Dispatches > The Buzz


Issue: "Terror on trial," Oct. 18, 2003

Liberal standards

Josh Chavetz of Oxblog (oxblog.blogspot .com) commented on a poll that measured likely Democratic primary voter response to the names of presidential candidates when titles-such as Retired General for Wesley Clark-accompanied names. Support for legislators (Gephardt, Lieberman, Kerry, Edwards) went up, while Mr. Clark's numbers went down. Mr. Chavetz wrote, "To a number of likely Democratic primary voters, Clark's military service is a negative. In other words, the impression that a significant part of the party base is looking for a savior with ready-made credibility on military issues is called into question."

Also called into question: The University of California-Berkeley's apparent acceptance of hundreds of "marginally academically qualified students" and its rejection of other students with much higher test scores. Some of the marginal students had SAT scores between 600 and 1000 while rejected students had scores between 1400 and 1600 (the maximum). Joanne Jacobs (joannejacobs.com) commented: "It's hard to believe students with below-average math and verbal skills can succeed at a university designed to educate the ablest students in the state. Berkeley is a sink-or-swim environment. Except for star athletes, who will get tutoring and support, underqualified students are likely to sink."

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Cultural relevance alone

Chris Johnson (mcj.blogspot.com) is one of the conservative bloggers examining the crisis within the Episcopal Church after the appointment of an openly homosexual bishop. His take: "The Episcopal Church will keep going, with perhaps even more approval from the secular culture than it had before. No doubt it will have a certain cachet with the gay community. Lots of ECUSA dioceses will take lots of ECUSA parishes to court causing lots of new Anglican parishes to spring up in homes, school gyms, public parks, and other places. Some of us may even start churches of our own. And we'll leave the ECUSA to enjoy its newfound cultural relevance because that is all the Laodiceans will have left."

Other bloggers, assessing new revelations of Muslim clerics and interpreters sabotaging investigations at Guantanamo Bay, are reconsidering the role of Muslims in the military. Solly Ezekiel (gedankenpundit.blogspot.com/) wrote, "Now, in no way, shape, or form am I suggesting that we question the patriotism of Muslims in the U.S. military simply because they are Muslims; yet in our rush towards political correctness we have already blinded ourselves to the danger that, should a Muslim find his faith in conflict with his patriotism, and should he decide to obey his faith and act against his country, we might refuse to see the danger and respond to it appropriately.... So, which would you rather have? Political correctness and promotions for FBI agents who've violated their oath to protect and defend the Constitution? Or equal treatment for all under the law, even if they happen to be members of a certain Religion of Peace?"

Crazy premises

The mainline press promoted the released Kay Report as a blow to President Bush's WMD credibility (New York Times headline: "No Illicit Arms Found in Iraq"). Many bloggers begged to differ. Andrew Sullivan (andrewsullivan.com) cited Kay evidence of numerous violations of UN resolutions and noted, "Saddam was lying to the UN as late as 2002. He was required by the UN to fully cooperate. He didn't." Mr. Sullivan noted that "One of the crazy premises of the 'Where Are They?' crowd is that we would walk into that huge country and find large piles of Acme bombs with anthrax in them. That's not what a WMD program is about; and never was. Saddam was careful. He had to hide from the UN and he had to find ways, over more than a decade, to maintain a WMD program as best he could, ready to reactivate whenever the climate altered in his favor."

Some blogs provide letters from folks in interesting or, sometimes, boring places. Frontline Voices (frontlinevoices.org) posts letters from servicemen in Iraq without commentary or any evident ax to grind. One contributor, an army nurse called "Major Pain," explained why "I have sooo much time to write-It's 'cause I'm bored!!! Which is a good thing," because the alternative is death and injury. Major Pain wrote that "Breakfast is always the same. Scrambled eggs-powdered of course-sometimes they are even yellow-usually a green-gray color though. Fried potatoes. French toast. Occasionally even KETCHUP to cover it all. Usually not though. Boxes of shelf stable milk. Juice from Oman. Or Jordan. Occasionally beef bacon. Yes, BEEF bacon. Sigh."


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