From Betsy's Page:
The American Historical Association is meeting in Seattle. They seem to be even more politicized this year with sessions devoted to American Hubris, Historians Against the War, and a panel on Fahrenheit 9/11. Geesh. Do they strive to fit the stereotype?
posted by Betsy Newmark 8:42 PM
From the Washington Times:
Atheist sues to ban hand on Bible
By Jon Ward
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The California lawyer who tried to have the phrase "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance now wants to legally prevent President Bush from placing his hand on a Bible while being sworn in at his inauguration.
Here's an article in the Rapid City Journal about Senator Thune and the issue of reopening the Canadian border to cattle imports. Excerpt:
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., says he will consider introducing a bill to prevent the Bush administration from reopening the U.S. border to Canadian beef. Thune said he would first look at other legislative proposals being developed before sponsoring his own bill.
"I need to look at what's been proposed," Thune said Thursday.
"I've got to find out if it's actually something that would work." Thune said he would not rule out sponsoring his own bill.
"I want to do something that is actually realistic, not just demagoging the issue," he said. Thune said he opposes the proposal to reopen the border to Canadian cattle primarily because it could complicate efforts to get Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries to reopen their borders to U.S. beef.
Again, if you haven't seen the new documentary about Rwanda, you should. Also, here's a review of the new movie "Hotel Rwanda."
Here's another long article about the ongoing battle between Powerline and a columnist at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Excerpt:
As long as other people have more of what we want – material possessions, influence, charm, good looks, business acumen, etc., the old green-eyed monster lurks. While most of us try to keep envy in check, some display it in newspapers like the Star Tribune for all to see.
In a most vulgar display of blog, class and “male appendage” envy, Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman had the blogosphere asking in unison, “Where was this guy’s editor?”
In a December 29 column/rant, he lambasted Power Line bloggers Scott Johnson and John Hinderaker in a meandering, juvenile and over-the-top screed. Named TIME Magazine’s “Blog of the Year,” Power Line was at the forefront of “Rathergate,” the scandal in which CBS’s and Dan Rather’s sloppy research (and forged memos) was embarrassingly revealed.
Chuck Todd, in the current issue (only partially on-line) of The Atlantic Monthly:
But as Al Gore, John Kerry, and countless lesser Democrats have tried the [Clintonian approach], one thing has become clearer and clearer: the success of Clintonism was due primarily to the period in which Clinton governed and to his remarkable political skills--not to the electoral strategy he bequeathed to his party.
A few emails like this have come in since the election and I'll leave it to you to judge since I can't verify the validity of the claims. If you have more info, please send it in:
Herseth deserves much of the credit for Daschle's defeat. She poured tens of thousands of dollars into his defeat with her field program. I was a volunteer in the Herseth campaign headquarters throughout the summer and early autumn until Herseth's objective became clear: 1) Rely on the Daschle campaign to turn out Daschle-Herseth voters; 2) Use her own field staff to turn out Thune-Herseth voters.The Herseth campaign staff, especially the campaign manager and field staff, were extremely hostile towards Daschle. Take, for example, this portion of a document that was left laying around the Herseth campaign office (it was drafted by Herseth field director -- I believe his name was Tim Abott):
We purchased the DCCC’s IDs from the special election, and they have been uploaded onto the Daschle Database successfully. These 20,000 records are from voters around the state, concentrated in the 10 largest cities, I believe. They fall in three categories of Herseth support: strongly supportive of Stephanie, leaning towards Stephanie, and undecideds. It does not include any Diedrich IDs. I failed to ask Drew why those IDs were left off, but I suspect that we did not want the Daschle campaign to be able to target Daschle-Diedrich ticket-spitters.
