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Archive Edition for   Tuesday, December 14, 2004Go to Current Page
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Quoted in this edition:

Ace of Spades HQ
  Ann Althouse
American Prospect
  Matthew Yglesias
  Andrew Sullivan
Angry Bear
Associated Press
  Rebecca Cook
  Gavin Rabinowitz
  Jim Abrams
  Brian Skoloff
  Beth Defalco
  Carrie Spencer
The Australian
  Janet Albrechtsen
  Jack Balkin
Betsy's Page
  Betsy Newmark
Boston Globe
  Michael Kranish
Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal
BrothersJudd Blog
  Peter Burnet
  Orrin Judd
The Buck Stops Here
  Stuart Buck
Burnt Orange Report
  Byron LaMasters
  Jeff Jarvis
Captain's Quarters
  Captain Ed
CBS News
Center for American Progress
  Dan Restrepo
  Todd Pearson
  Rickheller @Centerfield
  Arthur Chrenkoff
Chris C Mooney
  Chris Mooney
Christian Science Monitor
Chronicle of Higher Education
CJR Campaign Desk Home
  Susan Q. Stranahan
The Claremont Institute
  Tom Karako
The Corner
  John J. Miller
  John Derbyshire
  Michael Graham
  Lambert @Corrente
  Xan @Corrente
Crescat Sententia
  Will Baude
Crooked Timber
  Henry Farrell
Daily Kos
  Kos @DailyKos
  Damian Penny
  Frederick Maryland
  Eugene Oregon
  Michael Froomkin
  Ruy Teixeira
  Steve Antler
  Ed Driscoll
  Ed Cone
Editor and Publisher
  Noam Scheiber
the evangelical outpost
  Joe Carter
Foreign Policy
  Marina Ottaway
The Gadflyer
  Bart Acocella
Gut Rumbles
Happy Furry Puppy Story Time with Norbizness
Hit and Run
  Tim Cavanaugh
  Nick Gillespie
Houston Chronicle
  Thomas Korosec
  Hugh Hewitt
  Angus McDowall
  Glenn Reynolds
Ipse Dixit
  C. D. Harris
  Joanne Jacobs
  Tom Maguire
Lean Left
  Kevin T. Keith
The Left Coaster
  Steve Soto
The Liquid List
  Tarek @LiquidList
  Shawn @LiquidList
Little Green Footballs
  Charles Johnson
Los Angeles Times
  Elizabeth Jensen
The Mahablog
  Barbara O'Brien
Marginal Revolution
  Tyler Cowen
Matthew Yglesias
  Matthew Yglesias
MaxSpeak, You Listen!
  Max B. Sawicky
Media Notes Extra
  Howard Kurtz
Michelle Malkin
  Michelle Malkin
Minneapolis Star Tribune
The Moderate Voice
  Joe Gandelman
  Jeannette Walls
  Chris Bowers
The National Debate
New York Newsday
New York Post
  Niles Lathem
New York Times
  Edmund L. Andrews
  Adam Cohen
  Sheryl Gay Stolberg
  David Brooks
  Joseph Kahn
  Neela Banerjee
  Michael Isikoff
No More Mister Nice Blog
  Steve M.
Not Geniuses
  Joe Drymala
NY Daily News
  Russ Buettner
Off the Kuff
  Charles Kuffner
Oliver Willis
  Oliver Willis
Opinion Journal
  Brendan Miniter
  Mark Helprin
Outside The Beltway
  James Joyner
  Patrick Belton
  Jesse Taylor
  Pejman Yousefzadeh
The Peking Duck
  Richard TPD
The People's Republic of Seabrook
  Jack Cluth
  Jayson @PoliPundit
  Lorie Byrd
  DJ Drummond
Politics from Left to Right
  Chris Nolan
Power Line
  The Big Trunk
  Greg Ransom
  Steve Bainbridge
protein wisdom
  Jeff Goldstein
Questions and Observations Blog
  Jon Henke
  Dale Franks
  Cori Dauber
  Susan Cornwell
the road to surfdom
  Tim Dunlop
Sacramento Bee
  Joe Conason
  Perry de Havilland
Scott Rosenberg's Links & Comment
  Scott Rosenberg
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  Chris McGann
Seattle Times
  David Postman
Secular Blasphemy
  Jan Haugland
The Sideshow
  Avedon Carol
Silent Running
  Tom Paine
Silflay Hraka
  Chris Suellentrop
a small victory
  Michele Catalano
South Knox Bubba
  SK Bubba
Southern Appeal
  Michael DeBow
  Paul @SouthernAppeal
  QD @SouthernAppeal
The Spoons Experience
  Christopher Kanis
Steve Clemons
  Steve Clemons
Steve Gilliard's News Blog
  Steve Gilliard
Suburban Guerrilla
  Susan Madrak
t a c i t u s
  Thorley Winston
  Bird Dog
Taegan Goddard's Political Wire
  Taegan Goddard
Talking Points Memo
  Josh Marshall
  Jeralyn Merritt
  Sam Rosenfeld
  Matthew Yglesias
  Nick Confessore
Tech Central Station
  James Joyner
  Glenn Harlan Reynolds
  Arnold Kling
  Mark Steyn
This Is London
This Modern World
  Tom Tomorrow
Unqualified Offerings
  Jim Henley
USA Today
  Peter Eisler
The Volokh Conspiracy
  Orin Kerr
  Juan Non-Volokh
  MB Williams
War and Piece
  Laura Rozen
The Washington Monthly
  Kevin Drum
Washington Post
  Alicia Mundy
  E. J. Dionne Jr.
  Christopher Muste
Washington Times
  Charles Hurt
Weekly Standard
  Fred Barnes
White House
Will Wilkinson / The Fly Bottle
  Will Wilkinson
World O'Crap

Most G.O.P. Plans to Remake Social Security Involve Deep Cuts to Tomorrow's Retirees
  By / NYT   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 - As President Bush gears up for a major public push to overhaul Social Security, he has focused almost all his rhetorical energy on the need to let people divert some of their taxes to private retirement accounts.
PGL: Well, Edmund Andrews reads the fine print.
Nick Confessore: This New York Times news analysis gets it right: [snipped quote] There's simply no two ways around it.
Susan Madrak: UP IS DOWN, DAY IS NIGHT — You know that Social Security panel Bush announced?
Tom Maguire: Well, another day, another story - today, Mr. Andrews assures us that Republicans are well aware that higher equity...
Lambert @Corrente: Now the straight-out-of-Dawn-of-t he-Dead Times does the same thing with "single mother" Sandy Jaques, who is a winger...
DeLong: He does do a good job of pointing out that the private-accounts emperor has no clothes: "The New York Times >...
Also: Josh Marshall

Bush Honors Tenet, Franks, Bremer
  CBS News   —   Permalink 
(AP) President Bush awarded the nation's highest civilian honor Tuesday to three men central to his Iraq policy, saying they had played "pivotal roles in great events."
Jim Henley: President George W. Bush, for awarding the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to: a military man for...
Jon Henke: Can somebody explain...why... "A U.S. soldier was sentenced to three years in jail for the murder of a wounded...
James Joyner: Bush Awards Freedom Medal to Tenet, Franks, and Bremer — Bush Honors Tenet, Franks, Bremer (CBS-AP)
Christopher Kanis: GEORGE TENET AWARDED PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM (Source) I'd say that in the mind-shattering irony department, that...

