Thursday, August 07, 2003
A reader familiar with the inner-workings
of SethAndIranistan reports having once found himself in the Sun newsroom
, where he was made party to a terrible and most unwanted confidence. The reader said that Wild Bill Mauldin approached and said that prior to starting at the third-rate paper and very much wanting to impress his eigth-rate bosses, he availed himself of the services of a manicurist.
We imagine Mauldin
Today's dispatch from Benny the Jet Avni contains an odd turn of phrase. In the lead paragraph: "Seven American Marines were dispatched to Liberia yesterday, signaling the Bush administration’s readiness to become involved in the worn-torn African country."
"Worn-torn"? Somebody help me out. Is this an actual phrase? With the Sun
, such questions must be asked. I will assume, using the principle of Occam's razor, that what The Jet meant was "war-torn" and that his piece simply was not edited.
Speaking of not edited, you may find this head-scratcher in the reprint of James Taranto's "Best [sic
] of the Web":
Europe is in the midst of a heat wave, reports Agence France-Presse, and Germany is taking drastic measures: “In Germany state workers in the capital Berlin were given the right to leave their desks once temperatures hit 29 degrees — which they have — on the grounds that working conditions are too difficult. It was unclear how many were taking advantage of the rule.” Twenty-nine degrees? Isn’t that below freezing? Well, no, it turns out these are metric degrees. Still, this site converts metric degrees to regular degrees, and it turns out 29 degrees metric is still only 84 degrees in the rest of the world. [Emphasis mine]
"This site"? What site? Ah, since bigot Taranto's work is cut-and-pasted off the Wall Street Journal's web site, the hyperlink was no doubt lost in translation to print. Leading once again to the question: Who Edits This Shit? (WETS?, from now on.)
Oh, and Taranto, by "the rest of the world" do you mean "only in the United States"? Last I checked, "metric degrees," which most people call "Celsius" or "Centigrade," commonly shortened to the letter "C," is pretty much the global standard. But I wouldn't expect you to know that, Taranto; you're an idiot.
Oh, and finally, a blast from the past -- the E.J. McMahon Watch. E-Mac can be found quoted in three separate items in today's Sun: Matthew Sweeney's news story on Pataki's "fuck you" to New York City (withholding MAC funding), and in the bottom two idiotorials on page 6. Ahmad Chalabi must be jealous.
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
Continuing its eternal War on the Poor, the Sun
today idiotorializes on temporary housing for the homeless, coming down firmly on the side of homelessness.
Dumping on "the neighborhood-blighting practice of moving homeless people into hotels," the Sun
nis praise Mayor Bloomberg for commissioning a study on the issue of single-room occupancy hotels. SethAndIra hope out loud that, "the data from this study ... could point up the folly of the Callahan consent that requires it to provide shelter to anyone who shows up and declares himself or herself 'homeless.'"
One would never know if from the editorial, since the pronoun is never clarified, but "it" refers to the City of New York, which under the "Callahan consent," by which presumably the Sun
means the Callahan consent decree (unless Callahan consented to something else I don't know about), is required to provide housing for the homeless. This gets the fuck-the-poor crowd all fired up.
I love the scare quotes. You know, all those people with nice, comfortable apartments running around and calling themselves "homeless." What exactly are the scare quotes supposed to denote? That even though someone claims to be "homeless," that someone may own a microwave -- a possession which, by the Ira Stoll standard, places one squarely within the ranks of the Cadillac welfare queens?
The editorial goes on, in a hilariously common Sun
tradition, by relying on a news story in the New York Times
that was published in December. This is another thing I find so endearing: a newspaper founded by Times
-haters that uses the Gray Lady at will when it suits its purposes. In this case, the Times
reported on the Royal York Hotel, one such temporary housing provider, which is really bumming out the owners of the million-dollar apartments in the neighborhood.
"The Malibu Hotel on West 103rd Street," the editors continue, "where the city has taken over about 100 rooms for homeless adults with AIDS, has become a haven for drug dealers and prostitutes, according to the Times and the Village Voice." Actually the Times
story (it's the same story in which one finds the Royal York) describes the Malibu Hotel as "a mecca for drug dealers and prostitutes."
