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Apparently those New Republic rumors are true, despite Marty
Peretz's seemingly flat denial. ...
When you remember the late George Harrison's achievements, don't
forget he was executive producer of
the hilarious 1987 film, Withnail and I ...
Hearty Hack Alert: "Houston, we have a problem here." -- Thomas Friedman, "Pay
Attention," NYT, Nov. 29, 2001 ... And at the end of the day, in
the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the bottom line is
it sucked all the oxygen out of the room! ... [But if we abandon our
cliches the terrorists will have won--ed.] ...
WaPo columnist E. J. Dionne -- like most of the non-self-destructive Washington left --
as a friend of the 1996 welfare reform who acknowledges "some of
the good things that have happened
since 1996" but just wants a few
little improvements to make reform work better. But here is what Dionne said
about the 1996 reform bill back when it was being debated in Congress and the White House:
About the only hopeful thing you can say about this welfare bill rushed into law in a spasm
of dishonest rhetoric is that it won't work. ... this horror of a bill ... The bill's premise is that
if we kick poor people and their kids around a little more, maybe they'll go to work. ... President Clinton should
stand up and stop the charade that is passing for welfare reform ... This awful welfare
bill ... This bill cuts money, doesn't help people to
work ... It's going to
I'm all in favor of liberals like Dionne adopting a more sensible
position on welfare. But is this a genuine shift or just a
tactical conversion designed to win them a place at the table when the
reform law is reauthorized next year?
Wouldn't it help reestablish their credibility
if they came out and admitted that, back in 1996 when it counted, they were
self-righteously, hyperbolically, reflexively wrong? ...
The Northern Alliance may very well abuse human rights, but
in the fortress prison at Mazar-e-Sharif the hated foreign
Taliban were allowed to surrender. They were not killed. The Red Cross
had arrived at the facility to verify that
they were treated humanely. Then the Taliban prisoners
jumped their Northern Alliance guards, killed them, and
started a firefight. If, after a three-day battle, the
Northern Alliance puts down the revolt, is
Amnesty International really justified in
calling for an urgent inquiry into
the "proportionality of the response" used by the Alliance and its American partners?
How many chances to surrender peacefully
were the Taliban supposed to get? Was this a sporting match in which
the sides were supposed to equalize their weaponry to assure
an excitingly close contest? (And
isn't a three-day battle close
enough?) ... The
NYT's Carlotta Gall reports, "None of the 150 bodies seen by journalists
showed signs of mutilation or single shots to the head." ... But there
were reportedly 400 Taliban in the fort when the revolt started. What
happened to the rest of them? (Did many
of them escape? Were their corpses less presentable?) ... Gall notices that
one of the Arab Taliban soldiers who was killed
"had a Dolce and Gabanna black fleece top." I'd try to crack
a joke about the product placement, but
it's actually pathetically sad. ...
If press favorite Joe Roth succeeds
in selling his movie
about the failed American raid
against Somali warlord Mohamed Aideed as a film
about "not America's darkest hour, but America's brightest hour" (Roth's words), it will open up
lucrative new possibilities for Hollywood's action-film makers. ...
"Bay of Pigs: America's Unknown Triumph" ... "Heroes of the
Mayaguez" ... "The Perfect Sandstorm:
Victory at Desert One" ...
Chester ("Checker") Finn makes the case against the seeming scam that is the proposed
Microsoft class action settlement. Why should a few plaintiff's
lawyers get big attorney's fees for
blackmailing Microsoft into a self-serving
do-gooder PR stunt -- donating
to "disadvantaged" school districts -- while the
consumers who were allegedly overcharged by the company get
nothing? ... Finn argues that the computers won't do much to help the
students in those schools anyway, and might hurt (if they let students
waste time). "Schools that succeed with
low-income pupils don't generally surround them with electronics." ...
We think this is a joke ...
