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October 29, 2003

LUSKIN GOES COMPLETELY OFF THE DEEP END....Unbelievable. Pathological Paul Krugman hater Donald Luskin is threatening to sue Atrios because some of his commenters said nasty things about him. Threatening letter from attorney is here. Followup is here and here. Luskin must be taking lessons in macho-sounding bluster from Bill O'Reilly.

Sorry, Atrios, I'd delink him if I could, but you know how that goes. Will moral support do? And if Luskin actually follows through on this childishness, I'll be happy to serve as chief fundraiser for your legal defense fund.

Note to NRO: how about it? Are you ready to get rid of Luskin now? If not, what does it take to convince you that you're providing a soapbox to an unstable lunatic?

Posted by Kevin Drum at October 29, 2003 03:21 PM | TrackBack


Comments

"you're providing a soapbox to an unstable lunatic."

That does it. You'll be hearing from my lawyer soon.

Posted by: Donald Luskin at October 29, 2003 03:25 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent post, Kevin. I'll happily give funds if you start raising them for Atrios.

Posted by: howard at October 29, 2003 03:27 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to pre-emptively red herring this discussion and bring up Paul Krugman and his merciless slanders against the Texas Rangers right now, if I could.

Hopefully Luskin can successfully sue himself for the May 7, 2003 article "We Stalked. He Balked.", but for God's sake, I hope that Trend Macrolytics, LLC is judgement-proof. It is truly a national treasure.

Posted by: Norbizness at October 29, 2003 03:28 PM | PERMALINK

It gets better Kevin. Luskin admitted to stalking Krugman in an article penned for NRO. Check it out: We Stalked. He Balked.

Here is a dictionary definition of "stalk":

"To follow or observe (a person) persistently, especially out of obsession or derangement."

Fits what Luskin has been doing to a tee, don't you think?

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 29, 2003 03:28 PM | PERMALINK

But Don Stalkin is the victim, here. Krugman clearly represents a danger to all America. See uggabugga.blogspot.com for a diagram of the whole conspiracy!!! Exclamation marks!!!

Posted by: squiddy at October 29, 2003 03:30 PM | PERMALINK

So far, Billmon, Atrios, Instahack, Krugman, NTodd ... have all described Luskin as a stalker. Luskin cryed that Krugman was accusing him of a felony, but he never did. To my knowledge, "stalking" is not necessarily a felony. Not from the dictionary definition above. So, Luskin is a stalker and a liar.

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 29, 2003 03:30 PM | PERMALINK

If NRO gets rid of the unstable lunatics they'll have to close down.

Posted by: Dick Durata at October 29, 2003 03:33 PM | PERMALINK

well it worked so well for "loudmouth" O'Reily. Maybe luskin will blame it on the NRO in a couple of weeks.

Posted by: jorge at October 29, 2003 03:36 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm.

It seems that I have been far too generous to Mr. Luskin.

To quote myself: "Luskin becomes more and more unhinged every time I read him - which, admittedly, is not particularly often...just enough to track his downword spiral toward raving madness and adjust my bet with myself over the exact date on which he will accuse Krugman of secretly being John Hinckley. Currently, I'm going with September 17th, 2004, when election mania hits a fevered pitch and poor Donald's psyche cracks like an egg.
I think it is time to adjust my bet once again."

Posted by: The Mighty Reason Man at October 29, 2003 03:40 PM | PERMALINK

Right-wing nuts FEAR blogdom and its denizens, for good reason. We constitute 21st century committee's of correspondance, and that scares the beejeezus out of them.

Posted by: Sovereign Eye at October 29, 2003 03:41 PM | PERMALINK

I feel so unclean. Hey, why is my psychiatrist and my attorney but no economists in this salary survey. Why does monster.com hate America?

Posted by: fouro at October 29, 2003 03:45 PM | PERMALINK

The only question I have is why would someone who writes for NRO care what Hatrios or the Hatriosians think?

As for the letter, whether it's a good PR move or not, don't people have a right to do something when they're libelled? Or, do "liberals" only have that right?

I especially like this part of the letter: "Determining your identity for the purpose of making service of process can be easily accomplished through a subpoena to Blogspot.com"

Oh yeah.

Posted by: Lonewacko: I Blogged Across America at October 29, 2003 03:47 PM | PERMALINK

"The only question I have is why would someone who writes for NRO care what Hatrios [sic] or the Hatriosians think?"

Because he is an unstable lunatic.

Posted by: nameless at October 29, 2003 03:55 PM | PERMALINK

Directions to Lonewacko's Free Speech Zone:
Where you're "free" to speak, as long as you're out of sight.

Comrade Lonewacko encourages ALL patriotic Americans to appreciate their right to be silenced.

Posted by: squiddy at October 29, 2003 03:56 PM | PERMALINK

Folks, there are deep pockets behind this. They're not interested in winning the case, but just in revealing Atrios's identity.

Why am I so reminded of Valerie Plame...

Posted by: tristero at October 29, 2003 04:03 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Atrios, I'd delink him if I could, but you know how that goes.

How DOES that go? I mean, why can't you delink him?

Posted by: RoguePlanet at October 29, 2003 04:04 PM | PERMALINK

Well golly gee, fellas, I don't see what the big deal is! Why are you criticizing Luskin?

