Shouting 'Cross the Potomac
but never a Monday morning quarterback
adrag1 at msn.com [until the QP server gets fixed]
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Virginia Pundit Watch Will Vehrs' Weekly Column at Bacon's Rebellion
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UVA Center for Politics and Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball Predictions 2002
Spinsanity - Countering rhetoric with reason
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A Nickles Worth of Free Advice
Where HipHop and Libertarianism meet
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the talking dog
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perfunctory links(We think it's "the Mother of links pages for news and pundit junkies" - eds)
Independent Gay Forum
Town Hall: Conservative News and Information - The Conservative Movement Starts Here
Friday, December 07, 2001
Tony, Do You Recycle?
Will VehrsI'm back from my MACREDO conference in beautiful Lewes, Delaware. Sorry I'm so late posting, but after arriving home from my 300 mile drive, I was informed that I'd be attending a "living nativity" performance tonight.
In case you didn't click on the link, MACREDO is a regional recycling organization, not a a McDonalds waste product or funky dance. All is not well in the recycling ranks. Commodity markets for paper, plastic, glass and other recyclables are in the dumper. State agencies that oversee recycling claim they don't have enough money and some complain that they don't have enough people to audit the "entrepreneurs" who receive government grants to start recycling businesses that invevitably fizzle. The highlight of this meeting was the tour of a Perdue plant that turns chicken waste into fertilizer. Thankfully, the plant anticipated tours when it was designed, so it built a glassed in walkway for us to observe the process. Even with that bit of consideration, the odor was unmistakeable and almost overwhelming.
I don't know the status of our Forum, er, Refuge ... I haven't had much of a chance to catch up on things, but I'd be interested in knowing what you and our readers think of recycling--government mandating it, bottle bills, quality of products with "recycled content," problems with curbside or drop-off recycling, etc., etc. ... anything anyone wants to sound off about regarding recycling. Will it save the planet or is it just a pain?
As I drove back, my colleague Steve and I listened to President Bush's speech, broadcast live by local Hampton Roads, VA radio stations. It's seldom that one gets to hear a full presidential speech, unless it's a nationally televised set-piece address. Bush was not particularly eloquent today, or particularly inspiring on a grand scale, but he seemed to connect with his audience of service members on the USS Enterprise. He tied Pearl Harbor to the current confIict effectively. I felt moved by his words as I drove--his simple message of persevering in a patient way for a noble cause just resonates with me and, I think, most of the country.
Let me get up to speed on what's happening in the world and what you've been saying about me while I was gone ... it's good to be back. I really missed blogging.
Thursday, December 06, 2001
And reason comes to my rescue...
Tony AdragnaGotta love those guys at Spinsanity! I can stop "bouncing off the walls" now - Brendan takes up where I left off. And, as he points out, the "if it's good enough..." rhetoric hasn't stopped. In fact, it may have even gotten worse. Don't believe me? - read what Brendan quotes from people who oughta know better... Remember, you heard all these arguments here at QP first, Spinsanity just does a better job at delivery...
More late starters
Tony AdragnaJoe Califano jumps on the bandwagon to pull in the reins on a runaway team. Granted, we're nowhere near a "police state", but the only reason that this is true is that we've always checked the power of our govenment. Mr. Califano has some valid concerns that do need to be addressed, and the same goes for questions being asked by Senators Kennedy, Leahy, and Grassley (thanks for taking down Ashcroft for me, Brian - your phraseology is much better).
The only question I have for Califano is: where were you when this non-professional unpaid web jounalist was making the same point?
In fairnness, Califano did offer an option on airport security that neither Will nor I bothered to talk about - beefing up local airport authority police. This gives you the advantage of a "sworn police officer" handling security without having to "federalize"...
There's more than one Berry in DC
Tony Adragna"This sounds like a bizzaro world where Berry is an insane southern governor and Kirsanow is the first black college freshman." - That's what QP reader Matt Drachenberg says about a Washington Times story on Mary Frances Berry's refusal to swear in a Bush appointment to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and I agree.
