Tony Snow's cancer returned, Fox News just reported.
God bless ya, man.
Update: AP IHT; back to the chemotherapy.
Howard Kurtz writes about comment-board mayhem in Online, Churls Gone Wild, citing the extremes of ugly, hateful and racist speech from the left and right. This apparently includes calling New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin a racist.
Kurtz quotes comments from Little Green Footballs and Huffington Post, then turns to comboxes on Washington Post stories:
A recent report about New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who said the slow recovery of his city was part of a plan to change its racial makeup and leadership, led to a number of offensive or inflammatory remarks:
"Some Black politicians are [expletive] idiots." "IF a white MAN were to speak as you do, you'd look for a lynching party."
Other than deleting foul language, which I do all the time here at PostWatch, I don't quite follow the alleged outrageousness. I can be dense, but isn't Mr. Anonymous saying that if a white man said there was a conspiracy to make, oh, Salt Lake City, Utah black, that Nagin would lead a "lynching party" against Mr. White Guy? That does not pass the PostWatch ugly, racist and violent test. Kurtz continues:
One person described Nagin as a racist and a women's sanitary product.
The latter is disgusting, of course. But how crazy is it to describe Nagin as racist? Let's revisit his oeuvre, which Kurtz really does not. From the Jan. 16, 2006 New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Speaking to a fraction of the crowd typically drawn to a holiday parade honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on Monday predicted that displaced African-American residents will return to the rebuilt city and it "will be chocolate at the end of the day."
"This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God wants it to be," Nagin said. "You can't have it no other way. It wouldn't be New Orleans....
Nagin also said that last year's devastating hurricanes were signs of God's wrath.
"Surely God is mad at America," he said.
In the same story:
"Everybody's jaws are dropping right now," said City Councilman Oliver Thomas, who is black. "Even if you believe some of that crazy stuff, that is not the type of image we need to present to the nation."
Watch that ugly, hateful or racist speech, city councilman! And how about Nagin's more recent comment. Kurtz says Nagin said the slow recovery of his city was part of a plan to change its racial makeup and leadership. That's taken from the lede of Nagin Suspects a Plot To Keep Blacks Away, by the Post's Hamil Harris on March 17. Later in that story:
"Ladies and gentlemen, what happened in New Orleans could happen anywhere," Nagin said at a dinner sponsored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a trade group for newspapers that target black readers. "They are studying this model of natural disasters, dispersing the community and changing the electoral process in that community."...
Nagin, who won reelection last May over Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, referred obliquely to the "chocolate city" comment at the dinner and suggested that his assertion that New Orleans would once again be a majority-black city had made him a political target.
"Everybody in America started to wake up and say: 'Wait a minute. What is he doing? What is he saying? We have to make sure that this man doesn't go any further,' " Nagin told a room full of black newspaper publishers and editors at the Capital Hilton.
Referring to Landrieu, who is white, as "the golden boy," Nagin suggested his chance at reelection in the mayoral race had seemed slim because "they dispersed all of our people across 44 states with one-way tickets."
You know. They. The Post editorial page arched an eyebrow over this in Notes from the Knoll:
NEW ORLEANS Mayor Ray Nagin is at it again. The glib crusader who said Hurricane Katrina was God's wrath being visited upon the Crescent City (and later apologized for it) and who said God wanted it to be a "chocolate city" again (and later apologized for it) took a stroll on the grassy knoll of conspiracy theories when he suggested there was a plot to alter the racial makeup and politics of New Orleans and other cities.
The strange thing about Kurtz's column is that there are plenty of truly ugly and disgusting comments out there to choose from. But attacking Nagin for invoking race conspiracy theories isn't one of them.
Kurtz quotes a Postie who calls for prior restraint. Better to shut up all non-reporters than risk offending anyone:
But Post reporter Darryl Fears is among those in the newsroom who believe the comments should be junked if offensive postings can't be filtered out in advance. "If you're an African American and you read about someone being called a porch monkey, that overrides any positive thing that you would read in the comments," he says. "You're starting to see some of the language you see on neo-Nazi sites, and that's not good for The Washington Post or for the subjects in those stories."
After Post reporter Darragh Johnson wrote in February about a Northeast Washington teenager who was fatally shot while being chased by police, some readers posted comments, including racist comments, criticizing the boy. Johnson says the 17-year-old's father cited the comments in declining to answer most questions about his son.
