SullyWatch

"You're a funny man, Sully ...

that's why I'm going to kill you last."

 

Friday, December 10, 2004

WHOA LADDIE, NOT SO FAST THERE!:

P O’Neill on Sullivan’s coverage of the potential for gay marriage in Ireland:

A couple of comments. First, Sully seems to have come across this issue not quite with his usual one year lag, but nearly a month has passed since Taoiseach Bertie Ahern floated the idea in an interview — the concession lost in the mockery that followed Bertie’s claim that same weekend that he was one of Ireland’s few remaining socialists.

Second, there seems to have been a strategic element to the timing of his statement, since there’s a chance that a court case could require civil unions based on European law anyway. So Bertie basically wants to hedge his bets and say “bejasus lads I was tinking about dem civil union yokes anyway so it’s not dat Brussels is making me do it.” There’s a tough one for Sully — his hated European Union advancing one of his causes [Seems to be his lot in life. It was Howell Raines who put gay unions in the New York Times’ Sunday Styles section, after all – SW]. Third, it might just be that we’re tired, but we don’t see the logic in Sully’s claim that the Republic's relatively strict divorce laws rationalise nothing less than full marriage rights for gay couples. Because it’s difficult to get out, everyone should be allowed in? We'll sleep on it.



posted by Sully 12/10/2004 11:22:00 PM

LEAST SUCCESSFUL CHRISTMAS SPECIALS:

OK, funny in a way nothing in Lampoon has been since ... well, maybe around the time John Hughes starting writing for the magazine.


For equal time on the Chomsky bit, here’s this one that Arthur Silber might get a kick out of (and you):

Ayn Rand’s A Selfish Christmas (1951)

In this hour-long radio drama, Santa struggles with the increasing demands of providing gifts for millions of spoiled, ungrateful brats across the world, until a single elf, in the engineering department of his workshop, convinces Santa to go on strike. The special ends with the entropic collapse of the civilization of takers and the spectacle of children trudging across the bitterly cold, dark tundra to offer Santa cash for his services, acknowledging at last that his genius makes the gifts — and therefore Christmas — possible.

Prior to broadcast, Mutual Broadcast System executives raised objections to the radio play, noting that 56 minutes of the hour-long broadcast went to a philosophical manifesto by the elf and of the four remaining minutes, three went to a love scene between Santa and the cold, practical Mrs. Claus that was rendered into radio through the use of grunts and the shattering of several dozen whiskey tumblers. In later letters, Rand sneeringly described these executives as “anti-life.”

Perfect. Just spot-on perfect. But maybe he should have called it “Santa Shrugged.”

The Trek one isn’t half-bad, either, although we’d bet there are some fans out there who long since beat Scalzi to that one.

UPDATE 12/12: We should also call your attention to his misspelled and uncorrected “sucessful.”

posted by Sully 12/10/2004 11:15:00 PM

SPOKEN FROM THE BELLY OF THE WHALE:

While Atrios has already posted his brief reply to Lucianne’s Tampon’s column, we feel the issue should be explored in some greater depth, because as usual Whale Boy mischaracterizes the pieces he responds to.

First, to Drum. Unpersuadable? Sullivan quite naturally misses what he wrote this afternoon:

The threats from global terror are varied, but it’s the threat of nuclear terror that puts it in a league of its own. And as Beinart implies, the potential damage from a nuclear strike is more than just human lives: it could also provoke a massive retreat from liberalism and civil liberties among the American population.

[...]

Unfortunately, nuclear proliferation really doesn’t seem to be very high on George Bush’s agenda, and this is a place where I think a liberal response to terrorism could be quite different from the conservative response. In fact, it already is; it just needs to be embraced a little more fervently by the liberal community. It’s good policy and good
politics.


Then let’s take on Atrios and what he really said about the Afghan war and liberal opposition to it, which Jonah characterizes as “More popular bloggers on the hard left are peeved at Beinart for assuming that all serious liberals supported the war in Afghanistan.”

Again, read the actual post (linked in quote):
...opposition to George Bush’s War in Afghanistan does not imply that someone was “flatly opposed to any use of American military power at all.”

Obviously 9/11 required some response. Our sandbox logic told us that response would have to be a military one. Symbolic revenge and all. We had to go blow some shit up. But, that doesn’t mean there weren’t other possible better ways to deal with the problem.

Am I arguing that on balance I think the Afghanistan war was “wrong?” Honestly, I don’t even know enough to answer that question. I supported it at the time, even though I had justifiable misgivings about the details, but the question isn’t whether it was “justified” in some simplistic sense — it’s whether we achieved desirable and necessary aims at a minimum of cost which couldn’t otherwise be achieved.

[...]

Opposition to the war in Afghanistan was in fact a legitimate position, even if it was the wrong position, and could have been an honest position by people who weren’t simply knee-jerk anti-war, or america-haters, or people who, like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, thought we got what we deserved on 9/11, or anything else. People may have thought there were better ways to punish those responsible and to combat terrorism, whether or not they were correct.

