January 06, 2004
The Slime Machine at Work Again

Daniel Drezner screams and leaps, fangs bared, for Paul Krugman's jugular. However, he trips over a tree root and falls off a cliff: Daniel Drezner: CORRECTING KRUGMAN.... Krugman's assertion here is that the number of discouraged workers ("those who have given up looking for work") plus the number of part-time workers who wish they were full-time ("only marginally employed") are unusually high by historical standards.... [But] the percentage of discouraged workers... was much higher a decade ago.... [T]he percentage of Americans who are part-time workers but would prefer full-time... was higher a decade ago.... Krugman is either wrong or has a different definition of "unusual" than the rest of the English-speaking world. Distortions like this one... There are, of course, two big problems with Drezner's "argument." When Krugman writes "an unusually large number of people have given up looking for work" he is tracking the flow of people who used to be employed into out-of-the-labor force status, and is referring to a much larger category of people who have dropped out of the labor force over the past three years than just the Bureau of Labor Statistics's "Discouraged Workers" category. When Krugman writes "many of those who say they have...

Posted by DeLong at 07:01 AM

December 26, 2003
A Blast From the Past

From the days when Donald Rumsfeld told Saddam Hussein's lieutenants that the U.S.'s opposition to the use of chemical weapons did not mean that the U.S. was in any way upset about Iraq's use of chemical weapons... Documents: Rumsfeld Made Iraq Overture in 84 Despite Chemical Raids: ...As a special envoy for the Reagan administration in 1984, Donald H. Rumsfeld, now the defense secretary, traveled to Iraq to persuade officials there that the United States was eager to improve ties with President Saddam Hussein despite his use of chemical weapons, newly declassified documents show. Mr. Rumsfeld, who ran a pharmaceutical company at the time, was tapped by Secretary of State George P. Shultz to reinforce a message that a recent move to condemn Iraq's use of chemical weapons was strictly in principle and that America's priority was to prevent an Iranian victory in the Iran-Iraq war and to improve bilateral ties. During that war, the United States secretly provided Iraq with combat planning assistance, even after Mr. Hussein's use of chemical weapons was widely known. The highly classified program involved more than 60 officers of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who shared intelligence on Iranian deployments, bomb-damage assessments and other crucial...

Posted by DeLong at 12:53 PM

December 23, 2003
Jon Carroll's Untied Way

Jon Carroll* calls for us all to be "enablers" of homelessness: JON CARROLL: ...One section talked about people who give money to panhandlers. It called such people "enablers." Isn't it wonderful how rehab lingo is entering the general vocabulary? The presence of enablers is thought to be one reason why so many homeless people congregate here [in San Francisco]. Enablers are not held in high regard. Apparently, all the bums would go winter in Denver if it weren't for the bucks some folks give to bedraggled people with wry signs. And that may even be true, except for the Denver part. Here's what I think: Each of us plays many roles. Two of those roles are social citizen trying to work within the community, and individual human being trying to rediscover kindness and compassion and love every day. If those homeless people weren't in San Francisco, they'd be somewhere else. They are all still human beings, and we are bound to them by the mysterious spark of consciousness that makes us such peculiar beasts. It seems to me that honoring our common humanity is a good habit to get into. Charity is not an obligation; it's a spiritual practice. So...

Posted by DeLong at 08:13 PM

December 19, 2003
I'll Stop Calling the Bush Administration "Orwellian" When They Stop Using 1984 as an Operations Manual, Part LXXII

I'll stop calling the Bush administration "Orwellian" when they stop using 1984 as an operations manual. Mark Kleiman writes about our modern Ministry of Truth:     is a bottomless pit" href="http://www.markarkleiman.com/archives/george_bush_and_campaign_2004_/2003/12/the_white_house_memory_hole_is_a_bottomless_pit.php">Mark A. R. Kleiman: The White House memory hole is a bottomless pit: There seems to be absolutely no limit to the sheer effrontery of Team Bush's effort to cover up the astounding incompetence that leads to its pattern of miserable failure. This is funny, but it's also serious. Republican government rests on accountability, and accountability depends on the existence of honest records of the past. The real horror of Nineteen Eight-Four isn't Room 101; it's the memory hole, and the denial of the independent standing of objective fact as against "the Party line," or, as it's now called, "the spin." The habit of futzing with official websites so as to "edit" the past ought to be recognize as an issue of Constitutional significance, and it probably ought to be made criminal. (Note to Democratic Senators, especially Messrs. Kerry, Edwards, and Lieberman: A rider on the White House appropriation might be a good legislative venue; the House leadership could and would keep such a proposal from ever coming to...

Posted by DeLong at 05:22 PM

December 17, 2003
Impeach George Bush

Impeach George Bush. Impeach George Bush now: The Agonist: Senators were told Iraqi weapons could hit U.S.: .S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Monday the Bush administration last year told him and other senators that Iraq not only had weapons of mass destruction, but they had the means to deliver them to East Coast cities... about 75 senators got that news during a classified briefing before last October's congressional vote authorizing the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein from power......

Posted by DeLong at 07:16 PM

November 30, 2003
Ashamed of the Bush Administration

If this story is even half-true, it provides yet another reason that every American should be deeply, bitterly, profoundly ashamed of the Bush administration. Via TalkLeft: Detainees: Kidnapped for Reward Money: TIME.com: TIME Magazine -- Inside "The Wire": ....A U.S. military official tells Time that at least 140 detainees--"the easiest 20%"--are scheduled for release. The processing of these men has sped up since the Supreme Court announced it would take the case, said the source, who believes the military is "waiting for a politically propitious time to release them." U.S. officials concluded that some detainees were there because they had been kidnapped by Afghan warlords and sold for the bounty the U.S. was offering for al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. "Many would not have been detained under the normal rules of engagement," the source concedes. "We're dealing with some very, very dangerous people, but the pendulum is swinging too far in the wrong direction."... And it takes two years for the Bush administration to figure this out? And once it has figured it out, it still holds on to these people--waiting for a "politically propitious time" before releasing them? We are supposed to be the good guys. We should be better...

Posted by DeLong at 05:24 PM

November 19, 2003
What Are We Doing?

The right-wing Tacitus is appalled at how our army in Iraq is starting to behave: t a c i t u s: Cross pollination: You have got to be kidding me. I'm all for sealing off whole towns with concertina wire, and I think Allen West got a bum rap. But razing the homes of suspected guerrillas on minutes' notice? Come on, people. This is wrong. I'm willing to rationalize a lot on behalf of our forces at war, but nothing's coming to mind on this one. Maybe there's some extremely persuasive study indicating that terrorists sincerely fear destruction of their homesteads, and will abandon their savage ways to avoid that fate. That would make this understandable, and inasmuch as it saved lives, even justifiable. Seems unlikely, though. Even if the Pentagon forgets that we are supposed to be the good guys, doesn't it have the brains to think that this way of acting is a very effective terrorist-generator?...

