Saturday, August 25, 2007

Kennedy '80!

From an undisclosed location in upstate New York, I came across this classic:

We were at an inn that at one time passed itself off as a Catskill's resort. This was in the "barn" which was a long abandoned bar (one whole side was missing, I don't know if that was on purpose or just poor maintenance). Also, there was this:

I had completely forgotten about him. How many states would he have lost to Reagan?

Friday, August 24, 2007

L'Affaire Beauchamp

I'm late to the party on this, too, but here goes.

Let me get this straight
  • The New Republic: Maybe when Michael Kinsley edited it, you could call it liberal, but that was a while ago. After Michael Kelly and Andrew Sullivan (who pushed The Bell Curve in its pages), not so much. Add in the publisher and new owners absolute backing of the Iraq war even less so. It's certainly independent, it's no administration apologist like so magazines I could name (see below).
  • The Beachamp articles: He wrote two articles that no one seemed to notice. Then he writes one about young men acting like assholes and the whole right side of the blogosphere goes nuts.
  • Whether or not some young men act like assholes has nothing to do with whether the Iraq war was a good idea. Or whether we are actually succeeded (whatever that means) in the war. Or whether Americans are committing war crimes (nothing in the article could be considered a war crime.)
  • The New Republic's sad history of getting snookered: You'd think if you got snowed as badly as they did over the Stephen Glass affair, they'd be careful. TNR's first response was that they did fact check the article. Then they went back and fact checked again and found one discrepancy. I read some where a contrast between Glass and Beauchamp was that Glass wrote what people wanted to believe. He fed into there own prejudices. Not so with Beauchamp.
  • The Army's response: The Army pretty much silences Beauchamp by taking away his intenet and telephone access. He's in the Army, so they do have a right to control his communication however they see fit.
  • The Army's Alleged response: A report comes out saying that the Army's investigation proved everything to be false and Beauchamp recanted. And where to we read about this report? Why, in The Weekly Standard. When asked, an Army spokesman says he has no knowledge of a report. As Josh Marhall said: if "you've got the goods, you take it to a real press outlet. When you're blowing smoke, you take it to the Standard."
So, where's the beef in all this?


I'm a little late on this, and too lazy to look it up, but why hasn't the press and in particular the White House gaggle picked up on this?

All through the Plame investigation and Libby trial, the White House has avoided saying much about it because they say they don't want to affect the wheels of justice. Well, fine. If I was less cynical and this was any other administration I'd give it a pass. If the White House thought they could get some sort of political advantage about talking about Plame or Libby, they would. Once the Libby trial was over, they still avoided talking about it since there was an appeal pending. There is a theoretical possibility that the appeals court could grant a new trial. But the commutation of the sentence lets Bush have it both ways: a loyal aide stays out of jail and the appeal is still pending so they have a paper thin excuse to not talk about it.

Here's my point: Bush said he wasn't questioning the jury's decision (with good reason, apparently), he merely thought the sentence was unfair. Does the president really think perjurers shouldn't do time? No, of course not. He just thinks people who commit crimes on his behalf shouldn't suffer the consequences. He has made a statement on the case and the press should hold him to it.

The Golden Ticket

I was just reminded of this the other day:

A couple of years ago, the now nine-year-old was bored, so I gave her a copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. After some protest that it, too, was boring, she went away to read it. After about an hour she came running downstairs to say: "Mom, Dad, Charlie got the last golden ticket!" I don't think I actually said this to her at the time, but my thought was: "Well, yes, of course he got the last ticket. The book would be considerably shorter if he didn't." She gets a little worked up over the suspenseful parts of the Harry Potter. But I tell her Harry will make it through book 3, since J.K. Rowling wouldn't have bothered with books 4 through 6 if he didn't.