Political Bet of the Year
Political Bet of the Year
A mostly political Weblog.
Oct. 1 2007 9:09 PM

Bet of the Year

A grim possibility looms in Iowa.

(Continued from Page 8)


Toobin Career Update: Is another embarrassing string of corrections in store for a Jeffrey Toobin book? UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh has already noticed a number of non-trivial errors in Toobin's latest, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court --including two small examples of classic Toobin slipperiness: 1) Suggesting-without-saying that Justice O'Connor, leading the court to the left, voted on the "liberal" majority of a major federalism case when in fact she voted on the opposite side, in the minority; 2) A casual bit of New Yorker-reader-pleasing innuendo against Justice Thomas:

On p. 111, the book describes how Thomas received a $1.5 million book advance for his memoirs from Rupert Murdoch, and adds in a parenthetical, "More than three years after the contract was announced, and $500,000 paid to him, Thomas had still not delivered a manuscript." If that's just faulting Justice Thomas for being a slow writer, that's fine, though I expect that three years isn't that long a time for writing a manuscript. But if the claim is that he's somehow taking money and delivering only vaporware — which I think is the impression the parenthetical leave — might it have been worth mentioning that the book is coming out just a few weeks after The Nine? The author might not have known this when he was writing the manuscript, but I'd think it could have been checked before The Nine went to press.

Volokh is very hesitant and mild-mannered about his list of errors--but as he notes, it doesn't cover the parts of the book he "didn't know as much about, and thus couldn't fact-check" himself. ... 2:31 A.M. link



Friday, September 21, 2007

Update on the Make-It-Across-the-Border-and-Your-Kids-Get-Green-Cards-Act ... sorry, the "DREAM Act": It appears to be headed for a vote next week. ... Mark Krikorian  has more. ... To reiterate: The problem with this bill is not just that it's apparently been drafted as a stealth mechanism to allow lots of illegal immigrants to claim they qualify and thereby achieve legal status, although it has. Even were it restricted to its core purpose--compassionate treatment for eager students brought into the country by their parents when they were young--it would inherently create an incentive for further illegal border crossing (namely by telling potential illegals to bring their kids across the border when they are young). ... Now that the government is finally (seemingly, at least temporarily) trying to remove the "jobs magnet" for continuing illegal immigration, this is not the time to activate an alternative "kids magnet." ... Once the borders are reasonably impervious, then all sorts of compassionate semi-amnesties become much more feasible. But a vote for the DREAM Act now is in practice a vote for more illegal immigration (as many of its supporters surely understand). ... According to Numbers U.S.A., the Dream Act has only 21 firm opponents in the Senate--and one of them is Lindsey "we're going to tell the bigots to shut up" Graham. When you are relying on Lindsey Graham as one of your "Anti-Amnesty Champions," maybe its time to panic and mobilize the 'yahoos'! ... 1:05 P.M. link


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Late Hits:Here's  NPR's Laura Sydell citing Ken Doctor for the proposition that the cancellation of TimesSelect is a "sign that we have reached a tipping point with online advertising" where charging for content loses you more in ad dollars than it gains in subscription revenue. "Sign"? "Reached"? "Tipping Point?" It's been obvious for years that this was the case. Slate learned this lesson in 1999. ... The NYT is attempting to get away with the Pinch-saving spin that the online environment "changed" in a way that "wasn't anticipated" after TimesSelect was launched. But the failure ot TimesSelect was completely anticipated at the time by many bloggers (e.g., Jay Rosen), notes Rachel Sklar. ... Alternative, more sophisticated explanation: Pinch is a fool. ... If he declared he was going to fly and jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would it be a "sign" that mankind had reached a "tipping point" at which individuals were unable to fly? ... P.S.: Was this the same expert analyst Ken Doctor who only a few months ago was rationalizing the paper's TimesSelect strategy with the argument that

"the Times Select play is about more than revenue. It's about holding onto as many of those high-paying print subscribers as long as possible."

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