Friday, May 27, 2005


Jagged Little Pill

Quite a week for everyone's favorite blue pill! Given the latest developments and the news from last weekend, one must ask: will Medicaid still cover corrective lenses for sex offenders?

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Thursday, May 26, 2005


Stupid Comment, Wrong Texan, Tired Shows

So Law & Order: Criminal Intent had one of the franchise's typical "ripped from the headlines " plots on Wednesday involving judges being killed by alleged white supremacists. It was obviously spun off the -- unconnected -- murders of a judge's family in Chicago and of a judge in Georgia.

As detailed by Drudge, L&O:CI used the story to slip in a slam at House Majority Leader Tom DeLay:
In the season finale, Detectives Goren and Eames suspect an imprisoned white supremacist is behind the shootings of a judge's family, but their investigation widens when an appellate judge is later murdered...

ADA RON CARVER (COURTNEY B. VANCE) : An african-american
judge, an appellate court judge, no less.

MAN: Chief of DS is setting up a task force. People are talking about multiple assassination teams.

DET. ALEX EAMES (KATHRYN ERBE): Looks like the same shooters. CSU found the slug in a post, matched it to the one that killed Judge Barton. Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-Shirt.
Look, this site has criticized DeLay a few times, but this is just plain stupid. Even as a cheap shot, it fails. For one thing, they picked the wrong Texan to "target." It would have been more accurate to say, "put out an APB for somebody in a John Cornyn T-Shirt." After all, he was the Lone Stater who actually made the inartful connection (later retracted)-- on the Senate floor, of all places -- between judicial overrreach and courtroom violence. Ah, but of course, no one knows who John Cornyn is. And, all Republicans look alike -- or think alike -- or something, right?

Is there any doubt that the L&O franchise seems to be running on fumes right now? The Trial By Jury spin-off that debuted earlier this year was unwatchable -- even with some good performances by Bebe Newirth -- and wasn't renewed. That's almost heresy for a Dick Wolf production. It just goes to prove that you can go to the well too many times. Meanwhile, the really annoying Vincent D'Onofrio, star of L&O:CI is only going to be in half of next season's episodes, citing exhaustion (and, says Page Six, being distraught over Bush's re-election). Chris Noth will reprise his role as Mike Logan to take the lead in the other episodes.

Salon runs a piece on the only part of the L&O universe that still seems to have some energy -- SVU (Special Victims Unit). Yet, even there, the season's finale had a not-too-subtle slam at the Army for distributing a malaria medicine with supposedly awful side-effects. The Salon article is the story-behind-the-story.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Stemming Cell Research

How fitting: The day an article appears detailing business community complaints that the Bush administration pays more attention to moral issues rather than economic, the House passes a bill expanding stem cell research -- and is threatened with the president's first veto. So, a president who has yet to cast a single veto over a spending measure (though there are noises about doing so on the transportation bill), is preparing to do so on a measure that has both scientific and economic benefits.

During the Clinton administration, a Democratic president pushed back his base which urged him to permit taxation on the Internet. As a result, the U.S. economy thrived because of that new medium. Even, despite the excesses inherent in -- and later wiped out because of -- "the bubble", it can't be ignored that the absence of the government's heavy hand in Internet commerce heped benefit the economy.

Arguably, advancements in biotechnology are as significant this decade as the Internet boom was to the last. Yet, the U.S. is now lagging behind several countries -- including South Korea -- in stem cell research. A major reason for this is the president's blocking federal support. No one disagrees that there aren't moral implications involving expanding stem cells. But, can the United States help shape the rules, if it chooses not to even play the game?

There may be enough votes to sustain a presidential veto of this bill, but let's be fully clear what all the stakes are.

UPDATE: E-MAIL OF THE DAY (with apologies to Andrew Sullivan):
"Option A)
A universally popular, entrepreneurial spirited, 21st Century new-economy job growing, Stock Market loving, U.S. House of Rep.-approved STEM CELL RESEARCH BILL

Option B)
A limitedly popular, pork loaded, big government, 20th Century old-economy jobs growing, Stock Market apathetic, U.S. House of Rep.-approved TRANSPORTATION BILL.

What is a "compassionate conservative" to do?

There can be only one "first" veto. Hmmmmmmmmm..."

As someone else once said: Indeed.

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Monday, May 23, 2005


NY Paper Wars...

...head into the Blogosphere:

So, Ben Smith, AKA New York Observer's Politicker hits quite the bank shot: He compliments Ryan Sager and myself* as way to slam the Daily News for hiring the "wrong" type of NY conservative. His example of this is Dawn Eden:

This is such a perfect snapshot of the way in which the News constantly gets tangled over its own feet in trying to be, and yet not be, the Post. Hiring a woman banished from Murdoch-land for conservatism somehow crystallizes that.
Eden's...conservatism is more U.S. House of Representatives:
Here she is cheerleading the Christian attack on Sponge-Bob, and here's her observation that "at the root of homosexuality is a desire to avoid true human intimacy."

The mistake Ben makes is the suggestion that there has to be only one sort of conservatism that a New York paper should embrace -- the "libertarian" kind as opposed to the "U.S. House of Representatives" kind.

Besides, there's little indication that the News is indeed trying to get a particular kind of right-winger by hiring Dawn -- who is a friend, though we have several different political viewpoints. Dawn screwed up in a major way at the Post and paid a price for it. (She was not "banished from Murdoch-land for conservatism.") Still, the fact is that she is a talented copy- and headline writer. And her background in blogs has obviously helped her get added responsibilities at the News. It's smart of the News to recognize that blogs are out there and that someone should cover them.

That's often how America works: People get second chances. But, as the New's own "marathon blogger" Derek Rose (read his full blog to get the pun) makes clear, Dawn is going to have to work to get the respect and trust of her new colleagues. She will have to work twice as hard to demonstrate that she is both a good, hard-working journalist and a professional of integrity. Second chances don't mean automatic free passes.

*Oh, I should feel doubly impressed that Ben puts me in the same "younger, libertarian generation" as the decidedly impressive prodigy, Mr. Sager. But, are you kidding me? Thanks, Ben, but despite my good "black-don't-crack" genes, I actually remember punk music from the first time around (scroll down to December 27 2002).

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