By How Many Days Can We Shorten This War?

Recently I watched the 2007 Lebanese film "Under the Bombs." The movie tells the story of the U.S.-supported Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the summer of 2006. Watching the movie reminded me of Just Foreign Policy's efforts with Jewish Voice for Peace and others to stop that war.

At the time, it seemed clear that the war could not go on indefinitely; the international community would not allow it. But how long would it be allowed to go on? If we could shorten it by one day, innocent civilians would live and not die. The 34-day conflict resulted in 1,191 deaths, the UN Human Rights Council reported. Using this figure, on average, each day of the war killed 35 more people; each day we shortened it saved 35 lives.

Today Afghanistan is holding the first round of its presidential election. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is clear from the campaign: the majority of Afghans are sick and tired of war. "There is broad agreement the war must end,"reports Carlotta Gall in the New York Times.

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Kicking Krauthammer

It's not so distressing that people like Glenn Beck have been given platforms against the better judgment of the civilized world. What ought to concern us more is the inexplicable degree of respect that is given to such more "serious" staples of political commentary as Thomas Friedman, Richard Cohen, Ruben Navarratte, and, of course, Charles Krauthammer, who has lately been touted, quite correctly, as the most important conservative critic of Democrats in general and Obama in particular.

Even aside from what one thinks of his views - which differ from those of many other conservatives insomuch as that they are often composed with due diligence and proper grammar - Krauthammer is only respected to the extent that his misdeeds and failures go concealed. My latest Vanity Fair piece draws on the longtime Washington Post columnist's history of disingenuous criticisms, nonsensical predictions, and maybe I'll make fun of his name a little, too. Just kidding (?). Excerpt below the fold.

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Frat Boy Journalism

Sad and pathetic, not to mention sophomoric, is this piece from Washington Post "journalists" Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza. They think themselves clever as they match beer brands to politicos but they crossed a line when they suggest that Secretary of State Clinton be given some "Mad Bitch" Beer.

This attempt at satire misses its mark entirely and quite frankly descends into frat boy misogyny. Please consider contacting the ombudsman of the Washington Post by e-mail at ombudsman@washpost.com or by phone at 202-334-7582 to register a complaint.

Update [2009-7-31 20:55:17 by Charles Lemos]: Megan Garder of the Columbia Journalism Review is also not amused:
One wonders how much of the Post staff’s time and resources were devoted to researching, writing, staging, shooting, and editing such an extraordinarily value-free contribution to the annals of political commentary. Milbank and Cillizza are no Stewart/Colbert—they’re not even Letterman/O’Brien—not only because they’re simply not as funny, but because their status as (ostensibly) reporters means that they owe us more than lame-puns-for-the-sake-of-lame-puns, as per the typical humor of late-night TV. “Two of the biggest maws in Washington”—judging from the impish grins they maintain throughout the video and from their general teehee! look what we’re getting away with! tone (oh, and from the fact that their video closes with TotBMiW taking swigs of Jackass Oatmeal Stout)—seem, actually, to understand this. They seem to understand, in other words, that “Mouthpiece Theater,” in its spectacular lack of substance, represents a kind of journalistic subversion. But, in that, the pair are victims of irony rather than purveyors of it. Yesterday’s “Beer Summit”—and, in particular, the media’s treatment of the event as alternately epic and ironic (as in, for example, dubbing the thing the “Beer Summit” in the first place), is certainly ripe for criticism. The video in question could have been—relatively—trenchant, along the lines of the “suds summit” column Milbank published in today’s Post. It could have been, given the participants, witty/revealing/justified. Instead, “Ménage à Stella Artois” simply mocks itself. And in that, it mocks by extension: - Dana Milbank - Chris Cillizza - the staff of The Washington Post who are not Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza - the audience of The Washington Post - all of us, generally.

And I'm kicking myself because the title of this post should have been "Ménage à Stupide".

Update [2009-8-1 0:30:15 by Charles Lemos]: The Washington Post has released a short statement and taken action: "The video was a satirical piece that lampooned people of all stripes. There was a section of the video that went too far, so we have removed the piece from our website."

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Diane Wood for SC Already Under Attack

The National Review (NRO) hates that Diane Wood acclaimed the humanity of gays in questioning the Christan Legal Society, an anti-abortion and anti gay outfit, during oral arguments in Christian Legal Society v. Walker, No. 05-3239.

Wood, a justice on the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh District is considered a leading candidate for Justice Souter's seat.

Bigotry and discrimination are not "about hatred, it is about love. To tell something, somebody something that's wrong is right is not loving, and that's what this chapter would be doing," said the CLC attorney. The NRO's Ed Whelan writes this exchange shows Wood "displayed a hostility to orthodox Christian beliefs."

Trying to fire up the religious right just maybe.

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Obama More Like Roosevelt or DiMaggio?

(Cross-posted from Think it Through)

President Barack Obama marks his first 100 days in office this week, a key milestone for every president since Franklin Roosevelt gave the 100-day mark its meaning 77 years ago.

If you think about it, the comparison is unfair to any president. It is like asking a baseball player at the beginning of the season if he will break Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak.  As any baseball fan can tell you, it cannot be done.

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