Random thoughts

I just concluded a phone conversation during which I told a friend, “you clearly haven’t been checking davidweigel dot blogspot dot com.” In that spirit, it’s time to add some more content to this site.

– NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” ended tonight, and the finalist who lost the most weight in nine months was Matt, a recovering alcoholic wrester from Iowa who shed more than 150 pounds (45% of his body weight). He beat out the exceedingly boring new father Seth and Suzy, a cute hairdresser who transformed into Jessica Simpson.

I don’t watch much TV, outside of “Nip/Tuck” and “Family Guy” and the news. And this was a weird show to take on, given it’s got the highest ratings to buzz ratios in reality TV – ratings are great, but no one talks about it. I figure the lack of buzz comes from the fact that, well, it’s a show about fat people losing weight to win money. Fit people don’t care; fat people who’ve let themselves go don’t care. And the weirdness of the concept is just so hard to get past. Tonight’s finale put people on a giant scale, live, where their weight was broadcast to the world – the winner’s weight was announced by a cannon blast of confetti.

Weirdness aside (or weirdless included), it was a damn fun show. Winner Matt was the kind of obviously broken, bitter guy who doesn’t make it on any other reality show. The average “Apprentice” or “America’s Next Top Model” contestant has a pretty good life to head back to if he flubs the audition, but Matt had nothing. Unlike this show’s nearest equivilent, “The Swan,” Matt didn’t get his life on track with a quick fix. He transformed himself through willpower, competition, and denial. It was actually more than a little heartening to watch. I felt bad for contestant Kathryn, though, who had been voted off the show in week two and lost no weight in the eight months since then, and had to share a stage with a bunch of newly thin or athletic peers.

– I’ve sometimes (it doesn’t come up often) commented that the blog Polipundit is like Daily Kos if Kos bloggers won elections. I should amend that to “Daily Kos if Kos bloggers were so partisan they couldn’t think straight.” Polipunditer Lori Byrd breathlessly posts a link to this story.

Last Wednesday, the Minority Leader appeared on KRNV-TV’s “Nevada Newsmakers” program and dropped a stunning revelation. He had been informed just that day that Osama bin Laden was killed in the giant Pakistan earthquake last month. “I heard that Osama bin Laden died in the earthquake, and if that’s the case, I certainly wouldn’t wish anyone harm, but if that’s the case, that’s good for the world.”

Am I missing something? A lot of people were speculating that bin Laden died in the Pakistan earthquake. If you hear Reid’s entire quote, it sounds like he was going off those speculations – he actually said “I heard today” that he may have died, which is a little less loaded than the “had been informed just that day” James Bond spin John Fund takes on it.

This is a story? Who hates a political party enough to think about this crap?

UPDATE: Thanks for the link, Pajamas Media! PJ readers are welcome to stick around and argue w/ me in the comments.

8 thoughts on “Random thoughts

  1. I was going to snark something to the effect of, “Because Kos bloggers are the very model nonpartisanship,” but then I actually clicked on your link, and…god damn.

  2. I think that it’s legitimately unclear in context. What’s known is that this is not something that’s just in isolation. The conservative/Republican overreach is there but Sen. Reid should be asked some tough questions in private. He’s done some disreputable things before with private information (he publicly characterized a private FBI file on the Senate floor for a judicial nomination in a way that destroyed the guy’s reputation without giving anybody a chance to fight back without themselves breaking the rules).

    The Democrats have a problem with leaking legislators. This might be another example. The long-term record just isn’t good.

  3. If Reid has no particualr inside information, then you’re quite right–it’s no big deal.

    However, if he has been briefed on Bin Laden’s death, then the fact that there is speculation is irrelevant. He has an obligation not to contribute to that speculation. I’m not interested enough in polipundit to follow your link (I’ll accept that they’re nutso), but it would be nice if our senate minority leader took his job seriously.

    If the speculation is merely a loophole for him to disclose classified information, he should step down as leader. The American people need and have a right to expect leaders who take their job seriously and can be trusted with state secrets.

  4. Are you talking about when he mentioned Saad’s FBI file? That was another thing Reid could have heard from media reports, or conversations with fellow Democrats. From the Washington Times, 06/03/04

    From the moment Mr. Hatch began the meeting, he struggled to get the quorum required to vote on a nominee. As soon as a quorum gathered, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, requested a private meeting to discuss accusations stemming from Judge Saad’s FBI background check.

    Though several Republicans noted privately that the routine check had been completed more than six months ago and that no questions had arisen, Mr. Hatch acquiesced and removed the public and reporters to hold a meeting. During that meeting, Judge Saad’s hopes of getting out of committee faded.

    Although the closed-door meeting succeeded in delaying Judge Saad’s nomination one more week, it failed to remain secret. The hearing was broadcast over the Internet because of apparent inadvertence on the part of Republican staffers.

    This was 11 months before Reid mentioned Saad’s FBI file on the Senate floor. It seems to me that if Reid was actually leaking classified information, the Republican majority would take action against him. Instead, he gets innuendo from conservative media and blogs which never pans out.

  5. Ignatius – Admittedly, I’m giving Reid the benefit of the doubt. I doubt a comment Reid made on a TV show, which no one in the intelligence community or Senate cared about even after the media covered it, was based on a secret strategic briefing. If I’m wrong I’d agree with you about the consequences.

    My larger point is – what motivates some people to hear Reid say this and assume he’s leaking national security secrets? It’s disturbing to me because no one gave a fig about Harry Reid a year ago, but since then conservative bloggers have taught themselves to hate him and assume criminal motives from his statements.

  6. Good point, I would think that even from a right wing point of view, Reid does enough important non-partisan work to get some benefit of the doubt. Enough to presume that if he did leak, it was carelessness rather then maliciousness.

    My curiosity got the better of me and I hit the polipundit link. What Tim said.

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