Wednesday, October 31, 2007

CNN Takes on John Murtha's Earmark Factory

Hat tip: WSJ.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Light up for the Kids

Ten days after making a splash with a clever commercial attacking Congress's plan to fund SCHIP via a tobacco tax, the mysterious nicolai1951—whose contempt-as-advocacy wit reminds me of fellow YouTube satirist abrad2345—returns with a second video. As Rob Bluey writes, "This one is even funnier than the first."

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Abortion Agonistes

According to a new study—the first global analysis since 1995—conducted by the WHO and the Guttmacher Institute, outlawing abortion does little to deter its incidence.

Katha Pollitt wants to know why there aren't any pro-life organizations that endorse contraception? Even Democrats for Life of America has refused to support congressional legislation expanding funding for contraception.

George Will reminds pro-lifers that a Republican-appointed court will not necessarily overturn Roe:

[O]ne of the justices who thinks Roe was improperly decided might nevertheless reason as Chief Justice William Rehnquist finally did concerning the "Miranda rights" of arrested persons—the right, arising from a 1966 ruling, to be notified of their right to counsel and their right to remain silent. Rehnquist repeatedly and strongly argued that the Constitution, properly read, did not require the ruling, which he thought impeded effective police work. But when in 2000 a case gave the court an opportunity to overrule Miranda v. Arizona, Rehnquist wrote the majority opinion in a 7 to 2 decision upholding it. He wrote:

"Miranda has become embedded in routine police practice to the point where the warnings have become part of our national culture. While we have overruled our precedents when subsequent cases have undermined their doctrinal underpinnings, we do not believe that this has happened to the Miranda decision."

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Who Is Matt Drudge?

1. Philip Weiss, "Watching Matt Drudge," New York Magazine, 2007.

2. Jim Rutenberg, "Clinton Finds Way to Play Along With Drudge," New York Times, Oct. 22, 2007.

3. William Powers, "The Art of Drudge," National Journal, Oct. 26, 2007.

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Do Blogs Matter in Corporate Matter?

Rob Neppell, the blogger formerly known as NZ Bear, explains:

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Women in Art

In lieu of real blogging:

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Your Dream Job: Blog for Hertiage

Rob Bluey, the blog outreach guy at Heritage and one of the hardest working and best bloggers I know, has just assumed the editorship of Accordingly, he's hiring a deputy.

"Job duties will include helping with management of, promoting Heritage products to bloggers, writing and editing duties, which include development of an active blog. The Center for Media and Public Policy will continue to oversee the Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting boot camps that Mark Tapscott started when he held this job. I’ll be searching for someone who can assist with the expansion of CARR and new ways to market it to journalists and bloggers."

Update (10/26/07): Here's the formal job description:

Assistant Director, Center for Media and Public Policy.

Reports To:
Director, Center for Media and Public Policy.

Job Summary:
The Assistant Director of the Center for Media and Public Policy will help the Director with management of the homepage, promoting its content to bloggers and online news sources and ensuring it meets editorial guidelines consistent with the Heritage brand. The Assistant Director will be responsible for writing and editing duties, including assistance with a daily weblog, and also work closely with the Director to oversee existing programs and develop new initiatives to advance the Center’s mission.

Job Duties:
* Manage daily content workflow for the homepage, including editing, rewriting or repositioning content as necessary. Help define and refine topics of interest for the website.
* Coordinate, proofread, edit and write copy for website to effectively market Heritage products and educate website visitors. Promote Heritage-produce videos.
* Interact daily with policy, IT and marketing departments to build and maintain specific site areas. Assist web developers on page layout and design, feedback mechanisms, and overall functionality of the site.
* Develop editorial guidelines for and e-mail products.
* Establish and maintain positive relationships with national and regional bloggers, and promote to them coverage of Heritage people, resources and events.
* Assist with the execution of the Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting program in cooperation with the Center for Data and Analysis, Sunlight Foundation and Center for Responsive Politics at the National Press Club and with the National Press Foundation.
* Work with the Director to maintain a daily weblog that would serve as a portal for the input of Heritage priorities into the blogosphere geared toward media.
* Represent the Center at appropriate professional journalism meetings and functions including but not limited to the National Press Club, the National Press Foundation, and blog related media organizations.

