November 16, 2002
ALLAN PRATHER HAS MORE on Iranian student demonstrations, here, and here. And here is a piece by Michael Ledeen from last week.
Things seem to be coming to a head in Iran. Let's hope they break our way.
TOM FRIEDMAN IS CHANNELING JIM BENNETT in this column on NATO:
In fact, I imagine after this round of expansion that when you call NATO headquarters in Brussels, a recording will answer that will go something like this: "Hello. You have reached NATO. Dial 1 if you want help consolidating your democracy. Dial 2 if you need minesweeping. Dial 3 if you need anti-chemical warfare trucks. If you need to fight a real war, please stay on the line and an English-speaking operator will assist you."
Hmm. Expanding Anglosphericism? But here's my favorite passage:
There is one scene that really sums it up. It involves a U.S. F-15 jet fighter that is ordered to take out a Taliban truck caravan. The F-15's co-pilot bombardier is a woman. Mr. Bowden, who had access to the communications between pilots, describes how the bombardier locates the truck caravan, and with her laser guidance system directs a 500-pound bomb into the lead truck. As the caravan is vaporized, the F-15 pilot shouts down at the Taliban — as if they could hear him from 20,000 feet — "You have just been killed by a girl."
Let's send that one out on Al-Jazeera.
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS TAKING ON GREEDY BUSINESSES by launching an antitrust investigation of the New Times L.A. takeover. Lots of possibilities for this kind of thing in the media field, where price-fixing and anticompetitive practices are rife, and have long gone unpoliced.
HERE'S AN EXAMPLE OF FRENCH MILITARY COOPERATION that isn't getting much attention. I think the French prefer it that way. Though most of the basing and infrastructure involved here is French, the story barely indicates it.
WHY COLLEGES ARE SHORT ON MALES: It's a "hostile environment" for men:
However, there is another, unacknowledged reason why some males don't go to college—rampant anti-male feminism has made college campuses a place where many males feel unwanted and unwelcome. To use a feminist term, our universities have become "hostile environments" for young men.
There are some first-person accounts.
UPDATE: Reader Melissa Davis writes:
I agree with the young man who wrote this piece. Women who witness this sort of hostility should try and speak up in defense of the men who are its target. I tried every now and then in college, but it was hard. But we owe it to them. Kind men stood have stood up for women in similarly hostile situations in the past. Perhaps not enough of them did. Maybe at some point parity will be reached. I can dream, can't I?
Don't give up.
I JUST GOT AN EMAIL saying that there will be big student protests at Isfahan University in Iran tomorrow morning. No link yet. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Here's a link to a story on these protests generally.
THREE MEN, BELIEVED TO BE FROM TUNISIA OR MOROCCO, have been arrested for plotting to release cyanide in the London Underground.
THE INTERNATIONAL SENTINEL is Carla Passino's blog. It takes a somewhat more Euro-sympathetic line than InstaPundit, but (or perhaps "thus") is well worth your attention.
A RELIGION OF PEACE, from Hanah Metchis.
UPDATE: Justin Katz writes that Metchis' passage is sufficiently out of context that it gives a false impression. So does P.J. Hinton.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Sasha Volokh has more.
SOME PEOPLE WILL PROBABLY COMPLAIN ABOUT THIS PROGRAM, but it seems sensible enough to me:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 — The Bush administration has begun to monitor Iraqis in the United States in an effort to identify potential domestic terrorist threats posed by sympathizers of the Baghdad regime, senior government officials said.
The previously undisclosed intelligence program involves tracking thousands of Iraqi citizens and Iraqi-Americans with dual citizenship who are attending American universities or working at private corporations, and who might pose a risk in the event of a United States-led war against Iraq, officials said.
If we go to war, these people will be enemy aliens (in fact, in light of the Congressional declaration, in a sense they already are). Keeping tabs on enemy aliens is normal for wartime. I suspect that this was deliberately leaked, as a way of discouraging untoward activity.
UPDATE: And here's more evidence that it's justified.
CLAYTON CRAMER blogs a report from the American Society of Criminology, where he was on two panels.
I WENT AND LOOKED AT A NISSAN 350Z, and I have to say I was very impressed. In fact, it's only the second time I've ever looked at a car and felt a strong temptation just to buy it on the spot.
However strong, though, the temptation was immediately quashed by a dealer add-on sticker tacking over five grand on to the regular sticker price. Jeez. I'm surprised that Nissan will let them do that.
AMITAI ETZIONI reports on a species of underreported hate crime: worldwide violence against Christians by Muslims.
MERDE IN FRANCE reports that French TV portrays Osama bin Laden sympathetically, George Bush hostilely.
LINDA SEEBACH WRITES about weblogs and the future of media. She even mentions next week's Yale Law School weblog conference.
WILLIAM SJOSTROM ISN'T IMPRESSED with Germaine Greer's latest: "It isn't shocking, dear, it is just obnoxious. Freedom for women came in the west that she despises; women are crushed in the bin Ladenite world she so adores. No wonder she makes a living in a university."
And shouldn't that be embarrassing for the university?
THIS DECISION may do more to rein in big-government excesses than any legislation we're likely to see in the next two years:
In a ruling that could cost the Justice Department millions of dollars, a federal judge has ruled that lawyers at the department who routinely work more than 40 hours a week are entitled to overtime pay under the 1945 Federal Employees Pay Act.
I think that this is a good thing. My government-lawyer friends will likely agree, of course. But if you think the Justice Department is overreaching, then something that forces it to weigh priorities can only be a benefit.
JOHN J. MILLER ON THE REPUBLICANS' SOUTH DAKOTA SENATE DEFEAT:
There's a similar explanation for Mr. Thune's 524-vote loss: a Libertarian Party candidate, Kurt Evans, drew more than 3,000 votes. It marks the third consecutive election in which a Libertarian has cost the Republican Party a Senate seat. If there had been no Libertarian Senate candidates in recent years, Republicans would not have lost control of the chamber in 2001, and a filibuster-proof, 60-seat majority would likely be within reach. . . .
The problem also affects gubernatorial races. Jim Doyle, the incoming Democratic governor of Wisconsin, probably owes his 68,000-vote victory to the 185,000 votes cast for Ed Thompson, a Libertarian and brother of Tommy Thompson, the former Republican governor. In Oregon, Ted Kulongoski, the Democrat, won by 33,000 votes as Tom Cox, the Libertarian, pulled in 56,000 votes. The only reason the governor's race in Alabama was so close this year as to be disputed beyond election night was that the Libertarian candidate, John Sophocleus, attracted 23,000 votes.
Well, the solution is for the Republicans to avoid the big-government intrusiveness that alienates libertarian-leaning voters. But are they smart enough to realize that? The push on the Homeland Security bill, and Trent Lott's comments about reopening the abortion issue, suggest that they're not. But this is how third parties traditionally have an impact -- by costing one of the two major parties close elections.
UPDATE: Robert Prather has more. Clayton Cramer, meanwhile, thinks this is much ado about nothing.
November 15, 2002
HERE'S A CALL FOR RESEARCH into nanotechnology safety, from a reputable source.
REFUGEE UPDATE: The DodgeBlog guys have hooked up with Sasha Castel.
OKAY, NOW THIS IS JUST FRIGHTENING. And sad.
ARTHUR SILBER HAS UPDATES on the dumb Front Sight lawsuit against Diana Hsieh. Start here and scroll up for more.
It's obvious that Front Sight's lawsuit has so far bought it far more bad publicity than Diana Hsieh's blogging ever did. Front Sight should go sue itself. Or, er, something.
LOOKS LIKE SADDAM is arranging a bolt-hole:
SADDAM HUSSEIN has made secret plans for his family and leading members of his regime to be given political asylum in Libya in the event of a war with America or a successful internal coup in Baghdad.
The extraordinary steps taken by the Iraqi leader to provide an exit strategy for key relatives and associates, which includes paying $3.5 billion (£2.3 billion) into Libyan banks, provide the first evidence that Saddam is now facing up to the prospect of being toppled from power.
Even as he makes public statements of defiance and vows to defend his country against an American invasion, The Times has learnt that Saddam’s secret emissaries have been visiting Libya and Syria to ensure that there is an escape route for his family and top cronies.
The deal with Tripoli does not include providing refuge for Saddam or for Uday, his eldest son. If either were to seek political asylum in Libya, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi would come under intense international pressure, particularly from Washington, to hand them over for war crimes.
Hmm. If Saddam is trying to get his family out, but not himself, that would seem to mean that he expects to go down with the ship. Or perhaps "in a blaze of glory." Assuming that this report is correct (which may be a big assumption) this may be as troubling as it is reassuring.
PROFESSOR PETER KIRSTEIN HAS BEEN PUNISHED by St. Xavier University for his email. I'm not actually sure that I approve of this -- I think Kirstein should be shamed, not punished -- though most of this punishment consists of shaming, it's true. And, I suspect, had Kirstein sent an equally abusive email to a student from a black college the punishment would have been at least as severe. Still, I don't believe in punishing people, especially academics, for their opinions, however lame and loathsome. But, of course, my expansive views of free speech have not held sway with university administrators for some time.
UPDATE: Here's Kirstein's apologia.
SWEDEN AGAIN: Swedish blogger Martin Lindeskog reports some new economic data that don't make Sweden look especially good. No Mississippi comparison this time, though. Maybe someone else will do one of those.
UPDATE: Bjorn Staerk has more on Scandinavian taxation and economics.
PC DOUBLE STANDARDS: Reader Mark Shawhan writes:
I wanted to take issue with your recent post on what you see as a double standard for left and right (the one made on 11/15). Essentially, I'm wondering where the evidence is for your agreement with James Lileks that "Yes, every opinion is valid - but as a famous pig once remarked, some are more valid than others." So far, your discussion of the matter has cited Mr. Lileks' post on the subject, the fracas at UT over the hate speech code there, and Martha Burk's "modest proposal," and I fail to see how any of these items support your claim of a double standard.
Here's how I see it: My point in pointing to Burks was that a non-lefty white male who wrote something similar, but aimed at women, wouldn't be allowed the defense of "spoof." Lilek's point was that a non-lefty white male who painted something similar, but aimed at black people, wouldn't be allowed the defense of subjectivity. And the Kappa Sigma blackface incident seems to me to be proof of both.
Separately, Kevin Drum of the usually excellent CalPundit blog emails that he's surprised I haven't censured Kathryn Jean Lopez for "deliberately falsifying" Burk's piece. I didn't take from Lopez's posts that she had done that. Looking at Drum's blog, I find a post that seems to call me a liar. I don't see why. (And I don't think I ever got the email he says he sent, though I get so many I wouldn't swear to that). But in my post on the subject, I added a link to the text of what Burk wrote, and to a CNN transcript saying it was a spoof, as soon as I got them. You can read the post here, and see if you think Drum's characterization is justified.
But, as I thought was abundantly clear, my point was that if, say, Hootie Johnson wrote a piece calling for all women to be equipped with Norplant, to be removed only with the consent of their "designated partners" nobody would be bending over backwards to cut him slack because it was a spoof. How hard is this point to understand?