Are Newspaper Readers Going Republican, Too?
  Editor and Publisher   —   Permalink 
NEW YORK Even as a new Gallup poll shows that the public values "values" less than November exit polls suggested, another survey from the same outfit released today showed a historic surge in Republican party affiliation.
Ace: Realignment Reality? Gallup says maybe: [snipped quote] Memo to the GOP: Don't blow it.
Steve Bainbridge: Everybody Loves a Winner — [snipped quote] I'm not ready to claim the recent election was a realignment evet yet, however.
Orrin Judd: REALIGNMENT TAKES EVERYTHING WITH IT (via The Other Brother): Are Newspaper Readers Going Republican, Too?
Betsy Newmark: This is a real eye-opener of a poll result. A plurality of respondents now identify themselves as Republicans.

What's New in the Legal World? A Growing Campaign to Undo the New Deal
  By / NYT   —   Permalink 
The New Deal made an unexpected appearance at the Supreme Court recently - in the form of a 1942 case about wheat. Some prominent states' rights conservatives were asking the court to overturn Wickard v. Filburn, a landmark ruling that laid out an expansive view of Congress's power to legislate in the public interest.
Sam Rosenfeld: Adam Cohen has a very useful "editorial observer" piece in today's New York Times about the right's broader (and in some...
Orin Kerr: Adam Cohen suggests in The New York Times that the Supreme Court may be on its way to declaring the New Deal unconstitutional.
Will Baude: Kerr v Cohen — In response to this piece by Adam Cohen suggesting that we should fear a Supreme Court suppression of...
Ann Althouse: Adam Cohen has an editorial about the prospect of the Supreme Court bringing back the so-called "Constitution in exile."
Orrin Judd: WELL, IT DIDN'T WORK: What's New in the Legal World?

Statement on Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients
  White House   —   Permalink 
President Bush will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to L. Paul Bremer III, Tommy R. Franks, and George J. Tenet in a ceremony at the White House on December 14, 2004.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation's highest civil award.
Norbizness: Uh-huh. I get it. The standard, and not altogether incorrect, response to TenetFranksBremer getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom is located here.
Steve Clemons: Today, L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer III, General Tommy Franks, and CIA Director George Tenet (who is reportedly asking $5...
James Joyner: The White House's Statement on Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients doesn't provide any additional clues.
Taegan Goddard: Three Get Presidential Medal — President Bush awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former Iraq administrator...

Rumsfeld under fire for handling of Iraq
  MSNBC   —   Permalink 
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has come under attack from two well-known Republican figures with military experience over his handling of the Iraq war.
Harley: While it seems beyond the realm of possibility that Rumsfeld will do anything other than cling to his post at the behest...
Oliver Willis: You gotta wonder WTF McCain and Schwarzkopf have been smoking if they haven't realized what an insensitive, incompetent boob Rumsfeld is up to this point.
Steve Bainbridge: But it looks like I'm not the only conservative around who has a problem with Rumsfeld: [snipped quote] A fish rots from the head.
Frederick Maryland: Rumsfeld Gets Slammed — MSNBC reports: "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has come under attack from Republican Sen...

Google Is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database
  NYT   —   Permalink 
Google, the operator of the world's most popular Internet search service, plans to announce an agreement today with some of the nation's leading research libraries and Oxford University to begin converting their holdings into digital files that would be freely searchable over the Web.
Scott Rosenberg: Google and the public good — For those of us who are still consumers of those bundles of printed content known as...
Michael DeBow: For more info, check today's NY Times and Google's press release.
Ed Cone: NYT: "Google is adding major libraries to its database." This is A-1, above-the-fold news in the print edition. Should be, too.
Jan Haugland: Google adding major libraries to index — Google has entered cooperation with major research libraries to convert massive amounts of books into digital form.
Jeff Jarvis: Following Google's wonderful announcement that it is scanning and making available to us all searchable text from...
Steve Gilliard: Books online — [snipped quote] Google Is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database By JOHN MARKOFF and EDWARD WYATT...
Also: Kevin Raybould, Brian Doherty, McQ, Damian Penny, Ogged @Unfogged, Pejman Yousefzadeh, Dave Winer, KJL

Protest Launched Against Sinclair
  By / LAT   —   Permalink 
NEW YORK — A coalition of liberal political groups is launching a nationwide protest against Sinclair Broadcast Group, charging that the 62-station TV broadcaster, which was also the target of intense criticism during the presidential campaign, is misusing public airwaves with partisan news programming.
Captain Ed: Elizabeth Jensen writes that MMA will launch a new website and encourage a letter-writing campaign to highlight...
RCox: Rob Reiner scared off by Terminator Libs Band Together against Sinclair Broadcasting
Kos @DailyKos: — The good folks over at Media Matters, backed by MoveOn, Working Assets and several other liberal...
Atrios: — Protest Launched Against Sinclair: NEW YORK — A coalition of liberal political groups is...
Chris Bowers: Taking Down Sinclair — We beat them once: "Sinclair drew controversy — and the ire of Democrats — in October, when...

Empty Chair
  By / Slate   —   Permalink 
Listen to this story on NPR's Day to Day.
If establishment Democrats still fear Howard Dean, they ought to elect him chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Bart Acocella: Slate Misses The Boat — Chris Suellentrop makes a weak case that it really doesn't matter who becomes the next Chair of the DNC.
Matthew Yglesias: Chris Suellentrop makes the case against caring in Slate and it seems pretty convincing to me.
Betsy Newmark: Chris Suellentrop points out that it really doesn't matter who gets to be DNC chair and that it's basically a nothing of a job.

Share the joy by spreading jobs around the world
  By / The Australian   —   Permalink 
GIVE a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for life. Trite, perhaps, but this old adage illustrates an iron rule of economics and the first principle of foreign aid. The economic point is that only a sustainable job can provide lasting prosperity.
Arthur Chrenkoff: On a similar theme, Janet Albrechtsen, also in the "Australian", writes: [quote] "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.[end quote]
Tim Dunlop: Outsourcing Janet — Dear Mr Murdoch, Can I please suggest you take up Ms Albrechtsen's suggestion and give her job to a nice Indian person?

The parent trap
  Minneapolis Star Tribune   —   Permalink 
Dawn Kast and her teenage daughters, Danielle and Brianna, shop together and listen to the same classic rock. When the band Journey appeared near their home in Onalaska, Wis., they went to the concert together. They even agree on politics, for the most part.
Betsy Newmark: This is no surprise to me since I spend my days with teenagers and have two wonderful daughters whom I regard as my closest friends.
Pejman Yousefzadeh: . . MASS HYSTERIA!" I should plan on becoming a father soon, before current trends come to a screeching halt.

BNP leader held in racial incitement arrest
  Telegraph   —   Permalink 
Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, has been arrested in connection with an investigation into inciting racial hatred, the party says.
It follows a television documentary exposing the extent of alleged racism in the organisation.
Perry de Havilland: First they came for the odious ones... The leader of the neo-fascist British National Party has been arrested by West...
John Derbyshire: This is on the same day that John Tyndall has been arrested for (so far as one can gather) saying unpleasant things about Islam.

