Designated Man-on-the-Street-for-EverythingGreg Packer is back, and the Daily News has got him! ... Backfill: Packer was also discovered in a crowd at St. Patrick's paying its respects to the Pope. ... 3:45 P.M.
Distinguished blog critic David Shaw defends traditional journalistic qualifications:
I don't like people who sit on computers all day long and write about people they don't know anything about.
Oh, wait. That wasn't Shaw. ... [Klein?--ed. Bigger than Klein!] 11:51 P.M.
Open-Source Punditry: I've posted a big, tedious Social Security item here. I'll improve it if it's wrong! Let me know. ... Here's the nut graf:
[T]here is a big risk associated with saving Social Security now--the risk that we'll save too much. Nobody--neither the President, nor Pozen, nor the Democrats--is talking about radically reducing the size of the program, Australia style. They're all talking about saving a program that consumes somewhere from 12 to 17 percent of the national payroll. Once its financial imbalance is solved it will be virtually impossible to restructure. Voters will consider the problem taken care of. The system will be solvent-a tub resting firmly on its own bottom, funded by a dedicated payroll tax-so why talk about changing it?
Before they stabilize the system at this high level of GDP consumption--cementing it in place, in effect--Democrats may want time to think about whether they want to devote such a large part of society's resources to a universal check-mailing scheme. My guess is Democrats will need at least some of those GDP points for health care. It will be easier to get them if Social Security is still perceived as a progam in need of reform, as opposed to a program that got fixed back in 2005.
Read the whole thing if you must. ... 10:52 A.M.
Kaus' First Rule of Journalism: Always generalize wildly from your own personal experience. I just sent a giant April 15 check to the IRS. Why? Because I'm self-employed and sometimes don't get it together to pay my taxes in neat quarterly installments. If there are more self-employed people like me around these days, that would explain why the economy has been relatively buoyant despite weak official job numbers--and you might expect that a lot of these self-employed people would also have just sent off giant April 15 checks to the IRS. Maybe even enough to send the government into temporary surplus! ... Just a theory! 2:38 A.M.
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
Far Out--More on Star Trek and Pedophilia: A Los Angeles Times reporter is apparently standing behind her astounding report that "all but one" of the more than 100 offenders arrested in the past four years by the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit "was a hard-core Trekkie." Ernest Miller has the update. He is understandably amazed:
I could go to a science fiction convention and be less likely to find that 99%+ of the attendees were "hard-core Trekkies."
Last week, according to Miller, an official with the same Toronto unit said that only a "majority" of those arrested had a "passing interest in Star Trek," and Miller's standing by his interview. But either way--whether the LAT exaggerated or not--it's a bizarre correlation that seems to cry out for explanation. ... 4:06 P.M. link
Patterico has an intriguing substitute for the Republicans' "nuclear option" that would achieve some of what Tigerhawk, Instapundit, and former King of Quotes Norman Ornstein hope to achieve with their make-em-stay-up-all-night "Nostalgia Option,"--i.e. publicly embarrass Dems if they stage a groundless filibuster--but without requiring any change in the filibuster rules. ... 1:46 P.M.
Tuesday, May 3, 2005
David Bernstein attempts to refute Stuart Taylor's criticism of Bush federal appellate court nominee Janice Rogers Brown by disputing Taylor's interpretation of one Brown dissent. But Taylor's most damning evidence is a Brown speech in which she self-consciously throws off the inhibitions on judicial activism. ... [via Instapundit]11:07 P.M.
Yes, Jon Landau has a lot to answer for. ... 1:29 A.M.
Monday, May 2, 2005
TigerHawk defends his proposal for "real" filibusters which he dubs the Nostalgia Option. Like Roll Call's Norman Ornstein, who endorsed the same solution last year, TigerHawk doesn't think the Dems would necessarily win a filibuster fight if they actually had to shut down the Senate and talk around the clock:
[T]he reality of a traditional filibuster -- which nobody has seen or experienced in all its harshness for more than 30 years -- would appear through C-SPAN and the blogosphere to be so asinine that the risk of political backlash against the minority would rise rapidly as the days went by. The risk of backlash might not be obvious at the beginning of the debate, just as it wasn't obvious to Newt Gingrich that the Republicans in Congress would take the heat for shutting down the federal government a decade ago, but it would become obvious after just a few days. And even if the traditional filibuster worked to frustrate the first Republican nominee, would Democrats really want to repeat the ordeal for the next nominee? They might look like heroes the first time, and
jackassesdonkeys the second time.