Skill Factors:
Education: Bachelor’s degree.

Four years of publishing, blogging, and/or media experience. Knowledge of the newsroom and the workings of the Hill.

Excellent writing, presentation and public speaking skills. An articulate advocate of Heritage’s vision and mission.

Computer Skills:
Microsoft Office and Outlook. Blogging software.

Special Skills/Requirements:
* Understand and support the Heritage mission and vision for America, and the department’s goals and objectives.
* Strong written and verbal communication skills with an eye for detail.
* Ability to work in a high-volume environment and handle multiple tasks.

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The Wisdom of Crowdsourcing

Following the lead of the ever-innovating Team Romney, the National Republican Congressional Committee is crowdsourcing its next advertisement. In 60 seconds or less, the spot must address the question, “Has the Democratic Congress worked for you?”—a question itself that resulted from another crowdsourcing contest.

Here's the introductory video:

Title explanation here.

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Quote of the Day

"Trust me when I tell you, You're looking for a mistake. And you won't find it, because it's all good news. As much as you maybe hate it, but it's good news."

—California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, to a reporter, on whether his state's response to the wildfires in Southern California has been inadequate.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Your Dream Jobs

1. Director of Communications for a Conservative Think Tank. Looking for a Director of Communications who has an understanding and knowledge of the media and public policy issues to work closely with one of their founders. This highly visible role gives you the opportunity to develop PR strategies and serve as the web editor. Use your journalistic background to be involved in something you believe in. Contact Kathleen Edquist at (202) 331-9484 or

2. Web Assistant for Emily's List. Works with Web team to develop, implement, and maintain all online marketing and fundraising efforts. Responsible for daily maintenance of organization’s Web site, preparation of e-mail blasts, and compilation of various reports for e-mail campaigns and Web traffic. Knowledge of HTML, Microsoft Excel, Adobe Photoshop, and content management systems is required. Solid understanding of internet tools, advocacy campaigns, list building, and social networks desirable. Fundraising and/or marketing experience a plus, but not required. Candidates for this entry level position should be detail oriented with excellent communications skills; meticulous in reporting and copy editing; and able to juggle and prioritize multiple tasks. College degree and an interest in electing pro-choice Democratic women required. To apply, e-mail cover letter (including portfolio URLs or samples), resume, and writing sample to, with the subject line, "Web Assistant."

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Is This What the Situation Room Looks Like?

Global Incident Map Displaying Terrorist Acts, Suspicious Activity, and General Terrorism News

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Your Dream Job

Web Designer for Berman and Company. Libertarian-leaning, Washington, DC-research, communications, advertising and PR firm seeks a mid-level web designer.

About you: You are proficient in HTML, JavaScript and Flash (and can prove it by sending us some samples of your best work). You have at least a basic understanding of how server-side scripting languages like PHP work. Any experience in Photoshop and Fireworks wouldn’t hurt. You’re looking for a job in a company that is fast-paced, provides many opportunities to take ownership over projects and would like to use your creativity to make complex, controversial ideas resonate with the public through online media. You believe in free markets and limited government, and you must have a sense of humor.

About us: We’re a 20+ year old public affairs firm committed to changing the debate on behalf of high-profile clients. We manage roughly 30 Web sites to help promote our clients interests and issue areas. If you want to know more about our approach to public policy, check out our recent appearance on 60 Minutes. Downtown DC location, lucrative financial incentive plan, and nonstop adrenaline provided.

Send your resume and the best examples of your work to

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Daily Digest

Jonah Goldberg explains why he's pro-life: "In death-penalty cases, 'reasonable doubt' goes to the accused because unless we’re certain, we must not risk an innocent’s life. This logic goes out the window when it comes to abortion, unless you are 100-percent sure that babies only become human beings after the umbilical cord is cut. I don’t see how you can be that sure, which is why I’m pro-life—not because I’m certain, but because I’m not."

Anheuser-Busch boasts one of the best MySpace profiles I've seen. The reason: It looks nothing like MySpace.