Posted by DeLong at 08:03 AM

November 13, 2003
Don't Fall into the Democratic Trap!

Kevin Drum also reads National Review, and is also--well, not astonished--by the equation of the administration's adopting policies that are good for the country with the administration's falling into a Democratic trap: Calpundit: And Be Sure To Keep a Straight Face, OK?: So: the deficit really is a big problem, it's a problem we ourselves caused, and for the good of the country we need to do something about it. And there's no question that raising taxes and cutting Medicare is going to be part of the solution. But: we need to be sure to lie, lie, lie about this for the next 12 months. After all, cutting taxes is really popular, but cleaning up the mess it's caused isn't. Especially among seniors, and we sure don't want to piss them off, do we? A lot of them live in Florida, after all......

Posted by DeLong at 07:56 AM

November 06, 2003
Let Me Apologize...

Let me apologize on behalf of President Clinton, then-Treasury Secretary Rubin, then-Deputy Secretary Summers, the Treasury Department, and the Democratic Party that this Mark Medish guy was ever hired to work for the government. Lawyer-lobbyist scum: Gipper Skipper   By Eric Umansky: Yesterday's NYT had an op-ed by a guy named Mark Medish arguing that Iraq's massive foreign debt shouldn't be forgiven. In order to be a legit country, Medish wrote, Iraq "must respect one of the first principles of the rule of law: contracts should be honored." Or as the headline put it, "MAKE BAGHDAD PAY." Now here's the fun part: The Times describes Medish as "a lawyer, [who] was deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury from 1997 to 2000." As a blog called HipperCritical first noted, that leaves out one itty-bitty thing: The bio-line in a WP article Medish wrote last month said, "Medish a lawyer in Washington and was a senior Treasury and National Security Council official in the Clinton administration. He represents international corporate creditors of Iraq." Bonus hypocrisy! Medish wrote an op-ed last year for the Financial Times arguing that Russia's old debt should be ... yes, forgiven....

Posted by DeLong at 09:41 AM

November 03, 2003
Another Organization with a Positive Allergy to the Truth

Two Boston Herald reporters accurately report a phone conversation they had with a Massachusetts Catholic bishop, and the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston calls them "either ignoran[t] of [the] church's teachings or [expressing] a media sympathy for the gay rights agenda." Don't I remember something about "not bearing false witness"? Church: Media got bishop's words on gays all wrong : ...A front-page story in the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, The Pilot, deals with the controversy. An accompanying editorial states the reporters who wrote the story for the Boston Herald, The Boston Globe and other media displayed "either ignorance of church's teachings or a media sympathy for the gay rights agenda."... In a telephone interview with a Herald reporter after his testimony, Reilly was asked about denying benefits to "gay couples." Reilly said: "That's wrong, and that's too bad." He further said: "We have to find a way" to give civil benefits to gay partners. Reilly did make it clear... that the church opposes any form of "gay marriage." Why slime reporters who were doing their jobs well? Why not a simple "Bishop Reilly was off message"?...

Posted by DeLong at 07:56 AM

October 28, 2003
Is This Progress?

In the old days National Review would publish articles that talked about how "charges of anti-semitism, like those of racism and sexism and homophobia, are manipulative devices" (Joseph Sobran, 1983-08-05)> Now National Review publishes people like Donald Luskin who make phony charges of "long-time complicity in... anti-semitism" as a manipulative device. Is this progress?...

Posted by DeLong at 10:50 AM

October 27, 2003
Updates Us on the Party of Lincoln

Patrick Nielsen Hayden reminds us what has become of the Party of Lincoln: Electrolite: Party of Lincoln update: Joshua Micah Marshall is all over the story, mentioned on Electrolite here, of Republican black-voter-suppression efforts in the current Kentucky gubernatorial race. Here's the flyer used this past summer to recruit Republican "challengers" to work at the polls, in order to counter the wicked "NAACP and their efforts to marshal the Get Out To Vote efforts targeted toward the black, poor voters in selected communities and selected targeted races of national impact."...

Posted by DeLong at 09:04 PM

October 24, 2003
Paul Krugman Responds...

...to the latest bunch of smears by Donald Luskin, Robert Musil, David Hogberg--and to those like Glenn Reynolds who channel the smears: The smear machine cranks up again: They key thing to notice in this episode is the cynical way my attackers apply a double standard. Many people have written about the political motives that induce Moslem leaders to promote anti-Semitism; they aren’t accused of condoning that anti-Semitism. For that matter, people who try to analyze the rise of Hitler aren’t accused of being pro-Nazi when they try to understand his motives and those of his supporters. The reason I’m suddenly being accused of being soft on anti-Semitism has nothing to do with defending the Jews, and everything to do with trying, yet again, to silence my criticism of the Bush administration. What a disgusting episode. And what a demonstration of the sleaziness of these people....

Posted by DeLong at 01:10 AM

October 23, 2003
In an Alternate Universe...

Somewhere in an alternate universe, Justice Antonin Scalia addresses the Intercollegiate Studies Institute: Yahoo! News - Scalia Ridicules Court's Interracial Marriage Ruling : 2 hours, 19 minutes ago By ANNA, Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON - Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (news - web sites) ridiculed his court's recent ruling legalizing interracial marriage, telling an audience of conservative activists Thursday that the ruling ignores the Constitution in favor of a modern, liberal sensibility. The ruling, Scalia said, "held to be a constitutional right what had been a criminal offense at the time of the founding and for nearly 200 years thereafter." Scalia adopted a mocking tone to read from the court's June ruling that struck down state bans on interracial marriage in Texas and elsewhere. Scalia wrote a bitter dissent in the interracial marriage case that was longer than the ruling itself. On Thursday, Scalia said judges, including his colleagues on the Supreme Court, throw over the original meaning of the Constitution when it suits them. "Most of today's experts on the Constitution think the document written in Philadelphia in 1787 was simply an early attempt at the construction of what is called a liberal political order," Scalia told a gathering...

Posted by DeLong at 09:48 PM

October 05, 2003
Mit Brennender Sorge

Matthew Yglesias sees signs of moral progress in the Vatican Palace in that "[t]he Pope's new batch of saints doesn't include anyone who presided over the kidnapping of Jewish children." The reference is to Pius IX and Edgardo Mortara. Everyone should read Daniel Kertzer's fine book on the subject (called, not surprisingly, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. Perhaps we should not remind Mr. Yglesias that the Vatican's We Remember: A Reflection Upon the Shoah remembers (as it paints the Catholic Church as an opponent of Nazism) that Pius XI's Encyclical Letter Mit Brennender Sorge was a "solemn condemnation of Nazi Racism." Yet We Remember forgets that when Mit Brennender Sorge condemned the Nazi attempted suppression of the Hebrew Bible, it did so with a highly unusual argument: Pius XII wrote that the Hebrew Bible contains "treasures" of which one of the chief was "...the story of the chosen people, bearers of the Revelation and the Promise, repeatedly straying from God and turning to the world.... It is precisely in the twilight of this background that one perceives the striking perspective of the divine tutorship of salvation... the Christ who took His human nature from a people that was to crucify...

