Friday, September 30, 2005

Quote of the day

John Podhoretz on the Judy Miller affair:
Weird wacko crazy bananas.
More here.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bloggish navel gazing

Over past 32 hours, this site has received about 25 unique visits from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology ("NTNU"). Who are you, my Norse visitor who keeps checking in despite my not posting anything new in a week?

In any case, NTNU seems to have a pretty campus:

Photo: NTNU

This got me thinking of the last time I was in Norway a quarter century ago climbing northern Europe's tallest peak, Mount Galdhopiggen:

Friday, September 16, 2005

"Just left India and am now in Paris where my girlfriend is meeting me for the weekend"

E-mailed my cosmopolitan cousin yesterday because I had just read a magazine cover story quoting him. He replied that he hadn't yet seen the article because, as he explained, he had
just left India and am now in Paris where my girlfriend is meeting me for the weekend.
Kind of reminds me of my day:
Just left home where I was cleaning up the two-year-old's breakfast drippings and am now in the office with plans to head to the PTA event where my family is meeting me later.
Just a couple of jet setters, my cousin and me.

Recent quotes endorsing expansion of federal government, spoken by people who should know better:
  • President Bush:
    It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces -- the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice.
  • Judge Roberts:
    SCHUMER: OK. Let me ask you, then, this hypothetical: And that is that it came to our attention, Congress', through a relatively and inexpensive, simple process, individuals were now able to clone certain species of animals, maybe an arroyo toad. Didn't pass over state lines; you could somehow do it without doing any of that. Under the commerce clause, can Congress pass a law banning even noncommercial cloning?

    ROBERTS: I appreciate it's a hypothetical, and you will as well, so I don't mean to be giving bindings opinions. But it would seem to me that Congress can make a determination that this is an activity, if allowed to be pursued, that is going to have effects on interstate commerce. Obviously if you were successful in cloning an animal, that's not going to be simply a local phenomenon. That's going to be something people are going to...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Navasky/CJR update, part 2

In the September/October issue of Columbia Journalism Review, CJR chairman Victor Navasky writes a note (not available online) in response to two letters to the editor about the controversy surrounding his appointment (and lack of disclosure thereof) to a leadership position at CJR:
The chairman responds: Nathan Dodell raises an interesting question. Let me further complicate the matter. Long before I came to The Nation, I was founder, editor and publisher of Monocle, which described itself as "a leisurely quarterly of political satire" (that meant we came out twice a year). Our editorial policy was that "the views of our contributors, no matter how conflicting and contradictory, are the views of the editors." I might mention that after Monocle, I worked at The New York Times Magazine. And, oh yes, from age 8-11 I was a key staff writer for The ToHoNe Camper.
Amusing and charming, as is much of Navasky's writing. But not exactly relevant to the topic, is it? Navasky continues:
I will check previous letters-to-the-editors pages to see if Dodell or the Stern brothers sounded similar alarms when a CJR editor arrived fresh from overseeing Fortune and Money. I hope not, since the CJR over which he presided was a most distinguished journal.
Navasky apparently means to imply that Fortune and Money have overt political biases along the lines of The Nation's. Seemingly Navasky believes that any financial publication has got to have a rightward bent. (Indeed Navasky is too sophisticated to believe such nonsense, but perhaps he thinks his readers are not...)

An interesting if not entirely germane point: the former Fortune and Money editor is one Marshall Loeb, who might be surprised to learn of his alleged rightward bent. A review of Federal Election Commission records at suggests a slightly more leftward inclination: of $8600 in political contributions Loeb has made since 1980, 88% has gone to Democratic candidates, PACs or committees. I do not mean to suggest that Loeb is biased, only that Navasky is off-base to hold up Loeb as someone CJR's readers (and letter-writers) should presume has a rightward bias. More to the point, though, I am not aware that either Fortune or Money has a political bias--certainly not in the sense The Nation does.

And Navasky is an overt and avowed leftist, indeed an intellectual leader of the left. The magazine he led was an outspoken voice of the left. He's too smart to be making such fatuous comparisons. He continues:
Other CJR leaders have hailed from such diverse quarters as U.S. News & World Report, Ms. Magazine and the Los Angeles Times.
While critics have complained of bias in some if not all of these publications, none has an overt bias as a matter of policy. The Nation on the other hand does. Navasky concludes:
Can a magazine that prides itself on a long tradition of nonpartisan, impartial monitoring of the media survive its association with someone who hails from The Nation? Only time will tell.
Indeed, only time will tell. In the meantime, though, it would become CJR and Navasky to take the issue seriously rather than brushing it off and turning the story around to be about the critics who have raised the issue.

Would it not behoove CJR to take a look inward and examine the implications of:
  • A prominent voice of the left taking over a supposedly non-partisan impartial media monitor, and
  • Keeping that voice of the left off the masthead until a light is shined on the issue?

Note: This is the second of three planned posts on the current issue of CJR. The first post is "Quick Navasky/CJR update."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Mid-season turnaround story of the year: Jason Giambi

On May 11 of this year, Yankee slugger Jason Giambi was hitting .195 with a measly 3 homeruns and 6 RBIs. The team wanted to demote him to the minor leagues.

As of today, he is second in the league with a .996 OPS. For the unfamiliar, OPS (short for on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) is the offensive statistic that many think best summarizes a player's overall hitting performance.

Quite the turn-around.


It was four years ago, more or less to the minute, that Todd Beamer said, "Let's roll."

Some images:

Jane Galt on poverty

"Jane Galt" has written an essay on poverty, "The poor really are different," which is an interesting read.

Her basic thesis (my summary of which does not do justice to her writing): Bad choices by the poor lead to further poverty. And cultural context (read, peer pressure) makes it hard to escape those bad choices.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Quick Navasky/CJR update

In the September/October issue of Columbia Journalism Review (see the letters section, page 5, not available online), the publication finally pinpoints when Victor Navasky started overseeing the publication: August of last year. Here are the editors' words:
A brief history: last summer Nicholas Lemann, dean of Columia's J-school, appointed Victor Navasky to oversee CJR... Navasky did not go on the masthead until a year later.
The above statement is one of several of note on the Navasky kerfuffle in the current issue. I will write more on the other statements later. For now let's focus on this statement of the timing of Navasky's appointment. To review, Navasky ran the publication, without attribution, for virtually a year.

One immediate implication is that CJR apparently misled reporters around when Navasky assumed his role. Some examples:
  • The New York Sun dated Navasky's assumption of his role to roughly December 2004. In a June 2, 2005, article in the Sun, Jacob Gershman wrote,
    In the past six months, after an extended period of negotiations with Mr. Lemann, Mr. Navasky has quietly taken the reins of CJR....
  • Fox News appeared to date Navasky's role to early 2005. Fox's Brit Hume reported on June 2, 2005:
    According to CJR executive editor Michael Hoyt, Navasky has 'gradual[ly]' been taking on a key role over the past few months, a role, Hoyt says, that's higher than his own.
  • And this blog, in its initial story (which CJR has never sought to correct in any way) on the topic on May 31 of this year reported,
    Hoyt said Navasky had been with CJR for a couple of months in an incrementally responsible role.
Why did CJR mislead reporters into thinking (and writing) that Navasky's stint overseeing the publication without appearing on the masthead was shorter than it really was? For the moment I leave that to my readers to answer.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on CJR's recent statements.
Note: This is the first of three planned posts on the current issue of CJR. The second post is "Navasky/CJR update, part 2."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"Democrats Demand Justice Just Like Rehnquist"

Great satire from Scott Ott.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

And ev'rybody hates the Jews.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross has a piece in the Weekly Standard's Daily Standard entitled,
The Peculiar Alliance: Islamists and neo-Nazis find common ground by hating the Jews.
It's an updated and someone less melodic version of Tom Lehrer's "National Brotherhood Week":
Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Moslems,
And ev'rybody hates the Jews.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina disaster relief charities

Want to help? Two places to give:Instapundit has more charities.

Update: My family is giving to the UJA-Federation Katrina Relief Fund of the UJA-Federation of New York. According to the fund's web site, "One hundred percent of all contributions to the fund will provide direct assistance to victims of this great tragedy."

How to give:

Donations to UJA-Federation’s Katrina Relief Fund can be made online at:

Send checks, payable to "UJA-Federation Katrina Relief Fund," to

UJA-Federation of New York
130 East 59th Street, Room 1145
New York, NY 10022

You can also call our Donor Center at 1.212.836.1880 with credit card information.

Updates on volunteer opportunities and other ways to help will be provided at Jewish Community Responds to Hurricane Katrina

On second thought, maybe Katrina isn't all due to global warming. Or Bush.

Lest you are tempted to give credence to those who claim that the hurricane was due to some combination of global warming and President Bush, read on.

First some blame-Bush rhetoric from the usual suspects:
  • Here is some blather from the blame-America crowd in Germany:
    Germany's environment minister hinted Tuesday that Americans were to blame for Hurricane Katrina due to the U.S. refusal to cut greenhouse gases which many experts say cause global warming.

    "The increasing frequency of these natural events can only be explained through global warming which is caused by people," said Trittin....

    "A U.S. citizen causes about two and a half times as much greenhouse gas as the average European," said Trittin.
  • More from the blame-Bush, blame-global-warming crew in Germany here:
    Katrina Should be A Lesson To US on Global Warming

    Seems like everything is President Bush's fault. One day after Katrina hammered the Gulf Coast, German commentators are laying into the US for its stubborn attitude to global warming and Kyoto.
  • This headline (from a liberal blog) is written in all seriousness:
    Katrina Proves Bush is a Failure.
But before you jump to any conclusions, take a look at the data. Blog EU Rota looked at the numbers from NOAA. Turns out the overall frequency of hurricanes has been on a fairly steady downward trend from 1941 through 2004. Here's a chart:

Chart from EU ROTA based on NOAA data

And the frequency of major hurricanes (category 3 and higher) shows the same trend.

(Hat tip: Instapundit, with an assist from Google.)