Study: Christmas deadliest day for Americans
  Reuters   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Christmas is the deadliest day of the year for Americans with 12.4 percent more deaths than normal, researchers said on Monday.
More Americans die from heart attacks and other natural causes on Christmas, the day after and on New Year's Day than on any other days of the year, the researchers reported.
Acidman: all i want for christmas... ... is to live through it.
James Joyner: Christmas Deadliest Day of Year — Study: Christmas deadliest day for Americans (CNN-Reuters) "Christmas is the...
Patrick Belton: DEADLY CHRISTMAS: This sounds to have the makings of a good horror film in it.
Tom Maguire: It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year... If you survive it: [snipped quote] Atheists would rejoice, except that rejoicing seems to be the problem.
Tyler Cowen: In any case, here is the full story.

Think Again: Middle East Democracy
  By / Foreign Policy   —   Permalink 
People in the Middle East want political freedom, and their governments acknowledge the need for reform. Yet the region appears to repel democracy. Arab regimes only concede women's rights and elections to appease their critics at home and abroad.
Matthew Yglesias: A Brief Note — One word about the conclusion of the aforementioned piece: "The experience of countries in different...
Patrick Belton: CAROTHERS ON DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Carnegie's Tom Carothers and Marina Ottoway have a gutsy, tendentious,...
Peter Burnet: A RIDDLE WRAPPED IN A MYSTERY INSIDE AN ENIGMA (VIA BARRY MEISLIN) Think Again: Middle East Democracy (Marina Ottaway...

Error discovery could give Gregoire election
  By / Seattle Times   —   Permalink 
King County election officials yesterday admitted a major error in tallying votes in the governor's race that could reverse the results and make Christine Gregoire the winner in the hand recount now under way.
Taegan Goddard: New Ballots Found in Washington Recount — Washington state election officials "admitted a major error in tallying votes...
Michelle Malkin: The Seattle Times reports today: [snipped quote] Analyzing whether vote counting errors tend to be random (usually not),...
Susan Madrak: [quote] Washington state election officials "admitted a major error in tallying votes in the governor's race that could...[end quote]
Betsy Newmark: Why does everything about this recount in Washington state seem so suspicious? And everything seems to go back to what the Democrats are doing or want done?

Taxi Driver Shoots Man in Bin Laden Mask
  AP   —   Permalink 
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - Osama bin Laden take note: You wouldn't be safe in Costa Rica. A startled taxi driver shot and wounded a jokester wearing a plastic mask of the al-Qaida leader, police said Tuesday.
Acidman: I wonder why? You can own a personal firearm there, but you have to convince the government that you NEED it to qualify for a permit.
KJL: MAN WEARING BIN LADEN MASK gets shot in Costa Rica by a startled cab driver.

Libel Suit Takes Aim at Print Reporter's Words on TV
  By / WaPo   —   Permalink 
The phone rang shortly after 6 a.m. on Feb. 13, 2002, at Superior Judge Ernest B. Murphy's home in Dover, Mass., southwest of Boston. His wife, Mary Keenan, answered. "Have you turned on the news this morning?" a friend asked her. "Do you know what's in the Herald?"
Juan Non-Volokh: Speaking of libel cases, the Washington Post has an interesting story about another case in the courts now.
Susan Madrak: MEDIA DISGRACE OF THE DAY — If the facts of this case are as presented, the Boston Herald deserves to lose this libel case.
Richard TPD: News reporting in the Age of Bush — One of the strangest and most upsetting accounts of media insanity I've ever heard.
Atrios: Damn Bluggers — Another tale of irresponsible blugging.

Wait and See
  By / American Prospect   —   Permalink 
I picked up an interesting rumor the other day out on the Internets from Berkeley economist Brad DeLong. As you may have heard, the Bush administration would like to eliminate or sharply curtail Social Security's guaranteed benefit program and transform it into a program of forced savings.
Matthew Yglesias: My column today used another framing device that I think is good and other people should take up — "forced savings," not "private accounts."
DeLong: Social Security: Wait and See — Matthew Yglesias joins the "wait and see" crowd on Social Security

561 valid King County ballots still uncounted
  By / Seattle Post-Intelligencer   —   Permalink 
OLYMPIA — Five hundred sixty-one valid absentee ballots that had been erroneously rejected have been discovered in heavily Democratic King County, buoying Christine Gregoire's hopes of prevailing in a hand recount of the governor's race.
Taegan Goddard: Meanwhile, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports lawyers for Rossi "appeared before the state Supreme Court to argue...
Greg Ransom: WASHINGTON STATE recount — the latest numbers. UPDATE: More uncounted ballots "discovered" in King county.
Susan Madrak: [quote]Meanwhile, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports lawyers for Rossi "appeared before the state Supreme Court to argue...[end quote]

Wash. Court Rejects Dems Recount Lawsuit
  By / AP   —   Permalink 
OLYMPIA, Wash. - The state Supreme Court on Tuesday unanimously rejected the Democratic Party's request that previously rejected absentee and provisional ballots be included in the hand recount of Washington state's contested governor's race.
Captain Ed: Washington State Supreme Court Affirms Electoral Law — In a late decision today, the Washington state Supreme Court...
Greg Ransom: UPDATE II: The Washington Supreme Court has rejected the Democrats effort to get previously disallowed ballots back into the hand-recount.

Hunter's Gun Truck
  By / Opinion Journal   —   Permalink 
A few weeks ago Rep. Duncan Hunter handed me a reason that has largely escaped media attention on why our troops in Iraq don't have all the armor protection they need. It was a piece of ballistic glass, roughly the size of a small dinner plate.
Lorie Byrd: One Reason For A Lack Of Armor — Brendan Miniter reports on one reason many of the U.S. troops' vehicles don' t have the armor they need.
Cori Dauber: IS THE PERFECT THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD? Another angle on up-armoring that the press isn't covering.
Betsy Newmark: Brendan Miniter has an informative article about how we're letting the perfect be the enemy of the good in not getting armored protection for vehicles in Iraq.
PoliPundit: Armor in Iraq — Duncan Hunter, the House Armed Services Committee Chairman, has some creative solutions for our troops in Iraq.

Rumsfeld, the bungler
  By / Salon   —   Permalink 
When a courageous Army specialist confronted Donald Rumsfeld over the insufficient armor on military vehicles at a "town hall" meeting in Kuwait on Dec. 8, the Secretary of Defense may well have felt an unpleasant twinge of déjà vu.
MB Williams: Conason noted that he had pulled up a transcript of a "town hall" meeting between Rumsfeld and troops in Iraq from May...
Howard Kurtz: Salon's Joe Conason doesn't have much confidence either, reporting that last week's question about inadequate armor by a...
Barbara O'Brien: Ol' Rummy — In today's Salon Joe Conason writes that a soldier in Iraq complained to Rummy about lack of armor last May.

Species come and go - and so do we
  By / Telegraph   —   Permalink 
Professor Lloyd Peck of the British Antarctic Survey is worried about - stop me if you've heard this one before - global warming. For this year's Royal Institution Christmas lecture, he'll be warning that the merest smidgeonette of an increase in temperature in the south polar seabed will lead to the loss of a zillion species.
Greg Ransom: MARK STEYN — Russians, Japanese and Antarctic krill face steep population decline.
Peter Burnet: PROGRESSIVE PRIORITIES — Species come and go - and so do we (Mark Steyn, The Telegraph, December 14th, 2004)
Jayson @PoliPundit: Steyn Freezes Out the "Global Warming" Moonbats — Mark Steyn takes on the global warming lobby.