Posted by DeLong at 02:03 PM

October 03, 2003
Yes, Mark, They Are

Mark Kleiman asks: Mark A. R. Kleiman: I see that James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal on-line page is reduced to hoping that whoever exposed Plame, and thus threatened the lives of her assets and compromised our ability to learn about the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by potential adversaries, will be able to escape ten-year prison terms under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act because Plame hasn't served abroad recently enough to be covered by the statute. (He doesn't note that other laws might have been broken, including the Espionage Act.)Legally, Taranto might be right. But when did it become the official Republican position that it would be nice if "those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources," the people the first President Bush calls "the most insidious of traitors" [*] were able to beat the rap on a technicality?Or to put it more bluntly: Why is the Wall Street Journal rooting for the bad guys? Are they proud to be the mouthpiece for a criminal conspiracy? The answer, Mark, is "Yes." Ever since Iran-Contra began, the Wall Street Journal editorial page staff have proudly been the mouthpiece for criminal conspiracy. One of my...

Posted by DeLong at 07:29 AM

September 15, 2003
Evidence of Absence

UPDATE: Jack Balkin reports that there has been a change of heart: the report will be published. Yesterday British MPs were being told that the report would not be released on schedule, and British "defense intelligence sources" were pouring cold water on the idea that it would ever be released. Today CBS News reports that there "is no delay"--while earlier today CBS News was reporting that it would be "delayed indefinitely." Someone is lying nearly fulltime... The absence of evidence of an Iraqi nuclear weapons program is not evidence of its absence. But suppression of the Iraq Survey Group's report is evidence of a very important kind. You can argue the benefits to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein for the Iraqi people outweigh its costs in more potential terrorists and in the alienation of our allies (I think I think the benefits outweigh the costs). But that's not relevant to the most important point. There has been too much suppression of information and too many lies told about Iraq's military, weapons programs, and connections with Al-Qaeda--so much suppression and so much deception that it is now clear that neither Blair nor Bush deserve to or have any legitimate claim to...

Posted by DeLong at 03:00 PM

September 08, 2003
Max Sawicky Salutes Ted Kennedy

Max Sawicky raises his water pipe in salute to Ted Kennedy for keeping Robert Bork off the Supreme Court: Weblog Entry - 09/08/2003: "DIDDLING AT NUREMBERG": Amity Shlaes channels Robert Bork's book, Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges, to the following effect: "Judge Bork's last point is that the new rule of judges is international. 'Judicial imperialists' made a crucial start at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi leaders. The trials established a bad habit of confusing moral justification (Goering deserved what he got) with legal justification for retroactive lawmaking. It would have been better simply to execute the big Nazis, as Britain proposed at the time. Nuremberg established the idea that legal busy bodies can run the world according to their own notion of virtue, and it was only a few short steps to the World Court and the International Criminal Court. This argument is so sweeping as to sound paranoid -- but paranoids are not always wrong . . . " To argue that it would have been in some way "better" to simply summarily shoot Nazis--without presenting evidence that they had committed crimes against individuals and against humanity, without providing them an opportunity to defend themselves, or...

Posted by DeLong at 04:43 PM

Mickey Kaus Is Talking About the Economy Again

One would have thought that Mickey Kaus's loss of reputation from his more than two-year effort to gain brownie points with former OMB Director Mitch Daniels by whitewashing Bush Administration debt-increase policy would have taught him not to talk about the economy. But now the spirit moves Mickey Kaus to trash people--in this case New York Times reporter Louis Uchitelle and economic forecaster Mark Zandi--who aren't cheerleading loudly enough for the "Bush Recovery." Uchitelle's (and Zandi's) offense is to worry about the lousy labor market news, and about its consequences for the strength of household consumption demand down the road: MickeyKaus: Weaving the Gloom: ...Louis Uchitelle's NYT report on the disappointing August job figures: 1) From the seventh paragraph--"'If we don't see some job growth by Thanksgiving, then the spurt in economic activity that we are currently experiencing will fade,' said Mark M. Zandi, chief economist at Economy.com..." How the hell does he know? And how badly does Economy.com want its name in the New York Times? Badly enough to be tempted to give Louis Uchitelle the strong, gloomy quote he obviously wants?... The economy has been spurting without job growth for two quarters. Why can't it keep spurting for...

Posted by DeLong at 12:04 PM

August 27, 2003
The Economist Whitewashes NASA

The Economist whitewashes NASA: Economist.com: ...At first sight, one of the more troubling aspects of the report is that it seems that a rescue mission involving another shuttle, Atlantis, might have been feasible had the damage caused by the foam been recognised as dangerous. The mission's managers, though, failed to recognise that danger, and so the question of mounting a rescue was never raised. Scott Hubbard, a board member and director of NASA's Ames Research Centre, says the best estimate of the actual damage is that the hole in the wing was 25cm (ten inches) across, plus or minus 50%. That could probably have been detected by pointing the camera of a military satellite at Columbia, if anyone had thought to do so. All told, there were at least eight missed opportunities for discovering the damage, according to the board. But at every juncture the programme's structure, processes and managers resisted new information. That sounds damning. Yet those who smugly ask, "why were safety warnings ignored?" might care to pick through malfunction reports from the previous 113 shuttle flights to see the benefits that hindsight brings. In them, they would find mention of half-a-dozen crucial pieces of hardware that have...

Posted by DeLong at 09:26 AM

August 26, 2003
Pictures?! We Don't Need No Stinkin' Pictures!: The Columbia Accident Report

The Columbia Accident Report. Two of many, many details. The first: After two hours of discussing the Crater results and the need to learn precisely where the debris had hit Columbia, the Debris Assessment Team assigned its NASA Co-Chair, Rodney Rocha, to pursue a request for imagery of the vehicle on-orbit. Each team member supported the idea to seek imagery from an outside source. Rather than working the request up the usual mission chain of command through the Mission Evaluation Room to the Mission Management Team to the Flight Dynamics Officer, the Debris Assessment Team agreed, largely due to a lack of par-ticipation by Mission Management Team and Mission Evaluation Room managers, that Rocha would pursue the request through his division, the Engineering Directorate at Johnson Space Center. Rocha sent the following e-mail to Paul Shack shortly after the meeting adjourned. From: ROCHA, ALAN R. (RODNEY) (JSC-ES2) (NASA) Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 4:41 PM To: SHACK, PAUL E. (JSC-EA42) (NASA); HAMILTON, DAVID A. (DAVE) (JSC-EA) (NASA); MILLER, GLENN J. (JSC-EA) (NASA) Cc: SERIALE-GRUSH, JOYCE M. (JSC-EA) (NASA); ROGERS, JOSEPH E. (JOE) (JSC-ES2) (NASA); GALBREATH, GREGORY F. (GREG) (JSC-ES2) (NASA) Subject: STS-107 Wing Debris Impact, Request for Outside Photo-Imaging Help...