In addition, we also have a Thune-Daschle-undecided ID for each of those 20,000 people (who are either supportive of Stephanie or undecided). DCCC apparently sold to the Daschle campaign the positive Daschle IDs. But, our data also includes approximately 7,000 probable ticket-splitters (Thune-Herseth). We have not shared this data with the Daschle campaign. My puzzle is to figure out how to utilize those 7,000 ticket-splitters without sharing them with the Daschle campaign. I may upload them onto the Daschle database – but with a cryptic tag.I found this sitting on the printer one day when I was volunteering. I didn't mean to read it, but my curiousity got the best of me. I was so disgusted that I immediately left the Herseth campaign office and never went back. There's more, but this gives you a good taste of what happened.Disgusted Sioux Falls Democrat
One of Churchill's biographers, Martin Gilbert:
People often ask how history will remember our generation of leaders in comparison with the second world war leaders Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Many comment that today's leaders look small compared with the giants of the past. This is, I believe, a misconception. In their day, both Churchill and Roosevelt were frequently criticized, often savagely, by their fellow countrymen, including legislators who had little knowledge of the behind-the-scenes reality of the war.
If you're a history person, read the whole thing.
The AP photograph of a killer in Baghdad shooting a pistol into the head of one kneeling election worker--while another lies crumpled on the street--illuminates the face of our enemy. It is the face of Muslim fascists murdering Muslim liberals.
The victims were public servants--agents of the will of the Iraqi people. The force that would commit such a cardinal sin against human rights did so in cold blood and in deliberate, full view of the world. Thirty heavily armed men allowed a photographer to shoot a whole roll of film, right under their guns. Their aim was propaganda as well as murder.
Recycling Raines: I'm as willing to jump on new CNN chief Jonathan Klein as the next blogger--he seems way too slick. (And he won't be forgiven for the "pajamas.") But isn't Klein's controversial "flood the zone" comment--about CNN's intensive tsunami coverage--the sort of highly unfortunate word mistake almost anyone could make? ... He was just going with the cliche! ... 3:10 P.M.
In case you missed it, former Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns received committee approval to be the next Secretary of Agriculture.
From today's edition of Congress Daily:
SENATE DEMS TALK RELIGION AND BLOGGERS AT RETREAT
Catholic members of the Senate Democratic Caucus warned their colleagues Wednesday the party must find a way to bridge the religion gap between the Democratic Party and voters of faith to regain control of the chamber, Democratic sources said. The warning came during a day-long retreat convened by Minority Leader Reid. Democrats also discussed the role of Web logs last year, focusing on the November defeat of former Minority Leader Daschle.
Sources also tell SDP that Senator Reid copied off articles about the Dakota Blog Alliance and distributed them to Democratic Senators as "must read" items. Reid said Democrats up for re-election in 2006 need to hire bloggers and organize pro-Democratic bloggers in their home states.
As far as I know, the blogosphere has not picked up on a story in the December issue of The Washington Monthly discussing two professors, one at University of Minnesota-Duluth and another at Northern Arizona University, who have written a book arguing that Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone was assassinated. Excerpt from the article:
The shadowy forces behind it all? None other than "the troika that controls the White House: Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld," according to Fetzer [the UMD professor]. Why? Because Wellstone, the Senate's most liberal member, was an enemy of the Bush administration's way of doing business.
This is all quite ridiculous, of course, but what's interesting is that TWM gives the book some attention. I wonder what the fellows at Powerline are hearing about this Minnesota?
In case you're following the battle between Powerline and that columnist at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, see this. It's a rather one-sided affair, it seems. Also, the chairman/CEO of a major bank--TCF, where I used to bank when I lived in Minneapolis--has written to the Star-Trib and cancelled the bank's advertising:
TCF will never spend another dollar on advertising in the Star Tribune as long as I am Chairman.
Ouch! One way to get a newspaper's attention about run-away columnists is to stop advertising.
Here's the cover of yesterday's edition of The Hill:
If you look at the upper left-hand corner, you'll see a picture of former Senator Tom Daschle. Here's a link to the article, a picture (below), and an excerpt:
Asked whether the Democrats need to change direction after losing seats in both the House and Senate, as well as their bid for the White House, Daschle said it was “essential that we continue to find ways to make it a stronger and more vigorous party than it has been.” But he added, “I don’t think that it means morphing into a second Republican Party or some entity that is not reflective of our philosophical and political approach.”
