Wednesday, July 06, 2005

NYCLU says hand over recruiting info and you ask should you trim down below?

Today, we'll start off with CounterRecruiter's "NYCLU Demands Military Hand Over Info On Student Recruitment Tactics:"

From the New York Civil Liberties Union:
Concerned about student privacy and abusive practices by military recruiters, the New York Civil Liberties Union today demanded that high-level military officials produce information about recruiter policies and practices and about how students and parents can file complaints against recruiters. The demands came in the form of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to each of the military branches and in the form of letters requesting information from the head recruiters of each military branch...

I think that's important enough to start off with. Good for the New York Civil Liberties Union and let's hope they get support from others on this really important issue.

Now I want to talk about something from Democracy Now! today, " Newsweek Reporter Michael Isikoff Discusses His Coverage of Koran Desecration at Guantanamo:"

AMY GOODMAN: And your response to Lawrence DiRita, the Pentagon spokesperson who said people are dead because of what this son of a b—said; how could he be credible now, talking, of course, about you?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Actually, he was talking about the source. When we went back to him and said the source was uncertain whether he had read the item in a SouthCom report or some other document, that's what elicited that quote from DiRita. But I think the important point to make at this point is General Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has already said that the – had already said at the time of that comment that the riots in Afghanistan were not primarily related to the Newsweek story. President Karzai has since said the same thing. It is clear that, you know, there were Taliban elements that had -- had initiated the riots and were behind them for their own purposes, and the Newsweek role was much more marginal than was being presented at the time.

Most of you know that I started this site because I was getting really sick of finding out news at The Common Ills and then not seeing it somewhere else. And one of the stories The Common Ills had was about the "Night Letter" -- "Did the 'Night Letter' cause the riots in Afghanistan? Have you heard of it?"

If this has been all over the net, my apologies. I'm reading The New Yorker and, because I subscribe, my new issue is an old issue. There's an important story in this issue and I know most members who surf would have passed this along if they'd seen it. So if it's been discussed, it's not been discussed a great deal. We're going to note it here.
It's from the June 6, 2005 issue. Jon Lee Anderson's "The Man In the Palace." (For Doug, pages 60 to 72.) I'm not finding a link for it at the magazine's web site. You may have more luck.

No, C.I. there wasn't a link for it online. And no, C.I. it wasn't all over the net. I was writing e-mails that week and not one community member had heard of it until C.I. wrote about the "Night Letter." Okay, fine. C.I. says The Common Ills isn't a breaking news site, but fine. There will be people picking up on this, right. Like the people who do those "blog reports." (Like maybe the site that ripped off my line about blogging being like losing your cherry in front of everyone. Only they didn't make it as funny and The Third Estate Sunday Review pointed that out.) Did they write about it?

No because it was pretty damn important to them that they write about nonsense. And nonsense is what we got. This was an important story. My parents talked about, my friends talked about it. But blog reports aren't a lot different from the mainstream news the left loves to criticize. While the mainstream news wastes times on runaway blondes and shark attacks, blog reports waste time on water cooler talk. Or maybe they rave over some guy's entry that they quote a paragraph from and it turns out that "introductory paragraph" is all he wrote. (Thanks for the tip on that, Tiffany.)

So here was something that went beyond, "I know Newsweek didn't cause riots" and actually told you what did (the "Night Letter" -- read about it). It mattered. And it mattered about how we saw Afghanistan. But there were "fun" topics to talk about. Was it braclets that day?
This matters to me because we're getting a lot of fluff and a lot of dopes. And no, I'm not talking about CJR Daily here, I'm talking about two other places. I don't go to CJR Daily. I did go to these two places. I don't anymore.

Now let's dip into the e-mails. I've got one question from two people. Rochelle and Sid both e-mail asking about whether they should do some landscaping?

One's a female, one's a male. I got one answer for both of them. Do what you are comfortable with.

Unless you're living in a nudist colony, a lot of people shouldn't be checking you out down south.
So this should be what you want, not what anyone else does.

You want to look a new born only without the diapers, have at it. You want to get a high & tight like a grunt, go for it. You want to keep it real, go for it.

You make that decision based on what you want.

I did some "manscaping" two summers ago. ("Manscaping" is Rebecca's word for it.) The 17 year old woman I was seeing suggested it. So we did it together, or did me together, with a pair of shears. Got it about an inch to an inch and 1/2 all over. That's chest, pubes, and pits. She thought it would look 'hot.' It was hot. It was summer. And here's something to think about. When those hairs get cut, they are sharp. I was being poked in a t-shirt and boxers. I was red all over where I'd been trimmed. It was a pain and I'll just do the wild man look from now on.

You might not mind the poking, so go for it if it matters to you. And you might not mind ingrown hairs if you wax or use 1 of those pastes. That's a decision you have to make.

It's your hair and you need to make the decision for you. Don't be a dope like me and do it because you're talked into it. If I'd wanted it I probably wouldn't have minded the pain. So think about it and decide what you want to do.

