Thursday, June 30, 2005


It's still June.

Update, 9:45 pm: it's still June. The flower, by the way, is in the corner of the front yard over the storm drain, which has this printed on it:

Scary: What do they mean by "brains to stream?"

Update II: Remember Mittens and Snowdrop? You don't? Then, sorry.

Journalists to Foley: can we keep eating lunch?

This was posted on Romenesko today:

From LINDA FOLEY, Newspaper Guild-CWA president:

Like most in the journalism community, we are outraged and concerned about the contempt proceedings against Judith Miller and Matt Cooper. We would like to promote a demonstration of support and protest by coordinating two minutes of silence in newsrooms across America at noon EST on Wednesday, July 6. That's the day the district court judge has said he will impose jail sentences. We also are encouraging journalists to organize courthouse vigils throughout the country on the same day. We are soliciting support from various publishers and others who care about investigative journalism. This won't change the situation, unfortunately, but it will send a message that we all support the principles these colleagues are willing to go to jail for. It also will help build support for a national shield law. People can e-mail me or call 202-434-7177 if they'd like more information.

Update: Romenesko, July 1: A minute of silence in newsrooms accomplishes nothing.

Protesting the contempt proceedings against Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper with brief silence 'is a sweet symbolic gesture but accomplishes nothing,' writes Tom Farmer. 'If you really want to make a difference spend that minute, and thousands more, working up takeouts on the anatomy of fear-driven, market-focused corporate journalism and how it’s slowly anesthetized the American polity from almost everything that matters.'
Do these people ever realize how arrogant they sound?

Rocky blog: pupils fixed and dilated

Rocky editor John Temple posted on his "blog" Tuesday for the first time since June 21. The previous update was titled, scintillatingly, "Response to EEOC column," and had readers weighing in on Temple's column bitching about the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which recently nailed the Rocky for workplace racial discrimination to the tune of $375,000.

Temple's update Tuesday? "Response to my EEOC column," which, amazingly, also had a reader weighing in on the EEOC column. But see the difference? This one says "MY" EEOC column. Oh, the subhead says it's an "interesting letter." Gonna take your word on that, John.

Hey, maybe next week Temple can write a post titled something like, oh, I don't know, how about, "Even more response to my EEOC column." Yeah, that'll pull 'em in.

Temple's blog is moribund. Time to bury it and try again, though somehow I doubt that'll happen soon.

Update: It's a blog explosion!

Update II: Temple throws Drunkablog a curve: "EEOC responds to my critical column."

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ho-quo of the week

From Struggling Upward (or, as the Bralyn Archive calls it, "Strugup") (1868):
"Now, boys," said [the master of Center Grammar School], holding in his hand a Waterbury watch, of neat pattern, "I offer this watch as a prize to the boy who will skate across the pond and back in the least time. You will all start together, at a given signal, and make your way to the mark which I have placed at the western end of the lake, skate around it, and return to this point. Do you fully understand?"

"Yes, sir!" exclaimed the boys, unanimously. Before proceeding, it may be well to refer more particularly to some of the boys who were to engage in the contest. First, in his own estimation, came Randolph Duncan, son of Prince Duncan, president of the Groveton Bank, and a prominent town official. Prince Duncan was supposed to be a rich man, and lived in a style quite beyond that of his neighbors. Randolph was his only son, a boy of sixteen, and felt that in social position and blue blood he was without a peer in the village. He was a tall, athletic boy, and disposed to act the part of boss among the Groveton boys.
Bonus Ho-quo!

It seems to me, Ellen, that things are looking worse than usual.--From "Mrs. Cordner's Reformation," Gleason's Literary Companion (1865).

Good morning. Shut up.

Good morning.

Shut up.

Update: Y'all know who Gene Fowler was, right? He wrote Goodnight, Sweet Prince, about John Barrymore, Timberline, about the, uh, exuberant 19th Century owners of the Denver Post, and The Great Mouthpiece (among others), all of which are out of print. His headstone is sort of neat.

James M. Cain is better known, of course, for good reason. Never knew he'd written a story called "Santa Claus, M.D.," though. Must have needed money bad. (It appears in the wonderfully titled collection The Baby in the Icebox and Other Short Fiction.)

Update: Forgot to mention that Fowler's son had a long career in Hollywood as a film editor and directed I Was a Teenage Werewolf.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Party like it's 1984

Drunkablog was going to post the complete manifesto of the Progressive Labor Party and then make fun of it (!), but Drunkablog is tired, and therefore will make fun of just one point:
Communism means equality. No money. No wages. People working based on their commitment to each other and to building a communist society. Just as we do now in the Party.
"Just as we do now in the Party." As Jim Bouton once noted: yeah, sure.

Update: Their powerfist is lousy, too.

Trilectical Clintonianism

Though I'm not the first to notice, it bears repeating: Michael Moriarity is off his rocker. The emmy-winning former star of Law and Order holds forth these days in the digital pages of Enter Stage Right and The American Partisan, the editors of which apparently lack the courage to say, "for the love of God, Michael, get help." Here's a sample of his writing, from a piece on Edmund Wilson, leftie author of To the Finland Station:

The original dialectical composition of forces was the party of the first part, or the Thesisist, the party of the second part, the anti-thesist, and the third party of the Arbiter or Synthesist. Mr. Clinton's I.Q. began to synthesize at such a speed and at such an early stage of his career and with increasingly less inhibition and fewer moral qualms, that his own self-image as Master Synthesizer was brilliantly marketed by his propaganda minister, James Carville, into the Prince of Peace-Keeping. Ergo, we now have Trilectical Clintonianism which is, in short, whenever two or more are gathered around William Jefferson Clinton, the former President always ends up in charge. Christ has been thrown out of the board room entirely.

Yes, this is taken out of context, but when the context is just more insanity, does it make any difference?

Update: Adjust your fillings, folks: Moriarity is running for president.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Blogs away

Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple seems to have had it (up to here, baby) with blogs. Jim Sheeler's blog remains among the disappeared, John Lehndorff's from the Telluride Bluegrass Festival is long defunct, and Temple's own blog hasn't been updated since June 21.

