Friday, June 30, 2006

Sulzburger slaps back

NYT's Publisher responds to the WSJ which slapped the Times for using The Journal as an "idealogical wingman" in revealing secret administration tactics for hunting terrorists through international financial transactions. Says, Pinch:
"I know many of the reporters and editors at The Wall Street Journal and have greater faith in their journalistic excellence than does the Editorial Page of their own paper. I, for one, do not believe they were unaware of the importance of what they were publishing nor oblivious to the impact such a story would have."
Is that it? Is that all you got? Reminds me of Charles Durning as the governor in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas singing "The Sidestep." Still, as I said about two posts below, the WSJ could have avoided that remark by asking their colleagues on the other side of the wall whether they would have published the story had they broken it.

Also, E&P excerpts more of the Journal editorial for your reading pleasure.
Comments spam

Does anyone know how to rid my site of spam in the comments?
Slapping The New York Times

The Wall Street Journal tells their side of the terrorist-financing story ($) in an editorial. The Journal printed the story after a Treasury official came to them with it, and that was after the Times had refused not to print. Ooooh, I wish you subscribed so you could read it all, but I'll give you a taste. Which to choose, which to, here yes,
The obligation of the press is to take the government seriously when it makes a request not to publish. Is the motive mainly political? How important are the national security concerns? And how do those concerns balance against the public's right to know?

The problem with the Times is that millions of Americans no longer believe that its editors would make those calculations in anything close to good faith. We certainly don't. On issue after issue, it has become clear that the Times believes the U.S. is not really at war, and in any case the Bush Administration lacks the legitimacy to wage it.

So, for example, it promulgates a double standard on "leaks," deploring them in the case of Valerie Plame and demanding a special counsel when the leaker was presumably someone in the White House and the journalist a conservative columnist. But then it hails as heroic and public-spirited the leak to the Times itself that revealed the National Security Agency's al Qaeda wiretaps.

My one quibble with the piece is when the editors state they don't know whether the news editor would have broken the story, given the opportunity. Seems like something you could ask over the water cooler or during a lunch break.
More on the Get-to-Work,-Women! meme

Jonah Goldberg has dipped his toe into the muddy waters. Here's part of one post:
For as a matter of simple logic, a philosophy which says that women should subordinate their own aspirations — particularly when it comes to their role as mothers — to the national community (or volksgemeinschaft, if you prefer) is a philosophy which can be used to justify forcing women to become breeders for the posterity and prosperity of the nation. Oh, but just to be clear: this isn't my prediction, it's just the sort of argument feminists used to make when feminism meant the opposite of what Hirshman says it should mean.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Please send cash

Or a cool front. It's hot and our air conditioner gave up last night.

Update: It's a dry heat.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

North Korea

A very cool collection of photos taken by a Russian tourist. (Via Vodkapundit).
As a form of entertainement both Koreas will take you to a visit to the border. One mystery remains, how comme under capitalism the roads are good and under communism sh*tty.

But what about the children?

Absent this article, A Working Girl can Win: The Case Against Staying at Home with the Kids, a review of
Get to work, by Linda Hirshman--about how women owe it to other women and future generations of women to keep a career--is comment, opinion or fact about what happens to children should they live their Monday-thru-Friday lives in daycare.

Just sayin'.

Also: The article states:
A recent study found that a full 93 percent of "highly qualified" women who have opted out want to find a way back in and can't. And, according to several studies, women in the United States suffer a 10 to 15 percent dock in future earnings when they have children—a drop that doesn't affect men.
I'd like to take a closer look at that study. Too bad she didn't mention its authors. Egads, 93%? I better start practicing my burger flipping skills!

More: John Podhoretz:
I don't take a position in the women-should-stay-home debate. My mom worked. My wife works. My sisters stayed home. But the notion that women "should" work simply so that they can be of aid in the gender revolution is precisely the kind of ideological-feminist b.s. that turned the word "feminism" into a pejorative.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

NY Times Program Expands Executive Editor Authority

(2006-06-24) — A secret New York Times program for fighting ‘the war on the war on terror’ represents a “radical expansion of executive editor authority” according to a legal analyst who studied the parameters of the “intel sifting and sharing program” that the Times uses to disseminate U.S. national security information to international terror groups.
Let's hope Vice President Cheney is in a secure, undisclosed location.
Identity theft update

I need to get to the grocery store, fix lunch and then do some whirlwind housekeeping before my inlaws return with our daughter, but first I thought I'd update you on my identity theft.

