Friday, February 28, 2003
HE MAY NOT GET NOMINATED, BUT HE�D SURE AS HELL KICK SULLIVAN ALL THE WAY BACK TO HYANNISPORT:
Not that we�re fans of Sharpton�s either, but Sullivan showed his usual laziness in explaining Big Al to his British readers.
First, in describing the Tawana Brawley incident, he states it as a given that the incident was �fabricated.�
It's fairer to say that the state of New York pretty much decided that, in a special grand jury report that remains sealed. Tawana herself has never backed down, and there has been some evidence over the intervening years, not widely reported, that lends some credence to some aspects of her story (But that's not for this blog, we've decided).
And Sharpton was not convicted of defaming Stephen Pagones; it was a civil suit and thus he was found liable. That�s the kind of inattention to a basic detail that most reporters only have to hear once from an editor conscious of the cost of having to humbly apologize or settle a lawsuit (in fact, the very sort of thing you�d think that, after Ruth Shalit, Sullivan would be well aware of).
As for whether Sharpton�s tiff with Mark Green right before the 2001 election cost that old warrior the mayoralty he had long craved and may well not be finished seeking, well, we also seem to remember that Green�s election-eve smear ad on Bloomberg over his advice to a pregnant staffer may have also had a bit to do with it.
But overall the article repeats an unfortunate bit of unconscious U.S. media racism � Democrats are held accountable for losing white votes by being the party of Jesse Jackson and Cynthia McKinney, yet Republicans are never similarly rapped (ahem) for being the party of Trent Lott and Earl Butz.
If anything, the real story here is that Democrats have a broader racial base, something that threatens Republican long-term prospects in more areas of the country than most of that party realizes as the country gets more pluralistic.
And the natural question is, why are the Republicans such colossal failures in their attempt to capture even a definable segment of the African-American vote?
posted by Sully 2/28/2003 02:03:00 AM
BLOGGING HAS BEEN AT HARVARD FOR QUITE SOME TIME, ACTUALLY:
Here. And here.
We�re sure there are others.
posted by Sully 2/28/2003 01:44:00 AM
AFGHANISTAN HAS GONE TO HELL:
Kabul, unsurprisingly, is doing well, as the Post story he links to tells us.
But that�s not really news. In most such nations, the capital city is the first to recover.
The real test, however, is how well things go in the provinces.
And in Afghanistan, a nation where central government has been a joke since the Soviet invasion, it's especially critical that what Kabul gets, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif should at least think they have a shot at.
The Horse points us to this op-ed the Post ran today, which paints a different picture.
[T]he groundwork is being laid in Afghanistan for a regime that may be almost as repressive as the Taliban, particularly with regard to religious freedom. This is occurring with consent and, in some cases, help from the United States. When President Bush meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai today, he should tell him that it is essential to entrench freedom, not its enemies.
There are disturbing reports that an extreme and strict interpretation of Islamic law, or sharia, is being nurtured in the post-Taliban era. Moreover, attempts are being made to include some of the harshest and most discriminatory elements of sharia in the new constitution and judicial system. The notorious Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which enforced religious conformity and meted out harsh punishments under the Taliban, has reemerged in a supposedly gentler guise. Abuses against women and girls continue, apparently with the support of police and the courts. Women and girls finally have the opportunity to go to school, but recent attacks and threats against schools for girls are keeping many away.
Religious freedom and other international human rights protections, particularly for Afghan women and girls, must be guaranteed in Afghanistan�s new constitution. A draft of the constitution is expected early next month in preparation for Afghanistan�s national assembly, or loya jirga, this year. Women�s rights reportedly are being ignored, as are equal rights for religious minorities. The new constitution may lessen the human rights protections of the 1964 constitution, which declared: �The people of Afghanistan, without any discrimination or preference, have equal rights and obligations before the law.� If efforts to impose a strict reading of sharia are left unchecked and unopposed, a woman�s testimony in court will be counted as only half that of a man.
Funny that Sullivan, who never fails to upbraid gay-rights groups over tolerance for sharia, seems not to think its re-emergence in Afghanistan has any bearing on the Administration�s credibility in assuring post-war Iraqi democracy, or indeed any relevance to him.
Several key cabinet posts have gone to leaders or members of extremist groups or ruthless warlord factions. Some of these appointments were made on the advice of the U.S. government.
