Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Duke lacrosse

Two outstanding articles:

Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson
Dirty Game
William Anderson
Duke and the Politics of Rape

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:8-14

Cowher limted Roethisberger's playing time in pre-season to protect him against injury. Yet he rushed him back into the line-up against Jax and Oakland because he needed to "get rid of the rust." It seems to me that we sacrificed two games and risked our franchise QB's health when there was no good reason. If getting "rid of the rust" is a consideration, does that not also apply to pre-season and training camp?

It is one of those might have beens about this disappointing season. If Batch had started two or three more games we could easily be 9-5 instead of 7-7.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"The Good Shepherd"

I've seen the ads for the movie and wondered if it is worth seeing. It sounds surprisingly good good based on this review by Stephen Hunter. Hunter, along with Steve Sailer, are the two movie critics i trust. (I never considered seeing Big Fishuntil i read Sailer's review. Turned out to be a great movie.)

Sailer has some thoughts about Hunter and his work here.

I still have some misgivings about "The Good Shepherd". As Hunter notes, "the film is a roman a clef loosely linked to a CIA officer of some fame named James Jesus Angleton." That leaves a lot of wiggle room for a film-maker to play the "it's true/ it's a movie; it's history/ it's drama" game. It is even worse when the subject is Angleton whose existing biographies seem to be only "loosely linked" to the man and his work.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rightwing journalists: the accent is on journalists

Jonathan Last of the Weekly Standard defends Joseph Rago.

I think this supports a point i made here by using this quote by David Gelernter from Drawing Life:
But an American Middle East watcher made a fascinating comment, years ago, about the Islamic revolution in Iran: To the Iranians, he said, Americans and Soviets looked pretty much the same. There were big philosophical differences between them, but they all wore pants. Orthodox Islam peels away from the West closer to the ground than the point where communism and democratic capitalism branch apart. The divide between the elite and the public might likewise be more basic than Republican-Democrat differences. Leading Republicans speak the elite's language just as the Democrats do.
Duke lacrosse: Bombshell!

Rape Charges Dropped in Duke Lacrosse Case

Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong moved Friday to drop rape charges against three Duke University lacrosse players.

Nifong said he plans to proceed with kidnapping and sexual assault charges against the three players
So how can he go forward with the other charges in light of this?

Nifong's investigator interviewed the woman Thursday, and she told the investigator that she couldn't testify "with certainty" that she was raped.

UPDATE: LaShawn Barber has a round-up of blogger reactions.

Durham lawyer John Bourlon always shows up on the cable shows when Nifong takes a body blow like today's developments. Although he is a defense attorney he makes the most laughable arguments FOR the prosecution in this travesty. That is puzzling but noted defense attorney William Costopoulos gives us a clue to the motivation in his book Murder Is the Charge:

Some lawyers make careers out of plea bargaining, specializing in the art of negotiation and understanding the wants and needs of the prosecution. Many of these lawyers rarely try a case, are politically connected, and excel at selling their influence.
So "defense attorney" Bourlon goes on TV and spouts nonsense. In the process he ingratiates himself with the DA. Opens the door to more "fruitful" negotiations when he has a client looking for a deal in Durham county.

In short, the cable shows are being used by Bourlon to troll for business in Durham at the expense of the defendants in this case. The "journalists" who give him the forum should be ashamed of themselves.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

One of those funny sad things

Cam Edwards notes:

Anybody else amused by the fact that the “Gun Guys” blog is arguing that the names of right to carry holders should be public while they’re blogging anonymously?
But it all makes sense after he explains it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bloggers beware!

An assistant editorial features editor at the Wall Street Journal doesn’t like you. Surprisingly, his paper decided to give him space to vent. (I guess there was no serious news that could have used the space in the paper.)

The blogs are not as significant as their self-endeared curators would like to think. Journalism requires journalists, who are at least fitfully confronting the digital age. The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage. Instead, they ride along with the MSM like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps.
Like most of the jeremiads by professional journalists the piece is redolent of smug hypocrisy. It is guilty of most of the charges it levels at bloggers. It applauds rigor but trades only in generalities. It bemoans the low standards of the blogosphere but defends the MSM establishment as “not wholly imperfect.” Bloggers “traffic more in pronouncement than persuasion” he pronounces and trusts that the reader will take his word for it because he provides neither specifics nor sustained argument.

That is the first point that stands out. His argument rings true, because the blogosphere is a big place. It is easy to come up with a list of blogs that are guilty of all the sins he enumerates. It is just as easy to come up with a list that defies his generalizations. So his fervent declarations are both true and false. Hardly the sort of rigorous, careful writing that Mr. Rago claims to champion.

Second, it is easy enough to find examples in the MSM of the sins he pretends are restricted to bloggers.

Instant response, with not even a day of delay, impairs rigor. It is also a coagulant for orthodoxies. We rarely encounter sustained or systematic blog thought--instead, panics and manias; endless rehearsings of arguments put forward elsewhere; and a tendency to substitute ideology for cognition. The participatory Internet, in combination with the hyperlink, which allows sites to interrelate, appears to encourage mobs and mob behavior.
Mr. Rago apparently does not spend much time reading the MSM he defends. If he does, how could he miss the “panics and manias” that sweep through his professional brethren? Look at the coverage of Barak Obama, or the Foley scandal, or the early stories on the Durham rape hoax.

Let’s note, as well, that in the last case it was bloggers and other web-participants who ran rings around the prestige press. The MSMers fell for the hoax hook, line, and sinker and used their megaphone to encourage a gross miscarriage of justice.

It is also worth pondering why Mr. Rago chose to go after bloggers for their love of opinion over fact. Did he miss the story about Time magazine and its reinvention? Why does Time’s decision to become more blog-like pass without notice?

Finally, there is this statement that is so laughable that only a permanent resident of the MSM echo chamber could make it:

The technology of ink on paper is highly advanced, and has over centuries accumulated a major institutional culture that screens editorially for originality, expertise and seriousness.

Originality? Newspapers across the country are filled with columns by Ellen Goodman, Maureen Dowd, George Will, and Tony Kornheiser. When was the last time any of them said something original? Expertise? A reporter’s primary expertise is writing down what experts tell him. On the internet, we can cut out the middleman. Seriousness? Depends on what he means. Journalists take themselves seriously. On the other hand, they can be pretty cavalier about little things like facts. Just look at how most of the profession went into the tank for Mary Mapes and her “fake but accurate” documents.

These “journalists versus bloggers” grudge matches are old and tiresome. The blogosphere is here. The MSM cannot expect to wall it off from their readers. I wish some big brains in the media would take a hard look at what it means instead of bemoaning the fact that change happened.
Why isn't this as big a story as Enron?

Clarice Feldman looks at the scandal at Fannie Mae over at the American Thinker.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Time, Inc.: Fumbling around the problem, no solution in sight

Howard Kurtz writes about Time magazine's umpteenth attempt to reinvent itself. As with all such efforts, its leader is filled with bold pronouncements:

"We're going from a 19th-century factory model to a 21st-century Internet model," [managing editor Rick] Stengel says. "Some of the things we were doing were anachronistic," he says, and often produced a "monolithic" tone.
But as Kurtz describes it, the new new Time has an odd plan to achieve their bold goals:

"One great writer-reporter who has a point of view about a subject important to our lives -- what's better than that?"

The new structure will clearly mean fewer original facts and more massaging of old facts. The question is whether that provides more value for readers or defaults on the core mission of newsgathering.
So, Time's new thing is that they will be the print home to a lot of highly paid, recycled pundits-- Michael Kinsley, Ana Marie (Wonkette) Cox, Bill Kristol, Andrew Sullivan, etc.

Remember when MSMers like Stengel ripped bloggers because we were all opinion and no reporting? Guess now the new party line is that if you can't beat them, copy them.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Foley Mess: If the other shoe drops after an election, can the MSM hear it?

The American Thinker has a report on the House Ethics investigation. Turns out a Democratic operative knew about the emails for a year. He did not inform the authorities, but he did try to shop the story to the press for partisan advantage.

The hypocrisy on the Foley scandal just got ranker.

This non-story also underlines a point made here:

One of the ways the ideological bias of journalists manifests itself is in their decision to focus on either the leak or the story. They care about the disclosure of Plame's status as a CIA officer; they didn't care about the illegal release of Linda Tripp's personnel records by a Clinton political appointee. The timing of the Berger revelations is a matter of grave concern; the motivation of those who gave the Abu Ghraib photos to Seymour Hersh is a matter of indifference. The Pentagon sources warning us of a new Vietnam are treated as pure truth-tellers; no one asks if they are evidence of a defeatist coterie who are mired in the mindset of 1968.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Rosenhan revisited: The persistence of error and the impotence of facts

Two items that provide a follow-up to the Rosenhan post.

