Saturday, May 24, 2003

Richard Johnson in the New York Post has this item (which I found via Drudge) on more problems at The Times. In any event, a public portrait is being painted of very important things being treated in a very cavalier way at a very important newspaper.

It's bad enough having to flip the dial past those annoying Matthew Lesko commercials on cable. Now I'm getting his spam three or four times a month. Enough already. If I want money from the government, I'll file a mental health disability claim.

Another New York Times' "Editor's Note" of interest in today's edition. Basically, the paper reported a U.S. reconstruction official in Iraq was leaving his post, but its reporters never bothered to call, or try to call, the official. The reconstruction offical says he's staying on for his full, 90-day term, which is under contract.
We introduce a new feature at Red Meat, "This Date In Nixon."

On this date in Nixon, 1972: In a message read by Under Secretary of State John Irwin to the Ministerial Council of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on the 25th Anniversary of the Marshall Plan, Nixon said:

Now, on this anniversary, we face a new world and new tasks. With restored strength in Europe and Japan comes the need to redefine those early post-war responsibilities. Together we must erect a new international monetary system and make renewed progress toward a free and fair system of trade. We must deal too with the problems of our environment and with the need to assure that continued economic growth will lead to actual improvements in the quality of life. And we must extend the spirit of internatinoal cooperation - the spirit of the Marshall Plan - by assisting the developing nations through an adequately funded aid effort and responsive trade polices.

The tasks ahead will not be easy, but surely if we could rebuild from the ashes of war, we can succeed now in rebuilding a new era of growth and prosperity in the service of peace."

On this date in Nixon, 1973: At a reception honoring returning prisoners of war, Nixon said:
I will...speak quite bluntly about our foreign policy and our defense policy. I will try to tell you as much as I can without divulging any classified information, and I hope that you will take to hear some of the things that I say and, particularly, pick up the challenge that I am going to give you at the conlcusion of my remarks today.

I begin with the question: Was it worth it? And I look over this group, and I remember having talked to a half dozen of you in my office. I think of what you went through, and I think of what you have come back to. And when you ask that question, was it worth it, you can think in personal terms, or you can think in much broader terms.

You could say, oh yes, it was worth it because we proved that we could tough it through. And thank God you did, because your faith meant a great deal to us.

But I would like to put it in the larger scene. Your sacrifice and the sacrifice of all of your colleagues and comrades who died in Vietnam, and the sacrifice of all who have served in Vietnam, will have been worth it only if we build a world of peace now. That is what it was all about.

We didn't go to Vietnam for the purpose of conquering North Vietnam. We didn't begin this war. We haven't begun any war in this century, as you know. That is the greatness of U.S. foreign policy. We make our mistakes, but we always have our motives defending peace, not breaking it, defending freedom, not destroying it."

Police in the Baton Rouge Serial Killer case released a sketch yesteday of a new "person of interest" in their investigation. The New Orleans Times Picayune says it could be "a break" in the case.

Some cautionary notes: Police sketches in high-profile cases are notoriously off on many occasions. (Son of Sam, The Oklahoma City bombing case, to name two.) Also, this latest "person of interest" is being matched to a late-model sedan, while an earlier "person of interest" was linked to a white pickup truck. ("Vehicles of interest" can be a bit of a distraction, too, if you remember what happened in the Washington sniper case.)

Meanwhile, the multi-agency task for still has DNA to check from 3,100 uninvestigated rape kits from the area (that's three thousand, one hundred rapes that weren't fully investigated) to see if the DNA in those cases match that taken from the five homicide victims linked to the Baton Rouge Serial Killer.

Friday, May 23, 2003

A curious correction in today's New York Times. (The one with the Apalachicola dateline)

The reporter involved was named about two weeks ago in a Drudge item that was live on for about 15 minute and taken down right away. This doesn't seem like any issue that needs to be put on a corrections page, but is probably being done so the reporter can continue working with a clean bill of health. Good.

When Jerry Brown ran for president in 1992, he refused to take PAC or corporate contributions, and he also refused to take any contributions of more than $100. And he did this before the World Wide Web made grass roots contributing online possible. Still, Brown beat out many other well-financed Democratic candidates that year in the primaries, and, out of a field of about 8 candidates, finished second during the primary campaign to Bill Clinton. Jerry Brown proved that you didn't need a lot of money to run an effective presidential campaign, and you didn't need to wait for laws to change before leading by example on the issue.

