The Washington Post has announced the winners of its "2004 Best Blogs Readers' Choice Award" contest.
While I congratulate National Review's The Corner for its victory in category after category, I think the Post would do well to limit each blog to a single category or have a much more open nominations process (I believe the Post itself picked the nominees), which would, most likely, have the same effect. When one blog wins 50 percent of the ten categories (National Review's The Corner), and another (Instapundit) receives two of the five remaining, it makes for an unnecessarily dull contest.
I'd add a few more categories, too. The Post contest focused on -- mostly -- electoral political blogs. There are other issues covered by many wonderful blogs -- health care/medicine, law, and family life, just to name a few. And quite a lot of personal blogs, some of which are quite excellent.
Personally, I'm very interested in politics, but very many people -- and bloggers -- are not. I hope these (possibly more well-rounded) individuals can be included in the contest next time.
NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi takes a look at his television schedule, and finds fodder for a conversation about equal time:
Sinclair Broadcasting took it on the chin for wanting to show a POW documentary considered by some to be overly critical of John Kerry. They claimed Sinclair was showing an overt bias and wanted to influence the election.
Perhaps these critics will now turn their scorn on cable's Sundance Channel. To follow is their scheduled Bush-bashing line-up for election eve (11/1/04):
UNPRECEDENTED: THE 2000 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
directed by Richard Ray Perez and Joan Sekler
As the pundits said repeatedly on election night 2000, "It all comes down to Florida." However, as documented in this film by Joan Sekler and Richard Ray Perez, incompetence and petty corruption were altering the final tally from the moment the Sunshine State's polls opened. Citing a suspicious pattern of irregularities, injustices and purges of African-Americans from the voter records, the filmmakers present a provocative piece of advocacy journalism that -- contrary to suggestions to "just get over it" -- prompts outrage.
UNCOVERED: THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT THE IRAQ WAR
directed by Robert Greenwald
Filmmaker Robert Greenwald, creator of the 2000 election expose Unprecedented, considers the Bush administration's case for the Iraq War and finds among the alarmist rhetoric little supporting evidence to back it up. Revealing news clips and interviews with intelligence veterans -- including Scott Ritter, Clare Short and Joseph Wilson -- make the case that the Bush administration misled the world with dubious statements, empty innuendoes and unchallenged untruths. "A devastating analysis" - Senator Edward Kennedy.
UNCONSTITUTIONAL: THE WAR ON OUR CIVIL LIBERTIES
directed by Nonny de la Pena
Producer Robert Greenwald (UNCOVERED; OUTFOXED) and filmmaker Nonny de la Pena present a devastating account of the erosion of American liberties following the passage of the USA Patriot Act in 2001. First-hand testimony and commentary from noted public figures -- ranging from Professor David Cole and the American Civil Liberties Union's Anthony Romero to former congressman Robert Barr -- recount unprecedented searches, abusive ethnic profiling and covert surveillance of political organizations, enacted under the guise of national security.
When Karl Rove gives a public interview, he projects an affable personality and downplays any speculation about his powerful influence in the Bush White House. But as recounted in this documentary by Michael Paradies Shoob and Joseph Mealey, the Texan political operative is far from a supporting player. Tracing Rove's rise to power, BUSH'S BRAIN alleges a shady history of campaign dirty tricks, including scurrilous smears against past Bush foes like Ann Richards and John McCain. "Darkly comical, seriously scary" - Variety.
THE AL FRANKEN SHOW
Humorist and best-selling author Al Franken and guests present a fearlessly irreverent commentary on the political events of the day in this daily program.
I've added several new blogs to my blogroll today, one of which has a unique reason to exist: It reports exclusively upon errors, clarifications and trends regarding honesty and accuracy in the North American press.
Interesting idea for a blog, and one which should keep the editor, Craig Silverman, quite busy.
The All-Encompassingly blog compares one professor's description of his experience working with teachers in Karbala, Iraq, with CNN coverage of events in that city.
Linking to this is probably pointless, since Drudge and Instapundit have linked to it already, but the Guardian newspaper in Britain has published a column that ends with a call for the assassination of President Bush.
On November 2, the entire civilised [sic] world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?Note the presumably unintended irony of calling for assassination and ruing bloodshed in the same sentence.
Remind me again why the left believes itself morally superior to the right. I'm having trouble remembering.
Addendum: The Daily Ablution, a British blog that was one of the very first blogs ever to link to mine (a fond memory), has contact information for the assassination advocate and his "editor."
Hat tip: Tim Blair.
Addendum 2: CNSNews.com reports on the blogging community's response to the Guardian article and an apology from the article's author.
I laughed out loud at this post about receding hairlines in Right Journal.
