Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Inclusiveness -- What it Means to be a Democrat

CBS News daily Internet column Washington Wrap reports:

The Democrats aren't so inclusive when it comes to Lyndon LaRouche. The perennial presidential candidate says he's planning to run again but South Carolina Democrats will not allow them in their debate this Saturday.

"It's my call," Democratic state chair Dick Harpootlian told the Charleston Post and Courier on Monday. Democrats say LaRouche is neither a Democrat nor a legal voter.

LaRouche blamed former Democratic National Chair Don Fowler, a South Carolinian, for the snub. Fowler has said in the past that LaRouche wasn't a bona-fide" Democrat because he held views that were "explicitly racist and anti-Semitic." In 2000, he wasn't registered to vote, and he has spent five years in jail.

That's funny -- nobody seems to be questioning whether Al Sharpton is a "bona-fide Demorcrat" even though he has a clear history of being anti-Semitic and racist. What about Robert Byrd -- would he be allowed in this debate if he were running for President? I think he may have expressed some "explicitly racist and anti-Semitic" views at some point as well. Now I think LaRouche is a nut job as much as the next guy, but if the "racist/anti-Semitic" standard is applied to Democrats in this debate, at the very least, an arguement could be made that Kucinich (anti-Semitism), Mosely-Braun (anti-Semitism/racism) and Sharpton (anti-Semitism/racism) should not qualify as "bona-fide Democrats." Oh, and don't forget that Reverend Al has also spent a significant amount of time in jail. Nobody has said that he can't come to the debate.

I blog -- you decide.
Hillary's Got a New Book Coming Out

From Inside Politics:

Publisher Simon & Schuster is betting millions of dollars that the reading public will be breaking down the doors of bookstores to buy Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's memoir when it comes out later this spring.

The list price for the book, according to Amazon.com, is $28.

The book, which took two years to write, will be billed as a "complete and candid" accounting of her years in the White House, from the health care debate to her husband's impeachment to the start her own political campaign in 2000.

"Complete and candid," and no doubt absurdly self-serving.

Friday, April 25, 2003

I Support Any and Every Gun Control

Phil, I don't know enough about the robbery in NE last week to comment on that issue, unfortunately. I do know about the shooting in Red Lion, PA, where a middle schooler killed his principal in front of roughly 700 class mates or so and then killed himself. Your comments suggest that, man, if only the principal had packed heat in school himself, he could have prevented the teenager from killing him. Or even better, he could have blown away the teenager before the youth had an opportunity to hurt himself publicly. If every teacher, principal, guidance counselor, and lunch aide walked around school with an AK-47, that would really deter school violence. (This is sarcasm.)

Additionally, I do not see any possible unconstitutionality in the DG gun law. Yes, the bad guys have guns. No, the innocent victims of violent crime do not. How is this unconstitutional? (You can save this for after finals if you want. Note that I am not defending the constitutionality of gun laws either right now, and don't plan to think about it until after finals.)

I also want to use this opportunity to criticize in the strongest possible terms the ludicrous House Bill indemnifying gun manufacturers from citizen suits. This extra-judicial hamstringing of judicial remedy-making is unfair, unnecessary, and generally assenine. Courts can decide for themselves the extent of gun manufacturer liability for urban crime, the costs of policing gun crime, exorbitant hospital emergency medical room expenses, and the other woes associated with rampant gun violence. If you want unconstitutionality, start with the House's preposterous bill. I'll sleep better at night (NOT) knowing that the Gun manufacturers have bought the United Stated House of Representatives.

Cheers, Jaime.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

DC Gun Control -- Unconstitutional?

Robert Levy has a great essay on National Review Online about a woman named Shelly Parker. Shelly Parker is a longtime DC resident who is constantly threatened by drug dealers who live near her home because she has the courage to call police on them. Because she is a law abiding citizen, she does not keep a loaded gun in her home. In fact, under DC law, any gun in her home must either be dissembled or in a trigger lock. I doubt her tormenters feel constrained by these same laws.