I dunno. My guess is that if the filibuster of Conservative Nominee #1 works, Nominee #2 is going to be less conservative! If I were a Democrat I'd happily take the Nostalgia Option. If I were a Republican, I would think it doesn't solve the problem of the minority veto. ...
P.S.: TigerHawk reprints a comment noting that unless there's a rule change, most of those on the delaying, minority side of a "real" filibuster (i.e. Dems) could go home to bed while the majority (i.e. GOPs) would have to sleep near the Senate floor. Doesn't that make it even more advantageous to the minority? I think it does! As Tigerhawk's commenter comments:
After about three days of this, which group of pampered grandees will fold: the well-rested minority, or the exhausted pajama-clad majority?
Ah, pajamas. Maybe they'll start blogging.
P.P.S.:Kf emailer JHB points out the Nostalgia Option's propagandistic advantages for the current, neglected minority:
[T]he real filibuster option instantly turns a full TV network that everyone with basic cable has into a 24 hour nonstop Democratic ad, with no GOP responses. Tired of talking about judges? How about Social Security day. Followed by minimum wage day. Followed by Delay is a crook day. All with the national press actually paying at least a lot more attention than they normally would to whatever senators are going on about. ...
And remember, Dems can leave a standing offer to yield to the GOP for purposes of passing anything that's popular or necessary enough to get the public's attention and risk turning PR against them.
No, not a solution for the Republicans. ... 10:27 P.M. link
You wouldn't want to read this *? The Huffington Post may have trouble living up to its parodies. ...
*: The op-ed is very unLAT-like. Kf's highest compliment.... 5:33 P.M.
Sunday, May 1, 2005
Buller ... Buller ... Buller ...: I'm sure evolutionary psychology has problems--explain homosexuality again, please!--and David J. Buller's Adapting Minds may be the great anti-Darwinian book the dialectic calls for. But Sharon Begley's wildly unconvincingWSJ rave [$] doesn't make it seem as if that's the case. For example, Begley writes:
The argument that Stone Age women preferred good providers, and that today's women are therefore wired to see a big bankroll as the ultimate aphrodisiac, is also shaky. Among some hunter-gatherers today, young mothers receive more food from their mothers than from their husbands. That makes even the theoretical basis for the claim -- that women who sought good providers had an evolutionary edge -- problematic.
But even if young mothers receive lots and lots of food from their mothers, that doesn't mean women with both mothers and husbands who are good providers don't have an evolutionary edge over women with only mothers to feed them. The evolutionary psychologists' claim may not be true, but Begley's factoid doesn't come close to undermining its theoretical basis. ... Begley throws up a similarly weak argument against the claim that "rape gave our male ancestors a reproductive edge." Why are there more men who don't rape than men who do, she asks--as if all inherited traits must be majority traits, as if evolution can't bequeath men impulses they don't act on. ... To paraphrase Jeremy Irons in Reversal of Fortune: She has no idea. ... 11:07 P.M. link
Harmonic convergence of kf villains: CNN's Jonathan Klein has embraced the David Shaw-like position that the established press should decide who gets to be a journalist and who doesn't. If that's not what Klein meant in his recent speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, then it was a contentless litany of cheap self-serving applause lines (as opposed to a meaningful litany of cheap self-serving applause lines). Sample:
Fourth: we need to police ourselves, to set clear standards of behavior and ethics for those who would call themselves journalists. When the Jeff Gannon bomb exploded in the White House press room, where was the White House Correspondents Association? Their board proudly voted to stay out of the fray, to remain out of the business of credentialing members of the White House press corps. They say that's the job of the White House. The White House is quick to say it's not their job to decide who's a reporter. And they're right. It's our job.