Too hard for some people, apparently. As I say below, a lot of people on the left are so thoroughly blind to the double standard that they can't believe people who point it out aren't somehow, pulling a fast one. All I can say is, get real, guys. You're only fooling yourselves. And the hysterical response that appears every time someone points out the hypocrisy of the left on these matters seems to suggest that you're having trouble even with that.
BRUCE ROLSTON IS FACT-CHECKING MARC HEROLD, who absurdly continues to insist that his bogus, inflated Afghan civilian casualty estimates are still valid.
MICHAEL MOORE: Busted again, as Rachel Lucas rescues his "payback Tuesday" letter from the memory hole.
SORRY I'VE POSTED SO LITTLE today. I've been busy. I'm in the office now, but I'm about to do a couple of phone interviews on nanotechnology. More later.
JAMES LILEKS has an extensive take on the suicide-bomber painting that I mentioned below. You should read Lileks' whole treatment, of course, but here's an excerpt:
“Self-Portrait of a Racial Cleanser” might get the same treatment by a newspaper - I think the piece would have some comments by protesters; this story has none - but it wouldn’t get the same treatment on campus. Even if the artist intended it as a condemnation of white supremacists, one suspects he would not be permitted his interpretation of his painting; there would be no talk of the equality of subjective reactions. Intention would matter for naught. Intention would be trumped by the effect it had on the aggrieved. The painting would be draped in a day. . . .
Let us now return to the words of the Art Center’s mouthpiece:
"Art is subjective," she said. "Used as a metaphor or presented as the artist's personal statement, every opinion is valid and every viewer is entitled to his or her own interpretation."
Yes, every opinion is valid - but as a famous pig once remarked, some are more valid than others. It’s amazing how much validity you get on campus when you make Jew-killing sexy.
Hamas solidarity AND hot obliques - now that’s progressive.
Yes. And what's striking is that so many people on the left -- as shown in "but it was a joooke!" defenses of Martha Burk's fertility-control-for-men piece -- just don't get this double standard. They're blind to it. But it's there. And if people keep pointing it out, maybe they'll notice. Plenty of other people have.
UPDATE: Paintings of suicide bombers can mean anything. But this, on the other hand, was so obviously beyond the pale that it called for immediate University action!
SOFIA SIDESHOW is a blog from Bulgaria. Excerpt:
The Right is not hated or stereotyped here in Sofia, like in some parts of the US (cough).
I still find it exhilarating when an liberal American (invariably an actor) makes an off-the-cuff political statement, absolutely sure to hear no conflicting views—possibly even believing that none legitimately exist—and yet finds himself the minority at the table, with genuinely offended Bulgarians glowering at him (or her).
I’ll draw back the curtain on one example: One American fellow (a nice guy, mind you, not some kitten-eating troll) with some minute knowledge of Bulgaria mentions loudly over his foie gras how capitalism is hurting this country.
The Bulgarian girl, 10 years the younger, stares at him like he grew a second head. And the fellow continues with what he thinks is the final and immutable proof of his assertion.
He says, "Prices were cheaper back during the previous government, isn’t that right? Now I mean, you didn’t have cuisine then like MacDonalds,” he sneered that last word, “but hey?”
My only note is: “but hey” is not an acceptable ending to a point you are trying to make. “But hey…” is a poignant failure to discipline your mind, to examine the full breadth of what you are trying to argue. Often, it is avoidance of the revelation that your point is actually no excuse for whatever you are defending.
The girl looked like she was going to use her knife, but instead, she told him that everything was indeed much, much cheaper under Communism. Bananas, she said, were only 5 stultinki per kilo [US: 2.5 cents]. He nodded, knowingly. Except, she added, there were no bananas.
You could buy bread for 2 stultinki per loaf…He looked at her warily now…But bread was rationed.
You would go to a market and buy a picture of bread. Then, when the government made a radio announcement, that picture could be turned in at a government center, for bread, after waiting in line, sometimes for hours.
Medicine was free, she said. There was none (well, none for The Workers).
He looked around like he had zips on the wire. Backup! Repeat: I need backup!
Yes, she went on, bread is now a 50 stultinki, and bananas are now 150 stultinki a kilo, but now you can buy as much as you want, any time. Fresh bread, for everyone, with no lines.
She’s spent most her life as a non-Communist, but she still said the last part with a hint of awe.
He sat there for a moment, mulling, then said this:
“But it’s still a lot more expensive, isn’t it.”
ROD DREHER REPORTS stepped up security in New York. Last night, a reader from the D.C. area reported a lot more fighter-plane activity than usual. Maybe the latest terror warnings are a little more serious than earlier false alarms.
UPDATE: I got this email with regard to Rod Dreher's report:
I saw your comment on Rod Dreher's observation of National Guardsmen in New York City, and wanted to clarify the situation. I'm an officer in the National Guard here, and we have been securing Grand Central and Penn Station continuously since Oct 2001 (my battalion was the first one in after Sep 11th). What Rod saw was not something new (perhaps he just hadn't noticed before).
Just wanted to set the record straight!
On the other hand, the fighter-aircraft report seems solid. Here's another email, very consistent with what I got last night:
I live in Germantown, MD, about 34 miles north of downtown D.C. As regards your report of "fighter plane activity", what I observed from my patio last night appeared to involve four fighter aircraft, at about a couple of thousand feet altitude (hard to tell, it was dark, and I could only see their anti-collision beacons). They were flying tight circles, and sounded as if they were occasionally going on afterburner. Two went to my right (East), the other two left (West). Right in the middle of this "air show" I observed a slow flying, brightly lit aircraft at lower altitude flying off to the West. It appeared to be a helicopter, but I couldn't hear rotor noise over the roar, to confirm this. The impression I got was that the fighters were "sanitizing" the area to the right and left ahead of the slow, low aircraft. Possibly it was a practice for some sort of "insertion" mission? I've lived at this address for nine years, and never saw any such activity before.
WILLIAM SJOSTROM reports on the new face of appeasement: "So now we have the appeaser line: pretend to be a hawk, but a sensible one; admit that past hawkishness was a good idea, but then try to minimize it."
Well, as the saying goes, hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. So, in a way, I think this is a sign of progress.
PLANS FOR RECRUITING BATTLEFIELD TRANSLATORS in Iraq: StrategyPage explains what's in the works.
DIFFERENT OUTLETS, DIFFERENT HEADLINES: The New York Times is predictable, though.
DAVID HOGBERG REPORTS on a campus pro-war rally.
A COUPLE OF AMUSING READER OBSERVATIONS on the suicide-bomber portrait. Check 'em out.
DODGEBLOG REFUGEE MOMMABEAR has moved to new digs. Drop by with a casserole.
ANDREW SULLIVAN writes that Saddam is getting nervous.
November 14, 2002
WHY THE DEMOCRATS CAN'T THINK STRAIGHT ABOUT NATIONAL SECURITY: Heather Hurlburt explains, in the Washington Monthly.
DAVE TROWBRIDGE WONDERS if Osama bin Laden has pulled a Hari Seldon:
What if bin Laden recorded a series of "gloats" about various operations (planned, desired, or even merely likely) that, in the event of his death, could be hacked together to give the impression that he was still alive? Certainly the rhetoric wouldn't change, just the names of the countries and the types of operations, both of which are not that large a set of possibilities. It seems to me that with a little imagination and not much more time expended, a set of recordings could have been produced that could keep Osama alive for years beyond his actual death, rendering him, in effect, undefeatable.
This wouldn't surprise me at all.
UPDATE: This is old news to the blogosphere, but if you missed it earlier, here's a story on the peculiar bin Laden / Asimov link.
WHAT ARE INTELLECTUALS GOOD FOR? Yale Kramer tells a story that suggests "not much."
On the other hand, I could have passed his little test with ease. I've got proof.
AIRBRUSH AWARD: Rachel Lucas reports that Michael Moore has scuttled the page on his website that proclaimed election day would be "payback Tuesday." Reports Rachel: "Well the link to it is gone now. Not even in the archives." She's still got it, though.
THE MISS CLEO / AL JAZEERA CONNECTION: No, really, that's what it's about.
HANS LABOHM writes that Western imperialism is generating a backlash in the Third World. "Ecoimperialism," that is.
UPDATE: Suman Palit had a post on this a while back, too.
MICHELLE MALKIN REPORTS that the INS does little to stand in the way of terrorists. Meanwhile Matt Welch and Dr. Frank report that it does its best to hassle harmless people. I suspect that both stories are true.
DEMOCRATS ARE CLAIMING "CONSERVATIVE MEDIA BIAS:" Ed Driscoll isn't persuaded.
UPDATE: Porphyrogenitus has uncovered a media conspiracy so vast. . . Well, so vast that Bob Scheer is in on it, and he's the last to hear about everything.
HARRY W. POTTER: Last week, Chris Suellentrop of Slate angered a lot of fans with a rather negative assessment of Harry Potter. Potter, wrote Suellentrop, is no hero, but a pampered jock who inherited his powers and enjoys unwarranted public acclaim while others -- like sidekicks Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Cedric Diggory -- do the heavy lifting of fighting evil.
Of course, Suellentrop is wrong. It's true that Potter inherited his powers (as with "The Force" in the Star Wars universe, magical potency is mostly inherited, for some reason). But Potter in fact brings a lot more to the table than Suellentrop gives him credit for. Sure, Hermione is smarter, Ron is better at chess, and Cedric is braver and better-looking (he's "extremely handsome," we're told). But Harry Potter is the keystone, the essential element. Without him, the fight against Voldemort would be lost before it was begun. In fact, it wouldn't be begun at all.
What he brings to the table are personal qualities rather than talents. He's loyal, and more importantly he inspires loyalty. And he has a clear vision of what matters. Everyone else is able to forget, or to convince themselves to ignore, the threat posed by Voldemort. Harry, on the other hand, never forgets. Potter even has to deal with purblind Eurocrats, like Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic:
Look, I saw Voldemort come back!" Harry shouted. . . . "I saw the Death Eaters! I can give you their names. . ."
"You are merely repeating the names of those who were acquitted of being death eaters thirteen years ago!" said Fudge, angrily. . .
"You fool!" Professor McGonagall cried. "Cedric Diggory! Mr. Crouch!" These deaths were not the random work of a lunatic!"
"I see no evidence to the contrary!" shouted Fudge, now matching her anger, his face purpling. "It seems to me that you are all determined to start a panic that will destabilize everything we have worked for these last thirteen years!"
Harry couldn't believe what he was hearing. He had always thought of Fudge as a kindly figure, a little blustering, a little pompous, but essentially good-natured. But now a short, angry wizard stood before him, refusing, point-blank, to accept the prospect of disruption in his comfortable and ordered world -- to believe that Voldemort could have risen.
Hmm. This sounds kind of like someone else whose warnings of "evil" are sometimes mocked, and who is often underestimated by journalists. George W. Potter? Or Harry W. Bush?
UPDATE: A reader emails: "Not only is Suellentrop wrong, he's unoriginal. I mean, isn't this exactly Snape's refrain, for the past four books?" Hmm. Severus Suellentrop? No, . . .
WEAR BLACKFACE AND YOU GET SUSPENDED: Paint something that people find offensive on other grounds and you win an award:
The 4-foot-by-6-foot oil painting by Cong Lu, 24, depicts a young Asian man pulling up his shirt to reveal explosives strapped around his midsection. A pistol is tucked into his waistband. The piece is entitled, Self Portrait of a Martyr.
The painting, one of 78 works on exhibit at the school through December, hangs in the building's main lobby at 200 Grant St. The piece was awarded Student Best of Show, and the artist received a $1,300 Allied Arts Award, given yearly to an outstanding young artist.
But a handful of students have complained about the painting, which they interpret as hostile, anti-American, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian. They also object to the title, which equates suicide bombers with martyrs.
Leona Lazar, executive director of the ASLD, said she understands why people find the painting so troubling - but that's no reason to remove it or banish it to a less-visible position.
"Art is subjective," she said. "Used as a metaphor or presented as the artist's personal statement, every opinion is valid and every viewer is entitled to his or her own interpretation."
I guess the guys at Kappa Sigma should have tried that argument. More proof of Dale Amon's point about the unevenness of these standards.
UPDATE: From the "maybe it is subjective" department, a reader writes:
Without knowing anything about Cong Lu or his painting, I can't help but see parody in it. The suicide bombers believe they are on a divine mission, presumably; Cong Lu has borrowed their trappings and title for a preening and arguable homoerotic exercise in narcissism. Maybe that's not what he intends, but that's what I see. I think it's hilarious.
UPDATE: Reader Laurence Rothenberg writes: "What would happen if someone painted, 'Self-portrait in Blackface?'"
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Ben Gibson writes (as did several others) "Why does the painting of the "martyr" have breasts? If it is supposed to be a man, well, that is a nice set of hooters. It does not look like a gal other than the prominent breasts. Perhaps this martyr guy has some issues."
Actually, I think it's just bad technique, with those meant to be bulging, manly pecs. But since we're informed that this is all subjective anyway, I'm going to say "nice rack on that suicide bomber!" Another (female) reader noted where the pistol is pointing and said "he'd better be careful or he'll blow off his tiny little suicide-bomber penis!"
ONE MORE UPDATE: Reader Ken Summers says this reminds him of the line from Fun with Dick and Jane: "Don't go off half-cocked." And Tucker Goodrich reports:
Just got back from Boston, where I saw the following bumper sticker:
"Martyrdom is for Suckers"
Indeed it is. Somebody should translate that into Arabic.
TORA! TORA! TORA! UPDATE:
They had survived bombs at Pearl Harbor and torpedoes across the Pacific -- but say they were nearly sunk by political correctness in the city of Los Angeles.
City officials who had barred veterans of Pearl Harbor from commemorating the attack on Dec. 7 by attending a showing of the 1970 film "Tora! Tora! Tora!" at a city-owned movie theater did an about-face Wednesday.
Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who Tuesday said "I wanted to be very sensitive to the Japanese-American community," changed her mind Wednesday in the face of outrage from veterans' groups and called for "disciplinary action" against theater officials for discriminating against veterans.
Heh. That's quite an "about-face" indeed. But that's the thing about the PC crowd: in their hearts, they know they're wrong.
SECULAR MARTYRDOM IN IRAN:
It's a pity that so much of the attention given to the Islamic world is lavished on its thugs and psychopaths; a pity because its men and women of courage are largely overlooked.
The case of Iranian academic Hashem Aghajari is a striking example. Dr. Aghajari gave a public lecture in June calling for political reform and "religious renewal," and challenging his fellow Iranians not to "blindly follow religious leaders." The result was that he was charged in Iran's religious courts with apostasy, where he was found guilty Nov. 6 in a closed-door trial. He is to be hanged. . . .
Aghajari has the right to appeal his verdict, presumably allowing a deal to be worked out that could defuse the crisis. (Similar death sentences have been reduced on appeal.) But his lawyer now says that Aghajari doesn't want to appeal. According to the lawyer, Aghajari says that "those who have issued this verdict have to implement it if they think it is right or else the Judiciary has to handle it." He thus appears to be risking his life so as to force Iran's judicial establishment to confront its own barbarity.
Read the whole thing.
IRAQI SOLDIERS are shown practicing for a U.S. invasion in this rare undercover photo.
IS IT JUST ME? Or is this new logo for the "Information Awareness Program" that will track all sorts of personal information about Americans just a wee bit creepy?
Oh, graphically it's okay. But it looks like something that would be painted on the elevator doors in a bearded-Spock world, or in some bad Colossus-knockoff movie. And it's not as creepy as its British counterpart. But still. . . .
UPDATE: Reader Dave Lane says he's willing to live in the bearded-Spock world, so long as women's fashion follows along. All I can say to that observation is that now I'm really worried. I mean really worried.
ANOTHER UPDATE: And a more substantive one. . . . Henry Hanks emails that Rush Limbaugh just came out against the Information Awareness Program: "He reiterated his statement from Sep. 12, '01 about not sacrificing liberty... he said the database to which Safire refers is unnecessary and probably won't become a reality." Good.
THE INDEPUNDIT WONDERS WHY THE ANTI-WAR CROWD ISN'T CELEBRATING the return of inspectors to Iraq. He has a number of other questions, too. Pat Buchanan is involved.
HERE'S A FIRST-PERSON ACCOUNT of Scott Ritter's speech at CalTech last night:
Next someone asked Ritter how his story had changed since 1998. "It hasn't changed; it's evolved."
There's much more.
UAVS IN CIVILIAN LIFE: It's not just the military that's using unmanned aircraft, as Noah Shachtman reports in The New York Times. It sounds, though, as if the bureaucracy is having trouble keeping up with the technology:
Jim Brass, a colleague of Mr. Herwitz at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., sought to use a drone last November to look at a forest fire in the San Gabriel Mountains, north of Los Angeles.
But the Federal Aviation Administration refused to let the drone fly. Getting to the fire, a "controlled burn" begun by the Forest Service to thin trees, would have involved flying through the approach to the suburban airport in Ontario, Calif., and the F.A.A. did not want a drone in crowded airspace.
It is a common problem for civilian drones. A small, piloted airplane can operate pretty much anywhere with little or no notification. But flying a drone means filing for a certificate of authorization, a narrowly drawn permission slip from the F.A.A. to roam a small strip of the skies. Getting the certificate takes months.
"We aren't pursuing commercial applications over America because U.A.V. flights are so restricted by the F.A.A.," Mr. Sliwa said, reflecting a common approach in the industry. The agency has yet to issue minimum standards for the drones' hardware and software. There are no guidelines on how the drones' human operators should be trained.
The fact that the pilot of a small plane is likely to share the fate of his/her craft is, of course, an added spur to responsibility -- and one that isn't present with unmanned aircraft. But nonetheless, it seems as if the FAA needs to catch up with the times.
MINNESOTA BLOGGER MITCH BERG HAS THIS TO SAY about Garrison Keillor, in response to Keillor's latest in Salon:
Keillor is a funny man, a generally superb humorist, and Prairie Home Companion is a weekly ritual - even my children (9 and 11) love it. But Keillor is in his entirety a creation of the public sector. And like any public institution, he suffers the public with the same grace as do the cashiers at the Department of Public Safety. Having known, socially and professionally, many who'd worked with him, having met many more who'd dealt with him in a variety of capacities, one notes this: Keillor treats those he perceives as superiors with unvarnished obsequeity; Peers, he addresses with a veneer of respect; underlings, he treats like cat litter, to be rubbed underfoot and...well, you know how it ends, right? Having known a few people who'd worked on PHC, the metaphor basically fits.
Keillor is reacting to a Republican sweep the same way the Teacher's union, or the National Orgization of Women, do; with doomsday rhetoric, with chicken-little doommongering, with nasty, defensive slurs - and the added fun of lots of personal slurs against "the enemy."
Following these observations is a point-by-point Fisking of Keillor's assertions that, if there were any justice, would have Keillor apologizing profusely and begging forgiveness.
But there isn't any justice where the likes of Keillor are concerned. Except that provided by the Blogosphere.
UPDATE: Tacitus has some interesting observations on Keillor, and a comparison of Keillor with Lewis Lapham.
LIVING BY PERMISSION: Arthur Silber agrees with William Safire that the homeland security bill is a bad idea. And reader Howard Veit has this to say about the Poindexter plan:
I don't think there is even a remote chance the Republicans would have carried the day last week if people knew this guy was still in government AND working for the Bush Administration. I am stunned by this. He almost wrecked Reagan, and Bush sure ain't no Ronnie.
Bad news. Worse news is that the Democrats are so stupid they didn't think to make an issue of this. I guess "stupid" is the wrong word here, but so self absorbed in their PC petty agenda politics it didn't seem important.
Yeah. Here's what I wrote a while back. Here's another item on the subject. Also here, and, well, here. Meanwhile, here is the sort of thing we ought to be doing instead.
UPDATE: TalkLeft has picked up on my Homeland Security proposal, though some of the commentators there seem mired in rather silly concerns about "vigilantism." But SKBubba likes the idea! But scroll down for his rather negative take on the Homeland Security bill.
The Yale Weblog Conference page has been updated, with a cool new graphic. It's always nice to see Ivy League people not taking themselves too seriously! And, yes, it's open to the public, though of course security will be tight and it may move to a secure, undisclosed location at the last minute.
HAROLD FORD makes a promise that Nancy Pelosi probably won't match: "If I cannot lead Democrats to the majority in two years, I will step down in favor of someone who can."
Ford also observes:
Although Democrats have traditionally sought the upper hand on domestic issues, we now live in a post-9/11 world. If we want the American people to trust us to govern, we cannot take a dismissive or defeatist attitude toward issues of national security.
One area of stark contrast between my opponent and me is Iraq. Rep. Pelosi opposed the president and voted against the resolution. I worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass a narrowly tailored resolution and joined Democrats and Republicans in voting for it. Ultimately, congressional support helped the administration negotiate a strong resolution that won the unanimous approval of the U.N. Security Council.
But no matter how individual members voted on the resolution, our problem as a party in this most recent election was that we raised objections rather than offered solutions. Many Americans may be apprehensive about the president's national security strategy, but they understand that he has one, and that the Democrats don't.
He also suggests that Democrats could learn a lot from Phil Bredesen's successful campaign for governor, which I've said as well. I know some other members of the Ford family somewhat, but I've never met Harold. By all accounts, though, he's sharp -- and this would seem to prove it. The Democrats could do worse. In fact, they almost certainly will.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, here's some advice for the Republicans that they'd do well to think about.
MERDE IN FRANCE is a bilingual Paris-based weblog that's very much worth checking out.
ANTIWAR DEFLATION: A "study" by a group of "medical experts" reported in the New Scientist reports that an Iraq war could produce 500,000 casualties, mostly civilians.
