"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

When is a List Not a List?

Senator Joseph McCarthy famously and recklessly trumpeted:
I have here in my hand a list of two hundred and five people that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.
Of course, if Senator McCarthy actually knew such a thing to have been true, his patriotic responsibility was to turn over that information to the proper authorities for investigation and prosecution. But Tailgunner Joe had no such list, and his wild accusations did much to discredit anti-Communism, and gave considerable aid and comfort to actual Soviet spies, such as Alger Hiss.

Our betters at the New York Times and elsewhere were more recently convulsed by the revelation that the Government of the United States (normally referred to in such circles as "The Bush Administration" or simply "This Administration," (as if there were some other real Government somewhere suspended in liquid hydrogen)) had collected another list: Millions and millions of phone records of ordinary Americans had been turned over by Verizon and BellSouth and goodness knows who else. USA Today, it seemed, had in its hands a far more alarming list.

Not so much, it turns out.

In a "Note to Our Readers" and an accompanying article (cravenly printed on the Friday before the Independence Day Weekend), USA Today allows as how the Government has no names, has no addresses, and didn't get what it's got (lists of numbers and numbers called) from the sources USA Today swore it had.

Never mind.

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