Posted by: Reg at October 29, 2003 04:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Why am I so reminded of Valerie Plame..."

Nah, the "deep pockets" are Luskin's - he's a lonely wacko, as it were. What it reminds me of more than the Plame affair is Limbaugh's comeupance - profiles indicate that in the end he's just a friendless loser with self-esteem issues.

Luskin just can't staaaaaand that the smarter, more talented, and credentialed Krugman has a column and is more respected than Luskin, and it's driven him beyond despair.

Seriously - his "face to face with evil" column is a little frightening, but mostly it's just pathetic.

What kind of fool writes a column with the title "We stalked. He balked." and then flys off the handle when someone says he's "stalking" the "He" in question?

The sad kind, that's what.

I honestly feel bad for the guy. The cycles of self-delusion he must have to go through to do what he does must rival those of John Lott.

Posted by: ryan b at October 29, 2003 04:13 PM | PERMALINK

Atrios stated on his blog that: "I then informed him [Luskin] that if he would tell me which comments he specifically was unhappy with I would be happy to delete them"

I can't believe he would acquiesce to removing comments because some right-wing loony asked him to do so. I am so disappointed in him. I thought he had more mettle than that. Removing comments to please Luskin is just pathetic. He didn't just blink, he folded, he chickened out.

Posted by: Ares Akritas at October 29, 2003 04:14 PM | PERMALINK

They're not interested in winning the case, but just in revealing Atrios's identity.

Exactly. As commented separately:

I especially like this part of the letter: "Determining your identity for the purpose of making service of process can be easily accomplished through a subpoena to Blogspot.com"

And yes, Luskin and Upton know exactly what they're doing here. Click the link for an article in which Luskin talks about "the way companies use lawsuits to suppress legitimate debate on discussion boards," quoting a reader who complains about "the ease with which plaintiffs gain access to your information." (Ironically, he also quotes Upton -- probably a buddy, rather than a hired attorney -- who says, Many computer users probably don't see the difference between expressing their opinions in a bar and expressing them in a chat room or on a bulletin board. In the eyes of the law, there really is no difference.")

The big joke amid all the smaller ones, I suppose, is that they probably think this is their chance to unmask Sid Blumenthal. :-)

Posted by: Swopa at October 29, 2003 04:16 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Atrios, I'd delink him if I could, but you know how that goes.

How DOES that go? I mean, why can't you delink him?

Kevin can't delink Luskin because he has never linked him in the first place. Kevin can't delink me for the same reason. (But he could, you know....[/shameless hinting])

Posted by: Jaquandor at October 29, 2003 04:17 PM | PERMALINK

RoguePlanet: Because, you know, I'd have to link him first. That seems sort of pointless, doesn't it?

Posted by: Kevin Drum at October 29, 2003 04:18 PM | PERMALINK

As another poster stated above; the National Review would be out of writers if all the rabid right wingers with strange connections to reality were removed from their jobs. So that is an impossible task. However, we can make the National Review's postal clerk's day if we all start writing nice, monosyllabic letters to the National Review informing them that their magazine is losing any credibility it may have with a quasi-mainstream audience as long as Mr. Luskin is still employed. Here is their address

National Review
215 Lexington Ave., Floor 4
New York, NY 10016

Let's start writing and politely tell them our opinion of their magazine.

Posted by: Fester at October 29, 2003 04:19 PM | PERMALINK

Exactlty, Tristero.

I spoke with two lawyer friends about this matter and they both agreed this was a nuisance suit designed to intimidate and harrass---not one which had a hope of winning.

My guess is the lunatic Luskin has a backer.

Posted by: JadeGold at October 29, 2003 04:22 PM | PERMALINK

Ares: if Luskin had been able to point to a genuinely libelous comment, Atrios might be obligated to delete it. The standard would be pretty high, though, I think.

However, I'm really not sure what the law is here. Let's face it, thousands of people are libeled hourly on chat boards all over the internet. I don't know what the liability of the site owners is.

Posted by: Kevin Drum at October 29, 2003 04:22 PM | PERMALINK

RoguePlanet: Because, you know, I'd have to link him first. That seems sort of pointless, doesn't it?

Oops. Sorry. [blushing]

Posted by: RoguePlanet at October 29, 2003 04:26 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, I've called him a stalker. But I don't think us "Slithering Reptile" blogs really register on the Insan-o-Meter Luskin uses.

Posted by: Morat at October 29, 2003 04:34 PM | PERMALINK

I thought atrios was revealed a few months ago.

These suits are stupid and ought to be laughed at. Though Atrios's message boards are in a league of their own.

Posted by: Reg at October 29, 2003 04:36 PM | PERMALINK

This is UNBELIEVEABLE! Luskin is such an ass! Luskin, if your lawyers are reading this, feel free to name me in your libel suit. Email me and I'll give you my name; I'll even accept service of process via fax and mail.

I actually took Luskin's side when Krugman called him a stalker. I thought Krugman was just being petty and thin-skinned.

But now we can see that Luskin is JUST AS PETTY AND THIN SKINNED. What an asshole! Forgive the language, but it's true.

I will donate money to Atrios' defense, if he is actually sued.

Man, this is just too much! Who would ever believe that anyone would be so childish and petty. Shocking!

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 29, 2003 04:45 PM | PERMALINK

What a coward . . . typical Republican move. . . when all else fails . . look for deviant methods to destroy/defeat your opponents: Florida count, Texas/Colorado redistricting, Arnold, and the list goes on.

Luskin can't take the heat . . . get out of the kitchen.

Posted by: LuigiBob at October 29, 2003 04:48 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I just called you out for not delinking Gollum Luskin over at Atrios.

Color me stupid along with RoguePlanet. I should have thought for a second and realized. Sorry. Really sorry and embarrassed.

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 29, 2003 04:52 PM | PERMALINK

I'm promising myself this is the only post I'll ever make about Luskin:

He's a intellectual lighweight and a self-promoting charlatan. People who agree with him want to believe him or are dazzled by bright, shiny objects. Everyone else either sees him for the joker that he is or simply don't care.

Let's move on. There are bigger fish to fry.

Posted by: Stephane at October 29, 2003 04:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: I think there are very good legal arguments to be made against putting up no resistance whatsoever. Folding like that will simply prejudice the law against Atrios. It's an implicit admission that libel was committed. So just from a legal perspective Atrios should not have agreed to remove comments on Luskin's say so. Besides, Luskin's suit is not going anywhere. Even if it was legitimate, libel suits in the US are notoriously hard to prosecute. It does seem to me that Atrios in essence folded unnecessarily. But that's not my beef with him. I'm really offended that he would betray us, the people who read his blog and take the time to post comments, to please Luskin. Again, Atrios' own words are: "...if he would tell me which comments he specifically was unhappy with I would be happy to delete them." Don't you find this shameful?

Posted by: Ares Akritas at October 29, 2003 04:57 PM | PERMALINK

I think Ludskin has gone MAD.

anyhow, for any of you who are interested in Krugman's response that he's anti-semitic (yes, he is Jewish) here is his personal website

http://www.wws.princeton.edu/~pkrugman/smearagain.htm

Posted by: Sean at October 29, 2003 04:58 PM | PERMALINK

Color me stupid along with RoguePlanet.

Hey, now. Let's not get carried away here. ;)

At least I wasn't the only one who didn't get it . . .

Posted by: RoguePlanet at October 29, 2003 05:00 PM | PERMALINK

I'm really offended that he would betray us, the people who read his blog and take the time to post comments, to please Luskin . . . Don't you find this shameful?

I know you're not talking to me, but no, I don't find it to be a betrayal or shameful. It's a free site, for pete's sake, and he's certainly not obligated to maintain a public comments section. I mean, come on.

Posted by: RoguePlanet at October 29, 2003 05:04 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing personal RoguePlanet. I was just holding your hand in shame ;) As you said, at least I wasn't the only one who didn't get it. . .

Posted by: Adam in MA at October 29, 2003 05:07 PM | PERMALINK

Why won't anyone sue me? Only the popular "in" crowd like Franken and Atrios get sued by the lunatic wingnuts. Not fair!

Posted by: obe at October 29, 2003 05:10 PM | PERMALINK

I hear National Review had prepared an editorial saying Luskin needs to be sacked immediately. At the last minute, though, they decided to withhold judgment--to see how the investigation into the stalker's behavior proceeded, and to reach a conclusion then. They will weigh in again--finally and definitively--on Luskin when hell freezes over.

Posted by: Galois at October 29, 2003 05:15 PM | PERMALINK

If you are responsible Americans, we need you guys to deliver us George Dubbya Bush to the International Criminal Court. If you are not responsible Americans, we will take care of that problem after 2004, whether you like it or not.
International laws are the same from everyone.
By then they are going to shit in their pants.
And it is the way it is.
If you expand your PNAC agenda we will take any possible measures because your gvt is a bunch of arrogant assholes that only deserve disrespect from all other the world, wether we are white, black, yellow, red, catholics, jewish, muslims, we need a worldwide obedience.
Point blank.
Bush disobeyed the International laws, he will be therefore punished by the ICC.
Swallow your pride, be responsible

Posted by: Frenchy at October 29, 2003 05:16 PM | PERMALINK

He can do whatever he wants with his site. It's his site and he's not legally obligated to me or to anybody else to do anything with the site. But as a fan of the site, how can I feel anything but betrayed when he allows Luskin to essentially edit his own site by removing comments that we, the regular visitors to Atrios' site, have posted. The fact remains that Luskin scared Atrios to do his bidding. I find that shameful and a betrayal to those who have supported Atrios' past efforts to take on right wingers like Luskin without fear or prejudice. Is it really so very unfashionable nowadays to show a little spine when threatened by a lawyer's letter?

Posted by: Ares Akritas at October 29, 2003 05:20 PM | PERMALINK

Bien sur, M. Frenchy.

Posted by: Cervantes at October 29, 2003 05:20 PM | PERMALINK

I know you're not talking to me, but no, I don't find it to be a betrayal or shameful. It's a free site, for pete's sake, and he's certainly not obligated to maintain a public comments section. I mean, come on.

He can do whatever he wants with his site. It's his site and he's not legally obligated to me or to anybody else to do anything with the site. But as a fan of the site, how can I feel anything but betrayed when he allows Luskin to essentially edit his own site by removing comments that we, the regular visitors to Atrios' site, have posted. The fact remains that Luskin scared Atrios to do his bidding. I find that shameful and a betrayal to those who have supported Atrios' past efforts to take on right wingers like Luskin without fear or prejudice. Is it really so very unfashionable nowadays to show a little spine when threatened by a lawyer's letter?

Posted by: Ares Akritas at October 29, 2003 05:22 PM | PERMALINK

Ares ... I think you've made your point, and I think you've made it well. Perhaps you should give Atrios a chance to respond. I mean, it's clear he noticed your comment -- hence the "update" he posted. So wait and see if he has anything else to say about it. And remember -- neither you nor I have any idea what constraints he was operating under when he responded to Luskin's poor-excuse-for-an-attorney.

Posted by: Cervantes at October 29, 2003 05:25 PM | PERMALINK

The fact remains that Luskin scared Atrios to do his bidding.

Ares, if you go back and look at Atrios's update to that post, he just told Luskin that he'd "take a look" (or similar words) at the comments.

Is it really so very unfashionable nowadays to show a little spine when threatened by a lawyer's letter?

What if someone had posted something that really WAS defamatory or threatening? What would be wrong with removing that?

Posted by: RoguePlanet at October 29, 2003 05:27 PM | PERMALINK

I am not sure... what about freedom of speech in the american constitution? Censorship is like isolating people in jail guys....
Honestly I don't care what the others think of me or not, we want Bush, that is all :P And if you don't like it, heck, taugh because he has been elected by Americans Therefore you are responsibler to hand it over the ICC.

Oui cervantez on va le faire tomber de tres tres haut.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 29, 2003 05:29 PM | PERMALINK

As several here have indicated Atrios did indeed post an update and I'm quite gratified to finally read that he actually said to Luskin that, "I'd be happy to take a look."

That's obviously very different from what Atrios originally wrote which seemed to be a blanket agreement to remove anything Luskin told him to remove ("I would be happy to delete them").

And I'm very happy to have been apparently quite wrong about Atrios getting scared and folding. Very happy indeed...

Posted by: Ares Akritas at October 29, 2003 05:35 PM | PERMALINK

RoguePlanet: What if someone had posted something that really WAS defamatory or threatening? What would be wrong with removing that?

The subject is obviously moot now, and I don't want to be going on an one about it, but, briefly, my problem with Atrios' reaction -- the way it was originally stated, as "I then informed him [Luskin] that if he would tell me which comments he specifically was unhappy with I would be happy to delete them" -- was that it gave blanket permission to Luskin to pick and choose any comment he didn't like and Atrios would happily delete it.

Posted by: Ares Akritas at October 29, 2003 05:43 PM | PERMALINK

As someone of more conservative cant then most on this forum, I find the back and forth about Luskin, Krugman, Atrios et al to be humorous.

For each party in this fight, I'm reminded of an old country saying: you should never mud-wrestle a pig. You both get dirty. And the pig likes it.

Re Atrios: as a casual reader of his site, just his recent comments alone about his career at Fox News would allow someone within the industry to figure out (pretty much) who he is. I say that not as an attack on Atrios, as I've never met him and have no reason to attack, but as a point of information. Anonymity is pretty much gone in the modern world, folks, particularly if one does anything at all to call attention to oneself.

For the record, I disagree with both Luskin and Krugman about the various economics arguments they've been having. That's easy to do, since economists themselves never agree on anything -- why should I?

Posted by: Steve White at October 29, 2003 05:51 PM | PERMALINK

as a casual reader of his site, just his recent comments alone about his career at Fox News

Uh, you might want to go back and read that post again....

Posted by: Thersites at October 29, 2003 06:00 PM | PERMALINK

fyi, steve white ---

Atrios never worked at Fox news. The post to which you refer was linked to a letter written to Romanesko's Media News from a man named Charlie Reina.

Posted by: digby at October 29, 2003 06:02 PM | PERMALINK

And Steve, in no way shape or form is Luskin an economist. And economists agree on many, many things.

Posted by: Rob at October 29, 2003 06:07 PM | PERMALINK

I thought atrios was revealed a few months ago.

Was Sid Blumenthal pissed off thatAtrios really wasn't him?

Posted by: Thersites at October 29, 2003 06:09 PM | PERMALINK

First of all, I've heard two people now reference Atrios' post about Life at Fox News as being his own personal experiences--I didn't get that impression at all. It was contained in a blockquote tag (which you can tell visually from the fact that it was indented), which means it was a quote, and not his own content--and it was headed by a link to the site from which it came.

Second, I did not feel betrayed by Atrios' offer to take a look at and/or delete potentially libelous comments. To me, it sounded like Atrios was calling Luskin's bluff--IOW, if this was really about libel rather than about harassing and/or outing Atrios, then he'd look petty for refusing the offer.

Posted by: Catsy at October 29, 2003 06:16 PM | PERMALINK

Weenies, we are gonna have to do the dirty job, imperialistic masturbation dreams are over.
We will pursue the american troops to the criminal court. FUCK THE NEOCONS, it is going to be an american nitemare and they deserve it

Posted by: Frenchy at October 29, 2003 06:30 PM | PERMALINK

FauxNews? We want all the people from FauxNews doing propaganda on a plate please.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 29, 2003 06:31 PM | PERMALINK

Lonewhacko: intent on furthering the image of right wingers as whining wimps, ay?

You needn't bother -- Luskin and O'Reilly are doing the job for you.

Posted by: Jonathan at October 29, 2003 06:41 PM | PERMALINK

Yes this is indeed a cheapjack effort at revealing the identity of Atrios.

But as I'm sure everyone already knows I AM ATRIOS!

Posted by: David Ehrenstein at October 29, 2003 06:54 PM | PERMALINK

Are some of the lunatics at NRO less unstable than Luskin?

Posted by: KeithH at October 29, 2003 07:11 PM | PERMALINK

Frenchy, you need to take your pills and calm down, but not before my heartfelt compliments on the term "faux news." Is that yours? If so, you're my new hero (despite your present state of excitement--or maybe because of it).
Cheers, one and all.

Posted by: Ray Bridges at October 29, 2003 07:34 PM | PERMALINK

Kaus is only a few steps behind Luskin.

Posted by: MKUltrahack at October 29, 2003 07:38 PM | PERMALINK

Ha Ha

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20031029/od_afp/lifestyle_us_television_031029172820

Posted by: wc at October 29, 2003 07:46 PM | PERMALINK

"I am Atrios and Kirk Douglas".

Posted by: Sovereign Eye at October 29, 2003 07:48 PM | PERMALINK

Luskin's obsessed with all things Krugman. I went through (yes it was a pain in the arse) and counted the number of times he mentions the word "Krugman" in the last five weeks of his blog. I posted the results on my blog. It's not a pretty sight, folks.

Donald, if you're reading this, I'd get thee hence to a competent professional to discuss your obsession.

Posted by: Mirele at October 29, 2003 08:25 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. That's literally unbelievable, as in, there's a serious possibility it's a hoax.

Assuming it's not, NRO should obviously drop him, but they should have done that long ago.

Posted by: J Mann at October 29, 2003 08:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'd delink Luskin too if I could, delink the C from the G and the T from the A.

Posted by: deLink at October 29, 2003 09:09 PM | PERMALINK

This suit will filed right after Richard Perle's suit against Sy Hersh.

Posted by: MacMan at October 29, 2003 09:48 PM | PERMALINK

It's kind of sad - I guess this is his first time breaking through the barrier of people who read NRO.

It sounds as if it was a terrible shock to him that the people making the shadows just don't love him as much as the people he shares the cave with.

Posted by: julia at October 29, 2003 09:53 PM | PERMALINK

Over the summer, the 9th circuit court of appeals ruled that managers of web services were not responsible for on-line comments made by their users, or something like that. I remember reading it on veiled4allah.

Posted by: Brian Ulrich at October 29, 2003 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, way to go, keep it up. This Luskin shit is unbelievable. Love your site, laters.

Posted by: BV at October 29, 2003 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, Mirele. Luskin mentioned "Krugman" 100 times in just the last week?

Posted by: squiddy at October 29, 2003 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Someone above asked what was required to win a libel suit. Someone else noted that it's very, very hard. Here's why.

It's been 20 years since I took First Amendment Law at USC J-school, but IIRC, it's always been the case that a successful plaintiff is required to prove ALL of the following four conditions:

1. The statement must be demonstrably false.

AND

2. It must be made with reckless disregard for the truth. In other words, the libeler knew that the statement was false, or did not take sufficient pains to ascertain its accuracy.

AND

3. It must be made with malice aforethought. This means that the libel was committed with the specific, premeditated intention of causing harm to the plaintiff.

AND

4. It must have resulted in demonstrable material damage to the plaintiff's reputation and/or livelihood.

Touching all four of these bases is a tall order -- a legal home run that's only been hit a handful of times in all of American judicial history. And Don Luskin is no Hank Aaron.

I wouldn't put money on a Luskin win here -- but if you look around, you might find a Freeper who can be suckered into taking the bet.


Posted by: Mrs. Robinson at October 29, 2003 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Look on the bright side - we may get to finally find out who Atrios is. Just kidding.

Posted by: Damon at October 30, 2003 01:17 AM | PERMALINK

Mrs. Robinson at October 29, 2003 11:18 PM

This appears to be correct under NY Times v. Sullivan. THat applies if the person claiming libel is a "public figure." I would guess that would apply to Luskin.

I haven't been to Atrios's site yet this morning, but I gather from other sites that Luskin is complaining, not about Atrios's post (which apparently is just a link to a Luskin post), but what some people have posted in comments. However, Luskin apparently wants both the post and the comments removed. It seems a little silly for him to be demanding a post that just links to a Luskin post to be removed--and he clearly does not have a right to have it removed. Regarding the comments, it seems that it would be a simple matter for Atrios just to removed the comments.

On the merits, it would be rather idiotic for Luskin to believe that he would be able to show any damage from what people post in comments on a weblog.

Posted by: raj at October 30, 2003 05:42 AM | PERMALINK

Damn, Norbizness beat me to it. Krugman insinuated that Bush may have done something illegal, then he didn't correct himself in a manner which was acceptable to all the obsessive, lunatic Krugman haters.
So Krugman, and anyone who defends him is fair game.

Posted by: Ringo at October 30, 2003 05:55 AM | PERMALINK

I agree that Luskin's suit is unlikely to prevail, but cannot see how that makes him an "unstable lunatic." Remember when Sid Blumenthal filed an equally unmeritorious suit against Matt Drudge? Some people criticized Blumenthal as not nice, but nobody called him insane. It's not irrational to use the legal system against one's adversaries.

Posted by: David at October 30, 2003 06:18 AM | PERMALINK

"Luskin must be taking lessons in macho-sounding bluster from Bill O'Reilly".

Or from Sidney Blumenthal. Hey, if Luskin's lawsuit goes as well as Sid's, at least Atrios will have Luskin to pay his legal fees.

Posted by: greg at October 30, 2003 06:28 AM | PERMALINK

i think blumenthal did have a case against Drudge.

Wife-beating is probably considered in one of the four categories below:

http://www.chillingeffects.org/question.cgi?QuestionID=526

Posted by: praktike at October 30, 2003 06:37 AM | PERMALINK

Or from Sidney Blumenthal. Hey, if Luskin's lawsuit goes as well as Sid's, at least Atrios will have Luskin to pay his legal fees.

Blumenthal's suit had a lot more merit than Luskin's would--unless you're part of that small group of partisan morons, which doesn't even include Drudge, who claims that Blumenthal really did beat his wife.
But I know that greg is fair and balanced, and not a stupid partisan like he accuses so many others of being--including Kevin Drum. In fact, I'm amazed that greg even reads or posts here, considering what he's said about it on other sites.

Posted by: Ringo at October 30, 2003 06:43 AM | PERMALINK

"Remember when Sid Blumenthal filed an equally unmeritorious suit against Matt Drudge? "

If memory serves, Drudge was accused of knowingly printing the flase information that Blumenthal hit his wife and Blumenthal ran out of money before Drudge's deep pocket backers did - or am I inorrect here?

Posted by: kevin at October 30, 2003 06:45 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
Why can't you delink Luskin? Misha at nicedoggie.net did. He is fully supporting Atrios on this. (liberals, Please scream into a pillow, it's quieter)

I know, four horseman have been seen riding hard around the countryside and Hell is has been experiencing some cooling, but I think you should reconsider the link.

You should also consider giving some of those "right wing nuts" some props for doing the right (hey look, a pun!) thing - ideology be damned.

Just my thoughts.

Posted by: Black Oak at October 30, 2003 06:46 AM | PERMALINK

Surprisingly, and to his credit, Instapundit has weighed in on Krugman's side. Less surprisingly, so has Drezner. (Special bonus: check out Drezner's comments for the craziest right-winger you'll ever hear from. I literally couldn't prevent myself from laughing out loud.)

Posted by: JP at October 30, 2003 06:46 AM | PERMALINK

You didn't read the rest of the thread, did you, Black Oak?

Posted by: JP at October 30, 2003 06:47 AM | PERMALINK

From what I heard of the Blumenthal deal, Drudge posted an item indicating that Sid beat his wife.
Sid sued, as a decent person should. A whole collection of right-wingers raised ~ $2 million for Drudge's defense fund. At that point Sid was scr*wed, facing a large pool of high-powered lawyers. He settled out of court.

Clear and simple abuse of the legal system - a topic beloved of right-wingers, except when they're doing it.

Posted by: Barry at October 30, 2003 06:48 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry JP,
I did jump to a conclusion. I read part of the thread and scanned the rest - 77 comments (at the time) would have taken too long. I missed the explanation and I just never looked at all of Kevin's links.

There are a lot of blogs that will link to the "other side" for a variety of reasons. I lept.


Posted by: Black Oak at October 30, 2003 06:55 AM | PERMALINK

"Not a stupid partisan like he accuses so many others of being, including Kevin"

I said he was partisan, I never said he was stupid.

Posted by: greg at October 30, 2003 06:56 AM | PERMALINK

"Clear and simple abuse of the legal system - a topic beloved of right-wingers, except when they're doing it."

What is a "clear and simple abuse"? Suing for defamation or raising money to defend against such silly suits. I agree with you if you mean suing is a clear abuse, but not if you are saying sending money to drudge was an abuse.

Posted by: Reg at October 30, 2003 07:15 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Luskin will take nuisance suit hints from Michael Savage. They'd get along fine.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at October 30, 2003 07:16 AM | PERMALINK

The reason Blumenthal's suit was unmeritorious was because Drudge withdrew his accusation very quickly and apologized. Drudge had disavowed his claim long before the suit was filed. Drudge's false accusation caused no real damage to Blumenthal's reputation.

Ultimately Blumenthal withdrew the suit and IIRC he even paid some money to Drudge. By any objective measure, Blumenthal lost in the legal arena.

However, the suit was an effective point of focus in finding fault with the Drudge Report. It has been an article of faith among critics that Drudge was unreliable. Blumenthal's pending suit was often cited as evidence of Drudge's inaccuracy.

Similarly, Luskin's threatened suit may be a sensible, albeit hard-nosed strategy, although it seems unlikely to prevail in the courts. It doesn't justify calling him insane.

Posted by: David at October 30, 2003 07:39 AM | PERMALINK

David,

I can't believe that you are defending Luskin's suit, or comparing it with Blumenthal's. Calling Luskin a "stalker" may be interpreted as an exaggeration, but it isn't in the same league with calling somebody a wife-beater.

You write: Drudge's false accusation caused no real damage to Blumenthal's reputation.

How do you know that? Charges of physical and sexual abuse, even if false, can change people's lives forever.

In Luskin's case, how in the world is being called Krugman's "stalker" going to hurt his reputation? Luskin is clearly obsessed with Krugman. Look at his website---almost every single article is about Krugman.

Luskin's suit is not sensible, it is insane. If he by some miracle succeeds it will have an absolutely chilling effect on the world of blogs. Many blog hosts will eliminate their comments sections to forestall similar suits.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough at October 30, 2003 08:28 AM | PERMALINK

It's worth mentioning that the Luskin letter[*] doesn't threaten to *sue* Atrios, it only threatens to *subpoena his identity* from his ISP.

This is worse than suing, IMHO. The lawsuit is a clear loser, but Luskin's alleged lawywer is threatening to out Atrios's identity as a preliminary step to a *possible* lawsuit. It's probably still a loser, but it is a somwhat more credible, and significantly uglier, threat.


[*] It's also worth mentioning that there's at least a possibility that Atrios has been hoaxed.

Posted by: J Mann at October 30, 2003 08:52 AM | PERMALINK

J Mann wrote: It's also worth mentioning that there's at least a possibility that Atrios has been hoaxed.

That was the first thing that occurred to me, also. I'm hoping Atrios checked it out before he posted it. It will be extremely embarassing if it turns out to be a hoax.

(Or maybe it's a double-hoax --- Luskin wrote it, pretending to be someone who was only pretending to be Luskin's lawyer.)

Posted by: Daryl McCullough at October 30, 2003 09:11 AM | PERMALINK

"It's also worth mentioning that there's at least a possibility that Atrios has been hoaxed"

It's possible, but it is usually fairly easy to determine the source domain of an email message.

Posted by: raj at October 30, 2003 09:12 AM | PERMALINK

Atrios has said in comments that it's real.

Posted by: Thersites at October 30, 2003 09:22 AM | PERMALINK

Let's roll(tm). I'm willing to give a few bucks to the Atrios defense fund. I'll be damned if the right-wing juggernaut will remove my freedom to call someone a lunatic.

"It's worth mentioning that the Luskin letter[*] doesn't threaten to *sue* Atrios, it only threatens to *subpoena his identity* from his ISP."

This is basically akin to blackmail, I think - which, itself, is illegal.

Posted by: Skail at October 30, 2003 09:31 AM | PERMALINK

Neal Pollack has declared Tuesday to be "Luskin is a stalker" day on blogs.

However, if Luskin's really trying to blackmail Atrios by threatening to out his real identity, perhaps it would be more appropriate for everyone to be Atrios on Tuesday.

Posted by: Jon H at October 30, 2003 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

JP,
Here is another good one from the Drezner commentator
http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/archives/001127.html

Maybe he thinks Luskin will pass his advice onto President Bush.

Posted by: J Edgar at October 30, 2003 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Daryl McCullough --

Although I'm conservative, I usually enjoy reading CalPundit, an intelligent liberal. He disappointed me here. I didn't mean to defend Luskin's suit so much as to disagree with CalPundit's characterization of Luskin as being insane and calling for him to be fired from his job.

Let's assume FTBOA that Luskin's suit is entirely without legal merit. Assume also that the suit will not discourage criticism of Luskin or give give him a useful publicity boost or benefit him in any way. In short, assume that Luskin's suit is a mistake. Even so, taking a wrong action doesn't equate with being insane.

Posted by: David at October 30, 2003 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

It sounds as if it was a terrible shock to him that the people making the shadows just don't love him as much as the people he shares the cave with.

This is the best summation of the rong-wing (© 2003 Real Small Furry Creatures Inc.) mentality I've ever seen. Kudos, Julia.

Posted by: Tuxedo Slack at October 30, 2003 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

David writes: Let's assume FTBOA that Luskin's suit is entirely without legal merit. Assume also that the suit will not discourage criticism of Luskin or give give him a useful publicity boost or benefit him in any way. In short, assume that Luskin's suit is a mistake. Even so, taking a wrong action doesn't equate with being insane.

It wasn't just a mistake, it was a case of allowing spite to take the place of reason. Perhaps "insane" is not the right phrase, but how about "unhinged", "a few screws loose", "unbalanced"?

Posted by: Daryl McCullough at October 30, 2003 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

David,
The sanity stuff starts before the lawsuit issue.

Please read the stuff the Luskin posts on his poor and stupid site. Read the book store incident that is much of the basis for the stalking claim. If you know The Fountainhead, figure out how Luskin identifies a Peter Keating (mama's boy, brown-noser, intellectual thief) scene with his own viewpoint at the Krugman lecture.
(He could have left out Peter Keating, if he'd wanted to, but maybe he didn't want to. Isn't that creepy?)

Read as Luskin builds suspense(?) as he decides to reveal his identity to Krugman. It's like something from "The Killer Inside Me."

Decide if this man's hundred of fantasies revolting around Paul Krugman are normal, or are
not.

Posted by: J Edgar at October 30, 2003 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

How can people get away with comments like this?

> Folks, there are deep pockets behind this. They're not interested in winning the case, but just in revealing Atrios's identity.

> Why am I so reminded of Valerie Plame...
Posted by: tristero at October 29, 2003 04:03 PM

Goodness gracious man, get a grip!!!

Talk about being paranoid! Nobody but freaks care about this stuff, Luskin is strange, but to try to insinuate some shadowy government or big corporate conspiracy here? LOL.

