« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 1, 2005

Sunnis: What, You Guys Were Serious?

The Washington Times reports this morning that the heavy turnout for the Iraq elections not only surprised those in the West who thought that the threat of violence would suppress the vote, but shocked the Sunnis, who counted on it: Sunni Arabs yesterday appeared shocked by the large turnout of Shi'ites and Kurds in Sunday's elections, with some anxiously looking for ways to bolster their representation in the new government that will emerge from them. But many Shi'ites, triumphant after voting in high numbers in spite of terrorist threats, had a simple message for the Sunnis who stayed home: Tough luck. Yazin al-Jabouri, a spokesman for the Sunni-led Homeland Party, said many people in Sunni parts of the country hadn't voted because the electoral commission had not sent enough ballot boxes and forms. "They didn't think people were going to vote," he said, adding that he had sent a letter...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Iraqi President: American Withdrawal "Nonsense"

In a slap at the Democratic leadership that has screeched about "exit strategies" after Sunday's historic victory for democracy, the Iraqi president proclaimed talk of withdrawing American troops "nonsense" and a recipe for disaster in the region: Iraq's interim president said Tuesday it would be "complete nonsense" to ask U.S. and other foreign troops to leave Iraq at this point but some of the 170,000 soldiers could be leaving Iraq by the end of the year. Ghazi al-Yawer, who had been a strong critic of some aspects of the U.S. military operation in Iraq, said foreign troops should leave only after Iraq's security forces are built up, the security situation has improved and some pockets of terrorists are eliminated. "It's only complete nonsense to ask the troops to leave in this chaos and this vacuum of power," al-Yawer told reporters. Perhaps Democrats like Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, Mark Dayton, and...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Faith-Based Hate From Howard Dean

I missed this yesterday, but Myopic Zeal points out a revealing New York Daily News item about Howard Dean and his quest to lead the Democrats for the next four years. Dean rallied his supporters by engaging in his famously moderate rhetoric: "I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for, but I admire their discipline and their organization," the failed presidential hopeful told the crowd at the Roosevelt Hotel, where he and six other candidates spoke at the final DNC forum before the Feb. 12 vote for chairman. But Dean said the Democrats should not change their beliefs to be "Republican lite." "We can talk about our faith, but we cannot change our faith," he said, echoing themes he sounded in his presidential bid. "We need to be people of conviction." Oh my. Does the DNC want the Democrats to become the Party of Hate? And just what kind...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Strib Still Not Quite Getting It

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune finally reacted to the Iraqi election on its editorial page, and to my surprise, with amazing reasonableness -- at least for the Strib. While they decline to discuss why they waited a full day to react, they didn't make the same mistake that the New York Times made in scoffing with faint praise at the historic nature of the event. The Strib, however, still sticks to its guns (so to speak) in refusing to understand why American security depended on this outcome: It was easy to find naysayers who viewed Sunday's Iraqi election darkly. Do not count us among them. Yes, there were suicide bombers, mortar shells and other violence. But they simply made the act of voting all the more poignant. By their courageous votes, a majority of Iraqi citizens sent a blistering message to the insurgents and terrorists: We don't want you; we don't want...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Bill Clinton To Head UN Tsunami Relief

Here's a report that will likely have everyone buzzing shortly: Secretary-General Kofi Annan has selected former U.S. President Bill Clinton to be the U.N. point man for tsunami relief and reconstruction, a well-informed U.N. diplomat said Tuesday. U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard refused to confirm the appointment but said "a statement will be released on the subject by my office in the next few hours." Why do I hear the theme from "Jaws" in my mind, all of a sudden? How fortunate for Hillary Clinton that her husband will have such a high-profile position over the next couple of years. It will give her endless opportunities to be seen in his shadow, smiling and nodding but unable to get a word in edgewise against the Great Oxygen Remover. On the other hand, pushing him to the opposite side of the globe may give Hillary the opportunity to work alone for a...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Happy Blogiversary, INDC Journal!

Bill Ardolino at INDC Journal celebrates his first blogiversary today by sharing a slideshow of images from his creative and intrepid reporting. Be sure to drive his bandwidth costs out of sight by checking it out -- and drop one of the blogosphere's best a congrats on this special day....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Dems: We Weren't Obstructionist Enough

Fresh off of their reaction to the historic Iraqi elections as a defeat which required an immediate retreat, the leadership of the Democratic Party further cemented its separation from political reality by declaring today that they failed to obstruct enough judicial nominees in the last session of Congress: Senate Democrats are "not going to cut and run" from a battle over President Bush's judicial nominations, the party's leader vowed Tuesday, adding that some Democrats regret not having blocked even more appointments. "If they bring back the same judges we're going to do the same thing," Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said of the administration. Democrats blocked votes on 10 of Bush's first-term appointments to the courts and confirmed more than 200. Republicans have threatened to change long-standing Senate rules to strip Democrats of their ability to block votes, but Reid sounded a note of defiance. "Well, let them do it," he...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Did Eason Jordan Accuse US Military Of Assassinating Journalists?

Forumblog, the blog dedicated to covering the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, reported last Friday that CNN chief Eason Jordan accused the US military of targeting journalists for assassination, and succeeding in twelve cases (via Hugh Hewitt): During one of the discussions about the number of journalists killed in the Iraq War, Eason Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-US crowd) and cause great strain on others. Due to the nature of the forum, I was able to directly challenge Eason, asking if he had any objective and clear evidence to backup these claims, because if what he said was true, it would make Abu Ghraib look like a walk in...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Kuwait Kills AQ Operatives As Terror Focus Shifts Off Saudis

Kuwait killed five al-Qaeda operatives and captured three more, including the cell leader, as AQ has shifted its focus from Saudi Arabia to the American ally in the Persian Gulf. The AQ cell had targeted American homes in the kingdom for destruction: Kuwait passed emergency anti-terrorism laws yesterday that granted police wider search powers after foiling a plot to bomb an American residential complex and breaking up an al-Qa'eda cell. ... Security forces said the group were part of a 24-member cell that had been virtually eliminated in four gun battles in the last month. Eight terrorists had been killed and 14 captured. Two were still on the run. Police discovered plans to bomb the Alia-Ghalia apartment complex, also known as Fintas Towers, twin high-rise buildings overlooking the sea south of the capital. Apparently, AQ has found the going a bit too tough in Saudi Arabia these days. Either the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason Jordan: An Echo In 2002?

CQ reader and commenter Fluff 'n Stuff did a little research on the Eason Jordan accusations of deliberate assassinations of journalists by the American military, and he found this interview of Jordan by Transnational Broadcast Studies in the spring of 2002. TBS is a publication of the American University in Cairo, where Jordan talked about the difficulties of covering the news around the world and being a global broadcaster instead of an American news service. The last question that TBS Managing Editor Sarah Sullivan asks Jordan about the technical difficulties of covering the war in Southwest Asia, but Jordan drifts off into strangely familiar territory (emphasis mine): Sullivan: Your coverage in Afghanistan, it's been reported, has been one of the most expensive and resource-intensive operations CNN has ever undertaken. Can you describe who you have there now, what kind of technologies are being used, and how you're even getting equipment...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 2, 2005

Milwaukee Had 17 Precincts With 100+ More Votes Than Voters

Greg Borowski reports in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that an analysis of voting records done by the newspaper reveals that seventeen precincts in the city showed at least 100 more votes than the number of registered voters, even counting the already-problematic same-day registrants. Four precincts, or wards, had more than 500 extra votes: Record-keeping surrounding the Nov. 2 presidential election in Milwaukee is so flawed that in 17 wards there were at least 100 more votes recorded than people listed by the city as voting there. In two wards, one on the south side and one on the north side, the gap is more than 500, with fewer than half the votes cast in each ward accounted for in the city's computer system, a Journal Sentinel review has found. Such gaps were present at different levels in nearly all of the city wards and could hamper the investigation launched last week...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

When Whiny Wannabes Attack!

The Washington Times carries a story today that simply is too weird to pass without notice. A part owner and "aspiring pop star" in a minor-league (ABA) basketball team from Nashville ran onto the court in the middle of a game last Saturday and ordered the head coach to bench their star player. When the coach refused, she fired her before being carried off the floor in hysterical rage: The victim was 23-year-old Ashley McElhiney, coach of the minor league American Basketball Association club and the first woman to coach a professional men's basketball team. The owner was Sally Anthony, an aspiring pop star who once gave fans at a Rhythm game free copies of her new album. On Saturday, she gave them something else, storming onto the court in the middle of the game to order the coach to bench a new player, Matt Freije. McElhiney refused. Mrs. Anthony...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Sunnis: Do-Over!

The Sunnis in Iraq still appear to suffer from an electoral hangover. Earlier today, Sunni clerics declared that Sunni underrepresentation in Iraq's historic election -- which they psrtly caused by calling for the Sunni boycott -- renders the resultant government merely temporary. They demand that the new parliament assume only limited powers and schedule new elections immediately: In its first statement since the balloting, the Association of Muslim Scholars said the balloting lacked legitimacy because of low Sunni participation. The Association called months ago on Sunnis to shun the polls because of the presence of U.S. and other foreign troops. ... In its statement, the Association said the election "lacks legitimacy because a large portion of these people who represent many spectra have boycotted it." As a result, the Association said the new leadership lacked a mandate to draft a new constitution and should be considered a temporary administration. "We...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Michigan Democrats Resist Audit

The Michigan state chair of the Democratic Party called demands from the DNC for an audit of campaign funds a political tactic designed to "tarnish" one of Howard Dean's main opponents in the race for the DNC chair. Mark Brewer refused to conduct an audit on the $8 million in question: The DNC has demanded an audit of the state party's books because its donors want to know where the money went. The request has been turned down, with Michigan Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer arguing that an audit is unnecessary. "We don't see a need for it. But we're happy to answer any questions that they may have," Brewer said. "There was nothing wrong that was done. That's why there was no need for an audit." Brewer said the complaints against him are really an attempt to tarnish the Michigan director of the Kerry-Edwards campaign, Donnie Fowler, in his campaign...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason Jordan Should Know Better

CQ reader John J. passes along two interesting reports about Eason Jordan's personal connection to a journalist that actually was targeted and assassinated in the Middle East. The London Telegraph did a human-interest profile on the widow of Danny Pearl, whose capture and beheading by Islamists in Pakistan first showed the world the bigotry, inhumanity, and bloodthirsty nature of the Islamofascist thugs arrayed against the West. The Telegraph updated its readers on the renaissance of Marianne Pearl in October 2004: It was an extraordinary way to lose a husband - butchered in Pakistan by kidnappers who revelled in their own inhumanity, who filmed their deeds in order to heighten the shock to Western sensibilities. But Mariane is an extraordinary woman. Instead of curling into a shell, as she is convinced Daniel's assassins hoped she would, she has turned her life into a straightforward declaration of intent: "Terrorists may have destroyed...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Targeting A Consistent Theme For Eason Jordan

CQ reader and new blogger The Baron spent a few shillings out of his own pocket for a Nexis article on Eason Jordan research, and as we dig more and more into Jordan's public record, the more we find that Jordan seems obsessed with journalist-targeting. The Baron finds an article from USA Today by Marilyn Greene that ran on page 3 of their 10/5/93 edition. Greene wrote about the lack of reporters in strife-torn Mogadishu, and interviewed Jordan as well as the Toronto Star's Paul Watson. Watson accuses US troops of shooting at him, while Jordan excuses the lack of CNN correspondents in the region to journalist-targeting by combatants: When U.S. troops landed in Somalia, they were met on the beach by a horde of TV cameras and reporters. When U.S. helicopters were downed Sunday in Somalia, not a single U.S. reporter was in Mogadishu to record the event. In...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

More Background On Jordan's Folly

I've done more Nexis searching myself and found more background on Eason Jordan and the journalist-targeting issue. To say that this may be Jordan's favorite talking point is an understatement; I'm beginning to believe that no one has written a major article on the subject without his input. This article comes from the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, published on March 1, 2004 as a straight news item as compared to his Media Notes column. Under the headline "For Reporters in Iraq, Security Gets Personal," Kurtz reported: There is a long tradition in the news business that journalists, like Red Cross workers, should be seen as unaligned observers with no weapons or agenda. That tradition is being sorely tested, journalists say, in Iraq, where insurgents routinely *target* Americans in shootings and bombings in an effort to undermine the occupying force. ... Safety is a constant topic of discussion. Several news organizations...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Jordan: Not Just The Americans

Eason Jordan appears to like spreading the slander around when it comes to accusations of assassination attempts by Western military forces. CQ reader and blogger Peter Cook found this forum transcript from News Xchange 2002, where Jordan makes the same accusations -- with the same lack of specifics -- against the Israelis: NG: Eason, why do you think you've been targeted specifically, I mean there are Israeli bumper stickers that say 'CNN lies', the Israeli communications minister talked about CNN as being 'evil, biased and unbalanced' you'll be familiar with all these quotes? EJ: Absolutely, well the Israeli government is making a mistake if it considers CNN the enemy, CNN is just trying to tell the story of Israel, the story of Palestinian areas in a straightforward way. We're not trying to favour one side over the other we're not going to pull any punches in our reporting but the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

CNN Reporter Targeted By Israelis? Hardly!

In October 2002, Eason Jordan claimed that the Israeli Defensive Forces had shot a CNN reporter as part of a deliberate strategy of targeting journalists covering the war in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (see post below). I did a little searching on Nexis again, confident that had CNN reporters taken fire in the line of duty, CNN would report it. I conducted a search for 'CNN reporter shot' (non-exclusive), and I got only five hits, all of which reported the same incident, which occurred on October 31, 2000. According to CNN's own coverage of the incident and their own eyewitness to the event, Eason Jordan lied about it during the October 2002 conference: DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Violence in the Middle East has been increasing over the past few days. The death toll is rising. At least, 151 people have been killed in the clashes, and today the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Corroboration For Eason's Fables In Davos

Rebecca MacKinnon, a TV reporter as well as a blogger, somewhat reluctantly confirms the account given in Forumblog about Eason Jordan's remarks in Davos last week (hat tip TKS). MacKinnon writes in her blog, RConversations: I was in the room and Rony's account is consistent with what I heard. I was also contributing to the Forumblog, but to be honest, Jordan happens to be my former boss who promoted me and defended me in some rather sticky situations after my reporting angered the Chinese government. As CNN's "senior statesman" over the years, Eason has done some things I agreed with and other things I wondered about. But at least when it came to China, he was no apologist and defended my reports on human rights abuses and political dissent. Actually, I find Ms. MacKinnon's loyalties to both the truth and her former boss admirable. It's obvious that she thought carefully...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

CNN Just Discovered Captain's Quarters

Hey, folks, guess what I just received in my e-mail? Many blogs have taken Mr. Jordan's remarks out of context. Eason Jordan does not believe the U.S. military is trying to kill journalists. Mr. Jordan simply pointed out the facts: While the majority of journalists killed in Iraq have been slain at the hands of insurgents, the Pentagon has also noted that the U.S. military on occasion has killed people who turned out to be journalists. The Pentagon has apologized for those actions. Mr. Jordan was responding to an assertion by Cong. Frank that all 63 journalist victims had been the result of "collateral damage." I posted this earlier, as TKS had received it after sending CNN a complaint by e-mail. However, I never did send CNN an e-mail -- and this message was e-mailed to me specifically, with my address in the To: field. Do you think someone at...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Another Example Of Eason's Fables

In yet another example of how Eason Jordan tosses around accusations without much supporting evidence -- or any at all -- the Guardian (UK) covering the News Xchange Forum this past November reports on accusations of the torture of journalists by American forces (hat tip - Peter Cook): Eason Jordan, chief news executive at CNN, said there had been only a "limited amount of progress", despite repeated meetings between news organisations and the US authorities. "Actions speak louder than words. The reality is that at least 10 journalists have been killed by the US military, and according to reports I believe to be true journalists have been arrested and tortured by US forces," Mr Jordan told an audience of news executives at the News Xchange conference in Portugal. Once again, we go to CNN's own archives to find any report that mentions Jordan and the torture of reporters by any...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Live Blogging The SOTU Speech Tonight

I will be live-blogging the State of the Union speech tonight, on this post. It starts at 8 pm CT, and since I have TiVo, I may use it to scroll back when necessary to capture what was said. 7:59 CT - The escort committees have been selected and have gone off to fetch the President. I'm settling in for the duration. I expect a good speech, but nothing terribly surprising or even particularly memorable. The best parts will have to do with the Iraqi elections, to be sure. Watch for the Ted Kennedy close-up on that one... 8:02 - Don't forget that Hugh Hewitt will appear on Joe Scarborough at 11 pm CT to discuss the SOTU speech. I expect him to bring up Eason's Fables ... 8:09 - We share it with a "free and sovereign Iraq." Nice start. 8:13 - After the reference to Iraq, Bush went...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason Jordan Responds

Carol Platt Liebau has Eason Jordan's official response, which she got by working through mutual acquaintances. Jordan maintains that he never said that the US deliberately targeted journalists: "To be clear, I do not believe the U.S. military is trying to kill journalists in Iraq. I said so during the forum panel discussion. But, nonetheless, the U.S. military has killed several journalists in Iraq in cases of mistaken identity. The reason the word "targeted" came up at all is because I was responding to a comment by Congressman Franks, who said he believed the 63 journalists killed in Iraq were the victims of "collateral damage." Since three of my CNN colleagues and many other journalists have been killed on purpose in Iraq, I disputed the "collateral damage" statement, saying, unfortunately, many journalists -- not all -- killed in Iraq were indeed targeted. When someone aims a gun at someone and...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

My Rebuttal To Eason Jordan

Dear Mr. Jordan, While I appreciate your response, I find it singularly inadequate. Just in terms of the one incident in Davos, your characterization of the debate fails to match with the two independent sources we have already seen. The first source, Forumblog, tells us that your forum was videotaped. Where is the transcript? Why don't you simply produce that, or a videotape on CNN, with the portion of your statement? Surely CNN has the resources to track the tape down. The fact that your own news service fails to make that information available causes me to discount your characterization. Unfortunately, even had I been inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt about Davos, you have a clear pattern of speaking abroad to audiences inclined towards anti-Western sentiment and making unsubstantiated charges against the US and Israel. You also need to explain your statements in the following venues:...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 3, 2005

Poll Shows Bush Gained Converts With SOTU Speech

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that President Bush gave one of his most effective speeches last night, picking up converts for his strategies on Social Security and Iraq and wound up with an 86% positive response, his highest in 3 years: President Bush's State of the Union address raised support for his policies on health care and Social Security among people who watched the speech, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Wednesday night. The percentage of respondents who said the president's proposals in those areas will help the country rose 15 points from when the same question was asked of the same people in the two days before the speech. In the post-speech sample, 70 percent of respondents said Bush's policies on health care were positive, while 66 percent approved of the president's plan for Social Security. Bush showed almost as much improvement on Iraq, with 78 percent of...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hugh: Media Bias In The Silences

Hugh Hewitt has a new column out for the Weekly Standard on media bias. His thoughts have has special resonance today as we see the major American media outlets put the Cone of Silence over Eason's Fables, which plays a part in Hugh's column. Hugh reminds us that bias not only exists in what's reported, but also in what isn't: Even though attention will turn today to the president's speech to the exclusion of almost everything else, let me underline two recent media events which deserve more scrutiny than they have thus far received. The first is the genuinely scandalous assertion by CNN's Eason Jordan, made at the World Economic Forum, that the United States military has targeted and killed a dozen journalists. The account of Jordan's remarks -including his backpedaling and the crowd's reactions--is available at ForumBlog. Thus far no major media outlet has demanded an accounting of Jordan,...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Ward Churchill A Phony Native American: AIM

Ward Churchill, whose reference to certain 9/11 victims as "little Eichmans" drew such outrage, may have more to hide than first thought. Churchill has frequently touted his background as a Native American (Cherokee Nation) as his bona fides to teach and speak on Indian issues, among other causes. Now CQ reader Jim Walker notes a press release from the American Indian Movement and signed by well-known activist Dennis Banks that outs Churchill as a fraud: The American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council representing the National and International leadership of the American Indian Movement once again is vehemently and emphatically repudiating and condemning the outrageous statements made by academic literary and Indian fraud, Ward Churchill in relationship to the 9-11 tragedy in New York City that claimed thousands of innocent peoples lives. Churchills statement that these people deserved what happened to them, and calling them little Eichmanns, comparing them to Nazi...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Northern Alliance Radio In For Hugh Hewitt!

The Northern Alliance will sit in for Hugh Hewitt tonight from 5-8 pm CT as Hugh is traveling today. We'll be taking on Peter Beinart in a foreshadowing of the debate next week at our Patriot Forum. Governor Bill Owen of Colorado will also be joining us, as will John Podhoretz of the New York Post, one of our favorite writers in the mainstream media. Be sure to tune us in, or check in at Hugh's site to listen via web streaming!...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

TNR: Democratic Response To SOTU Bland, Indistinct

Inspired by our interview of Peter Beinart this evening on the Hugh Hewitt show, I decided to take a read through The New Republic to find out what the center-left has to say about the speeches last night by George Bush and the tag-team of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. I expected a defense of the Democratic response similar to that Beinart offerd Mitch and I in our interview -- that the two minority leaders had offered a serviceable if unspectacular counterpoint to Bush's "misleading" rhetoric on just about every topic. Instead, Michael Crowley writes a significant critique of both Pelosi and Reid along the same lines I wrote last night after their delivery of the Democratic response. Crowley refuses to tow the party line and scolds the Democrats for their vacuous, predictable ambiguity (subscription required): That congressional Democrats are still struggling to find their voice was plainly evident in...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Op-Ed Writers Conference To Promulgate Ethics, Accuracy Standards

Linda Seebach, columnist for the Rocky Mountain News, tips CQ that the National Conference of Editorial Writers has been discussing ethical concerns and accuracy standards in light of some high-profile editorial errors. (I don't know if she reads the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, but this is what Linda and the NCEW has in mind.) The president of the NCEW sent this message out to all of their members and authorized it for publication: I am pleased to announce that NCEW has set up a task force on syndicates to seek answers to our questions of ethics and corrections. Heading up the panel is Jerry Ausband, retired editorial page editor of Myrtle Beach. The task force will contact all of the syndicates to go over questions that have been raised on this groupserv and elsewhere. This will allow us to compare how syndicates are set up to deal with issues like those that...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 4, 2005

Eason's Fables Makes The Washington Times Editorial Page

The Washington Times becomes the first major daily to take Eason Jordan's paranoid rantings to task since the Wall Street Journal initially reported Congressman Barney Frank's challenge to the CNN chief. The Times issues a measured reprimand to Jordan for his predilection for making unsubstantiated allegations about atrocities: At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, during a discussion on media and democracy, Mr. Jordan apparently told the audience that "he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by U.S. troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted," according to a report on the forum's Web site (www.forumblog.org). ... [I]t's an assertion Mr. Jordan has made before. In November, as reported in the London Guardian, Mr. Jordan said, "The reality is that at least 10 journalists have been killed by the U.S. military, and according to reports I believe to be true journalists have been...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Requiring Voter ID Disenfranchises Voters: Wisconsin Dems

The debate on fixing Wisconsin's broken electoral system moved to the state legislature yesterday, where hearings opened on a bill that would require a state or military photo ID to verify identification of voters at polling stations. As expected, the Democrats lined up as many people as possible to whine about the extraordinary burden of carrying identification: Earlier this week, leaders in the Republican-controlled Legislature revived a bill similar to one vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle in 2003 that would have required voters to show a valid photo ID to register and vote. It would alter Wisconsin's historically open elections process, which allows residents to vote by providing their names and addresses to poll workers, and register on election day by presenting proof of residence. ... Most people would show a driver's license to vote, but a state-issued identification card or military ID would also be accepted. The state...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason's Fables Meets Day By Day

... with the usual hilarious result. Be sure to check it out!...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Happy, Happy Birthday Baby ...