This is progress. Before the Afghan war the usual suspects were claiming that millions would die. Now they've trimmed their hyperbole to a mere half-million. Another five or ten wars and maybe their estimates will start to approach reality.
I wonder, though. After reading a piece in The New Yorker (not on line) about German civilian casualties in World War Two, and then this post by Jim Henley on not going far enough in the Afghan war, it occurs to me that trying so hard to prevent civilian casualties might be a mistake. I'm all for minimizing civilian casualties to the extent possible, consistent with winning the war. But if people are beaten so bloodlessly that they don't feel beaten, and have no real reason to dread a confrontation with the United States, is this really a good thing?
UPDATE: N.Z. Bear says I'm wrong. But my point isn't that civilian casualties are inherently good, but that we shouldn't let fear of civilian casualties cause us to lose the war. And I think that's something we're at risk for.
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader writes:
As it stands right right now we are not out to defeat the Iraqi people, just their dictator. If, after he is removed, they elect another threat to the US then it will be necessary to defeat the Iraqi people. We don't usually hold the people responsible for their tyrant's behavior. If they start to become like the people of Palestine, supportive of terrorism, then they would definitely need to feel defeated.
Yeah, that's what I was trying to say, more or less. Though we held the Germans responsible for Hitler, and wreaked far, far worse damage on them than anything the Iraqis are likely to experience.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Donald Sensing has a long and thoughtful post in response to my thoughts above.
P.C.U.: Lest my posts on the dumb University of Tennessee blackface incident (and the much, much dumber response of the University thereto) give the wrong impression, I should note that the car parked next to mine in the faculty parking lot yesterday bore a bumper sticker reading: "CHARLTON HESTON IS MY PRESIDENT."
COULD MICHAEL MOORE BE DISHONEST? Jay Caruso reports that Canadian gun regulators think so. Apparently, he's accused of using "sneaky editing" to make it look as if it's easier to buy ammunition in Canada than it really is.
November 13, 2002
WILLIAM SAFIRE DOESN'T TRUST JOHN POINDEXTER or the proposed Department of Homeland Security.
Neither do I.
THOUGHT POLICE? "Hate crime police raid 150 homes."
A few people were arrested for, you know, real crimes. But "most have been arrested on suspicion of making racist threats and of homophobic harassment." Those could be crimes, of course, if they're real threats, or real harassment. But the extent of political correctness in Britain makes me wonder.
The photo accompanying the BBC article shows police facing a stereotypically Muslim family; it doesn't say whether they are victims or perpetrators. Adriana Cronin has more over at Samizdata.
ATTENTION, VICTIMS OF THE HARPERCOLLINS PR MACHINE: Michael Crichton's next novel, which will be out on November 25, will be about "rogue nanotechnology." (Here's a link to the Amazon review page.) There's a huge PR offensive about to unroll. Crichton's even writing about nanotechnology for Parade!
I know next to nothing about the book -- just what's in the review linked above -- and I have no idea about the quality of the information that HarperCollins is sending out. But if you want to write about nanotechnology, here are some sources you may want to check out:
1. The Foresight Institute website.
2. Nanodot, a Slashdot-style discussion board devoted to nanotechnology.
3. Small Times, a webzine about nanotechnology and related subjects.
4. Nanotechnology Magazine, which is pretty much what it sounds like.
5. Some stuff by me: Environmental Regulation of Nanotechnology: Some Preliminary Observations, in the Environmental Law Reporter. Do Not Be Afraid, Do Not Be Very Afraid: Nanotechnology Worries Are Overblown in TechCentralStation. Nanotechnology Research Must Be Supported on FoxNews. I also have a paper on nanotechnology coming out from the Pacific Research Institute, coincidentally right around 11/25.
6. The Foresight Guidelines for Molecular Nanotechnology, which are all about preventing "rogue nanobots," and which, if followed, would have prevented the events in Crichton's book. Which, of course, is why they weren't!
Of course, I don't blame Crichton for employing such a device. Everybody needs a plot driver, whether it's realistic or not. As Daffy Duck said in the Loony Tunes version of Jack and the Beanstalk, "Well, I better start climbin' this thing, or we won't have much of a picture."
TORA! TORA! TORA! UPDATE: The L.A. Examiner has more on what's going on there, and why it's so dumb.
THE BISHOPS HAVE A POSITION ON THE WAR. Ken Layne has a position on the bishops.
HERE'S SOMETHING MORE ON MUHAMMAD AND MALVO:
Federal authorities are investigating whether accused snipers John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo had ties to a growing sect of militant American Muslims committed to waging holy war against the United States.
Law-enforcement authorities yesterday said investigators want to know whether the suspects — now awaiting separate murder trials in Virginia — were involved with Jamaat al-Fuqra, a militant Muslim group with documented ties to international terrorism that has been linked to 13 slayings and 17 firebombings in the United States and Canada.
The al-Fuqra network, through an offshoot group known as the Muslims of America, has established a patchwork of more than two dozen communes from New York to California, including a sizable retreat in Red House, Va., 30 miles south of Lynchburg, where as many as 200 people live in trailers in a guarded community.
Michelle Malkin emailed me about this on October 24. Advantage: Malkin!
UPDATE: Justin Katz was fingering al-Fuqra on October 5! Advantage: Katz!
WOW. IT LOOKS AS IF MSNBC IS SPARING NO EFFORT to get the best people.
It's bound to be better than Donahue.
THE LIBERAL CASE FOR WAR AGAINST IRAQ -- in The American Prospect of all places. Excerpt:
We now find ourselves about to go to war with Iraq, and most liberals have lined up against such an invasion. Their main argument rests on the thesis that Saddam Hussein can be deterred. This argument is bad for liberalism for three reasons: because its veracity is highly suspect, because it is woefully inadequate as a statement of policy and because it is not, in fact, a "liberal" argument at all.
There's more. Does Kuttner know about this?
IBERIAN NOTES, by John and Antonio, has moved. Update your bookmarks and blogrolls with the new URL.
At least they'll have permalinks now.
A WHILE BACK, I WROTE ABOUT this law enforcement disaster in Houston, in which police went after drag racers and then, not finding them, proceeded to arrest everyone in a K-mart parking lot, for a total of 278 bogus arrests. (I seem to recall that the Houston police chief wound up losing his job over this, but I'm not sure.)
At any rate, it looks like something similar is going on in Wisconsin, where police raided a fundraiser and charged 445 people even though only three were found to have drugs. (Three people with drugs on them out of nearly 450? I doubt you'd get that low a percentage if you frisked the House of Representatives.) I spoke with one of the organizers, an artist who spends his spare time doing historical renovations named Gary Thomson. He said that in his mind they were definitely "profiled and targeted because we were playing electronic music."
I've written about this sort of idiocy before, but I'm sorry to say that too many members of law enforcement don't seem to have gotten the message. But here it is: You're idiots. How can I trust you to chase terrorists -- or even burglars -- when you show such an appalling degree of arrogance and bad judgment?
I'm sure there will be a lawsuit. The question is, will the public officials behind this disaster lose their jobs? They should.
UPDATE: Here's more on the Houston case, where the police chief wound up under indictment for aggravated perjury. And here's the website for the haunted house party. And here's what one letter to the editor said: "If the Racine City Council was running Green Bay, 63,284 people would have been ticketed at the Monday night Packer game because of 70-some people getting drunk, rowdy and urinating in the men's room sinks."
Do they play electronic music at those games?
UPDATE: Sean Hackbarth has more on this.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's more on the Houston case, where lawsuits are proliferating like, well, lawsuits after a dumb mass-arrest. And The Comedian has this update.
THE KIRSTEIN AFFAIR IS COVERED OVER AT HISTORY NEWS NETWORK.
There's also a piece by Joyce Appleby on the Bush Administration's "radical bellicosity." The reader who sent the link says that it's "ripe for a Fisking," and a quick perusal suggests that he's right. Unfortunately, I'm headed for a faculty meeting and don't have time right now. ("I have a Fisking for that, but it is too long to include in the margin. . .") So I'll leave this as an exercise for the reader -- though I can't help noting that people who think the Administration's policy has been radically bellicose have little appreciation of what a response based on actual radical bellicosity would look like. Contrast, say, what Curtis LeMay would have done, with the Bush Administration's approach to get some idea of what I'm talking about.
UPDATE: Hmm. There seems to be some pretty good Fisking going on in the comments section at the bottom of Appleby's piece. Here are a couple of my favorite excerpts:
I find it odd that Prof. Appleby, who I am sure thinks of herself as progressive, would use John Randolph of Roanoke to support her position.
I wish you were right. I would very much prefer a world in which America could simply turn inward and "set an example." But choosing this option in the face of attacks already completed against us is choosing to submit to the will of our self-declared opponent.
Is Bush acting in a "radically bellicose" manner? Given our true capacity for mayhem, I'd say that he has acted with great restraint.
UPDATE: Geitner Simmons has discovered an Appleby / Bellesiles connection. Well, it's not really so surprising.
AMERICAN DIPLOMATS SOURING ON EUROPE?
Well, the Europeans may still be able to count on the sympathies and cultural deference of many East Coast journalists, but something has shifted among the diplomats, the think tanks and even many of the academics. At a think-tank meeting last week, when a European diplomat asked rather patronizingly what all these American weapons were actually for, a renowned liberal academic simply quoted Kipling's line about "Making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep." And then he turned on his heel and walked away.
When liberal academics start quoting Kipling, the world has changed. And the Europeans, as usual, are the last to figure it out.
POLICE HAVE SHUT DOWN TRAFFIC in downtown Washington, D.C. to investigate a suspicious truck.
MARGARET ATWOOD UPDATE: Porphyrogenitus has found that Martha Burk, currently busy trying to achieve gender integration at Augusta National, has made some fertility-control proposals of her own. Call it A Handmaid's Tale in reverse.
UPDATE: Here, via The Corner, is the article in question. Excerpt:
So how do we control men’s fertility? Mandatory contraception beginning at puberty, with the rule relaxed only for procreation under the right circumstances (he can afford it and has a willing partner) and for the right reasons (determined by a panel of experts, and with the permission of his designated female partner). This could be easily accomplished with a masculine version of the contraceptive implants some judges are now trying to force on some women by court order.
Controlling men’s fertility would not be a hard restriction to enforce. The fertility authorities could use a combination of punishments for men who failed to get the implants and for doctors who removed them without proper authorization. The men could be required to adopt one orphan per infraction and rear her or him until adulthood. The doctors, could lose their licences or, in extreme cases, go to prison.
Sounds pretty creepy to me. In the Corner post linked above, Kathryn Jean Lopez says that this is exaggeration for effect. Perhaps. But I can only imagine the response in, say, Ms. if some conservative male engaged in similar exaggeration where women's reproductive rights were concerned.
UPDATE: A bunch of people have emailed me this CNN transcript with this portion highlighted:
SCHLUSSEL: You wrote in Ms. Magazine where you believe in forced sterilization of men. And not only that, but you think that men should have to go before a committee before they have kids. That's worse than China.
