Two Hail Marys.

A mostly political Weblog.
March 17 2003 5:56 AM

Two Hail Marys

Plus: WaPo wobbles, sort of, maybe.

(Continued from Page 1)

Maer Roshan is the greatest magazine editor alive today. For several years now, Media Person has been unable to open a newspaper or check a media Web site without seeing some reference to Maer Roshan and his latest plans for the fabulous Radar magazine. His strategy has been unbelievably brilliant. Everyone knows that this is a terrible time to start a magazine (or anything else, except maybe a war) and so Roshan has opted to not start one. Meanwhile, he has hired so many fine journalists and received so much publicity that his magazine gets more buzz than any other. People at parties are always talking about the fantastic articles they would have read in Radar this month if only it existed. Advertisers can't wait to run their ads in it. The only thing that could possibly hurt Radar's success would be its debut. But Media Person believes Maer Roshan is much too smart to allow that to happen.

One of the journalists Roshan is said to be considering using, at least according to Fox News' Roger Friedman, is investigative reporter John Connolly, whose book on the Lewinsky scandal, Insane Clown Posse, was famously aborted by Talk Miramax Books. ... Is that good publicity for Radar or bad publicity? .... 3:21 P.M.

Delay OK? Rumsfeld says a delay of a month or more would not be a problem for our military? WaPo buries the lede! ... He supposedly said this during a brief appearance at a meeting where the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, indicated our troops can "wait as long as necessary," in the words of an unnamed analyst who was present. ... Of course, Rumsfeld and the general could be trying to lull Saddam into a false sense of temporary confidence, in order to regain some element of suprise. ... 12:49 A.M.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Zinni Arabiatta: Retired Marine General (and former Middle East envoy) Anthony Zinni also favors a delay-for-consensus deal, according to Al Hunt.

 "Iraq is not an imminent threat," he declares in an interview this week. It's critical, he believes, to have many allies in any rebuilding effort, which would be tremendously facilitated by United Nations support. "If we need to wait a few months while ratcheting up the pressure on Saddam -- take away the whole air space from him...then we ought to wait."

But the fuss about needing allies to rebuild Iraq -- stressed here by Zinni, and elsewhere by Thomas Friedman -- seems overdone. Won't the Europeans help in the rebuilding effort anyway, if only to maintain their influence and show they're not complete free riders? Isn't the real question the initial decision to invade -- especially a) the bad practical precedent of an invasion outside any supra-national (U.N. or NATO) structure and, b) the need to reduce global hatred of America by operating under international sanction. I also suspect those issues -- and not the size of the rebuilding effort -- are what most trouble voters when they say they care about whether the U.N. votes for war. ...[You're sniping at people on your side of the argument--ed. Could be ego! -- I decide the reasons for delaying war around here, buddy! But the "rebuilding" issue has always seemed a bit of a phony to me. If an invasion were otherwise justified and prudent, and the U.N. said "We approve an attack on Saddam, but we won't give you any help afterwards," we wouldn't hold off just because rebuilding Iraq might be difficult, right?] 10:37 P.M.

Radley Balko has a "hardy perennial," oldie-but-goodie story on how Ralph Nader's PIRG organizations live off funds siphoned from unwitting college students. The standard hypocrisy charge applies: If the Naderite fundraising activities were a for-profit business, Nader would probably be demanding the Federal Trade Commission investigate them for bad consumer practices. ... Come to think of it, now that Nader's hated by Gore-supporting Democrats at least as much as by Republicans, can't the FTC muster a bipartisan majority to do just that? ... Balko's good on the hypocrisy of Naderites who plead the First Amendment when the fee arrangement is challenged, but who argue that 'money isn't speech' when it comes to actual politics.

Get it? The act of forcing students at state colleges to fund causes they don't believe in is "protected speech," but voluntarily giving to a political candidate isn't.

Still, I don't understand why mandatory student contributions to Nader (at least at private colleges) should be unconstitutional. If you don't like going to a Nader college, don't go to a Nader college -- just as, if you don't like Jesuits, you probably shouldn't go to Georgetown. ... Granted, most of Balko's examples seem to be state colleges and universities, which arguably have different obligations. ...8:35 P.M.

Show of Feet? Reader M.B. has an idea for finessing the Iraq situation that's probably won't work, but seems worth presenting anyway: Somehow establish U.N. protected zones within Iraq -- starting perhaps in Shiite border towns or Kurdish areas, but also (the hard part, I guess) in some Sunni areas. Let Iraqi citizens vote with their feet about where they'd prefer to live. If Saddam tries to interfere with the ensuing mass migration, you have a Rwanda-style situation justifying intervention to protect them. ... 8:09 P.M.

It's always a crisis in Krugmanville -- Update: MinuteMan has fun elaborating the new Krugman disaster scenarios. ... 11:29 A.M.

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