The sharp purposed tap of new Chanel pumps
on pristine sidewalks rang out in a symphony of
solidarity. That inimitable sound, the sound of the Credit
Card Brigade marching to cash registers in defiance of the evil
forces sent a message as strong as any Presidential warning:
it said, Yes, Osama, there is a
Santa Claus--and he's coming for you.
... but it somehow doesn't seem entirely a joke. (It's "If We Don't Shop, the Terrorists Win!" on
fashionwiredaily. You have
to sign up for a one-day free subscription to read it. But I've given you the best part.) ...
Bash Ashcroft Day at WaPo: Jim
unconvincing front-pager interviews old FBI hands who snipe
at Attorney-General Ashcroft's strategy of disrupting terrorist plots by
detaining lots of suspects early on (rather than following them for years
to make sure all members of a cell are rounded up and convicted). McGee doesn't note the
internal bureaucratic reasons FBI veterans might have for objecting to
Ashcroft's changes (they would "dismantle the bureau," according
to one former official)--not to mention the individual egocentric reasons. ... Clearly
there's a tradeoff between waiting (and getting
everyone, with proof that will stand up at trial) and
acting quickly (which might stop an imminent
terrorist act). McGee doesn't even try to rebut the obvious point
that 9/11, and the subsequent U.S. military action against
Bin Laden, shifted the balance in favor of acting quickly, at least
in the short run. ... And while the pre-Ashcroft
system of patient, long-term surveillance put in place by William Webster
may have been a "model of counterterrorism" with many successes,
claims, it clearly wasn't quite successful enough, was it? ...
Air power not only won in Kosovo, but in the
as well -- Fareed Zakaria argues that the "information
revolution and precision munitions" have made
air power the "decisive weapon of war." Zakaria as
usual exhibits a satisfying scorn for the bit of
CW--in this case, the CW that "air power never works"--he's trying to displace. ... But he doesn't
go on to draw out the most significant implication of his argument, an implication
often noted by
my colleague Robert Wright -- because the
U.S. can often now exercise its military power without exposing itself
to the casualties of a ground war, other nations know
that this power is now much more likely to be used. ...
Hmmm. Under Time magazine's venerable criteria, an alert kausfiles reader notes,
Osama Bin Laden be "Man of the Year"? (The gimmick of MOY, of
course, is that it's supposed to go to the person who,
"for beter or worse, affected the way we live."
Hitler was a Man of the Year in 1938.) ... Something
tells me Time will
chicken out. ...
Friedman's Flabby Ecumenicism:
Here is NYT columnist Thomas Friedman on
how we should fight
Osama Bin Laden's religious totalitarianism:
Can Islam, Christianity and Judaism know that God speaks
Arabic on Fridays, Hebrew on Saturdays and Latin on Sundays, and
that he welcomes different human beings approaching him through
their own history, out of their language and cultural heritage?
Is that really it? Are we fighting for a sort of flabby,
all-validating ecumenicism? Is it really that or Bin Laden? Because if
it is, we're asking adherents of many of the world's religions to give up
quite a lot--in essence, we're asking
them to convert to a new religion with a "multilingual
view of God" (Friedman's words). Surely
we don't demand that much. It's perfectly possible to
believe that your religion is the one true faith, that God
doesn't speak another language, without believing that
your religion requires the destruction, suppression or forcible
conversion of those who believe in what by your lights is a falseness. This is
the vast, honorable
space between Bin Ladenism and ecumenicism that Friedman ignores.
All we need ask is that the planet's religions and religionists occupy this
space. They don't have to start talking like Pete Seeger or Rabbi Hartman. ...
Take it away, Leon Wieseltier! ... ["Syncretism" is
the word you're looking for--ed.]
That prison revolt by captured Taliban soldiers was not entirely a suicide mission: WaPo reports that
"an unspecified number of the Taliban's foreign fighters escaped during the outbreak of violence on
Rob Long is always funny and often has something to
say. This piece, on
Hollywood confronting intimations of its unimportance, isn't one
of his best but rings true. ...