Today is the First Mate's birthday, and I thought for a surprise I'd mention it here on the blog. For a combination birthday/anniversary celebration, we're heading out of town for a B&B weekend getaway, a gift to us both from my mother and sister. I will have only limited access to blogging and e-mail, but I thought it might be fun for the FM to hear greetings and comments from you all. If you can't leave comments on this post, e-mail her at this address: marcia - at - captainsquartersblog - dot - com. I'll read aloud to the FM anything that comes to her for her birthday. (Suggestions to dump the computer- and blog-obsessive husband will result in referrals to spammers, so watch out!) Mitch also has a family birthday today. What a coincidence! Happy birthday to Sam, who assists us during our radio shows by fetching coffee and...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

More Of Eason's Fables Past

Peter Cook once again finds nuggets in Eason Jordan's past statements about the United States, CNN, and how Jordan has a real problem with misrepresentation. Jordan gave a speech in March 1999 to the Nieman Foundation, ironically titled "No Substitute for First-Rate Journalists." The speech gives quite a revealing look at Jordan's ability to prevaricate at ease to his audiences. For instance, here he speaks about CNN's coverage of Iraq as an adamantly independent operation, free of influence by either the Iraqi or US government (emphasis mine): CNN has had tremendous difficulties with the Iraqi government, a government that's accused me during my own trips to Baghdad of being a CIA station chief for Iraq. I feel lucky to have emerged alive from that. But it's very difficult working from Baghdad. It was during the war, and it continues to be today. Our view is, first of all, we will...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Rony Arbovitz Confirms Eason's Fables In Davos

Hugh Hewitt got to Forumblog's Rony Arbovitz before CNN could and publishes Rony's confirmation of exactly what Eason Jordan told the Davos forum. In an e-mail exchange, Arbovitz makes clear that Jordan intended on telling the forum participants that the supposed targeting of reporters by the US military was deliberate and with full knowledge of their identity: HH: Did Mr. Jordan make his "targeted" remark in response to a comment by Congressman Frank? RA: I believe that Congressman Frank was dragged into all of this after the fact. Mr. Jordan gave us all a monologue that evolved from his personal experiences in Iraq about this idea of U.S. soldiers targeting U.S. and foreign journalists. I first challenged Mr. Jordan, and then moderator David Gergen (of Harvard's JFK School of Government) brought Frank in as a member of the U.S. government to respond to claims that shocked all of us. I...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Janeane Garofalo, Airhead American

Kevin McCullough picks up on something I saw myself in MS-NBC's coverage of the SOTU speech Wednesday night. After Hours with Joe Scarborough had a number of odd commentators invited to debate the meaning of the event. Some were heavyweight political pundits, such as Pat Buchanan, Robert Reich, and Mike Barnicle. Unfortunately, they also invited two -- two -- commentators from Air America, including the seriously deranged Janeane Garofalo. Garofalo could hardly contain her vitriol, even to the point where Ron Reagan got embarrassed and basically talked over her to keep her from making matters worse. I should have live-blogged it at the time, but I had put the computer away by the time she went to air. In the most intellectually and morally bankrupt display I've yet to see from the Left, Garofalo compared the ink-stained finger salute by new Congresspeople to a Nazi salute: The inked fingers in...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hugh Hewitt Goes National With Eason's Fables

Hugh Hewitt has a notice on his blog that he will appear on the Chris Matthews show Sunday evening -- and he intends on making Eason's Fables part of the discussion. Be sure to tune in to CNBC at 6:30 PM CT. Hugh also alerts his readers that Chris Wallace at Fox things that Eason's Fables will make an excellent topic for his own Fox show at 4 pm CT Sunday, so tune in there as well. By Monday, the mainstream media may have Eason's Fables forced down their throats....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason's Fables Comes To Video Near You!

The blog Sisyphean Musings has contacted the head of media for the World Economic Forum at Davos, Mark Adams. Sisyphus got Adams to confirm Forumblog's testimony that videotape was taken of the forum where Eason Jordan spoke, and agree to send a copy to Sisyphus: First, big kudos to Mr. Adams for the quick response! Please pass the word that I'm working this with him so please do not flood him with requests. Second, he has confirmed that he has the video. He needs to make a copy. I have asked for it to be mailed to me by Wednesday next week. I'll update this post as more information becomes available. CNN has until Wednesday at the latest to come clean about Jordan. If they allow the blogosphere to get to the finish line first, they're toast. And not just CNN, either; the major media have all gone AWOL over...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

A Tale Of Two Tales And Many Questions

General James Mattis, commander of Marine expeditions in Iraq, came under domestic fire this week for his blunt and controversial remarks about the joy of war. His intemperate remarks roiled a nation obsessed with political correctness and image projection, even as his men defended his leadership: "Actually it's quite fun to fight them, you know. It's a hell of a hoot," Mattis said, prompting laughter from some military members in the audience. "It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up there with you. I like brawling. "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil," Mattis said. "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them." I don't think that General Mattis' remarks about the delight he takes in killing the enemy are...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 5, 2005

Another Crack In The Media Blackout For Eason's Fables

CQ reader Rodger M. tips me to some correspondence that he has had with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Jack Kelly, one of the few members of the mainstream media who pushes back against these blackouts. Rodger have me a preview of what Jack will have to say: The scandalous remarks of Eason Jordan, CNNs top news executive, last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (where Europes elite goes once a year to sneer at the United States), and the failure of the major media to report them suggest the distortions are deliberate. Jordan told a panel that the U.S. military had killed a dozen journalists in Iraq, and that they had been deliberately targeted. When challenged, Jordan could provide no evidence to support the charge, and subsequently lied about having made it, though the record shows he had made a similar charge a few months before, and also...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Ossie Davis, RIP

One of the classiest presences on film and stage passed away yesterday. Ossie Davis, husband to Ruby Dee and together two of the most visible campaigners for civil rights during those most turbulent years, died at 87 of natural causes in a Miami hotel room: Ossie Davis, whose rich baritone and elegant, unshakable bearing made him a giant of the stage, screen and the civil rights movement often in tandem with his wife, Ruby Dee has died. He was 87. Davis was found dead Friday in his hotel room in Miami Beach, Fla., according to officials there. He was making a film, Retirement, said Arminda Thomas, who works in his New Rochelle office and confirmed the death. Miami Beach police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said Davis grandson called shortly before 7 a.m. when Davis would not open the door to his room at the Shore Club Hotel. Davis was...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Anti-Reform Wisconsin Governor Took Large Payments After Health-Care Merger

Democratic Governor Jim Doyle has repeatedly blocked electoral reform in Wisconsin and threatens to do so again if the state legislature passes a requirement for photo IDs at polling stations. Doyle vetoed the measure once before in 2003 and promises the same this year, even after the fiasco in Milwaukee last November in which an inordinate amount of people registered to vote on Election Day (over 30% of all voters). Now, however, Wisconsin voters may have another kind of reform in mind after the Journal-Sentinel revealed that executives involved in a controversial health-care merger gave Doyle over $28,000 in donations shortly after he allowed the merger to go through. Critics at the time wondered why Doyle didn't ask for common-sense economic concessions -- and now they think they know: Gov. Jim Doyle received $28,500 in campaign donations late last year, near the time a major insurance company merger was finalized,...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Sunnis Don't Need A Weathervane (Anymore, That Is)

The Sunnis of Iraq, who largely boycotted the elections due to their loss of power after the fall of Saddam, have slowly begun reconciling themselves to the new power structure in Iraq after the elections. Stunned by the enthusiasm for their fellow citizens for democracy and in danger of complete marginalization, Sunni leaders have reached out for the lifeline offered magnanimously by th Kurds and Shi'ites: In a bid to avoid marginalization, a group of Sunni Arab parties that refused to participate in the election said Saturday they want to take part in the drafting of a permanent constitution a chief task of the new National Assembly. "The representatives of these political bodies that did not participate in the elections have decided in principle to take part in the writing of the permanent constitution in a suitable way," a statement from the group said. The groups were mainly small...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hugh Launches Attack On Eason's Fables On CNBC

Hugh Hewitt appeared on Chris Matthews's weekend show this evening, and fortunately loyal CQ reader Vayapaso caught the broadcast. While the transcript hasn't yet been posted, Vayapaso summarized Hugh's appearance: He was great! When each participant had to give a prediction for next week, Hugh named the Eason Jordan story. He told them the facts; that it is a big story on the Internet and new media; that it broke through with the Washington Times on Friday and will break big time next week msm. Mathews was surprised and made a comment that I could not completely understand but the implication was that Hugh's prediction was the big one of the evening. The cracks continue to multiply ......

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 6, 2005

Cracking The Blackout On Your Own

Michelle Malkin and Mickey Kaus point out that the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz will host a live-chat event on Monday, noon ET, in which Kurtz takes questions from Internet readers and answers them on the fly. The questions themselves have to be submitted in advance by readers. Obviously, I'd want to ask this question: In at least two separate incidents (Jan 2005 - Davos and November 2004 - Portugal), CNN's Eason Jordan accused the US military of deliberately targeting journalists for assassination and torture. These have been documented at http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/. The sources for the Davos commentary are two eyewitnesses at the event, and the Portugal source is the Guardian (UK), which quotes Jordan directly. Jordan has also accused the Israeli military of deliberately targeting journalists and claims a CNN reporter, Ben Wedeman, was severely injured as a result, when CNN's own producer, an eyewitness, reported on air that Wedeman got...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

One More Crack In The Dam

The Riverside Press-Enterprise, a newspaper with a conservative editorial policy serving the high-desert communities outside of Los Angeles, cracks the media blackout with the first MSM commentary devoted entirely to Eason's Fables. The editorial focuses entirely on the Davos commentary instead of the broader accusations made by Eason Jordan on multiple occasions, but it also takes apart the exceedingly inadequate attempt by CNN to spin Jordan's statement: CNN's chief news executive, Eason Jordan, said Jan. 27 on a world stage that "he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by U.S. troops, but they had in fact been targeted," according to Rony Abovitz of the World Economic Forum's weblog. Problem is, Jordan has provided no facts to substantiate this very serious charge. Now the claim, which Jordan floated at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is spreading through anti-American circles in Europe and the Middle East....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Nick Coleman Disappears From Strib?

I'm not a Nick Coleman fan, but like other members of the Northern Alliance, I like to check in on the old crank just to keep an eye on him. Today I checked the RSS feed and found this summary for Nick's latest screed: Nick Coleman: Doctor's firing is bitter pill for her patients Pamela Cain is enjoying things she never had time to enjoy before, such as having lunch with friends. But she's not just breaking bread with pals. Her lunch mates are her patients. However, when I went to the page from the RSS feed, I got the Strib equivalent of a 404 message: The page you requested, http://www.startribune.com/stories/357/5224076.html, could not be found. It may have been moved; more likely it has been removed from our servers [emphasis mine -- CE]. Undeterred, but probably with too much time on my hands, I went directly to the Strib and...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason's Fables Introduction

I'd like to welcome Instapundit readers, especially those who have just come here for the first time. If you have not had a chance to read about Eason Jordan and his serial slanders against the US and Israeli militaries, you can find all of my work on the subject in the CNN category. That will allow you to read all of my posts on one page; my earlier posts have gone to archive now. I appreciate Glenn's reference as "Eason Jordan central," but I'd like to include a couple of other bloggers in that description. La Shawn Barber has done a magnificent job in keeping up with the multitude of links around the blogosphere that have created the massive momentum that will eventually break the media blackout we've seen. Hugh Hewitt has done more to push the story into the laps of the MSM than anyone so far. Keep checking...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Let's Play "Guess Who Talks Like General Mattis"

Ralph Peters writes a passionate defense of Lt. General Jim Mattis in today's New York Post. Peters, himself a former Army officer, finds himself encouraged by Mattis' honest and direct appreciation for his job: Gen. Mattis may have been unusual in his honesty, but he certainly isn't unusual in our history. We picture Robert E. Lee as a saintly father figure, but Lee remarked that it's good that war is so terrible, since otherwise men would grow to love it too much. He was speaking of himself. Andy Jackson certainly loved a fight, and Stonewall Jackson never shied from one. Sherman and Grant only found themselves in war. WE lionize those who em braced war in the past, but condemn those who defend us in the present. George S. Patton was far blunter than Jim Mattis but Patton lived in the days before the media was omnipresent and biased...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

The Details That Destroy Eason's Fables

CQ reader Blanknoone decided to take Eason Jordan's Davos comments at face value and do some research to see if his accusations had any basis in fact. Bear in mind that I believe the issue with Jordan is not just his specific Davos comments but the repeated allegations of our military committing atrocities specifically targeting journalists, and his predilection for making those accusations in foreign settings where he can build his anti-American credentials while not facing any scrutiny for his lack of substantiation. However, Blanknoone's work in researching the issue through Reporters Sans Frontieres -- itself not exactly sympathetic to American military power -- is significant enough that I think CQ readers should read this as well. I'm posting the work verbatim, and of course my comments are open for anyone with further information that supports or contradicts Blanknoone's analysis. As this is quite lengthy, most of it will appear...

Continue reading "The Details That Destroy Eason's Fables" »

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

My Super Bowl Prediction (And Live Blog!)

Putting aside the Eason's Fables efforts for the evening, I'll be live-blogging the entire Super Bowl spectacle. To kick it off (at 5:17 PM CT), I'll give you my prediction ... I can't see anyone taking out the New England Patriots. They beat the best offense (Indianapolis) in limiting them to one field goal. They beat the best defense (Pittsburgh) by scoring 34 points on them (and an additional 7 against their offense). The Eagles are good, but the Patriots -- they're unbelievable. My prediction: Pats, 41-24. My other prediction: no wardrobe malfunctions. 5:25 - Michael Douglas honors WWII veterans, a classy way to start the festivities. It certainly signals a better tone than the pseudo-sadomasochistic dance routine of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Now we see George HW Bush and Bill Clinton introduced; I wonder how many of those veterans want to see Clinton honored along with the people...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Cox & Forkum On Eason's Fables

Cox and Forkum not only have this great cartoon, but a good recap that links back to a number of blogs, including CQ. Make sure you check in with them tomorrow to see what else they'll produce!...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Good Riddance To Sore Losers

The International Herald-Tribune reports on the continuing efforts of a small number of Democrats to flee the country for the sole reason that their candidate lost. While Iraqis brave bullets and bombs for the privilege to select their leaders by majority vote, thousands of sore losers can't bear the thought that others may have a different opinion than their own: After three months, memories of the election have begun to recede. There has been an inauguration, even a State of the Union address. Yet immigration lawyers say that Americans are not just making inquiries and that more are pursuing a move above the 49th parallel, fed up with a country they see drifting persistently to the right and abandoning the principles of tolerance, compassion and peaceful idealism they felt once defined the nation. America is in no danger of emptying out. But even a small loss of population, many from...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Another John Kerry Flip-Flop

John Kerry did it again. In an interview with the Boston Globe, Kerry insists that his full military records have been made public, and challenges his critics to do the same, and George Bush as well: The furor over military credentials hasn't ended with the campaign. Kerry pledged to sign Form 180, releasing all of his military records, but challenged his critics, including Bush, to do the same. ''I want them to sign it, I want [swift boat veterans] John O'Neill, Roy Hoffmann, and what's their names, the guys on the other boat," Kerry said. ''I want their records out there. They have made specific allegations about my record, I know things about their records, I want them out there. I'm willing to sign it, to put all my records out there. I'm willing to sign it, but I want them to sign it, too." Kerry later confirmed that his...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 7, 2005

Bill Moyers, The Strib, And "Damnable Lies"

PBS pontificator Bill Moyers, whose reputation always far exceeded his pedantic and leftist contributions, has made quite a mess out of his retirement. Moyers gave a speech at Harvard that the Minneapolis Star-Tribune published as an opinion piece, celebrating an award from an environmental group. Instead of focusing on facts, Moyers flew off into left-wing fantasyland -- and slander: Remember James Watt, President Ronald Reagan's first secretary of the interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever-engaging Grist, reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, "after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back." Beltway elites snickered. The press corps didn't know what he was talking about. But James Watt was serious. The "ever-engaging Grist" turned out to have lied about this little non-factoid, and...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

The AP Misses The Point

The NFL delivered a much classier halftime show yesterday than its MTV-produced fiasco of last year, choosing the more elegant option of just having a truly talented singer perform instead of the crotch-grabbing bondagefest that climaxed in Justin Timberlake's pantomime rape that "inadvertently" released Janet Jackson's decorated breast. Somehow this seems to have offended David Bauder of the AP, whose satirical look at the performances of the acts before the game and Paul McCartney during halftime makes clear his preference for less mundane fare: It was strange seeing the former Beatle, a bold and shocking performer for another generation, now presented as the sedate option. NFL censors were probably hoping the "California grass" reference in "Get Back" slipped by unnoticed, or figured people would think he was simply referring to a football field. ... The closest thing to a wardrobe malfunction during all the performances were courtesy of country singer...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

The Non-Existent Cuts At The VA

The New York Times tries its best to hype up a controversy over veterans' benefits in the new budget submitted by the Bush administration, but the Gray Lady reveals herself as the painted lady for the Left instead. Robert Pear and Carl Hulse offer up this slanted look at the new budget under the headline "Bush Budget Raises Prescription Prices for Many Veterans." The qualifier "many" should raise eyebrows, although the reader has to scroll down to the tenth paragraph to discover what it means. Before that, the report uses selected quotes to imply that Bush has taken an axe to veterans' benefits: President Bush's budget would more than double the co-payment charged to many veterans for prescription drugs and would require some to pay a new fee of $250 a year for the privilege of using government health care, administration officials said Sunday. The proposals, they said, are in...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

MSM Silence On Eason Jordan (Updates!)

The mainstream media has spent another news cycle ignoring the Eason Jordan scandal, where he has been discovered to have made repeated claims of atrocities deliberately committed by US troops against reporters. CNN felt that Eason's Fables could be so damaging that they took the unusual step of not only e-mailing a statement to those who e-mailed their complaints, but also to bloggers who posted on the story but never sent a complaint to CNN. (We believe they worked off of Hugh Hewitt's link list on the scandal.) However, despite the obvious concern at CNN, they still have posted nothing on the story, not even their own statement. The Washington Post, where Howard Kurtz was rumored to have been working on this story, likewise has nothing on its pages or website this morning, more than 36 hours after it achieved national prominence from broadcast and bloggers. Likewise, the "Paper of...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Transformative Power Of Democracy Redux

I have written several times about my belief in the transformative power of democracy, and how giving a long-oppressed people the right to select their own leaders is the best defense against terrorism and the best offense against its origins. The Washington Post files a report that demonstrates exactly what I meant in today's edition. Douglas Struck writes from Baghdad about a new sense of civic pride and a turning point in the insurgency that all springs from the successful elections in Iraq: With a hero who gave his life for the elections, a revived national anthem blaring from car stereos and a greater willingness to help police, the public mood appears to be moving more clearly against the insurgency in Iraq, political and security officials said. In the week since national elections, police officers and Iraqi National Guardsmen said they have received more tips from the public, resulting in...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Another Voice From Davos Comments On Eason's Fables

Jay Rosen at Pressthink, one of the best media-related blogs, has done what the American media so far refuses to do with Eason's Fables -- act like a reporter and try to get the story. Jay tracked down the BBC's Richard Sambrook, who attended the Davos forum in question, and asked him what he remembered of Eason Jordan's remarks. Sambrook replies, in part: Eason's comments were a reaction to a statement that journalists killed in Iraq amounted to "collateral damage". His point was that many of these journalists (and indeed civilians) killed in Iraq were not accidental victims--as suggested by the terms "collateral damage"--but had been "targeted", for example by snipers. He clarified this comment to say he did not believe they were targeted because they were journalists, although there are others in the media community who do hold that view (personally, I don't). They had been deliberately killed as...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Malkin Gets Frank On Record On Eason's Fables

Michelle Malkin gets the scoop of the day by getting Rep. Barney Frank, the firebrand liberal with integrity to spare, to go on the record about Eason Jordan and his comments at the Davos forum: Rep. Frank said Eason Jordan did assert that there was deliberate targeting of journalists by the U.S. military. After Jordan made the statement, Rep. Frank said he immediately "expressed deep skepticism." Jordan backed off (slightly), Rep. Frank said, "explaining that he wasn't saying it was the policy of the American military to target journalists, but that there may have been individual cases where they were targeted by younger personnel who were not properly disciplined." Rep. Frank said he didn't pay attention to the audience reaction at the time of the panel, but recalled that Sen. Dodd was "somewhat disturbed" and "somewhat exercised" and that moderator David Gergen also said Jordan's assertions were "disturbing if true."...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Will Kurtz Talk About Eason's Fables?