In fact only one Rocky blog remains active, sportswriter Sam Adams', but it isn't really a blog and doesn't seem to have had much impact.

That's it.

Dog briefs

Billy Bob and one of the delinquent pelicans that hang out at Sloan Lake. A Drunkablog first.

In other dog news, the trendily named but comically slow-witted Aspen (below) is guesting here for a bit.

And actually, Aspen is very bright.

Just a little naive.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Ward Churchill--scum, and loving it

Mocking Ward Churchill and his minions is fun (and healthy), but Pirate Ballerina reports on a speech Ward gave Friday that reminds one of what sewage the man really is. It was at a forum on conscientious objection in Portland:
For those of you who do, as a matter of principle, oppose war in any form, the idea of supporting a conscientious objector who's already been inducted [and] in his combat service in Iraq might have a certain appeal.But let me ask you this: Would you render the same support to someone who hadn't conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?

Later a questioner asked:

I think it's important when you're getting into a discussion of violence and appropriate violence and self-defense, of starting to look at what you're trying to build there, what you're trying to create—for example, fragging an officer, which you were talking about before, at the beginning of your talk, the sort of trauma that that inflicts on that officer's family back home is I feel like an important thing to take into account when you try to think about what your action is trying to accomplish in the first place. I really feel like I can articulate [my question] properly, but that's the general direction I'm heading with it.

Churchill: How do you feel about Adolf Eichmann's family?

PB's got the tape. Sooner or later Ward's going to go too f--oh, wait.

Update: Pirate Ballerina also has the hilarious adventures of World Net Daily, which in their story on Churchill's Portland comments also reported as fact a PB satire in which Churchill claims he meant "Little Entenmanns" (the delicious pastries) not "Little Eichmanns" (the infamous Nazi bureaucrat of death) in his infamous essay.

Drunkablog rates the powerfists!

Leading an up-and-coming dictatorship of the proletariat? Want people to know that you have the will to power every neo-Stalinist must have? You need the right powerfist. A good powerfist serves all your propaganda needs--from raising the consciousness of the masses to instilling terror--but a weak, inappropriate, sexist or racist powerfist can send the wrong message, perhaps even make your cadres doubt the inevitability of socialist victory.

But what powerfist is right for you? Salespeople will claim to have the perfect fist, then push whatever's in stock that day. They're not looking out for your revolution. Of course, once supreme power is yours they will pay for their insolence, oh yes, but right now, retribution can wait; all you want is a good fist. Here then, Drunkablog provides a brief guide to selecting the right powerfist.

First, a few things to look for:

Is the fist left- or right-handed? Even though most people are right-handed, generally, and for obvious reasons, the left is preferred.

What color is the fist? Black and red are always in good taste, but pink and green have their place as well.

Is the fist realistic? For example, is the thumb of the fist in a position where, if the fist actually punched something, it would be broken? Or is the fist too cartoonish? Usually the most realistic (and therefore the most threatening) fist is preferred.

Finally, is the fist holding something (flowers, dove, capitalist exploiter's throat)? Or, perhaps, being thrust through something (say, prison bars)? Such extras add interest to many a plain-jane fist.

Let's look at a few samples:

Here's one from Mark Goldblatt: Left-hand, correct thumb placement, not too stylized. Good hard-working Stalinist fist. Nothing flashy.

Here's a right hand, from Peacewatch Online. Somewhat overstylized, thumb breakage likely, fist seems to be concealing sausage treat.

A fist "holding" something, from the Future of Socialist Democracy of British Columbia website. Highly stylized, thumb already broken, flower. Good only for peace group, those posing as peace group.

A fist (or is it a glove?) from Portland Indymedia. Clumsy and a little sad.

Ah, here's a nice one. Left hand, thumb properly positioned, good shadowing. The Palestine Solidarity Committee of South Africa knows their powerfists.

Two efforts from Rage Against the Machine. Left: Forget it. Half the thumb is missing. Right: Points for putting powerfist to cloth, but another crummy thumb, and the palm looks like a buttcrack. Yuck.

Cartoon-y fist from Canned Revolution. What is it with the buttcrack?

An example from the differently abled community. Very odd fist positioning.

Puhleeeze. Typical White Power proto-fist: no thumb (probably accurate for these guys); hardly any finger differentiation. Shaky styling shows artist missed his morning beers.

Finally, a work of art. From the Cult of the Subgenius, which wants only to revolutionize your mind. Bob Dobbs understands the fist.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

They've disappeared Jim Sheeler's blog, too

Wonder if Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple cares that he has gotten zero comments on his post requesting feedback from readers about the RMN's ventures into blogging. (The post was in response to my criticism of his and other RMN blogs.)

Now like most other loser bloggers (redundant, ain't it?), I'm used to seeing "o comments" after my posts, and any tears I cry over it, I cry alone. But I'm a talentless and mendacious hack (she came up by googling "hack writer," by the way) of dubious sobriety (a much more obvious result) and I have nothing (more) to lose by blogging. Temple, who no doubt has been a golden boy all his professional life, must be staring into the abyss--Why doesn't anyone care about my blog?

Update: You know, I just figured out that Temple doesn't really want feedback--at least, not anymore. When he first linked to my post it was on his main page. Now that link is gone, so you have to click on "continue reading" to get to my criticisms. Now why would that be? Anybody? It wouldn't have anything to do with me calling Temple a stiff as a writer and otherwise pointing out (gently) that his blog sucks, would it?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Horatio Alger quote of the week--illustrated!

First, I've been asked to remind all friends of the ho-quo that registration with local law enforcement is MANDATORY.

This week's ho-quo includes the original illustration, which fails utterly to match what Horatio describes. Drunkablog will do better.

She is a spinster of 27, he an opportunistic lad of 22.

"'Wont [sic] you marry me?' She exclaimed; clasping her hands.

"'You—you must excuse me," said Tom edging off from her with alarm depicted upon his face.

"'Then how can I become the queen of Timbuctoo?' demanded the lady in a tone of anguish.

"'The queen of Timbuctoo!" repeated Tom in a ludicrous state of bewilderment.

"'Yes, you're the king of Timbuctoo, first consul to the emperor of Siam. Do you think I would have agreed to marry you otherwise?'