Evidently the Sun
has enough respect for the Muslim holy city that they decided to change the word to "haven" and save the quotation marks.
These are great burdens for New York’s neighborhoods. These burdens exist because judges have decided that all New Yorkers have the right to shelter. However, quite a number of them aren’t even New Yorkers. As our Benj. Smith reported earlier this year, one out of six families in New York’s shelter system has been in the city for a month or less. If the new study proves the extent to which the courts have burdened our communities and thus provides ammunition to overturn the court order that has so long tied the city’s hands, it will have had a positive impact.
Once again, we have to take guesses with the pronouns, but by "quite a number of them aren't even New Yorkers" I assume the Sun
is referring to the homeless, and not the Sun
's editors, both of whom are not New Yorkers.
The right to shelter. Goddamn "homeless."
I will quote from the Times story that the Sun is too afraid to quote from. "'The neighborhood has become very upscale and whiter and less tolerant,' said Councilman Philip Reed, who represents the area. 'There's a younger generation of people who didn't fight the old fights. And it doesn't sound like there's a lot of tolerance in their voices.'" He wasn't talking about the Sun
when he said it, but funny how it fits...
It appears that "Best [sick] of the Web" writer and Sun
contributor James Taranto has caught the notice of all-star blogger Atrios
The McCarthyite Right
The objectively pro-dead American soldier, soft on the fight against actual terrorism, James Taranto has this to say:
Al Gore, seems to have gone off the rails. The New York Post reports Gore will be speaking to a gathering of MoveOn.org--the far-left, pro-Saddam group whose online"primary" gave Howard Dean a victory over second-place Dennis Kucinich."
294 coalition deaths and counting, Mr. Taranto, all because of lies you helped distribute and propaganda you continue to spew. I do wonder how you sleep at night.
That's not to mention all the permanently maimed and disabled soldiers. On your conscience you prick.
Atrios need not worry about Taranto's conscience, however. I'm sure the Lummox feels just fine so long as the American dead are poor and/or black. And anyway, we can let the speculation end -- I know exactly how Taranto, who fancies himself a ladies man, sleeps: alone.
Tuesday, August 05, 2003
It was inevitable that eventually defenders of the Bush administration's permanent campaign of lies and deceit would eventually start blaming the victims. In today's idiotorial page SethAndIra offer up this:
"If Mr. Bush was engaged in a 'pattern of willful deception' — and so far we’ve seen no evidence of either deception, willfulness, or a pattern — among those deceived were the 81 Democrats in the House of Representatives and 29 Democrats in the Senate who voted for the war resolution."
It should suprise no one that the Sun
nis see "no evidence of either deception, willfulness, or a pattern," considering that the issues that Bush lies about -- the police action in Iraq, tax cuts for the uber-rich, high unemployment -- are issues in which the Sun
goosesteps to the White House's marching orders. (It is curious, though, for the idioters to say they have seen no "willfulness." What exactly does this mean? That the Bushies have no "will"? That they accidentally
manipulated intelligence, lied to the American public, and continue to fool themselves into thinking Bush is going to be re-elected easily?)
So the Sun
goes on to suggest that those Democrats who voted for the war but are now crying foul are somehow admitting that they are gullible, and that that is not a particularly electable position. I happen to agree that gullibility is not electable. I would extend the term to those who have bought into the decades-long three card monty that posits that lowering taxes increases revenues, or that installing a puppet regime in the Middle East will suddenly make America stronger.
But that is not the issue anyway. Democrats can say they voted for the war -- can even say that they support the war -- and still take Bush to task for his nonstop lie machine. It is the Sun
nis who are admitting their blindness.
Monday, August 04, 2003
So I perused today's latest dispatch from the Iraqi National Congress's official spokesperson, Adam Daifallah, wondering if he had pulled off the impossible: writing an entire "news" story about Iraq without quoting Ahmad Chalabi, referencing known felon Chalabi as Iraq's last best hope, or even making mention of the Iraqi National Congress, nominally the Pentagon's front group in Iraq. I say "nominally" because, to judge by the INC's latest press releases
, Chalabi and the INC have been spending most of the last month or so squatting in various Iraqi government buildings in New York City and Washington.
