In today’s edition, Anne Applebaum attempts to further explain the many complexities that make it “outrageous” that someone who raped a 13-year-old and fled the authorities after pleading guilty was arrested. Apparently, the slut had it coming because her mother permitted her to be alone in the same room with Polanski:
What apalled [sic] me about that story was the mother’s reaction, which should have been “I am coming to get you right now.” There is more than one adult who bears responsibility here, which is part of what makes the story so far from straightforward.
First of all, I am (to put it mildly) skeptical of the idea that any mother who doesn’t treat anyone who may interact with her daughter — including in a professional setting! — as a child molester is irresponsible. This is Grade A, or “Tim McCarver” level, second-guessing. But even if we assume that the victim’s mother should have had the wisdom that Applebaum so easily acquired decades after the fact knowing what happened, it should be obvious that from Polanski’s perspective this doesn’t provide the slightest mitigation or “complexity” whatsoever. Whether or not her mother acted wisely, the choice to drug and rape an adolescent* was Polanski’s alone, and he alone shares the moral and legal responsibility. It’s frankly amazing that it’s necessary to explain this to anyone, let alone a well-compensated national pundit.
And then, there’s this:
Yes, there is “evidence” that Polanski did not know the girls age – or that he was told but did not believe it: He has told people since that, anyway. Pictures of her from the time show a girl who could be anywhere from 12-25.
Given this standard — in which even actually being informed of a victim’s age doesn’t constitute evidence — I don’t see any reason to keep statutory rape laws on the books at all. But it’s worse: this is the young woman that Applebaum says could be 25. I don’t think further elaboration is necessary.
I’m not even sure what to say about someone who continues to invent new erroneous “facts” and transparently specious arguments to defend someone who rapes a 13 year-old, but I think Brad DeLong’s argument that “there is grave moral fault attached to everybody who pays the Washington Post company a cent for any purpose whatsoever” is a good start.
*Applebaum considers this characterization erroneous, but needless to say doesn’t explain which isn’t true. Since both elements were admitted by Polanski in his plea agreement, I’m sticking with them…
Friends coming over to watch the opening night Flames/Canucks tilt, so be out for a bit. For interested parties, some useful team-by-team previews here, although hopefully this is more accurate than this. For Berube’s Rangers, the analysis suggests that Glen Sather will be a good-looking GM again…if you spot him a pre-drinking age Gretzky, Messier, Anderson, Lowe, etc.
To return to the greatest game played in my hometown (with bonus Slats footage!), always remember: even Paul Coffey can play defense if he puts his mind to it, and always much in the corners like Tonelli…
Displaying all the research and analytical skills that have made him a favorite at LGM and elsewhere, Bob Owens argues that John L. Perry — a regular columnist and former senior editor at NewsMax — is somehow a man of “the left.” When pushed by a commenter on the question of Perry’s actual ideological allegiances, Owens simply throws his hands in the air and forgets how to use the Googles:
I don’t claim to know the first thing about Mr. Perry. I can only relate what he states in his own bio, where he was very active in state and national politics as a Democrat for much of his adult life in politics, and also belonged to a left wing think tank. I don’t doubt that people can change, I just don’t see any solid evidence that he has radically shifted, simply because he strongly opposes President Obama’s continuing series of gaffes and missteps.
Um. Yeah. About that:
Despite the best efforts of the Eastern elitist press to ignore [Alan] Keyes into oblivion, Iowans have begun to take him seriously. He’s coming up fast there and elsewhere in America.
Here is the one candidate who stands for unadulterated, 200-proof Republican policies.
The man might as well have been one of the Founding Fathers, he’s such a throwback from Clintonism and the dogma that government is all-wise, all-powerful and the latest drug of choice.
Withdrawing [Harriet Miers’] nomination to the Supreme Court, or accepting her withdrawal of it, would be the worst possible thing the president could do – for his political party, for himself, for the country.
Does anyone in a right mind think for one moment that if Bush tosses her overboard it would satisfy the sharks? All that would do is chum the water with her (and his) blood, and the insatiable sharks of both parties would leap voraciously into the boat with glee – and the whole country would go under.
It’s funny because it’s true!
As an added bonus, Perry’s thoughts about a military coup against
the Twelfth Imam President Obama give Owens the opportunity to remind his readers once again about the Wilmington insurrection of 1898, when armed herrenvolkers over threw the fusionist government of North Carolina, replacing it with a Jim Crow regime to thwart the spread of “Negro Domination.” For some reason, Owens has always believed* that the events in Wilmington — because they were executed by white supremacist Democrats — should inspire some sort of enduring shame among contemporary liberals. Which is the sort of thing I suppose you’d have to believe if you also think that holding a pseudonymous torch for the Old South makes you a sincere Friend of the Black Man.
* The linked thread is a true masterwork in the Confederate Yankee oeuvre, including such gems as Owens’ claims that the Democratic Party is more than 300 years old and that Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond were the only Dixiecrats who ever migrated to the GOP. The conversation also features snark from all three of the LGM OG, as well as the obligatory thread-closure when Owens realizes that he could be out buggering his pigs again instead of arguing with people who, like, know stuff.
The EU report on the South Ossetia War has been released, and it apportions some blame to both sides. The Georgians started the war, but the Russians created the underlying tension in the area, and went too far in prosecuting the conflict.
There can be no question regarding the first element of the condemnation of Russia; Russian bad behavior enabled South Ossetian separatists to build their quasi-state, and created conditions under which tension between Russia and Georgia was inevitable. This doesn’t justify Saakashvili’s adventurism, but it does help to explain. On the second point I’m less convinced. It’s certainly true that by some construction of jus in bello Russian actions in Georgia were excessive. The invasion of Georgia was not strictly necessary, nor was the destruction of Georgia’s fleet, or the various air attacks across Georgia. At the same time, I think it has to be noted that the scope of Russia’s assault against Georgia was really trivial when compared to the scope of Israeli activity towards either Hezbollah or Hamas, or of US air attacks against Serbia during the Kosovo War. This is to say that the Russian attack looks positively restrained when compared with the intensity of the assaults against Serbia, Lebanon, or Iraq. Questions of moral equivalency aside, Georgia suffered far less, by any metric, in its war against Russia than Serbia suffered in its war against NATO. Now, it may be fairly argued that Russia is constrained by capabilities rather than intent; the Russian Air Force is simply not capable of carrying out a large scale assault of the same type that we saw in Kosovo or Lebanon, and as such Russia’s deserves no kudos for restraint. I’m not sure that I agree 100% with that, since it does seem that Russia was at least somewhat sensitive to international opinion during the war. Nevertheless, we’d do well to keep in mind that Russian “brutality” was in fact far less brutal in effect (if not intent) than has become the norm for military intervention in the last decade.
And no, I am not in the pay of the Russian government….
Well, this is something:
North Korea has revised its constitution to give even more power to leader Kim Jong-il, ditch communism and elevate his “military first” ideology, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said Monday.
Though there is little doubt over the 67-year-old Kim’s power, secured by his role as chairman of the National Defense Commission, the new constitution removes any risk of ambiguity.
“The chairman is the highest general of the entire military and commands the entire country,” according to a text of the constitution enacted by the reclusive North in April and only now released by the South Korean government.
The chairman is now the country’s “supreme leader.” Though the position had become the seat of power under Kim, the previous constitution in 1998 simply said the chairman oversees matters of state….
It was also then that word reached outside the secretive state that Kim appeared to have picked his third son as successor to the world’s first communist dynasty, whose rule is underpinned by a personality cult.
But the Unification Ministry said the new charter removes all reference to communism, the guiding ideology when Kim’s father Kim Il-sung founded North Korea — of which since his death in 1994 he has been eternal president.
Often in its place is “songun,” the policy of placing the military first and which has been Kim junior’s ruling principle.
Korea, of course, lacks the “Spiritual” trait, meaning that it should experience some anarchy when changing Civics. I guess Kim Jong-Il must have stolen the Cristo Redentor when somebody wasn’t looking…
In case the Polanski itself doesn’t convince you that good politics/morals and major artistic talent have much to do with each other, I note that while people like Martin Scorsese, Ethan Coen and (natch) Woody Allen are on the wrong side of the issue, the likes of Luc Besson and Jewel haven’t decided to become ad hoc rape apologists. Although it’s nice to see cases where major artistic talent and intelligent moral and political analysis go together, it wouldn’t be wise to expect it.
