Wednesday, July 20, 2005


A dire warning about John G. Roberts from Ann Coulter! And who’s Jay-Z?
"So all we know about him for sure is that he can't dance and he probably doesn't know who Jay-Z is. Other than that, he is a blank slate. Tabula rasa. Big zippo. Nada. Oh, yeah...we also know he's argued cases before the supreme court. big deal; so has Larry Flynt's attorney."

As you may have heard, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the source of most of our state’s gravitas, signed a deal, shortly before being inauguarated, with a body-building magazine, that would have earned him something like $8 million over five years. He has decided to resign whatever position it was this body-building magazine had offered him, in the interest of retaining the enormous regard in which he is held by his constituents.

More fodder for conservatives!
From Reuters: “The word ‘fail’ should be banned from use in British classrooms and replaced with the phrase ‘deferred success’ to avoid demoralizing pupils, a group of teachers has proposed.”

And no lullabies, please.
From Reuters: Motorists who enjoy a sing-along while driving tend to concentrate more and fall asleep less than their silent counterparts, new research showed Tuesday. However, drivers should avoid overly rousing tunes or complex rhythms which can divert attention away from the road.

From Reuters: “Bald men in Germany have no entitlement to state support for toupees, a court ruled on Wednesday.”

On Hitchens, On Rove.
This has fallen off the radar, because we have no attention span, but I would like to respond to Christopher Hitchens’ take on the Karl Rove/Valerie Plame brouhaha. My comments are in italics.

He wrote in SLATE:

“…[T]he most exploded figure in the entire argument is Joseph Wilson. This is for three reasons. He claimed, in his own book, that his wife had nothing to do with his brief and inconclusive visit to Niger. ‘Valerie had nothing to do with the matter,’ he wrote. ‘She definitely had not proposed that I make the trip.’ There isn't enough wiggle room in those two definitive statements to make either of them congruent with a memo written by Valerie Wilson (or Valerie Plame, if you prefer) to a deputy chief in the CIA's directorate of operations. In this memo, in her wifely way, she announced that her husband would be ideal for the mission since he had ‘good relations with both the Prime Minister and the former Minister of Mines (of Niger), not to mention lots of French contacts.’ If you want to read the original, turn to the Senate committee's published report on the many ‘intelligence failures’ that we have suffered recently. I want to return to those, too.”

This has been brought up again and again. What the hell difference does it make who “proposed” him to Niger? Even if his wife gave a blow job to Dick Cheney or the Minister of Mines to get Joseph Wilson the gig, how would that affect what his findings would be?

“Speaking to the Washington Post about the CIA's documents on the Niger connection, Wilson made the further claim that ‘the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.’ Again according to the Senate report, these papers were not in CIA hands until eight months after Wilson made his trip. He has since admitted to the same newspaper that he may have ‘misspoken’ about this.”

And why is this significant? Beats me.

“The third bogus element in Wilson's boastful story is the claim that Niger's ‘yellowcake’ uranium was never a subject of any interest to Saddam Hussein's agents. The British intelligence report on this, which does not lack criticism of the Blair government, finds the Niger connection to be among the most credible of the assertions made about Saddam's double-dealing. If you care to consult the Financial Times of June 28, 2004, and see the front-page report by its national security correspondent Mark Huband, you will be able to review the evidence that Niger—with whose ministers Mr. Wilson had such ‘good relations’—was trying to deal in yellowcake with North Korea and Libya as well as Iraq and Iran. This evidence is by no means refuted or contradicted by a forged or faked Italian document saying the same thing. It was a useful axiom of the late I.F. Stone that few people are so foolish as to counterfeit a bankrupt currency.”

Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. He did not have yellowcake uranium. He may have WANTED these things, but wanting is not having. Joseph Wilson may be a self-serving individual (all I know is the VANITY FAIR profile) but to treat him as some kind of conniving liberal operative is just ludicrous.

“Thus, and to begin with, Joseph Wilson comes before us as a man whose word is effectively worthless. What do you do, if you work for the Bush administration, when a man of such quality is being lionized by an anti-war press? Well, you can fold your tent and let them print the legend. Or you can say that the word of a mediocre political malcontent who is at a loose end, and who is picking up side work from a wife who works at the anti-regime-change CIA, may not be as ‘objective’ as it looks. I dare say that more than one supporter of regime change took this option. I would certainly have done so as a reporter if I had known.”

To my mind, Wilson’s “worthless”ness has not been proved at all. What reporters report, of course, is up to them and their editors, but if you work for the Bush administration (or any administration), to my mind the proper way to approach criticism is to answer it forthrightly, to America and to the mediocre political malcontent’s face, and not have anonymous beside-the-point telephone and e-mail exchanges with reporters, behind the malcontent’s back, especially those exchanges that MAY have jeopardized long term undercover CIA operations. It’s one thing for a Daniel Ellsberg or a Phillip Agee to spill CIA secrets. They're lefties, after all, with a moral ax to grind. But the White House? Just to discredit a guy that Hitchens claims shouldn't be taken seriously in the first place? It’s sleazy, lazy, and stupid.


Blogger Marianne Mueller said...

I like Hitchens and his writing but it is a huge relief to read SOMEONE responding to him. I like to believe
that Hitchens would be open to such
response. If not, bad for us all.

I have long been puzzled why the administration thinks there is something awful about Wilson being recommended for the job by his wife. Not manly enough? And like you say, how is it possibly relevant?

9:25 PM  

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