FEAR THIS OPERA. It's not at all clear why Jonah Goldberg is so obsessed with hyping the threat to Idomeneo, but responding to Jews convincing the Polish Embassy to cancel a talk by Tony Judt, he writes: "But, tell me, did Foxman threaten to cut off Judt's head?"
GOTV.Jay Cost's post explaining the trouble in measuring the actual impact of the GOP's much-vaunted voter mobilization scheme is an important one. Their GOTV advantages -- microtargeting, the 72-strategy, etc -- are being sold as a secret, even insurmountable weapon. But there's precious little data supporting that. To be sure, Bush's largest vote increases in 2004 came in Democratic areas, which certainly speaks to the power of microtargeting.
DISPATCH FROM A PUNCTUATION MARK. In Iraq, at least 10 Iraqi army and police officers have died and more than 1,200 fell violently ill after eating a cyanide-laced chicken dinner at their base. Just another all-too-forgettable occurrence deep inside George Bush's "historical comma."
FENCE THIS. For the best piece of newspaper reportage you'll read today, check out The Washington Post's exploration of the 700-mile fence that Congress passed -- with a provision making sure it'll never actually happen. As the bill was being passed, an amendment was tacked on allowing the president to divert the earmarked cash for whatever border security measures he deems appropriate or necessary. Goodbye metal fence, hello virtual one.
OUTRAGE ON THE DEFAMATION FRONT. Just to elaborate on the story Ezramentioned: The NYU historian Tony Judt was invited to speak October 3 on the subject of �The Israel Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy� to a discussion group entitled Network 20/20, which always holds its meetings at Manhattan�s Polish Consulate. But Judt received a call from Patricia Harrington, the president of the group, canceling his talk. She told Judt (as he recounted in a widely distributed e-mail) that the Consulate had been threatened by the Anti-Defamation League, who �warned them off hosting anything involving Tony Judt.�
HE WANNA GET AWAY. Ah, pity poor Chris Hitchens. As one shall-remain-nameless friend chuckled to me recently, Hitch must have needed a good, long week with his face in a large bowl of vodka to recover from the revelation in Bob Woodward�sState of Denial that none other than his bete noir, Henry Kissinger, is a key Iraq adviser to President Bush, SecDef Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of the war architects for whom Hitchens has been fashioning increasingly creative apologies.
TRENDS. Without sucking up to the new boss too much, let me highly recommend this Harold Meyersonpiece responding to Kos's Libertarian Democrats manifesto. I recommend it despite finding it an enormously frustrating piece of work -- I have, after all, spent the last few months of blogging and my September feature story trying to say what Harold does in these three paragraphs:
IF WE'VE LOST FAREED ZAKARIA ... Some slightly belated weekend thoughts on Iraq: As Kevin Drumnoted on Sunday, Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek (not to mention PostGlobal and his own TV show) has become a bellwether for establishment views on foreign policy. And now, he no longer thinks the U.S. can do enough good to merit our commitment to Iraq.
SYMPATHY FOR THE SCALIA. The New York Times is running a superb multi-part series about the increasing number of legal privileges and breaks being given to religious institutions, which has generated some attention and commentary.