Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dan Wilson on cowriting "Someone Like You." (Spotify.) A bad song, but the article's interesting.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Jonathan V. Last: "Bitcoin is the first piece of computer technology to pose a fundamental challenge to the nation-state."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Does SPIN magazine block readers' substantive criticisms?

A couple of days ago SPIN posted an article deriding politicians' objections to BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z's recent visit to Cuba. The writer, Marc Hogan, singles out Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL—the article is titled "Beyonce and Jay-Z's Cuban Vacation Fuels Republicans' Latest Crooked Crusade"). Hogan notes that "Ros-Lehtinen opposed South African leader Nelson Mandela's visit to Florida in 1990," and concludes that "she's not exactly been a defender of human rights in all instances." He adds, "It's not clear what Mandela might've done to upset South Florida lawmakers."

I submitted a comment. A day later the comment hadn't appeared, so I submitted it again. (Only five words were mine, so I had no trouble reconstructing it.) It still hasn't shown up. Here's what I wrote:

"It's not clear what Mandela might've done to upset South Florida lawmakers."

"While there seemed to be a near unanimous outpouring of praise for Mandela and his efforts to end apartheid (racial segregation) in his native country, Ros-Lehtinen felt she could not honor a man who had not only publicly embraced such advocates of violent revolution as the Palestine Liberation Organization's Yasser Arafat and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, but who also was on record as a strong supporter of Castro. She pointed out that Cuban Americans longing for a return to democracy in their country of origin could not forget that members of Mandela's African National Congress had received military training on Cuban soil."

The world's a complicated place.

Maybe SPIN had good reason to reject my comment. If so, I'd like to know it. (For the kind of opinion SPIN is happy to post, see comments three through five here, as long as you don't mind obscenity.)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Andrew Ferguson in Commentary (sub. req.):

The president today can afford to ignore mainstream White House reporters to a degree unimaginable just 10 years ago. The Internet and the public’s growing reliance on it for news allow Obama and his press office not merely to make news but to package it, too: If you haven’t seen the Internet TV show West Wing Week, in which the president’s staff chronicles his activities day by day, you’re missing a treat. Not since Nicolae Ceausescu has a world leader spent so much time surrounded by adorable children.

More important, through the Internet the president has access to a universe of fanboys—blogging and tweeting around the clock—who don’t even require marching orders before they double-time it into battle. Bob Woodward can tell you all about them. In late February, the well-known and often idolized Watergate reporter wrote a damaging op-ed in the Post, refuting the president’s careful denial of his own role in bringing on the sequester. Woodward even went on Fox News to drive the point home.

The White House press office issued a limp denial, but it was the fanboys who leapt into action. One of them, a blogger called Josh Marshall, compared Woodward to one of the crackpots who think Obama was born in Africa. Another blogger from Time magazine portrayed him as a befuddled has-been. “Bob Woodward is senile,” said another. Salon magazine’s tweeter insisted: “Bob Woodward has lost it, let’s all stop indulging him.” The blizzard of tweets and posts had the intended effect of burying Woodward’s original accusation. The story was no longer whether the president’s version of events surrounding the sequester was honest or even accurate. The story was, bizarrely, Woodward himself: his character, his politics, his sanity.

Commentary's (excellent) blog is here.

West Wing Week is painful.