Reason's Michael Moynihan takes on Jon Stewart.

Rudy and Fred offer fiscal conservatives much to like.

Jon Henke, Fred Thompson's new-media consultant, live blogs Fred's first debate with his fellow Republicans. Jon employs just enough Dave Weigel and Ana Marie Cox wit to keep things interesting, without degenerating into Wonkette.

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Should Congress now condemn Turkey for the Armenian genocide?

Charles Krauthammer:

If you really want to deepen and broaden awareness of that historical record, you should support the establishment of the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial in Washington. But to pass a declarative resolution in the House of Representatives in the middle of a war in which we are inordinately dependent on Turkey would be the height of irresponsibility.

The atrocities happened 90 years ago. Not a single living Turk under the age of 102 is in any way culpable. Even Mesrob Mutafyan, patriarch of the Armenian community in Turkey, has stated that his community is opposed to the resolution, correctly calling it the result of domestic American politics.

Turkey is already massing troops near its border with Iraq, threatening a campaign against Kurdish rebels that could destabilize the one stable front in Iraq. The same House of Representatives that has been complaining loudly about the lack of armored vehicles for our troops is blithely jeopardizing relations with the country through which 95 percent of the new heavily armored vehicles are now transiting on the way to saving American lives in Iraq. . . .

[Speaker Nancy] Pelosi says: "Genocide still exists, and we saw it in Rwanda; we see it now in Darfur." Precisely. And what exactly is she doing about Darfur? Nothing. Pronouncing yourself on a genocide committed 90 years ago by an empire that no longer exists is Pelosi's demonstration of seriousness about existing, ongoing genocide?

Samantha Power:

It is inconceivable that even back in the days when the U.S. prized West Germany as a bulwark against the Soviet Union, Washington would have refrained from condemning the Holocaust at Germany's behest. . . .

America's leverage over Turkey is far greater than Turkey's over the U.S. The U.S. brought Turkey into NATO, built up its military and backed its membership in the European Union. Washington granted most-favored-nation trading status to Turkey, resulting in some $7 billion in annual trade between the two countries and $2 billion in U.S. investments there. Only Israel and Egypt outrank Turkey as recipients of U.S. foreign assistance. [Finally], for all the help Turkey has given the U.S. concerning Iraq, Ankara turned down Washington's request to use Turkish bases to launch the Iraq invasion, and it ignored Washington's protests by massing 60,000 troops at the Iraq border this month as a prelude to a widely expected attack in Iraqi Kurdistan. In other words, while Turkey may invoke the genocide resolution as grounds for ignoring U.S. wishes, it has a longer history of snubbing Washington when it wants to.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Al Qaeda's Continuing Influence

Peter Bergen reviews the record:

[W]hile they may no longer be ordering attacks over the phone, no one should doubt the continuing ability of bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman Al Zawahiri . . . to set al Qaeda's worldwide agenda. Since December 2001, their videos and audiotapes have reached hundreds of millions of people worldwide, many carrying specific instructions for militant cells. For instance, in September 2003, Zawahiri denounced Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for supporting the U.S. campaign against al Qaeda. Within three months, militants had launched two assassination attempts against Musharraf. In October 2003, bin Laden called for action against Spain because of its troop presence in Iraq. Five months later, terrorists killed 191 commuters in Madrid. In December 2004, bin Laden called for attacks against Saudi oil facilities. Fourteen months later, al Qaeda attacked a plant in Abqaiq, one of the most important oil production facilities in the world.

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New Magazine Blogs for '08

1. Campaign Standard. Hosted by the Weekly Standard and edited by Matthew Continetti.

2. The Stump. Hosted by the New Republic and written by Michael Crowley and Noam Scheiber.

Related: Newsweek unburdens itself from the sluggish, and unveils a look-alike at

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Who's Blogging in the Federal Government?

