Thursday, June 09, 2005

Taking Tom To Task

This is a hilarious skewering of Thomas Friedman and his new book that all 3 of our readers should check out.
-- Eric

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Standards?! We don't need no stinkin' standards!

It has come to the attention of the editors here at Exit145 that some of our readership has linked to the site through various search engines. Were these curiosity monkeys eager for information concerning the latest "Uzbekistan goings-on"? No. Could it be commentary on "military policy and recruiting" that interested readers crave? That was my guess too, but wrong again.

It seems that Google has listed us as a source of Lindsay Lohan gossip. So, in the interest of pleasing our fans, we will continue to post the occasional nugget on the activities of everyone's favorite teen star. Well, second favorite after Hillary Duff. But whatever. Please note that the editors have no interest in this whatsoever and simply live to serve you.
Lindsay Lohan is still upset at Ashlee Simpson for "stealing" her ex-boyfriend, Wilmer Valderrama, last year. When Ashlee arrived with her sister, Jessica, Saturday night for Lohan's party at the Standard in L.A. after the MTV Movie awards, there was almost "a catfight," sources say.

"Jessica and Ashlee pulled up, and as hotel employees were clearing a table for them at Lindsay's party, Lindsay supposedly found out and said, 'No way — they are not coming to my party.' And the guy at the door told the Simpsons that [Lohan] said to go away," our spywitness said.

The Simpson sisters then went to Jimmy Fallon's party at the Argyle Hotel, where Jessica was heard ranting, "That [bleep]. If she comes here, I will kick her ass!"
Sure enough, an hour later, Lohan ended up at the Argyle, where Jessica "went ballistic," spies said. "She was screaming how she was going to kick her butt, and had to be separated from Lindsay. Ashlee wasn't so upset, but Jessica was furious because she says she is a star and should be let in everywhere."

The trio ended up making up after Lohan "explained it was a mistake that they were not let into her party."

A rep for Lohan said, "Maybe their names got misplaced on the list."

A rep for Ashlee said, "Ashlee and Jessica had a great time at Jimmy's party, which was the hottest one of the night."
More?! Ok, here's a little taste:

Meanwhile, at the MTV awards, everyone was buzzing about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' strange behavior.

"Katie requested a private dressing room, which was in the basement," we're told. "Tom and Katie came roaring up on his motorcycle and disappeared for the whole night into the room with her p.r. guy, a stylist, a hairdresser, a makeup person and six Scientologists, including Tom's sister [and p.r. woman] Lee Anne DeVette. They did not come out except for when they went onstage — did not mingle with anyone in the green room — and then left."

Holmes had to be back at the Regent Beverly Wilshire early the next morning for the "Batman Begins" junket, where she and Cruise "made out in the hallway in front of all the journalists and TV people in between every interview."

"We are talking a public display for hours," said our source. "It was over the top, unnecessary and gross."
That pretty much sums it up. I hope you're happy.


Life Lessons from a Man Wearing a Pink Tie on a Pink Shirt

Check out David Brooks' column, "Life Lessons from Watergate," from Sunday's NY Times; this goes double for my contemporaries in the DC area. The Times' remaining 'conservative voice' discusses -- aptly for the most part -- what the atmosphere can be like for ambitious 20-somethings in today's working world. As has been widely reported, Bob Woodward cultivated a relationship with Mark W. Felt while serving as a Naval Lieutenant on duty at the White House. Woodward, like many in his position then and now, wanted to learn how the game was played at the highest levels in order to establish a path to success. As Brooks notes, Woodward was looking for any advantage he could gain.

Bob Woodward, in other words, was in the midst of the starting-gate frenzy.

Places like Washington and New York attract large numbers of ambitious young people who have spent their short lives engaged in highly structured striving: getting good grades, getting into college. Suddenly they are spit out into the vast, anarchic world of adulthood, surrounded by a teeming horde of scrambling peers, and a chaos of possibilities and pitfalls. They discover that though they are really good at manipulating the world of classrooms, they have no clue about how actual careers develop, how people move from post to post.

And all they have to do to find their way amid this confusion is to answer one little question: What is the meaning and purpose of my life?
And later:

Fear of the unknown sends thousands back to law school, but others plunge into the precarious world of entry-level jobs.
Yes, David, and some nameless persons try the latter before resorting to the former in a blatant act of desperation. Later still:

The most nakedly ambitious - the blogging Junior Lippmanns - rarely win in the long run, but that doesn't mean you can't mass e-mail your essays for obscure online sites with little "Thought you might be interested" notes.
Yeah, I'm not really sure what he's getting at here. Either way, the column is worth a look.

UPDATE: Oh SNAP! Matt Yglesias ain't havin' none of that!


Quick update on Uzbekistan

The situation in Uzbekistan continues to deteriorate. Human Rights Watch has released a damning report on the May 13th massacre.
The witness accounts describe the circumstances of a massacre, says Allison Gill, a Human Rights Watch expert on Uzbekistan who helped with the report.