Posted by DeLong at 10:34 PM

August 24, 2003
NASA Culture

Kathy Sawyer of the Washington Post writes about the loss of the space shuttle Columbia: Columbia's 'Smoking Gun' Was Obscured (washingtonpost.com): ...on that Tuesday, Jan. 21, a large group of Houston engineers responsible for troubleshooting the foam impact made a formal decision to seek spy satellite images of the orbiting shuttle. The area where the foam hit the wing was not visible from the shuttle's crew cabin. Summarizing the decision in an e-mail the same day, Rocha said the participants had agreed that "big uncertainties" would remain "until we get definitive, better, clearer photos of the wing and body underside . . . Can we petition (beg) for outside agency assistance." The next day, he heard that upper managers had denied the request. He then drafted an e-mail to 14 colleagues, had some conversations about it -- but never sent it. "In my humble technical opinion, this is the wrong (and bordering on irresponsible) answer . . .," he said, citing potentially "grave hazards." He acknowledged that there was no certainty the images would help, but added, "Remember the NASA safety posters everywhere around site stating 'if it's not safe, say so?' Yes, it's that serious." This was one of...

Posted by DeLong at 09:00 AM

August 20, 2003
Final Examination: Frontiers of Medicine and Theology

Virginia Postrel writes about the uses of stem cells to heal the sick: Dynamist Weblog: Here's a cool local story on using stem cells from umbilical cord blood to save the life of a kid with a rare genetic defect: "Corben has a very rare genetic disease that we call Wiskott Aldrich syndrome," pediatric hematologist Dr. Carl Lenarsky said. The deadly disease only strikes baby boys, and only affects three of every one million births. "Most children with Wiskott Aldrich die before they're teenagers," pediatric hematologist Dr. Stanton Goldman said. Victims die from either bleeding or infection. After the diagnosis, the Campbells prepared for the worst. "My husband thought we were going to pick out a casket," Holly Campbell said. "We were scared." However, doctors offered some hope in the form of a cord blood transplant. "Corben's body is fine, except for his blood cells, so what we need to do is give him a new way of forming blood cells," Lenarsky said.... For a week, Corben received chemotherapy to destroy all the bad cells in his body, which created empty space inside his bone marrow. During chemo, Corben lost hair, and became irritable while being confined to the hospital...

Posted by DeLong at 07:09 AM

August 14, 2003
David Brooks Gets Burned by Trusting Charles Murray

David Brooks gets burned by trusting the American Enterprise Institute's Charles Murray: The Atlantic | September 2003 | People Like Us | Brooks: My favorite illustration of this latter pattern comes from the first, noncontroversial chapter of The Bell Curve. Think of your twelve closest friends, Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray write. If you had chosen them randomly from the American population, the odds that half of your twelve closest friends would be college graduates would be six in a thousand. The odds that half of the twelve would have advanced degrees would be less than one in a million... Ummm... No. Definitely not. Back when The Bell Curve was published, 22.2% of Americans over 25 had bachelor's degrees (an additional 7% had associate's degrees) and 7.5% of Americans over 25 had advanced degrees. Draw 12 people at random from this set, and if my hasty back-of-the-envelope calculation is correct* the odds that half of them will have college degrees is 2.5% (7.2% if we are counting associate's degrees)--not "six in a thousand." The odds that half of 12 people drawn at random from this set will have advanced degrees is 0.1%--not "less than one in a million." I...

Posted by DeLong at 06:56 AM

August 02, 2003
Edward Said Pledges Allegiance

In the Manchester Guardian, Edward Said pledges allegiance to poverty, dictatorship, and keeping women illiterate and barefoot: Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | A window on the world: There has been so massive and calculatedly aggressive an attack on contemporary Arab and Muslim societies for their backwardness, lack of democracy, and abrogation of women's rights that we simply forget that such notions as modernity, enlightenment, and democracy are by no means simple and agreed-upon concepts that one either does or does not find like Easter eggs in the living-room... Of course, still bigger howlers come earlier in the article. One is the passage where Said mourns the tragedies of the Middle East: ...Lebanese civil war... violence... ugly shedding of human blood continues up to this minute. We have had the failure of the Oslo peace process... without deigning to mention that Said worked as hard as he could for a decade to try to ensure the failure of the Oslo peace process. There is the obligatory passage that hints at the claim that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" and says it is the western media's fault for rebroadcasting videos of the destruction of the World Trade Center:...

Posted by DeLong at 08:50 AM

July 26, 2003
Andrew Sullivan = Noam Chomsky

I had an epiphany this evening, an epiphany provoked by reading Andrew Sullivan immediately after reading something smart by the highly intelligent Tom Nichols of the Naval War College. Nichols wrote, appropos of Noam Chomsky: What many of us find objectionable, however, is Chomsky's fundamental hypocrisy and dishonesty.... Chomsky's writing is meant to mislead and to distort.... He is a practitioner of the Big Lie approach to political debate: if a falsehood is stated baldly and loudly enough, it'll get by.... Here's a gem from the New Mandarins (1967): "Three times in a generation American technology has laid waste a helpless Asian country," that is, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. This is a statement that is so simplistic and dishonest one can only marvel at Chomsky's audacity in saying it. Imperial Japan, helpless? North Korea, rolling its tanks to the Pusan perimeter and coming within a whisker of conquering the peninsula, helpless? But Chomsky is smart enough to know one thing: if he puts it on the printed page, some less perceptive reader will assume it to be true, and the propaganda will have worked its purpose... And then I come to Andrew Sullivan: www.AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish: DARK DAY FOR...

Posted by DeLong at 09:50 PM

July 25, 2003
Notes: Chomsky: Wvong

Oh no! I've actually used this critique of Sam Huntington! Burned again by not tracing things back to their (mendacious) originators... Delivered-To: h-diplo@h-net.msu.edu Approved-By: "H-DIPLO [Hanks]" Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 10:18:28 -0700 From: "H-DIPLO [Hanks]" Subject: Chomsky: A Principled Dissenter [Wvong] To: H-DIPLO@H-NET.MSU.EDU Status: From: Russil Wvong Richard Falk writes: > There are other ways of >understanding reality than his, but > Chomsky's interpretative perspectives >invariably pose challenges > that should not be ignored by >self-respecting academics and > citizens. As a layman and self-respecting citizen, I have to say that I'm extremely wary of writers who play fast and loose with the truth, whether it's Chomsky or Ann Coulter. In the case of Chomsky, people were commenting on "his tendency to draw from an author's statements inferences that correspond neither to the author's intentions nor to the statements' meaning" before I was even born. [http://www.nybooks.com/articles/11370] Here's a classic example of this tendency, from the pages of the New York Review of Books. Samuel Huntington: > Mr. Chomsky writes as follows: > > Writing in Foreign Affairs, he > > [Huntington] explains that the > > Viet Cong is "a powerful force > > which cannot be dislodged from...