Since 1999, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent federal agency, has opposed egregious violations of religious freedom in Afghanistan. Contrary to common perceptions, vigilance on these matters is still needed under the Karzai government.
Remember, give them a free market and it does the rest. Right?
posted by Sully 2/28/2003 01:36:00 AM
REVEALING OBSESSION WATCH:
Five, count �em, five posts on that Harvard snowcock story.
Alterman was being nice.
Oh, and apparently the ice in Provincetown also deserves a photo mention.
posted by Sully 2/28/2003 01:20:00 AM
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
THE GOOSE AND THE GANDER:
Can we see, in Sullivan�s flimsy attempt to again associate antiwar sentiment with opposition to Bush, a phenomenon that he once was part of but now acts as if it came from outer space (see link on the side), the implicit admission that most of the hawks support this war primarily because it�s a Bush war?
We don�t recall some of these same voices being all that wild about, say, the Kosova war, or any of Clinton�s strikes at Iraq in the 1990s. Indeed, Atrios noted yesterday just how recently it was that the rhetoric of today�s war protests came out of the maw of the whole Clinton-hating crew.
Did anyone, at that time, call these people anti-Americans who were just using the war to further their political goals of removing Clinton from office? We don�t recall any of today�s sunshine patriots making that charge.
No, they were opposed to the war because they didn�t trust the president who led them to it. And as much as most of us couldn�t stand them and hated to see them wrap their putrid cause in the flag, we respected their right to feel that way.
Because we knew, somehow, that we�d need the same argument ourselves someday. And how! Everything Bush has done that could make you doubt his credibility, he has. By the standards Clinton was held to by the same sort of people for whom GW can do no wrong, he should have been �forever barred from any office of trust, honor or profit� a long time ago.
But perhaps the antiwar protests have had some effect: Sullivan at least seems to be realizing that this is a not-insignificant portion of public opinion and that it could cause some problems for his beloved Maximum Leader down the line.
THE REAL FIFTH COLUMN:
Atrios again has the story on who we should really be watching for as they attempt to help out al-Qaeda.
STEALTH EDITING WATCH:
The post about Islamism as a totalitarian religious faith lacked the bit about Franco last night when we first reviewed it.
posted by Sully 2/26/2003 10:22:00 AM
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
DID HE ACTUALLY WRITE THIS?:
[Saddam�s] gambit now is therefore to do as much damage to his enemy as possible before his inevitable demise. That means diplomatic damage, by coaxing the anti-Americans, France and Germany, out of their post-cold-war closet, wrecking the U.N., and splitting NATO and the EU. And no doubt it will also mean the deployment of whatever chemical and biological weapons he may have � against allied soldiers and the �Zionist entity.�
Try now to square Smalltown Boy�s contention that Bush and Blair will emerge �principled and triumphant� with this scenario and everything written here.
First, Sullivan seems to think, all evidence to the contrary, that Israel (and what purpose is served by using Saddam�s propaganda term, even in sarcastic quote marks?) won�t retaliate. Just about every hawk seems confident that, even if they admit this possibility as Sullivan does, that we won�t find ourselves with the Middle East War To End All Middle East Wars. What if, even if Iraq be subjugated and Saddam deposed, Israel is so badly damaged that it cannot survive in any way, shape or presently recognizable form? It would be truly ironic if the most pro-Likud administration in U.S. history is the one that starts the process in motion that proves the Satmar and all the other sects right that believe a true Jewish state requires the Messiah�s coming.
And even if that front stays quiet, what if Kim Jong Il, the spurned would-be-girlfriend-turned-stalker of international tyrants, picks the day before or the day after the Iraq war starts to invade or attack the South? With nukes? The possibility of Seoul and other cities lying in radioactive ruin because Dubya was too obsessed with legitimating his rule through a cheap, pointless military victory (as if Afghanistan somehow did not represent that? Actually, no ... it wasn�t pointless) spells �destructive legacy� to us.
And the ruination of all those international organizations? Wasn�t that something Sully himself was advocating just a couple of weeks ago?
We�r starting to have trouble even using that �objectively� qualifier anymore.
posted by Sully 2/25/2003 10:20:00 AM
THE U.N. AND IRRELEVANCE:
Just to make one thing perfectly clear about this argument that �The U.N. must enforce its own resolutions and therefore do what President Bush says it should.�
Sully and the other warbloggers have never considered the effect on the U.N.�s relevance of the U.S. basically deciding it will do what it wants whatever course the U.N. decides to take means that the U.N. is already irrelevant. And it�s entirely the fault of the Bush Administration and its overbearing neocons.
