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October 31, 2005

Bunkering Down on 43rd Street

First it was fabricating correspondents, then editors who decide what is news -- and what is not -- image from NYT online on 10/31/05 then getting the WMD story completely wrong (ok, everyone else who was not Saddam Hussein got that one wrong too, so perhaps that's unfair), then the principled defense of first amendment rights that turned out to be a big misunderstanding, then the top management decision that the best way to increase the paper's influence was to make sure that as few people as possible read their opinion columnists, now it's come to this: malapropisms on the international news home page of their website.

For the record, the term is "hunker down", from the Scots term for squatting. The verb form of the word Bunker is defined as refueling a ship, placing something in a store (or bunker), or to hit a golf ball into a bunker.

Oh, the humanity!

October 31, 2005 at 06:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 30, 2005

Eating Democracy

Tim Blair links to an interesting piece reprinted in the Australian Age by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reporting on his time spent "embedded" with a group of Sunni insurgents operating north of Baghdad and on the growing rift between some Sunni rebels and Al Queda. (The article originally appeared in the UK Guardian last Thursday.) Best bit: this quote from the insurgent group's leader discussing their position on participating in Iraq's democratic process and voting in the recent constitutional referendum:

Politics for us is like filthy dead meat. We are not allowed to eat it, but if you are passing through the desert and your life depends on it, God says it's OK.

October 30, 2005 at 10:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Us or Them? Neither, thank you.

Us conservatives living in blue states all know people who "won't date Republicans" or are proud of the fact that they have no Republican friends. Thomas Sowell discusses this phenomenon and provides some historical context for these views in his latest syndicated column:

. . . Back during the 1930s, in the years leading up to World War II, one of the fashionable self-indulgences of the left in Britain was to argue that the British should disarm "as an example to others" in order to serve the interests of peace.

When economist Roy Harrod asked one of his friends whether she thought that disarming Britain would cause Hitler to disarm, her reply was: "Oh, Roy, have you lost all your idealism?"

In other words, it was not really about which policy would produce what results. It was about personal identification with lofty goals and kindred souls.

The ostensible goal of peace was window-dressing. Ultimately it was not a question whether arming or disarming Britain was more likely to deter Hitler. It was a question of which policy would best establish the moral superiority of the anointed and solidify their identification with one another.

"Peace" movements are not judged by the empirical test of how often they actually produce peace or how often their disarmament tempts an aggressor into war. It is not an empirical question. It is an article of faith and a badge of identity.

October 30, 2005 at 09:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I just finished reading Shadowbrook : A Novel of Love, War, and the Birth of America, the new novel by Beverly Swerling, author of the equally superb City of Dreams: A Novel of Nieuw Amsterdam and Early Manhattan.

Swerling's novels are a wonderful blend of well-researched history and gripping story selling. Set in familiar places, she does a great job of presenting interesting facts about our past (18th century surgical techniques, the role of slavery in the NY economy, the role of American Indians in the French and Indian wars, etc.) in the context of a compelling story.

I heartily recommend both her books. They are thoroughly engrossing, informative and well worth the time.

One interesting theme of contemporary interest appearing in Shadowbrook is the desire for martyrdom expressed by some of the Catholic priests and nuns in the story. It is helpful to be reminded that our jihadi pals do not have a monopoly on seekers of martyrdom in the service of their vision of god.

As an aside, I am curious about Swerling's background. Her author bio is exceedingly vague: "Beverly Swerling is a writer, consultant, and amateur historian. She lives in New York City with her husband." She has an interesting web site for her first book, which includes an interview, some background on how City of Dreams came to be, and some helpful ideas for would-be authors of historical fiction. But the site has little further information about her life (i.e. where did she grow up? go to school? what kind of consultant, etc.). Some enterprising magazine editor should commission a piece about her.

October 30, 2005 at 06:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 28, 2005

Dishonoring the Dead

Tim Blair reprints a letter from author Lisa Huang Fleischman to the NYT's public editor Byrone Calame. It's pretty scathing, tearing into an article from Wednesday's paper by James Dao for selectively quoting from a dead soldier's letter to his wife in order to distort his view of the war. Dao's article is an outrageous example of agenda-driven journalism and it defames the memory of a brave man who died for what he believed in. It's pretty disgusting, actually, even by the standards of the NYT.


I didn't properly credit Michelle Malkin for being the original source of this story (and the journalist contacted by the dead Marine's family to let her know the full story of what Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr really thought about his mission in Iraq). As Corporal Starr's uncle wrote to Malkin:

What Jeffrey said is important. Americans need to understand that most of those who are or have been there understand what's going on. It would honor Jeffrey's memory if you would publish the rest of his story.

October 28, 2005 at 02:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kofi Annan's Free Pass

"Annan's performance did not meet the standards of the United Nations"

That was the language used in the original draft of the report on Kofi Annan and the selection of Cotecna to manage part of the Oil for Food program. According to Paul Volcker, he changed the wording used in the final report at the request of Kofi Annan's attorney because of Annan's concern that using terms like that would force his resignation as UN Secretary General. This and more from a fascinating interview with Volcker by the LAT's Maggie Farley.

As for what should be done about Kofi Annan, well, as they say, better late than never. . .

October 28, 2005 at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sad, cruel and dumb

I saw a reference to this case on Popbitch, a snarky British gossip and pop culture email list, and thought it couldn't possibly be true. But it is.

October 28, 2005 at 10:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 27, 2005

Grinning protesters commemorate the 2000th dead GI in Iraq

Happy, happy, happy. . .

Via Tim Blair.

October 27, 2005 at 09:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hangin' out in the 'hood

God's way of telling us Halloween has gone too far. . .

October 27, 2005 at 09:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


You can read the full text of the report here.

Graphic summary of UNSCAM cash floes

Glenn Reynolds has more, including some links to Chirac and French investigations of the widespread corruption in his government.

October 27, 2005 at 02:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack