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February 21, 2004

AND PEOPLE WONDER WHY THE NEW YORK TIMES HAS CREDIBILITY ISSUES? Compare this quote from the Times a couple of weeks ago:

"I don't think I could vote for George Bush again when I think of the 500 people killed in Iraq and what's happened to the economy in this country," said George Meagher, an independent, who runs the American Military Museum in Charleston and said he now favors Mr. Kerry.

with this quote from today:

George Meagher, a Republican who founded and now runs the American Military Museum in Charleston, S.C., said he threw his "heart and soul" into the Bush campaign four years ago. . . . "People like me, we're all choking a bit at not supporting the president. But when I think about 500 people killed and what we've done to Iraq."

This looks suspiciously like the same quote, recycled and relabeled. But thanks to the Internet, we can fact-check your ass. (Originally spotted here, with what I think is an appropriate comment: "Shame on the NYTimes....but then, it says alot that they have to keep interviewing the same guy over and over for different stories, to gather the right soundbite.") Or, more likely, recycling the original quote in a different story.

And as for relabeling the source guy from "independent" to "Republican" to fit the slant of the story, well, that's pretty lame -- especially as the stories are by the same reporter.

LT SMASH has a roundup of reactions to the prospect of a Nader candidacy.

UPDATE: A bunch of the Dean folks are getting together at Joe Trippi's farm this weekend. Wonder if Nader's candidacy, and what to do for/about it, will be on the agenda? If Dean's feeling shafted by the Democratic Party, a Nader endorsement isn't out of the question.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's a collection of Nader stories, courtesy of The Command Post.

UNSOPHISTICATED GERMAN DIPLOMACY leads Der Spiegel to ask: "Are we a nation of failures, not fit for the future, governed by bungling amateurs?"

AFTER A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF PRODDING, Virginia Postrel is addressing the issue of economic change and the relationship between productivity and employment. She even mentions massage therapy!

On a more serious note, it's very important that business writers start looking at this question in precisely the way that Virginia does, or protectionist sentiments are likely to grow.

UPDATE: Here's an interesting piece from The Economist saying that the "jobless recovery" is a myth.

ONE WORD -- HEH:

The White House press corps yesterday scrambled to figure out why a hastily-arranged "conversation" between President Bush and some regular Americans about the economy was suddenly closed to reporters -- and what went on behind those closed doors.

Little did they know that behind those doors, one of the regular Americans whom Bush was meeting was a blogger.

Heh, indeed. The press seems a bit unhappy about being scooped. Get used to it, guys. More here.

HERE'S A VIDEOBLOG REPORT from Iran on the Iranian elections. (Via Jeff Jarvis).

EDWARD FESER GIVES THANKS TO HIS CRITICS for proving his point.

UPDATE: There's more on related subjects here and here.

CATS AND DOGS, LIVING TOGETHER:

PIERRE - Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., on Thursday praised the Bush administration's war and nation-building work in Iraq and said he has no serious concerns about the lack of weapons of mass destruction.

Daschle told state chamber of commerce representatives meeting in the South Dakota capital that he is satisfied with the way things are going in Iraq.

"I give the effort overall real credit," Daschle said. "It is a good thing Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. It is a good thing we are democratizing the country."

He said he is not upset about the debate over pre-war intelligence on weapons of mass destruction, an issue that has dogged President Bush as Democratic presidential contenders have slogged through the primary season.

I wonder what polls he's seen?

UPDATE: Or maybe Daschle is just dishonestly telling different stories to different groups, in the hopes they won't notice. Your call.

ANOTHER UPDATE: In response to the "what polls?" question, reader Matt Edens emails, "the ones in South Dakota." Seems likely, and in fact that's consistent with what reader James Somers writes:

The story you linked to about Daschle's recent pro-Administration remarks on Iraq is likely a sign of things to come. The Democrats have had a fun primary season bashing the Administration by playing to the anti-Bush hysteria of their base. But we are reaching a time where they may not be able to deliver that message safely anymore, because most of the competitive Senate races this year are in the "red states." The Democrats are trying to hold open seats in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana, and they have sitting senators up for re-election in the Dakotas, Arkansas and Nevada. They also hope to pick up seats in Oklahoma and Alaska. None of those states are places where naysaying about Iraq or demands for deference to the U.N. are likely to play well. Consequently, as in 2002, the Democrats will have to be very careful with their foreign policy message as November nears, or risk down-ballot disaster that solidifies the GOP's hold on the Senate.

This would work better, though, if the Internet didn't make it easy for people to compare statements across both temporal and geographic lines.

Of course, maybe Daschle has changed his mind in response to the facts. It could happen!

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: The polls question is answered, at the Daschle v. Thune blog.

I HAVEN'T LISTENED TO IT YET, but the audio of John Kerry's antiwar testimony from 1971, broadcast by Hugh Hewitt earlier, is now online.

UPDATE: A reader emails that this tape has been "sanitized" and omits the most inflammatory Kerry remarks. I haven't listened, but here's a link to what I think is a complete transcript if anyone wants to make the comparison.

February 20, 2004

DONALD SENSING has thoughts on marriage, gay marriage, and much more. Just keep scrolling.

JOHN ELLIS: "One of the prevailing myths of this campaign season is that Democrats are fired up as never before, eager to slay the evil Bush. Well, maybe so, but they're not voting. Overall, turnout in last Tuesday's Wisconsin Democratic presidential primary was down by 183,000 votes from 1988. Kerry trailed Dukakis by 150,000 votes."

Interesting. (Emphasis added.)

Hey, maybe Ralph Nader will add some excitement!

D'OH! I think I forgot to mention this week's Carnival of the Vanities. Well, it's mentioned now.

BLOGGING FROM THE WHITE HOUSE -- via Jeff Jarvis.

AMAZING NEWS, which I hope will pan out:

DALLAS - An experimental vaccine wiped out lung cancer in some patients and slowed its spread in others in a small but promising study, researchers say.

Three patients injected with the vaccine, GVAX, had no recurrence of lung cancer for more than three years afterward, according to the study of 43 people with the most common form of the disease, non-small cell lung cancer. . . .

The cancer disappeared in three of the advanced-stage patients. Two of those patients previously had chemotherapy, which failed. In the rest of the advanced-stage patients, the disease remained stable and did not spread for almost five months to more than two years.

A close friend of mine (actually, a former girlfriend) died of lung cancer at the age of 33, despite never having smoked. I'd like to see that sort of death become as obsolete as death from bubonic plague. And when people like me seem to be in a hurry to see science and medicine progress, it's because we understand that people are dying now who don't have to be, and who won't be once cures are developed. (Via Donald Sensing).

UPDATE: Reader David Horwich emails:

Some of my practice is helping pharma (including biotechnology) companies raise the capital necessary to get through the three phases that must be done before a drug is approved for sale. The last credible figure I saw was that a pharma company would spend north of $100 million to get a drug approved; it takes 10 years to do this. Now think about the funnel that the company has to sift through to get there. Phase I is testing safety and a little bit of efficacy. If the compound makes it through to Phase II, it tests efficacy and determines the appropriate dosage to try to make it work. Phase III is for all the marbles, when
the company does a double-blinded, placebo test, in multiple clinics throughout the country, once it has located and enrolled the patients.

Then, if the data pans out, the company prepares a report of its findings and goes to the FDA and waits nearly 18 months to find out whether or not it will then have the luxury of spending tens of millions of dollars on marketing and selling the drug. All before one dollar of revenue.

And a significant percentage of drugs that get into Phase I don't make it to Phase II. And a lot of Phase II drugs don't make it to Phase III. And a large number of Phase III drugs fail the test. The cost above does not include these failures. The next time anyone complains about the high cost of prescription drugs should understand this. The reason Canada or EC countries get innovative drugs much cheaper is because they don't have to go through this system of bringing a drug to market. Think Thalidomide and you can understand why this occurs.

Having said all that, there are some truly amazing technologies in the pipeline that I know about. The entrepreneurial spirit and the compassion and passion that executives at these startups and nascent companies have is astonishing to be part of and makes my job all that much more satisfying. Genomics is going to make their job much, much easier and has already begun to do so.