Posted by DeLong at 12:34 PM

Notes: Chomsky: Nichols

Tom Nichols of the Naval War College on Noam Chomsky Delivered-To: h-diplo@h-net.msu.edu Approved-By: "H-DIPLO [Hanks]" Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 10:24:57 -0700 Reply-To: H-NET List for Diplomatic History Sender: H-NET List for Diplomatic History From: "H-DIPLO [Hanks]" Subject: Chomsky: A Principled Dissenter [Nichols] To: H-DIPLO@H-NET.MSU.EDU Status: From: Tom Nichols At the risk of keeping this debate about Chomsky alive one moment longer than it should last, allow me to make one more attempt at explaining why Richard Falk's impassioned defense of Noam Chomsky should be regarded with due skepticism. The objection that I and many others have to Chomsky does not rest on his views. Chomsky is not the first simplistic Marxist to criticize the United States, and in fact his analyses are pedestrian and predictable: big business owns America and reshapes the world to suit the interests of capital, etc etc. It's a common enough criticism on the extreme left, and there's nothing shocking or worth fighting over to be found in it. What many of us find objectionable, however, is Chomsky's fundamental hypocrisy and dishonesty. (There was, for example, an article this spring in the online version of the The New Criterion called "The Hypocrisy of Noam Chomsky.")...

Posted by DeLong at 12:27 PM

When Chomskyites Attack!

Ah. I see that Noam Chomsky acolyte Edward Herman is unhappy with me. I got bored reading Ed Herman, and if I did I'm sure everybody else did too. So rather than further boring everyone with responses to fifteen of Herman's misrepresentations and deceptions, let me confine my reply to one single point: Ed Herman claims that Chomsky's defense of Nazi sympathizer Robert Faurisson was "solely a defense of the right of free speech and that from beginning to end that was all the struggle was about for Chomsky." PUH-LEEAAZE! Chomsky did not write that Faurisson was a Nazi sympathizer whose right to free speech needed to be defended on Voltairean principles. Chomsky wrote that Faurisson seemed to be "a relatively apolitical liberal" who was being smeared by zionists who--for ideological reasons--did not like his "findings." Herman then repeats the lie by claiming that Faurisson's critics were "unable to provide any credible evidence of anti-Semitism or neo-Naziism." Feh! Shame on Herman. But not surprising. One more sign of the Chomskyite view of their audience as tools to be propagandized, rather than as people to be informed. UPDATE: For anyone wanting to learn about Chomsky's (and Herman's!) carrying water and running...

Posted by DeLong at 09:59 AM

July 22, 2003
*Sigh*

Investigators Relive the Shuttle's Demise: "...At the time, many people at NASA believed that the lightweight foam did not pose a serious threat to the vehicle, since shuttles had been hit by some foam on almost every mission and returned safely. This piece of foam, however, was the largest that had ever been seen, and on July 7, when investigators fired a similar piece of foam at a mocked-up shuttle wing at the estimated force of the impact, the foam shattered the leading edge panel, leaving a gaping hole 16 inches across..."...

Posted by DeLong at 09:24 PM

July 14, 2003
Notes: Khmer Rouge

Bruce Sharpe (2002), Cambodia: Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman: Averaging Wrong Answers (http://www.mekong.net/cambodia/chomsky.htm)....

Posted by DeLong at 01:21 PM

July 12, 2003
Getting Medieval on U.S. Government Satellite Broadcasts

Medieval Fundamentalist Theocrats who long for the return of the Caliphate of Ali aligned with Godless Communists who long for the coming of the classless society: U.S. satellite feeds to Iran jammed : U.S. government officials as well as Iranian Americans and communications satellite operators confirm that all U.S.-based satellite broadcasts to Iran are being jammed out of Cuba, one of Irans major allies and a nation increasingly dependent on Iranian oil... Maybe it isn't so strange after all. This world does contain people who worship Fidel Castro: Quite a remarkable day... yesterday.... Unexpectedly, at 10am, Fidel came to the conference on Marx at the international conference centre, and listened respectfully to six plenary speakers on the topic of the revolutionary subject. He stroked his beard but did not comment when Trevor Ngwane did a very hard-hitting rap on the SA left. (Hopefully we get this speech up on e-debate on the weekend.) Fidel then did two of his famous long riffs during question time before lunch, mainly covering Latin American politics. Jokes were mixed with insults about the various 'reptiles' and 'bandits' active in Argentine electoral contests, Guatamalan diplomacy and the like. He had a wonderful respect for the...

Posted by DeLong at 12:57 PM

July 11, 2003
The Homosexual Agenda

Yale's Jack Balkin wonders whether Nino Scalia's denunciation of "the homosexual agenda" will lead future generations to regard him as the moral equivalent of Jesse Helms or Trent Lott--just another turn-of-the-twenty-first-century bigot: Balkinization: There has been considerable discussion about Justice Scalia's accusation that the Lawrence majority had signed on to "the so-called homosexual agenda." I believe what has irked some people is that the expression "the homosexual agenda" has a history. It is a form of code often used by Jesse Helms and other social conservative politicians to whip up resentment against moderates and liberals who support gay rights. The use of the term "homosexual agenda" has been a shrewd way of intimating without overtly stating that people who supported gay rights were somehow disloyal to the country (like the hidden communist agenda) because they were assisting in the destruction of America by destroying its moral fibre, or extremist, because they supported a deeper, hidden agenda whose real goals cannot be openly announced and are instead disguised in the plausible sounding garb of equal rights. Here's a representative quote from Sen. Helms in support of a bill he introduced to roll back President Clinton's executive order prohibiting discrimination against gays...

Posted by DeLong at 11:45 PM

Notes: Ralph Nader

More evidence that Ralph Nader is an idiot: http://www.arktimes.com/mccord/120100mccord.html: Some believe that Nader wanted Bush to win all along, that his goal was to cripple the Democratic Party so as to make the Green Party and Ralph Nader more powerful in future elections (Nader will be 70 in 2004, by the way). It's the old notion that things will have to get worse before they get better. After criticizing Gore as part of a do-nothing administration in a speech at Chapman University in California, Nader said: "If it were a choice between a provocateur and an anesthetizer, I'd rather have a provocateur. It would mobilize us."... Two-thirds of those who voted for Nader said they would have voted for Gore if Nader hadn't been on the ballot....

