I'm gonna sit back right easy and laugh / When Scooter and the big man bust this city in half


I've got a new "Think Again," called "Modest and Respectful No More," here, and the reason I idiotically went to New Hampshire in the first place, a Creative Coalition panel on the debates I did not witness, is here on the invaluable fora.tv.

Note, by the way, how angry Frank Luntz gets when I note that Fox News cannot really be considered a news source since studies by the University of Maryland and elsewhere demonstrate that its viewers are consistently misinformed about the news by its ideologically slanted and frequently false reports. Otherwise, I'm pretty relaxed ... for a jailbird. Hey, look, Fox News thinks all black congressmen look alike. And how classy that they originally could not even bring themselves to apologize to Conyers by name. (I can't wait till these guys get their hands on the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.) Here's the video. (Thanks, Todd Gitlin.)

The problems with "objectivity": I dunno, my headline for this story would have been: Dangerously Deluded American President, Per Usual, Wishes to Spend Billions to Defend Against Non-Existent Threat, Insists on Ignoring Genuine Ones (Again). Sane democratic leaders of other nations shake their heads in awe, amazement, and anger.

I have zero desire to be drawn into yet another pissing match with Joe Klein (and I'm pleased not to see my name in another story this week); what's more, the netroots have better defenders than I can be. But this piece struck me as, let's say, ironic.

It seems to me that Klein is genuinely obsessed with this question: A "reasonable reader might ask, Why are the left-wing bloggers attacking you? Aren't you pretty tough on the Bush Administration? Didn't you write a few months ago that George W. Bush would be remembered as one of the worst Presidents in history? And why on earth does any of this matter?"

Let me see if I can explain. Nobody really cares about Joe Klein, per se, one way or another. What justifiably angers people is when Time magazine offers its 3.25 million readers false and defamatory information. Ditto ABC's This Week and its however-many viewers. Therefore, the fact that Klein is not always wrong does not obviate the fact that he is often wrong. When he is wrong -- and defamatory -- this needs to be pointed out for the sake of correcting the record and ensuring informed democratic debate. And it is not necessary to add that he is not always wrong. Nobody ever said he was. Again, the point is not Mr. Klein; the point is the information itself.

Second, most of this piece is critical of the tone taken by netroots bloggers. And yet in the very same piece we hear of their "free-range lunacy," as well as the "fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere." When Klein did not like what I wrote about his work -- and only his work -- he responded by saying I was "perpetually intemperate," ..."obsessed," "still-obsessed," "futile and pathetic," and "still pathetic," "still after [him]," "a suck-up" and "intellectually dishonest," "not reliable," and full of "non-stop crap." Methinks this is not a writer who should be lecturing bloggers about tone, much less content.

Third, oh yes, content. Nowhere in Klein's piece does he note the fact that the netroots were consistently correct about George W. Bush as he now admits, while Klein and the vast majority of his colleagues were consistently and tragically wrong. The netroots, had they been listened to, could have saved the country from the ignominy that is the invasion of Iraq and all the damage, death, and destruction that it has caused the nation and the world. Even if Klein were right in comparing these people to Rush Limbaugh -- who, after all, celebrated Abu Ghraib and regularly issues racist rants from his microphone -- that would strike me as a pretty considerable difference.

Speaking of Klein, I see that Robert Novak remains in his honored place on The Washington Post editorial page, despite his role in the deliberate outing of a covert CIA employee -- and yes, there is no longer any argument about Valerie Plame's covert status. When I originally published Sound & Fury back in 1992, Paul Berman reviewed it at length in The New Republic and marveled at the sight of the fact that Novak, way back then, could be taken seriously by the Washington journalistic establishment. The marvel has only increased in the decade and a half that has since passed.

In any case, he's got a hit piece on John Edwards this morning, in which he manages to quote James Carville changing his mind about how terrific Edwards may or may not be, without mentioning anywhere that when Carville made his original statement, he did not have a proverbial dog in the hunt (back in 2004), but now, he is working for Edwards' opponent in the race, Hillary Clinton. How is it possible to take such a pundit seriously, I wonder, and just where the heck are Novak's editors? Are they doing whatever they were doing when he chose to out a covert CIA employee, endangering her life, and blowing the many operations in which she was involved, after at least six other reporters refused to take the bait?

Speaking of Novak, here's Bill Kristol with today's QOTD:

"So much for loyalty, or decency, or courage. For President Bush, loyalty is apparently a one-way street; decency is something he's for as long as he doesn't have to take any risks in its behalf; and courage -- well, that's nowhere to be seen. Many of us used to respect President Bush. Can one respect him still?"

Reading around:

Phil Weiss on Jews, Israel, his blog, and The New York Observer in The American Conservative.

Correspondence Corner:

Name: Thomas Heiden
Hometown: Stratford, CT


Today's Washington Post cites an article from The Weekly Standard chastising Bush for not yet pardoning Libby:

"So much for loyalty, or decency, or courage. For President Bush, loyalty is apparently a one-way street: decency is something he's for as long as he doesn't have to take any risks in [sic] its behalf; and courage - well, that's nowhere to be seen."

Well, any of us could have told them all this years ago ... in fact, I think numerous people did, only to be called, essentially, traitors.

Weekly Standard, welcome to reality - if you stay here for a bit, you might get used to it and even like it.

Name: Steven
Hometown: San Francisco

Your Think Again article -- recall when former Republican Speaker of the House Tom DeLay signed a mass-mail fundraising letter that called labor leaders' efforts to organize federal workers "sickening" and "a clear and present danger to the United States"? Boy, those were the days.

Name: Matthew Saroff
Hometown: http://fourtyyears.blogspot.com

Julie Amero, who was facing forty years in prison because of a spyware infestation on an improperly secured school computer, is now getting a new trial.

Lindsay Beyerstein, a freelance journalist and blogger, was instrumental in getting coverage required of this story.

Ms. Amero's life has still been adversely affected (she is out legal fees, and miscarried).

Another reminder of the power of law enforcement, and how it can be cavalierly used.

Name: Lou Cabron
Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Eight conservative Republicans and Joe Lieberman just joined Barack Obama and some Democrats to co-sponsor an anti-internet resolution. It desginates June as the time Americans should "learn more about the dangers of the Internet" -- and goes on to list a laughable set of internet "dangers." Here.

It's amazing what this shows about the contempt our Senate feels for Internet users. The Internet-demonizing resolution was later passed -- unanimously.

Name: Geraldo
Hometown: Winnipeg

A rest area seen by one Eric
Seemed nice, so he wanted to share it.
Giulliani said: "Pest!
You are under arrest!
But at least you are not a damned ferret!"

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