What Are They Volunteering For?
  By / TCS   —   Permalink 
Army National Guard Specialist David Qualls and seven of his comrades filed suit against the Defense Department over what they charge is the unfair extension of their active duty obligation beyond the term they agreed to.
Joe Carter: The Not-So-Fine Print: Duty, Obligation, and the Military Enlistment Contract In his recent Tech Central Station column,...
James Joyner: TCS: What Are They Volunteering For? My latest TCS piece, "What Are They Volunteering For?" is up. [snipped quote] The rest is at the link.

Inquiry of Kerik in '00 Puts Focus on Vetting Issue
  NYT   —   Permalink 
In June 2000, two months before Bernard B. Kerik was appointed police commissioner, New York City's top investigative agency learned that he had a social relationship with the owner of a New Jersey construction company suspected of having business ties to organized crime figures, city documents show.
Chris Nolan: Today's New York Times carries a series of coulda-shoulda's throughout.
Noam Scheiber: MORE IRRELEVANT BERNIE KERIK REVELATIONS: Here's one more development that was absolutely not a factor in Bernie Kerik withdrawing his nomination for Homeland Security secretary.
Howard Kurtz: The New York Times frames it this way: "In June 2000, two months before Bernard B. Kerik was appointed police...

The Democrats' Rove Envy
  By / WaPo   —   Permalink 
Democrats have come down with a serious case of Rove Envy. It is a form of jealousy that could have some useful consequences.
The longing is for the strategic clarity and organizational acumen that Karl Rove, President Bush's political top gun, brought to the 2004 campaign.
Deacon: Limited Rove envy — E.J. Dionne says that the Democrats have a case of "Rove envy," and it sounds like Dionne does as well.
Betsy Newmark: E. J. Dionne says that the Democrats have Rove envy. They wish that they had someone to build up their local and state party organizations.
Kos @DailyKos: E.J. Dionne gets it — If only the rest of the D.C. press corps understood that the DNC battle wasn't between "left" and "right", but between "reform" and "status quo".

Mentally-ill girl who was sold for sex faces death penalty in Iran
  By / Independent   —   Permalink 
A teenage girl with a mental age of eight is facing the death penalty for prostitution in Iran. The trial comes only four months after the hanging of another mentally ill girl for sex before marriage in a case that has prompted a human rights lawyer to prepare a charge of wrongful execution against the presiding judge.
Andrew Sullivan: ISLAMISM VERSUS WOMEN: Another charming aspect of the barbaric regime in Iran: a mentally retarded girl sold for sex now faces the death penalty for prostitution.
Damian Penny: Iranian justice strikes again — A mentally handicapped nineteen year-old girl, allegedly sold into prostitution by her mother, faces the death penalty for having premartial sex.

Scandal might cancel Bernie Kerik biopic
  By / MSNBC   —   Permalink 
Recent revelations about Bernie Kerik may derail more than his job as head of Homeland Security. They may do damage to his big-screen biopic.
New York City's former top cop was nixed for the job as President Bush's secretary of homeland security after info was revealed about his personal and professional life.
Joe Gandelman: And Now The BIGGEST BLOW To Bernard Kerik — Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik has had to endure the...
Michelle Malkin: The MSNBC headline reads: Scandal might cancel Bernie Kerik biopic.

Verdict is in on Peterson media circus
  Boston Globe   —   Permalink 
Now that a jury has reached a decision on Scott Peterson's fate, can we not see Gloria Allred every blessed day, at least for a little while?
Or, if we're lucky, fellow mouth-almighty attorneys Wendy Murphy, Nancy Grace, Dean Johnson, or that awful Dan...
Cori Dauber: One Boston Globe columnist cautions us to not enjoy the silence too much: there's a Michael Jackson trial ahead.
Shawn @LiquidList: Anyway, I make this post to direct you to a Globe editorial that highlights the real criminals in this foolish case.

Bernie cops to trysts
  By / NY Daily News   —   Permalink 
Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik all but admitted having affairs with two women, as the fallout from his failed bid to become homeland security czar continued to explode yesterday.
Howard Kurtz: I would love the movie rights. Kerik "all but admits" the affairs in today's followup.
Tim Cavanaugh: Via Drudge comes this Daily News story strongly indicating the DHS washout had post-9/11 affairs with both a Corrections officer and publishing powerhouse Judith Regan.
SLZoll: Looking Forward From the NY Daily News: Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik all but admitted having affairs with...

Democrats Say They'll Assume Watchdog Role
  By / NYT   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 - Complaining that Republicans have failed to oversee how billions of dollars of taxpayer money is being spent, Senate Democrats said Monday that they would begin holding oversight hearings of their own, even though they are in the minority and have no subpoena power to compel the testimony of government officials.
Shawn @LiquidList: Yesterday the Leader and Democratic Policy Chairman N.D. Senator Byron Dorgan announced their plan to hold regular "hearings" on government oversight.
Taegan Goddard: Senate Democrats to Hold Watchdog Hearings — [snipped quote] the New York Times reports.

Rutgers researchers may have stopped HIV
  AP   —   Permalink 
Researchers at Rutgers University have developed a trio of drugs they believe can destroy HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to a published report.
The drugs, called DAPYs, mimic the virus by changing shape, which enables them to interfere with the way HIV attacks the immune system.
Richard TPD: The cure for AIDS? This sounds too good to be true. The researchers sound downright ecstatic. Wouldn't that be a great Christmas gift?
Jeff Goldstein: Sure, Rutgers researchers might have found the cure for AIDS and all... ...but that doesn't make the name "Scarlet Knights" any less dopey.
Ace: For some reason I think this one's real: "Researchers at Rutgers University have developed a trio of drugs they believe...
James Joyner: Rutgers Researchers Claim HIV Cure — Rutgers researchers may have stopped HIV (Globe and Mail) [snipped quote] (via Memeorandum) Interesting.
Joe Gandelman: If this is true it's one of the biggest medical breakthroughs, ever — and we're just at the BEGINNING of the 21st Century: "Piscataway, N.J.

Disputes slow arms protection in Russia
  By / USA Today   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON — U.S. programs to help Russia protect and destroy its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons are far behind schedule, despite President Bush's warning this fall that terrorists getting such weapons is "the biggest threat facing this country."
Tarek @LiquidList: The USA Today picks up on a story that should be haunting everyone today, about the slow disintegration of the elaborate...
Captain Ed: The Democrats failed to get much traction on this issue, and today's USA Today report explains why.

Abbas Calls for End of Armed Uprising
  By / AP   —   Permalink 
JERUSALEM - The armed uprising against Israel is a mistake and must end, interim Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview published Tuesday, signaling his determination to change direction after Yasser Arafat 's death.
Captain Ed: Abbas Says Intifadas A "Mistake", Calls For End To Attacks — Palestinian interim leader and presidential candidate...
Charles Johnson: Cheap Talk from a Holocaust Denier — Are you buying this? Abbas Calls for End of Armed Uprising.

