Edwards walks the line.

A mostly political Weblog.
Oct. 15 2007 6:06 AM

Edwards Walks the Line

Plus--Hillary and blue, blue murder.

Blue Murder: Andrew Sullivan congratulates himself on publishing Elizabeth McCaughey's 1994 attack on Hillary's health care plan:

I think the magazine's refusal to be mau-maued by the Clintons at the time - and Hillary was threatening blue murder against anyone who so much as dared to criticize her - is a feather in the magazine's cap.

Really? I was there at the time, and I don't remember any sort of atmosphere of intimidation coming from the Clinton White House about this or any issue. I attacked the Clintons in TNR a lot--starting with as nasty an article as I could write about Hillary when her husband took office. Nobody ever threatened me with blue murder or was even unfriendly. Maybe Sidney Blumenthal raised an eyebrow passing me in the street--but Sidney is always raising his eyebrows. Perhaps Sullivan had a different experience. But since McCaughey's article had (as I remember it) the unswerving support of his magazine's owner, it hardly took courage in any case to publish it.

P.S.: McCaughey's article proved to be a turning point in the debate over Hillarycare, but not because it was a convincing document. It was a turning point because Clinton's White House chose to mount a big rebuttal, and produced what I remember as one of the least convincing documents I'd ever read. People figured, well, if this is the best they've got against Betsy McCaughey, maybe she's on to something. ... I specifically remember that the Clintonite rebuttal, like Ambitious Whippersnapper Ezra Klein's recent blog post, made a big deal of the following provision in the law:

"Nothing in this Act shall be construed as prohibiting the following: (1) An individual from purchasing any health care services."

But of course laws have sweeping introductory provisions like this all the time, only to undermine them in the fine print. Maybe the Clinton legislation didn't undermine this particular sweeping provision--but the Clinton spinners were fools to think anyone would be convinced by the sweeping provision itself. Or, rather, they were treating the press like fools, and the press doesn't appreciate that. ...

If the White House had just ignored McCaughey's piece, it would probably have gone away. The damage was almost entirely self-inflicted. ... 12:43 P.M.

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Jason Zengerle   and Freedom Eden  agree:John Edwards would never, ever, engage in that sort of despicable behavior!

There's no way Edwards would do that to her.

I don't believe it.

Well all right then! .... P.S.: And both parties deny the affair-- it can't be true! I mean, logically it's impossible, right? Who else is there?  ... 

Thank God the Goats Don't Have E-mail:  Yglesias says I'm operating from an "assumption of guilt" because I argued it wasn't wise for Edwards to call the story "made up." But let's look at the situation: The  National Enquirer says it has 1) highly suggestive but not-at-all-conclusive emails from a woman, let's call her W; 2) a source who says W did tell her conclusively in a phone call and talked openly of an affair. Edwards denies it. Fine--the denial wasn't too vague, as I'd thought when I read what turned out to be a partial quote. But if I were him, I'd stop there. Why add the "made up"? It runs the risk of angering either a) the Enquirer, making striking back a question of institutional pride; b) W; or c) the source. That's almost certainly not something Edwards would want even if his denial was completely truthful. (Who knows what further damage a) b) or c) could do--if only in terms of prolonging the story?) It's certainly not something Edwards wants if his denial was untruthful. Either way, the smart pol's course would seem to be to forcefully deny the accusation without cuteness or reservation--but also without personally attacking the accusers. It's a fine line! I'm not sure he walked it. ...

P.S.: Yglesias' suggestion that if there was anything to the story then somebody in the "legitimate" press would have come up with the evidence "by now" is a little premature, I think. ... 12:46 P.M. link

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'[T]he worst airline in the history of aviation'? A.L. Bardach points a finger at U.S. Air in the Carol Anne Gotbaum case:

Gotbaum wasn't late for boarding. She didn't forfeit her place by ignoring the airline's procedures. Her only mistake was showing up at the US Airways gate and believing that her paid-in-full, reserved-seat airline ticket meant that she would actually have a seat on the plane.

Obviously, "but for" causation doesn't mean U.S. Air is morally culpable for Gotbaum's death. Still, they appear to be culpable for something. And Phoenix seems to be a particular trouble spot. ... Bardach references this earlier NYT article on overbooking and customer rage, which spends a lot of time discussing U.S. Air. ... I never realized how sheltered I am flying JetBlue, which seems to be able to fill its planes without overbooking. ... Update: Congress votes itself a bit of  extra sheltering. ... 1:26 A.M. link

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Why it will be hard to blog for the L.A. Times: You post something juicy on Thursday and then a middle-management twit will come in and censor it on Friday. ... Remember, at the L.A.T. it's all about not telling you what they think you shouldn't want to know about. ...  Suggested solution for Mr. Zell at layoff time: Attrit the twit! ... Update: It now appears that the Times blogger's own response to a commenter--about the need to avoid "censoring" Edwards' denial--has itself been removed. Interactive! ... 12:02 A.M. link

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mass Nude Photo Shoot in Miami: Why do I have a horrible feeling Greg Packer is in there somewhere? ... 9:30 P.M.

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Nation faces drought of crop rot stories: James Fulford says "crops are not gonna rot in the fields because they've already been picked, almost everywhere in the nation." Who knew? 6:04 P.M.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

A message from John Edwards:

But, I think every single candidate for president, Republican and Democratic have lives, personal lives, that indicate something about what kind of human being they are. And I think it is a fair evaluation for America to engage in to look at what kind of human beings each of us are, and what kind of president we'd make.

60 Minutes, March 25, 2007 ... 7:35 P.M.

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Subprime Schools: L.A's new school superintendent David Brewer has announced a plan to rope 44 of the cities crappiest schools (containing 105,000 students) into a separate district. Apparently the idea is to "target" these schools for smaller classes, different courses and special teacher training. But normally, in business, is it a good idea to put all your most disfunctional units together on the grounds that somehow they will combine into a functional unit? Brewer talks about "drastic reforms such as all-boys academies and neighborhood literacy centers for parents." But the special Crap Schools District would also make it easier to turn the worst schools over to new charter organizations without disturbing the education bureaucracy's control over the remaining schools (which would still have over 500,000 students), no?  ... P.S.: Is it really possible that the pompous, Pulitzer-obsessed L.A. Times-- which suppresses juicy celebrity stories in order, theoretically, to cover worthier topics--has failed to write about this important development? Looks like it. ... 1:16 A.M.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Edwards Scandal(?) Update: Drudge isn't biting, at least not yet. A bizarre number of people, including several kf emailers, seem to think that you just can't have a sex scandal unless Drudge is driving it. In part because they assume he has a low evidentiary threshold, he's become something like the new accepted Arbiter of Truth. No Drudge, no story! But--from what I can tell--Drudge doesn't link to lots of stories, for both traditional (evidence, relevance) and idiosyncratic reasons. This isn't the first time kausfiles hasn't met Drudge's journalistic standards! And while it's to his credit that he makes up his own mind and doesn't jump on every salacious rumor that comes along, that means it's not true that there's no scandal until he ratifies it. ... Update: Noted astrologer Jerome Armstrong has Rielle Hunter's denial.

