Saturday, May 01, 2004
OLD EUROPE, NEW EUROPE AND LONG MEMORIES:
We knew George Cerny would eventually link to this Times piece (not least because it interviews someone who, for all we know, may be a distant relative of his). While he was understandably dismissive, this graf caught our eye:
“As with all identities, the easiest way to create an identity is to create it as against something else,” said Adam Pulchart, 26, who is working toward a master’s degree in European studies at Charles University in Prague. “The rudimentary European identity I have is formed against the United States, against the image of America as the new imperialist superpower that regards everything that happens in the world in the context of its own national interest.”
American patriotism, particularly in the Bush era and particularly to skeptical, war-weary Europeans, feels uncomfortably reminiscent of the Soviet rhetoric of old, touching off the same reflex of opposition.
“I remember all of this from the Russians, the same treatment of history,” said Tereza Spencerova, 39, who writes for the Czech weekly magazine Mlady Svet.
Ms. Spencerova recently heard a long joke about Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and a hapless student who dared to ask an uncomfortable foreign policy question and then mysteriously vanished. She had heard more or less the same joke 15 years ago, she said, only with a Soviet official in place of Mr. Rumsfeld.
“Once Bush started the war against terrorism, he started to use strong language that was the same as what the Russians used, like, ‘Who is not for us is against us,’ ” Ms. Spencerova said, speaking in a hotel bar near Wenceslas Square. “Europeans get nervous when someone comes and says that his truth and his worldview are the only acceptable ones.”
As we’ve so often tried to remind Smalltown Boy ...
posted by Sully 5/01/2004 11:28:00 PM
A LITTLE LATE, BUT WORTH IT:
Roger Ailes joins the critique of the Kerry suck-up watch:
Only a lunatic would read the following as the work of a “liberal journalist,” desperate to “rescue” the Kerry campaign ...
But to which voters does Sully think this portrait of Kerry will appeal? Jelly lovers? Shareholders in Spectravision? Underpaid hotel workers who aren’t stupid enough to vote for Bush anyway? Sully hasn’t insulted liberals, he’s insulted the voting public who he imagines are as obsessed with trivialities as he is.
posted by Sully 5/01/2004 11:20:00 PM
GIVE SOME CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE, ANDREW:
Steve Mussina had that story about OFAC’s misplaced priorities a day earlier.
And really, this is the kind of thing that proves why particularly war supporters should be questioning whether this administration is the right one to protect us from terror for the next four years. Sullivan should see the significance of it ... instead, he sort of tries to bury it with faint promotion.
This isn’t an isolated slipup. Direction on these things comes from the top. This lack of focus is endemic to this administration.
posted by Sully 5/01/2004 11:16:00 PM
JAYSON BLAIR IN THE WEDDING DRESS?:
Looks like the eBay Wedding Dress Guy (as Larry Star will now forever be known) was both not telling all and telling some that wasn’t true:
Interviewers queried Star about the sister who urged him to auction off the $1,200 dress, the ex-wife who had once worn it and the children whom he thanked God they never had.
And that's where his funny story started to get a little serious.
Is there a sister? I asked him yesterday.
“Let’s just say we took some liberties,” Star said.
OK then. No sister.
And the ex-wife?
“You’re digging?” Star asked.
Yes, and it seems there’s actually two. The first, Jill, married him on May 22, 1994. They separated on Oct. 12, 1996, and divorced on Jan. 13, 1998.
As for the other, the one who owned the dress, the one with the “Texas cheerleader hair” and the “drunken sot” of a father?
“No contact with the ex-wife,” Star told me. “But she is in-state and I am sure I will get contacted because it is astronomical the way this thing has taken off.”
For the record, her name is Janell. Star married her on March 2, 2000, in Bath, England.
Their son was born in 2000.
But on eBay?
“Thank the Lord we didn’t have kids,” Star wrote. “If they would have turned out like her or her family I would have slit my wrists.”
Sorry, but there’s more: In June of 2001, Star was charged with domestic-violence assault in the fourth degree, and interfering with the reporting of domestic violence.
According to the police report, Star and his wife had an argument. He said she was “stressed out.” She threw something at him. He gathered up all the phones to keep her from calling the police (hence, the interfering charge).
When he turned to leave, she threw his guitar at him, breaking it. He pushed her. She fell and scraped her face.
They drove themselves to the police station to file a report, and formally separated within weeks.
The case was deferred on the condition that Star pay $150 and abide by a no-contact order. It was formally dismissed last June.
Since Sullivan quoted the bit about the sister, he ought to inform his readers that they were misinformed as well.