Bring it on, I say.

AMIR TAHERI WRITES on the end of illusions in Iran, including the notion that the mere holding of elections constitutes democracy, and the idea that Iran is likely to be reformed from within.

Meanwhile Jeff Jarvis has a roundup of Iranian blog coverage.

UPDATE: More thoughts, on an earlier version of Taheri's piece that ran in the Arab News, here.

THE TROUBLE WITH LIBEL. Most people who file those suits seem to regret doing it.

MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT.

And then there's this. I guess you don't find many apparatchiks who favor free speech.

MARGARET WENTE has thoughts on the unfolding Canadian scandals, which really deserve more attention than they're getting in the States.

FREE DOWNLOADS AND COMPETITION: Okay, the InstaWife's book was selling on Amazon for $100 used, which led her to make it available for free download on her website. The used price is now $95.24, after being available for download for over a month, even though there's a comment on the Amazon page telling people where they can get it for free. I'll grant that this isn't scientific, but it certainly suggests that the availability of free downloads doesn't destroy the market for a product, even at a very high price differential.

What's more, she's gotten quite a few donations through her website, making the entire operation a profitable one. People's willingness to make donations, sometimes sizable, in support of things they can get for free is something that has surprised me about blogging, and suggests that the portrayal of human behavior I got in Econ 101 was incomplete.

NICK SCHULZ on gay marriage. A few days ago, I noted that although gay marriage polls badly, I didn't think the intensity of the opposition was very high. So far, it still looks that way.

BASED ON THIS BLOG REPORT, Iranians appear to be boycotting the elections, and everything else, today.

UPDATE: You can read translated Iranian blog reporting here at IranFilter.

MICKEY KAUS notes that CBS gave Kerry a mulligan. Is it bias? Or Kerry's superior strategy?

MORE ON IRAN: This story from The Telegraph suggests that a collapse may be imminent, or at least that the mullahs have lost moral and religious authority:

The old American embassy in Teheran might have been seared into the world's consciousness as the cradle of Iran's revolution, yet the talk among the young Revolutionary Guards stationed there does not match the murals shouting defiance from battered walls.

"I would live in America, no problem," said one 22-year-old, who added that he associated the country with "love and freedom".

Nearby, "Down with USA" was painted on the wall in garish red and yellow hues.

Another guard, also in his 20s, added: "Our government has one view of America but the people have another.

"Our government tries to show the US as an enemy of our country and of our people. All of the young believe the US is good. Most of the people believe this."

How long can the Mullarchy keep power under these circumstances?

SOME OBSERVATIONS FROM BULGARIA:

Something about this war is eating Bush's detractors alive, something unquantifiable with conventional weights and measures. I think that it is because if George W. Bush really did lie (and thus surprising both the Right and Left), the anti-war crowd would still have to face a disheartening Spectacle of Freedom For An Entire People, instead of the more satisfactory Humiliation Of Bush At The United Nations And Mass Graves Nobody Knows About.

That simple.

Nothing is more irritating than watching your enemies fail to live up to your worst expectations. If George W. was hawking stolen museum art, or John Ashcroft was forcing Shiites to convert, or Dick Cheney was sucking the oil from Iraqi teenager's skin, the Left would have far lower blood pressure. They would be relieved, vindicated, because the war would be delightfully immoral.

The anti-war crowd long ago started measuring themselves as culturally, intellectually, and morally superior to the pro-war crowd, instead of measuring whether their policies were superior. Thus, the incredible success in Afghanistan and Iraq is not a blow to their policy, it is a blow to their ego and sense of self.

Indeed. (Via Vodkapundit).

February 19, 2004

"WORTHWHILE CANDADIAN SCANDAL" -- Now there's a turn of phrase that just keeps going. . . .

HUGH HEWITT: "My offer to [John] Edwards to co-host my program any or all days from now until March 2 remains open. Given that I am on, among many places, in drive-time in L.A., San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, and in the early evening in Boston, Atlanta, Cleveland and Cinncy --all Super Tuesday markets-- I am certain he'd be tripling his exposure in those cities by coming into the studio, but I haven't heard from the campaign."