Greenwald, on Fred Hiatt criticizing “French” and “Hollywood” defenses of Polanski while ignoring the defenses of Polanski on his own op-ed page:
But the last thing that ought to be surprising is to find defenses of morally depraved acts on the Op-Ed page of the Post; that is, after all, its essence.
Notably, Cohen’s opposition to Polanski’s punishment (“it’s alright with me if Roman Polanski is freed”) matches almost verbatim his similar defense of Casper Weinberger (“Cap, my Safeway buddy, walks, and that’s all right with me”). That, in turn, is entirely consistent with Cohen’s outrage over Lewis Libby’s prosecution for obstruction of justice (“As with sex or real estate, it is often best to keep the lights off”) and his demand that Bush torturers and war criminals be similarly protected from consequences. The opposition to Polanski’s arrest by these Post columnists is, in one sense, merely a natural extension of their general view that criminal prosecution and prison is for the dirty masses but not for elites like themselves.
For every brutal, lawless and amoral act, there is a defense of it to be found on the Washington Post Op-Ed page.
That pretty much nails it.
Our arrival was badly timed. Most of the pigs from The American Spectator had already arrived. I saw this at a glance. They were just standing around trying to look casual. It was a terrifying scene.
“I thought you should know about this,” the boy said finally.
“Know? Me? Know about what?” I asked.
My brain locked up. I couldn’t think. The drugs were taking over. “Is he?”
“No . . . I don’t think . . . but he did say something about guns and booze.”
“Guns and booze? Guns and booze? Must be me.” Jesus. What a terrible thing to lay on somebody with a head full of acid. Alright, I thought.
“Alright,” I said. “This Nazi me with guns and gin, where . . .”
“No gin . . . he’s just talking about gin like you talk about it when you . . .”
“Look,” I said. “I’m a Doctor of Journalism. If I can’t minister to my own sober self, what good am I?” I demanded the boy take me to myself.
That me looked at this me confused. Something there is that loves a wall, I thought, and ain’t that bastard something.
There he was, talking about my Samoan attorney, and here I was, looking at myself talking about my Samoan attorney . . . but what white power me said made no sense.
“Wherever you find guns, cigars and whiskey, good-looking womenfolk are sure to be flocking ’round, and I had my camera handy for the occasion.”
“Flocking ’round”? Sounds nothing like me. Strange memories of nervous nights on who knows what I can handle . . . but this was an impostor. No . . . a robot.
I was being impersonated by a robot. Programmed to say what I say but like I was Rhett Butler. To trick it would require saying something it wouldn’t expect me to . . .
“All this white shit on my sleeve is LSD,” I heard myself say. Shit. I stole a glance at myself and saw his face turn white. I noted the effort it took for him to keep up my façade. Not that he didn’t try.
“Folks around Sperryville won’t go anywhere near the place at Pig Roast time, what with the rumors of cannibalism, human sacrifice, bizarre pagan rituals and so forth.”
“And so forth?” I asked. “And so forth?”
“Wherever you find guns, cigars and whiskey, good-looking womenfolk are sure to be flocking ’round, and I had my camera handy for the occasion.”
“You already said that you fucking robot!” I threw myself at the robot but must have licked my arm on the way there because the next thing I remember I was in a bathtub surrounded by six angry pairs of Dockers.
“You shouldn’t have done that,” one said.
“Stacy is delicate,” said another. Fuck, I thought. I’d attacked some poor girl.
“Sorry,” I said. “I went after the robot.” They shot me looks I deserved. Calm down. Learn to enjoy pain. The important thing now is to leave with my balls intact.
“Stacy is not a . . .”
Intact and where they should be. My balls. Fuck would I miss them.
“Stacy wants you to apologize.”
“Send her in.” Don’t run, I thought. They’d like an excuse to shoot you. Menacing vibrations . . . I felt them all around me. The door creaked open and there she was . . . there he was . . . there I was . . .
“Some fucking robot you are!”
“Get back here!” he shouted, but I knew she couldn’t catch me.
*Written in honor of the lamest Thompson impersonation I’ve ever read . . . and I spent four years teaching literary journalism to starry-eyed undergraduates who idolized Thompson, so I know of what I speak.
