Need a New Pair?

If you want the shoes, go to ebay.

The reviews are in, and plenty of people are unhappy with the flag. Either it’s too Israeli (the white and blue) or it’s not Arabic enough (where’s the red, black and green?).

Iraq At a Glace gives a positive look:

“As you know, the white color represents the peace, the two blue stripes represent Tigris and Euphrates, the yellow strip for the Kurds ( according to the color of the star on the Kurds’ flag), and the blue crescent represents Islam, I like the idea of the crescent, not because of what it represents, but you know there’ll be some people crying for the ‘God is greatest’ statement which was on the old flag, so this crescent will do the work!

“The flag is fine, at least this is the first step to get rid of Arabic thoughts of battles, revenge and other useless things, as in a poem that describes the old Iraq flag, the poet enthusiastically wrote about the red color on the flag that represents the BLOOD and sacrifices, the black color for the enemies’ lands that would be turned to DARK and gloomy lands ( power and ability to fight any enemy), the green is the color of the beautiful Arabic lands and the white as they’d make peace with those who want peace.”

For a summary of the blog community’s reaction to this week’s Iraq news, go to Soundfury.

Manneken Pis

Cute little fella. From AFP, "Brussels' landmark statue Manneken Pis is dressed up as former President of South-Africa Nelson Mandela."

The Kerry Malaise

Democrats are freaking out over Kerry’s inability to respond to the Bush onslaught. Mickey Kaus cites Broder, Ridgeway, Anson, Cohen, and Tina.

But, as I’ve said before, the hysteria is completely unwarranted. Yes, Kerry is screwing up. Critics rightly blame him for bungling his counter-attacks and “failing to connect.” But haven’t we heard this before? Remember Weld in ’96? And it’s astonishing that the press has forgotten the Kerry of four months ago, a Kerry that had completely bottomed out in the Iowa polls.

Nonetheless he always manages to come through in the end, inspiring a last-minute reconsideration among uncommitted voters. Why should we expect anything else?

Also, look at the vast gap between Kerry’s campaign resources and Bush’s. Kos points out:

“Kerry has reached his 2004 fundraising goal of $80 million from 400,000 contributors. The campaign has now set a new goal of $100 million, a goal they should easily surpass (he raised $42.8 million in March alone).

“On March 1, Bush had $110 million cash-on-hand, while Kerry had $2 million. Things have been looking up ever since.”

With the media blitz that Bush has launched on Kerry, it’s surprising that Kerry’s poll numbers have remained mostly unaffected. The ads would lead you to believe that Kerry is Satan’s cousin, but so far, voters haven’t bought it. And soon, Kerry will have the money to deliver the counter-punch.


Hughes Update

Hughes’ appearance on Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer was the source for two of this week’s most heated controversies. We’ve all heard plenty about the medals and ribbons scandal. The Kerry team cites Hughes as a one of the earliest supporters of Medal-gate. From the Washington Post:

“Stephanie Cutter, Kerry's communications director, said she believes the Bush campaign orchestrated the story, noting that former presidential counselor Karen Hughes raised the issue of Kerry and his medals Sunday on CNN and that within an hour two news organizations called her about the subject. "Things like this don't happen by coincidence," Cutter said. Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt responded that the Kerry controversy "is of his own making."’

Now Planned Parenthood is launching a full-scale assault on Karen Hughes. The organization is upset that Hughes “equated pro-choice advocates to terrorists in her attempt to defend President George W. Bush’s anti-choice policies.” They’ve started a petition and letter writing campaign, asking the spokeswoman to apologize for her comments.

All of this controversy from the woman who crafts the president’s message? The force who supposedly brought the soccer moms into the Bush camp? Maybe she has lost her touch.

If you read this site regularly, you may have noticed that I truly dislike this woman. I’m not surprised that she has caused such acrimony.

The Sinclair Case

For anyone wondering why the proposed changes to the FCC media ownership regulations are so dangerous, look at the Sinclair case.

“Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. ordered its ABC affiliates to preempt tomorrow's broadcast of ``Nightline,'' which will air the names and photos of U.S. military personnel who have died in combat in Iraq, saying the move is politically motivated.”

For more, go to Atrios.


My favorite piece of spam mail has always been the wealthy Nigerian offering millions of dollars. All I'd have to do is chip in a bit and assist with some banking transactions. I’ve always wondering who the other person is on the other side of that email. Anyway, one man posted his exchanges with the scammers. Brilliant.



and finally

Visit FreewayBlogger. Here are some of my favorites.

