August 31, 2002
ROLLING BACK RADICAL ISLAM: Here's an essay by Ralph Peters. I've just skimmed it. I'll look at it more closely later, and I've sent the link to one of InstaPundit's scholarly consultants on Islam for comments.
UPDATE: The indefatigable Howard Owens has already posted some comments.
ROD DREHER IS MAD about the "Beverly Hillbillies" reality show, and Andrew Cline tends to agree with him. But David Kreitman isn't so sure it's bad:
I know that what Dreher and Jeff are saying about the attitudes among the Hollywood elite and others toward Southern culture is indisputable. I know how parochial and embarrassingly narrow minded these people can be when discussing American subcultures outside of the bubbles they inhabit in LA or New York. I also know how many Americans use the caricature of the Southern yokel as the mental template for High Ignorance and Stupidity. But that does not overrule certain unavoidable facts about Southern rednecks, hicks, hillbillies, yokels, yahoos, hayseeds, rubes, or whatever you want to call them, that will never fail to make them fascinating, extremely compelling, hilarious and attractive objects for examination by those living in the South as well as on the outside.
You simply do not have, remaining in the land, a more real group of people who don't really give a damn what others think. The true Southerner knows well how others view him, and yet he never sets about looking for "leaders" and apologists to run onto TV and shame everyone for their mean-spiritedness. It has always been a sign of confidence and pride, or so I've taken it, that the Southerner lets the Northerner, or other elite types, pummel him repeatedly without recourse to the tiresome props of the victim. And thank God for that.
Jed Clampett was the true hero of the original Beverly Hillbillies. Will CBS have the guts to follow his example?
TRAFFIC: 662,688 unique visitors to the main page in August as of now, according to Extreme Tracker. That's about a 30% increase over July. Thanks for visiting.
JOHN ASHCROFT ISN'T MAKING KIM DU TOIT HAPPY:
The more I read about the FBI's behavior in this matter, the more I want to kick AG John Ashcroft in the balls. Their bullying, truculent behavior towards both Hatfill and his fiancée make me absolutely sick-- why are the Janet Reno goons still there, after they had their pee-pees whacked over the mishanding of the Richard Jewell matter? (You remember Richard Jewell-- he was the suspect/non-suspect/"person of interest" in the Atlanta Olympics bombing case-- later found to be completely innocent despite the FBI's intimidation and hectoring tactics towards him and his family.)
This crap has got to stop. Right now. If the FBI has enough evidence to go to the grand jury, then that's what they should do. If they don't then they'd better quit this bullshit about leaking to the Press the list of their suspects, and letting the suspects/non-suspects/"persons of interest" be tried by the Press and public opinion. And applying pressure through the person's family is a foul thing to do-- hey, why not just put a gun to his mother's head and tell him to "confess, or she dies"? That's what the KGB or Chinese would have done.
It remains to be established whether Hatfill is guilty, but it's clear that the FBI has botched the investigation in ways that won't be redeemed even if Hatfill turns out to be guilty as sin. The leaks, as I've mentioned before, are either a deliberate effort to put pressure on him (illegally), or just evidence that the FBI is so inept and unprofessional that its employees can't keep their mouths shut even on an important investigation relating to national security. (Or worse yet, it's just a cynical move to take the press heat off the anthrax investigation by making it look like it's doing something. Regardless, it's a botch, and I don't see another explanation that makes them look any better.
NELSON ASCHER HAS SOME MORE THOUGHTS that are worth posting:
If we can call the Eurocratic order a kind of New Enlightened Despotism, the Church's role would be fulfilled by the NGO. In a way they actually resemble the medieval militant monastic orders. They begin as reformers, then are slowly incorporated to the system as their propagandists and missionaries. Besides, they too are unelected bodies composed of "inspired" and dedicated militants (and good old Lev Davidovitch Bronstein once compared the Bolsheviks to the Jesuits).
Most of the main European powers have some kind of official cultural agency (Alliance Française, British Council, Goethe Institut, Casa di Dante) the branches of which are scattered all over the world. They are not accused of being an arm of their own CIAs and, though their primary role is apparently some form of cultural/linguistic diffusion, their real function is ideological (defined in a generous way) propaganda. The Goethe Institutes, for instance, are responsible for the moderate success of German cinematography in the 70s and 80s. The Alliance Française fights for the "francophonie" and so on.
Have you ever considered that basically all the important international literary/cultural prizes, scholarships etc., from the Nobel prize down, are granted by Europe. Third world intellectuals simply love them, and why shouldn't they? Latin Americans, Africans, Arabs, Asians etc. feel that Europe takes them seriously and respects them, while the US ignores and/or disdains them. Their books are regulary published in German, French, Italian, Swedish and so on, usually with the help of generous state subsidies. When it comes to any kind of conflict who do you think they are rooting for, America? And their written words, in ways most Americans cannot begin to imagine, carry a lot of weight in their poor semi-literate societies, mainly when they return to them as homegrown cultural heroes who managed to spread their country's name and language in Europe and elsewhere.
But it is also true that the European elites take adequate care of keeping their own writers, intellectuals, academics and artists happy and on a short leash. Maybe this goes a long way explain why there are no French Noam Chomskys criticizing the Quai d' Orsay's politics. Talk about manufacturing consent.
Interesting. This makes sense to me, though I'm not an international artist like Nelson.
THE EUROPEAN UNION CORRUPTION SCANDAL CONTINUES with paybacks to a whistleblower.
THE PREMISE OF THIS ARTICLE BY GLENN KESSLER from tomorrow's Washington Post just seems wrong to me. The article says that the U.S. has squandered the flood of support that it received from other countries after 9/11.
But let's be honest here. What support?
We got a lot of sympathy, leavened with a certain amount of schadenfreude. And we got a couple of German AWACS. But when it came time to actually deliver support, as opposed to talk, what did we get? Not much. We got nontrivial numbers of British and Canadian (and Australian) troops for Afghanistan, and trivial numbers of troops from elsewhere. We got a lot of carping and warnings of quagmires. But not much where the rubber meets the road.
And that's why Bush doesn't "give a shit what the Europeans think." Which makes stories like Kessler's a bit, well, beside the point.
UPDATE: Donald Sensing has some thoughts on this, too. And here are some words of wisdom from a surprising source.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Correction -- I'm informed that they were NATO AWACS, not German, which is correct, of course. Follow the link for a cool picture of one over Niagara falls.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Steven Chapman has this to say about Bush's remark:
I don't blame him. The day the sheepdog consults the sheep over ways to combat the wolf will be a sorry day indeed.
Chapman also thinks that the Britain/Europe distinction is important.
THE SWEDES ARE TRYING TO DOWNPLAY THE AL QAEDA CONNECTIONS of a man who tried to hijack an airplane last week. But Charles Johnson has the scoop.
UPDATE: Hmm. The guy had flunked out of flight school, (coincidentally, the one my brother-in-law graduated) in South Carolina.
MORE EVIDENCE that smallpox vaccinations may offer longlasting immunity. (Via Faisal.com).
MAYBE COLIN POWELL IS EARNING HIS PAY: At least, somebody is doing a good job on the diplomatic front. First France gives up on criticizing U.S. moves against Iraq. Now this:
Britain and Italy have broken ranks with EU colleagues, saying they are willing to negotiate bilateral accords with the United States in a row over a new war crimes court, diplomats said.
"Some countries are ready to negotiate. Others are not. In public, the only two countries which have expressed a different position are Italy and the United Kingdom," said one European diplomat.
"Berlusconi is trying to position himself as the best friend of the Americans, along with the British," said a diplomat source in the sidelines of informal talks between EU foreign ministers in Elsinore, Denmark.
Note the catty tone. . . .
OKAY, THERE'S NO POINT MY EVER WRITING ANOTHER WORD. Not when I've written a law review article that has, apparently, induced fits of teen ecstasy. . . .
Well, with a little help.
MICHAEL BELLESILES IS WRITING on the proper use of history in constitutional analysis.
That's like having Joe Biden lecturing people on the evil of copying. Oh, wait. . .
UPDATE: History News Network is observing that the James Lindgren article on Michael Bellesiles' errors has gotten a lot of downloads from this site:
On Friday August 16 blogger Glenn Reynolds published an Acrobat copy of the article--"Fall From Grace: Arming America and the Bellesiles Scandal"--on his heavily-trafficked website, instapundit.com. By the following Wednesday the article, which features 237 footnotes, had been downloaded 55,853 times. As of August 26 the article had "racked up an impressive 82,843 downloads." Notes Reynolds: "By way of comparison, the dead-tree circulation of the Yale Law Journal, where Lindgren's piece appears, is just over 3,300." Has there ever been a scholarly article that received a higher circulation? It may just be that Lindgren's article is the world champ.