[Robert] Gates doesn’t travel much on the Beltway’s social circuit, instead spending off-hours with his wife and a small cadre of aides. He smokes cigars, drinks Belvedere martinis with a twist (the first President Bush weaned him from gin to vodka), and watches trashy movies—Transformers and Wolverine were recent favorites.
George H.W. Bush drinks vodka martinis? Really? That’s so… disappointing.
The Washington Post had a nice article last week about Project Sapphire, the Clinton-era effort to spirit 600kg of enriched uranium out of Kazahkstan. If you haven’t read it, take a look; this has to be considered one of the most important foreign policy victories of the post-Cold War era.
…a correspondent sends this, which just sounds kind of scary.
(Warning: a very long post about a very silly man that I would’ve tucked beneath the fold if Blogger allowed such things.)
Because today he interviewed journalist Christopher Andersen (who, like him, writes celebrity biographies) on The Mancow Show and Andersen announced that “he had two separate sources ‘within Hyde Park’ [who claim William Ayers wrote Dreams From My Father] but, understandably, would not elaborate.” Two anonymous sources from, as they say, the neighborhood is the tipping point for me: when combined with the credibility Andersen has earned by dint of a “highly successful career as a celebrity journalist” and the evidence gathered during Cashill’s “textual sleuthing,” no intellectually honest person could doubt that there’s a there in there. How could there not be? Andersen “interviewed some 200 people for the book,” which is a whole lot. Here is a list of them drawn from the back matter and organized by chapters:
Chapters 1 and 2
- Janet Allison
- Maxine Box
- Clive Gray
- Joyce Feuer
- Leslie Hairston
- Lowell Jacobs
- Keith Kakugawa
- Eric Kusunoki
- Julie Lauster
- Alan Lum
- Chris McLachlin
- Abner Mikva
- Newton Minow
- Toni Preckwinkle
- Vinai Thummalapally
- Carolyn Trani
- Pake Zane
Chapters 3 and 4
- Loretta Augustin-Herron
- Bradford Berenson
- Cheryl Johnson
- Hazel Johnson
- Jerry Kellman
- Mike Kruglik
- Yvonne Lloyd
- Alvin Love
- Abner Mikva*
- Judson Miner
- Newton Minow*
- Linda Randle
- Vinai Thummalapally*
- Laurence Tribe
Chapters 5 to 8
- Janet Allison*
- Letitia Baldrige
- Mary Ann Campbell
- Joyce Feuer*
- Leslie Hairston*
- Tom Harkin
- Coralee Jacobs
- Denny Jacobs
- Lowell Jacobs
- Mike Jacobs
- John Kerry
- Edward Koch
- Rick Lazio
- Alan Love*
- Abner Mikva*
- Judson Miner*
- Newton Minow*
- Jeremiah Posedel
- Toni Preckwinkle*
- Betsy Vandercook
- Larry Walsh
- Wellington Wilson
If you subtract the sources I asterisked because they were counted in previous chapters, the final tally of Andersen’s 200 some interviews is an impressive 43. That means that only 157 or so of them were unwilling to speak truth to the powerful lies of the President on the record. That so few of them were willing to follow the example of the young Obama’s “roommate and closest friend . . . Siddiqi” and speak on the—hold on a minute. Does anyone see Siddiqi’s name among those listed as interviewees? No?
Must be Andersen toeing the ethical line again and passing off information from someone else’s published work as original research. No big deal: Siddiqi told someone that he had no memory of Obama having had a “year-long relationship with a rich, green-eyed lovely” who, as Cashill corroborated via independent textual sleuthing, was actually Ayers’s former flame, Diana Oughton. The credibility of Siddiqi’s memories is further enhanced by the fact that when he lived with Obama, he spent the majority of his time snorting cocaine, smoking marijuana, and perfecting his Cheech impersonation. Who wouldn’t believe his memory of that period is infallible?
Cashill anticipates that the critics who balk at the “lack of attribution by Andersen” or believe that “the citation of [Cashill] as a source and/or a reliance upon [him] as a source” constitutes a demonstration of intellectual unseriousness. Neither of those positions (both of which I have taken) “imply,” as Cashill claims, “that Andersen is a fraud and a liar and the he contrived the story he told” because I’m not implying anything.