Now wait a minute - I'm not saying that the WT has become a respectable paper all of a sudden, but even mean spirited people can stumble onto an exceptional truth that proves their rule: Mary Frances Berry is that exception. I would normally look deeper into a WT story, but anybody who saw Berry in action during the hearings on voting rights violations has to admit that the folks at WT are on target this time.
Thanks for the heads-up, Matt!
Sure do look purty
Tony Adragna... too bad it's a "slice of bovine excrement!" There are Mac users (which I'm not), PC users (they rule), and then there are I-Mac users - today I was an I-Mac user, but not out of choice ( hey, I was just happy to get an assignment, but I do apologize for the paucity of posts). What's wrong with the I-Mac?(thanks for asking). Well, you know how these types of deals are supposed to take the best of both and produce something truly "WOW"ing? Well, I think what happened is that they took the worst of the two and came up with something that's really nothing more than a mental execise in "the act itself". Why am I ranting about this now? It's the first time I've ever used a Mac...!
I mean, what's with this one-button mouse? I really missed my right mouse button today! I needed to do a lot of "cut & paste", but the only option that the I-Mac gives me is using the menu, or using the stupid ctrl+key commands (actually, it's a "funny little function button"+key command). It was faster for me to just retype the stuff - who remembers keystroke commands!
But, it's a great site that I'm at - Very Special Arts is an international non-profit that funds arts programs for disabled people. Their downtown DC office is a virtual gallery of very wonderful artwork produced by disabled people, and most of it is for sale.
Well, let me do some reading now... be back later!
The reinforcements have arrived
Tony AdragnaI just wanna know - where were Jacob Weisberg (see item below from yesterday), Ken Layne, and Andrew Sullivan back on Oct 25th when I defended Rational Liberals?
Wednesday, December 05, 2001
Is this a real phenomenon?
Tony AdragnaJonah Goldberg talks about the rift on the "right" (thanks Dan), Matt Welch talks about the rift on the "right" (thanks Cal) - what happened to bashing the "left"?
Actually, I've only seen anecdotal evidence of any changing attitudes on the right. It could very well be that these are sentiments that my conservative friends all held prior to 9/11 (I have some anecdotal evidence of my own), but would never have expressed for fear of lost "standing". Could also be that these sentiments aren't genuine, but any other sentiment would result in outrage.
I'll wait til I see some real changes before I make a determination - talk is cheap...
If he only knew...
Tony AdragnaHey Brian, you're only 33% correct in disassociating me with The Onion's comments. I really don't mind being called "weirdo" (I am moderately eccentric), but I do draw the line at "creepy" (I'm actually quite amiable), and "middle-aged" is fightin' words (I'm only 36, and I've been told that look a bit younger - though not recently, SIGH ).
I love The Onion, too!
Enough about me, now that Will is away we can talk about him...
Tony AdragnaI think it's great that Nancy got the Whip, but I'm still not satisfied - I'd like to see a female Speaker! Really, we all know that it's the women who run a House...
Found something interesting at InstaPundit this morning - an anti-war site that supports our current war - it's a must read! "Crash" agrees (not surprisingly)! He had previously said that my Vet's Day essay was almost a justification for war, but I really intended it as a justification for fighting back against thugs. Looks like some people in the "anti-war" movement are finally getting the message: give a thug the other cheek and he's not gonna be happy til he's "Saddamized" you! (misspelling intentional) BTW: I never lost my fatih in American youth...
A good piece on the "anti-war movement" is Jacob Weiberg's "Left Behind". Jacob does a good job of taking down pundits who have overplayed the link between their anti-war colleagues and some larger "anti-war" movement. He also proves the irrelevancy of what anti-war opinion does exist, both vis a vis the real limited size of that movement and the eccentricities of some of the movement's "spokespersons". Another must read.
I need to go read the op-ed pages now - be back later...
Punditwatch Is Up!
Will VehrsHawks and Doves, pundit feuds, ghosts, and Don Imus with a hose are all a part of this week's print Punditwatch. Now I leave for my "pundit-free" trip to Delaware. I should be back at the Quasipundit desk by Friday night.