The consequence of marginalizing all such sentiments, or
reducing them to caricatures, is that we never have a decent conversation about what we’re doing. Acknowledging that there are almost always other options than war is one way to ensure that we understand more fully the consequences of those wars. War should be the last option, not the first one, almost no matter what. I don’t say this because I’m a peacenik, but because war is fucking expensive in blood and treasure and has a lot of unintended consequences.


In Iraq, the debate was reduced to “either you want a homicidal dictator to have weapons of mass destruction or you don’t.” In Afghanistan it was reduced to “either you support the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 or you don’t.” Whether or not either war was the correct course of action, the marginalization of more nuanced opinions did our country and the people of their countries a great disservice.

Was there a better way to deal with Afghanistan? I don’t know, but we would have been well-served, not ill-served, had we had that conversation.

(Emphasis in original) If you haven’t figured it out by now, Funky Dunc was criticizing Drum not for assuming all liberals supported the war in Afghanistan, but for implicitly marginalizing legitimate arguments and cautions about doing so. As a result, a rhetorical climate was created where it became less possible to spare the country the grief the Iraq War has come to cause it.

posted by Sully 12/10/2004 10:46:00 PM

Thursday, December 09, 2004

THE MALKIN NEVER STOPS:

Attaturk on Smalltown Boy’s latest College-Republican-newspaper gimmick:

... Sully has begun a new contest, the Malkin Award. I believe the prize is three and a half years in your own little internment camp. But in any case, the winner uses the most cliches in a utterance.

Now from Sullivan, that takes a lot of balls.



posted by Sully 12/09/2004 02:32:00 PM

KOTSKO CAUGHT IT:

Adam Kotsko has finally weighed in on our challenge to him on Sullivan quoting Slavoj Žižek:
The Zizek article is a year and a half old, so there are a couple of
possibilities here. One is that he is an avid reader of Zizek who only decided to deploy this essay now that steroids are a “big issue.” (By the way, remember how we all laughed about the steroids reference in the state of the union speech a couple years ago? Remember how it seemed to come way out of left field? Did anyone else notice that a story on steroids in baseball was on the front page of the Times last Sunday? I’m frankly terrified.) The other is that he doesn’t really know who the fuck Zizek is and either (a) just turned up the article on a Google search for “steroids” or (b) received an e-mail tip from a knowledgable reader and isn’t giving that reader credit where credit is due. I will leave the task of deciding which possibility is the most plausible as an exercise for the reader.


posted by Sully 12/09/2004 02:23:00 PM

PAT BUCHANAN AND THE WEARIN’ O’ THE GREEN:

P O’Neill considers our post on Pat Buchanan’s perplexing abandonment of muscular Ukrainian Catholicism in favor of their Russian Orthodox sootechestvennika and wonders if some sort of Irish cultural memory might play a part.

posted by Sully 12/09/2004 01:22:00 PM

FISKING “DEFENDING RUMMY” (WHICH ACTUALLY DOESN’T, THANKFULLY):

His heart isn’t quite in the right place yet.
We are almost two years into a conflict and critical defense weaponry is not available to soldiers who might die needlessly as a result.

Might? After more than a thousand combat deaths, more than all our military actions since Vietnam combined?
When Rumsfeld said, “you go to war with the Army you have,” he was apparently forgetting that we went to war months and months ago.

Uh, Andrew, remember that we chose when to go to war, less than a year and a half after Afghanistan, a war we didn’t have as much choice over, had depleted our stocks some. There was no urgency in going to Iraq when we did except to make the war a foregone conclusion well before the 2004 campaign.

Oh, we forgot ... also in the minds and rhetoric of people who said, and seconded, things like “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”; like certain beach-dwelling bloggers who seem to have become strangers to what they were then.

Enough so that, if Donald Rumsfeld himself were not among them, we’d almost feel sorry for him having to deal with such two-faced supporters.
This is not knee-jerk anti-war sentiment. This is knee-jerk pro-war sentiment.

But, Kapitan von Behrbach, you don’t get it. The actual conduct and success of the war itself is of minimal, if any, importance to the current American regime. It is the idea of the war, in the purest Platonic sense, that matters most to the Inner Circle.
The question of whether we should fight is to me an obvious one.

Then it’s not a question at all, is it? And with an attitude like that, he shows that the disconnect we discussed above, the disconnect that has resulted in more than a few needless deaths in Iraq, persists to this day.
But we sure know they think they’re perfect.

With similarly-minded supporters (or, we should say, onetime supporters) who can blame them?

UPDATE: Of course, Sullivan’s attitude is tepid compared to what you find coming out of UT Law School (no link to Reynolds as a) he blogrolls Little Green Footballs and b) he gets enough traffic. Go use Sullivan’s).
Armor’s nice, of course, when people are shooting at you, and soldiers tend to want more of it.