Reminds me of something my husband David says whenever anyone remarks that our son Jonathan has David's hair: "So that's where it went!"
The Daily Recycler says the new Bush-Cheney ad featuring wolves is better than the 1984 Reagan-Bush "bear in the woods" ad.
I respectfully disagree.
Bush-Cheney's "wolves" is a nice ad, but it is less ambitious than "bear in the woods" and achieves less.
Bush's "wolves" makes a point about John Kerry.
Reagan's "bear" made a point about national security that transcended Reagan v. Mondale. Indeed, if the Cold War hadn't ended, "bear in the woods" could still be run today, unaltered.
In the 1980s, Reagan faced an organized left-wing that was trying to convince the American people that the Soviet Union was not a real threat. "Bear in the woods" calmly and succinctly and ever-so-reasonably demolished the notion that America would be safe with a President who accepted this naive notion.
Bush faces a lower hurdle. The public overwhelmingly believes terrorists pose a threat. What we debate now -- largely -- is the best approach to facing the threat. The Bush ad criticizes Kerry directly, while the Reagan ad never mentioned Mondale, or any particular legislation or decision by anyone. The Soviets weren't even mentioned by name. It was a statement of philosophy only, illustrated through nature -- yet, everyone knew exactly what the Reagan campaign was talking about. Very difficult to pull off; yet flawlessly accomplished.
This Bush ad communicates extremely well what its creators intended to communicate. It also is very pretty to look at. But it is not better than the Reagan '84 "bear in the woods" ad. No insult intended.
Note: I blogged about the bear in the woods ad on October 8, and provided a link in that post to a website of old presidential campaign TV commercials, where you can view "bear in the woods" and many, many other campaign commercials from days gone by.
Addendum: Jeff at The Shape of Days addresses this same point and reaches the same conclusion. Frankly, though, Jeff's post on this is a lot better than mine. (Sigh.) Read to the end of his post to see his script suggestion for a true "bear in the woods" Bush ad. It sent shivers down my spine.
Project 21 is announcing that member Deroy Murdock ha a new website:
HUSSEINandTERROR.com Website Details Ties Between Saddam Hussein and Terrorism
Links between former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and international terrorists - including Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda - are documented on a new Internet website created by columnist Deroy Murdock, a member of the Project 21 black leadership network.
Murdock, who also is a media fellow with Stanford University's Hoover Institution, created the website HUSSEINandTERROR.com based on a September 22, 2004 presentation he delivered at Hoover. It contains footnoted sources and over 60 visual images proving Hussein's support of terrorism.
According to Murdock: "Saddam Hussein knew plenty about terrorism. In essence, he owned and operated a full-service general store for global terrorists, complete with cash, diplomatic aid, safe haven, training and even medical attention. Such assistance violated United Nations Security Council Resolution 687. The results not only broke international law, but also were deadly... The public evidence of Saddam Hussein's cooperation with and support for global terrorists is abundant and clear. The Baathist government's contacts and collaboration with terrorists in general, al Qaeda in particular, and even the September 11 conspirators should make all American highly grateful that President Bush led an international effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power."
Included among the evidence presented on HUSSEINandTERROR.com:* Photographs of "President Saddam Hussein Grants" of $25,000 to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.Murdock adds: "This new web page presents facts and figures, names, dates and places. Saddam Hussein's philanthropy of terror was reason enough for America and over 30 allied nations to remove Hussein from power. Even absent the presence of weapons of mass death, President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the other Coalition leaders and the valiant troops who serve under them deserve the civilized world's applause for having deposed a genuine terrorist regime."
* How Iraq provided diplomatic support and safe haven for terrorists such as Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas and 1993 World Trade Center bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin.
* How medical aid was provided to al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi, and how terrorists were schooled at the Salman Pak training camp in Iraq.
* The scoop on Czechoslovakian intelligence officials' assertions that Iraqi diplomat Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani met with September 11 conspirator Mohamed Atta.
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, has been a leading voice in the black community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 371-1400 x 106, e-mail Project21@nationalcenter.org or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.
This review of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s new book by the invaluable Walter Olson is very nearly a sidesplitter.
Sample: "...Kennedy's jackhammer style leaves one yearning for Michael Moore's suavity, Molly Ivins' balance and Paul Krugman's lightness of touch."
Hat tip to Jonathan Adler on The Commons Blog.
Right Journal makes a good point about Fox's Bill O'Reilly.
I agree. If Bill O'Reilly were a conservative, I wouldn't have had occasion to write this, nor this.
As O'Reilly himself makes clear -- often -- on his show, he has some views that are associated with conservatives and others that are associated with liberals. Environmental issues appear to be among those on which he generally sides with the left.