Do you exist? Are you sure? Can you prove your existence? I'm having difficulty proving mine. Some creep in Middletown, New York only needed my social security number to rack up about $1000 in charges in my name. To clear my good name, I need three forms of proof that show I lived where I lived during the disputed time period Nov., '05 through Feb., '06.

The choices listed in the Frontier Communications fraud packet are as follows:
  • Copy of utility bill(s) and/or telephone bill(s) in your name showing different address for the time period of fraudulent billing.
  • Copy of your drivers license showing different address for time period of billing.
  • Copy of rental/lease agreement in your name showing different address during time noted.
  • Notarized statement from township or courthouse stating your residency at different address during billing period.
  • Notarized statement from employer stating time of your employment and your home address during the billing period.
  • Notarized statement from landlord stating your residency at different address during the billing period.
  • official document from your postmaster stating different address during billing period.
  • Notarized or official document verifying institutionalization, military assignment, hospitalization etc. during billing period.
All the bills are in my husband's name. We do not rent or lease -- we own. I visited my town hall and municipal courthouse, and I called the county courthouse and J.P. courthouse and none are in the business of providing such documents. I'm an at-home mom, so no employer letter is possible. I have no landlord because I own my home. I visited my post office and called their consumer affairs department and they cannot help me as they don't have records of names tied to addresses.

I have not yet been institutionalized (but it won't be long!)

A gal named Tiffany at the town hall utility department suggested I get my husband to fill out a form to put my name on the account. Once they enter me into the computer, they can print out records and both our names will appear on the records.

After that, I'll only need one more form of proof that I exist. A gal at the J.P., suggested tax records, which sounds smart to me. I'll have to call Tony at Frontier to see if she'll approve, then I'll have to call the Denton County to see if they'll release them, as I don't save our statements, and then, perhaps I'll come back into existence. But for now, if a blogger without identity posts on the internet, does anyone read what she's written?


PS Updates below -- tinfoil hat securely on!
NYT's vs. U.S.A.

According to Fox News leading members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, from both sides of the aisle, and leading members of the 9/11 Commission asked the NYT's not to publish this report about financing terrorists.

And the Emporer strikes back (at the press secretary):
The press secretary made his remarks during a lengthy morning briefing, during which he at times grew uncharacteristically testy. At one point, he accused news organizations like CNN, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times of collecting personal data from visitors to their web sites without disclosing it. At another, he grew exasperated when Helen Thomas, a longtime White House correspondent, interrupted him, and told her to "stop heckling and let me conduct the press conference."

Update: Michael Ledeen weighs in:
The NYT and its ilk pound their chests about the revelations of the successful search of financial data to catch terrorists. They declare they are acting because of the public’s right to know. But in the matter of WMDs found in Iraq, the public’s right to know is totally dissed. There is NO call for the declassification of that document, NO righteous indignation at Negroponte, Cambone and the others who quite improperly failed to inform Congressional oversight committees of the existence of this document, and are fighting its declassification and release, NO investigative action to discover why this information was suppressed, NO curiosity about how Hoekstra and Santorum found out it existed.

And above all , NO concern, despite the clear statement in the document itself, and despite the explicit statement from Rumsfeld yesterday, that these weapons are still out there, and constitute a very real threat to our soldiers.
Read the whole thing.

Update the second: Apparently WaPo did cover the WMD story, as Post Watch notes:
If the online readout of Thursday's Post holds true--and it doesn't always--the Post places the startling news of chemical weapons having been found in Iraq into a tiny story on A10 by Dafna Linzer. Much of that is devoted to minimizing its importance:
But more importantly, via this post, we find that Jim Geraghty has dug up some old UN records, which show that seven-year-old Mustard gas munitions found in Iraq in 1998 only degraded three to six percent over a seven year period. Hmm, his link seems to be cloogy. I'll check back for updates.

