looks like a lock to fail, notes Autoblog, given the seemingly weak product plans GM actually has for the beleaguered Buick and Pontiac divisions, which desperately need a good rear-drive sedan. ... Unless this is your idea of excitement. ... 2:32 A.M.
Twofer: Prestigious bull---t artist** Mike Davis declares in an email that he won't write for the Los Angeles Times op-ed page because the paper canned columnist Robert Scheer. I was against the Scheer sacking, but if the Times lost Mike Davis as well .... hmmm. It's looking like a better and better move all the time! ...
**--A 1999 LAT investigation of Davis' Ecology of Fear discovered him essentially making up the best details of his account of the 1993 Malibu fires. 2:01 A.M.
Brilliant visual Wonkette shot at Bush's "evolving" Iraq presentations. I'll be surprised if it doesn't get copied elsewhere (e.g. NBC Nightly News ... oh right, there's no Katrina angle. Sorry. Hardball then.) . . . 2:18 P.M.
My videoblogging colleague Bob Wright finds the tender underbelly of Charles Krauthammer's big torture article, namely that one of Krauthammer's big examples of permissible torture doesn't fit comfortably into either of his two seemingly narrow exceptions to a general torture ban. ... That said, I found Krauthammer's article heartening because it suggests there is less distance between his position and McCain's than I'd feared--especially if you are talking about McCain's real position ("You do what you have to do") as opposed to what most people think McCain's formal legal position is. 1:08 A.M.
[W]hen people wonder why Bob doesn't tell his editor Len Downie what he knows, I'm genuinely mystified. I mean, have you ever met Len Downie? But never mind that; think about this: Woodward spends most of his life reporting. He knows everything. What's more, he has no idea what it adds up to. How could he possibly keep anyone, much less his editor, in the loop? It would take hours and hours of debriefing every week, hours that would undoubtedly be better spent reporting on the after-the-fact thoughts of people in power who are trying to justify the mistakes they've made.
I still don't see the big Woodward scandal in the Plame affair. The best anti-Woodward argument I've heard is that he could have derailed the whole prosecution by revealing that he was first told about Valerie Plame's CIA status as if it were mere "gossip." Instead, he let a reporter go to jail!** In other words, to get a Woodward scandal you have to assume there isn't a Plame scandal. But it's not clear that there isn't a Plame scandal. True, her "outing" might merely have been a tangential part of a sincere-if-risky attempt by Bush hawks to discredit the allegations of Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, by pointing out to reporters how he got his assignment to investigate uranium purchases. But just because Administration Official #1 tells Bob Woodward about Plame's CIA role as mild offhand gossip (which Woodward keeps to himself) doesn't mean that an Official #2 didn't maybe tell another reporter the same facts as part of a malicious plan to punish Wilson and his wife. . ..
** Woodward's second big sin, after not informing Downie, is said to have been his temerity in publicly criticizing Fitzgerald's investigation without revealing his private knowledge (though he hinted at it). But obviously Woodward's comments sincerely reflected what he thought his private knowledge told him: that the Plame information was just gossip. If Woodward can't give an opinion in public that's informed by secrets he knows then Woodward can never give an opinion in public about anything we'd want to hear Woodward's opinion on. ... Maybe Woodward criticized Fitzgerald with extra force because he felt guilty that Miller was going to jail when he wasn't disclosing the little bit of information he knew that might have helped her (by supporting the idea that the whole business was a non-scandal). But that information wouldn't have proved it was a non-scandal, and it wouldn't have sprung Miller. In the event, the anti-Fitzgerald comments Woodward did make added to our knowledge. (If they'd been disinformation that would be a different story.) ...
TODAY IN SLATE
The Irritating Confidante
John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.
My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee
Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?
Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?
Driving in Circles
The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.