Slate's annual retreat is this weekend. They are probably going to try to make us think outside the box again, when all I want to do is curl up inside the box and go to sleep. ... Everyone is thinking outside the box these days. What takes real boldness and originality is to refuse to go along with the free-thinking herd! Inside the box is the new outside the box! That's the ticket. We'll see if they buy it ... 11:50 P.M.
Dean's Cheap Date: The anti-anti-Dean backlash backlash appears to be in full swing. TNR's annoyingly anonymous blogger helps puncture last month's Dean-as-McGovern op-ed campaign by pointing out that the Vermont governor has managed to capture his party's left with mere anger, rather than with actual policy concessions. That will make the necessary move back to the center, when the time comes, easier for Dean than someone "electable" like Gephardt, who has been forced to woo the left mainly with substance (e.g. his policy stand on trade). ... Caveat: As Daniel Drezner points out in his accompanying Dean half-defense, Dean has made anti-free-trade noises too. But maybe the point is that, even there, Dean--unlike Gephardt--can get away with mere noises. ... P.S.: One advantage George W. Bush had in the 2000 campaign, as Peggy Noonan pointed out at the time, is that he emotionally bonded with his party's right wing early on, during the Bob Jones University controversy in South Carolina. That freed him to make liberalish substantive moves during the rest of the campaign without fear of losing his base. Dean may now enjoy a mirror-image advantage. ...Subtext: Anyway, we should all be nice to Dean until he fulfills his historic mission in New Hampshire--saving the nation from John Kerry. ... P.P.S.: See also Terry Neal's excellent column on the efforts of four Democratic candidates who voted for the war to suddenly get very Dean-like and angry. Not surprisingly, Kerry ("yeah, I'm actually, I'm really shocked and I am angry") is the most transparently insecure and coarsely calculating in trying to have it both ways (taking credit for voting for the war while denouncing Bush for the intelligence that convinced Kerry to vote for the war).. 5:22 P.M.
One of these men looks silly:
"Israel Isn't the Issue"
--headline of Norman Podhoretz's op-ed in the WSJ, September 20, 2001
I want to be very plain. This terrorism will not be defeated without peace in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. (Applause.) Here it is that the poison is incubated. Here it is that the extremist is able to confuse in the mind of a frighteningly large number of people the case for a Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel, and to translate this, moreover, into a battle between East and West, Muslim, Jew and Christian.
--Prime Minister Tony Blair, address to Congress, July 17, 2003.
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Good Kevin Holtsberry mocking of a paradigmatic phony NYT attempt to show that trouble's-a-brewin' for Bush over the African uranium story. It's not just the unsupported Times headline--"In Ohio, Iraq Questions Shake Even Some of Bush's Faithful." The whole story was seemingly assigned (and edited) in order to allow that hed to be written. ... There's some sort of editorial scandal-promoting machine operating here that survives (and predates) Howell Raines. ... [Link via Instapundit] 11:46 A.M.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Only one more '60s figure or aging boomer longing for a late-inning burst of creative success gets to compare himself William Butler Yeats, OK? Then that's it! ... When Howell Raines did it, it was merely swell-headed and pretentious. When Tuli Kupferberg did it, he probably didn't know Raines had already done it. But the time after next it's going to seem really tedious and derivative. So who wants last Yeats? ... Mick Jagger? Walter Isaacson? Billy Joel? Warren Beatty? Gary Hart? ... 12:57 P.M.
Monday, July 14, 2003
Monday, July 14, 2003
Eerily Prescient or Bleeding Obvious? You, the reader, make the call!
Keller in the Cellar?
By Mickey Kaus
Updated Monday, May 12, 2003, at 2:43 AM PT
... Bill Keller (runner-up to Raines for the executive editor's job) is looking better and better, isn't he? He's sitting there on the bench, presumably ready to play. Maybe the fourth quarter belongs to him! ...
kf Scoop:WaPo "Reliable Source" columnist Lloyd Grove is in fact going--not thinking of going, as reported earlier, or negotiating about going, but going-- to the New York Daily News. ... Did he buy his "Mort Insurance"? ... P.S.: The Post is foolish to let him leave. ... Hell, Howell Raines would have made him a "star!" ... Update--Note to Lloyd: How well do you get along with Steve Coz? ... 3:10 P.M.
