Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A psychotic weasel, in the nonscientific sense

See if you can guess where Dr.  Krauthammer is going with this one:

HUGH HEWITT, HOST: ... I know you’ve said before you no longer practice psychiatry. You’ve given that up. But I want to tempt you to do a little armchair diagnosis here. On the New York Times front page yesterday, Peter Baker wrote about a series of dinners the President’s been having, and our friend John Hinderaker at Powerline says he sounds whiny. He sounds depressed to me. What do you think is his mental state?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: That’s very funny, because my specialty when I was a psychiatrist was bipolar disease. And I wrote some papers on manic disease. He’s not manic, and I don’t think he’s depressed. And I, you know, look. I’ve foresworn psychiatry simply because you really can’t do it at a distance. And one other thing is that you remember 1964 when about 500 psychiatrist signed a statement that Barry Goldwater was psychically unfit for the presidency?

HH: Well, I’ve read about it. I don’t remember it.

CK: Oh, you’re not young enough. Actually, I probably got it second-hand, for all I know.

I expect that's true. Chuckles was born in 1950, the article that made the matter famous was published in '64, and the last appeal of the resulting lawsuit was rejected in 1969. (The Supreme Court declined to hear it the following January, with Black and Douglas dissenting.)

Short version: Fact magazine, one of Ralph Ginzburg's gifts to the free-speech world, had run a special Goldwater issue -- "The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater" -- the month before the 1964 election, including among other things an ill-concocted "poll" of psychiatrists. Goldwater sued. Ginzburg more or less admitted at trial that several assertions in the issue were, well, you know, kinda-sorta made up despite evidence that contradicted them. So Goldwater remains one of the rare public officials to win a libel case under the Sullivan standard. Anyway, continue:
But that’s a real abuse. Psychiatrists, doctors and others who use their science, or even the global warming folks, you know, you have your expertise, and some people just use it to try to bludgeon other people with their authority. 

Yes. That seems to be kind of what the American Psychiatric Association had in mind a few years later when it banned jackleg pseudo-diagnosis for the media.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Patient Zero

This just in: Researchers may have just nailed down the chain of transmission for "Michelle O's lunch rules," which appears to have reached Planet Fox about 20 minutes ago (as of this writing).

"Michelle O menu" and similar terms have been surfacing on Drudge with some frequency lately, mostly linking to EagNews.org, website of a Michigan-based outfit that appears to base its existence around the excess of gummint in our schools. Well, that and Common Core and the Lady Macbeth of the White House vegetable garden:

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Friday, September 12, 2014

On the bright side ...

... at least it doesn't say "Buh-bye." There's nothing else to cheer in the return of the Most Favoritest Misbegotten Lede of the downtown fishwraps:

Bye bye pop can.

That’s what the Detroit Fire Department might be saying soon to its rigged-up emergency alert system. It could get replaced — for free — by one of several philanthropic software companies that recently learned just how bad things are in Detroit.

The Freep stylebook doesn't address "bye-bye," but Webster's puts in the hyphen. Last time we set up the "that's what" with a form of direct address, at least we remembered the Donner Party comma:

Sayonara, prison life.

That’s what Monica Conyers can say now that her federal prison sentence for bribery is officially over.

And, alas, "replaced by" has at least one extra meaning too many to work here.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, I really got a lot out of the play. 



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We taught them a lesson in 1918 ...

... and they've hardly bothered us since then! Right, Nation's Newspaper of Record?

An editorial on Sept. 4 about Scotland’s independence vote incorrectly stated that Scotland and England have lived together in peace since 1707. In 1745, several Scottish clans joined Charles Edward Stuart in an uprising to reclaim the British throne, which was ultimately defeated.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Today in anniversaries

The Fair 'n' Balanced Network isn't one to let an anniversary go to waste:

It was exactly two years ago that Islamic militants attacked a U.S. compound in Libya, killing four Americans -- including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens -- and touching off a major political controversy that divides Washington to this day.