He's the only Democrat to lead by example since then. It's an example John Edwards, the North Carolina Democrat senator, might want to follow. Edwards has raised more money than any other candidate for president, yet he trails in most polls and, by most accounts, has run the most stunningly inept campaign to date.

Glenn Reynolds isn't just the "Instapundit." He's also a law professor and he tells this story about grading exams this year.

Now, here's a leader who knows how to get things done:

PRESIDENT PUTIN has ordered fine weather for the St Petersburg summit and 300th anniversary festivities next week, and it is unlikely to rain on his parade.
Ten aeroplanes will take to the skies, equipped with cloud-seeding agents in an attempt to induce rain away from the city, allowing holidaymakers and visiting heads of state to enjoy dry weather below.

For the record, it's supposed to rain all weekend - all three days of the weekend - on Long Island. Mr. Bush: Not In My Name.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

According to Fox News, the Orange Alert was sparked because of new evidence of al Qaeda activity in Iran.

How much longer could Iran be a problem? Well, on July 9, there could be a "general strike" in the country that, if strong enough, could lead to an overthrow of the government, according to a NY Sun article I first noticed via Instapundit.

New York Residents, behold your tax dollars at work.

CORRUPTION WATCH: Long Island highway super will be arraigned today on charges she helped a friend cheat taxpayers on public works contracts, says Newsday.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

The Command Post is up on details of this afternoon's bombing of the Yale Law Library.

A new study put out by the Congressional General Accounting Office (GAO) (here, in .PDF form) says that it might actually wind up being easier for the U.S. to find and get rid of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq than it's been to do the same thing in the former Soviet republics:

The most significant difference between the U.S. experience in providing disarmament assistance
to states of the former Soviet Union and Iraq is that the Russian government had to agree to
participate in the U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction programs. Issues over Russian cooperation
and access to facilities have slowed U.S. efforts to help secure Russia’s arsenal of weapons of
mass destruction.18 These same issues may not arise with a strong U.S. presence in Iraq.

There's a scene in the new book by Steven Brill, "After: How America Confronted the Sept. 12 Era," in which President Bush tells Attorney General John Ashcroft - just hours after the towers collapsed on Sept. 11 and when the casualty fears were still in the tens of thousands:

"Make sure this never happens again."

It's simple. It's uncomplicated. It's direct. It's to the point. No focus groups. No hand-wringing. No flash polls. No gray area. Just, "Make sure this never happens again."

And there's a report out today in which Osama bin Laden's chief crony supposedly released this taped message:

"Learn from your brothers, the 19 that killed themselves in New York and Washington," the tape said. "They achieved something that is unprecedented in history."

That's why the sporadic, chirpy wisecracking over the terror alert being raised to code Orange is almost unbelieveable. The bad guys are trying to kill us, and President Bush is trying to stop them.

The final member of the Buffalo cell that supported al Qaeda has copped a plea.

In his admission, al-Bakri states that he, Alwan, Goba and another man left New York on May 12, 2001, and arrived in Karachi, Pakistan the next day. On al-Bakri’s second day in Pakistan, he was told that he was going to the al Farooq camp, and that he was going to meet the “most wanted” at the camp - a reference he knew meant bin Laden, according to his admission in court. Al-Bakri and Goba then traveled to a guest house in Kandahar associated with al Qaeda, where al-Bakri viewed videotapes which contained footage concerning the bombing of the USS Cole and speeches by bin Laden. It was at the guest house that al-Bakri obtained a uniform to be worn at al Farooq, according to the plea agreement.

Al-Bakri admitted that he traveled to al Farooq with Goba and others, and over a period of several weeks, he worked under the direction and control of members of the al Qaeda organization. Al-Bakri admits receiving, among other things, training and instruction in the assembly and use of firearms, including a Kalishnikov rifle, 9mm handgun, M16 automatic rifle, and rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Al-Bakri was also required to perform guard duty at the camp, and he received training on subjects related to explosives - including plastic explosives, TNT, detonators, landmines and Molotov cocktails - and in concealment and camouflage techniques.

For this, he'll get three squares a day, medical, dental, time every day for religious worship, cable television and access to a law library for as much as the next 10 years.

