Accuracy In Media: CQ Is Journalism

In an unintentional response to Professor Conrad Fink’s hyperbolic dismissal of bloggers as journalists in Saturday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sherrie Gossett writes about my coverage of Adscam for Accuracy In Media today and reaches a different conclusion. Gossett writes:

In one of the most dramatic stories to date of blogger influence, an American blogger listed the details of inflammatory testimony in a Canadian government corruption case-testimony that was under a publication ban enacted by the judge. Soon the blogger’s website was inundated with hundreds of thousands of hits from Canadians hungry for information, but shut out of the story by the ban. It was a unique case of a lone blogger disseminating information the media were unable to publish.
Ed Morrissey, the writer of Captain’s Quarters blog, started reporting on the testimony on April 2 in an entry titled “Canada’s Corruption Scandal Breaks Wide Open.” The political scandal involved allegations of bribery, kickbacks and illegal campaign financing to the tune of tens of millions of dollars which found their way into liberal party coffers. Canada’s Prime Minister Paul Martin appointed the Gomery Commission to investigate the charges and determine whether to bring charges against government officials. …
While insightful journalists have previously suggested no one yet can judge the future path and potential influence of citizen journalism and blogging, here is a truly unique incident whereby a blogger was able to inform the public when all of Canadian media was under a publication ban. In this instance, the flexibility and quick moves of a one-man operation trumped what all major media were able to do in Canada. It’s reminiscent of cases where ham radio operators have disseminated crucial information during natural disasters and political crises-information unavailable by other means.

Ironically — this is no joke — I used to be a ham radio operator several years ago. My call sign was KJ6FR, and I held an Advanced license, the second-highest certification. I took part in Field Day almost every yeaar, and I even manned the most noted ham-radio station on a volunteer basis: the Queen Mary, which hams around the world know quite well. I still have my equipment but have long since let the license lapse. I looked over the radio gear I have and thought about the similarities between blogging and ham radio, and how both allow the creation of virtual communities dedicated to public service and friendship.
Read all of Gossett’s column in AIM. (via Marc at Cranial Cavity)

In Defense Of Home Schooling — In The Strib?

The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently hired Katherine Kersten as a featured columnist, a major step for the far-left Twin Cities daily. Long reviled for its outrageous bias and intellectually bankrupt editorials, the Strib has recently attempted to balance itself as more critics discover their shortcomings — critics with voices of their own, such as Power Line, Shot In The Dark, Fraters Libertas, and other Twin Cities bloggers who regularly point out their inconsistencies. They hired D. J. Tice as an editor a few months back in order to demonstrate fairness in their news reporting, and Kersten now joins the Strib to give better balance to local columnists.
Kersten is no middle-of-the-road commentator, either. She provides some of the driving force behind the Center for the American Experiment, a local conservative, free-market think tank that has grown in stature and influence tremendously since its founding 15 years ago. Kersten lends the Strib real diversity in thought, and her column today on home schooling is a great example. While the media has always treated home schooling as a danger to children, a process that has the potential to churn out undereducated and maladjusted children, Kersten shows that the process works better than public education:

In 1990, the state had about 10,000 home-schoolers; today, there are more than 17,000.
Most of these kids do well academically. Studies show that home-schoolers, as a group, score well above average on standardized achievement tests.
It’s not hard to see why home-schooling succeeds. Home-schooling parents, unlike classroom teachers, can focus on exactly what their children need.
They’re also free to ignore the shifting and time-consuming educational fashions of the day. (Remember the recently deceased Profile of Learning, with its fuzzy-minded “performance packages”?)
Home-schooling parents can emphasize literary classics over contemporary children’s fiction, which generally features a simplistic style and a narrow, adolescent mind-set. They can nurture their children’s minds and hearts free from the alienated, heavily conformist youth culture.
Is home-schooling a luxury available only to the well-to-do? Not at all. A study released by the National Center for Educational Statistics in 2001 found that home-schooling families’ average income is similar to that of other families. The study also found that 25 percent of home-schoolers are minorities.