The figure as of yesterday afternoon was 87,482. Since Lindgren's article is now also available for download on HNN, and on Lindgren's own page, there's a good chance that it's broken the 100,000-download mark overall. I'd say Lindgren's "world champ" status looks pretty good.
ANOTHER UPDATE: There's more on Bellesiles here.
JOHANNESBURG UPDATE: Reader Kevin Connors has noticed something:
It seems the Johannesburg summit generated 400 tons of trash, used 5 million sheets of paper and dumped 30,000 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Yes, and each participant used 53 gallons of water a day, while lecturing us on American wastefulness. The global ruling class will always live at least as well as ordinary Americans do today, however many calls for sacrifice it issues. Count on it.
In a similar vein, reader Arthur Hellyer wasn't impressed by the Bill Moyers commentary I referenced below:
He ends his commentary, after basically saying human kind isn't fit for life on earth, by saying we "owe" his daughter a better world. You would think with such pessimism he wouldn't burden the world with another child. That's liberalism though. He really likes things as they are, he just doesn't want the rest of us around.
Yep. That's typical. That's why I prefer my version of sustainability to the sacrifice-for-the-little-people version being peddled by the UN apparat.
DALE AMON writes that race doesn't matter much anymore, except to people trying to make political hay out of it. I think that "miscenegating like rabbits" has something to do with this change.
WHY THEY HATE US: The answer may be found here:
Recently, one British visitor was chatting to CIA Director George Tenet about the Europeans’ role. ‘I’ll tell you exactly what the President said the other day on that very subject,’ said Mr Tenet. ‘He said, “I don’t give a shit what the Europeans think.”
Note that the British are not included as "Europeans" in the President's mind.
August 30, 2002
DOES TOM FRIEDMAN THINK THAT The ACLU is like Al Qaeda?
MANY BLOG READERS have probably never heard of a "foot washing," though most will presumably recognize the Biblical derivation.
PORPHYROGENITUS says that Big Media "anonymous sources" are much less trustworthy than pseudonymous bloggers. You know the track record of bloggers, even if you don't know their True Names. But you don't know if this week's "senior official" is the same as the one who said something idiotic last week, or not.
AZIZ POONAWALLA has set up a blog devoted to Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. It features all the media coverage, good and bad, that Aziz can find. Call it a "resource blog."
TOREN SMITH is addressing root causes of terrorism.
THE JURIST reports a poll indicating that support for press freedom is diminishing as compared to a year ago.
I wonder if perceived anti-American bias in matters of the war and national security plays a role. Hmm. Looking at the actual poll results, I think the answer would have to be "yes."
DOC SEARLS says that Bill Maher's blog looks phony. "It's a start, but it's got that delegated, glands-off look. It's... you know: a site. Hey Bill: Sites are for buildings. Blogs are for players."
NICK MARSALA likes Denise Majette.
READER ROBERT MOUNCE SAYS THAT THIS BILL MOYERS COMMENTARY is proof of the Left's decline:
I used to respect Bill Moyers. But now he thinks you can sum up human achievement in "the missing Armenians, Buchenwald and Auschwitz, the little girl aflame with made-in-America Napalm, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, Luanda and Srebrenica, the 11th of September."
He fails to note the ease with which he traveled halfway around the world to comfortably sit under that 800-year old Banyan tree making a speech heard instantly by 10 million people all across the US in the comfort of their homes and air-conditioned cars. Puh-lease.
Yes, what's wrong with the Left -- at least the Establishment, academic-and-media Left -- is that sitting around playing "ain't it awful" is seen as moral seriousness. NPR needs to let Moyers join the fossils he talks about, and get somebody like Ken Layne, who has actual ideas, and a moral sense that goes beyond "isn't it terrible that terrible things happen, and if some people do terrible things then people -- and doing things -- must be terrible, too. "
AL BARGER SAYS THAT HE'S QUALIFIED to open for Jackie Mason.
UPDATE: Stefan Sharkansky has looked into Ray Hanania, the guy that Mason didn't want opening for him.
Can't Big Media guys use Google?
MELISSA SCHWARTZ IS SHOWING OFF HER TATTOOS. And they're just what I would have expected!
And would somebody please get her a whiteboard?
MORE ON THE LEFT'S POST-SIXTIES PRIGGISHNESS: Nelson Ascher writes:
Sorry for disturbing you once more, but there is something I would like to add to the discussion about the left's humorlessness. The first person whose brilliant comments I have read about this subject was none other than the recently deceased Pauline Kael. (By the way, the last article I wrote for my Brazilian newspaper before 911 was precisely her obituary). According to Kael, in her youth the left for instance used to be open and free about sexual matters. It was also highly critical of the bourgeoisie's hypocrisy and puritanism. But, as soon as its attitudes won the day and were adopted wholesale by the middle classes (the so called sexual revolution of the 60's), the left itself began to reject them, accusing the bourgeois, petit or not, of a lack of seriousness, promiscuity and of turning sex in one more object to be used and discarded by the consumer society.
What is more striking, however, is how much Kael's best observations prefigured the best anti-idiotarian tone and views of the blogosphere. Even more to the point were her ironic commentaries on the patronising way European intellectuals criticized America from the standpoint of the pseudo Kultur Volk. For instance, she was devastating when writing about Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point, a film, according to her, through which someone who knew close to nothing about the USA tried arrogantly to show the Americans what their country is all about. She also identified the same kind of dismissive arrogance among the intellectuals who went from Europe to the USA as refugees before and during the war. These people also shared with the Old World's intelligentsia a supreme disdain for American mass culture.
Maybe it is none of my business, being neither a blogger nor an American (well, not a North American anyway), but the blogosphere could well, one year after her death, honour and pay hommage to someone who spent her life exposing the European anti-Americanism for what it is and fighting for the best in the modern and democratic mass culture and society. I personally would very much have liked to know what would have been her thoughts about all that happened during this last year.
Interesting points all. (And why aren't you a blogger, Nelson? Brazil's the second-bloggingest country in the world, after the United States, according to Pyra.) Yes, if there's a single lodestar to the Left it's that if most Americans favor something -- even if it's something the Left formerly favored -- then it's time to take a new position. This is, of course, the formula for a minority party that feels isolated within its own country, and that is incapable of enjoying even its victories. Which sounds about right.
UPDATE: Pejman Yousefzadeh offers his diagnosis.
SINCE PEOPLE SEEM TO LIKE LAW REVIEW ARTICLES, and articles about guns, and especially law review articles about guns, here's one by Dave Kopel on what state constitutions can teach us about the Second Amendment, and one by Eugene Volokh that also looks at state right-to-arms provisions (and other state constitutional provisions) as a means of understanding the Second Amendment. Finally, here's one by me on the Tennessee Constitution's right-to-arms provision, which turns out to be important because the Supreme Court in United States v. Miller (more about that case here) cited an important Tennessee case on the kinds of weapons protected by the right.
Maybe this post will even help answer Aimee's question.
THE INTERNATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF FREE TRADE UNIONS, which claims over 156 million members, is protesting Sharia law in Nigeria. Excerpt:
In an address this week at the University of Bayero in Kano, Adams Oshiomhole, the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, firmly denounced the application of the Sharia (religious law) in certain northern states. He argued that its victims, who were almost always women and mostly poor, were increasingly being discriminated against. His statement specifically refers to the ruling of 8 August by the Islamic Court of Appeal at Funtua, in the State of Katsina, which sentenced Amina Lawal Kurami to death by stoning for bearing her third child after a divorce.
In a letter to the Nigerian ambassador in Brussels, the ICFTU also stressed its indignation and deep concern at the fate reserved for Amina Lawal Kurami by the Nigerian justice system. . . .
Moreover, the international trade union movement is deeply concerned at the growing number of countries introducing and applying the principles of the Sharia in not just civil, but also criminal proceedings.
This could lead to some interesting alliances.
JACK SHAFER WONDERS WHAT'S HAPPENED TO THE LEFT? I think he's right about this, and he does a good job of capturing why I no longer consider myself a leftist, even though not many of my actual positions have changed:
While the right seeks converts, trying both to persuade and entertain, the left spends its journalistic energy policing the movement.
And here's a quote from the John Powers article that Shafer's writing about:
Back in the '60s, the left was the home of humor, iconoclasm, pleasure. But over the last two decades, the joy has gone out of the left -- it now feels hedged in by shibboleths and defeatism -- while the right has been having a gas. . . .