And Washingtonian reports:
"Some body—as in the correspondents' association—ought to vet the purported correspondents who proclaim to be reporters," says Klein, referring to Jeff Gannon, who was credentialed to cover the White House but turned out to be a quasi-reporter at best.
Decision '08 has an idea: How about we start by throwing out any network executive who thinks the Runaway Bride story merits extended, near-continuouscoverage. Standards! ... P.S.: Klein's pompous Self-Serving N.A.B. Point #3 was "cover what matters." ... P.P.S.: Klein also said he wants to "deliver useful information and hard facts instead of opinion or entertainment." [He's wrong about that?--ed Yes. Opinion and debate can be highly informative. But the point isn't that he's wrong. The point is that he's a Darwinian climber who will switch to "opinion and entertainment" in an instant if his current righteous "hard facts" schtick--assuming it's ever been more than a time-buying tactic--doesn't boost CNN's numbers. He's given himself a year to show "consistent ratings growth"-ed. Generous of him!] 10:00 P.M.
Some Middle Ground Isn't: It might make sense, as Instapundit and others suggest, to require that Senate filibusterers really filibuster, with allnighters, cots and potlikker recipes, etc.. But it is a non-solution to the problem confronting the Senate today--which is whether a minority should be able to block a Supreme Court nominee supported by a majority (but less than 60%). It's true, as Instapundit notes, that the "real filibuster" requirement would
ensure that the filibuster-nuke is dropped only when the stakes are high enough that the minority is willing to pay a price.
But a Supreme Court nomination is just such a case. Democrats would clearly be willing to undertake a "real" filibuster to block Janice Rogers Brown, for example. So we're still presented with the question: Should they be able to do that? Allow "real" filibusters and the Democrats win (as I think they should). ...
Update: Alert reader J.H.B. adds that a) Democratic senators who wanted to be president (approximately 44 out of the current 44) would actually be competing to pull allnighters in order to impress the primary electorate; and b) they wouldn't have to read recipes anymore--they could read blogs! "Endless hours of pre-written, on-point, arguments ...."
Update 2:Instapundit responds: "Allowing 'real' filibusters means that you'll get a vote someday -- not even Ted Kennedy and John Kerry can talk forever." I wouldn't be so sure. Filibusters have been quite effective at preventing votes--in a real filibuster the Senate is blocked from undertaking other business, which arguably strengthens the filibusterer's hand. From the official history of filibusters on the Senate Web site:
Despite the new  cloture rule, however, filibusters continued to be an effective means to block legislation, due in part to the fact that a two-thirds majority vote is difficult to obtain. Over the next several decades, the Senate tried numerous times to evoke cloture, but failed to gain the necessary two-thirds vote. Filibusters were particularly useful to southern senators blocking civil rights legislation in the 1950s and 1960s.
In fact, "real" filibustering effectively delayed passage of civil rights laws for decades, and the tactic didn't finally fail because Senators couldn't keep talking forever. It failed because in 1964 there were finally enough votes among the non-filibustering senators to shut the talking down. Those pro-cloture votes are precisely what the Republicans don't now have. ...
P.S.: Could a filibuster stop a Supreme Court nominee? You'd have to ask Chief Justice Fortas that one. ...
P.P.S.: Yes, with a "real" Senate-freezing filibuster public opinion could come into play in a bigger way than with a modern, fake "two-track" filibuster. And it's possible, as Instapundit notes, that if the Dems shut down the Senate by filibustering Janice Rogers Brown they'd become so unpopular (like Gingrich in the 1995 shutdown) that they'd start to worry about getting clobbered in the mid-term elections. But--barring a fit of Gingrichesque immaturity on their part--it seems far more likely that Brown would go down. Most Democrats would remain popular with their constituencies (e.g. Kennedy's Mass. voters) after all, and pressure would probably mount on Bush to pick someone more "mainstream." Certainly there would be no assurance of an eventual up-or-down vote. Plus, the need to decisively win the mid-filibuster popular-opinion contest would in itself limit the range of choices Bush could make. ...
