Patterico's Pontifications


“The Lifeblood of America”

Filed under: General,War — Patterico @ 10:55 pm

This post from Cassandra at Villainous Company is worth reading. Regardless of how you feel about the war, or about our young people going off to fight and possibly die, it’s full of the kind of truth you will never read in any newspaper.

P.S. Ignore the comments [UPDATE: I mean the comments at the linked post]. Our favorite Cindy Sheehan wanna-be makes an appearance. It’s a distraction. Treat it as such and pay no attention.

Your friendly admin, checking in.

Filed under: General — onefinejay @ 8:30 pm

A good evening to all. My name is Jay, and I have my own blog. For a little over a year now Patrick here has been my client when it comes to WordPress and all things blogging. I have already written on my site about the issues with Spam Karma 2, which upon further research I have found has a magic spell that it casts on comments retroactively to “spank” them into moderation after they have been approved. This “retro-spanking” happens as the software post facto examines an approved comment against comments that have been posted in the past.

At this point I do not know how to unbind this particular spell, but at the same time not even Bad Behavior is measuring up to the kind of spam attacks that this site takes. With that in mind I would like to announce unto everyone that I am reinstalling Spam Karma 2 and disabling the granularity check that keeps track of previously approved comments. It is with this hope that any false positives, including retro-spanks, could be avoided. That being the case, I implore upon anyone who disagrees with Patrick politically to please be patient with any disappearing comments. With the hundreds of comments that hit this site it is definite that there will be false positives and that my client will not be able to manually announce which comments have been deleted for cause and which have been retroactively sent to the holding cell.

Please take note that my initial assessment that the false positives are happening due to a bad synergy among other plugins is completely wrong. It is all a behaviour by SK2 and I would like to find out how to fix it, as well.

If we do not notice any improvements in the functionality of the spam blocker, I will disable it and get rid of it completely. I would like to give it another week of trials. In this light, I request some sort of level-headedness. I will be available in the comments of this post, which I will make accessible in the sidebar, as some sort of help forum.

Still Nothing from Baquet — But We’ll Be Working on the Transcript

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Hiltzik — Patterico @ 12:14 am

Dean Baquet was back in the office as of Tuesday. So yesterday (Thursday) I sent him a friendly note asking again whether he’ll allow me to print his reason for declining to let me interview him about the paper’s disclosure of the Swift bank monitoring counterterror program:

Mr. Baquet,

According to your out-of-office reply, you should be back in the office.

I realize it’s always busy when one returns from vacation. Still, could you respond to my request that I be allowed to quote your e-mail explaining why you won’t be interviewed?

I’m told by many people who would know that you probably expected it to be quotable, without my having to ask your permisison. But I think the polite thing for me to do is to ask, since I didn’t make it clear that I intended to print any reply.

Yours truly,

Patrick Frey

I have the feeling that I’m talking to a brick wall, but you never know. We’ll give him a few more days before we conclude that he is simply refusing to reply. If he never responds, I won’t publish it. But if it happens that way, it will be a disappointment and, I think, an example of cheating members of the public out of something they have a right to know.

In the meantime, I’ll work on transcribing portions of Luke Ford’s tape recording of Baquet’s interview regarding the Hiltzik matter and “pushback.” (Some of you may have missed the fact that there is a recording; it was a late update to the “pushback” post.)

I am especially interested in the parts where he claims that what happened to Hiltzik was in part a result of the paper’s failure to “push back” effectively (!). That is an odd statement that I hadn’t noticed in Luke’s description. Also, he believes that part of the reason for the paper’s declining circulation is “cheap criticism” of the paper. (And he sounds plenty angry when he says it, too!)

This could be the real reason he won’t let me interview him after all: maybe he thinks my blog is an example of the “cheap criticism” that is costing him readers — and that cost him a business columnist. (He didn’t say any of this; I’m speculating here.)

If that’s what he thinks, I disagree. I think my criticism is well-founded and fair — not “cheap.” Maybe he agrees; maybe not. But I wish I could ask him myself, and get him to answer.

Anyway, these are just teasers. There is a lot more to discuss from Luke’s recording. But it will be a more focused discussion with a transcript. So stay tuned.

No New Evidence to Show WSJ Would Have Published the Swift Story or That the Government Asked Them Not To

Filed under: General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 12:00 am

Courtesy of actus comes this link to a New York Observer piece that suggests, based on anonymous sources, that the Wall Street Journal had been working on the Swift story for months:

According to Journal staffers with knowledge of the situation, Mr. Simpson, who is based in Brussels, had been working for months on a story about government monitoring of the international banking system operated by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT. On June 22, Mr. Simpson was in Washington when a Treasury source tipped him that The Times would be publishing a piece on the subject, according to Journal sources. Mr. Simpson delayed a flight back to Belgium and raced to put out a piece on deadline, posting one online minutes after the Times story went out. The Journal, The Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post all had SWIFT stories in the next day’s papers.

I have previously discussed the Wall Street Journal‘s involvement here and here. I noted that 1) the government didn’t ask the Journal not to publish, and 2) unlike the L.A. Times, whose editor has made it clear he would have published regardless, there is no certainty that the Journal would have published if the New York Times hadn’t first. In the second link, I also relied on Paul Gigot’s statement that the paper wouldn’t have published.

Based on the N.Y. Observer story, I was probably too hasty in assuming that the editorial side in any way spoke for the news side, which is thought by most conservatives to be far more liberal than the editorial side. The story makes clear that the news side of the Wall Street Journal disagrees with what the editorial side said. I too credulously accepted the editorial side’s position as speaking for the paper as an institution.

But what I said before is still true now:

[F]or all we know, the Wall Street Journal had no intention of publishing the story once they learned that the program was safe, legal, and effective. They may well have decided — like the Washington Post and the entire blogosphere — that once the New York Times had spilled the beans, it was now news and had to be discussed.

It certainly sounds like this is still the case. The editors of the New York Times and L.A. Times have made it crystal clear in a joint op-ed piece that they would have run the story regardless. We don’t know that about the Journal. It is also still true that, as far as we know, the government didn’t ask the Wall Street Journal not to publish.

The same can’t be said of the New York Times or L.A. Times. I stand by my earlier conclusion: the papers to blame are the New York Times and the L.A. Times, in that order.

P.S. Don’t miss Jacob Weisberg’s piece criticizing the publication of the Swift stories. Weisberg is the editor of Slate. He is a lefty who is behind the often-flawed “Bushisms” series. Yet even he says:

To run with a story with the potential to cause significant harm to the national interest, I’d argue, an editor needs one of two things: a solid claim of public interest, or a sound basis for thinking that a story won’t in fact damage national security. In the case of the SWIFT story, editors at the Times were notably weak in both suits.

That’s the right analysis. I don’t agree with the whole of his piece, but it’s hard to find a rational leftist who thinks that publication was a good idea.

The Wall Street Journal might have come to the same conclusion, if the New York Times hadn’t made it a moot point.

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