Posted by DeLong at 11:03 PM

July 02, 2003
A Historical Document: "In the Long Run It Is the Majority Who Will Determine What the Constitutional Rights of the Minority Are"

The judicial philosophy of Chief Justice Rehnquist, taken from Rehnquist (1952), "A Random Thought on the Segregation Cases"*. This memo expressing Rehnquist's position** on a number of issues is usually cited for the flat declaration at the end that Plessy v. Ferguson (establishing the legality of the "separate and unequal" principle of segregation in governmental treatment of Blacks and whites) "was right and should be re-affirmed" even though Rehnquist is aware that it is an "unpopular and unhumanitarian position" for which he has been "excoriated by 'liberal' colleagyes." More interesting, from my perspective at least, are Rehnquist's beliefs that: Jimmy Madison was an idiot for including individual rights in the Constitution: "The Constitution, of course, deals with individual rights, particularly in the first Ten and the fourteenth Amendments. But as I read the history of this Court, it has seldom been out of hot water when attempting to interpret these individual rights." No matter what the Constitution says, the Supreme Court cannot protect minority rights of any kind, and it should not try, for "in the long run it is the majority who will determine what the constitutional rights of the minority are." The Warren Court's attempt to use the...

Posted by DeLong at 03:30 PM

June 27, 2003
Andrew Sullivan Is Wrong Again!!

Andrew Sullivan calls me a "...classic example of the arrogant liberal. He supports affirmative action and believes that individuals in 2003 bear a direct responsibility for those people who enacted slavery and made life a living hell for many black Americans in decades and centuries past." But he's wrong. On this issue the arguments that convince me are not liberal but conservative ones--Burkean ones, to be exact. A liberal sees society as a result of a social contract implicitly made between all of us alive today: we agree to live by rules and laws that we then have a chance to rethink, remake, and reform. It's important that this social contract be fair to us. From this perspective, the questions "Why should recent Korean immigrants bear any responsibility for repairing the damage left by the marks of slavery and Jim Crow?" and "Why should African-Americans find their own capabilities and potential accomplishments still limited by the marks of slavery and Jim Crow?" are both very good ones. (Somehow Andrew Sullivan only asks the first, and never thinks to ask the second. But thinking about why would take us far afield.) I begin from a different point, from the observations that...

Posted by DeLong at 11:40 AM

June 26, 2003
From Our Far-Flung Network of Correspondents

A correspondent writes: This is just too rich. From Nino Scalia's dissent in Lawrence v. Texas: There are 203 prosecutions for consensual, adult homosexual sodomy reported in the West Reporting system and official state reporters from the years 1880-1995 . . . There are also records of 20 sodomy prosecutions and 4 executions during the colonial period. . . . Bowers' conclusions that homosexual sodomy is not a fundamental right "deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition" is utterly unassailable. But there were even MORE executions for witchcraft in the colonial period. I guess there is no fundamental right to dance in the moonlight. Or even a fundamental right to life, if one happens to be a Native American. Fascinating. What is the old saying? To grow old is to watch the steady destruction of the world that was one's childhood home? That must be how this guy feels....

Posted by DeLong at 09:38 PM

June 24, 2003
Equality of Opportunity

Andrew Sullivan doesn't see what is so wrong with an elite university with no black people in it: www.AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish: ...But why is a racially un-diverse but intellectually multi-faceted campus such a bad thing? Why is a world without... [affirmative action] so "intolerable"? I think that the politest possible response is that this demonstrates, more than anything else, that Andrew Sullivan is simply and totally clueless about what America is. America is a country built on noble ideas, one of the chief of which is equality of opportunity. But the ancestors of today's African-Americans were, for centuries, Slaves in the Land of America. The ancestors of and many of today's African Americans were, for more than a century, then subjected to an only somewhat less viscious campaign of terror and discrimination in support of America's brutal racial caste system. And discrimination against African-Americans continues today in housing, in employment, in large durable purchases, and in other areas--albeit at a much, much less virulent level. This historical experience has marked today's generations of African-Americans: they were and their parents were much much poorer than other Americans, their and their parents' opportunities were much more restricted, they and their parents...

Posted by DeLong at 09:53 AM

May 29, 2003
Eric Alterman Was Never a Happy Camper

Eric Alterman was never a happy camper. Here he bangs his head against the wall because for George W. Bush AIDS is a media affairs priority but not a budget priority: Eric Alterman: Altercation : "The White House staged a pomp-filled ceremony for Bush to sign the legislation, seeking to draw attention to a humanitarian aspect of U.S. foreign policy." Too bad it?s mostly a fraud. As this Washington Post article continues, "Bush?s budget for next year would devote $2 billion to the AIDS initiative, instead of the $3 billion first installment directed in the law. Similarly, his 2004 budget would channel one-fifth of the $1 billion specified in the law to a fledgling international AIDS fund." Moreover, "the White House has recommended cuts in funding for the Ryan White CARE Act, a major source of payment for HIV/AIDS services, and that federal aid to state programs that subsidize AIDS therapies has not kept pace with the demand." And yet, "in his remarks, Bush sought to link the AIDS initiative to several of the largest humanitarian steps taken in 20th-century America, saying it was part of a 'long tradition of sacrifice in the cause of freedom' that included the Marshall...

Posted by DeLong at 11:35 AM

May 27, 2003
Gary Farber Says I'm a Bad Person

Gary Farber says I'm a bad person for not paying sufficient attention to the atrocity that is the Congo: Amygdala: THE MUTILATED CORPSE ROLLS BY: More on the Congo. Over the past four years, Congo's war has claimed more lives than any other. The International Rescue Committee, an American aid agency, says that by the middle of last year, 2.5m people had died because of the war in eastern Congo alone. Some were shot or hacked to death; many more succumbed to starvation or disease as nine national armies and a shifting throng of rebel groups pillaged their country. By now, the death toll is probably over 3m, although this is the roughest of estimates. As one UN worker puts it: "Congo is so green, you don't even see the graves." [...] The peasants of Ramba Chitanga, a village too tiny to appear on any map, tell a grisly tale. When the RCD left, Hutus moved in, and accused the villagers of feeding their enemies. Then the Mai-Mai attacked. During the ensuing battle, the Hutus hacked off 29-year-old Janet Vumilia's hands. Now, with her skittle-like stumps, she ticks off the relatives they killed: her parents-in-law, her brother-in-law, her pregnant sister,...

Posted by DeLong at 09:59 PM

May 13, 2003
Caldwell on Bennett

Caldwell on Bennett. A good piece, but I think Caldwell misses a big chunk of it. People are angry at Bennett because he knows firsthand--truly intimately--what it's like to have an addictive personality, and yet treats all others who suffer from different addictions as if they have simply and willfully chosen evil. Financial Times; May 10, 2003 COMMENT: The man who gambled with American outrage By Christopher Caldwell In 1998, the Washington Times reported that William J. Bennett, who had been chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and secretary of education under Ronald Reagan, and "drug tsar" under the first President Bush, had won a $200,000 jackpot at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas. The report, which Mr Bennett denied, sounded absurd to those who had followed his career. After leaving government, Mr Bennett had cashed in as a guru of "values" (as Americans call morality). His Book of Virtues and other titles on honour and child-rearing perched for months in the upper branches of the bestseller lists. During the Lewinsky affair he pilloried the president's "character" on television every day, and wrote a book lamenting the decline of "outrage" in American life. And he boiled his spiel...