Revised kf position: A "real filibuster" requirement is a legitimate middle ground of sorts, in that it might open the way for some nominations--mainly those wildly popular with the public, but not with the filibusterers--that the status quo (fake filibusters) would not allow. But it's not in the middle of the middle ground! It's 90% of the way toward the Dems' position. ... 9:05 P.M. link
Satellites and theLAT: Are They Omniscient? Patterico catches the LAT excising from a Reuters story the report that a spy satellite confirms part of the U.S. version of the Giuliana Sgrena incident-- that her car was speeding. ... As Patterico notes, maybe the LAT didn't believe the satellite angle, which was reported by CBS. (CBS--how could it not be true? They're credentialed journalists!) CBS cited "sources" at the Pentagon, an institution with an intense interest in making Sgrena look wrong. Suspicion may be justified. But simply excising the paragraph seems an iffy strategy for the Times to take in a story so widely broadcast. Now the paper has to either a) leave its readers uninformed about the satellite angle or b) make a big deal of the satellite story by reinvestigating it and printing the result. That's a similar bind to the one the Washington Post got into when it refused to print Paula Jones' initial charge of sexual harrassment by Bill Clinton--by doing so the paper effectively committed itself to finding out if the charges were true (with disastrous results for Clinton). ... Isn't it better just to say "CBS, citing Pentagon officials, reports X, " and rely on the readers' knowledge that not everything CBS or the Pentagon says is bankable? Even better, do it Bloggystyle: Violate the Fake MSM Air of Omniscience and simply say "CBS says this but we're not sure." ... P.S.: Let's see how the Times responds to Patterico's pestering. Maybe they'll get huffy and defensive! ...
Update: An ANSA English Media Service report says of the CBS/Pentagon claim:
According to Italian intelligence sources, this is not to be believed. No satellite could have filmed the event because there was too much cloud cover, they said.
Kf is not sure! ...
Beyond Reality TV--Pornographic Bangladeshi Dramedy! According to the site ISEBrand.com, the BBC has already begun broadcasting its main British channels live over the Internet.** (Even if this isn't true yet, it will inevitably be true one day soon.) Alert reader "K" says it
points to the reason why any effort to regulate cable content in America is doomed to failure (even if a Bush court upheld restrictions on cable content). In a few short years, broadband access will be ubiquitous and powerful enough for content providers to produce and distribute content from anywhere in the world, circumventing all but the most draconian national regulation schemes (read: China and other countrys' efforts to block whole domains from access within their borders). If the regulatory climate becomes onerous and puritannical in this country, content providers and distributors will simply move offshore, broadcasting online. A clampdown on cable "indecency" could well mean that internet broadcasters could reincorporate in other countries and simply beam their content back to America over the internet. [Emph. added]
Does this mean that moralists won't try to regulate cable content (e.g. the upcoming gay network)? I don't see why. Moralists might not want their country involved in something they regard as wrong, even if regulating domestic broadcasters ultimately has only hortatory or symbolic effect. They're moralists, remember. ... P.S.: But doesn't it also mean that even noncontroversial American TV stations will face vicious competition from cheap, uncensored offshore content providers? That's seemingly bad news for Hollywood, no? How much do Bangladeshi showrunners make?
** I could click on the link and see for myself, but it seems to require a RealNetworks player, and I've had bad experiences using RealNetworks products on my Windows setup. 6:30 P.M.
Unedited Self-Aggrandizing Wannabes Rescue Mitofsky? Were the exit polls right and the official polls wrong in 2004? I've always discounted that paranoid possibility, on the sound assumption that if a possible explanation for anything is the incompetence of exit pollsters, you need look no further! I mean, many of the polltakers who questioned the voters were recruited by college professors (read: biased) and off of Craigslist (read: inexperienced and biased). But a few weeks ago an outfit called U.S. Count Votes released a study purporting to cast doubt on the official, Warren Mitofsky-endorsed theory of why the exit polls were wrong, which is that Bush voters were more reluctant to talk to these (biased, inexperienced) polltakers. The "only remaining explanation," USCV suggested, is that the exit polls weren't wrong but "the official vote count was corrupted."