"'Where's my hat?" demanded Tom.

"'Then you're not willing to marry her?" asked the uncle.

"'Marry her! I'd rather marry a Cherokee squaw!'"

(via the Horatio Alger Digital Serials Project at Northern Illinois University, which, like Drunkablog, really needs to get a life.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Locks box

A caller to Hewitt yesterday, a military guy if I remember aright (IIRA), described himself as "preemptively balding." Hugh didn't hear it.

Rocky editor Temple's reply to Drunkablog

In a post yesterday I assessed the Rocky Mountain News' various blogs, especially that of its editor, John Temple, and found them to be, for a variety of reasons, lame. I wrote to Temple letting him know I'd done this. Here's his response:
Thanks. I posted a link from my blog. Not sure why you think I wouldn't know what's happening with my own blog...Who do you think does it? Also, why don't you sign your e-mail or your blog?


He's got me there. The truth is I haven't "signed" my blog (until now) because I'm a career criminal, okay? (Just kidding. I forget that newspapers have not only sources but resources.)

As for my post, Temple avoids discussing any of the problems I mention, including why it looks like he's not all that connected to his own blog. Instead he just throws my criticism out there for comment. That's perfectly legitimate, but I wish he'd also bothered to reply specifically to my points. In particular I'd really like to know, where is Jim Sheeler?

Update: Another note from Temple: "I had noticed [that initial paragraphs in archived posts are repeated]. I was taught that it's important to do it that way because people may arrive at the blog item in different ways. some will come directly and need the context the intro provides. others will come after scanning the tops of a number of items. doesn't that make sense?"

Well, sort of. But if one looks around one will see not a single blogger whose archives are set up like that. It's just not necessary.

In any case, Temple wins on one point: judging from his replies, he is definitely involved in his blog. Good deal.

Update 5:02 pm MDT: The Search for Jim Sheeler: Day Two. Still no update on his blog. I've been to those Bath baths, man. A body--dead or alive--could stay down there a long time and nobody'd know a thing.

Update II: Do you think the Rocky has an obit ready to run on the guy?

Monday, June 20, 2005

A Rocky start to blogging

Last April Instapundit noted approvingly that Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple was starting a blog. Since then the Rocky has immersed a quivering toe in the blogwater several times, including a sports blog begun today by reporter Sam Adams.

So how's the Rocky doing with its blogging? Not so hot. They seem, in fact, both unclear on the concept and uncertain in its application.

Temple's blog, for instance, is screwed up in basic ways. For one thing, every archived post repeats its opening paragraph--Today in the news blah, blah and right below it Today in the news blah, blah. Hasn't anybody at the Rocky noticed this? Hasn't John Temple noticed this, and if not, what does that say about his involvement in his own blog?

Also, what's the deal with all the broken lines in block quotes? I mean, I know what the deal is, but again, why hasn't the designated personage fixed it?

How about content?

Okay, minor stuff. What about the content? Well, unfortunately Temple's a stiff as a writer, but he's blogged about some fun stuff, like the brouhaha between Dave Kopel and the News' Washington bureau chief John Aloysius Farrell (great name) after Kopel called Farrell a leftist. Or the e-mail exchange between Ward Churchill and Temple after the Rocky ran it's five-part series on Ward a couple of weeks ago.

Too often, though, Temple writes "editor's corner" junk about, say, a reader's question about the weather page, or, God help us, "awards" won by Rocky staff in something called the Scripps-Howard In-house Journalism Awards (Mike Littwin won a "special" award, by the way.).

What else for Temple? He doesn't post very often (three times a week at most) or link to others much. No idea what kind of traffic he gets, but five comments tops on any one post--except for the post on Churchill, which has drawn 140. Comments are unmoderated, and it shows; one commenter on the Churchill post, after berating George Bush, asks, "where's Lee Harvey when you need him?"

Other Rocky blogs

Somebody had the splendid idea of having Rocky reporter and former obituary writer Jim Sheeler blog from Bath, England, where he's attending the 7th Great Obituary Writer's Conference. Unfortunately Jim has gone on a monumental bender, or at least that is my surmise, for his latest post is from Saturday. It's now late Monday. Unless he's reeling around Bath like a Roman and therefore out of touch, why has nobody told Sheeler: blog, ya stupid kid, ya.

Another Rocky temp blog has John Lehndorff in Telluride for the bluegrass festival. Didn't read much of it, but at least he was posting. `

Don't much care about Sam Adam's blog (link above). Upshot is, the Rocky has some work to do.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sowell-ed out

  • As a landlord it is sometimes necessary for Drunkablog to upbraid tenants who've behaved in ways injurious either to the Drunkablog manse (dog poop in yard, meth shack left untidy, etc.), or the Drunkablog's person (tenant offers to push Drunkablog's face completely in). Several years ago, however, Drunkablog gained some valuable perspective on landlording:

    Perspective. (courtesy Rocky Mountain News).

  • Fred Siegel on C-Span 2, plugging The Prince of the City June 2 at Book Expo America (Expo America Book?). Says he's thinking of writing next about what's happened to liberalism. Interviewer asks, well, what's happened to liberalism? He says, "basically, a leakage of reality."

  • That's, I say, that's a leakage of reality, son. It's a joke, son. Try to keep, I say, try to keep up with the class, son.

  • By the way, I can now watch three-week-old C-Span video of the America Expo Book or anything else any time--even while blogging. That's because I bought a brand-new, 13-inch color television, manufactured by the fine Korean concern Daewoo--for $60.

  • I've never gotten used to how faux Indian and revolutionary blowhard Ward Churchill still has a central Illinois accent. He sounds, in fact, like my Uncle Stanley, who farmed there all his life until he married a fancy woman from Springfield who gave parties with cocktails. Now he's dead.

  • Odd socks will be ruthlessly suppressed.
  • Friday, June 17, 2005

    Tom and Katie, or, True Love's Triumph

    "PARIS - Tom Cruise popped the question to Katie Holmes at the Eiffel Tower early Friday and then announced the news to the world - they're getting married."

