May 07, 2003

As I've noted in the past, John Kerry has been the victim of some of the most egregious coverage that any political figure has seen since, well, Al Gore, and conservative critic Ben Fritz takes the media to task here. The comparison between the slurs cast upon Gore by the socalledliberalmedia and those pinned on Kerry is clearly disturbing, with the Boston Globe in particular approaching the edge of anti-semitism in its attacks.
Pride goeth before the fall: The vaunted, unbeatable rugby team from my alma mater, profiled here last month, got its ass kicked in the national semifinals by Air Force, 46-28. Come to think of it, we lost to them in football, too.

May 06, 2003

One of the consequences of President Bush's political stunt last week flying onto an aircraft carrier has been to revive the dormant allegations that he deserted his Air National Guard unit during the Vietnam War. The short story: George Bush evaded serving in Southeast Asia by joining the Texas Air National Guard in 1968 for a five-year hitch. By 1972, with the draft no longer a threat, Bush sought a transfer to a unit in Alabama, where he had been working on a Senate campaign. There is no evidence he ever appeared, and “(h)is final officer-efficiency report from May 1973 noted only that supervisors hadn't seen him or heard from him.

Of course, there is probably a perfectly good explanation, both for Bush’s apparent violations of Articles 885 and 886 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and for his subsequent non-explanations of his “service” during the Vietnam War. More disappointing has been the lack of pursuit in this story by the “so-called liberal media”. Other than a Boston Globe investigation during the last election, no other publication bothered to raise these questions, and with only a few exceptions, the media has failed to put last week’s flight by an unlicensed pilot into context. As with the coverage of the recent hostilities in the Persian Gulf, Americans are poorly served with a “free press” that is little more than a for-profit propaganda wing of the powers that be.

UPDATE: Bob Somerby nails this story cold, and discredits an attempted apologia from Andrew Sullivan on the matter.

May 04, 2003

Howard Owens has a good piece on the "outrage" of the disclosure that William Bennett likes to bet; the outrage, of course, being that any sort of public attention is being brought about a legal activity. Of course, $8 million is a lot to burn, and it seems apparent that he (and his family) might have a problem with his recreational activity, and obviously someone who has been as outspoken about the vices of other people should happen to have one that is condemned by a substantial part of our society is bound for a fall. But I'm troubled by the notion that he's not entitled to have a private life, or that he's not allowed to engage in socially questionable activities, or even that he's not permitted to be a hypocrite.

If there is one moral failing that distinguishes man as a species, it's hypocrisy, the homage that vice pays to virtue. This was something the right ignored when the human being in question was Bill Clinton, but now it seems the left is unfortunately enjoying its own version of payback. To say that Bennett is a hypocrite has got to be the single most worthless criticism under the sun. Anyone who aspires to high ideals will eventually be exposed as a hypocrite; it certainly doesn't discredit either the ideals or the pursuit. I don't happen to buy his judgmentalism on the vices of others, including President Clinton, but I certainly do not feel any less sympathy for having his privacy violated in this manner. As a wise man once said, "don't hate the playa, hate the game."

Of course, Bennett is not alone. Yesterday, the head football coach at Alabama, Mike Price, was fired before he ever coached a game at that college not because he broke any rules associated with the game, but because he purchased private dances at a strip club. His transgression was said to violate the "expectations" as to how an Alabama football coach should behave, an interesting standard for a school whose most famous coach resisted the desegregation of his team until the early-70's. Price's impeccable record as a coach both on and off the field was simply not considered relevant. The other figure in the "Coaches Gone Wild" video, Larry Eustachy, may lose his job coaching Iowa State's basketball team due to his antics on the road the last two years, involving heavy drinking and partying. Neither person violated the law, or did anything other than betray the trust of those closest to them.

But such activities are human foibles. It is precisely for that reason that we have moral and ethical codes, and practice religions; not because we are always saints, but because we are often scum. If Price or Eustachy have a drinking problem, than they should deal with it. If Bennett is throwing his children's college tuition away at a baccarat table at the Bellagio, he should seek help. But I won't judge them, because I know that I am in no position to toss the first stone.

May 03, 2003

The L.A. Times takes the seemingly contrarian view that yesterday's federal court decision was more a victory than a defeat for supporters of campaign finance reform, focusing on the fact that the ban on soft money contributions to candidates in federal elections was upheld. Since the special three-judge panel also struck down other aspects of McCain-Feingold, including the ban on soft money contributions for "party building" and other activities not related to elections, the interesting question becomes whether the parties can resume collecting such funds pending Supreme Court review of the decision. Since the Supreme Court is more likely than not going to overturn the entire law, it would seem to be a no-brainer.
After allowing myself to go to seed for twenty years, I finally took up the gumption to join a fitness club. I was assigned a personal trainer, and began working out on Monday. A few days later, I am now feeling excruciating pain in almost every part of my body. I haven't even attempted the diet that was suggested, a forlorn effort to get me to eat healthier foods. Dodger Dogs, pizza and Chinese food are my staples, and if the gym sincerely wanted me to lose weight, it wouldn't be located in a mall next to Fudruckers, The Cheesecake Factory, and a gang of movie theatres.

Anyway, yesterday at the gym I ran into the subject of this piece, who along with her friend and cohort Shannon Ainsworth make up the dynamic one-two punch behind the bar at the soon-to-be-defunct Sherman Oaks Lounge. As both worked last night, they took note of the fact that I was drinking away whatever benefits the afternoon's exercise gave me. In any event, Ms. Summersett will be performing tonight at the Lounge sometime after the de la Hoya fight ends, and anyone in the area would be a fool to pass up the opportunity to see her.

May 02, 2003

This burning question from six months ago has been answered, and I have to admit I'm surprised.
Where did Bush learn to fly a plane? It's not like he was ever in the Air Force or anything....

May 01, 2003

Last night, I attended my first Dodger game of the year, with bloghomies Tony Pierce, Matt Welch, and the exceedingly generous Howard Owens. Great seats! The "other" player the Dodgers acquired in the Sheffield trade, Odalis Perez, pitched a gem, marred only by Jim Tracy's decision to yank him with two runners on and two outs in the top of the ninth. What earthly purpose was served by not allowing his starter the chance for a shut-out? There was no report of an injury to Perez; the tying run was on-deck, so even a home run would have been survivable. He had thrown 132 pitches, but struck out Thome and Lieberthal in the ninth. The cynic within me would say that Tracy brought in Gagne because it was a "save situation", and that mattered more than Perez getting a complete-game shutout.

[BTW, if you ever go somewhere without your wallet, these are the people to go with--most bloggers have PayPal on their sites, so you can pretty much borrow as much as you want, so long as you promise to contribute a like amount to their site. Being with a blogger is like having an extra low-interest VISA card and a fake I.D., unless I'm the blogger you're with, in which case it's like having the elderly Joe DiMaggio hanging out with you]
What's the story with "Catherine Zeta-Jones" and "Clear Channel"? I've had six unique visitors this morning from that Google search request...are they boycotting her too?

UPDATE: Found out. Here's the story (allegedly). Carry on.