Now Ma rarely asks anything so when she does, she gets it. She said the thing that C.I. and Ava did Sunday at The Common Ills was too funny not to share. So here it is:

In case you missed it, Maureen Dowd's in the midst of a long vaction (working on a book, if we remember the announcement correctly). We've seen the space go back and forth between genders in a truly Myra Breckinridge manner. That's really not cutting it. When you have only one female op-ed writer (out of six) and she's on vacation (extended, no less) a better effort needs to be made to represent women on the op-ed pages if only for symbolic reasons. A young female journalism wanna' be in high school or junior high picks up the paper today and what's she to think as she sees little Stevie Carter stamping his Keds-clad feet and hissing 'calm down,' next to Frank Rich, Nicky K, Byron Calame (new public editor, yes, they went with a man -- and are you surprised by that?), David Grinspoon, and William Easterly.

Did you count that? We'll do it for you. There are six op-ed columns (that's counting the public editor) today and of those six, not one is by a woman.What about yesterday, you ask? Surely yesterday they had woman yesterday? Yes, among the four op-eds yesterday, two were actually written by women. This was Saturday, the day after O'Connor's announcement. Dahlia Lithwick*, in a one-shot for the Times, wrote "Robed in Mystery." And what did the filling in for Dowd "regular," Patricia Nelson Limerick, write about "Make Way For Airheads" woops! "Make Way for Angels." [*Note: There are two op-eds by females. There's Patti as regular-fill-in and there's Dahlia Lithwick. See note at end.]

Gail Collins has noted that a woman for a woman alone is not a reasonable replacement when Dowd's on vacation. We quite agree. Reading through the nonsense of "Make Way For Angels," we quite agree. And here's a tip for Collins, when someone pens "Therefore on this holiday weekend . . ." demand a rewrite then and there. Or as Limerick might put it, "then and therefore."

A paragraph beginning with "Alas" should also catch your attention since the century is not the eighteenth. And we'll celebrate Limerick's proposed "Take a Deep Breath Day" when her gauzy haze leaves the op-ed pages and goes back to whatever "recovering secularist" hostel she biked in from. The woman makes Elisabeth Bumiller seem reality based. Ground control to Patty Nelson Limerick, that great WHISH you hear is the sound of all air leaving your empty head via the giant windmills of your mind.

If anyone missed it, Dowd, whether you love her or hate her, or maintain an indifference, has an opinion. And she can convey it in a straight forward manner with no need to come off sounding like a dithering fool at a Renaissance fair.

"Feeling pure, self-righteous, smug and nestled in the company of the like-minded is one of humanity's greatest natural highs." Is she attempting to be confessional? She's high on something, alright, self-love and self-delusion. Is their a rehab for those who fashion themselves as modern day Aimee Semple McPhersons?

"While you eat your solitary lunch, you are to make your best efforts to imagine a representative from posterity occupying the empty seat across the table."

Oh come on, Patti, no one named Patti should be allowed to write with such useless excess. "Representative from posterity?" We'd try to explain to her all that was wrong with that sentence, all the was wrong with the entire column, but she's off to be fitted for another white flowing robe with matching turban and her followers are getting antsy, or as antsy as dazed zombies can get at any rate.

We'd suggest she go off somewhere and start her own cult but, honestly, we fear she already has. Patti's a histographer. That's a nice way of saying "she sure ain't a historian."

She doesn't always go over well, take for instance, wait, let's let her tell it:

I had barely started my sentence when someone in the Boulder, Colo., audience let loose a loud hiss.
And I said the first thing that came to mind, which turned out to be, "Don't do that."

But Patti, they had to. You are, after all, you. And you were trying to rehabilitate the image of John Ehrlichman. We'd ask, "Have you no shame" were it not for the fact that we already know the answer to that -- as evidenced by this paragraph:

Five minutes in his company will convince anyone that John Whitaker is a fine human being. He does not try to conceal or dismiss the bad behavior that produced Watergate. But his testimony asks us to realize that if we devote ourselves to shuddering over Watergate, we will fail to attend to the achievements of the National Environmental Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws of that time. If we narrow Ehrlichman and Nixon's heritage to Watergate, we do a considerable disservice to history.
So I asked an audience to forgo the pleasure of simple condemnation of John Ehrlichman, a man who had surprised me -- and surely would have surprised himself -- by assuming the status of the friend of my friend.

Patti, Patti, Patti, we're "shuddering over" you. Five minutes in his company might convince you of something but that's only because you started off unmoored. For those of us who know the period, we're not rushing to give our props and shout outs to Ehrlichman. While Limerick's certainly allowed to work herself into what ever Dionysian revelry over which ever recovery fad she's on this week, it's probably a good idea not to attemp to channel Julie Nixon Eisenhower while she's still alive. Our opinion.

Normally we don't address the Times' op-ed pages. But there is so little in the main section of the paper. It was this or the Sunday Magazine (possibly we picked the tiger and not the lady with that choice). This falls into the issue of representation which we have addressed before. And note, we didn't address her opinion because a) we weren't sure we could find any actual thought in the piece and b) her column is, quite frankly, not intended for the enjoyment of anyone who's stopped doing endless pencil drawings of horses in spiral notebooks.

Ma says it made her laugh hard and she's not sure what her favorite part is but she's thinking it's the part about not trying to channel Julie Nixon Eisenhower before she's dead.