Comes now a Scottish Daily Kos contributor, Elizabeth Liddle, to save Mitofsky's explanation for his own screw-up by rescuing the "Reluctant Bush Respondent" Theory from USCV's academic conspiracists--a conclusion some Kos readers won't want to hear. According to Mystery Pollster, Liddle's not only figured out where the USCV went wrong but contributed to the future analysis of exit poll data. Her paper appears to be a collaboration of leftish and non-leftish bloggers (Liddle, Rick Brady, DemFomCt and Mystery Pollster himself). The collective brain at work! They seem very, very proud of themselves but it looks as if they should be. ... P.S.: Isn't it plausible not only that Bush voters would be relatively reluctant to cooperate with the press' exit pollsters, but that this reluctance woud be stronger in some kinds of precincts than others? Specifically, my guess is that Bush voters in contested precincts might be harried and defensive--and thereofore more reluctant to talk to any damn elite media representative--while Bush voters heavily pro-Bush areas would feel secure and freer to tell those damn elite media representatives what they'd done. ... 12:37 P.M.
Friday, April 29, 2005
kf Seeks Common Ground! Stuart Taylor's upcoming National Journal column [which will appear here on Monday] has evidence Bush judicial nominee Janice Rogers Brown is guilty of cool and premeditated Lochnerism. I'd filibuster her! P.S.: I've lazily been assuming that the current fight over filibusters was non-compromisable--either Frist wins and the filibuster goes or the Dems win and it stays. But of course there are lots of possible compromises.
a) One is suggested by Taylor: End filibusters for federal trial and appellate courts, keep them for the Supreme Court, where judges are "unrestrained by the risk of reversal on appeal."
b) Other possible deals are suggested by the range of numbers between 51 (majority rule) and 60 (the number currently required to end Senate debate): ... 52 ... 53 ... 54 ... 55 ... 56 ... 57 ... 58 ... 59 ... . Some of these numbers seem more obvious compromise points than others!
P.P.S.: Remember, the filibuster-breaking number has been negotiated down before. It used to be two-thirds (67). ... P.P.P.S.: Or how about The Big Deal--Dems get to keep the filibuster (maybe at 58, for the Supreme Court only) while Bush gets a face-saving, solvency-assisting Social Security bill (maybe with voluntary, pilot, time-released semi-add-on private accounts, a small increase in the retirement age, some mild benefit-shaving at the top and a rise in the payroll tax cap)? Just a thought! ... 5:03 P.M.
California Democrats are giddy about Gov. Schwarzenegger's low standing in the polls. They're beginning to entertain "hopes of ending his historic governorship after just three years," according to SacBee's estimable Dan Walters. Bill Bradley, who follows Schwarzenegger closely, reports
Schwarzenegger's self-proclaimed "Year of Reform" - intended to capture the national political spotlight in this normally off-year - has turned into his year of living dangerously. In a few months he has lost a quarter of his popularity. And his ballyhooed initiatives are falling like dominos.
But look at some of Bradley's details:
1) Schwarzenegger wanted to lengthen the time it takes for a teacher to get tenure from two years to ten years. He's now asking for five years, while "the Democrats want four years."
2) Schwarzenegger wanted district lines drawn by an independent panel of retired judges. "Democrats are agreeable to that but not the governor's original plan for mid-decade redistricting."
It looks to me as if Schwarzenegger is about to double the time it takes for teachers to get tenure and establish an independent redistricting commission in the nation's largest state. Not chopped liver! Is it conceivable that any Democratic governor would have achieved these things? ... 12:05 P.M.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
"Storytelling"--Not Dead Yet! What's up at CNN, now that Judy Woodruff's left?TV Newser doesn't know! He gets a mealy-mouthed email from CNN's U.S. President Jonathan Klein. (The Internet--a valuable communications tool in the hands of a Web-savvy executive like Klein! He can communicate nothing instantly, in real time, to the whole world! He can even target the nothing to selected audiences!) ... What kf hears, third-hand -- please discount accordingly, but it's not libelous so why not print it? -- is:
[T]he prime time planning now leans toward a daily hour or so on "Security"—storytelling about why we should all be very very frightened all the time. Inside CNN, the new initiative is called: CNN-We'll Scare the Pants Off You.
