I should know better than to read C.J. But I wish she would know better than to write about politics. And I wish Minnesota Democrats Exposed would know better than to quote C.J. writing about politics (btw, MDE, how do you get the Permalink on your site?).
However, the fact both did reminds me during this time of scandal on this blog that -- as I indicated in a comment elsewhere -- uses politics only as a mirror on ourselves -- this is a great time to examine how we decide what is truth from what is fiction?
In matters of politics, here's what I think the answer is: truth is what we want the truth to be. Sometimes it is, sometimes it's not and all the time that part doesn't seem to matter to some people.
We learn today that political scientist Josh Hartnett (whoever he is) does not believe that pilot error killed Paul Wellstone, that the Republicans -- I guess-- did because it was a close race and, hey, other politicians have died in plane crashes. In other words: they just must've.
My first reaction is to wonder why the giant conspiracy against musicians (Big Bopper, Rick Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughn, for example) is going unreported. But instead I went to the FAA database to find out what sort of plane Hartnett pilots. No hits.
So I presume the actual data that would show any pilot exactly why the scenario is far, far more plausible than the conspiracy theorists have concoted is easily disregarded. (For the record, I've offered to debate James Fetzer, the northern Minnesota professor -- who is also not a pilot -- anytime or anywhere, with no success. One of his "proofs" is that the color of the smoke was not the color that jet fuel produces when it burns, completely ignoring the very obvious fact that more than jet fuel burns in a plane crash... and hoping you'll ignore it too).
I am a pilot. Not only that, I flew the Wellstone route a week or so afterwards, in half-way decent weather, and I followed what I thought was the Eveleth navigational beacon and I ended up in the same spot Wellstone's pilots did -- looking out the window wondering where the heck the airport was and forgetting to keep track of what my airplane was doing. Fortunately, I smartened up before it was too late. They didn't.
I also know that equipment used for navigation relies on a compass pointing to magnetic north. I also know that they call it the Iron Range. I wasn't real good at science, but....
But none of that is the point. The point is that in matter of politics and potential scandal, too often the ability to think critically is the first victim.
The good professor's "conclusion" about Wellstone was posted within minutes of the plane crash and all subsequent evidence viewed through the prism of that conclusion..
That's what Josh Hartnett did and it wouldn't matter except for another factoid: no matter how much you hate your political opponent, little is served by viewing data through a prism of that dislike. Sometimes, elections can turn on it and that's only good if it's actually, you know, true.
That's why in this election cycle, for example, the DFL will put out a press release against the opposition for bringing a fat cat into town to raise some money and the fat cat beneficiary will defend him or herself. Then, when the DFL candidate brings a fat cat in, the GOP will put out a release criticizing the DFL for being the beneficiary of a fat cat. And on... and on...and on... it goes until pretty soon the only basis for outrage isn't morality or values or ethics, it becomes situational "outrage," based on self interest, to the point that when there actually is something to be outraged about, it is easily dismissed, and of little value. Too bad. Outrage can change the world. Outrage can destroy it.
That's why -- downstream on Polinaut -- you'll read about the insistence that a Fox graphic during a breaking news story about the Mark Foley affair, listed him as a "D" instead of an "R" was most likely intentional. ; a conclusion reached without much more evidence than "it just has" to be true. And maybe it is. Maybe it's not. Lucky guess. Now look back at the infamous "X" on Dick Cheney and you will find the same people adopting the view that their opponents now hold in the Fox News "case."
And who can remember the assertion -- without checking -- that the closed captioning at the Wellstone memorial service was "proof" that the service was scripted as a Democratic campaign trick? If it helped an election, great. If the assertion turned out to actually be right, well, bonus.
Now out of several years of discredit, in the middle of what is obviously a close election, comes the return of the "Republicans killed Wellstone" controversy. Because an actor said so?
It fairly makes one wonder whether anybody involved in the political process remembers there's a democracy at stake.
CJ is kinda late to the party. Hartnett's idiotic comments were out there a couple weeks ago.
In my intense grief after the death of Paul Wellstone, I admit that I wondered if it wasn't just a bit too convenient for Mr. Coleman. But as one moves past the grief and sees things a bit clearer, these conspiracy thoughts fade. Some people cling closely to an "inspirational" idea such as a conspiracy to explain their pain, and don't move on. Poor Josh.
Brodkorb uses an usual set up to discourage links. You must click on comments, copy that link but delete the "#comments" crap at the end of the URL.
Permalinks are links on a front page of a blog, attached to an item that takes you to a page with ONLY that item. It's handy for people who want to link to an item on a blog (we also use it for all our stuff on MPR). Otherwise, you end up linking to a page where the item may have scrolled down.
As Mark pointed out, you can also go to a comments page and then backspace to delete stuff but it's a pain in the neck.
Bob, the question is not how to permalink to MDE, it's why?
Well, during political silly season, its sometimes easier to leap to conclusions than to step back and do reasonable analysis. You have NPR broadcasting The Newt's theory that the Foley scandal is a conspiracy. You have others that continue to believe and promote the Wellstone conspiracy, the 9/11 conspiracy and the vast right wing conspiracy. Sometimes a guy can't help but wonder if he's the only person NOT in on a conspiracy.
I'm starting a conspiracy. I can't tell you what it's about or when the meetings are. (it wouldn't be much of a conspiracy then) But if you guess right and happen upon the meetings, you're welcome to join.