Public Nuisance

Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Friday, April 25, 2003
The Dogs of War

A long post at Oxblog makes the long-since cliched argument that the NY Times displays liberal bias. The offending article is here; the offense committed seems to be that it actually refers, repeatedly, to Iraqis being killed. The level of bias displayed by this article is truly appalling - why, this far left propaganda actually claims that people get killed in wars. It even makes the outrageous assertion that some of those killed are noncombatants.

I mentioned in an e-mail discussion with blogger Al Barger that images of a basic reality of war, killed and maimed humans, were almost totally absent from war coverage in the US media. The coverage was deliberately antiseptic, and it matched the language that was being used to describe it. With all those 'surgical strikes', surely the main result of the war was healing injured Iraqis.

The Times has been guilty of violating that informal embargo on suggesting that the war was in reality violent. That is enough for Mr Adesnik to find a pervasive "anti-military prejudice". He doesn't actually question the accuracy of the article, but the fact that the Times is telling the truth when other publications have the good taste not to mention it is apparently adequate proof of their bias.

On the plus side, without reading Oxblog I would never have known that those persons rumored to have done the nasty with the late Princess Di were guilty of treason under British law.

Dixie Cheesecake

Let's just hope this doesn't give Michael Moore any ideas.

Thursday, April 17, 2003
From Progressive Review, an astonishing story of how officials in Russia apparently set up a special blog to aid Iraqi forces in the war.
Grand Old Party Animal of the Day

From Tapped:

60 percent of Coloradans oppose school vouchers, according to a February poll -- following up on the defeat of a voucher plan in a statewide vote in 1992, where proponents lost 66 to 34. Yet according to The Associated Press, last Friday a state Senate committee accepted a $78,300 check from the pro-voucher Colorado Alliance for Reform in Education -- and promptly approved a public-school voucher program the group supports.

When asked for a comment, state Sen. Ron Teck (R-Grand Junction) said, ''If everyone would show up with a check, that would make this job so much easier."

Syrial Invader

The talk of scheduling Damascus as the next stop on the 2003 War Against WMD World Tour has died down for the moment. But it remains unclear whether it is a temporary lull. Remember, the administation prefers not to launch new product until after Labor Day, so we won't know for some time whether this is a real threat or just attempts to keep Bashar Assad in line.

It is quite possible that the recent talk has been intended merely as a warning. The US will have a large number of troops in Iraq for al least the remainder of this year, probably longer, who will be vulnerable to potential terrorist attacks. Syria undoubtedly is a host and sponsor to several terrorist groups. These groups are focused on attacking Israel and rarely go after US targets - Syria is generally believed to have assisted US intelligence in pursuing al Qaeda. A warning to Syria - and to Iran, which is probably the world's major terror-sponsoring government - would be a sensible action. Unfortunately, giving an action of this administration the most positive reading is usually wrong.

Michael Ledeen thinks that Syria is committed to a new terror campaign to be modeled on the successful campaign it played a large role in that drove the US under Reagan out of Lebanon. If Ledeen is right, a war against Syria seems highly probable. The question is whether Bashar Assas is as foolish as Ledeen thinks he is. In general, the Assad dynasty had been pragmatic in its anti-American stances - tweaking the US, but avoiding irreperable breaks.

Friday, April 11, 2003
The current looting that seems to be going on throughout Iraq is the first example of the problems that will come about in rebuilding the country. There have been claims that Allied troops should do more to block the looting, but there really aren't enough troops to cover the whole country, and, even if there were, most don't speak Arabic and aren't trained for law enforcement functions. So really, there isn't much that can be done except to have soldiers travelling around the cities shooting those Iraqis who appear to be looting, and shooting Iraqi civilians who aren't attacking us is one of the things that the Army is trying to avoid.
Thursday, April 10, 2003
Of All the Space Bars in All the Worlds...

J. Lo and Ben Affleck have already made two movies together - unreleased so far, but rumored to be stinkers. So naturally, they've decided to remake a classic. There's no way this is going to measure up to the definitive version - but then, the definitive version, starring Peter Beardsley and Mira Binglebat, hasn't yet been made.
Get Used To It

Calpundit has been posting about Thomas McLaughlin, a High Scholl student in Little Rock who was harassed by teachers after coming out. I'm all for shining a light on bastards who harass gay kids, but the more significant part of a story like this is that it shows the the culture wars are rather like the war in Iraq: there are still shots being fired, and there will likely be more casualties, but this war is over, whether the losing side has noticed it or not.