Of course, these numbers threaten the public-school monopoly that the state and its unions in which they have such vested interests, and not just for money. The failed programs that Kersten mentions also involve social engineering, some of it less subtle than others. A proposal in front of the legislature at the moment would require three-year-olds that enter the public education system to get psychiatric evaluations to determine what “socioemotional issues” need attention.
Home schooling avoids all of these intrusive, objectionable treatments and processes that turn normal children into lab rats and Ritalin-induced zombies. Kersten homeschooled her own child and discusses others who have done the same, and the support groups and resources available to those who choose this route for their children’s education. The cost for this education is around $400 per year — probably less than one would pay for supplies, fees, and transportation with public schools in a typical year.
Congratulations to Kersten on an auspicious start in her new position — and at least two cheers for the Strib for listening to their audience and hiring Kersten.

It’s Their Fault For Hitting Back

Anti-Israeli bias occurs so frequently in the American media that it hardly bears remarking when it occurs. However, a short blurb in today’s Scotsman demonstrates that same bias exists worldwide. In a three-paragraph article titled “Israeli air strike on Palestinian rocket positions,” the Scotsman assigns blame to Israel for breaking the truce in the first paragraph:

VIOLENCE flared in Gaza with an Israeli air strike on Palestinian rocket launchers only hours after Israel’s Cabinet approved the release of 400 prisoners as a gesture to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

It gets worse in the second paragraph. It uses an IDF statement on the operation to make it appear that the attack was pre-emptive and unprovoked:

The Israeli air strike last night was a rare attack since a February truce. The Israeli military said it targeted rocket launchers just before a planned attack from northern Gaza and two launchers were destroyed.

Those war-mongering Israelis! Why, those rocket launchers may have been there strictly for defensive purposes, in case the IDF invaded Gaza. Oh, wait:

The Islamic Jihad said one of its cells, which had just fired three rockets at an Israeli village, was the strike target.

Perhaps The Scotsman has hired Emily Litella as a copy editor or headline writer. Given the information that The Scotsman chose to bury at the end, shouldn’t the headline read, “Palestinians Launch Rocket Attacks, Israelis Respond”? And in the lead paragraph, shouldn’t the text note that the violence flared in Gaza when the Palestinians launched their rockets, not when the Israelis responded to the attack?
I normally like The Scotsman, but this betrays their anti-Israeli bias, as well as an obtuse intellectual dishonesty that damages their credibility.

Will ‘Non’ Mean ‘Oui’?

French voters turned out in heavy numbers to send a message to Jacques Chirac and the European establishment, trouncing the proposed new EU constitution by a 14-point margin. The loss not only deals a severe blow to Chirac’s aspirations of Continental control — it may portend the end of his career in France, as politicians there have called for new elections:

Unhappy French voters on Sunday derailed plans to further political and economic integration in Europe, decisively rejecting the proposed European constitution and thumbing their noses at the country’s governing elite, which had pleaded for approval of the measure.
The turnout was heavy and the margin of defeat was wide, with about 57 percent rejecting the constitution and about 43 percent voting for it. Opposition leaders harnessed widespread disenchantment over a variety of issues, including the unpopularity of President Jacques Chirac, the weak French economy and fears that the country would lose its clout to a strengthened European central government. …
In a brief televised address shortly after the polls closed, Chirac said he accepted the will of the voters, even though he had lobbied heavily for approval of the constitution. “I’ll defend in Brussels the message from the French people,” he said.
He did not comment on his own political future, or announce any changes to his government, which has sagged badly in opinion polls. Critics amplified their calls for him to resign before his term ends in 2007.

While Americans might take some well-earned schadenfreude at Chirac’s plight, given his efforts to turn France into our diplomatic enemy, in fact this shows that France as a whole still deeply believes in its socialist model. That attitude does not spring from its ruling class but from its electorate, which has gladly accepted a stagnant economy and double-digit unemployment because its nanny state still buffers the effects of those conditions from the individual workers.
In fact, the ‘Non’ may be irrelevant in the end. The society that the French defended in their vote today will disappear soon enough, as the rest of Europe will not long support the French in their self-indulgence. While Germany and France controlled the union, they could get away with breaking the debt ceilings and budgetary expectations set by the existing EU compact. Now that they have thumbed their noses at the new constitution, that control and influence will rapidly dissipate — and they will find themselves forced to reform or face expulsion and devastating trade disputes with an otherwise united Europe.
The far left and far right in France are celebrating tonight on the streets of Paris, delighted in their rejection of the sensible market-based reforms that the rest of Europe wants. They may have won the battle, but that victory will only be temporary, and will consign them to second-tier status in Europe from this point forward.