The environmentalists whose views O'Reilly parrots have an unreservedly pro-regulation agenda that is completely incompatible with the free-market economy under which this nation has prospered. Such an endorsement of socialism -- however qualified it may be by O'Reilly's more conservative views on other issues, such as tax rates or abortion -- disqualifies one from the distinction of being called a true conservative.
Would we call an advocate of socialized medicine a conservative, even if the individual was pro-life? No. O'Reilly's views on the environment likewise disqualify him.
Frankly, it is pretty clear that O'Reilly's market positioning constrains him, at least at present and wholly within his own mind, from publicly adopting a consistent political ideology. O'Reilly doesn't want to be too closely identified with either side. (What more proof is needed that O'Reilly is, first and foremost, a professional media personality?)
But, now that O'Reilly's facing some legal challenges, expect the mainstream media to call him a conservative -- nearly every time it mentions him.
Should O'Reilly ever throw himself in front of a bus to save a baby, however, the word "conservative" will never come up.
Little Red Blog tells the appalling story of how hard it was for the United Nations to rouse itself even to condemn the cold-blooded murder of innocent little children in Beslan.
I long ago called for the United States to leave the United Nations. Now I suggest that Russia join us.
Since April, by my count, blogs and websites have quoted and/or linked to comments sent to this blog by Army Spc. Joe Roche in Iraq at least 286 times.
As it is possibly the most favorable profile of a human being I have ever read in a newspaper, I guess it would be churlish of me to express regrets that Stars and Stripes did not mention the role of the blogosphere in the story of how so many Americans stateside read and heard Joe's views these past months. After all, 286 blogs is quite a few, and I know Joe appreciates every single one of them (well, maybe not the coverage by Democrats.com).
So I won't. Here, then, is the Stars and Stripes article:
A 'Professor' in a Class by HimselfBack on April 7, Democrats.com expressed doubt that Joe could be real:
GIESSEN, Germany - Guys like Joseph Roche don't enlist every day.
In fact, his story is so novel that, at first, some of his colleagues didn't know what to make of this man from Minnesota.
His age, education, demeanor, globe-trotting ways and olive-colored skin (his father is from India) raised eyebrows and got folks whispering. Some suspected Roche of being an Army undercover agent. Others thought he could even be a member of an al-Qaida sleeper cell.
"There were a lot of guys who were wondering," Roche said. "I would tell them: 'I am what you see.' "
For the last two years - and for the next two - Roche has been a member of the U.S. Army. It is a calling that came relatively late in life, but one the cerebral college graduate felt he had to answer.
"He barely made [the deadline]," said Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Adelmann, the Minnesota recruiter who brought Roche into the fold.
Roche, who turns 37 next month, joined the Army just before his 35th birthday, the cutoff for new enlistees. Six months later he was in Iraq as a member of the 16th Engineer Battalion, based in Giessen.
During his 14-month tour to the Middle East, Roche distinguished himself in common and uncommon ways.
Supervisors note that Roche always accepted whatever job was given him. "There was never a complaint," Staff Sgt. Ezrah Brown said, "Never. Not once."
Brown, a 12-year veteran of the Army, called Roche "one of the best [soldiers] I've ever seen."
About the only time Roche did complain - sort of - was earlier this year, when he wrote an eloquent letter to Stars and Stripes to counter the "bad news" coming out of Iraq. In it, he asked his fellow Americans "to keep the faith."
The letter, which ran in the Be Our Guest section of the April 4 Sunday magazine, would soon endear him to tens of thousands of people, from his buddies in Baghdad to radio announcers back home, such as Rush Limbaugh, to the man who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
"Our troops know the historic importance of our work [in Iraq]," President Bush said in his acceptance speech last month at the Republican National Convention. "One Army specialist wrote home: 'We are transforming a once-sick society into a hopeful place. The various terrorist enemies we are facing in Iraq are really aiming at you back in the United States. This is a test of will for our country. We soldiers of yours are doing great and scoring victories in confronting the evil terrorists.'
"That young man is right. Our men and women in uniform are doing a superb job for America," the president said.
After the speech, the president's staff sent an autographed copy of the speech to Roche, something he proudly produced during a recent visit to his apartment in Giessen.
"I said things people needed to hear and wanted to hear," he said.
Speaking out publicly is something Roche has grown accustom to since junior high school.
As a young teen in Minneapolis, Roche spearheaded petition drives and gave political speeches on subjects such as prayer in schools and aid for the Nicaraguan contras.
After high school, Roche moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked for seven years on conservative campaigns and issues. Eventually he returned to his roots to attend the University of Minnesota, earning a history degree.