    The AP continues breathlessly, "Cruise turned to Holmes: "What did you say, darling? She said, 'Yes.' ... I've never actually been to the Eiffel Tower and I just, it's Paris, you know. It's beautiful, a beautiful city. It's very romantic. I'm excited to be here."

    The Drunkawife and I visited the Eiffel Tower on our honeymoon, so naturally we wondered if while Tom was on bended knee, Katie looked demurely down at this quintessentially French view. Ah, romance.

    Update: This site doesn't often "cover" Hollywood, so one more question: is Tom Cruise gay? Please feel free to respond privately by e-mail.

    Thursday, June 16, 2005

    Horatio Alger quote of the week

    Sorry, forgot yesterday:

    "While this was passing between Dick and his companion, one of the boys, a rather supercilious-looking young gentleman, genteelly dressed, and evidently having a very high opinion of his dress and himself, turned suddenly to Dick, and remarked,--

    'I've seen you before.'

    'Oh, have you?' said Dick, whirling round; 'then p'r'aps you'd like to see me behind.'"

    From Ragged Dick (1867).

    Update: "p'r'aps?"

    Update II: last week's ho-quo is here; historic first ho-quo (featuring "Mother Watson") is, on the other hand, here.

    Update III: Here's the site of the obviously perverted Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans.

    Sakes alive!

    Romenesko links to a piece on two former editorial writers for the Indianopolis Star who have "sued the newspaper and its owner, Gannett Co., claiming religious, racial and age discrimination.

    "[F}ormer editorial board members James Patterson and Lisa Coffey said top newsroom managers 'consistently and repeatedly demonstrated . . . a negative hostility toward Christianity.'

    Well, at least it wasn't positive hostility toward Christianity. The suit claims that "Editor and Vice President Dennis Ryerson and Publisher Barbara Henry were hostile toward Christianity and Christian employees at The Star . . . . [and] strongly disagreed 'with anyone who had a biblical view of homosexuality.'

    "'Lisa and I aren't the only employees that have been driven away from this company and we thought it was time for someone to say "Goodness gracious. This isn't right,"' Patterson said."

    Just one comment: Theocrats habitually use this sort of extremist language ("goodness gracious") to intimidate any who oppose their attempt to make Christianity the national religion. They must be opposed with equally strong words. This post's title is my suggestion.

    Radio heaven

    The incandescent Bill Whittle on Hewitt, discussing Dick "Dick" Durbin.

    Update: As a freshman congressmen in 1983 (though hardly inexperienced as a politician), "Dick" took questions from a journalism class I was in. Back then I was judging him from the left, but the opinion was the same: empty suit.

    Update II: Radio hell: Michael "go eat a sausage and choke on it" Savage is calling Durbin "Tick Turban."

    Wednesday, June 15, 2005

    A defense of Ward Churchill

    Not by me, of course, but by CU sociology professor Tom Mayer, who made the attempt in a Daily Camera piece yesterday. Brave lad. And if he ends up not doing much for Churchill, Mayer at least shows that Rocky Mountain News columnist Mike Littwin, picked on here for claiming that Churchill is in no way emblematic of leftist academics, was right. Professor Mayer's own measured words prove it:

    Mayer: Anti-Churchill crusade is appalling
    By Tom Mayer June 14, 2005

    Ward Churchill is a politically committed intellectual in the mold of Rosa Luxemburg, W.E.B. DuBois, Jean-Paul Sartre, Linus Pauling, Edward Said, and Noam Chomsky.
    Linus Pauling?

    Churchill has influenced how we think about indigenous people. In particular he has compelled us to entertain three interrelated propositions: 1) The genocide of indigenous people is not just a regrettable episode of bygone times, but an ongoing political and ecological reality. 2) The principal force behind this ongoing genocide is the voracious appetite of advanced capitalist societies for both profit and consumption. 3) Most Americans have, in one way or another, collaborated in the destruction of indigenous peoples and cultures.

    Thus Americans are likely to be targeted when forceful resistance movements emerge. These propositions are exceedingly unwelcome to persons in power and to all uncritical celebrants of American civilization[. . . .]

    Don't these rumpus-room revolutionaries ever vary their vocabulary? "Ongoing genocide;" "advanced capitalist societies;" "indigenous peoples and cultures." But even more than the Marxist-Chomskyite brain farts, it's the tone--the arrogance, the self-congratulation, the tacit legitimation of terrorism ("forceful resistance movements")--that lets you know someone in the immediate vicinity is Speaking Truth to Power.

    Hope they use torture

    Churchill, Mayer declares, is an "acerbic and persistent" critic of American society (he's half right) who's being silenced by an "inquisition" that "will make it far more difficult for faculty members at the University of Colorado or anywhere elsewhere [sic] to say things deemed outrageous by the reigning guardians of political and cultural propriety."

    By "outrageous" Mayer means "lies," and by "the reigning guardians of political and cultural propriety" he means "the CU faculty committee on research misconduct."

    Mayer then addresses the most recent charge of plagiarism against Churchill:

    I have not seen or read the 'The Water Plot' article which the Camera editorial identifies as the smoking gun of plagiarism [actually, it doesn't]. The Dam the Dams group, from which Churchill supposedly plagiarized, was part of a broad new left movement for social change, a movement in which I also participated.

    No kidding. And see, Mayer explains, in the 60s and 70s they didn't have all these plastic fantastic hangups about who, you know, owned this or wrote that, man. They just, like, shared:

    Movement people did not conceive the world in terms of property rights, nor were they obsessed with using publications to chalk up status points. Thus the ethics of citation within the new left movement differed substantially from standard academic protocol.

    Uh-huh. Where's The Guess Who when you need them?

    How many?

    Mayer includes a surprisingly vague attempt here at the famous classical proof of the integrity of Ward Churchill's scholarship, the proof from footnotes per chapter:
    I am quite familiar with four of Ward Churchill's books and with a considerable number of his articles. All of these works are densely footnoted and replete with numerous references.
    Weak. How many footnotes, Tom? Do you even know? It's 400, Tom. Four hundred footnotes per chapter, Tom. Jeez.