Euphemism of the Week:
"Obviously there are sort of some message challenges, but they are normal.'' -- Sen. John Kerry.
Did Ed Muskie use that phrase back in '72? It might be Kerry's innovation ... 11:23 P.M
In dictionaries of the future, when you look up the word "groveling," you'll see this NYT "corrective article." ... P.S.: There's some sort of backstory here we're not being told about. ... 10:44 P.M.
Maybe The Note has made this point, but ... What was unusual about the July 4th holiday? No big terror alert. People went about their business. That's good news, but it's also good news specifically for Democrats, who can hold out some hope that the voters' focus will shift away from foreign affairs and terrorism. ... The government's effort to prevent more domestic attacks is one area where ambitious Democrats would seem to be wishing for success, not failure. ... 11:45 A.M.
Saturday, July 12, 2003 Bill Keller will stop this nonsense! Won't he? I've no reason to doubt the basic message of Louis Uchitelle's front page NYT gloom-'n-doomer--that blacks made great strides in the tight labor market of the late '90s and are losing some of that ground in the current slowdown. But the chart accompanying the story (available as a pop-up from the Web page) is, yes, a textbook example of misleading graphics! It is designed to show that
Bill Keller will stop this nonsense! Won't he? I've no reason to doubt the basic message of Louis Uchitelle's front page NYT gloom-'n-doomer--that blacks made great strides in the tight labor market of the late '90s and are losing some of that ground in the current slowdown. But the chart accompanying the story (available as a pop-up from the Web page) is, yes, a textbook example of misleading graphics! It is designed to show that
Twenty-eight months after the start of the most recent recession, black unemployment has risen more than after any comparable period since the 1970s.
1) The rise in black unemployment is measured from the start of the recession to a cutoff 28 months later. But why pick that cutoff? In the current downturn, unemployment has gradually risen by 3.5 percentage points. In the '80s recession, it was only 2.9 points higher after 28 months-- but that came after a dramatic spike in joblessness that surely caused a lot of economic hardship. A better comparison would be from peak to peak--that is, how high did black unemployment go in this downturn versus in other downturns? And if you measure "how bad did it get," you learn that in the 1981-83 Reagan recession, black unemployment soared at least 6 points, from about 13 percent to 19 percent at its peak -- a much bigger rise than the recent rise of 3.5 percent, even though the recent rise reflects (as Uchitelle notes) a heartening increase in the percentage of blacks in the labor market. The Times gets its "more than ... any comparable period" only by choosing to measure unemployment in the Reagan recession "after" the recession was essentially over.
2) But shouldn't the '80s downturn get points for ending quickly? Sure. The fairest comparison is probably to look at the shaded area under the unemployment curve--that represents both the rise in unemployment and the length of time the unemployment persisted. If you eyeball these gray areas, it's even more clear that the '80s recession was much more damaging for black workers than the current slowdown--though the current recession is as bad as the 90-92 Bush I slowdown, if you ignore the "more black workers in the labor force" factor.
3) And look at where the recessions started from. In 1982-3, as noted, the black unemplyment number was consistently over 15 percent and peaked at near to 20 percent. Today, we're lamenting a rate of 10.5 percent. I wish it were going down, not up. I wish it were back to its late '90s low. Uchitelle's telling a real story. But I'll take 10.5 percent over 19.5 percent any day. In fact, the main story the Times graphic tells, and it tells it quite dramatically, is how far the black unemployment rate has fallen since the 1980s, with each recession better than the previous one. I'd previously thought that it was only the late '90s Clinton recovery that saw huge black gains, but the chart indicates that giant strides were made in the late '80s Reagan boom as well. How about that! You can learn a lot from NYT charts if you ignore the text. ...