There�s a post out here on this somewhere. We�ll try to find it.
posted by Sully 2/25/2003 09:52:00 AM
Monday, February 24, 2003
WELL, THAT�S WHAT WE�RE HERE FOR:
Quiddity Quack on how far Sullivan has fallen.
posted by Sully 2/24/2003 09:21:00 PM
We�re not sure but we think that in our recent item about Sully�s non-coverage of the error-prone Times reviewing of Susan McDougal�s The Woman Who Wouldn�t Talk we referred to Ms. McDougal as having worked for Andre Previn at one point.
We should have said Zubin Mehta. Not that anyone called us on it, but we regret the error.
posted by Sully 2/24/2003 09:15:00 PM
STRAY BRITISH-ISM WATCH:
A recent email gently reminded us that the �focussing� spelling we kidded The Sage of South Goodstone about may be one of the remaining Britishisms in his writing.
That may be, but in that case we�d like to remind our dear Sully that it�s not quite compatible with one�s declared American-ness (to the point of taking accent reduction classes) to refer to those thin metal (at least in this country) things on the rear and (in some states) front ends of vehicles that are usually made by convicts and carry numbers that allow the vehicle to be traced to a person as �number plates� as they do across the pond.
The correct Americanism is �licence plates� � oops, �license plates.�
posted by Sully 2/24/2003 09:12:00 PM
Jim Capozzola cuts through the bull on Smalltown Boy�s recent attack on Tina Brown:
But Sullivan was merely establishing a hypothetical, you say. It�s not as if he were actually saying those things. Yeah, right. If you buy that I have a used copy of Slander for you. This isn�t just his latest bout of the �maidenly vapors.� Sullivan ratcheted up the insults using some of the most venomous, bilious, and misogynist language I�ve encountered in years.
We�ve sort of noticed this phenomenon too, whereby in his hypothetical what-if-a-conservative-said he often seems as serious as the writer he�s supposedly condemning.
Well, here�s our spin on Jim�s theory.
posted by Sully 2/24/2003 09:06:00 PM
�NO ONE�S WATCHING ANYMORE�:
Raines knows whereof he speaks. We thought you could skip the second half of this one, too.
posted by Sully 2/24/2003 08:59:00 PM
IN IRAN, IN IRAN SO FAR AWAY ...:
We�d support the use of U.S. forces in Iran, too ... because of the recent reports that Osama�s son is hiding out there.
In fact, Hesiod, from whence this came, wonders why the Bush Administration isn�t doing this, as military action would be entirely consistent with the resolution Congress passed right after 9/11 and would thus enjoy wide diplomatic support and the backing of the American people (who, come on, have been spoiling to invade Iran since the hostage crisis).
But Bush would rather be successful than right.
posted by Sully 2/24/2003 08:56:00 PM
ARE YOU SUGGESTING THAT SWALLOWS MIGRATE?:
If he wants to use that �Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse� meme to make cute, knowing Monty Python jokes, fine. But at least he ought to give Max Sawicky some credit for coming up with it in the first place, instead of linking to some obscure Estonian blog.
posted by Sully 2/24/2003 01:45:00 PM
NO PIECE TOO SHORT TO FISK:
I know it's a truism that Europeans weren't as affected by 9/11 as Americans were
Quite possibly because it happened in the U.S., yes, that could be part of it.
But wouldn't it be nice if they could get the frigging date right? It's only a year and a half ago.
Is this a tacit confession to his own �September 10� error of a few weeks ago?
posted by Sully 2/24/2003 01:21:00 PM
PROVINCETOWN 02657 CANCELED:
In the news we�ve been waiting to hear since September, Smalltown Boy has at long last decided to head back to Adams Morgan, depriving us of the opportunity to make jokes about him having Paul Shanley as a neighbor.
The interesting thing is the implicit reason why.
Was he sick of winter in a seaside town? Probably, but we somehow think that that can�t get down anyone who grew up in England too much, loony postings of Wallace Stevens notwithstanding.
Did all the �chickenhawk� taunts get to him? Perhaps, but he'd never admit it.
No, now we now what his real mission in P-town over the dark months was: to add on to his beachfront condo.
Two things stand out about this:
First, now we know the real reason he wanted to raise money in December, despite making (by his admission) $6,000 a month for a year in which he took almost all August off from blogging.
