The Spectacle Blog

The Big Story

By on 11.21.05 | 2:41PM

I'll be on FNC with John Gibson today at about 5:30 pm. Talking about how the Iraqi military is standing up, and what a withdrawal would mean for us, and for them.

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Re: On Second Thought

By on 11.21.05 | 2:30PM

One oddity in Howard Kurtz's story is his continuing agnosticism about the forged documents. He complacently accepts the absurd notion that the documents' authenticity is beyond verification: "Mapes is right that the purported 30-year-old memos by Bush's long-dead squadron commander have not been proved to be forgeries..." Why does he grant her this concession? Just to make his criticism of her seem a little more even-handed?Â

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Not So Good

By on 11.21.05 | 1:53PM

As "Engine Charlie" Wilson used to say: "What's good for General Motors is good for the country, and what's good for the country is good for General Motors." (Though the media usually omitted the corollary half of the saying.)

By these lights, the country should be prepared to shut down next spring.

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Cheney’s Remarks

By on 11.21.05 | 12:32PM

I attended Vice President Cheney's speech at AEI this morning. Truly, besides the excellent content of the veep's remarks, little about the event was remarkable. Afterward outside the building, though, the LaRouchians were singing tunes to the effect of Cheney being a Nazi. If James Bowman is right in today's column, that's the quality discourse we should expect in coming years from the Democratic Party.

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Debating the War

By on 11.21.05 | 12:09PM

If you missed the Vice President's speech this morning, here are the money quotes:

"Several days ago, I commented briefly on some recent statements that have been made by some members of Congress about Iraq/>/>/>/>. Within hours of my speech, a report went out on the wires under the headline, quote, Cheney says War Critics Dishonest, Reprehensible, end quote.

"One thing I've learned in the last five years is that when you're Vice President you're lucky if your speeches get any attention at all. But I do have a quarrel with that headline, and it's important to make this point at the outset. I do not believe it is wrong to criticize the War on Terror or any aspect thereof. Disagreement, argument and debate are the essence of democracy, and none of us should want it any other way...

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On Second Thought

By on 11.21.05 | 11:50AM

As Bob Woodward is starting to learn, you don't want to get on Howard Kurtz's bad side. In today's Washington Post Kurtz politely lets Mary Mapes have it for refusing to acknowledge the problems with her "60 Minutes II" report on George W. Bush's Air National Guard past. She has thereby "open[ed] herself up to the charge that her obsession has clouded her judgment." Before he's done, Kurtz is comparing her to another investigative journalist who in disgrace ended up committing suicide.

All very fine. So why was Kurtz much more tolerant of Mapes in his November 9 report on her? Her obsession hadn't yet clouded her judgment?

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Radio Today

By on 11.21.05 | 7:45AM

I'll be preaching to the heathen on Philadelphia NPR (WHYY, 91 FM and Sirius satellite radio ch. 107) 10-11 a.m. today. They want to talk about Iraq and have booked a guest for the other side of the debate whose name you should recall. Larry Johnson, pal of Val and Joe Wilson, apologist for the CIA and hyperlib activist. This should be fun.

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Time Person of the Year

By on 11.20.05 | 7:11PM

It's that Time again. Tomorrow's mag will invite your nominations for their "Person of the Year." The process has already begun, and among the nominees are J.K. Rowling, Cindy Sheehan and Bono. Please do make your own nominations (here) and then vote when the noms are closed. Otherwise we'll probably get the 2005 Dynamic Duo -- Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame -- on the cover of Time.

There are so many possibilities: Rafael Palmeiro, Dick Durbin and Dominique de Villepin, just to name a few. I won't even mention Mark Brunell.

To the extent we should take this seriously at all (which isn't much), why not someone such as: Aussie Treasurer Peter Costello, who told those who want to establish Islamic law in his country to bugger off or Gen. Russ (don't get stuck on stupid) Honore or his boss, The Big Dog? Think about it.

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A Bush/Powell Conundrum No More

By on 11.20.05 | 5:39PM

Long ago, in my column, "The Bush/Powell Conundrum," I analyzed the relationship between George W. Bush and Colin Powell, and came down generally on the positive side in my evaluation of Powell as then-new Secretary of State. I hereby and definitively change my mind, and acknowledge that I should have listened to my friend Jeff Jacoby, always a Powell skeptic. Powell is now and was always a snake in the bosom of the Bush presidency.

The latest: Former Powell chief of staff Retired U.S. Army Col. Larry Wilkerson tells CNN that Vice President Dick Cheney provided the "'philosophical guidance' and 'flexibility' that led to the torture of detainees in U.S. facilities...and told CNN that the practice of torture may be continuing in U.S.-run facilities."

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Re: Theories and Experiments

By on 11.20.05 | 2:12PM

Dave: No, that's not correct. Evolutionary theory consists of a constellation of hypotheses that are falsifiable by experimentation. It's pretty easy to come up with simple ones. For example: Get a mix of puppies of various breeds and raise them in a lab with their food on a platform. Raise the platform six inches every 2 months, until it is 3 feet high when the dogs are one year old. When they breed, raise their offspring under similar conditions. Hypothesis: Each generation of dogs will be taller, on average, than the last. If the hypothesis is correct, it would seem to demonstrate that height is heritable and can be determined by natural selection. If dogs too small to reach their food, and thus too unhealthy to breed, continue to be born generation after generation, then size must not be heritable, and we have to figure out some other explanation.

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