CARLSON: Actually, Martha Burk, it's interesting...
BEGALA: Let her defend herself.
CARLSON: No, but I want to put it on the screen. We actually have the piece you talk about, how your moral code is offended by discrimination against women. You don't say -- you don't seem to be upset about women's colleges and the Girl Scouts.
I want to show you your article. It's entitled "Sperm Stops Here"...
BURK: In "Ms. Magazine."
CARLSON: ... in Ms. Magazine. "How do we control men's fertility?" Mandatory contraception beginning at puberty with the rule relaxed only for procreation under the right circumstances and for the right reasons, et cetera, et cetera."
Pretty authoritarian even by the standards of feminism.
BURK: Hey, if they're going to restrict abortion, buddy, we've got to do it this way.
However, if you scroll down, you do find her saying that it's a "spoof." No doubt, though with the likes of Burk it's hard to be sure sometimes. But I repeat my point above -- non-lefty white males aren't allowed such spoofs, which probably wouldn't even be printed in a mass-circulation magazine, and which would certainly produce an outpouring of indignation after the fact. It all goes back to Dale Amon's point that political sensitivity varies more with the speaker than with what's spoken.
WHILE I WAS AT THE GYM I saw Daniel Pipes on Fox. The caption was "PROFESSORS OF HATE," and Noam Chomsky appeared on the screen briefly. I don't know what was said (the captioning was off, and I didn't have my headphones) but I imagine it was along the lines of this oped.
I heard an NPR piece on antiwar protests a couple of weeks ago that suggested, rather hopefully, that college campuses would be the seedbed of a new anti-war movement. I don't think so. The reason is that American universities don't have the moral capital they had a generation ago. Back then they were seen as the responsible abode of the future elites, with many private schools still holding some lingering moral authority in the minds of many from their historically religious character. Deans and University Presidents were seen as responsible, thoughtful and patriotic: pillars of society in an entirely non-ironic sense. So campus opposition to the war meant something.
Now, however, the situation is different. We've seen universities squander their moral capital on decades of silly stuff, from free-Mumia causes celebre to P.C. idiocy and thuggishness, to open anti-Americanism, to -- as we've seen recently -- barely and reluctantly addressed instances of outright academic fraud.. What's more, a much greater percentage of America has actually been to college, experiencing these kinds of things firsthand. America's academic class is on the defensive, nowadays, and to a large degree it deserves to be.
The result is that I don't think the American academy is in a position to offer much moral leadership nowadays, on the war or anything else. And I don't think that what leadership it tries to offer is likely to be accepted. That's too bad, in a way, but when institutions persist in acting irresponsibly, people tend to view them with less respect.
CHILD EXPLOITATION IN BERKELEY? Hell, at least we're not seeing this there. Yet.
A PACK NOT A HERD: My TechCentralStation column is up. It has more on a citizen-based antiterrorism campaign.
The piece was written week before last, but got put back so that my paper-ballot column could run on election day. Otherwise I would have put in a reference to this post by Jim Henley, which elaborates on the "pack not a herd" theme that Jim coined, and which has some suggestions for TV producers, too.
UPDATE: Tough Times says Henley is wrong.
November 12, 2002
YESTERDAY I MENTIONED MICHELE NEWTON. Now I notice that her song "Broken Pavement" has risen to Number One on the Adult Alternative charts at MP3.com. Not bad.
A couple of people have emailed to ask me the about the history on this project, but it'll have to wait until tomorrow. I'm solo-parenting at the moment while my wife's away, and I'm beat.
UPDATE: A reader emails that he wasn't crazy about the tune, and that he then listened to another, randomly selected, band and didn't like it either. His conclusion: "Thus, MP3.com sucks."
Puhleez. If you randomly pull CDs out of the bins at Tower you won't like most of what you hear either. And with MP3.com (and similar sites), you get to hear the music for free. And even download it for free. So you won't ever do what I did recently with Groove Armada's latest, which is pay twenty bucks for something you only listen to once. Now that sucks.
ANOTHER VICTORY FOR THE COMMERCE CLAUSE: A New York law banning interstate wine sales has been struck down as a burden on interstate commerce. The so called "dormant commerce clause" has also recently been employed to strike down New York laws on tobacco and porn. Here's some general background.
UPDATE: Professor Brannon Denning writes to correct me, as I omitted the 21st amendment:
Though I like cheap liquor and wine as much as the next person, the NY decision and those like it (e.g., from TX and VA) are wrong, wrong, wrong. The 21st Amendment was intended, in large part, to remove the strictures of the dormant Commerce Clause doctrine from state regulation of liquor imported into their borders. Not only did "drys" want to make sure that Congress didn't repeal the Webb-Kenyon Act, but "wets," too, wanted to make sure that fundamentalists didn't get control of Congress and use the Commerce Clause to re-impose Prohibition.
If your readers are interested in the reasons why, steer them to my "Smokey and the Bandit in Cyberspace" article, still hanging fire at Constitutional Commentary.
I am proud that I have found one issue in which my strongly (and I mean *really* strongly held) personal beliefs point one way, and my research another. So proud, in fact, that I'm going to have another drink before I go to bed.
Brannon's right about the 21st Amendment -- though the governing caselaw is, by his lights, wrong, I believe.
IS BIN LADEN ALIVE? Maybe.
UPDATE: And then there's this to worry about.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Nelson Ascher suggests that even if he's alive, the preference for audio tapes might tell us something:
Is Osama alive? We don't know, obviously, but the goal of releasing a tape is to use it as proof that yes, he is. The main argument that has been used against this kind of vocal proof is to say that were he among the living, he could as easily have sent videos instead of audiotapes. But, what if he has been badly wounded, having had for instance his face desfigured or some limbs amputated? Then he surely wouldn't want us to see that some kind of punishment has already reached him, not at least before his own revenge, right? Well, maybe this could explain the lack of images.
Yeah. Personally, I'm quite skeptical of these tapes. As a sound engineer, I could put together a genuine-sounding tape pretty easily if I had access to a lot of genuine old tapes.
BRIAN LINSE just had his one-year blogiversary. A sometimes-obstreperous child, but cute as a bug's ear nonetheless.
I'M SHOCKED, SHOCKED, TO READ THIS:
When he brought these incidents to the attention of police, they requested--and he granted--permission to tap his home phone. UCLA installed a red panic button next to his desk, ensuring that campus cops could respond within minutes to any crisis in his office. The FBI even assigned an agent to track down his tormenters. (To date, they have not been found.) All of this might sound like the prelude to a textbook hate crime, but the Abou El Fadl case has a twist: The callers weren't angry white men accusing him of terrorist sympathies; they were fellow Muslim Americans accusing him of selling out the faith.
If you can't safely espouse a liberal Islam in the United States, where, exactly, can we expect it to catch on?
WHAT AM I? A POTTED PLANT?
Apparently. But, you know, I did write this piece taking the Bush Administration to task for not paying attention to federalism.
ARTHUR SILBER thinks you should donate money to bloggers like me. I think Arthur Silber is a very insightful and persuasive fellow. . . .
VIA BLOGCRITICS, I see that Creedence Clearwater Revival's works have been remastered ("brilliantly") and I'm going to have to go order the whole set now.
John Fogerty rules, but with Creedence the whole was more than the sum of the parts. I think they're the greatest -- and most thoroughly American -- American rock and roll band.
UPDATE: Reader Joel Nickelson writes:
I would add that for people of my age group (late 20's and early 30's) who grew up on punk and independent rock in the 1980's, Creedence resonated like no other band of their era. If there was a common denominator that various isolated punks across the country could understand, that would be Creedence. Not Bruce, not Dylan, not even the Velvet Underground who always seemed too influential to uncynically embrace. For a while there it seemed we might have had our own Creedence in The Minutemen were not for the death of
D. Boon in the mid 80's.
A final note: Creedence is most certainly the finest driving music there is. There is some techno from Detroit that comes close for me as well, but techno irritates too many people for that to be a commonly accepted sentiment. Well, that's their loss.
I agree on all counts.
PETER CARNLEY, the Primate of Australia's Anglican Church, is Fisked to within an inch of his life by Christian blogger Martin Roth.
I'M OFF TO TAKE MY DAUGHTER TO BROWNIES. Back later. In the meantime, there's a lot of good stuff on censorship and political correctness at places like Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Tennessee over at The Volokh Conspiracy. Just keep scrolling.
UPDATE: Hmm. "Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Tennessee." Maybe our new President and Provost aren't really suffering from an advanced case of political correctness -- maybe they just promised the Board of Trustees that soon people would be mentioning UT in the same sentence as Harvard and Stanford. . . .
ANDREW SULLIVAN thinks the GOP would be crazy to make a big deal out of abortion in January.
UPDATE: Charles Oliver writes: "Once again, Bush shows himself to be a smarter politician than many give him credit for. And Lott shows himself to be as dumb as many of us believe."
MORE UNREST IN IRAN. I think the mullahs' days are numbered.
MAYBE THESE GUYS CAN GET A JOB AT HARVARD. Or here at UT. A showing of the Pearl Harbor movie Tora! Tora! Tora! in San Pedro has been blocked by the city on the ground that it's insensitive to Japanese Americans:
While there was a previous theater booking for Dec. 7, according to theater manager Lee Sweet of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, which manages the facility, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn concluded that the event would have been insensitive to the Japanese-American community.
“I wanted to be very sensitive to the Japanese-American community,” Hahn said. “Dec. 7 is a tough day, especially for the second and third generations of Japanese-Americans. Why do we want to do something that makes it more difficult?” The showing was planned this year to take the place of the Fort MacArthur Military Museum’s annual Pearl Harbor Day observance. . . .
After that, volunteers said, city officials told them two weeks ago that the event couldn’t be held because it might be offensive to members of the Japanese-American community.
Hahn, who was asked to intervene on the museum’s behalf to show the film on Dec. 7, said that after talking with Japanese-American friends, including state Assemblyman George Nakano, D-Torrance, she agreed with the city’s concerns. . . .
Hahn said she’s taken lots of heat for the decision, but still thinks the program would be inappropriate on the anniversary of the attack.
“People here lost their property, they lost their families, right here in San Pedro,” she said of the local Japanese-American community. “My father was a veteran of the war, and I was raised to be very supportive of veterans. I just wanted to be very sensitive to the Japanese-American community.”
Hmm. Can this possibly be as dumb as it sounds?
UPDATE: Bill Hobbs emails:
Hahn's email address is
And here's the link on Amazon to the Tora Tora Tora DVD. Some of the reviews are interesting.
It gets rather a lot of praise for fairness. And reader Greg Lester points out:
Yes, it is as dumb as it sounds.
What's more astounding about the decision not to screen Tora! Tora! Tora! is that it was a joint Japanese/American production.
That's like not showing Das Boot because it may offend German-Americans whose families were detained.
What is it with these people?
THE NEW YORK TIMES is opening its source code to readers, according to this report.
