Saturday, December 04, 2004
NUMBER TEN AND NUMBER ONE:
You may have forgotten this item by now (we almost did) but P O’Neill looks at that study of British professors which had them rank PMs of the last century which so offended Sullivan by putting Attlee above Churchill and finds that a) it’s flawed statistically and b) there’s an even worse offence against The Last Lion’s memory:But check out the Tory responders — of which there are a grand total of 11 (this is what happens in the world of small sample sizes). Anyway, even Sully’s beloved Tory academics don’t put the bulldog highest. They have Maggie at Number 1.
posted by Sully 12/04/2004 08:43:00 PM
In a lengthy post, Roger Ailes (who sounds like he knows what he’s talking about) discusses the British libel verdict against the Torygraph won by George Galloway over allegations, heavily flogged by Sullivan among many others, that documents found in Baghdad post-April 9 prove that Galloway, a bitter opponent of the U.S. sanctions and later the war who in the process got indefensibly (our opinion) close to Saddam personally, was personally profiting from diversions from the oil-for-food program.
In the process he puts paid to the Sullispin that the ’graf lost its case merely because a) British libel law is notoriously stacked in favor of the plaintiff to begin with (which it is), contrary to its American counterpart (under which Galloway probably couldn’t have found a lawyer willing to file) and b) because it was found to have given Galloway an insufficient opportunity to respond (much like, we ought to note, Matt Drudge in the action brought against him by Sidney Blumenthal).
At his blog, Sully Joe sniffs that “the libel verdict (sic) won by Saddam-supporter George Galloway does not depend on the notion that Galloway's ties to Saddam were disproven.” Well, that’s true, sort of, but only because the Telegraph never asserted that the allegations were true.At trial, Galloway denied the allegations under oath. It was the Telegraph that took the issue of accuracy out of the case ...
Sully says that “Such a judgment wouldn’t stand a chance
in an American court — but then Britain’s libel laws are far tougher than America’s.” Well, it’s true the countries' procedural laws are different, but that’s irrelevant under the facts of this case. Under U.K. law, the Telegraph would have to rebut the presumption that its allegations were false. Galloway denied the allegations and the Telegraph presented no evidence to support them. (The contents of the documents themselves are of course hearsay, and thus inadmissible to prove the truth of the matter asserted.) Even if Galloway had the burden of proof, as in the U.S., the evidence presented would support only one conclusion — that the paper's allegations were false. (Of course, an American plaintiff — if a public figure, like Galloway — would also have to prove the defendant's malice, but Sully is addressing only the truth of the allegations, not the defendant’s state of mind.)
The judgment was not based on the fact that the Telegraph didn’t give Galloway enough time to respond, as Sully claims. The Telegraph’s defense was a “neutral reporting privilege,” which means it was simply reporting the fact of allegations made by others. But the Court found otherwise, concluding that the paper went beyond reporting the contents of the documents and in fact endorsed the authenticity of the statements made in the documents ...
In short, the Telegraph admitted that it couldn't prove the allegations against Galloway and Galloway, through his own testimony established the allegations were false. No matter how much Sully — and Conrad Black’s Canuck toady, David Frum — wish otherwise, the Telegraph libeled Galloway and Galloway proved the paper a liar.
(Emphasis and links in original).
posted by Sully 12/04/2004 05:46:00 PM
Friday, December 03, 2004
OH BOY ... THIS IS GOING TO BE A HELL OF A PLEDGE WEEK:
If you haven’t read already, Atrios passes on that the Town of Provincetown(again corrected; in Massachusetts the town takes title to properties with unpaid taxes, not the county) may soon acquire a controlling interest in The Blog Queen’s Winter Palace at 421 Commercial St., Provincetown MA 02657-2315.
According to the Provincetown Banner, $1,653 (corrected 3:20 p.m. EST — we originally confused the total owed in all P-Town with Sullivan’s, which is still nearly 10 percent of all outstanding taxes there) in back taxes are owed on the structure, which as you’ll remember Sullivan went to great expense to renovate and add on to last year (as Atrios notes in a later update).
Bandwidth costs? Our ass ...
Further snark as it develops.
posted by Sully 12/03/2004 01:22:00 PM
Thursday, December 02, 2004
“TIME IS FLEETING ... MADNESS TAKES ITS TOLL ...”:
Just as we were researching and posting the last item, Sullivan came out with his post on the infamous “cep my mouf shut” story from Louisiana a year ago (remembered now, we must admit, for the “preznit giv me turkee” parody Atrios did later).
This time, although it’s clear that he got the post from Dave Friedman, Sully credits the ACS’s original blog entry.