First, there is this point made by Patterico in 2004 about appeals courts and their ability to correct injustices.

The system doesn’t work. Innocents who have been released from Death Row have almost never gained their freedom through the orderly workings of the system. In many cases, the defendant’s innocence has been established due to the efforts of activists who have no official role in the criminal justice system. The fact that innocents have left Death Row is no tribute to the criminal justice system.
That’s a sobering statement coming from a big city prosecutor.

Second, Court TV recently illustrated how journalists and the popular media can disseminate a fallacious initial narrative long after new information destroys the factual underpinnings of that narrative. It was a wonderful example of how difficult it is for journalists and investigators to revise their conclusions even in the face of powerful new evidence.

As part of their “Murder by the Book” series, Court TV covered the 1979 murder of Susan Reinert. The case was the made famous in Joseph Wambough’s best seller Echoes in the Darkness which became a prime time mini-series. The general thrust of the Court TV program followed Wambaugh’s narrative and the prosecution’s case in the criminal trial: teacher William Bradfield and principal Jay C. Smith conspired to kill Susan Reinert and her two children so that Bradfield could collect $750,000 in life insurance.

The program did note that Jay Smith was later released from Death Row by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Author Lisa Scottoline (the featured commentator) made it clear that this decision was one more example of guilty men getting off because of “legal technicalities”. That is, the police got the right man, but a clever lawyer helped him escape justice.

The program left out much of the newer information that has come to light since the trial. For example, the police hid exculpatory evidence, planted incriminating evidence, and lied about the deal given to their star witness (a jail house snitch). Moreover, several investigators accepted large sums of money from Wambaugh while the investigation was on-going and his book was unwritten and without a satisfying ending.

The lead prosecutor (who did not appear on the Court TV program) later went to jail on drug charges but only after he turned in many of his friends, colleagues, and lovers. Finally, the Pa. Supreme Court found that much of the Commonwealth’s case at trial consisted of inadmissible hearsay by self-interested witnesses who were given immunity early on in the investigation.

In short, it is grossly unfair and intellectually dishonest to say that Jay Smith was freed on a legal technicality. A more accurate assessment is that Jay Smith was sent to Death Row because over-zealous investigators were so eager for “closure” that they cut corners, ignored important evidence, and trusted that emotion and hysteria would smother the jurors’s nagging doubts. After all, two children were dead; someone had to pay. They also knew that the right kind of closure would make them famous.

Smith’s attorney wrote a book on the case after he won the landmark decision that freed his client. It lacks the novelistic flashes of Echoes in the Darkness, but it lays out the manifold problems with the investigation and prosecution. Costopoulos was interviewed for the documentary, but the producers studiously ignored the evidence he had assembled in both his appellate briefs and his book.

Once again we see that the desire for ratings and the need for a good story simply overpower critical thought and diligent research. Thus is error propagated and multiplied. By dismissing inconvenient evidence as “legal technicalities” Court TV closed its eyes to the problem of wrongful conviction. Like John Ford’s newspaperman in “The Man who shot Liberty Valence”, they decided it was easier to go with the legend.

See also:
Atticus Finch doesn't work here

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rerun Season

Originally posted Thursday, April 27, 2006

Criminal justice and the Rosenhan Experiment

In his famous experiment, David Rosenhan raised serious questions about the validity of psychiatric diagnosis. Sane people were admitted into psychiatric hospitals because they claimed that they heard voices saying "empty", "hollow" and "thud". Once admitted they no longer claimed to hear voices and behaved normally. Moreover, they made no attempt to falsify their family history or other relevant biographical details in order to appear unstable. Nonetheless, these pseudopatients were admitted and diagnosed as mentally ill. In no case were they caught as imposters-not even when their symptoms quickly disappeared.

Rosenhan made a couple of telling observations in his 1973 paper in Science ("On Being Sane in Insane Places").

Once a person is designated abnormal, all of his other behaviors and characteristics are colored by that label. Indeed, that label is so powerful that many of the pseudopatients' normal behaviors were overlooked entirely or profoundly misinterpreted. Some examples may clarify this issue.

