The Plank

Condi Media Watch
November 26, 2007 The Plank

Today's edition comes courtesy of Elisabeth Bumiller, whose front page NYT story discusses Rice's "evolution" on the matter of U.S. engagement in Middle East peace talks. Bumiller's piece has all the hallmarks we've come to know and expect from gushing Condi profiles. First, an early sentence (which the author must know is grossly exaggerated) about Rice's committment to some particular cause:

Houston, I Have A Problem
November 26, 2007 The Plank

Over on The Stump, Mike points to a few new polls that show Hillary trailing the major GOP candidates in hypothetical head-to-head matchups. As someone who just wrote a story on the pseudoscience of electability that argued, in part, that "the case for Hillary’s electability turns out to be pretty strong," this is unwelcome news.

November 26, 2007 The Plank


My most recent TRB column is a brief for secularism, touching off the case of Mitt Romney and his inability to separate his religion from his public persona. Last week, Ross Douthat replied, but had almost nothing to say about the main point of the column.

Just Speculating About A Hypothesis
November 26, 2007 The Plank

It looks as though someone in Trent Lott's office may have complained to NBC News about the way they initially framed his announcement that he intends to retire by the end of the year. In an early version of the story linked to by Balloon Juice, NBC noted:

Top This, Ron Burgundy
November 26, 2007 The Plank

Say what you will about Dan Rather, but I always thought it was kind of great to have someone so clearly stark-raving mad in a position that was (supposedly) vested with so much gravitas. This New York Magazine piece does a great job of capturing Rather in all his madness, including this excellent detail:

The next night, Rather’s last as anchor of the CBS Evening News, he wore a T-shirt under his suit and tie that read F.E.A.—“Fuck ’em all.”

Accidents Will Happen
November 26, 2007 The Plank

Anyone looking for further evidence that Washington is not a basketball town can find it in abundance in the muted reaction to Wizards star Gilbert Arenas's reinjury of his surgically repaired left knee last week, an injury that will keep him out at least three months but more likely means his season--and by extension the Wizards'--is pretty much a lost cause. In a city that paid real attention to hoops, Sports Topic A would be the question: Did Wizards coach Eddie Jordan recklessly endanger his star's health by playing him far too many minutes?

The Good Old Days Of Child-rearing
November 26, 2007 The Plank

Over the holiday, my sister-in-law and I were sorting through some family memorabilia, including an April 1934 issue of Parents' magazine, the cover of which featured a portrait of her recently deceased aunt. On the final page of the magazine was a section called "Parental Problems And Ways to Meet Them," a compilation of correspondence from readers sharing not only their child-rearing nightmares but also the ways they had found to resolve them.

Department Of Self-parody
November 26, 2007 The Plank

From today's big NYT article on Condi Rice and the Middle East:

Ms. Rice, who had heralded the election as a symbol of the new stirrings of democracy in the Middle East, was so blindsided by the [Hamas] victory [in the Palestinian elections] that she was startled when she saw a crawl of words on her television screen while exercising on her elliptical trainer the morning after the election: “In wake of Hamas victory, Palestinian cabinet resigns.”

Line Of The Day
November 25, 2007 The Plank

Despite his recent surge in Iowa, many of us know almost nothing about Mike Huckabee, at least compared to the level of excruciating detail we've taken on board about Rudy's ferret obsessions, Obama's drug use, Hillary's take-no-prisoners campaign team, etc. Sure, he's a charmer on the stump, but every now and then I'll be reading a story about Huckabee and a weird detail will pop out and I'll think -- wait, who is this guy? And who are his strategists?

Rationality, Faith, Or Good Works?
November 25, 2007 The Plank

Earlier, I noted that Obama's full-disclosure approach to past drug use defines him sharply against Bill Clinton's "I didn't inhale." Now, it looks like Obama can't help but elaborate.