You know, if he’s going to recycle a story like that, he at least owes Friedman some more credit for basically doing Sullivan’s work for him, such as it was.
More to the point, where was The Blog Queen when this story was originally reported over a year ago?
Is he doing the Time Warp over there or something?
posted by Sully 12/02/2004 04:02:00 PM
NOT THAT IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE, BUT ...:
Sullivan, who fancies himself a fact-checker, should really have properly noted that the Alabama legislator wanted to ban all books with gay characters from the state’s public school libraries, not all gay characters from all fiction (Again, looks like he didn’t bother to read the link).
Of course, we don’t particularly care in this instance for remedying any injury to Rep. Allen’s reputation. Hell, that’s probably next on his list anyway.
(ObSnarkyBlueStaterJoke) Of course, judging from Alabama’s low literacy rates and lower-than-average reading test scores, it doesn’t look like many of its schoolchildren visit the library much to begin with. Sorry.
posted by Sully 12/02/2004 03:31:00 PM
LAST YEAR’S LAUNDRY:
That bit about the laundry tag that apologizes in French for George W. Bush’s presidency (and this link actually works — hey, trust the manufacturer, not some guy in pajamas) has been noticed and floating around blogdom for at least a year, we think (this is from April and the oldest citation we could find in a short time. We know we saw it on yet another blog long before then).
Journalistically speaking, it would be worth taking note that according to the first link above, the tag is really an in-joke aimed at the company president. Oh.
And it may not even be original to that company, either.
Also, it isn’t clothing but laptop bags that carry the infamous tag, either. (Of course, they picked up on it and if you want some clothing with it, they’ll be happy to sell you a T-shirt)
posted by Sully 12/02/2004 03:13:00 PM
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
STOTT IN THE NAME OF LOVE:
Steve also comes up with a reason Sullivan might have to dislike this Stott guy — he is, if opposition to Zionism be antisemitism, an antisemite:I have recently come to the conclusion that political Zionism and Christian Zionism are biblically anathema to Christian faith.
Which means, of course, that the very existence of the state of Israel is anti-Christian and thus he wants the Jews to go live in France or some other country where they would be at the mercy of locals just waiting to finish the job. The logic is irrefutable.
We’ve sort of been wondering how long it might take some evangelical Christian to understand that, if they are truly consistent with their faith, they have to start seeing things Neturei Karta’s way.
We might be seeing the leading edge of a trend here.
posted by Sully 12/01/2004 03:58:00 PM
BUYING A CLUE FOR PAT:
Steve Mussina takes a closer look at Pat Sajak and Theo van Gogh.
But — most important — what do we know about van Gogh's ideas and opinions? Well, here’s a sample:
He pictured Jewish TV presenter Ms Sonja Barend in a concentration camp. Jewish author Leon de Winter he pictured in "Treblinka [camp] style fornication with barbed wire around his dick."
When Jewish historian Ms Evelien Gans criticized Van Gogh, he wrote in Folia Civitatis magazine: "I suspect that Ms Gans gets wet dreams about being fucked by Dr Mengele [Nazi doctor at Auschwitz]."
He hoped (Volkskrant, February 1995) Ms Gans would sue him: "Because then Ms Gans will have to explain in court that she claims that she does not get wet dreams about Dr Mengele."
...Anja Meulenbelt quotes Theo van Gogh, who said that feminists should stop campaigning against husbands' violence in marriages: "Gentlemen who give a tough hiding are quite attractive to some ladies really."
...Van Gogh ... opposed all socialism in his columns. Van Gogh wrote on Paul Rosenmöller, ex dockworker, then Green Left party leader: "May he get a joy bringing brain tumor. Let us piss on his grave"....Van Gogh routinely substituted “goatfucker” for “immigrant to The Netherlands from an Islamic country.” Including in his book Allah knows best, 2001: "There is a Fifth Column of goatfuckers in this country, who despise and spit at its native people. They hate our freedom." "Soon, the Fifth Column of goatfuckers will hurl poison gas, diseases and atomic bombs at your children and my children.” ...
No wonder Sullivan and the right like him then.
TBogg also makes a snarky comment of his own
....noted literary deconstructionist and social critic Pat Sajak is appalled that his peers (we assume that he means Bob Eubanks, Bob Barker, and that smartypants francophile Alex Trebeck) are not up in arms enough over the death of Theo Van Gogh who was mainly famous for having a last name that got him discounts from hookers. Sajak forgets that a true artist should die for his art and, in fact, if anyone wants to kill Vincent Gallo, not only won’t we get in your way, we’ll hold your coat and even drive the getaway car if we have the afternoon free.
