Friday, September 29, 2006

More on Musharraf

I'm not alone in my discomfort about the Pakistani dictator. According to this column (WSJ $) on his recent American tour, Musharraf was lauded by each side of the political spectrum, including the Council of Foreign Relations. WSJ editorial board member Robert Pollack cautions,
let's have no illusions about Pervez Musharraf. He took power illegitimately in a country with some history of democracy, however imperfect. And now he seems to be in no hurry to give it up. The Bush Doctrine can survive the Musharraf Exception over the short run. But over the longer term, the credibility of our efforts to address the root causes of terror will require nudging Pakistan, too, back toward the democratic path.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"Where's Osama bin Laden?"

Why was President Pervez Musharraf on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart? Who suggested to him that would be a good idea? Who is advising him?

In fact, who's advising The Daily Show?
Funniest headline of the day

NYT thinks Bush's release of NIE report was politically motivated.

Gee, NYT's ...ya think? Huh. I wonder why Bush would release the NIE report...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Taranto weighs in

And he doesn't have the same viewpoint as Althouse (see post below):

In the interview with Wallace, the ex-president seemed unprepared for the question. Probably he is more used to answering questions like these from Larry King:

Now, the purpose of your initiative overall is to make the world a better place, right? . . .

And the four things it covers is to make the world a better place. . . .

Is it a better place? . . .

How's your health? . . .

The greatest thing you almost did was peace in the Middle East. . . .

Want to just briefly discuss some of the initiatives at this conference. We love coming here every year. Poverty alleviation. Possible?

It's another example of how liberal media don't really help liberals. Years of this sort of sycophantic treatment left Clinton unable to answer the sort of tough question that Republican politicians have to face all the time.

Well, I don't know since I don't watch the show, but I thought conservatives go on that show and get the softball treatment too. Anyone who goes on that show gets the softball treatment, but his broader point might be true.

PS I'll link this when it comes up!
Wallace post-game show

Chris Wallace gives post-interview analysis of yesterday's aired dust-up with President Clinton.
He attacked right-wingers--accused me of a "conservative hit job"--and even spun a theory I still don't understand that somehow Fox was trying to cover up the fact that NewsCorp. chief Rupert Murdoch was supporting his Global Initiative. I still have no idea what set him off.
More: I think Althouse is onto something:
Now that I've seen the reaction on the left, I'm convinced that Clinton went on the show planning to act the way he did. It wasn't Chris Wallace's specific question that set him off. He decided in advance to go on Fox News and unleash an attack on Fox News as soon as when he saw an opening. But he jumped too eagerly at what wasn't really an opening and he jumped weirdly. That he thought he was doing well suggests that he has surrounded himself with people who are pulling him out of the calm, rational center -- what Arianna mocks as a "bipartisan love-in."

But this country is full of people who aren't hotly partisan, who are put off by that strong stuff, and who need to see a demonstration of calm rationality. Now his over-the-top performance is being praised by those people who crowd around him -- that's the real love-in -- and he may succumb to their fawning inducements to hardcore partisanship.
Kaus thinks Clinton was winning the interview too (if that's a way to put it) until he went all paranoid on Wallace!

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Well. I watched Chris Wallace's interview with President Clinton this afternoon and I didn't think Clinton was over the top until he started lashing out at Wallace. He accused Wallace of smirking at him. As a semi-regular viewer, I have to say that Wallace smirks at everyone, but then, so does his dad. Clinton also mentioned a "right-wing conspiracy" which echoed his wife's famous "vast right-wing conspiracy" remark on a Today Show interview before she and the rest of the world knew the truth about Monica Lewinsky. I don't think dredging up those days does him any good.

I appreciated Clinton's point about needing but not getting certification from the FBI and CIA that bin Laden was behind the Cole bombing before he could get the right--or permission, I'm not sure--to fly military jets out of Uzbekistan, especially after reading Bob Woodward's Bush at War, but his lashing out at Rupert Murdoch and Fox News in general was a little weak. Why do an interview with them if you feel they are smirking and unfair? Some people are saying that Wallace broke a promise about divvying up the fifteen-minute interview as promised -- half for Clinton's charities; half for whatever Wallace wanted to ask, but Wallace doesn't have control over how long Clinton takes to answer his questions, though I suppose, he could have waited to 7:30 to begin the political questions.

Clinton also said that President Bush's neo-cons did not support his bombing Afghanistan in 1998 and now they're criticizing him for not having done enough to catch him. Neocons that Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld? Not sure, but Jonah Goldberg digs up an old National Review editorial that looked favorably on that campaign and some old news articles that quotes House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott both supporting the actions.