And, to my amazement, The Believer pulled it off! The dispatch, about the possibility of Islam wreaking havoc on an Iraqi Constitution, makes no mention of the Pirate nor of his criminal organization. It should be noted, however, that Daifallah's story does not quote a single actual Iraqi, either. Reporting is hard.
Ah, but leave it to the idiotorial page to ride to the rescue. In a demonstration of logical futility entitled, "The Iraq Constitution," SethAndIra, who like to pretend that there are people out there who are deeply moved by their worldview, jump into the void.
"Iraqis will soon embark on the process of writing a new constitution," they begin, "and none too soon, given that the establishment of a democracy to which other Arab nations will be able to look for an example was part of the rationale for the Allied intervention." Oh, for those cool spring days when we were eminently threatened by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. How I miss those moving press conferences when our Dear Leader declared that Saddam and Al Qaeda were as inseparable as ... well, SethAndIra. It was the DEMOCRACY, stupid.
Three guidelines are important for a classical democracy in Iraq: a commitment to equality for all citizens, both men and women; the right to practice openly and freely the religion of one’s choice so that non-Muslims won’t fear being treated as second-class citizens; and a separation of mosque and state. The best way to achieve this goal would be for proven freedom-loving Iraqis to lead in the writing of the document. Washington isn’t picking the constitution-writing group. But given the maneuvering before the war, it would not be surprising to see an argument emerge that those who have suffered for three decades under the Baathist tyranny should have a superior say in the process, as if Iraqis who have lived inside Iraq for the past 35 years are better versed in the tenets of liberal democracy than those who’ve spent time in liberal democracies like America and Britain.
Highly interesting reading. Yes, why should "those who have suffered for three decades under the Baathist tyranny" carry more weight than, for instance ... uh ... to pick a person at random ... Chalabi? Could it be because they may know the country better than a man who only discovered it when it was politically convenient? Could it be because they were fighting the Baathists while Chalabi was busy looting elsewhere? Could it be because they may be more inclined to be interested in a form of government that actual Iraqis are interested in (which may or may not be the same thing as you, I, or Paul Wolfowitz is interested in)?
After all, why set the stage for a Shiite theocracy if you are not prepared to accept a Shiite theocracy?
The Idioters then cite Daifallah quoting Nina Shea, "who was involved in the Afghan
constitution." "She is concerned over protecting the idea of dissent," SethAndIra report, without the slightest hint of irony
"America and the free Iraqis did not fight a war in Iraq so that another Islamic republic could be established in the Middle East," the piece concludes, "and the writing of a constitution is as important as any item on the Iraqi or American agenda."
And this is the most troubling sentence of all. So America and the free Iraqis did not fight to establish an "Islamic republic"? Does this mean not a republic, or not Islamic? Because whatever comes out of the constitution, one would have to be in an advanced state of denial
to believe that the Iraqi state will not consider Islam its official religion, whether or not it chooses to call itself "The Islamic Republic of Iraq," which there is a strong possibility it will.
Separation of religion and state, fine (though odd from a pair who want every New York City student to get a Catholic education). But we have here another betrayal of SethAndIra's deeper concern -- no good will come from the will of the Iraqis because the Iraqis are Arabs and Arabs are mostly Muslim, and Arabs and Islam, in the Sun
ni worldview, are bad. No, sirs, America did go to war in Iraq to establish an Islamic republic, the Bushies just didn't think far enough ahead to realize it.
On an unrelated note, today's letters column contains the following gem:
I must express my dismay at Mr. Annan’s statement in Mr. Avni’s article, “Rescue of Iraq by U.N. Is Proposed by Annan” [Page 1, July 31, 2003]. Has Mr. Annan forgotten that under Mussolini the trains ran on time in Italy and that under Hitler there were better roads in Germany. Following Mr. Annan’s logic, we should never have fought in World War II because Italy and Germany had such good roads and trains.
Evelyn Ruppenthal, Brooklyn
Thank you, Ms. Ruppenthal, but you are done a disservice. Is it just me, or is there a punctuation problem here. Now, I know it's just a letter, but aren't these things edited. Who edits this shit.