"We tried to provide as clear a picture as we could establish of what happened -- and I think it's probably the most comprehensive picture to date of what happened -- to show that there were very serious crimes committed by the government and a lot of unanswered questions still," Gill says. "There has to be transparency and accountability around the government's use of force on civilians."

Gill tells RFE/RL that the report does not provide an estimate of casualties or the size of the crowd that gathered in a main Andijon square ahead of the arrival of government troops. But the report suggests the death toll is far higher than the official government figure of 173 dead. For example, numerous witnesses told the organization that one group of fleeing protesters numbering close to 400 people was almost completely mowed down by gunfire from government forces.
And later...
The Human Rights Watch report confirms the raid on government facilities. But it disputes the government charge that Muslim extremists were behind the uprising.

The report says the events appear to have been sparked by the trial of 23 businessmen accused of Islamic extremism. But researcher Gill says the charges lacked evidence and that the protest in Andijon grew into a large rally of people voicing anger about poverty and government repression:

"There is no evidence of an Islamic agenda of the people that we talked to," Gill says. "There is no evidence of an Islamic agenda witnessed by any of the many eyewitnesses of the events. And it's a very, very convenient excuse for the government, and we've seen the government use it many times before."
In other news, the Peace Corps has suspended its program in country and there is anticipation of terrorist attacks or further clashes between citizens and Karimov's government. This is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.


Monday, June 06, 2005

Journalism, Government Service, and the Myth of Watergate

Media-slayer Jay Rosen's latest post on the myth of Watergate and its role in proselytizing for the "the religion of journalism" is a must-read.

And down in the comments section, presumably from a reporter talking about his experience in journalism:
The first hard lesson I had to learn: I was full of crap. Were there liars and manipulators in the governments I covered? Of course. But things are never that simple, and I learned pretty quickly that the Watergate model was a lousy way to do the day-to-day job of covering a community.
When I graduated from college, I felt the pull toward what would be a logical career choice for an energetic and idealistic college graduate: journalism. But is it good for society that journalism (rather than government service) is the natural path for such a young person? Shouldn't idealistic young people aspire to have a stake in the actual operation of our government, rather than aim to simply report on (and often diminish and undermine) the government?
-- Eric

From the MailBag

To respond to reader MJef's comment on the post, Is The New York Times a liberal newspaper? Well, not exactly.

Mothers and fathers around the country said they were terrified that their children would have to be killed - or kill - in a war that many see as unnecessary and without end. Around the dinner table, many parents said, they are discouraging their children from serving.
I don’t have a problem with parents discouraging their children from serving. I don't object to the right of the parents to object to the military recruiting practices if they believe they are problematic. I do have a problem with parents banning the military from even trying to recruit their children. There is a big difference.

You say that perhaps if the military were to make a “compelling enough case that Saddam Hussein was an actual threat to America” that they wouldn’t have such problems with recruiting. But it is not the job of the military to make a compelling case that Saddam Hussein was a threat. It is the job of the military to support the president’s policies. And they must be able to recruit the number of soldiers requisite to perform this task.

If the recruiting campaign was based “on some sort of cartoonish, racist image of Osama Bin Laden” (which it may subtly be in some areas), that would surely be objectionable. But, again, the problem is banning the recruiters altogether, not the objection to their tactics.
“Are there any strategies of recruitment that are legitimately objectionable, or does the military have the right to use any and every tactic at its disposal without objection?”
The military does not have the right to use every tactic at its disposal without objection. But the reality is that we are a nation at war, and we need to recruit soldiers. One can object to specific instances where the military has used improper recruiting tactics, but one should not deny the fundamental fact that they must be able to recruit.
”is it possible that this sort of dissent is primarily understood by those who practice it as objection toe policy, rather than objection to the military as a whole, and if so, are citizens wrong to conceive of or practice dissent in such a way?”
Yes, I believe they are wrong. If you disagree with the policy, protest against those that formulated the policy. Yes, the military plays a crucial role in planning and decision-making at a tactical and even strategic level. Ultimately, though, it is the civilian leadership that led us to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they should be held to account, not the military.
-- Eric

Zapatero, Take 2

Seems that much of the Spanish population has grown tired of Prime Minister Zapatero's policy of terrorist appeasement, noted on this page last week. A massive protest rally was held over the weekend in opposition to Zapatero's proposal to hold meetings with the Basque separatist (and terrorist) group ETA.

The march comes more than a year after Mr Zapatero's Socialist party formed a government and a month after the Spanish parliament gave him the go ahead to open talks with Eta if it shows a "clear will" to renounce violence.

"Do not negotiate in my name," is the slogan of a march that was also expected to attract dissident sectors of Mr Zapatero's own party.

The marchers, to be led by relatives of some of the 800 people killed by Eta over the past three decades, will go from the site of one Eta bomb attack in Madrid to another.

In a perfect world, this would have happened a year ago. Nonetheless, let's hope Zapatero gets the message.