Without much publicity, the heartless Republican administration in New York has
signed up 75,000 people for four-month emergency Medicaid in
Russakoff reports. The keys
appear to be a) a shortened
application form, down from 8 pages to one; and b) appealing to
short time horizons by offering benefits
immediately instead of after six weeks. Health care
already saying this approach should be applied
across the board. But before the instant-gratification application process is
pronounced a success, shouldn't we wait and see how many more of the
applications (which basically trust the applicant on the crucial
question of income) turn out to be fraudulent or false? ... On the other
hand, letting everyone file false Medicaid applications might be an
ingenious short-cut to universal health coverage! ...
In case you've clicked on kausfiles before Drudge,
Time.com battlefield report
from the site of the Taliban prisoner revolt is riveting and revealing. ...
Sentences we thought we'd never read in the Washington Post:
Nearly everyone agrees that, overall, poverty rates have declined over the past decade thanks to the once
healthy economy and to welfare reform.-- A.P. story by Genaro C.
ran on 11/24.
Note to Peter Milius: See that this doesn't happen again! ... [Actually the
sentence is inaccurate--not everyone agrees welfare reform actually reduced
poverty. Some would say it just didn't stop poverty from being
reduced by economic growth--ed. Which makes this an even more telling
indication of the new conventional wisdom. Inaccurate CW is the most meaningful CW!]
Brits better: The Times of London
manages to convey
the cynical complexity of the
situation in Kunduz, at the cost of some moral
drive. (It's all about the Toyotas!)
MSNBC's coverage seems dumbed-down and
simplistic in comparison, failing to even mention the rivalry
between the two Northern Alliance warlords who are besieging the
city. ... Clearly, there's a lot happening here
beneath the surface--the key issue being not who gets Kunduz but
what happens to the militant "foreign" Taliban fighters who had gathered
there. Did they use the protracted negotiations to sneak
out of the trap? If the Uzbek Northern Alliance troops are letting
the Uzbek Taliban escape, and the Pakistanis are
ferrying out Pakistani Taliban, and some of the other units
now besieging Kunduz might be sympathetic to other would-be
escapees because they were on the same side two weeks
ago, how many foreigners will be left to
"fight to the death" or be taken prisoner when the
Northern Alliance reaches the center of town? ...
"All the foreign fighters [non-Afghan Taliban trapped in Kunduz] seemed to be flush
servants and cooks to shop for
them at the market, the refugees recalled." Cash from whom? ...
From Pakistan? ...
Odd, seemingly clever but ultimately meaningless
Brit item of the week: This Economist correction. ...
Good Kunduz dispatch. ... Who
was on that mysterious plane? ... Is Mr.
Namangani gone? [No, he's dead--ed.]...
Remember the vague Sept 5. kausfiles report that the
big Florida media recount was beset by
severe methodological problems, with "various totals
not adding up"? Now it can be told --
I was referring to. ... Maybe the discordant ballot totals don't
make the recount an "inconclusive garbled mess," as I'd predicted -- the media count still shows
that a) it was really close; b) Gore's hope lay in
examining "overvotes," not the "undervotes" he
and the press fixated on; and c) Gore might have prevailed in a full
statewide recount. But the methodological glitches do make the
media count less conclusive than many of the participating press organizations have let on. Score
one for Jack Shafer. ...
Kausfiles is starting a collection to buy Aaron Sorkin drugs. According to
a recently-posted fashionwiredaily story [find it on the
table of contents, then sign up for a
free trial subscription to get it], the talk in Hollywood is about
"'how bad The West Wing has gotten this season" now that
the show's creator and writer is clean and sober. "Apparently, without the use of drugs, particularly
psychedelic mushrooms, Sorkin cannot sustain the convoluted plot points
and interwoven stories," says FWD. ... It's OK! It
happened to the Velvet Underground too! ... Kausfiles knows a nice little place, right near the Four Seasons,
with blacked out windows and everything. Sorkin will
feel right at home, and everyone else's Wednesday nights will be brighter. ...