    Mayer quickly regains his footing:
    Nor is Ward Churchill hesitant to acknowledge intellectual debts. His writings include frequent thanks to people from whom he has learned or borrowed ideas. Given his idiosyncratic admixture of exposition and polemic, I find it hard to imagine how or from whom he could plagiarize[. . . .]
    Ward's an idiosyncratic admixture of something, all right. Mayer finally drags along to his shocking conclusion: "power elites" and "self-proclaimed patriots" are merely trying to get rid of a "politically committed intellectual." CU has "capitulated to this intimidation," and by doing so has confirmed (among other bad things) "its longstanding reputation as an institution unfriendly to people of color."

    How's that again?

    Okay, so Mayer's a flat-out Marxist. What the hell should I expect?

    Well, nothing from him, but it'd be nice if people like the News' Littwin would quit claiming that Ward's peculiar ideas are unusual at CU or any other university. They ain't.

    (via Pirate Ballerina, who also muses on the precise meaning of everybody's "with it" word of the moment, "genocide")

    Tuesday, June 14, 2005

    Kopel versus the Ombudspeople

    In his biweekly media column for the Rocky Mountain News, Dave Kopel never hesitates to slag the Rocky itself for bias and sloppy reporting. And the Rocky, it has gone too long without saying, covers itself in celestial glory by printing Kopel, which it's been doing since 2001.

    What makes the conservative attorney and head of the Independence Institute's criticism of the paper so valuable (besides its conservatism) is that it comes from outside the Rocky. Is there another daily that allows this sort of behavior? None I can think of, and certainly not those
    that have ombudspersons.

    Kopel has an advantage over any ombud: he's not an employee of the newspaper he criticizes, so the Denver Newspaper Agency, which runs both the Post and the News, has no hold over him. They could drop his column, of course, but the seriously prolific Kopel, a glance at his archives suggests, would write it anyway, just for the exercise.

    Compare Kopel's situation to that of, say, the recently resigned "public editor" (now there's a good use of scare quotes) of the New York Times, Daniel Okrent. Can you think of anything of substance he ever called the Times on? That is, before he left the job firing both barrels at Paul Krugman? Donald Luskin couldn't.

    So why don't more papers have someone like Kopel writing a truly independent media column? It's not doing the Rocky any good, it's true, but at this point it certainly can't hurt.

    Update: PBS plans to hire ombudsman. "Jacoba Atlas, PBS senior vice president for programming, said the service wanted to create a better conduit for feedback. 'I think what an ombudsman will do is eliminate any perception that anyone might have that we don't respond to criticism,' she said." Yeah, that'll do it. (via Joel, commenting at Wednesday's miscellaneous links post on LGF)

    Update II: Both PBS and the LA Times say "ombudsman" while I use "ombudsperson." Scary parallel dimension stuff going on there.

    Update III: Romenesko: TUESDAY, JUNE 21, 2005

    What the appointment of a CPB ombud has accomplished "It has sown doubts (or reinforced existing ones) among many listeners (and viewers) that there is something fundamentally wrong at NPR and PBS," writes NPR ombud Jeffrey Dvorkin. "But these doubts are based on impressions, innuendo and hearsay evidence." There's nothing wrong with questioning the practices of journalism, he says, but declaring a priori that there is bias, as [Corporation for Public Broadcasting chairman Kenneth] Tomlinson has, contradicts the high standards of public broadcast stewardship that CPB has always advocated."

    A priori?

    Monday, June 13, 2005

    Beat me daddy, eight to the bar

    The Drunkawife has been urging me to post a pic or two of the Taiko drummers we saw last week at the Zen Center of Denver, of which she has long been a very inactive member (zen joke!).

    First on was koto virtuoso Junko Shigeta. She and a flute player did a couple of classical duets by the father of the modern koto music, Miyagi Michio, whom Shigeta kept referring to endearingly as "Mr. Miyagi."

    Left: Not a great pic, but that's a koto, ok? There was a problem. See the guy upper left? He kept following me around suggesting pictures I should take, and he had the worst breath in human history. I'm just a country blogger, Jim, and out of self-preservation I didn't hang around and wait for the perfect shot. Right: koto side-on. Check out the inlay.

    "Stairway to Heaven" transcribed for koto.

    Boom boom boom boom

    Then came the Denver Taiko drummers, who've been around for almost 30 years and sound like infantry trained in rythmic concussion-grenade throwing.

    The woman up front is DT's leader. She's about 4-foot-9, but crack wise and she'll beat you like a bongo, too.

    The recently renovated Zen Center of Denver is beautiful, by the way. If I were hankerin' after feet like lotuses, the Zen Center of Denver is the place I'd be.

    Sunday, June 12, 2005


    It's easy to forget that when the Maoist Internationalist Movement isn't performing community services like reviewing The Incredibles from a Marxist-Leninist perspective (it's fascist), they're fomenting everyone's favorite struggle, "armed struggle," against the U.S. Now they have a new "discussion group." Shhhhh, if we're vewy vewy quiet, maybe they won't notice us: MIM: assume you've been infiltrated.

    Hang on. I just noticed that the page says "neo-Nazis and crypto-Trotskyists are banned--unless they make self-criticism of course." How's this: "In addition to being a crypto-Trotskyite and a neo-Nazi, I often smell my own feet?" Lots of people could use that one.

    Duty now for the future

    Their security page is a "hoot" too.

    General political tips on security

    Overall, keeping political line on the front-burner is the key link to defeating enemy spies and provocateurs.

    The five most important actions to take on behalf of security are:
    1) Not answering pig questions.
    2) Staying as anonymous as possible.
    3) Not falling for illegal provocations.
    4) Defeating post-modernist ultra-leftist and rightist splitting.
    5) Avoiding honey-traps.

    1) A pig is a cop who barges in your front door. A pig question is any question about the who, when and where details of an activist doing something or just merely living. The classic pig question concerns the identity of a persyn. Of course, completely innocent people ask pig questions, but completely innocent information often ends up in the hands of police, which is why it is important never to ask or answer a pig question. Whether or not asked by a pig, the question would be asked by a pig.

    The other points are elucidated in an similarly sophisticated ("persyn") manner.

    Funny ha-ha

    Yes, MIM has a humor page too:
    Question:How many MIM comrades does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    That's a pig question.
    That is kind of funny, isn't it?