The Engineers Who Saved Christmas
  By / TCS   —   Permalink 
Another Hollywood storyline died this week. And good riddance.
You're sure to know the plot, which has appeared in countless lame movies and sitcom episodes: Dad (it's always Dad) struggles though crowds and horror in a desperate quest to buy the last available unit of whatever the hot holiday toy is.
Bigwig: Others have had a similar problem. This year my daughter wanted a Laura Ashley dollhouse that turned out to be discontinued.
Ed Driscoll: The Engineers Who Saved Christmas — Glenn Reynolds, writing over at Tech Central Station says that thanks to the Internet, "another Hollywood storyline died this week.
Glenn Reynolds: THE ENGINEERS WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS: My TechCentralStation column is up. And for those who asked, I wound up buying this one.

The Wonks' Loya Jirga
  By / NYT   —   Permalink 
You're probably sitting by the phone today waiting for that last-minute invitation to the White House economic summit that's going to start tomorrow in Washington. You know, because you've been to conferences and watched C-Span, the organizing principle of life in the information age, that the person who sits on the most panel discussions wins.
Cori Dauber: Pure Gold — It's not the substance of David Brooks' column that interests me today: there are just a few lines in there...
James Joyner: Policy Wonks — David Brooks [RSS]: [snipped quote] About right.
Tom Maguire: Everybody Loves David — David Brooks mocks everyone, to widespread applause.
Kevin Drum: PUNDITUS MAXIMUS!....Now see? David Brooks can write a good column when he puts his mind to it. That wasn't so hard, was it?

Senate Dems plan investigatory hearings
  By / AP   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON — New Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Monday his party will launch investigative hearings next year in response to what he said was the reluctance of Republicans to look into problems in the Bush administration.
Digby: [quote]From the AP: "[Sen.] Harry Reid said Monday his party will launch investigative hearings next year in response to what...[end quote]
SK Bubba: Getting tough — Senate Democrats say they plan to investigate a number of, uh, irregularities in the Bush administration and hold hearings.

Japanese men lap up new comfort
  BBC   —   Permalink 
Japanese men without a shoulder to cry on this Christmas are being offered a woman's lap - made out of foam - to rest on instead.
The "lap pillow", shaped like the bottom half of a kneeling woman, is selling for about 9,429 yen ($90), the French news agency AFP reported.
Jack Cluth: Japanese men lap up new comfort: Japanese men without a shoulder to cry on this Christmas are being offered a woman's...
KJL: THE NEXT BEST THING? Foam laps for men instead of a woman. Gee whiz, to think I thought Mr. Wonderful was a sad...
Jan Haugland: Lap of foam — Hizamakura A Japanese company's pillows looking like a female lap are proving a hit with single men.

How did Giuliani miss Kerik's record?
  New York Newsday   —   Permalink 
A cluster of ethics questions, churned up by Bernard Kerik's aborted candidacy for the nation's top security post, is prompting new concern over why such issues went unexplored when Kerik was in city service.
Josh Marshall: Another Newsday article explores how Rudy and the New York City managed not to find out about any of Kerik's shenanigans when he was on the public payroll.
Steve Gilliard: Bigamy? Now people are asking how did Giuliani miss all the sleaze. How did Giuliani miss Kerik's record?

Iraq: Government Deal With a 'Merchant of Death'?
  By / Newsweek   —   Permalink 
Dec. 20 issue - In an effort to crack down on one of the world's most notorious international criminals, President George W. Bush last summer signed an order barring U.S. citizens from doing business with Russian arms trafficker Victor Bout.
Nick Confessore: Newsweek's Mike Isikoff follows up on arms dealer Victor Bout's flights into Iraq.
Laura Rozen: Douglas Farah flags quite a scoop by Newsweek's Michael Isikoff.

Color-Blind Progress
  Opinion Journal   —   Permalink 
You wouldn't know it from reading the papers. But the U.S. Office of Civil Rights scored an important victory recently when Wisconsin agreed to restructure a scholarship program that discriminates based on race and ethnicity.
Joanne Jacobs: Open season — Universities are opening racially exclusive scholarships and summer programs to all disadvantaged students, says Opinion Journal.
John J. Miller: COLOR BIND — A nice editorial on race-blind college admissions, including a reference to Cornerite Roger Clegg, in today's Wall Street Journal.

China Detains 3 Who Criticized Government
  By / NYT   —   Permalink 
BEIJING, Tuesday, Dec. 14 - The Chinese police on Monday afternoon detained three leading intellectuals who have been critical of the government, apparently stepping up a campaign to silence public dissent.
Xan @Corrente: A poli-sci quiz for a Tuesday morning: What country is being described here? (via Don't click here, that's cheating)...
Richard TPD: China pays homage to its intellectuals — More proof of the CCP's determination to carry out reforms, no matter the cost to the party.

Now his double affair laid bare
  By / NY Daily News   —   Permalink 
Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik conducted two extramarital affairs simultaneously, using a secret Battery Park City apartment for the passionate liaisons, the Daily News has learned.

His affair with Regan, the stunningly attractive head of her own book publishing company, lasted for almost a year.
Howard Kurtz: Just look at this New York Daily News cover story:"Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik conducted two extramarital...
Steve M.: From the New York Daily News: Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik conducted two extramarital affairs simultaneously,...
Kevin T. Keith: At the same time, the New York Daily News is reporting that Kerik was conducting not one but two simultaneous...
The Big Trunk: In the category of "We hardly knew ye," the New York Daily News has the rest of the story on Bernard Kerik, with a...
Steve Gilliard: Shenanigans!!! not the best picture I've seen of her Now his double affair laid bare Kerik cheated on wife with Judith...
Captain Ed: First, the Daily News reveals that Kerik managed to conduct two simultaneous extramarital affairs, using a "secret" corporate-rental apartment.
Also: Joe Gandelman, Taegan Goddard, Josh Marshall, Steve Soto, Lorie Byrd, Roger Ailes, Ed Driscoll, Betsy Newmark, Tom Tomorrow, David Allan Pell, Roger L. Simon, Laura Rozen

Christian Conservatives Turn to Statehouses
  By / NYT   —   Permalink 
Energized by electoral victories last month that they say reflect wide support for more traditional social values, conservative Christian advocates across the country are pushing ahead state and local initiatives on thorny issues, including same-sex marriage, public education and abortion.
McQ: Christian right emboldened by electoral win — The so-called "Christian right" seems to think that based on the results...
Andrew Sullivan: Missouri State Representative Cynthia Davis, New York Times, today, comparing "liberals" to al Qaeda terrorists.
Steve M.: I think a lot more people realize this is our country and we're going to take it back." —New York Times
Josh Marshall: Missouri State Representative Cynthia Davis, as quoted in the Times.
Tom Tomorrow: Speaking of oppressed conservatives — Missouri State Representative Cynthia Davis: [quote] "It's like when the hijackers took...[end quote]
Chris Mooney: But some conservative legislators apparently want to go a hell of a lot farther: [snipped quote] Gee, what is that chapter going to contain?
Also: Eugene Oregon, Jesse Taylor, Taegan Goddard, Kos @DailyKos, Sarah Wildman