Thomas listens to the LBJ tapes, says "George McGovern was right" about Vietnam, and
uses this to argue for respecting the patriotism of "antiwar activists." Not unmoving. ...
Julian "Screw-My-Party-For-TV" Epstein, erstwhile pundit and Condit apologist,
now a hack lobbyist and representative of everything that's wrong with
Washington culture, embarrasses himself and
courts ethical inquiries. ... Gee, do you think Epstein's
fellow lobbyists are gunning for him? Nah. ...
In-house promotion: Kausfiles' critique of Charles Murray's recent gloomy op-ed on the
family has been gratuitously elevated to full "item" status (here).
They're suppressing the bad news, I tell you: Why isn't anybody paying attention to those
nasty, graceless things N.Y. mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg said
about Rudy Giuliani to Maureen Dowd?
Without Giuliani's endorsement Bloomberg wouldn't be mayor-elect, but he offered these
words to Dowd about his benefactor's popularity:
What you are talking about is a phenomenon that took place in four weeks. Before
that, there was his divorce and girlfriends in the paper
all the time and no matter what he did the press went down his throat. Look at the exit polls --
'Would you vote for Rudy if he was running?' He got 40 percent..
Classy! ... But Tim Russert, who usually brings up juicy embarrassing quotes, interviewed
Bloomberg on Meet the Press and didn't mention the Dowd column. More evidence that Russert increasingly
sees himself as a sort of Voice of the Nation. (In this case, the Nation
didn't want any nastiness about
New York or any tarnishing of Giuliani). ...
The Orlando Sentinel has done it again.
In their media recount story, David Damron and Roger Roy
had the wit to call up Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis, who was supervising the
actual recount of Florida votes on Saturday, November 9, when it was stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court. Lewis told the
Sentinel that "he would not have ignored the overvote ballots."
"Though he stopped short of saying he definitely would have expanded
the recount to include overvotes, Lewis emphasized 'I'd be open to that.'"
"If that had happened, it would have amounted to a statewide hand recount. And it could have given the
election to Gore," the Sentinel notes -- since salvaging valid overvotes turns out to
have been "Gore's only path to victory." ... In other words, the entire premise of
the Bush-ratifying spin given the media recount by the
NYT and numerous other press organs -- that (as the Times's lede puts it) "George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the
Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward" -- is bogus. If the
recount had gone forward Judge Lewis might well have
counted the overvotes (at the Bush camp's urging!) in which case Gore might well have won in spite of his misguided
undervote-centered strategy. ... Another Sentinel story does describe what
a mess the recount would still have probably been,
mainly because Gore's strategy had caused the county vote-counters to bump up against a December 12
deadline. ... I say the Sentinel gets the Pulitzer, if anyone does. Remember that they
discovered the whole "overvote" story in the first place. ...
Yes, the overvotes
were the key, according the big media consortium recount -- as reported
by Josh Marshall and
predicted ten months ago
in this eerily prescient
kausfiles item. ... WaPo's account is far clearer than the
NYT's near-incomprehensible summary, which
also contains the following bizarre sentence:
There was no set of circumstances in the fevered days after the election that would have produced a hand recount of
all 175,000 overvotes and undervotes.
Huh? If Gore had asked for a hand recount
in all 67 counties immediately after the election, as some of his aides
urged him to do, might not that have produced a hand
recount of all the overvotes and undervotes? The NYT seems to have accomplished the rare feat of
buying into both the Bush and the Gore spin here.
The Bush camp wants to show that no conceivable procedure would have
produced a Gore victory. The Gore camp wants to
show that it didn't screw up. So everybody's happy with this sentence! The
only problem is it isn't true. ... WaPo's Keating and Balz don't make this mistake. ... Have I mentioned
that I predicted all this?...
Marshall has a bit more Florida scoop. Forecast is for massive
self-exculpatory Gore team spin (if the recount shows
they would have won if they'd only asked to count the right ballots).
Protect yourself and
your loved ones. ...