Howard Kurtz is in the middle of conducting his hour-long Media Backtalk live chat session. I and a number of CQ readers submitted questions on Eason's Fables. Will Kurtz break the silence? So far (11:23 CT), he hasn't. UPDATE: 11:34 -- Still nothing. He's talking about the use of anonymous sources instead. UPDATE II: Kurtz apparently refused to answer our questions. He's not the independent voice I thought he was. However, I have it on good authority that a major-city broadsheet is working on an Eason's Fables story. I'll let you know more later. UPDATE III: Will Collier tells it like it is: Anybody here believe that Kurtz didn't receive a single question about Easongate today? I sure don't--I sent half a dozen of them myself. You're a coward, Howard. Your silence, your outright stonewalling in failing to even mention a developing story about one of your bosses isn't just...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason's Fables: Demand Congressional Hearings Now

We are now finding out that the source for the promised videotape of the Davos forum where Eason Jordan alleged that the US military targeted journalists for assassination may never be released. Sisyphus, who originally got WEF official Mark Adams to promise its release, now says that it may be against the rules for that particular forum: He warned me that the session WAS under "Chatham House Rule". This means that after finding the tape, he needs to get a policy decision about making it publicly available, as that would violate the Rule. I have arranged to speak with him again 5:00AM EST tomorrow to check if the tape has been unpacked and if there has been a policy decision. Rebecca MacKinnon has more to say about the rules at Davos: On and Off the Record Policy for AM 2005 All plenary sessions are fully on the record. All sessions...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Open Letter To My Congressional Representatives

This is the message I am sending to both Minnesota senators and my Congressional representative in response to Eason's Fables, urging public hearings into Eason Jordan's allegations. I encourage you to send something similar or even identical to your representatives as well. CNN executive Eason Jordan has on two occasions in the past four months accused the US military of targeting journalists for torture and murder. In a November 2004 News Xchange forum in Portugal, Mr. Jordan said the following (quoted by the British newspaper The Guardian): Eason Jordan, chief news executive at CNN, said there had been only a "limited amount of progress", despite repeated meetings between news organisations and the US authorities." "Actions speak louder than words. The reality is that at least 10 journalists have been killed by the US military, and according to reports I believe to be true journalists have been arrested and tortured by...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Malkin Gets Gergen On Record On Eason's Fables

Michelle Malkin scores coup #2 this afternoon with an interview of David Gergen, one of the forum moderators at Davos and the one who reportedly shut down the debate after Eason Jordan accused the US military of deliberately targeting journalists for assassination. Gergen verifies what Barney Frank, Rony Arbovitz, and Rebecca MacKinnon have already said about Jordan's comments: First, Gergen confirmed that Eason Jordan did in fact initially assert that journalists in Iraq had been targeted by military "on both sides." Gergen, who has known Jordan for some 20 years, told me Jordan "realized as soon as the words had left his mouth that he had gone too far" and "walked himself back." Gergen said as soon as he heard the assertion that journalists had been deliberately targeted, "I was startled. It's contrary to history, which is so far the other way. Our troops have gone out of their way...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason's Fables To Break Into Mainstream Media

I have it on good authority that New York Sun reporter Roderick Boyd will publish a story on Eason's Fables in tomorrow's edition. Keep your eye on the morning edition. Mickey Kaus also reports that Howard Kurtz's long-awaited piece on Eason's Fables will run tomorrow. Kurtz is none too pleased with Mickey's needling about CNN keeping Kurtz's gonads in a safe at an undisclosed Atlanta location -- but after that pathetic performance in today's Media Backtalk chat, Kurtz has it coming in spades. UPDATE: Rodger Morrow notes that another witness has come forward to back up Rony Arbovitz's account of Eason's Fables at Davos. The original was in French, but Mick Stockinger translated it to English: It must be said that Eason Jordan, one of the star journalists of CNN, didn't mince words in declaring that the intentions of journalist in Iraq were never perceived as neutral and were made...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Kurtz Sticks To Davos, Ignores Other Eason's Fables

The Washington Post article on Eason Jordan by Howard Kurtz is now available. In tomorrow's edition, Kurtz focuses narrowly on Jordan's comments in Davos, allowing him to couch the incident as a perception issue instead of the consistent theme in Eason Jordan's overseas remarks: What CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan said, or didn't say, in Davos, Switzerland, last month has become a burgeoning controversy among bloggers and media critics. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who attended the World Economic Forum panel at which Jordan spoke, recalled yesterday that Jordan said he knew of 12 journalists who were killed by coalition forces in Iraq. At first, said Frank, "it sounded like he was saying it was official military policy to take out journalists." But Jordan later "modified" his remarks to say some U.S. soldiers did this "maybe knowing they were killing journalists, out of anger. . . . He did say...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 8, 2005

New York Sun On Eason's Fables: More Than Kurtz Can Do

Roderick Boyd writes on Eason's Fables in today's New York Sun and manages to scoop Howard Kurtz after working on the story only a few hours. In his report, Boyd discusses all three documented instances of Jordan's accuations agains the US and Israeli military forces and the corroboration of several witnesses at Davos of his latest outrages: The head of CNN's news division, Eason Jordan, ignited an Internet firestorm last week when he told a panel at a World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, that the American military had targeted journalists during operations in Iraq. Mr. Jordan, speaking in a panel discussion titled "Will Democracy Survive the Media?" said "he knew of about 12 journalists who had not only been killed by American troops, but had been targeted as a matter of policy," said Rep. Barney Frank, a Democrat of Massachusetts who was on the panel with Mr. Jordan....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Howard Dean Finally Wins A National Election

Howard Dean finally manages to win a nationwide Democratic election, although he had to have everyone else drop out of the race first to do it. The New York Times reports that Dean is the last man standing for DNC chair after Rep. Tim Roemer dropped out: Timothy J. Roemer, the last of Howard Dean's rivals in the race for Democratic national chairman, dropped out on Monday, assuring Dr. Dean of victory. Mr. Roemer, a former congressman from Indiana, had been backed by the House Democratic leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, and had staked out a position as the most conservative alternative to Dr. Dean. Roemer didn't leave the race quietly, however: But as he dropped out Monday, he stood his ground. He said Democrats had allowed President Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, to define the party's abortion politics, and called on Democratic leaders to become more inclusive. "Some...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Will We See The Palestinian Triangle Play Again?

The Israelis and the Palestinians will declare a formal cease-fire at their upcoming summit, ABC News reports, but a familiar tone comes from Hamas in response: Israeli and Palestinian leaders announced late Monday that they would declare the formal end to more than four years of fighting during the summit in this Egyptian resort. It was the clearest indication yet of momentum following Yasser Arafat's death, the election of a new Palestinian leader and a signal from the White House that it plans a renewed push for peace. "The most important thing at the summit will be a mutual declaration of cessation of violence against each other," said Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian negotiator. Erekat said the agreement also includes the establishment of joint committees one to determine criteria for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, and the other to oversee the gradual withdrawal of Israeli forces from...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

No Video Will Be Forthcoming

Mark Adams at the World Economic Forum in Davos has now decided not to release the videotape of the conference in which Eason Jordan accused the US military of assassinating and torturing journalists. Adams claims that no one contacted him to urge him to keep the tape private. I find it interesting -- and highly telling -- that no one from CNN contacted him to ask for its release. Do you think CNN could have gotten the tape released? I sure do. Why do think they want it kept private?...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Sistani: No Shari'a Need Apply

Contrary to the desperate analyses from Western journalists that have appeared almost daily since the Iraqi elections, the most influential Shi'ite cleric does not want an imposition of Shari'a law. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani instead wants the government to follow parliamentary processes to codify a new direction for the world's newest democracy: A spokesman for Iraq's most influential Shia cleric has denied reports that the cleric is demanding that Islam be the country's sole source of law. Hamed Khafaf said Ayatollah Ali Sistani believes Iraq's new constitution should respect what he described as the Islamic cultural identity of Iraqis. ... In Ayatollah Sistani's view, his spokesman went on to say, it was up to the elected representatives of the people in the new National Assembly to decide the details. Mr Khafaf said the ayatollah had approved the current wording of Iraq's interim constitution, which states that Islam is a source...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason's Fables Not An Isolated Incident For CNN

Slublog's Peter Cook, who has done some remarkable sleuthing on the Eason's Fables scandal, finds out that Eason Jordan isn't the only CNN executive that spreads rumors about deliberate targeting of journalists for death by US military forces. Chris Cramer, who Jordan hired away from the BBC as CNN International's managing director, gave this speech in November 2003 to the International News Safety Institute (INSI) meeting in Budapest. Towards the end of the speech, he recommends a particular book for the journalists, Dying to Tell the Story by Nik Grower: I want to commend to you the very sad, very traumatic and very important book which INSI has backed from the start. It’s a first of its kind. A detailed tribute to each and every one of our colleagues who died or went missing. Important contributions from the freelance community. From the security industry. From Nik Gowing on the worrying...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason's Fables On Hugh Hewitt Tonight!

The Northern Alliance will take over Hugh Hewitt's nationally-syndicated radio show tonight! The guys from Fraters Libertas will team up with Mitch Berg from Shot In The Dark for the first two hours, and then Mitch and I will talk to Bill Roggio from Easongate.com in the third hour and take your calls on Eason's Fables. Be sure to tune us in -- and if you don't get Hugh's show in your area, check out his website for links to Internet streaming. Don't miss a minute of it!...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason's Fables -- As Told By Chris Cramer

CQ reader Ex-Democrat notes another incident of Chris Cramer echoing the allegations of his boss, Eason Jordan, in overseas settings. In a September 2004 interview with Businessworld India, Cramer spoke about the dangers that journalists face while covering conflict (emphases mine): But the profession is in trouble. Around the world, there is scepticism about journalists. Some even want them killed. This year more than 60 journalists have died in Iraq and we are just into August. Hilariously, Cramer in the very next excerpt describes exactly why CNN and the mainstream media is in so much trouble, while remaining clueless to the irony: There is no alchemy involved in accessing news. People can find it themselves. So what you offer them is your version. Plus, the Hutton Enquiry and some incidents in the US show bad journalism. So trust is down. Talk about foreshadowing; this comment came from Cramer in August...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

IBD: Time For Jordan To Eason Down The Road, And Other Quick Links

Investor's Business Daily has an editorial in their issue tomorrow which calls for the firing of Eason Jordan, CNN's embattled chief. As the new blog Easongate notes, this appears to show that the momentum continues to build for a day of reckoning for Jordan, rather than the free pass he got after his 2003 admission of selling out to Saddam: Speaking last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jordan made an arresting charge. He claimed the U.S. military, while pacifying Iraq, had targeted both American and foreign journalists. ... That's when the bloggers stepped in, including some who were actually there. Then master blogger Hugh Hewitt took up the case. Soon the blogosphere was electric with outrage over Jordan's irresponsible charge. Now there's an easongate.com, tracking the scandal's every fact, every claim, every angle, and demanding CNN come clean. Why "scandal"? Jordan was spouting outrageous charges with...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 9, 2005

Note To Jordan And Cramer: This Is What Targeting Journalists Looks Like

CNN executives Eason Jordan and Chris Cramer have repeatedly stated in overseas venues that the US and Israeli military have a policy of targeting journalists for death or torture. Today's news provides the two with a real example of assassination: Gunmen killed an Iraqi journalist working for a U.S.-funded television station and his son as they left their home Wednesday in the southern city of Basra, an Iraqi official said. Abdul Hussein al-Basri, correspondent of Al-Hurra, and his son were both killed in the Maqal area of Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, said Nazim al Moussawi, a spokesman for the local government administration. Launched in February 2004 Al-Hurra, or The Free, was tailored for Arab audiences to compete with other regional stations like Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya. Some Muslim clerics have denounced the TV station as propaganda. You might expect Jordan and Cramer to jump all over this story, especially...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Mark Steyn: Europe Still On Wrong Side Of History

Mark Steyn, columnist extraordinaire for the Chicago Sun-Times and a number of other publications around the world, puts his erudition to savagely funny use in today's London Telegraph. Using the quirky story of an avalanche survivor as an apt analogy, Steyn perfectly describes the European response to Bush's expansion of democracy ... and gives a new context for the term 'European' as well: I was very moved by the story of Mr Richard Kral, a Slovak gentleman found staggering drunk down a snowy trail a few days back. He'd been motoring through the Tatra Mountains in his Audi when he got buried by an avalanche. Opening the window and frantically clawing at the snow, he grasped that he couldn't dig his way out faster than the white stuff would come into the car and bury him. So he looked around and his eye fell on the 60 half-litre bottles of...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Palestinian Triangle Offense At The Ready; WaPo Gets The Assist

As I predicted yesterday, the Palestinian triumvirate of terror still holds open their normal triangle strategy of using cease-fires as a cover for more violence, as key terrorist groups in the West Bank and Gaza Strip refused to endorse the informal truce announced yesterday at Sharm el-Sheikh by Mahmoud Abbas and Ariel Sharon. Hamas in particular went out of its way to inform the world that they will not feel bound by the latest Israeli-Palestinian agreement: Officials from each side said the success of Tuesday's agreements depends on the other side meeting its obligations. For Abbas, that means persuading guerrillas to stop attacks on Israelis and ensuring that Palestinian security agencies work to help prevent such attacks. For Sharon, it means an end to assassinations of militants, military incursions into Palestinian cities and destruction of Palestinians' homes. But while Abbas committed the Palestinian Authority to refrain from violence, the two...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Long History Of Hostility Towards Military By CNNi Executive

Chris Cramer, managing editor of CNN's International news division and a chief lieutenant of Eason Jordan, has made similar allegations about the military targeting journalists as his boss, as outlined here earlier and on Slublog. Alert CQ reader David D remembered Cramer from a famous hostage-rescue case in London in 1980, and pointed the way to other inflammatory comments Cramer made towards the men who rescued the hostages. On April 11, 1980, six armed Iranians opposed to the rule of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini invaded the Iranian embassy in London, taking everyone inside hostage for a six-day siege. Two of the hostages were BBC reporter Chris Cramer and his partner and soundman, Sim Harris: The hostages were mainly Iranian embassy staff, but also included a number of tourists and two BBC employees - journalist Chris Cramer and sound recordist Sim Harris - who had stopped by to pick up visas....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Nik Gowing, The Philosophical Guru Of Eason Jordan And Chris Cramer

The Baron did more investigating of Nik Gowing, whose book Dying To Tell The Story appears to have prompted Eason Jordan and Chris Cramer, executives at CNN, to issue multiple unsubstantiated allegations of deliberate targeting by US and Israeli militaries of journalists in war zones as policy. Baron found this sample from the book, a lengthy essay written by Gowing to summarize the arguments he presents. From the start, Gowing makes clear that he has no intention of using temperate rhetoric to make his case: There is a growing fear in our business that some governments especially the most militarily sophisticated like the US and Israel are sanctioning the active targeting of journalists in war zones in order to shut down what we are there to do to bear witness and report what they are doing. The fear is that an apparent culture of impunity by at...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Beating A Very Brave Retreat -- Again

Brave Sir Dayton has again beat a very brave retreat from Washington DC, this time in a metaphoric sense, as he abruptly announced that he will not seek re-election in 2006, more than eighteen months away: Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., said today that he will not run for re-election in 2006. Dayton made the announcement this afternoon in a telephone conference call with reporters. "I do not believe that I am the best candidate to lead the DFL Party to victory next year,'' Dayton said. No kidding. Even the DFL has started to come around to that realization. Late last month, Dayton's approval rating in the always-generous Minnesota Poll retreated faster than Dayton himself last October from DC. He lost 15 points, even among Democrats and their Twin Cities power base. His positive rating came in five points below what George Bush had just received in the last election in...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason's Fables On Fox News (Updated!)

CQ reader Jim W informs me that Brit Hume spent five minutes on Fox's prime-time news broadcast covering Eason's Fables, bringing the subject up for the second night in a row. Hume had Mort Kondracke, Mara Liasson, and Charles Krauthammer batting Jordan around, and Jim reports the general gist of it: Kondracke, no sympathy -- opener and money quote -- "Jordan doesn't have tenure coverage like Churchill." Liasson, largely negative on Jordan Krauthammer demolishes Jordan Hume doesn't offer Jordan any way out Kondracke closes comments and accentuates the negative conclusion Jim: "All mentioned the Liberal records of Frank and Dodd, that they were extremely upset by the coments and that '...they don't lie.'" As soon as I see a transcript on this, I'll review it. Right now we're standing in for Hugh Hewitt's radio show, and we'll be touching on this again tonight! UPDATE: Johnny Dollar's Place has a transcript...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Scarborough: Eason Jordan Should Be Fired

Joe Scarborough weighed in on Eason's Fables for the first time on his blog after making it a featured topic on his show earlier. Scarborough calls for Eason Jordan to either name names and present the evidence for his allegations, or get fired by CNN: There is a cancer growing at CNN, and it's time it got cut out. It's time for the real deal. ... One of the top news executives in America spent his time before some of the most influential people on the planet telling them that American men and women deliberately targeted journalists for assassination. Democratic Congressman Barney Frank told Michelle Malkin that after Jordan made the statements, he was so troubled that he tried to get specific examples from Jordan. But Jordan refused to provide an ounce of proof to support his outrageous charge. I'm delighted to see Scarborough quote Michelle Malkin, who has led...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Northern Alliance Featured On Local News

Our local NBC affiliate included the Northern Alliance Radio gang in a news feature for its broadcast tonight on bloggers in general. Rocket Man and Big Trunk get lots of interview time, along with a few other local bloggers, and we get a couple of moments in the booth doing our radio show (filmed three weeks ago or so). It's actually a good, balanced piece on blogging in general, one that won't insult your intelligence. If you don't live in the Twin Cities or you missed it, the entire piece can be viewed on the KARE-11 website....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 10, 2005

Townhall Outdoes WSJ On Eason's Fables

Unlike the Wall Street Journal, where an editor witnessed Eason Jordan's Davos commentary and waited two weeks to issue a dismissive report, Townhall remains on top of all developments in the Eason's Fables scandal. Today, Marvin Olasky contrasts the wan efforts of Bret Stephens by checking Lexis-Nexis instead of Google and discovering a strange imbalance in media response to journalistic scandal: In January and early February, four American journalists came under fire to various degrees, as indicated by the number of Lexis-Nexis mentions during the month beginning Jan. 8: Armstrong Williams, 1,133; Maggie Gallagher, 238; Michael McManus, 43; Eason Jordan, 12. ... Bloggers have reported the story extensively, often accusing Jordan of giving aid and comfort to terrorists and their appeasers. This is the type of story that's harder to cover than one in which dollars clearly change hands, but it may be a more subtle form of bribery. Fox...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

The Big Me Celebrates Alone

Bill Clinton opened his presidential library to great fanfare, with a big media splash and predictions of how it would draw large numbers of people eager to relive the supposedly heady days of light and magic of his presidency. So far, the Washington Times reports, those predictions have gone bust, with one notable exception: Although the library originally said it had drawn more than 100,000 visitors in the first six weeks of its opening, the National Archives and Records Administration, which operates the library, told U.S. News & World Report that only 42,045 visitors actually paid the $7 to enter. The rest of the visitors were VIPs, journalists and other nonpaying guests. Although Clinton supporters predicted that 50,000 persons would attend the star-studded Nov. 18 dedication, where actors Tom Hanks and Brad Pitt mingled with the locals, the true number was closer to 20,000, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Miami Herald Introduces Its Readers To Eason's Fables

The news about Eason Jordan's remarks at Davos continues to break into the mainstream news media, and not just in the op-ed sections to which it had been limited. Today, the Miami Herald covers the story in its TV section, explaining how bloggers can work in positive ways to bring news to light (via La Shawn Barber at Easongate): Abovitz's account of remarks he heard from Eason Jordan, CNN's chief news executive, during a panel discussion at an economic conference in Switzerland have not only rocketed around the Internet, but triggered fierce attacks on CNN from mainstream media critics. They've also touched off another major credibility crisis for television news, still reeling from the scandal over a botched preelection CBS report on President Bush's military service. And they've demonstrated the new power of the independent Internet diaries known as Web logs, or blogs. Jordan's remarks -- which he says were...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

North Koreans Admit Having Nukes

In an announcement that surprises no one, the North Koreans told the world that they have built nuclear weapons and plan on keeping them, on order to keep the "freedom and democracy" that their subject have "chosen" alive from the dangers of the Bush administration: "We ... have manufactured nukes for self-defense to cope with the Bush administration's ever more undisguised policy to isolate and stifle the (North)," the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. ... North Korea's "nuclear weapons will remain (a) nuclear deterrent for self-defense under any circumstances," the ministry said. It said Washington's alleged attempt to topple the North's regime "compels us to take a measure to bolster its nuclear weapons arsenal in order to protect the ideology, system, freedom and democracy chosen by its people." The AP reports that the Kim regime had admitted in private...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

WSJ Several Days Late And A Few Bricks Short

Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal writes an odd little entry in the Eason's Fables sweepstakes that finally seems to have gathered some media interest. Stephens witnessed Jordan's commentary at Davos and confirms what Rony Arbovitz, Rebecca MacKinnon, and Justin Vaisse reported about Jordan's slanders. However, Stephens doesn't bother to name any of them and treats the entire issue as a tempest in a teapot: By chance, I was in the audience of the World Economic Forum's panel discussion where Mr. Jordan spoke. What happened was this: Mr. Jordan observed that of the 60-odd journalists killed in Iraq, 12 had been targeted and killed by coalition forces. He then offered a story of an unnamed Al-Jazeera journalist who had been "tortured for weeks" at Abu Ghraib, made to eat his shoes, and called "Al-Jazeera boy" by his American captors. Here Rep. Barney Frank, also a member of the panel,...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason Jordan's Flimsy Journalistic Ethics

Dread Pundit Bluto notes today that Eason Jordan's utter silence on the withheld videotape from the Davos forum not only strongly suggests that he has lied about his statements at the WEF forum, but that his journalistic ethics demonstrate a remarkable elasticity. In 2002, CNN aired excerpts of an Osama bin Laden interview conducted by al-Jazeera, which caused the Arabian broadcaster to threaten their partnership with CNN. Eason Jordan took the opportunity to school AJ on the niceties of journalistic practice: "It's a shame that it came to that," CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan said, "but once the tape came into our hands, it would have been journalistically irresponsible to ignore it." ... "I think Al-Jazeera has some tough questions to answer" as to why it never made the tape public, Jordan said. What a difference proximity makes! Now we have Eason Jordan on videotape, pontificating about journalist safety...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Triangle Play Opening?