Another Sign Of Insurgency’s Failure

Today’s Washington Post notes a significant event in the foreign-based “insurgency” that has killed hundreds of Iraqis as well as American troops in Iraq. The terrorists of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi found themselves faced off against native Iraqi forces after killing a local tribal chief while the Marines watched from the sidelines. Most significantly, the Iraqis who had had enough of the Zarqawi insurgency were Sunnis:

For four days this month, U.S. Marines were onlookers at just the kind of fight they had hoped to see: a battle between suspected followers of Abu Musab Zarqawi, a foreign-born insurgent, and Iraqi Sunni tribal fighters at the western frontier town of Husaybah.
In clashes sparked by the assassination of a tribal sheik, which was commissioned by Zarqawi, the foreign insurgents and the Iraqi tribal fighters pounded one another with small weapons and mortars in the town’s streets as the U.S. military watched from a distance, tribal members and the U.S. military said. …
The Sunni Arab tribe involved in the clashes, the Sulaiman, lost four men, Salman Reesha Sulaiman, a member of the tribe, said in an interview after the fighting, which occurred during the first week of May.
On the Zarqawi side, 11 foreign fighters were killed outright, plus an unknown number of other foreign fighters and their Iraqi allies in U.S. bombing runs after local tribes tipped off their location to the Americans.
The fighting at Husaybah was a dramatic sign of the fractures in support and allegiance the foreign fighters are experiencing, several Iraqi political leaders and other Iraqis said. The battles also revealed what appeared to be fissures within the network’s top leadership, they said.

The fighting started when the local tribal sheikh invited the Marines to a goodwill lunch to promote good relations between his tribe and the Americans. Zarqawi ordered him assassinated for the crime of collaboration, and proudly took credit for the murder after it occurred. However, Arabs don’t take kindly to the killing of their tribal leaders, even by accident; they won’t stand for their deliberate killing, regardless of the reason.
Nor did Zarqawi make his presence in Husaybah particularly popular after the murder. He forced the women to cover themselves from head to toe, and forbade the men from wearing “Western” clothing. Satellite and music stores had to close their doors, and Zarqawi’s minions openly bragged about making Husaybah another Fallujah, perhaps forgetting Fallujah’s eventual fate.
Eventually the provocations became too much for the Sulaiman, which reacted with surprising force and vehemence. In this, they embodied the hope of American policy regarding the insurgents — that the Iraqis themselves would rise up and fight them on their own, without American prompting. In fact, as the Post reports, both sides took care to avoid hitting Marine positions in order to keep them from entering the battle on behalf of the Sulaiman — Zarqawi for obvious reasons, and the Sulaiman for reasons of honor. Once the Zarqawi terrorists went on the run, the Sulaiman provided intelligence to the Marines, who attacked them from the air.
This demonstrates the progress that America has made in Iraq, and how much damage that Zarqawi’s indiscriminate killing of Iraqi civilians does to his cause. The Sunni have not remained monolithically opposed to Americans, and tribe by tribe may have started to realize that the collapse of the Ba’athists does not necessarily mean that they face slavery by the Shi’a. In fact, after Husaybah, they understand even more clearly that slavery comes from Zarqawi and his ilk — and they’re willing to fight to defeat it.

Parents Without A Clue

This story pops up every once in a while, proving that stupidity and cluelessness has a strong streak of repetition. A Nashville mother is the latest parent to get arrested for hiring strippers for a minor child and his buddies to celebrate a birthday:

A mother faces criminal charges after she hired a stripper to dance at her 16-year-old son’s birthday party. Anette Pharris, 34, has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and involving a minor in obscene acts. The boy’s father, the stripper and two others also face charges. …
Anette Pharris took photos at the party and tried to have them developed at a nearby drug store. Drug store employees notified authorities, police said.
“Who are they to tell me what I can and can’t show to my own children?” the mother said.