It seriously would not surprise me if the entire editorial staffs of The New York Times and The Washington Post suddenly took up arms against our elected leaders, that is, of course, if their current methods don't work in the '08 elections.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Bystander: Rightwingnut Tinfoil Hat Wearer!

Well, the NYT's condescends to report the Hoekstra/Santorum WMD story. Headline: "For Diehards, Search for Iraq's WMD's Isn't Over." Couched in a story about civilian WMD theorists and hunters, and seven paragraphs down --

More than a year after the White House, at considerable political cost, accepted the intelligence agencies' verdict that Mr. Hussein destroyed his stockpiles in the 1990's, these Americans have an unshakable faith that the weapons continue to exist.

The proponents include some members of Congress. Two Republicans, Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania held a news conference on Wednesday to announce that, as Mr. Santorum put it, "We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

American intelligence officials hastily scheduled a background briefing for the news media on Thursday to clarify that. Hoekstra and Mr. Santorum were referring to an Army report that described roughly 500 munitions containing "degraded" mustard or sarin gas, all manufactured before the 1991 gulf war and found scattered through Iraq since 2003.

Such shells had previously been reported and do not change the government conclusion, the officials said.

Huh. I don't remember any government official saying that they had been previously reported, but I wasn't at the conference. I remember Fox News reporting some shells had been found a year or two ago, but no one then said how many nor has anyone now clarifed at how many sites these approximate 500 munitions (correct word?) have been found.

Also reporter Scott Shane declines to inform his reading public what Negroponte's declassified document warns: that though they degrade over time, they "remain hazardous and potentially lethal" and that they "could be sold on the black market" and finally more have been "assessed to exist."

This information is beneath his readership, no doubt.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


The Santorum/Hoekstra WMD announcement was definitely in a late press conference yesterday -- about 5:30 EDT, but I'm not even seeing an AP version of it in the WSJ, WaPo or NYT's.

I get that these are pre-1991 munitions, not what the government had in mind when it searched for WMD, but to me that's a big story too. What we thought was there, wasn't, but we didn't know what was there, was. Plus Hoekstra and Santorum seem eager to get the rest of the report declassified so the American public can see it in context, but that hasn't happened yet.

The press conference was held at 5:30 EDT -- too late for print journalists? Even the AP? Or is this an example of "stories that donÂ?t get covered at all because of the unexamined assumptions of those who decide [what] even counts as news," that Cathy Seipp wrote about the other day?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A few morsels

Transcript of Hoekstra/Santorum press conference at Instapundit:

QUESTION: My question was, number one, if the statement -- you quoted those senators at the outset who say there were no weapons of mass destruction. You're saying here's a document that establishes that in fact there were.

Why is the Bush administration, why is Secretary Rumsfeld or President Bush not holding a press conference a high noon to say, Look, this makes the case that we've been trying to -- we were making for three years...

SANTORUM: I think that's a question you have to ask them. It's certainly a question that we have asked them. You'd have to ask them that question.


SANTORUM: Just recall -- the Duelfer report said there were no stockpiles. And I remember when the report came out. The whole mood was: There was no WMD at the time we went into Iraq.

And you hear three United States senators today saying there was no WMD. So I don't know -- maybe it's not news to you, but I think it's news to at least those three senators and a lot more and I think to most of the American public who believed that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at the time we went into Iraq. [My italics].


HOEKSTRA: Over two months. And, you know, neither one of the intelligence committees, as far as I can tell, were notified of the existence of the report. It just says, you ought to ask the question.

We always ask the question of the intelligence community: What is it that we don't know?

And sometimes we go through a process which we call 20 questions. You don't get the information that you want or you believe that the intelligence committees are entitled to until you've asked 20 questions and you finally get to asking the right question in exactly the right way. [My italics].

Egads. Well, Captain Ed asks,
So why keep this quiet? Perhaps CENTCOM did not want to tip the AQ-I forces to their continued existence. Another explanation may have been that some of this got captured through active intel sources that would have blown continuing operations. Obviously the Intelligence Committee felt that the need for secrecy had passed.
Breaking news...