UPDATE: Roger Ailes goes next:Well, Van Gogh certainly loved free speech, but he doesn't sound much like a liberal or a champion of women's rights. Of course, Sully may have different definitions of liberalism and feminism. And there's nothing pro-Western or truthful about Van Gogh’s views.
But I suspect that it's just more of Sully's usual half-assery, a combination of laziness and deliberate disregard for inconvenient facts. In this post, Sully claims that Van Gogh was killed by “a gang of Islamists” and “thugs,” while the article he links to repeatedly refers to a single assailant. So it’s not surprising Sully refuses to comprehend Van Gogh’s bigotry and intolerance.
Needless to say, violence is not a legitmate response to speech, no matter how vile. But Sully needs to find posterboy for tolerance if he wants anyone to take his little crusade seriously.
posted by Sully 12/01/2004 03:29:00 PM
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
WE HATE TO SAY IT, BUT ...:I stopped breathing on average 38 times an hour — at one time for thirty seconds continuously.
There must, obviously, be such a thing as blogging apnea as well.
posted by Sully 11/30/2004 10:38:00 PM
TO THE MATT UPDATE:
Bruce Garrett quotes a nice hunk of our earlier writing, and goes us a little better by referring to the Shepards’ statement where they say they were misquoted:I, too, was asked by 20/20 for an interview and agreed to do so to ensure that all of the facts were correctly stated. My only stipulation was that our legal advisor Sean Maloney, Matthew Shepard Foundation
Board member and former senior White House staffer, had to be included in the interview to share his legal knowledge and expertise regarding Matthew’s murder. He was quite eloquent in stating the facts pertaining to Matt’s case, his knowledge of hate crimes in general, and in debunking 20/20’s attempt to rewrite history. As you may or may not know, Sean was deleted from the interview entirely. The editing by 20/20 of my interview seems to leave out all of my relevant comments regarding the potential bias of the show and my deliberate restating of the facts of the case clearly ended up on the cutting room floor. My remarks were reduced to a few very personal maternal comments taken out of context to make it appear as if I agreed with 20/20's theories. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Dave gave Ms. Vargas a detailed account of the case. He described the elements of hate and gay bias that were found during the extensive investigation and were substantiated in the large body of evidence collected for this case. Dave’s comments were severely edited. Perhaps they were left out because he did not give Ms. Vargas the answer(s) she needed to maintain her ‘new’ theory concerning the murder. One of the most glaring omissions in the piece was the transcript of Aaron McKinney’s in-custody interview which took place a few days after the murder. This occurred before any ‘line of defense’ had been established by legal counsel for the two defendants. Had that document been included, it would have shown an un-rehearsed and unemotional anti-gay account of the events before, during, and after leaving Matt tied to the fence.
Despite their promotional efforts to the contrary, 20/20 has not presented a ‘new’ theory. Much of this information was included in a Harpers Magazine cover story in 1999. What is new is the unfortunate downslide of a reputable news magazine show when its highly respected host retires. 20/20 has sacrificed years of professional journalistic ethics and values for a stab at revisionist history ... and ratings.
If you haven’t done anything about this yet, go here.
Of course, you do know whose blog you’re going to have to include on this boycott, too. And where you can put the money instead.
posted by Sully 11/30/2004 10:26:00 PM
HE ASLAMA A LONG TIME AGO, IN SPIRIT:
Buchanan’s guarded sympathies with radical Islam are not exactly new.
We recall that, back in the late 1980s when the late Ayatollah Khomeini said that The Satanic Verses made him decide that Salman Rushdie ought to also be “late,” Buchanan’s column on the subject began with a Foucault-esque description of what might happen to Rushdie ... and he gloried in it, admiring the Muslims for taking their faith far more seriously than Christians did.
Nor was he alone among conservatives in having that attitude.
The question for Sullivan and his buddies today is, why didn’t you condemn that attitude back then and saved yourself the trouble of having these subjectively pro-terrorist pundits among your ranks today.
(But back then Buchanan hadn’t written a book taking jabs at Sullivan, either).
posted by Sully 11/30/2004 04:50:00 PM
Monday, November 29, 2004
In the vein of other blogs taking notice of us, we should give a shoutout to a relatively new one, it seems, They Call Me Bonk, which brings us the news that Washingtonian magazine has named us, along with Atrios and (of course) the Blog Queen as among Washington’s Best Blogs in its December 2004 ish.
All we can say is: Thank you very much guys; we’re flattered, we really are.
