Subject: "Reliable Source" Also an Ethical Source
Re: " Today's Papers: Feb. 11"
From: Lloyd Grove
Date: Fri Feb 11
As the author of the "Reliable Source" column that printed the item about Marvin Bush's quip, I'd like to suggest the answers to your two queries about my journalistic ethics: 1) Was the Washington Post wrong to print the comment? No. 2) Was I acting out of animus to George W.? No!
My colleague Terry Neal, the national political reporter who filed the item, made sure that he was following the rules of engagement operating on the Bush plane at the time Marvin and George W. met with the press. It may not have been clear from the item we printed, but Gov. Bush's "off the record!" instruction was jocular. Maybe I need to spend more time with a shrink, but I am aware of no animus toward Gov. Bush within myself, Terry or anybody else here at the Post. I just thought it was a funny moment that made for an entertaining item.
Subject: Hey Saletan, Where's the Beef?
From: Bob Parnes
Date: Thu Feb 10
I was struck by William Saletan's gratuitous and unsubstantiated claim that "Gore twisted every truth that got in his way." That seems to be the conventional view of the Washington pundits, something that's tossed out in a column or on the air with such casual nonchalance, as if it were so obvious as not to need any evidence to support it. The scant evidence for the charge that I have seen/heard from the pundits has not convinced me that Mr. Gore has twisted every truth, let alone any truth of significance that would merit this kind of denigration. I look forward to Mr. Saletan's substantiation of this rather grave charge.
Subject: Re: Hey Saletan, Where's the Beef?
From: William Saletan
Date: Thu Feb 10
Exhibit A: Gore said Bradley's health-care plan consists of $150 "vouchers," despite the absence of any such "voucher" system in the written plan. So Bradley explained that $150 was his estimate of the average cost of the plan per person—not a voucher. And the Bradley campaign said that if it turned out that health insurance costs more than that in any given state, Bradley would make up the difference. Bradley and his aides clarified this point repeatedly and pointed out that the "voucher" claim was false. But Gore, after hearing each of these clarifications, went right on repeating the charge ad infinitum.
A simple, outright lie.
Subject: The Prey Need Not Annoy the Predator
From: David Sloan Wilson
Date: Thu Feb 10
The purpose of this post is to comment on the "anti-Semitic" Kevin MacDonald quote that ended Judith Shulevitz's article:
This facultative response to external threat has often been manipulated by Jewish authorities attempting to inculcate a stronger sense of group identification among Jews by exaggerating the threat of anti-Semitism. Strategizing groups are thus able to manipulate social environments in ways that trigger evolved psychological mechanisms related to group functioning. On the other hand, there are several important historical examples where increased levels of resource competition between Jews and gentiles have triggered reactive processes among gentiles, resulting in gentiles developing highly cohesive anti-Semitic group strategies in opposition to Judaism--what I term "reactive racism."
She found it anti-Semitic but I see symmetry. To rephrase the passage in abstract terms: Group A is threatened by group B and exaggerates the threat to its own members. Group B is threatened by group A and exaggerates the threat to its own members. As long as we stick to a general theory of what I called selfish groups and adaptive fictions in my earlier post, we are on safe and very important scientific ground.
Judith's rendering of the passage was, "Those scheming Jews, the evolutionary justification for anti-Semitism." Consider the following two statements:
1) Individual A is justified in destroying individual B because individual B behaved selfishly toward individual A.
2) Group A is justified in destroying group B because group B behaved selfishly toward group A.
The first statement is not morally acceptable at the level of individual interactions and the second statement is no more acceptable at the level of group interactions. Furthermore, truly selfish individuals/groups don't require justification to prey on other individuals/groups, any more than a lion requires justification to prey on gazelles. If Nazi Germany acted as a selfish group, the most exemplary behavior in the world would not have protected the Jews. I would therefore challenge a statement of the form "Nazis were anti-Semitic because of what Jews did to them." If only groups were so morally principled!
Subject: The Net's Credit Card Criminals
Re: " Webhead: Caveat Mercator"
From: e-commerce merchant
Date: Mon Feb 14
As an accountant for an online merchant I feel like I am on the front lines of this new battle with credit card criminals. We are having to review our company policies regarding credit card purchases on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the criminals seem to be one step ahead of us sometimes. We follow the guidelines given to us by our Merchant Services for accepting credit cards as payment. However, we have still been hit by several fraudulent charges and learned some hard lessons. We require from our customers a signed Purchase Order and a copy of the front and back of the credit card for all purchases over a certain dollar amount. This seems to eliminate those who try to purchase with credit card numbers that they simply stole from the Internet somewhere.