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Confessions of an Opium-Eater

[ 15 ] October 29, 2007 |

If you’re like me, Conservapedia had you at “Kangaroo.” Now, though, you can’t stop reading the site’s ongoing debate about the merits of colonialism, you appreciate its warnings about how teh gays might kill you, and — most of all — you’re grateful for their helpful one-line summaries of Adam Sandler films like Big Daddy.

Sadly, though, the world’s premier online encyclopedia now leaves you strangely unsatisfied by day’s end. Even the site’s entry on Barack Obama — though steeped in God’s own bongwater — can only bring a smirk to the lips (e.g., “Senator Barack Obama’s political views have been a matter of controversy even before he put himself forward as a Presidential Candidate. Former House Majority leader Tom DeLay has described Obama’s record in the Illinois Senate as that of a “Marxist leftist.”)

Fortunately, a number of renowned citizen journamalists — including Lorie Byrd, Bob Owens, and Kim Priestap — have stepped in to fill the void with Circle Jerk 2.0 Media Mythbusters, a wiki site with modest aims:

To be the Internet source [sic] of comprehensive facts and links chronicling major journalism’s treatment of certain stories in which questions have arisen regarding facts or methods of reporting. These treatments of news events by major media have direct and significant impact upon public opinion and upon policymakers. Careful consideration of the way these stories were handled by the media is essential to both a well informed public and policy, and are [sic] intended to contribute to a more reliable and responsible major media desired and needed by all. The goal of this site is to be a reliable resource, accessible to all, to provide news consumers with a tool and information to allow them to determine how best to process information they receive through major media outlets.

The group’s “mission statement” is also rich with insight:

It’s difficult enough to prove medical malpractice, given the infinite variety of humans and their reactions to varying treatments, the range of acceptable medical practices, and the difficulties of gathering evidence. It’s even more difficult with respect to the media. The added difficulty is because [sic] journalism is much less a well-defined and regulated profession than medicine. So, the standards and their application is [sic] less precise and the enforcement of standards lacks an authoritative body. Nonetheless, journalism and its major practitioners have developed and propounded standards that, for the most part, are fairly comprehensive and tried. It is against those standards, journalism’s own, that we measure [sic]. It is also usually more important that we pay more attention than we have to media malpractice. While medical malpractice may affect just one, or thousands, media malpractice affects many millions of media users, and many millions – if not billions – more of earth’s inhabitants whose governance, security, economic advancement, and freedoms (or opportunities for those) is [sic] affected.

I, too, have always believed the accumulated sins of Matt Lauer and Stephen Glass to be of significantly greater public interest than medical malpractice, which my president has told me is really not a problem to begin with. A trip to the hospital might leave you with a deadly staph infection, or your doctor might amputate the wrong leg, but — unlike our media — America’s health care professionals will never stab the nation in the back.

It’s Girardi

[ 0 ] October 29, 2007 |

On balance, I think this is bad news for the Yankee-hater. As a correspondent noted, Mattingly’s candidacy can be summed up in two words: Alan Trammell. Hiring a guy whose primary credential is being a beloved star pretty much never works. He could have won anyway — Torre had pretty poor credentials when he took over too, so you never know — but it would have said something bad about the organization. (Reading/listening to Mattingly’s media defenders in print and radio, what was striking was that nobody was making the case that he was the best man to manage the Yankees so much as that the Yankees couldn’t afford to lose Beloved If Very Overrated Star Don Mattingly. Hiring managers on that basis would be egregiously stupid; it’s a bad sign that the Yankees have proven that non-stupid people are in charge.)

The ray of light is that while Girardi shows every sign of being a very talented manager, I would look at what happened to the Marlins’ pitching staff after he left, as well as the fact that he got fired after a surprisingly successful season because he couldn’t get along with anybody. I can live with the Yankees winning 100 games next year if it means plenty of 120+ pitch games and post-hour-long-rain-delay comebacks for Hughes and Joba, and an organization in chaos in 3 years. It also makes Slappy less likely to re-sign; he hated Showalter and Girardi is a similar hardass. If the Yankees can stop his Dallas Green-esque handling of the pitching staff, though, I’m afraid that he’ll be an excellent manager.

Shocks the Conscience

[ 0 ] October 29, 2007 |

Jamie Mayerfeld contributes to the anti-Mukasey chorus:

Mukasey’s evasions prove his unfitness for the job. If the Senate confirms him, it will share responsibility for torture, because it will have knowingly installed an attorney general who refuses to state that methods actually constituting torture violate the law.

The vote on Mukasey will reveal whether our elected representatives want to stop torture. Their decision will constitute an enduring statement of the values of the American people.

Concerns About the Future of the Carrier

[ 12 ] October 29, 2007 |

Norman Polmar has a nice post up at Defense Tech about the future of the aircraft carrier. The big deck carrier remains an extremely powerful platform, but is also remarkably expensive, especially considering the extended task force needed to support and defend a carrier. I’m a little less skeptical than many about the carrier; people have been predicting the imminent demise of the capital ship for a hundred years, with the culprit variously being the aircraft, the submarine, the mine, and now the ballistic missile, yet the ships continue to have their uses.