Since we linked to the page too, we feel you are owed this followup.
posted by Sully 5/01/2004 01:32:00 PM
BRING IT OFF:
George Cerny reminds Sullivan of other Onion headline stories this week.
posted by Sully 5/01/2004 10:23:00 AM
Just when you think Sully couldn’t have found a dumber person to email him, he finds someone who makes the last guy look a Rhodes Scholar:
Putting an “Iraqi face” on this operation will likely do a number of things, not the least of which is creating internal divisions within insurgent ranks. It’s one thing to “make jihad against American infidels” and quite another to start killing fellow Iraqis who are ostensibly trying to bring some semblance of order and peace.
If this guy had been following the news over the past year or so, he’d know that a) many of these Iraqis trained as army and police have frequently deserted, and in some cases joined the uprisings and b) no, most of the people taking up arms against us have not seen them as “fellow Iraqis who are ostensibly trying to bring some semblance of order and peace” but rather as collaborators.
UPDATE: Steve Gilliard sagely observes:
There is no government, no reason to join the security forces other than the police, and while it doesn’t get much play in the US media, there is a nasty, Iraq-wide stigma against working with the security forces. What amazes me is that no one connects the deaths and intimidation towards those who work for Americans with a general hostility in the society towards the occupation.
There is also the mistaken idea that Iraqis wouldn't kill other Muslims. Miles of graveyards in Iran prove differently. A Pakistani occupier is still an enemy to an Iraqi nationalist. Remember, there are over 10,000 Pakistani and Indian graves outside Basra from Britain's colonial wars. Thinking different is little better than a wet dream.
The Sunnis don’t much like the Americans but they undoubtedly hate the jihadis even more.
How nice. And just how does this person come to know that? Yes, the foreign jihaadis are resented, but they’re still Arabs. We’re not.
Fallujans may be Sunnis but they’re not idiots
So Sunni are inherently lacking in the intelligence department? This is one hawk we’re glad isn’t over there in uniform.
They know “Uncle Sugar” has deep pockets and they’d like a piece of the same action that the Shiites and Kurds are getting.
And so would the Shiites and Kurds, from what we’ve read. And also remember where those deep pockets come from ... you and the rest of us. And that these pockets are deep only because Bush forgot he ever campaigned as a fiscal conservative.
Buying people off, as we’re apparently doing now, has a long (if not totally honorable) history in the Middle East. We did it in Afghanistan and it has largely worked so why not try it in Iraq too?
It worked in Afghanistan? Tell that to Pat Tillman’s family.
posted by Sully 5/01/2004 10:12:00 AM
Friday, April 30, 2004
OK, HOW ABOUT WE TURN IT OVER TO A CRACK FORCE OF NEOCON ACADEMICS AND PUNDITS THEN, BECAUSE THEY’RE SO MUCH TOUGHER THAN EVEN ACTIVE-DUTY U.S. MARINES?:
Funny that two days after swelling with pride over the Marines in Fallujah, Sullivan is now tacitly questioning their fighting spirit.
We can’t wait to see the email he gets on this one. Why does he hate our troops so much?
But what else would you expect from one who has, in the past, equated those among whom he could not and did not serve with mere “servants”?
TBogg encapsulates this.
posted by Sully 4/30/2004 11:49:00 AM
Thursday, April 29, 2004
WHY DREZNER SHOULD TAKE OVER FOR SULLIVAN MORE FREQUENTLY:
Jo Fish notes the difference between what Drezner wrote and how Sullivan plays it.
So while Drezner is pointing out that the 1600 Crew is balancing on a political cliff, Andrew sees a landslide on the bodies of dead Americans and Iraqis. Typical Andrew, he’d never face danger himself but it’s sooo teddibly alright to send his hired help, especially if it keeps the man who hates him in office. Dissonance, what dissonance? Must have been the “percaset.”
posted by Sully 4/29/2004 09:11:00 AM
BUT DID HE READ THIS HED?:
Hey, Andrew, did you notice the hed on Packer’s piece? Think he was trying to make a point to any one blogger in particular?
posted by Sully 4/29/2004 01:00:00 AM
ANOTHER SPIN-POINT CIRCLING THE DRAIN:
Did Sullivan realize the implications of this when he typed it?
The centrifugal forces that Saddam was slowly failing to control were bound to have a period when they spun out of control.
Leave aside for a moment that this is another attempt to midwife a face-saving prowar meme. Look what this does to the fallback position for the war (that this was necessary to liberate the Iraqi people. The original position, that there were WMDs up the wazoo, isn’t even worth laughing at anymore). If Saddam was “slowly failing” to control these forces ... then his rule was doomed in any event and thus the US invasion was completely unnecessary.
Remember that when the Soviet Unions was “slowly failing” to control its disintegration, we just sat back and watched. We didn’t send tanks across the border. And the USSR collapsed. They may have problems aplenty they didn’t have before but they don’t blame us for causing them.