And so, rather than rethink the possibilities of a "progressive left" (to use one of its prize terms), the editors [of The Nation] have remained content to belabor what its readers already know (e.g., Bush is a bum) while avoiding tough-minded journalistic coverage of the left. It settles for easy analysis, like suggesting that Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney lost her renomination bid simply because of the Jewish money sent to defeat her. Is this really true? The left would be better served if the magazine investigated such claims rather than merely assuming their truth, although this would involve actually going to Georgia.
Powers is ostensibly writing about the difference between the Weekly Standard and The Nation, but it's really the whole Left that went wrong, shifting its focus from Abbie Hoffman's pranks to Andrea Dworkin's prudery over the course of a decade -- a decade in which, surprise, the Left lost its popular support.
DON'T DIANA-FY 9/11, writes Mark Steyn. Boy, is he on-target with this one. I was watching Diana-schmaltz coverage on morning TV today, and, well, boy is he on-target with this one. I don't want it to be an occasion for "healing," or "coping" or getting in touch with feelings -- I want it to be an occasion for sentiments not generally associated with Connie Chung and Barbara Walters.
HESIOD THEOGENY says the war in Iraq has already started. He's right, of course.
THE SILENCE OF THE CROWS: TAPPED responds to overwrought concerns about missing crows in the appropriate fashion. I wonder what Croooow Blog would say. . . .
IT'S 1990 ALL OVER AGAIN, writes James Robbins.
LESSONS FROM CYNTHIA MCKINNEY'S DEFEAT: Michael Barone is on target, as usual.
UPDATE: This piece by Earl Ofari Hutchinson in The Black World Today sounds a similar theme:
Majette did not beat McKinney by a razor thin margin. She trounced her. Blacks make up nearly half of the voters in her district. If McKinney had captured the solid black vote that her supporters claimed she would get, it would have pushed her over the top, or at the very least, made the election much closer than it was.
McKinney's bombast on the Middle-East, her assault on Bush's war on terrorism, and grandstand offer to take Saudi money was yet another troubling sign of the penchant of many black elected officials to grab at showy, chic issues to get attention rather than presenting, quiet, and thoughtful solutions to the problems of poverty, failing public schools, crime, gang and drug violence, and the near pandemic of HIV/AIDS that has taken a massive toll on middle-class and poor blacks. . . .
The political disconnect of black politicians such as McKinney from black voters has caused their free fall from important state and national offices. In the past two years they have lost mayoral races to whites in the majority or near majority black cities of Baltimore and Oakland. The number of black state legislators has plummeted in the California legislature in the past decade. They have lost dozens of local and municipal offices nationwide. But they haven't learned very much from their slide.
Yes. Reading some of the coverage, you'd almost forget that Cynthia McKinney was beaten by another black woman.
THERE WILL BE PROTESTS against Joe Biden's dumb "RAVE Act" in D.C. and Los Angeles on September 6. There's more background over at BlogCritics.
NICK SCHULZ REPORTS ON THE PRO-GLOBALIZATION MARCHES IN JOHANNESBURG. It sounds like this conference is disappointing its organizers. It might actually lead to something useful:
"We want the freedom to grow what we want, when we want, with what technology we want, and without trade-distorting subsidies or tariffs," said Barun Mitra, a farm activist from New Delhi who brought two-dozen farmers from India.
The WSSD has for several days been abuzz with talk of possible trade agreements among participating nations. To that end, these farmers were hoping to let Europe and the rest of the developed world know that biotech crops are not to be feared, but instead will "help them do more with less," said Mitra. The European Union currently props up its farmers with billions in agricultural subsidies and, more perniciously, keeps out foreign goods with restrictions on genetically modified foods — all to the detriment of Africans and others in developing countries.
But the United States is currently leading a charge here in Johannesburg to phase out all agricultural supports over five years. Meanwhile, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick is entering a complaint to the World Trade Organization against the European Union. Zoellick says the EU's moratorium on genetically modified imports is a restraint to trade and a violation of WTO agreements, a position supported by the farmers who marched on Wednesday.
Personally, I credit James Lileks, though I suppose it's barely possible that I'm overstating his role.
AIMEE DEEP is endorsing an electronic right to bear arms. In fact, she's working to make it a reality.
GMA IS RUNNING A RETROSPECTIVE on the Munich Olympic massacre. It's obvious now that in 1972 the Palestinian "liberation" movement was already all about murder rather than liberation. It was obvious then, too, to anyone who paid attention. And now Peter Jennings -- who either hasn't figured that out, or just doesn't care -- is on the screen talking how smart he was at the time about the ineptitude of the German police.
If Charlie Gibson had any balls, which he doesn't, he'd ask Jennings how he can sympathize with terrorists, having seen their work up close.
EVERYBODY IS GLOATING about Donahue's lousy ratings, though this story from the Washington Times suggests that he's not doing quite as badly as people say.
I caught a few minutes of his show in rerun this morning (it'll appear as a bump in his ratings) and it wasn't so bad. He was interviewing an airline security specialist who was explaining that the inconvenience and stupidity of airline security were causing business travellers to stay home. No points for originality there, but you can't argue with the choice of topic.
WEST NILE VIRUS is the Richard Reid of plagues, says Jim Henley.
LOOKS LIKE THE ADMINISTRATION'S DIPLOMATIC STRATEGY is bearing fruit.
The new center-right French government has decided to stop criticizing American war planning against Saddam Hussein and instead maximize its leverage with the United States by stressing areas of agreement, according to senior French officials.
Under the previous center-left government, French-American relations were often poisonous, characterized by repeated spats over issues ranging from perceived American unilateralism to policy in the Middle East. . . .
The move may also help protect France's national interests in Iraq, including its oil trade, should the United States wage war and win, the officials said.
This sounds as if we've convinced them that we're going to do it, and they're convinced that we'll win, and relatively quickly.
August 29, 2002
GEITNER SIMMONS replies to Akhil and Vik Amar.
UPDATE: Rand Simberg says the Brothers Amar are in serious error:
There are two constitutional fallacies here. The first is that a state is just a "mini-me" of the federal government. It is not.
It doesn't strike coins. It doesn't raise armies. It doesn't declare and wage war. If it does any of these things, it is put down, brutally, as we saw a hundred forty years ago. To compare the election of a governor to that of a president is to betray a fundamental ignorance of the nature of the federal system.
Ouch. Simberg also proposes the following SAT-style analogy question: "The Federal government is to a state as a state is to a...?"
LATEST FROM NIELSEN: Donahue's viewer loves the show.
THE HORSE'S MOUTH: Porphyrogenitus points out that the Guardian called the case for going after Saddam "unanswerable." Back in November.
THE POWER OF THE BLOGOSPHERE: Some of Howard Berman's (D-Disney) constituents discover just how much clout a blog confers.
NOT INSTAPUNDIT. IsraPundit. With advice for Palestinian journalists.
HENRY HANKS RESPONDS TO TAPPED'S RESPONSE to yours truly regarding Coulter and Bellesiles.
I'm just happy to see The American Prospect join the ranks of those who believe Bellesiles' Arming America is fatally flawed.
JOHANNESBURG UPDATE: Greenpeace has won an award, but I don't think they'll be parading it back home:
Johannesburg - African and Asian farmers, and hawkers from across South Africa handed over a "Bullshit Trophy" (yes, that is the trophy's real name) to Greenpeace, the Third World Network and BioWatch for their contribution to the "preservation of poverty" in developing countries.
The trophy comprises of a piece of wood on which two heaps of dried cow-dung - "unfortunately not elephant dung" - are mounted.
Barun Mitra of the Sustainable Development Network (SDN), a coalition of non-governmental organisations which believes, among other things, that sustainable development is attainable only through free trade, officiated at the symbolic handing-over in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Mitra denounced the three NGOs as parasites which "prey on the blood of the poor" and did not help to improve agricultural productivity in the Third World.
"They are not interested in famine or poverty. This lot is concerned only about their own interests.
"They sit here at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in their rich man's hotels and romanticise everything," he said.
Bet this doesn't get a lot of Big Media attention. But Kenya's James Shikwati has noticed.
THE PROGRESSIVE has laid out its case against war in Iraq.
I'm not very persuaded by the invocation of Christian "just war" doctrine. That's because (1) I don't agree that an invasion would violate it; and (2) I don't believe foreign (or domestic) policy should be driven by religious dogma. And I don't really think The Progressive does either, most of the time.
UPDATE: Zach Barbera responds at length.
THE U.S. DELEGATION IS TAKING THE OFFENSIVE in Johannesburg:
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - The United States launched a diplomatic counterattack at the world summit Thursday, declaring itself to be the world's leader in sustainable development and challenging the need for timetables to tackle poverty and environmental damage.
In a forceful - nearly angry - presentation, a dozen Bush administration officials laid out a series of partnerships with industry and foundations in what they described as a "new approach" to address some of the world's most pressing problems: energy, clean water, sanitation, hunger, among others.
