SPANNING THE WEB - 1/31/2006
1) Last night I was extremely flattered when Hugh Hewitt wrote in his blog that the Boston Globe should hire me and observed that farsighted dailies are scarfing up the best bloggers in their backyard. It was a nice sentiment, and I’m grateful to Hugh as always for the kind words. Meanwhile, I couldn’t help but to begin fantasizing about being a Globe columnist – hanging around their plush Morrissey Boulevard offices, having in-depth political gabfests with Derrick Z. Jackson, sharing the occasional cup of java with James Carroll, talking about how the world has gone to hell-in-a-hand-basket since 1957 with Dan Shaughnessy. It would have been quite a life.
And then along came a bunch of mean-spirited lefties to ruin my buzz. This morning, I was cc’d on several letters written to Globe head honcho Marty Baron imploring him to not give into this nascent right wing movement to hire me and urging him to refuse to clutch a troglodyte like me into the Globe’s bosom.
The dream dies hard.
2) Speaking of not feeling the love, my review of Andrew Bostom’s “The Legacy of Jihad” caught the attention of Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch. Mr. Spencer and several of his commenters were pretty hard on me which struck me as odd since I loved the book and so did they. Anyway, one plucky commenter did come to my defense, observing, “Barnett supports Bostom's book, provides good PR, and exposes it to an audience that might not have heard of it otherwise. Thanks, Dean.” I found Spencer’s criticism really disappointing, primarily because I have so much respect for him and his work. I’ll do better next time, Robert – promise.
3) Oh, how I’ll miss the Alito hearings and the ensuing filibuster non-drama. At first, as you might remember, I was a little cool to the topic, but eventually I succumbed to the irresistible comedy of Kerry, Kennedy and Biden outdoing themselves time and again. On NRO’s Corner, John Podhoretz offered a fond reminiscence: “I will always have those indelible moments--Biden's 14-minute-long question, Teddy Kennedy reading a parodic article from the conservative magazine at Princeton as though it had been written in all seriousness, Barack Obama saying the filibuster was a stupid idea and then voting for it, and, of course, John Kerry vowing to block the nomination from the Davos ski slopes. These are my Kodak moments, ones I will cherish.”
4) But not everyone was laughing. Some Democrats took it pretty hard when the Alito filibuster bit the dust. Although this Kos diarist tried to hide her pain in elegant prose, the anger showed through anyway: “What I want is a complete list of every scumsucking f--kstick Democratic a--hole senator who voted for cloture. That's what I want. I don't know what to DO with that list, not yet -- but I know for G--DAMNED sure I won't be VOTING for any of them, let alone sending them any g--damned MONEY. Frankly, right now I'd like nothing better than to torpedo the entire lot of them. Just dump them like so much worthless, leaden, VICHY MOTHERF--KING BALLAST. I got nothin', folks. Don't look over here if you want comfort or a nice, uplifting LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY speech. I'M DONE WITH THEM. They are DEAD to me. Yeah. CANTWELL and BYRD and LANDRIEU and BINGAMAN and every last motherf--king one of them, I'm DONE with them. I'm registering Independent tomorrow. You're welcome to join me.”
5) Here’s some good news. One of Israel’s grand old men of intelligence is convinced that Iran already has a nuclear device or two. I personally don’t agree with him, but even if he’s right the options for dealing with Iran worsen by the day. Faster please, Mr. President.
6) The Oscar Nominations are out, and in the most anti-climactic event since yesterday’s filibuster went down in flames, “Brokeback Mountain” was the critics’ darling, getting nods in 5 of the 6 premier categories. (If it had a woman with enough screen time, she, too, would doubtlessly have been nominated for best actress.) Actually, “Brokeback” is a fine film and I haven’t forgotten that I owe you a review of it. I’ll get it done by Oscar night.
Amazingly, I’ve seen four of the five films nominated for best picture. Only “Crash” has eluded my knowing glare. The best of the four I’ve seen is far and away “Capote.” While “Brokeback” will unquestionably win the best picture award, Philip Seymour Hoffman may very well get the statue for his uncanny embodiment of Truman Capote. If you see only one art-house movie this year, make it “Capote.”
7) James Lileks calls our attention to a Minneapolis Star Tribune article on the opening of a “vegan boutique.” Longtime readers of Soxblog know that the mere mention of veganism in any context is likely to trigger a paroxysm of juvenile putdowns on my part. Anyway, in the finest traditions of sloppy journalism, the Strib writer interviews the boutique’s owner and paraphrases, “He said that others exist in New York City, but that his is the only 100 percent cruelty-free vegan boutique in Minnesota.” That’s why vegans elicit such mirth from me. In their world, you’re either a vegan or cruel. Talk about Manichean!
8) Dan McLaughlin, a.k.a. The Baseball Crank, has an article in Hardball Times where he analyzes the Hall of Fame merits of Jim Rice, Andre Dawson and Albert Belle. Dan’s a brilliant guy, and when he concludes that Jim Rice doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, you can only hope that lesser intellects like Dan Shaughnessy are paying attention. Dan also notices something that I’ve commented on many times: The favorite player of my youth, Dwight Evans, has been utterly screwed by baseball historians. (My pseudonym was in Evans’ honor.)
9) Sick of politicians who temporize and equivocate? Tired of the type of guy who says, “I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it?” Then Hamas honcho Khalid Mish’al may be what you’re looking for. In an op-ed piece that appeared in Britain’s al-Guardian, Mish’al left no doubt where he stands on the Zionist entity: “We shall never recognise the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil in order to atone for somebody else's sins or solve somebody else's problem.” But then in the very next sentence, Mish’al seems to lose his nerve, stating, “But if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms. Hamas is extending a hand of peace to those who are truly interested in a peace based on justice.” Perhaps Palestine has found its John Kerry after all.
I would be remiss in reporting on this article if I didn’t mention Mish’al’s opening sentence: “It is widely recognised that the Palestinians are among the most politicised and educated peoples in the world.” Who, pray tell, is doing this “wide recognizing” that Palestinians are among the most educated peoples in the world?
10) The Washington Post has a terrific column up on what an unmitigated disaster Howard Dean has been as DNC Chair. Not only has he been out raised by the Republicans ($81.5 million to $42 million), Dean has so depleted the DNC cupboard that only $6.8 million remain. This means if the DNC sprang for two bionic legs, one bionic arm and a bionic eye (all at 1976 prices) it would have but $800k left!
Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at email@example.com