As far as I can determine, diagnoses were in no way affected by the relative health of the circumstances of a pseudopatient's life. Rather, the reverse occurred: the perception of his circumstances was shaped entirely by the diagnosis.
The medical professionals were primed to see abnormality. Once they thought they saw it, that perception distorted every thing they learned about the patient.

It seems to me that something similar can happen when a genuinely innocent person is caught in the criminal justice system. The police, the prosecutors, and (maybe) even the defense attorneys are accustomed to dealing with guilty people. There is a temptation to shape any and all evidence into a mosaic that proves guilt. Was the subject nervous at the interview? Evidence of a guilty conscience. Was he calm? The brazen act of a born manipulator. Did he hire a lawyer? Only the guilty lawyer-up. Did he come in with no attorney? The bold gambit of a practiced liar.

If the suspect offers exculpatory evidence the prosecutors can simply revise their theory of the crime. Does she have an alibi for 5.00 PM? Well, then, the crime must have occurred earlier.

There seems to be no inherent dynamic in the investigation to find the best "explanatory fit". Rather it appears that once an explanation is chosen, nearly all the effort goes to defending it. Since the fallacy of the ad hoc hypothesis is encouraged ("on-going investigation") the prevailing prosecution theory is almost impossible to falsify.*

It goes without saying that these problems are magnified when the investigation becomes fodder for the MSM. The fundamental weakness in the system becomes evidence of things as yet unseen. The obstinate reliance on the initial diagnosis is taken as proof that investigators know more than they are saying. When public information raises questions about the state's case, crime pundits will rush forward to assure us that the prosecutor must have evidence that he is holding back.

As someone with an unbecoming interest in epistemology, historiography, and methodology, this bothers me. As a conservative, it also bothers me that my fellow right-wingers only get riled up on these issues when they can use them to attack their traditional enemies-Al Sharpton, feminists, campus leftists-- as in the Duke lacrosse case.

*UPDATE and clarification. What i was trying to say was this: Once a suspect is picked, the investigation slips from "who did it?" to "how did X do it?". Further, the process does not easily return to the first question even when new evidence appears.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Rerun Season

Originally posted Thursday, April 14, 2005

The "crisis" in the Roman Catholic Church

The MSM template for stories about the Catholic church in America is simple and clear-cut: The Church is in crisis because it refuses to modernize. Traditional teachings on sexual morals drives worshipers away and makes it impossible to find priests. "Liberalizing" will cure this problem. Therefore, the new Pope should listen to the American leadership, jettison those outdated rules, and be less authoritarian. Andrew Sullivan is always available to say what the MSM wants said.

One question I'd like to see a talking head ask is this: Why will this prescription work for the Roman Catholic church when it has failed for all the mainline Protestant denominations who tried it first? The liberal denominations are losing members while the conservative congregations are growing. Shouldn't the liberalizers be asked to explain why their "solutions" will work now when they have not worked before?

There are other voices out there besides Sullivan and Matthews. They argue that the "vocation crisis" is the result of too little orthodoxy in America, not too much. I think the pundits should spend a little time talking to them.

For example, Michael Rose wrote a book on the Subject. Read the introduction to Goodbye, Good Men here.

Blogger Fr. Rob Johansen wrote a review of the book here. While he is critical of Rose for over-reaching to bolster his thesis, he still finds merit in some of the arguments. He also wrote a long article on the general subject that deserves thoughtful consideration.

What's Wrong with our Seminaries? An Insider Speaks Out

An interesting bit of history that i've posted before. . The Salvation Army has never been popular with the intellectual or economic elites. In nineteenth century Britain it was hated by the Darwinists and viewed with suspicion by the real-life Scrooges. Did not matter to the "fanatics" who had a mission to help the poor. Here is Jacques Barzun on the whole matter (from Darwin, Marx and Wagner):
Huxley's denunciation of it for fanaticism and regimentation hindered it no more than did the disdain of professional men, who seemed to think that spirit seances and Theosophical jargon were worthier expressions of their feelings. It was not until George Bernard Shaw made the point in Major Barbara that the so-called elite began to appreciate what General Booth's movement had done for the uneducated, pauperized, and drink-sodden masses which Social Darwinism had complacently allowed to find their place under the heel of fitter men. Then it was seen that neither the fatalism of biological evolution nor the fatalism of 'scientific' socialism could withstand a vigorous assault by people who believed in the power of the human will and had the wits to combine religion, social work, army discipline, and rousing tunes.
Blogging and reading

David Maister has some thoughts about his own experiecence.
I've Stopped Reading

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Knowledge management waves the white flag

The December Harvard Business Review runs a brief piece on knowledge management titled What’s Your Return on Knowledge?