Polmar is right, I think, to suggest a future in which the USN concentrates less of its power in big deck platforms (some reduction from the current eleven ship force, perhaps), and relies more on its LHA/LHD vessels, which will, assuming that the F-35B goes forward, be capable within a decade of flying an advanced air superiority aircraft. As I discussed here, the quite sensible direction that the Navy is headed for seems to be a combination of high intensity capability with the capacity for facilitating maritime cooperation amongst the “1000 Ship Navy”, a project that eases the demands on Navy hulls.

Cross-posted to TAPPED.

Total Insanity

[ 0 ] October 29, 2007 |

I lost track of the laterals after about a dozen. It goes without saying that nearly everyone who watches this video thinks he/she could have done a better job of tackling. Not me, though. After about 45 seconds, I’d have said the hell with it. Not worth the effort, really.


[ 24 ] October 29, 2007 |

Sweet, although I continue to believe that the Yankees aren’t serious about staying out of the subsequent negotiations for his servies.

Unlikely as it is, I like the Slappy-at-Shea idea…


“It’s clear he didn’t want to be a Yankee,” Hank Steinbrenner told the Daily News last night. “He doesn’t understand the privilege of being a Yankee on a team where the owners are willing to pay $200 million to put a winning product on the field.

“I don’t want anybody on my team that doesn’t want to be a Yankee.”

“We’re not going to back down,” Steinbrenner said. “It’s goodbye.” [via]

Again, if you want to bluff you need to bet more than quarter of the pot. The idea that they were going to get him to give up the leverage of an opt-out with $150 million in this market…please. And I don’t think anyone takes the idea that the Yankees are now out seriously.

Apologies for the Lack of Series Blogging…

[ 0 ] October 29, 2007 |

Tales of the Sea and Deposed Monarch series, that is. This has been a crazy, crazy month; hopefully I’ll get back on track in November.

As for that other Series, barring unexpected developments I think we can fairly say that this has been one of the crappiest baseball post-seasons in recent memory. Five sweeps (assuming the Red Sox finish tonight) out of seven series, and only one genuinely good contest.

A good idea gone bad.

[ 0 ] October 29, 2007 |

From Slate’s XX Factor:

Following the kerfuffle over birth control for the Hanna Montana set, health officials in Portland, Maine, have agreed to report “all illegal sexual activity involving minors as required by law,” according to an article from a Maine newspaper. That includes any time someone 13 or younger has sex, even if it’s consensual. What this does is basically nullify the idea of providing oral contraceptives for the middle schoolers.

Sigh. And I thought the plan had so much promise.

Rudy Giuliani: Authoritarian

[ 7 ] October 28, 2007 |

Via Yglesias, two of the key things you need to know about Giuliani:

Beyond religious issues, a second conservative trait defined Giuliani’s tenure: his Cheney-esque appetite for executive power. In 1999, for example, he directed (without the City Council’s permission) the police to permanently confiscate the cars of people charged with drunken driving — even if the suspects were later acquitted.


The fanciful notion of Giuliani’s liberalism also omits the pi¿ce de r¿sistance of his mayorship: his flagrantly undemocratic bid to stay in office for an extra three months after Sept. 11, 2001. During earlier crises, even World War II, U.S. elections had always managed to proceed normally. But Giuliani maneuvered for weeks to remain mayor after his term-limited exit date. Only as normalcy returned to New York did his power grab fail.

If you think that John Yoo has an excessively narrow view of executive powers, you’ll love Rudy.

Would You Like That JD Neat, on the Rocks, or Injected Into Your Cock?

[ 0 ] October 28, 2007 |

I’m not sure that this is an optimally healthy lifestyle.

Leslee Unruh Must Be Pissed

[ 9 ] October 28, 2007 |

Leslee Unruh, the head of abstinence clearinghouse and the one who declared during the fight over the South Dakota abortion ban that the days of bloody fetuses were over, and the days of saying that abortion hurts women are in, must be pissed.

Why? Because one of her flock is not following orders. Cartoonist Gary Cangemi has created a comic called Umbert the Unborn. Little guy even has his own website and a single curly hair growing out of his forehead (or something). Oh, and a book, Womb With a View (har har).

Shoot, if all I had to do to get my own book published was hang out in my mom’s uterus indefinitely, I never would have made my extra-uterine appearance. And I’m sure that’s just the way Umbert’s fans would like it. Because once Umbert’s here and all, we might actually have to take care of him. Oh wait….nevermind.

(via Lynn C.)


[ 13 ] October 28, 2007 |

I finally saw it (no, I have not been watching the game. Sorry folks). And I have to hand it Michael Moore. I was impressed. Yes, there were stunts (Guantanamo, the feigned surprise at European systems). But the stunts were damn effective. Those who oppose national (I’ll say it – socialized) healthcare come off as callous, greedy, and flat out stupid. As the smirking chimp put it:

Thirty-five years ago, in the same week Watergate happened, a New Left radical said something I never forgot.

“Eventually the United States and the Soviet Union will become mirror images of each other,” he told a bunch of us college students. “They will get color TV, and we will get bugging, inefficiency and long lines.” That memory came back to me when Sicko showed how crowded hospitals bundle confused, disoriented and indigent patients into taxis and dump them out on Skid Row, in front of a mission. (A hospital administrator even defends this practice, on camera.)

Sure, the movie fails to expose some of the flaws (yes, there are some) of the systems in the UK, France, and Canada. But you know what? At this point, those flaws are peanuts. And our problems are growing by the day.

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