You should read it, it is quite powerful.

Also, after reading Levy's piece I was reminded of the triple homicide/robbery of a popular restaurant in NE DC last week near Catholic University. The perpetrators of that heinous crime no doubt knew that anyone they encountered in the restauarant would be unarmed (because in DC it is illegal to carry a gun anywhere). They had no fear of being injured in the robbery, and as a result, we more than happy to do it. Like it or not, if the bad guys thought for one minute that someone in that restaurant was in possession of a gun, they probably would have not come in like they did. These gun laws cause innocent deaths every year. When are the DC politicians gonna wake up to this fact?

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

It's Finals Time

As a "3L in DC" I must pass my three finals in order to graduate. As such, posting will be light for the next ten to fifteen days (that is, unless something really annoys me). Let's hope Tim Robbins and Martha Burk keep their mouths shut so I can study.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

I Don't Like to Pick on Jaime, But...

The other day, Jaime gave us a post entitled "Unfinished Business" in which he observed that their is much work left to be done in Iraq, and that this work has been made much more difficult be the Bush Administration's lack of foreign policy acumen. He made eight points which I reproduce below in their entirety (in italics). My response to each point is also included.


1. The coalition was a patchwork team of countries that in no way represents global unity or will.

The coalition of the willing included 49 countries as of March 27. Among them were: African nations Ethiopia and Eritrea and predominantly Muslim nations Albania, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. We had support from every populated continent. Hardly a patchwork.

2. France and Russia have provided the world anti-American leadership that has been a spoiler to U.S. diplomatic goals. France and Russia do not presently show any signs of relenting to the U.S. They are working against the U.S. because we have made them our diplomatic enemies. Regardless of their economic or military might, they are world leaders, and they are using their position of leadership to burden the United States. The longer things continue like this, the more difficult compromise becomes.

Actually, Russia has quickly backed away from supporting France. An article in the Telegraph (thanks Instapundit) yesterday reported the following:

The anti-war coalition of France, Germany and Russia seemed to be crumbling yesterday after President Vladimir Putin put out a series of conciliatory signals to America. Senior Russian officials told the Izvestia daily newspaper that the Kremlin has "no illusions about any long-term perspectives for the axis"... The source added that Russia never expected any long-term principled position from either France or Germany.

Other reports indicate that Russia is considering all of the eight billion dollars in Iraqi debt that it is currently carrying in order to improve relations with the United States.

3. There is intense jockeying throughout the world for the billions of dollars of contracts related to the rebuilding of the U.S. The fractiousness of the Security Council members right now

You bet there is. And you know what? The people who helped free Iraq will rightly get first dibs on the contracts. This whole "let the UN rebuild" movement is nothing more than a way to get France's dirty little hands back in the cookie jar.

4. Arab moderates around the world are disgusted with the U.S. for attacking Iraq. After 9/11, many moderates began to question the underpinnings of Arab society with new force. They are the best hope within Arab society for stable, Arab-led democratic movements. It would be positive for the U.S. to promote stronger ties with them. Now, they’re fed up with the U.S. More importantly, the war has caused them to lose ground within Arab society to more radical elements.

As I noted above, several Muslim countries will members of the coalition. Kuwait, Qatar, and Jordan provided material support to the war effort. Arab moderates are not disgusted with us -- unless you consider moderate the extremists on the streets of Cairo. Second, what if any evidence do you have that "moderates" have lost ground within Arab society to more radical elements? I have seen nothing of the sort. In fact, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas has recently picked a reformist cabinet. (Which was, of course, rejected by that asshole Arafat.) Sounds to me like the more moderate elements have been emboldened by the U.S. action.

