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Here Is My Problem

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At no point does Jacob Weisberg actually offer proof that this statement is false.

The most famous thing Suskind wrote about the Bush administration was a passage in an article he published in the New York Times Magazine, quoting an anonymous Bush "aide":

"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality--judiciously, as you will--we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.' "

This became one of the most quoted lines about the Bush years, repeated thousands of times as evidence of his administration's willful dishonestly about everything from Iraq's WMD to the budget. "Reality-based" turned into a liberal slogan of the era, printed on T-shirts and bumper stickers. How could it not, given the deliciousness of the quote? But did anyone in the Bush administration ever say these words to Ron Suskind? He has never given us any reason to believe that anyone did. And given the unacceptable liberties he takes with quotes from named sources--see below--I have my doubts.

Sorry, using the manner of your enemy to discredit your enemy only discredits you.

At no point does Jacob offer any sources claiming to know it is a false statement. He offers his opinion; his doubts. But at no point does he offer proof. Granted, he offers proof of Ron's sloppiness, aversion to thorough research, and lack of diligence. But then he makes the leap from that to a claim of outright dishonesty on the part of Mr. Suskind. Sorry, I can not see myself joining him in that leap. The schism is just too wide.

Millions Do It All The Time

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But when a President does it, it's suddenly a big deal?

All cynicism aside, this is ridiculous. All it really does is prove the lie to the concept "a man you'd want to have a beer with" floated when Bush was running for President. Obviously, considering the media circus around this "beer," I'd never want to have a beer with anyone who's going to be President. I just don't want to have to deal with all the bullshit.


Ex-News Anchor Found Dead

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Suicide or murder? If it's suicide, it'll be old news soon. If it's murder, we've got ourselves another pretty white thing for national obsession.

Ex-news anchor found dead - Crime & courts- msnbc.com

ROYAL OAK, Mich. - A former TV news anchor in Michigan who was accused of embezzling from a man she dated and advised financially has been found dead in her home.

Police tell The Detroit News that a relative found Suzanne Wangler unresponsive Saturday afternoon in her home in suburban Royal Oak. Detective Dan Swiatkowski isn't confirming how she died but says an autopsy is planned.


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Kerry Condemns Heckler Arrest

ABC News Blog: Political Radar

For politicians, hecklers come with the territory. But the arrest and detention of Meyer at Kerry speech on Monday stood out in at least two respects: Police acted aggressively in trying to silence Meyer, and the entire incident was captures on video -- making it an immediate Internet and TV sensation.
I've been refraining from commenting on this story because, well--the kid was an idiot. And it would appear that Meyer was looking for a conflict. Indeed, I find it somewhat convenient that a video camera was on him from beginning to end.

Not that I am suggesting the Campus Police handled the situation correctly. From all appearances, they were fools duped into looking like fascist henchmen. There were definitely better ways to have handled the situation. Now, though, the rest of the nation sees the police as thugs quick to use weapons simply because a person is struggling.

Struggling does not justify the use of a Taser. I suspect these officers lacked the training to adequately defuse a situation. It would appear they also lack the training to handle a struggling person.

On the other hand, Andrew Meyer appeared to be looking for a conflict. From Will Bunch of Attytood:

Every piece written by Meyer, mostly intended for the Alligator student newspaper and one or two published in a daily newspaper, the Sun-Sentinel, is an angry diatribe against someone, no matter what the subject matter -- Republicans, his fellow students, Florida quarterback Chris Leak, even a fraternity Dance Marathon for charity.

Of course, not everything got published.

"Not printed in the Alligator...whatever, f--- my editor," it reads atop one of the articles reprinted online, a strange rant against Valdosta, Georgia. We can't imagine why they didn't, with gems like this paragraph:

We stopped at the local Chinese buffet, which my friend John would later describe as "terrible" and "horrific," which said fast sounds like "terrific," which is what I'm sure he meant to say. After dinner, we picked up some supplies at the dollar store (torch fluid, bleach, aluminum foil, orange soda, three lighters, and four plastic Barbie dolls: $15), and drew strange looks from the cashier. In Georgia, you have to make your own fun.

Frankly, Meyer's writings are often hysterical, although I don't think intentionally so. He's determined not to allow facts get in the way of a strong opinion -- creating this classic lede in the process:

Admittedly, I know very little about Student Government. But I think I got the gist of it from the Alligator -- bickering between parties blah blah blah, corrupt candidates blah blah blah, nothing ever gets done, etc. -- and, from what I can tell, the entire system needs to be completely revamped.

Of course, the problem with having such strong, instant opinions is that sometime you change them, as apparently evidenced by this note he placed atop a column/review of the movie "Sin City":

Oops. Everyone is allowed to screw up once, and this is mine. In retrospect, I should have used the movie to point out how good comic books are, not the other way around. I was low on time when the idea came to me, so I didn't really think about what angle I should use.Oh well.

In the meantime, Meyer made a lot of people really, really angry. His column attacking Leak, who would eventually bring Florida a national championship in football, as a "bad player" was especially unpopular, as you might expect. One email that he reprinted:

Find a new major, you waste of flesh! Journalist is not the career that you are cut out for, especially sports journalism. You see, to write about sports, you need to have some hint of knowledge about the sport which you are writing about. And as far as I can tell, the only thing you are qualified to to write about is smoking out in a VW wagon. You are clearly a liberal hippie who has destroyed every braincell in your head. People like you do not deserve to be at a school as great as the University of Florida.

There's so much more, but I simply suggest you read through his body of work. I'm sure there are some gems here that I missed. The one thing I rarely saw in any of his large, rant-filled body of printed work is actual reporting (unless you count getting drunk in rural south Georgia). Do they not teach that in the telecommunications program at the University of Florida?

Looks like Mr Meyer is attempting to create the next sensation in journalism. Makes sense, what with Gonzo Journalism mostly on the decline. However, I believe making yourself the story is not really the intent of Gonzo Journalism.

Well, this story from CNN confirms my suspicions that it was a set-up:

"You will take my question because I have been listening to your crap for two hours," Meyer told Kerry, according to the police report of the incident.

He then turned to a woman and said "Are you taping this? Do you have this? You ready?" the report said.

Clarissa Jessup, who contributed I-Report video of the incident to CNN, said Meyer gave her his camera and asked her to shoot video of him posing his questions to Kerry.

[snip]

Meyer responded, "What did I do? Get off me ... get the f--- off me, man, I didn't do anything. Don't Tase me, bro, I didn't do anything."

Police noted that his demeanor "completely changed once the cameras were not in sight" and described him as laughing and being lighthearted as he was being driven to the Alachua County Detention Center.

"I am not mad at you guys, you didn't do anything wrong. You were just trying to do your job," Meyer said, according to the police report.

At one point, he asked whether there were going to be cameras at the jail, according to the report.

Yup, idiots all the way around.




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