, chalk one up for the Tea Party people. (You know, the sore losers.)
And that's what worries me. Maybe it's because I haven't followed NY-23 as attentively as I've been following other news from upstate New York, but I have some nagging doubts about Doug Hoffman. By now everyone knows what erstwhile Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava is and isn't. I'm less certain who Hoffman is and what he stands for. (This HuffPo piece -- I know, I know -- picking apart Hoffman's literature didn't help him in my estimation.)
Hoffman is not a professional politician, which has advantages and disadvantages. If he wins, I hope he has the principles to guide him through the maelstrom.
Update: At RealClearPolitics' Horse Race Blog, Jay Cost explains why the outcome of the NY-23 election means "Nothing, nothing, and nothing!" You will notice how he has little to say about Hoffman, except to note his good fortune to live in a particular part of New York and to have faced a terrible candidate in Dede Scozzafava.
Dan Weintraub, late of the Sacramento Bee, currently of the New York Times's Bay Area edition, wrote over the weekend about the emergence of Jerry Brown as the de facto Democratic nominee for California governor in 2010:
(W)ith Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco’s departure from the race Friday, the Democrats now have no major candidates officially in the running for the job in 2010.
But then that ignores Jerry Brown. And you never want to ignore Mr. Brown. Even if you tried, he would not let you.
Mr. Brown, California’s attorney general, has instantly moved from front-runner to presumptive nominee, presuming that he officially enters the race as expected.
Jerry Brown, 71, is now the Grand Old Man of California Democratic politics. He can be wily and he can be charming, often in the same conversation. (I have fond memories of interviewing him when he was running for attorney general in 2006.) No one dare challenge him. It's unlikely any Democrat will, though the progressive wing remains hopeful. Every so often the name "Dianne Feinstein" floats through the din. Feinstein, who owns a coveted lifetime membership in the United States Senate, is 76 and sits on many powerful committees. Despite her busy schedule and notwithstanding the daily rough and tumble of Beltway political life, Feinstein is unlikely to leave relative calm of the Senate for four years of guaranteed Hell in Sacramento.
Recently, two other names have emerged: Rep. Jane Harman, the Democratic congresswoman from L.A.'s South Bay area, and the current first lady, Maria Shriver. Harman is generally considered -- or tarred as -- a more moderate Democrat and therefore would have problems with liberal voters in the primary. Shriver is the glamorous wife of a wildly unpopular governor and a member of the Kennedy family. So her odds may not be quite as bad.
But much depends on -- what else? -- money.
Weintraub notes the main reason for Newsom's departure from the race: fundraising. A serious bid for governor in the Golden State now requires a minimum of $40 million. (It may be lower, but that's about what Schwarzenegger spent against Phil Angelides last time.)
"By many accounts, Mr. Newsom lacked the will to" raise that kind of money, Weintraub writes. "Mr. Brown is a different story. His deep and longstanding ties to the party’s interest groups, especially organized labor, allowed him to raise far more money than Mr. Newsom while hardly trying. Once a campaign finance reformer, Mr. Brown has morphed into a campaign finance machine."
Yes, remember when Brown ran for president in 1992? That was a glorious campaign. Progressives would nearly faint in his presence. (I know; I covered one of his campaign rallies in San Diego for the UCSD Guardian.) His gimmick that year (and it was a gimmick) was to limit his campaign contributions to no more than $100. Brown has mellowed in his dotage -- at least on that "iron-clad principle." With Newsom out, Brown is sitting pretty.
But what about the Republicans? Well, that's only just beginning to take shape. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is running lame, dishonest radio ads. Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner is likely to take flack from conservatives for his past support of liberal causes and candidates. He's also trailing in the polls. Tom Campbell is a cerebral moderate with a head for budget politics -- the one thing that matters in California right now. So he's clearly doomed.
And, in any event, if the election were held today, Brown would utterly crush every one of those Republicans.
Jerry Brown... governor... again? The mind boggles.
*My original headline was going to be "If it's Brown, flush it down," which was an anti-Brown bumper sticker slogan I remember from when I was a kid. Then I remembered I used that line in a post I wrote in March. Brown was governor during the last big state drought. One water-saving mantra for flushing toilets at the time was: "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down." Funny how history repeats. And by "funny," I mean, "Oh, dear God, please, make it stop!"