Kinsley on the incoherence of Bush's stem-cell stance:

It's not a complicated point. If stem-cell research is morally questionable, the procedures used in fertility clinics are worse. You cannot logically outlaw the one and praise the other. And surely logical coherence is a measure of moral sincerity.
Just in time for Christams. Ann Coulter dolls....


Dead Company Walking! How Skype may be the final nail in Verizon's coffin.
Rummy is bearish on the War on Terror. According to this memo.


Greg Easterbrook, an editor at The New Republic, was fired from ESPN.com for anti-semetic comments he made on his blog about the Quentin Tarantino movie Kill Bill. Easterbrook, for those of you who don’t know, is one of the best sportswriters in America, having entertained and informed millions with his weekly football column Tuesday Morning Quarterback (TMQ). He is also a man of letters, having penned a well-regarded book about religion while also writing articles on a variety of subjects for The New Republic, The Atlantic, and others.

Easterbrook’s TMQ column ran on ESPN.com, which is owned, by Disney, the same company that owns Miramax, the company that released Kill Bill. He criticized Disney CEO Michael Eisner and Miramax Chairman Harvey Weinstein (both who are Jewish) for chasing profit at the expense of morals by releasing the hyper-violent Kill Bill. After pointing out that the two executives are Jewish, he went on:

Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice.

Some have said that his wording, awkward at best, out right disgusting at worst, shows the limits of blogging as a journalism tool. Revision, reflection, and editing being the tools of the writer’s craft, Easterbrook’s misstep was destined to strike the blogsphere. Others have expressed larger concerns. Once again media consolidation and the ability for a few people to silence smaller voices is a worry. As Lawrence Lessig wrote on his blog:

If ESPN fired Easterbrook because it overreacted to his comment, then that’s an injustice to Easterbrook, and a slight to society.

But it it fired Easterbrook because Easterbrook criticized the owner, that’s an offense to society, whatever the injustice to Easterbrook — at least when fewer and fewer control access to media. No doubt, anti-semitism has done infinitely greater harm than misused media mogul power. But if firing your critics becomes the norm in American media, then there will be much more than insensitivity to anti-semitism to worry about in the future.


Some critics of the recall results consider Schwarzenegger’s election as a triumph of style versus substance, the empty headed masses deluded by big screen dreams and empty rhetoric into voting first for a recall that was unwarranted and then to vote for a candidate who was unqualified. "Finally", they proclaimed, "the inevitable triumph of all that is trite in American culture. The ignorant have had their say".

Others aren’t so sure. Andrew Sullivan is a supporter (if not a voter) of the new way shown by the Governor. As he wrote in the Sunday's Times:

Schwarzenegger used his celebrity power to forge a new politics. That politics - the missing element in American life right now - is a blend of fiscal conservatism, social liberalism and foreign policy hawkishness. As governor, Arnold's foreign policy aspect is minimal. But here is a Republican who is pro-choice on abortion, environmentally-conscious, and comfortable with gay people his whole life. But he's also very tough on taxation and very skeptical of excessive government power. When he complained that Californians pay a tax each time they flush the toilet in the morning, he was tapping into deep conservative instincts. But in his transition team, announced last Thursday, he included the left-wing mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, and former Michael Dukakis campaign manager, Susan Estrich. He's also married to the Kennedys. This left-right combo plays directly to the new American center. It's far more potent than Howard Dean's bitter Michael-Moore routine. And it's far fresher than Dubya's Texan propriety.

Other high profile pre-election supporters include Mickey Kaus, Most of the Kennedy family, and Warren Buffett. However the latest blow to the “Arnold-voters-are-ignorant-masses-blinded-by-their-lack-of-understanding-of-political-dynamics” meme was the shocking announcement by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer that he voted for Arnold. Interestingly enough his announcement came at a conference populated by a feuding and confused Democratic party still reeling and struggling to make sense of what happened. Since state Democrats are still clearly befuddled, can someone explain what happened? Is there a way for politicians, of every stripe to harness this movement? Is this is a phenomenon or are there larger implications for American politics?

Maybe in America’s most diverse state a new political standard has erupted. If you listen closely, you can hear the old ways scream as they die.
Kaus on the Easterbrook affair.