... But controversy over what really prompted the attack and what the highest level of the U.S. government did or did not do in the face of it continues to swirl on Capitol Hill. The White House initially portrayed the attack, which came just two months before the 2012 presidential election, as a spontaneous event triggered by Muslim outrage over an obscure online video deemed insulting to Islam.

As long as we're digging into the files, let's see how things looked the next day at the Fox homepage:
As heds go, that seems a lot more definite than the White House response described by the Washington Times on the same date:

Top Obama administration officials said they were still struggling late Wednesday to ascertain a clear timeline of how the events unfolded in Cairo and Benghazi.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Today in journalism history

Just to help put matters into perspective, here's how the Nation's Newspaper of Record covered political violence in the Fractious Near East on this day in 1947.
It's worth noting, among other things, how little is new in the world: the terrorists employ up-to-date communication technology ("a typewritten communique ... saying 'We did it'") and describe their motive: on the eve of "conferences on the future of Palestine," they promise to "'destroy these evil intentions' of Britain toward Palestine."

And this, toward the end of the dispatch:

At the Rafia detention camp twenty of about 800 Jewish detainees were told they had been sentenced administratively to another year of detention. None has been brought to trial. Twenty-nine others were released yesterday.

Is there a particular reason occupying powers think they're going to win hearts and minds by telling prisoners, in effect, that we tossed a coin and you're sticking around another year?

If this really was 1947, I'd read about the presidential address in the World's Greatest Newspaper. At least we still have the Fair 'n' Balanced Network to keep fear at the proper boil.

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And you know two heads are better than one

What do you suppose was No. 4 on the Fox news hit parade in the run-up to Wednesday night's nationally televised round of dithering and kowtowing? Take it away, Dr. Keith Ablow!

Mr. President, I know this consult is uninvited. But, Wednesday you will address the nation about the threat ISIS poses to the world.

You must not let your own psychology interfere with the message you send to our mortal enemies.

Feeling the great disturbance in the Force yet?

I believe you feel ambivalent about the decency of America.  But if you let that ambivalence be known by ISIS, they will be emboldened.

It is natural for a group intent on the destruction of the United States to feel strengthened in their resolve if they intuit that the president of the United States shares any grave misgivings about whether we are a force for good in the world, or evil.

You have voiced such misgivings. You must stop.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Today in journalism history

The Ten Magic Phrases of Journalism -- "limped into port," "flatly denied," "gutted by fire" and the like -- may have been first collated by Michael O'Donoghue, but they weren't pulled out of thin air. On this day in 1966, Phrase 10 appeared in Time magazine:

Roving bands of Negro youths roamed through the Negro section of Dayton—looting, stoning buses and breaking store windows—after a Negro man was fatally wounded by shotgun blasts fired from a passing car containing three white men.

The past isn't history, it isn't even past: Did you know that "preferred usage for those of the Negro race" appeared under "black" in the AP Stylebook as recently as 2002?

Just for the fun of it, here's the cover of the issue in question. Plus ça change.


No. David Crosby, maybe

Or maybe Charles Manson. The Intarwebs may have killed off a lot of journalism traditions (classified advertising and copydesk jobs, to name two), but the deity-on-foodstuffs tradition is alive and well -- right, Royal Oak Patch?

After severe storms, which DTE Energy called one of the 10th worst in its 111-year history, rumbled across Wayne County Friday and abruptly shut down the St. Andre Bessette Church Festival, there was something especially comforting about this food when the celebration resumed on Saturday.

Festival chairman Robert Heller told WXYZ, Channel 7 said a parishioner excitedly told him that Jesus must prefer Polish food to Mexican food, then presented a pierogi – a Polish dumpling – as evidence.

“I was shocked,” said Heller, who was making tacos at the time. “I looked at it, and you can definitely see the face of Jesus.”

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Monday, September 08, 2014

The white knight is talking backwards

As the Kenyan usurper is trying to distract us from his usurperly bombing of the Middle East by, um, bombing more of the Middle East, it's good to know that Drudge still has his eye on the main enemy.

The brand of awesomeness on offer at EAGnews.org might be interesting for those who don't spend a lot of time in the wackosphere. But at least it's nice to know that Juan Williams has found a consulting gig.