Minnesota elector breaks ranks, votes for Edwards, not Kerry
  AP   —   Permalink 
One of Minnesota's 10 presidential electors broke from the pack and cast a vote Monday for John Edwards, the Democratic vice presidential running mate for John Kerry.
The other nine Minnesota members of the Electoral College voted for Kerry, who won the state's popular vote in November.
Thorley Winston: Correction, Make that Bush 286, Kerry 251, and 1 for "Ewards" — This is just embarrassing: "Defeated Democratic...
Hindrocket: The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported this morning that one of Minnesota's Democratic electors cast a vote for John Edwards for President, instead of John Kerry.
Betsy Newmark: John Kerry is going to get one les electoral vote because one of the Minnesota electors made a mistake and voted for Edwards instead of Kerry.
C. D. Harris: Adding Insult To Injury — John "Weeble" Kerry got a poke in the eye as the epilogue to his failed bid for the...
Captain Ed: Whichever the case, it does not reflect well on the DFL's efforts to project competence and relevance

Four Academic Plagiarists You've Never Heard Of: How Many More Are Out There?
  Chronicle of Higher Education   —   Permalink 
Famous scholars get the ink in good times and bad. Stephen E. Ambrose's plagiarism would not have made the news were it not for the millions of books he sold. Few people would have cared about Doris Kearns Goodwin's borrowings had they not seen her on television.
Henry Farrell: However, when it does investigate, it does a pretty good job; it's just put up the report of an investigation into...
Glenn Reynolds: PLAGIARISM IN THE ACADEMY: Here's an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education. Here's an earlier post on the subject.
Stuart Buck: Plagiarism — A reader sends the following link to a current article in The Chronicle of Higher Education: The...
Orin Kerr: Plagiarism in Academia: A report from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
QD @SouthernAppeal: The Chronicle of Higher Education has a rather revealing look at some rather unknown Plagiarists. (HT: Stuart Buck)
Betsy Newmark: Here's an article on plagiarism in academic research. A lot of times the plagiarist seems to get away with it unless the victime takes action to publicize the story.

Republican Insecurity
  By / Weekly Standard   —   Permalink 
THERE'S A WORST CASE SCENARIO for Social Security reform that haunts the White House. It goes like this. With great fanfare, President Bush announces his plan for overhauling Social Security, creating private investment accounts for every American worker, and making the system solvent.
Susan Q. Stranahan: Barnes warns (subscription required) that Democratic opposition isn't the most serious hurdle for the president's plans to overhaul the system.
Howard Kurtz: Fred Barnes sees GOP trouble ahead on Social Security: "There's a worst case scenario for Social Security reform that haunts the White House.
Tom Maguire: Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard finds three Republican tribes wandering the plains of Washington searching for the...
Matthew Yglesias: There's lots of frightening stuff in Fred Barnes' article on Social Security privatization, but the scariest thing of...

  By / New York Post   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON — Billionaire Marc Rich has emerged as a central figure in the U.N. oil-for-food scandal and is under investigation for brokering deals in which scores of international politicians and businessmen cashed in on sweetheart oil deals with Saddam Hussein, The Post has learned.
The Big Trunk: Oh what a web we weave... On a related note, the New York Post helps us remember how we came to loathe President Bush's...
Bird Dog: Pardoned to Defraud Another Day — From the New York Post: [snipped quote] Whether or not an exchange of sex for a...
Ace: The Legacy That Keeps On Giving: Marc Rich "Central Figure" in Oil-For-Food Scam — I didn't post this earlier because, really, what is there to say at this point?
Charles Johnson: Pardongate Billionaire a "Major Player" — Fugitive billionaire Marc Rich has now been described as a "central figure" in the gigantic United Nations Oil-for-Food rip-off.
Laura Rozen: Billionaire fugitive Marc Rich: "Investigators say they have received information that Rich and Ben Pollner, a New...
Steve M.: I don't care if it's weeks old!" ***** (Here's the article itself. And here's ABC's story from nearly two weeks ago.
Also: Betsy Newmark, KJL

Scott Peterson gets death sentence for murdering his pregnant wife
  By / AP   —   Permalink 
REDWOOD CITY - A jury decided Monday that Scott Peterson should be executed for murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, whose Christmas Eve disappearance two years ago was the opening act in a legal drama that captivated the nation.
Rickheller @Centerfield: But the levying of the death penalty on Scott Peterson raises this story to a level of serious policy discussion.
Joe Gandelman: Yes, friends... You see, there CAN BE justice in California: [snipped quote] L.A. talk show hosts John & Ken of KFI 640...
McQ: Peterson gets death — In case you somehow managed to miss this: [snipped quote] Leave it to the press to have carried this story for 2 years when it didn't deserve 2 days.
DJ Drummond: I Guess It was a "Red" Jury In a "Blue" State — Jury unanimous: Scott Peterson receives death sentence. Good decision.

Weary Taliban coming in from the cold
  Christian Science Monitor   —   Permalink 
KANDAHAR PROVINCE AND KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - Abdul Rahman Akhund has been battling US and Afghan government troops for three long, hard years. He misses raising his kids among the quiet pomegranate orchards he used to tend at home.
Jan Haugland: Some Taliban ready for amnesty — Afghanistan's first elected president Hamid Karzai is planning an amnesty for...
Betsy Newmark: Apparently, a lot of the rank and file Taliban fighters are just plumb tired of fighting and hiding out as they have done for the past three years.
James Joyner: Taliban 'Largely a Spent Force' — Weary Taliban coming in from the cold (CSM) [snipped quote] This would seem to belie...

Strain Is Seen in Giuliani Ties With President
  NYT   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 - Former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani had a Christmas dinner at the White House on Sunday night, and he attended with an important goal in mind: to apologize to his host for pushing Bernard B. Kerik as homeland security secretary and then...
Chris Nolan: Yesterday's Times had a piece saying that Giuliani's "friendship" - his word, not theirs - with the White House wouldn't...
Steve Soto: The New York Times reports this morning that Rudy is in the doghouse with Bush over his recommending of Kerik for the job, after Rudy himself turned it down.
Josh Marshall: And one of our sharp-eyed TPM readers just sent in this line from the Times' new article out tonight (the Times is on...
Steve M.: First, here's The New York Times today on Bush's early response to Giuliani: ...Republicans say that Mr. Bush felt...
Steve Gilliard: The time bomb you gotta have friends Strain Is Seen in Giuliani Ties With President By ELISABETH BUMILLER and ERIC...
Taegan Goddard: Meanwhile, the New York Times notes former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani apologized to President Bush last night for recommending Kerik.
Also: Joe Gandelman, Marcy Wheeler, Howard Kurtz, Kevin T. Keith, Holden, Betsy Newmark

Hillary goes conservative on immigration
  By / Washington Times   —   Permalink 
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is staking out a position on illegal immigration that is more conservative than President Bush, a strategy that supporters and detractors alike see as a way for the New York Democrat to shake the "liberal" label and appeal to traditionally Republican states.
Hindrocket: Hillary Tacks Right — The Washington Times notes that Hillary Clinton is positioning herself to the right of President...
Deacon: Unfortunately for the rest of us that champion is Hillary Clinton, whose latest move to the right — this time on...
Greg Ransom: HILLARY CLINTON goes Student Body Right on immigration in a spectacular display of open-field running made possible by a...
Hugh Hewitt: Hillary, on illegal immigration: "I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants.
Michael Graham: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. This is why the Bernard Kerik issue resonates. It has nothing to do with second-guessing the Bush White House vetting process.
Michelle Malkin: HILLARY RODHAM BUCHANAN, PART II — The Washington Times picks up on Hillary's tough-on-borders posturing, which I noted several weeks ago here.
Also: Taegan Goddard