The innuendoes and lies that have appeared on the internet and in the National Enquirer concerning John Edwards are not true, completely unfounded and ridiculous.

My video production company was hired by the Edwards camp on a 6 month contract, which we completed December 31, 2006.

When working for the Edwards camp, my conduct as well as the conduct of my entire team was completely professional.

This concocted story is just dirty politics and I want no part of it." [Emphasis on Clintonian qualifiers added]

Via Ben Smith, who notes that 20% of American Media, which runs the National Enquirer, is owned by an investment firm run by Clintonite Roger Altman. That makes it possible for the press and others to discount the Enquirer story as a Hillary-promoted smear. But a) I think I know how the story started to come out, pre-Enquirer, and it had nothing to do with Hillary's campaign; b) The story, as suggested below, arguably helps Barack Obama in his race against Hillary, who has a better chance against a divided field; c) If Roger Altman already controlled the National Enquirer for the Clintonites, why would Clinton-buddy Ron Burkle be moving to buy it? ... Update: d) Why would Hillary of all people want to open the door on stories about marital infidelity? ...

More: Smith also has a too-broad denial from Edwards: "The story is false." (As every press secretary knows, that could logically mean there's nothing to the story; it could mean an affair didn't start "18 months ago" but rather 8 months ago). ...

Update: The AP has Edwards adding "It's completely untrue, ridiculous" and saying the story was "made up." By the Enquirer? Or by one of the people the Enquirer cites? Either way, it's a direct attack on the integrity of someone (not necessarily a smart move for a politician in Edwards' position). ...

With Edwards' denial, both the  MSM and Drudge now finally mention the allegations. ...

Edwards' peculiar vulnerability should the allegation be believed is suggested by this Reuters lede:

A third of U.S. women say their vote for president is influenced by the happiness of a candidate's marriage, and Democrat John Edwards is most widely seen as having a happy marriage, said a survey released on Friday. ...

4:01 P.M. link

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Perfecting Drudge: That Al Gore event--the one he cancelled citing an "exciting and urgent" overseas trip, prompting Nobel Prize speculation on Drudge--is back on again. An email sent out this morning from Barbara Boxer's campaign to supporters says:

Good News:  Tonight's rally with Vice President Al Gore is back on!  His trip to China to address government leaders there about global warming has been postponed, so fortunately he can now join us today in San Francisco.

3:12 P.M.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The National Enquirer   claims to have  enough of the Edwards cheating-on-cancer-stricken-wife story, including "bombshell" e-mails, to run with. ... P.S.: They "met in a bar." Sounds familiar! ... You read it here first. ... OK, you read it on HuffPo first. ...  HuffPo 's Sam Stein now has lots of background material. ...  P.P.S.: When I ask friends they split roughly 50/50 on whether, if true, this is a legitimate story. The MSM seems to be strenuously trying to not report it. Given how Edwards' campaign has tacitly and effectively used Elizabeth and her struggle, etc., I think if true it's scummy behavior on his part that Democratic primary voters should know about. His campaign is denying it. ...

kf Forward Lean, I: If the story is true, what happens to Edwards? First, I guess his private fundraising dries up. You'd think a candidate who knew this scandal was coming down the pike would have switched to public funding or something. Oh, right. ... Another reason to think he'd try to soldier on: Dropping out after a scandal would tarnish him in a way that denying and losing wouldn't. ...

kf Forward Lean, II:If Edwards sinks or disappears, does it benefit Hillary? You'd think no--she doesn't want a clarified head-to-head race against Obama. But Obama is counting on Edwards to do the dirty work of taking Hillary on. ... The ideal outcome for Obama would be if Edwards loses most of his support yet stays in the race long enough to go on the attack. But even a complete Edwards disappearance would still benefit Obama, I'd think. (It's a zero-sum game--somebody has to benefit.) ... 11:58 A.M. link

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Conned by John: The National Review bloggers at The Corner seem to be impressed with John McCain's new immigration position, which is:

The American people no longer have trust or confidence in our government.  Our failure at Katrina, our failures in Iraq, our failures to get spending under control.  And we've got to restore that trust and confidence.

If we're going to have real immigration reform, we're going to have to have trust that we will secure the borders.

I think they're cheap dates. McCain obviously still believes his semi-amnesty is the essence of "real immigration reform." Is he saying it will have to wait until the border are actually secured? No. He only requires "trust" that the borders "will" be secured, trust that will be accomplished by any number of government confidence-building measures (success in Iraq, cutting spending, better FEMA disaster response) that have nothing to do with actually securing the border. ... I don't trust his definition of "trust," and he seems willfully oblivious to the difficulties facing any successful enforcement attempt--including a half-decade of lawsuits from many of McCain's pro-comprehensive allies. ... 5:13 A.M. link

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Gawker: Needs Balk. Not the same without Balk. Trying too hard to make up for the lack of Balk. 11:17 P.M.

