Dispatches > The Buzz

Blog Watch

Buzz from online journals, including www.worldmagblog.com

Issue: "Bush: Holding the line," June 5, 2004

Shifting standards

Blogs have been taking down a notch two former Middle East hopes and one news service. The Iraqi police raid on Ahmed Chalabi's home has led to speculation that one of Mr. Chalabi's closest associates was engaged in espionage for Iran, and Roger Simon (rogerlsimon.com) is knocking Iranian human-rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Simon complains that Ms. Ebadi "firmly attacks the American treatment of Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners while saying nothing about the political prisoner situation in her own country, which is vastly ... and I mean vastly ... worse. She also justifies the enforced hijab and opposed U.S. intervention in Afghanistan."

The news service under challenge is Reuters, which has a policy that (according to Reuters editor Stephen Jukes) "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." James Taranto (opinionjournal.com/best) argues that Reuters is inconsistent to be indignant about two of its journalists allegedly being tortured in American detention: "Isn't one man's maltreatment another man's saturnalia?"

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Jersey tea party

Recent polls showing John Kerry and George W. Bush mere points away from each other in New Jersey have caused many commentators to label New Jersey as a battleground state. New Jersey's move into play has confused many commentators who saw Al Gore's hefty 15 percent win in 2000 and predicted the same for '04. New Jerseyan Jeff Jarvis (buzzmachine.com) offered a theory: "Democratic Gov. Jim McGreevey is raising taxes. And any politician who dares to raise taxes in this state always gets Abu-Ghraibed by the voters." Never mind that these raised taxes are concentrated heavily on the rich; according to Mr. Jarvis, in New Jersey it's all for one and one for all: "It's still a tax increase. New Jersey hates tax increases. It hates tax increasers more. And they're smart enough to see that if the rich leave the state, that will have an impact on taxes, jobs, and real estate."

The New Republic is waxing optimistic about John Kerry's prospects. Ryan Lizza (tnr.com/campaignjournal) writes, "We can already assess the effect of the two big strategic moves of the pre-convention period. The Bush campaign's decision was to spend some $60 million in an attempt to discredit Kerry.... The Kerry campaign's decision was to concentrate on fundraising and allow events in Iraq and 527 spending to parry the Bush assault.... [Kerry] is pumping up his ad campaign just as Bush is ratcheting his down."

TNR even finds a positive in John Kerry's arrogance: Noam Scheiber (tnr.com/etc.mhtml) writes that "it just never occurs to Kerry that he's going to lose.... This can be an exceedingly grating quality.... But I also happen to think this imperviousness to self-doubt is what separates successful politicians ... from, well, hyper-self-conscious bloggers."

Theocracy, Canadian style

Little Green Footballs (littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog) cites an article from the Toronto Star that shows how far multiculturalism has gone in Canada. There, Muslims have discovered that they may soon be settling disputes according to Shariah law. Homa Arjomand, a refugee from Iran, "now a transitional counselor in Toronto for immigrant women, heard the province had quietly approved the use of Islamic law in Ontario's Muslim community. A group she'd never heard of, called the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice, had gained the right to hold tribunals, darul qada, in which marriage, family, and business disputes can be settled according to sharia." Ms. Arjomand is horrified: "The last thing I expected in Canada, the last thing I want, is sharia law. Women are not equal under it, therefore it is opposed to Canada's laws and values. The government can't let this happen." But apparently it will happen-and provincial officials say they can't stop it because of a multicultural law on the books.

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