KM once promised gargantuan cost savings and enormous gains in productivity. The kind of thing that corporations are good at measuring. But now, the bloom is off the rose and the KMers do not like those hard numbers that determine the ROI of their panacea.

Leaders of the knowledge-based organizations that have the most vibrant KM programs approach the measurement problem by accepting soft indicators that knowledge management is earning its keep rather than demanding hard numbers that may be misleading. They do insist that the programs be evaluated, but they accept anecdotes about successful (or failed) knowledge reuse, stories of productive (or unproductive) collaborative projects, and surveys of employee and customer satisfaction as the best indicators of value.
Program evaluation by anecdote. At the same time consultants are scrutinizing marketing programs in great detail with hard numbers, their brethern want their pet internal projects to get by with soft metrics.

One more example of the problem noted in #8 below.
Management f-LAWS

That's the title of a new book co-authored by Russell Ackoff. It has a website here and should be published in January 2007. I was struck by one of the f-LAWS which fits nicely with #10 in the post below:
Everyone is an expert on trivia. So everyone can discuss trivialities with equal authority and at great length.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Rerun Season

Originally posted Friday, April 22, 2005

10 things i've learned about business strategy and planning

1. Drucker was right*. There really are only two business functions: marketing and innovation. I doubt that one company in 20 incorporates this bedrock fact into their culture or mindset or strategy.

2. Given #1, strategy should spend 80% of its time on marketing and innovation. If this is not happening, the firm is not leveraging the time it spends on strategic planning. Even worse, it is a strong indication that the firm is operating as a business-manqué.

3. The best marketing has nothing to do with gimmicks or bold advertising. It is all about communicating real value to the right audience. #2 is not an invitation for accountants to play copywriter.

4. Often, strategic success does not look like marketing. During Coke's great years in the 1980s and 90s, they focused on logistics and distribution. However, this was in service of a profound strategic insight and a clear marketing objective.

5. Most corporate data are close to useless for strategic planning. It is inward-looking and does not focus on customers, markets, or innovation.

6. Very little of the experience gained in internal operations is applicable to marketing challenges. Thus, participatory strategic planning runs into a problem: the participants are inexperienced and not apt.

7. The biggest, most important strategy questions require hard thinking. There are not easy answers.

8. Many people will try to make money by convincing you that #7 is not so. Consultants, software vendors, even internal advocates will argue that they have the magic bullet that will make the hard work disappear.

9. "A will to system is a lack of integrity". Shortcuts require templates that can create false expectations and analytical blinders. Surprise and disappointment are the inevitable results.

10. The devil is not in the details of the plan. It is in the big issues that are ignored while tinkering with the minutia.

* The Practice of Management, (1954).

Monday, December 04, 2006

Rerun Season

Originally posted Wednesday, August 06, 2003

The Meaning of Defeat and the Utility of Victory

An interesting discussion on US military prowess and how it shapes post-war outcomes is going on. It was kicked off with this post by Vodka Pundit and then this response by One Hand Clapping.

I find myself agreeing with Vodka Pundit when he says:

Need to understand why West Germany gave up on Nazism? Because it got every single one of their major cities reduced to rubble, courtesy of the 8th Air Force and the RAF.
The high price Germans paid for Hitler's adventures drove a wedge between the Nazis and the German people. It was not just that the Nazis were evil (Germans managed to ignore that in 1941), it was that they betrayed the German people and allowed them to be crushed, starved and raped.

But he loses me when he writes

Want to know why West Germans feared Soviet tanks? Because they saw firsthand what Patton's tanks could do.
Sorry, the Germans feared Soviet tanks because they had firsthand knowledge about the Red Army. They saw more Russian tanks than American tanks. Berlin, after all, did fall to Zhukov, not Patton.