It didn't take long for the Palestinians to live down to my predictions. While I had expected a few days for the newly-minted cease-fire to settle in, Hamas had already set a major mortar attack into action. The Jerusalem Post reports on the hail of mortars and Kassam rockets that hit Israeli targets in Gaza: At least twenty-five mortar shells and Kassam rockets have landed on Gaza Strip settlements since 2:00 a.m. Thursday, hitting settlements in Gush Katif, southern Gaza, and northern Gaza, according to the IDF. ... Meanwhile, the settlers are claiming a total of 38 Kassam rockets and mortar shells have been fired at settlements. ... No wounded have been reported, but early Thursday damage was caused to one building and to the electrical system in one of the settlements. The Abbas government couldn't even hold a truce for twenty-four hours without Hamas demonstrating its power to disrupt...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Conflict Of Interest At The WSJ

Bret Stephens, who wrote a Wall Street Journal piece on Eason Jordan that mildly criticized his "defamatory innuendo" but suggested that his critics were in the middle of a meltdown, may have his own ethical issues to face. Stephens failed to disclose his own connections to the World Economic Forum and his access through an affiliated, exclusive club when he wrote his critique on l'affaire Eason earlier, according to the Dinocrat: Bret Stephens apparently did not see the significance of Eason Jordans comments, which were merely a defamatory innuendo, served up by the lower classes ... Was he just a clueless reporter on the wrong beat? Hardly. Mr. Stephens says this in his WSJ piece: By chance, I was in the audience of the World Economic Forums panel discussion where Mr. Jordan spoke. Well, whether he was in that particular audience by chance is not the story. Stephens has a...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hewitt Vs. Beinart -- The Thrilla In Minneapolilla

What a great night for AM 1280 The Patriot, its fans, the Northern Alliance, and Hugh Hewitt and Peter Beinart! The long-awaited debate between Hewitt and Beinart finally took place tonight at the Downtown Minneapolis Hilton, where the guests enjoyed a delicious chicken dinner and the substitute radio stylings of the Northern Alliance gang of knuckleheads, filling in for Hugh for the third straight night. In fact, we wound up scarfing our dinners down after we finished the show so we could give our full attention to the debate, excellently and humorously moderated by our own Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson from Power Line. Who won? I give Peter full marks for bravery; as I complimented him after the show, I think he did as well as he could in a personally friendly but politically hostile environment. I have to give Peter full marks for passion and eloquence, and he scored...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Gray Lady Kurtzes On Eason's Fables

The New York Times finally mentions Eason's Fables, although it appears only in a wire-service report that gives Times readers the Kurtz treatment. The AP reports on CNN's statement explaining that Eason Jordan feels misunderstood, although he accepts responsibility for the problem: Despite comments that may have left a different impression, CNN's chief news executive said Thursday that he does not believe the U.S. military intended to kill journalists in the Iraq war. ... CNN said that Jordan was responding to a comment made by another panelist that journalists killed in Iraq were collateral damage. He had intended to draw a distinction between reporters killed because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when a bomb fell, for example, and those killed because someone mistook them for the enemy, CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson said on Thursday. However, Jordan did a poor job saying so, she...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 11, 2005

After Further Deliberation, Jimmy Carter Endorses Democracy

After a presidency where he kept demonstrating his ineptitude on foreign policy, and a post-presidential career of personal diplomacy that has without exception proved disastrous to the United States, you would expect that Jimmy Carter would have learned that he has no particular talent for international politics. Finally, some light must have shown through, as Carter now acknowledges that he was dead wrong on Iraq's elections: Former President Jimmy Carter, who predicted that elections in Iraq would fail and in the past year described the Bush administration's policy there as a quagmire, this week ended 10 days of silence to declare the historic Iraqi vote "a very successful effort." "I hope that we'll have every success in Iraq," Mr. Carter said in a CNN interview. "And that election, I think, was a surprisingly good step forward." The Nobel Peace Prize winner's comments on Wednesday contradicted his September assertion that the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

The Party Of "He's Touching Me, Mommy!"

The Democrats managed to reach a nadir in their fight to remain relevant yesterday when a group of senators demanded that President Bush force the GOP to abandon politics and leave their poor Minority Leader alone. Chuck Shumer announced that Bush faced a "new Democratic Party," one that apparently endorses the repeal of the First Amendment: Senate Democrats demanded Thursday that President Bush order a halt to personal attacks on the party's leader, Sen. Harry Reid, and expressed regret that they had failed to mount a stronger defense for his defeated predecessor. "This is a new Democratic Party," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said at a news conference called to release a letter telling Bush to muzzle his "political operatives." "It says to the president, `You will not intimidate us'," said Schumer, who likened the attacks on Reid to political knee-cappings. This kind of petulant whining, dressed up as muscular politics,...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Jay Rosen Continues His Critical Look At Eason's Fables

Jay Rosen continued to look into the media coverage and blog swarming on Eason's Fables in a post from last night, in which he debates the need for the level of attention the blogs have given the issue. Jay remains something of an EF agnostic, but he gathers an impressive collection of thought from both sides for his Pressthink blog. One point in which he links to CQ is the status of Bret Stephens in the story's timeline. Roddy Boyd gave Stephens credit for breaking the story in Boyd's piece for the New York Sun, but Jay disagrees: Bret Stephens put the news in an e-mail newsletter available by subscription from the Wall Street Journal, the Political Diary. It is not on the Web. The Sun reporter was incorrect: The Diary is not a blog. You cannot link to it. It comes to your IN box if you pay the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Brave Sir Robin Cries About Politics To The AP

Mark Dayton gave an interview to the AP which clarified his reasons for declining a run at re-election in 2006. Dayton confirmed that he has no stomach for the grind of the same kind of politics he displayed in Condoleezza Rice's confirmation debate last month, and would rather quit and go home rather than defend his record: Sen. Mark Dayton said Friday his low poll numbers and an expectation of vicious political attacks were factors in his decision not to seek re-election next year. "I certainly was not looking forward to the likelihood that on November 7, 2006, 99 percent of the people of Minnesota would think less well of me than they do now," Dayton said in an interview with The Associated Press. "There's no question the Republican strategy is to destroy you personally in order to defeat you politically." ... Dayton said that last month's poll by the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Washington Times: CNN "Stonewalling"

In one of the most scathing editorials from a broadsheet on Eason's Fables so far, the Washington Times called CNN's silence on Eason Jordan's Davos commentary unacceptable. The Times calls for CNN to demand the release of the forum's videotape and stop stonewalling: There's also the unfortunate fact that Mr. Jordan has already changed his story. Initially, he said he was taken out of context. But when several accounts of his comments, including Mr. Frank's, suggested otherwise, Mr. Jordan said he hadn't been clear and that his subsequent retreat was in fact a clarification. As blogger Jim Geraghty has observed, these conflicting accounts suggest that someone here is being untruthful. Without a transcript of the discussion, it's a matter of "he said, she said." There is a video, however, which the World Economic Forum has refused to release. It's interesting to note, then, who's calling for the video's release: among...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Pondering Blogs At The Pioneer Press

Craig Westover reports today on a meeting between Hugh Hewitt and the editors of our other local broadsheet, the Pioneer Press. Hugh continues to press for the expansion of the blogosphere into a true partnership with mainstream media by breaking down the walls between the two: It was an informal discussion with a very specific agenda -- What is the best way to integrate the concept of blogs and blogging into the structure of the Pioneer Press? How might the Pioneer Press move forward to incorporate the new media within its current business model? How can the Opinion Page today, take advantage of the talent and resources available in the existing Minnesota blogging community? ... Clearly, blogs are not viewed by the Pioneer Press as the enemy. There is recognition that both the medium of the blog and the bloggers employing the medium are potential assets for the Pioneer Press....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

CQ On The Air Today

I'm on the air right now, talking with Kevin McCullough about Eason's Fables. If you miss my interview, you can pick it up on Kevin's stream, as it will replay several times over the next 24 hours. Kevin is one of the few people in the media that really understands the blogosphere and what it means for information dissemination, plus he's just a great guy and a fun interviewer. Be sure to check it out!...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

The Moral Of Eason's Fables (Updated!)

CNN announced the resignation of Eason Jordan this evening as CNN's chief news executive, sending "shock waves" through the news organization as the blogosphere has imposed accountability on the mainstream media: CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan resigned Friday, saying the controversy over his remarks about the deaths of journalists in Iraq threatened to tarnish the network he helped build. Jordan conceded that his remarks at the January 27 World Economic Forum were "not as clear as they should have been." Several participants at the event said Jordan told the audience U.S. forces had deliberately targeted journalists -- a charge he denied. ... The resignation sent shock waves through CNN -- with Jordan long admired by his peers, from executives to the rank-and-file. Jordan joined CNN as an assistant assignment editor in 1982 and rose through the ranks to become CNN's chief news executive. The moral of the story: the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Crossing The Jordan: What Comes Next After Eason Gets Eased Out?

Now that CNN has solved its Eason Jordan problem, at least for the moment, the next question we must ask is who takes his place. One of the candidates for Jordan's job, especially considering the importance of its international service, has to be Chris Cramer, currently president of CNN International. Jordan lured Cramer away from the BBC several years ago, and judging from Cramer's public statements, a shared revulsion of Western militaries formed part of the mutual attraction. Cramer may receive less scrutiny than Jordan, but his track record looks remarkably similar. Several instances appear in my CNN category. For instance, Cramer gave this speech to the International News Safety Institute in November 2003, recommending in emotional terms a book by Nik Gowing called Dying To Tell The Story, a book which alleges a deliberate policy of assassinating journalists by the US military as a means of removing accountability from...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Kurtz Still Doesn't Cover The Whole Story

Not even the resignation of Eason Jordan will deter Howard Kurtz from minimizing the importance of his Davos remarks and ignoring Jordan's earlier slanders altogether. Kurtz reacts to Jordan's exit with yet another "misunderstanding" over the Davos forum effort, this time enlisting David Gergen to carry his water (via Michelle Malkin and La Shawn Barber): Gergen said last night that Jordan's resignation was "really sad" since he had quickly backed off his original comments. "This is too high a price to pay for someone who has given so much of himself over 20 years. And he's brought down over a single mistake because people beat up on him in the blogosphere? They went after him because he is a symbol of a network seen as too liberal by some. They saw blood in the water." Note to Kurtz and Gergen -- please review these remarks, made by Eason Jordan last...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

When We Know We've Changed The World

Chris Muir defines victory for the blogosphere: In the words of Michael Ledeen -- faster, please! And don't forget to read Day By Day every day -- Chris never has an off "Day"....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 12, 2005

The LA Times Finally Covers Eason's Fables

The readers of the Los Angeles Times finally got informed of Eason's Fables this morning, only after the two weeks of outrage in the blogosphere and later in the mass-media punditry forced him to resign. I wonder what LA Times readers thought when they read this: Eason Jordan, CNN's chief news executive, who led much of the network's war coverage, resigned late Friday in the wake of contentious comments he recently made about journalists killed by U.S. troops in Iraq. During a Jan. 27 panel discussion in Davos, Switzerland, Jordan alleged that some reporters and cameramen killed in the combat zones had, in fact, been targeted, according to some observers in the audience. The World Economic Forum, which sponsored the panel discussion, has declined to release the transcript or videotape of the off-the-record session, which was titled "Will Democracy Survive the Media?" In a statement Jordan sent to his staff...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Big Three Network Coverage Of Eason Jordan's Resignation (Cue Crickets)

More than fourteen hours after the resignation of CNN's chief news executive Eason Jordan for his unsubstantiated allegations of deliberate murder and torture against journalists by the US military, I decided to check if the Big Three broadcast networks had finally decided to cover the story. The result disappoints but does not surprise me at all. At MS-NBC, the only reporting of Jordan's resignation is provided by the same Associated Press report first published thirteen hours ago. MS-NBC does give the link a prominent spot on its home page, however, while at ABC a reader has to do a search to find another, later AP report by David Bauder. Both reports omit any mention of Jordan's earlier comments in Portugal in 2004, or the comments made about Israel in 2002, or even Jordan's own admission that he had sold out to Saddam, an admission made in 2003 only after Saddam...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Northern Alliance Really Is On The Air ...

... but we're having technical problems with our stream, which we're trying to correct shortly. This problem is separate from the one we're having with our domain, so keep checking back here and trying our stream. We think it's almost fixed! UPDATE: We have our equipment on line, but we're not sure if we're getting out on the stream. Any luck out there?...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Benon Sevan Blocked UN Audits: Volcker

In an interview with the Associated Press, UNSCAM investigator Paul Volcker took aim squarely at OFF program chief Benon Sevan, claiming that Sevan used his office to severely restrict auditors who could have caught the corruption in the $64 billion program: The U.N. oil-for-food program chief under scrutiny for alleged corruption and mismanagement blocked a proposed audit of his office around the same time he's accused of soliciting lucrative oil deals from Iraq, according to investigators. A U.N. auditing team, which was severely understaffed, said running the $64 billion oil-for-food program was "a high risk activity" and a priority for review. But Benon Sevan denied the internal auditors' request to hire a consultant to examine his office in May 2001 an act top investigators of the program are now calling into question. "I think the auditors thought they were steered away from some areas," Paul Volcker, who's leading the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 13, 2005

CQ Correction: Jordan Not WEF Board Member

I received two e-mails this morning in response to my characterization of Eason Jordan as a board member of the World Economic Forum, from CQ readers Alan Speakman and Gerry Ashley. Both questioned the post after double-checking my sources and expressing support for my work, so I took that quite seriously -- and found out that I had indeed mixed up the bio provided by the World Economic Forum for Eason Jordan. Here's what the bio reads: Personal Profile: Studies in Journalism, Georgia State Univ. Formerly, Assignment Editor, WXIA-TV, Atlanta; Radio News Correspondent, WGIG and WSBI, Brunswick. 1982, joined CNN: Asst Assignment Editor, national desk and later international assignment desk helping oversee CNN's coverage of the Falklands War and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon; 1989, appointed to direct CNN's international news coverage; 1995 took on the added responsibility of overseeing the CNNI television network; 1995-1997, Exec. VP, Newsgathering and International...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason's New Fable: Martyrdom

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes its first look at Eason's Fables, and instead of actually investigating what the bloggers found out about Eason Jordan's pattern of attacking US and Israeli military forces, the AJC instead paints Jordan as the victim of a witch hunt. Matt Kempner paints a love note to Jordan on the eve of Valentine's Day and does a disservice to the AJC's readers by covering up the worst of Jordan's allegations (via Michelle Malkin, registration required for AJC article): A quiet man who helped turn the upstart network into a power that could outhustle big broadcast news, he was undone by his own words and the aggressiveness of another upstart news venue: Internet blogs. Pummeled online and more gradually on TV and in newspapers Jordan resigned Friday after a growing storm over comments he made about U.S. troops during a Jan. 27 panel discussion at the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Howard Kurtz Continues Kurtzing Eason's Fables

As the harbinger of the mainstream media treatment of the Eason Jordan scandal, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz continues to wear blinders to the overall context of Jordan's slanderous accusations. In his review of three blogosphere-related oustings over the past week, Kurtz again reports on Eason's Fables only in the narrowest sense, ignoring the other similar incidents that infuriated the blogosphere: In the case of Jordan, a 23-year CNN veteran, it was a single online posting by technology executive Rony Abovitz, after Jordan's ill-fated comments at an off-the-record forum Jan. 27 in Davos, Switzerland, that led to his downfall. The lesson, say media analysts: In the digital age, anyone can be a journalist. After Jordan told the forum that the U.S. military had targeted journalists -- and then backed away from the charge, though to what degree is very much in dispute -- he granted an interview only to...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Iraq's Democracy Yields Shared Power

The elections held in Iraq last month have resulted in a parliament where no one faction gained a majority, meaning that a legislative coalition will have to form in order to select the executives of the new Iraqi government. The Iraqi turnout amounted to 8.5 million votes, close to the estimates of 60% that came after the polls closed: The Shiites likely will have to form a coalition in the 275-member National Assembly with the other top vote-getters the Kurds and Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's list to push through their agenda and select a president and prime minister. The president and two vice presidents must be elected by a two-thirds majority. ... The Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance ticket received 4,075,295 votes, or about 48 percent of the total cast, Iraqi election officials said. The Kurdistan Alliance, a coalition of two main Kurdish factions, was second with 2,175,551 votes,...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Live-Blogging Reliable Sources

Howard Kurtz has a round-table on Eason's Fables on right now, and he has David Gergen, Bill Press, and Jeff Jarvis on to discuss the issue. I wasn't going to comment until it was over, but it's so ridiculous I have to live-blog it. 10:37 - Bill Press says that if General Mattis made similar remarks, no one would have cared. Is he out of his mind? 10:39 - Jeff Jarvis hotly disputes the notion that the blogosphere is a lynch mob. All we are, he said, are citizen journalists demanding the truth. 10:41 - Now they're talking about the Gannon/Guckert non-story. I note that Jeff tried to bring up Jordan's "history", but he got cut off by Howard Kurtz. I don't know if Jeff meant the other statements in 2004 and 2002 or his admission of selling out to Saddam in 2003. 10:45 - Kurtz cuts this short so...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Patterico Goes To The Kennel

Patterico, noted blogosphere critic of the Los Angeles Times, goes into enemy territory to deliver a measured and sensible criticism of the trade's method of handling corrections: Has anyone ever said something about you that wasn't true? Something that, if people believed it, would significantly damage your reputation? How would you feel if you saw that falsehood printed on the front page of the Los Angeles Times? Would it make things right if the paper later retracted the false statement with a brief correction buried inside the paper? For some, this is not a hypothetical question. Just ask L. Paul Bremer III, Antonin Scalia or the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. ... Each of these false assertions damaged someone's reputation, and each ran on the front page of the L.A. Times. In each case, The Times later ran a small correction inside the paper alongside corrections of trivial...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Prayers Needed! Pancreas Found!

We got great news -- the transplant team has found a good pancreas for the First Mate. This pancreas has a five-antigen match for Marcia (six would be an identical-twin match, and two is usually good enough for transplant). The procurement team in South Carolina says the pancreas looks "absolutely normal", according to the transplant team here, and we were first on the list. Please add Marcia to your prayers, and include the family of the donor and his/her generous soul as well. I will be hospiblogging for the next several days if this all works out well, and I promise regular updates....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hospiblogging, Part 1

We're here at the hospital, where the First Mate has checked in and rests comfortably in a private room -- a rare treat at the Fairview University Medical Center. We're waiting for some pre-op tests to begin, like EKGs and perhaps an X-ray prior to surgery. The doctor told us that a 10 PM surgical time is a possibility, but that it may more likely be tomorrow morning before the transplant. If that's the case, I may elect to get a cot and stay overnight; we have freezing rain up here and I don't think I'd like to chance the drive home and then back again early in the morning. I tried connecting to the U's wireless network, but the reception was too dicey in the room. Fortunately, a NetSurf signal comes in strong, so I signed up for a month's access to their network. It goes for $29.95 per...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

WEF: The Tapes Will Never Be Released

A CQ reader, Bekarach, contacted the World Economic Forum's Mark Adams about releasing the Davos forum videotape of Eason Jordan. Adams, head of media at the WEF, responded that Jordan's resignation effectively closes the issue of releasing the video: Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2005 7:45 AM Subject: Re: Query - Will WEF release videotape/transcript Eason Jordan? Firstly, apologies for not getting back to you earlier - I rather unwisely took a holiday after Davos, so havent been in the office 100 percent. As you can appreciate we have to operate too under very strict rules regarding the Annual Meeting, and such a situation has never before arisen in 35 years of successful meetings at Davos. More than half of the sessions that take place at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos are 'workshops' and interactive sessions, as was the case for the session attended by Mr Jordan. All...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

NYT: What Drove The Eason's Fables Blogswarm?

Yesterday afternoon, I spoke with New York Times reporter David Gallagher about the blogswarm surrounding the remarks made by Eason Jordan at the World Economic Forum in Davos. We spent the better part of an hour discussing the controversy itself and the blogosphere's reaction, and Gallagher asked some tough but fair questions about my response. The interview forms part of the NYT's look at the implications of the blogswarm coming out in tomorrow's edition: With the resignation Friday of a top news executive from CNN, bloggers have laid claim to a prominent media career for the second time in five months. In September, conservative bloggers exposed flaws in a report by Dan Rather; he subsequently announced that on March 9 he would step down as anchor of the "CBS Evening News." On Friday, after nearly two weeks of intensifying pressure on the Internet, Eason Jordan, the chief news executive at...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hospiblogging, Part 2

Short update: First Mate is feeling fine, and all indications are that she's healthy enough for the surgery. They will most likely do the transplant tomorrow, not tonight, as it's getting kind of late now (11:28 PM CT). Look for an update early tomorrow morning. I will spend the night here at the hospital, if I can get a bed or recliner in which to sleep....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 14, 2005

Hospiblogging, Part 3: The Adventure Begins

Okay, so it officially began about a half-hour ago. I spent the night here at the hospital, and believe me, that's quite a trick. I managed a little sleep while the First Mate got next to nothing. At 6 am, the nurses came in and quickly prepped her for a 7 am surgical schedule, and God bless 'em, they did it courteously and with great care. We wheeled Marcia down to pre-op, where we played the usual game of Hurry Up And Wait. 7:00 turned to 7:30, which turned to 8:00, and so on. They finally got her rolling towards the OR at 8:40 or so. She felt pretty nauseous thanks to the pre-op medications they gave her, but overall her spirits were good. After that, I dragged myself up for a quick breakfast -- the food at the cafeteria is actually not too bad here -- and a much-needed...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Michelle Malkin Takes On The Lynch-Mob Meme

Michelle Malkin, who is a CQ favorite as most of you know for many reasons, takes on the weekend's "lynch-mob" meme that the mainstream media is using for its Eason Jordan coverage. In today's New York Post, Michelle pulls no punches in telling the media elite that they have lost their monopoly on information, and that they fail to recognize real journalism when they see it: The resignation of CNN executive Eason Jordan last Friday night caused near-fainting spells in the journalism world. And now the backlash against the blogosphere the legions of Internet citizen journalists who pressured Jordan to come clean about controversial remarks he made at a World Economic Forum panel in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 27 has begun. Take Bertrand Pecquerie, director of the World Editors Forum, the organization for editors within the World Association of Newspapers, please. Mourning Jordan's decision to step down, Pecquerie...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Mom, Dad -- It's All Your Fault (Updated!)

I get plenty of e-mail every day, and while I can't respond to each and every piece -- it would take me all day -- I do read it all. Often, people send me tips or suggestions, offer constructive criticism, and occasionally correct my grammar. I also seem to be fairly famous among the families of ex-Nigerian potentates, for some reason. However, every once in a while, I get e-mail that falls into the ridiculous category, messages that spew bile instead of rational thought. What these mouthbreathers think they accomplish in sending this is beyond me, but for your amusement, I present to you Jerry M. Landay: Dear "Captain:" Your "title," a monument to monumental self-infatuation, is the tip-off to the nature of the loudmouth mentality that issues from the politico-narcissists who are now mis-identified as "conservatives." There is n o t h i n g "conservative" about you brown-shirts....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hospiblogging, Part 4: All Systems Go

Just wanted to update everyone -- the First Mate is out of surgery and in recovery now, and the transplant looks like a big success. The surgery lasted a little over four hours and the doctors are quite pleased with the results. It will take until tomorrow to be sure that the pancreas is working, but they expect full function. I'll post more after I see her, and again, I appreciate all of your messages of support and hope. My friends David and Margaret spent the tough couple of hours keeping my spirits up and buying me lunch, and all of that really gets me through a long, long day. More later!...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

More Payola?