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Mickey's Assignment Desk--Baracktrackers: 2,000 words on Dem policy bigshots whowent with Obama when he looked like the coming thing--and are now desperately trying to somehow get back in Hillary's good graces. Foreign policy types are usually the most obvious about this sort of thing. ... Bonus: Point out that this is the type of political judgment the experts are supposed to get right. Making the mistake of betting on Obama--assuming he doesn't, you know, win--isn't all that different from making the mistake of betting on Chalabi. ... [Better ex?-ed Rafsanjani, Iran, 2005] 7:40 P.M. link

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Crops Rotting in the Fields! ...  Oh wait.  That's last year's crops-rot-in-fields story. Sorry. Here's this year's. They haven't rotted yet... [Thanks to reader C.B.] .. Update: Is the Bush administration rushing to declare a crisis and use it as an excuse to open the door to more illegals? I don't know the answer. But the LAT reports the administration is "quietly rewriting federal regulations to eliminate barriers that restrict how foreign laborers can legally be brought into the country"  under the existing H-2A and H-2B programs for temporary workers. ... I can see why it might be useful to simplify applications. But if it's seasonal work, why would it be necessary to "extend the definition of 'temporary' beyond 10 months"? Do all these legal workers actually return when their "temporary" work is over? ... The Bushies are also considering expanding "the definition of 'agricultural' workers to include such industries as meatpacking and poultry processing. Is it really impossible to get American citizens (or existing legal immigrants) to do meatpacking jobs? ... If an unlimited number of non-temporary "temporary" workers in can be allowed in under existing law, then why did the Administration feel it needed an explicit new guest-worker program as part of "comprehensive" reform? ... Krikorian? ... 7:05 P.M. link

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W and Poppy--A Bipartisan Consensus: Left and Right agree--we need to win in Afghanistan, and we shouldn't let the war on drugs pervert whatever strategy is best. But, given that much of the Afghan poppy crop is in areas controlled by the Taliban, doesn't a continuing crackdown (if not the insanely inflammatory tactic of aerial spraying) make sense? Drug policy maven Mark Kleiman says no:

Probably the right thing for [Afghan President] Karzai to do, in terms of his government's chances against the Taliban, would be to legalize, or at least tolerate, poppy-growing and heroin refining in the areas of Afghanistan it controls, with the goal of enriching its allies and farmers in loyal areas and undercutting the market for opium from Taliban-controlled areas and thus the Taliban's capacity to benefit its subjects and derive revenue from "taxing" the illicit trade. If that's right, the U.S. should get out of the way.

Kleiman thinks eradicating the Afghan poppy crop wouldn't make much difference in "the level of heroin abuse" anyway. But beating the Taliban should have priority even if it would mean a rise in U.S. heroin abuse, no? ... 5:28 P.M. link

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Here's a new way to get publicity for your just-opened film:  Get sued by your dry cleaner for defamation. 11:24 A.M.

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Japan is Different: If you're a Brentwood or Upper East Side parent and worry that competitiveness among moms is getting out of hand, read this Marie Claire piece and stop worrying. ...  10:42 P.M. 

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N.Z. Bear Revealed: I was recommending that a friend of mine contact N.Z. Bear a couple of weeks ago when I realized I didn't know his actual name. Now I do. ... 10:28 A.M.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Do netroots types really think that Al Gore, if he ran for President, would commit to getting U.S. troops out of Iraq by 2013  (unlike Edwards or Obama or Hillary Clinton)? I don't. ... 6:37 P.M.

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Prius, The Silent Killer--Update: If the government requires that Toyota Priuses and other quiet electric vehicles make a noise to warn pedestrians  to get out of the way, won't that create a lucrative market for Prius ringtones?And what kind of noise would be a) distinctive enough to identify the presence of a car, yet b) quiet enough to make a crowd of Priuses tolerable--yet c) not drive Prius owners insane? Get Brian Eno on the case right now. ... P.S.: Maybe some sort of long whale-call tone? ... P.P.S.: Alert reader L.A. suggests "windchimes on the antennaes." Might fail (c). ...  6:17 P.M.

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Here's an anguished NPR report on a victim of the highly-touted "E-Verify" system for checking the immigration status of employees. It seems Fernando Tinoco,** an American citizen, "thought he was living the American dream." But at a new job he got a "tentative non-confirmation" for his Social Security number. Two hours after being hired he was fired. And then ... he "cleared up the problem" ... and then he got his job back. ... So what's the big difficulty? He was ... humiliated! Yes, that's the ticket. Though he doesn't sound very humiliated in this report--despite the egging-on of the NPR reporter ("They thought you were illegal. ... Criminal! But you're an American." ..."Yes. We're in America, yes.") ... Remember: This is the best case NPR and the legal rights groups that feed it could come up with. ... P.S.: Aren't honest, law-abiding people humiliated by data base errors all the time--like when credit cards are wrongly turned down, etc.? Is that a reason for blocking what even comprehensivists tout as the most important immigration enforcement tool around? It is if you want to block immigration enforcement, I guess. ... P.P.S.: Illinois has attempted to stop "E-verify" with a law whose "bipartisan" backing NPR pretends to be impressed by. Why, it was supported by "immigrant rights groups and and by mainstream business groups like the Illinois Chamber of Commerce." I mean, who else could there be in the immigration debate? ...

More: 1) Reader T.C. emails, "[W]hat I found equally astonishing was the spokesperson for the State of Illinois insisting that the E-verify system be 99% accurate before it be relied upon.  I wonder what degree of accuracy one might find in the various databases employed in their state government.  Let's start with the voter registration system in Chicago. ..." 2) Reader J.R. notes that "employers routinely subject  menial job applicants to credit 
checking, online criminal background checks and drug tests
." Whats the database-error rate for those pre-employment checks? ...  3)The Corner'sMark Krikorian points out that making Mr. Tinoco to iron out the problems with his Social Security number actually helped him in one respect--because it presumably means he will now get his Social Security benefits without a bureaucratic hassle. ...

**--Not sure this is the correct spelling of his name. Update: Spelling corrected. Tinoco was also featured in this May WaPo story. 5:37 P.M.

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Boomers Against Medical Cost Control: Hillary Clinton's latest health care plan has been applauded, in part, because  by focusing on universal coverage as opposed to cost control it avoids some of the most controversial and complicated regulatory aspects of her 1993 plan.** But in her latest interview with Jonathan Cohn she still seems itching to control costs--indeed, she's apparently relying on "efficiency gains" to both provide the money to finance her plan and to produce the savings that will control the cost of existing medical entitlements and balance the federal budget.

Good luck on that.*** Purely politically, you would think the ground has shifted since 1993--and that it's shifted against attempts at cost control, at least through government regulation. Why? Boomers! They're the demographic bulge in the voter rolls, right? Well, they're 15 years older now than they were when Hillary first tried health care reform. They naturally spend more time with their doctors, they typically like their doctors, and are naturally more likely in their older age to value the services their doctors provide. This means, I think, they will be more resistant than ever to regulatory cost controls--fee schedules, bureaucratic impediments, restrictions on ability to practice outside the government-subsidized system, etc.--that might be opposed by the medical professionals who are, after all, saving their lives. The doctors will certainly have expanded opportunities to lobby their aging boomer patients on these points. ... More fundamentally, fifteen-year-older boomers will feel more intensely the need for unimpeded access to expensive new life-enhancing technologies (and the doctors who can employ them) as soon as they read about them in the papers--which, in turn, are more likely to report them to their boomer readers.

