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They’re Both Right!

[ 0 ] February 7, 2007 |

Having been accused of running a propaganda mill here, allow me to point out some points of agreement with political opponents. Kaus on Joe Klein:

In the same 2003 interview, Klein admits, “I go back and forth on this war from day to day.” That’s probably the real truth. But then he shouldn’t pretend now that he cleanly “disagreed” with the war. [You admit you "waffled"--ed I did! I had trouble making up my mind. Klein made up his mind, then made it up a different way, and now writes as if only one of those events occurred.]

When he’s right, he’s right. (And I know I recently said that “should Mickey and I ever agree on anything again, you definitely want to bet the other way”, but this is the exception that proves the rule.)

Sully on Kaus:

Mickey Kaus accuses Joe Klein of having it both ways on the Iraq war. I’d say that’s better than having no coherent position on the war at all, except fathomless bitchiness toward anyone who ever had the balls to take a stand. But that’s Mickey – circling the drain of his own irrelevance. And bitchily attacking anyone who’s trying honestly to do better.

Can’t argue with that either!

A Hack Never Leaves His Door Ajar As He Swings His Whip From The Boer War

[ 0 ] February 7, 2007 |

Max Boot jumps on the Boer War bandwagon, explaining calmly that what we need is such things as many more people rounded up and held without charges, although he’s careful not to say how much more violence will be necessary. Since most of these things–especially moving the soldiers out of the Green Zone and other secure quarters–have no chance of being implemented, somebody should ask Boot why he actually supports the war.

Virgin/Whore Complex of the Day

[ 0 ] February 6, 2007 |

Dan Riehl.

Say It Ain’t So, Veronica!

[ 0 ] February 6, 2007 |

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Speaking of the temptations of aesthetic Stalinism, I see that Veronica Mars has a script that involves Plan B causing a miscarriage. Ugh. (I haven’t actually seen VM since the second episode of the year, so I can’t verify its widely rumored artistic decline until I see the DVD.)

[HT: Prof. B]

…According to Wendy in comments, it was RU-486, so it just just a wrong title. Good.

Ann Freidman says there were significant problems with the episode, however.

That Argument Is Almost As Good As Delta Force 2!

[ 0 ] February 6, 2007 |

Chuck Norris has endorsed Gingrich, so I guess we can declare the primary race over. I did enjoy his claim that “we need someone at the helm of our country who holds to old-fashioned values.” Hmm. Like this?


But the most notorious of them all is undoubtedly Gingrich, who ran for Congress in 1978 on the slogan, “Let Our Family Represent Your Family.” (He was reportedly cheating on his first wife at the time). In 1995, an alleged mistress from that period, Anne Manning, told Vanity Fair’s Gail Sheehy: “We had oral sex. He prefers that modus operandi because then he can say, ‘I never slept with her.’” Gingrich obtained his first divorce in 1981, after forcing his wife, who had helped put him through graduate school, to haggle over the terms while in the hospital, as she recovered from uterine cancer surgery. In 1999, he was disgraced again, having been caught in an affair with a 33-year-old congressional aide while spearheading the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.

Well, those are “values” of some sort…

[via PZ.]

Peretz: The Evidence

[ 0 ] February 6, 2007 |

In response to Yglesias’s request, Matt Duss has compiled a dossier of Marty Peretz’s anti-arab bigotry.

Worst. Argument. Ever.

[ 0 ] February 6, 2007 |

Connoisseurs of trolling prodigious non-sequiturs really should check out the comments thread here. A commenter repeatedly claims that the grossly offensive analogy between the Duke lacrosse case and the Scottsboro boys case should be defended because someone else had once made the same analogy to defend the prosecution. OK, so far merely have a garden-variety bad argument, self-evidently illogical and devoid of merit but not special. But it gets better–when pressed the commenter can’t even produce evidence that the initial analogy was even made! Longtime readers will be reminded of the great Niels Jackson–when they open the Bad Arguments Hall of Fame, Luker will go in on the first ballot.

For the punchline, check out this post begging for reinforcements; you’ll be shocked to discover that legions of defenders have not come forward to defend the propositions that 1)unsubstantiated charges of rape that were dropped as the prosecutor recuses himself in disgrace are analogous to a case where poor blacks in the apartheid south where railroaded to Death Row via a formalized lynching, and 2)that Party A’s use of a bad analogy insulates Party B’s use of said analogy from criticism from Party C. I particularly like the high stakes adduced by Luker–”reputations at stake?” Personally, I think anyone’s reputation can survive a use of an offensive analogy; a reputation can probably even survive using every ounce of ressentiment you can muster to invent someone’s use of a bad analogy to prop up an argument that would be risibly feeble even if the fictitious analogy was real.

…in fairness, Luker is right to note in comments the “or not” added to the end of his sentence, which suggests that he as at least half-joking.

The Fraud Caucus

[ 0 ] February 6, 2007 |

Still fraudulent.

Hack of the Day, Part Trois

[ 0 ] February 5, 2007 |

Baudrillard disciple Bill Kristol. Look for his new book The Iraq Insurgency Did Not Take Place. (And that old Adesnik post taking the “death throes” argument seriously is a classic.)

Hack of the Day, Part Deux

[ 0 ] February 5, 2007 |

Danny Glover.