Mobsters Bully Terror Suspect in Prison
  Reuters   —   Permalink 
ROME (Reuters) - International terrorism charges and allegations of ties to al Qaeda might be enough to scare away some cellmates, in some countries.
But Italian mobsters jailed on the island of Sardinia, apparently outraged by terrorism, beat up an Algerian terror suspect and threatened to kill him unless he got himself transferred to a new prison.
Tom Paine: Well, it seems the Victors might even be prepared to do stuff like that purely as a favour. [snipped quote] Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.
Michelle Malkin: THE MOB TAKES ON AL QAEDA — Reuters reports in Italy: Mobsters Bully Terror Suspect in Prison [snipped quote] Maybe we should try this approach to counterterrorism here.
Ace: Mobsters Go Sonny Corleone on Terrorist Dirtbag — God knows I'm not the easiest person in the world to offend, but I...
KJL: MOBSTERS BULLY — Algerian terror suspect in Italian jail.

McCain: 'No Confidence' in Rumsfeld
  By / AP   —   Permalink 
PHOENIX (AP) - U.S. Sen. John McCain said Monday that he has "no confidence" in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, citing Rumsfeld's handling of the war in Iraq and the failure to send more troops.
Andrew Sullivan: Maybe this tape is evidence of its progress. MCCAIN AND RUMMY: He's right, of course.
Joe Drymala: McCain and Rudy — Ogged at Unfogged sees an '08 run telegraphed by McCain's recent interview.
PGL: McCain: 'No confidence' in Rumsfeld — NOW Senator McCain tells us: [snipped quote] Then again - two months ago (before...

Jury Recommends Execution for Peterson
  By / AP   —   Permalink 
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) - A jury decided Monday that Scott Peterson should be executed for murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, whose Christmas Eve disappearance two years ago was the opening act in a legal drama that captivated the nation.
Nick Gillespie: So You're Going To Die... Scott Peterson gets the death penalty for the brutal murder of his pregnant wife Laci two years ago on Christmas Eve.
James Joyner: Update: Jury Recommends Execution for Peterson (AP) "A jury decided Monday that Scott Peterson should be executed for...
Steve Bainbridge: What Tung Said — Prof. Yin writes of the Scott Peterson death sentence: [snipped quote] Well said, indeed.

Beyond the Rim
  By / Opinion Journal   —   Permalink 
From the beach at Santa Monica on a clear day in fall, with 3,000 miles of this country invisible at one's back, the Pacific horizon is a precisely etched line empty of event and set in alluring color. But beyond the rim lie two things now tightly interwoven: China, and the destiny of the United States.
Hugh Hewitt: Mark Helprin warns that China is on the march, and he doesn't mean towards the Olympics.
Tom Karako: Helprin's Strategic Clarity — Mark Helprin articulates the growing threat from China in this fine piece published today...
Steve Bainbridge: In an Opinion Journal op-ed, Mark Helprin observed that about the time "China does develop the powerful expeditionary...
Porphyrogenitus: China & Afghanistan — An article on OpinionJournal yesterday by Mark Helprin on China is worth checking out.

How Daschle Got Blogged
  Opinion Journal   —   Permalink 
Bloggers received a lot of attention for helping to expose the fake documents backing up Dan Rather's "60 Minutes" story on President Bush the Texas Air National Guard. But that's only one of the interesting ways in which the Internet is empowering people and shaping political coverage.
The Big Trunk: John Fund meditates on the prospects of the blogosphere in light of events in South Dakota in an excellent piece posted on OpinionJournal: "How Daschle got blogged."
Ed Driscoll: Every Man An Anchorman — In an essay on how bloggers helped defeat Tom Daschle, John Fund considers another way that...
Steve Antler: A whole new world... Here's John Fund on blogging, Daschle, and journalism in South Dakota: In July, [Patrick Lalley]...
Hugh Hewitt: Bill Frist's finger is on the button. Push it, Senator. John Fund and Howard Kurtz both essay on poliblogging this AM.
Betsy Newmark: John Fund talks about how blogs are now playing a role in election campaigns.
Todd Pearson: "How Daschle Got Blogged" — This is the title of interesting article by John Fund today.
Also: PoliPundit

Comptroller Says Personal Accounts Not Panacea
  By / Reuters   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The creation of personal investment accounts advocated by President Bush would not be a cure-all for the problems facing Social Security, which needs other reforms as well, the U.S. comptroller general said on Monday.
Greg Ransom: THE LOOMING Social Security disaster is only a small part of America's coming financial crisis says the U.S. Comptroller...
Susan Madrak: OFF MESSAGE — Bet this guy'll be looking for a new job soon: [snipped quote] Obviously, this man's a disloyal SOB, what with letting facts get in the way of politics.
DeLong: Grownup Republican Watch — An endangered species, but they are out there.

Hidden in Plain Sight
  By / WaPo   —   Permalink 
It took several weeks, but the high-flying theory that "values voters" turned out for the first time this year to swing the election in President Bush's favor is finally losing altitude. The "moral values" myth, though, never should have taken off in the first place.
Avedon Carol: A41697364411}">Howard Dean (via) (The WaPo, by the way, has an article looking at another poll that asked the "moral...
Ruy Teixeira: The latter point is where Christopher Muste picks up the story in his excellent article, "Hidden in Plain Sight: Polling...

The Chilean Heroes of Social Security Privatizers
  By / Center for American Progress   —   Permalink 
As President Bush and his right-wing congressional allies attempt to destroy the bedrock of retirement security for this and future generations, they will undoubtedly point to the 1981 privatization of Chile's public pension system as a shining example of the possible as President Bush did late last month in a visit to Chile.
Will Wilkinson: Hitler Was a Vegetarian, Pinochet Privatized Social Security, Satan Rides a Bicycle, and Other Irrelevancies — This...
Matthew Yglesias: Of Guilt By Association I was wondering when someone would point out that it takes a ruthless dictator to privatize a social insurance scheme.

U.S. Affairs: A Tough Guy Tumbles
  Newsweek   —   Permalink 
Dec. 20 issue - Richard (Bo) Dietl and Bernard Kerik have long been familiar figures in the flashy underside of New York City night life. They could be seen swaggering into Rao's, an exclusive Italian restaurant in Harlem, where mobsters and models and Wall Street masters of the universe drink shots and swap boasts.
Captain Ed: (Newsweek reports that Regan hired bodyguards to keep Kerik away after the affair collapsed.)
Steve M.: I've been thinking that it ought to be possible to handle a dispute over unpaid condo fees without an arrest warrant —...
Taegan Goddard: Newsweek reports an arrest warrant was outstanding for Kerik based on his failure to pay condo fees.
Kevin T. Keith: is reporting a long string of cut corners, questionable business deals, and broken rules or broken laws in...

