Political Animal

SYRIA UPDATE….The Guardian seems to

SYRIA UPDATE….The Guardian seems to specialize in running long, authoritative sounding, but completely unsourced stories about American diplomacy and politics. I never really know whether I should put any stock in them, but I’d sure like to believe this one:

Bush vetoes Syria war plan
In the past few weeks, the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, ordered contingency plans for a war on Syria to be reviewed following the fall of Baghdad.

….However, President George Bush, who faces re-election next year with two perilous nation-building projects, in Afghanistan and Iraq, on his hands, is said to have cut off discussion among his advisers about the possibility of taking the “war on terror” to Syria.

“The talk about Syria didn’t go anywhere. Basically, the White House shut down the discussion,” an intelligence source in Washington told the Guardian.

I hope this is true, but if it is then the highly public blustering about Syria for the past few days doesn’t make much sense. If you really didn’t want war, you’d do your best to calm things down and send your warnings through quiet diplomatic channels. A public relations campaign is usually only necessary if you’re trying to get the public on your side and ready for the next step.

Still, I’ll take any good news I can get on this front.

BILL PRYOR….I’ve been remiss in

BILL PRYOR….I’ve been remiss in not linking to Sam Heldman’s continuing series of posts about his fellow Alabama litigator, state Attorney General Bill Pryor, who has been nominated by President Bush for a circuit court judgeship. To find out more, start here and scroll down. And then go back tomorrow because there will probably be more.

Bill Pryor trivia: he was the only state AG (outside of Florida) to intervene in Bush v. Gore! That’s the kind of stuff you learn at Sam’s site.

The ability of the Bush administration to keep dredging up these folks is truly a gift of some kind. Where do they find them all?

JOHN LOTT UPDATE….Tom Spencer reminds

JOHN LOTT UPDATE….Tom Spencer reminds me today to go take a look at Tim Lambert’s website, where he chronicles the ongoing adventures of prevaricating gun shill John Lott, something that I haven’t done lately. And whaddaya know, it’s a twofer: John Lott and Glenn Reynolds.

Long story short, here’s what happened: back in 2001 there was an NAS panel charged with doing a gun study. One of its members was a guy named Steve Levitt, and Glenn and Dave Kopel wrote an NRO article complaining that the panel was stacked. In particular, they complained that John Lott was not on the panel and that Levitt, who they said “has been described as ‘rabidly antigun,'” was.

Flash forward to 2003 and Lambert tells us that this line appears in Lott’s latest book:

Another panel member, Steve Levitt, an economist, has been described in media reports as being “rabidly anti-gun.”

And now the $64 question: who exactly was it that called Levitt “rabidly anti-gun” in the first place and then got quoted in Lott’s book? Glenn seem oddly reluctant to say, but if you know anything about Lott you can probably guess. Still, if you want to know for sure you’ll have to click on the link and visit Tim Lambert’s website, where he has all the juicy details. I don’t want to take away all of his fun.

UPDATE: By the way, remind me never to get on Tim’s bad side. If one reporter in a hundred were as tenacious as he is the Enron guys would have been sent to prison years ago and Trent Lott would have been roadkill back in the Reagan administration. Who knew that Australian lecturers in computer graphics were such tough cookies?