Howard Kurtz reveals that not all pundit-payola comes from inside the Beltway. In his lead entry for today's Media Notes, Kurtz reports that the Democrats have paid advocacy journalists who failed to reveal their funding: Eric Wesson, a columnist for the Call, an African American newspaper in Kansas City, offered plenty of praise last year for the successful House bid of Democrat Emanuel Cleaver. "Rev. Cleaver," he wrote, "has the experience to get things done and getting people to work together, he unites people. . . . Rev. Cleaver is a master at getting others to see his vision and surrounding himself with role players to make the vision become a reality. . . . I admire his honesty." Cleaver's campaign last summer paid $1,500 to a firm called One Goal Consultants. And the sole owner of One Goal Consultants, according to state records, is Wesson. "I wrote out some...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

The WSJ Disappoints (Update: More Conflicts?)

Normally, I read the OpinionJournal every day, although I rarely link to it; I agree with most of what they write and don't have much to add. Imagine my surprise, then, this morning when they not only clearly demonstrate that they learned nothing from the Eason Jordan debacle, but also attack the bloggers who participated in holding him accountable for his actions. In their unsigned editorial, the WSJ lashes out at CQ and the rest of the blogosphere for driving Jordan out of his job: By now, everyone on the Good Ship Earth knows that this particular story ended Friday with Mr. Jordan's abrupt resignation from CNN. This has certain pundits chirping delightedly. It has been a particular satisfaction to the right wing of the so-called "blogosphere," the community of writers on the Web that has pushed the Eason story relentlessly and sees it as the natural sequel to the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hospiblogging, Part 5: The Eagle Has Landed

Don't you just love these dramatic headlines? The First Mate has just arrived at her room, and needless to say, she's way out of it. However, in speaking with the nurse, I found out that she's stable, her kidney function is excellent, and her blood sugar remains at a normal 114 -- without any post-surgical insulin whatsoever. It looks like a great indication of transplant success. I'll be leaving shortly, as she won't be waking up any time soon from either the anaesthesia or just normal sleep from exhaustion. I'll check in with her nurses tonight from home and stop by on my way to work tomorrow. Today ... was a great day, folks. Thank you for all your prayers and kind thoughts. NOTE: I had to post this when I got home, as my wireless connection disappeared around 4:30 PM or so. UPDATE: Many thanks to Glenn, as well...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Geraghty Points Out Portugal On PBS

Thanks to a phone tip I received from a family member, I found out that Jim Geraghty of the National Review's TKS blog appeared on Jim Lehrer's NewsHour on PBS. While an official transcript has not been made available, the new Google video service has this from the closed-captioning of NewsHour (emphasis mine): at 52 minutes Are there bloggers whose motivation is really to attract attention to themselvess? >> [Jim Geraghty:] Like I said there are a lot of bloggers out there. I wouldn't doubt that there are some who thought this is a great way to attention to get traffic to my blog. I can't buy into this argument that this is one slip of the Tongue. At a conference in Portugal last fall he said that several journalists were taken to the Abu ghraib prison complex and tortured there. If he's got this kind of evidence for these...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Philly Salutes Cop-Killer's French Defenders

I missed this story over the weekend, but the Environmental Republican and Michelle Malkin have called attention to it today. Philadelphia deputy director of commerce Mjenzi Traylor used the mayor's office to welcome a delegation of French politicians and activists seeking the release of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, and gave them ... liberty bells? French politicians and activists seeking a new trial and freedom for convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal were welcomed in a Friday rally at City Hall and given replicas of the Liberty Bell. Mjenzi Traylor, the city's first deputy director of commerce, told the crowd of about 150 that he was there to "make certain that we are receiving the message that you would like for us to deliver to Mayor Street." Maureen Faulkner, the widow of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, later called that greeting an "absolute outrage." In what had to be a lesson in...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hospiblogging, Part 6: Remote Hospiblog

One last update for tonight, before I crash out for the evening. I just got off the phone with the nurse's station at the hospital, and the First Mate is still doing well. Her blood pressure is up a bit, which is rather normal for her. Her blood sugar is still normal at 108, with still no post-operative insulin. The pancreas looks like it's working well, and everyone is delighted with the results. Hugh Hewitt had me on his show earlier tonight, after I called Duane to see if he wanted me for the Eason's Fables coverage. Hugh knew that I had been at the hospital since yesterday evening and wanted to give me a break from the story tonight, but I always have such a blast on his show, and quite frankly I needed the distraction. After making sure that I initiated the request, Hugh brought me on, and...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason Jordan vs Jeff Gannon: Partisan Grudge Match?

Mark Follman takes me to task for going hard after the Eason Jordan story while ignoring the Jeff Gannon controversy in today's War Room at Salon (annoying ad watch or subscription required). Follman calls me "high-riding" while noting my lack of commentary on Gannon/Guckert's outing by the port side of the blogosphere. It's a charge I'm starting to hear over and over again in my e-mail -- if you're dedicated to truth and justice, why don't you cover X, Y, Z? First off, I'm not a newspaper, and unlike Follman and others at Salon, I don't get to do this as a full-time job. In fact, apart from the blogads and the tip jar, I don't get much money from my enterprise. I have to work for a living, and so the time I spend on reading and researching articles is necessarily limited. I choose to spend that time on...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 15, 2005

Kojo And Benan About To Star In Senate Investigation

The Washington Times reports this morning that the Senate investigation into the Oil-For-Food program led by Norm Coleman will highlight much more active roles for Kojo Annan and Benon Sevan in the corruption than Paul Volcker's interim report suggested. Annan played a more significant role with Cotecna than Volcker reported: Kojo Annan, the son of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, played a far more extensive role than previously revealed in a company that won a key contract under the scandal-plagued Iraq oil-for-food program, Senate investigators have learned. ... Cotecna, the Switzerland-based firm that employed Kojo Annan as a consultant, won a major contract to inspect oil-for-food shipments in late 1998. The company never disclosed the younger Mr. Annan's relationship in the bidding for the contract, and has insisted that his work was restricted to two African countries and never dealt with Iraq. But Mr. Annan, in a letter to Cotecna executives...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

A Closer Look At Bret Stephens

After the revelation that Bret Stephens used the Wall Street Journal's unsigned-editorial slot to issue an institutional (and anonymous) defense of his own work yesterday -- one that raised a firestorm of opposition among OpinionJournal.com readers -- CQ reader Dianne sent me some background on Stephens that may explain some of the issues at the WSJ. Joel Leyden wrote a valediction for Stephens for the Israel News Agency on the announcement of his departure from the Jerusalem Post (emphases mine): I have also heard the adage: "don't kiss and tell" and my father once told me "don't ever bad mouth anyone you ever worked with." And we all know that cops don't rat on cops and journalists don't bash journalists. It's a standing rule for which I am now breaking. As a "disgruntled former employee" I can talk, my colleagues at the Post cannot - due to fear. Fear of...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Washington Times: Salivating Morons Trump Media Elites -- Again

The Washington Times runs two opinion pieces in today's edition on the media reaction to Eason's Fables and the bloggers who pushed the story to the surface. First, in its unsigned editorial, the Times scolds the Wall Street Journal for its reaction to bloggers and their role: Add "salivating morons" to the mainstream media's growing canon of stupid things to say about the ever-vigilant bloggers. Steve Lovelady, managing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, the self-styled flagship of journalism, said this in the fallout of CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan's resignation on Friday: "The salivating morons who make up the lynch mob prevail." Add also, as loath as we are to do so, the Wall Street Journal's editorial comment from yesterday that professional journalism, of which it proclaims membership, is much better than "the enthusiasms and vendettas of amateurs." ... Throughout the "kerfuffle," we have attempted to keep our...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hospiblogging, Day 2: Still On Track

I had a chance to spend a little time with the First Mate this morning before running to the office to catch up on some project work and make sure the building still stands. She was weak but alert this morning, and the staff at the hospital tell me they're very pleased with her progress. Because of the post-op steroids she received, her blood sugar levels went up a bit after I left, so she's on an insulin drip. However, this is a normal procedure after any pancreas transplant, and her blood sugars never exceeded 150. Normally, steroids would have sent her BGL into the stratosphere, into the 400s or even 500s. Her kidney functions look normal and her blood pressure has been very good, despite the excess fluid from the surgery. She's not feeling especially chipper, but I plan on reading to her a selection of the many messages...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Iraqi Sunnis Finally Get The Hint

The British newspaper The Guardian reported earlier today that the Sunni hardliners who called for a boycott of the January elections have now admitted the move was a mistake. Rory Carroll confirms that Sunni leaders now want to support the new democratic processes and hope that the new government will reach out to them as a result: Iraq's Arab Sunnis will do a U-turn and join the political process despite their lack of representation in the newly elected national assembly, Sunni leaders said yesterday. ... All three blocs have promised to reach out to the Sunnis, who comprise a fifth of the population but won just a handful of seats because of low turnouts in their areas. This will soon be tested as parties forge alliances and tussle for government posts, including that of prime minister and president. Secular Sunni leaders yesterday accepted the victors' invitation to participate, potentially draining...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hospiblogging, Day 2, Part 2: All Quiet

I arrived here about an hour ago from work, after checking in with the nurses from my office. They told me that the First Mate spent some time sitting up and stretching out and that her blood sugars have been terrific. However, by the time I got out here -- after having walked a roommate through a minor housekeeping emergency back at the house -- Marcia mostly wants to sleep. So I'm sitting in the room, taking a few minutes to work on a column offered to me by a national publication and just keeping an eye on her. She's looking better every time I see her, and she's been conversing with me today. She's not strong enough to take phone calls and she doesn't want visitors at all besides me, but she responds well to my jokes (she's the only one who laughs at them anyway) and she wants...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 16, 2005

CBS News Faces Legal Nightmare

The New York Observer reports this morning that CBS may be facing the nightmare it hoped most to avoid. Three of the four people pushed out the door as a result of the fraudulent TexANG documents used by CBS in an attempt to smear George Bush and tilt the presidential election have not only not resigned from the news division, but at least one of them has threatened a lawsuit, complete with subpoenas and full discovery. The prospect clearly has CBS rattled and stuck in limbo while they try desperately to negotiate the trio's exits: Five weeks later, the crisis is not yet behind Mr. Moonves. And far from resolving the problem of the networks credibility, the independent report commissioned by CBS appears instead to be leading to a confrontation, with defenders of both the ousted CBS staffers involved in the debacle and top CBS management asserting two different truths...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

What's The Point?

The port side of the blogosphere has crowed over their outing of a conservative hack reporter that managed to get day passes to White House briefings. Jeff Gannon, the nom de plume of Jeff Guckert, worked until recently for Talon News, a tiny conservative outfit that hired Gannon without doing much checking into his background -- much to their recent chagrin. Leftists such as those at Americablog have focused on Guckert's sexuality to shame him out of the briefing room, a strange McCarthyite tactic for those who claim that all sexual matters should remain private. Now Men's Wear Daily reports on Russell Mokhiber, an associate of Ralph Nader and a political activist, who also manages to get White House daily passes and styles himself a journalist, despite representing no news agency whatsoever: The media watch-group Accuracy in Media charged today that a liberal activist and associate of Ralph Nader has...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Who Killed Rafik Hariri?

Rami Khouri attempts to make sense of the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, in a massive carbombing on Monday. Unfortunately, as Khouri notes, the Byzantine nature of Lebanese politics after a generation of domination by the Syrians creates a number of possible suspects, most of whom will work overtime to frame one or more of the others: The assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a massive bombing in central Beirut on Monday sends a loud and deadly message - but the nature, origin, destination and intent of the message all remain painfully unclear to many observers. What is crystal clear, though, is that this crime will send out important political ripples in at least three dimensions. The two most immediate dimensions are internal Lebanese politics and the Syrian-Lebanese relationship. The third dimension is the relationship between Syria and external powers - the U.S. and...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Brent Bozell Slams The "Lynch-Mob" Meme

L. Brent Bozell writes about the blogswarm surrounding Eason's Fables in today's National Ledger, and he slams Eason Jordan for his unprofessionalism and compares CNN to Richard Nixon's White House. Bozell also castigates the media that ignores the central facts up to the present day, and cites CQ and myself as an authority: If these charges were true, they would make Abu Ghraib's naked pyramids pale by comparison. But they were wild and reckless accusations, which explains Jordan's subsequent, furious backpedaling and denials. Still, it begs the question: Why would a man whose profession and expertise was "newsgathering" make such wild charges without evidence? ... But then Jordan and CNN added to the outrage by refusing any attempts to release a transcript or videotape of the off-the-record panel discussion. What a spectacle: a news outlet always championing the public's "right to know" and crusading for "full disclosure" clamping down like...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Michael Jackson Gets Close To Children Again

Normally I wouldn't comment on singer Michael Jackson, but this post at La Shawn Barber's has me mystified. Apparently Jackson took ill this morning on his way to court and had to be hospitalized -- and Marian Medical Center had just the spot for him: I just got off the telephone with WMAL anchor Michelle Basch, who confirms that Jackson is staying on the same floor as the Pediatrics Unit. Hes staying their supposedly because its the most isolated area at Marian Medical Center. Oh, the irony is disgusting! Whose bright idea is storing Jackson in isolation with children? Why not just lock up Courtney Love at the Pfizer Laboratories while we're at it?...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hospiblogging, Day 3: Up And About

I'm at the hospital today and plan to stick around here most of the day, as the First Mate is much more alert -- and more uncomfortable as a result. She's sitting up in a chair right now, reminding me to keep all of you updated on her progress, in fact. (Now you know the real reason I blog -- she makes me do it.) Marcia wants to get the digestive system working again so they can take out the stomach tube they have in for her medications. The best way to do that is to get up and move around, and she's about to walk about a bit for the first time. More later!...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

UN Oil Inspector Took Bribe, Came Cheap

CNN reports that the Senate investigation into the Oil-For-Food scandal has unearthed evidence that at least one UN oil inspector was on the take. Armando Carlos Oliveira worked for Saybolt, one of OFF's main contractors, and put over $100,000 of illicit payoffs in his pocket while allowing Saddam's regime to smuggle oil out the door: The Senate Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released documents alleging that the inspector for Saybolt, a Dutch company hired to monitor approved Iraqi oil shipments from 1996 to 2003, enabled Saddam's regime to sell $9 million worth of oil outside the program. "We have found disturbing evidence that one of the U.N. oil monitors -- the individuals hired by the U.N. to inspect the oil exports from Iraq under the OFF Program -- took a bribe," said subcommittee chairman Norm Coleman, a Minnesota Republican. Coleman named Armando Carlos Oliveira, 46, a Portuguese national, as...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Democracy In Action Clueless About CNN's Operations?

I just received a hilarious e-mail from Danny Schechter at Democracy in Action, which wants to alert me to the vast conspiracy by Fox News to discredit CNN by attacking Eason Jordan. This mass e-mail has so many holes and fallacies in its arguments that it's hard to know where to begin -- but I'll just start at the top: Dear Media for Democracy Member, Er, no. Not that I mind seeing what they produce, but I'm not a member, nor have I subscribed to any of their services. CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan quit late last week amid a furor over remarks he allegedly made about American soldiers intentionally killing journalists in Iraq. Allegedly? Even Jordan admitted making the remarks; he just claimed that people in attendance misinterpreted them. Eight different witnesses verified Rony Arbovitz, including Rep. Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd, hardly members of the Vast...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

UN Inspectors Drinking On The Job: Telegraph

In a further demonstration of the folly of a UN sanctions regime that key nations undermined and UN management corrupted, the London Telegraph reports on allegations from a former Cotecna inspector that his fellow front-line co-workers often drank on the job and rarely did any work to stop the smuggling: UN inspectors in Iraq spent their working hours drinking vodka while ignoring a shadowy nocturnal fleet believed to be smuggling goods for Saddam Hussein, a former senior inspector told the US Senate yesterday. In a move that provoked fury from officials of the Swiss firm Cotecna, an Australian former inspector detailed a picture of incompetence, indifference and drunkeness among the men acting as the frontline for UN sanctions. Yeah, that box containing Saddam certainly kept him honest, didn't it? Speaking of honesty, Arthur Ventham gave it out in spades to the Senate panel investigating the OFF corruption. He talked about...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Media Notes, Bret Stephens Update And Correction

Hugh Hewitt will have the Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens as a guest during the show's first hour to discuss the Eason Jordan scandal and the WSJ's response to it. I've been critical of both the response and of Bret Stephens, so I definitely want to hear what he has to say -- and as a long-time fan of the WSJ/OpinionJournal, I'm bringing an open mind. So should we all ... Power Line and CQ reader Vayapaso point out that Tony Snow, one of the nicest gentlemen I had the good fortune of meeting at the Republican National Convention, has been diagnosed with colon cancer. Please send him your best wishes and prayers at tonysnow@aol.com. We'll add him to our prayer list as well. UPDATE: Hugh posts his thoughts on his initial talk with Bret Stephens, and reading down through his site, I also see that Hugh's retracting his reporting...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hariri Funeral Unites Lebanese Factions -- Against Syria

Whether or not Syria plotted the carbombing that killed Rafik Hariri, the popular former prime minister who became a uniting force for Lebanon, his murder has generated a fierce anger that has created nationalistic outrage directed at Lebanon's longtime occupier: Sunni marched with Shia, and Druze with Christian, as the factions that slaughtered each other in the 1975-1990 civil war paid their respects as one. West Beirut's alleyways echoed to the wailing of mourners as Mr Hariri's funeral cortege snaked through crowds, showered with rice thrown in tribute from balconies. Sheikhs and smart business executives, trendy teenagers and frail pensioners all massed together. Christian church bells rang out and muezzins called from mosques as the cortege approached Mr Hariri's last resting place - a grave outside the vast, new Mohammed al-Amin mosque which towers over Martyrs' Square. ... While anti-Syria slogans were chanted by thousands who blamed Damascus for the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

The Party Of Media Silence

Howard Dean started his reign as Democratic National Committee chair in style today -- silent-movie style, that is. Dean demanded a media blackout of a debate he held with Pentagon advisor Richard Perle, much to Perle's surprise: "DNC Chair Howard Dean has declared a news blackout of his appearance and requested the media not quote, record, and/or paraphrase his remarks," event coordinator Gabrielle Williams wrote in an e-mail sent to news agencies Wednesday morning. "We apologize for the late notice, but we were just informed of this request." Less than two hours later, Williams called to say: "We were told just a few minutes ago that it is now open" for media coverage. The decision to open Thursday's debate came roughly 30 minutes after an inquiry by The Associated Press. What gives, Chairman Dean? Perhaps a bit of reluctance to face the press from the new head of the Democratic...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 17, 2005

Timeswarm On Guckert?

In an effort reminiscent of Howell Raines' vendetta against the Augusta Masters Tournament, the New York Times editorial board appears to be on the verge of initiating a "Timeswarm", having its columnists focus on one target as a cause celebre. In this case, however, the target hardly justifies the puffery it receives and the Times' disproportional coverage calls into question its media blackout on the Eason Jordan affair. Both Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd, in an odd coincidence, write columns on the national danger that Jeff Gannon/James Guckert represents. Guckert, you'll recall, worked for Talon News (under the nom de plume "Jeff Gannon"), a small-time and lightly regarded news service owned by a Republican donor and party activist. Whether or not Talon can be described as a "real" news service gets debated rather lukewarmly by people on either side of the issue, which lets one know exactly how seriously it...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

EU Won't Recognize Hezbollah As Terrorist Group

The New York Times reports today that the European Union has resisted the Bush administration's efforts to get long-time terror group Hezbollah recognized as such in order to cut off its overseas funding. In a further indication of EU weakness on confronting terror, so-called "Old Europe" nations, especially France, want to open dialogue with the masters of Iranian terror efforts in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East: As rising instability in Lebanon increases tensions in the Middle East, the Bush administration is arguing with European governments over whether they should designate the Lebanon-based Shiite group Hezbollah a terrorist organization, American and European officials say. The United States is already stepping up pressure on Iran and Syria, Hezbollah's main sponsors. The American rift with Syria deepened this week, with suspicions that Syria might have been behind the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister in Beirut on Monday. ... In the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

An Anachronism That Only Government Could Save

Two major dailies today note the resignation of PBS president Pat Mitchell and the precarious state of the government-run television service. The New York Times and Los Angeles Times both note the question of relevance for PBS and how difficulties in getting outside resources force it to play politics to stay alive: It was no accident that PBS found itself turning to Elmo, the popular "Sesame Street" character, to lobby on Capitol Hill this week. There were not many options. Public television is suffering from an identity crisis, executives inside the Public Broadcasting Service and outsiders say, and it goes far deeper than the announcement by Pat Mitchell that she would step down next year as the beleaguered network's president. ... "The biggest problem we've got is the structure we've got," Alberto Ibarguen, the chairman of PBS and the publisher of The Miami Herald, said in an interview yesterday. "It...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

A Love Note Or An Olive Branch?