Posted by DeLong at 08:10 AM

May 06, 2003
Kevin Drum Needs to Be Told What to Think

Kevin Drum needs to be told what to think about Mitch Daniels's resignation from the post of Director of the Office of Management and Budget. I will oblige. These are the party-line talking points: The principal task of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget is to tell people "no": he or she needs to tell agencies "no" when they want to expand their programs beyond reason; he or she needs to tell White House political operatives "no" when they want to offer tax cuts beyond reason. A successful OMB Director makes current and projected future federal budget deficits shrink (or current and projected future surpluses expand). Given what has happened to the current and projected future federal budget balances under his tenure, Mitch Daniels may well be the least successful OMB Director in American history. (He may be the second least successful--David Stockman may beat him out for the "worst" title: it's a matter of opinion. You may argue that Mitch Daniels faced a uniquely bad situation when he became OMB Director: a president too lazy to grasp the issues, a senior White House staff that did not understand that, like, bad, like, economic policy could, like,...

Posted by DeLong at 01:19 PM

Elementary Statistics

Eugene Volokh writes: Volokh Conspiracy: People are condemning Bill Bennett, who has taken on the role of a spokesman for virtue and morality, for what seems to be a gambling habit that has lost him $8 million over the last ten years.... Nonetheless, Bennett suggests that he's "come out pretty close to even," though others doubt this... Suppose you play the $500 slots 20,000 times--thus betting ten million dollars in total--on slot machines that are programmed to keep 10% of the take (which is a quite low house percentage for slot machines), and suppose that the standard deviation of payoffs is $1350 (a large number, but then slots do give some very large payoffs). How likely is it that you have come out "pretty close to even"? Anyone a third of the way through their first course in statistics will know that 20,000 times is enough to safely apply the central limit theorem, and thus will be able to quickly and easily figure out that: Your expected loss is $1 million even. There are only five chances in a hundred that you will have lost more than $1.3 million. There are only five chances in a hundred that you will...

Posted by DeLong at 12:27 PM

March 14, 2003
Even the Neoconservative New Republic

Even the neoconservative (on foreign affairs) New Republic is fed up to the brim--is banging its head against the wall--is totally and utterly outraged by the Bush Administration's failure to even consider, even for a moment, even as a hypothetical option, that it might tell the truth. There's a real pathology here: TNR Online | Truth Be Told (print): the Bush administration... keeps saying things about Iraq that turn out not to be true.... The Bush administration quickly accused Baghdad of leaving out key information.... "The declaration ignores [Iraq's] efforts to procure uranium from Niger." In his January 28 State of the Union address, the president cited the uranium deal.... The inspectors reviewed the document... crude forgeries. The Iraqi officials who had allegedly tried to buy the uranium were not even in their jobs at the time the documents were supposedly written. Confronted with ElBaradei's findings last Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition," Colin Powell changed the subject.... [I]ts claims about other nuclear "issues" haven't held up much better... "high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons." In early January, the IAEA contradicted Bush once again, arguing that the 81-millimeter aluminum tubes were "not directly suitable" for enriching uranium...

Posted by DeLong at 01:45 PM

March 09, 2003
Patrick Nielsen Hayden Doesn't Really Know What to Say

Patrick Nielsen Hayden doesn't really know what to say. Neither do I. Electrolite: It's hard to know what to say, really: The Bush administration has decided to reject the recommendation of a special government commission to place Saudi Arabia on an American blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom....

Posted by DeLong at 08:30 PM

February 25, 2003
No Comment Department

One meets such gentlemen on the internet: Steven den Beste: By the way, have I mentioned lately that I don't give a flying f*** "why they hate us"? Having a lot of people in the world hate us is a bad thing, but there are other things facing us which are worse. I'd rather be hated than to have one of our cities nuked (unless, of course, it's Berkeley). We Americans have... opinions about people who claim (even mockingly) that they would cheer if one of our cities were to be nuked....

Posted by DeLong at 02:37 PM

February 22, 2003
Notes: What Thomas Sowell Thinks of The Bell Curve

Atrios laments: "Every time I refer disparagingly to [Herrnstein and Murray's] The Bell Curve some true believer expects me to write a 50,000 word critique of the book to justify my opinion of it. Frankly, it's as if every time I spoke disparagingly of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion someone expected me to write a 50,000 word critique of it." You don't have to write a 50,000 word critique. All you have to do is point them to Thomas Sowell's American Spectator review of The Bell Curve. Sowell pulls his punches--no book that goes to the lengths The Bell Curve does to keep from considering education as an independent influence on people's life-paths can possibly be, as Sowell calls it, "very sober, very thorough, and very honest." But even Sowell's pulled punches are absolutely devastating. And no one can call Thomas Sowell a politically-correct left-wing hack: Upstream: Issues: Bell Curve: Thomas Sowell : Vol. 28, American Spectator, 02-01-1995, pp 32. [Herrnstein and Murray] seem to conclude... that... biological inheritance of IQ... among members of the general society may also explain IQ differences between different racial and ethnic groups.... Such a conclusion goes... much beyond what the facts will...

Posted by DeLong at 08:39 AM

Another Debt Owed to France

Sgt. Stryker's daily briefing talks about another debt that we owe to France--not the France of Petain, Laval, the Dreyfus Prosection, and Action Francaise, but the France of Lafayette, de Gaulle, and M. Pierre Mathy: Sgt. Stryker's Daily Briefing: February 16, 2003 - February 22, 2003 Archives: Being of mostly British descent, bashing the froggies should come come easily to me, but I'm going to sit this one out.... I'll forgo play-ground level abuse of the citizens who elected [Chirac]. My family owes a small debt to M. Pierre Mathy. He's not anyone you'd know about, and he died a few years ago, but he owned and ran a little hotel-restaurant in a pretty little town called Toul......

Posted by DeLong at 06:51 AM

February 21, 2003
The Bush Budget Once Again

Michael Kinsley bangs his head against the wall on the Bush budget, saying all the normal and appropriate things. As far as I can see, Bush Administration fiscal policy has no external private supporters (except possibly Kevin Hassett?) at all--at least, not one person I have talked to in private who understands the federal budget has told me that they think that the package as a whole (including future extra military expenditures, AMT relief, and all the other things in the policies but not in the OMB numbers) is good for the country. If anybody does think this is good policy, please drop me a note explaining why. The George W. Diet - Lose unsightly pounds by eating like a pig. By MichaelKinsley: Suppose you had a friend who was grossly overweight for years but lately had been looking very trim. Suddenly, though, he puts on 30 or 40 pounds and is waddling around like his old porcine self. He explains that he's found a marvelous new diet: "You eat like a pig and stop exercising until you get so fat that you just have to lose weight." Would you say that your friend is kidding himself?And if your friend...

