James Taranto: AP's Looking For Clones of Thomas, Who's A Clone Of Scalia...

May 12th, 2007 7:27 AM

On his must-read "Best of the Web Today" column for Opinion Journal, the online home of the excellent Wall Street Journal editorial page, James Taranto did a nice analysis on Associated Press reporter Mark Sherman:

An Associated Press dispatch about Justice Sam Alito includes this gem of legal analysis:

Alito has voted with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas in every case in which the court has been ideologically divided.

Really? We found 15 cases in which Alito did not vote the same way as Roberts, Scalia and Thomas, including five in which Alito was on one side and all of the other three were on the other.

Read the whole thing. 

Taranto also mocked the privacy-defending watchdogs at the New York Times for sounding a little hypocritical, according to the Village Voice:

Barely a year after their reporters won a Pulitzer prize for exposing data mining of ordinary citizens by a government spy agency, New York Times officials had some exciting news for stockholders last week: The Times company plans to do its own data mining of ordinary citizens, in the name of online profits.
The news didn't make everyone all googly-eyed. In fact, some people at the paper's annual stockholders meeting in the New Amsterdam Theatre exchanged confused looks when Janet Robinson, the company's president and CEO, uttered the phrase "data mining." . . .

Robinson was talking about money this time. Data mining, she told the crowd, would be used "to determine hidden patterns of uses to our website."

Taranto added his own take to the Voice article:

A few weeks ago we attended an Intelligence Squared debate (PDF) on civil liberties vs. national security. Debater Andrew McCarthy noted that "visitors to the ACLU's New York office are confronted when they come in with big signs on the wall that say, 'Your bags are subject to search.' "

The ACLU's Nadine Strossen, on the other side of the debate, replied that this practice was imposed by the landlord over the ACLU's objections. We wonder if the Times has a similar excuse.

I was too busy this week, since I read through the week's Taranto columns in one sitting, or I would have passed these along earlier.