WMD found in Iraq. Funny, I never usually have the news on at this hour. Senator Rick Santorum and Congressman Pete Hoekstra have just announced a declassification of information showing 500 mustard gas and sarin munitions have been found in Iraq.

Anyone care? Anyone?
Unconventional wisdom

Slate has invited comment from Jonah Goldberg who writes that Slate thinks it's not a liberal voice, but a contrarian voice.
Slate's critic at large began an article recently, "David Brooks is America's one genuinely likable conservative." Really? The only one? Only at a liberal publication could such smug silliness be written so un-self-consciously. And only a liberal would hold up an iconoclastic Trotskyist like Christopher Hitchens as a Medusa's head to prove to critics that his magazine isn't liberal.
I have no recollection of whether I blogged about that article or not, but I do remember thinking the same thing. Also, I didn't know that Slate editor Jacob Weisberg is philosophically opposed to fact-checking. He says it makes writers lazy. That makes some things a lot clearer now.

Update: Eugene Volokh gets a platform too. He has three suggestions:
1. Use Your Medium—Link to Original Documents...
2. Use Your Medium—Provide Better Corrections...
3. Watch Your Genre—Stay Serious Without Being Too Serious.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

She says it!

Seipp (see nose, on the):
Bradlee’s notion that journalists should refrain from displaying any political opinion except by voting also seems unrealistic. No marching in political rallies even if you’re on an unrelated beat like sports, the venerated former Washington Post editor tells Lehrer; no accepting paid speaking engagements from any organization other than a non-profit — “Just stay out of it!” Presumably the problem is then solved.

But what about the larger issue of stories that don’t get covered at all because of the unexamined assumptions of those who decide even counts as news?
I've noted before, the NYT's editorial staff consists of 337 people -- not very many people considering their influence.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Here are some blawgy thoughts on the Texas redistricting case, which may be decided quite soon. (Via Althouse.)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

On Craigslist
"Well, the revenue aspect is really an afterthought," Mr. Buckmaster insists, with a Zen-like calm. A seven-figure afterthought. I'd like to have that kind of afterthought, I think to myself. Mr. Buckmaster appears, at times, to be almost queasy about "revenue."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

WaPo to the rescue!

A useful article on identity theft.
In the past 15 months, corporations, universities and other organizations alerted more than 85 million U.S. consumers that their personal or financial data might have been compromised due to data breaches, disgruntled employees or just plain incompetence.
My cousin, who used to work in collections, thinks my social security number was probably randomly generated, since to my knowledge, it hasn't been used any further for ill-gotten gains.
A Prairie Home Companion

I don't know that Garrison Keillor is the "shock jock of wholesomness," and I was surprised to hear of his fabulous apartment on Central Park West (very unmidwestern), but I don't agree with Rex Reed that "A Prairie Home Companion is about as charming as waking up with a dead animal in your bed."

What a crank that Reed is! I liked the movie. I didn't love it, but I liked it. It gave me a sort of happy, weepy feeling with interruptions of giggling at ...who else? Kevin Kline as Guy Noir.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Organic Wal-Mart?

Get off our turf! ($)
old-school ethical eaters held onto the notion that, however indirectly, buying pre-washed vacuum-packed organic "baby" carrots shipped from California somehow helped to protect the kind of small traditional farmers who started the movement. But when Wal-Mart announced plans to introduce more than 1,000 new organic products in its stores this summer, denial was no longer possible. And that's when the organic compost hit the fan.
I read this the same day I find that Pat has snuck back into Trader Joe's.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Black bears are chicken S&*($%

Maybe it's just Jersey bears, but I wouldn't let a cat treat me that way.
Who wants to take me on?!

I was skimming through the LA Times opinion page, when I came across Jonathon Chait, a name I recognize either from Slate or Salon, so I clicked. It began thusly:
A FEW WEEKS ago, I wrote a column about a paper that decimated the conservative worldview.
He's not kidding. Well, I don't know whether the paper decimated the conservative worldview or not-- didn't see any headlines on Drudge -- but he certainly feels like he has. His column complains that conservatives won't debate him on this, except for a few weak attempts at NRO, and this is clearly because they have no substantive points to make!

