Spare change?

by Ted on May 20, 2004

I heard a rumor that if you’re the 1000th donor, he’ll tell you his name.*

*Rumor is not true.

Responsibility, part 2

by John Q on May 20, 2004

In an earlier post , I suggested it was startling to find that the Daily Mirror has more stringent standards of personal responsibility than the Blair government in relation to the dissemination of falsehoods about the war in Iraq Looking at parallel cases in the US[1], Jack Shafer at Slate is surprised but in the opposite way, saying that until NYT editor Bill Keller publishes an apology for the bogus WMD reports published by Judith Miller

we’ll be occupying a bizarro world in which the secretary of state is more accountable than the New York Times.

Pardon my naive idealism, but isn’t the government in a democratic society supposed to more accountable than any newspaper. Still, it does seem rather alternate-universe that the Daily Mirror should be the only actor in this whole drama to uphold traditional standards of responsibility.

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In other news…

by Eszter Hargittai on May 20, 2004

Some issues get a lot of play in the media while others go completely ignored. The UN has a site devoted to “10 Stories the world should hear more about”. Of course, one could probably compile an endless list of stories we shouldn’t be ignoring, but it’s certainly one place to start. You can read about child soldiers in Uganda, the role of women in negotiating piece and rebuilding societies (did you know that in Rwanda women hold 49% of seats in the legislature?), and the disappearance of some peoples and languages (did you know that there are languages out there spoken by less than 100 people?). These snapshots of stories are very short and the descriptions of the issues seem a bit simplistic at times, but it’s an interesting place to start for coverage of important topics that don’t seem to get much mass media attention. Alternatively, you can always head over to The Head Heeb who manages to cover a lot of issues from certain parts of the world that seem to go ignored by many. (Thanks to Neat New Stuff for the pointer to the UN site.)

Does law professor Glenn Reynolds need me to explain why this is a bad idea?

UPDATE: He’s responded to my email in a responsible way. Good show.


by Ted on May 20, 2004

Steve at No More Mister Nice Blog is correct- this really is astounding:

It’s McCain vs. Hastert on meaning of sacrifice

A 2-month-old House-Senate standoff over the 2005 budget burst into public acrimony Wednesday, when House Speaker Dennis Hastert questioned Sen. John McCain’s credentials as a Republican and suggested that the decorated Vietnam War veteran didn’t understand the meaning of sacrifice. …

On Tuesday, McCain gave a speech excoriating both political parties for refusing to sacrifice their tax cutting and spending agendas in a time of war. At the Capitol on Wednesday, Hastert shot back: “If you want to see sacrifice, John McCain ought to visit our young men and women at Walter Reed (Army Medical Center) and Bethesda (Naval Hospital). There’s the sacrifice in this country.” …

First: Hastert isn’t making sense. McCain is not asking for cuts in the military budget. He’s asking for legislators to put their other legislative wishes, specifically tax cuts and new spending, on hold in response to the deficit. Hastert seems to think that the federal government has no obligation to balance revenues and expenditures, as long as he can point to the existence of wounded soldiers.

If Hastert believes what he’s saying, he should quit his post and go write for the Wall Street Journal editorial page. He certainly has no business in my government.

Second: I’m not the first, and I won’t be the last, to read this and say, “McCain spent five and a half years in a Viet Cong prisoner of war camp. Where the hell does Hastert get off lecturing him on sacrifice?”

Third: Why are the grown-ups in the Republican party the ones who get spanked?

UPDATE: Digby has a little more on the man being lectured on “sacrifice”.


by Chris Bertram on May 20, 2004

In today’s Financial Times William Shawcross and Emma Bonino have “a worthwhile piece”: on the murders, rapes and village-burnings being committed in Darfur by the Sudanese government.

George R.R. Martin R.Revisited

by Maria on May 20, 2004

Like many others, I’ve been re-reading George R.R. Martin’s ‘Ice and Fire’ series while waiting for the long-delayed next book, ‘A Feast for Crows’. Henry was in Paris last weekend and we three (he, me and our youngest sister Eleanor, aka Nelly) spent several dinners discussing our theories of how the next three books will pan out.

My favourite aspect of this series is the many hints Martin drops about his characters’ side-plots and back stories but that he never bothers to confirm. This makes me feel like a very clever reader (at least about the ones I’ve figured out). For example, we can infer that Jeyne Westerling, Robb Stark’s frisky young bride, is being fed contraceptives by family members during her doomed marriage. And the Knight of Flowers, beautiful Loras Tyrell, is in love with and loved by Renly Baratheon, a pretender to the Iron Throne. So we all had a grand old time running through the evidence for these and other revelations.

Then Nelly’s theory of how the next three books will go blew us away. It’s all there already in the first three, but for some reason I’m the only one who thinks old George has given us so much to chew on, he can relax and let his readers write the rest of the books ourselves.

Over to Nelly:

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The sound of silence

by Chris Bertram on May 20, 2004

I’ve just finished reading the “Haaretz coverage of yesterday’s incident in Gaza”: , when the Israeli army fired tank shells into a demonstration. Nor is this an unprecedented event, as some of the commentary elsewhere in Haaretz recalling the Qana massacre reminds us. It is a common trope in the “blogosphere” to write of symptomatic silences, to accuse people of indifference or lack of balance for failing to mention some event or incident. I’ve read endless outrage in the blogosphere condemning the BBC or whoever for putting the work “terrorist” in inverted commas. Stupid comments by Jenny Tonge or whoever excusing suicide bombers generate thousands of words of commentary. (And lest there be any doubt, I have always and will always condemn actions such as suicide bombing which target civilians.) I’ve looked at a lot of blogs this morning — the usual suspects, the leftie warbloggers, the boy-wonder journalists, the distinguished lawyers, economists and political scientists, and so on. Of events in Rafa, not a mention.

[Update: not total silence. “Jonathan Edelstein”: , as so often, is worth reading on this.]

Expensive Tastes

by Micah on May 20, 2004

What happens if you think the “eggs”: are overdone?