Why are these ads significant? 1) They seem to me to be surprisingly effective as a way of spreading dirt. 2) They seem to represent a surprisingly large hole in the campaign finance laws. After all, they are advertisements for a publication. They aren't campaign expenditures. They're simply telling potential customers about an article, which just happens to be an article spreading scandal about the Clintons. In the same way, ads for some Michael Moore films just happen to undermine George Bush. But, unlike Michael Moore films, the enterprise these Google ads are promoting is itself typically exempted from the campaign finance regime under the so-called "media exemption." So why doesn't some unabashedly non-neutral rich person buy up a lot of media properties--and then start spending tens of millions on ads promoting "scoops" that just happen to damage candidates the rich person opposes? Ron Burkle may be on to something. (Murdoch too, of course.) ... The upshot (I think): Attempts to control so-called 'independent' expenditures are doomed. Even if they're misguidedly upheld by the Supreme Court they will increasingly be seen as irrational and unfair, thanks to loopholes like this one. ...
**--They also apparently pop up in gmails that discuss Hillary. Cunning! ... 10:21 A.M. link
Without Cucumbers, America is Defenseless: The New York Times surveys the crops that have rotted to date due to lack of immigrant laborers (something that has allegedly prompted the Bush administration to try to ease guest worker regulations):
The administration is pressing ahead on that effort, first reported in The Los Angeles Times, after some growers in the Northwest let their cherries and apples rot because of a shortage of workers and after some growers in North Carolina did not plant cucumbers this year because they feared not having enough workers for the harvest. [E.A.]
That's it? "Some" cherries. "Some" apples. And "some" unplanted cucumbers. ... It's a crisis! 2:32 A.M. link
Comment Dowsing: In which we look in the crowd of commenters for a few friends--
-- I whiffed when Bob Wright asked me on bloggingheads to name a Republican-centered sex scandal I've promoted. But commenter Minderbender remembers the 1992 California Senate race, even if I forgot. It's not an episode I'm particularly proud of. The story was that the Republican candidate in question read dirty magazines--not much by today's Schwarzeneggerian standards. ... Come to think of it, Schwarzenegger's another Republican whose sex scandals I tried to push. ... Ask me again, Bob.
the Enquirer broke the Gary Hart story; Jesse Jackson's love child; OJ's Bruno Magli shoes and found the knife
Don't forget Gennifer Flowers, Max Gold says. (He adds that what the Enquirer added to the Hart story --broken by the Miami Herald--was the photo of the senator with Donna Rice on his lap. But that was a key addition.
TODAY IN SLATE
One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.
The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices
Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.
Uh-Oh. The World’s Oceans Have Broken Their All-Time Heat Record.
The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”
How to Keep Apple From Sharing Your iPhone Data With the Police
How to Order Chinese Food
First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”