For my part, I was in grad school in 1998 and was assigned to get man-on-the-street reactions to the bombing. People in Inwood, Manhattan, thought he was just trying to deflect attention from the Lewinsky business. I remember thinking at the time that they were terribly cynical.
"Unlike my parents' mortgage, not only is mine not paid off, I have decades of payments ahead of me from my most recent refinancing."

Here's an open and honest column by a business writer for the Washington Post who's just turning 60, has decades left on her newly refinanced mortgage, and was just laid off. She's going to make learning how to prepare for retirement the subject of her future contract columns with WaPo.

Interesting that a business writer couldn't manage her own personal finances. I'm going to try to follow her columns to see what I can learn.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Is The Times justified?

It is now.
The Times has instituted a sweeping but subtle redesign, to emphasize the difference between objective and subjective journalism. Straight news will remain, well, straight: laid out in justified columns, with even margins on the left and right. Stories that have been colored by analysis, commentary or authorial whimsy will all receive the layout previously reserved for columns: a straight left margin and a ragged right one.
I don't even read it that much anymore, but still, I think it's a good thing.

Monday, September 18, 2006

It's a crockpot!

Chicken noodle soup with sweet potatoes. Sounds wierd; tastes good.

6 to 8 ounces, sknless chicken thighs; cut into 1-inch pieces
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dryed thyme
1/4 tsp. marjoram
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 bay leaf
1 14 1/2 oz. can chicken broth
8 oz. egg noodles, cooked

Combine all ingredients except the egg noodles in the crockpot. Cover; cook on low for 8 to 10 hours; or on high for 4 to 5 hours. Stir in egg noodles before serving.

Three out of four Bystander household members agree that it's a pretty tasty dish, and the fourth is just being picky!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Africa's children, malaria, DDT and the European Union

The World Health Organization has decided to be more agressive in pushing for the use of DDT in Africa to wipe out malaria.
Despite its elimination in much of the world, malaria continues to be one of the leading causes of death, especially among children in Africa, who make up some 75 percent of the nearly 2.7 million malaria deaths each year.
The health agency has reached the conclusion that in small amounts DDT is not harmful and they are advocating its use for indoor spraying.

According to this WSJ article ($) Africans fear that the European Union will no longer want to import their agricultural goods if they use more DDT.
In a June letter, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, urged European Union Prime Minister José Manuel Barroso not to boycott agricultural products from countries using DDT for malaria control. "As the experiences of South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zambia have demonstrated, DDT alone can reduce malaria disease and death rates by 75% in less than two years," he wrote. In a reply to Sen. Coburn, Mr. Barroso said that agricultural exports from African countries had not been disrupted due to DDT contamination, and that the EU adheres to the Stockholm Convention, which allows for the use of DDT for malaria-control purposes.
Hmm. The wording of the EU prime minister's remarks is suspicious. It suggests African ag exports have been disrupted which, I always thought, was due to DDT use. But if not for DDT, then what?

So, what's the problem with DDT anyway? In 1962
environmentalist Rachel Carson in the book "Silent Spring," [argued] that DDT was killing off bald eagles, in part by thinning their eggshells, and seeping into the food chain, raised concerns about the powerful chemical's heavy use. Environmental protest led the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the use of DDT in the U.S. in 1972. It currently is made by one company in India and two in China.

the findings of a 2001 study lead by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences "strongly suggest that DDT use increases preterm births, which is a major contributor to infant mortality."

Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, recommends strategies aimed at preventing mosquito breeding sites by other than chemical means. He says the international community should reject the use of DDT.

"We should be advocating for a just world where we no longer treat poverty and development with poisonous Band-Aids but join together to address the root causes of insect-borne disease, because the chemical-dependent alternatives are ultimately deadly for everyone."

"Root causes." I'm sure he's got something more specific than that that couldn't fit into this article, at least, I hope. I dunno, though. A study that "suggests" versus millions of dead children a year, let alone the hundreds of millions who suffer but survive. Seems like a no brainer to me.

Instapundit links to this 2000 Ron Bailey article for background.

It's been a long, hot summer

D Magazine forcasts dry years ahead for the DFW area and unearths a battle for precious water rights -- who's winning, who's losing and who's trying to make a buck.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rhode Island Democrats

Appointed United Nations Ambassador John Bolton must poll very badly among Rhode Island Democrats:
[I]n the 13 months since he was sent to New York, Bolton has surprised some critics with a more consensus-building style than they expected. Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), who played a central role in blocking the nomination last year, reversed course this summer, declaring himself impressed by Bolton's performance -- seemingly clearing the way to confirmation.

