Those Wacky Folks At Parade Magazine

Considering that Edward Klein — the author of a Hillary Clinton biography that got virtually the same reception on the right as Supreme Court nominee Hariett Miers — is the author of Parade Magazine‘s “Walter Scott’s Personality Parade,” it’s no real surprise to find conservative droppings laced in his answers to questions that veer from the world of celebrities to that of politics. The 9 October issue is no exception (emphasis added):

Q: I’m interested in where Fidel Castro gets the dough to shore up his bankrupt regime. Can you illuminate? —Robert Henry, Los Angeles, Calif.

A: In the wake of the collapse of the USSR, which bankrolled him to the tune of $4 billion a year, Castro has turned to Hugo Chavez, Marxist president of Venezuela, the world’s fifth-largest oil-exporter. In addition to shoring up Castro, he’s funding revolutionaries and terrorists throughout Latin America.

The first question this raises is: Is “Scott” hearing about Venezuelan support for terrorists from the same sources as he heard about Hillary Clinton’s lesbian affairs? While any number of people have claimed that Venezuela is funding terrorists, not even the Chavez-unfriendly US Department of State includes the country on its list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism.” Send a letter to the editors at Parade, if you like.

The second question: $4 billion a year? We’re spending that much on Iraq every month, and it’s a desert hellhole thousands of miles away full of people who want to kill us! Cuba’s an island paradise 90 miles off the coast of Florida that offered to send doctors to help out after Hurricane Katrina! Someone’s getting seriously ripped.

1,500 Days

The Global War on Terror (1,486 days) has surpassed both American participation in World War II (1,345 days) and the American Civil War (1,458 days) in length. Two weeks from today, 9/11 will be be 1,500 days in the past. That means it’s time to update my interactive timeline at the top of the blog page.

The new addition to the list is, of course, the Vietnam War, which lasted 3,159 days from the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964 to the date the last combat troops left the country in March 1973. Not even half-way there. Heck, comparatively, we’re not even to the part of the Vietnam war where Nixon was running things yet!

If the GWOT lasts as long as Vietnam, we should be done in early May 2010. (For comparative purposes, it took almost exactly as long for the British occupying army to lose the American Revolutionary War. The amount of time from the Battle of Lexington to the last British troops leaving New York City was 3,143 days.)

Pimp My Book (On Blogs!)

The ongoing feud between Media Matters for America and Bill O’Reilly continues with a segment yesterday on blogs, where O’Reilly accuses MM of being George Soros-funded assassins. Interestingly, Portland was mentioned, as the location of one of the guests for the segment, a David Kline, author of the newly-released Blog! How the Newest Media Revolution is Changing Politics, Business, and Culture. Kline made one point about how pre-WWII media didn’t have the veneer of non-partisanship that may have existed “before the advent of corporate media” (presumably between the red-baiting of the 1950s and the Reagan-pimping of the 1980s). Kline’s bio on Amazon says he’s been a Pulitzer Prize finalist, with many major magazine credits, but you have to wonder about his honesty when he’s involved in exchanges like this:

O’REILLY: Absolutely valid, excellent point. But here’s the problem: these people are so vicious, and they — the media is so corrupt in taking their uncorroborated, as Mr. Babbin pointed out — defamation that most people now won’t run for office, sir. They won’t do television and radio commentary. They won’t put the — when we had to book this segment, I couldn’t get people to come on and say what you guys are saying, because they were afraid that Media Matters would go after them. They — I couldn’t — I had people turn down this segment — a bunch of them — what are you, crazy? I’m going to criticize these assassins? They’ll come after me. And that’s a chilling effect.

KLINE: Well, I’m not naming names here, right? I mean, I don’t want to get stalked.

But, whatever you gotta do to try to sell copies of the book, I guess. Like O’Reilly’s viewers can read.

Seems Like Old Times

One of the questions that I’ve had for months about Iraq is just how effective even a security force of 250,000 Iraqis is going to be in maintaining order. The American-led coalition hasn’t been able to control the borders, prevent thousands of deaths from suicide bombers, or stop insurgents from taking over towns in western provinces.

The coalition forces are spending billions of dollars a month on operations. Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft have played an important part in insurgent suppression operations. The Iraqis have none of the equipment, support infrastructure, or revenue stream to maintain even the level of opposition the Americans, British, and others are. Even if all of their ground troops were capable of operating without coalition support — which we’ve recently heard that they aren’t — what’s likely to happen when America pulls out and the gravy train ends?

Then, someone decides to rerun the “Fall of Saigon” episode from PBS’s American Experience.

NARRATOR: By August of 1974, the military balance had begun to shift against President Thieu.

His troops were thinly spread. They no longer had American air support. The American military advisers were gone.

Congress had reduced aid, and South Vietnam also suffered from soaring oil prices after the 1973 Middle East war.

Gasoline was tightly rationed. Ammunition was scarce. Helicopters lacked spare parts and maintenance, and troop deployment by truck was slow and cumbersome.

FRANK SNEPP [CIA Analyst]: In addition, there was the problem of corruption, the siphoning off of material destined to troops in the field. The U.S. establishment in Saigon never had a very good grasp on the subject of corruption because it was, from an intelligence standpoint, strictly off-limits, something verboten.

We, of course, realized that if the South Vietnamese looked anything but pristine pure, the U.S. Congress would not vote any additional aid to Saigon.


GEN. TRAN VAN NHUT (Army of South Vietnam): The Americans instilled in the Vietnamese soldiers and officers the American way to fight a war. Then, when the Americans withdrew and the supplies reduced, it was only natural that the morale and the combat effectiveness of the troops had to change for the worse.

NARRATOR: The Americans had spent lavishly in Vietnam. At Camranh Bay they built a two billion dollar deepwater port. Now, homeless Vietnamese improvised shelters out of its deserted barracks and clubs.

Obviously, Iraq isn’t Vietnam. The opposition in Iraq doesn’t control nearly the amount of territory the North Vietnamese did. They don’t have tanks. They don’t have an organized army. Still, with all of the technological advantages and military might of the United States behind the coalition, they haven’t been eliminated.

Fonts for Fun and Profit

A discussion about font embedding in a Director application that can print forms led me to wonder (just for a second!): Is Adobe buying Macromedia to shut down two of the primary perpetrators of font embedding (Flash and Director) just so they can crank the prices on the Adobe font library up to $1,000/weight?

Eighty-Five Days

Judith Miller spent eighty-five days in jail. Arianna Huffington reported the other day that Miller’s telling friends she’s signed a $1.2 million dollar book deal. The New York Times‘s executive editor Bill Keller says that a full account of Miller’s case will be published, possibly as soon as this weekend.

A professional writer with experience in areas where computers aren’t readily available like Miller can easily crank out a thousand or more publishable words a day, even longhand. Maybe more, if they’re not particularly bound by the truth. Seventy-five, eighty thousand words or more? You’ve got a book right there.