**--I know, I know, it wasn't that bad. Still ... [via Insta] 12:09 P.M.
What caused the online New York Times to surge on Alexa, starting around December 1? I'm stumped. ... Is it all the New York City readers dropping their print subscriptions? ... Reader D.B. suggests the Times' NSA spying scoop is responsible--but that story didn't break until December 15. ... Reader J.M. says, "It's got to be some apparently highly-effective ad buy." ... Contrast with: Other sites that show the sort of slow, steady growth prized by Wall Street analysts. ... 11:41 P.M.
Tomorrow's contrarianism today: Next up in the cycle will be the prediction that Hillary won't run for President in 2008. Why? She's in too much trouble with the anti-war grassroots. Her transparent attempts to tap into anti-Bush sentiments to compensate for her invasion defense are falling flat. McCain looks like he'd beat her. She's too cautious to risk it. She's young--she's got time. Better to wait until the Iraq debate is in the past. .... This bit of anti-CW will have legs, even if it's wrong, because: a) It's not in Hillary's interest right now to deny it; b) If she did nobody would believe her; c) It's not in the press' interest to deny it--it makes the race more suspenseful; d) It's not in any of the other, lesser-known candidates' interest to deny it; e) She doesn't really have to decide until next winter. ... 10:25 P.M. link
Marshall Curry's documentary, Street Fight--about Cory Booker's near-miss 2002 challenge to Newark Mayor Sharpe James--is entertaining enough, especially if you like politics. But it omits a crucial bit of substance: Booker's well-known openness to school choice. It's a little like doing a documentary about George W. Bush and leaving out the Iraq war. Here's an Arianna Huffington column from 2001:
Given this "educational apartheid," it is not surprising that African Americans are at the forefront of demanding revolutionary measures to solve a crisis that is devastating their children's chances for a productive future. Mikel Holt, who chronicled the landmark battle for school choice in Milwaukee, has no illusions about what is at stake. "The old civil rights movement got us to the lunch counter," he says. "The new civil rights agenda is: Can our kids read the menu?"
And young African-American leaders are rallying around this agenda: "It's one of the last remaining major barriers to equality of opportunity in America," Newark-N.J., city councilman Cory Booker told me. "We're not going to fix our schools by tinkering with them. It's going to take radical changes, and we have to be willing to experiment 'by any means necessary' - including with vouchers." [Emph. added]
Booker's readiness to try this distinctly non-Democratic idea is one of the main things that makes him interesting and appealing. It's also one of the main reasons traditional Democratic party interests mobilized so vigorously against him, and the germ of truth in their (successful enough) 2002 attempt to label him a "Republican"--which, in the misleadingly barren context of the movie, sounds like just a smear pulled out of thin air. ... P.S.: Why did Curry leave the key voucher point out? I don't know. My guess is either he didn't want to complicate Booker's current re-run for mayor, or he didn't want to complicate the world views of the mainly left moviegoers who would see his film. But, of course, the film would have been much better if he'd explored the complication instead of pretending it wasn't there. ...
Update--Complexity? You can't handle complexity! Marshall Curry graciously responds on his site: "The issue of vouchers in Newark is much more complicated than it might appear. To have dropped it in superficially would have left a false impression." I'm not convinced. Curry manages to outline these "complexities" in four paragraphs--and I learned as much reading them as I did watching his hour and a half film! For that investment of time, I'd kind of like some complexity! Especially on an issue as crucial to his subject's national political identity as this one. . ... P.S.: Curry admits that Booker's opponent ran ads on the voucher issue. ... P.P.S.: It's hard to believe Curry really thinks his film fearlessly contains scenes that "might hurt Booker's campaign." Most of the scenes he cites--e.g. "Booker fighting with his press person who says he is going to boff his debate"--don't make Booker look bad at all. ... 9:47 P.M. link
GM's new Camaro concept is horrid, a Saturday morning kids' cartoon version of the old Camaro. Hard to believe that product czar and publicity-hog Bob Lutz, who allegedly favors fluid Euro shapes, approved it. Maybe they really should dump him. ... DaimlerChrysler's Challenger looks like the Venus de Milo in comparison--an ideal-typical version of the original Challenger. Better yet would be a car that wasn't another retro-cartoon ... Update: Reportedly, the calamitous Camaro was produced at the last minute when a previous design was junked, not by Lutz but by CEO Rick Wagoner himself. It's hard to believe the cancelled design was worse. ... 9:06 P.M. link
Chief Cocoon-Spinner Back On Job: If you read Adam "Caterpillar" Nagourney in the NYT on Tuesday, you might think Alito was in trouble** due to mounting GOP political difficulties and a galvanized Dem minority:
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.