    Friday, June 10, 2005

    The Denver Art Museum--now 70% funnier-shaped!

    It won't be finished until fall 2006, but you can tell what the addition's gonna look like:

    Ummm. . .

    Kitsch? (Denver Central Library on right.)

    We'll see. What really makes me nervous are the paper hands mounted on the fence around the building site:

    Hundreds of them. Thousands. It's creepy.

    Did you like The Blair Witch Project? It was pretty good, I thought.

    Awkward transition

    Daniel Libeskind, who designed the museum addition, doesn't seem to have said anything about the attempt to turn the 9/11 memorial at his World Trade Center into a lesson on why the world hates us.

    (via LGF)


    Crazy John is moving.

    Since he really is crazy, why am I not happy about this? Maybe because it means the half-square-block parcel John' s house sits on has been sold. It's zoned, unfortunately, for just about anything--medical waste, gang hits, satanic rituals, satellite launches. Want to build a red-light district? Home Depot is having a sale on bulbs! Need slaughterhouse space? Mooooove on in!

    Sometimes the crazy guy you know is better than the (potential) 100-unit apartment complex you don't.

    Thursday, June 09, 2005

    Mike Littwin: "Never give up the fight for free spee--ah, screw it"

    The fifth and final part of the Rocky Mountain News series on Ward Churchill today examines his Indian ancestry and finds, shockingly, that he has none. It's good stuff, highly embarrassing to Ward if that were possible, and Pirate Ballerina will take you through it with glee.

    But what I really enjoyed was longtime idiotarian columnist Mike Littwin's same-edition take on the News series, "Free expression at heart of Churchill case." Littwin begins the piece on a note of self-pity:

    For those of us stuck with defending Ward Churchill, this is not an easy time.

    I mean, if the case against Churchill wasn't clear before the Rocky's devastating series on the CU professor, it has to be obvious now to anyone who can read.

    It has become all but impossible to defend Churchill on the facts.

    All but. One commiserates with Mike's distress, but when he says he was "stuck with" defending Churchill, what can he mean? Was he forced into it? Did Churchill threaten him or something? If so, Mike has gotten brave:

    I haven't seen Churchill's 50-page, single-spaced reply to the CU investigative committee, although I can imagine each densely packed sentence, in triplicate. But I have seen his e-mails regarding this series. And I'm still waiting for the first sign of a plausible Churchill defense.

    The facts, as presented, lead you directly to one conclusion:

    At the end of what will seem like an endless round of investigations, CU will eventually get around to firing Churchill.

    It's hard to see how he can survive the charges of plagiarism or the charges of mischaracterizing events material or the charges of misrepresenting source material. (I predict the American Indian ancestry charge will be dropped. It seems his grandma really did tell him he was an Indian.)

    How sweet. His old grammy told him so. This minimization by gentle humor will recur. But first, Mike must inform us that

    [H]owever damning [the facts] seem to be, they don't tell the whole story.

    That's because we can't decide whether this story is about Churchill - one professor - or whether he's only a minor player in his own saga.

    Certainly, the story is about CU, which hired him, gave him tenure and promoted him to department chair despite repeated warning signs.

    Mike really believes this isn't about Churchill being a liar, a thief, a sly preacher of violence, an academic charlatan and an all-around horse's ass; it's about CU, and it's
    . . . obviously about academic freedom and the limits of dissent. That's how the story started and, however the story line has changed, that's where it remains. And it's where the real issue lies.

    There's no story, and no investigation, without Churchill's "little Eichmanns" essay and without the uproar that followed.

    You remember the uproar, even if you never actually got around to reading the essay. It started with the essay and moved on to the suggestion that Churchill was inciting young revolutionaries to violence.

    I'm pretty sure at one point he was being accused of trying to actively overthrow the government.
    So Mike is "pretty sure" somebody "suggested" that Ward advocated violent revolution. But there's no evidence, right? Certainly Mike cites none while dismissing the charge with his trademark gentle sarcasm.

    But now, the CU investigation has settled on the story of Churchill's troubling scholarship. The story is definitely there, as the series ably shows. If there were no prologue, though, I wonder who would be paying any attention to it.

    Some people make the argument that Churchill shouldn't be fired, no matter what the evidence shows. There's a better case to be made. Even if you're not a witch, after all, you can still be a plagiarist.

    But it's too easy to say this is now about Churchill's scholarship. We have moved into dangerous territory. We should never have gone there.

    Nice writing, Mike.

    Any fair reading of the Churchill story says it can't just be about a professor accused of playing loose with the facts. The outrage goes much deeper than that.

    After all, there's no shortage of loose-fact-playing out there in the world - and not just in that part of it where Jayson Blair lives.

    Jayson Blair! He actually pulls Jayson Blair out to defend Churchill!

    And what are we getting so excited about anyway? Churchill is really no big deal compared to all the truly nefarious people skulking around:
    If you want some fresh outrage, look at the story in in The New York Times Wednesday charging that a White House official edited climate reports to alter
    the relationship between emissions and global warming.

    If you want some slightly warmed-over outrage, you should check out the Bush-Blair news conference, in which the president finally addressed the all-but-ignored-by-the-media Downing Street memo.

    The memo dates from a 2002 meeting, eight months before the start of the Iraq war, in which a British official says the Bush administration 'fixed' intelligence to help make the case for removing Saddam.

    My outrage is certainly warmed over now!
    And then there's the Churchill story, which may not rise quite to that level of urgency.

    If you read the Churchill series - and what's remarkable about the series is how many sources that Churchill cited refute his work - you learn at least part of what drives him.

    Churchill wants to show that the treatment of American Indians amounts to genocide. The strange thing is, there is no need to massage the historical record to show the full horror of this story.
    So genocide made him do it, Mikey, is that it? And by the way, you agree with Churchill that it was genocide, right?
    But that isn't where the controversy begins.
    What the Churchill story did was cross the fault lines of the culture war and enter the world of talk radio.
    Oh, no. No, no, no. Please, no.

    You want to get an argument started, mention affirmative action. Or the liberal professoriate.

    Churchill called 9/11 victims little Eichmanns and, when the essay was discovered three years after the fact, he suddenly became more than just Ward Churchill. He became a symbol.