Citing a new study, he argues that cutting taxes increases government spending. I'm not qualified to argue one way or another. But I'm qualified to be highly amused by his assumptions that conservatives are silenced by him, instead of perhaps ignoring him.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Comments, kids, credit

At the request of a valued reader, I have opened up the comments section, so that she can leave a snarky remark in my post below regarding the Social Security Administration. In an email, I wrote her that I never opened my comments before because I didn't want any nastiness left on my blog during the run up to the war or during the election, but now that I'm almost 40, it's time to get a spine.

My husband just noted that he thinks we made it through the allergy season with barely a sneeze or stuffy nose. Just in time for the earache season, I thought. I had a 2 A.M. visit from my five-year-old complaining of a sore ear, which I think is due to swimming.

We hit the town pool at least twice a week and she swims in her best friend's backyard pool at least once weekly, so I should have seen this coming. In fact, she complained about it days ago, but it came wedged between her litany of other complaints. I get, "My tummy hurts," about five times a day. Then there's, "This thing on my big toe hurts," which turns out to be a hangnail; and finally, "Mom, if I twist my pinkie finger this way, it makes my whole hand hurt."

So, I can hardly be blamed for not calling the doctor at the first mention of her sore ear, can I? Well, perhaps so. We're trying eardrops for now.

Earache aside, I have been patting myself on the back for buying season passes to the pool because it is at the pool where Emma's courage is growing by leaps and bounds. We go to this city water park, where most of the water is 2 feet 6 inches. There's a lazy river that is 3' 6" deep and also an inlet with giant lily pads and a rope suspended above them to help you cross; it is also 3'6" deep. We've gone to the pool about six times and each time she gets in line at the lily pads to cross and when her turn comes up she changes her mind and walks away. I've noticed that she's the smallest person in line each time.

Anyway, Friday she actually did it! And she got back in line again and again to cross those lily pads and never once fell in; I was watchful because though she's taken swimming lessons, she's not all that confident a swimmer. So, later, I took her aside to an inlet off the lazy river, 3' 6"and had her swim to me, which she did beautifully, and asked to do it again. The second time she panicked and had a good cry, resolute that that was her last attempt.

Well, no more lily pads until she's more comfortable, I said. There's a lifeguard just for the lily pad section, but I can't trust her life to a teenager and since I have to hold Brendan, who does not yet understand depth, and will crawl in just about anywhere, I can't jump into save her if she panics after falling off a lily pad.

She countered that her intention is to not fall off the lily pads. But with boys shooting water at you from one of those water rifles, it is an inevitablity, I said.

Then, yesterday at a swim party, she was AquaGirl, able to swim pretty decent distances and jump in by herself and otherwise not need me at all, so the lily pads may be back on. For now, we are very pleased with her courage and balance skills.

I have received my fraud packet from Frontier Communications, no word from First Collections, the agency they employed to shake me down. I skimmed it -- it looks long and tedious and I'm already mentally exhausted by it, but that could be the need for a little child-free time sneaking up on me (and the kids -- scram!). So, before I get to that, I'm going to hit some of the off-price stores for children's luggage, while their father takes them to lunch.

Emma needs something bigger than her backpack for her week away with the grandparents and Brendan is at the age where he loves to wheel things behind him, so I should get him one too.

A week after Emma returns, we're off to the July 4 bash in Oklahoma; ten days after that, we drive up to Yellowstone for a family reunion; two weeks after that trip, we have another family reunion in South Texas; and about a week after that, school starts. My husband keeps saying summer hasn't yet begun. Oh no, I assure him, summer's almost over.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Where credit is due

First credit report came today. I accidentally bought one before I found out they could be had for free, at least once a year. Anyway, it looks clear of bad tidings for now.

I have not heard from the Frontier Communications or their collections agency yet, which is mildly worrisome, but I'll give it til the middle of next week before I pull out the big guns, er, or at least re-contact them.
Zarqawi's ransom

Someone's going to get $25 million, but who, and will s/he have to go into hiding?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Spock on Bilbo

Leonard Nimoy sings and stars in a video, "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins," to promote his album, circa 1968. (Via Jonah Goldberg.)