Washingtonpost.com chief Jim Brady talks about adding more staff to delete ugly comments. That would be the more traditional editing approach. Anyway, Dean Barnett covered this kind of thing on Saturday, including the fact that a reckless commenter responded to my pleas and become a constructive contrarian voice. Now that's news.
The story about counter-protesters, Veterans, Others Denounce Marchers by Brigid Schulte isn't half bad other than this comic bit:
The vets turned both sides of Constitution into a bitter, charged gantlet for the war protesters. "Jihadists!" some vets screamed. "You're brain-dead!" Others chanted, "Workers World traitors must hang!" -- a reference to the Communist newspaper.
Oh, you are so close! See post below. But what I wanted to show you before I run out the door are two competing versions of reality. At left, the photo Postie editors chose to illustrate the story. At right, from a student reader of Michelle Malkin. Check out Malkin for a full account, and while you're at it, Planet Moron for photo-blogging of the underwhelming non-focused demonstration at the Pentagon.
In the Post's main story about the antiwar march, 4 years After Start of War, Anger Reigns,
reporters Steve Vogel and Michael Alison Chandler vaguely refer to "organizers" a few times before one quick direct identification: More than 60 bus loads of protesters who had been scheduled to come from the region canceled their trips Friday night, according to Brian Becker, national coordinator for the Answer Coalition, the event's main sponsor. Becker and Answer are never heard from again.
But they ought to be. The fifth story in that Google search may be the key one for newbies, in an arguing-against-interest kind of way; it's an expose of the extremely extreme far-left antiwar associations of ANSWER and related organizations, written in October, 2002 for LA Weekly by The Nation's David Corn:
If public-opinion polls are correct, 33 percent to 40 percent of the public opposes an Iraq war; even more are against a unilateral action. This means the burgeoning anti-war movement has a large recruiting pool, yet the demo was not intended to persuade doubters. Nor did it speak to Americans who oppose the war but who don’t consider the United States a force of unequaled imperialist evil and who don’t yearn to smash global capitalism.
This was no accident, for the demonstration was essentially organized by the Workers World Party, a small political sect that years ago split from the Socialist Workers Party to support the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. The party advocates socialist revolution and abolishing private property. It is a fan of Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba, and it hails North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il for preserving his country’s “socialist system,” which, according to the party’s newspaper, has kept North Korea “from falling under the sway of the transnational banks and corporations that dictate to most of the world.” The WWP has campaigned against the war-crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. A recent Workers World editorial declared, “Iraq has done absolutely nothing wrong.”
Officially, the organizer of the Washington demonstration was International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism). But ANSWER is run by WWP activists, to such an extent that it seems fair to dub it a WWP front. Several key ANSWER officials — including spokesperson Brian Becker — are WWP members. Many local offices for ANSWER’s protest were housed in WWP offices. Earlier this year, when ANSWER conducted a press briefing, at least five of the 13 speakers were WWP activists. They were each identified, though, in other ways, including as members of the International Action Center.
If you do your own searches, you'll learn plenty about Becker and his passionate defense of the last great Stalinist enterprise, North Korea. Current websites for ANSWER and the Workers World Party don't reveal many links between the two, and I don't know whether that's a tactical decision on their part after stories like Corn's, or whether this story written by a disgruntled lefty that references rifts in left-wing circles has anything to do with it (Socialism and Liberation, another march supporter, may be part of the answer if you'll pardon the expression).
But absent a story about Becker changing his stripes into a classical liberal, I'll assume he still stands for the hodgepodge of "anti-imperialist" ravings that he is widely known for outside the willfully ignorant mainstream media, which has never fully grappled with ANSWER and its allies. That definitely includes the Post.
There's more to say about the march coverage, but that will do for now.
Update: The New York Times--of all things--explains what the Post did not, and clears up what Becker's been up to since we last tuned in. Via Powerline:
This New York Times account is interesting, once you get past the clearly low-ball assertion that "several hundred" pro-war demonstrators turned out. The Times acknowledges with unusual frankness the far-left sponsorship of the antiwar rally:
Saturday’s march was organized by the Answer Coalition — named for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism — an organization that was initially associated with the Workers World Party and now affiliated with a breakaway faction of that party called the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
*** Judging by the speeches and placards, the marchers on Saturday set their sights on sweeping goals, including not only ending the war but also impeaching President Bush and ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Many carried Answer Coalition signs bearing the image of the Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara.