Where to start with Pharris? Let’s establish some baseline assumptions. I’m not that much of a prude that I think a naked body corrupts everyone who sees it. However, I do think that teenagers who already struggle to understand sexuality and their own urges are not helped by having parents provide writhing strippers and lap dances to their 16-year-old sons. And while Pharris may have more of a voice in determining appropriate entertainment for her own child, she certainly doesn’t have the right to determine it for his friends.
This is what happens when parents decide that being buddies with their kids and indulging every impulse they have is more important than parenting. Parents are the primary teachers of their children, and while it’s important to keep lines of communication open, that doesn’t mean that parents have to capitulate on every urge their teenagers have. All Pharris taught her son was that she has no judgement or morals at all, and that it’s perfectly OK to indulge every hormonal impulse no matter what the circumstances.
Last lesson: if one really insists on being this stupid, buy a digital camera.
ADDENDUM: The First Mate had me in stitches this morning after I told her about this story. When she calmed down, she casually asked me what kind of birthday cake would go with that particular party theme…

How The Seven Dwarves Have Impacted The Presidential Race

Yesterday on the Northern Alliance Radio show, I made an assertion that the judicial confirmation compromise both sprang from the presidential aspirations of its key GOP proponents and that it had affected the 2008 race already. We didn’t have time to hash it out, as the hour came to a conclusion shortly afterwards, but Ralph Hallow has more on the latter hypothesis in today’s Washington Times. He astutely notes that the GOP base may draw closer to George Allen of Virginia, who has resolutely stood for the principles enumerated by the GOP during the last election while the Seven Dwarves face irate voters back home:

Last week’s Senate compromise that averted a showdown over filibustered judicial nominees was actually the opening salvo of the 2008 presidential campaign, several veteran political observers say. The unexpected consequence of the filibuster compromise is to give a boost to the presidential prospects of Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican.
“Allen was very vocal in support of changing the rules to eliminate the filibuster of judicial nominees and took the right position in condemning the compromise,” said Free Congress Foundation President Paul M. Weyrich.
Conservatives have strongly condemned the compromise as a politically motivated gambit by Arizona Sen. John McCain, key Republican broker in the deal that ensured confirmation of three of President Bush’s nominees to federal appeals courts.

I argued yesterday that the wide-open presidential race actually encouraged this nonsense. While the Democrats already have a frontrunner of sorts in Hillary Clinton and a couple of other wannabes — John Kerry, as an example — the GOP hasn’t established anyone as a frontrunner. Dick Cheney’s refusal to run (and his high negatives) left the field open, and the Republicans have not groomed anyone to step up. That left a vacuum where the highly ambitious could hope to establish themselves in the media as party leaders. At least some of the Seven Dwarves took advantage of that strategy by painting themselves as reasonable conservatives, ones who could reach accommodation across the aisle where this administration was either unable or unwilling to do so.
In other words, they sold out Bush and their duty to protect the Constitution for a few photo ops and a boost to their national aspirations. Lindsay Graham, Mike DeWine, and most of all John McCain fall into this category. Unfortunately for them, that strategy appears to have blown up in their faces, as the Bolton filibuster demonstrates the ineptness of the Seven Dwarves in caving into Democrats’ demands that legitimized the use of the filibuster on executive nominations strictly because of policy disagreements.
McCain gets the most blame among analysts, but Majority Leader Bill Frist doesn’t get completely off the hook either, making his own presidential bid look less and less likely to succeed:

Mr. Frist’s base of support remains strong, said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “I don’t think Frist is wounded — betrayed by McCain and a few of his other Republican senators, but not wounded, not among social conservatives,” he said.
But Mr. Keene said the compromise did serious damage to Mr. Frist’s credibility. “Frist is the loser in that he has demonstrated an inability to hold his own majority together,” said Mr. Keene. “But out in the country and among the Republican base, he will be viewed as someone who at least tried.”
“Frist is hurt to the extent he had an opportunity to be seen as a hero to the conservative movement and that opportunity was taken away from him by John McCain,” said Mr. Weyrich.
The compromise was hailed as a victory by Democrats, and many conservatives questioned Mr. McCain’s motives in recruiting other Republican senators to join an ad-hoc coalition — now derided by some critics as “the Seven Dwarfs” — in support of the deal.
“McCain could not bear to see Frist as the big winner, so he got his buddy [South Carolina Sen.] Lindsey Graham and [Ohio Sen.] Mike DeWine involved in this,” Mr. Weyrich said. “That’s what this is all about.”

Laura Ingraham referred to both DeWine and Graham as MITs — McCains In Training. They expected to get the same love from the press that McCain gets for being a so-called “maverick”, and they may well receive it in the short run. They will discover, however, that one must win primaries in order to run in a general election, and that people tend to vote for those who don’t stiff them when the pressure builds. Both might find that, far from building political capital for a national campaign, they may have mortally wounded themselves for re-election to the seats they hold now.
This has changed the landscape for the 2008 campaign. Now we have even fewer national figures who can successfully engage the base for a presidential run. George Allen may be the one figure who rises above this debacle with a national following strong enough to vault him into the upper echelon of contenders. Keep an eye out, though, for GOP governors to step up after 2006. I think we may have a winner right here in Minnesota, if he decides to toss his hat in the ring.

CQ – The End Of The World As We Know It

It’s the end of the world as we know it,
And I feel fine …

An alert CQ reader pointed out an op-ed in yesterday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution that used Captain’s Quarters as an example of how the media faces destruction in today’s new market. Did Conrad Fink, a professor of journalism at the University of Georgia (go, Bulldogs!), talk about how blogs discovered the truth about the Killian Memos? Did Professor Fink review the Eason’s Fables episode, where the vice-president of a major American news organization got caught committing slander on multiple occasions overseas? How about Newsweek’s false report on Qu’ran flushing at Gitmo, and the role that bloggers played in forcing Newsweek to address its faulty editorial policies and reviews, let alone its inherent bias?
Er, no. Instead, he lionized the journalism industry for — get this — actually reporting on Kyrgyzstan and criticized me for reporting on Adscam testimony:

First, in late March, a street revolution overthrew the government of Kyrgyzstan — one of the “stans” carved out of the old Soviet Union’s eastern empire. The United States has a military base there — big surprise to many Americans.
And, Washington has staked out Kyrgyzstan, along with Afghanistan and the other “stans,” as a major battleground against terrorism — and oh, by the way, as a major sector of American influence in one of the potentially most explosive challenges ahead in this new century: Our guarded relationships with China and Russia.
A street revolt in a small, far-off, unheard-of Asian nation is important to us? You bet, and the mainstream media were on the story.

Fink argues that the AP covered this because it has the resources to do so, a point that seems rather obvious and unremarkable. Most of the Exempt Media reporting on Kyrgyzstan came from the AP and Reuters; perhaps the New York Times has a reporter in Bishkek, but I rather doubt it. But bloggers have reported directly from Kyrgyzstan and surrounding territory as well, and places like Registan aggregate the best of them.
Why is Fink so concerned about this? He believes that bloggers like me and Registan will attract so many readers that we will drive newspapers into collapse, and uses Adscam as an example of the evils of the blogosphere:

Now consider a possible news industry of the future, perhaps reduced to delivering sparse headline-coverage on Palm Pilots. Would such a news industry maintain correspondents in the Bishkeks of the world? Where, in this worst-case scenario, would we get news?
My second example might offer clues: There has been under way in Canada a hugely important federal investigation into charges — I emphasize, unproved allegations — of money laundering and kickbacks in government. The federal judge leading that investigation banned publication of details on grounds that potential jurors might be prejudiced.
Enter the new media.
A blogger in Minneapolis — a self-described conservative, amateur blogger — began posting details he said he obtained from an anonymous source in Canada who approached him with the story. The blogger cautioned that, yes, his reporting was based on that single source and, no, he had no corroboration.
Established mainstream newspapers in Canada were prohibited from reporting details, but Canadians, hungry for those details, flocked to the blogger. He reported 400,000 hits a day from Canadians. Indeed, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported traffic was so heavy one day that his Web site crashed.
Just think: Uncorroborated information from an unidentified source relayed by an amateur blogger with no journalistic training made allegations reaching into the highest level of the Canadian Liberal Party, to people close to the prime minister.