5. The war destabilized the U.N. Before this war, there was global sympathy for the U.S. because of 9/11. The Bush administration could have removed Saddam Hussein with true global support if it had practiced more intelligent diplomacy. More Colin Powell and less Rumsfeld/Chaney/Wolfowitz. Ultimately, a multi-national body of consequence is vital to world order. The U.N. better serves U.S. interests than those of any other country. The U.N. does a lot of good. The world needs it. So does the U.S.

The U.N. has always been unstable. Any sympathy we had from 9/11 was lost as soon as we went into Afghanistan to exact our revenge. Jaime, you allege that the Bush Administration could have removed Saddam with true global support if only it would practice more intelligent diplomacy (by the way, notice the "Bush is stupid" slant to this comment – won’t you guys ever learn?). You suggest that more Powell, less Rumsfeld is the answer. Yet, when Powell took the diplomatic route at the U.N. he was treated with the utmost of disrespect, and has widely be called a failure for it (take, for example Sen. Dachle's comments to that effect). Do you really think he could have changed anybody’s mind if given additional time? You offer no suggestion as to how Powell would have accomplished removing Saddam, nor do you offer any timetable for an "intelligent diplomacy" plan to work. One thing is for sure, though. If we followed the "intelligent diplomacy" that you suggest, hundreds of children would still be in the "Children's Gulag" that we liberated in Iraq the other day. As for the necessity of the U.N., you make assertions, but offer no reasons why the U.N. is good and more importantly, why the U.S. needs it. That the U.N. is vital to American interests is not entirely clear to me. We certainly did not need their help in this war -- nor will we need their help in this peace.

6. Iraq is an ethnically fractious amalgamation of lots of different tribes and peoples. There is a clear expectation now that the U.S. succeed in getting these groups to work together. Failure to do so will amount to a U.S. failure.

First of all, they are not tribes anymore than different races/religious sects are tribes in this country. Second, are you really saying that if we don't get the groups to work well together, then they are not better off than they were while living under Saddam Hussein? The simple fact that he is gone means success. Providing a framework for a new Iraqi government that respects human dignity and freedom will mean additional success.

7. Turkey is an unpredictable force on Iraq’s northern border.

Actually, the Turks are entirely predictable. As long we say that we'll kick the crap out of them if they go in, they will not go in.

8. Only time will tell whether other world leaders who aid and abet terrorists will hear the message that Bush attempted to send. The flipside of this war is that developing WMD (especially nuclear) may be the only way to prevent the U.S. from invading.

Time is already telling us. First, we have North Korea coming to the multi-lateral table for talks on the U.S.'s terms. Second, Palestinian Authority PM appoints a reformist cabinet. Third, a high-profile Iranian conservative calls for a reexamination of Iran's relationship with Israel. Fourth, Belarussian dictator Alexandr Lukashenko has agreed to allow human rights groups back into his country after a two year absence.

Jaime, I encourage you to respond to my response (with facts, not ad hominems).

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Developments in North Korea -- I'm Right Again

With all due respect to my good friend Jaime, he and his leftist views have been again disproven in the area of foreign policy. Yesterday it was reported that North Korea has made it known that it wishes to resume multilateral diplomatic talks with the United States government and the Bush Administration.

Back in early March, Jaime wrote the following:

There are steps the U.S. can take to improve the situation, and the Bush administration is declining to do them. The first step that we can do is open direct dialogue with the North Koreans. This is the only way to beginning building trust. Although the Clinton administration's relationship with North Korea wasn't perfect, it was a lot better than what we are doing now. At least we were communicating with North Korea then. I have never understood what there is to gain from breaking off dialogue with an entire nation. North Korea wants to develop diplomatic and economic ties.

Second: just negotiate, stupid. Negotiation alone will not convince Kim Jong Il to quit his enrichment of uranium. Nevertheless, negotiation contains more potential for a good ending than our current, alarming, and rapid escalation of hostilities between North Korea and the U.S.
...
They are willing to say, "NO" to the U.S. The Bush administration needs to a better job of decreasing tension with North Korea and reopening dialogue.