“What? Those bastards want armor? How dare they? The insolence!”

Sarcasm aside, it isn’t just about being shot at, it’s about being potentially blown up by some IED on the street.

We suspect that if Glenn himself had to cruise around Baghdad or Najaf (fat chance of that ever happening!), he wouldn’t be talking about armor as if it were some sort of luxury item.

Next is the sort of devious Republican spin he has become expert at:
I think it’s nice that Rumsfeld heard criticisms from the troops — though not, in this case, troops that had actually gotten to Iraq yet ...

Fox News-worthy, ain’t it? First, praise Rumsfeld for having the guts to ... do what should be par for the course for any official in a democratic society. Then, protect the Administration, even if it means sticking it to the troops in the process (And according to the accounts we read, these guys were regularly running escort missions from Kuwait into Iraq, so that’s a falsity in and of itself).

And from Jeff Taylor’s quoted text, another disingenuous comparison.
Finally, was it a disgrace or outrage that American tankers in Normandy had to cut up German steel obstacles to make hedge-cutting teeth for their tanks?

Disingenous because the two situations don’t compare. Normandy was a conventional war between conventional forces in which materiel was regularly destroyed and thus in short supply (as one of Murphy’s Laws of Combat has it, “if you’re short of everything except the enemy, you must be in a combat zone.”). And by the way, there was plenty of public criticism in the early summer of 1944 of the poor planning of the Allied staff over dealing with the bocage country in Normandy, where the fighting was bloody and brutal and it took weeks to take objectives that the plan expected to take in days.

Iraq is a counterinsurgency in which a military with some of the best logistics ever should be able to get armored Humvees to troops who need them within a week, at most.

Finally, have a reader spin it back on the Dems, by suggesting that they’re at fault for this for voting against the supplmental appropriations bill.

But we recall that the reason Kerry, as well as other Democrats, went from being for it to being against it, was because as the bill evolved the appropriations for uparmoring Humvees were cut in favor of bigger projects for which Halliburton and Bechtel could win contracts.

As a result, guess what? Our guys are having to divert steel that was supposed to be used for Iraqi reconstruction efforts.

posted by Sully 12/09/2004 01:21:00 PM

BLAIRING INCONSISTENCY:

Given his fawning all over Bjorn Lomborg in the past and his frequent libertarian skepticism over whether climate change is even occurring, much less whether human greenhouse gases have anything to do with that, why the hell should he care whether Tony Blair has reduced them or not? Is a change of heart on this issue impending? And if so, why?

posted by Sully 12/09/2004 01:18:00 PM

UH, MAYBE YOU SHOULD GET A BETTER AUTHOR:

The libertarian case in favor of steroids is somewhat tainted, in our eyes, by one of its coauthors being John Lott, of the incredible vanishing “98 percent” survey infamy, among many other crimes against statistics.

posted by Sully 12/09/2004 01:14:00 PM

SANTA, PLEASE BRING ME AN EDITOR FOR CHRISTMAS:
... the righ’s knee-jerk critique of the International Committee of the Red Cross ...



posted by Sully 12/09/2004 01:12:00 PM

A SMALL BUT GROWING CLUB:

Looks like Dick Morris and Sullivan have yet another thing in common besides hating Hillary Clinton and embarassing public sexual disclosures

posted by Sully 12/09/2004 01:07:00 PM

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

RED, BLUE, WE ALL HATE YOU ANDREW:

A relatively new conservative blogger, Michael Meckler, starts off a post (which links here, or else we probably wouldn’t have read it) about the overhyped Warblogger Awards with an interesting observation:
I have, however, discovered the one individual who seems to be equally despised by bloggers on both the right and the left: Andrew Sullivan.

He sees the same flaws in Sullivan we do, and predicts that the Blog Queen’s moment is fading like an autumn sunset:

Sullivan, of course, noted the awards with typical self-promotion on his own blog yesterday. Michael J. Totten, defending Sullivan, compared him to Starbucks, implying that overfamiliarity breeds overcontempt.

Yet the responses to Totten’s posting reveal that conservatives, just as much as liberals, find Sullivan engages in “intellectual dishonesty” and “double dealing,” and that he is “whiny” and “a liar, pure and simple.”

Bloggers who participated on the Warblogger Awards jury, such as Greg Ransom of PrestoPundit and Bill Roggio of The Fourth Rail, have little problem revealing their votes for Sullivan in these negative categories and expressing their disapproval of his blog. (I, too, was on the jury, and my own views are clearly not all that dissimilar.)

Although some have argued that angering everyone is the sign of a good journalist — I once worked with a radio reporter who viewed it as a sign of his integrity that he had been fired from ten stations; he was soon fired from eleven, and it had nothing to do with journalistic integrity — Sullivan appears to have long passed from serious writer to mere talking-head celebrity. That he has regularly become an object of ridicule in the blogosphere (a video clip of Sullivan scratching what, in his homeland, would be called his "bum" is a popular Internet destination) does not bode well, despite the current high volume of his blog.