My heartfelt sorrow and deep appreciation go out to the American soldiers killed or injured by the just reported friendly fire incident. As the President and Defense Secretary have repeatedly said, this is a long and difficult struggle, confounded by a "fog of war" that is even thicker than most conflicts have seen. God bless our fighting men and women.
Punditwatch is Manwatch
Will VehrsGood morning, Tony. Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post has an interesting article this morning on the gender make-up of guests on the Sunday political talk shows. It turns out that
Women represent only 10.7 percent of guests on the five major network shows, according to a study being released today by the White House Project, a New York-based group that promotes women in leadership positions.
"It's a vicious cycle," says Marie Jones, the project's chairman and president of the Ms. Foundation. "It's probably easier to get people who you've known, who you've seen, who've got juice, like John McCain. I think there are women who have juice, but it takes a little time to get on and show you have juice."
As you know, I'm the ultimate aficionado of Sunday talk and I've certainly noticed the paucity of female perspective, but I had no idea the scales were that unbalanced. Think how bad it would be if not for Condoleezza Rice! To be honest, I have been surprised that so few of the vaunted female Democratic Senators (and Republicans, too--Collins, Snowe, & Hutchinson) have been tapped by the leadership to appear on the shows. I'll be curious to see if new Democratic whip Nancy Pelosi starts getting booked and shows "juice."
Yes, I did see Mickey Kaus' dust-up with Kutter--great stuff. Kaus is always feuding--his battles with Jeffrey Toobin are legendary. I'm off to write print Punditwatch--mostly male pundits there, too.
Almost Forgot--Another Kaus "Katch"
Will VehrsTony, as I often do, I sometimes leave something out of Punditwatch that I meant to include. E. J. Dionne, Jr. had a column this week that sounded reasonable:
Recession has now struck. And with welfare reform up for renewal next year, you might presume that its critics would be demanding the law's repeal.
But that is not happening. Instead, a coalition of organizations that work on behalf of the poor has adopted a different objective: It says it will be fighting to make welfare reform work as well as its advocates claimed it would.
Kaus went back and showed just how bitter Dionne had been about welfare reform when it was first passed, asserting it would be a disaster. When Kaus gets you in his sights, watch out!
Tuesday, December 04, 2001
When Johnnie come marching home...
Tony Adragna...in leg irons, thank God. You know, Will, there was a good question posed during a Senate hearing this morning: would this John Walker Lindh freak be subject to prosecution by military commission? The answer is yes, even though the president's order (taking the admin at it's word) only applies to non-citizens - the nexus is his involvement with al Qaeda. Tell the truth, I'd rather he be tried by military commission as a war criminal - if there's anybody who doesn't deserve the "full panoply of constitutional protection" it's him. Oh, and I agree with Anne wholeheartedly... I've always admonished people to be careful about word usage, especially when people refuse to use the proper word - he is a TRAITOR!
I did note that the traitor and I share two links - Northern California and DC. I've never lived in Montgomery County, though, else I might have turned out just like him (NOT!!!). I am glad that I'm now living in PG County rather than one of the aforementioned three places, which have all been the brunt of ridicule recently...
About that Senate hearing I was watching this morning - it seems that the problem with the order is that it "really isn't an order", it's more "like a notice of proposed regulation." Well, the problem is that it was isssued as an Executive Order, and the things that I've been worried about have nothing to do with the "regulations to follow". If the president never intended for that order to be as broad as it is at plain language, then why not draft an order with the narrower language? Anyway, all of the lawyers on the panel (with the exception of the guy from Cato) agreed that as the clarifications come along, and the scope is narrowed, the "funny feelings" are disappearing. The only real sticking point is that we still haven't seen the actual procedural rules - if they meet some minimum standards (not the same standards as at federal court - agreed), then we withdraw our reservations.
I'll pass on Easterbrook - I know nothing of football or T&A... that's your department.