I responded by noting that North Korea was a rogue state and should be treated accordingly. I also pointed out that any negotiation should occur only on our terms. More specifically, I said:

I agree with Jaime that this situation is very delicate and will eventually require direct engagement with the North Koreans. I disagree, however, in his assertion that doing so now would improve the situation. He argues that we must do so in order to build trust. My question is this: Why do we want to build trust? The North Koreans have proven time and time again that they are anything but trustworthy.

Basically, I think we need to play hardball here. Yes, the North Koreans are rattling a pretty loud sabre, but I think that fundamentally, even with the nuclear weapons they possess, they are a toothless tiger. Their belicosity stems from their realization that their country is starving and soon will implode. I say we step back, let them become more and more desperate, and eventually, they'll realize that it is a lot more fun to be friends with America than enemies.

Well, what to you know? They appear to have seen the light. If we had followed Jaime's course of action, we'd be negotiating with North Korea directly, and they would now know that in order to gain the respect in the international community that comes with direct, high-level talks with the United States, they need only threaten to send a few nukes across the border to Japan. Instead, the Bush Administration wisely insisted that we would only speak to the North Koreans through their neighbors in the region. Basically, we called their bluff -- and won.

Come to think of it, Jaime, you and I should play some poker some time.


Saturday, April 12, 2003

They Still Don't Get It

Jaime has a very interesting post below that outlines the challenges that the coalition forces face as we move forward in Iraq. Although some of his points are misguided (I'll address these points in a future post), he does a nice job of demonstrating that most of the work still is before us rather than behind us.

Nevertheless, I was just pointed (by Drudge) to a story in the rabidly anti-American left-wing newspaper known as the Guardian. In it, former chief weapons inspector Hans Blix complains that the United States wasn't fair to him. Here is the text below:

War against Iraq was a foregone conclusion months before the first shot was fired, the chief weapons inspector Hans Blix has claimed.
In a scathing attack on Britain and the US, Mr Blix accused them of planning the war "well in advance" and of "fabricating" evidence against Iraq to justify their campaign.

Letting rip after months of frustration, he told the Spanish daily El Pais: "There is evidence that this war was planned well in advance. Sometimes this raises doubts about their attitude to the [weapons] inspections."

Mr Blix said Iraq was paying a "a very high price in terms of human lives and the destruction of a country" when the threat of banned weapons could have been contained by UN inspections.

The 74-year Swedish diplomat made clear that he believes he was misled by President Bush. At a White House meeting last October Mr Bush backed the work of Unmovic, the UN inspection team.

But at the time Mr Blix knew "there were people within the Bush administration who were sceptical and who were working on engineering regime change". By the start of March the hawks in Washington and London were growing impatient.

He said he believed that finding weapons of mass destruction had been relegated as an aim and the main objective had become the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Here is what I don't get. Assuming everything that he says is true, what exactly is the problem? Let's look at what he alleges:

1. "The United States and Britain planned the war well in advance." So what? That's how wars happen. You plan them, then you execute them. Even if we had capitulated to the naysayers and not gone to war, it would have been irresponsible not to have at least developed a war plan in case we had eventually gone in.

2. "this raises doubts about their attitude to the [weapons] inspections." Like that's news or something. The U.S. made it entirely obvious and clear as far back as last September that we were dubious of the ultimate effectiveness of weapons inspections. I remember Cheney saying on Meet the Press that he doubted that they would work. As usual, he was correct.

3. "Iraq was paying a "a very high price in terms of human lives and the destruction of a country" Oh, come on Hans. Saddam killed as many as 1 million innocents purposely. We killed several hundreds innocents accidently -- all while taking the utmost care not to harm them. Why is the price that the Saddam Hussein inflicted upon his people somehow less than the price that we inflicted?