Peggy Noonan issues a love note to the blogosphere in today's WSJ/OpinionJournal, one that appears to intend either a counterpoint to the two successive dismissals issued by WSJ editors this past week or as an olive branch: When you hear name-calling like what we've been hearing from the elite media this week, you know someone must be doing something right. The hysterical edge makes you wonder if writers for newspapers and magazines and professors in J-schools don't have a serious case of freedom envy. The bloggers have that freedom. They have the still pent-up energy of a liberated citizenry, too. The MSM doesn't. It has lost its old monopoly on information. It is angry. But MSM criticism of the blogosphere misses the point, or rather points. Blogging changes how business is done in American journalism. The MSM isn't over. It just can no longer pose as if it is The...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Democrat's Main Money Man Funded Lynne Stewart Defense

Yesterday, New York state GOP chairman Steven Minarik made a stupid remark about the Democrats being the party of "Barbara Boxer, Lynne Stewart and Howard Dean,", as if the entire party could be characterized by the recently convicted terrorist abetter Stewart, who passed operational messages from Sheikh Abdel Rahman to his followers. DNC chair Howard Dean called on Minarik to apologize or resign, and Gov. George Pataki rightfully called Minarik's remarks outside the "realm of appropriate political discourse." However, National Review's Byron York reveals today that the main money man for the Democrats in last year's election cycle, George Soros, partially funded Lynne Stewart's criminal defense, raising questions of propriety and political damage to the candidates Soros once backed: Billionaire financier George Soros, whose opposition to President Bush's conduct of the war on terror caused him to pour millions of dollars into the effort to defeat the president, made a...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hospiblogging, Day 4: Good Progress

Sorry for the lack of posts about the First Mate so far today. I've been at work most of the day, and as soon as I got to the hospital, I had a teleconference that I needed to complete (good stuff, too!). The First Mate is doing very well. She's now walking without too much assistance, except for the normal sighted-guide routine. Her blood sugars are still in the low 100s, but they have kept the insulin drip going to make sure it stays that way, which is normal. A couple of tubes have been removed, but not the stomach tube yet. That can't come out until her digestive system reawakens from the anaesthesia, and walking around will help that out. Today she seems much more herself than the past three days, smiling and conversing in her normal voice (as normal a voice one can have with a tube up...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Eason's Fable At The Weekly Standard

The Weekly Standard has published my column on the mass-media response to the Eason Jordan controversy, titled "Eason's Fable", on their Daily Standard website. Jonathan Last asked me to write a brief look at the media (non)reaction to the blogswarm that resulted in Jordan's resignation, and I wound up writing something on the order of War and Peace -- you've seen my posts, you know what I mean. Jonathan expertly trimmed it to readable length, and I'm quite grateful for his confidence in me and his editorial expertise. I've used my own notes to reconstruct the timeline of events showing the almost-total abdication of news organizations from the story and how Jordan's abrupt exit left them panicking for an explanation: FOR TWO WEEKS Eason Jordan has been engulfed in a blogswarm. During remarks at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the now-former CNN executive accused the U.S. military of deliberately...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Beinart Can't Buy A Clue At TNR

Peter Beinart takes a break from the book he's writing to pen a column for The New Republic on Bush's emphasis on democracy as his second-term theme, and how liberals need to counter it with rhetoric of their own. Peter is a very nice and earnest young man, but he frequently gets his assumptions incorrect, and this column provides a clear example. As the blog Nationals Review points out, Beinart uses an assumption about John Kerry that is demonstrably false as a support for the rest of his argument about liberal enthusiasm for democratization as foreign policy: Bush's second inaugural doesn't challenge liberals at the level of policy; it challenges them at the level of rhetoric. And, unless they respond in kind, they'll experience the same fate that befell John Kerry. In policy terms, Kerry probably had a more serious democratization agenda than Bush. But, rhetorically, he never matched Bush's...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Scandal! Captain Ed's Past Comes Back To Haunt Him

I just KNEW that my higher profile would result in embarassing revelations about my past. Now I have heard that my (former) blog associate Peter Cook at Slublog has unearthed photographic evidence of a shameful period in my life. The worst part of this, of course, is that Hugh Hewitt is the studliest-looking guy in the entire group ... UPDATE: Okay, it's established that I have the "coolest hat", and that I gave lousy directions to the baseball bat-bearing thugs. Keep checking the windows, Peter ......

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 18, 2005

Outsmarting Themselves

Defense attorneys for accused terrorist funder Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad, a Yemeni sheikh thought to be one of Osama bin Laden's spiritual advisors, may have outsmarted themselves yesterday. Prosecutors in the case attempting to convict al-Moayad of conspiring to funnel money to al-Qaeda dropped one of their key witnesses to the case when he set himself on fire in front of the White House three months ago, protesting his handling by the government, and had to drop some charges from the indictment as a result. Instead of counting their blessings, however, the defense called Mohammed Alanssi in a bid to show that investigators used an unstable crook to set up al-Moayad. Big mistake: Defiant, still obviously bitter about his treatment by government agents and expressing entitlement to millions he has not been paid, the Yemeni-born Mr. Alanssi said he deserved money for the risks he took in helping America fight...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Jack Kelly: Bloggers Aren't The McCarthyites In Eason's Fables

Jack Kelly wrote an impressive column three days ago for the Jewish World Review that I missed. He addressed the mass-media spin on Eason's Fables as a McCarthyite witch hunt perpetrated by a bunch of overzealous wannabes. Kelly points out that the real McCarthyite lost his job as a result of the journalism he once represented: Web loggers who criticized Jordan are "sons of Sen. McCarthy," said Bertrand Pecquerie, director of the World Editors Forum. "It is very worrying to see this marriage between self-proclaimed citizens' media and mainstream journalists' scalp hunters," he said. ... Pecquerie and Lovelady have their allegations of "McCarthyism" backward. Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis) became famous in the 1950s for making hysterical and (mostly) unfounded accusations that individuals in the State department and the Army were secret communists. It was Jordan who made hysterical and unfounded accusations against the U.S. military, and it is "mainstream" journalists...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Our Friends, The Russians

Russian president Vladimir Putin has declared that the Iranian mullahs don't want nuclear weapons and plans to help them build the nuclear reactor at Buhsher, according to a Reuters report this morning: Putin's defense of Iran, where Russia is building a nuclear power plant, comes in the face of U.S. concerns that Tehran could be using Russian know-how to covertly build a nuclear weapon. "The latest steps by Iran convince Russia that Iran indeed does not intend to produce nuclear weapons and we will continue to develop relations in all sectors, including peaceful atomic energy," Putin told Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rohani. "We hope Iran will strictly stick to all agreements with Russia or the international community," Putin said at the start of talks with Rohani at the Kremlin. Bush may need to re-evalute his relationship with Putin after these developments. Putin has increasingly become more autocratic, dismantling key...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

CPAC Bloggers Under Sail

I wish I could have attended the CPAC conference this weekend; I was asked if I wanted to apply for a credential, and after the great time I had at the Republican National Convention, I normally would have jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, we have a major project going on this winter at the office -- I have a *real* job, after all -- and even if that didn't come up, the First Mate's surgery would have scuttled the trip. However, you can read all of the excellent bloggers who gave up their weekends to cover the event at the CPAC aggregate blog, set up by the ever-resourceful Kevin Aylward of Wizbang! Today, Michelle Malkin is scheduled to appear, and I'm sure that will have the bloggers posting like crazy. La Shawn Barber is photoblogging, too!...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hospiblogging, Day 5: It Spreads!

Hospiblogging, unfortunately, appears to be contagious. Glenn Reynolds is hospiblogging today, as his wife has to undergo some testing and treatment for a possible heart condition. No doubt you've already read this at Instapundit, but please join me in prayers and best wishes to Glenn's wife. I spoke with the First Mate by phone this morning, and she seems to be doing well. She had a restless night, but she's got the pain under control and she'll sleep through some of the medications she takes today. I'm about to head out the door to have breakfast with her before I go to work for a while for some critical meetings. I should have an update later today. UPDATE, 10:45 PM: My mom came in for a weekend visit, something planned two months ago or more, and we visited the First Mate at the hospital. Marcia had less energy today, thanks...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

North Korea Backing Down Again?

North Korea has a history of making provocative and disruptive statements and then retreating when their opponents refuse to back down. After declaring itself a nuclear power earlier, despite never having conducted an N-weapon test, North Korea outright rejected any notion of returning to the six-nation talks that the US demands. However, faced with US adamance on multination diplomacy and a diplomatic shrug on its nuclear declaration, North Korea tonight suddenly retreated on diplomacy: North Korea will return to six-party talks on its nuclear program if the United States pledges to stay out of Pyongyang's "domestic affairs" -- a prospect that could lead to the two nations becoming "friends," North Korea's envoy to the United Nations told a South Korean newspaper for Saturday's editions. Last week, North Korea said it had no intention of returning to the negotiating table and declared that the nation already has nuclear weapons and is...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 19, 2005

Hezbollah Sticks Up For Syrian Occupiers

The terrorist group Hezbollah, or "political party" according to the French, warned their Lebanese countrymen to stop criticizing their Syrian partners or face another outbreak of civil war: Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Saturday that popular agitation against Syria's grip on Lebanon after the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri could plunge the country back into civil war. ... "Today we are responsible for a nation that came out of the civil war ... but we face acute problems, especially this year and in the past few months," the black-turbaned cleric declared. "As Lebanese, we have no choice for remedying our crises and problems except to discuss and meet, even if we are angry and tense," he said. "We must not repeat the mistakes of the past." Hezbollah has reason to worry that any civil war sparked by anti-Syrian sentiment will necessarily wind up as Hezbollah vs. The Rest...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

More Cheney Rumormongering

World Net Daily reports on rumors supposedly floating around DC -- again -- that Dick Cheney will step down from his position in order to allow Condoleezza Rice to replace him as Vice President. The rumor has Cheney resigning due to his health sometime next year and Rice replacing him in time to build credibility as a presidential candidate for 2008: Vice President Dick Cheney likely will step down next year due to health reasons and be replaced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, according to a report by geopolitical expert Jack Wheeler. On his website, To the Point, Wheeler reports there's a "red-breasted rumor bird" flying around Capitol Hill that has whispered the same thing to most congressional committee chairmen. "We all know that Dick Cheney has been the best vice president of modern times, perhaps in American history," one such chairman told Wheeler. "And we know that he...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Law Of The Sea Treaty -- LOST In The Senate?

The Bush Administration has broken with past conservative precedent and offered support for the controversial Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), a United Nations convention that has hung around for almost a quarter-century after Ronald Reagan scotched it. The American Conservative Union yesterday threatened to make LOST a "litmus test" for conservatives in the 2006 elections if the Senate GOP leadership insisted on ratifying it: Leaders of the conservative movement yesterday openly broke with the Bush administration over the Law of the Sea Treaty, which they say sacrifices U.S. sovereignty. They warned Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, and other members of his party in Congress that their continued backing of the treaty could cost them the support of conservative voters. "The conservative movement is opposed to the Law of the Sea Treaty and to the administration's support of the treaty," American Conservative Union Chairman David A. Keene said...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Happy Anniversary

Eleven years ago today, the First Mate and I got married in our Catholic church in Huntington Beach. We had known each other for over four years and dated on and off for two before tying the knot. The night before had been a blustery, rainy night, and the day afterwards turned into a stormy mess as we made our way to Lake Tahoe for our honeymoon, but our wedding day turned out to be a delightful, sunny day. We had an afternoon wedding and a beautiful reception, which I often call The Most Expensive Dinner I Never Ate. I'm told the food was outstanding, and it certainly looked terrific, but with all the time we spent chatting with the 200 or so guests, we ran out of time to eat more than a couple of bites of it. We had a terrific time dancing and being the center of...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 20, 2005

Marines To Retake Ramadi

Reuters reports this morning that Marines intend on clearing out Ramadi, one of the last cities still controlled by Islamofascist terrorists in Iraq and presumed to be a source of the latest round of terror attacks: U.S. forces launched a major security operation around Ramadi on Sunday, saying they hoped to restore order to a western Iraqi city which has been in rebel hands for much of the past year. Troops from the 1st Marine expeditionary force, backed up by Iraqi security forces, imposed an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in and around the city, 110 km (70 miles) west of Baghdad, as part of what has been dubbed Operation River Blitz. The operation "is designed to target insurgents and terrorists who have attempted to destabilize the Anbar province by terrorizing the populace through wanton acts of violence and intimidation," the U.S. military said in a statement. So far,...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hariri Assassin Traveled Through Syria For Murder: Lebanon

The self-proclaimed suicide bomber of Lebanese statesman Rafik Hariri traveled through Syria from Iraq to get to Lebanon, an investigative judge announced today, providing further circumstantial evidence tying the Assad regime to the political assassination. The London Telegraph also reports that the assassin had open al-Qaeda ties, pointing to an even bigger problem for Damascus: Rachid Mezher, the senior investigator for the Lebanese military tribunal, said that the organisers had been recruited from Islamist groups linked to Syria and operating against the US-led coalition in Iraq. ... Investigators believe that a suicide bomber drove a car laden with explosives into the 60-year-old billionaire's convoy last Monday, killing him and 14 others. Judge Mezher said that a video in which a fanatic called Ahmed Abu Adas said the attack was the work of "Victory and Jihad in Greater Syria", an unknown group, was a genuine claim of responsibility. Abu Adas, 23,...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Kerry Refuses To Leave The Party After It's Over

Anyone who holds dinner parties on a regular basis has experienced the phenomenon of the Guest Who Would Not Leave at least once. Long after all the other attendees have gone home, they continue to pontificate despite the hosts' desire to simply go to bed and start again fresh the next day. Hints don't help, and neither does feigning illness. Only a demonstration of direct will to remove the guest from the defunct event gets the hosts off the hook. So it goes with John Kerry, the final guest to leave the 2004 election party, and the Democrats may have to gather the intestinal fortitude to explain to the Massachusetts Senator that he has to go: Since losing in November, the Massachusetts Democrat has delivered a series of speeches on healthcare, electoral reform and military preparedness. He helped lead the unsuccessful opposition to Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's pick for secretary...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Why Howard Dean Will Cost The Democrats More Elections

The rationale for the DNC's selection of Howard Dean as party chair has been that he "energized their base," driving many new voters into electoral politics and creating a juggernaut for his campaign. Despite his eventual humbling during the primary, the Democrats still want to harness that effort and star quality of Howard Dean to provide energy and momentum for their attempt to reverse three straight election-cycle setbacks. However, as Dan Balz points out in today's Washington Post, the Democrats appear clueless as to how Dean's leadership will affect the party's direction: The bloggers have been busy on the Democratic National Committee Web site since Howard Dean was elected party chairman a week ago. "Paul in OC" and "Steviemo in MN" wrote that they had made their first-ever contributions to the national committee. Someone identified as "J" pleaded with Dean to come to Florida, "home of Baby Bush," to "heal...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Judas Preacher

The New York Times ran an article today based on conversations surreptitiously taped by a one-time preacher for the Assembly of God (according to a Fox News report) between himself and George W. Bush while the latter served as Governor of Texas. Douglas Wead used the tapes to write a book about his one-time friend and also to corroborate a passage that had come under criticism. Wead allowed the Times to listen to selected passages from these tapes, of which according to the Times the President remained unaware until the Times contacted the White House. Now, with no elections in Bush's future, nothing in the tapes released appear to damage him, and in fact show that Bush truly had concerns with the conservative urge to attack gays: Early on, though, Mr. Bush appeared most worried that Christian conservatives would object to his determination not to criticize gay people. "I think...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hospiblogging, Day 7: Looking Good

Just wanted to update everyone on the First Mate's progress. She has been switched to a liquid diet instead of strictly IV intake, and that has proven to be a success. When she had her first broth-and-Jello meal, her blood sugar shot up to 205, but with her last one it went to 140. The pancreas appears to be adjusting itself for its new role, and that adjustment will continue over the next few weeks. The doctors expect Marcia to require small insulin supplements for a couple of weeks after she's released, but that will taper off quickly. She won't come home for at least a couple of days, it appears. They want to see better reaction from her digestive system for one thing, and they also want to continue tracking her labs on an in-patient basis for a while longer. I'm hoping for tomorrow, but it may be Tuesday...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Ireland Names Names -- Big Ones

The Republic of Ireland has had enough of the IRA after its apparent involvement in a multimillion-pound armed robbery. Long averse to involving itself in the affairs of the IRA in Northern Ireland and undermining Sinn Fein's political power in the British-held Ulster province, the Republic's Justice Minister suddenly reversed decades of tradition and publicly named the leaders of the IRA. The leaders consist of the most powerful names in Northern Irish politics and the revelations will seriously damage Sinn Fein credibility in the peace process: Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Fein leaders, were publicly named as members of the IRA's Army Council in an unprecedented move by the Irish government yesterday. The public naming will heap even greater damage on republicans after a week of allegations over IRA involvement in crime. ... Michael McDowell, the Irish justice minister, named Mr Adams, Mr McGuinness and Martin Ferris, the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Did An Arab Senior Bureaucrat Disrupt A Transatlantic Flight?

The London Telegraph reports that a "senior foreign bureaucrat" got drunk on a Virgin Airlines flight from Washington DC to London tonight, fondled women, and exposed himself to the crew and passengers: A senior foreign bureaucrat has been arrested for drunkenness and suspicion of sexual assault on a flight to London. The man was questioned by police after allegedly attempting to grope a female passenger and exposing himself to cabin crew. Other passengers claimed he had consumed "vast quantities" of duty-free alcohol. One female passenger had to be moved from her seat and upgraded to business class after she claimed the man attempted to fondle her. Passengers on the Virgin Atlantic flight, including a party of schoolchildren, watched as cabin crew were forced to grapple with the 55-year-old and escort him to the lavatory, where he is then alleged to have exposed himself. The Telegraph gets no more specific about...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Iraqi Leader Urges Allies To Stay The Course

The leader of the winning Islamic party in last month's Iraq elections urged Tony Blair to keep his troops in Iraq while the nascent indigenous security forces grow and train enough to keep its people safe, the London Telegraph reports tonight: Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who would be the first Shia to be in charge of the Iraqi government, confounded his critics by saying that his country could not maintain order without the help of foreign soldiers. "Iraq's security services need more personnel, training and equipment," he said yesterday. "We need their presence for a certain time till we can depend on ourselves 100 per cent. "There are many people still working for Saddam Hussein, terrorists from outside, and there is still the 'mafia'. Blood is spilled. How would it be if the troops left?" That represents quite a shift for Dr. Jaafari, who ran on a platform that indicated a willingness...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 21, 2005

WaPo Editorial On Campaign Finance: Hair Of The Dog

Today's Washington Post editorial on campaign finance starts out promising, acknowledging that the current system has broken down so badly that -- like a car -- one wonders whether to fix it or junk it altogether. Unfortunately, as with cars, the Post allows its sentimental attachment to thirty years of disastrous post-Watergate government meddling that it opts for more repairs instead of junking the Edsel. Take, for example, their penultimate paragraph and their favorite proposal for "overhauling" campaign-finance rules. And don't forget to bring a map to follow along: The most powerful argument in favor of the current system, or some version of it, is helping less well-funded candidates compete for attention. Two members of the Federal Election Commission, Republican Michael Toner and Democrat Scott Thomas, have proposed raising the primary spending ceiling to as high as $200 million and letting candidates receive as much as $100 million in matching...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Gray Lady Incoherent On Public Broadcasting

The New York Times wrote an editorial on the slow demise of PBS that has to be read to be disbelieved. It argues that Bill Moyers is a centrist and that the problem with this government-financed program is too much accountability and not enough financing: Since its beginnings more than three decades ago, public television has served its audience best as an independent, creative medium, and its goal has been to avoid political and commercial taint. Now, the Public Broadcasting Service, that loose network of 349 public stations, is under assault politically and economically. The need for money to pay for expensive shows has driven it to sell commercial time, and as a result, each year offers less relief from the noisy commercialism on other channels. How can a government program ever be called "independent"? By that measure, Armstrong Williams is an independent voice among the punditry, having been freed...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

John Edwards Won't Defer To Kerry In 2008

Showing that he learned a lesson from Al Gore's backstab of Joe Lieberman in the last election cycle, John Edwards told ABC that while he and John Kerry remained close, he would not defer to his former running mate in 2008 if Kerry decided to run again for the presidency: Former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards will not talk about whether he plans to run for the White House in 2008, but he is not pledging to stand aside if former running mate Sen. John F. Kerry tries again. ... "Not only are John Kerry and I friends, our families are close," Edwards said. "I have enormous respect for him. But I'll decide what's the right thing to do based on what's going on with my own family." Last time, Lieberman held off announcing his candidacy while Gore sat around growing his beard and transforming himself into a radical...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hospiblogging, Day 8: Breakout

I heard from the First Mate this morning, who tells me that after meeting with her doctors, we look good for discharge later this afternoon. She's stabilized on almost all counts except digestion, and apparently the doctors feel comfortable with us managing that on an out-patient basis. We've already seen her medication schedule, and it looks almost the same as before her transplant, with just a few adjustments to dosages. She's looking forward to sleeping in her own bed tonight, and I'm looking forward to having her home. I'll post more this evening when she's actually home and resting comfortably. Best wishes to Glenn Reynolds and his wife, who underwent surgery this morning. Glenn reports that it went well, and we're keeping the two of them in our prayers today....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

How Bush Stands With Those Who Stand For Freedom

In his expansive vision of democratization voiced in his inaugural speech, George Bush promised to stand with those who stand for freedom and liberty. The world got a taste of his sincerity today at the first event of his European trip, as he echoed the protestors in the streets of Beirut in demanding an end to the Syrian occupation of Lebanon after the murder of Rafik Hariri: He also had direct words for Syria, calling on leaders in Damascus to withdraw its forces from Lebanon. As Bush spoke, thousands of opposition supporters in Beirut shouted insults at Syria and demanded the resignation of Lebanon's pro-Syrian government, marking a week since the assassination of Rafik Hariri, Lebanon's most prominent politician. "The Lebanese people have the right to be free, and the United States and Europe share an interest in an independent, democratic Lebanon," he said, adding that if Syrians stay out...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hugo Chavez Applying For CNN Chief?

Who knew that chief executives bandying unsubstantiated allegations of assassination strategies about would turn into a growth industry? The BBC reports that Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez accused the Bush administration of planning his murder, echoing the same charge leveled by his friend Fidel Castro in the previous week: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said he believes the US government is planning to assassinate him. "If they kill me, the name of the person responsible is [President] George Bush," Mr Chavez said. Mr Chavez - who offered no evidence to back his claim - said any attempt on his life would backfire and threatened to cut off oil supplies to America. Perhaps Chavez has hired Eason Jordan as a political consultant these days. It certainly appears that leveling accusations of assassinations has become the New Black of diplomacy and international debate. Oddly, however, the only people getting assassinated these days are...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Hospiblogging, Day 8: Breakout, Part 2

I'm finally home with the First Mate, and she's resting somewhat uncomfortably in bed for the first time in over a week. She's trying to relax, but the ride home made her sick and she has to keep some fluid down in the next couple of hours. She should get over the motion sickness -- it's a common reaction for her -- and have a more restful evening. She was really feeling much better in the hospital earlier today, and I'm sure she'll feel better tonight or tomorrow. So many people have written to express their best wishes and prayers, and I want to thank you again for the both of us. Marcia had a marvelously easy time, comparatively speaking, than we anticipated. We firmly believe all your thoughts and prayers directly relates to that, and we appreciate it all so much. Some of you have asked what happens now....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

CQ Says Hello To Inside Politics

I found out from a family member who happened to catch CNN's Inside Politics this afternoon, who watched as Judy Woodruff, Jackie Schechner, and Abbi Tatton discussed the news from the blogosphere -- apparently a new development on the show. My phone rang when she heard Schechner start discussing the Douglas Wead tapes and CNN turned to CQ for a reaction: SCHECHNER: Something that we all seem to agree on at this point. Again, talking about President Bush. He's in Europe on his trip, meeting with world leaders. And that seems to be the top story in the mainstream media. Also talking about the tapes. But the tapes, more interesting on the blogs today, or at least it seems. We went over to captainsquartersblog.com. I'm going to try to pull it up. There we go. We're lucky. A couple of minutes ago it wouldn't come up. [My logs show a...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Five Million Reasons I Love To Blog

Earlier today, my Sitemeter hit counter passed the 5 million mark, another headspinning milestone that has me humbled and grateful for all of your support. The past month or so, CQ has averaged around 23,000 unique visits a day (per Sitemeter), with peaks above 35,000 on occasion. The TTLB Ecosystem currently lists our site as #9 for inbound unique links, and #15 for average daily traffic. Technorati has us ranked at #120 out of more than 7 million sites. For the truly bored, here are a few more stats: Total posts: 3,879 Total comments: 27,609 Days blogging: 508 (October 2, 2003) I want to thank everyone who has read, linked, pushed, assisted, or otherwise just encouraged CQ to get to this level. It's a pleasure writing for and interacting with the terrific CQ community....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Raining On Bush's European Parade

Javier Solana refused to play along with the EU's enforced lovefest with George Bush this week, telling the International Herald-Tribune that the Iraqi elections meant little in terms of vindication for Bush's policies in the Middle East: The EU's foreign policy chief cast public doubt on the health of the transatlantic partnership yesterday, puncturing the euphoric claims by European and American officials that President George W Bush had opened a new era in relations. Javier Solana disputed the American view that last month's elections in Iraq had vindicated the US decision to invade and questioned whether the Bush administration's promises of a new era in relations with Europe meant anything. ... Mr Solana made his deeply pessimistic remarks in an interview with the International Herald Tribune. He disputed the American view that the Iraq elections vindicated the decision to invade. "Is this a vindication when you count how many billions...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Taliban Giving Up In Afghanistan?

The Taliban, who once embodied the ideal of Islamofascism in their brutal tyranny over the Afghan people, have all but stopped their terrorist war against the Hamid Karzai democracy. In fact, thanks to a high-ranking and popular defector from the previous regime, the Taliban remnants have surrendered in order to join an amnesty program that promises to end the civil war and secure the Afghani democracy: One of the Taliban's most senior and charismatic commanders has become a key negotiator as more and more members of the Islamic militia in Afghanistan give up the fight against the Americans. The commander, Abdul Salam, earned the nickname Mullah Rockety because he was so accurate with rocket propelled grenades against Russian troops. ... After the Taliban's three-year struggle against a superior US force, there is growing optimism among the Americans and Afghan government that the end is close. More than 1,000 people have...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 22, 2005

The UN's Unfinished Business

Former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci reminds us at the New York Times why we eschewed United Nations leadership in Afghanistan and Iraq. Carlucci warns that Kosovo, a UN protectorate for six years now and no closer to a final resolution on its status than when the West first intervened, may soon explode into violence again: The world reacted in horror six years ago when the Serbian regime of Slobodan Milosevic embarked on an ethnic cleansing operation against Kosovo's Albanians, forcing 700,000 people, nearly half the population, to flee the province. Reports of massacres and images of mileslong lines of refugees fleeing into neighboring Albania and Macedonia compelled the world to act. The NATO air campaign against Serbia that followed convinced Belgrade to give up its brutal assault, and Kosovo was put under United Nations administration. And so it remains to this day: an international protectorate, legally part of Serbia, but...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Tax-Dodging Hypocrisy At The Gray Lady?

Allen Sloan notes in today's Washington Post that the New York Times, which regularly inveighs against inordinate tax breaks for corporations, doesn't practice what it preaches. Sloan explains that the recent, odd purchase of Primedia's About.com subsidiary at somewhere around $800,000 per blog holds a large tax benefit for Pinch Sulzberger & Co, one that his editorial board would screech at if any other corporation took advantage of it: The New York Times editorial page is unsparing when it comes to flogging tax-dodging corporations. Corporate tax avoidance, it intoned in a typical piece last April, is "both a straightforward fiscal problem" and "a broader threat to our civic culture." Indeed. Last week, the New York Times Co. didn't exactly practice what the New York Times editorial page preaches. The Times Co.'s $410 million cash purchase of Primedia's About.com subsidiary, announced on Thursday, is set up to maximize tax benefits. For...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Jaafari In, Chalabi Out

The AP reports that Ahmed Chalabi has withdrawn his name from the Iraqi Prime Minister contest and endorsed Ibrahim Jaafari as the new leader of a free Iraq. Chalabi, whose candidacy had always been considered a long shot, took three days of convincing before agreeing to back the candidate of the top vote-getting slate in the National Assembly elections last month: Pressure from within the ranks of the United Iraqi Alliance, which won Iraq's landmark Jan. 30 election, forced the withdrawal of Chalabi, a one-time Pentagon favorite, said Hussein al-Moussawi from the Shiite Political Council, an umbrella group for 38 Shiite parties. "They wanted him to withdraw. They didn't want to push the vote to a secret ballot," al-Moussawi said. The 140 members were to put the decision between Chalabi and al-Jaafari to a secret ballot by Tuesday's end. The decision came after three days of round-the-clock negotiations by senior...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Profiles In Canadian Courage

Canada has always been a good friend to the US, and at times have been among the most stalwart of our allies. I for one will never forget the intrepidity and bravery of the Canadian embassy workers in Teheran that rescued six Americans who escaped the Islamist kidnappers in the 1979 hostage crisis. Those Canadians risked death at the hands of the madding Khomeini radicals by smuggling the Americans out of Iran by giving them falsified passports. Unfortunately, today's version of Canadians seem less than up to the intestinal fortitude of the past generation. Canadian leadership almost qualifies as an oxymoron as the current government plays word games regarding their common-defense policy with the US, trying to play aloof while acknowledging their support for missile defense: The man chosen by Prime Minister Paul Martin to be Canada's next ambassador to the U.S. has sparked a political firestorm, saying participation in...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Sick Hoax Artist Targets Military Families

CNN reports tonight that a sicko has targeted military families in a cruel hoax. An unidentified man has dressed up as an Army officer on at least one occasion to notify a military wife of her husband's death in Iraq, but she was smart enough to see through the ruse: Military police are investigating a cruel hoax in which a man wearing an Army dress uniform falsely told the wife of a soldier that her husband had been killed in Iraq. Investigators are trying to determine why the man delivered the false death notice and whether he was a soldier or a civilian wearing a military uniform. ... "Right off the bat, she noticed some things were not right," Whetstone said. "The individual's uniform wasn't correct -- there were no markings or name tags. Plus, the person was alone, and she knew one person does not make (death) notifications." Whetstone...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 23, 2005

Eurocorps Transform Into Vanity Publishers For Dictator

European corporations seeking to do business in Turkmenistan, run for decades by the iron fist of Saparmurad Niyazov, have now taken to vanity publishing to nuzzle up to the man who calls himself Turkmenbashi the Great. Several companies that sell products to the tightly-controlled tyranny have translated Niyazov's "Book of Spirit", the Bible of Niyazov's regime and the book that has replaced almost all others in this Central Asian cult of personality: The various releases this month of the two-volume "Book of Spirit" -- "Ruhnama" in Turkmen -- are part of an international drive to boost the book's circulation as well as what the government-controlled Turkmen media call a "victorious march around the world" by the author-president, 65, also known in his country as Turkmenbashi the Great. The book contains Niyazov's moral code as well as his philosophical and historical musings. Its translation into 30 languages and publication outside Turkmenistan...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Kristof Gets Genocide Right, Cure Wrong

Nicholas Kristof writes powerfully on the genocide that the UN refuses to recognize underway in Darfur. He accurately depicts the intentional slaughter of tribal Africans by the Arab-dominated Sudanese government and their Janjaweed terrorist militia and rightly calls the world to action. Unfortunately, Kristof calls for the same kind of pointless actions that allowed Saddam Hussein to continue his genocides against the Marsh Arabs and Shi'a for a dozen years before the West acted to stop it. Let's start with what Kristof does right. He bucks the UN and Kofi Annan's miserable cowardice in playing word games in avoiding the term "genocide" by playing word games right back: The [African Union] archive also includes an extraordinary document seized from a janjaweed official that apparently outlines genocidal policies. Dated last August, the document calls for the "execution of all directives from the president of the republic" and is directed to regional...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Virginia Jihadi Plotted To Kill President

In what should be considered an act of treason, an American citizen has been charged with several counts of conspiring to assist al-Qaeda in terrorism. If that wasn't bad enough, the indictment also alleges that Ahmed Omar Abu Ali planned to assassinate the US president by using a car bomb or sniping him on the street: Federal prosecutors unveiled broad terrorism charges yesterday against a Northern Virginia man who had been detained in Saudi Arabia for nearly two years, accusing him of plotting to assassinate President Bush and trying to establish an al Qaeda cell in the United States. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 23, conspired with confederates in Saudi Arabia to shoot Bush on the street or kill him with a car bomb, according to a six-count indictment unsealed yesterday. The indictment said Abu Ali sought to become "a planner of terrorist operations" and compared him to leading al Qaeda...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Tranformative Power Of Democracy, Part III

Jim Geraghty of TKS notes this auspicious quote in today's David Ignacius column in the Washington Post: The leader of this Lebanese intifada [for independence from Syria] is Walid Jumblatt, the patriarch of the Druze Muslim community and, until recently, a man who accommodated Syria's occupation. But something snapped for Jumblatt last year, when the Syrians overruled the Lebanese constitution and forced the reelection of their front man in Lebanon, President Emile Lahoud. The old slogans about Arab nationalism turned to ashes in Jumblatt's mouth, and he and Hariri openly began to defy Damascus... "It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Success Is When All The Right People Hate You

My good friend Jon Henke at QandO (the essential libertarian blog, BTW) tips me that my blogging career has reached new heights. First I reached five million hits this week, CNN and C-SPAN mentioned my blog on the air, and now I have truly achieved success -- I have annoyed Ted Rall: Bloggers want you to know that there's a new sheriff in town. Edward Morrissey, writer of the right-wing blog Captain's Quarters, boasts to the New York Times: "The media can't just cover up the truth and expect to get away with it--and journalists can't just toss around allegations without substantiation and expect people to believe them anymore." And what are Morrissey's qualifications to police the media? When he's not harassing old-school journos like Dan Rather and CNN's Eason Jordan out of their jobs, Morrissey manages a call center near Minneapolis. What qualifications does Rall have to write...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

First Mate Update, Day 3

I've received a number of requests for an update on the First Mate, now that she's home and recovering from the surgery. She's had her share of difficulties, most of them minor. She got motion sickness on the way home and her stomach still hasn't fully recovered from that. She's taking Compazine for the nausea, which does help some with maintaining her fluid intake, but she has little appetite, which the doctors say is normal. When she does eat, her digestion is erratic and we've tended to overcorrect for it, which we need to take care not to do. However, she's very upbeat even when she's low on energy, which still is almost all day. The biggest story -- note how I buried the lead? -- is that the FM hasn't had to get an injection of insulin since Sunday. Her pre-meal blood sugars have not gone above 150, and...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Pressure Builds On Syria

President Bush kept the heat on Syria, Reuters reports, and he had plenty of help as well. Protests have continued in Beirut, calling for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from the Mediterranean country, and France joined the chorus. Even Hosni Mubarak in Cairo gets the message: President Bush demanded Wednesday that Syria pull its security services as well as its army out of Lebanon, echoing France's remarks that Syrian intelligence controlled the country. ... In Beirut opposition deputies, riding high on mass protests against Hariri's killing over the past week, piled on the pressure, saying they would try to topple the Syrian-backed government in parliament and calling for a one-day national strike next week. "Opposition MPs confirm that they will seek a no-confidence vote in the government during (the Feb. 28) general assembly meeting" called to discuss the assassination, they said in a statement after a meeting of 38 MPs....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Putin May Have More Problems On Horizon

One of the closely-watched aspects of George Bush's European diplomacy has been his relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Prior to his latest trip to the continent, critics wondered if Bush would press Putin to return democracy to Russian politics, and were surprised when Bush publicly and pointedly did so. However, the London Telegraph reports tonight that Bush's advice may have come too late, as Putin faces new pressures at home that threaten to undermine his increasingly autocratic rule: Once known as the Teflon president for his deft handling of public opinion, he is increasingly seen as a ham-fisted leader who is out of touch with the needs of ordinary Russians. In the past two months hundreds of thousands have demonstrated throughout Russia to denounce the president's policies, the largest protests in the country for more than five years. His popularity in the army and police - formerly mainstays of...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Does Tony Blair Want To Be The British Putin?

The Telegraph reports tonight that Tony Blair has pushed through a new bill granting extraordinary emergency powers to the Home Secretary that allows the executive branch to hold terrorist suspects for weeks without any due process or judicial review. Conservatives howled and Labour MPs began to defect as Blair argued that civil liberties would have to take a back seat to security: Protecting Britain against a terrorist attack must take priority over civil liberties, Tony Blair states today. Writing in The Telegraph, he mounts a strong defence of the Government's decision to take powers unprecedented in peacetime to curtail the activities of British citizens and foreign nationals suspected of terrorist activities. During last night's Commons debate on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, disclosed that the Government was braced for an attack during the election campaign. Emphasising that it needed the ability to "move rapidly" against...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Schiavo Case Points Out Spiritual Death Of Modern Society

I have received a ton of e-mail the past two days, mostly from people I don't know, scolding me as one of the "big guns" of the blogosphere for not posting on Terri Schiavo and the plight of her family. Some have even gone so far as to imply that if she dies, her death would be my fault for not having posted about the case. I cannot tell you how rude and wrong that is, for in the first place, I am not a member of the Terri Schiavo family, and that's where this decision belongs. Second, I blog -- I am not God, and neither are the rest of you. Some people need to get a grip, for goodness' sake. As a Catholic, I believe in the sanctity of life, which means I naturally sympathize with the parents of Schiavo, who want nothing more than to keep their...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 24, 2005

Wead Slinks Off-Stage

Doug Wead, who surreptitiously taped phone conversations with George W. Bush over a period of two years and began selectively releasing them this week, has had a sudden change of heart after receiving overwhelming, and justified, criticism. Wead now says he'll give the tapes to the White House and has begun cancelling media appearances, according to the New York Times: "My thanks to those who have let me share my heart and regrets about recent events," Mr. Wead wrote in the statement, posted on his Web site Wednesday. "Contrary to a statement that I made to The New York Times, I know very well that personal relationships are more important than history." Mr. Wead, an author who drew on the tapes obliquely for one page in his recently published book, "The Raising of a President: The Mothers and Fathers of Our Nation's Leaders," said, "I am asking my attorney to...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Further Thoughts On Schiavo

After reading your comments and e-mails from last night and this morning, I want to make a couple of points more clear. One, the reason I don't get into the details of the Schiavo case is because, as you can see from the comments section here and the e-mail I've been getting, most of them are hotly disputed and not easily reconcilable. I'm taking a more philosophical approach because that's where I'm most comfortable. Again, what this boils down to is a family dispute over both Terri's condition now and her state of mind before she became comatose. Both sides have legitimate and valid points on these issues, and they're further complicated by the lack of clear instructions from Terri herself. Under these circumstances, where the parents have essentially agreed to take over primary care of Terri, I tend to sympathize more with them and on the side of life...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Syria Begins Backpedaling, Hoping To Retain Influence In Lebanon

Syria has reacted with surprise to the eruption of criticism and scorn towards their occupation of Lebanon following the assassination of Rafik Hariri, and now wants to follow a 16-year-old plan for phased withdrawal of its troops. Reuters reports that Syria's defense ministry is now expressing "keen interest" in complying with UN resolutions calling for the end of the Syrian occupation: Tens of thousands of Lebanese have taken to the streets to protest against Syria's military and political grip on its tiny neighbor since a huge bomb killed Lebanon's former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri in Beirut last week. "Syria expresses its keen interest in cooperating with the envoy of the secretary-general of the United Nations to accomplish his mission in the best formula possible," Mualem told reporters, reading from a statement. "The important withdrawals that have been carried out so far and will be carried out later will be done...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

The Spectre Of Specter Rises Again, And Again

Ruth Marcus in today's Washington Post notes that Senator Arlen Specter has hardly mellowed after the compromise that left him in his Judiciary Committee chairmanship or with the recent diagnosis of Hodgkin's Disease. In a visit with the Post's editorial board yesterday, Specter appears to have backtracked significantly on his agreement with the GOP on President Bush's judicial nominations, in spirit if not in fact: If you thought that his brush with losing the committee chairmanship had chastened the legendarily contrarian Specter, if you thought his recent diagnosis of Hodgkin's disease might have tempered his approach -- well, that wasn't the Specter on display in a visit with The Post editorial board yesterday. Instead, the discussion featured Specter Unbound: the Specter who voted against Robert H. Bork rather than the one who rallied to the defense of Clarence Thomas. Specter had some cautionary words for Democrats as well -- chiding...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Swann Running Toward New Goal: Penn Governor

Former Pittsburgh Steeler receiver and Hall of Famer Lynn Swann has decided to enter politics, and as typical of Swann, he isn't aiming low. Swann announced the formation of a campaign committee for the Pennsylvania governorship in 2006, hoping to unseat incumbent Democrat Ed Rendell: Former Pittsburgh Steelers star Lynn Swann has formed a campaign committee to raise money for a potential run for governor in 2006. Swann named his committee Team 88, the number he wore as a wide receiver for the Steelers from 1974 to 1982, when the team won four Super Bowls. "I will spend time introducing myself to communities across the commonwealth," the NFL Hall of Famer said in a statement Wednesday. "We will also explore the potential political and financial support for my candidacy." Swann hardly needs an introduction to Pennsylvanians. As a member of the Steelers dynasty, Swann helped Pittsburgh win an unprecedented four...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Does Assad Hear Warning Sirens?

Kevin McCullough has a good rundown on the current events in Syria this morning, but he adds a warning from an inside source at the Pentagon that Bashar Assad should heed: Warning: These articles and others like them are building momentum for a credible military confrontation should President Assad refuse to back down. I don't expect him to change his clandestine approach until he sees meaningful force at his doorstep. One can bet that Israel is working doubletime behind the scenes to encourage American action. I would expect the next steps to be taken by surrogates like Hezbollah. Likely, Syria's meddling in Iraq and the upcoming Lebanese elections will provide sufficient trigger for some "coalition" action. That action may well have an "Iraqi" face. It remains to be seen if Assad is paying the right amount of attention, but I suspect he's getting the message....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Annan To Assad: Get Out (Updated!)

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a remarkably stern and uncompromising message to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad tonight, joining the White House in calling for a complete withdrawal of Syrian troops and intelligence agents from Lebanon. Dismissing Syrian murmurings of returning to the long-dead, phased-withdrawal Taif Accord, Annan demanded that Syria completely retreat by April: Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary-general, added his voice yesterday to American calls for Syria to pull out of Lebanon. He warned the Syrians in an Arabic television interview that they would face "measures" - presumably some form of sanctions - if they did not pull their army out of Lebanon completely by April. With pressure growing every day, Waleed al-Mualem, the Syrian deputy foreign minister, committed his country to further withdrawals, but failed to make a clear commitment to complete evacuation. The new demand by Annan, who almost never operates independent of a consensus, comes...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 25, 2005

Dean Visits Kansas, Gets Snubbed By Dem Governor

Howard Dean fulfilled a pledge made during his campaign for the DNC chair by visiting and rallying Democrats in a Midwestern red state. Dean went to Kansas yesterday, a state that has supported GOP presidential candidates since Goldwater in 1964, and railed against Social Security reforms and budget deficits. He also urged Democrats to "show up", inadvertently highlighting an embarassing snub: The former presidential candidate and Vermont governor criticized President Bush's budget record and plans for Social Security while urging people to get involved in politics no matter what their philosophy. ... Before his selection as DNC chairman this month, Dean said he would bolster local and state party organizations even in the nation's most conservative areas. "How do we expect those places to vote Democratic when we don't even show up?" Dean said during Thursday's speech. Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who was elected in a 2002 race marked by...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Slovakia PM: Media Bias Causes Bush Hatred In Europe

President Bush got a public vote of confidence and the European media a slap from Slovakian PM Mikulas Dzurinda during Bush's so-called "charm offensive" barnstorming trip to Europe this week. The Washington Times reports that Dzurinda scolded the European media for their biased reporting on Bush that succeeded in poisoning Continental opinion against the American president: "President Bush told me in Brussels: 'I am so unhappy that media creates the picture that Bush wants war in Iran. This is crazy,' " Mr. Dzurinda told a small group of reporters over lunch. The prime minister was reminded that while the governments of Central and Eastern Europe supported Operation Iraqi Freedom, the populace was much more skeptical, according to polls. Mr. Dzurinda responded by telling the journalists, including one from CNN, that he was "shocked" to see media outlets like CNN and the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) showing "only American soldiers killing...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Was Larry Summers Right After All?

Harvard University president Larry Summers recently found himself in the boiling waters of political incorrectness after a speech in which he postulated that the gender disparity of tenure in engineering and physics disciplines might have its roots in differences between male and female brain use and structure. The firestorm of criticism has continued to this day, although Summers himself has retreated back into political correctness since being pilloried for his hypothesis (which he used as an argument for corrective action, not as an excuse for the status quo, something most of his critics missed). Now it looks like the academic world and the screeching feminists who found themselves swooning over the implication that women are different than men owe Summers a big apology. According to a new study by researchers at UC Irvine and the University of New Mexico, women and men use their brains in far different manners, and...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

A Watershed Moment For The UN?