Twilight of the Pricks: Have you noticed that a number of powerful public figures with reputations for being ... well, schmucks, have gotten their comeuppance lately? Howell Raines, Andrew Cuomo, Gray Davis. I don't know Trent Lott, but you might be able to add him to the list. Is this a trend? [You have three examples, it's a trend--ed] ... Why is this happening? It's certainly not just the Internet--the Internet seems to have had little to do with the Cuomo and Davis dramas. My guess is it has something to do with a) the freer flow of information out from inner circles of celebrity and power to the general population (which the Internet helps) so that when a Big Schmuck yells at somebody on the phone or in his office, citizens in Peoria are likely to know this gossip the next week; and b) the increased willingness of reporters to rebelliously act on this sort of information, the way reporters are even now making sure that Cuomo's the loser in his marital split. ... Larger issues! 1) Will this fundamentally change the Darwinian equation for success in Hollywood, New York, and D.C., to something closer to (or even nicer than) the game-theoretical 'tit-for-tat' posture, which says you need to be nice to people until they're nasty to you? 2) Who's next? ... Harvey? ... 12:54 P.M.
Join the Panetta Vendetta! Mark A.R. Kleiman (another of those inconvenient pro-recall liberals) tries to lure a suitable Democrat into the "replacement" race for California governor, and makes a very good case for former Clinton chief of staff Leon Panetta. ... Kf's catchy suggested slogan: "He ended the America's budget crisis. He'll end California's." [weak-ed. It beats 'Poster boy for economic constipation,' which Paul Begala famously, and idiotically, called him.] ... Panetta has a clean anti-lobbyist image and a benign, calming manner. He did, however, oppose Clinton's signing of the 1996 welfare reform law--a bit of bad judgment suitable for framing in a 15-second ad. ... I think Kleiman, who also has other nominees, is right about the "first mover" advantage for ambitious Democrats willing to defy incumbent Gray Davis. (It's not unlike Howard Dean's advantage as the "first mover" in angrily denouncing Bush's Iraq war.) ... As a further inducement to Democratic rebellion, Kleiman is offering use of his house for a fundraiser. I've seen it--it's a nice house! ... P.S.: Why settle for Clinton's former chief of staff when Clinton himself is available? Answer: Five-year residency requirement. ... Memo to R.J. Cutler, producer of "American Candidate," the ambitious reality show designed to run someone for President but recently cut loose by Fox: Here's your reality show! Take all your candidate-finding machinery and run some political Clay Aiken for governor in the California recall election. It will be cheaper, faster, and way more suspenseful. And your candidate could easily win. ... 1:49 A.M.
Kausfiles Rushes Forward to Meet the News! High-carb analysis of ex-NYT editor Howell Raines' appearance on Charlie Rose this evening: 1) Guess all that contrition Raines displayed when he was campaigning to save his job was bogus. This is not a contrite man. He wouldn't admit to a single mistake, except having excessively high standards and moving too fast. His argument is he was done in by lazy Lelyveldian pygmies who were defending the status quo against his bold vision of change. 2) Guess his statement that as a "white man from Alabama" he gave Jayson Blair "one chance too many" was bogus too, because we now know Raines was blameless and knew nothing of Blair's accuracy problem until after Blair had resigned! 3) It's always good to reopen old institutional wounds just before your successor is appointed. A nice little housewarming gift from Howell to Bill Keller! 4) The problem with that notorious front-page Britney Spears article wasn't that it was about Britney Spears. It's that it wasn't very good--a fastball pitcher trying to throw a slider, making a fool of himself, and thinking he deserved the Cy Young award. ...1:17 P.M.