Doh! But I said not to count the overvotes! Josh Marshall has some
Florida recount scoop, suggesting that the impending media consortium tally will find that "[i]f you
count overvotes, Gore would have won big." ...
But it matters
what kind of overvotes (which -- remember! -- are double-voted ballots).
Are they salvageable overvotes -- ballots
that a fair recount would have tallied for Gore? (This category
includes ballots on which voters
put a mark next to Gore's name and also a mark next to
a "write-in" line on which they also wrote Gore's name.) Or
overvoted ballots that were probably for Gore but where
that intent is fatally muddled (for example, the
ballots in Duval County on which voters -- admonished to
"vote on every page" -- picked
Gore and also some minor party presidential candidate)? ...
Spinoculation! If the overvotes really were salvageable,
and would have put Gore over the top, it will be worth remembering that Gore
specifically and (in retrospect) idiotically asked the courts to not count those votes. The exact immortal words of
Gore's lead attorney, David Boies, to the U.S. Supreme Court were:
"There's nothing in the record that suggests there are
Brush up on your Florida: If you'd in fact forgotten
what an overvote is, and can no longer even recite the list of optically-scanned Florida counties, the following eerily prescient overvote-centric
kausfiles items may help bring you
up to speed in time for the consortium count. There's this
item on the Orlando Sentinel's discovery of a cache of salvageable overvotes in a small pro-Bush county, and
this item on the
overvotes in other, similar
counties. This item berates the Miami Herald for ignoring overvotes, while
this assessement of the Washington Post's
soporific Florida recount series suggests that
Gore adviser Ron Klain, sure to figure prominently and
self-servingly in the post-consortium spin (he's the guy reporters will call) actually blundered
badly in Florida by pushing his remedyless "butterfly
ballot" lawsuit rather than a full statewide recount. ...
Gen. Myers and the Somalia Syndrome:
Slate's Scott Shuger notes that in
Seymour Hersh's New Yorker piece
criticizing the recent commando raid on a Taliban air base, Hersh
writes as if 9/11 hadn't raised Americans' tolerance for
casualties -- as if the raid was some sort
of disaster because 12 Delta Force commandos
were wounded. ... Shuger doesn't note that Joint Chiefs chairman Gen.
Richard Myers implicitly validated the same casualty-averse
standard when he insisted, on Meet the Press,
that none of the commandos was seriously injured, "certainly none of them injured
by the Taliban." Wasn't Myers, in the post-9/11 spirit, supposed
to point out that, even if no U.S. soldiers were seriously injured or killed on
this raid, soldiers would undoubtedly be killed on other raids --
that such raids are inherently dangerous, that if
soldiers are killed it doesn't mean an
operation was a failure, and that some
operations will fail, etc.? Why did Myers seem to
endorse the public's expectation of frictionless success, and
the idea -- a.k.a. the Somalia Syndrome -- that it would
be a scandal if there are casualties?
Is Fernando Ferrer the biggest sore loser in recent American political history?
Ferrer, who lost to Mark Green in the Democratic primary for N.Y. mayor, seems happy that
his party's candidate then lost the mayoralty. "What do
I feel remorse about? The fact that there was a scurrilous campaign against
me in the runoff?" Ferrer said yesterday.
Even John McCain managed to suck it up and give the man who beat him in the primaries more support
than that. And what Bush did to McCain in South Carolina was
considerably nastier than what Mark Green did to poor Freddy Ferrer -- which was basically
to attack Ferrer for
his alliance with Rev. Al Sharpton, the city's leading race hustler. Ferrer
especially objected to a Green ad
that questioned Ferrer's competency and asked "Can we afford to take a
chance?" Why was that racist or "scurrilous"? When you embrace a man like
Sharpton you're going to be criticized for embracing a man like
Sharpton. ... Isn't the hair trigger, sour grapes, destructive self-pity of
pols like Ferrer and his ally, Roberto Ramirez, almost a parody, in miniature, of the
hypertrophied grievance-nurturing that lies at the heart of identity politics? ...