Today's News

Some interesting items:

1. The Kerry campaign is criticized for the low representation of minorities among the top position.

2. Sisyphus has found at job at the Center for American Progress, where they’ve formed a “Claim vs. Fact” database “to chart the dishonesty and lies of conservatives.” They ask, “If we're missing a lie or distortion you know of, please submit an entry. If it checks out, we will gladly add it to the database.”

3. Moviegoers will want to check out this summer’s preview list.

4. The next two come from Andrew Sullivan. First, the new Hamlet in London has received rave reviews. And an unknown 23-year old makes a name for himself. Here’s an excerpt:

“This is the kind of evening of which legends are made, one of those rare first nights that those who were present are never likely to forget.

“No theatre has boasted a more illustrious line-up of Hamlets than the Old Vic, among them Gielgud, Olivier, Burton, Guinness, Redgrave, O'Toole and Jacobi.

“Last night, 23-year-old Ben Whishaw spectacularly earned his place in such distinguished company.

“Ben who?, you may well be asking, and you would be entirely within your rights to do so. Whishaw only left RADA last year and was last seen playing bit parts in the National Theatre's Christmas production of His Dark Materials.


“Nunn's daring modern dress production works superbly. Hamlet's youth is mentioned repeatedly in the play, and he has interrupted his studies at university to attend his father's funeral and his mother's "o'erhasty" remarriage to his uncle.

“Whishaw, with his light, tremulous voice, painfully thin body, and the kind of cheekbones that will have adolescent girls swooning in the stalls, presents the most raw and vulnerable Hamlet I have ever seen.

“He has all the gangliness of adolescence and the unbearable pain of a once bright and happy scholar who returns home to find that his family has imploded and nothing makes sense any more.

“No wonder that this inadequate prince finds it so hard to revenge. Whishaw brilliantly captures an adolescent deep in the depths of clinical depression, whose feigned madness sometimes slips terrifyingly into the real thing.

“Yet he is also the most lovable of Hamlets. During the soliloquies he genuinely seems to be confiding in us, the audience, with a rare, bruised candour that catches the heart.”

5. An article on blogs as pamphleteering. It even mentions one of my favorites: Theodore White. His book Making of the President 1960 is a must-read. “Theodore H. White grew so close to John F. Kennedy that he ended up writing campaign speeches for the Democratic nominee even as he reported The Making of the President 1960. Somewhere out there in the infinite spaces of the Internet floats a site called bloggingofthepresident.com, whose homepage declares: "The Blogging of the President (or BOP) is dedicated to the great writer Theodore H. White, whose documentary series of books, The Making of the President, inspired generations of journalists.... We believe that the story of how America chooses its leader is fundamental to how America conceives of itself, and something about this story changed in 2004. Somehow, HTML and 'blogs' are now pillars of the republic; indeed, a whole new way of doing politics seems emergent and potentially dominant."

It continues:

“The entries, sometimes updated hourly, are little spasms of assertion, usually too brief for an argument ever to stand a chance of developing layers of meaning or ramifying into qualification and complication. There's a constant sense that someone (almost always the blogger) is winning and someone else is losing. Everything that happens in the blogosphere — every point, rebuttal, gloat, jeer, or "fisk" (dismemberment of a piece of text with close analytical reading) — is a knockout punch. A curious thing about this rarefied world is that bloggers are almost unfailingly contemptuous toward everyone except one another. They are also nearly without exception men (this form of combat seems too naked for more than a very few women). I imagine them in neat blue shirts, the glow from the screen reflected in their glasses as they sit up at 3:48 a.m. triumphantly tapping out their third rejoinder to the WaPo's press commentary on Tim Russert's on-air recap of the Wisconsin primary.

