Monday, August 4, 2008

Dear Readers

I have both good news and bad news.

The good news: Before the summer is over, I plan to start blogging again! The bad news: I will no longer blog here (at, but instead at

See you online!

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Friday, June 27, 2008

McCain's VP?

Welcome aboard the Straight Talk Express, governor!

"I have a wife who genuinely loves to fish," he told the local radio station. "She loves football, she'll go to hockey games, and I jokingly say, 'Now, if I could only get her to have sex with me.'"

—Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN).

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Facebook As a Real-time Focus Group

Earlier today, the Supreme Court ruled that "terror suspects can appeal in civilian courts," as the NYT headline reads.

One friend's away message:

[Name withheld] fears for her country after the Supreme Court's Gitmo detainee ruling.


[Name withheld] thanks the Supreme Court for restoring Habeas Corpus.

Who needs fancy opinion dials when you have Facebook status updates?

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

John McCain on Pat Robertson

Well, it appears that my last question to John McCain about the difference between YouTube and MySpace didn't burn any bridges. And so it was that I was invited to McCain's latest conference call with bloggers this afternoon. I threw him another non-softball:

In 2000, you famously dubbed Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell “agents of intolerance.” You pride yourself on being a straight talker, so let me ask you a straight question: Do you regret these words? If so, why have you changed your mind, and what specifically has Robertson done in the past eight years to become tolerant?

Unfortunately, unlike the dexterous Matt Lewis, Jen Rubin and Jim Geraghty, I'm still having trouble pressing *1 fast enough to get in the question queue.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

To Be or to Do?

"One day you will take a fork in the road, and you're going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go. If you go one way, you can be somebody. You will have to make your compromises and … turn your back on your friends, but you will be a member of the club, and you will get promoted and get good assignments. Or you can go the other way, and you can do something, something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself … You may not get promoted, and you may not get good assignments, and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors, but you won't have to compromise yourself … In life there is often a roll call. That's when you have to make a decision: to be or to do."

—Air Force Colonel John Boyd.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I Could Become an Environmentalist

"Sexy play can be green and efficient as well. As seen on TreeHugger TV, showering together can save water (if things get steamier, we suggest taking it to the bedroom and not leaving the shower running). In the winter time, some nice warm loving before bed can get the bedroom toasty, meaning the thermostat can be lower (see How to Green Your Heating, for more)."

How to Green Your Sex Life [TreeHugger]

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Do Teachers Read Homework?

Teaching assistants do:

Hat tip: Radley Balko.

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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Of Note (4/5/08)

1. Warren Cole Smith, "Divided We Stand."

2. Philip Klein, "The Barr Threat."

3. David Weigel, "Bob Barr Expected to Launch Libertarian Presidential Bid on Saturday."

4. Stephen Dinan and Ralph Z. Hallow, "Barr Bid Could Hurt McCain."

5. John Gizzi, "McCain Veepstakes: Old School Sanford."

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Of Note (4/4/08)

1. Kenneth P. Vogel, "Cash-Strapped Clinton Fails to Pay Bills."

2. Brian Stelter, "Citizen Huff."

3. Matt Welch, "McCain's Cheap Date."

4. Stephen J. Dubner, "Is the Non-Profit World Teeming With Fraud?"

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Of Note (4/1/08)

1. Greg Veis, "Raising McCain."

2. Christopher Hitchens, "The Perils of Identity Politics."

3. Rick Moran, "The Anti Soundbite Candidate."

4. Matt Bais, "Krazy Glue Moments."

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Bumper Sticker Politics

George Will reports:

Residents of Austin, Texas, home of the state's government and flagship university, have very refined social consciences, if they do say so themselves, and they do say so, speaking via bumper stickers. Don R. Willett, a justice of the state Supreme Court, has commuted behind bumpers proclaiming "Better a Bleeding Heart Than None at All," "Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty," "The Moral High Ground Is Built on Compassion," "Arms Are for Hugging," "Will Work (When the Jobs Come Back From India)," "Jesus Is a Liberal," "God Wants Spiritual Fruits, Not Religious Nuts," "The Road to Hell Is Paved With Republicans," "Republicans Are People Too—Mean, Selfish, Greedy People" and so on.

My favorites: "Born Right the First Time," and "My Dog Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student."

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Of Note (3/31/08)

1. Eric Lichtblau, "The Education of a 9/11 Reporter."

2. Erick Erickson, "Protect Yourself."

3. Ben Worthen, "Why IT Hates the iPhone."

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Withdrawal Is Not an Option

Last summer, Joe Biden's debating skills spurred me to write an op-ed on withdrawing from Iraq. The op-ed was never published, but you can now read it at Here's an excerpt:

“If we started today, it would take one year—one year—to get 160,000 troops physically out of Iraq.” Indeed, 19 years ago, it took the Soviets nine months to extract 120,000 men from Afghanistan, and they were simply going next door.

Slowing things down further is the staggering amount of stuff we would need to take with us—or destroy or sell if we couldn’t, lest it fall into the wrong hands. According to Time magazine, the U.S. currently has 45,000 ground-combat vehicles in Iraq, spread out across 15 bases, 38 supply depots, 18 fuel-supply centers and 10 ammo dumps. Equally daunting, equipment re-entering the United States must be inspected for any microscopic diseases.

Moreover, the price of pulling out prematurely is gigantic and grave. In the north, Kurds and Arabs would do battle for oil wells, as Kurdistan drifted toward independence, instigating skirmishes with, and possibly an invasion by, Turkey. In the south, an emboldened Iran would stop pussyfooting and uncork its influence, establishing a theocratic Shiite foothold, with neighborhoods controlled by militias like the Badr Organization and the Mahdi Army. The middle of the country would erupt in a bloodbath.

Those who contend that Iraq cannot get much worse than it is now would do well to remember that this was the same refrain about Lebanon before civil war enveloped that country and about Somalia before the U.S. rushed out in 1993. In short, the only thing standing between the shaky stability of present-day Iraq and an ethno-sectarian inferno scorching the Persian Gulf is the United States armed forces.

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Of Note (3/29/08)

1. Frank Bruni, "Fear of Not, Er, Flying."

2. Elaine Sciolino, "A Guide to the French. Handle with Care."

3. Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin, "Agent Gives Bill Shirt Off His Back."

4. Matt Richtel, "Even at Megastores, Hagglers Find No Price Is Set in Stone."

5. Howard Mortman, "Sin-Ergy."

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Of Note (3/28/08)

1. Victor Davis Hanson, "A Speech Obama Could Have Given."

2. Radley Balko, "You Want It to Be One Way... but It's the Other Way."

3. William Beutler, "Old New Media."

4. Neal Ungerleider, "'Washingtonienne' Jessica Cutler Working As an Escort."

5. Adam Pash, "Never Miss a Deal with RetailMeNot."

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Earmarks and Taxes 101, by Grover Norquist

Love him or hate him, the guy's brilliant. Who else can explain, so succinctly and so lucidly, the political potency of earmarks and the importance, for Republicans, of not raising taxes?


Earmarks have begun to make spend-too-much have a political cost. We're gonna spend three trillion dollars. My eyes glaze over.

We're gonna $200 million dollars on a bridge to nowhere ... That's bad. I understand that. You're insulting me. You're treating [taxpayers with disrespect.]


You can walk into the voting booth dead drunk, and vote for the R, and know that he or she will not raise your taxes. We've branded the Republican Party as the party that won't raise your taxes ...

Republicans who vote for tax increases ... damage the brand for everyone else.

Videos here.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Of Note (3/27/08)

1. Patrick Gavin, "WH Reporters Get Randy."

2. Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, "Tuned Out."

3. Matt Welch, "John McCain Wants You."

4. Sean Hackbarth, "McCain Blogette."

5. David Almacy, "Defending Dot Govs."

6. Robert Bluey, "Five Questions for Danny Glover of"

7. Michael Grunwald, "Why Ron Paul Scares the GOP."

8. Paul Boutin, "So You Want to Be a Blogging Star?"

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Hillary: I Want to Command the Economy

"We need a president who is ready on Day 1 to be commander in chief of our economy."

Hillary Clinton.

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Voting Advice from Monica Lewinsky

"I'm voting Republican. The Democrats left a bad taste in my mouth."

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Of Note (3/25/08)

1. Michal L. Sifry, "Mashup Madness, and the Rise of Videracy."

2. Michael Liedtke, "Security Lapse Exposes Facebook Photos."

3. Robert Behre, "DeMint Taps into Power of Web."

4. Michael Scherer, "The Internet Effect on News."

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Hillary: Earmarks Got Me Elected

"Part of the reason that I won New York by 67 percent are my earmarks."

Hillary Clinton.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Where Have All the New Media Posts Gone?

The separation isn't perfect, but I'm trying to post all content related to new media to the Digital Flacking blog.

Two recent posts there—How to Pitch to Bloggers and Why You Should Know Blog Lingo—may interest you.

You can read Digital Flacking via RSS and e-mail.

(And in case you didn't know, you can also read No Straw Men via RSS and e-mail.)

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Of Note (3/23/08)

1. Howard Kurtz, "As War Dragged on, Coverage Tone Weighed Heavily on Anchors."

2. Guy Raz, "Christopher Hitchens, Literary Agent Provocateur."

3. Charles Krauthammer, "The Speech: A Brilliant Fraud."

4. Christopher Hitchens, "Huck's Free Pass."

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hillary Mocks Obama, Lauds McCain

"Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign, I will bring a lifetime of experience, and Senator Obama will bring a speech he gave in 2002."

Hillary Clinton, March 7, 2008.

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Of Note (3/22/08)

Note: "The Daily Digest" is now "Of Note."

Can Your Dog Do This? Can You?

1. Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, "The Clinton Myth."

2. Andrew Moylan, "Republicans and Pork."

3. Karl Rove, Blogger?

4. "Cheney on Two-Thirds of the American Public Opposing the Iraq War: ‘So?’"

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