Advertising rates provide one sign that his popularity may be slipping. A standard Blogad on Sullivan's site goes for $400 per week, a premium Blogad for $800. He currently has two standard ads on his site. On Daily Kos, the ad rates are much higher: premium $2500 per week; second slot $2000; standard $700. Daily Kos currently has both the premium and second slots filled, and three standard ads. Instapundit gets $2000 per week for a premium ad, $1000 for the second slot, but only $375 for a standard ad. Yet Instapundit currently has filled both the second slot and SIX standard ads. So in terms of Blogad revenue, Daily Kos is generating $6600 this week, Instapundit $3250, Andrew Sullivan only $800.

Bloggers on both the left and the right may be beginning to tire of Sullivan’s antics. One strongly suspects that his Warholian fame is about to expire.


That post from Totten, leader of what we call the I’m With Stupid liberals, is worth a look in and of itself. For it’s times like these when a man finds out who his real sycophants friends are.
I still like the guy, myself. And his traffic is up. Hating Andrew Sullivan is like hating Starbucks. All the cool kids do it, but the exact same people always hang out there anyway.

What’ll ya have on that double frappuccino, Mike? (And isn’t Josh Marshall the sine qua non of Starbucks bloggers?).

Also, it’s more than a little disingenuous to pretend his traffic is up. As a matter of literal truth, it is, but we’d say that has to do with election-year traffic (and Sullivan does not yet have a year of stats to compare with this time last year).

posted by Sully 12/08/2004 04:44:00 PM

WHINING, HUH?:

Some gay activists more skeptical of the importance of marriage rights than Sullivan (we’re thinking of Ricahrd Goldstein here) have criticized Sullivan rightly for his overly bourgeois tendencies on this issue, epitomized by his onetime statement that after marriage freedom is guaranteed for all, “we should have a big party and shut down the gay-rights movement for good.”

He’s hardly helping what little case he has with those people when he refers to GLAD’s position as whining.

Direct from the source, it’s

Employers may provide tax-free health benefits to their employees’ different-sex spouses. However, DOMA prevents recognition of marriages by same-sex couples for federal tax purposes. Therefore, if a same-sex spouse receives health benefits through the partner’s employer-sponsored plan, the fair market value of those benefits is treated as income to the employee and subject to federal income tax. Similarly, an employee may not make pre-tax contributions to a “cafeteria” plan on behalf of a same-sex spouse, and a same-sex spouse is not eligible for federally tax-free reimbursement for medical expenses from an employee spouse’s Health Savings Account. Because of the Goodridge decision, however, the value of such health benefits to a same-sex spouse is not counted for Massachusetts state tax purposes.
Mighty odd that Sullivan, who has never made any secret of his position that the less taxes the better, should be so indifferent to what we see as a gay-marriage tax penalty.

Instead, it seems, gay activists should follow his script as he assured all those righties lacking enough in the homophobia department as to permit them to talk to him that they would.

posted by Sully 12/08/2004 04:09:00 PM

SKEPTICISM ON THE SKEPTICISM:

Some of the commentary on that Striding Lion post about the MESA conference:
One man’s liberation is another’s imprisonment, and hence for an academic to objectively study such movements within a region, it is best to understand it as change from the previously held norm. In specific demonstration of this concept, I bring you “Panel #006 State Building and Institutional Change in the Middle East (P015).” If yer looking for discussion as to the consequences of the recent Iraqi invasion, or Amercan policy regarding despotic regimes within the middle east, I recommend you investigate this panel, as these would be where you might find your answers.

[...]

If you’re Arabic or at least darker-skinned, I recommend
submitting a study on the terrorism and American policy in the Middle East. Should you write anything that can be construed as negative about the US, you can then feel self-righteous as you getstrip-searched/denied boarding at airports, have your income tax filings reviewed for errors, bankrecords scoured for affiliation with “terrorist organizations,” visa renewal delayed for a half a year or denied outright, your stipend withdrawn, and if you happen to be a full naturalized citizen, the conditions of your citizenship revoked after a 2-year free stay at Gitmo.


[...]

As a former staff member of Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, I can tell you that Juan Cole’s observations on Shia Iraq, his translations of Arab newspapers and news from his sources in Najaf and Karbala were read and valued by many CPA staffers.

So what if he said that Muqtada al Sadr’s followers were a “movement of the poor?” Al Sadr’s followers WERE poor. Cole also said that al Sadr was probably mentally ill: he’s not a fan of al Sadr.


posted by Sully 12/08/2004 03:52:00 PM

MALKIN THAT COW FOR ALL IT’S WORTH:

If he wants to really have fun and twist the knife, he can and should call it The Maglalang Award.