But don’t ever think the neocons will even attempt to explain this contradiction. After all, these are the same people who enthusiastically agreed that the Soviet Union was collapsing from within ... but at the same time it was so dangerous that we had to, absolutely had to, build ten times as many nukes as they did and fund every pissant guerilla group we could or else we’d be teaching Lenin in our schools in no time.
posted by Sully 4/29/2004 12:58:00 AM
HIS REAL MAN OF THE YEAR, EVERY YEAR:
Aside from the obvious points that a) people, even graduate students, on all sides of political issues write stupid, overreaching essays in college newspapers all the time and b) if the writer were better, he’d basically say something more along the lines of “Why is Pat Tillman being celebrated when many poorer kids who do the same thing but without having the choice of multimillion-dollar pro sports contracts to walk away from aren’t?" We’d also suggest that, as militant as one’s Puerto Rican militancy may be, trying to imply that the Taliban are “more Afghani” than we are and thus somehow more preferable ignores the fact that most Kabulis were a lot more genuinely thankful than their Baghdad counterparts when their oppressive government fell as well as the widely-resented Arab militias that supported the Taliban and c) Andrew Sullivan’s obsessive focus on things people say in Northeastern college newspapers for his inane award nominatios says a lot more about him and the way he sees his journalism than it does about anything he nominates ... we just noted the way the whole thing ended with three sentences about how it made him feel, and that he’s writing about Tillman.
Sullivan, who probably thinks no one would ever heard of Tillman if he hadn’t blogged about him, knows ... it’s always all about him in the end.
posted by Sully 4/29/2004 12:41:00 AM
It might be worth recalling that there were some high-profile Dems calling for Bill Clinton to be dumped in 1992 (so, of course, the voters could see the error of their ways and elect Mario Cuomo, obviously).
posted by Sully 4/29/2004 12:27:00 AM
We’ve got to hand it to Sullivan. Even by his standards, to reduce the Post’s well-reported and complex story to one lame catchphrase.
We figured the story and the attendant spin had come from Little Green Goofballs, but were utterly surprised not to find it there. However, other posts there suggest that the general line comes from that site.
Anyway ... on to the actual story. You don’t even need to read this site much to know that Sullivan, by reducing it all to five words, is really (as usual) playing hit-and-run. And so you click on the link.
Just what, exactly, is horrifying about it?
Almad and thousands of other Muslims, taking advantage of a provision of the law in the province of Ontario, can now decide some civil disputes under sharia, including family disagreements and inheritance, business and divorce issues, using tribunals that include imams, Muslim elders and lawyers.
That’s all that has happened. That’s the nut graf.
We don’t know about you, but we sort of think that “horrifying” would have been about something like someone dying while having their hand cut off as punishment for a theft. Not the establishment of a system of dispute mediation. That gives us the shivers.
More of what you won’t read:
Muslim promoters of sharia arbitration said that no cases had been decided but that the process is set. Islamic leaders created an Islamic Court of Civil Justice last fall and that organization, in turn, has chosen arbitrators, who have undergone training in sharia and Canadian civil law, according to organizers and participants.
A 1991 Ontario arbitration law permits such arbitration according to religious principles, just as rabbis in Jewish communities and priests in Christian communities help to resolve civil disputes, said Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the Ontario attorney general.
“People can agree to resolve disputes any way acceptable,” Crawley said in an interview. “If they decide to resolve disputes using principles of sharia and using an imam as an arbitrator, that is perfectly acceptable under the arbitration act.”
Crawley said the arbitration act establishes a number of safeguards, including the requirement that parties enter into arbitration only on a voluntary basis. Any decisions by arbitrators are subject to court ratification.
Canadian officials said that no criminal matters would be considered by sharia arbitrators and no corporal punishment could be imposed. Crawley said that legal provisions in other provinces also permit such tribunals.
Jewish courts, using the same methods, have been operating in Ontario for years. Such a court, called a Beit Din, deals with monetary, business and family disputes, but no criminal matters. “Jewish courts have been operating in Toronto for as long as Jews have been here, hundreds of years,” said Rabbi Reuven Tradburks, secretary of the Beit Din of Toronto. He said he had not heard of cases decided by arbitrators in Jewish courts that had been overturned.
So it’s not like Ontario’s about to become northern Nigeria or something (the Liberal Party has a long way to go in that direction too, despite recent appearances to the contrary). And if you get all upset about this, you are obviously objectively antisemitic.
What are the odds that Sullivan just read the hed and stopped there, hurrying to post the link in his usual narcissistic assumption that his prejudices would be confirmed?
posted by Sully 4/29/2004 12:25:00 AM
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
WAS IT THE GUY OR THE DRESS? OR, JUSTIFYING LINKING TO WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS LINKING TO:
Way down in that eBay wedding dress page, Sullivan may have missed this dig at his hero.
This one guy emailed me and said, "Hey, bud. What part of Texas do you live?"