The sloppiness of Andersen’s research demonstrably proves that he’s not the sort of celebrity biographer an intelligent person trusts with anonymous sources. Andersen’s inability to recognize the worthlessness of Cashill’s impressionistic “textual sleuthing” demonstrably proves that he’s not the sort of celebrity biographer an intelligent person trusts to do responsible literary analysis. Need I remind you of the “quality” of Cashill’s work?
The A-level match
What Mr. Midwest noticed recently is that both Ayers in [A Kind and Just Parent] and Obama in [Dreams From My Father] make reference to the poet Carl Sandburg. In itself, this is not a grand revelation. Let us call it a C-level match. Obama and Ayers seem to have shared the same library in any case . . . Ayers and Obama, however, go beyond citing Sandburg. Each quotes the opening line of his poem “Chicago” . . . This I would call a B-level match. What raises it up a notch to an A-level match is the fact that both misquote “Chicago,” and they do so in exactly the same way.
Both Ayers and Obama misquote the opening line of Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago,” substituting “hog butcher to the world” for “hog butcher for the world.” This mutual error would be significant (an “A-level match”) if Ayers and Obama were the only two people who ever made it, but according to Google Book Search—a secret search engine to which only I have access—the same mistake has been made by Nelson Algren, Alan Lomax, Andrei Codrescu, H.L. Mencken, Paul Krugman, Perry Miller, Donald Hall, Ed McBain, Saul Bellow, S.J. Perelman, Nathanaël West, Ezra Pound, Wright Morris, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, and the 1967 Illinois Commission on Automation and Technological Progress. (To name but a few.) According to Cashill, I have now proven that Dreams From My Father was written by many a dead man of American letters, a living mystery writer, a New York Times columnist and the 1967 Illinois Commission on Automation and Technological Progress. That bears repeating: I have an “A-level match” that proves that Obama’s autobiography was written by a “study of the economic and social effects of automation and other technological changes on industry, commerce, agriculture, education, manpower, and society in Illinois” when Obama was only six years old.
The “baleful” affair
Returning to the exotic, in his Indonesian backyard Obama discovered two “birds of paradise” running wild as well as chickens, ducks, and a “yellow dog with a baleful howl.” In [Ayers’] Fugitive Days, there is even more “howling” than there is in Dreams . . . In [A Kind and Just Parent], he talks specifically about a “yellow dog.” And he uses the word “baleful” to describe an “eye” in Fugitive Days. For the record, “baleful” means “threatening harm.” I had to look it up.
Cashill cited as “A-level” evidence the fact that Ayers and Obama used a word he didn’t know, despite his being the Executive Editor of Kansas City’s premier business publication, Ingram’s Magazine; despite his having written for Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Weekly Standard; despite his having authored five books of non-fiction; and despite the word “baleful” having appeared in print 342 times in the past six months alone. Granted, all those appearances were in high-minded literary publications like Newsday (“[w]ith his baleful countenance, wild hair, sonorous baritone and sage pronouncements”) or leftist rags like The Washington Times (“warn them in baleful tones if they’ve forgotten, say, the Constitution”), so it would be unreasonable to expect Cashill to have been familiar with the word . . . or would be, were it not for the fact that it also appears 19 times in the pages of the American Thinker, the publication for which Cashill penned this tripe. (Seems he can begin his careful literary analysis of the other 848,000 potential ghost writers closer to home.)
Lawyers and legal jargon
To this point, I have just skimmed the 759 items in the bill of particulars in my case against Obama’s literary genius. Not familiar with the term “bill of particulars?” Uncertain myself, I looked that one up too. It means a list of written statements made by a party to a court proceeding. Ayers and Obama each refer knowingly to a “bill of particulars.” Doesn’t everyone?
The answer, of course, is no.
