URLs du Jour (11/2/2005)

  • In the "somebody else read it so I don't have to" department: Byron York and Jim Geraghty take a look at Mary Mapes' latest recount of the Rathergate fiasco. I found this anecdote from York's article especially telling:

    By [the time of the Richard Thornburgh-headed CBS investigation into the fiasco], Mapes had come to believe she was the victim of a political witch hunt. But after hours of questioning, to her surprise, no one had asked her about her political beliefs. She seemed to resent that; didn't they know this was a witch hunt? Mapes was so upset that she decided to take matters into her own hands.

    "I knew that they had asked everyone else about my politics, and I couldn't believe that they wouldn't hit me up for what kind of card I carried, too," she writes. "When it appeared we were wrapping up for the day and the topic still hadn't come up, I finally said something. 'Aren't you guys going to ask about my politics?'"

    Boccardi, according to Mapes, took the bait. "Well," he said, "wouldn't you say it's true that most of the people that you work with think you are a liberal?"

    That was all Mapes needed to create, at least in her own mind, a searingly dramatic McCarthy Moment. "You mean, are you asking me, 'Am I now or have I ever been a liberal?'" she shot back at Boccardi in what she writes was "a joking reference to the 1950s U.S. Senate hearings where Senator Joseph McCarthy grilled people as to whether they had ever been members of the Communist Party."

    "Aren't you guys going to ask about my politics?" It's darned inconvenient when other people don't cooperate in building up your self-image of political martyrdom, isn't it? Better push 'em a little.

  • Continuing in the same thread: Bret Stephens has read Jimmy Carter's latest work.

    Jimmy Carter's 20th book is a tedious meditation about the appropriate uses of moral values in political life--as wisely and humbly exemplified by Himself--and of their misuses under the current Bush administration.

    But tedious isn't quite the right word here, because it suggests mere boredom while Mr. Carter's prose manages to be irritating as well. Is there an English-language equivalent to the German Rechthaberei, which loosely translates as the state of thinking and behaving as if you're in the right and everyone else is in the wrong? Yet even such a term doesn't quite capture the sanctimony, the self-congratulation, the humorlessness, the convenient factual omissions and the passive-aggressive quirks that characterize our 39th president's aggressively passive world view. Mr. Carter is sui generis. He deserves his own word.

    If President Carter has written 20 books, that's got to be … well, about 20 too many.

  • In the "great opening paragraphs" deparment, Jacob Sullum looks at the at a potential Roberts/Alito one-two punch on Federal regulation:

    When Chief Justice John Roberts was nominated, Democrats worried that he was willing to overturn the Endangered Species Act. Now they're warning that Samuel Alito, President Bush's latest Supreme Court pick, is hostile to federal gun control.

    Together, presumably, Roberts and Alito would bring us two votes closer to an America where Congress is powerless to prevent the machine-gunning of arroyo toads. I wish.

    Unfortunately, Sullum concludes, neither Roberts nor Alito seem willing to follow Clarence Thomas down the brave path of, y'know, actually following the most reasonable reading of the Constitution's commerce clause on the matter. Still: great opening paragraphs. And he adds to the ever-increasing Google hit count for "hapless toad".

  • In the "I wish" department: Responsible Spam. (Via the indispensible Geek Press.)
  • And, finally, in the "everything you know is wrong" department: some scholars say that Bach didn't write the "Toccata and Fugue in D minor". (Via Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution. Like Tyler, I'm shocked.)

    Apparently he wrote some other good stuff though.

Last Modified 2012-10-26 5:52 AM EDT