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December 13, 2005

Todd Gitlin's unpublished letter to the Times:

To the Editor:
Re: "Multiple Reality Syndrome," by David Brooks (Dec. 4):

Mr. Brooks writes that earlier in the Iraq war "Sometimes I'd come away from off-the-record conversations and background briefings [with administration officials] feeling my intelligence had been insulted, because even in private, officials would ignore realities that were on newspaper front pages."

I have just reread Mr. Brooks' dozens of columns on Iraq. He wrote that "senior members of his administration are capable of looking honestly at their mistakes" (Dec. 9, 2003). He described the Bush administration as "drunk on truth serum," practicing "honesty and candor." (Dec. 13, 2003). He proclaimed that Mr. Bush has "exceptional moral qualities" (Nov. 23, 2004), and that "two years from now...Bush's [inaugural] speech, which is being derided for its vagueness and its supposed detachment from the concrete realities, will still be practical and present in the world, yielding consequences every day." (Jan. 22, 2005).

But he never informed his readers that Bush and his team insulted his intelligence. Thanks to Mr. Brooks, 27 months into his column, for finally getting around to telling us.

— Todd Gitlin

...more Brooksian hooey on Meet the Press.
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VandeHei says he misspoke, and meant Libby when he said Hadley. That's fine - mistakes like that are easy to make on live TV/radio - but the real issue was that when he said it neither Norah nor Tweety even blinked. Clueless.
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Limbaugh's lawyer tried to spin this ruling in their favor yesterday but it sounds to me as if the prosecutors will be able to get the information they really need to determine whether they can show a crime has been committed.
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I haven't read Off Center yet, but these posts by Yglesias and Chait pretty much cover the weird world of Matt Bai.
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Fineman on Booby:

MADISON -- Howard Fineman, Newsweek's chief political correspondent, said Monday night in the first program of a Drew University lecture series, that Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward had become a "court stenographer" for the Bush administration.

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Democrats who are obsessed with looking tough should stop running every time the Republicans yell boo.
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If anyone sees my thread lying about, just try not to step on it.

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Life?s a thread and we all play a part.

Categories: Blogs

December 12, 2005

December 7, 2005

Feingold's PAC is going to give $5000 to the candidate you vote for. Yes, like all of these things it's in part a way to build up their email list. But it's a small price to pay if you have a favorite candidate.

I'm going with Lois Murphy.
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So, according to the speech today, we're back to "we're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here."

Turning another country into a battleground isn't exactly the way to win the hearts and minds.
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I understand that sadly Dems feel the need to court The Big Money, though I think they'd be better off thinking of ways to wean themselves off that money. But when a major campaign narrative for 2006 is that Washington has become a corrupt cesspool of Republican congressmen and lobbyists, it's a bit odd to think it to be a good idea to brag about your attempts to dive into the shit.

Steny Hoyer is awful. is, of course, Ellen Tauscher. Here's a flashback to her wankerific wanking about the Bankruptcy Bill.
grrrr. HULK SMASH.
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NYU's John Sexton.

I'm a little late to this story, but NYU's treatment of their graduate students is awful. It's certainly the case that academic administrators have the right to be assholes, but I'm not sure they should be able to get away with being such disingenuous ("full of shit") assholes.

Basically Bush's NLRB, which is pretty much on a perpetual mission to shrink the set of workers who are eligible to form unions, reversed a previous decision which had allowed graduate students to unionize. NYU said love ya Bushy, and told its union to FOAD.

I was teaching when then union was forming at UCI. Certainly there are understandable reasons why administration and faculty would be a nervous about such a thing, though the fact that they often are demonstrates just how "liberal" academia can be sometimes. Nonetheless the arguments in the end boiled down to "how dare our employees expect that we treat them like employees instead of indentured servants!" which is basically what the lofty goal of grad students unions is. Not all faculty treated grad students like that, of course, but there wasn't much of a mechanism in place to prevent it from happening either.

And the idea that teaching is "professional development" is nonsense. All work experience can be called "professional development."
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I think people too often get this issue wrong and it's important that people understand. Neither Mel Gibson nor his father deny the holocaust exist in the sense that they claim it's a wholly fabricated story. While Papa Gibson has been more outspoken than his son, Mel has never (to my knowledge) distanced himself from his father's views and in fact in the interview in which he supposedly proved he wasn't a holocaust denier he in fact demonstrated that he really was one.

Holocaust deniers for the most part don't claim that it was entirely fiction. What they do is say that the numbers and intention were exaggerated, that World War II was a tragedy all around and the holocaust happened in the context of a war in which lots of people were killed. In other words, yeah some people died but it wasn't the big deal everyone makes it out to be. And, that's precisely what Gibson said to Peggy Noonan:

I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine, several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century, 20 million people died in the Soviet Union.

As David Neiwert wrote:

It's important, of course, to understand that this is exactly the storyline pushed by Holocaust deniers, namely, that yes, there were many Jews killed in Europe during World War II, but they were only a small part of the total who died in the war, and the "6 million" number is grossly exaggerated. Not only is this exactly what Hutton Gibson told the New York Times, you can find the exact same views at such Holocaust-denial organs as the Barnes Review, the Institute for Historical Review, and the Adelaide Institute.

There's no conflict between creating a miniseries based on a novel which takes place in the context of the holocaust and being what we call "holocaust deniers."
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