Friday, July 11, 2003
Friday, July 11, 2003
Eugene Volokh destroys what he calls "one of the most appalling judicial decisions I've ever seen"--from the Nevada Supreme Court, which has ruled the state legislature can simply ignore the state constitution in order to raise taxes more easily. ... I wonder if the transparent pro-GOP overreaching of the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore--and the relative lack of a public backlash--has given liberal state courts the impression that they can get away with even more breathtaking exercises in undemocratic power than the ones they'd previously countenanced. ... Volokh argues that a recall of the Nevada judges is the appropriate response. I agree. Alas, that's a remedy we don't have when it comes to Justice O'Connor. ... [Link via Instapundit. I wouldn'tshamelessly rip him off like this if it wasn't important!] 12:16 P.M.
Never Mind: A Thomas Edsall's WaPo story makes it seem as if the Florida Elections Commission is fining Republican Mary McCarty hundreds of thousands of dollars for the sin of raising a bunch of money to criticize the Florida Supreme Court during the 2000 presidential election recount battle. That sounds flat-out unconstitutional: These weren't contributions to the Bush campaign. The voting was over. Why can't people criticize justices? But if you read other reports of the case--such as this one in the Daily Business Review--you learn the judges in question faced a "retention election" in 2002. The money was raised to urge voters to vote against three Democratic justices in that election, which is apparently why it was subject to Florida election law and the state's $500 contribution limit. That explains it! ... The fine only seems unconstitutional because Edsall (who doesn't mention the retention election) made a hash of the story. ... 3:00 A.M.
Thursday, July 10, 2003
More proof that Chris Lehane is the focus of evil in the modern world: According to Jill Stewart's most recent column, Democratic strategist, Note-darling, and counterproductive overspinner Chris Lehane is apparently moonlighting from his job as communications director of the John Kerry presidential campaign to help California Gov. Gray Davis slime recall proponents--now rapidly multiplying to include large chunks of the fashionable left. ... Can't wait to see the Lehane takedown of Arianna Huffington and Marc Cooper! ... 5:05 P.M.
Good column by the NYT's Bob Herbert today--something that, like a comet, comes once every two years or so. ... Herbert reports on the "perverse peer pressure to do less than your best in scholarly and intellectual pursuits is holding back large numbers of black Americans, especially black boys and men." Not a new point, but effectively documented--and Herbert is honest enough to at least allude to the destructive legacy of gangsta rap and hip hop culture in general, which (not unlike welfare!) holds out the illusion of a reasonable life outside of mainstream working culture. ... Here's a good (slightly too good) quote from a black student who did well in math at a "private prep school" but failed at his D.C. charter school:
"We were so lackadaisical," he said. "One-third of our school was failing three or more classes. The pressure from my friends was mostly to chill and, like, do what you want to do. People were not doing their work, just coming to school for fun, coming to school high, just playing sports, not really knowing what school was for."
David said he went right along with the crowd. "It's hard to come in and really do work when everybody is just chillin' and playin' around. If everybody's doing that, then you're going to want to chill and play around, too."
Herbert's column reinforces Daniel Weintraub's point about the danger in the California Ed Board's failure to enforce the results of the state's high school exit exam, which was just beginning to force schools to get serious. (There's also a hidden pro-Gray Davis angle!). ... 4:47 P.M.
Note: Several posts below have been updated with valuable reader comments. ... 11:46 A.M.
Humanize this, Jane Jacobs! A kf reader with too much time on his hands has produced this glimpse of the upcoming sequel to Slate's controversial "Segways in Paris" feature. ... 10:54 A.M.
Wednesday, July 9, 2003
U 2 Can B Gov, Part II: My previous list underplayed one obvious Democrat who might well be unable to resist ponying up the $3,500 necessary to run in California's bizarre gubernatorial recall election. Who is he? He has stronger reasons than most for resenting Gray Davis, plus he's a maverick with no cause to be excessively loyal to his party. He has the money to wage an effective campaign, and since he waged an ineffective one last time around he has something to prove. ... In 1998, he got 21 percent of the vote. This time, he probably only has to buy about 20 percent! .... He's already making noises as if he's the businessman who could control his undisciplined fellow Democrats from overspending. He's ... Al Checchi! ... Note to A.C.: Second chances like this don't come around very often! ...