1. State.

2. Health and Human Services.

3. Homeland Security.

Addendum (12/22/07):

4. General Services Administration.

Addendum (2/11/08):

5. Transportation Security Administration.

Addendum (4/18/08): Here's a comprehensive list, courtesy of

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How Ron Paul Justifies Earmarks

Last week, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) addressed a meeting of the obscure Robert Taft Club, which describes itself (very much like the America's Future Foundation) as "a loose organization of conservatives and libertarians in the Washington, D.C., area."

The standing-room audience gathered in the basement of the Boulevard Woodgrill (down the street from where I live in Clarendon), and irked by the parade of compliments gussied up as questions, I zinged the Christian constitutionalist about his paradoxical earmarking:


Q: Congressman, I have tremendous respect for you, but I was shocked to read, in a Reason magazine profile, that you actually stuff earmarks into appropriation bills, just like every other member of Congress. And I thought you were different, sir. You, of course, vote against the bill[s], but I was curious how you could justify stuffing earmarks, just like every other member of Congress...

A: I think the people that are critical of that don't understand the process.

Because to vote against an earmark doesn't save any money. That's the first issue.

And the second issue is, the spending decision goes to the executive branch, which is wrong. All spending decisions should be by the Congress. So I argue the case that the Congress should make these decisions, since voting against the earmarks, you know, won't do any good.

Now, as far as making the request, you're absolutely right: I vote against them all, so I've never voted for an earmark. You know, because I vote against all of them.

But to make the request, it's sort of like of you coming and asking for your Social Security check. I don't like the system, and I want to change it, but I don't deny your access to your representative.

So I think there is so much understanding about this earmark. It saves no money whatsoever. It emphasizes that you want to give the power to the executive branch and take it away from the responsibility of the Congress.

Now, if it's wasteful, that's a different story, and most of 'em are, and that's why I vote against the bill. So you can't say I voted for an earmark.

But I think I'm responsible for representing the people. To me, it's like taxing a tax credit or a tax deduction. I want to get rid of the income tax, but I'm still gonna give you all the tax credits possible, in order to get as much money as possible. So, to me, it's in that category.

(Thanks to Reason's Dave Weigel for video-taping the exchange and uploading it to YouTube.)

Update: Andy Roth points to a WSJ editorial titled, "Ron Paul's Earmarks":

After reporters started asking questions, the Congressman disclosed his requests this year for about $400 million worth of federal funding for no fewer than 65 earmarks. They include such urgent national wartime priorities as an $8 million request for the marketing of wild American shrimp and $2.3 million to fund shrimp-fishing research.

When we called Mr. Paul's office for an explanation, his spokesperson offered up something worthy of pork legends Tom DeLay or Senator Robert C. Byrd: "Reducing earmarks does not reduce government spending, and it does not prohibit spending upon those things that are earmarked," the spokesman said. "What people who push earmark reform are doing is they are particularly misleading the public—and I have to presume it's not by accident."

Update (10/28/07): James Joyner links to a CQ article that contains a succincter justification:

Still, why play along by earmarking federal spending? Because a crackdown on earmarks, he says, would only grant the executive branch more control over where the money goes. The total amount of spending wouldn’t change. “There’s nothing wrong with designating where the money goes,” Paul says—so long as the earmark is “up front and everyone knows about it,” rather than having it slipped in at the last minute with no scrutiny.

Of course, this sidesteps the real question: Paul claims to vote for nothing that the Constitution doesn't explicitly authorize. Where does the Constitution authorize $3 million to test imported shrimp for antibiotics, or $8 million for the marketing of wild American shrimp, or $2.3 million for shrimp fishing research, or $4.5 million to study the effects of the health risks of vanadium?

Update (11/6/07): The Club for Growth calls a spade a spade:

In defense of his support for earmarks, Rep. Paul took the if you can't beat 'em, join 'em position, arguing that "I don't think they should take our money in the first place. But if they take it, I think we should ask for it back." This is a contradiction of Paul's self-proclaimed "opposition to appropriations not authorized within the enumerated powers of the Constitution."

Enjoy this post? Then why not stay abreast of new ones via e-mail or RSS?

