Author Archive: Tom Maguire

Shaggy Blog: It’s a good laugh for a good cause and Tim Worstall is involved with this project (at lucky 13) so we have every confidence it is excellent. Well, for Brit humour, anyway.

Opportunity Lost: Inspired by the posting below about the “Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion”, I feel obliged to point out that the “Vice Inclusion and Equity Chancellor” would be, here it comes, the Vice ICE.

Now, if we could just get the University of Miami interested…

If You Read One Story About The Plame Hearing: I currently am recommending Matt Apuzzo of the Associated Press, who has done a fine job on the Plame/Libby story for months. But if this is like potato chips and you want one more, John Podhoretz provides some fun at The Corner.

OK, it is potato chips for me – the news that Ms. Plame is so covert that not even she knows if she is legally covert is the stuff of late night comedy. This is from Mr. Apuzzo:Plame also repeatedly described herself as a covert operative, a term that has multiple meanings. Plame said she worked undercover and traveled abroad on secret missions for the CIA.

But the word “covert” also has a legal definition requiring recent foreign service and active efforts to keep someone’s identity secret. Critics of Fitzgerald’s investigation said Plame did not meet that definition for several reasons and said that’s why nobody was charged with the leak.

…Plame said she wasn’t a lawyer and didn’t know what her legal status was but said it shouldn’t have mattered to the officials who learned her identity.

I can quit anytime… but if you are weak of will, more here. (Shameless self-promotion alert).

WHOOPS: The WaPo switched stories at their site, but the link to Matt Apuzzo is fixed now.

Back At The Movies: A Just One Daughter (teenaged-edition) saw “Pan’s Labyrinth” last the weekend and delivered qualified raves. Apparently it is a post-Spanish civil war fairy tale about a young girl who, discontented with her tumultuous family life, discovers a magical world populated by mythical creatures in her backyard.

However! Despite that seemingly innocent description, she assures me that life in this mythical world can be nasty, brutish, and short. Fantasy is no escape from reality even in the movies.

My daughter thought this film to be a work of art with an original theme and would recommend it highly. BUT! She was also emphatic that the film was dark and upsetting – do respect that “R” rating.

Other reviews here.

But Would The Answer Change If We Waterboarded Him? Dan Drezner appraises Barack Obama:

If someone pointed a gun to my head today and demanded that I say who I think will be the president in 2009:

1) I’d be pretty annoyed, because I thought I had moved to a safe neighborhood;

2) I’d say Barack Obama

This hunch — and that’s all it is — makes me want to know how Obama thinks about foreign policy…

As do we all.

Gonzaga Out, Gonzales… : If you picked Gonzaga to outlast Gonzales, you lose!

Time Travel At The LA Times: Patterico catches a reversal of causality.

Why Can’t A Woman Write More Like A Man? Patricia Cohen of the NY Times tells us that women are woefully under-represented in the submission of op-eds to major newspapers. But there is good news!

The obvious solution, at least to Catherine Orenstein, an author, activist and occasional op-ed page contributor herself, was to get more women to submit essays. To that end Ms. Orenstein has been training women at universities, foundations and corporations to write essays and get them published.

Evidently the ladies were dozing while the guys took notes in the “How to write an op-ed” class at school. But beyond the lack of any formal training in how to write a clear, concise, and cogent argument, there is apparently another obstacle – women are too naive and idealistic to succeed in this cutthroat endeavor:

Next [Ms. Orenstein] asked the participants why they thought it important to write op-ed articles. Women shouted: “Change the world,” “shape public debate,” “offer a new perspective,” “influence public policy.”

“You are all such do-gooders,” Ms. Orenstein said laughing, “I love this.” She then proceeded to create another kind of list that included fame, money, offers of books, television series and jobs.

The Rev. Dr. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, an Episcopal priest and the executive director of Political Research Associates in Boston, frowned. “It’s not why I do it,” she said.

That, Ms. Orenstein declared, is a typically female response: “I never had a man say, ‘That’s not why I do it.’ ”

“What I want to suggest to you,” she continued, is that the personal and the public interests are not at odds, and “the belief that they are mutually exclusive has kept women out of power.” Don’t you want money, credibility, access to aid in your cause? she asked.

Cristina Page, a spokeswoman for Birth Control Watch in Washington, leaned forward. “I’ve never heard anyone say that before,” she said. “What you’ve just said is so important. It’s liberating.”

Liberating? I’m just about liberated from my… never mind.

To be sure, Ms. Cohen does not claim to be attempting a complete explanation of female under-representation on our nation’s op-ed pages. However, she might have done more than simply promote Ms. Orenstein’s consultancy – why not write about women in related media, such as, hmm, blogging?

It is the second anniversary of this Kevin Drum post but it is good place to start. His launching point was the same Estrich-Kinsley brawl that noted in the Times article.

