Saturday, February 14, 2004

Watch What They Do

The New York City Police Department is preparing for the worst. Judith Miller has the story.


Well, we can fight the War on Terror or we can investigate the people who are fighting the war on terror. Guess which one the Republican-controlled Senate wants to do? Not only have they chosen to do the latter, they want to "shape" the president's daily intelligence briefing. I am not making this up.

There's one word for the behavior of the GOP Senate caucus: pathetic. You'll be shocked to learn that The New York Times writes this up in glowing terms.

Reader E-Mail

You posted a link to the NY Times story regarding the Senate's pending investigation of the intelligence briefings received by the President and the possible hyping of intelligence information by officials.

It seemed to me that this article must be read against the backdrop of another recent event -- the release of a Democratic staff memo (published without authorization) that detailed a Democratic plan to use the information developed by the Senate committee for political purposes. My recollection is that neither the senior Democrat on the committee (Senator Rockefeller) nor anyone in the Democratic senior leadership ever disavowed the memo's strategy of politicizing the committee's work. True, this leaked memo has received little attention in the Media. But, if the NY Times article is to properly explore the issues, should it not at least make at least some reference to the leaked memo as (perhaps) providing some explanation for the Administration's reluctance to share information. And what does this say about the willingness of the Republicans on the committee to play along?


Friday, February 13, 2004

AWOL From The Facts

Our friends in the liberal media (not that they're not objective!) find themselves scrambling as the Bush AWOL story collapses around them. The question is whether they will apologize for all the lies and disinformation they've been so eagerly broadcasting.

Ellisblog's view: How does never work for you?

That Sinking Feeling

I'm not surprised that Comcast's stock has sunk like a stone in the last two days. The Disney culture is as insular and weird and resistant to change as any corporate culture on the planet. In the event that Comcast is successful in gaining control of Disney, the benefits of that combination will be a long, long time coming.

Genomics Update

At dinner last night with Juan and Mary Enriquez, one of the subjects that arose was South Korea and therapeutic cloning. Juan expressed astonishment that South Korea had taken the lead in this field; it was totally unexpected. Today's New York Times provides very good coverage of the implications of this breakthrough. In particular, you should read this piece.

On other issues, Juan pointed out that it is now theoretically possible to genetically modify leaves to turn color when they are closely proximate to TNT. Imgaine a minefield, if you will. Imagine that you drop a million GMO leaves across that minefield. Where the leaves turn red, there's a mine. Where the leaves stay green, there is no mine. Think about that as value creation. Think about that if your son is a minesweeper in the US Army or a refugee in Iraq or Afghanistan or the Sudan.

Ellisblog is on Kerry's Side!

Cognitive dissonance! That's what the headshrinkers call it and Ellisblog has a bad case this morning. The loathing of sleazeballia colliding with the loathing of Kerry, made even more disorienting by an all-too-rare example of admirable media behavior. What to do?

Unpack it, as pretentious management consultants say. Job one: Change the name (always change the name on a negative story to the name of someone you admire and see if you still think it's fair). Job two: recount the known facts. Job three, arrive at a preliminary conclusion based on the known facts. So let's do that:

Let's say this is a story about Colin Powell. Let's say that there is a woman who has approached numerous media organizations and every Republican political opponent of Mr. Powell's with a story. The story is that her "best friend" or her "close friend" (who used to be a reporter with the AP and at some point worked for Mr. Powell) had an affair with Mr. Powell and was shipped off to Africa when Mr. Powell decided to run for President. What is known about the source of this information is that she has a major axe to grind; she hates Powell. She really, really hates him. She is grinding the Mother of All Axes.

Publish her story or not?

The answer from "mainstream media" so far: "No."

Good decision: "yes."

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Eisner's Last Stand

The Wall Street Journal's coverage of the Comcast-Disney "merger" is superb. And Andy Kessler's quick op-ed on the deal cuts right to the chase.

Brave New World

Genomics is the most revolutionary force in human history because it gives mankind the power to control the evolution of all living things, including humans. The advance of genomics hit a milestone yesterday in South Korea. Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

You Scratch My Back....

Today's New York Times has one of those impossibly disingenuous stories about the alleged line between editorial content and advertising at CNN. There was a box of Total cereal on some anchor desk during a morning health segment sponsored by General Mills. Ellisblog is shocked. Shocked and saddened.

Everyone in the world knows that advertising buys coverage or softens coverage. During the collapse of Enron, the New York Times devoted very little coverage to the activities of two key Enron enablers; JPMorgan Chase and Citibank. Why did they devote so little coverage to these banks that laid the pipe for Enron scams? Why do you think?

Pretending that a cereal box on a morning show about health is a "story" is ridiculous. Maybe the NYT should do a major investigation of the movie industry and see what turns up. On the other hand, the movie industry is now their most important source of ad revenue. So maybe that won't happen. Ever.

Meanwhile, Back in the Real World

Mr. Safire brings clarity to the Saddam-Al Qaeda connection.

Mr. Ickes on Another Line

Somebody forgot to lock down Harold. He's gotten loose on the deck. Here he is in The New York Observer bad-mouthing the brooding Brahmin's campaign consultant, Robert Shrum.