That Jon Klein is "one of the most visionary news thinkers in the business today"! I don't know how I misjudged him. ... [You sure that's not libelous?--ed To CNN's execs, or its audience?] ... P.S.: Rumours of CNN's revival under Klein so far seem to have been greatly exaggerated. ... 4:32 P.M.
The SecretStar Trek/Pedophilia Connection! The multiple layers of experienced editors at the Los Angeles Times signed off on the following astonishing paragraph that appeared in yesterday's story about the Toronto police Sex Crimes Unit:
On one wall is a "Star Trek" poster with investigators' faces substituted for the Starship Enterprise crew. But even that alludes to a dark fact of their work: All but one of the offenders they have arrested in the last four years was a hard-core Trekkie.
Det. Constable Warren Bulmer slips on a Klingon sash and shield they confiscated in a recent raid. "It has something to do with a fantasy world where mutants and monsters have power and where the usual rules don't apply," Bulmer reflects. "But beyond that, I can't really explain it." [Emph. added]
Blogger Ernest Miller was suspicious and called the Toronto police. It turns out the professional, credentialed LAT got it wrong again--but not as wrong as you'd think! ... 1:20 P.M. link
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Margaret Spellings, Gangsta! Anti-NCLB hystericist Sam Dillon says Bush Education Secretary Margaret Spellings plays "bare-knuckle politics" and "hardball" in defending the federal law against complaining states. It seems she once called somebody "unAmerican" and contacted Utah's governor instead of its education superintendent! She even threatened to cut off federal funding if Utah flouted the law's requirements for getting federal funding! If that's Dillon's idea of "bare-knuckle politics" he must have grown up in an ashram. [Yoga politics is vicious--ed. Get Dillon on that beat then.] .. P.S.: Here's the complete, savage, bare-knuckle Spellings quote, as described in an earlier NYT piece:
The rift grew last week when Ms. Spellings, asked about Connecticut during a television appearance, said it was ''un-American, I would call it, for us to take the attitude that African-American children in Connecticut living in inner cities are not going to be able to compete, are not going to be prepared to compete in this world and are not going to be educated to high levels. That's the notion, the soft bigotry of low expectations, as the president calls it, that No Child Left Behind rejects.'' [Emph. added]
Wow. It's the New McCarthyism, I tell you! ... Those whining states that Dillon champions are so vewy sensitive! ... P.S.: This is an exceptionlly pathetic bit of crusading journalism, even for the NYT. But it may or may not be Dillon's fault--the piece reads like a bland source-greasing profile reworked by an editor who played up the weak "hardball" angle. ... Actual Nuance: See Eduwonk for the rift between the Spellings faction and the Finn faction on the pro-NCLB right. Finn's argument does not appear to be that Spellings is too 'bare-knuckled.' ... 10:57 P.M. link
Some Content Providers Shouldn't Be: A calm, un-Shawlike Andres Martinez piece on the fate of newspapers more or less invites Yahoo and Google to buy the L.A. Times. "The L.A. Times' owner, Tribune Co., can probably be had for about $15 billion," he suggests. Would buying the LAT be a smart move? Martinez argues the the content of newspapers like the Times will always be valuable. But how valuable? He draws an analogy to the movie business:
As Murdoch put it in his speech last month, we are digital immigrants and they are the digital natives. But like Murdoch, I remain optimistic that there is a great deal of opportunity in this migration, even if newspaper types in the long run lose direct control over the distribution of our product, much as movie studios did when they had to divest their theater chains. Our content, like the studios', will remain valuable on other distribution channels.
OK. But ...
1) The Times makes its money in ways that are intimately bound up with its "direct control over the distribution of [its] product"--i.e. the mounds of paper filled with auto and store ads that its readers schlepp into their homes every day. Take away ownership and control of this means of distribution--replace it with a computer screen and a bunch of servers owned by someone else--and you take away much of the profit, no?