    But of what?

    The truth is that Churchill isn't symbolic of much. The truth is that charges made against Churchill are simply charges made against Churchill.

    The truth is that if it turns out he's a plagiarist, it means only that he's a plagiarist.
    Not quite. What's obvious to almost everyone but Littwin, and precisely why the story has gotten so much attention, is that Churchill is the perfect symbol of the irresponsible academic left; most ethnic studies types, in fact, are just like him. Take Emma Perez, who, when she took over from Ward as chairman of the CU ethnic studies department, made comments just as stupid as, if not stupider than, anything Ward has ever said. Sure, she's his creature, but does anyone really believe this attitude isn't prevalent in ethnic studies departments all over? Apparently Littwin does:

    If there's a bigger story here, it's not about Churchill.

    It's about those who wanted him fired long before anyone looked at his scholarship.

    It's about how CU panicked at the sound of the public outcry.

    It's about having to defend the right of obnoxious speech, which must be done, no matter how hard it turns out to be.

    Not exactly "Give me liberty or give me death," but lead on, idiot fighter for freedom!

    Oh wait, this column is about why you're abandoning Ward. Never mind.

    Wednesday, June 08, 2005

    "An original song of his member"

    When Bubba-brother Roger Clinton visited North Korea in 1999 to "play" in the "Year 2000 Peace and Friendship Concert" (Roger is the fat white guy, center), an official commented, according to the the country's news agency KCNA:

    Roger Clinton . . . is well known among the pop-music circles for presenting many lively and optimistic songs in different countries and regions of the world.
    "The pop music circles." According to the news agency Clinton, "who presented six solo pieces and an original song of his member," gayly declared: "If there is something that I'd like to say to the Korean freely, one must claim, I'll be back."

    Update: Do you think Roger lip-synched during "Our Wish is for Reunification?"

    Churchill: Hell I ain't no scholar

    Favorite quotes from Rocky v. Churchill IV today.

    That the [U.S.] government's goal was to eliminate Indians by diluting their blood through intermarriage is also self-evident, Churchill said.

    'Can you do arithmetic?' he said. 'Sometimes the "duh" factor gets so loud. I really have to cite this to people who are capable of tying their shoes without instructions?'

    Then Churchill outs with this gem of comparative scholarship:

    In talking about the frequency that his own scholarship is cited compared with LaVelle's [a professor who has debunked Churchill's "blood quantum" claims], Churchill said that one annual report showed him with "145-odd law review citations out there. . . . John LaVelle's got about, oh, I don't know, 16, 18.

    This seems to be a popular argument in Ward's defense. His ethnic studies colleague at CU Arturo Aldama once offered this variation:

    He's impeccable on his sources and known for his empirical and archival-based methodologies. Whether you agree with it or not, it's always been praised for academic rigor. He has 400 footnotes per chapter.

    The argument from footnote volume--sure to be welcomed by leftist academics everywhere.

    Update: Pirate Ballerina calls Ward Churchill the "ghost dancer" of an illusory Indian paradise.

    Horatio Alger quote of the week

    No need for "funny" links this week; the straight Ho is enough:
    'Are you intimate with this Luke?' asked Warner, mischievously.

    'What do you take me for?' demanded Harold, offended. 'I am not in the habit of getting intimate with street boys.'

    Warner Powell laughed.

    'I am not so proud as you, Nephew Harold,' he said. 'Travelers pick up strange companions. In San Francisco I became intimate with a Chinaman.'

    'You don't mean it?' exclaimed Harold, in incredulity and disgust.--From Luke Walton, or, The Chicago Newsboy (1889).

    Windschuttle on Fisk and Pilger

    Whacking Day points out the "unholy beating" Keith Windschuttle gives "shameless lying traitor John Pilger, and the Arab-tyrant-loving cretin Robert Fisk" in the June New Criterion.

    It's all of that, and as a bonus, Windschuttle mauls the pair mainly by contrasting their methods with those of Victor Davis Hanson.

    Tuesday, June 07, 2005

    Rocky v. Churchill III: the plagiarizing

    Ward. Plagiarism. Rocky. Read.

    And Pirate Ballerina has a June 3 e-mail from Churchill's wife and fellow CU ethnic studies prof. Natsu Taylor Saito to supporters about CU's "investigation" (her scare quotes) into Churchill's scholarship. It has all the usual Churchillian crapola, plus a remarkably sly and arrogant April 13 e-mail in support of Churchill from Noam Chomsky. A fun part:

    I have no idea what the plagiarism and other issues are [surrrre you don't] [but] if the charges were serious, they would have been brought up before. For what it's worth, there's no indication of that in anything of his I read-that is, nothing more than is standard in scholarship. . . . .

    Does that include your scholarship, Noamy?

    Heightening the hilarity, Saito's e-mail also contains a little polemical attachment (well, five of them). This particular one tells us

    While we have received expressions of support from tens of thousand of people around the country, we also think it important to note the racism and intolerance that lies so close below the surface. Following are excerpts from e-mails and letters received by the Department of Ethnic Studies, Ward Churchill and other faculty and staff between January 31 and April 15, 2005.

    They are not the most hateful, threatening or obscene that we have received, but particularly reflect the racism, sexism, and lack of historical understanding that we work to counter. . . .
    So ethnic studies departments are a counter to racist and sexist morons. I did not know that.

    Update: Introducing CU's new chair of the ethnic studies department.

    Monday, June 06, 2005

    Anybody feel sorry for him yet?

    As hoped, people stomp all over Ward Churchill in part 2 of the Rocky's investigation today, and it's drawing blood. The Plie-ing Pirate has lots o' links, and changes his toe shoes for Doc Martens to get in a few kicks himself, so I'll just pull a few of my favorite quotes from the Rocky:
  • Russell Thornton, professor of anthropology at UCLA, Cherokee Indian, and an expert on Indian population statistics, on Ward's academic research skillz: "He's a terrible scholar."
  • Ward, on Thomas Brown, an associate professor of sociology at Lamar University in Texas who refutes Ward's repeated claim that the U.S. Army gave Mandan Indians blankets infected with smallpox: "a punk."
  • Thornton again, also on Ward's smallpox allegations: "I think it's just out-and-out fabrication."