Of course, as richly deserving as she is of it, two things need to be said here.

One is that Sullivan has to disclose the obvious payback, since Malkin accused him (with some justification in our opinion) of fraud over the summer. Ever since he’s had a very long knife out for her.

Two is, just who the hell is Andrew Sullivan to talk about schoolyard insults himself, he of the infamous “Fifth Column” column? (Readers are invited to sbumit examples for future publication) Maybe the real challenge would be for him to write about Chomsky, Alterman, Moore or someone else at an intellectual and emotional level above the age of eight (and not combined, either).

UPDATE: So Coulter is out. We knew he was going to have to exclude certain nominees ... we’d suggest nothing from Free Republic, ourselves. But maybe Jonah’s going to have to go, too. And Derb. And K-Lo. And ... maybe everyone on the Corner at one time or another.

UPDATE 12/9: See, there’s the problem with this award ... it would basically inlcude about 50 percent of the blogosphere, on one of its more civil days.

FURTHER UPDATE: Steve Brady sums it up.

posted by Sully 12/08/2004 03:31:00 PM

IT’S OFFICIAL — SULLIVAN NO LONGER A CONSERVATIVE:

You know some sort of Rubicon has been crossed when Sullivan freely and uncritically quotes the popular Slovenian Lacanian theorist of high and low culture and practically everything else Slavoj Žižek to support his position on steroids. What will Adam Kotsko have to say?

But we wonder if Sullivan got his link from Baseball Think Factory, which posted his entry with a comment thread.

We found it through our hit logs, which led us to this comment in the place where the original link was found:
Sully’s told the steroid brigade exactly what they wanted to hear. While that’s not quite fine, it’s to be expected. But the quality of Sully’s argument is typically craptastic and superficial and should be contrasted to this, which I ultimately disagree with, but is at least intelligent and betrays a considerable depth. Also notice that Zizek allows for a Catholic argument even more than the superCatholic Sullivan; JC will find a worthy opponent in Zizek but not in Sully who is, ironically, JC’s sectarian brother.

And of course, the link back here in the next comment has absolutely nothing to do with this link on our part.

posted by Sully 12/08/2004 01:00:00 AM

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

WELL HELLO SAILER!:

Garance Franke-Ruta at TAPped is all over that Steve Sailer piece using white fertility rates to explain the election results that Sullivan first posted a couple of weeks ago but has percolated around the right to the point that David Brooks can approvingly reference it in his Times column today — but forget to mention anything about his unsavory eugenicist and racialist associations.

As well as things Sailer himself has said.
Sailer articles in the past few years have included: “Save Europe! Keep Turkey Out of the EU”; “Brown vs. Black — vs. America”; and “GOP’s Southern (=Sailer) Strategy Rises Again. Actually, It’s Never Been Down.” The far-right Web site FreeRepublic.com has previously refused to post Sailer’s article “GOP Future Depends on White Vote,” calling the piece “divisive” and “promoting racism.” And check out Sailer’s graphs purporting to show how racial differences in body-fat composition account for patterns of interacial marriage, if you want more of a taste of his kind of “science.”

[...]

Just listen to Sailer in his own words. On gays: “[M]ost of them were effeminate little boys.” “[A]n infectious disease itself could cause homosexuality. It’s probably not a venereal germ, but maybe an intestinal or respiratory germ. It’s radically unfashionable to call homosexuality a disease. But you can’t think rigorously about the gay gene theory without drawing straightforward analogies to genetic diseases.”

On immigration: “The more diversity, the more identity politics. If we didn’t want blacks to engage in ethnocentric politics, well, our ancestors shouldn’t have dragged them here in chains. We can, however, moderate the amount of diversity we import in the future.”

On the segregationist Pioneer Fund: “I can’t think of any general moral principle justifying [Pioneer Fund founder Wickliffe Preston Draper's] critics’ presumption that, while black or Irish or Jewish ethnocentric foundations are hunky-dory, the early Pioneer Fund’s WASP ethnocentrism was the blackest sin imaginable. ... no organization has done more than the Pioneer Fund to develop scientific knowledge about human biodiversity.”

One always wonders what, exactly, keeps going through Sullivan’s head, years after the infamous Bell Curve imbroglio should have taught him to stay as far away from this kind of stuff publicly as he could.

And the really scary thing is that Sailer is just bright enough to occasionally make some sense despite his dubious ideological starting points. Or at least quote someone who does:
The late socialist historian Jim Chapin pointed out that it was perfectly rational for parents with more children than money to ask their political and cultural leaders to help them insulate their kids from bad examples, even, or perhaps especially, if the parents themselves are not perfect role models.