P.S.: Better think fast. As Daniel Weintraub reports, under the wacky recall law candidates my have a window of only two days to file, starting as early as the 23d of this month. ...
P.P.S.: Weintraub nominates his own budget-balancing candidate, an appealing-sounding "pro-choice, pro-business moderate" Republican, who sounds like he's in the same ecological niche as former L.A. mayor Richard Riordan. The scenario that would elect Dr. Keith Richman isn't any crazier than most of the other scenarios. ... Bonus: He's "thoughtful"! ..
Duh! How could I have forgotten Arianna Huffington? She sees a "silver lining" in the recall, which she attempts to cast as a left, populist event in which "disgruntled voters" will "break through the special interest din and let their voices be heard" in the manner of the Dean campaign. Not if the left doesn't have a candidate on the ballot, Arianna! Who might step into the breach? ... Perhaps someone with a foreign accent as thick as Schwarzenegger's? ... Then Dennis Miller could join the race just to bash her. ... It would be a better version of Politically Incorrect. ... Update: Marc Cooper joins the left's dialectical embrace of Rep. Issa's recall and launches the Arianna bandwagon. ... 7:34 P.M..
Earth to Purnick: Joyce Purnick complains that celebrity men aren't "getting their fair share of the blame" in marital troubles. Her examples? 1) Bill and Hillary Clinton; 2) Andrew and Kerry Kennedy Cuomo; 3) John and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. ... Hello??? My recollection is that Bill Clinton got a certain amount of blame in the Lewinsky scandal--I remember something about an impeachment--while Hillary got a surge of sympathy that helped her land in the U.S. Senate. ... Nor do I recall Purnick leading the charge against Clinton. (Actually, she wrote a July, 2001 column about the Condit/Levy and Clinton/Lewinsky scandals that comes perilously close to ... blaming the women! Of course, the women she blames are not the men's wives, but the mistresses, who haven't behaved the way modern professional women should have learned to behave! "[T]he Levy situation, on top of the Lewinsky mess, has to make you wonder how pervasive the changes in attitude really are," Purnick complains.) ... On 2), the amazing thing is that Andrew Cuomo's apparently the one getting hurt the most in the press, even though the only story that has come out is about his wife having an affair. Meanwhile, the N.Y,. Post is running features on "How Kerry keeps in tip-top shape ... ." ... The tilt to Kerry Kennedy Cuomo may reflect sound journalistic assessments of the character of the two main parties--people really seem to despise Andrew Cuomo, which is heartening--but it's not exactly a good example of Purnick's women-always-get-the-blame thesis. ... 1:56 A.M. Tuesday, July 8, 2003 Segway to Heaven: I almost ran into a man on a Segway in the alley behind my gym in Venice, California this afternoon. He came around a corner very quickly, and though he also stopped very quickly, I almost didn't see him in time--which leads to my measured instant analysis of what will happen when this form of personal transportation becomes more popular and interfaces with the automobile. The analysis is this: Someone is going to die, and it's not going to be the person in the automobile. ... Regulation, please! ... The metabolism of Segways and cars seems jarringly different. In parking lots and alleys, cars cruise around like whales. Segways seem to dart like cockroaches. Unlike pedestrians, they're on top of you very quickly. Like pedestrians, Segway operators are more or less completely unprotected. (Even on a bicycle, a rider at least has a front wheel to absorb some of the shock.) ... Segwaying in Paris, Tad Friend recently discovered that the things don't work very well on the sidewalks either. (For one thing, they seem too wide.) That leaves bike lanes and other specialized paths. ... I also expect to soon see Segways festooned with protective cowcatcher-type devices. ... Update: A good year-old WSJ article details Segway's legislative strategy, which seems to be to employ armies of lobbyists to get it approved for use on sidewalks. [Thanks to alert reader P.M.] ... Think of Jane Jacobs' ideal city sidewalk, which (if I remember right) is pleasantly crowded, so movement is just a bit impeded. Now imagine everyone on that sidewalk riding a Segway. It doesn't work. ... Segway inventor Dean Kamen said he'd save cities from what hurts them (traffic congestion). But it looks as if he might kill what's good about them (sidewalk life). Better to rethink his strategy and lobby to build lots of bike lanes. ... 2:19 A.M.