I knew that Warner embraced guns, but NASCAR and Bluegrass music? OH well, "we gotta get elected, too"... I'm not sure about running against the other Warner, though. He's one of those politicians who is popular with alot of folks in the other party (my party) - with good reason. Besides, he's one of those Liz Taylor throwaways who will always have my sympathy.
Did you read Mickey's update on the Reich post? Seems like he's in a bit of a cat-fight with Robert Kutter over some "cheap shots" that Mickey took (probably the "short schtick" comment in re Reich). Kutter lobs back a "vanity webletter" comment (refering to kausfiles). I think they're both hitting below the belt... how low do you gotta stoop to hit Reich below the belt?
"Just a little off the sides..."
Tony AdragnaSome more evidence of brutality from Afghanistan - shave your beard, loose your nose & ears, too. Thanks for the heads up, Dan!
I still haven't finished my reading assignments, Will (had to do some stuff around the house). I'll be back later...
Will VehrsSome people read romance novels for relaxation; others read Tom Clancy thrillers. I read "true crime" books--the factual accounts of murderers and serial killers. One of the all-time serial killer stories may finally be ready for an author to tackle authoritatively. The Green River Killer has been credited with the deaths of 49 women in the 1980's, most of them runaways and prostitutes. There have been many suspects in this State of Washington case, but no arrrests--until last week.
Gary Ridgway, 52, linked by DNA evidence to several of the victims, has been arrested. He goes before a judge for the first time on Wednesday. Meanwhile, police are digging in his backyard. The answers to this horrific series of crimes may be near and a blockbuster "true crime" book won't be far behind. Assuming Mr. Ridgway is guilty, it will be a story of dogged police work and never giving up, even for victims that are not always sympathetic.
Reading all the "true crime" books that I have has strengthened my support for the death penalty. There are monstrous predators among us. Ridgway, if he is guilty, is one: a factory worker by day, a killer of the weak and voiceless by night. We show no respect for life if we spare such a killer the death he so calculatingly inflicted on others.
Treason and T&A
Will VehrsGreat Anne Applebaum column in Slate, Tony. She notes how the media is tiptoeing around John Walker, the US Taliban fighter. She's made up her mind:
I'm very sorry for John Walker's parents and am indeed very sorry for John Walker, who has made some bad choices at a young age. Nevertheless, he has committed treason—and I think we should have the courage to say so.
I'm with Anne.
I'm not so much with Gregg Easterbrook and his Tuesday Morning Quarterback (TMQ) Slate column. Last season I thought TMQ was the funniest and most original sports column I'd ever seen. This year, it's still funny, but Mr. Easterbrook is a little full of himself, in my opinion, straying too much from sports and into long reveries on "mega babes" and providing links to NFL cheerleader pics (links I never click on, of course ....) I'm no prude, but I subscribe to the Seinfeld theory of cleavage--it's like looking into the sun. Don't stare. In this case, a little bit goes a long way, but Easterbrook goes on and on today. More football and less T&A, TMQ.
Special AnnouncementThe new QuasiPundit Forums are up and running. Three cheers for our favourite "Bellicose Woman" and proprietor of "On the Third Hand" - Kathy Kinsley! Huzzah! Huzzah! HUZZAH!!
n.b.: the link to the Old Forum is still up on the left, below above the scrolling news. It will go away at the end of the week.
If You Can't Beat 'em, Join 'em
Will VehrsThere was a lot of crowing about Democrat Mark Warner's victory in the Virginia Governor's race at the "American Democracy Conference" held yesterday. Much was made of how Warner won in normally Republican rural areas by stressing economic populism and downplaying social issues. I was struck by this:
Jenny Backus, the communications director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee . . . said the Democrats also plan to run candidates who are pro-gun and pro-life in selected congressional districts next year.
Hmmm. How big is that Democratic tent, Tony? The late Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey must be smiling.
Thanks for the time off--you're such a pushover. Wait until I hit you up for vacation! I'll post from Delaware if I'm able to find a computer, but I suspect that the accommodations will be pretty spartan. I'll fill everyone in on cutting edge recycling issues when I get back.
