"Bush Hatred Threatens National Security," declares Morton Krondracke, Rollcall editor. His tone is over-wrought. Far from being a successful way for Democrats to bash Bush, the president's "terrorist surveillance program" is POPULAR. (See recentWashington Post/ABC poll: 63 percent of Americans said they found the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate terrorism, including 44 percent who strongly endorsed the effort.) Given a choice, most Americans historically and consistently choose SECURITY over freedom and civil liberties. Look at Democratic support for the Patriot Act -- nearly HALF of Democrats in the House voted for it. And look at Democratic support for Michael Hayden to be the new CIA Chief -- his nomination passed the Senate by 78 to 15, and most Democrats accepted his explanation regarding the surveillance programs.
Taking a tough stance on national security helped Bush and the Republicans win the 2002 midterm election and the 2004 presidential election.
Journalists won Pulitzers this year for revelations about prisons, torture, and a domestic spying program -- potential violations of AMERICAN VALUES of respect for human rights and civil liberties.
Yet Krondracke equates these journalistic scoops to shamefully printing "the fact that the United States had broken German and Japanese codes, enabling the enemy to secure its communications" and revealing "how and where Nazi spies were being interrogated." Equating these things isn't convincing.
And Krondracke destroys his own straw man by acknowledging that "there a potential for abuse in the NSA spying program." He writes:
"There is. For instance, it would be all too easy for officials to ask the NSA to trace the phone records of the winners of those odious Pulitzers - James Risen of The New York Times and Dana Priest of The Washington Post - in an effort to uncover their sources in the name of "protecting secrets" and 'fighting terrorism.' "
The potential for abuse of the NSA spying program is what many of us, including Republican Senator Arlen Spector, are concerned about. Some of us remember the FBI during the civil rights and Vietnam era tapping the phones of American citizens, collecting data to discredit Martin Luther King and other civil rights and anti-war leaders, as well as political opponents of Presidents Johnson and Nixon, and engaging in "preventive detention" -- jailing anti-war leaders without charges -- in violation of civil liberties.
Were "innocent Iraqi civilians (ostensibly including women and children) murdered in cold blood by U.S. Marines enraged over the death of one of their own in a roadside-bomb explosion"? Lex Alexander of Greensboro links and reflects.
I'm a bookaholic. I have trouble getting rid of books. I am paying $20 a month to store my books. That is dumb. Which books to part with, that is the question. One "solution" is to get an ebook, a PDF or electronic copy of a book I've loved or wish to search for reference material from time to time. Ebooks are great for keyword searches. "Books that you keep are childhood books, historical books, classics. There are two options with the other books: If it's so good that you would tell friends to read it, you pass it along. If it's so awful, you donate it." -- Professional organizer Kim Oser of Put It Away! told The Washington Post.
Take a visit to your local Borders or Barnes and Noble, and stare in awe at all the potboilers, partisan rants, celebrity biographies, self-help pablum, religious tracts, recycled newspaper and magazine columns on display. Then visit your local supermarket, and look at the general quality of the discounted hardcovers and paperbacks. Consider that a record 195,000 new titles came out in 2004, a 14 percent jump over the previous year and 72 percent higher than in 1995. But while more titles are being published, fewer books are actually being sold, AP reported last year. "Publishers are coming to the conclusion, rightly or wrongly, that the market cannot handle 200,000 books each year," Bowker consultant Andrew Grabois told The Associated Press May 9. This year, the number of new books and new editions of old works published last year dropped to 172,000, about 18,000 less than in 2004. Publishers, especially small and middle-sized ones, all cut back. Proft margins in publishing are in single digits, The Washington Post reports. Could too much overhead -- too many intermediaries between writers and readers -- have something to do with that?
And then consider this: "According to a 2004 National Endowment for the Arts survey, only 56.6 percent of adults had read any book at all in the 12 months through the end of 2002, down from 60.9 percent a decade earlier. And the amount of time devoted to books has declined, too: according to a report by Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a private equity firm serving the media industry, Americans will spend an average of 106 hours reading books this year, down from 123 hours a person in 1996." -- "Authors Meet Fans Far From Bookstores, At Company Events," The New York Times.
“Remember, McCain in 2000 has 40,000 people sign up on the web and raises a couple million bucks. A few years later Howard Dean raises $59 million. The next [netroot darling] is going to be as exponential as Dean was to McCain.” -- Joe Trippi to Ezra Klein, author of article for American Prospect on how a 2008 presidential candidate, specifically Al Gore, with strong backing from the "netroots," could, with a well-timed entrance raise $50 million almost instantly, and hundreds of millions more if he won the nomination:
The fund raising will be easier. So will the communication. Rather than speaking through the press, Gore would be able to blast out speeches on e-mail, post videos on the Internet, release statements on a blog, use online organizing tools to empower the grassroots. The question is whether those distribution channels will have matured to the point that they could serve as primary communication methods for a successful presidential campaign. Because, as Reed Hundt warns, “if you’re using the new medium to get across a new message, but you believe that really the new medium is just a way to get back into the old medium, you’re doomed.”
Gore in 2008? Wall Street Journalspeculates: "Among those said to be pushing Mr. Gore are billionaire venture capitalist and high-tech entrepreneur John Doerr and Laurie David, a global-warming activist and producer of the film, and wife of "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" creator Larry David. "When people see this movie, I know they're going to see the real Al Gore, and they're going to demand that he run," Ms. David says. But, she adds, he changes the subject whenever it comes up, and had to be talked into making the movie when she pitched it."
The New New Gore (American Prospect): Five years ago, Al Gore was the much-mocked pol who blew a gimme with his stiff demeanor and know-it-all style. Today? C’mon, admit it: You like him again.