Posted by DeLong at 01:41 PM

It's Becoming Genuinely Hard to Be a Hawk

Kevin Drum bangs his head against the wall. It's genuinely hard to be a hawk on Iraq given the composition of the U.S. executive branch. Not only do they lie, but they don't seem to understand what being the "good guys" entails: CalPundit: AFTER THE WAR....The news on the war front is not good. I suspect that many reluctant hawks like me have held their noses and supported the war because of the possibility that, aside from ridding the world of a dangerous and unstable dictator, we might also make Iraq ? and eventually the rest of the Middle East ? into a better place.But the downsides seem to be piling up. Transatlantic relations are strained almost to breaking, and Donald Rumsfeld has already declared his eagerness to punish allies who don't support us. We're in the process of paying out a $32 billion (or so) bribe to the Turks. We seem to be abandoning the Kurds. The planned "Shock and Awe" bombing of Baghdad sounds dangerously close to being a war crime. Some factions in the Bush administration talk about appropriating Iraqi oil funds as "spoils of war," and the latest word from Washington and London is that we...

Posted by DeLong at 12:07 PM

September 07, 2002
Blaming the Victim

Ah. A fine example of blaming the victim. The NEA tried to avoid the first and worst mistake people make when they get slimed, and tried to avoid having their own statements serve as vehicles for distributing the libel. And the NEA gets blamed for not mounting a specific enough defense! And then gets attacked--via the implication that there must have been some sinister reason for their failure! Instapundit.com: ...SPINSANITY AGREES with Cathy Young and others that the NEA is getting a bum rap. I'm persuaded now, but I can't help observing that the NEA hurt its case by acting guilty. As SpinSanity itself says: After repeated attempts to contain the controversy, the NEA issued an indirectly worded statement on Aug. 27. Rather than directly refuting the charges, it vaguely asserts that critics "have taken the material out of context" and are "using this national tragedy to attempt to score political points," giving little indication that the entire controversy has essentially been fabricated. It also at some point apparently removed links to Lippincott's lesson. Now that doesn't make misrepresentations of its views any less misleading, but on the other hand, people watch an organization's behavior for cues as to whether...

Posted by DeLong at 04:36 PM

August 26, 2002
No Comment...

Constrast James Lileks on Ann Coulter with the Wall Street Journal's editorial page. Which one comes out on top in the "moral responsibility" sweepstakes? LILEKS (James) The Bleat: ...I was interested to note on the Thursday anabasis that few were paying attention to Ann Coulter’s remark in an New York Observer interview: Is your tape recorder running? Turn it on! I got something to say." Then she said: "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building." I told her to be careful. "You’re right, after 9/11 I shouldn’t say that," she said, spotting a cab and grabbing it. I think most anti-idiotarians have written her off - if they didn’t dislike her for other reasons already - and have no desire to be associated with her. They smell a publicity seeker, a tone-deaf anvil-whacker: Yeah, Anne, Whatever. Well, let me be on record that this is an appalling and inexcusable remark, and it turns my stomach. Of course she was being outrageous to make a point, but it was a stupid point, stupidly made, and it has the effect of making those indifferent to her presence in the ranks wish she...

Posted by DeLong at 07:40 AM

August 12, 2002
More Slime From the Right...

The Washington Times--for no reasons other than ignorance, incompetence, and malevolence--slimes the career staff of the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. The accusation is that the BEA falsely inflated economic growth estimates in 2000 to try to elect Al Gore. The only shred of reality in the piece is from Deputy BEA Director Brent Moulton, who is allowed to point out--briefly--that the differences betweent he preliminary and the revised GDP numbers for 2000 are not unusually large, and then hustled off stage. I want to see Larry Lindsey, Paul O'Neill, and Don Evans out there in no less than 24 hours defending the--enormous--honor and professionalism of their staff against the mendacious Washington Times. Our statistical services do a very good job with much less money to spend than they ought to have. And since the yahoos who run the Washington Times don't understand this, it is the business of cabinet members and assistants to the president to tell them. The Clintonistas' economic reality gap -- The Washington Times ...the falsely reported surging profits from the second half of 1998 through the first half of 2000 fueled the soaring stock market. This, in turn, generated wealth, which financed greater consumption....

Posted by DeLong at 06:27 AM

July 29, 2002
Paul Krugman Defends Robert Rubin

And Paul's right: the media machine is lurching into action on the premise that Robert Rubin was responsible for everything that happened at Citibank when he was not there, and that Richard Cheney was reponsible for nothing that happened at Halliburton when he was there. The Unofficial Paul Krugman Web Page If you want to see the smear machine at work, this latest - apparently abortive - attempt to implicate Robert Rubin in the Enron affair is a classic. Here's what happened: we have learned that Citigroup helped Enron by structuring loans in a way that inflated reported revenue. This is not good, but also no surprise. For sure we will eventually learn that every major bank did something like that for some company. It was, alas, what was happening during the bubble years. But it took about 30 seconds for the right-wing scandal machine to pounce. Robert Rubin works for Citigroup! And he was a Clinton-era icon! So he's guilty! Off with his head! Republican operatives began sending thousands of faxes; talk radio made Rubin's sins topic # 1; and Andrew Sullivan dutifully attacked Rubin in his blog. And with amazing gullibility, the likes of Tim Noah at Slate...

Posted by DeLong at 01:17 PM

June 19, 2002
Please Do Not Let Dr. Markel Near My Children: Hospital Residents Do Need More Sleep

James di Benedetto rails against those who want residents in hospitals to think slowly and make lots of errors: "In response to changes in the guidelines governing how many hours medical residents may work consecutively, some established doctors are coming out against it. Dr. Howard Markel, professor at the University of Michigan, floats the idea that those long shifts are precisely the thing that turn students into physicians. 3 AM is the time when they really and truly learn to be doctors. But, see, that isn't the point."

Posted by DeLong at 02:17 PM

May 09, 2002
More Evidence That Republicans Really Are the Stupid Party

When Dick Armey calls for Israel to "grab the entire West Bank" and for Palestinians to move to a Palestinian state someplace else--in their "hundreds of thousands of acres of land... and soil and property and opportunity" that Arab countries have, does he know what he is saying?...

Posted by DeLong at 03:18 PM

May 07, 2002
Did the U.S. Encourage the Failed Coup in Venezuela Because the National Security Council Is Staffed by McCarthyite Nutboys?

Did the U.S. Encourage the Failed Coup in Venezuela Because the National Security Council Is Staffed by McCarthyite Nutboys? With a lead in like that, you certainly expect the answer to be, "Yes." And the answer is, "Probably."

Posted by DeLong at 03:15 PM