Daschle made his comments on the eve of a trip to New York City, where he said he plans to meet with several investment-banking and law firms about job possibilities.
He also has spoken to a number of colleges, universities and other institutions.
He said he plans to remain involved in South Dakota issues as well, focusing on rural development and American Indians, while doing some work with his alma mater, South Dakota State University.
He said he doesn’t plan to become a lobbyist. “I have nothing against those who lobby, and my wife is a very good one herself,” he said. “One in the family is probably all we need.” Linda Daschle is a successful lobbyist for Baker Donelson.
Here's the picture (below) and the story that ran in today's Washington Post.
From an Argus Leader article today:
Sen.-elect John Thune is set to become a senator today at a noon ceremony on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Sen. Tim Johnson and former Sen. James Abdnor will accompany Thune as he walks onto the floor to take the oath of office from Vice President Dick Cheney, Thune said Monday.
Thune said he might cast his first vote today, likely on disaster relief for victims of the tsunami that struck parts of Asia and Africa last week.
Many family members and supporters are in town for the swearing in, including Thune's father, Harold, who turned 85 a week ago, Thune said. They are planning a "watch party" during the ceremony, followed by an evening reception.
If you haven't bought a copy of the new book entitled "Blue Stars" by South Dakota photographer Greg Latza, you should. It's about World War II veterans and there's a section on Harold Thune.
From an article in the St. Petersburgh Times:
By ALAN GREENBLATT
Published January 2, 2005
It's hardly a shocker that Norman Mailer could show up at a place like Cambridge, Mass., and win big applause with a speech attacking President Bush. After all, employees of Harvard University gave more money to John Kerry's presidential campaign than people who work anywhere else (except the University of California). What made the standing ovation for the novelist so disappointing, though, was that it came from a great big pack of journalists.
Claims of media bias were a major theme during this past election year - from Dan Rather's doctored documents questioning Bush's military service to a convention of minority journalists loudly cheering Kerry when he addressed them in August. But conservatives who want proof of their longstanding claims that the mainstream media harbor a liberal bias could do worse than ordering the audio recordings of the Cambridge conference that are on sale from its sponsor, Harvard's Nieman Foundation for Journalism.
Here is a Tech Central Station column recounting some of the highlights of the battle our friends and mentors at Powerline (you should know by now, Time's "blog of the year") had with a columnist at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
One such ankle-biter, columnist Nick Coleman at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, was particularly unhappy that Power Line was so successful -- especially because some of his previous columns had been the targets of exacting criticism; criticism to which Coleman did not exactly respond well. Apparently feeling the need to unburden himself of his fury at being repeatedly shown up by a mere weblog, Coleman wrote a column (annoying free registration required to read the entire column) which amounted to little more than a vicious personal attack against two of the three Power Line authors, Scott Johnson and John Hinderaker.
Reading the column, one does not know whether to laugh at Coleman's evident immaturity, or cry over the fact that he's actually getting paid to write opinion columns. Coleman's column mixes amateurish insults (calling Power Line "Powertool," speculating on the state and function of -- I kid you not -- Hinderaker's and Johnson's . . . er . . . reproductive organs and calling Hinderaker and Johnson "Rottweilers" and "partisan hacks,") with lousy fact-checking. Breathlessly seeking to contradict Scott Johnson's statement that the Time Magazine "Blog of the Year" award was "totally unexpected," Coleman informs us that "Powerline campaigned shamelessly for awards, winning an online 'Best Blog of 2004' a week before the Time honor. That online award was a bloggers' poll, and Powerline linked its readers to the award site 10 times during the balloting, shilling for votes." What an online "bloggers' poll" has to do with winning an award from Time for "Blog of the Year," Coleman does not explain (you can find the online poll here in the event that you are really interested, and just for full disclosure, let me state that my blog was a candidate for one of the awards and finished fourth, thank you very much). Blogger and UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh is treats Coleman's incoherent ranting with the contempt it deserves:
"Wow, they won an online poll! And they wanted to win it, and tried to get their readers to vote for them. Therefore, they're lying when they say that they didn't expect being named Blog of the Year by Time Magazine. The penetrating logic astounds me."