    It's going to be like Christmas every day (through Thursday).
  • Sunday, June 05, 2005

    Mad? That's not quite the word

    After Howard Dean's dumb speech at the Campaign for America's Future conference Thursday, C-Span aired a panel discussion--self-inflatingly titled Blogfire--of leftie bloggers who had attended the care-and-share fest.

    Supposedly Wonkette and Joshua Micah Marshall were going to be there, but either I missed them (I caught only the second hour) or they blew it off. So it was pretty boring without the head and, er, heart of the left blogosphere.

    But at least one panelist, the professionally feisty radio blatherer Stephanie Miller, did say something fascinating, or at least caused a reaction that was fascinating. (The other b-teamers were Duncan ("Atrios") Black; Christopher Rabb of; somebody going under the name Jerome Armstrong of something called; and The Nation's egregiously lipless Washington editor David Corn.)

    What Miller said was that the Democrats need Howard Dean as DNC chairman, for a number of reasons but mainly because "he makes the Republicans so mad." The audience cheered and clapped at this, but the panel seemed rather . . . quiet, and I believe Rabb actually said he didn't support Dean. Very interesting, in light of what Sens. Biden and Edwards said about Dean today. The Republicans think they are the party in disarray, but, as the differing reactions to Dean's speech show, they've got nothing on the Dems.

    Update: Dean's speech is featured nowhere on the Campaign's site. You have to click on "Media Center" to find a .pdf or .doc transcript. No video.

    Update II: Bonus Miller. "Barbara Boxer is not just doing the Lord's work, she is the Lord."

    Saturday, June 04, 2005

    A Churchill Cornucopia

    The Rocky Mountain News kicked off a five-part (count 'em!) series today on sickening CU ethnic studies prof Ward Churchill. Looks good, even though the Rocky, being a big newspaper with libel attorneys and everything, irritatingly calls Churchill's gigantic lies and moral imbecilities merely "problems."

    The Ward-centric Pirate Ballerina, which labors under, er, fewer such constraints, is having a disturbingly good time with the story. (The Ballerina's Jim Paine even helped the Rocky in its investigation of Churchill's ancestry for the series.) (He's still not an Indian.)

    Anyway, the Rocky series promises good clean fun for sane Americans of all ages. The first part alone contains at least one line of comic genius: "If Churchill is cleared, the committee [on research misconduct] must determine to what extent his reputation has been damaged and how that might be atoned." Ha-ha!

    Update: Second favorite line, from Ward: "I don't do the Lady Clairol and I don't do the pancake makeup like Susan Harjo, OK?"

    Friday, June 03, 2005

    Rain dance

    The tornado sirens went off a few minutes ago. First time for Denver County in many years, I think, and right now it's raining about as hard as I've ever seen around here. Just another sign the drought is ending, I hope.

    Isn't he a liberal?

    I've read two columns by the Miami Herald's Leonard Pitts in my life. One is his magnificent screed of 9/12/2001, which begins by calling the Islamofascists "unspeakable bastards" and ends by warning them, "You don't know what you just started. But you're about to learn."

    The other is today's, which he addresses directly to the Carterville (Ga.) Daily Tribune News columnist who, Pitts just discovered, has plagiarized him at least eight times since March. It begins:

    Dear Chris Cecil:

    Here's how you write a newspaper column. First, you find a topic that engages you. Then you spend a few hours banging your head against a computer screen until what you've written there no longer makes you want to hurl.

    And includes this paragraph, which is one of the most unbelievable things I've ever read:

    The one [plagiarism] that really got me, though, was your theft of a personal anecdote about the moment I realized my mother was dying of cancer. ''The tears surprised me,'' I wrote. ''I pulled over, blinded by them.'' Seven days later, there you were: ``The tears surprised me. I pulled over, blinded by them on central Kentucky's I-75.''
    Pitts has steam coming out of his ears.

    (via Rathergate)

    Update: In an apology like a forthright schoolboy's, The Dismal Seepage Daily Tribune Carbuncle announced today that it had fired Cecil. The note from "management and news staff" was posted at 2:01 CDT, which means that it may have been put up just minutes after Pitt's column.

    Thursday, June 02, 2005


    "Richard Wagner's lasting claim on our attention rests above all on his conception of the 'total work of art' or Gesamtkunstwerk, in which music, poetry, dramatic action, and visual spectacle blend to create an overpowering experience."--John H. McWhorter

    Of course, I post this quote only because I know my reader(s) will recognize the parallel and say to themselves, "Why, my favorite blog also combines music, poetry, dramatic action and visual spectacle to create an overpowering experience." We shall leave for another day how that overpowering experience might manifest itself.

    (via the Brothers Judd, who for years have claimed that Eric and Julia Roberts are really the same person, merely to divert attention from the fact that they they themselves are actually the famous female country singers)

    Wednesday, June 01, 2005

    Horatio Alger quote of the week

    As Mother Watson will not reappear in this story, it may be said that only a fortnight later she was arrested for an assault upon her sister, the proprietor of the apple-stand, from whom she had endeavored in vain to extort a loan, and was sentenced to the Island for a period of three months, during which she ceased to grace metropolitan society.

    --from Mark, The Matchboy, which is coupled with Alger's earlier Ragged Dick in this edition.

    Interesting facts and figures

    The Salt Lake Tribune reported last week that the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon was running at 66,000 cubic feet a second, with a predicted peak over Memorial Day of 70,000 cfs. It's running at 52,000 today. Seventy-thousand is nowhere near a record (114,900 in 1984; estimated as high as 225,000 in 1884), but this spring's runoff is the highest in seven years.

    So the Park Service has extra boats patrolling at the canyon's "Big Drops" to nab rafts and equipment and people as they splutter by. People who've quit spluttering they probably just fish out at Lake Powell.

    W. Mark Felt?

    What a disappointment. But at least W. Mark Felt is having a good time. Nobody would begrudge him that, even if it was actually W. Mark Felt, not Woodward and Bernstein, who inspired much of the journalism committed over the past three decades.

    Update: Say it fast a few times and it'll come out "W. Fart Melk."