A group called "Google-Watch" hates bloggers, or at least is very wary of them.

Animal Rights, sure. But let's not get crazy. That seems to be the public's opinion, as measured by the Gallup people:

The vast majority of Americans say animals deserve at least some protection from harm and exploitation, and a quarter say animals deserve the same protection as human beings. But most Americans oppose banning medical research and product testing on laboratory animals. By an even larger majority, they oppose banning all types of hunting. A clear majority, however, favors strict laws concerning the treatment of farm animals. Women are more likely than men to support animal rights, and Democrats more than Republicans, but there are few differences by age.

Jayson Blair reportedly could land a seven-figure deal for his book. He's not making a very good case for it by saying stuff like this.

Aren't these the labs Iraq said it didn't have? When those guys wanted to hide stuff, they really, really hid it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

For a dose of Long Island attitude, you can check out Lorelei's blog or Michele's blog.

Lorelei is a friend who has taken very quickly to blogging, and does a good job at it.

Michele is not someone I've ever met, but has one of the best blogs in the world.

If anyone else knows of native Long Island blogs, please email me and I'll mention them. Because, quite frankly, the more Long Islanders who spend their time writing Web Logs, the fewer who tick me off on the roads.

Box seats are supposed to be pricey, but I think this is going too far.

The Yankees beat the Red Sox last night, 7 to 3, and are now a game ahead of Boston in the American League East.

Manny Ramirez, Boston's left fielder, makes $17 million this year. He has six home runs. Alfonso Soriano, the Yankees second baseman, makes $800,000. He has 12 home runs. Just saying, is all.
Rich people in New York love their scandals, so everyone must have been Jonseing last week when the JFK-Intern story broke. David Patrick Columbia writes, on

Jackie Kennedy certainly had some awareness of her husband’s carnal life. How she felt about it is not known to us.

Just because you don't know, doesn't mean you can't dredge it up years later at dinner parties.

Speaking of rich people and scandals, friends of Daniel Pelosi (who is married to Generosa Ammon Pelosi), have sued Long Island cops that arrested them on various charges and interrogated them about the murder of financier and jazz affcianado Ted Ammon. Ammon was murdered in his Hamptons home in 2001 and Daniel Pelosi has been a "person of interest" in the case. No one has yet been charged.

UPDATE: Speaking of rich people and scandals again, John Ellis notes Denise Rich (who helped get her terrorist-state-business-partner-husband Marc Rich a pardon from President Clinton), is taking part in this hip, new, rich people trend.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Every two or three years, we see a good Daily News story about how some New York City school janitors make tons of money. One made $175,000 last year. A Janitor. Here's the story.

(President Bush made $200,000 last year. But then, he only had to clean up Iraq, and not P.S. 125.)

Sunday, May 18, 2003

The good news for President Bush: he rates higher than FDR on the "Greatest Presidents" list in the latest Gallup survey. The bad news: He tied Bill Clinton.
Newsweek this week offers an autopsy on the Jayson Blair meltdown. Blair's supporters (these guys always have supporters), are putting out the story that Blair was battling alcoholism, cocaine use and depression, combined with the pressure of working for a big city newspaper. Anyone who has spent any length of time around newsrooms realizes that describes about one-third of all working journalists since the beginning of time - drunk, stoned and bummed out. But only the special ones make up stories, quotes and datelines over and over again.

The best quote in the story, though, is Blair's warning to friends not to "believe everything (you) read in the newspapers."

Yesterday, I wrote about The New York Times buying ad space at Drudge's Web site. For those who only see the "Axis of Weasel" ad when you click, here is a screen capture of Drudge's site with the Times banner ad right on top.

And today, in a story talking about blogs, including, The Times pretty much turns to Drudge as the "gold standard:"

Ms. Spiers said her site averaged 30,000 hits a day — not exactly Drudge Report numbers...

Just as long as Drudge "no longer has the power to terrorize news cycles."

On Long Island, N.Y., gas has dipped under $1.60 a gallon for the first time this year. At it's highest, regular unleaded reached about $1.89. Based on the evidence, it must really not have been a war for oil in Iraq. Victory would seem to have been a lot more powerful than $1.59 a gallon.

We may start seeing how the Oil Boy Network responds to the toppling of Saddam when OPEC meets on June 5. (Yes, OPEC has a Web site.)