Bonk also takes some humorous stabs at all the listed blogs. His potshot at Sully:Here is my take on this site: “Republicans suck, blah, blah, blah, give me money.” Strip away all the research, interviews with real people, the political stuff and the grammar you’d be left with my blog. I’m not about to call this guy a plagiarizer just yet, but just compare our blogs and you’ll see what I am getting at.
Funny and accurate. For good measure, he says of us:This dude has a heterosexual man crush on Andrew Sullivan. Dude let it go, he’s not going to call you no matter how much you want him too.
But Bonk, don’t you get it? The love-hate thing is what gives this blog its complexity, makes it dynamic and interesting, makes it worthy of mention in Vanity Fair, The Guardian and other fine publications. Who would want to read us continually deriding someone in predictable language? That’s what right-wing media criticism sounds like, and frankly it says more about the people who read it than it does about its putative subject.
Anyway, the ultimate gist of this post is, the article isn’t online as of yet and it seems like it will be a little while before we can get our hands on a copy of the print edition.
So could someone please let us know, in email, what else it says if anything, what the overall context of the bit might be? We ask humbly since other than money we do not want to burden our readers with favors, but naturally we’re interested in this.
posted by Sully 11/29/2004 02:00:00 PM
YOU AND WHAT ARMY?:I cannot see how Iran will be prevented from becoming a nuclear power short of military action.
Unfortunately we got tied down during our little diversion due to a certain chief executive’s determination to let other people die so he could top his dad for once in his life, however dubiously. And let’s not get into who cheered that on.
So who’s going to invade or bomb Iran while we democratize part of Iraq? Russia? North Korea? China?
UPDATE 11/30: Jo Fish is unforgiving.
Doesn’t this git ever get tired of being wrong? I guess next up will be some sort of vapid cheerleading for a military effort by his “servants,” and a vague “rah-rah” for an all-but-incomprehensible foreign policy driving the hostilities, followed by some sort of recriminations about the command and force structure, punctuated by tear-jerking self-written e-mails from the “front.”
OK, Andrew, I've now done your blog for you for about a year...go on out and start earning some money to pay off those back taxes on the beach house. After all, I’d be sad if the beagle was homeless.
posted by Sully 11/29/2004 01:57:00 PM
HAVE THEY GOTTEN THE POINT YET? APPARENTLY NOT, SO THEY NEED A REMINDER:
To our friends over at the Hatemongers’ Quarterly:
posted by Sully 11/29/2004 01:49:00 PM
IF HE DOES SAY SO HIMSELF:
Sellivan punts on the 20/20 segment, lacking the decency and ethics to even admit his personal interest in how the blogosphere covered this story, refusing even to defend his own role in it even as he passes off to this Jon Rowe guy.
Who, wonder of wonders, basically treats the piece (which, as noted elsewhere, offered no new information about the case save the interviews with the two killers) as routine debunking.
Which is not to say that there aren’t some lapses worth noting.In other words, unaware of what would become a national event, it was thought that a gay-bashing brought on by the victim’s advances would make the perps more sympathetic than a planned robbery that lead to a murder.
Excuse us but long before trial, almost immediately after the event, the killing was covered and reported nationally as a gay-bashing murder. To pretend that media coverage suddenly sneaked up on the case and framed it that way as it was headed for trial is ridiculous.
Actually, Rowe has half a point we agreed with in that the whole angle of whether one of the killers was himself bi “proves a whole lot of nothin.’” It certainly, as he reminds us, doesn’t mean he couldn’t have been homophobic.
But by the same token, to us (as to Doug Ireland; see below) it can certainly argue for an increased likelihood that the killing was motivated by homophobia.
Rowe says he doesn’t invest much in the concept of hate crimes to begin with, that a vicious crime is a vicious crime no matter what.
It’s nice to see that Wyoming’s courts agreed that such a vicious crime deserved a harsh sentence. But we recognize hate crimes with greater severity precisely because we have seen in our own recent history the perils of this “a crime is a crime is a crime” argument.
And the law already recognizes differences in gravity of offenses for reasons of motive. Consider two hypothetical instances of a streetside grocery being vandalized: in one case by a bunch of mischievous teenagers a little too bored on a weekend night, in the other by the local wiseguy and his crew for being late with the protection money. Surely no one doubts that the latter instance deserves a harsher sentence than the first (whether or not the protection money is ever actually paid, remember), that society has as much of an interest in deterring economic intimidation as it does ethnic. So what’s so different about hate? They’re both, to borrow antidrug rhetoric, “gateway” crimes.