P.S.: Adam Nagourney pretty much
demolished Ferrer's beefs weeks ago in a 10/16 NYT piece
cost you $2.50. (It's worth at least $2.35.) ... P.P.S.: Why is DNC
Chairman Terry McAuliffe showily denouncing
Bloomberg's turncoat consultants but not Ferrer and Ramirez, who
did at least as much to sink their party? ...
Was it apathy among New York's minority voters that killed Mark Green -- or did the Bronx Democratic
Roberto Ramirez actively stab Green in the back? And what will Ramirez (and his union allies)
get from new mayor Michael Bloomberg in return? That's the issue raised by
Fred Siegel's WSJ op-ed [which
seems to require a subscription]. ... Life Isn't a Movie Dept.: Miramax's
Harvey Weinstein couldn't bring Green and Ramirez together. See this
NYDN story on the
Karl Rove convenes
Hills loya jirga. All the tribal chieftains will be there. ... [And the point
is ..?-ed. The point is I wanted to
use that joke before everyone else did.]
Gigot Goes Goo-Goo. Good! I've always instinctively assumed that people who make a fuss about
"gerrymandering" are antiseptic goo-goos trying vainly to take the politics out of politics. In a
fight between democratically-chosen pols and righteous
non-partisans, who can root for the latter? A seemingly
Wall Street Journal editorial [subscription required!] makes
the convincing case that this assumption
needs rethinking. Gerrymandering has produced a House of Representatives in which "perhaps only 30 of 435 seats ...
will even be competitive next year." The Senate, bizarrely, has "become more open to popular opinion, despite six-year terms, because no one
has yet figured out how to gerrymander an entire state." .. The proliferation of "safe" House
seats makes democracy seem like a
rigged game, stifles political discussion, promotes apathy, cynicism, and tooth decay, etc. Meanwhile,
various nonpartisan boundary-drawing commissions have worked out pretty well. ... Goo! ...
The Journal's case is all the more persuasive because it's an argument against interest --
Republicans have fiddled the most blatantly with district lines
recently, and they'd lose the most
under a more reasonable and responsive system. ... Ending gerrymandering may be
as important, in terms of
promoting democracy at home, as campaign finance reform. ... Finally, is it just me, or do the
WSJ editorials seem calmer and more convincing since Paul Gigot took
over the page? (Mark Shields was right! He really isn't a hater!) ... Or is it that the Journal's editors have become more compassionate now that they
have to work in South
Brunswick, New Jersey instead of Manhattan? ...
"This is definitely the most elegant brand I've ever had to work
She didn't actually say that? She did!
-- Charlotte Beers, former ad
executive hired as the new Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy to help the
United States communicate its message to the Muslim world.
Dick Morris, who's often convincing even when he turns out to
be completely wrong, draws a typically simple, sweeping, and
lesson about New York politics from yesterday's mayoral election -- and it has
nothing to do with 9/11. Morris'
"In the future, the Democratic
Party will only be
able to win when it nominates minority candidates." Why?
White candidates alienate blacks and Hispanics in the
primary (in the process of beating
the minority candidate) and then
can't turn them out in the general.
That seems to have
been Mark Green's problem. How does Andrew Cuomo solve it?
By appealing to minority voters with Kennedys. Many, many
Kennedys, starting with his wife. ...