If we were the sort of people who contributed money to that effort, we�d seriously be considering demanding our money back. To solicit money for one purpose and use it for another is at best misleading, at worst fraudulent (but, of course, on a par with Sullivan�s amply demonstrated lack of ethics); fungibility shmungibility. Come on Sully, judging by your letters page, you have enough suck-up fans out there who would contribute money no matter what you asked for that you could be honest about it!
Of course, maybe they would also take note of his self-confessed scatterbrained inability to get the administrative aspect of the job done.
Getting permits and all for such a project is, of course, no (ahem) day at the beach � but millions of Americans manage to get it done every year despite holding down demanding full-time jobs.
But the fact that Sully couldn�t even manage �contractors, permits, plans [and] weather� is not likely to recommend him well to anyone considering giving him future employment as a magazine editor, a job which, even at a place like The New Republic, entails a similar juggling act ... and, in fact, sheds further light on just why he might have lost that job (Now one is tempted to look at the Shalit and Glass debacles differently).
Also, this development.
For the first time in our blogging life we have seen with our own eyes proof that he alters posts without copping to it.
Last night, we saw his latest posts about twenty minutes after they went up.
The entire bit about how he took that post-bar walk with the beagle on the beach and the ice on the water was just such a thrilling sight was not there as of 2 a.m. EST. We had wanted to blog about it then, but the repairs to Blogger kept us from doing so.
Now, ten hours later, suddenly it�s more poetic.
Like Jim Capozzola warned, posts on andrewsullivan.com are subject to change without notice.
Oh, and by the way, isn�t �Besides, I'd gotten a bad case of boyfriend withdrawal; and an even worse case of frozen, er, behind,� one of the most unfortunate choices of words you�ve ever read?
posted by Sully 2/24/2003 01:15:00 PM
Sunday, February 23, 2003
Roger Ailes gives Sullivan a reality check on Euroepan public opinion regarding the war:
Is European public opinion "monolithically anti-anti-Saddam?" Only in fantasyland.
According to a January 2003 EOS Gallup Europe poll of European residents, two-thirds of respondents said Iraq is a threat to world peace. 59 percent of respondents favored European military intervention if weapons of mass destruction were discovered in Iraq. And 56 percent of EU nation citizens surveyed favored military action if it was recommended by the UN Security Council.
Now there�s a continent speaking with one mind!
Sully may know his obelisks, but he's not too good on monoliths. Indeed, there are times he makes Fox and Friends look like Mensa.
posted by Sully 2/23/2003 04:19:00 PM
GETTING IT, WHATEVER YOU CALL IT:
TBogg on Sullivan�s sudden concern for Iraqi democracy:
Looks like Andy is starting to realize that he was promoted from �idiot� to �useful idiot� without his knowledge.
posted by Sully 2/23/2003 03:54:00 PM
Hmm. As if some of those leaders of Arab countries who want war are any better at democracy than Robert Mugabe?
posted by Sully 2/23/2003 03:41:00 PM
HE OWNS YOU, TOO:
So now making fun of Rupert Murdoch is out of bounds? Looks like we ought to stop watching The Simpsons. a few years
(By the way, if he wants full disclosure, he should remind his readers that Murdoch starting sucking up to the undemocratic leaders of Communist China in a big way a few years ago when he wanted into that country�s satellite TV market � dropping the BBC from his network after they ran a report which displeased the bosses in Beijing, canning Chris Patten�s memoir of his last days as Hong Kong governor, and even dragging the New York Post�s editorial page into uncharacteristic timidity when the Chinese held American military men and women hostage for a few weeks. Where is Sullivan�s condemnation of that suckup to dictators?)
posted by Sully 2/23/2003 03:39:00 PM
Oh come on ... taking pot shots at Graydon Carter�s very Canadian tendency to suck up to the British aristocracy is a little too easy, but then again it is a weekend.
In any event, we�d be remiss if we didn�t point out that the suggestion that the Cambridge traitors were heroic in the quotation in question is not the writer�s, but the quoted actor�s.
And to suggest that it was the espionage of four (or five, as has long been believed) Englishmen that propped up Stalin is a little much. Yes, Philby did a lot both before and after defecting; but Stalin in the 1930s was propped up by his own secret police, and the cult of personality, to such an extent that even an uncompromised British intelligence service would not have been able to bring it down.
posted by Sully 2/23/2003 03:31:00 PM