Friday, February 18, 2005

PS To help you

When I commented yesterday about Negroponte’s record not being addressed by mainstream media or mainstream Democratic politicians, I hadn’t gotten to the part of McNeil-Lehrer where Harry Reid showed his complete ignorance--“He was ambassador to what, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Freedonia, Tatooine, Barsoom? Am I getting warmer?” Lehrer had to help him out. Liberal Oasis has links to articles on Negroponte.

Larry Beinhart (the guy who wrote the novel that became “Wag the Dog”) has a term for this sort of data: Fog Facts, “important things that nobody seems able to focus on any more than they can focus on a single droplet in the mist. They are known, but not known.”

And the NYT today, in a biographical article on Negroponte, has only this to say: “He has spent the ensuing two decades vigorously defending himself against allegations that he played down human rights violations in Honduras when their exposure could have undermined the Reagan administration’s Latin American agenda.” It has indeed been two decades, so why is the NYT still playing it as he said/she said?

The NYT has an amusing obit of Samuel Alderson, inventor of the crash-test dummy, which includes this data: “the first crash-test dummies were cadavers. While useful in collecting basic data, they lacked the durability required for repeated trials.”

Responding to the assassination of Lebanon’s former prime minister, the tourist minister resigned today. Well, it can’t have made his job any easier.

The Daily Telegraph says that the Americans are claiming that the safest place in Iraq is... wait for it ... Fallujah. In one wrecked school, a Marine painted this graffito (note to Telegraph: one graffito, two graffiti): “We came, we saw, we took over all. PS To help you.”

The pope says, in memoirs coming out next week, that the Virgin Mary saved his life during the 1981 assassination attempt; “it was just as if someone guided this bullet.” He explains why the bullet nevertheless hit him: “that Mary chick is seriously passive-aggressive.”

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