I went to High School in the 1970s in what must have been one of the most socially liberal schools in the country. Many of my school's white students were bussed in from a tiny town called Kensington, which is famous, to the slight degree that it is famous at all, mostly for the writing of amateur, soft core erotica. Kensington borders on Berkeley, and many of my classmates, like myself, had parents who were faculty or administration at UCB.

In this ultra-liberal environment, my school didn't have a single out gay student, out of more than 1,000. Even in the Bay Area, it was all but unthinkable for a High School student of that era to come out. Today they're coming out in Arkansas and Georgia. That's game over.

It's the business community that largely determined this. Businesses have made the entirely sensible decision that personnel actions should be based on abilities, and who employees sleep with with isn't their concern. The business of America is still, indeed more than ever, business, and when the business community reached that informal consensus this fight was over. The Christian Right, for all its vaunted power in the Republican Party, wins only minor symbolic victories when it gets no support from the corporate lobby. So they get to keep open gays out of the Armed Forces, even though gays are quietly serving, often with the knowledge of their commanders. And they get to keep laws on the books in many states that bar homosexual sex, even though no jurisdiction in the nation is actively enforcing such laws. With such concessions they can imagine that the cause is still alive, the war is still being fought. But it is over.

Yesterday's apparent liberation of Baghdad was a positive landmark in the war, and came as a far lower cost than I, and most others, were anticipating only about a week ago. But we should also take note that yesterday was also a less positive landmark in the war: American fatalities moved past 100. Kynn has a good montage of memorial services for casualties in various places.
Saturday, April 05, 2003
The death of Michael Kelly has caused a small number of extemists on the left to engage in open and obnoxious celebration. And, predictably, the right is trying to paint this as mainstream. John Hawkins has quoted several such posters at Democratic Underground at length. He hasn't quoted, or even mentioned the existence of messages such as these, which are more numerous even on DU, which is a pretty hardcore partisan site:

Party_line:How surreal to be criticized for not delighting in the death of another. It's such a simple thing not to become as vicious as those who love war.

And this is good: "sentimentalism for sychophants", but if it is an emotion imparted to me, it is inaccurate.

Jack Rabbit:Mr. Kelly had as much right to be wrong as anyone else. He was wrong often. However, in a democratic society, there needs to be a full discussion of public affairs. He was entitled to his views and to express them.

In democracy, there is no best or least of us. There's just us. One of us is gone and shall be missed.

birdman: That attitude is appalling. The war is wrong because
NOBODY should have been killed over this. Not a Bush
ass-kisser like Kelly or the most gung-ho marine or even
members of Husseins Republican Guard much less the poor innocents
who've suffered.

If we applaud the deaths of people like Kelly it makes
us no better than Bush or Hussein.

Condolences to Kelly's family.

Northwind: I do not give a damn about someone's political idealogy when they die needlessly. Every human being that dies should be mourned.

Glenn has linked to Hawkins as well as the reliably asinine indy News, which headlined an article, "WP Nazi columnist bites the Iraqi dust". This will doubtless disturb those who regard Indymedia, which has previously published writings on Israel by prominent Middle East expert and liberal activist David Duke (link from Amygdala) as a prestigious part of the moderate left, perhaps confusing it with the Brookings Institute.

Mr Kelly's death is certainly a tragedy for his family. He was, according to many who knew him, an admirable individual. He had an excellent reputation as a war correspondent, probably deserved - these recent columns from Iraq are impressive. He was also a successful editor.

Regrettably, he was perhaps best known for his opinion columns. His death is insufficient reason to deny the truth about his columns - they were vicious, vile, and dishonest. A particularly nasty example was the occasion for Mr Kelly's only prior appearance in this blog.

Friday, April 04, 2003
Some think that Prince George is really Winston Churchill, others that he is really Adolph Hitler. Dwight at PLA has his own suggestion. (Links are screwy - look under April 3.)
Thursday, April 03, 2003
Congratulations go out to Matthew Yglesias, who has been hired by TAP for a writing fellowship. This is actually a bit of a landmark: since Matt's popular blog was presumably a major factor in his hiring, it marks one of the first instances of a blogger graduating to pro (or at least semi-pro) status.
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
The Following quote, which seems particularly striking in the current situation, I encountered in Mead's Special Providence:

"France does not know it, but we are at war with America. Yes, a permanent war, a vital war, a war without death. Yes, they are very hard, the Americans, they are voracious, they want undivided power over the world."
- Francois Mitterand