Prediction: no approach that doesn't produce a lot of jobs for internationalista bureaucrats and NGO-crats will get good reviews.
WINDS OF CHANGE IS FINISHING UP ITS WEEKLONG SERIES of firsthand reports on the Sudan. Follow the links and read the whole thing; it's very interesting.
MICHAEL RUBIN SAYS PUNDITS ARE overestimating Iraqi military power, just as they did in Gulf War I. Reader Tim Callahan adds:
I predict a ground war of less than 72 hours, with massive desertions, less than 1,000 Iraqi civilian casualties and less than 100 American military ones. This will have to be preceded by an air campaign of 15-30 days. The number of civilian deaths caused in that is the wild card -- expect howls of outrage from the usual suspects quoting "official" Iraqi gov't figures multiplied by a factor of 5. On the other hand, an effective air campaign might cause such massive desertions or even a coup that would obviate the need for any ground action.
Of course, I'm nobody, but if you look at Gulf War I and compare both militaries then and now, it's hard to argue otherwise. My only worry is that the US won't have the will to implement a Marshall Plan-like restructuring of the country. As far as I see it, *that's* where the debate should be right now.
Yes, and that last item is what the Saudis, and the other Arab despots, fear most.
UPDATE: Here's an interesting piece from the Asia Times on U.S. military operations in and around Iraq.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF SADDAM: Nothing especially new, but interesting. And here's a summary of Iraqi propaganda by Carla Passino.
THE INDEPUNDIT ISN'T IMPRESSED with reports of Saudi plans for a PR offensive. He has some constructive suggestions for the Saudis as to how they might make a better impression. Excerpt:
8. Allow American citizens being held against their will by their Saudi relatives to return to the United States.
9. Stop oppressing your people. Beating women in public for allowing a lock of hair to slip from their veils does nothing for your image in the international community. Neither does forcing little girls to die in a burning school because they aren't properly dressed to venture onto a public street.
Good advice, but unlikely to be heeded.
PATRICK RUFFINI IS SURVEYING THE BLOGOSPHERE on attitudes about war with Iraq.
WHAT'S SCARIER? That Marc Weisblott has a new blog? Or his email that it was "inspired by Jim Treacher?" Brrrr.
MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE LOS ANGELES SCHOOLS SODA-BAN GETS A SPANKING:
I can't believe that the local media thinks this is big news, but they don't think incompetent teachers, grossly low reading scores, a state crackdown on home-schooling parents, political indoctrination in public schools, and teachers unions illegally using union dues for political purposes are not news stories. No, wait a minute. I do believe it.
So do I.
ANOTHER TRIUMPH of globalization over racial prejudice.
UPDATE: There's more on this at The Lexfiles.
HOWARD KURTZ: "By the way, do you think there were any Hill hearings on removing Adolf Hitler?"
CORPORATE GREED VERSUS PRIVACY: Here's more on Democratic Rep. Howard Berman's ($191,891 from Big Entertainment) plan to open your home to Hollywood Hackers. And read this piece by Katherine Mangu-Ward on the subject, too.
Where are famous protectors of the little guy on this issue? You know, like Hillary Clinton ($603,845 from Big Entertainment), or Ted Kennedy ($239,000 from Big Entertainment), or Chuck Schumer ($450,185 from Big Entertainment).
If the Democrats keep this up, you know, people will start thinking they're just tools of Big Business or something. . . .
AUSTIN BAY WRITES that Iraq is no Vietnam, and that fears of an urban-warfare quagmire are overstated:
The Iraqi Army of 2002, including the Republican Guard and special units, is deployed not to defend Iraq but to oppress it. Yes, that means it is deployed to defend Saddam's ruling cohort. Still, loyalty from even elite units is bought with better bread and Mercedes-Benzes. When someone else -- like Washington -- offers steaks and Porsches, as well as a chance to remain alive, who's true to the Butcher of Baghdad? Recall Iraqi troops' surrender to French photographers in Desert Storm.
Saddam's regime is brittle. The apt analogy is Nicolae Ceausescu's vile Romanian dictatorship, a multitiered police state akin to Saddam's. In late 1989, with the political context of the Cold War suddenly shifting, Ceausescu's own secret police quickly put him in a grave. U.S. strategy remains directed at provoking a Baghdad coup. Aggressive "war talk" and troop movements promote that optimal result.
AIR SECURITY JUST GOT A BIT LESS STUPID. And it's about time. Think those "Impeach Norm Mineta" stickers are having an effect?
A friend who is a bigshot at the Department of Transportation tells me that he thinks Norm Mineta is the fallguy in a conspiracy by the Bush Administration to make big government look bad -- that the Administration's agreement to federalize air security last fall was basically a rope-a-dope strategy. That's a theory that I've propounded here before, mostly in jest, but he seemed to be serious. Go figure.
It would certainly explain a lot.
UPDATE: Reader John Tuttle has some other candidates for "conspiracy programs" to make big government look bad:
The Farm Bill
Campaign Finance Reform
The Steel Tariffs
FBI Dir Mueller
Hey, come to think of it. . . .
UNIVERSAL RECORDS LIABLE FOR SEX ATTACKS? Well. . . . Read the item and make up your own mind concerning what's just.
JOHN HAWKINS HAS AN INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL PIPES ON HIS SITE. Who says bloggers can't do "real" journalism? Excerpt:
The key thing to understand about US/Saudi relations at this point is that it's a very private affair. The American electorate, think tanks, Congress, lobbyists, and others have had no say over it. It's been a very cliquish affair for decades now. The change in the last year has been the opening of the relationship. The President has invited the Saudi ambassador to visit him at his Crawford Ranch as a way of saying, "we're sticking with you." It's a clear response to the vehement anti-Saudi feeling. . . . Saudi Arabia is our rival, not an enemy, not a friend, a rival.
There's much more, including a statement that the Oslo Accords set back prospects for peace by decades, and a discussion of the likely fallout from deposing Saddam Hussein.
JEREMY LOTT has a contrarian thought about this 9/11 slogan: "Has there ever been a more un-American mantra than 'We shall never forget?'"
He's right. The American way is to stomp hell out of people who do us ill, then forget all about it within a decade or two.
UPDATE: I like this slogan better.
JAMES LILEKS HAS UNEARTHED A HUGE SCANDAL at NPR's Car Talk. Did I say huge? I meant HUUUGE! It's like finding out that Martha Stewart serves her guests Hot Pockets.
"GAY MEDIA DOMINANCE" CLAIMS BILL O'REILLY! Well, that's what some people are saying, anyway. That this is what they are saying proves that gays are doing pretty well in the PR battles.
August 28, 2002
HOMELAND SECURITY: Van Harp, who's in charge of the FBI's anthrax investigation, was recommended for discipline for misconduct relating to the Ruby Ridge incident:
The department's Office of Professional Responsibility, in a confidential report, concluded in 1999 that Harp "committed misconduct" by helping make an incomplete report that protected "some subjects of the investigation," according to Saturday's Washington Post.
In January 2001, an assistant attorney general overruled an Office of Professional Responsibility recommendation that Harp - by then the agent in charge of the Cleveland office - be censured or suspended. His clean record intact, Harp in July 2001 was transferred to Washington, where as the agent in charge of the Washington field office he is overseeing the FBI's anthrax investigation.
Yeah, this boosts my confidence. Kinda the way this does.
UPDATE: This looks pretty lame, too.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Hesiod Theogeny emails:
Given all the revelations about how the FBI royally screwed up prior to 9/11, including its ignoring of Congressional and Justice Department mandates to
upgrade its computer systems, I think it's time to create an "indict Louis Freeh" bumper sticker campaign.
Or, at the very least, it's time to drag his pathetic carcass in front of a Congressional investigating committee for a high-profile barbecue.
How this guy gets away with so little criticism is beyond me.
Well, he may not have been good at his job, but he was very good at the politics of his job.
ALL DAY LONG, I've been wondering what to say about this Maureen Dowd column. But I think Josh Chafetz speaks for me, too.
THIS 9/11 DOCUMENTARY ON DVD won't be released for two more weeks, but it's already number 22 on Amazon. And read the reviews.
People want the unvarnished truth, not a soft-focus version. I wonder if the networks' anniversary coverage will reflect this.
MATT WELCH ASKS YOU TO HELP victims of the Czech floods. He has a link.
I'M A BIG FAN OF BILL QUICK, but I'm not sure that DailyPundit Premium is going to fly. But hey, I could be wrong, and I wish him and the other Premium Bloggers the best of luck.
InstaPundit remains free (except for the tipjar), and is likely to stay that way.
THE SEGWAY MUST BE HORRIBLY DANGEROUS! How do we know? Because there are no data on accidents!
Horace Hinshaw, spokesman for the Postal Service in San Francisco, said there have been no problems with the Segways being tested in the city. The only reported accident nationally appears to have been in Atlanta -- where an employee of one of the several agencies there that use the scooters fell off.
That didn't stop the San Francisco protesters from carrying signs saying: "Stop the Segway slaughter," and "Segway: Zero Emissions, Senior Killer." . . .
The group's executive director, Bob Livingston, tried to get on the machine and ended up plowing into furniture. Price said the board voted unanimously to oppose any and all use of the scooter where the elderly might encounter one.
"It really did scare a lot of our people," Price said. "If that machine comes down the sidewalk behind you, you never know what it's going to do. It could be disastrous."
This just defies parody.
BLOGGING CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE TARA SUE GRUBB is now collecting donations via PayPal. Give early and often.
WHO IS TAPPED KIDDING? It thinks that Ann Coulter's publisher should make major changes because of errors that bloggers have found in her book.
But last I heard, Knopf was still defending Michael Bellesiles' utterly discredited book Arming America. The errors people are pointing out in Coulter's book are chickenfeed compared to the pattern of ineptitude and/or fraud identified in Bellesiles' book. Yet neither Knopf nor major book review publications like the New York Times Book Review and the New York Review of Books have acknowledged that their reviews of Bellesiles' book giving the erroneous impression that it is a useful scholarly work that can be trusted are -- to put it mildly -- wrong, wrong, wrong.
Am I suggesting there's a double standard, when a "pop" book comes in for more general criticism than an allegedly scholarly book -- and that it's no coincidence that the criticized book is right-wing while the allegedly scholarly book is PC? Yes, I am. Thanks for asking.
TUNEAGE: I've been meaning to pick up Apollo 440's Electro Glide in Blue for quite a while, and I finally did today. So far, it rocks.
ENVIRONMENTALISTS AGAINST CLEAN POWER: Here's a story to add to the Johannesburg coverage. There's just no satisfying some people.
UPDATE: Of course, maybe there's a reason for the strangely amnesiac quality of a lot of reporting on these issues. . . .
ANOTHER UPDATE: Wow, here's more Green kvetching:
The newest manifestation of Nimby, or not in my backyard, requires a different acronym: not in my viewshed. Wind-farm opponents contend that, like a watershed, a viewshed, or public view, is the common property of those who share it, and must not be degraded unilaterally by any one property owner.
So when wind power is held out as an environmentally friendly alternative to, say, nuclear power, just remember that people will bitch about it, too, if it should ever happen to actually materialize.
And all those solar collectors? Ugly. Must be banned.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Tony Hooker says that he's got the explanation.
SKIRMISHES AND BORDER INCURSIONS between Chad and the Central African Republic. Two places that have enough problems already.
UPDATE: A reader asks:
So where's the outrage over the unilateralist action and failure to build a
coalition and make the case to the international community, eh?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER and Brendan Nyhan both have interesting thoughts on Iraq. This item by Eugene Volokh is worth reading, too, as it capsulizes part of the debate very nicely. Eric Alterman, meanwhile, serves up a bunch of links on the anti-war side.
THE NEW CALIFORNIA STATE QUARTER is out. The L.A. Examiner has the scoop.
CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON REPORTS that Missouri's Jean Carnahan is in electoral trouble, and is trying to ingratiate herself to gunowners.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: Check out this photo from Neal Boortz's page and this photo from Lucianne.Com.
Given the availability of cheap digital cameras and the nature of the airport screening system, we'll probably be seeing a lot of pictures like this. Watch for the TSA to forbid such picture-taking on "security" grounds. That would be job security grounds, I believe.
LINDA SEEBACH WRITES that a lot of people are suddenly embracing academic freedom who never bothered to do so when it was conservative views under attack. I agree with her position: "Well, the more recruits for liberty the better, no matter how late they decide to join the party." But read the whole column to see just how late.
JEFF COOPER discusses what happens when you mention your weblog in a wired classroom. Pretty amusing.
At UT we have what is allegedly the world's largest wireless network, covering the whole campus and some nearby non-campus areas. (It's probably going to be extended to the Convention Center area, too.) The bandwidth consumption is huge and getting steadily huger. I'm sure it's all course-related, though.
AIMEE DEEP IS CONTEMPLATING LAW SCHOOL, because of the stellar example of Sarah Deutsch of Verizon, who spoke out against the DMCA, Rep. Berman's Hollywood Home Hacking Bill, and other Big Media legal initiatives.
THANKS TO EVERYONE who sent birthday wishes yesterday, including Ted Barlow, whose bouncing midget British weatherman was, er, unique, and the Rev. Tony Pierce, who complimented my looks -- though I can't help remembering that the motto of his blog is "nothing in here is true."
PERSONALLY, I THINK THIS GUY has a good chance of being elected.
RICHARD POSNER REVIEWS Alan Dershowitz's new book on terrorism in The New Republic. Although Posner is appropriately critical of Dershowitz's general tendency toward showboating (the opening paragraph is delightful on this subject), he's surprisingly positive of the book, concluding:
Dershowitz's book will anger unreconstructed civil libertarians, the government-phobes on the extreme right, and Arafat's European apologists. That is a considerable merit; but more important is that he has shown that international terrorism does not present an insoluble contradiction between the Constitution and American security.
I agree that there's no "insoluble contradiction" there and I think it's unfortunate that both advocates of law enforcement power and civil libertarians often act as if there is an inevitable tradeoff between freedom and security. But many things that enhance security (like killing Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, or in any other country where they may be found) pose no risk to freedom. And many things that intrude on freedom (like airport tweezer-confiscation policies) do nothing to enhance security. We forget this at our peril.
STILL MORE ON SUSTAINABILITY: My TechCentralStation column for this week says that Johannesburg is a test for the environmental movement: will it surrender to Luddism and redistributionist blather, or actually propose things that will make things better?
UPDATE: Oops. Looks like they're failing already.
SUSTAINABILITY UPDATE: James Lileks has a Screed responding to the latest wealth-is-bad blather from George Monbiot. It's too good to excerpt, but here's Lileks' response to Monbiot's claim that the world's poor are happier than rich Westerners:
Is it just me, or does this smack of the old Happy-Darky myth they used to peddle in the South? Look at them down there stampin’ their feet in the mud as they dance - why, they’re happier than most of the belles you see at a cotillion.
Read the whole thing. Some enterprising free-marketeer in Johannesburg ought to print it out, copy it, and leave copies on the room-service trays of the press.
Personally, I don't know anyone -- and I mean anyone -- as fiercely determined to become rich as the Nigerians in my extended family. That's because they understand what it means not to be rich in a way that overpaid Western hand-wringers never will.
Oh, okay, one more excerpt -- but you still have to read the whole thing, or you'll hate yourself later:
The percentage of Mr. Monbiot’s salary that he spends on Thai restaurants, and the percentage that he sends to Thailand, is not disclosed.
There's a lot of that going around this week.
MICKEY KAUS FACT-CHECKS PAUL KRUGMAN, and picks up the ball on the RNC-fraud story initially reported by N.Z. Bear.
August 27, 2002
ARE HUMANS A PLAGUE ON THE EARTH? John Gray says yes. (Not the Mars and Venus John Gray, but the increasingly-oxymoronic Professor of European Thought John Gray). Helene Guldberg says that John Gray is an idiot.
MATT DRUDGE REPORTS (yes, this is an actual report, not just a link) that Donahue has the lowest Nielsen rating possible. Having caught a bit of the show, that doesn't come as a complete surprise. What's really shocking is that the whole MSNBC network isn't doing much better. They're not that bad. But I guess they don't have to be that bad -- just bad enough that you switch to Fox or CNN.
A FEW DAYS AGO, I posted a reference to a plan by Dave Winer and Larry Lessig to target members of Congress who are shilling for big media. I asked for suggestions on who to target, and a bunch came in. Follow the link and read the comments. And reader John Robb has posted some candidates, with supporting data on vulnerability and Big Media ties.
TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY. After I finish my Administrative Law class, I'm heading out -- my wife has various activities planned. I won't be back blogging until later this evening when the babysitting runs out.
ROBERT FISK HAS BEEN INVITED TO SPEAK at George Mason University. A reader wants some links shedding light on Fisk's journalistic and moral failings, as demonstrated over the past year. I could provide the usual, but I thought this ought to be a group project. Comments are enabled. Working links are appreciated.
SOMEBODY THROW THESE BOOK-COOKING CROOKS IN JAIL:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Concealing debt and operating costs. Flouting court orders by shredding documents. Failing to properly track assets and liabilities.
These misdeeds have blackened corporate America's eye and prompted criminal investigations and the wrath of Congress and President Bush.
Yet these same accounting failures and sleights of hand have for years been common practice in the federal government, fiscal experts say. . . .
The financial statements of many federal agencies are in such dismal shape that the General Accounting Office (GAO) -- the investigative arm of Congress that audits federal accounts -- has been unable to provide an opinion on the government's finances for the past five years.
You knew this was coming, didn't you?
(Via Bill Quick).
THE JOHANNESBURG CONFERENCE IS LOOKING MORE LIKE DURBAN EVERY DAY -- or maybe like SFSU.
MERYL YOURISH HAS AN SFSU UPDATE: She says that SFSU is railroading the lone Jewish student to be charged in what everyone agrees was a riot started by anti-Jewish Palestinian students and sympathizers.
SFSU is a proven disgrace, so I find this entirely credible.
Meryl's got President Corrigan's email.
FRANK J. WRITES: "The Palestinians seem to be in a never ending war with any feelings of sympathy I may have for them." Yeah, and they're doing better in that war than in the one with the Israelis. (Here's another example of why).
JUST FOR THE RECORD: I expect privacy when I enter my passwords. Interfere with that expectation at your peril.
TOO RHETORICAL FOR THE NEW YORK SUN? Apparently, this piece by Norah Vincent was, so she's put it on her blog instead.
Given that the New York Sun has yet to pay me for the piece I wrote for their first issue, Norah may be just as well off. In fact, if anyone who reads her piece hits the tipjar, she'll be ahead of me.
RADLEY BALKO says that studies trying to link abortion and breast cancer are junk science. Excerpt:
As I noted below, epidemiologists rarely give much attention to any study with a risk ratio of less than 3.0 -- that is, less than a 300% increase in likelihood of, in this case, breast cancer striking women who have had an abortion. Of the 63 studies on the abortion/breast cancer site, none poses a risk ratio of greater than 3.0. And, in fact, only two of them poses a risk ratio greater than 2.1, which is the risk ratio between pasteurized milk and lung cancer. Sixteen of the 63 represent either no increased risk at all, or actually show a negative risk -- that is, women who had had abortions were less likely to get breast cancer. And over half of them -- 35 -- failed to show a risk ration of greater than 1.3%, what most epidemiologists consider to be the threshold of statistical significance.
So more of these studies showed no statistically significant link between abortion and breast cancer than did. Only two of 63 showed a higher correlation than a common, everday risk posed to us each time we put milk on our cereal. And none of the 63 showed a risk great enough to bump "correlation" into a possible "causation."
Since Balko is pro-life, he deserves extra points for making this clear.
SALON SEXWATCH UPDATE, special nostalgia edition: Still no sex in Salon ("My girlfriend doesn't banter well?" Puhleez. This is a sex column?) Sadly, Rachael Klein is long gone from the Daily Cal, but her successor, Teresa Chin, has advice on combining food and condoms.
Advantage: Daily Cal. Like that's news. Hey, maybe Teresa could give helpful advice to the Johannesburg Summit attendees.
TUNKU VARADARAJAN says Bush needs to support free elections in Pakistan.
"LOBSTERS, CAVIAR AND BRANDY AT SUMMIT ON STARVATION" -- No surprise here, but a great headline.
UPDATE: Here's more, in a similar vein.
IS MICKEY KAUS WARPED? You be the judge.
THE BOSTON GLOBE IS REPORTING ON Harvard Law School's opening-up to military recruiters -- something InstaPundit covered back on August 23. Well, I guess you can't expect Legacy Media to be on top of everything the way we official cyberjournalists are. . . .
I'VE BEEN TRYING TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO NORTH AFRICA, but it's hard to get much news out of some places, and the problem seems to have gotten worse of late. The links I usually use for Chad are no longer there, and this is the best I seem to be able to find. If you know of some good news sites, please email me.
TENSIONS AMONG MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS IN KADUNA, Nigeria are on the mend for the moment.
STOP THE PRESSES: The Arab News is telling the truth. I wonder if heads will roll over this.
And, no, I'm not really speaking figuratively.
WHISTLEBLOWER PAUL VAN BUITENEN ADMITS THAT European Union corruption is incurable.
Will someone explain to me why America expects European concurrence in any of our affairs militarily or otherwise? Any European history dilettante knows that balancing power between states has been the modus operandi in the foreign affairs of their nation-states dating back to the Middle Ages. One waits in vain if he expects them to walk away from 700 years of habit. Often this old world realpolitik was entirely defensible. America is the world's sole superpower today, and thus will the Europeans see themselves as the counterweight to our strength. While to us this posture looks absurd, to them it is merely instinct.
August 26, 2002
THE SIXTH CIRCUIT HAS RULED that deportation hearings must be public. Note: The two actual Court of Appeals judges on this panel, Damon Keith and Martha Craig Daughtrey, are among the farthest-left on the Sixth Circuit. (The other is a district judge sitting by designation, about whom I know nothing). This suggests that an en banc rehearing is more likely than otherwise, but I haven't read the opinion closely enough to base that on substance; I'm just going by the panel.
UPDATE: Here's a story from today's (Tuesday's) Washington Post.
PETER BEINART SAYS THE "STARSHIP TROOPERS ARGUMENT" is a bogus attempt to prevent the very dialogue Democrats have been calling for. Excerpt:
In fact, over and over during the '90s, the generals with firsthand battlefield experience guessed wrong--and the civilians without it guessed it right--about what would happen when the United States went to war. Before the Gulf war, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell--who had spent his life in uniform--said war with Iraq would prove too costly. He was overridden by Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, who once infamously told a reporter that he "had other priorities in the '60s than military service." In 1992 Powell wrote a New York Times op-ed warning against U.S. military intervention in Bosnia--intervention that (in tandem with a Croat ground assault) eventually forced the Serbs into a peace deal. And in 1999 the Joint Chiefs of Staff leaked to the press their opposition to U.S. war in Kosovo--a war that drove Slobodan Milosevic from Kosovo without a single American combat casualty.
Why were the civilians right? Perhaps because they better understood the political context that shaped the war's outcome. Perhaps because they hadn't experienced Vietnam, which led '90s military leaders to repeatedly overestimate the enemy. The point is they had other forms of knowledge at their disposal, knowledge that in these cases turned out to be more salient.
And it is precisely the interaction and competition between those different forms of knowledge that Hagel, Rich, and Pinkerton seek to shut down. If taken seriously, their argument disqualifies anyone who hasn't, won't, or can't see combat from ever advocating American military intervention, including last year against Afghanistan. By that logic, women and the openly gay--both barred from combat--can never be pro-war. (In fact, by that logic, people who haven't served can't even legitimately oppose gay exclusion--since they have no experience of the military morale that the prohibition against open homosexuality seeks to preserve.) And authenticity is an infinitely expandable debaters' trick.
Oh, and by the way, Colby Cosh had the Starship Troopers analogy way back on August 5.
Yeah, I know I just mentioned him below, too. But what can I do? Powered by all that Canadian oil money, he's unstoppable!
UPDATE: The IndePundit has a withering response to all this "chickenhawk" talk from the antiwar crowd. Be sure you read all the way to the end. And read this, too.
WHEN YOU FILL UP YOUR S.U.V. YOU'RE FINANCING
TERROR Colby Cosh. Good God: Glad I drive a VW.
HERE'S MORE on the Al Qaeda / Asimov connection, in The Guardian. (Via Electrolite.)
MAYBE JONATHAN CHAIT IS RIGHT: It looks like Delaware really is the root of all evil. At least, the notion of making people get out of their cars to be photographed because they might someday be criminals strikes me as evil.
JOEL MOWBRAY COMPARES STEVEN HATFILL to Richard Jewell.
I'm an agnostic on the merits. Jewell was innocent. Hatfill might be, but he might not be. There certainly seems to be enough evidence to justify interest in him. But why all the leaks? There seem to be just two explanations, both bad:
(1) The folks at Justice are deliberately leaking stuff to try to put pressure on Hatfill. (This seems to be a pattern, though not a very successful one judging by some other recent high-profile cases). Or,
(2) The leaks aren't deliberate, the Justice Department is just full of people who can't keep their mouths shut, even on major case with national-security implications.
Note that even if Hatfill turns out to be guilty, these things still reflect badly on Justice. The problem predates Ashcroft, of course, but he certainly hasn't done anything to make it go away.
UPDATE: Rand Simberg emails with these comments:
There's a third explanation. It is deliberate, and it's grandstanding (including by Ashcroft) to make it look like they've got a suspect in their sights, to dispel criticism that they aren't on the case (and the fact that they seem to be going out of their way to avoid coming to the conclusion that it might have middle eastern connections, kind of like the OKC investigation).
This is the same kind of chest-thumping stupidity that caused Waco. I bitched about it yesterday, calling (certainly futilely) for Bush to disband the FBI in its present form, and to can Ashcroft, Tenet, Mueller and Mineta, because it's totally keystone cops at the agencies that are supposed to be protecting us.
Well, maybe not totally, but their response has been pretty unimpressive overall.
HEY, I'M OFFICIALLY A CYBERJOURNALIST! It says so right on CyberJournalist.Net, and I don't see how you could get more official than that.
IT'S AN ALTERMAN VS. COCKBURN SMACKDOWN -- and Joe Stalin takes some lumps, too.
IT'S NO FUN TO BE AN Arab fashion designer. This sounds like it's leading to a joke, but it's not really funny.
THE VATICAN IS CRITICIZED for a policy of waffling appeasement. There's a nice painting by Raphael, too.
JUSTIN WEITZ HAS POSTED an open letter to human rights organizations about Ikhlas Khouli, the Palestinian mother who was "executed" for alleged collaboration with Israel.
UPDATE: Look at the pictures here, too.
MCAFRICA UPDATE: Al Barger is lobbying McDonald's to bring the McAfrica to America. And he wants you to help.
RON BAILEY says that the road to Johannesburg is paved with good intentions, but I think he's being too charitable.
JUST HAD THE FIRST MEETING of my National Security Law seminar. I'm using this casebook as my main text; the bad news is I just got my copy a week ago, the good news is that it's very up to date, since it just came out. The first session -- which in a seminar is as much about getting acquainted and establishing the chemistry as about substance -- featured a nice discussion about distinguishing terrorism from war in general, and about ways in which the law might have to change to accommodate more decentralized approaches to war. (One student, with a special-forces background, is interested in applying letters of marque and reprisal as a model, which should be interesting).
I've never taught this course before, though I touch on some of the issues in other courses I teach, and I have some small amount of practical experience in the area. It should be fun.
SEKIMORI STRIKES AGAIN!
Their hegemony over the Blogosphere is causing EU representatives to mutter about the need for countervailing power in the area of design.
MELISSA SCHWARTZ loves the new Wilco movie. Visit her site and she'll tell you why.
LOTS OF PAKISTAN OBSERVATIONS, most of them depressing, at StrategyPage. Excerpt:
Having lost four wars with India, Pakistan shifted to irregular warfare over 20 years ago. Pakistan never admitted this, but the evidence has built up over the years. ISI (Interservice Intelligence, sort of a military CIA) organized and supervised this effort. The US got to know ISI during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. ISI organized the Afghan irregular fighters in northwest Pakistan and got along just fine with the CIA. But ISI already had networks of agents in India, where they inspired and supported several separatist groups (India contains dozens of ethnic groups that would rather not be part of India.) Except for radical Sikhs, and a few other lesser efforts, none of this came to much. The exception was Kashmir, where the local Moslems were eager, but vastly outnumbered by police and soldiers. So ISI took to training non-Kashmiris in camps in Pakistani Kashmir for irregular warfare and terrorism in Indian Kashmir.
I still think that Musharraf is probably acting in good faith. The question is whether he's really in charge of his own country.
JUST NOTICED THAT TCS HAS A SPECIAL JOHANNESBURG PAGE with links to resources, etc.
THE MODERN UNIVERSITY: A ONE-PARTY STATE?
WELL, HERE'S A SUCCESS STORY FOR HOMELAND SECURITY.
I'm still waiting for someone to write that we need to understand the hopelessness and desperation that lead people to contemplate such horrific acts, though.
NEW YORK TIMES- BASHING is becoming an international sport, as Barbara Amiel takes the Times to task over its misrepresentation of Henry Kissinger's views and its distortions on a wide variety of other subjects. Meanwhile, Mickey Kaus asks if the Times would be facing these embarrassments had Bill Keller gotten the top job in place of the embattled Howell Raines, while TAPPED does a little Times-bashing of its own -- all while protesting, Marc Antony-like, its love for the paper.
Well, at least Raines has people talking about the Times!
THIS "GLOBAL POLL" on the environment seems pretty lame to me. Not only is it slanted, but there's no security, meaning that people can vote repeatedly and falsify their origins.
UPDATE: A reader writes:
Did you notice that the question near the end, asking the poll-taker's religion, listed in order:
And most significantly, what is missing? Jewish.
And it's affiliated with the UN crowd. Go figure.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Several readers write with comments echoing this one:
I agree that the poll is pretty lame -- several of the questions asked you to make choices that were each too extreme.
However, your comment on the religion question is misleading. The fifth choice is "other". Given the small percentage of the global population that is Jewish, I don't believe that this is an unusual option. Otherwise, why not include Sikhs, which I believe has almost twice as many adherents as Judaism.
Actually the largest group that is left out are those who are secular or have no particular religious affiliation. I wonder what that means?
STATS: Friday's anticlimax on the Bellesiles affair has slowed the rate of increase, but Jim Lindgren's article on the errors in Michael Bellesiles' Arming America has now racked up an impressive 82,843 downloads. That's up from 74,584 on Friday morning. By way of comparison, the dead-tree circulation of the Yale Law Journal, where Lindgren's piece appears, is just over 3,300.
OKAY, BUT WHAT IF THE FIRST TIME IS FARCE? Cynthia McKinney is now considering a Senate run, according to Taegan Goddard's Political Wire.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TODD STEED, whose work with such bands as Apelife, Smokin' Dave and the Premo Dopes, and The Opposable Thumbs hasn't gotten the attention it deserves. (Though he has been mentioned in the same sentence as Chet Atkins, the Everly Brothers, and R.B. Morris.)
Plus, is there a cooler name for a record label than "Disgraceland Records?"
SORRY ABOUT THE BRIEF OUTAGE: The server had to go down for a RAM upgrade. In a possibly-unrelated development, this month's traffic has already surpassed the entire month of July.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE GURU RAY KURZWEIL has a review of the movie Simone. He doesn't like it much, either as cinema or as a foretaste of coming technology (though he found it "enjoyable" on a superficial level).
Since Kurzweil has done more or less what the movie purports to describe, creating a female AI personality, his perspectives are rather interesting. And you have to love the term "synthespian."
SURPRISE: Delegates at the Earth Summit don't want the Mugabe protests to overshadow its main purpose, which is, apparently, criticizing the United States:
The head of the British delegation, the Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett, yesterday showed growing frustration with American intransigence, which could derail the summit. . . .
Mrs Beckett also insisted that it would be a disaster if the delegates let the growing row with Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe, to overshadow the summit.
Feh. Here's a more constructive take.
SADDAM AND PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY: Some sobering thoughts.
IF YOU WEREN'T READING INSTAPUNDIT OVER THE WEEKEND -- well, shame on you. But don't miss this post on the "McAfrica" burger, this one on Dave Shiflett's CD, and this one on the insubstantiality of the "Ashcroft's prison camp" oped by Jonathan Turley.
A MODEST PROPOSAL: Spoons describes the first InstaPundit-related marriage proposal. I've been following this development for a while, and I'm glad to see it bear fruit.
August 25, 2002
ANOTHER CORPORATE SCANDAL:
Insiders at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) say the agency is probing claims that CNN, MSNBC and network news operations routinely hype interviews, reports and talk shows they know are losers, while top executives privately watch reruns on Nickelodeon, or go out to Red Lobster with the family.
"Much like the SEC investigation into corporate execs who made rosy projections while privately selling off millions in stock, this probe seeks to determine if news editors and producers know that some of their on-air material will be a waste of viewers' time," according to the unnamed source. "Clearly, for instance, MSNBC knew that the new Donahue show was a dog, but they continued to promote it like it was the next Bill O'Reilly or something. But that's just the tip of the iceberg."
They've got those guys dead to rights. I hope they throw away the key.
THE JURIST, which is a very cool law-related site that I should have plugged earlier, has a list of blogs relating to the law. It leaves out Howard Bashman and Ernie the Attorney, but it's got some sites on it I didn't know about. Check out the main site, too, which has all sorts of law-related news.
UPDATE: Oops. It does so include them -- I just didn't scroll down far enough. Don't you make the same mistake.
HEINLEIN UPDATE: It's scrolled, so you might miss the updates to this post without this pointer.
BELLESILES UPDATE: A reader points out that a piece Bellesiles had written for the Emory academic website on January 22 has apparently been pulled. The piece was entitled "Bellesiles Further Responds to Critics, Says He Has Located Missing San Francisco Records." Trouble was, those turned out not to be the records after all, and drew a rather testy response from the Contra Costa Historical Society where he said the records were found. (Here's a news story that quotes Bellesiles' now-missing piece, and the response from the archivist.)