We never thought of it that way, we admit, but it does go a long way toward resolving the conundrum in Tom Frank’s popular book that he alludes to, explaining why all those fundamentalist Christians who believe that God ordained laissez-faire free-market capitalism can with equal vigor accept a strong governmental role in regulating popular entertainment.

posted by Sully 12/07/2004 11:38:00 PM

THE COMPANY YOU MAKE; OR TO THE MATT, LATEST ITERATION:

Via Kos diarist juls, we now see who else feels they can do what as a result of that shameful, misleading and fraudulent 20/20 piece.
In fact, those who killed Mr. Shepard told “20/20” their attack was motivated solely by money — which they needed to feed their drug
habit. They singled out their victim, they said, not because he was gay, but because he was well-dressed and seemed like someone who would have the kind of cash they needed to buy more methamphetamine.

That is why we are asking NBC News to publicly apologize
to Christians maligned by Ms. Couric's inflammatory remarks.


We don’t think it’s just apnea that keeps him from sleeping soundly at night.

posted by Sully 12/07/2004 06:29:00 PM

WHO ARE THEIR LAND-BASED COUNTERPARTS? THE AMY RANGERS? OR IS THAT “AYE”?:
And prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and in Afghanistan and with the Nay Seals has nothing to do with memos letting people know they could push the envelope.

We’d like to think he missed paying his property taxes because he was down in New York looking for an editor.

posted by Sully 12/07/2004 03:49:00 PM

PROTECTING THE GIPPER:

Sullivan ever-so-subtly left something out of that Dick Cheney quote on the deficit and its political effect:
As Dick Cheney allegedly said, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” I say “allegedly” because Cheney denies he said it and the only other source is former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill’s book. But whether Cheney said it or not, it’s politically true.

We think Sullivan would consider the source an impeccable one (we wouldn’t, but that’s not our problem).

posted by Sully 12/07/2004 03:45:00 PM

BUCHANAN’S EVOLUTION:

We’ve found Buchanan almost as interesting an object of critical inquiry for some time, almost as full of “fascinating as [they are] revealing” contradictions as The Blog Queen himself.

In many ways the two complement each other nicely: Catholicism aside, they couldn’t be more different. Sullivan is an immigrant, neocon, interventionist, socially liberal and economically libertarian; Buchanan the native and nativist, paleocon (the correct term for his politics as a whole), isolationist, socially conservative and economically protectionist (although he did parrot the Reagan line on free trade, we forget today that Reagan was the first U.S. president since World War II to impose more trade barriers than he took down) and populist.

It is thus no great surprise that Sullivan is surprised. The real surprise is in Buchanan’s column, in that he does not take the side in Ukraine that one would have predicted from his past: that of the western, ethnic Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians ... Yushchenko’s supporters, who tend to be (this is the key) mostly Catholic as opposed to the Russian-speaking, Eastern Orthodox easterners who voted in at least some signficant measure for Yanukovych.

Raised in an era and environment where being Irish and being Catholic practically complemented one another, Buchanan has never met a muscular ethnic Catholicism he didn’t like ... and that of western Ukraine, which owes a lot to once-neighboring Poland, is especially muscular. So a bunch of young men (like John Demjanjuk, whom Buchanan has long been an ardent defender of) joined the Waffen-SS when they were under Nazi occupation during the war and got sent to the infamous Trawniki training camp so they could learn to work the gas chambers at Treblinka and elsewhere to keep the Nazis’ hands clean? It was the only way they could do anything to fight the godless Soviet Communism that had crushed their homeland’s noble spirit so ruthlessly during the forced collectivization of agriculture and the famine that followed! You’ve got to put things in perspective here! And anyone who suggests that these people were, say, vicious antisemites to begin with is just a Commie dupe! And the Jews are the one with the problem!

So, once you’ve read the links, you can pretty much see why, if you know Buchanan’s worldview, he’d reflexively take the side of Yushchenko and his supporters.

That he didn’t this time ... his supporters in the reactionary Ukrainian-American press really ought to ask him what’s up.

Is it perhaps because the orange-clad in Kyiv/Kiev look to him like the sort of people he and his ilk most despise about the United States, whereas the Russophones demonstrating in Donetsk, who drink heavily, wear camo and talk about how they’d like to bop the other side up the head one are, he recognizes, his people?

posted by Sully 12/07/2004 03:13:00 PM

SPOILS FOR FOOD:

TAPped and Josh Marshall both point to this Financial Times article about the phoniness of implicating Kofi Annan in the oil-for-food scandal and the real motives of many involved — including, by implication, Sullivan.
The leaders of this lynch mob in the US Congress and the rightwing commentariat are not gunning for Mr Annan so much as aiming to destroy the UN as an institution.


posted by Sully 12/07/2004 03:07:00 PM

LOOKS LIKE WE CAN PROBABLY SKIP THAT, IF HIS SPELLING OF THE WORD ITSELF IS ANY INDICATION:
My reassesssment is up at TNR.

