I think this fabled master script does exist! I have a friend who claims to have seen it. ... 4:27 P.M.
'The only ones confused were the leakers and the people I leaked to!': Mystery Pollster seemingly catches self-righteous poll-snafu impresario Warren Mitofsky leaking early exit poll results! And those results were way off. ... And the evidence is on acetate! ... P.S: The last-ditch Mitofsky defense is now emerging. 'The 2004 exit polls weren't especially screwed up. I screwed up the earlier polls too!' ... 4:08 P.M.
Not shattered enough: Stephen Glass, who betrayed his TNR colleagues and then tried to capitalize on the notoriety with a bad novel, is scheduled to "step out from behind the scenes to perform fresh, original comedy" at L.A.'s Skirball Cultural Center on Friday. Yecch. ... The Skirball is "dedicated to exploring the connections between four thousand years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals." Is Glass a part of Jewish heritage that needs more exploring? ... Credit: I stole this news from Fisbhowl L.A. ... 3:59 P.M.
Blumenthal's most effective outlet: Drudge!2:28 P.M.
Bush's most effective critic: "To declare that it is now the policy of the United States to eradicate tyranny in the world, that we are embarking on the greatest crusade in the history of freedom, and that the survival of American liberty is dependent on the liberty of every other nation--seemed to me, and seems to me, rhetorical and emotional overreach of the most embarrassing sort. ... [D]on't clobber the world over the head with your moral fabulousness." [Emph. added] 3:37 A.M.
I like JetBlue, but some of the planes seem to be getting a little grotty. Five hours inhaling the rich aroma of seats that have been sat in by thousands of sweaty travelers on the packed flights of an airline that can't afford to deep clean the interior too often--not so pleasant! But JetBlue also has lots of new planes, and I've discovered a secret, near-foolproof way to tell the new ones from the old ones without memorizing tail numbers: They all have a "name" painted on the nose, a name with the word "Blue" in it. The earlier, older planes got the obvious names ("True Blue"). Later planes, of necessity, got more far-fetched names ("Here's Looking at Blue, Kid"). In other words, you can tell how skanky your JetBlue plane is going to be by how stupid its name is. The stupider the better. When I saw that the plane for my return flight was called "Devil with a Blue Dress," my heart soared. Sure enough, it was a grot-free flight. ... Next time I'm hoping for "Me & You & a Plane Named Blue." ... 3:08 A.M.
In 1993, President Clinton made the mistake of going for a huge, controversial health care plan instead of first building public confidence by passing a popular, achievable welfare reform plan. Is President Bush making a similar mistake by pushing for a huge, controversial restructuring of Social Security instead of first building confidence with a few achievable, and popular, tax changes? The difference is that welfare reform would have won Clinton support because it would have gone against type, reassuring the public that Clinton wasn't a stubbornly dogmatic Democrat. More tax breaks for savings, etc., wouldn't work against the idea Bush is a dogmatic Republican, and wouldn't have the same effect. If Bush went for a few tax increases, though, it would help reestablish his common-sense centrist credentials, which he could then put to use in the larger Social Security fight. Hmmm. ... kf in December, NYT in January: As foreshadowed in this eerily and somewhat accidentally prescient item, the Republicans are trying to strike a Social Security compromise with the Democrats by introducing ... means-testing (cutting the benefits of the affluent). True, it's only a back-door version of means-testing--offering full wage-indexing only to those "at the lowest rungs of the income scale" while more affluent retirees get lower 'price-indexed' benefits. But it's a start. ... If the Republicans want to cover, not just the shortfall in the current pay-as-you-go Social Security system, but also the transition cost of establishing a pay-for-yourself private account system, they will have to do a lot more cutting of the benefits of the affluent, no? ... The result could be a subsidized system so progressive--new benefits for the poor, cuts for the rich-- that no Democrat would have dared introduce it. ... 2:21 A.M.
The surprise of the graceful memorial service for the late Marjorie Williams was her 9-year old daughter, Alice, singing a clear, simple version of Sting's "Fields of Gold" (backed by Adam Levine of Maroon 5!). Just mature and soulful enough to leave the audience stunned, just child-like enough to break everyone apart again. How she mustered the courage to do it under those circumstances I don't know. ... 1:50 A.M.
Instapundit on Howie Kurtz's glass house. ... It's true that Kurtz kvetches about conflicts of interest in others while he himself labors under what's probably the most blatant conflict of interest in elite journalism--he covers the media for the Washington Post while he hosts a CNN show that not only pays him lots of money but (more important) gives him a national celebrity that might otherwise be hard to come by. But the issue with Kurtz is a bit different than the issue with Maggie Gallagher. The main problem with what Gallagher did is non-disclosure--she got paid for some PR work on behalf of the Bush "marriage initiative," which arguably could have favorably disposed her toward those policies in her columns, but probably had no effect. She should have disclosed the payment, as she now admits. The issue with Kurtz isn't whether he discloses his conflict with CNN (he usually does, though not always). The issue is whether even disclosure of the conflict cures his problem, or whether the conflict is so great Kurtz can't be trusted on his beat even with disclosure. ... Clearly, by the conventional MSM standards, Kurtz should be taken off the beat. The Post wouldn't let a reporter who had a lucrative gig with General Motors cover General Motors, as Charles Kaiser has noted. ... The issue was settled, in my mind, when Kurtz went soft on CNN in the Eason Jordan/Saddam atrocity scandal. He's a great reporter, but you can't trust anything he writes about CNN anymore. They have him by the balls. (That's especially true now, when CNN's whole programming approach is under review. Does Kurtz want to offend Jon Klein, the man who'll decide whether to cancel his show? He sure didn't when he interviewed his paymaster in this January 6 WaPo story.) ... P.S.:Instapundit and I seem to have had this argument before. ... 1:04 A.M.
Tuesday January 25, 2005
"[Stories that are relevant to your life, told through the eyes of a compelling central character." That was CNN chief Jon Klein's answer to the question "What can we expect to see on CNN in the next few months?" ... Bob Smith, a veteran of the Gulf War, woke up one morning to discover his Social Security check had been means-tested! Hysterical, he made himself an especially strong cup of coffee. ... Actually, of course, if CNN insists on covering stories with a compelling central character then it won't be covering the coming Social Security debate much at all. Instead, we'll get lots of ... weather--a sort of national local news. Here's Klein: