The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Monday, October 21, 2002
YOUNG TURK: While I was away, James Taranto, the man behind The Wall Street Journal's ineffable "Best of the Web,"
discovered a short article I wrote about federalism and 9/11. Taranto complains that the piece is "mostly a mishmash of complaints about things that don't really have anything to do with federalism, unless you think that the federal government has no business in such matters as airport security, the detention of prisoners of war, and criminal investigations that cross state lines or involve terror-related offenses."

Taranto has not been reading very carefully. With regard to air travel, for example, my article cites "federalized airport security" and "new unfunded mandates on local transportation authorities," which are obviously federalist issues, whether or not you think the feds have "no business in such matters as airport security." Similarly, while the piece does allude to the prisoners at Guantanamo, it does not claim that their detention is related to federalism. (It's interesting, though, that Taranto describes the detainees as "prisoners of war," a phrase he's previously made a point of rejecting.)

Taranto's actual problem with the article is that it describes him as an "Arab basher." The characterization is obviously true -- Taranto's column discusses Arabs the way much of the Arab press discusses Jews -- but he objects to it because "we're actually of Turkish descent." Note to Taranto: Turks aren't Arabs. Both groups do tend to be Muslim, but by that standard, you could refer to Boris Yeltsin as a Frenchman.


posted by Jesse 11:28 AM
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