**Sorry, her husband's plan! Hillary had practically nothing to do with it! It was all Bill's fault, Paul Starr now tells us, in one of the most informative and least convincing articles I've read recently.

***--I'm intuitively skeptical of the ability to wring vast efficiency gains from the health care sector a) because when I go to the doctor or a hospital it doesn't seem like a wasteful sector; b) because I assume technology will continue to provide more complex and expensive cures that people will rightfully want, and c) because I don't understand why it's so terrible if health care expenses keep rising, as a percent of GDP, as our society gets richer--and I assume others will come to the same conclusion rather than sacrifice what they regard as services that could improve and prolong their lives. 4:13 P.M.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Remission of Burma: Bob Wright says he does not argue in his book Nonzero that history is moving ineluctably toward democracy and political liberty because prosperity requires freedom of thought and speech and inquiry. Rather, he argues that history is moving ineluctably toward democracy and political liberty because prosperity requires access to information technology which in turn empowers aggrieved groups to press their interests against the state--and these empowered aggrieved groups are most easily satisfied in democratic, or at least pluralist, systems. You could have fooled me. ... 10:15 P.M.

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It looks like the only Republican who's not quitting the Senate is Larry Craig. ... 9:53 P.M.

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Yahoo vs. Yahoo: This audio link doesn't work for me, but maybe it will work for you--and if it does, you can hear an intra-yahoo panel discussion on immigration in which 1) Mark Krikorian smartly tries to make a move I didn't think he'd make, sketching out how he thinks the anti-legalization movement could project a more pro-immigrant attitude; and 2) I try to argue against Krikorian--the powerful Numbers USA organization--when they seek to reduce the number of legal immigrants. ... 9:43 P.M.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Today on B-3--"It's Where The News Is": On page B-3 of today's Los Angeles Times: 1) Britney Spears loses custody of her children. 2) Wife-leaving L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa's super-hot girlfriend quits her TV job when Telemundo assigns her to Riverside to avoid a conflict of interest. ... Too interesting! The Times highminded editors thought Angelenos should instead read "Bill seeks faster reports on nursing home allegations," which ran under huge picture on B-1. ... P.S.: Here's an excellent idea from blogger Steve Smith: "Maybe the local paper should just make the third page of its B Section a super-hyped, 'go-to' section for people interested in ... dirt, and gossip." Better yet, make it a pullout section. Then they could, you know, kind of wrap it around the more important sections with the riveting nursing home complaint procedure pieces that win Pulitzers. ... 2:42 P.M.

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federal judge has blocked the government from sending out letters to employers whose workers whose Social Security numbers don't match their names. ... Some of the same employer groups (e.g. Chamber of Commerce) who backed Bush's 'amnesty + enforcement' immigration compromise are among those suing to block the 'enforcement' part. Even if they didn't, the ACLU would do the job for them. The yahoos were right to demand that any enforcement measures actually survive this interest-group litigation assault before any legalization/amnesty even gets considered. ... 10:51 A.M.

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Presidents appoint Supreme Court justices! Jeff Toobin produces four grafs of mind-numblingly uninsightful, book-promoting Huffpo copy  pegged to the First Monday in October. It's almost a splog. ... P.S.: Would a conservative-majority Roberts Court really be an  "ideological mirror image" of the Warren Court--or have even Roberts and Alito internalized many of the Warren Court's legal structures and doctrines? That would be an interesting inquiry. Don't look for it here. ... 2: 27 A.M.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Just Linking: A taste of things to come. Ron Burkle can buy all the tabs in the world, but he can't buy the Web. The question, I guess, is whether this sort of stuff will feed back into the non-tab MSM. ... [Thanks to alert reader  S.B.6:42 P.M.

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Now Playing in Plano: Will the current wave of Iraq/Afghan War films--most of them anti--fizzle at the box office? I've gotten into trouble  with this kind of prediction, but I say yes! These films were made partly for sincere political reasons and they will lose people money. Valley Of Elah--a well-made, well-acted, depressing and dispiriting movie--certainly doesn't seem to be posting impressive numbers.  ...

P.S.: I'd missed the LAT "dust-up" on this topic between David Ehrenstein and Andrew Breitbart. Breitbart's entries tend to validate the "if they can talk, they can write" rule of journalistic recruitment--he's a great unstoppable talker, and sure enough he's a entertainingly scornful South Park right pundit, like Ann Coulter on a good day but with a dada Hollybrat twist. See, for ex., his "Acceptance Speech." ...

P.P.S.: My biggest problem with Hollywood is the dominance of emotional old-style liberals. My second biggest problem with Hollywood is that the opposition to these liberals tends to be equally passionate people, like Breitbart or Roger Simon, who see themselves as warriors in a generational battle against radical Islam that to my mind will be won most efficiently--or defused, which is the same thing--if prosecuted coolly and calmly, with appropriate attention to "blowback." Conservatives in Hollywood are an oppressed minority; Centrist Dems in Hollywood are a nonexistent minority. (OK, I know one.) ... 5:39 P.M. 

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Almost everybody likes Elizabeth Edwards. But when she told Keith Olbermann last Friday that said she had no idea that her campaign fundraising ad--"Sometimes we put things off, don't we? We think we have all the time in the world. Well, we don't"--might be construed as a reference to her battle with cancer, what are the chances she was telling the truth?

When I say that we don`t have all the time in the world and talk about people who are serving in Iraq or talk about people without health care, somehow i`s an allusion to my illness. If I wanted to tug on people`s heart strings, I have better material than that. I have used that allusion to the fact that -- I made that back in 2004. It's often the way I talk about it.

It honestly didn`t occur to me that it might be read that way.

The chances are close to zero, no? ... [Emphasis added] 12:31 P.M.

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Word that describes what those who saw Rupert Murdoch on his WSJ visits noticed about him:"Frail." ... P.S.--Most riveting treatment of the Murdoch Succession issue I've seen: Kevin Kline's performance in Fierce Creatures, all-too-briefly glimpsed in Slate's Murdoch FilmFest. Kline's character boasts that he will have himself frozen so none of his heirs will inherit his empire. ... 1:29 A.M.

