The Spectacle Blog
The best part of being away from Washington is being away from Washington. Here in Santa Barbara I learn of problems even the White House press corps wouldn't blame on Dick Cheney. There is movement afoot in northern Santa Barbara County to split off and form a new (Mission) county. Or at least to relocate major county offices to Santa Maria, which, ever since the Michael Jackson trial and a housing boom fueled by prices more affordable than Santa Barbara's highest in the nation, is feeling its oats and no longer wants to be seen as a country backwater.
That's one weird column. The hypothetical Cheney replacement "would have to be a man wildly popular in the party and the press," says Noonan. She punts on naming a name, naturally, since approximately no one is "wildly popular" with the GOP base and with our esteemed press corps. So what was her point, again?
Batchelor on Mad Max Ahmadinejad calls to light a prophetic (1987) presumption belonging to Philip Rieff, king of sociologists with whom you should all get quickly acquainted:
"I persist [he wrote] in thinking, until better informed, that even Islamic jihadists are really therapeutic ideologists, who, like the Irish Catholic terrorists of the IRA, mobilize backward masses to gain power any man in good faith may live to regret."
Aren't over by any means. Iain Murray defended the practice "in our pages" a couple weeks ago, writing that pundits' arguments should be challenged, not their paymasters. One pundit accused of "payola," longtime TAS contributor Michael Fumento, fires back at mainstream media journalists engaged in very similar activity.
Academic source identifies a fresh way to look at the extremes of political discourse. A speaker who identifies himself or herself as angry at the opposition, very very angry, who consistently takes far far positions with regard political disputes, this same person shows surprisingly little compassion for other human beings. This does not mean only that he or she only demonstrates little compassion for his or her opponent in a dispute, debate, political season; this means he or she demonstrates little compassion for any human being at any time.
The more stridnet the op, the less compassionate the op, the less charitable, the less generous, the less altruistic, philanthropic, empathetic, sympathetic.
Sadly, the most intelligent (and desperately original) thing Peggy Noonan has to say about the Cheney hunting accident is to liken the White House to a frozen computer screen (hence the clever column title, "Hit Refresh?") and to speculate that "one night over drinks at a barbecue in McLean one top guy will turn to another top guy" and suggest that Dick Cheney's time as Vice President may be up. Of course, Noonan writes this in her insidery "this-is-what-folks-are-thinking-but-I've-covered-myself-by-hypothetically-framing-it" style. Cute. Back in reality, Cheney's one of the only tethers between this White House and economic conservatism. Who cares if he's a "hate magnet" (is that a technical term, Ms. Noonan?)? Usually, that's a sign that the other side is frustrated with your success. Sure, Cheney has his PR baggage. But what would you rather do: carry a little PR baggage (suffering mostly the White House/Washington press corps) or scuttle the baggage and with it any sense of a free market, small government philosophy?
Fresh clue, unconfirmed, but connects to intel from best signals source. On the Saddam tapes, word used for plague, as in, how do we send a plague against the USA?? Word used is plague in Arabic, but it is the same word used in other source that Saddam Hussein regime connects with its West Nile Virus development, 1997-1999. Moved labs and equipment to Sudan in 1999.
Not confirmed. Not confirmed. Not. This is all analysis. Early days.