JAY CARUSO WONDERS if Nancy Pelosi's celebrated closeness to Jack Valenti and the entertainment industry will lead the GOP to stand up for consumer rights in digital entertainment. He concludes:
The GOP should take note of this. They could easily make a case for the 'little guy' in the fight for fair use. Let them make Democrats on national television defend practices that have sent others to jail. Ask them if they want consumers to have to purchase two copies of the same CD so they can listen to it on a stereo and a computer. Ask them if they want a CD crashing their PC.
It's an issue the GOP could easily win.
I agree, of course.
HARVARD HAS CANCELLED the appearance of terrorist-sympathizing poet Tom Paulin: "The English Department sincerely regret the widespread consternation that has arisen as a result of this invitation, which had been originally decided on last winter solely on the basis of Mr. Paulin's lifetime accomplishments as a poet."
(Via Jacob T. Levy). He must have published a cartoon criticizing the Administration, or something.
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS has the definitive response to those who disparage "armchair generals" and "chickenhawks:"
My wife is not of military age, and there is little chance of a draft for mothers. Are her views on Iraq therefore disqualified from utterance? And what about older comrades who can no longer shoulder a gun? What about friends of mine who are physically disabled? Should their expertise—often considerable—be set aside because they can't ram it home with a bayonet?
There are some further unexamined implications of this stupid tactic. It is said, for example, that someone like former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey has more right to pronounce on a war than someone who avoided service in Vietnam. Well, last year Kerrey was compelled to admit that he had led a calamitous expedition into a Vietnamese village and had been responsible for the slaughter of several children and elderly people. (He chose to be somewhat shady about whether this responsibility was direct or indirect.) Do I turn to such a man for advice on how to deal with Saddam Hussein? The connection is not self-evident, more especially since, as far as I am aware, Kerrey knows no more about Iraq than I know about how to construct a chess-playing computer.
I can't help but feel that if it were Republicans arguing that only those with military experience are entitled to opine about war they'd be accused of fascism, sexism, and excessive enthusiasm for Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers.
BELLESILES UPDATE: A new article over at History News Network says that the investigative committee was too circumspect in its report (actually, the article accuses the committee of "cowardice"):
Using such tactical maneuvers, the committee avoided its main goal, which could have easily been met. The report furnishes ample proof of fraud by almost any conceivable standard lower than conclusive proof. Even the most restrictive intent category found in the Model Penal Code (1962) would have been satisfied in some instances by the overwhelming case against Bellesiles. (That category-purpose-means that the actual result of the conduct is the actor's conscious object, § 2.02(2)(a)(i).) The committee should have found that Bellesiles intentionally committed fraud of some kind, under both a preponderance of the evidence standard and under a reasonable doubt standard. This is not to say that Bellesiles actually did commit fraud. It is to say that, given the committee's own findings, the committee should have drawn the conclusion most commensurate with its own evidence, in this case a conclusion of fraud of some kind. . . .
But this fact's significance goes beyond Bellesiles; it implicates the forthrightness of the committee itself. Having found a subject on which Ulrich is much more familiar than Bellesiles, and with a cover-up story the report says could not possibly be true, it is amazing that it did not conclude that he had lied. The case for fraud is clear.
There's much more.
THE F.B.I. IS ATTACKING THE B.A.T.F. in a scathing report, according to The New York Times:
The unsigned report accuses counterparts at the firearms agency of poor training for agents, dangerous handling of explosives at crime scenes and efforts to control cases outside its jurisdiction. The report cites examples from the recent sniper investigation, terrorism inquiries, the Salt Lake City Olympics and other prominent cases pursued by both agencies.
"Due to the A.T.F.'s lack of strategic vision and sole jurisdiction mission," the report says, "they have `crept' into areas beyond their mandate."
Agents from the firearms agency who have seen the document said that they were outraged and that the accusations were unfounded.
"I'm appalled at the shots the F.B.I. is taking at us," said Art Gordon, a 27-year veteran at the agency and its representative to the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.
The suggestion is that this is an effort to preempt a law-enforcement reorganization that might combine the two agencies. This kind of turf-protection, of course, serves to strengthen the case for a reorganization: one in which a lot of turf-conscious managers lose their jobs.
And while the ATF has serious problems, certainly the FBI is in no position to throw stones.
READER CECIL TURNER WRITES that this is the best anti-war argument that he's seen:
The gist is that we should focus on Al Qaeda, contain Iraq, and avoid making new enemies among Arabs. It's wrong--suggesting there is no collusion between Iraq and terrorists, and that Islamist attacks are limited by depth of feeling rather than military capability--but at least it's coherent.
But the big question: why did I have to go to a conservative website to find it?
UPDATE: Reader Chris Wyatt points out this article in The New Yorker as something Turner should be reading. And The Pontificator, a blog I wasn't familiar with, sends this link.
CENSORSHIP AT HARVARD? Will these people ever learn?
Like most campus censorship incidents, this seems to be inspired by some administrator's fear of bad publicity. And, as usual, the censorship is generating more bad publicity than the original event ever could have. If I were thinking of applying to Harvard Business School, this would be a major turnoff. It would be an even bigger turnoff if I were thinking of donating to Harvard Business School. Here's my favorite part:
The words “incompetent morons,” which appear in one of the pop-up windows, provoked administrative response when HBS Career Service Officer Matthew S. Merrick told senior administrators that he felt offended by the phrase, according to HBS Senior Associate Dean Walter C. Kester.
Hmm. "Offended" is a PC term of art. But why does it apply here? Is this because he is a moron, and thus finds the term offensive to a group to which he belongs? (It's offensive to "moron-Americans!") Or is it that he doesn't like being called incompetent, which would seem to be a fair criticism given persistent computer problems? Either way, this is awfully thin-skinned. How can people operating in this kind of a culture turn out CEOs capable of operating in the real world, where "incompetent moron" is pretty low on the insult totem pole?
UPDATE: A reader emails that the very fact of this censorship scandal proves the cartoon right:
So the cartoonist at Harvard was right! The administration at the Harvard Business School ARE "incompetent morons"--and downright mean too. Truth ought to be a defense to any disciplinary action for calling them "incompetent morons."
Sounds fair to me.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Of course, it's okay to offend people at Harvard by saying that Jews "should be shot dead," and that you can understand suicide bombers. As Best of the Web noted, Harvard is having Oxford poet Tom Paulin in to discuss his views on these subjects, which certainly offend me. "Incompetent morons," indeed. Or something worse. (NOTE: Paulin has been disinvited. See this post, above.)
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader King Tower writes that they're incompetent, lying morons:
As with many of these campus censorship matters, the administraction is weakly backtracking without, of course, admitting any error. Along these lines, I have to take issue with the Crimson's acquiesence in Mr. Kester's attempt to deflect blame onto some amorphous "miscommunication." The article reads:
Miscommunication between the deans on the subject seems to be part of the issue. "We all agreed to say nothing that could be construed as intervening with
the content of the paper, or the content of articles regarding Career Services," said Kester. "We wanted to narrowly focus our message on the impact of those two words."
What Mr. Kester apprently fails to recognize is that "those two words" [incompetent morons] WERE the content of the paper. In fact, intervening with the paper's content is exactly what the administration was trying to do. Whether there was confusion over the degree to which the poor student editor was to have his educational prospects threatened is beside the point -- Mr. Kester's chosen agent delivered precisely the content-based, chilling message that Mr. Kestner intended.
This seems right to me. The other possibility, of course, is that they're telling the truth and that "communications problems" at a premier school of management have led to public humiliation. That makes them look like, well, incompetent morons. Adding to the humiliation, TAPPED and The Corner have joined in bipartisan disapproval.
STILL MORE: Eugene Volokh weighs in:
The funny thing is that, at least based on my experience of universities and graduate schools, counter-speech is a highly effective reaction to offensive speech (much more so than in public debate generally). Students generally respect the administration, especially when the administration says sensible things -- "name-calling is juvenile," "how do you think this makes the career services staff feel?," "do you think this is good training for your future life in the business world?," "the people around you will be potential future business partners and employers; do you want them to remember you as rude, juvenile, and irresponsible?" But, no, that's somehow not good enough for the administration, which (assuming, of course, that the Harvard Crimson's account is correct) seems to insist on threatening administrative sanctions where moral leadership would work much better.
Volokh is right to demand moral leadership from academic administrators. But he's optimistic to expect it. It certainly isn't evident in this case.
ONE MORE UPDATE: N.Z. Bear calls Harvard's behavior "thuggish" and offers some observations from his own experience editing an Ivy League student paper.
This whole thing must be giving Larry Summers heartburn.
THE EVER-VIGILANT MICKEY KAUS has noticed Bruce Fein's statement that even a conservative Supreme Court won't overturn Roe v. Wade because such an action would be "too wrenching."
I think that's true as far as it goes, but there's more to it than that. Ironically, the very pressure that the Court has faced for the past three decades makes it less likely to overturn Roe, since doing so sends a signal that if you don't like what the Court does, just demonstrate on its front steps and it will change. That has to give even anti-Roe judges pause. Right now the flak the Court gets over abortion is largely sui generis, but if it looks like such pressure will produce a change in the Court's behavior, lots of other people will come out of the woodwork to give that approach a try on their own pet issues.
As a result -- despite what I read from some lefty commentator or other -- I don't think we're "just a few years away from The Handmaid's Tale" as a result of the midterm elections. That's especially so given that many Republicans have figured out that pushing hard on abortion is a political loser that blows up in their face whenever they try it, much as gun control does for the Democrats.
In fact, I think -- and Bruce Fein says this -- that a strategy of incrementalism is more likely. I think that Bush appointees will be more likely to uphold restrictions that don't directly trench on Roe, and of course some controversial restrictions, like partial-birth abortion bans, don't conflict with Roe anyway. (Though, as Dave Kopel and I have written, Congress lacks constitutional power to regulate abortion itself entirely aside from Roe's limitations, meaning that such regulations would have to come from the states).
Even a greater willingness on the part of the federal courts to uphold abortion restrictions, however, won't actually produce such restrictions unless politicians are prepared to get behind them. Some will be, especially at the state level, but many won't be -- and efforts at the state level will still have to contend with state constitutional protections for abortion, like Tennessee's, that can't be overturned by federal judges anyway.
As a result, I think we're a long way from The Handmaid's Tale.
BILL HOBBS IS FACT-CHECKING an article on Internet sales and sales tax from the Nashville City Paper. Interesting. And go here, or scroll up, for more.
CATHY YOUNG REPORTS on the women's groups that are opposed to domestic-violence outreach programs, and the politics behind their stance.
November 11, 2002
ANOTHER SENSIBLE STATEMENT BY AN IVY LEAGUE PRESIDENT about divestment, this one from Penn's President Judith Rodin. And there's this passage, which I wish my own University's Administration would read:
Finally, we all should recognize that neither Penn nor any other institution has the power to ban hatred; rather, we believe that the appropriate role of an academic institution is to counter hatred and intimidation by empowering our students with the knowledge, self-confidence, and critical thinking skills they need to defeat hate.
HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU: Make sure the gun is unloaded before you put it away! Then check it again when you take it out!
I BRAG ON HOSTINGMATTERS from time to time. I'm not the only one. Stacy and Robyn of Sekimori were so happy with the special services they got in support of their charity drive that they designed this cool retro-scifi-horror template for Annette's blog.
HERE'S AN ARTICLE putting law professor / blogger Eugene Volokh on the short list for a Supreme Court appointment.
Eugene would certainly get my vote, but I suspect that the Senate would consider him a bit young for the job.
You know, though, Bush could throw the Democrats in the Senate into a tizzy by appointing, say, Randy Barnett -- a law professor from Boston University with experience as a criminal prosecutor, whose pro-choice credentials would confuse Democrats, as would his pro-gun credentials. As far as I'm concerned, it would be worth it just for the confusion it would create.
UPDATE: Alex Knapp emails:
I know you mentioned it as kind of a throwaway idea, but I think that Barnett would make one helluva Supreme Court Justice. Hell, arguments between Barnett, Thomas, and Scalia over what originalism really means alone would insure one of the most intellectually stimulating Courts ever. Saw Barnett at last years Federalist Society conference last year and loved hearing him trash Bork on the Ninth Amendment. I swear one or two of the more sensitive conservatives fainted.
I'd love to see it.
ERIC ALTERMAN'S COLUMN ON GEORGE BUSH IN THE NATION has generated some responses. Here's one from Howard Owens, and there are a bunch on the letters page at Romenesko (just keep scrolling).
I'VE MENTIONED A FEW TIMES that I was working on remastering some songs by Michele Newton. They're up on the web now here, and they're worth a listen. I especially like the title song, "Broken Pavement," (direct link here.) I don't usually go for the girl-with-a-guitar stuff, but the singing and songwriting are so very strong here that I can't help myself. I found the songs staying in my head for a long, long time after we recorded them, and coming back perfectly when I started the remastering. That's always a good sign.
ARMED LIBERAL has some advice for the Democrats. Whoever replaces Terry McAuliffe should hire him. Or at least read his blog daily.
FRESH FROM A FREE-SPEECH VICTORY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, F.I.R.E. is now targeting the University of Tennessee. Well, as I say below, that's what happens when you abandon the defense of free speech that is supposed to be at the core of a University's mission.
Interestingly, further down the page I discovered that Tennessee's current President, John Shumaker, was involved in a similar incident at the University of Louisville, where he was President before coming to Tennessee. Shumaker hasn't, to my knowledge, played much of a role in these events at Tennessee, but this is interesting background. I also learned that the whole affair has made Fox News's Tongue Tied feature on political correctness, which I had missed.
All that I can say is that I've gotten a number of emails on this subject from alumni and fellow academics, and not a single one has supported the University's actions. So far, it's a public-relations debacle.
"PROGRESSIVE GOLD" may sound like one of those trademarks the tobacco companies allegedly registered in anticipation of marijuana legalization, but it's actually a content-aggregation site featuring excerpts from lefty blogs.
Uh, but guys, that should be "TEC-9-toting, power-drunk nepotists and megalomaniacs" -- not "TEK-9." Just so you know.
BILL QUICK JUST ANNOUNCED THAT HE'S DECIDED TO QUIT BLOGGING. I'm speechless.
READER RACHEL CUNLIFFE sends this link to a moving post on Remembrance Day.
MY HOUSE ESCAPED THE TORNADOES, to Atrios' undoubted dismay, but they did rather a lot of damage in the area and have killed an undetermined but substantial number of people. When you hear tornado warnings, pay attention.
A CRIME TO DISAGREE WITH THE DECISIONS OF INTERNATIONAL COURTS? Eugene Volokh comments on the latest European anti-free-speech initiative. And people say Ashcroft is an enemy of free speech? Sadly, if you scroll down you'll see Eugene Volokh note that there are people here at the University of Tennessee who think the same way.
KEN LAYNE IS BACK!
ERIC ALTERMAN is accused of trivializing Down's syndrome. Er, okay.
UPDATE: Reader Joaquim Machado sends this link and points out something I should have noticed: "Alterman was trivializing Down's Syndrome only to those who do not know what an extra "Y" chromosome signifies."
INTERESTING PIECE ON TURKEY in The New Yorker. Here's a passage that leapt out at me:
Like the subjects of all former empires, we look at the United States with awe and disgust.
Envy, in other words. This is actually a real problem: Not only in Turkey (which many Turks still think of as a former empire, even if most Americans don't) but in France, Russia, Germany, even Britain, to some degree. Bad enough that the United States exercises such power, but by doing so it reminds them of their own failures. Here's a spot-on observation:
"I have no hangups about the United States," Nuri Colakoglu said. "It's a one-superpower world, and that is a fact. Russia is dead. Japan is in perennial economic crisis. Germany is trying still to deal with reunification. England is a bygone era. There is no one except the United States. Being alone is hard. If you fine-tune your policies, you can create a peace that could last a long time. But, if not, an opposition front will grow over time, and it will develop alliances and counter the existing supremacy."
The question, of course, is what "fine-tuning" will mean.
SOME STUDENTS HERE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE are pushing for a ban on "racist" speech even though such a ban "technically violates the First Amendment."
Actually, there's nothing "technical" about it. I'm quite disappointed that some students are taking this tack. (I'm even more disappointed that some of them are law students, from the Black Law Students Association, whose faculty advisor I was for a while). I hope that the University will have the good sense not to listen to them. If not, well, then it will deserve the inevitable lawsuits and bad publicity.
INTERESTING STORY ON SPECIAL FORCES by Peter Maass.
HANNA ROSIN on the anti-semitism of the anti-Israel campus divestment movement:
There should be a way to design a movement objecting to Israel's policies that is free of anti-Semitism. There even ought to be a legitimate way to object to Israel's very existence on purely political grounds. But so far, it seems, no one has managed to do it.
Yes, that pretty much says it all. On the other hand, there appears to be an epidemic of good sense among Ivy League university presidents, as this statement by Lee Bollinger, Columbia's President, indicates:
As President of Columbia, however, I want to state clearly that I will not lend any support to this proposal. The petition alleges human rights abuses and compares Israel to South Africa at the time of apartheid, an analogy I believe is both grotesque and offensive.
"Both grotesque and offensive." Indeed.
JAMES LILEKS WRITES on why right-wingers (according to The New Yorker) disapprove of interracial friendships:
Explicitly racial attacks on Rice and Powell from the left - be it Belafonte or the radio host in Florida - are irrelevant, since the left at its heart believes in goodness for Blacks in general. The “right wing” puts up with Rice, but when they get together to sew sheets and pre-soak the cross wood with lighter fluid, you have to know her name comes up.
The other day I was talking with a Democrat friend about the election. She’d remarked, with equal amounts of sarcasm and good-natured ribbing, that the GOP had two years to build utopia. I thought about that later while walking Jasper around the block, and thought, no; they’re not about building utopia. Personally, I’m interested in keeping other people from building Utopia, because the more your believe you can create heaven on earth the more likely you are to set up guillotines in the public square to hasten the process. But we were exploring her opposition to the GOP, and she mentioned “Home schoolers, the religious right. They drive me nuts.”
There's more. Read it.
BILL HOBBS, who covers Tennessee politics so I don't have to, says that it's now becoming clear that the income tax issue impacted the election. I'm sort of surprised to see Tennessee writers on the subject ignoring the Massachusetts anti-income tax initiative's staggeringly high margin.
UPDATE: Frank Cagle reports that Democrat Phil Bredesen won the governorship because of support from East Tennessee Republicans. Cagle -- who managed the campaign of Bredesen's opponent, Van Hilleary -- isn't happy about that, but this certainly underscores the point I made earlier that Democrats elsewhere could learn from Bredesen's campaign. I also note that Bredesen made a strong push for rural voters, which many Democratic strategists have said is a waste of time. But it seems to have paid off for him. Here's what I said about Hilleary and Bredesen shortly before the election.
GLOBAL WARMING: GOOD FOR BUSINESS? Here's a claim that it will cause the Northwest Passage to open up, shortening the sea route from Europe to Asia by a staggering 6,800 miles. Woohoo!
I don't know how much to believe this, and I don't suggest that this means global warming would be all good. But it does indicate that climate change has both up- and down-sides.
SPINSANITY says the press needs to be harder on the Bush Administration's "dissembling."
NICE VETERANS' DAY POSTS from Geitner Simmons and MeanDean. And Sgt. Stryker suggests that we pay a visit here. J.D. Wetterling, meanwhile, offers a tale of heroism. And don't miss SKBubba's post, even though he did jump the gun and put it up yesterday.
UPDATE: Here are some more links, courtesy of the Taco Shop.
MAN, THAT KARL ROVE doesn't miss a trick.
AFGHAN REFUGEES DEFRAUDING THE U.N. -- by taking "repatriation money" and then, sensibly, not going back. James Morrow reports on his reaction.
I think that it's actually a bad thing that these people aren't going back. Afghanistan needs its expats. But I'm not surprised that the U.N. has blown it. Unfortunately, the division of labor in which the United States handles military stuff, while the U.N. and Europe handle the humanitarian and rebuilding work afterwards, doesn't seem to work. Those guys can't handle that job either.
In fact, Chris Patten is blocking an investigation of how Arafat has diverted "humanitarian aid" to support terrrorism. I suspect that such an investigation would show that the diversion happened with the knowledge, and tacit approval, of the EU leadership. And it sounds as if Patten has more than a mere suspicion of that himself.
(Patten story via William Sjostrom, who has a lot of good stuff today).
BLOGGER ERNEST MILLER (of LawMeme) has an oped in the L.A. Times on copy-protection, etc. Excerpt:
What would you think if you had to get permission from the architect before you could have your house painted another color? How would you feel if the photographer had to agree with your selection of a frame for a favorite photograph? What if the director of a movie could decide when it was OK for you to fast-forward through a DVD you had rented?
Sounds crazy? The last example is now the crux of a lawsuit brought by the Directors Guild of America against a number of companies that make DVD-playing software.
What has the DGA up in arms is the emergence of new technology that controls the playback of DVDs so that they can be enhanced with additional material, such as audio commentary by a film historian, or allows parents to filter out content they feel is inappropriate for their children.
In the words of DGA President Martha Coolidge: "They are taking films and using technology to alter them without permission from either their directors or their copyright holders."
These guys don't just think they own their movies. They think they own you.
UPDATE: Reader Michael Melton observes: "And this lawsuit comes from those who will change the beginning, middle, end and every other part of a book they turn into a movie." Boy, isn't that the truth!
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Mark Baker adds: "Not only are these directors objecting to how I view movies in my home, but they're probably the same ones creating special editions and then not allowing me to view the original on DVD if I so desire."
Yep. Those would be the guys.
MICKEY KAUS thinks the Democrats' search for "new ideas" is doomed. I'm not so sure. (Hey, I told you it was Gary Hart's moment!).