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bet of the Year: Bill Richardson is trading at .60 on Intrade. I think that means his odds for winning the Democratic nomination are currently running 167-1 against. You should take those odds.** 1) He's already at 11% in Iowa, where voters notoriously look around for an alternative to the front runners in the final 10 days. 2) Iowa, they say, is more important than ever! 3) A clear, major policy difference just opened up between him and all three of the candidates ahead of him, when they refused to promise to pull out all troops from Iraq by 2013; 4) The Iowa caucuses attract a small minority of relatively liberal Democrats who are likely to care intensely about Iraq and find Richardson's promise very appealing. 5) He doesn't even have to win to get a slingshot effect from Iowa. Gary Hart didn't win Iowa in 1984--he finished second with 14.8%--but that was enough to propel him to victory in New Hampshire and other early primaries. ...

Why isn't the MSM taking the Richardson threat more seriously? Hello?  Is it because reporters--at least all the reporters I've met--find him wildly unimpressive in person? Is it because any newspaper that doesn't already have enough checked-out material in its files on Richardson's "personal issues"  to sink his candidacy might as well close up shop? I don't know. But if Richardson's doing this well while being unimpressive in person, think how well he might do if he somehow becomes impressive. ... P.S.: I'm not pro-Richardson. He has a rep as a substance-challenged schmoozer and he's certainly a panderer. I disagree with him vehemently on immigration and No Child Left Behind. I just think he's currently well-positioned for a #1 or #2 finish in Iowa. ...

Update:kf fails to move the market! ... Also, Richardson claims to have raised $5.2 million in the quarter, a not unimpressive sum. (Reminder: This is Richardson. Need to check against actual report.) ...

**--kf does not actually give gambling advice! Make up your own mind, don't sue me if you lose, my track record is, um,  imperfect, etc., etc. 9:34 P.M. link

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sure Is a Thin Fence: There's a picture of some of the 70 miles of new border fence in today's LAT. But it seems to be a single-layer fence. I thought we'd ordered a "double-layered" fence. ... Are President Bush and DHS Secretary Chertoff--who've never liked the fence idea--trying to make it ineffective? ... Update: Bill Quick has the photo too. ... 12:47 P.M. link

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Ron Burkle now has a panic room. ... 2:30 P.M.

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Was Doug Band's Finder's Fee Legal? According to the WSJ, Bill Clinton aide Douglas Band accepted, and then passed on to others, a $400,000 finders fee for helping arrange a seemingly disastrous investment deal. But it seems that finding investors for a fee can be considered "brokerage" requiring a license. Who knew? It seems like a misguided rule, and it's apparently a controversial one. And even assuming (i.e. guessing) Band doesn't have a license, I don't know which side of this "gray" area" he would fall on. But it might be worth checking out. ... Illegal is illegal, alas--and even "a successful early stage financing that was technically illegal" can apparently give investors a right to subsequently undo the deal, according to the Inc.com article linked above. Would that give the now-disgruntled FOB investor 'found' by Band a way to get his money back--by blaming Clinton's aide? Just asking! ... 1:53 P.M. link

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GQ Editor Jim Nelson defends his manhood here. ... No doubt GQ's upcoming "Man of the Year" piece on Bill Clinton will be "fully satisfying." It better be! ...P.S.: Something tells me, in advance, that I'd rather read the  piece on Hillaryland infighting that Nelson killed. Hillary campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle doesn't seem to be wildly popular. ... P.P.S.: Nelson claims the decision to kill Green's piece wasn't "directly linked" [Howard Kurtz's phrase] to the ability of the Clintonists to withhold Bill's cooperation on the second, forthcoming piece. But of course the Clinton camp had in fact already linked them when Nelson made his decision. At that point--when the subject of a story has implicitly threatened your magazine with repercussions if you print it--any editor with balls will make sure the story gets printed.** Even if it's not a "great Hillary piece" [Nelson's words] and only a good Hillary piece. (I haven't read it so I don't know what it was. But I know the smell of editorial cowardice.) ... By saying he'd have printed a "great Hillary piece," Nelson is more or less admitting that he let the Clinton threat raise the bar that Green's piece had to meet, no?... 

**--At least this rule should apply to stories about political figures. I don't care if Nelson caves to Brad Pitt. ... 12:59 P.M. link

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Page B-4 Watch: It's where the news is in the L.A. Times. Wednesday's B-4 Special: "24" star Kiefer Sutherland arrested for drunk driving, with jail time a possibility. Nobody's interested in that! ... 3:31 A.M.

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John Edwards is getting grief because the hedge fund he worked for is responsible for some subprime loans and foreclosures in Iowa. But the hedge fund for which Chelsea Clinton has worked is not exactly Landlord of the Year either. ... 3:22 A.M.

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From the NYT's explanation of why the "Bryant Park Project, NPR's new younger, "looser" show, is different from all the other NPR programs:

The difference between traditional NPR programs and this one is perhaps best illustrated by their approaches to sports. When the commentator Stefan Fatsis appears on NPR's afternoon "All Things Considered," he is never interviewed by the co-anchor, Melissa Block, his wife. At "The Bryant Park Project" the sports commentator is Bill Wolff, MSNBC's vice president of prime-time programming and Ms. Stewart's husband. "Darling," she called him in a recent playful exchange dissecting their weekend football viewing.

Right, it sounds completely different! Among public radio programs featuring female anchors and male sports commentators who are married to each other, they're at, like, opposite poles. ... P.S.: They said NPR's "Day to Day" was going to be different too. Then they made it the same.**

**--This included cancelling my occasional phoned in "blog" items. I'm bitter! But that's not what I'm talking about. ... 2:49 A.M.

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Just Do It? Note: In Wednesday's debate, Hillary Clinton did not say she was opposed to torture even in "ticking time bomb" scenarios. What she said was that

As a matter of policy it cannot be American policy period.

This doesn't mean she's against doing it. It means she's against making it a formal part of "policy"--a distinction her husband made clear on Keith Olbermann's Countdown Thursday. In other words, she thought she was ducking the hypothetical, embracing the "it's against the law but I'll do it" hypocrisy that has become the accepted anti-torture safe harbor on the issue. ... P.S.: Her post-debate statement doesn't change this position. She's against "making narrow exceptions to this policy" in advance. This doesn't mean, contrary to Greg Sargent's intepretation, that in fact "she'd adhere to" this righteous no-torture policy. ... 2:22 A.M. link

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

kf Yesterday, USA Today: It's official. Illegals are moving out. How many and where to remains TBD. ... [via Polipundit] 10:41 P.M.