Tuesday, July 8, 2003
Segway to Heaven: I almost ran into a man on a Segway in the alley behind my gym in Venice, California this afternoon. He came around a corner very quickly, and though he also stopped very quickly, I almost didn't see him in time--which leads to my measured instant analysis of what will happen when this form of personal transportation becomes more popular and interfaces with the automobile. The analysis is this: Someone is going to die, and it's not going to be the person in the automobile. ... Regulation, please! ... The metabolism of Segways and cars seems jarringly different. In parking lots and alleys, cars cruise around like whales. Segways seem to dart like cockroaches. Unlike pedestrians, they're on top of you very quickly. Like pedestrians, Segway operators are more or less completely unprotected. (Even on a bicycle, a rider at least has a front wheel to absorb some of the shock.) ... Segwaying in Paris, Tad Friend recently discovered that the things don't work very well on the sidewalks either. (For one thing, they seem too wide.) That leaves bike lanes and other specialized paths. ... I also expect to soon see Segways festooned with protective cowcatcher-type devices. ... Update: A good year-old WSJ article details Segway's legislative strategy, which seems to be to employ armies of lobbyists to get it approved for use on sidewalks. [Thanks to alert reader P.M.] ... Think of Jane Jacobs' ideal city sidewalk, which (if I remember right) is pleasantly crowded, so movement is just a bit impeded. Now imagine everyone on that sidewalk riding a Segway. It doesn't work. ... Segway inventor Dean Kamen said he'd save cities from what hurts them (traffic congestion). But it looks as if he might kill what's good about them (sidewalk life). Better to rethink his strategy and lobby to build lots of bike lanes. ... 2:19 A.M.
Greed vs. Greed. Part II: On the issue of whether the Silicon Valley-style '90s income inequality was better than '80s-style inequality, reader M.W. takes issue with Chris Nolan's contention that "[t]hese guys don't think they lucked out ...they think they deserved their money ..." M.W. notes:
[T]he number of Silicon Valley (and non-Silicon Valley) geeks who cashed out big on IPOs was small compared to those equally smart types who just weren't in the right place at the right time--they didn't get into the right start up (or they didn't get in early enough to get a big enough chunk of the company in options). And even the ones who eventually made it generally had at least one experience (usually more than one) with failed startups ... So although many Silicon Valley geeks *do* think they're smarter than everyone else (and, in narrow ways, they often are), most are quite aware of the role that luck plays (particularly those geeks in the majority who *didn't* make 'f**k-you money' before they were 30 or 35 or 40 or whatever -- especially since they all know people personally who *did* win the stock-option lottery).
Further study required! ... Update: Chris Nolan responds:
The geeks who didn't win the lottery -- and yes, the guys and few gals who got the big money are indeed referred to as 'lottery winners' -- have a simmering resentment of those who did. The guys who didn't do as well -- say, less than $3 million (cash or other assets, and over 40) -- think of themselves as unlucky. The guys who have their money think they earned it fair and square; it's their reward for changing the world. Some will modestly shrug and talk about luck but that's no more sincere than all the babble that you used to hear from these same folks about sound technology and talented entrepreneurs and great teams. Yeah. Sure.
Reader Tim Mullaney jumps in for the '90s:
[T]the 90s crowd DID something that served other people. Yahoo, eBay, Ciena, Google, even the now-castigated AOL, and a cast of hundreds of other companies made things that didn't exist before, rather than shuffling assets around. The world's a different, more productive place because they were here. In a recent cover story, BusinessWeek estimated the impact of the Internet on productivity growth by 2005 at $450 billion a year -- for reference, that's about three times Treasury's estimate of the per-family impact of the 2001 tax cut. In the 1980s, productivity growth was nearly stagnant. Now it's close to the levels seen in the post-World War II boom.