4. "there were people within the Bush administration who were sceptical and who were working on engineering regime change." Again, why is this a bad thing? Can't we all now agree that the Iraqi people truly wanted to be liberated from the death grip of Saddam Hussein? Weren't the celebrations in the street at least compelling evidence of that fact? You just don't get it.

Finally, I should say that it is entirely possible that Blix's remarks, when put into context, are not nearly as ridiculous as the Guardian makes them sound. The Guardian has a habit to twisting story into some sort of a slam on the Bush Administration. Blix may have just been stating his view of how the war developed out of the inspection process. Either way, someone on the left is being silly here.
Unfinished Business

The liberation of Iraqis so far has been wonderful and a clear military victory for the United States and the coalition. Nevertheless, Phil and his cronies are equating this military victory with global vindication of Bush foreign policy. I do not think that this is the case, either domestically or abroad. The Bush administration still has a lot to deliver, and we will see that Bush diplomacy has made real success in Iraq more difficult. By real success, I mean the creation of stable Iraqi governance that is democratic and respects the human rights of both men and women.

The war has produced some positives. It eliminated the government of Saddam Hussein. It demonstrated yet again U.S. military power. It has sent a warning to countries that aid and abet terrorists that the U.S. is serious about preemptive strikes against terrorists and those that harbor them. It allowed the world to see Iraqis rejoicing at the downfall of Saddam. It produced a lot less civilian casualties than doomsayers predicted. It also

The problem with these accomplishments is that they are only part of the larger task. The next part is rebuilding. The war and the diplomatic efforts before the war have started many alarming trends that will increase the difficulty of rebuilding Iraq.

1. The coalition was a patchwork team of countries that in no way represents global unity or will.
2. France and Russia have provided the world anti-American leadership that has been a spoiler to U.S. diplomatic goals. France and Russia do not presently show any signs of relenting to the U.S. They are working against the U.S. because we have made them our diplomatic enemies. Regardless of their economic or military might, they are world leaders, and they are using their position of leadership to burden the United States. The longer things continue like this, the more difficult compromise becomes.
3. There is intense jockeying throughout the world for the billions of dollars of contracts related to the rebuilding of the U.S. The fractiousness of the Security Council members right now
4. Arab moderates around the world are disgusted with the U.S. for attacking Iraq. After 9/11, many moderates began to question the underpinnings of Arab society with new force. They are the best hope within Arab society for stable, Arab-led democratic movements. It would be positive for the U.S. to promote stronger ties with them. Now, they’re fed up with the U.S. More importantly, the war has caused them to lose ground within Arab society to more radical elements.
5. The war destabilized the U.N. Before this war, there was global sympathy for the U.S. because of 9/11. The Bush administration could have removed Saddam Hussein with true global support if it had practiced more intelligent diplomacy. More Colin Powell and less Rumsfeld/Chaney/Wolfowitz. Ultimately, a multi-national body of consequence is vital to world order. The U.N. better serves U.S. interests than those of any other country. The U.N. does a lot of good. The world needs it. So does the U.S.
6. Iraq is an ethnically fractious amalgamation of lots of different tribes and peoples. There is a clear expectation now that the U.S. succeed in getting these groups to work together. Failure to do so will amount to a U.S. failure.
7. Turkey is an unpredictable force on Iraq’s northern border.
8. Only time will tell whether other world leaders who aid and abet terrorists will hear the message that Bush attempted to send. The flipside of this war is that developing WMD (especially nuclear) may be the only way to prevent the U.S. from invading.

My point is not to belittle the accomplishments of the U.S. military. This has been a stunning military victory. My point is that Phil and co. need to temper their “I love Bush and I love myself” rhetoric with some reality. To be successful in their foreign policy, the Bush administration needs to rebuild Iraqi infrastructure and establish the framework for viable democratic governance. To date, Bush's military victory has done its part. But his diplomacy has more than hurt his policy goals.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Can Anyone Name Anything that the Antiwar Crowd Hasn't Been Wrong About?

I mean, seriously, is there a single thing that these folks haven't completely gotten wrong?