The phrase “bill of particulars” is an uncommon construction, and its repeated use indicates that the speaker has a specialized vocabulary in which this construction regularly appears. According to LexisNexis, this is exactly the case: in the past six months, that exact phrase has been written 509 times and every single one of them looks like this:
United States v. Clark, NO. 05-6507, UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT, 09a0422n.06;, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 12940; 2009 FED App. 0422N (6th Cir.), June 15, 2009, Filed, NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION. SIXTH CIRCUIT RULE 28(g) LIMITS CITATION TO SPECIFIC SITUATIONS. PLEASE SEE RULE 28(g) BEFORE CITING IN A PROCEEDING IN A COURT IN THE SIXTH CIRCUIT. IF CITED, A COPY MUST BE SERVED ON OTHER PARTIES AND THE COURT. THIS NOTICE IS TO BE PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED IF THIS DECISION IS REPRODUCED.
The only people who regularly use the phrase “bill of particulars,” then, are lawyers[.]
Self-evidently hilarious examples of “textual sleuthing”
- Common words are common: “Another note of interest is that all of the distinctive words in the last sentence above—’master,’ ‘beast,’ ‘grim,’ ‘unapologetic,’ and ‘deed,’ as well as the phrase ‘hunkered down’—appear in Fugitive Days.“
- The sea is a pregnant metaphor: “Ayers and Obama both use words that relate to the sea (‘fog, mist, ships, seas, boats, oceans, calms, captains, charts, first mates, storms, streams, wind, waves, anchors, barges, horizons, ports, panoramas, moorings, tides, currents, and things howling, fluttering, knotted, ragged, tangled, and murky’).”
- People are lonely: “After the neighbor’s death, the police let themselves into the old man’s apartment, and for no good reason Obama finds himself in the apartment. ‘The loneliness of the scene affected me,’ he writes. Loneliness as a theme courses through Fugitive Days as well.”
- Old men are stooped and people wear hats: “In the opening pages, Obama makes an exception to his New York solitude for an elderly neighbor, a “stooped” gentleman who wore a ‘fedora.’ In Fugitive Days, it was Ayers’ grandfather who was “stooped” and a helpful stranger who wore a ‘fedora.'”
- Some people are quiet: “Obama tells the reader that the neighbor’s ‘silence’ impressed him. ‘Silence’ impressed Ayers as well. There are at least ten references to the word in Fugitive Days.“
- Angry people feel rage: “[B]oth Ayers and Obama speak of ‘rage’ the way that Eskimos do of snow—in so many varieties, so often, that they feel the need to qualify it, here as ‘impressive rage,’ elsewhere in Dreams as ‘suppressed rage’ or ‘coil of rage,’ and in Fugitive Days as ‘justifiable rage,’ ‘uncontrollable rage,’ ‘blind rage,’ and, of course, ‘Days of Rage.'”
Cashill tells us he wouldn’t believe himself either: “I have as much faith in the hypothesis that follows as . . . biologists do in evolution, so bear with me please as I, like they, present my evidence in the indicative.” He has as much “faith” in his hypothesis as biologists do in the hypothesis of evolution. I wonder what Intelligence Design advocate Jack Cashill has to say about that kind of faith?
ID partisans across the board believe in micro-evolution: that is, evolution within a species. Some believe in evolution between species, macro-evolution, if guided.
What the ID movement challenges is Darwinian mechanics, random variation and natural selection, an elegant idea in 1859 but in 1999 still just an idea. Neo-Darwinians have as much trouble explaining how complex organs like a wing or an eye—or even a single cell within an eye—could be the result of unguided, incremental change as Darwin did.
Darwin could only hope that the fossil record would one day prove him right. It hasn’t. No evidence has surfaced of a transformation from one species to the next. Nor has anyone offered a satisfactory explanation for the rash of new animal life that inexplicably entered the fossil record during the so-called Cambrian explosion.
I am not about to dignify that creationist nonsense by responding to it. If Cashill really wants to know what use half a wing might be to a flightless bird, he can go ask a penguin.
When I first wrote that anyone who uses “Cashill’s juvenile musings as a hypothetical which, if true, suggests all the unsavory things [they] already believe about Obama,” I didn’t know that Cashill also bought into Intelligent Design, but it makes sense that someone who could compile and be convinced by the evidence above would be a subject of King Tendentiousness himself. Like ID, Cashill’s theory consists of details inexpertly cobbled together by deeply interested parties. The similar caveat applies in both: should it turn out that one day the Great Designer reveals Himself or Obama admits that Ayers helped edit his memoir, the soundness of their respective methodologies would not be validated—all that will be proven is that sometimes tendentious idiots get lucky.