In a report that likely will garner little attention after the Islamist attacks today in Iraq, the BBC has a flash report that several UN peacekeepers died in an ambush in the Ituri region of Congo. The report just came through and is light on details: Several UN peacekeepers have been killed during an armed ambush in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the country's UN mission. The attack happened on Friday morning in the north-eastern Ituri region, where 4,800 peacekeepers are deployed. A UN spokesman said there were no further details yet on the exact number or nationality of the men killed. He said they were ambushed by "unidentified armed elements" while they were on patrol. Ituri sits at the northeast tip of Congo, just south of Sudan and the Darfur region where Islamists have conducted a massive genocide campaign, one which the UN still refuses to officially...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Another Zarqawi Aide Plucked

The Iraqi government announced today that it has captured another key figure in the Ansar al-Islam terror network headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Abu Qutaybah had been considered one of the high-value targets in the network due to his extensive contacts throughout western Iraq, and sure enough, Iraqi forces arrested him within miles of the Syrian border: Iraq's government said on Friday it had captured a key lieutenant of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant who is al Qaeda's leader in Iraq and has been behind some of the country's worst attacks. It said Talib Mikhlif Arsan Walman al-Dulaymi, also known as Abu Qutaybah, was captured on Feb. 20 in Anah, a town northwest of Baghdad, about 35 miles from the Syrian border. "Abu Qutaybah was responsible for determining who, when and how terrorist network leaders would meet with Zarqawi," the government said in a statement. "Abu Qutaybah filled the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Chait Picks Wrong Example For Argument

Jonathan Chait takes on the Bush Administration by claiming that it turns its former associates-cum-critics into Stepford Wives, zombie-like creatures who follow set patterns of behavior after renouncing their heresies and slowly lurching into the sunset. Unfortunately for Chait's rather silly analysis, he relies on Doug Wead as a fulcrum for his point, which causes it to collapse rather quickly: Earlier this week, Wead was proclaiming that he made his tapes of Bush public for the sake of "history." Perhaps the large pile of money he stood to gain from his forthcoming book also factored into his decision. But within a couple days he was desperately backpedaling. On Wednesday, he announced that "I have come to realize that personal relationships are more important than history." He pledged to direct all book profits to charity and to hand the tapes over to Bush. Most presidents have to face betrayal sooner or...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Colin Powell, Unbound

Colin Powell has given one of his most extensive interviews after his resignation last month as Secretary of State, and the London Telegraph publishes it in tomorrow's edition. While Powell talks about several of the controversial moments of his term at State, he pointedly refused to discuss his thoughts about President George Bush, out of loyalty and a sense that his proximity still is too close to comment. The most controversial part of the interview comes in Powell's response to the WMD question. Powell leaves no doubt that he feels personally stained by the failure to find WMD, but he insists the administration's belief was genuine: And now Colin Powell becomes more direct: "I'm very sore. I'm the one who made the television moment. I was mightily disappointed when the sourcing of it all became very suspect and everything started to fall apart. "The problem was stockpiles. None have been...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Palestinian Triangle Offense Begins

A Palestinian suicide bomber killed four people in Tel Aviv today, shattering the cease-fire that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas claimed had support from the terror groups in the occupied territories. Abbas decried the attack as sabotage on the Palestinians by isolated radicals as several groups claimed credit for the attack, while their leadership issued denials to the press: Police said the bomber detonated his device in a crowd of young people waiting to enter the Stage nightclub on the city's popular Mediterranean beachfront promenade, about 600 yards south of the U.S. Embassy. More than 50 people were injured in the explosion, many seriously, police said. ... There were several conflicting claims of responsibility by Palestinian groups, but none was definitive and all were subsequently denied by senior members of the organizations. An Islamic Jihad cell initially asserted responsibility for the attack, but a top official of the group in the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 26, 2005

Israel And Palestinians Quick To Blame Hezbollah

Both Israeli and Palestinian security forces have made arrests this morning from the Tel Aviv suicide bombing yesterday that killed four and injured dozens. The BBC reports that both sides blame Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terror group with a vested interest in disrupting the peace process, but the details buried in the report appear to dispute that notion: Israeli troops and Palestinian police have arrested seven people in connection with Friday's suicide bombing outside a Tel Aviv nightclub. Israeli soldiers detained five people near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, including two brothers of the man identified as the suicide bomber. Palestinian police separately arrested two people over the blast, which killed four people and injured about 30. ... Mr Abbas blamed a "third party" but went no further. Other Palestinian officials have blamed Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant organisation. All the Palestinian militant groups have denied responsibility. As the BBC notes,...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Euro Islamofascists Linked To Iraq: Spain

According to a Spanish investigative judge, Islamic radicals operating in Europe and North Africa have direct connections to Ansar al-Islam, the terrorist network in Iraq headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Baltasar Garzon's allegations put new light on Europe's stance regarding Iraq and the fight on terror: Armed Islamist militants that operate in Europe are also helping support the armed insurgency in Iraq, one of Europe's foremost experts on such groups told Reuters. Spanish High Court Judge Baltasar Garzon, who has been investigating Islamist militants in Spain since 1991, warned that groups such as the Algerian Salafist movement and the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group were particularly dangerous for Europe. "They are groups that have membership inside and outside Europe and in any case we have to keep close watch on the relationship these groups have with others like Ansar al-Islam," Garzon told Reuters in an interview late on Friday. "It's obvious...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Is Gaeilgeoir M ... ach Clint Eastwood?

It isn't every day that I see the Irish language mentioned in the pages of the New York Times, and today's op-ed article by Wes Davis, an assistant professor of English at Yale, marks the very first time I've seen it form the basis of an opinion piece anywhere outside of Ireland. I've studied Irish for almost four years now, although I've cut back my scholarship (such as it was) while I've been blogging. I read and write Irish passably well for a first-grader, I suppose, and speak it less well than that, but I take pride in that bilingualism. Davis makes the same point in his review of the language's use in the new Clint Eastwood film, Million Dollar Baby, a use of which I had no knowledge until now. MDB has attracted rave reviews and tremendous controversy over its somewhat-concealed treatment -- some say endorsement -- of assisted...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Democracy's New March On Cairo, Led By ... Mubarak?

One day after Condoleezza Rice snubbed Hosni Mubarak by cancelling a long-planned trip to Cairo in protest of the arrest of a leading activist for democracy, Hosni Mubarak has unexpectedly reversed course. He proclaimed his support today for the first multi-party elections for president since he took over for Anwar Sadat after the latter's assassination in 1981: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday ordered a revision of the country's election laws and said multiple candidates could run in the nation's presidential elections, a scenario Mubarak hasn't faced since taking power in 1981. The surprise announcement, a response to critics' calls for political reform, comes shortly after historic elections in Iraq and the Palestinian territories, balloting that brought a taste of democracy to the region. It also comes amid a sharp dispute with the United States over Egypt's arrest of one of the strongest proponents of multi-candidate elections. "The election of...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Islamic Jihad Claims Credit For Tel Aviv Bombing

Islamic Jihad has claimed credit for the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, blowing holes in the theory promoted by both Palestinian and Israeli officials that Hezbollah did it to undermine the peace process. Now Mahmoud Abbas has to either crack down on IJ leadership or surrender his credibility as a peace partner: Islamic Jihad carried out a suicide bomb attack in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv that killed four people on Friday, a Beirut-based official from the organization said on Saturday. "We confirm that we carried out the operation," the official, who declined to be named, told Reuters. Friday's bombing at a Tel Aviv nightclub dealt a heavy blow to peace hopes that had brightened since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agreed to a ceasefire at a Feb. 8 summit. Now we know how successful Abbas has been in convincing the militants to observe...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

CQ In The News

I received a few e-mails from CQ readers informing me that NBC Nightly News showed a couple of screen shots of my blog tonight. In a story called "Blog Power," Jonathan Alter notes that blogs have developed substantial power to change and shape the political and media environment. He pointed to three people who have lost their jobs due to blogs -- Trent Lott (showing Eschaton), Dan Rather (showing Power Line), and Eason Jordan, with Captain's Quarters in the background. If you're watching the news on the West Coast, you'll see this at 6 pm PT. If you've missed it like I did, you can watch the segment at The Political Teen, who captured it and now hosts the clip. (In fact, check out his entire blog.) It's not a bad segment, even if it contains the ubiquitous hands-typing-on-keyboard shot. Since they show my URL as the entry, I won't...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Michelle Bachman And The NARN

One of the pleasures of participating in local radio is meeting the people who shape our community in many different ways. Today on the Northern Alliance, we had the pleasure of spending an hour with Michelle Bachmann, our state Senator from District 52 who just announced her candidacy for Mark Kennedy's Congressional seat. Kennedy plans on running for the Senate seat that Brave Sir Mark Dayton will vacate in 2006. Michelle took to live radio like a seasoned professional, making the rest of us juuuuuuust a little envious of her performance. She promises to come back for one of our upcoming live remotes at White Bear Lake Superstore, where I think Paul Rubin will be delighted to have her presence to light up the showroom. We'll let you know when that happens. In the meantime, we captured the moment for posterity (courtesy of Fraters Libertas and Michelle's friend Barbara, who...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Father And Son Day At The Iraqi Genocide Tribunal

The Iraqi Special Tribunal for genocide during Saddam Hussein's bloody reign of terror has two new defendants to consider. US forces turned over a father-son partnership reportedly responsible for the murders of over 140 murders in a retaliation for a Dawa assassination attempt on Saddam in 1982: U.S. forces have arrested an Iraqi father and son accused of participating in a 1982 massacre in the predominantly Shiite Muslim village of Dujail in retaliation for an assassination attempt on then-President Saddam Hussein. Senior U.S. officials said in interviews that Abdulla Rwayid and Muzhir Abdulla Rwayid were arrested Monday and charged with crimes against humanity for their alleged role in the killing of hundreds of people associated with the Dawa party, a Shiite group that carried out the attempt on Hussein's life on July 8, 1982. Charges against the two detained men were referred to the Iraqi Special Tribunal, the entity responsible...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Palestinians Shocked, Shocked! To Find Terrorists Among Them

The AP reports tonight that ordinary Palestinians are outraged by the Tel Aviv bombing that killed four Israelis yesterday. Instead of the usual ululations and street celebrations, Mohammed Ballas reports that Palestinians voiced complaints instead: Palestinians expressed anger Saturday at an overnight suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and threatened a fragile truce, a departure from former times when they welcomed attacks on their Israeli foes. Official condemnations and denials were followed by public anger toward the perpetrators as Israeli blamed Syria and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, which claimed responsibility for the attack. The Palestinians pointed fingers at the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah. Syria denied the allegations. ... In contrast to the dozens of previous suicide bombings, no celebrations were held in the West Bank on Saturday and militant groups didn't hang the customary posters of congratulations at the bomber's home. What a blow that...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 27, 2005

Saddam's Brother Scooped Up By Iraqis

For the first time in a year, the Ba'athists have lost a card from the American deck of fugitives. This time, the Iraqis themselves have captured the six of diamonds, Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hasan al-Tikriti -- otherwise known as Saddam Hussein's half brother: Security forces in Iraq have captured Saddam Hussein's half-brother, one of the country's most wanted men and the first top-level Baathist to be caught in a year, the government announced Sunday. Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hasan al-Tikriti, an intelligence chief and one-time adviser to the former president, was number 36 on the U.S. military's list of the 55 most-wanted people in Iraq -- the six of diamonds. A statement from Iraq's government did not say when or where he was seized or whether U.S. or Iraqi forces had captured him. Details were expected at a news conference later Sunday. Last year, Iraqi officials said Ibrahim, who was born to the...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

The Pilgrim Spirit

After missing the Sunday Angelus blessing for the first time in his papacy, the seriously ill John Paul II surprised the crowd outside the Gemelli Hospital by appearing at the window and waving to them: Pope John Paul II has made a surprise appearance at the window of his Rome hospital to wave to people expecting his traditional Sunday blessing. Sitting on a wheelchair, the Pope made the sign of the cross to bless the faithful even though he did not speak. I haven't blogged about John Paul II's latest illness, mostly because it has received such widespread coverage that anything I say would be redundant. This episode will likely provide no exception. However, I think that it shows why this Pope has attracted so much love and respect from the Catholic faithful. His tenacity helped bring down the Iron Curtain and free millions from tyranny when he had all...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

When Political Correctness Kills

In a lesson about the danger of political correctness in the age of terrorism, the Germans now face an increasing wave of Muslim "honor killings," the practice of killing women who refuse to live under the thumb of male family members. Unfortunately, Germans feel restrained from investigating threats of such killings for fear of appearing racist. The issue has finally come to the fore after the brutal murder of a woman by her three brothers for the crime of leaving the cousin she was forced to marry at 15, but it hardly is the first such killing in Berlin: Police records show that 45 "honour killings" have been committed within Germany's two million-plus Muslim community in the past eight years. Now that at least five have occurred in just four months in Berlin alone, the German authorities and local Turkish leaders are desperately trying to find out why. Karl Mollenhauer,...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Jack Kelly: Iraq War Won

Jack Kelly tells us in his column today what really should have been obvious since January 30th -- that the Iraq War has been won, and the media has missed the story entirely: It will be some months before the news media recognize it, and a few months more before they acknowledge it, but the war in Iraq is all but won. The situation is roughly analogous to the battle of Iwo Jima, which took place 60 years ago this month. It took 35 days before the island was declared secure, but the outcome was clear after day five, with the capture of Mt. Suribachi. Proof of this was provided by Sen. Hillary Clinton. Iraq is functioning quite well, she said in a press conference in Baghdad Feb. 19. The recent rash of suicide attacks is a sign the insurgency is failing, she said. "When politicians like [Clinton] start flocking...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Step Two Of The Palestinian Triangle Offense

Israel has reacted to the Tel Aviv bombing this weekend by suspending planned prisoner releases, one of the key demands of the militant groups, Reuters reports: Israel will reconsider whether to free 400 Palestinian prisoners as it had promised before a suicide bombing that killed four Israelis in Tel Aviv, Israel Radio said Sunday. The radio quoted Justice Minister Tsipi Livni as saying Israel may not release these prisoners that were to have been freed in addition to 500 released last week, following a promise to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at a Feb. 8 summit. Israeli leader Ariel Sharon demanded Sunday the Palestinians smash militant groups after the bombing Friday, saying he would freeze peace efforts and take military action if they did not heed his call. Hamas and Islamic Jihad had already criticized the planned releases as too modest for their tastes, demanding the immediate release of all 8,000...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Syria Coughed Up Saddam's Brother

As I earlier predicted, the Iraqis got their hands on Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hasan al-Tikriti through the intervention of the Syrian government: Iraqi officials said Sunday that Syrian authorities captured Saddam Hussein's half-brother in Syria and handed him over to Iraq in an apparent goodwill gesture. Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, who was also a former adviser suspected of financing insurgents after U.S. troops ousted the former dictator, was captured in Hasakah in northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border, two senior Iraqi officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The officials did not specify when al-Hassan was captured, only saying he was detained following the Feb. 14 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut, Lebanon, in a blast that killed 16 others. What did I tell you? With the wave of popular sentiment sweeping across Southwest Asia for democratic self-determination and pressure from both America and France to...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Live Blog: The Academy Awards

I will be live-blogging the Academy Awards tonight on this post, so if you're looking for running commentary to spice up the broadcast, look no farther. I also intend to do a little bit of regular blogging during the broadcast. Be back at 7:30 PM CT! ... 7:20 - Why live-blog the Oscars? I'm looking more towards political idiocy rather than the choices made for the awards. I'm banking on Chris Rock to say something stupid -- probably several things -- and on at least a few winners to go after the Bush administration. I just want to capture it for posterity when it happens. I don't have any favorites among the films this year, unlike last year, when I wanted nothing less than a sweep for Lord of the Rings -- and got it! 7:30 - They start on time with an intro from Dustin Hoffman. They're not going...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

North Korea To Return To The Bargaining Table

North Korea has apparently ended its tantrum, noticed that no one got very unnerved by their antics, and has decided to return to the six-party talks. Not only that, but Pyongyang apparently has committed to reaching an accord with the US by October: North Korea has told officials in South Korea it is willing to take part in six-party talks on its nuclear arms program in June, a Japanese newspaper reported. Pyongyang also said in its message, which was conveyed to South Korea by unofficial routes and then to Japan by Seoul, that it was willing to sign a treaty with the United States by October, the conservative Sankei Shimbun said on Monday. North Korea declared on Feb. 10 that it had nuclear weapons and that it was pulling out of the talks, which include Japan, Russia, China and the United States as well as the two Koreas. The Kim...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Lebanese Protestors Defy Syrian Ban

Thousands of protestors in Beirut have defied a ban on public demonstrations to protest against the Syrian occupation and the Damascus-backed government: Thousands of demonstrators massed in central Beirut overnight to defy a government ban on protests on Monday ahead of a fiery debate in parliament over the assassination of the country's former prime minister. Opposition groups have called a demonstration at central Martyrs Square and a one-day strike to coincide with the debate on Rafik al-Hariri's killing on Feb. 14 that for many recalled Lebanon's bitter 1975-90 civil war. Interior Minister Suleiman Franjieh called on security forces in a statement on Sunday "to take all necessary steps to preserve security and order and prevent demonstrations and gatherings on Monday." The Syrians still want to hang onto the illusion of control in Beirut, but they may wind up setting off another public-relations nightmare instead. US Deputy Secretary of State David...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

February 28, 2005

The Party Of Abortion, Imposed On You By Hollywood

Rhode Island Democrats and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committe have focused on a candidate to challenge liberal Republican Lincoln Chaffee in next year's elections. Congressman Jim Langevin appeals most to Rhode Island voters, the DSCC has determined, and they have decided to work with him to unseat Chaffee. However, a group of people 3,000 miles away has decided that Langevin does not toe the abortion line sufficient to their tastes and have decided to inject themselves into Rhode Island politics. Guess where they live? Victoria Hopper, wife of the actor Dennis Hopper, enlisted 16 actors, producers and philanthropists to sign a letter objecting to the potential candidacy of Representative Jim Langevin, who is being recruited for the 2006 race by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The letter writers say they support the primary candidacy of Matt Brown, Rhode Island's secretary of state, for the seat now held by Lincoln Chafee,...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Israel Plays Daniel

Israel plans on doing something rather remarkable today, an act of faith that has echoes of Daniel in the lion's den. Israel will request that the United Nations Security Council condemn the terrorist bombing that killed four people in Tel Aviv this weekend and demand that the Palestinian Authority dismantle the terrorist groups operating in its territories as a prerequisite to further negotiations on autonomy: Israel will ask the U.N. Security Council today to condemn a weekend suicide bombing in Tel Aviv and press Palestinians to act against militants, marking a rare diplomatic offensive in the international forum by the Jewish state, officials said. In Israel yesterday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he had stepped up military measures against terrorists in response to the attack at a seaside nightclub that killed four, and would condition future peace talks with the Palestinians on concrete steps to fight terrorism. ... The U.N....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

La Shawn: Chris Rock "Ignorant And Vulgar"

La Shawn Barber has some words for Chris Rock and the idiots who decided he'd make a good host for the Academy Awards last night. As I wrote during my live blog, the only classy moments came during the tribute to the people who had passed away last year, especially the tribute to Johnny Carson, which reminded everyone above drinking age what the Oscars missed so terribly last night. La Shawn has more specific objections: Under Hollywoods de facto affirmative action policy, this is what they come up with. Such behavior would be unacceptable for anyone else, but when a black big-mouth does it, people snicker. Theyre not really laughing with him; theyre laughing at him, but hes too busy clowning to the know the difference. They couldnt find a dignified black person, one who exuded grace and charm, for the occasion? Or one who wouldnt dream of playing to...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Defiance!

Beirut took to the streets this morning to protest the continuing occupation of Lebanon by Syrian military and intelligence forces and the existence of the puppet Lebanese government, despite a ban on such demonstrations and the intimidation of armed forces cordoning the city: Defying a ban on protests, about 10,000 people demonstrated against Syrian interference in Lebanon on Monday, as opposition lawmakers sought to bring down the pro-Damascus government two weeks after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Hundreds of soldiers and police blocked off Beirut's central Martyrs' Square, but there was no violence, even as more and more protesters managed to evade the cordon and join the demonstration. Protest leaders urged their followers not to provoke the security forces, who refrained from trying to disperse the crowd. The Syrians must know now that the world has finally focused on their oppression in Lebanon. For over a...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Pro-Syrian Lebanese Govt Resigns Under Pressure

Reuters reports that the pro-Syrian Lebanese government has resigned under pressure from the unprecedented demonstrations of dissent in the streets of Beirut today, giving an opportunity for activists of liberty to wrest control of Lebanon from Damascus for the first time in decades: Lebanon's Syrian-backed Prime Minister Omar Karami, under popular pressure after the assassination of an ex-prime minister, said Monday his government was resigning. "Out of concern that the government does not become an obstacle to the good of the country, I announce the resignation of the government I had the honor to lead," Karami told parliament in Beirut. The government came under fire in parliament Monday over the assassination of Rafik al-Hariri in a huge bomb two weeks ago, while streets away thousands defied a protest ban to demand it stand down. The debate had been expected to close with a no-confidence vote in the government, but after...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Why Now?

In the past two months, we have seen an explosion of momentum in Southwest Asia for political reform and democratization. Despite European warnings that democracy cannot be imposed at gunpoint, two longtime tyrannies (Afghanistan and Iraq) successfully held popular multiparty elections for the first time in their histories, freeing almost 50 million people from two of the most oppressive governments in modern history. Just before that, Ukrainians took to the streets to bring down a puppet government and a sham election that would have perpetuated it, and now we see popular demonstrations for liberty where we would least have expected it -- on the streets of Beirut and Cairo. The pro-Syrian puppet Lebanese government has fallen today as a result, while Hosni Mubarak has managed to stay one step ahead by promising multiparty elections later this year for the executive. After watching nothing but stagnation for decades and an Arab...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Oscar Viewership Down 2 Million: AP

Despite earlier reports, the viewership of last night's Oscar telecast attracted significantly less viewers than the year before, with the biggest loss in suburban and rural viewers, David Bauder reports for the AP. A total of 41.5 million viewers tuned in Sunday to watch "Million Dollar Baby" take the Oscar for best picture. That's down 2 million from last year's show, which honored "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," according to Nielsen Media Research. ABC undoubtedly hoped for better, after preliminary figures released earlier Monday from the top 56 markets were the strongest they were in five years. The drop in total viewership was an indication that this year's Oscar ceremony was more popular in the big cities than rural areas, more so than an average Academy Awards, said Larry Hyams, vice president of audience analysis and research for ABC. ABC and the Academy aimed at...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Rats Jumping Aboard Sinking Ships

Jack Shafer at Slate notes that despite editorial proclamations of opposition to anonymous sourcing, the phenomenon appears to have worsened. Shafer put his skepticism of the editorial boards of the New York Times and Washington Post to the test and searched their product for the so-called "anonymice", and found growing rats-nests among most broadsheets: Like insatiable vermin eating and rutting their way through a bulging grain elevator, anonymice continue to multiply in the pages of the top dailies. This proliferation comes despite the public promises made by some newspapers to stamp outor at least reducethe number of anonymous sources quoted. Last year, for instance, the New York Times and the Washington Post amended their anonymous source guidelines with tighter, more restrictive language. "The use of unidentified sources is reserved for situations in which the newspaper could not otherwise print information it considers reliable and newsworthy," asserts the Times policy. "We...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

The Cedar Revolution, In Pictures

The BBC has a few pictures of the Cedar Revolution that started today and continues to this hour, as the demonstrators refuse to leave until pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud resigns and the Syrians completely withdraw from Lebanon. Reports have the crowds now numbering over 200,000 and still growing. Let's hope they all have flowers and that the security forces remain on the sidelines....

« January 2005 | March 2005 »

Has The Gray Lady Found Something About The Bush Doctrine To Love?

The New York Times reports on the Cedar Revolution from Beirut in uncharacteristically pleasant tones, rather than the traditional pessimism (or silence) normally reserved for events that prove George Bush's policies correct. Of course, the Times neglects to mention -- even once -- the Iraqi elections that provided the confidence needed to get people out onto the street, but Hassan Fattah does draw comparisons to the Bush-supported Ukrainian demonstrations that collapsed the Russian puppet government there: Lebanon's prime minister, Omar Karami, resigned Monday, dissolving the country's pro-Syrian government and setting the stage for an intense struggle over the relationship between Syria and Lebanon. The surprise resignation came as the streets of Beirut were filled with tens of thousands of flag-waving protesters and hours after a grueling no-confidence debate in the Lebanese Parliament. Pressure on both the government and Syria has risen steadily since the car-bomb assassination of former Prime Minister...

« January 2005 | March 2005 »