A decade later, the macroeconomic pluses and minuses of the 1980s M&A crowd are still debated in some circles, but what can't really be disputed is that the impact of the 1990s tech boom was far, far greater. [snip]
The fact that most tech types, while far from humble, are a long way from the suspenders-with-dollar signs hubris of late-1980s arbitragers is just a bonus.
Monday, July 7, 2003
Do you want to be Governor of California? All it takes is 65 signatures and $3,500 to get on the ballot to replace Gov. Gray Davis if voters--on the same ballot--decide to recall him .There's no majority vote required. If the field is crowded enough, someone might win with 10 or 15 percent of the vote. Yet virtually all the prominent Democratic contenders are refusing to enter the race for fear of undermining Davis. ... This is the political chance of a lifetime, until the next one comes along! If you're a nobody, you can hardly fail to do better than expected (BTE), right? (They laughed when kf urged anyone with political ambitions to launch a quickie two-week write-in campaign against the unpopular Davis. Wouldn't having done BTE in that race have put you in great shape for this one?) ... Nominations are now open for California citizens who should be pushed into taking the plunge. Columnist Steve Lopez already has the bug. Irvine Mayor Larry Agran (who's already run for President) may not be able to resist. What about mild-mannered affirmative-action foe Shelby Steele? Perennial toe-dipper Warren Beatty? Warren Olney, then! ... Yogul Bikram Choudhury, come on down! ... Bee-blogger Daniel Weintraub has already solved the state's fiscal crisis. ... Al Checchi ...Tom Hayden ... California's new-model Gary Hart, Gary K. Hart!... And doesn't Mike Ovitz need a job these days? ... Or ex-LAT publisher Mark Willes! He'll slash the budget and cut a deal with the Staples Center to pay off the rest! ... The trick would seem to be to somehow maneuver yourself into being the only Democrat on a ballot full of vote-splitting Republicans. ... If conservatives are smart, actually, they'll put up a right-winger who is nominally a Democrat. At the very least, he'd split the vote. ...[What about Jill Stewart?-ed. She's issued a Sherman-like statement.] Update: Ken Layne says he's found a candidate, and he may be serious about it. ... And this seems to be an actual candidate's site, not a porn site. A bit thin on the issues! But her online poll is pithy. ... Flooding the zone: Alert reader C.B. of Cal Tech raises another alarming possibility:
What is to stop some wealthy dem who wants to throw a wrench in the works from spending 100K and sponsoring 30 people into the race (sub in your own reasonable numbers). Would a ballot with 50 names become too much of a farce that people would "rebel" or at least take the whole thing to court?
I'd say this might also be a strategy for a wealthy Republican: Sponsor a whole bunch of Democratic candidates, and single-issue causists, to split the Dem vote. ... More on zone-flooding: Weintraub notes the last GOP attempt to put up a Dem vote-splitter in a recall election ended in "several" misdemeanor convictions when the candidate failed initially to gather enough signatures. ... Response: They only need 65 in the whole state, for each gubernatorial candidate. How hard is that? ... A zone-flooding strategy does run the risk of playing into one of the two obvious arguments Gray Davis can make to defeat a recall--which is that the replacement election is such a circus that the voters should just reject the whole thing. (The other argument is the partisan argument, with a vote against recall being the Democratic thing to do in a heavily Democratic state.) For now, the GOPs seem to be focused on preventing vote-splitting competition on their side of the field rather than fostering it on the Dem side. But the night is young. There must be more than a few Republicans who still have Arianna Huffington's phone number. ... 1:21 P.M.