And as far as that goes, Matthew Yglesias offers a contrary view over at TAPped.

posted by Sully 12/07/2004 03:02:00 PM

Monday, December 06, 2004

SULLIVAN MINUS 365:

A long time ago, when the concept of 500-channel digital cable was first floated, Harper’s ran, in its “Readings” section, under the hed “The Vaster Wasteland,” a thread from the WELL (then strictly dialup, and one of the early online hotspots) in which respondents vied with each other to submit ideas for what sort of minimalist or absurdist TV could fill all the bandwidth. Things like “The Airport Luggage Inspection Channel.”

One of the ideas was “CNN Minus 365,” or the complete CNN feed from a year ago.

We’re beginning to think that it came into existence, and that’s what Sullivan must be watching. Because for the third time in a week, he’s been playing the 12-month catchup.

This time, Capozzola has found that that that item about Courage abandoning its ex-gay rehabilitation program is, if you read the whole thing (which, as we know, Sullivan rarely does) dated November ... of last year.

By the way, we’re not sure if Sullivan knows (but he certainly should) that Courage, “in Britain, the leading ex-gay group,” should be distinguished perhaps from Courage, the Catholic Church’s in-house answer to gay Catholic org Dignity. We’re not sure if the two are related (the British group is decidedly non-Catholic) but the use of the same name by groups with a similar focus does make one wonder.

We begin to understand more and more just how it came to be that Sullivan let his 2002 property tax payment slide for so long as to get foreclosed.

Come to think of it, perhaps he should find some medication to cure his screwed-up sense of time ... he always dates his blog posts an hour or two ahead of when they’re actually posted, and now we find out he’s getting a news a year behind the rest of us.

Perhaps “What planet is he on?” is more than just a rhetorical question.

posted by Sully 12/06/2004 11:59:00 PM

BUT BEAT REPORTERS STILL NEED EDITORS:
The country’s Muslim groups are now protesting that Theo van Gogh’s short film about the oppression of women in Islam has been broadcast on naitonal television. The beat goes on ...



posted by Sully 12/06/2004 11:57:00 PM

THE MAGIC POTION:

Jo Fish gets his in on Sullivan’s better-living-through-chemistry rhapsodies.
I guess she’s just waiting for that potion that will turn her into Shakespeare. With a woody.


posted by Sully 12/06/2004 02:42:00 PM

THE NERVE OF HIM!:
The gay characters on “Will and Grace” are either mainstream and sex-less, like Will, or the gay version of “Step’n’fetchit,” from an actor who refuses to say publicly that he's gay. That's exactly how many Republicans like their homosexuals.

First, is that dependent clause in the first sentence another one of Smalltown Boy’s trademark outings/not outings that he always engages in while deploring the practice? Notice he doesn’t use “whether” ... one can only conclude that he is outing Sean Hayes.

Second, he’s wrong about how Republicans like their queers ... they prefer them to be, or at least have been, hopeless sympathizers with the Republican agenda even after the FMA.

He, of all people, knows this.

posted by Sully 12/06/2004 02:11:00 PM

ANOTHER MISTAKE A FORMER MAGAZINE EDITOR SHOULDN’T MAKE:
Do our zoloft prescriptions always treat serious depression — or are they often a means to maximize our social interaction, prevent unsettling bouts of inertia or sadness?

For want of a single capital letter, Sullivan can reasonably expect a gentle but firm reminder from Pfizer’s lawyers.

Really, one would expect better of one of PRMA’s errand boys.


posted by Sully 12/06/2004 02:04:00 PM

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR:
My latest Sunday Times piece — now online for free!


posted by Sully 12/06/2004 02:04:00 PM

SAY IT’S SO, JOE:

It’s very rare these days that we come around to seeing things Sullivan’s way, but in this case we must pay him this compliment.

It wasn’t so much Sullivan’s pro-steroid arguments that convinced us (he seems to think the world would be a better place if we were all allowed, actually tacitly encouraged, to buff up) but all the phony outrage over the weekend in the major media that followed the reports that Jason Giambi admitted to illegal steroid use that made us decide we had to take the opportunity to say: Lighten up!

This is somehow being spun as some sort of watershed lapsarian moment in a venerable American sport that, we forget, has fallen from innocence without fail every time we have labored to put it back on its pedestal.

Because it never was innocent to begin with. Black Sox notwithstanding, baseball not only helped perpetuate segregation for years, it like all other professional sports was born, and has not yet totally shed itself of, Victorian classist notions.

So a couple of the game’s biggest hitters over the past decades may have used steroids to bulk up. Big deal. What makes them different except the times they live in? Do you honestly think that if good-quality ’roids had been available to Ruth, DiMaggio, Williams, Aaron et al they wouldn’t have juiced too?

McGwire, Sosa and Bonds got where they were because they were relentless competitors, always looking for the way to win. So they take something and perhaps participate in an illegal scheme to do so. Punish them, but only for breaking the law, if it is necessary to do so, and then reflect on our own role in this.