Kaus also has comments on what he calls Cass Sunstein's "spectacularly weak" oped on the dangers of (conservative) judicial activism in the New York Times. There's also more on that topic over at The Volokh Conspiracy: just keep scrolling.
ANDREW SULLIVAN points out the combination of ignorance and misplaced moralism that makes up much of today's left, with examples from Adam Clymer and Bill Moyers. He also mentions Garrison Keillor and Tom Paulin as examples of something worse.
November 10, 2002
JEN TALIAFERRO says that the election was a mandate for warbloggers. Dr. Weevil, on the other hand, thinks the anti-warbloggers deserve some credit, too.
Personally, I rather doubt that bloggers of any variety had much to do with the election results.
MARK STEYN IS LEARNING TO LOVE "ROPE-A-DOPE"
So I have the opposite problem with Mr Bush from The Guardian and Le Monde: because he's insufficiently trigger-happy, I underestimated him. When his judicial nominees were bottled up by Democrat obstructionist ideologues, I wanted him to do to Vermont Senator Pat Leahy what Clinton did to Newt Gingrich: destroy the guy. Instead, Bush looked at a handful of vulnerable Democrat Senate seats in Missouri, Minnesota and elsewhere, and slyly moved them into play.
The result is that the judiciary committee is now back in Republican hands, and Senator Leahy's got a one-way ticket on the oblivion express. Mr Bush has destroyed the guy without ever having to say a word about him. Meanwhile, all the states the Dems specifically targeted - from Florida to New Hampshire - are more Republican than ever. I was wrong. The Bush way is more effective.
You've got to admire a pundit who can admit when he's wrong.
MALVO IS TALKING:
In the interviews after he was transferred to Fairfax County on Thursday, Malvo, 17, told investigators that the shootings were well planned and involved scouting missions. Sources said that Malvo described himself and his partner as behaving like soldiers: Using two-way radios, one would be a lookout and communicate with the other.
If conditions, such as traffic, were not right, they would not shoot, Malvo told investigators. They deliberately hopped from jurisdiction to jurisdiction to create confusion, and they watched the news coverage of their crimes, the sources said.
HERE'S A POLL saying that the Wellstone memorial really did hurt the Democrats, not just in Minnesota but nationally.
NATION VS. NATION: Katha Pollitt writes:
[Y]ou've offered a view of those who oppose Bush's military plans that is seriously at odds with reality: The antiwar movement equals the left and the left equals the followers of Ramsey Clark, defender of Slobodan Milosevic and assorted Hutu genocidaires and other thugs, who is the founder of the International Action Center, which is closely linked to ANSWER, a front for the Workers World Party. Your picture of the big antiwar demo in October could have come straight out of David Horowitz's column: "100,000 Communists March on Washington to Give Aid and Comfort to Saddam Hussein."
Now, it is a fact that ANSWER called the big demonstration in Washington, it arranged for the permits, organized many buses and brought on all those speakers no one listens to. That's not the same as controlling the movement--99 percent of the people who go to those demonstrations don't even know ANSWER exists.
Compare this with what David Corn wrote:
This was no accident, for the demonstration was essentially organized by the Workers World Party, a small political sect that years ago split from the Socialist Workers Party to support the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. The party advocates socialist revolution and abolishing private property. It is a fan of Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba, and it hails North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il for preserving his country’s “socialist system,” which, according to the party’s newspaper, has kept North Korea “from falling under the sway of the transnational banks and corporations that dictate to most of the world.” The WWP has campaigned against the war-crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. A recent Workers World editorial declared, “Iraq has done absolutely nothing wrong.”
Officially, the organizer of the Washington demonstration was International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism). But ANSWER is run by WWP activists, to such an extent that it seems fair to dub it a WWP front.
Pollitt does mention Corn's piece, and says that he exaggerates ANSWER's role. But she doesn't actually say why, and I think it rather weakens her argument that Hitchens (and by extension, Corn) is wrong about the anti-war movement. Having said that, her piece is civil and sincere, and worth reading.
UPDATE: Reader Sameer Parekh writes:
It was interesting to read Katha Pollitt's remarks about the anti-war movement. She raises potentially valid points. However, living in San Francisco, speaking from experience, everyone I have spoken to who is against the war falls into the anti-american/anti-capitalist category. I have yet to meet someone against the war whose rationale against going to war doesn't logically conclude with supporting socialist dictators and exterminating the Jews. That's clearly only anecdotal evidence, maybe there is a vast silent majority of anti-war people who don't fit into that category. I have yet to meet them.
Yes, like the anti-Israel-but-not-anti-semitic supporters of Arafat, the category of pro-American, pro-capitalist peace protesters is logically possible, but admits of relatively few actual instances.
VIOLENCE MARS ANTI-WAR RALLY:
Brussels - A protest against war in Iraq turned violent on Sunday in Brussels when dozens of youths clashed with police and attacked American-owned businesses.
Up to 100 masked rioters, many of them of Arab origin, broke away from the main body of other antiwar protesters who were marching through the city centre.
The rioters hurled stones at businesses and police, who responded with baton charges. Photographers and TV camera operators were also targeted by the rioters.
Windows were broken at a McDonald's fast-food restaurant and at a Marriot hotel, as well as a local temporary employment agency. . . .
About 2 000 protesters comprising pro-Palestinian and anticapitalist groups joined the demonstration led by a banner reading "Stop USA".
These guys aren't "peace" protesters. They're just the enemy.
(Via Martin Devon).
I'M BLOGGING ON THE WIRELESS on battery power. We're under our second tornado warning of the evening; I barely got the computers shut down before the power went out the first time. It was brief, but after last summer's lightning damage (which at least made Atrios happy) I'm taking no chances.
ANTI-SEMITISM AT THE FLORENCE "ANTIWAR PROTESTS:" James Morrow has the scoop on signs that bespeak not a desire for peace, but a hatred of Jews and America and a desire for the other side to win.
People who want the other side to win aren't "peace protesters." The traditional term for people who want the other side to win is "the enemy." And, at the very least, in a war you don't accord much moral stature to what the enemy wants.
A LITTLE EARLY FOR VETERANS' DAY, but only a little: SKBubba has posted a lengthy Veterans' Day tribute. And isn't today the Marine Corps' birthday?
UPDATE: Yes, it is! Happy birthday, USMC.
PUNDITWATCH IS UP! Also check out these observations on Condi Rice's appearance on This Week from Joe User.
If that doesn't keep you amused during my afternoon absence, you can check out this bloggers bare boobies for charity page. No, really, that's what it is.
JIM BENNETT ASKS: Who's laughing now? He also suggests that Bush's crew needs to be looking at relations with Europe as it tries to craft a "legacy:"
Bush and his team, once they are able to take a long view, should meditate on the fact that America's relations with almost any given European nation are more amicable, cooperative, and productive on a bilateral basis than they are with Europe collectively, that is, with the European Union. A real legacy must treat a dogmatic devotion to the EU as one more fixed idea, such as past notions about litigation, taxation, or international organizations, that must be re-examined, and if needed, reversed.
If Europe is really to become the rival hegemon and power bloc its enthusiasts predict, it makes sense for America to blunt this rivalry by making a generous alternative offer to compatible nations such as Britain and Ireland. If, on the other hand, Europe is about to sink into a demographic, structural, and fiscal crisis, as analysis suggests, then it likewise makes sense for America to buffer itself from this catastrophe by rescuing the nations, again Britain and Ireland, that hold the lion's share of American financial interests.
These European issues are likely to become most aggravated in the 2005-2009 time frame. Coincidentally, this is likely to be exactly the period in which the Bush team will be addressing its legacy issues.
Indeed. I think that we should also consider trying to draw Turkey into the NAFTA orbit as an alternative to Turkish EU membership.
GERRY ADAMS: OSAMA'S SOUL BROTHER? I think he belongs in jail, myself.
UPDATE: Moira Breen says she's "appalled" that Adams is raising money in the United States. She should be. And the United States government should be embarrassed.
GEE, D'YA THINK? "Poll suggests public credits Bush popularity, handling of Iraq as keys to Republican election success."
TIM BLAIR FISKS a U.K. Observer piece on the U.S. elections, observing: "IT'S NOT enough for The UK Observer's Will Hutton that people vote. They must vote the correct way, otherwise it's a Dark Day for Democracy." Indeed.
JAMES RUMMEL has some thoughts about the way St. Xavier University has handled Prof. Peter Kirstein's nasty email to an Air Force cadet. I thik Rummel is right. Here's an excerpt from his post, which I'm making lengthier than otherwise because, well, it's on Blogger/Blogspot and God knows if it'll be there when you follow the link later:
Everybody's missing something, though. The President of St. Xavier University is a guy named Richard Yanikoski, and right now he probably feels like the bug under the microscope. One day he wakes up, kisses his significant other on the cheek on his way to the office, only to find that a real blizzard o' crap is waiting for him when he gets there. What went through his mind that day? What would go through the mind of any of us in his shoes?
"Gee, what the heck did I do to deserve this abuse?"
We've seen the brass at universities close ranks and act like horse's backsides themselves the last few years. Think the way that the administration at SFSU ignored the riot caused by pro-Palestinian protestors, or the way Emory dragged it's feet and hoped that the Bellesiles scandal would just fade away. But that's not what Mr. Yanikoski did. He looked in to the matter and saw what was going on. Instead of closing ranks and ignoring things he took action. The horse's backside has apologized to the cadet that he wronged. Mr. Yanikoski, an innocent man caught up in something he knew nothing about, has also expressed his regrets.
People are too involved in this, angry and emotional. Not only are they expressing outrage to the horse's backside but they're also venting some spleen into Mr. Yanikoski's Email tray. Even though he must be under enormous pressure, he's refused to discuss any disciplinary action that he might take. Not only is this the policy of St. Xavier but it's the right thing to do. After all, everybody might want to know what the consequences are for being a total ass, but we aren't the injured party and we really don't need to know.
If you agree with me please Email Mr. Yanikoski at email@example.com and give him an "attaboy". I think it's important for the people in the ivory tower to learn that there's a price to pay for being a jerk. I don't think that someone should pay a price for trying to do the right thing when he's got a jerk working for them.
As I say, I think Rummel's right here. This isn't academic fraud, it's a rude email. I think it was important that a lot of people pointed out just how rude it was in unmistakable terms. I think that demanding that St. Xavier University fire Kirstein is too much, and rude emails aimed at the University's President do little good and even detract from the point.
THINKING OF LEAVING BLOGGER/BLOGSPOT? Here are some thoughts on different platforms.
The complaints about the difficulty of installing Movable Type may be on-target. I wouldn't know because Stacy Tabb helped me with it and made the whole move virtually painless. But the MT folks will install it on your server for a token fee, and some hosting companies will do that, as part of their package. (I think Bloggerzone does).
I still think that for people who are just starting a blog the Blogger/Blogspot combination is a great way to start. But once you're up and running and have decided to get serious, the notion of shifting to something else becomes more appealing.