Republicans aren't the only ones using the cover of
9/11 to try to pass long-standing pet initiatives that have
little or nothing to do with the terrorist attack. Senate
Democrats yesterday tried to use a "heroes" argument to guarantee collective bargaining
rights to firefighters and police. They got 54 of the necessary 60 votes in the Senate. (Currently, it's up to the states whether these
government workers can unionize.) ... [You mean you don't think police
and firefighters should have a right to unionize?-ed. Not
necessarily. (a) When steelworkers strike you can argue it's an
"economic contest" with management. When public employees
(especially cops and firefighters) strike it's close to
blackmail. The Democrats' proposal acknowledged the difference by nominally banning
"strikes" and "sickouts," but how do you stop the "blue flu"? Even massed FBI agents marching
silently around the White House can be intimidating, as Bill Clinton discovered when he
considered pardoning a convicted agent-killer. (b) The demands of private-sector unionists
are tempered by the market -- if they ask too much,
their employers will go broke. This disciplining mechanism doesn't
apply to governments. And (c) giving workers a "voice"
over private employers is a lot more appealing than
giving them a voice over the voters, who are supposed to be able to decide what their
Kausfiles has received the following off-the-cuff e-mail
from a learned New York neoliberal:
[T]he city's fate is now in the hands of who turns out. As for
myself, in a race with Bloomberg, a man who is tempermentally and
experientially unfit to be mayor, I'll vote for Mark Green, a guy I can't
I've actually always had a soft spot for Mark Green -- he's a
liberal, but a liberal
who knows what can go wrong with liberalism. He's smart.
He's no favorite of the municipal unions. He's someone who at least reads
The New Republic along with The Nation. I'd take a chance on him, if I still
lived and voted in N.Y. ...
Isn't it pretty clear that Rudy Giuliani should have the Homeland Defense director's job now being occupied by
former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge? In the past two months, nobody's been better than Giuliani
at telling the public what it needs to know without causing panic. Plus
Giuliani has a prosecutorial background. How come he didn't get the call?
He has a couple of months to
go as New York's mayor, for one thing. But I doubt he'd have been given the
job even if his term had expired
last week. Why? Because the Homeland Defense director, if he or
she performs well, can expect to gain tremendous, almost-daily national media
exposure and become an instant political contender, what with
all the filial bonding that happens between citizens and leaders in
times of crisis. (Hard-bitten New Yorkers have, without embarrassment, described
their feelings toward Giuliani after 9/11 as feelings of love.) ...
That makes Homeland Defense a highly dangerous job for Bush to fill -- whomever
he names might be
someone the public falls in love with in a way it doesn't fall in
love with, say, the Secretary of Commerce, or even the Secretary of State. In essence, Bush is creating a
potential rival. Which means that in this job absolute loyalty to Bush is required, even more so than
in other important administration jobs (where absolute loyalty to Bush is also required). Ridge,
as a longtime Bush friend, can be counted on not to use any newfound national prominence in
ways the White House doesn't approve of. Giuliani might pledge
not to undermine Bush, but that's not enough, especially because Giuliani would do the
job well. Bush,
who despite his effective post-911 performance has a relatively shaky hold
on the national father-figure role,
needs certainty. ...
Josh Marshall may be
onto something with his theory that there are more anthrax spores around than
we think, but that people with "younger and better immune systems"
have been able to fight it off. The evidence:
All of those with inhalation anthrax, with one exception, were over 50, with
an average age of about 58. ... Meanwhile, all those who got mere
skin anthrax, with one exception, were under 50. The
average age was under 38 (that's not counting the 1-year-old baby). ...
Deadly Alliance Book Forum at Cato
(heading of email we received yesterday)
Thanks for warning us! ...
Could Calif. Gov. Gray Davis be grandstanding when
he goes on TV to announce a
threat to California bridges? ... Lucky he's not the type who'd do that! ...
Old CW on Rumsfeld: Dangerous near-lunatic. New CW on
Rumsfeld: Straight-shooter. ... So why is
strategy op-ed incomprehensible? Couldn't he come up with one concrete example of the old things he wants to
get rid of or the new things he wants to spend the money on? "[O]ver time, we will divest
ourselves of legacy forces." Are those aircraft carriers he's talking about? ... "We must shift
our defense planning from the 'threat-based' model that has dominated thinking
in the past to a 'capabilities-based' model for the future." Oh, my goodness. If you
put it that way. ...
Jay Zilber's blog actually defends
one of kausfiles' less eerily prescient items. ... That sort of mistake
won't happen again, now that we have switched to a "capabilities-based" model! ...
Those October archives in full.
October 2001 archive
September 2001 archive
August 2001 archive
July 2001 archive
June 2001 archive