After the 1994 strike wiped out the World Series that year, we were told, baseball would never be the same again (this after many other things where it never be the same again, like Curt Flood, Jackie Robinson etc.). So the fans asked for heroes, and after sacrificing Pete Rose to the gods (deservedly, as it ultimately turned out) ... guys who hit dingers, and nothing but, whether it really was the best thing at that point in the game or not.

Put an asterisk next to Bonds’ home run records because he may have used steroids? And say nothing of some of the weak pitching he and the other sluggers took deep (McGwire, recall, hit his record-shattering 62nd off a guy whose ERA at that time would have been an embarassment in Little League). They only became what we made them.

And have you noticed that it is only hitters who stand in this glare? Baseball has seen some equally great pitching over that same stretch, yet no one accuses Johnson, Maddux or Clemens of shooting themselves full of Dianabol and God knows what else. We’re not even sure steroid use would be in any way conducive to effective pitching.

Also, we just noticed as we typed this, what do those three pitchers all have on their baseball cards that none of the three hitters mentioned do? Hint: it’s small, round and golden. What does that tell you about the true effectiveness of steroids in baseball? And don’t think players don’t notice this either.

This whole idea that only certain competitive enhancements are permissible has its roots in the late 19th-century concept of sports as a leisure activity for gentlemen who had the time and money for such leisure. Some sports used to disqualify from participation anyone who actually worked with their hands for a living. No fair!

By the standards of the past, then, even things no one would bat an eyelash at today such as lifting weights, or even swinging multiple bats in the on-deck circle, would have been improper competitive enhancements.

Even the simple idea of playing sports for pay took a while to catch on. Remember that it was a huge scandal once upon a time that the legendary Olympic hero Jim Thorpe was found to have, prior to his Olympic appearance, played minor league pro baseball under an assumed name.

That’s right, baseball, decades away from being an Olympic sport, and not even the pro sport that Thorpe earned his later athletic fame in. That alone in the twenties was enough to merit (temporarily) pulling Thorpe’s medals.

So punish those who have broken any law, be aware that steroids have a lot of negative effects, but don’t pretend in an era in which the racing of greatly modified vehicles with only a superficial resemblance to something you’d buy at a dealership is a sport as popular as baseball, basketball or football, that some sort of new depth of moral depravity has been reached when athletes handsomely rewarded by the market for hitting balls further and further more frequently turn out to have been giving nature some sort of help.

posted by Sully 12/06/2004 01:24:00 PM

Sunday, December 05, 2004

TO THE MATT CONTINUED:

Via Atrios, we learn more details of the chicanery and deception practiced by the 20/20 crew that went to Laramie:

O’Malley was notified about a week in advance of the ABC crew’s arrival for the interview. He invited them into his home and they stayed for “maybe three to four hours.”

He did not see the tape until the night the show aired.

The people interviewed for the show did not surprise him. He was, however, surprised that “a production as popular as 20/20 would hinge all of their support for their theory on meth addicts, Doc O’Connor and two convicted murderers … it did not surprise me the way the thing came out.”

O’Malley said that he did find out what the focus of the show was shortly after the interview was over and the crew left Laramie. Someone with the crew had left copies of e-mails on his dining room table — 10 pages of information discussing the overall focus of the program and “their pre-conceived focus that this was not a hate crime. This was a drug crime. That’s what they went with,” he said.

[...]

O’Malley said that if the 20/20 crew had been objective, they would have learned that a lot of what was said by Kristen Price early in the investigation was corroborated. Price also told authorities that McKinney and Henderson had not used any methamphetamines for several days because there was no money.

“That night (Oct. 6), they bought two pitchers of beer with pennies, nickels and dimes,” he said. “Also, after they were arrested, they exhibited no withdrawal symptoms whatsoever. A person who has been on a meth binge, there will be withdrawal symptoms apparent.” 20/20 did not discuss the expertise of the arresting officer.

“Flint Waters is a trained narcotics officer. … in controled substances,” O’Malley said. Waters reported that Henderson exhibited no signs of being under the influence of meth, just an odor of alcohol.

O’Malley said that 20/20 failed to report on the jailhouse letters that McKinney had written — letters that added information that this could have been a gay-hate crime.

The 20/20 segment with McKinney indicated that he, along with his lawyers, had concocted this gay panic issue, but, according to O’Malley, police interviews with McKinney showed that he had already started that (the gay panic issue) without the benefit of council [sic].

“The statements he made, the fact that after he was sentenced he was high-fiving other inmates and signing autographs in the jail — if it wasn’t motivated by bias, he was sure eating that up.” O’Malley said.


Strong stuff. When 60 Minutes II does far less, conservatives pillory them in the name of higher journalistic standards. But now ... nary a peep.

You know, Chief O’Malley, if you’re reading this, or if someone who knows you is, why not scan those emails and put them online for the rest of us to see ... and 20/20 to explain?

posted by Sully 12/05/2004 03:02:00 PM

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