Fraud update

The Social Security Administration reeeeeeally doesn't want to give me a new number, as far as I can tell from their website and the automated responses I got by dialing 1-800-269-0271:

We do not routinely assign a new number to someone whose identity has been stolen. First, you should do several other things, such as:

  • File a report with the local police or the police department where the identity theft took place, and keep a copy of the police report as proof of the crime;
  • Notify the Federal Trade Commission (1-877-ID-THEFT or 1-877-438-4338);
  • Contact the fraud units of the three major credit reporting bureaus:
  • Call each of your creditors to report fraud for any account that has been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

Only as a last resort should you consider changing your Social Security number. Changing your number may adversely impact your ability to interact with federal and state agencies, employers and others. This is because your financial, medical, employment and other records will be under your former Social Security number. If you have done all you can and someone still is using your number, we may assign you a new number. We cannot guarantee that a new number will solve your problem.

I suspect I need to see my credit reports before I talk to SSA. If more money has been spent using my number then what I know of, then I may have a case for getting a new number. If it's a one-time only thing, it may be less hassle to keep my card current.

Detective Sullivan called today and said I should wait to see my credit reports before calling the FTC, too. He said the FTC would be interested if bigger sums of money were stolen in my name.

The future rests on the coming reports.

Monday, June 05, 2006

It's a little like spying on your neighbors

The Texas governor announced his plans for streaming the border surveillance camera footage over the internet at a meeting of police officials on Thursday.

"A stronger border is what Americans want and it's what our security demands and that is what Texas is going to deliver," Mr Perry said.

The cameras will cost $5m (£2.7m) to install and will be trained on sections of the 1,000-mile (1,600km) border known to be favoured by illegal immigrants.

Web users who spot an apparently illegal crossing will be able to alert the authorities by telephoning a number free of charge.
(Via Drudge.)

Saturday, June 03, 2006


You know when you've had the perfect day? When you've taken your kids to the swimming pool for the first day of the season and you pushed them farther (further?) then they wanted to go and they kept saying no, no, no, but by the time it was time to leave they kept begging you to stay? All smiles because they'd gone down the slide they'd refused to go down at first? It was the best day ever and your oldest wishes she never ever ever ever ever ever ever had to leave?

Ah, yes. I had such a day. Half a day really. The two-year-old still needs his nap, and as his nap ran late, I checked the mail late and found a letter from a collections agency requesting $952.17.


You know when you've had the perfect day and then everything seems to go wrong and you call the collections agency and they tell you they are seeking payment on behalf of a long-distance company you've heard of and that you possibly used five years ago at your last address 200 miles south of your current one?

This must be your husband's fault, mustn't it ...but that doesn't make sense, why would it take this company five years to find you?

You know when you call that company to find out when, exactly, the account was opened and a recording tells you to call back during East Coast business hours, so you have to wait until morning, and you're feeling just sick about not knowing what the hell is going on?

And then in the morning you call and you find out the account was opened in November of '05 using your social security number for a residence in Middletown, NY -- a place you've never been to?

You know that feeling? And then you get this dark sense of forboding -- what else has your social security number been used for? What does your credit report look like now? How many people have your personal information?

You know that feeling? Yeah, me too.

So, that's what I was working on yesterday -- calling credit agencies and my bank and the police and calling on my inner strength to calm myself down because, as I tell my five-year-old daughter who has been yelling at the wind since she could talk instructing it not to blow hair into her eyes, you do not control the world, Nancy, and as careful as you have been with your credit and with your personal information, sometimes bad things happen...

...but not to good people like me, I counter! I mean I'm sure if these people knew me they'd never have stolen my personal information. I try to be nice to everyone!

Yes, even to people like you, especially to people like you!

No, Dark Nancy, shut up. Injured Nancy, take note: it can happen to anyone.

All right, then. I hope that clears things up. Let's all the Nancys wait for the credit report to come and see how we feel about it then. Agreed?

Agreed, Injured Nancy looked down at her feet.

Agreed, Dark Nancy scowled and then smirked.

Good. Collection of Nancys then turned to the computer, clicked on the tab she keeps up for her gym and checked when cycle class begins. Sarge was teaching, and it was sure to be a tough class.