Former Yugoslav dictator Slobodan Milosevic's death is stirring up trouble in the blog world. Stateside, bloggers are suspicious of Russ Feingold's attempts to censure President Bush and laughing at the idea that stockpiles of canned tuna could make a difference in an avian flu world.
Milosevic's end: Slobodan Milosevic died Saturday in a prison cell in The Hague. His trial on charges of committing war crimes was nearing its end, but with no verdict forthcoming, bloggers are trying Milosevic in the court of opinion.
Some pragmatists welcome Milosevic's demise. "The fact that the 'Butcher of the Balkans' Milosevic found dead in cell is probably the best outcome for all concerned because it prevents his being considered a martyr to the West," Bryan, a Florida blogger, reasons on Why Now. Others are angry that the U.N. war crimes tribunal lost the chance to dispense justice. Anthony Hall, an attorney from Washington, D.C., who runs The iPinions, is disgusted because Milosevic's heart attack "robs many of the satisfactionof seeing him adjudged guilty for the crimes against humanity he ordered."
Some rogue bloggers are using the occasion to re-examine the charges against Milosevic. Ken Bell, a British Socialist who lives in Mexico City and posts at The Exile, believes that Milosevic's "crime was to stand up to the west who wanted to turn his independent country into yet another capitalist appendage." His British compatriot Neil Clark, a journalist, concurs. Since 2004, he has argued that Milosevic dying during the trial was a foregone conclusion.
On PunditGuy, conservative Bill Nienhuis dismisses the controversy. "Conspiracy theorists will enjoy the mystery, but to the general population, it doesn't matter that much. Few in Yugoslavia care how the man died."
On Liberty Scott, the blogger, a New Zealander living in the U.K., sums up much of the blogosphere's sentiment about the death of the "nationalist power thug" succinctly. "Slobodan Milosevic's death should not be mourned by anyone with any sense of civilisation and justice, and certainly no friends of liberty. Milosevic was a calculated purveyor of racism."
Read more about Milosevic's death. Today on Slate, Christopher Hitchens reminds readers why Milosevic faced trial. In 2005, Slate published dispatches from Milosevic's trial. Citizen Smash sends readers to this well-traveled parody of the Beach Boys' "Kokomo," titled "Kosovo."
Liberal bloggers are using the censure proposal as a rallying call. RedHedd, an attorney who contributes to the liberal Firedoglake, encourages readers to contact their senators and support Feingold. "[I]f enough of us do this, it could start a little snowball rolling down the hill," she writes, hoping to create an "avalanche."
Feingold also has a supporter in The Anonymous Liberal. The attorney and blogger believes the censure movement could unify the Dems: "If [the Democrats] were to stand up ... and support Feingold's motion ... they would have the full-throated support of virtually every left-leaning and centrist blogger, numerous prominent pundits and commentators, the majority of constitutional lawyers and legal professors, and a significant number of conservatives."
Conservative bloggers have started their own campaign to discourage the censure. Yesterday, Blogs for Bush's Mark Noonan asked his readers to support a counter-censure of Feingold. He reiterated the request today. "Disagreement is one thing, but what we've got from the left isn't disagreement, but just the automatic gainsaying of whatever the President does in the war effort," Noonan scolds his blue counterparts.
But at least one conservative blogger sees a silver lining. "After the Dubai Ports debacle, the GOP needs the Dems to do something equally stupid, and you can always count on Feingold to be out of touch with mainstream America," Laer declares on Cheat Seeking Missles.
The new duct tape: Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt has announced that Americans should stockpile powdered milk and canned tuna in case an avian flu pandemic strikes, and bloggers are scratching their heads.
On his progressive blog The Dragon Fly Eye, Thomas Belknap thinks the recommendation is foolish and removes responsibility from the government. "What about stocking up on retro-viruses? What about building a national infrastructure of health care that can help minimize the impact?" he asks. On Slobokan's Site O'Schtuff, conservative Michael Barrett questions why "Leavitt has recommended stockpiling of foods for a pandemic that has shown no signs of existing, let alone starting. ... Don't fall for the hype."
Liberal Common Sense's Lisa Renee is thinking in practical terms. "[M]y kids hate tuna fish!" she winks at the advice.
Read more about Leavitt's speech.