Saturday, July 5, 2003
Sulzberger aides under scrutiny: The headline in today's NYT reads, ominously:
Ashcroft Aide Under New Scrutiny
It turns out the piece is a source-greasing puffer about Justice department inspector general Glenn A. Fine, and the "scrutiny" is all the attention he's getting for writing a bold report critical of the department's treatment of 9/11 detainees. ... I'm often reminded that it's unfair to blame NYT reporters for the headlines on their pieces. They don't write them. But that begs the question: Who are the amateurishly biased hacks who do? ... In this case, they pushed the "slime Bush appointee" button when they were supposed to push the "boost anti-Bush whistleblower" button! ... P.S.: I'm writing this at 2:23 A.M. Bet they've changed the hed by the time you read it. After all, what's the point of a source-greaser that slanders the source instead of greasing him? ... Update: Wrong. It's still there. ...
Poor Andrew: There's a lot of talk in the press about how Andrew Cuomo's split with his wife Kerry Kennedy Cuomo will end his political career. Why doesn't it help him? Two weeks ago he had the image of a) a political thug who b) inexplicably blew his big run for office. The Kerry mess both humanizes him--making him look like a loving dad to boot--and gives him a ready-made excuse for his disastrous campaign (i.e., he was rattled by his marriage woes). If he were a stock, I'd buy. ... 1:17 A.M.
Friday, July 4, 2003 More from the kausfiles Continuous Newsteam. ... If you believe the LAT poll, the current drive to recall Gray Davis is clearly Arnold Schwarzenegger's best and perhaps only chance to become governor of California. Why? a) 53 percent of registered voters are "not inclined" to vote for him. In a head-to-head matchup against a Democrat, that number would normally be fatal. In a recall "replacement" election, where there might be no Democratic opponent and where you can win with only 25 percent or so of the vote, it might not be. b) Schwarzenegger needs as short a campaign as possible to prevent all the Democrats' potential dirt on him from sinking in with the electorate. Not only would a recall election campaign be short, it would also dilute the dirt--the Democrats would have to worry about tarring all the Republican replacement candidates, not just Schwarzenegger. ... Is there enough time, even in a rushed, chaotic recall campaign, to effectively trash Schwarzenegger? The Feiler Faster Thesissaysyes! ... Otherwise, Schwarzenegger could be Governor of California by Halloween. ... 4:48 P.M.
Friday, July 4, 2003
More from the kausfiles Continuous Newsteam. ... If you believe the LAT poll, the current drive to recall Gray Davis is clearly Arnold Schwarzenegger's best and perhaps only chance to become governor of California. Why? a) 53 percent of registered voters are "not inclined" to vote for him. In a head-to-head matchup against a Democrat, that number would normally be fatal. In a recall "replacement" election, where there might be no Democratic opponent and where you can win with only 25 percent or so of the vote, it might not be. b) Schwarzenegger needs as short a campaign as possible to prevent all the Democrats' potential dirt on him from sinking in with the electorate. Not only would a recall election campaign be short, it would also dilute the dirt--the Democrats would have to worry about tarring all the Republican replacement candidates, not just Schwarzenegger. ... Is there enough time, even in a rushed, chaotic recall campaign, to effectively trash Schwarzenegger? The Feiler Faster Thesissaysyes! ... Otherwise, Schwarzenegger could be Governor of California by Halloween. ... 4:48 P.M.
Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--Escapee from American Prospect. Salon--Better click fast! Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! Washington Monthly--Includes Charlie Peters' proto-blog. Lucianne.com--Stirs the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. Calmer Times--Registration required. NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare! Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog. Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko's MediaNews--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central.. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. Overlawyered.com--Daily horror stories. Eugene Volokh --Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman--Born to blog. Joe Conason--Bush-bashing, free most days. Lloyd Grove--Don't let him write about you. Arianna--A hybrid vehicle. TomPaine.com--Web-lib populists. Take on the News--TomPaine's blog. B-Log--Blog of spirituality! Hit & Run--Reason gone wild! Daniel Weintraub--Beeblogger and Davis Recall Central. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. [More tk.]