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Your Dream Job

Director of Media Relations for the Center for Education Reform

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Mitt Romney Blankets

Screen shot from a few minutes ago (my 17-inch monitor isn't big enough to capture all three ads, but you can see enough of the bottom one to get the idea):

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

To Compensate for the Light Blogging Recently

Joshua Muravchik defends Sacha Baron Cohen:

[In an interview with Ali G,] a representative of the Drug Enforcement Agency, warns youngsters of the dangers of substance abuse. Speaking of hashish, he explains that it “slows your ability to learn . . . your brain just really slows down.” Ali: “And are there any negative effects?” When the agent remarks that drugs seized by the agency are incinerated, Ali is perplexed: “Why aren’t they given to charity?”

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Video-Tracking Members of Congress

1. A member of Grassroots America tracks down Congressman David Obey (D-WI) to question him about defunding the Iraq war:

2. Sharyl Attkisson, of CBS News, tracks down Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) to question her about a $2 million earmark benefiting paint company Sherwin Williams:

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Questions for the Candidates

Radley chimes in (here are mine). Excerpts:

  • What is your philosophical approach to federalism? What issues do you feel are best decided at the national level? What issues should be left to the states? Is there any underlying principle you use in separating one from the other, or would you make such decisions ad hoc?
  • Name five things you think are none of the federal government's business.
  • What is your view of the pardon power and executive clemency? Should it be used frequently? Should it be use to show mercy and forgiveness or to correct injustices that slip through the cracks? Neither? Both?
  • When the two are in conflict, do you believe a politician is obligated to vote for his own principles and values, or for the will of the people?
  • Is there any type of speech you believe should be criminalized?
  • Under what circumstances would it be appropriate for a government to seize land from one private party and give it to another?
  • What federal crimes will you instruct the Justice Department to make a priority during your administration?
  • Do you think it's a legitimate function of government to protect people from making bad decisions or prevent them from developing bad habits? Even if those habit or decisions don't directly affect anyone else? How far should the government go in preventing bad habits and bad decisions? In other words, should the government's role be merely advisory, or should it criminalize things like gambling, pornography, drug use, or trans fats?
  • Should federal law supersede the will of the people in a given state when it comes to medical marijuana? Assisted suicide? How about the regulation of prescription painkillers?
  • Do you think presidents should be term limited? What about members of Congress? If you didn't give the same answer to each question, what's the difference?

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Daily Digest

Quin Hillyer elucidates Rudy's success vis-a-vis the religious right.

Kos traffic number inflated by 60%, reports Patrick Ruffini.

Google's growth is prompting the usual antitrust hysteria: "[B]y acquiring DoubleClick, Google will jump so far ahead of the pack with the technology and knowledge to be the only place marketers have to go to reach you and just about anybody else."

Clark Hoyt, the NYT's ombudsman, details how good journalists can and should call someone a "lair" without employing that epithet.

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George Will: America's Most Widely Read Columnist

Editor and Publisher reports:

George Will's column runs in more newspapers than any writer in the nation, according to a new study by a liberal media watchdog group that concludes conservative voices such as his dominate editorial pages.

Will's syndicated column runs at least once a month in 368 newspapers with more than 26 million in total circulation, said the Media Matters for America. The organization surveyed 96 percent of the nation's 1,430 English-language daily newspapers.

"He reaches half of the newspaper readers in America," said Paul Waldman, the study's author. "He has a huge megaphone, probably bigger than anybody else in America". . . .

Will, 66, distributes two columns each week to newspapers through the Washington Post Writers Group and writes every other week for Newsweek, a unit of the Washington Post Co. He's been a columnist since 1974, when newspapers began searching for conservative voices after the Nixon administration complained about a liberal bias. . . .

Alan Shearer, editorial director and general manager of the group that syndicates Will, said he thinks the column is popular because it contains original reporting and is not just opinion. Will can also be unpredictable, and predictability is the death of columnists, he said. . . .

The five most popular columnists include another conservative, Kathleen Parker, and two liberals, Ellen Goodman and Leonard Pitts Jr. David Broder of the Washington Post, who is third, isn't assigned an ideology by Media Matters.

The top 10 is rounded out by Cal Thomas, Charles Krauthammer and three from the New York Times: Thomas L. Friedman, Maureen Dowd and David Brooks.

Start catching up on Will's archive here.

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What Were You Doing at Age 22?

This makes me feel lazy:

You can find America's new antiwar movement in a bright yellow room four floors above the traffic of West 57th Street—a room so small that its occupant burns himself on the heat pipe when he turns over in bed and can commute to his office without touching the floor. Eli Pariser, 22, tall, bearded [and the executive director of], spends long hours every day at his desk hunched over a laptop, plotting strategy and directing the electronic traffic of an instantaneous movement that was partly assembled in his computer. During the past three months it has gathered the numbers that took three years to build during Vietnam. It may be the fastest-growing protest movement in American history.

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Quote of the Day

"It's almost like if it's not on Facebook, it didn't happen."

Michael Wesch, an assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University who studies the impact of new media on human interaction.

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For Shame, GQ

Ron Rosenbaum, who now writes a longish column for Slate called the Spectator, puts GQ magazine in its place:

GQ commissioned Joshua Green, a serious political reporter on the staff of the Atlantic, to do a piece on infighting within Hillary Clinton's campaign. . . .

Green was a good choice: He knew the turf, having written a much-admired cover story on Hillary for the Atlantic last winter. But in the course of reporting, Green had dinner with a Hillary mouthpiece. Next thing we know, one of Bill Clinton's aides is in the GQ editor's office telling him there'd be a "problem" with granting access to Bill Clinton for GQ's "Man of the Year" issue if GQ ran a muckraking Hillary story.

Of course, any editor with a backbone would say, "Thank you, your crude effort to kill this story will be included in the story. Goodbye."

Instead, the GQ editor killed the story. Profile in courage!

What is even more reprehensible is that GQ's editor then began to claim—in a cringe-inducing, unconvincing way—that the visit by a Clinton consigliere had nothing to do with his killing the piece. Instead, unforgivably, he turned on his own reporter and in a spectacularly demeaning way suddenly claimed there were "problems" with the story unrelated to Clintonian pressure.

Here's what reporter Joshua Green told Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post: "GQ told me it was a great story and a hell of a reporting job, but they didn't want to jeopardize their Clinton-in-Africa piece. GQ told me the Clintons were unhappy and threatened to revoke access to Bill Clinton if the Hillary story ran."

And here's what GQ editor Jim Nelson said: "[T]he story didn't end up fully satisfying. . . . I guarantee and promise you, if I'd have had a great Hillary piece, I would have run it." He added that there was no connection between the two Clinton stories.

Who do you think is telling the truth here, and who is shamefully prevaricating? I know who I believe.

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It's a good idea, which even garnered a short article in PR Week, but in practice, Beliefnet's God-o-Meter is disappointing (especially compared to Slate's Iraq Position Locator):

1. The chart is low on interactivity.

2. It's not embeddable.

3. Is this supposed to be serious or funny?

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Your Dream Jobs

1. Director of Public Affairs for Qorvis Communications.

2. New Media Specialist for the Heartland Institute.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

The Daily Digest

1. Ruth Marcus comes to Anita Hill's defense against Clarence Thomas:

First, Hill did not wait 10 years to complain about his behavior. Susan Hoerchner, a Yale Law School classmate of Hill's, described how she complained of sexual harassment while working for Thomas, saying the EEOC chairman had "repeatedly asked her out . . . but wouldn't seem to take 'no' for an answer." Ellen Wells, a friend, said Hill had come to her, "deeply troubled and very depressed," with complaints about Thomas's inappropriate behavior. John Carr, a lawyer, said that Hill, in tears, confided that "her boss was making sexual advances toward her." American University law professor Joel Paul said Hill had told him in 1987 that she had left the EEOC because she had been sexually harassed by her supervisor.

Second, Hill was not the only former subordinate of Thomas's with complaints. Former EEOC employee Angela Wright described how Thomas pressured her to date him, showed up uninvited at her apartment and asked her breast size. "Clarence Thomas would say to me, 'You know you need to be dating me. . . . You're one of the finest women I have on my staff," Wright told Senate investigators.