Of course, Fink leaves several points out of this frightening scenario. First, the Gomery Inquiry was a public hearing. The politically connected could watch or hear the testimony, and people lucky enough to get seats could see it as it unfolded. The Canadian media had TV feeds in some locations. The only thing the publication ban prevented was the information getting to the true victims of the corruption. Second, as Fink notes and unlike the practice of Exempt Media outlets, I informed my readers of the nature of my source up front. Third, I confirmed the veracity of the source within 24 hours of publication through a number of contacts I made in the Canadian press, who had seen the testimony firsthand.
Oh, and unlike Newsweek — I got the story right.
I don’t know how Fink comes to the conclusion that I have had no journalistic “training” whatsoever, or why that’s germane to a story that gets reported correctly and in a timely manner. In fact, I majored in communication at Cal State Fullerton (when I bothered to attend), and while I didn’t finish, I did take one or two classes in journalism, both there and in high school. It probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that journalistic “training” is overrated, especially at the college level. Most real journalists, as opposed to self-righteous journalism professors, will tell you the same thing; journalism is a craft learned by practice, not a science taught through lecture.
Besides, the industry is a market, just like any other. If people want reports from Krygyzstan, the market will drive resources there. The AP and Reuters make their money precisely because newspapers won’t pay for bureaus in Bishkek. The broadsheets pay the AP and Reuters to do the reporting for them. If Professor Fink had paid a little more attention, he would have noticed that bloggers like CQ and Registan noticed the Kyrgyz activity from the wire reports and stoked interest in the story. Advertisers, which pay for bloggers as well as broadsheets, respond to readers in the same way regardless of the medium used. The real issue isn’t whether that kind of reporting will disappear — it’s whether the broadsheets, with their clunky 24-hour news cycles, will ever adjust to the AP’s pace in order to stay ahead of its readers. Obviously, we know where to look for the news as it happens.
Professor Fink claims in his conclusion that he holds no brief for the newspaper industry, but then states that the broadsheets have stood watch over this nation’s interests like no other medium has or ever will. That’s the cri de coeur of the dinosaur, and it will be the echo of the paper medium as it disappears into history. It reveals his essay as nothing more than a self-serving rant, trying desperately to discredit bloggers and anyone else who dares to report and comment on current events without a diploma from dear old Georgia or a similar member of academia.
UPDATE: The inestimable Victor Davis Hanson weighs in on this general topic in today’s Washington Times.
UPDATE II: I had the lyrics slightly incorrect, but Hoystory straightened me out.

It Depends On The Entertainment

No one doubts that the United Nations has had a terrible past few years. They wound up supine to a genocidal maniac in Iraq, whose pockets they stuffed with billions in cash through corruption and incompetence while his people starved. Their peacekeeping missions have proven worthless as the troops stand by and watch civilians get massacred. Those women and young girls who are unfortunate to wind up at refugee camps get used by the soldiers and the UN management officials as prostitutes merely for subsistence levels of food, or an occasional dollar in return for sexual favors. Kofi Annan urges action in Darfur, but can’t bring himself to declare the Arab rampage there a genocide, which would force the Security Council to intervene. This corruption and incompetence has been proven to run to the highest levels of the UN, and the organization still cannot bring itself to hold its leadership accountable for the organization’s myriad failures.
So what is the UN’s main concern these days? According to the New York Times, it’s that President Bush hasn’t RSVP’d for their big anniverdary celebration in San Francisco:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has indicated she will not attend. So has former President George H. W. Bush. The controversial nominee for United Nations ambassador, John R. Bolton, has not been heard from, nor has President Bush, who was sent an invitation in February.
Getting big-name administration officials to attend events outside Washington is always a long shot because of their busy schedules. But in the case of the 60th anniversary celebration of the founding of the United Nations, which will take place in San Francisco late next month, some organizers are wondering if something beyond scheduling conflicts is at play.
Nancy L. Peterson, president of the United Nations Association of San Francisco, a nonprofit group that has been planning the celebration, said no explanation had been offered by the White House. But she said some members were worried that President Bush’s seeming disdain for the world organization might be behind the silence and no-shows.
“We are a month out, and that’s cutting it close,” Ms. Peterson said. When asked if San Franciscans felt slighted, she said, “I think the administration is slighting the American people by not stepping forward on behalf of the United Nations at this turning point.”

