The Spectacle Blog
A Rhode Island jury found three lead paint makers (back in the day lead paint makers) liable for the harms of their product yesterday. The suit was brought by the state, so the decision opens the door for other states to squeeze paint companies for health, education, and cleanup programs they don't want to fund.
Dave, Alan Dershowitz is on a roll. In the Boston Globe he whacks away without mercy at the Harvard clique that's finally succeeded in making a Trotsky of Larry Summers.
Max Weber once wrote of their type, 'For of the last stage of cultural development, it might well be truly said: "Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved."'
What has happened? To put it simply, radical Islamists have won a war of intimidation. They have cowed the major news media from showing these cartoons. The mainstream press has capitulated to the Islamists -- their threats more than their sensibilities. One did not see Catholics claiming the right to mayhem in the wake of the republished depiction of the Virgin Mary covered in cow dung, any more than one saw a rejuvenated Jewish Defense League take to the street or blow up an office when Ariel Sharon was depicted as Hitler or when the Israeli army was depicted as murdering the baby Jesus.
You wouldn't know it to look at him. "Woody" Williams is a cheerful guy, now in his later years. He teaches Sunday school at a church near his home. And, as you might expect, he speaks softly and always has a kind word. His smile is a real delight.
Sixty-one years ago today, Woody Williams fought -- for four hours, crawling back and forth through machine gun fire to get more ammunition and refill his flame thrower -- and cleared a path for his fellow Marines to break through Japanese lines on Iwo Jima. For this, he received the Medal of Honor. And, more importantly to him, he saved the lives of a lot of Marines. God bless you, Woody. I'll try to call you later.
You're right about this being a loser for the President. With my background in advertising and corporate communications, I believe I can fill in what happened.
Obviously, DPW and P&O have been talking about this acquisition for some time. You don't just pull a multi-billion dollar deal out of your back pocket on a whim over lunch. The Saudis are extraordinarlily media savvy. They would have had a corporate p.r. firm getting their country into the news in a positive way, from America's point of view, starting many months ago. DPW didn't do that. Nobody clued them in that such a deal might run into a buzz saw in the United States. This amounts almost to corporate nonfeasance.
Second major problem, the Commerce Department did not communicate about the merger to any of the rest of the administration until the decision to approve the deal was made. That speaks volumes about bad communication within the Bush administration.
There's confusion galore over what the Dubai deal is all about. The one thing that is crystal clear is that this is a political lulu for the president. Unlike the reaction to Dick Cheney's hunting accident, none of this is press driven. Instead we see politicians reacting to a popular outcry. If, as is the current wont, the president's ports fiasco has to be compared to anything, it's more serious than, say, his selection of Harriet Miers. Rather, it's more akin to Iran-contra -- before the contra part of it was known.
When the Reagan administration sold arms to the Ayatollah's outlaw regime despite its firm public commitment never to trade arms for hostages, the public reaction was one of stunned, disappointed disbelief. That's what we're seeing now -- an administration signing off on an unexpected deal with representatives of a politics and culture the American public, for all it knows and has been told, thinks we're at war with. No Sam Alito will get the president out of this one.
The press seems to want to move in for the kill. Dubai wasn't even its lead story tonight. Rather, it was the outbreak what it apparently hopes will be real civil war in Iraq.
Today Christopher Hitchens attached this update to his call for a friendship vigil in front of the Danish Embassy:
Update, Feb. 22: Thank you all who've written. Please be outside the Embassy of Denmark, 3200 Whitehaven Street (off Massachusetts Avenue) between noon and 1 p.m. this Friday, Feb. 24. Quietness and calm are the necessities, plus cheerful conversation. Danish flags are good, or posters reading "Stand By Denmark" and any variation on this theme (such as "Buy Carlsberg/ Havarti/ Lego"). The response has been astonishing and I know that the Danes are appreciative. But they are an embassy and thus do not of course endorse or comment on any demonstration. Let us hope, however, to set a precedent for other cities and countries. Please pass on this message to friends and colleagues.
Don't forget to bring crackers for the Havarti and Legos for the kids. Save the Carlsberg for later.
As the Kosovo drama plays out around the negotiating table, loose ends twirl. Reader David Shoup took the mistaken view that I quoted the Communists on our NATO Easter bombing campaign out of opposition to them. In fact, I agree with Mr. Shoup, who wrote, "This is one time that I agree with the Communists." Who knows -- there might even be another time, someday.
That cleared up and away, anyone with one eye on Kosovo should start keeping the other glued to Montenegro. Like the Kosovars, many Montenegrins want out from under the Serbian umbrella, and they might get their way while their overwhelmingly pro-independence Kosovar neighbors get stiffed by the diplomats. This would make for an embarrassing geopolitical wedgie. Beware. Read the gory details here.