Coleman also goes on to accuse the Power Line folks of blogging from work (gasp!) even though John Hinderaker says that both he and his fellow bloggers keep the blog "very much separate from [their] day jobs." As Volokh points out, Coleman likely truncated and misrepresented a comment made by Hinderaker in the Time interview stating that the bloggers don't plan on leaving their day jobs and that blogging is a hobby for them. The full quote and passage makes clear that none of the Power Line authors claimed not to blog at work, and of course, merely because bloggers may blog at work does not mean that blogging is work and not a hobby -- a fact that everyone familiar with blogging save Nick Coleman appears to readily understand.
In the second genitalia-centric reference in his column (assuming that one does not count the "Powertool" comment), Coleman points out that Power Line sells ads on its site including one that says "Hung Like a Republican" and then goes on to rhetorically ask whether "Powerline or its mighty righty allies take money from political parties, campaigns or well-heeled benefactors who hope to affect Minnesota's politics from behind the scenes? We don't know, and they don't have to say. They are not Mainstream." As John Hinderaker pointed out in response to this insinuation, the Power Line authors make themselves readily available to be contacted by readers-going so far as to post e-mail addresses and phone numbers. If Coleman really wanted to know whether Power Line takes political money for spreading its message, all he had to do was to ask. But apparently, this is too taxing for a "Mainstream" columnist.
Many members of Big Media -- Coleman included -- cannot deal with the fact that they now have competitors in the information business -- a point blogger Evan Coyne Maloney makes. Rather than try to adjust to the new reality, people like Nick Coleman fume against the deterioration of their monopoly and seem to think that if they can just rage loudly enough, the Blogosphere will go away and everything will return to the way it was. The naïveté is charming, but the outlook is utterly antiquated.
Just when I thought I'd seen everything that could be written on Rathergate, Columbia Journalism Review published this spectacularly inept account of the Rathergate affair.
In this, The Times is trying to marginalize blogs -- making them look like the domain of nuts -- without realizing that they are only marginalizing their own readers. See this weekend's Pew study: The people are reading blogs. And I'll just bet that Times readers read blogs disproportionately.
I could be wrong, but I smell the fine hand of a grizzled, old, grouchy, change-hating editor in this. When a story is mangled in such a way, when the facts in the story don't back up the spin of the headline and lead, that's often the case, from my experience: An editor sent a reporter out to create a story with a prefab spin and didn't want to be bothered with the actual reporting that came back.
Hmm, sounds familiar.
Steve Jarding, former executive director of the South Dakota Democratic Party, and Dick Wadhams, Thune's campaign manager, are both mentioned in this piece by a writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which explains how the governor of and a Senator from Virginia may figure in the 2008 presidential race:
Could there be a presidential candidate in Virginia's future?
With the field wide open in both major political parties, U.S. Sen. George Allen, R-Va., and Gov. Mark R. Warner are figuring in speculation as potential candidates in 2008. ...
The Washingtonian features both in its January issue and suggests that Virginia, the "Mother of Presidents," may be pregnant. (Neither man, however, was born in Virginia, as were the eight presidents who give the state the nickname.)
The speculation already has thrown a potential monkey wrench into political calculations for the 2006 race for the U.S. Senate.
Allen will be up for re-election next year, and Warner has been mentioned as his likely opponent. But Warner associates are urging him to forgo a Senate race that he might not win and begin running for the Democratic presidential nomination as soon as he leaves office in January 2006. A Senate race against Allen would take up too much time, these associates say.