"Talk to him about history, and you can learn so much," Brown said.
Before departing for Iraq, the staff sergeant gave Roche a nickname: the professor. While Roche's knowledge extends well beyond history, it is his forte, enough so that his superiors asked him before the unit deployed to brief younger soldiers about the intricacies of Iraq and the Middle East.
"He reminds me of the professor on 'Gilligan's Island,' " Brown said, referring to the popular '60s television show.
During the war, Roche was the driver for 1st Lt. Andrew Bischoff, then a platoon commander in Company C.
Bischoff described Roche as a shy, hard-working guy who is respected as much for his humility as for his knowledge.
"I've never seen anybody like him," Bischoff said. "People like that sometimes come across as arrogant."
Both now chuckle over how they would discuss current events and history as they drove around on missions. As they scanned the horizon for bad guys and improvised explosive devices, subjects such as the merits of the Prussian empire would help break the tension.
"It was like an interactive history channel," Bischoff said.
Over the years, Roche has held a variety of jobs: bus boy, hotel manager, police dispatcher and security cop. Prior to joining the Army, he spent a year in Israel with Sar-El, a nonprofit, nonpolitical volunteer organization.
Roche was in Israel on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists struck New York City and the Pentagon. Roche, who is not Jewish, figured if he could give of himself in Israel, he should do the same for his homeland.
Upon his return, he walked into Adelmann's office and declared his intention to enlist. A year later, as the clock was winding down, Roche followed through.
Adelmann, who spoke by telephone from his office near the University of Minnesota campus, said he would never forget Roche.
"Most people are like: 'What's in it for me? How much money can I get for college? How much of a bonus do I qualify for?' " he said.
"Joe just wanted to join."
Rightwing Front Groups Disseminating Tokyo Rose-Type Propaganda as Our Soldiers DieI think the existence of Joe is now totally verified.
The National Center for Public Policy Research and other NeoCon front groups have been disseminating the following piece of propaganda this week as our soldiers die -- an essay entitled "Keep the Faith: A Letter from Iraq," allegedly by a soldier with the U.S. Army serving in the 16th Combat Engineer Battalion.." Progress is amazing.... Every day the Iraqi people stream out into the streets to cheer and wave at us as we drive by. When I'm on a foot patrol, walking among a crowd, countless people thank us -- repeatedly.... This is why you hear bad news and may be receiving an incorrect picture... The reality is one of an ever-increasing defeat of the enemies we face..." etc. ad nauseum. We challenge soldiers with the 16th Engineers to verify the existence of a Joe Roche in their ranks...we suspect if there is, he may not realize he "wrote" this essay (remember the bogus letters sent to papers that had soldiers' names falsely signed to them?
Congratulations to Joe on this coverage in Stars and Stripes, and thanks again to all those in the blogosphere, talk radio and newspapers who shared Joe's words of optimism about America's mission in Iraq this year. And even more thank to those of you who participated in the still-ongoing care packages project inspired by Joe.
Vladimir Putin certainly is an interesting fellow.
Recently, for example, in a move widely seen as isolating to President Bush, Putin announced he would send the Kyoto global warming treaty to the Russian Duma for ratification.
A Putin-Bush split? Not so fast. Putin made statements Monday that have widely been seen as a virtual endorsement of President Bush's re-election.
So are Bush and Putin on the same page, or off it?
Canadian scientist Dr. Tim Ball appears to lean toward the former. In a letter published in the October 18 (Canadian) National Post, Dr. Ball writes, in part:
Vladimir Putin may not be in favor of Kyoto at all... By referring the treaty to the State Duma lower house, the ex-KGB spy may very well have set up a situation where Kyoto can still be killed without having to take the blame himself.Addendum (10/22/04): It look like Dr. Ball was a bit too optimistic.
In fact, there is strong opposition in the Russian parliament to the protocol and Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has already predicted tough Duma battles ahead.
Certainly the Duma would have plenty of high profile support if they rejected Kyoto. Besides the April, 2004, conclusion of the Duma's committees for ecology, the economy and international affairs that "Ratification is inexpedient given the U.S. pullout and the non-participation of many countries ...", climate experts across Russia and around the world have spoken out loudly against Kyoto on scientific grounds.
So, Putin sends Kyoto to the Duma who eventually reject it. Putin then sorrowfully explains, "I did my best but in a democracy you can't overrule the people."
...I hope this is Putin's plan. Kyoto is an enormous mistake and Russia would be doing the world an important service by killing it for good.
Enviropundit reviews the joint resolution to authorize the use of United States armed forces against Iraq with an eye to determining, with 20-20 hindsight, if the justifications hold up.