Brian Becker, the national coordinator of the Answer Coalition and a member of the Party of Socialism and Liberation, said the group held out little hope of influencing either the president or Congress. “It is about radicalizing people,” Mr. Becker said in an interview. “You hook into a movement that exists — in this case the antiwar movement — and channel people who care about that movement and bring them into political life, the life of political activism.”
*** Many in the crowd said they were unfamiliar with the Answer Coalition and puzzled by the many signs about socialism.
For you managerial types, the full job description is here:
The Supervising Editor provides editorial and production guidance to Bureau Chief and NPR member station staff on stories related toot the domestic impact of U.S. participation in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; supervises preparation of air material...
I propose two more: An Impact of Typos Editor and a Department of The Answer You Get Depends On The Question.
Cheers to George Will for his pro-gun rights column, A Shot In The Arm For the GOP, but unfortunately it includes this:
The court ruled 2 to 1 that the D.C. law, which allows only current and retired police officers to have handguns in their homes, violates the Constitution's Second Amendment: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
This ruling probably will be reviewed by the Supreme Court, which 68 years ago seemed to hold that the amendment's first 13 words circumscribe the force of the rest. That is, there is a constitutionally protected right to "keep and bear" guns only insofar as the keeping and bearing are pertinent to service in state-run militias.
Incidentally, if the question is whether "militia" in the Second Amendment means just something like the National Guard, that's one thing that the Supreme Court has resolved: "The signification attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense." (Today, after the Court's sex equality cases under the Fourteenth Amendment, it would likely include women, too.) The Militia Act of 1792 took a similar view, as does the currently effective Militia Act.
There are other important historical arguments supporting the individual right to bear arms, and if everyone agreed on the meaning of US v Miller then we wouldn't have had numerous federal appellate court cases since 1939 failing to recognize that right. But every completely informed reference to "militia" has to keep that Supreme Court definition in mind.
Plame Says Administration 'Recklessly' Revealed Her by Amy Goldstein is running on A1 today. Goldstein writes that Plame calmly but firmly knocked down longstanding claims by administration allies that the disclosure was not criminal because she had not worked in a covert capacity. Calm she may have been, but knocking down conveys a final judgment not supported by the facts.
Based on that story, here is what Goldstein and her editors do not know, or do not think you need to know, about this and related issues:
1. Valerie Plame admitted that she was unaware whether she was covered under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.
2. She acknowledged no one at the CIA ever informed her that she was
3. Senate Intelligence Committee vice-chairman Christopher Bond has already challenged Plame's testimony that she had no influence over the selection of Joe Wilson for the Niger trip. Plame's role was a key finding of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. The Post reported this, seemingly once. Its memory lives on only in scattered remnant tribes on the editorial page.
That's as much work as I'm going to do on a Saturday, so check recovering Instapundit pirate blogger Tom Maguire at Just One Minute for more. Here's one entry and here's another for Plamaniacs. I leave you with a link to the transcript of the Plame hearing, from Raw Story, and an entertaining non-reported excerpt that fills in the blanks left by Goldstein's brief, vague citation of ranking Republican Tom Davis saying This looks to me more like a CIA problem than a White House problem:
REP. DAVIS: But you don't -- I mean, I think one of the issues here was not that you worked for the CIA, because that was obviously why they'd know you in the administration, but for the crime to have been committed, I understand they had to have known that you were covert. And you don't have any direct linkage that they knew that you were covert at that point.
MS. PLAME WILSON: Again, Congressman, I'm not a lawyer, but as I said at my --
REP. DAVIS: You don't have any direct knowledge that --
MS. PLAME WILSON: No.
REP. DAVIS: Okay.
MS. PLAME WILSON: But as I said in my opening comments, the fact that they knew that I worked for the CIA, that alone should have increased their level of diligence....
REP. DAVIS: I mean, it looked -- they're supposed to -- the CIA is supposed to report to Congress each year on the steps taken to protect this highly sensitive information. And I'm told few, if any, reports are even filed. So, I think there's a responsibility from the CIA. And I think what's missing, and I think -- at least from a criminal perspective -- not from a policy, but from a criminal perspective -- that the special prosecutor in this case looked at that and found that the people who may have been saying this didn't know that you were covert. And you don't have any evidence to the contrary.
MS. PLAME WILSON: That, I think, is a question better put to the special prosecutor, Congressman. [PostWatch note: After a 2 1/2-year fishing expedition, I think Patrick Fitzgerald has answered that question]
REP. DAVIS: Shouldn't the CIA have made sure that anyone who knew your name and your work be told of your status? Would that have been helpful in this case? That would have made it very clear if anybody leaked it at that point they were violating the law, at least.