Giuliani Apologizes to Bush for Kerik
  AP   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON - Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani personally offered apologies to President Bush for the abortive nomination of close associate Bernard Kerik as homeland security secretary.
SK Bubba: Whatever. Oh, and that Rudy Giuliani. He's a real piece of work isn't he? What a weasel. With "friends" like that who needs enemies?
Captain Ed: Perhaps it gave Rudy too much credibility, which is why he went out of his way to apologize to Bush this weekend

Social Security benefit cuts eyed
  By / Boston Globe   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON — President Bush, who has promised that his plan to allow private investment accounts in Social Security would give workers a ''better rate of return," is seriously mulling a companion effort that could cut future promised retirement benefits for...
Jesse Taylor: Cut Everything And Let Dobson Sort It Out — So, as it turns out, Bush is going to have to cut benefits in any future Social Security reform.
Matthew Yglesias: I thought I'd found another unlikely voice of reason when I read what Grover Norquist told The Boston Globe about...
Max B. Sawicky: FISC-TICUFFS — New evidence of sophistication from the White House: ''You can't compare a modernization to the current...

Jury recommends death for Peterson
  CNN   —   Permalink 
REDWOOD CITY, California (CNN) — A jury recommended Monday that Scott Peterson, the former fertilizer salesman whose case grabbed national headlines, be sentenced to death for killing his pregnant wife.
Acidman: But 12 people did, and now Scott is facing the death penalty. "Cheers" may have gone up outside the courtroom after the decision was read, but I wasn't cheering.
Orin Kerr: Still, it's possibly worth noting that while some are suggesting that we may be heading towards an end of capital...

McCain Has 'No Confidence' in Rumsfeld
  By / AP   —   Permalink 
PHOENIX - U.S. Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record) said Monday that he has "no confidence" in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, citing Rumsfeld's handling of the war in Iraq and the failure to send more troops.
Captain Ed: McCain: Still No Confidence In Rumsfeld — In an indication to everyone except the John Kerry Perpetual Campaign For...
Steve Soto: Today, albeit a little late, it was John McCain's turn. Save it Senator.

Obituary: Gary Webb, prize-winning investigative reporter
  Sacramento Bee   —   Permalink 
Gary Webb, a prize-winning investigative journalist whose star-crossed career was capped with a controversial newspaper series linking the CIA to the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles, died Friday of self-inflicted gunshot wounds, officials said.
Howard Kurtz: Now the California journalist is dead from self-inflicted gunshot wounds, according to this Sacramento Bee story and other news reports.
Tim Cavanaugh: Gary Webb, R.I.P. Gary Webb, the Pulitzer-winning reporter whose 1996 series for the San Jose Mercury News "Dark...

Report: Pedro agrees to terms with Mets
  Boston Globe   —   Permalink 
It appears Pedro Martinez has pitched his final game in a Red Sox uniform.
Indications this afternoon were that the Mets had added a guaranteed fourth year to their offer to Pedro Martinez, and, according to the Boston Herald, Martinez has reportedly agreed on terms to a four-year contract to join the Mets.
Michele Catalano: Thank you santa, for not bringing me pedro — Word around town is Pedro is going to sign with the Mets today (FAN is reporting that it's thisclose to happening).
KJL: PEDRO to the Mets?

GOP May Target Use of Filibuster
  WaPo   —   Permalink 
As speculation mounts that Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist will step down from the Supreme Court soon because of thyroid cancer, Senate Republican leaders are preparing for a showdown to keep Democrats from blocking President Bush's judicial nominations, including a replacement for Rehnquist.
Hugh Hewitt: A front-page article in the Washington Post is on the "nuclear option" in the Senate. Bill Frist's finger is on the button.
Eugene Oregon: Once Again — Republicans continue to mull over the use of the "nuclear option" to end the Democrats' power to filibuster judicial nominees.
Jack Balkin: Nuclear Politics JB There are more hints (this from the Washington Post) that the Republicans in the Senate will try...

Becks nativity smashed to pieces
  This Is London   —   Permalink 
The controversial waxwork Nativity scene depicting David and Victoria Beckham as Joseph and Mary has been wrecked in an attack.
Wax models of the stars, worth 50,000 each, suffered "extensive damage" when a young man attacked the display at Madame Tussauds.
Steve M.: In England, it seems that someone just committed an act of moral-values hooliganism, acting on the premise that wax...
Steve Gilliard: Becks is not Jesus — If he were Jesus, Real Madrid wouldn't be in the middle of the table Becks nativity smashed to...

The Academic Ego Game
  By / TCS   —   Permalink 
"A Democrat on the Berkeley faculty, George Lakoff, who teaches linguistics...said that liberals choose academic fields to fit their worldviews.
"'Unlike conservatives,' he said, 'they believe in working for the public good and social justice, as well as knowledge and art for their own sake."'
Greg Ransom: THIS RINGS TRUE to me — Arnold Kling on The Academic Ego Game.
Glenn Reynolds: ARNOLD KLING: [snipped quote] — That's true, though I took about a 60% pay cut when I left law practice to become a law professor.
Paul @SouthernAppeal: Academic Bias: An Alternative View: Arnold Kling refutes George Lakoff's explanation of left-wing bias in his Tech Central Station column.

Ohio Electors Vote Despite Challenge
  By / AP   —   Permalink 
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio delegation to the Electoral College cast its votes for President Bush on Monday, hours after dissident groups asked the state Supreme Court to review the outcome of the state's presidential race.
Captain Ed: BREATHLESS, SIREN-SIGNIFIED UPDATE: The grown-ups thankfully remain in charge: "The Ohio delegation to the Electoral...
Michael Froomkin: Much to-ing and fro-ing in Ohio:The Ohio Supreme Court was asked to step inThe state's electors, however, have already...

How to Approach Iran
  WaPo   —   Permalink 
The following article was signed by Madeleine Albright, secretary of state in the Clinton administration, and by seven former foreign ministers: Robin Cook of Britain, Hubert Vedrine of France, Lamberto Dini of Italy, Lloyd Axworthy of Canada, Niels Helveg Petersen of Denmark, Ana Palacio of Spain and Jozias van Aartsen of the Netherlands.
Dale Franks: Dealing with Iran — In an op/ed article signed by Madeleine Albright, secretary of state in the Clinton administration,...
KJL: THAT SOUND YOU HEAR IS MULLAHS QUAKING IN THEIR BOOTS — From "How to Approach Iran" in today's Washington Post, signed...
Tarek @LiquidList: We should be the subject of universal scorn. Oddly, everyone just sort of shrugs their shoulders, and writes an op-ed.

Bush nominates Leavitt for health secretary
  CNN   —   Permalink 
(CNN) — President Bush has nominated EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt to replace Tommy Thompson as Health and Human Services secretary.
Before joining the Environmental Protection Agency in November 2003, Leavitt, 53, was governor of Utah for 11 years.
Jeralyn Merritt: Medical Marijuana Group Lobbies New HHS Chief — Michael Leavit was nominated today by President Bush to be our new...
Chris Mooney: Uh-Oh — The EPA chief, Mike Leavitt, is moving over to Health and Human Services.

Unlikely Dallas sheriff-elect ready to lead
  By / Houston Chronicle   —   Permalink 
DALLAS - Her friends joke that she does not look like a sheriff.
"You know the picture: big gut, hat, spitting tobacco in a cup," said Susan Hayes, chairwoman of the Dallas County Democratic Party.
Byron LaMasters: Anyway, the Houston Chronicle has a good article about Valdez today, so check it out. Via Kuff.
Charles Kuffner: Lupe Valdez — Nice article on Lupe Valdez, the new Sheriff of Dallas County.