Patterico's Pontifications


Sopranos — WTF?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:59 pm

Feel free to explain tonight’s episode to me. I don’t get it.

Which One is the Straight News Story? — A Quiz

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 3:54 pm

Here are two front-page L.A. Times stories from today, offered (mostly) without comment. But pay close attention. There will be a quiz at the end, asking which is the straight news story and which is the news analysis.

The first story is titled Bush’s Agenda Loses Focus. Here is the sub-head:

The White House staff has failed to formulate a clear domestic policy, some in the GOP say, and the administration is suffering because of it.

And the first paragraph:

WASHINGTON — A growing Republican chorus is calling for a staff overhaul inside President Bush’s beleaguered White House, but some conservatives say such a change would stop far short of fixing what they view as a serious flaw: an unfocused domestic agenda.

The second story is titled A Sliding Scale for Victory. Here is the sub-head:

As the conflict in Iraq enters its fourth year and civil war threatens, the Bush administration is again working to lower expectations.

And the opening paragraphs:

WASHINGTON — Three years ago, as they ordered more than 150,000 U.S. troops to race toward Baghdad, Bush administration officials confidently predicted that Iraq would quickly evolve into a prosperous, oil-fueled democracy. When those goals proved optimistic, they lowered their sights, focusing on a military campaign to defeat Sunni-led insurgents and elections to jump-start a new political order.

As the conflict enters its fourth year today, the Bush administration faces a new challenge: the prospect of civil war. And, in response, officials again appear to be redefining success downward.

So . . . which is the “news analysis” and which is the “straight news story”? Answer below the fold.


Bush Only Politician to Use Straw-Man Arguments in Speeches

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 1:12 pm

This is hilarious: a “straight” news article from the AP titled Bush Using Straw-Man Arguments in Speeches. Here are some of the unbiased excerpts:

When the president starts a sentence with “some say” or offers up what “some in Washington” believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.

The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position.

He typically then says he “strongly disagrees” — conveniently knocking down a straw man of his own making.

. . . .

A specialist in presidential rhetoric, Wayne Fields of Washington University in St. Louis, views it as “a bizarre kind of double talk” that abuses the rules of legitimate discussion.

“It’s such a phenomenal hole in the national debate that you can have arguments with nonexistent people,” Fields said. “All politicians try to get away with this to a certain extent. What’s striking here is how much this administration rests on a foundation of this kind of stuff.”

Bush has caricatured the other side for years, trying to tilt legislative debates in his favor or score election-season points with voters.

I found this at Power Line, which has much more.

Good thing Democrats don’t do this.

Cyclone Larry

Filed under: Dog Trainer,International — Patterico @ 11:03 am

Tim Blair reports on cyclone Larry, which is headed for the Queensland coast in Australia. It looks ugly. We vacationed in Australia and New Zealand for our honeymoon, and stayed for a while in Cairns, which looks like it’s going to take a pretty good hit.

Tim notes that this story is being covered very poorly in the media. For example, there is not one word in the L.A. Times about it. But, what the hell. It’s just Australia. Right?

CraigC’s Quote Quiz

Filed under: Music — Patterico @ 6:01 am

Here is CraigC’s quote quiz. I don’t have a clue what any of these are:

[UPDATE: The rules again: no Googling, and you must answer before you read the comments.]


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