Today's Blogs

Here We Gulag Again

Bloggers are buzzing over another Guantanamo Bay/gulag comparison. They also attack—from the left and the right—an upcoming biography of Hillary Clinton and discuss some complications to the Moneyball thesis.

Here we gulag again:Republicans criticized Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin yesterday for comments made on Tuesday that compared the Guantanamo Bay detention center to prisons in the “mad regimes” of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and Khmer Rouge Cambodia. 

“We give Durbin failing grades in attention, conduct, intelligence, knowledge, candor, logic, manners, loyalty and decency,” says a stern Scott Johnson at conservative Power Line. “What’s unusual about Durbin’s lie is that it slanders his own country,” observes Johnson’s Power Line teammate Paul Mirengoff. “Normally that kind of slander is uttered only by revolutionaries seeking the violent overthrow of the government. Yet Durbin purports to be part of a loyal opposition.”

“While I can muster the requisite moral outrage if necessary, what really astounds me about Durbin’s comments is the political stupidity of it,” says Jonah Goldberg at the National Review Online’sconservative roundtable The Corner. Conservative standby Michelle Malkin has some practical advice. “What America needs is for President Bush himself to directly challenge Durbin on his treachery … to call on Durbin to retract his remarks (not just apologize) and ask forgiveness from our troops and the American people,” she writes.

Democrat Markos Moulitsas thinks Durbin’s comments aren’t the outrageous part of the story. “What is beyond belief is that the type of torture more at home under tyrants and dictators is being seen in camps flying the United States flag,” he says at the Daily Kos. At Whiskey Bar, Bill Mon admits the comparison seems overblown. “But some of us have slightly higher expectations of a modern parliamentary democracy,” he writes. “Quantitatively, the case against moral equivalence may be open and shut, but qualitatively … well, it’s getting a little more dicey. … Sometimes the truth is so damning you have to speak it for its own sake.” 

Read more about Durbin and more about Guantanamo Bay.

The truth about Edward Klein’s book: Slate’s Mickey Kaus debunks a New York Times story that claims“Republican and conservative activists are behind a vigorous campaign to promote a controversial new biography about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, with some even suggesting that the book will help dash any presidential aspirations she might have.” Kaus points to a number of conservative sites that have criticized Edward Klein’s book The Truth About Hillary, which, according to a Drudge report, claims Bill raped Hillary when the couple conceived Chelsea.

“It’s the kind of tawdry Weekly World News gossip/hit piece that serves no purpose but character assassination,” saysCaptain’s Quarterssaltwater conservative Ed Morrissey, who thinks the attack might backfire. “It … makes Hillary into a victim, this time almost certainly for real—not of this purported rape, but of Klein’s base attack,” he says. Noting that, “You don’t have to drive around with a Hillary ‘08 bumper sticker to see that this is over the line, disgusting garbage,” the talk-radio hosts at Pundit Review agree: “This is net positive for Hillary the Prez candidate.”

Liberals are, predictably, joining the fray—and not pulling punches in assaulting righties. Calling the book a relic of the ‘90s, Political Animal Kevin Drum argues that, together, the Clintons have since 1992 faced an entirely new kind of radical opposition. “All presidents have to put up with rhetorical excess, and all presidents have to put up with both scandal and the opponents who make hay out of them,” Drum writes at the Washington Monthly. “But only Clinton was forced to deal with wingnuts as if they were serious critics.”

Read more about Edward Klein and The Truth About Hillary.

Moneyball, without the money:“With all of the debate over the business logic underlying Michael Lewis’ Moneyball,” writes University of Chicago political scientist Daniel Drezner, “there was a simple underlying assumption behind the book—baseball teams that are successful on the field are also successful at the gate.” A Wall Street Journal article on the peculiar plight of the 43-22 Chicago White Sox suggests that, at least for Drezner’s local club, winning baseball games doesn’t make for a winning business strategy.

Benjyat Chicagoist thinks the problem is with the team’s dreary stadium, not its style of play.Other Sox fans have learned to delight where some might dishearten. “I have absolutely no problem with going to games at a ballpark that is half-full,” insists South Sider Pete at springtime startup ChiSox Rants. “I’d rather not have to wait 15 minutes to take a leak or miss an entire inning waiting in line for curly fries or nachos. I like not having packed parking lots and being able avoid traffic on the Ryan by sneaking out the back exit of lot C and cutting over to I-55. If the Sox turn into the best thing since sliced bread, these advantages will be no more.” 

Read more about the Wall Street Journal column, and more about Moneyball.

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