MS. PLAME WILSON: The CIA does go to great lengths to create and protect all kinds of covers for its officers. There's a lot of money and a lot of time and a lot of energy that goes into that. And the onus also, the burden, falls on the officer himself or herself to live that cover, but it's not a perfect world.
REP. DAVIS: The Intelligence Identities Protection Act makes it a crime to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert agent, which has a specific definition under the act. Did anyone ever tell you that you were so designated?
MS. PLAME WILSON: I'm not a lawyer.
REP. DAVIS: That's why I asked if they told you. I'm not asking for your interpretation.
MS. PLAME WILSON: No, no. But I was covert. I did travel overseas on secret missions within the last five years.
REP. DAVIS: I'm not arguing with that. What I'm asking is, for purposes of the act -- and maybe this just never occurred to you or anybody else at the time -- but did anybody say that you were so designated under the act? Or was this just after it came to fact?
MS. PLAME WILSON: No, no one told me that. And that --
REP. DAVIS: How about after the disclosure?
MS. PLAME WILSON: Pardon me?
REP. DAVIS: How about after the disclosure, did anyone then say gee, you were designated under the act, this should not have happened? Did anybody in the CIA tell you at that point?
MS. PLAME WILSON: No.
Nobody told Plame. And nobody at the Post told us nobody told Plame.
Saturday Update: The subject of this post, Plame Rebukes Bush Administration, has been deleted online. The link now points to Plame Says Administration 'Recklessly' Revealed Her by Amy Goldstein. That story is blogged here.
What the Post forgets, Tom Maguire remembers:
Nagging at me - did the Times/WaPo/AP even mention that Ms. Plame is engaged in a civil suit against the objects of her testimony?
In William Branigan's Plame Rebukes Bush Administration, no. Maguire continues:
Does anyone else think that maybe that gives her a bit of an incentive to shade her testimony?
It is just possible.
Valerie Plame, the CIA officer whose leaked identity triggered a federal investigation that reached into the White House, today publicly refuted claims that she was not a covert employee and accused the White House and State Department of "carelessly and recklessly" destroying her cover for political purposes...
"I felt like I had been hit in the gut," Plame said of the moment she learned her name and agency affiliation had been published in a July 14, 2003, column by Robert D. Novak.
Practice makes perfect, Mrs Plame Wilson, though you may not get your chance to perform in front of a jury since the suit may well be thrown out.
Probably the biggest headline from Plame's testimony is her claim that she was in fact "covert." But as ably noted by Maguire, Victoria Toensing and others, it has never been documented that she was covert under the IIPA, else Patrick "perjury trap" Fitzgerald would have prosecuted somebody for it.
And no Wilson/Libby/Niger story would be complete if the Washington Post did not falsify the record on what Joe Wilson learned during his trip. Branigan upholds the tradition whose shortlist includes Howard Kurtz, Carol Leonnig, and Amy Goldstein. Take it away, Branigan:
Plame also testified that she played no part in deciding to send her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, on a mission to Niger in 2002 to assess the reliability of reports that Iraq's then-president, Saddam Hussein, was trying to buy yellowcake uranium from that country for use in a secret nuclear weapons program. Wilson found that the reports were baseless, but the information nevertheless made its way into Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech. Wilson later went public with strong criticism, writing in a newspaper opinion piece that the White House was twisting intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq.
I do wonder whether Plame "felt like she had been hit in the gut" when her husband risked her alleged super duper covertness by writing an Op-Ed attacking the Bush Administration. As for uranium, Niger, Joe Wilson, and selective memory syndrome, for now I will point you yet again to the Post editorial pages of March 7 and this one on Sept. 1, 2006:
...it now appears the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials.
And of course Susan Schmidt from July 10, 2004:
Wilson's assertions -- both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information -- were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.
The panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts...
Wilson's reports to the CIA added to the evidence that Iraq may have tried to buy uranium in Niger, although officials at the State Department remained highly skeptical, the report said.
Wilson said that a former prime minister of Niger, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, was unaware of any sales contract with Iraq, but said that in June 1999 a businessman approached him, insisting that he meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between Niger and Iraq -- which Mayaki interpreted to mean they wanted to discuss yellowcake sales.