They said: We'll be viewed as conquerors, not liberators.
I (and other like-minded people) said: Wrong, the Iraqis will celebrate the day Saddam is gone from power.
What actually happened: They love us.

They said: The Iraqis will hate us because we are likely to kill innocent women and children in the war.
I said: Saddam tortures children for sport.
What actually happened: We freed a "Children's Prison" today. Yes, that's right. There was a prison for children under Saddam Hussein. Oh, and the Iraqis love us, because they evidently agree with the great state of New Hampshire: "Live Free or Die."

They Said: We (i.e. the U.S.) are the terrorists.
I said: Can you say anything more stupid if you tried?
Outcome: Well, it wasn't us faking surrenders, driving truck bombs through check points, stockpiling chemical weapons, and murdering non-combatants who refused to take up arms with us. So I guess maybe the bad guys were actually the terrorists here.

They Said: It won't be worth the loss of life.
I said: Sometimes in life, freedom has a price. Fortunately, there are people unlike these protestors who are willing to help pay the price.
Outcome: It hasn't been easy, and sacrifices have been made. But, I don't think you'll find many in the streets of Baghdad who don't think freedom was worth what they've been through the past 3 weeks.

They said: We did not send in enough troops -- Rumsfeld and Cheney are idiots because they refused to allow the military to bring in more personnel.
I said: Rumsfelds and Cheney are two of the most wise, experienced, mature, non-egotistical people in government service today. We, as a nation, are blessed to have them.
Outcome: Advantage chickenhawks.

They said: Our forces will be bloodied and crushed in the urban combat of Baghdad.
I said: It could happen, but I'm sure we'll think of something.
Outcome: We thought of something -- and it worked.

They said: War is always wrong.
I said: Only if you don't mind living in tyranny.
Outcome: No more tyranny in Iraq.

Are these people ever going to admit they got it wrong? Are they going to admit that they were wrong when they fought Reagan's defense build up that lead to the fall of the Soviet Union? Are they going to admit that they were wrong when they voted against the first Gulf War? Are they going to admit that they were wrong when they refused to support this war? Are the going to see that they ARE WRONG when they argue that the United Nations should take the lead role in rebuilding Iraq?

Of course they won't. That would require some amount of humility, maturity, and basic understanding of human nature. If they haven't got it by now, they never will.

The Best Thing Anyone Said to Me Today

My good friend Ed, in discussing the liberation of Iraq said the following:

Sorry France, but you're not a world leader.

So short, but oh so sweet.

Update: Kelly & Jaime, note the corrected spelling. Thanks for pointing that out. I'm an idiot.

Baghdad is Liberated -- God Bless America, God Bless the Iraqi People
OK, so I just got done watching thousands of Iraqis celebrate the dismantling of a Saddam Hussein statute in the middle of Baghdad.

Yet, in the face of such obvious joy on the part of the formerly oppressed peoples of Iraq, some people here still did not get it as recently as last week:

In a letter to the editor of the Winston Salem Journal dated April 8, some genius named Mark H. Smith wrote the following:

Our troops are not liberators but perpetrators. America's armed forces are committing a crime against Iraq and against the world community.

I'd love to see Mr. Smith try to make this argument to the celebrating masses in Baghdad today. I doubt that they share his view.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Got Spam? Here is What to Do!

Antispam activist claims victory

By Lisa M. Bowman
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
April 8, 2003, 11:43 AM PT

An antispam activist who posted a purported spammer's contact information on his Web site is claiming a legal victory. Francis Uy said a Maryland state judge refused the Internet marketer's request to remove his address and phone number from the site.

Uy, a Web coordinator at the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University, said he posted the address and phone number of George Alan Moore Jr. on his "Maryland's most wanted spammers" list to give the Internet marketer a taste of his own medicine. Moore's company, Maryland Internet Marketing, hawks products including Fat-N-Emy and Extreme Colon Cleanser via email.

