You too can investigate the Pentagon's pundit program

Plus: An IM chat between Obama and Clinton advisors.

Farhad Manjoo
May 7, 2008 8:47PM (UTC)

Here are three quick morning items:

  • Danger Room's Noah Shachtman points out that the Defense Department has released thousands of pages of documents relating to its controversial wartime pundit-recruitment program, about which my tenacious Salon co-blogger Glenn Greenwald has been all up in the Pentagon's and Brian Williams' grill.

    "Years' worth of internal Pentagon memos, military talking points and interview tapes and transcripts with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are all now posted to the Pentagon's website," Noah writes. He's asking his readers to go through the stash in search of the fishiest, juiciest bits.

    Already, people have found something interesting, if unsurprising: Talking points and a conference-call transcript show that the Pentagon was feeding inflated estimates of Iraqi troop strength -- and a promise that the insurgency was in its last throes -- to the generals, just as it was to the public.

  • The Politico's Ben Smith notes that Hillary Clinton's political advisor Howard Wolfson and Barack Obama's political advisor David Axelrod are old friends. But the only recent conversation the frenemies have had is via instant message.

    One of Smith's readers imagined the IM transcript:

    TheRodster42: lol ur toast
    WolfieSweater69: stfu, we won IN
    TheRodster42: lol NC pwned u
    WolfieSweater69: rev wright said wut?
    TheRodster42: lol typ white person...
  • My college classmate Mickey Rapkin, who's now an editor at GQ and the author of the forthcoming "Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory," interviews the Baudboys, an a cappella group made up of Microsoft employees.

    Actually, according to one of the Baudboys, they're just one of the a cappella groups at MS. There's also the Microtones, and a theater group, The Microsoft Theater Troupe, which does Christmas shows (such as, recently, "Grease.")

    Of a cappella groups at rival tech firms, Baudboys bass Dave McEwan tells Mickey,

    We sang the national anthem for the Microsoft Hockey Challenge -- where they play the teams from Sun Microsystems or Google. Someone from Sun said, We have an a cappella group that would kick your ass! But then they disbanded. Groups come and go at Google. We think they're running from us.... I'd love for someone from Google to hear that and challenge us.

    Watch a Baudboys performance here.

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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