2. John Dickerson highlights the incurious mind of George W. Bush:

In his new book, former Mexican President Vicente Fox calls Bush "the cockiest guy I have ever met in my life." A recently released recorded conversation with former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar confirms that. "I'm an optimist because I believe that I'm right," Bush says about going to war with Iraq. "I'm a person at peace with myself." Self-confidence is now a warning sign for myopia, insulation, and the inability to accurately assess the world around you.

3. Harold Meyerson rails against Bush's veto of S-CHIP:

Bush fears that expanding health care for children from uninsured families who can't afford to buy insurance on their own . . . would enable some families, as he put it at a news conference last month, collectively to "move millions of American children who now have private health insurance into government-run health care". . . .

By the same logic, no more public schools should be built in well-off communities.

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Means vs. Ends

In his 1996 memoir, Bob Gates, now the Secretary of Defense, described his years at the CIA and NSC, vis-a-vis Congress, this way:

I sat in the Situation Room in secret meetings for nearly 20 years under five presidents, and all I can say is that some awfully crazy schemes might well have been approved had everyone present not known and expected hard questions, debate, and criticism from the Hill. And when, on a few occasions, Congress was kept in the dark, and such schemes did proceed, it was nearly always to the lasting regret of the presidents involved. Working with the Congress was never easy for presidents, but then, under the Constitution, it wasn't supposed to be. I saw too many in the White House forget that.

Now contrast this milieu with the one under George W. Bush, as described by Jack Goldsmith, Bush's onetime head of the Office of Legal Council (OLC), the elite division of the Justice Department that advises the president on the limits of executive power:

“I’m not a civil libertarian, and what I did wasn’t driven by concerns about civil liberties per se," he told me. "It was a disagreement about means, not ends, driven by [my] desire to make sure that the administration’s counterterrorism policies had a firm legal foundation". . . .

Goldsmith deplored the way the White House tried to fix the problem, which was highly contemptuous of Congress and the courts. “We’re one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious [FISA] court,” Goldsmith recalls Addington telling him in February 2004.

In his book, Goldsmith claims that Addington and other top officials treated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act the same way they handled other laws they objected to: “They blew through them in secret based on flimsy legal opinions that they guarded closely so no one could question the legal basis for the operations,” he writes. Goldsmith’s first experienced this extraordinary concealment, or “strict compartmentalization,” in late 2003 when, he recalls, Addington angrily denied a request by the N.S.A.’s inspector general to see a copy of the Office of Legal Counsel’s legal analysis supporting the secret surveillance program. “Before I arrived in O.L.C., not even N.S.A. lawyers were allowed to see the Justice Department’s legal analysis of what N.S.A. was doing,” Goldsmith writes.

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How to Thwart Spammers

1. Via an image.

2. Via a form.

3. Via HTML.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

360° Tours

1. Apple's 5th Avenue store.

2. Weichert's real-estate listings.

3. The White House.

4. Colgate University campus.

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Your Dream Job: Write for Shadegg

Writer for Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ). Must be strong, experienced, confident, comfortable in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment, and able to exercise independent initiative. Media contacts a plus. Email resume and two writing samples to

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Google Maps Mashups

1. Google Maps Mania.

2. Earmarks in the 2007 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill.

3. Crimes related to pornography, indecency and sexual abuse issues.

4. Censorship and prior review among high school publications.

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Your Dream Jobs: Even if They're in Illionois

For the Sam Adams Alliance:

1. Search Engine Optimizer.

2. Wiki Writer/Trainer.

3. Wiki Writer/Editor.

4. Wiki Project Manager.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

GOP Health Care: Democrat-Lite

David Hogberg counts the reasons:

In 1986, a Republican-controlled Senate approved and a Republican President signed into law COBRA and EMTALA, two major expansions of government regulation of the health care industry. In the mid-1990s, a Republican-controlled Congress approved another big expansion of government regulation called HIPAA and a new government health insurance program, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). In 2003, the GOP Congress and Republican President Bush created a huge new entitlement with the Medicare Prescription Drug Program. Now some Republicans in the Senate, specifically Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley, are leading the charge for a big expansion of SCHIP.

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