Ignoring this another 20 times doesn't make it false, Posties. It makes you second-class reporters. Granted, with an excellent dental plan.
Sheesh, it's Second Amendment Week around these parts. Without much further ado, check out the continued non-positive reaction to Roanoke Times columnist Christian Trejbal's decision to post online a database of Virginia's concealed carry permit holders--addresses included. It's seen been pulled down; check out Michelle Malkin for a good rundown. And a bit earlier, there was some unncessary excitement in my fair city of Manassas when police confronted a small group of individuals openly carrying firearms in a restaurant since, to make a long story short, the law sorta encourages it--concealed carry is not permitted in establishments serving alcohol. The group was 100% law-abiding and at least one of the officers involved apparently didn't know that. Here is an account by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, an increasingly effective gun-rights organization. I'm unsure of where I come down as far as open carry is concerned, except to say I can think of situations where I'd advise against it. But for a while VCDL was hosting a video of the group's president, Philip Van Cleave, addressing the Manassas City Council about the incident, and his presentation was exceptionally well done. Here's a story in the Potomac News about the council meeting and the incident itself (via VCDL).Oh, and now that I found it, here's a "media page" that includes the video.
I haven't seen any Post coverage of these incidents, but mainly I'm posting them out of local interest.
There's a very sympathetic story Sunday by Elissa Silverman and Allison Klein, Plaintiffs Reflect on Gun Ruling, kind of a mini-profile of some of the plaintiffs in the case that prompted the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down the city's ban on home ownership of loaded, functional guns. But we unfortunately revisit the term militia whose meaning the Post's editors and reporters believe is obvious. Silverman and Klein:
The court ruling hinged on the Second Amendment, which states, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
The District said the amendment applies solely to militias -- a position endorsed in the past by all but one of the nation's federal appeals courts.
Well, as we said recently, what's a militia? It's not just that, as defined in a now-deleted online story and the one that appeared in print on Saturday. As Eugene Volokh noted, four current meanings include:
1. a body of citizens enrolled for military service, and called out periodically for drill but serving full time only in emergencies.
2. a body of citizen soldiers as distinguished from professional soldiers.
3. all able-bodied males considered by law eligible for military service.
4. a body of citizens organized in a paramilitary group and typically regarding themselves as defenders of individual rights against the presumed interference of the federal government.
And then there's 5, as Volokh added:
Incidentally, if the question is whether "militia" in the Second Amendment means just something like the National Guard, that's one thing that the Supreme Court has resolved: The signification attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense." (Today, after the Court's sex equality cases under the Fourteenth Amendment, it would likely include women, too.) The Militia Act of 1792 took a similar view, as does the currently effective Militia Act.
The Post really needs to brush up on this (And the Volokh commenters who thought "just that" in earlier stories was an unadorned reference to the District's contention that the Second Amendment secures a right only to those in organized state militias are certainly wrong. That's what the Post thinks it means too, a construction that has no place in a straight news story).
The other problem is here:
Alan Gura, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys, said the residents who brought the suit are just like many District residents who want to feel safe and secure in their homes. They believe the Second Amendment gives them the right to possess a gun for that purpose...
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in their favor Friday with a 2 to 1 vote that found the Second Amendment gives them the right to have handguns in their homes.
No right is "given" here. The Second Amendment--and I think more broadly, the Bill of Rights--informs the world of pre-existing rights that the government is not authorized to seize. Defending your own life is about as elemental and pre-existing as it gets, which is why we have a Second Amendment and also why it's not called the Bill of Privileges.
Update: Thanks for the link from Tom Maguire at Instapundit. Two observations: Extra props to Tom for reading all the way through this post to find the fun part. Also, thank goodness I spell-checked "privileges."
I will also take advantage of this Instalanche (hey it still counts, I don't care what you say about Tom) by encouraging any slackers to reacquaint themselves with Soccer Dad, who has a bright new redesign and tackles the Washington Post's record on Daylight Saving Time. This is what we call a distributed attack on mainstream media.
Update Update: David Hardy stops by to comment about early thinking about age and the militia, and aptly reminds us he's released a documentary available on DVD called In Search of the Second Amendment. Interesting angle on promotion: As of March 31, 2007, any purchaser of this DVD is given a non-exclusive license to show it on local cable access television. Any purchaser is also licensed, as of this moment, to show it to groups, meetings, and at fundraising events, and to donate it to libraries and schools. Libraries and schools are freely licensed to circulate it and show it to classes.