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Clinton Thug Watch I: Bill Clinton's aide Doug Band** tries to intimidate a Manhattan restaurant owner into removing a harmless photo of daughter Chelsea from his restaurant's wall ...

**--last seen receiving (but not keeping) a $400,000 fee for finding Anne Hathaway's Italian boyfriend a now-unhappy investor, according to the WSJ. ... Not surprisingly, Ron Burkle is involved! ... 9:31 A.M. link

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Who is Rielle Hunter? ... And why is John Edwards' campaign so skittish about her? ... Backfill: They met in a bar. Sounds innocent enough! ...6:50 A.M. link

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Monetize This: Why can't you have "enemies" on Facebook? At the least, you should be able to make other people "rivals." It would liven things up.  ... (I'm sure this is not a new idea.) ... Update:  Yup. ... 11:00 P.M.

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Expenditures Aren't Like Contributions: Another independent effort working at cross-purposes from a candidate's real, official campaign. ... [Tks to alert reader O.C.] 10:47 P.M.

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Let's hope Vice President Cheney and David Addington let their subscriptions to the New York Times expire and didn't see the following kicker paragraphs, in a piece on how Americans are paying too much attention to Ahmadinejad  as opposed to his clerical patrons

But whether Mr. Ahmadinejad wins or loses, there is no sense here in Iran that the outcome will have any impact on the fundamentals of Iran's relations with the world or the government's relation to its own society.

"The situation will get worse and worse," said Saeed Leylaz, an economist and former government official. "We are moving to a point where no internal force can change things." [E.A.]

I can think of an external force. ... 10:35 P.M.

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The We-Don't-Trust-Toobin Caucus is growing so rapidly I can't keep up with it from the road. But Walter Olson has the burgeoning list  at PointOfLaw.com. ... Note that not all of Toobin's critics are Republicans or conservatives. ... 10:16 P.M.

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I didn't realize that anti-gerrymandering reform had died once more in California. The state's Democratic leaders again failed to deliver on the reform promise they made when urging voters to reject a Schwarzenegger-backed anti-gerrymandering ballot measure in 2005. ... The big hang-up was fear that Nancy Pelosi would oppose any measure that ended gerrymandering of Congressional districts as well as state legislative districts. But Schwarzenegger deserves some blame for not knocking heads and getting a gettable deal, according to the LAT's George Skelton. The LAT's George Skelton also deserves some blame--he fell for the Democrats' promises and columnized against the ballot initiative in 2005. The reform he righteously opposed sure looks good now. ... 12:46 A.M.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

First rule of Today's GQ Man: Be a wuss! Josh Green is an excellent magazine writer, so his piece on Hillary campaign infighting is unlikely to have been killed by GQ magazine because it was bad. That leaves Politico reporter Ben Smith's explanation--that it was spiked by GQ's editor Jim Nelson because of pressure from the Clinton camp, in the form of threatened denial of access to Bill Clinton for an upcoming GQ cover story. ... Maybe Nelson will have something more to say that will make him look better than he looks now. But there's one way to find out how good the piece was. Publish it--somewhere. That's what the Web is for, no? ... Note to Josh: I'll do it if no one else will. ... Or is GQ not only spiking the piece but refusing to let Green place it elsewhere? That would be full-service journalism for the Clintons. ... Obvious Questions:  Could the piece have been as bad for the Clinton camp as the publicity they're now getting? Are they still not quite operating in the internet age? ... Doesn't Bill Clinton want to be on the cover of GQ a month before the Iowa caucuses? You'd think Nelson would have some leverage of his own. ... :

Alternative response--The GQ Blogosphere Challenge: Uncover what it is that the Clinton folks are so determined to hide. It can't just be Howard Wolfson's salary. ... Edsall? ... Ambinder? ... Shapiro? ... Anyone? ... 4:04 P.M. link

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Inside Toobin's Secret Kitchen, Part III: It's OK for Jeffrey Toobin to characterize Justice Clarence Thomas as "lonely," and "ideologically isolated, strategically marginal." But when Thomas describes himself as those things, it's time for a New Yorker-pleasing sneer! Patterico prosecutes. ... P.S.: Ann Althouse has more fun with Toobin's flimsy dramatization techniques  here. ... [via Beldar12:48 P.M.

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Kossacks Reach Out! On BlogTalk Radio, David (thereisnospoon) Atkins, Adam (Clammyc)Lambert and I talk  about the Surge (I'm tentatively for it, they're not) and Atkins' interesting distinction between "moderates" and "centrists"  (I'm for both, they aren't). ... The whole conversation reinforced my sense that what Kossacks mean by "progressive" is largely untethered from what pre-1992 Democrats meant by "liberal," but maybe you'll disagree. ... P.S.: Podcast available here. ... 12:20 A.M.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

John Edwards Will End Illegal Immigration! I thought it was standard (if effective) political hyperbole when Sen. Sessions characterized "comprehensive" immigration reform as "No Illegal Alien Left Behind." But here's John Edwards describing his immigration plan  at what appears to have been a Democratic SEIU panderthon [E.A.]:

"We're going to ensure that every single person living in the United States of America has a completely achievable path to American citizenship so that they don't live in the shadows."

It won't be hard for Hillary to stay to the right of that. ... P.S.: Note that to bring everyone out of "the shadows," it's not enough that there be a path to legalization for everyone--everyone must also be legal while they are following this path (or else they're still in the shadows). In other words, if Edwards' position isn't instant legalization for all who've managed to sneak into the territorial U.S., I don't understand why it isn't. ... P.P.S.: Maybe it's not quite a universal "dry foot" policy--you have to be "living" here, not just physically on this side of the border. But it's close. ... 11:42 P.M.

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Fred or Freddoso? You CANNOT have both! Fred Thompson appears to have, perhaps accidentally, hit on what seems to me the correct view of campaign finance reform, which is that you can regulate money donated directly to parties and candidates but you can't stop people from making independent expenditures if they arre outside of candidate or party control. The Corner's David Freddoso  asserts with rather desperate force that

You CANNOT limit soft money without placing those restrictions on [independent] free speech.

