Joe Conason’s Journal

Today's lesson in doublespeak: Republican Sen. Wayne Allard on "privatization."

Topics:

Now I understand
Senator Wayne Allard has settled that silly debate over the meaning of “privatization.” Although the Colorado Republican twice voted to require the diversion of Social Security funds into private accounts, he insists that such a proposal, no matter how specific, wasn’t really privatization. At the same time, however, his campaign is running an ad about Tom Strickland that says the Democrat “wanted to examine ‘alternative investment strategies,’” and concludes ominously: “Sounds like privatization.” Allard’s verbal squirming is the subject of a funny analysis in today’s Denver Post.

“Sylvia” and bias
The Miami Herald today explores allegations of bias on the part of TV journalist and moderator Michael Putney during the Bush-McBride debate. One key question: Did Bush somehow have an early look at the questions from Florida residents? Suspicions were raised when Bush addressed his answer on question No. 4 to “Sylvia,” the only problem being that Sylvia Scott of Miami had question No. 5. (In passing, the Herald also mentions this column, without noting that Putney’s explanation of Bush’s early reference to “Sylvia” was first published here. Incidentally WJXT has since added “Sylvia” to Bush’s answer in the “unofficial transcript” of the debate.)

I have no reason to think that Putney, long a fixture in Florida journalism, favors Republicans or Democrats — but a lot of readers who wrote in this week were angry over his conduct during the debate. Several took issue with Putney’s post-debate remark that the McBride campaign was “desperately trying to find a conspiracy,” when in fact the McBride campaign has said nothing about the Sylvia matter. “Such a line would be appropriate coming from Jeb’s campaign spokesman,” one reader noted, not a TV journalist who “didn’t do much of a job feigning impartiality during the actual debate, either.”

You Might Also Like

Jersey jump
Anyone interested in how New Jersey Republicans reacted the last time a party wanted to substitute one candidate for another should click here.

That incredible shrinking uranium
By now you may have heard the reassuring news that the “weapons-grade uranium” seized by the Turkish police was only a tube full of harmless metal powder. Or you may not, because the story has had a quickly deteriorating half-life from the sensational headlines of a few days ago, and not every news source has caught up. The first ominous reports said that more than 15 kilos of highly enriched uranium, worth $5 million, had been seized on its way to Iraq in a taxi. Then the amount involved dropped to a few grams that might not be enriched. (The heavier reported weight had included the tube-shaped lead container, which had strange writing on it that said “Made in W. Germany” and “youranuom.”) Yesterday, a scientist at the nuclear research center in Istanbul gave a final analysis to the Anatolia News Agency: “We see that the substance is composed of zinc, iron, zirconium and manganese in shape of sand. It is definitely not a radioactive or hazardous substance.”

Meanwhile, the two men arrested with the lead pipe were released and have “disappeared.” So the chances that the origins of this hoax will ever be revealed are now conveniently small. Was it the work of a pair of clever Turkish con men? (Swindling Saddam’s agents sounds like a very unhealthy idea. Wouldn’t they examine the goods before handing over the $5 million? Wouldn’t they shoot someone who tried to sell them a handful of useless metallic dust?) Or was it a disinformation scheme concocted to further certain political aims?

A clue appeared two days ago in Kommersant, a Russian publication whose correspondent revealed what he had learned on the Debkafile Web site, which claims to have sources at high levels in various intelligence and military services (particularly the Israeli Mossad). According to Debkafile, “the uranium seizure resulted from a joint operation by the [Russian] Foreign Intelligence Service and the CIA which began at the start of August.” How interesting. After they played this hoax so big, why aren’t the media more curious about the perpetrators?

An admirable New Yorker
Jim Chapin died Monday, in a terribly sad and sudden loss to his family and his numerous friends — and to American public life, of which he was among the most astute observers. As historian, commentator and political advisor he enjoyed the kind of reputation that anyone would hope to earn. He was also respected and liked simply as a person, and valued as an active citizen. Like other members of his talented family, Jim Chapin devoted decades of work to World Hunger Year, an innovative charity founded by his late brother Harry. WHY has already posted a few warm tributes to him. There are sure to be many more.
[3:55 p.m. PDT, Oct. 2, 2002]

For your regular Joe, bookmark this link. To send an e-mail, click here.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>