MICHIGAN: For a good article on today’s Supreme Court argument on affirmative action at the University of Michigan, read this. If you simply wish to listen to the audio, provided by C-SPAN, you can click here (if you have Real Player). Even Justice Thomas spoke up! Don’t miss it!
LIBERAL BIAS: Interesting article in the Dog Trainer by the Times’s media critic on liberal bias, David Shaw. Interesting, and refreshing, to see him say something like this: “I think it’s the demonstrable presence of so many liberals in the big-city news media — and their coverage of antiwar activities and the civil rights, feminist, gay rights, consumer and environmental movements — that has enabled the conservatives to make their case for liberal bias.” He left out coverage of criminal justice issues, but otherwise I think he has it pretty much right.
Shaw goes on to give an explanation that he admits might be self-serving: “[J]ournalists are skeptical, confrontational, and iconoclastic, which means they challenge the establishment, while conservatives want to conserve it. . . . So the better journalists do their job, the more likely conservatives are to see them as liberal.” This does indeed seem self-serving and simplistic — are there really no “skeptical, confrontational, and iconoclastic” conservatives? More to the point: is Shaw saying that conservative journalists are necessarily incompetent??
Shaw ends the article by boasting that he has actually gone on vacation with someone who opposes gun control — twice! Pretty funny. He seems bright enough that the comment seems a bit tongue-in-cheek. In other words, I think I am laughing with him, not at him. Worth a read if you care about such things.
GUANTANAMO TREATMENT: I have seen many links to this story in the Boston Globe as evidence that prisoners are not mistreated at Guantanamo. For example, this article by Michelle Malkin quotes the part of the story that says that “nearly all of the former detainees enthusiastically praised the conditions at Guantanamo and expressed little bitterness about losing a year of their lives in captivity, saying they were treated better there than in three days in squalid cells in Kabul. None complained of torture during questioning or coerced confessions.” She goes on to quote the Kandahar taxi driver who said: ”The conditions were even better than our homes. We were given three meals a day — eggs in the morning and meat twice a day; facilities to wash, and if we didn’t wash, they’d wash us; and there was even entertainment with video games.”
Thing is, folks like Malkin ignore the parts of the article they don’t like. Like the driver for a Taliban official who “said he was punished by being put into a container-like room without windows, where he was given food through a hole. He got sick and was moved to an individual cell where he was left naked for a week, he said. For weeks after that, he was given only cold food, he said. . . . He said he saw a prisoner beaten until his arm broke after protesting guards dragging chains during prayers.” Or the Taliban soldier who said: “I was gassed till I fainted and hosed with water cannon for complaining and resisting the indignitites against the holy Koran.” That solider “pull[ed] up his pant leg to show scars he says he got from being kicked by heavy-booted US soldiers when he protested their actions.”
Now, do I know these latter claims are true? No. But they are made in the same newspaper article cited by more than one pundit as proof that life at Guantanamo is rosy. I think these pundits have to address these claims, not simply pretend that they have not been made.
THOMAS AND SCALIA: Yesterday Justice Thomas voted against Justice Scalia in two cases.
MORE ON VAN SHOOTING: The Washington Post has this article from an “embedded” reporter regarding the shooting of the van with all those civilians inside. The memorable line from the platoon leader right after the tragedy: “You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn’t fire a warning shot soon enough!”
I can’t vouch for this chart, but if the facts it represents are true, it is interesting. It’s a chart showing who has sold weapons to Iraq, correlated with who opposed the war in the Security Council.
EMBEDDED: I’d rather be bedded than embedded.
LACK OF ACTIVITY: I probably should have warned readers that the site would be inactive for a couple days while my friend was in town from Texas. I should warn readers that it will again be inactive this Thursday through the following Sunday, as I am hiking through the big trees in Sequoia with the same friend. But have no fear; I’ll try to pack some rants in between now and Thursday.
UPDATE: I had to delay posting because blogger.com had technical issues this morning.