Tony AdragnaOn one condition - you have to send To: Any Service Member... Holiday Messages from Home. There's not a whole lot that us vets can do ('specially since they won't let us back in), but we can do this. In fact, anybody with a 'puter can do this, and should.(thanks to our friend MommaBear for the link)
Haven't seen those "M" cigs. I've been sticking to "Basics" lately - they're Philip Morris' "generic" brand, cost a whole dollar less that Marlboro's, ad tast exactly the same. I'll have to see if I can find a link to that feature...
Selling Cancer for Christmas
Will VehrsTony, as Quasipundit's unrepentent consumer of tobacco products, I'm wondering if you've seen or heard of Philip Morris' new "holiday" cigarette, "M." The Wall Street Journal's advertising feature, written by Gordon Fairclough, covers a flap over the new product. "M" is being touted as "A Special Blend for a Special Season," with point of sale signs that have green and red paisley backgrounds that look like wrapping paper. They say, "Season's Greetings from Marlboro Country." Anti-tobacco activists are "livid," according to Fairclough. "It's selling cancer for Christmas," says Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. He wants Philip Morris to withdraw the product, saying the slogan should be "'M' is for murder." What is it, Tony--innocent marketing campaign or insidious "Big Tobacco" plot?
I guess I'm okay with it as long as those Kensington Santas aren't putting promo boxes in the stockings of good little boys and girls ....
Yes, we all ought to lighten up, especially when a writer is a HUMOR COLUMNIST. Another humor columnist I cited a while back accused you of being a Harry Potter dweeb and you didn't get all bent out of shape. And I'm not offended by your humorous efforts to tie my lack of "excite" at home with the latest from excite@home.
While you're in a jocular mood, Tony, I need a few days off. I have a conference in Delaware on Thursday and Friday--I have to leave tomorrow after I post print Punditwatch. I know I haven't worked here very long--some might say I haven't worked at all--but I promise to make it up to you. I'll buy you a carton of "M's" for Christmas ... The conference center is near the beach. What great timing--the beach in December.
Get a sense of humor!
Tony AdragnaHey Will, you ever read Gene Weingarten's stuff in The Washington Post Magazine? The reason why I ask is because I think some people have taken Gene's "armpit of America" piece a bit too seriously - actually, waaay toooo seriousleee.
OK everybody, let me clue y'all in - Gene Weingarten is a HUMOR COLUMNIST. He writes a regular feature titled "Below the Beltway" for the magazine. Read some of his other columns - he's hilarious! The feature title - Below the Beltway - is a joke unto itself.
Lighten up people! Sheesh, we still gotta laugh!
BTW: The Hank Stuevant item that some people took a a rant against Harry Potter was of the same ilk as Gene's columns - Hank just wrote his column as a weekday "Below the Beltway".
Monday, December 03, 2001
Did we ever go off alert?
Tony AdragnaTom Ridge says we're still on alert but also says that "The president also reminded all of us that a terrorism alert is not a signal to stop your life..." Hey, Guv'na, that's what we're all doin'...
Drugs aren't the answer!
Tony AdragnaWhat's the question? How does Glenn "InstaPundit" Reynolds get all of that posting done? No, he's not tweeking on crystal, that's not the answer. I know what it is, though - he's a robosex luv'n android. I knew this all along, and if anybody had bothered to ask I would've happily shared my knowledge.
Will's woes at home
Tony AdragnaEr...ummm.. I mean Will's AtHome woes - I see you got a reprieve, Will!
Who wants to meet me in Kensington - for a drink!
Tony AdragnaHey folks, Kensington did something right - for the first time in over 100 years you can get an alcoholic beverage in Kensington, MD. The change to the city's ordinance was approved last year, but a restaurant just opened where Kensingtonians can now imbibe in their own community. WOOHOO, now they can put away what they were smoking (or, just pass it over to me), and invite the county council over for a cocktail...