OHC rightly points out that the

Fighting the modern way is certainly not more difficult than before. It is not easy - Stephen is right that war is never easy - but to imply that this year's Iraq campaign was somehow more difficult than, say, the Normandy invasion or the Battle for Manila is just plain wrong. America's modern way of war enables us to defeat the enemy much faster than ever, and there is no way that means war is more difficult than it was, oh, at the Battle of Gettysburg.
But modern US commanders do face one factor that was not present in World War Two or the Civil War. Patton and Nimitz did not have worry about the political fallout of operational victory. During the August 1944 breakout, the German army tried to escape from the Falaise pocket before Allied armies encircled them. Tactical air power and artillery pounded the retreating Germans. Yet there was no domestic outcry in the US about the uneven combat with a retreating enemy. This is in stark contrast to the "Highway of Death" hysteria in 1991.

The American way of war calls for the deployment of overwhelming firepower at the decisive point to win rapid victory with a minimum of casualties. That used to mean American and civilian casualties. Today it means enemy combatants as well. This is a complexity the World War Two and Civil War generals did not face.

OHC also writes that

The Iraqi soldiers who survived the war this year are not claiming that they were not really defeated. Many of them have been beaten by the US twice - 1991 and 2003. They know they were beaten badly and could not have prevailed even with better generalship. Modern technology enabled us to defeat Iraq's military without killing enormous casualties among Iraqis.
As i read this i was reminded of an incident Col. Harry Summers related in On Strategy. After the ceasefire in South Vietnam, an American officer said to an NVA officer, you never defeated us on the battlefield. His counterpart replied, that is true, but it is also irrelevant. (Paraphrasing from memory here).

Victory on the battlefield does not automatically mean that we gain our strategic objectives.

Clausewitz wrote that "War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will" . In Iraq I, our victory compelled the Iraqi's to leave Kuwait and also allowed us to destroy much of their WMD program. However, in Iraq II, we have the much more difficult challenge of creating a functioning polity that is stable and somewhat liberal. Decisive military victory against Saddam's conventional forces was a necessary but not sufficient condition to achieve this.

One factor needed is a patriotic rallying point for Iraqis that is untainted by the Saddam regime. In West Germany, for example, Adenauer was an anti-Nazi and thus an acceptable politician to lead them during and after the occupation. Perhaps more important, though, were the officers who tried to kill Hitler in 1944. Though they failed, they preserved the "honor" of the army. A German patriot could admire their bravery, repudiate Hitler, and still take some pride in his country's history.

DeGaulle and the French Resistence served similar roles in the restoration of French pride and confidence. French soldiers helped liberate Paris and that helped ease the pain of the defeat in 1940 and the shame of Vichy.

After the Civil War, Robert E. Lee served a symbol for reconciliation and stability. The North and South could agree that he was a good general and honorable man. By accepting defeat and repudiating guerrilla war in 1865 he brought the bloodshed to an end and opened the possibility for a better civil society in the post-war South. Unfortunately, there was a shortage of Adenauer-types to lead the states and insufficient troops to police the occupied South.

At this point, unfortunately, we don't seem to have either type of rallying point in Iraq. They are beaten, liberated, and occupied. But all of that is due to an external power. I worry that if a heroic, patriotic figure emerges, he will do so by fighting or opposing the US. Sort of the way the Communists emerged in China and Vietnam as both anti-colonial and anti-Japanese.

See also:
"Defining and Achieving Decisive Victory "

Friday, December 01, 2006

Nancy Grace: Insight into the PR offensive

Rebecca Dana has a piece in the NY Observer that is not to be missed.

Nancy Grace’s Unmanageable Crisis

In the days after Melinda Duckett’s suicide, Ms. Grace utilized the services of Anna Cordasco, who is the managing director of the New York firm Citigate Sard Verbinnen, which specializes in below-the-radar corporate-image resuscitation.

Ms. Cordasco, who has Martha Stewart as another high-profile TV client, is old friends with Ms. Grace’s executive producer at Headline News, Dean Sicoli. Ms. Cordasco and her colleagues immediately set to work restoring the fire-breathing former prosecutor to her pre-Duckett level of dignity and national esteem.

Except, according to three sources close to Ms. Grace, once the crisis manager stepped in, the crisis just got worse

Well, as Nancy herself would say, "you can put lipstick on a pig....."

I find it interesting, though, that Ms. Straight Shooting Former Prosecutor opted for a PR firm that "specializes in below-the-radar corporate-image resuscitation."