"If Warner wants to run for president, he should run for president. If he wants to run for the Senate, he should run for the Senate. He shouldn't try to do both," said political consultant Steve Jarding, who managed Warner's gubernatorial campaign in 2001 and worked for Sens. John Edwards of North Carolina and Bob Graham of Florida when they sought the Democratic presidential nomination early last year. ...
Added Washington political analyst Stuart Rothenburg: "We always thought the White House was part of George Allen's plans. ... He is putting together a real campaign team."
Allen recently hired as his chief of staff Dick Wadhams, a veteran political operative who ran the winning campaign of Republican Sen.-elect John Thune of South Dakota. Thune knocked off the Senate minority leader, Democrat Tom Daschle.
Here's another excerpt from Tuesday's Roll Call:
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) begins a new mission today that puts him in charge of overseeing the smallest but most exclusive town on Capitol Hill: the Senate.
Johnson is the new vice chairman of the Ethics Committee — traditionally one of the least sought-after spots in the chamber, due to the often uncomfortable nature of judging one’s peers. While making clear that he didn’t campaign for the job, Johnson said he expects to be a tough-minded enforcer of Senate rules who will not let partisan concerns cloud his judgment.
“I’m a small-town lawyer by occupation, and I view the role of the Ethics Committee members as being a bit like a small-town judge. You know a lot of people in the community, some of them very well, but you have to apply the law,” Johnson said in an interview.
Johnson joins the Ethics Committee as a complete neophyte, having never served on it during his eight previous years in the Senate or on the House ethics committee during his five terms in that chamber.
Johnson, who retains all his previous committee assignments in the 109th Congress — including seats on Appropriations and Energy and Natural Resources — admitted that he would have much preferred getting the ranking membership of some other panel. But he added that he expects to take the Ethics job seriously.
From Tuesday's Roll Call:
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made a $500,000 donation to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Monday to help his party’s cash-strapped fundraising arm dig out of debt as it prepares for the 2006 midterm elections.
Reid’s donation came on the eve of the new Congress, which opens today with the swearing-in of new Members and the start of the Nevadan’s term as Democratic leader.
“We are starting a new cycle and Senator Reid believes it is important that Democrats work hard to make sure the DSCC is on sound footing as we enter the new cycle,” said Phil Singer, a Reid spokesman.
Federal Election Commission records show the DSCC owes nearly $5.2 million following an election in which Democrats needed to defend five open seats in the South and help re-elect then-Minority Leader Tom Daschle (S.D.).
Democrats failed in both endeavors as the GOP swept the South and former Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.) defeated Daschle. When the dust settled on election night, Republicans gained four seats in the Senate to widen their majority to a 55-to-45-seat margin.
By the next day, Reid secured the support of a majority of his colleagues to succeed the South Dakotan as leader.
Here's an AP story entitled "Thune prepares for start of Senate term." Thune will be sworn in tomorrow.
See a list of "The 40 Most Obnoxious Quotes of 2004." Here's a sampler:
28) "People don't realize that by voting Republican, they voted against themselves....I worry that some people are entertained by the idea of this war. They don't know anything about the Iraqis, but they're angry and frustrated in their own lives. It's like Germany, before Hitler took over. The economy was bad and people felt kicked around. They looked for a scapegoat. Now we've got a new bunch of Hitlers." -- Singer Linda Ronstadt
I few weeks back, someone inquired about some party registration numbers that were posted comparing 2002 to 2004. For the record, there appears to be about 10,400 more registered Republicans in November 2004 compared to November 2002 and 8,000 more Democrats in November 2004 compared to November 2002. Breaking this down, about 57% of new party registrants were Republicans while 43% were Democrats. Anyway, my apologies to the emailer for the delay in responding.
From an article in USA Today discussing the new Congress:
APt Barack Obama (D-Ill.), left, John Thune (R-S.D.)
They are the celebrities of their freshman class: For Republicans, Thune is a giant-killer, having knocked off Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle by less than one percentage point in a campaign that broke all records for political spending in South Dakota. Obama is just the third African American ever elected to the Senate, and his 70% to 27% victory over Republican Alan Keyes in Illinois was one of the few bright spots for Democrats in November.