I've gotten a lot of email from readers angrily suggesting that Emory is just trying to sweep the whole matter under the rug. The disappearance of this item might support that -- but it certainly suggests that someone at Emory recognizes that there is a problem.
TED TURNER NUCLEAR UPDATE: (Gee, using the words "Ted Turner" and "nuclear" in the same sentence is a bit disturbing. . . .) InstaPundit's consulting nuclear physicist (a former IAEA inspector who prefers to remain nameless here) sends this note regarding an earlier post:
You can find details of what the Serbs had at the IAEA research reactor database http://www.iaea.or.at/worldatom/rrdb/ - go to Yugoslavia and look up RA-B. Its fuel was 80% enriched UO2 - since this was the enrichment of the Hiroshima bomb uranium you would have to say that it was "weapons grade" even though real modern weapons use material at 93% or better.
Most research reactors were originally designed to use high enriched uranium (HEU - note it is not Highly Enriched Uranium but just High Enriched Uranium). The US, the IAEA and other countries (such as Australia) have a long running program called the RERTR to reduce the enrichment of uranium in research reactors, so most new reactors use fuel at 20% instead.
One minor quibble - you don't enrich plutonium - no macro scale enrichment program for Pu enrichment has ever worked. You just try to produce it without too many higher isotopes. As to the facility you were referring to - it is more correctly called a critical assembly than a reactor.
Reader Norman Yarvin writes:
The Osirak reactor used 93% enriched uranium.
Yes, that's right: Iraq was shipped enough weapons-grade uranium to build a bomb -- and the Iraqis still have it, according to Khidir Hamza; they recovered it from the ruins of the reactor. (To be exact, he claims they have twelve kilograms of 93% enriched uranium, and fourteen kilograms of 80%, all from Osirak.)
The source for all this is Hamza's book "Saddam's Bombmaker."
Reader Ian Wood adds:
According to WaPo, the U.S. government paid $2 million for transportation and related costs, Yugoslavia provided 1,200 troops for escort, and The Nuclear Threat Initiative, the nonprofit group co-founded by former Senator Sam Nunn and Ted Turner, pledged $5 million. That money is going to help clean up the area around the reactor site itself (including the removal of two tons of nuclear waste--*not* the enriched uranium), as well as help to pay some of the scientists at the Vinca research reactor facility. Russia will reprocess the enriched uranium slugs at its facility in Dimitrovgrad.
So, us taxpayers paid for the removal and transport of the problematic nuclear material, which I'm happy to kick in for. Private money will clean up the radioactive mess left by the Communists and give impoverished nuclear physicists less incentive to go work for, say, Iraq.
More evidence of the corrupt values instilled by capitalism, I suppose.
JUST ABOUT A YEAR AGO, I reported Department of Justice figures showing that one American in 32 was under supervision by the criminal justice system, and remarked:
How many people have to be under direct supervision of law enforcement before you have a police state? Whatever the number is, at the current rate of growth it won't take us long to get there. According to these DOJ figures one out of 32 American adults -- over three percent of the population -- is in jail, on parole, or on probation. This represents a whopping forty-nine percent increase over the last ten years. Most of this growth appears to come from nonviolent drug offenses. Another example of how the Drug War is leading -- in this case directly, not metaphorically -- to the creation of a police state.
Okay, I don't want to go over the top. But really -- prisons are hellholes for the most part. And some people deserve to be in hellholes. But not all that many. Certainly not this many. I think that future historians will look back on this mass imprisonment the way we look on the internment of Japanese-American citizens in World War Two.
That still stands -- and it's a bigger, though far less remarked-upon, injustice than any that are involved in the War on Terrorism.
TalkLeft has this year's figures, which unsurprisingly aren't any better. I guess I should be glad they aren't worse.
PUNDITWATCH IS UP!
VIA REBECCA BLOOD, I note that there's a weblog called The Daily Summit set up to cover the Johannesburg sustainability conference. (Kentucky Fried Chicken has a "special World Summit menu!") TechCentralStation will be providing regular updates, too.
UPDATE: Meryl Yourish emails:
By the way, they're talking about "Sustainable development," and yet not a word of Mugabe starving his own people. Deliberately. I'm shocked, shocked I say.
Yeah, me too.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Robert Prather reports that Mugabe will be speaking at the Summit. Protests are expected.
I'M CURRENTLY LISTENING TO A GREAT CD BY FLOOR CREAK, a band featuring Dave Shiflett, best known to most InstaPundit readers for his writing at National Review Online, but a hell of an acoustic guitar player, too. (Dave plays acoustic through a Fender Super Reverb, which is the secret to the Nebraska Guitar Militia's sound, too -- though the Super Reverb used by NGM usually has the tremolo controls set on "11"). Very nice stuff.
THIS PALESTINIAN SAYS THAT HE WAS TORTURED UNTIL HE FALSELY IMPLICATED HIS MOTHER as a collaborator, after which she was killed by Palestinian authorities.
And yet it's Israel that gets nearly all the attention from "human rights" groups.
UPDATE: Charles Johnson has a photo of the murdered woman during her coerced "confession" just before her murder. (Note the mattress as backdrop). He reports that the Reuters caption says she was "testifying."
NORAH VINCENT says that we should look to Pakistan before Iraq. I don't think I agree (I think we should look to Saudi Arabia before Iraq) but her thoughts are worth reading.
UPDATE: Suman Palit responds.
BILL HERBERT REPORTS on the anti-war demonstration on the Mall.
UPDATE: Here's more.
ANOTHER UPDATE: These guys blame "Anti-Racist Action" for the violence. (This site, Overthrow.com, calls itself "Libertarian Socialist," -- whatever that's supposed to mean -- but it's a lefty anarchist site, basically.) I had a post on ARA earlier. Their chief talent lies in making Nazis look like sympathetic victims. Way to go, guys.
BRITAIN: Slouching toward revolution? Well, probably not. On the other hand, the Petrol Protests indicate that there's more pent-up resentment than is generally acknowledged.
MATT WELCH says that former U.S. ambassadors to Saudi Arabia have become corrupt shills for an enemy regime: "If you closed your eyes, you would think the person talking held a Saudi passport."
THE FBI (as long-term InstaPundit readers will know) let an innocent man (actually, several innocent men) languish in prison for 30 years to protect a murderous informant. Now it's being sued for $300 million.
That's good, but this demonstrated lack of ethics in law enforcement makes me doubt the FBI is up to its homeland security mission.
TIMES ARE TOUGH, but the CNN/Time-Warner folks are exploiting synergy.
That leaves the wise old foreign policy owls. When it comes to unsavoury foreigners, Eagleburger, Scowcroft and Kissinger are all famously "realist", though there's a fine line between realism and inertia. A decade ago, Brent Scowcroft advised Bush, Sr to stick with Gorbachev and the preservation of the Soviet Union over Yeltsin and a democratic Russia.
Last autumn, he argued in favour of leaving the Taliban in power. Inevitably Scowcroft now supports letting Saddam be because, if we start a war, "We could have an explosion in the Middle East. It could turn the whole region into a cauldron."
He says that like it's a bad thing.
HERE'S SOMETHING that Bush should be asking our "Saudi friends" about:
KABUL (Reuters) - International peacekeepers said on Sunday Afghan police had found a store of chemicals in a house in Kabul formerly occupied by a Saudi non-governmental organization, and local media reports called it a terrorist laboratory.
But where would they have gotten the money for something like that?
UPDATE: Here's more.
IS THE LEFT CHANNELING ROBERT HEINLEIN? That's what Andrew Stuttaford is asking over at The Corner:
One of the more peculiar notions to emerge in the last few weeks has been the suggestion by the Left that only those who are - or who have been - in the military have the moral authority to commit the nation to war.
It's a zany, profoundly undemocratic argument and it also sounds like something out of Heinlein's Starship Troopers (a book liberals often criticize as 'fascist' ) a novel in which, if I recall correctly, the only people entitled to full citizenship were those who had completed a period of military service.
What's next? Will liberals be calling for our rule by a dynasty of warrior kings?
UPDATE: Stuttaford's gotten the same email I have on this one, reminding him that Heinlein's scheme allowed non-military service, too. He's even got the relevant passage quoted in an update over at The Corner.
MORE ON HEINLEIN: Here's a link to a paper on military service/civil service in Starship Troopers, with all the relevant passages from the book excerpted.
STILL MORE: Jeff Cooper sensibly distinguishes between moral authority and military expertise, saving me the trouble of writing a post doing so, which I had planned to get around to sometime.