On the contrary — I think the administration might be sending a message that perfectly resonates with the American people’s perspective on the UN. It has little to do with San Francisco, although the people there have invariably been rude and abusive when the nation’s leaders visit there, underscoring the general self-indulgence and immaturity one usually sees in the political class in that region. The snub has everything to do with the fact that no one in Bush’s administration wants to celebrate or salute the current corrupt management at Turtle Bay, and that is exactly what this event would do.
The truly laughable part of Dean Murphy’s report is the mention of John Bolton’s lack of response. First, Bolton has yet to be confirmed to the post of UN ambassador, so technically he has no reason to be invited, let alone attend. Moreoever, the New York Times has done nothing but encourage the Bolton opposition, engaging in the same character assassination launched by Harry Reid and his minions, and have staunchly and publicly opposed his confirmation. The UN, according to these Democrats, want nothing to do with Bolton at Turtle Bay. Now suddenly they send him an invitation to this celebration, and the Times wants to know why he hasn’t responded? Murphy and the Times can’t be that stupid; they are, however, pretty hypocritical in mentioning it.
The UN has collapsed into a crime family, where money and personnel intended to assist the most vulnerable instead work to the support of the most evil tyrants, where forces intended on protecting the innocent abandon them to enemies and sexually assault the female survivors, and where the various dictatorships and kleptocracies who pursue slavery and terrorism run committees that focus their ire on Western nations for not putting even more resources at their disposal to continue these travesties. Its management has proven itself above accountability and its membership has encouraged all of it for a chance to handicap the Western democracies in their bid to spread true freedom and liberty across the globe.
What’s there to celebrate?

How Democrats Define Comity

The AP’s David Espo gets behind the scenes in the hours after the announcement of the compromise on judicial confirmations that the Gang of 14 heralded as a new era of Senate comity. Far from an emergent period of truce and trust, Espo reports that Harry Reid and the Democrats immediately began planning the exploitation of the pact to their advantage even as the indulgent backslapping still echoed in the hallways:

The signatures of 14 Senate centrists, seven from each party, spilled across the last page of a hard-won compromise on
President Bush’s judicial nominees. But whatever elation the negotiators felt, the Senate’s Democratic leader did not share it.
In the privacy of his Capitol office last Monday night, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., asked for commitments from six Democrats fresh from the talks. Would they pledge to support filibusters against Brett Kavanaugh and William Haynes, two nominees not specifically covered by the pact with Republicans?
Some of the Democrats agreed. At least one, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, declined.
Details of Reid’s attempt to kill the two nominations within minutes of the agreement, as well as other events during this tumultuous time, were obtained by The Associated Press in interviews with senators and aides in both parties. They spoke on condition of anonymity, citing confidentiality pledges.

It didn’t take more than a few minutes for Reid to read between the lines of the MOU to see how to exploit it. In that, one has to give him a tip of the hat; he instinctively knew what seven Republicans couldn’t grasp with two hands and a map. It also tells us that the rest of Bush’s nominees have no chance of making it to a floor vote, not without going back to the Byrd option.
UPDATE: Forgot to tip my hat to CQ reader Katy W for this one.
UPDATE II: Hard Starboard has some relevant thoughts, and a couple of updates. It seems the folks back home have made political life a little more comity-free for Lindsay Graham and Mike DeWine.