Both are 43 — relative youngsters in the Senate, where the average age is 60. Both are worried about the rising cost of health care and the strains that the war in Iraq is putting on families of reservists in their states. But their political philosophies and their constituencies couldn't be more different.
Obama, a liberal, comes from a reliably Democratic state where Kerry bested Bush, 55% to 45%. Illinois is home to 12.4 million people, 15% black and 12% Hispanic. Only 15% of the population lives in a rural setting. Thune hails from a state that's home to 775,000 people, 89% of whom are white and half of whom do not live in a city. Bush beat Kerry there, 60% to 38%.
Prompted by a question from USA TODAY, each of the two new Senate stars invited the other to his home state. Asked where he'd take Obama to explain his constituents and his views, Thune proposed an Indian reservation, a ranch and "a community in the Black Hills where people are culturally conservative and make a living off the land."
Obama wants Thune to see a black neighborhood on Chicago's South Side and a downstate manufacturing town where jobs are leaving and "55-year-olds are having to compete with kids for $7-an-hour jobs at Wal-Mart."
Politicians on both sides of the nation's political divide say that some bridge-building will be essential if the 109th Congress is to achieve anything in the next two years. "Our task is not to shove our views down the throats of the losers but to see if we can arrive at common ground," Obama says.
Pragmatism plays as much a part in that resolve as altruism. Unless Senate Republican leaders change the chamber's rules to eliminate the minority party's ability to filibuster judicial nominations — something even some GOP senators oppose — it will take 60 votes to confirm the next Supreme Court justice. And even if they have the votes, Republicans already are signaling that they don't want to risk sweeping changes in the tax code or Social Security without some political cover from their left.
"Some of these big ticket items like tax reform and Social Security reform are going to take bipartisan consensus," Thune says. "The enormity of these undertakings is going to require some bipartisanship."
This week John Thune will be sworn in as South Dakota's new US Senator. Here's a story from a local television station.
Here are some excerpts from a Newsweek article about the new book about the 2004 election and about how Kerry might run again:
Kerry has not given any formal interviews since his defeat. But on Nov. 11, nine days after the election, Kerry summoned a NEWSWEEK reporter to his house on Boston's fashionable Louisberg Square. He wanted to complain about NEWSWEEK's election issue, which he said was unduly harsh and gossipy about him, his staff and his wife. (The 45,000-word article, the product of a yearlong reporting project, is being published next week as a book, "Election 2004," by PublicAffairs.)
Despite, or because of, a somewhat stoical and severe New England upbringing, Kerry has a tendency to natter at his subordinates, to blame everyone but himself. ("Did he whine?" was the first question one senior Kerry aide asked of the NEWSWEEK reporter who had recently been to see Kerry.) On this damp November evening, he appeared alone in the house; he answered the door and showed his visitor into a cozy, book-lined drawing room. His face was deeply lined, his eyes drooped, he looked like he hadn't slept in about two years. But his manner was resolute, his mood seemed calm, even chipper. ...Some of Kerry's brave talk may be therapy, an effort to stave off the emotional plunge that has to follow such public rejection. Kerry has moments of real sadness, say his advisers, hours when he disappears to play his guitar. But he wants to keep moving.
Not much in the local papers today, but here's an article from today's New York Times Magazine about Montana politics which is rather funny. Excerpt:
The people it most surprised were not Montanans, or even Westerners, but Eastern media types -- the folks who'd been on TV since the election speechifying about ''the values gap'' dividing red and blue America. These analysts had reached a consensus that was sweeping in its implications and, if you thought about it for very long, staggering in its simple-mindedness. There are two kinds of voters, the formula said: the easygoing coffeehouse artistes who dwell on the coasts and in small parts of the North, and the uptight white-chapel patriots who live in the South, the middle and the West (or, as geographers put it, ''almost everywhere'').