…meanwhile, I see Patterico is complaining because Amanda points out that criminalizing abortion is not about protecting fetal life but about regulating female sexuality (and still doesn’t seem to understand that using state coercion to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term is punishment; the fact that women don’t get criminal sentences just makes the statutes irrational if protecting fetal life rather than regulating sexuality was the underlying motive.) But OK, let’s take him at his word: he doesn’t want to punish women, per se, he’s merely indifferent to the fact that abortion bans punish women while lacking any coherent conception of “fetal life.” Rather, he just has the same attitude about the agency of women as the 19th-century legislators that passed the abortion ban struck down in Roe: “Morally blameworthy or not, these women are often more pathetic and desperate than the doctors who kill dozens or hundreds of babies a year.” Ah, being “pathetic” or “desperate” exempts you from legal punishment for a violent crime–I’m sure Patterico applies this equally to male defendants! In related news, the L.A. District Attorney’s Office has been closed as all of California’s criminal statutes have been repealed for lack of enforceability.

Department of Offensive Historical Analogies

[ 0 ] February 5, 2007 |

As part of his campaign to get Amanda Marcotte fired because if he devotes a blog to a single issue it means that candidates should make being right about all aspects of said issue a non-negotiable litmus test, KC Johnson links to and approvingly quotes this post from Walter Olson:

John Edwards’s life in the law and experience with the justice system is his major resume item dating back beyond the past few years, as well as the major reason this site has given his career extensive coverage. Moreover, the Duke case, which looks ever more like the Scottsboro Boys case of our era, has been convulsing his own state of North Carolina for month after month. Edwards’ dodging of the case—his apparently successful stifling of any urge to speak out at the plight of the falsely accused—might on its own stand as merely cowardly. Marcotte’s hiring, on the other hand, throws an even less attractive light on it, rather as if, in the Scottsboro Boys days, an on-the-sidelines Southern senator took on as a major spokesperson someone who’d been yelling the Boys’ guilt from the rooftops in the most crudely prejudicial language.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Yes, both the Duke case and the Scottsboro Boys involved young men who were almost certainly innocent charged with rape in a southern state. But that’s where the similarities end, even leaving aside that there were much more plausible reasons to suspect the accused in the former case. In the Duke case, the accused were white and came from wealthy families who could afford top-flight legal representation, and the result is that the serious charges against them were dropped and it is highly unlikely they will go to trail on any charges (and if they do, they will receive a fair trial in front of an impartial jury.) The Scottsboro boys were poor, black and illiterate in the Jim Crow South, and hence all were given the death penalty or (in one case) a life sentence after a farcical show trial. And after the convictions were reversed, they were tried again and again in clown-show trials, which meant that they served between 5-20 years in jail. To see these cases as being comparable is mind-bogglingly offensive.

And this isn’t just an academic distinction. Victims of prosecutorial abuse who aren’t as privileged as the Duke lacrosse players end up in jail, and sometimes on death row. It’s hardly a coincidence that so many bloggers have latched on to this particular example of deplorable state action–it allows them to bash feminists, work out resentments about liberal academics, etc. in ways that cases of abuse that have much worse outcomes don’t. And of course, many bloggers (I exclude Johnson here because I don’t know his general politics) latching on to this silly controversy attack the ACLU at every opportunity, support the appointment of people like Sam Ailto to the Supreme Court, and see no issue with the president having the ability to detain and torture people without charges. And to take the hypocrisy to the highest level, jumping on the suddenly absolutist-on-civil-liberties bandwagon is…Michelle Malkin. Yep, Michelle “stripping people of their property and sending them to concentration camps solely on the basis of their race–what a great idea!” Malkin. What a joke.

So, anyway, once every blogger who supports arbitrary power to detain and torture without charges, supports reactionary judges being appointed to the federal courts, and/or takes Michelle Malkin seriously resigns from their job in disgrace, maybe then we can talk about whether making a single insufficiently substantiated assertion of guilt on a blog should be a firing offense. And in case there was any remaining doubt about whether this is a politically motivated witch hunt, check out this risibly specious post, in which Johnson claims that John Edwards must have been personally involved in selecting Amanda (and, implicitly, aware of her post on the Only Issue That Matters) because…a few progressive blogs thought the hire was a good idea. Um, what? Perhaps he studied at Non-Sequitur College under Larry Kudlow.

…UPDATE: Thers has more. And Athenae.

…also Kevin Hayden.

In Whose Interest?

[ 0 ] February 4, 2007 |

Brad makes a point that isn’t made often enough here:

I’m also curious to know why it’s always and everywhere considered “pro-Israel” to support military strikes that won’t, in all likelihood, destroy Iran’s nuclear program, but will, in all likelihood, destroy international support for sanctions on the country, entrench the more radical factions in Tehran, and make future conflicts in the Middle East more, rather than less, likely. As if opponents of such a thing are “anti-Israel.”

Right, even if pointing this out means that Phillip Roth will be writing a novel about a hypothetical Plumer presidency. One can say something similar about the Iraq war. Whatever impact they had on the decision to go to war, it’s mind-boggling that anyone in the “pro-Israel” lobby could have thought that 1)a pro-Israeli government would emerge from the ashes of razing Saddam, or that 2)replacing a secular dictatorship with a Islamist quasi-state would be in the interests of Israel.