Today's Blogs

Bin Hidin

During an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, President Bush asserted that American forces will track down Osama Bin Laden, and bloggers are blustering about it. They’re also discussing CBS’s lawsuit against Howard Stern and the first post-Katrina Mardi Gras.

Bin Hidin: In response to a press question asked during a surprise trip to Afghanistan to meet with President Hamid Karzai, President Bush announced that capturing Osama Bin Laden is still a priority for the American military. “It’s not a matter of if they’re captured and brought to justice,” Bush said of Bin Laden and Mullah Omar. “It’s when they’re brought to justice.”

Several liberal bloggers are suspicious of this announcement. Yesterday, after viewing the president’s falling approval rating, Peter David said on his site, “I keep thinking that Bush’s first, best hope of pulling out of this is to find bin Laden. … I wonder if he’s going to step up activities in the search for bin Laden.” Twelve hours later, after reading Bush’s announcement, David sighs, “Yes … he’s become Just That Predictable.”

Jinky the Cat’s Pinky points out that this is a departure from a March 2003 statement where Bush said of Bin Laden, “He’s a person who’s now been marginalized.” At Watching Washington, liberal reporter Terry “Tex” Turner lets the quotes speak for themselves.

Some conservatives still think of Bin Laden as, as Bush once put it, “marginalized.” “Catching him would be nice, but hardly crucial to the overall mission,” Rick More, a California religious conservative reasons on Jonathan R. of GOP Bloggers is focusing more on the visit itself. He believes the visit happened because “due to grinding political opportunism at home, the President had to do something no President should have to do: affirm for the troops that the nation is behind them.

At … and his ministers a flame of fire, centuri0n points out that Bush was answering a specific question asked about Bin Laden. “What is the President of the United States supposed to say to that?” he asks.

Read more about the renewed interest in Bin Laden. In January, Slate’s Christopher Hitchens proclaimed that al-Qaida is losing power.

Stern warning: Less than two months after Howard Stern’s move to satellite radio, CBS is suing the shock jock, claiming that Stern used his time on-air to advertise Sirius radio so he could get more money.

On the technology and society blog GlobalPOV,Internet entrepreneur David Holtzman says, “[T]here’s more at stake here than lesbian strippers or dwarf spanking or bologna slapping; it’s about the future of media.” Holtzman believes that the outcome of this suit may predict whether satellite radio overtakes old-fashioned broadcasting.

A VC’s Fred Wilson thinks the suit is pure greediness on the part of CBS. “Why focus on the past? Stern was a huge money maker for many years for CBS Radio. Surely he profited from the Sirius deal at the expense of CBS and maybe he took liberties that he shouldn’t have. But who really cares?” Jeff, an A VC poster, disagrees: “It’s about $500 million and CBS would be wrong not to pursue it if they thought there was potential for a half-billion dollar payday.”

Bob Lefsetz thinks that CBS is taking the wrong approach altogether. On Lefsetz Letter he states, “The way to compete with Howard is to IGNORE HIM!” Lefsetz thinks that Stern has gone to Sirius to die (metaphorically, of course), and CBS’s lawsuit is unnecessary. Instead, he thinks the broadcasting giant should be focusing on filling the void Stern left and capturing the attention of his fans who didn’t make the switch to Sirius.

Read more about CBS’s suit. In 2004, Bryan Curtis assessed Stern for Slate.

Mardi great: Six months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the surrounding area, the city held a smaller version of its annual Mardi Gras. The celebration, which concluded in the wee hours this morning, is bringing up mixed feelings in New Orleans and abroad.

On David’s Restaurant, Danish writer and teacher David Blangstrup ponders “what it must be like living apart from your flooded home, in another town, having a major celebration going on in your own home town.” On cobaltgreen, the self-titled blog of a New Orleans denizen, Mardi Gras marked a turning point. “[A]s the world watched yesterday, we showed that we are ready to live again,” he celebrates. “[W]e suffered, we’re rebuilding, we’re laughing about it, we’re LIVING.”

On the Anderson Cooper 360° blog, the CNN journalist whose confrontation with Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu symbolized the larger media outrage at the governments’ reaction to Katrina, the Coopster waxes poetic. “Mardi Gras is an act of luck, a reach of faith, a fleeting moment, in which everyone, young and old, rich and poor, housed or homeless, can reach out and hope for a better day.”

Read more about the post-Katrina Mardi Gras. Brendan I. Koerner explained the significance of the famous Mardi Gras beads for Slate in 2003.