Bloggers are split on Tony Snow's first day on the job. They're also clucking over that fraudulent South Korean stem-cell researcher's indictment and wishing the work day away with Google Trends.
Frosted flack. After issuing a few grace period broadsides at the media this week, Tony Snow got off to a rough start at his first press briefing Friday, which occurred in the seemingly more laid-back setting of his West Wing office. But the debut showdown with the "gaggle" started early, disclosed little, and ended, by Snow's own definition, a "mess."
Liberal Alaskan Gryphen at The Immoral Minority writes: "Yeah he talks tough now, but wait until he finds himself trying to explain away another Bush malapropism. He won't feel so confident after the news from Iraq, or from Fitzgerald, or from some other Bush boondoggle causes the press corps to come after him with blood in their eye and foam flecked lips." Yet conservative Alan Woody at Woody's News & Views has more encouragement for Snow's truculent stance against the media: "Well I'm glad SOMEBODY at the White House finally gets it. The press is not your friend Mr. Bush, so stop treating them like they are and set the record straight!"
Liberal hawk Judith Weiss at KesherTalk thinks the unruly class of White House correspondents could profit from the stern headmaster treatment: "Let's hope he keeps this up. It's exactly the kind of measure that has been necessary, given the reluctance of the press to report on good news, and has been so disappointingly missing." Bhfrik, the "bald headed freak" at Club Lefty, sets to work on the White House Web site, which boasts a feature called "Setting the Record Straight" and aims to correct false or misleading headlines: "I full well suspect that we will be seeing much more of this type of weasely obfuscation going forward. So I would like to thank Mr. Tony Snow for taking over the public face of the White House and going further down the path of deception rather than starting with an insistence on a bit more honesty and forthrightness from this administration."
Recalling the travails of Dan Rather, "C.H. Truth" at Coldheartedtruth argues that Snow's demurral of a CBS story about the number of American seniors covered by Bush's prescription drug plan was necessary and fair: "[W]hat was the reasoning behind making the statement that only 8 million people had signed up if the facts show that 37 million are covered," he writes. "I can almost assure you without seeing the story that the 37 million was either not in the story or it was buried somewhere in a place where it became irrelevant."
Read more about Tony's early job performance.
Multiplicity duplicity: Disgraced South Korean scientist Hwang Woo Suk was indicted Friday on fraud and embezzlement charges following the revelation last winter that he falsified his own research on the cloning of embryonic stem cells. He'd accepted $2.1 million in private donations granted on the merit of his bogus lab work. Bloggers see a more harmful replay of the cold-fusion scam in this bioethical contretemps.
The Florida Masochist doesn't see jail time in Hwang's future: "Don't expect much in the way of a sentence for Hwang. He is a national embarassment to the ROK but much worse criminals have gotten off with virtual wrist slaps…Corruption is rampant in South Korea. Regrettably I think its infected their justice system also."
Michigan native "JivinJ" at JivinJehoshaphat thinks the science crime is as punishable as the results were unrepeatable: "Think about this - if Hwang had actually been successful in cloning a human being then none of this would probably be happening. He'd still be a national hero for cloning a human being while now he's a disgrace because he failed and acted like he was successful. How far have certain societies fallen to where they're at the point where cloning human beings makes one a national hero but failing to clone and lying about it makes one a national disgrace?"
Korean blogger Oranckay, commenting just before the indictment was announced, predicted a lengthy further unraveling: "It ain't over, by the way. The drama will continue. The court trial will soon begin… and there are rich individuals giving him money to carry on his research. I fully expect him to try and clone himself one day. There should at least be a ban on that."
Read more about Hwang Woo Suk's indictment.
Shining city on a thrill: Google has unveiled its new "Google Trends" feature, which allows users to uncover which cities and countries are most searching a particular item. Shockingly, "sex," "porn," and every manner of fetish known to man and animal alike top the list of most queried—with intriguing sociological implications.
Andrew Sullivan, one of the first to promote the new cubicle distraction, would just as soon swap the pituitary for "hearts and minds": "Who's looking for 'sex' the most? The countries with the most searches for that word is - surprise! - Pakistan, followed by Egypt, Iran, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Hmmm. It couldn't have anything to do with all that Muslim repression, could it?"
And at normblog, fellow Brit Norm Geras, co-author of the social democratic "Euston Manifesto," tries to show that some politics is local, even for the international left: "Now what happens if you put in 'Chomsky'? Guess before you look. What city? What region?"