Rowe again has a point that legitimate stories in which the gay-bashing motive is very clearcut exist but do not, or have not, gotten the kind of media coverage as Shepard, and links to one.
He is, of course, not alone in this — the redoubtable David Ehrenstein links to yet another and in the process upbraids his fellow gay activists for gravitating to Shepard because he was young, white and attractive, where other victims were not.
We, of course, will add that Shepard’s case drew the attention it did because you had at that time, as you did a fairly well-organized, media-savvy network of gay organizations and activists who were trying to push for hate-crime legislation, and then it happened, in the process leaving behind the graphic image of the fence post Shepard was found tied to, which the other cases perhaps did not. Can you blame them for not taking advantage of it? (BTW, note that in the Gaither case there seems to be more evidence of the perp’s own ambivalent sexuality playing a part).
Also, the strongly homophobic elements of the local culture played a part. We found it quite telling that the limo driver interviewed said there is no gay bar in the entire state of Wyoming.
We also recall a sadly prophetic remark from way back when in Lisa Birnbach’s College Guide (no Amazon link as it seems to be long out of print). Almost every school she and her staff collected data from had an entry for the school’s gay situation. For Wyoming (located, remember, in Laramie), it was:If you come out here you will last about fifteen seconds. The cowboys will beat the shit out of you.
If that was the culture as reported by a college student, you know what it was like off-campus.
posted by Sully 11/29/2004 01:11:00 PM
Sunday, November 28, 2004
TO THE MATT:
The verdict is in on Friday's 20/20 segment and, while (as Roger Ailes acidly notes) Sullivan himself has said nothing since then while giving a gay imprimatur to its revisionism of the Matthew Shepard murder, others have not.
The uncompromising David Ehrenstein:The Creature's antipathy to the gay rights movement is of course long-standing, as is his decrying of "Hate Crime" laws -- a perpetual "talking point" in the Shepard case, even though no "Hate Crime" statute was involved and the killers were sent to prison for life on a straightforward murder charge.
Pasolini would have little good to say about the Gay Liberation movement. But not for the reasons The Creature ceaselessly spells out. For he would be even less hospitable to Gay Marriage -- the pet cause. The Creature promulgates without engaging in for reasons that are all too obvious. Needless to say Sully would be a fit subject for a Salo II starring Michael Pitt, directed by Todd Haynes from a script by Clive Barker with songs by Rufus Wainright. One vibrates (as Rufus would say) at the prospect of Eric Alterman (who refers to Sully as "Little Roy Cohn") reviewing it.
Doug Ireland is equally unimpressed by what he said.Vargas and her scriptwriters left the impression that Laramie residents' filmed statements now claiming one of the killers was bi-sexual somehow eradicated the possibility that homo-hate could have played a role in the murder of Shepard.
That suggestion is, of course, utter nonsense: we have known for three decades that fear of, or socially induced hatred of, any degree of same-sex attraction a gay-basher may feel -- a smothered desire sometimes acted upon, sometimes not -- is a critical, common component of the makeup of young gaybashers. This was the finding of the first major study of gay-bashing youth conducted in the 1970s by the noted sexologist Dr. John Money, head of Johns Hopkins' Gender Identity Institute, and has been borne out by a number of studies since. But ABC went out of its way not to explore the complicated and convoluted origins of homophobia with anyone who had actually studied it.
For our part, we noted that while ABC carefully tried to suppress it, the writing inevitably betrays its agenda, referring more than once to the "mythology" of the Shepard case and acting as if it's some horrible injustice that two men who pleaded guilty were not able to tell their side of the story in court.
We also see, as others did, the hidden hand of the insufferable John Stossel in much of this. Is it possible that he intended originally to report the segment himself, but then adroitly realized that he was too much of a lightning rod (or, more likely, someone more senior than himself realized it for him and his ego) and fobbed it off on Vargas and the Thanskgiving break.
Let us also note that this instance of journalistic manipulation seems to have escaped The Blog Queen's eagle eyes:And now, Shepard's parents have accused ABC of "selective editing" to make it appear they agreed with the program's theses -- deliberately leaving out facts that contradicted the Vargas version, and similarly distorting interviews with two local law enforcement officials.Doubtless, though, the same right wing that jumped all over Dan Rather will excuse this on the grounds that the segment suggested Mrs. Shepard would say that ... see, she's running a non-profit. It figures.
Also, that move at the end -- showing those interviewed clinging to their earlier conclusions as if to make them look fools for not having been persuaded by what you just saw; then saying, in effect, "But does it matter? Good things happened anyway" is vintage Stossel.
posted by Sully 11/28/2004 11:26:00 AM