mickey's assignment desk



Hit Parade Archive
November, 2001

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Apparently those New Republic rumors are true, despite Marty Peretz's seemingly flat denial. ... (11/30)

When you remember the late George Harrison's achievements, don't forget he was executive producer of the hilarious 1987 film, Withnail and I ... (11/30)

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.] ... (11/30)

WaPo columnist E. J. Dionne -- like most of the non-self-destructive Washington left -- now poses 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 collapse ...
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? ... (11/30)

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. ... (11/29)

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" ... (11/29)

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 reconditioned computers 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." ... (11/29)

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.) ... (11/29)

Bash Ashcroft Day at WaPo: Jim McGee's extremely 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, as McGee claims, it clearly wasn't quite successful enough, was it? ... (11/28)

Target destroyed: Air power not only won in Kosovo, but in the Gulf War 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. ... (11/28)

Hmmm. Under Time magazine's venerable criteria, an alert kausfiles reader notes, shouldn't 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. ... (11/27)

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.] (11/27)

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 Sunday." ... (11/27)

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. ... (11/26)

Without much publicity, the heartless Republican administration in New York has signed up 75,000 people for four-month emergency Medicaid in six weeks, WaPo's Dale 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 "advocates" are 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! ... (11/26)

In case you've clicked on kausfiles before Drudge, this battlefield report from the site of the Taliban prisoner revolt is riveting and revealing. ... (11/25)

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. Armas WaPo 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!] (11/23)

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? ... (11/22)

"All the foreign fighters [non-Afghan Taliban trapped in Kunduz] seemed to be flush with cash, dispatching servants and cooks to shop for them at the market, the refugees recalled." Cash from whom? ... From Pakistan? ... (11/22)

Odd, seemingly clever but ultimately meaningless Brit item of the week: This Economist correction. ... (11/21)

Good Kunduz dispatch. ... Who was on that mysterious plane? ... Is Mr. Namangani gone? [No, he's dead--ed.]... (11/19)

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 -- this is what 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. ... (11/19)

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. ... (11/16)

He's back! (11/15)

Conservative columnist Cal 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. ... (11/15)

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. ... (11/15)

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). (11/14)

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). ... (11/14)

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. ... (11/12)

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?... (11/12)

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. ... (11/10)

Doh! But I said not to count the overvotes! Josh Marshall has some incomplete-yet-intriguing 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 are they 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 such votes."
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. ... (11/9)

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? (11/9)

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 that will 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? ... (11/8)

Was it apathy among New York's minority voters that killed Mark Green -- or did the Bronx Democratic machine of 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 intrigue. ... (11/8)

Karl Rove convenes a Beverly 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.] (11/8)

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 important 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? ... (11/8)

"This is definitely the most elegant brand I've ever had to work with."

-- 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.
She didn't actually say that? She did! (11/8)

Dick Morris, who's often convincing even when he turns out to be completely wrong, draws a typically simple, sweeping, and initially persuasive lesson about New York politics from yesterday's mayoral election -- and it has nothing to do with 9/11. Morris' conclusion:

"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. ... (11/7)

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 government does.] (11/7)

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 stand.
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. ... (11/6)

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. ... (11/5)

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). ... (11/2)

Deadly Alliance Book Forum at Cato
(heading of email we received yesterday)

Thanks for warning us! ... (11/2)

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! ... (11/1)

Old CW on Rumsfeld: Dangerous near-lunatic. New CW on Rumsfeld: Straight-shooter. ... So why is his defense 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. ... (11/1)

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! ... (11/1)

Those October archives in full. (11/1)

October 2001 archive

September 2001 archive

August 2001 archive

July 2001 archive

June 2001 archive

McCain-Feingold archive

Archives for November, 2001
War and overvotes.
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Update: Hot Recount Docs! Written evidence that Gore might have won -- and that the NYT blew it.

Almost Everything the NYT Thinks About the Florida Recount is Wrong! Turns out the Justices did cast the deciding vote.

Media Recount Alert: Did Gore Blow It? Introducing kausfiles' SpinoculatorTM service.

Four Easy 9/11 Pieces Mickey's Assignment Desk Strikes Back!

Drudge Report
80% true. Close enough!
Main home page.
Not always awful.
New Republic
Gore, now and forever!
What's left.
N.Y. Observer
That orange thing.
Page Six
Too good to check?
Goldberg File
Indulgent, but viciously funny.
John Leo
One anti-PC bullet a week.
Virginia Postrel
Friend of the future!
It's still there!
Fab bigthink on man's destiny.
Shake that ketchup bottle!
Daily horror stories.
John Podhoretz
He's one smart Pod.
Washington Monthly
Includes "Tilting at Windmills"
Jim Pinkerton
Quantity ideas = quality ideas.
Andrew Sullivan
He asks; he tells!
Dick Morris
Best thumbsucking toesucker.
Weekly Standard
See them snipe at Bush.
The Occasional
Bright young 'wingers.
Josh Marshall
Escapee from Am. Prospect.
Center on Budget & P.P.
Money Liberal Central
Rich Galen
Sophisticated GOP insider.
Ann Coulter
Leggy legal antiliberalism.
Steve Chapman
Ornery but lovable libertarian.
He still ain't got no transcripts.
Walter Shapiro
Politics and ... neoliberal humor!
Gone left, but good.
Lloyd Grove
Don't let him write about you.
Jeannette Walls
Her free newsletter's fun too.
John Tierney
NYT's non-lib metro columnist.
Harry Shearer
America's funniest man?
N.Y. Press
Good dirty Bushie tab.
NYT-Bashing Central.
Stirs the drink.
Bull Moose
National Greatness Central.

Copyright 2001 Mickey Kaus.