Some Troops Left Behind: I guess it depends on the meaning of “withdraw” – Hillary Clinton has spoken on Iraq, but she has not been greeted as a liberator. Her controversial interview with the Times produced this lead:

If Elected …
Clinton Says Some G.I.’s in Iraq Would Remain

WASHINGTON, March 14 — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton foresees a “remaining military as well as political mission” in Iraq, and says that if elected president, she would keep a reduced military force there to fight Al Qaeda, deter Iranian aggression, protect the Kurds and possibly support the Iraqi military.

In a half-hour interview on Tuesday in her Senate office, Mrs. Clinton said the scaled-down American military force that she would maintain would stay off the streets in Baghdad and would no longer try to protect Iraqis from sectarian violence — even if it descended into ethnic cleansing.

In outlining how she would handle Iraq as commander in chief, Mrs. Clinton articulated a more nuanced position than the one she has provided at her campaign events, where she has backed the goal of “bringing the troops home.”

She said in the interview that there were “remaining vital national security interests in Iraq” that would require a continuing deployment of American troops.

Ahh! Let’s hear thunder from the left – Matt Stoller of MyDD says “Wow… This is a very dangerous roadmap for the Democrats.

The Agonist tells us that “Democrats will now have a clear choice between a pro-war candidate and candidates who are clearly for ending the war.

For lightning from the right, Captain Ed Morrissey describes Hillary’s willingness to have US troops stand back during a genocide as “abysmal, cynical, and completely self-serving”…

I have a different question – this part of the NY Times report seems to have garnered little attention:

Mrs. Clinton has said she would vote for a proposed Democratic resolution on Iraq now being debated on the floor of the Senate, which sets a goal of withdrawing combat forces by March 31, 2008. Asked if her plan was consistent with the resolution, Mrs. Clinton and her advisers said it was, noting that the resolution also called for “a limited number” of troops to stay in Iraq to protect the American Embassy and other personnel, train and equip Iraqi forces, and conduct “targeted counterterrorism operations.”

(Senator Barack Obama, a rival of Mrs. Clinton, has said that if elected president, he might keep a small number of troops in Iraq.)

OK, what is a “limited number” or a “small number”? This article takes a stab at Hillary’s plan and cites a figure of 75.000. Have Dem leaders put a number on “limited”, and is Sen. Clinton stretching it beyond recognition?

We Won’t Leave “No Child Left Behind” Behind: The Eduwonk covers the latest, which is a Republican bill meant to create an opt-out provision for states unhappy with the Federal bureaucracy and testing requirments. Kevin Drum admits that yesterday’s conspiracy theory took a hit in light of today’s news.

Two From The Times: I Boldly Predict these two stories will generate some blogospheric buzz today:

Iraqis’ Progress Lags Behind Pace Set by Bush Plan

WASHINGTON, March 14 — The Bush administration, which six months ago issued a series of political goals for the Iraqi government to meet by this month, is now tacitly acknowledging that the goals will take significantly longer to achieve.

In interviews this week, administration officials said that the military buildup intended to stabilize Baghdad and create the conditions for achieving the objectives would not be fully in place until June and that all of the objectives would not be fulfilled until the year’s end.

A “notional political timeline” that the administration provided to Congress in January in an attachment to a letter from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, had called for most of the objectives to be met by this month.

And this article on carbon sequestration will tie in to the global warming discussion:

In a Test of Capturing Carbon Dioxide, Perhaps a Way to Temper Global Warming

WASHINGTON, March 14 — American Electric Power, a major electric utility, is planning the largest demonstration yet of capturing carbon dioxide from a coal-fired power plant and pumping it deep underground.

Various experts consider that approach, known as sequestration, essential to reining in climate change by preventing the gas from being added to the atmospheric blanket that promotes global warming.

Just something to consider with your coffee.

One Number To Ring Them All, One Number To Find Them: This sounds like a force for great evil, or great good:

Its motto, “One number for life,” pretty much says it all. At, you choose a new, single, unified phone number (more on this in a moment). You hand it out to everyone you know, instructing them to delete all your old numbers [home, cell, office] from their Rolodexes.

From now on, whenever somebody dials your new uninumber, all of your phones ring simultaneously, like something out of “The Lawnmower Man.”

No longer will anyone have to track you down by dialing each of your numbers in turn. No longer does it matter if you’re home, at work or on the road. Your new GrandCentral phone number will find you.


It Didn’t Seem Like A Trick Question: Andrew Sullivan flags Hillary Clinton caught without her focus groups – we are excerpting Jake Tapper of ABC News, who asked Sen. Clinton whether homosexuality was immoral:

“Well I’m going to leave that to others to conclude,” she said. “I’m very proud of the gays and lesbians I know who perform work that is essential to our country, who want to serve their country and I want make sure they can.”