Moore responded to the posting by suing Uy, claiming harassment. In a handwritten filing submitted to Maryland's lowest court, Moore claimed that as a result of the posting, he received 70 products and 200 magazines via the mail that he did not order and was subject to about five threatening phone calls a day, including one that said, "We are watching you." Moore said that Uy acted "in a persistent pattern of conduct, composed of a series of acts over time, that shows a continuity of purpose to harass."

But on Monday, a judge disagreed, Uy said, ruling that Uy did not violate the state's harassment laws in part because he posted true information about Moore's business contact data on his site. Uy plans to keep the site up and running.

Uy said he decided to post Moore's name on the Web after receiving a message from him offering what appeared to be an unauthorized copy of a Norton Antivirus product. Uy said he often tries to track down sources of spam, particularly looking for those that originate in Maryland. On his site, he urges people to sue under Maryland's antispam law.

I know we pretty much all hate spam -- but have no idea what we can do about it. This seems like a good start, provided that nobody threatens the spammer as alleged....

Monday, April 07, 2003

Predictions of the Far Left

OK, so it might be a little early, but let's see how the prediction I referenced here made by Mr. Jimmy Walter is holding up.

You may recall, he said back on March 12:

Jimmy Walter, president of the foundation, said the purpose of the ads was to turn public opinion against a military campaign against Iraq.
"We are trying to create a practical utopia. And that can't be done in a world full of terrorists and a collapsed economy, which would result if we attacked Iraq." he said.

Well, we've attacked Iraq. Has the economy collapsed?

Dow Jones Industrial Average on March 12: 7552.07
Dow Jones Industrial Average on April 7: 8300.41

Evidently, an economic collapse in the eyes of the far left involves a stockmarket that goes up 10% in inside of a month.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

NY Times Bias Watch

Although I don't really read the NY Times enough to regularly criticize their slanted news coverage, I noticed an something that might consitute bias in a story about the conflict between Fox News and MSNBC. The story, by a fellow named Jim Ruttenberg, covers the "battle" between MSNBC and Fox News over the various indiscretions made by Peter Arnett and Geraldo Rivera. Its actually pretty interesting how these guys are running commercials that seem to rip into each other pretty hard.

Up until the very end, the story seems balanced -- but then, in the final sentence, Ruttenberg writes:

Fox News Channel is the top-rated cable news network. MSNBC has lagged behind in third place, but it has had significant improvements since the war began.

Reading this sentence, we are is left with the impression that MSNBC is gaining on Fox News in the TV ratings race -- an impression that is grossly inaccurate. In fact, according to this article in the L.A. Times, all three major news networks have quadrupled their audience since February. Why do I consider this bias? Because Fox is generally known as the more conservative network (although I think they are pretty fair as a rule because they tend to allow both sides of the story to be heard). Thus, the take-away message here is that Fox is on its way into the toilet.

I maybe be reading too much into this simple statement. But even if it is simply an innocent mistake/oversight, I find it rather typical that the mistake sheds a favorable light on the more ideologically liberal news station, at the expense of the "conservative" news outlet. I wonder whether (assuming that Ruttenberg is liberal) his subconscious hope that Fox News will not continue to dominate the ratings, caused this sentence to come out the way it did.

Again, I may be nitpicking here, but as I said before, its hard to imagine that a relevant fact that would shed a positive light on MSNBC would have been left out of the story.
DC in the Spring Time -- Nothing Better

It's 8:23 AM, and I'm sitting outside on the law school patio blogging via a wireless connection recently set up by the school. I'll tell you what, spring time in DC is fabulous. Cherry Blossoms on the way (although I must confess I've never bothered to go see them in my 8+ years year), perfect temperature highs of around 70 with not a cloud in the sky.

Yeah, I know San Diego is like this year round, but I think that maybe I can appreciate it more because in about 45 days it will probably be in the 90's and feel like a sauna.