“All of this meta-comment by very bright young men who never leave their rooms is the latest, somewhat debased, manifestation of the old art of political pamphleteering, a lost form in this country through much of the 20th century. The modern American idea of journalism as objectivity, with news and editorial pages strictly separated, emerged in the Progressive Era with books like Walter Lippmann's classic Public Opinion. For most of the last century, this idea anointed political journalists as a mandarin class of insiders with serious responsibilities; access was everything. At some point during the Reagan years, this mandarinate lost interest in politics as a contest of beliefs and policies with some bearing on the experience of people unlike themselves. Instead, elite Washington reporters turned their coverage into an account of a closed system, an intricate process, in which perceptions were the only real things and the journalists themselves were intimately involved. The machinations of Michael Deaver and Roger Ailes, followed by Lee Atwater and James Carville, became the central drama. We've grown so familiar with this approach that today you can open the New York Times and be unsurprised to find its chief political correspondent, Adam Nagourney, writing about polls and campaign strategies day after day.

“Blogs came along to feed off this fascination with the interior mechanics of politics. Many bloggers emerged from the ranks of the press itself; unlike the elite press corps, though, anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can blog. This is potentially the most radical innovation of the form: It opens up political journalism to a vast marketplace of competitors, reminiscent of earlier ages of pamphleteering.”



Visit this site. As it says, Found Magazine collects “Found stuff: love letters, birthday cards, kids’ homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, telephone bills” and so on. You’ll see some fascinating stuff there.

Also, you can buy the book here.

Understanding Arab Anti-Americanism

In Fog of War, Robert McNamera explains the importance in understanding the enemy. It’s 30 years after McNamera’s time, but his advice is still pertinent. Read this outstanding article on Slate.

The Asian Male Boom

No matter how simplistic the argument is, Bill Maher may be onto something when he says al Qaeda is just a bunch of guys desperate for women and sex. Michelle Tsai sent me this interesting article, “A Dangerous Surplus of Sons?,” that makes the same point from a different angle.

“In a new book, Bare Branches: Security Implications of Asia's Surplus Male Population (MIT Press), Valerie M. Hudson and Andrea M. den Boer warn that the spread of sex selection is giving rise to a generation of restless young men who will not find mates. History, biology, and sociology all suggest that these "surplus males" will generate high levels of crime and social disorder, the authors say. Even worse, they continue, is the possibility that the governments of India and China will build up huge armies in order to provide a safety valve for the young men's aggressive energies.

’"In 2020 it may seem to China that it would be worth it to have a very bloody battle in which a lot of their young men could die in some glorious cause," says Ms. Hudson, a professor of political science at Brigham Young University.”

Some Middle East experts and sociologist blame the current troubles in the Middle East on a demographic disorder. Many countries in the region (Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan are the cases I’m most familiar with) have very, very large populations of young, uneducated men who are desperate to improve their lives. Jobs are scarce, and without the means to support a family, unemployed men have a difficult time finding wives. (Polygamy also drains the pool of available brides.) No man in this condition would be able to turn down the promise of a harem.

Could this be Asia’s fate?

Related Note:

For a while, I’ve said that China's one-child policy would produce disastrous effects in the coming decades. Imagine what will happen once that generation—a generation of only children—grows up and assumes control in China. Imagine their diplomatic behavior. Now that’s frightening.

Today's News

Here are the must-reads for the day:

1. Watch “Nightline” this Friday. Koppel will “dedicate [the] entire broadcast to a reading of the names of American servicemen and women killed in action in Iraq.”

2. VP speculation is back, and Altercation says Gephardt is a safe choice. The L.A. Times also gives a roundup of the rumors. Should Kerry announce his VP choice sooner rather than later? Some say it would be helpful to have another voice deflecting the Bush/Cheney onslaught. I say, don’t waste the political capital. It’s early in the race and he’ll want the momentum of a VP candidate going into the convention.

3. Kerry’s Chief of Stuff. An interesting look at the man behind man.

4. And the Specter/Toomey race finished with moderate Specter winning out over conservative Toomey. “Specter had 51 percent (524,020 votes) and Toomey had 49 percent (507,777), with 99 percent of precincts reporting.“ Though it was a tight race for Specter, he knows as well as every other politician that a win is a win. MyDD explains why Toomey lost.

5. A Homeless NYU student finally gets housing.

6. The Secret Service questions a high school student in Prosser, Washington on his anti-war drawings.

7. Protestors plan a Trojan Horse for the Republican convention.


Conservativs for Kerry

Here’s an interesting argument for why conservatives should vote for Kerry: a balance in government restricts federal spending, and considering that Congress is a Republican stronghold, the White House should be handed over to the Democrats.