Posted by: ElCapitanAmerica at October 30, 2003 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Jack Balkin has a comment on this on his web site

Posted by: raj at October 30, 2003 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

The whole lawsuit road down which Luskin is walking seems silly. However, mainly to incite the crowd, I will point out the obvious - Luskin's real target is Krugman. In fact, Kuskin was asked on Hannity and Colmes whether he planned to sue Krugman, and gave a "no comment".

Now, a lawyer may be able to address this, but my *guess* is that Luskin may have been advised to go after every prominent media outlet that picked up the libel, in order to buttress his assertion that the libel was effective, and that he was determined to rebut it.

I.e., if Luskin only sued Krugman, Krugman's attorneys would say in defense, hey, if you were seriously upset, you would have sued these other guys. Since you didn't, beat it.

Which leaves us here - Atrios is one of the largest bloggers out here, Luskin has a blog, away we go.

Still a bizarre lawsuit, and this theory explains rather than excuses, but it is (by my *guess*) not Atrio-centric.

Posted by: Tom Maguire at October 30, 2003 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

El Capitan:

Really! I mean, there would never be a huge network of rich right-wing funders who would devote millions of dollars to dig up dirt on people they don't like.

It would be literally impossible to imagine that Scaife would fund multiple millions of dollars into a right-wing magazine, like, say, The American Prospect and task them to find something, anything to make liberals look bad. I mean, an "Arkansas Project" like that would be unthinkable!

Shocked, shocked.

Posted by: Hipocrite at October 30, 2003 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

> Really! I mean, there would never be a huge network of rich right-wing funders who would devote millions of dollars to dig up dirt on people they don't like.

Oh sure. Right wing and Left wing idiots like to dig up dirt and close people up. Nothing new here.

But the Atrios blog site? Geez! Blogger do really think of themselves as too imporant. Relativily speaking, few people know about any of these blogs and they are not important at all in the grand scheme of things. Even with the fanatics and itdiots in policics now of both dumb parties, it's hard to believe they're that stupid to waste money into something this trivial.

The most likely thing here is that Luskin is a moron, maybe he's trying to prompote himself. But comparing this to the Plame affair, or multilmillon dollar backers.

If you believe that, you really need to step away from the computer and check out the real world outside your room.

Posted by: ElCapitanAmerica at October 30, 2003 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Well somewhat off topic somebody over at slashdot went off on bloggers and stated that anyone who posted pictures of cats should get 3-5 at hard labor. When I read it I cracked up and immediately thought of Kevin and his friday cat posts.

Posted by: Larry at October 30, 2003 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Larry,
Don't the cats (after getting permission from Kevin)
post the pictures themselves? Wouldn't that be okay?
And just try to give them a sentence of hard labor.

Posted by: J Edgar at October 30, 2003 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

perhaps Luskin really IS Bill O' Reilly or even Michael Whiner Savage (or Ann Coulter?).

They must all go to the same school because they certainly are 'all the prick they can be'.

Posted by: asd at October 30, 2003 05:07 PM | PERMALINK

JP:
What makes the comments on Drezner's site so funny? I mean, doesn't every long thread have at least one comment that's far more over-the-top than that? For example, check out the 11:30 entry on Kevin's parallel Luskin thread -- it's about 10 or 15 from the top.

Reg:
I agree with you if you mean suing is a clear abuse, but not if you are saying sending money to drudge was an abuse
Please re-read the post. The answer is neither. The implication is that Drudge was able to raise so much money on his own behalf that Blumenthal would have been buried in court. It's like a SLAPP. If one party has unlimited resources, and uses them to force another party's to cease activity regardless of the merits of the activity, then that's an abuse. As you're someone who plans a career in law, I'm surprised you fail to understand this, or are you just being disingenuous?

Posted by: Keith at October 30, 2003 07:24 PM | PERMALINK

Has Luskin just demonstrated the real need for tort reform? Not really. It just goes to show how those who can hire a good mouthpiece can control the debate by state sanctioned intimidation. Hence the need for CLASS action.

When the rich institute a class action against the poor...well, there's a frivolous lawsuit.

Posted by: bobbyp at October 30, 2003 09:27 PM | PERMALINK

The best comments I've seen so far on the bizarre Luskin Affair (by which I mean that both Luskin and this particular Affair are bizarre) are from Mark Kleiman: http://www.markarkleiman.com/archives/_/2003/10/bloggers_to_the_barricades.php

Not in particular his reference to Luskin's Coconut Pie advice concerning Krugman, and to the fact that Atrios himself didn't make any "libellous" remarks about Luskin -- his commentors did (if even THEY actually did). As Kleiman says, Luskin is trying to shut down Atrios by forcing him to reveal his secret identity through a "SLAPP" suit -- but two can play that game. I suggest that our own coming fake-libel lawsuits to expose the identities of anonymous conservative bloggers begin with Lonewacko and the mysterious "Man Without Qualities" (whose main missing Quality is "traceability").

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at October 31, 2003 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

Bruce,

Before you declare nuclear war, let's see if Luskin actually *gets* Atrios's identity. The main reason that idenity subpeonas work is that the subject usually doesn't fight. Atrios will almost certainly win.

Besides, I've already promised to contribute to Atrios's legal defense fund, and I'd hate to have to contribute to Musil's too. Christmas is coming up, and I have to start saving!

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