Today's Blogs

Mark His Words

Bloggers parse Mark Warner’s announcement that he won’t run for president in 2008. They also discuss New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle’s death and analyze the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Turkish author Orhan Pamuk.

Mark his words:Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner announced today that he will not enter the field of Democratic candidates for president in 2008 because he wants to spend more time with his family. Though he had never formally announced his candidacy, he had nonetheless amassed a war chest second only to New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

On the left-wing Daily Kos, which had been supportive of Warner’s presumptive candidacy, Kos jokes, “It looks like all of the illicit suitcases of cash he sent over to buy my support were for naught. Drats.” Kos is “left a bit underwhelmed by the current crop of contenders. But the nice thing about being 100 percent undecided about the field is I’ll be able to cover the primary race without any biases.”

Law prof Glenn Reynolds, at the libertarian blog InstaPundit, notes that he was supposed to do a podcast interview with Warner that kept getting postponed: “I don’t know if that means that he’s been uncertain about running for a while or not. When I talked to him on the phone in June he said he wasn’t sure if he was running … . A politician who tells the truth? No wonder he’s bowing out.”

Conservative Andrew Sullivan purports not to be surprised about Warner’s decision: “His inexperience in foreign affairs made his candidacy a non-starter, to my mind. So now we have the big guns: Gore, Clinton, Edwards, Kerry.”

Wonkette casts aspersions on Warner’s claims that he just wants to spend more time with his family and manages to sneak in a George Allen joke in the process: “To announce in late ‘06 that you won’t be running in ‘08, when you’ve already begun amassing your warchest and winning over opinion leaders, suggests something quite deliciously awry. What is it? Remember: he’s a Virginia politician, so he’s probably got a history of racism, sexism, and making fun of kids with Down Syndrome.”

Read more about Mark Warner. Slate’s  John Dickerson wrote about his travels through Iowa with Mark Warner in July here.

Lidle’s crash: New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle died yesterday when the small plane he was in (and presumably piloting) crashed into a high-rise condominium building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Bloggers express their sympathies while also examining the event from a few different angles.

At the Dugout (“the official chat room of Major League Baseball”), blogger Jon braces himself for the inevitable onslaught of tributes and analysis: “It’ll continue through the week until The Sports Reporters comes on Sunday morning and we get to hear second-guessing and ‘sports needed a wake-up call’s and ‘players need to realize they aren’t invincible’s from Mitch Albom or whoever the hell until at long last they’ve shaken the story dry. It might be time for us to take a break from ESPN for a little while, people.”

Manhattan blogger Paul Katcher notes that Lidle items on eBay “went crazy on Wednesday. Before his name popped into the news, an autographed ball of his sold for $15. Not more than a minute after that auction closed, another ball began its climb to selling for $318.”

On the New York Observer’s MondoWeiss blog, Philip Weiss asks a darker question: “I’m surprised that everyone covering Corey Lidle’s death has avoided the psychological question: Was depression or suicidal feeling a factor in the crash?”

Read more about Cory Lidle.

Talk Turkey:Turkish author Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature today. Pamuk’s books have won international acclaim, but he is also known for his recent trial in Turkey on charges of “insulting Turkishness” for telling a Swiss newspaper that Turkey was unwilling to acknowledge the killing of Armenians during World War I and the fight against Kurdish guerrillas today.

George at Bookninja observes, “The last couple years of Nobel picks have shown a definite political agenda. Last year it was anti-American playwright (yes, I’m aware that’s a terribly unfair reduction) Harold Pinter and this year it is Orhan please-don’t-kill-or-incarcerate-him Pamuk. Pamuk, whose Snow was recently reviewed here at Bookninja, may deserve the prize, moreso than some recent winners, but one can’t help but wonder at the timeliness of the choice.”

On Metafilter, commenters debate whether the selection was politically motivated. Poster Languagehat argues that it’s worth giving Pamuk the benefit of the doubt: “People are always trying to scope out the nonliterary reasons why the literature prize might be given; sure, there are sometimes such reasons, but since they don’t talk about them, we can only guess, and why not assume the fact the guy is a great writer is a large part of why they gave him the award?”

The Literary Saloon at the Complete Review points out that “there’s a very happy editor/publisher out there who made what was surely a hard sell to the beancounters, but now looks like a brilliant call: commissioning a new translation (by Maureen Freely) of Pamuk’s The Black Book.”

Read more about Orhan Pamuk.