Talk about bad blood! This one goes all the way back to the Ted Kennedy presidential campaign of 1980. And it has been deeply ugly ever since.

As Manhattan comes to life this morning, rest assured that the phones are ringing. The urgent question: how to get Harold back in his box. It's delicate. Can't afford to piss him off, given the "independent advertising" he'll be doing with George Soros's money. On the other hand, the Kerry people are demanding that he be shut down, and asserting-- in a menacing sort of way-- that it's a "New York issue." We know what that means!

The big problem with a story like this is not the story itself (no one reads the NYO), it's the amplification of the story by other media. The key question: Will the NYT follow up? That would be bad, because then the "good" cable networks (those would be CNN and MSNBC) will make it a story. And then the slicks. And so on.

So many phone calls into the NYT today! Don't do it! It's not helpful! Don't forget that the publisher's wife is fully committed to the beat Bush cause. Wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her, would you? Oh to be a liberal Democratic political operative in Manhattan this morning.

Ickes is, of course, right on the substance. But who cares about that?

Postscript: Happily enough, The New York Times did not follow up on the New York Observer's story. All those phone calls were not for naught.


They'll never do it because it doesn't fit the plan, but wouldn't you just love it if the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign came out and dropped $100 million worth of negative advertising on Senator John Kerry? How much fun would that be?

Ticking stop watch and then voiceover: "Can you think of one thing John Kerry has done as a Senator?".......tick, tick, tick.....voiceover: "Neither can we"). Long lists of every stupid, short-sighted vote the guy ever made. Strong base ads that mock Kerry's UN fetish. It would be great.

And the indignation it would ignite would be spectacular. Long, gooey Gail Collins editorials on the "GOP smear machine." Kerry himself opining that "this kind of stuff has no place in American politics." Various surrogates professing shock that the GOP would "question a war hero's patriotism." Insane Paul Krugman columns. Etcetera, etcetera.

Alas, it won't happen.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The Tyranny of Tiny Minorities Making Arbitrary Decisions

"The vast majority of Democratic voters who have yet to cast their ballots are going to want choices," said (crazy General) Clark spokesman Matt Bennett. "I don't think any candidate should be forced out of the race by arbitrary decisions made by a tiny minority of voters."

Mr. Clark ended his campaign last night.

It Was The Internet's Fault

And you thought Governor Howard Dean was a bad candidate. Wrong! He was done in by the Internet! (link via Instapundit)

A Kausian Challenge

Now that he's the nominee, will Senator John Kerry fire DNC Chairman and Special Interest sleazeball Terry McAuliffe? It would seem a fair test of Kerry's "new" populism. Of course, it would put him in direct conflict with a certain Chappaqua resident, who likes the fact that Mr. McAuliffe controls the DNC checkbook.

Over to you, Mr. Kaus.

John Kerry's Big Day

I'm obviously not a fan of Senator Kerry, but there's no denying his accomplishment. Today's the day he wins the nomination. He faces an uphill task. Unseating a popular incumbent is never easy. But he has what he has always dreamed of having: a real shot at the presidency of the United States of America.

Shareholder Value

Time Warner Kinney Parking is moving into new offices near Columbus Circle in New York City. The CEO's office is being built out at a cost of $25 million. This is what they call at Time Warner Kinney Parking creating shareholder value. You can wait the rest of your life before you'll read about this complete boondoggle in Time or Fortune, or hear one word about it on CNN.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Dishonest Media

One of the themes of the blogosphere has been that "big media" are dishonest. That what is reported in the papers and aired on television is often not even proximate to what actually happened. Instapundit post two links on his site that are perfect examples of this. The first link is to Roger Simon's site. The other is to Little Green Footballs (you have to scroll down a bit to the photograph).

Click on both the Simon and LGF links. Remember these two pictures when you watch the news on TV or read The New York Times. If you think big media are objective, you're out of your mind.

Is It Too Late? And: How Deep?

Democrats seem intent on jumping off the cliff with Senator John Kerry. Why? I don't know. It may be a "birds on the wire" phenomenom; one flies off and suddenly they all fly off. It may be that Democratic voters have decided that he's the best they've got (I don't think this is true, I think Edwards is a vastly superior candidate). It may be that Democratic voters have found something in John Kerry that the rest of us can't see. But barring double defeat on Tuesday (in VA and TN). John Kerry will be the Democratic nominee.

He's a nightmare of a candidate -- moody, self-important, indecisive, self-righteous, self-important and incredibly thin-skinned. He's also boring -- mind-numbingly, run-out-of-the-room, can't-stand-it-anymore boring. And he's a gloomy bastard. And he's a transparent phony. Slavering over special interests has been the John Kerry way in Massachusetts for as long as anyone can remember. That's the way politics works; important interests get special attention. Kerry claiming otherwise isn't just false, it's absurd. He asks us to believe that the earth is flat.

It is now jello-ed conventional wisdom that President Bush is "clearly vulnerable" and "in deep trouble." Let's put it this way: his troubles are less deep if John Kerry is the nominee. And anyone betting against "jello-ed" conventional wisdom in this election cycle has already made a lot of money.