No Profiles in Courage there. As a benchmark, here is George Bush from a July 2003 press conference:

Q Thank you, sir. Mr. President, many of your supporters believe that homosexuality is immoral. They believe that it’s been given too much acceptance in policy terms and culturally. As someone who’s spoken out in strongly moral terms, what’s your view on homosexuality?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I am mindful that we’re all sinners, and I caution those who may try to take the speck out of their neighbor’s eye when they got a log in their own. I think it’s very important for our society to respect each individual, to welcome those with good hearts, to be a welcoming country. On the other hand, that does not mean that somebody like me needs to compromise on an issue such as marriage. And that’s really where the issue is heading here in Washington, and that is the definition of marriage.

We’re all sinners” is not exactly a rejection of the notion that homosexuality is immoral, sooo… let’s say that Hillary managed to get to the left of George Bush on this issue. Barely.

MORE: Reader BD imagines the follow-up Q&A:

Senator Clinton, should we increase taxes? Well, I’m going to leave that for others to decide.

Senator Clinton, should we combat global warming? Well I’m going to leave that for others to decide.

Senator Clinton, should we pull the troops out of Iraq or leave them in? Well, I’m going to leave that for others to decide.

UPDATE: Per Newsday, Barack Obama also waltzed around this question. Interestingly, Mr.Obama also thinks that John Edwards is “kind of cute”. [No news on Edwards, but Sen. Obama has finally decided that gay is OK.]

UNRELENTING: Having had a chance to huddle with her friends and consultants, Sen. Clinton is no longer leaving this issue for others to decide::

I disagree with General Pace completely. I do not think homosexuality is immoral.

Zogby Poll On Media Bias:

The vast majority of American voters believe media bias is alive and well – 83% of likely voters said the media is biased in one direction or another, while just 11% believe the media doesn’t take political sides, a recent IPDI/Zogby Interactive poll shows.

…Nearly two-thirds of those online respondents who detected bias in the media (64%) said the media leans left, while slightly more than a quarter of respondents (28%) said they see a conservative bias on their TV sets and in their column inches.

…While 97% of Republicans surveyed said the media are liberal, two-thirds of political independents feel the same, but fewer than one in four independents (23%) said they saw a conservative bias. Democrats, while much more likely to perceive a conservative bias than other groups, were not nearly as sure the media was against them as were the Republicans. While Republicans were unified in their perception of a left-wing media, just two-thirds of Democrats were certain the media skewed right – and 17% said the bias favored the left.

17% of Dems say the media tilts left? Those respondents have no message discipline at all.

Stand Back, Socrates: We unify the key stories of the day with just one question: Will Gonzaga outlast Gonzales?

No Paranoia Left Behind: Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias are slugging it out – do conservatives support the 100% proficiency goal of No Child Left Behind as part of a secret scheme to deem every public school in America a failure? Kevin says yes, Matt says no, Kevin says maybe, Matt still says no

Well. The vast right wing conspiracy is apparently back and better than ever (ouyay owknay erewhay otay eetmay, ightray?), but I don’t think we are quite this sly. My guess – Republicans are figuring that if NCLB is going to be amended to become “Some Children Left Behind”, we can defer that PR puzzle to President Obama. Of course, an obvious step would be to keep the 100% proficiency goal but extend the deadline from 2014 to, say, 2020.

Whoever succeeds Bush will no doubt have plenty of opportunities to identify inherited but unrealistic goals.

Pardon Us For Not Getting Up: Patrick Sullivan on the passing of a man who changed the backside of America.

“Be More Than You Can Be”: A very cool article about military applications for “The Glove“, by way of Hot Air. More here, but can I get one on Amazon? Well, here is the company’s home site.

Million dollar idea du jour – why don’t I see these in every health club in America?

UPDATE: Similar very cool stuff in the Danger Room.

Eight Men Out: Patterico defends the Bush Administration and wonders about the LA Times coverage of the emails related to the fired US attorneys.

But from the other side, the Anonymous Liberal discusses “The Email That May Take Down Alberto Gonzales“.

MORE: “Randomized hackery” from Orin Kerr? Does that make him the Stochastic Hack? (h/t AA).

And let’s keep ‘Hilzoy‘ in the mix; the link to this Feb 2007 Congressional Research Study on the history of fired US attorneys is helpful.

You Might Say He Found A Key For Every Door – John Denver is honored in Colorado.

Studying The Study: Yesterday we queried a study purporting to demonstrate that the Bush Administration investigated Democrats out of proportion to their numbers. Pat at Stubborn Facts has taken a longer look and has found significant methodological problems with the research.

That probably means Paul Krugman will cite it again.

Bill Hobbs Has More On Fred Thompson.