I’ve been meaning to comment on the Specter/ Toomey race for weeks. It has been hyped as the most important election of the year, other than November 2. For those who don’t know, here’s a summary:

Sen. Arlen Specter, a leading Republican moderate, has been fighting a surprisingly tough primary battle against Rep. Pat Toomey, who is a conservative’s conservative. Specter, of course, has all the resources of a four-term senator, including the money and the support of the big names in the Republican Party. However, Toomey has captured the hearts of conservatives around the country, and so far, his poll numbers have been rising steadily.

Today is primary day. I can assure you that Rove has been carefully watching this race, and Bush’s campaign message will certainly be crafted in response to the tonight’s outcome.

Drudge has this update: 33 of 9,416 precincts reporting - 0 percent. Arlen Specter, 910 - 56 percent. Pat Toomey, 720 - 44 percent

So much great material has been written on this race. Political State Report has this nice, brief analysis of the race and its possible consequences. And the New Yorker had this wonderful piece on Specter, Toomey and all forces surrounding the race. Here are some of the best sections:

"Specter holds a prized seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and if reëlected he is in line to ascend to the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee—the sort of political real estate that should make winning renomination in a primary a cinch. But Pennsylvania’s Republican primary is “closed” (only registered party members can vote), so the contest will be decided by an especially narrow slice of the general electorate: those who care most passionately about core Republican issues. For Specter, that means having to write off as much as a third of the primary vote in advance, on account of his steadfast pro-choice stand on abortion rights. Specter is an old-style centrist, one of the last of an aging and embattled breed of Republican moderates in a party that has moved steadily to the right in recent years. To some Republicans, like Paul Weyrich, a founder of the Heritage Foundation, who is regarded as one of the godfathers of the modern conservative movement, the thought of the Judiciary committee chairmanship going to Specter—a man who helped block Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court—is a horror to be vigorously resisted...So, while the White House and Senate leaders have endorsed Specter, his challenger, a third-term congressman from the Lehigh Valley named Patrick Toomey, comes armed with the blessings and the cash of Republican grassroots activists and heavyweights—including Bork, Weyrich, Edwin Meese, and Steve Forbes—who don’t mind bucking the Bush machine in the hope of hardening the party line.

"Pat Toomey is a conservative Republican of rigorous doctrinal purity: anti-abortion, anti-taxes, anti-spending (except for defense); a fiscal hawk, appalled by big deficits, a crusader for school choice, tort reform, Social Security privatization, and a smaller federal government. Before going to Washington, he was an owner of bars and restaurants in Allentown and, before that, an investment banker in New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. He is forty-two, a Catholic, the son of working-class Democrats and also a Harvard man, blond, meticulously groomed, with unnervingly white teeth and scrubbed pink skin.

"Toomey’s voting record in Congress has won him nearly perfect scores on the ideological litmus tests of the American Conservative Union, the National Taxpayers Union, and Citizens Against Government Waste. The latter organization issues an annual “Pig Book,” listing Congress’s profligate pork-barrel spenders, whose sins have multiplied madly in recent years, in large part because President Bush has never used his veto power. Arlen Specter was named “porker of the year” for 2003 in honor of his habit of signing off on appropriations bills packed with seemingly gratuitous, and often comical-sounding, federal handouts.

"Pat Toomey’s energies in Congress have been devoted almost entirely to trying to impose fiscal discipline on the federal budget. Last November, he was prominent among several dozen conservative Republican congressmen who opposed Bush’s hug Medicare-reform-and-prescription-drug bill The four-hundred-billion-dollar price tag struck Toomey as too high, besides which he didn’t trust the figures. He was proved to be prescient when the White House was accused o suppressing the real estimate, which was well over five hundred billion dollars...That opinion is shared and frequently amplified in the conservative press, particularly in William Buckley’s National Review, which last year labeled Arlen Specter “the worst Republican senator,” citing his pro-choice politics, his rejection of Bork, his refusal to vote to impeach President Clinton, and his resistance to several nominees for federal judgeships.

"In the absence of a Republican Presidential primary contest, the Toomey-Specter race, by exposing rifts in the Republican ranks, has, for better or for worse, taken on national dimensions as a struggle to define the party’s brand of conservatism. Last month, National Review ran a photograph of Toomey on its cover, declaring him “the right choice” in “a battle for the GOP’s future.” Ramesh Ponnuru, a senior editor at the magazine, wrote that the Toomey-Specter primary was arguably “the second most important election” of 2004, and an opportunity for “conservatives who generally support President Bush but are concerned about the Republican party’s drift under his stewardship” to send the White House a message. “Criticism of Bush is often deserved, and often useful,” Ponnuru said, adding, “If you are a conservative upset about the Republican establishment’s big spending and accommodationism—especially if you’re upset enough to be thinking about boycotting Bush’s re-election—there is no excuse not to be supporting Toomey.”

Don't Count Out Kerry

More and more pundits are asking, Where is John Kerry? With the crisis in Iraq and the controversies surrounding the 9/11 commission, people have expected John Kerry to speak out and criticize the administration. But he has been silent.

The Village Voice points out:

"With the air gushing out of John Kerry's balloon, it may be only a matter of time until political insiders in Washington face the dread reality that the junior senator from Massachusetts doesn't have what it takes to win and has got to go. As arrogant and out of it as the Democratic political establishment is, even these pols know the party's got to have someone to run against George Bush. They can't exactly expect the president to self-destruct into thin air.

"With growing issues over his wealth (which makes fellow plutocrat Bush seem a charity case by comparison), the miasma over his medals and ribbons (or ribbons and medals), his uninspiring record in the Senate (yes war, no war), and wishy-washy efforts to mimic Bill Clinton's triangulation gimmickry (the protractor factor), Kerry sinks day by day. The pros all know that the candidate who starts each morning by having to explain himself is a goner."

Well, it continues. The media still underestimates John Kerry. He’s a candidate who consistently does poorly in the early stages of a campaign, but reemerges to squeak through with a victory (see 1996 race against Governor Weld, see Iowa caucuses). Maybe I’m just a hopeless optimist, but I see the current Kerry malaise as just another phase in the well-tested Kerry campaign cycle.

Women in Government

The reports from this weekend’s women’s rights march in Washington have described the event as a smashing success. With a moderate message and inclusive attitude, the protest was the largest pro-choice rally in Washington since 1992. I didn’t go; I chose to watch it on C-SPAN.

But I didn’t hear much on women in government. On Saturday, the New York Times had an article on the A.N.C. victory in South Africa’s elections. This segment caught my eye:

'“The number of women in Parliament has risen by 10 percent, to 131, from 120. South Africa is now 11th in the global ranking of women in Parliament, coming slightly ahead of Germany, according to a women's advocacy group, Gender Links. Rwanda is No. 1, with 49 percent.

'"The next president of this country will be a woman," shouted a woman from the group dancing in the Assembly courtyard."

The full chart on women in government shows the United States coming in at 57, tied with Andorra. Europe dominates the top of the list, but plenty of non-western countries—countries that are typically associated with male-dominated societies—place higher on the list (e.g., Pakistan at 31, Uganda at 26, and Turkmenistan at 23) than the U.S.

One way to ensure that abortion rights are protected is to make sure women have a stronger voice in government. How to achieve that, I’m not sure, but there should have been more discussion on this topic in Washington this weekend.

Hughes on Blitzer

Hypocrisy has reached new heights within the Bush administration. Last week the administration defended its policy over the Dover photographs by saying the soldiers’ families deserve privacy. But that’s a very different message from what the administration said a month or two earlier, when the Bush team was airing advertisements that featured flag-draped coffins from September 11.

This Sunday, Karen Hughes appeared on Wolf Blitzer’s Late Edition to promote her new book, Ten Minutes From Normal. You'll find another priceless moment of hypocrisy in the transcripts. Congrats to Blitzer for this beautiful setup.

BLITZER: All right. Let's talk about one quote that I found intriguing. There are a lot of quotes intriguing, but this one I thought was important. "I worry that the obsessive interest in a candidate's past prevents too many good people from running for public office."

And I raise that issue because of all of the look-back, right now, of John Kerry's past, going back to the Vietnam War and his behavior after he returned from Vietnam.

Are we taking too much -- going back too far into Senator Kerry's past?

HUGHES: Well, let me divide that into two parts, because, first of all, I do worry about that. I remember, during our own campaign, there was all kinds of gossip and innuendoes and rumors, and many of them were reported, and they were put on the Internet, and then the mainstream media thinks they have to pick them up. And I think that's very troubling to people. It's almost as if you have to disprove a negative, rather than -- a candidate has to disprove a negative, rather than someone has to come forward and make a charge against the candidate. And I worry that does prevent good people from entering the democratic process.

And, after all, our democracy is only as good as the people who agree to step up and run for office. And I think they deserve a little more respect from all of us, because it's very hard to run for office these days. It's a very negative environment. It's a very hostile environment. And the critics are quite critical. They bandy about words like "liars" and "crooked," and, as Senator Kerry has already said about President Bush, which again I think is just beyond the pale. It's not the kind of thing that should take place in our national discourse.

Now, let me turn to the issue of Senator Kerry and Vietnam, because I found it interesting this week that his campaign said that they were going to position his presidential campaign in the context of his service in Vietnam, and I find that very interesting, that a candidate for the future, running to be the next president of the United States, would look back to a 35-year-old war to try to position his candidacy.

And, you know, Senator Kerry served for four months in Vietnam, and served very honorably, as everything I can tell. My father was also in Vietnam for more than a year. He was in three wars, as I mentioned. I think what troubles a lot of people, my father and veterans and people like me, I remember watching Senator Kerry, back when he was against the war, when he came home, and I was very troubled by the kind of allegations that he hurled against his fellow veterans, saying that they were guilty of all kinds of atrocities.

He now appears to be backing off that statement somewhat. But as someone whose father was over there fighting, I don't appreciate that. I resent that. I know my father was not guilty of any atrocities. And I really find that that's an irresponsible kind of charge to make.

And I also was very troubled by the fact that he participated in the ceremony where veterans threw their medals away, and he only pretended to throw his. Now, I can understand if out of conscience you take a principled stand and you would decide that you you were so opposed to this that you would actually throw your medals. But to pretend to do so, I think that's very revealing.

BLITZER: Karen Hughes, unfortunately, we have to leave it right there.

I will point out that last Sunday on "Meet the Press" Senator Kerry did express regret, saying that, looking back now, he wishes he wouldn't have used that word, "atrocities," as he used when he did come home from Vietnam. He was a younger man. He was clearly passionate at the moment...

HUGHES: But I wish I knew...

BLITZER: ... in his opposition to the war.

HUGHES: I agree with that. He did say that. I saw him say that. And I wish we knew a little bit more about that. I mean, did he think he did commit them or not? And who else did? And what was he really saying? Was he totally exaggerating? Was he making it up?

I think that the press ought to follow some line of inquiry about that.

BLITZER: Well, he will also say, and his supporters will point out, that he's more than happy to compare his military record to President Bush's military record. I don't know if you want to go down that road.

HUGHES: Well, I will, because President Bush served very honorably for six years in the Air National Guard. I took a trip to Afghanistan earlier this year, and I was flown home by some outstanding officers who were serving in the Air National Guard.

And so I think duty -- service in the National Guard is honorable. We should honor that sacrifice. We have a lot of members of our National Guard overseas right now fighting and dying to protect this country.


The New York Review of Books has pulled from its archives a fascinating piece on John Negroponte. For those concerned over Negroponte’s nomination to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, this article will not offer much reassurance. In fact, the Negroponte that’s described in this article from September 20, 2001 could potentially be the worst possible match for Iraq. His tendency to distort the facts to fit the illusion in his head would be devastating for Iraq. Here’s an excerpt:

"Honduras Negroponte exercised US power in ways that still reverberate throughout that small country. His most striking legacy, though, is the Honduras of his imagination. Most people who lived or worked in Honduras during the 1980s saw a nation spiraling into violence and infested by paramilitary gangs that kidnapped and killed with impunity. Negroponte would not acknowledge this. He realized that the Reagan policy in Central America would lose support if truths about Honduras were known, so he refused to accept them.

"By nominating Negroponte as ambassador to the United Nations, the Bush administration is sending at least two clear messages. The first is addressed to the UN itself. During his years in Honduras, Negroponte acquired a reputation, justified or not, as an old-fashioned imperialist. Sending him to the UN serves notice that the Bush administration will not be bound by diplomatic niceties as it conducts its foreign policy.

"Negroponte's nomination is also part of a concerted effort to rehabilitate those who planned and organized the Nicaraguan contra war of the 1980s. When last heard from, these men were objects of public opprobrium and, in some cases, criminal indictments. Bush administration officials believe that they were shamefully mistreated and that they ought to be honored for their much-maligned service. No one is more worthy in their eyes than Negroponte, whose work made it possible for the United States to turn Honduras into a staging area for the contra war."