Uh... Well, sir, I am from Seattle. Uh, Seattle, Texas.
Right next to AreYouAFreakingMoron, Texas, which is a hop, skip and jump from IWasEducatedByGeorgeBush, Texas. Thanks for asking, neighbor.
Five and a half million hits in a week or so. Bidding closes in about a half hour.
posted by Sully 4/28/2004 06:00:00 PM
GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME:
George Cerny reports that Sullivan’s recovery seems to be proceeding just fine, and he’s back to being his old self
posted by Sully 4/28/2004 05:55:00 PM
EYES OF THE BEHOLDER?:
While Sullivan may indeed be right about Wilgoren trying to grease a source (and why did this grubby behavior not bother him when she was demonstrating it while covering Howard Dean?), it’s sort of funny that he sees it as a suck-up while many over here see it as a subtle attempt to reinforce GOP smear points.
Atrios leads the way to Bob Somerby, who sticks it in good:
How absurd is Wilgoren’s piece? Let’s use a standard we’ve used before: If such work appeared in the Washington Times, observers would laugh at the way the conservative rag was pimping those RNC spin-points.
Homoerotic imagery abounds. At night, Nicholson—Kerry’s “glorified valet”—“often stays by his side until he is ready to go to sleep.”
Steve Mussina follows the lead:
Funny thing — the only candidate whose “valet” seems to have gotten that treatment is the one who’s routinely derided by his Republican opponents as patrician and accustomed to first-class service.
But the real spin-point in the post is the description of the Kerry campaign as “flailing.” Hmm ... it’s April. Primaries aren’t even over yet. Kerry hasn’t even clinched the nomination numerically yet (a tehcnicality since Super Tuesday, we know). Yet it’s all but over here, as we all know we’re going to sleep till November, apparently.
In fact, as has been reported elsewhere, Bush’s bounce in the polls came mainly from higher numbers in states he won in 2000 and isn’t likely to lose this year. In battleground states like PA and OH (where Kerry was), it is significantly too close to call.
As Josh Marshall has reminded us, not only is Kerry far from trouble, he may even be flailing on purpose.
It has been, and will be, a seesaw year. A couple of weeks ago, before Fallujah, it looked like Bush was in trouble. Did he call the campaign “flailing” then? Will he when it’s Bush’s turn to flounder next?
WareMouse says Sullivan should know all about suckup jobs.
Logan Circle For Now Guy is even nastier:
Can you say, credibility issue? And on a regular basis, Sullivan’s supportive comments come down to, “but he’s so strong and manly!”
Since Andrew will never get to finally just have sex with W and get it over with, we’ll probably keep reading this schoolboy crush stuff for some time. I have friends who know him who tell me he’s a nice guy. Maybe he is charming in person. But I cannot separate what he does from who he is. It’s not a matter of disagreeing with him; there are plenty of people I simultaneously respect and disagree with. It’s his craven boosterism and his complete hypocrisy that make him different — dishonest and evil. I can’t get past that, even if he is supposedly pleasant in person.
posted by Sully 4/28/2004 05:52:00 PM
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
HERE THERE BE THORNES:
He’s on the subject of that annulment again? Maybe now we understand Rush a little better ...
Anyway, some bits from that sidebar he doesn’t share:
An article in The New Yorker in 2002 portrayed her as being too depressed to take care of her own children. (The magazine subsequently published a letter from Kerry stating that Thorne was a wonderful mother.)
Thorne remains a Kerry supporter, and sometimes called him after primary wins with her congratulations.
posted by Sully 4/27/2004 11:33:00 PM
THEY STILL HAVEN’T WORN OFF YET, HAVE THEY?:
It’s Najaf. There is no “v” sound in Arabic.
posted by Sully 4/27/2004 11:30:00 PM
Monday, April 26, 2004
NOT OUR GUY:
It’s been a long time since we were emailed about this but we would like to take the opportunity while Sully is all painkillered out to point you to this guy’s site and make emphatically clear that he is not the guy we write about — in fact, he’s sometimes embarrassed by the connection.
In fact, since he is also a real-live working journalist, we have agreed to his request that we cut way down on referring to The Blog Queen by the diminutive form of his name, so that his relatives don’t come here when they Google and think bad things about him.
He’s also got some tunes worth checking out.
posted by Sully 4/26/2004 08:31:00 PM
VERY DISTANT PROJECTION:
P O’Neill writes of the similarities between Sullivan and his instrument for rebuking Zapatero, Lord Palmerston.
posted by Sully 4/26/2004 08:23:00 PM
WELL, WE HAVE TO POST SOMETHING:
Jo Fish asks re Andrew’s surgery:
He also mentions he might be blogging on painkillers. And this will be different exactly how?
Because usually he blogs on marijuana [/rimshot].
posted by Sully 4/26/2004 08:21:00 PM