Chafee put a halt to that last week by saying he would not vote for Bolton until after the administration addresses questions on Middle East policy that he had sent in a letter to Rice. Taken aback, White House officials hoped that it was merely a tactic to put off a controversial vote until after the primary, while preparing contingencies in case it was not.

Even with a "no" vote from Chafee, the Foreign Relations Committee could send the nomination to the floor on a tie vote, but Republicans would probably face a Democratic filibuster.

The general argument against Bolton is that he's too tough, too much of a hothead and thus will make America even more unpopular than we are if that's possible. If Senator Chaffee is so concerned about popularity, he's not showing much concern for it in his own political party.

Speaking of American popularity, Anne Applebaum had a column debunking the myth that we were ever popular:
But it's also true that this initial wave of goodwill hardly outlasted the news cycle. Within a couple of days a Guardian columnist wrote of the "unabashed national egotism and arrogance that drives anti-Americanism among swaths of the world's population". A Daily Mail columnist denounced the "self-sought imperial role" of the United States, which he said had "made it enemies of every sort across the globe".
Do we ever remember ourselves the way we really were? Long time ago (in blogging time) I noted a WaPo column -- either by David Ignatius or Fred Hyatt -- on that same theme. Bill Clinton, it was supposed, was so charming that the world loved America and Americans, but what the column made clear was that the world loved him. While he visited nations abroad, leaders would smile and shake his hand for the camera, and probably after the cameramen had gone home. And then when each were safely ensconced in their versions of the White House, they would do the opposite of what Clinton had wanted.

It was nothing personal, I'm sure.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Dear Mad Housewife,

My blog-to-reading ratio is very low lately, and I'm not sure what to do with myself after the house is picked up, the bills picked through and dinner is crockpotted.

Do you think I ought to try sewing curtains again? I've never been entirely satisfied with the living room drapes.


4:35 and everything's done

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What the jalapeno is going on?

What type of thoughtful and gifted writer would question erstwhile NYT's ombudsman Daniel Okrent's assertion that
Anonymous sources matter more than political biases? How could a thoughtful and gifted writer like Okrent commit himself to such an implausible proposition?
and then not tell his reader why anonymous sources mattering more than political biases is such an implausible proposition? I don't think it's implausible at all.

Fine by me if you want to run a liberal or conservative newspaper, as long as you are not pretending otherwise. But if you are pretending otherwise and using anonymous sources, how am I supposed to trust you?

Could we please dispense with anonymous sources?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Mostly this, a little of that

The house is suddenly, stunningly quiet -- the toddler napping, the kindergartener at school, the dryer silent.


As I said before, I still feel 9/11 like it happened yesterday so I won't bore you with more sentiment. There's plenty going around!

I had a nice visit with family over the weekend, a hustled drive down to the Houston area and a hurried one back, but the length of time in between unfolded naturally enough to visit with good people.

My children, already short on sleep, lost more because of the excitement of sleeping in a hotel room. They inexplicably did NOT sleep the whole way home as I had predicted. In fact, Super B. Didn't sleep at all! But they were pretty good nonetheless.* Thank you, Laurie Berkner.

My husband had the house and garage all to himself this weekend, with the mission of completing the behemoth project of converting his Miata engine to a 400-horsepower sports car. As the completion date is four months passed, I had great hopes for his time alone, but we're still looking at the holiday season before he's ready to take me for a spin. I noticed you didn't make the bed this weekend, I said when I returned. Ha! he replied, good one!

*Brendan dumped Emma's box of crayons on the floor twice and laughed at her when she cried. She then complained to me that she had never wanted a little brother.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Cathy's roast

If I were in LA, or near enough, that's where I would be this Sunday. I almost went anyway -- have fun, Cathy! And boys, don't get too potty-mouthed!

The coolest Bystander fans will take a listen to this guy! Man -- he's jumpin'!

Political blogs cut and pasted into news print. That can't be good.

Also, I'm so sleepy. Should I have my 5:00 cup of coffee early today?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

9/11, the drama and the docudrama

Althouse writes my feelings with precision:
It's got to be a playing field for the forces of right and left, and now if you watch the thing, instead of thinking about America and al Qaeda, you can think about Democrats and Republicans. If you haven't caught up with the spirit of 2006, you might want to keep the TV off for the next few days and stay away from the internet.
I haven't been able to bring myself to watch anything 9/11 related. I remember it like it happened yesterday.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Busy with quasi-freelance work. I'm calling it quasi until I get my first check. Until then, it's just a hobby.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Subscription required

John Malkovich designs ties for Phoebe Cates's Upper East Side boutique!

Monday, September 04, 2006


'sall I got.