Dispatches > The Buzz


Issue: "Iraq: Bloody Ramadan," Nov. 29, 2003

One on one

Mickey Kaus (kausfiles.com) suggests that Democratic leaders should schedule a made-for-TV series of pre-primary smackdowns: "Instead of one two-hour debate with all nine candidates, have several 15-minute debates between rotating pairs of candidates. Dean vs. Sharpton for 15 minutes. Then Kerry vs. Edwards. Then Clark vs. Lieberman, etc." Mr. Kaus added to his delightful vision a "bonus feature" in which "a different non-candidate guest 'ringer' could be invited to participate every week, the way movie actors are invited to appear on TV sitcoms during sweeps week. One day Jimmy Carter could be the 10th man. At the next debate, Bill Clinton could offer avuncular advice.... At the very least, the ringers would inject new ideas and force the real candidates to respond (the way kamikaze candidate Arianna Huffington forced the real candidates to respond in the climactic California recall debate)."

Neoliberal Gregg Easterbrook (tnr.com/easterbrook.mhtml) observed that Howard Dean's dependence on small donations may hurt the candidate's independence: "The problem in seeking large numbers of small donations may be that it forces Dean to sell out to everyone." Mr. Easterbrook offered the "One Big Sell-Out theory"-President Bush, in his opinion, has catered to the well-off-and argued that Mr. Dean will have to promise "everything to everybody.... As the initial glamour of his run inevitably wears off and the need to sustain cash flow begins to take over campaign strategy, watch to see if Dean begins endorsing anything that could inspire any donor group."

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Times terrorizes

Paramilitary forces are roaming Baghdad terrorizing the locals. Sadaam back in power? Nope, it's The New York Times. Healing Iraq (healingiraq.blogspot.com) posted a letter written to the Times by a Baghdadite who owns property adjacent to property rented by the Times: "For several weeks now my brother Ali ... has been denied automobile access to our property by security guards. Until two days ago we thought this was a coalition security measure. Now we know these guards are not coalition personnel but are instead the private security force employed by your newspaper.... Yesterday ... my brother and two hired men were in one of the stores installing shelves.... His efforts were interrupted by several of the security guards employed by your paper. He was knocked roughly to the floor and threatened. Your guards pointed their AK-47 rifles at my brother and his workmen and told them they would be shot if they did not leave immediately. I feel sure if you learned the United States Army was responsible for an incident such as this you would feel obligated to publish the story and condemn the act."

Bloggers on the left, meanwhile, are arguing vigorously that the United States will not be able to bring security and liberty to Iraq. Max (maxspeak.org/gm/) summed up hard-left arguments: "Unless the U.S. murders everyone in Baghdad and the 'Sunni triangle,' Saddamists are going to be the default power there. There is an illusory control over the Kurdish and Shia areas. The U.S. doesn't control them; it's just that the inhabitants choose not to engage in open rebellion at this juncture.... [W]ithdrawal will have ill consequences for the national interest. So will staying in.... How do we get out? By getting out. It's painful but simple. Out means out. You put one foot forward, then the other, and keep going until you're in New Jersey eating a Big Mac." Max probably wouldn't like it, though, if his eating of a Big Mac were rudely interrupted by a suicide (or homicide) bomber.

The book on LOOGYs

Just to prove the point that there is nothing that can't be blogged about, a new blog is devoted entirely to baseball's off-season transactions. Warning: The Transaction Guy (all-baseball.com/transactionguy/) contains baseball jargon likely to confuse non-baseball-nerds. Example: "$1.65M/year to a LOOGY? Geez. They could have gotten similar performance for less money from oh, I don't know, Ron Villone or greasy ol' Steve Kline, to name two LOOGYs on the free-agent market this winter. But, I guess you stick with who you know." LOOGY, by the way, means Lefty One-Out Guy, a left-handed relief pitcher brought in to pitch to only one left-handed batter.


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