(sorry, no link to this item - I just heard it on Newschannel 8 but it's not on their website)
Afghan Melt II
Tony AdragnaAnybody want more evidence that the "foreign Talibs" aren't really interested in surrendering? Try reading the WaPo story about "A Brush With Disaster At Taloqan's Hospital" . "Wounded" Taliban soldiers booby trapped themselves, were admitted to a hospital (even though it was known that they were foreign Taliban supporters - non discrimnation, you see), and were biding their time hoping for someone important to blow up.
I read the John Walker story, but you missed the point that OpinionJouranl made:
"'Everyone who knows him loves him,' his mother also says. 'Everyone expected him to become a scholar.' Well, talib does mean 'student.'"(quoting OpinionJournal)
Definitely - TREASON. Just let one foreign journalist try to cry foul over that one... I also read the posts from Joe, and WillA, nothing to add there.
We Need Some Wizardry in the Middle East
Will VehrsInteresting review of HP, Tony. I think a fan of the subject writes a better review than someone with studied detachment. I liked your rating system ....
I like Brian "AintNoBadDude" Linse, too, but sometimes his choice of words is ... well, a bit rough for my tastes. We all have our own styles, though. He smokes a cigar while he reads Punditwatch--gotta love that.
Looks like we'll have an early test of the Bush Administration's terrorist legal strategy with John Walker Lindh/Abdul Hamid, captured after the shootout at the prison in Mazar-e-Sharif. Walker appears to be a US citizen who went from studying Islam in Pakistan to fighting for the Taliban. His case will be a test for the "bellicose women theory." Already his parents are saying he had to have been brainwashed and that he was "a sweet, shy kid." He might have to use that defense at a trial for treason--a trial, not a tribunal.
Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleberger was on The News Hour tonight. He seemed visibly agitated and extremely concerned. He said the situation in the Middle East was out of control, or nearly so. Usually the foreign policy establishment rallies during a crisis and sees hope no matter what, but this latest flare-up seems to have left everyone throwing out the old playbook. I think Joseph Britt summed things up well in our Forum:
Exasperating as I have found Israeli policy and the many Americans who over the years have demanded that American interests be identified with Israeli interests, no people as enthusiastic as the Palestinians are about barbarous tactics like suicide bombs has any business being allowed to govern itself. Until they are able to curb that enthusiasm America has no interest in helping them get anything they want.
Check out Will Allen and MarkD, too.
Tony, I noticed in the Slate Fray for David Greenberg's article than you linked that our old friend Arthur Stock, no slouch as a historian or lawyer, signed on to your analysis. Now that's a contribution to the debate.
That funny feeling in my tummy
Tony AdragnaHey, read Brian (AintNoBadDude) Linse's take on the Israeli/Palestinian issue, and what the US oughta do. He concludes:
"And how fucked up is it that a liberal like me has to post an opinion like this?
Fuckin' Osama bin Laden.... "
Hey, I'm right there with you, Brian. And Will, that funny feeling is gone - at least when it comes to agreeing with Krauthammer...
Santa's last Huzzah
Tony AdragnaActually, more like Santa got the last laugh. That's right folks, despite the town Of Kensington's effort to ban Santa from the annual Christmas tree lighting (in fairness, only at the request of two very unjolly citizens), Santa showed up anyway.
Who was it that came to Santa's rescue? Would you believe it? - a volunteer fireman, that's who! I don't have enough heart to send our fireman what they deserve, so maybe all of you can join me in sending out some heart to those wonderful people!
(Disclaimer: I've fought a few fires, and know quite a few volunteer firefighters - one of them is a housemate - so I knew all about these wonderful people before 9/11. I love them even more now)
Tony AdragnaTake credit where it's due, Will, it's better than you think. As well as the issues that you cite there's also the following:
William Raspberry picks up our education debate: we're all correct.
On the tribunal/habeas corpus issue, my call for the "Big Boys" to tackle the distinction between "tribunals" & normal military courts (courts-martial) has produced a plethora of on point opinions, and David Greenberg at Slate even uses the same Ex parte Merryman link that I used.
I think we've contributed alot to current debate - even where we might have been wrong, at least the debate is taking place. I'm not so arrogant as to think that we've been giving the "Big Boys" their cues, but ya never know...
Not holding my breath...