Oh yeah? Why not? I can see how the authors of McCain Feingold wanted to restrict both forms of speech, but that doesn't mean others won't want to draw the distinction. Money spent independently is likely to be spent inefficiently, even at cross purposes with the official party. Ask MoveOn.org! It's therefore a less reliable means of bribery than a direct contribution. ... In any case, this is not a distinction you "CANNOT" make--which means you don't have to either keep all of McCain-Feingold or rip it all down. The Constitution is not a Hsu-icide pact! ... 1:05 A.M.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Inside the Secret World of Jeff Toobin, Chapter II:  Ann Althouse catches Toobin telling the same pathetic anecdote at two different points in his book--except that the words between quote marks, and attributed to Justice O'Connor, are different each time. Althouse's  conclusion: "I think it's fair to suspect that Toobin assembles material into quotes that are not really quotes." ... 9:23 P.M. 

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Burkle Watch1) Burkle My Hsu! He's named in Hsu-related suit  as someone who "introduced and/or endorsed Hsu as a friend, colleague and trusted associate." Of course this is just an allegation. Tobey Maguire is also named. [via Instapundit] ... 2) TabQuest '08 Fallout? He's sued by former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan, accused of not letting Riordan and other investors sell their stakes in a venture in order to "perpetuate the myth that he is a billionaire, `legendary investor,' and to profit from millions of dollars in consulting, acquisition, and management services agreements and fees." He immediately settles, self-effacingly telling the L.A. Daily News**

"It doesn't do anything for me to have a couple million dollars of Dick Riordan's money."

Unexplored angle: Didn't the Riordan/Burkle investment involve Source Interlink, the media distribution outfit that's been talked about as a possible vehicle  for Hillary-backer Burkle to purchase and effectively gain control of the tabloids (National Enquirer, etc) owned by American Media Inc. in advance of the 2008 election? I think it did! That raises various possible political subtexts, since last time I checked Riordan was nominally a Republican.

Of course, from Burkle's point of view, just negotiating to purchase the tabs might have the effect of neutralizing them, since aptly named AMI tab kingpin David Pecker doesn't seem like the type of guy to print a story that embarrasses someone  who might be the salvation of his troubled company.

**--Not the sort of quote you'd read in the competing L.A. Times. Too juicy. ... 11:58 A.M. link

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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

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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

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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."

I think it was! ... 2:27 P.M. link

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Show, Don't Tell: Bob Wright makes a hype-deflating analytic point about that recent liberals-are-smarter-than-conservative  study. Bob and I actually demonstrate its falsity later with a bhTV segment that's almost, but not quite, NSFW. Until Bob whips out his moose ... 2:05 P.M.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Inside the Secret World of Jeff Toobin: Ann Althouse has great fun with Toobin's latest book hype. ... For some of the sources of my skepticism regarding Toobin, click here, here and here. ...

FILED UNDER: INGRATIATING, BABYFACED, CAREERISM [We don't have tags yet--ed Just practicing, in case] 4:56 P.M. link

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Slow News Day? Chesty-and-testy Joe Klein says Matt Drudge is a "disgrace" because Drudge used the headline

HEALTH INSURANCE PROOF REQUIRED FOR WORK

for a link to a piece on Hillary's health plan. And if you read the AP story in question, it's clear that ... well, it's clear that Hillary is thinking about requiring health insurance for work! She says it could be "part of the job interview--like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination." If your kid doesn't show the proof, he can't go to school, right? So what, exactly, is wrong with the headline? Am I missing something? ... P.S.: Sure, Hillary says that "at this point" she hasn't "proposed" anything "punitive" and that it would all have to worked out in negotiations with Congress, etc.. So? Is Drudge required to fall for that strategic fuzzery, or can he go for the nut? It's significant that Hillary's even talking about it at this stage. Anyway, who said Joe Klein is the only one allowed to be hyperbolic? (According to Klein, Drudge is not only a "disgrace" but "shameless.") ... P.P.S.: Is Klein upset because requiring health insurance is his pet plan (and not a bad one)? Or was this just another self-described "moment of stupid weakness"? ... [You just stuck in that last link, to Klein's embarrassing pro-Iraq-War moment, to bait him into responding--ed. Mission Accomplished!11:56 P.M. link

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Rupert vs. Pinch. Odds, anyone? A well-informed emailer writes to highlight the non-spreadsheet aspects of recent developments at the very top of the MSM [emphasis added]:

The other piece to remember is that the murdoch-owned WSJ will start a national ad rate war with the wsj offering steep discounts (a la the nyp in nyc).  Murdoch wants to bring the NYT to its knees.

Since the NYT is practically on its knees already--at least share-price-wise--this shouldn't be all that difficult. ... P.S.: If you were a member of the Times-owning Sulzberger family, or a top NYT reporter, or Steve Rattner, and you saw the famously rapacious Australian press lord headed your way with murderous intent, and then you saw that your champion was ... Pinch ... well, how terrified would you be? Wouldn't you want a new champion? Just asking! ... 4:55 P.M.  link

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The L.A. Times manages to lose its best political reporter (and one of the few justifications for its continued existence). ... P.S.: It's surprising and damning that the N.Y. Times didn't hire Brownstein, since-- just between you and me--he's also better than any of their political reporters. ...  4:14 P.M.

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Wanted-- The Brentwood EcoZoomBox: Here's a lucrative market niche none of the auto manufacturers seem to have spotted: There is a huge pent-up demand among the West Side L.A. parents I meet for a) a minivan, meaning something like a front-drive SUV but with a Honda-Elementish low floor and ride height; b) big enough to have 7 seats; c)hip enough for a mom to be able to drive it and get admiring glances; d)hybrid, in a way that advertises its hybridness to the world (meaning essentially that it would be available only as a a hybrid). It wouldn't have to get 45 m.p.g. It could get 32 m.p.g.**--as long is it got certifiably better m.p.g. than the non-hybrid equivalent. The point isn't to save the planet so much as to advertise how the planet might be saved--not necessarily a hypocritical posture...  Since top mileage would not be a requirement, it could also be e)fast. ... This combination seems eminently do-able, but there's nothing I see on the market now that fills the bill. The Prius meets (c) and (d) but not (a) or (b). The Element and Scion xB meet (a) and (c) but not (b) and (d). The Toyota RAV4 is big enough but not a hybrid. The Mercury Mariner comes in a hybrid, but it doesn't advertise its hybridness the way a Prius does, and it's not big enough. ... P.S.: These moms have money. Tons of it. They don't necessarily want to spend $70,00, but they will readily spend $35,000 or $45,000 or even $50,000 on something that meets their carrying needs, seems sexy and exudes eco-friendliness. ... Suggested names: Subaru Rockingham ... Acura Adderall. ...

Update: Alert reader B.G. suggests this thing. Not bad! A little minivany, though. ...

**--Toyota claims over 40 mpg for the Estima 7-seater, so the 22 m.p.g. I originally had suggested seemed a little low. ...  3:09 P.M. link

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Monday, September 17, 2007

*GLOAT ALERT* Pinch's Folly Formally FUBAR! TimesSelect--Pinch Sulzberger's attempt to put his prized columnists behind a subscription wall on the theory that they were so much better than free bloggers that people would pay for them--is finally so doomed it's actually dead, dead, dead, as of midnight tomorrow. ...

You see, it's really a success story! It "met expectations." It's just that online ad growth was so high it was more profitable to not charge readers and thereby sell more ads! I mean, who could have foreseen that (except everyone else in the industry)?...

P.S.: Always trust content from kausfiles. Also, I told you so. [You're running out of enemies--ed Burkle, Bangle--what are they, chopped liver? Anyway, Sulzberger hasn't lost his job, yet.] 3:23 P.M. link

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Demi-Semi- Amnesty: Democratic Sen. Durbin's revived "DREAM Act" is typically billed as a way to address "the tragedy of young people"--students who were brought into the country when they were very young, and now want to attend college. I was going to criticize it because it inevitably offers an incentive to future illegal immigration--i.e. "sneak across the border and your already-born children can go to U.S. colleges, pay in-state tuition, and become citizens!" It seemed precisely the sort of compassionate measure that should become possible after the borders had been shown to be secure for several years (as opposed to after a few quick showy raids and deportations).

But it's actually not that bad. It's much, much worse!  Kris Kobach persuasively argues  that, thanks to loose drafting, it's potentially a huge de facto legalization program of the sort many observers thought had been defeated. For example [emphasis added]:

There is no upper age limit. Any illegal alien can walk into a U.S. Customs and Immigration Ser­vices office and declare that he is eligible. For example, a 45 year old can claim that he illegally entered the United States 30 years ago at the age of 15. There is no requirement that the alien prove that he entered the United States at the claimed time by providing particular documents. The DREAM Act's Section 4(a) merely requires him to "demonstrate" that he is eligible—which in practice could mean simply making a sworn statement to that effect.

There's more--e.g., once you file an "application," you can't be deported. ...See also Noam Askew. ... Action Plan: Ask John McCain about the "DREAM Act" on his new "Forget Immigration!" Tour. ... 1:25 A.M. link

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Minor Detail Dept: The LAT reports on incarcerated Hillary Clinton fundraiser Norman Hsu's efforts to reward her staff:

Clinton confidant [Patti] Solis Doyle got a coveted, andpricey, designer handbag--a gift that made her so uncomfortable she returned it.

She returned it ... when? ... 1:03 A.M.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

International Relations:TNR's Michael Crowley sees the Hand of Burkle behind the recent endorsements of Hillary Clinton by Wesley Clark and Magic Johnson. Clark, after all, recently got a teaching gig  at the Burkle Center for International Relations. ... I didn't know there was a Burkle Center for International Relations. Scary! ... Cocktail Party Question: Will Burkle's help, if any, securing these endorsements make up for the damage done to Hillary's campaign if details of Burkle's zipping around the globe with Bill come out? Just asking! ... New Reuters-style slogan: "Before it's Truth, it's Kausfiles!" .... 11:51 P.M.

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I'm on the Slate "Gabfest" being "argumentative" and "petty" despite the best efforts of John Dickerson and HuffPo'sRachel Sklar. ... 10:52 P.M.

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"Sally Field Censored":'You ______ me. You really ______ me!' 10:50 P.M.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thompson's Troubled Start: Fred Thompson's campaign had such a terrible, fumbling, disappointing first week that he's already tied with Giuliani in the ARG poll and ahead by eight points  in the Rasmussen poll. ... 8:03 P.M.

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Another small car-- Volkswagen Up!I'd call it the Eh! ... But it's rear-engine. 12:40 P.M.

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Thanks to readers who've let me know that www.kausfiles.com takes you to a strangely contentless Slate page instead of to the latest kf blog page. I'm trying to get that fixed--as they say at Newsweek, "efforting"!** For the moment, the best way to get here is through the Slate table of contents (www. slate.com). ... 12:35 P.M.

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Have a Pinch--Maybe Murdoch Bid on the Wrong Company:New York Times stock falls below $20 a share, down from $50 in 2002. ... Soon even Ron Burkle will be able to buy the place! ... [Tks. to News Alert] 3:33 A.M.

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Sen. Clinton courageously speaks out against anti-immigrant attitudes during the recent Univision debate:

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Clinton, the negative tone of the immigration debate has left the country polarized and has created certain racist and discriminatory attitudes toward Hispanics.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Well, I think this is a very serious problem. And, as I said earlier, there are many in the political, and, frankly, in the broadcast world today, who take a particular aim at our Latino population and I think it's very destructive.

She was maybe referring to politicians who play on voters' visceral disgust at seeing crowds of scruffy day laborers:

"People have to stop employing illegal immigrants. ... I mean, come up to Westchester, go to Suffolk and Nassau counties, stand on the street corners in Brooklyn or the Bronx; you're going to see loads of people waiting to get picked up to go do yard work and construction work and domestic work."

Who'd say something like that? Lou Dobbs? Er, no. ... 2:57 A.M. link

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My former downstairs neighbor, Andrea Askowitz, a warm, funny and filthy performance artist, makes her YouTube debut. Instructive! But NSFW. ... 1:57 A.M.

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Bloggingheads--Bob Wright's videoblog project. Gearbox--Searching for the Semi-Orgasmic Lock-in. 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. Keller's 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's Huffosphere--Now a whole fleet of hybrid vehicles. 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. John Leo--If you've got political correctness, he's got a column. Gawker--It's come to this. Eat the Press--Sklarianna & Co. are like Gawker if Gawker actually believed in something. ... Luke Ford--Go for the sex, stay for the self-loathing. ... [More tk]