2) Creating newspaper content isn't like creating motion picture content. Feature films are typically elaborate collective creations--more expensive by a factor of ... what? 20? 50? 100? From what I read in the press, it costs tens of millions to produce a movie that will occupy a theater for a week. It probably costs hundreds of thousands to produce a weeks' worth of decent copy. The LAT will face a lot more competition as a producer of inexpensive news content than 20th Century Fox faces as a producer of expensive movie content. Competing news content producers will inevitably bid down the price of the product, and the portals that purchase it won't have to fork over nearly as much as Martinez seems to be assuming they will. (I'm not even counting the additional factor that much of the LAT's content sucks, and only survives in the marketplace precisely because of the paper's control of the channel of distribution and near-monopoly market position. Will Yahoo really want to pay billions for David Shaw?)
I'll invest kf's retained earnings elsewhere, thank you! ... 9:09 P.M. link
No party in this laptop. ... 8:35 P.M.
Democratic Senators Dorgan, Kerry and Durbin say they "hope" that the report by independent counsel David Barrett on possible wrongdoing in the Cisneros case by the Clinton administration "will be made public." At least that's what the senators claim in a letter to the WSJ. [$] The NY Daily News had reported last Friday that a law to defund Barrett's investigation--something the Democratic senators snuck into an appropriations bill--would "kill a release of the report." ... The WSJ ed page, in response, suggests that the Dems' Barrett-defunding law might still have the effect of suppressing the report, in part because the Bush Justice Department can't be trusted to finish the job of releasing it (given that DOJ "just happens to be one of the two main departments that we hear are accused of major wrongdoing in the ... report"). That's not completely implausible, considering the self-protective nature of large bureaucracies. .... But isn't there an obvious technical fix to this problem: Defund Barrett, but give him a deadline of a month or two after the notice-and-comment period for the report expiresto publish it (instead of setting a June 1 cutoff). Then the public, having spent $20 million on the investigation, at least gets to read its work product. The WSJ is happy, the Republicans are happy, and the Democrats ... well, they're unhappy but have to pretend they're happy! ...
P.S.: There are presumably numerous copies of Barrett's report around--it's been circulated among the counsel to the various parties. Isn't it inevitable that the report will become public whatever Congress does? And doesn't it lookworse for the Dems if the report comes out on Drudge as a suppressed, forbidden document? It's not as if the Dems don't have an anti-Barrett case to make--see this leeringly anti-Barrett 2003 report in the LAT. [$] ...
P.P.S.: Did Democrats ever really expect to suppress this report? One group that will probably be happy whatever happens, remember, are the lawyers and lobbyists for all the parties. Is it possible that now some of them not only get to bill their clients for the protracted investigation but also for whatever efforts it took to produce (or thwart, or monitor) the Dorgan anti-Barrett initiative? We shouldn't assume there's partisan explanation for developments in Washington when there's a possible venal explanation handy! ...
P.P.P.S.: When will the NYT deign to mention this story? ... 4:48 P.M. link
Does staging a rally at which he's endorsed by delusional 2008 candidate John Kerry really help L.A. mayoral front runner Antonio Villaraigosa? ... We think Villaraigosa is doing a favor for Kerry, rather than the other way around. ... 3:56 P.M.
Party Without a Laptop: At an L.A. event discussing blogs--hey, why don't we have more of those!-- Roger L. Simon and Marc Danziger announced the formation of a new network of bloggers, including some big ones (e.g. Instapundit). They want Lexus ads! And they claim to have the unique eyeballs and high-end demographics necessary to get them. ... This is a potentially big deal, yet as far as I can see none of the bloggers in attendance--including human Echelon Project Luke Ford--have reported it. Update: Except Hugh Hewitt. ... And Kicking Over My Traces. ... And L.A. Voice ... 10:48 A.M. link
Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--He reports! And decides! Wonkette--Makes Jack Shafer feel guilty. Salon--Survives! kf gloating on hold. Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! David Corn--Trustworthy reporting from the left. 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--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. Eduwonk--You'll never have to read another mind-numbing education story again. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. [More tk