If Edwards passes on this offer, he deserves to lose.

ROGER SIMON continues to follow the money -- Saddam's oil money, that is.

RHODE ISLAND'S GOVERNOR CARCIERI has withdrawn a proposed state Homeland Security bill that got a lot of criticism.

ANDREA SEE will be running in the Xiamen marathon and is looking for sponsors (the money goes to charity). If you've been waiting your whole life to sponsor a tattooed smartassed Chinese/Singaporean woman in a Chinese marathon, well, here's your chance.

MICHAEL TOTTEN: "I can’t help but think some people admire totalitarian regimes not because they want to live in one, but because they want to be in charge of one."

He also has some thoughts on what should be done with Saddam.

PATRICK BELTON has a roundup of reports on tomorrow's Iranian elections and observes:

ON THE EVE OF A CORRUPT ELECTION which will undoubtedly install a conservative majority and add the Iranian parliament to a trifecta of judicial, clerical, and now political institutions controlled by hardliners, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi announced today that she would not vote, in protest against the mass disqualification of reformist candidates. Abstention will be widespread, in fact - Agence France Presse's correspondent this morning found only one passer-by who was planning to vote, after speaking with three dozen.

Still, there will be an election, even if it has already been determined that its results will not reflect the preferences of the Iranian people.

The real question is what will happen next.

IRAQI WOMEN are marching to demand equal rights. Funny that American women's groups aren't rallying loudly to their support.

IS THE JOHN EDWARDS CAMPAIGN REALLY "WHOLLY FUNDED by the trial lawyers"? That's what John Kerry's press secretary, Stephanie Cutter, is quoted as saying in the New York Times. And, since the Times story provides no contradictory information, and it's the New York freakin' Times, I guess it must be true, right?

Maybe I'll go donate a buck to Edwards, just so that he'll have gotten at least one dollar from somewhere else. Odd that it hasn't happened before. . . .

UPDATE: Are all these people trial lawyers, too? And how does the Times know? Superior investigative journalism, I guess. . . .

OKAY, I GUESS THAT MAYBE SOMEWHERE things are weirder than this, but they couldn't be much weirder.

At least they're polite Nazis. . . .

BILL MOYERS WILL LEAVE PBS, after the elections.

HOSSEIN DERAKSHAN is encouraging Iranian bloggers to be reporters during tomorrow's elections.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, you might want to read this piece on what's at stake:

Demonstrations five days ago in the western city of Marivan were so potent that the regime sent helicopter gunships to shoot down protestors, and there are reports that members of the regular armed forces joined the demonstrators. And in Hamadan, demonstrators clashed with security forces after the closure of the unfortunately named "Islamic Equity Ban." The demonstrators accused the bank managers of stealing the bank's money and smuggling it out of the country to their personal benefit, and that of the regime's top figures. The charge is credible because, as Western governments know well, large quantities of cash — just as in the case of Saddam Hussein — have been moved out of Iran in recent months by friends and relatives of the leading officials.

Read the whole thing, which also reports that smugglers, trying to get uranium out of Iran and into Iraq, were arrested in Mosul. That ties together interestingly with this report of newly discovered uranium enrichment equipment.

The Mullarchy that rules Iran wants to turn it into North Korea, with themselves in the role of Kim Jong-Il.

WINDS OF CHANGE has its always-useful and interesting war news roundup posted.

IT'S LAST-CHANCE BOOTY-BLOGGING TIME over at the DeanBlog.

OVER AT THE TYPEPAD TEST BLOG I mentioned bandwidth as an issue for bloggers. I just looked to see how much bandwidth InstaPundit has used this month -- so far it's 216 gigabytes. Your results are likely to vary, but you should certainly take bandwidth, and the likelihood that it will grow, into account when you choose hosts.

UPDATE: Tom Smith thinks my house looks tidy. Er, parts of it. Don't look in the study, where books, manuscripts, MIDI cables, and assorted bits of hardware are strewn everywhere.

BREATHALYZER INTERLOCKS FOR CARS look a lot like fingerprint locks for guns, observes Eugene Volokh, who is surprised that people are more exercised over one than the other.

I THINK SHE JUST MIGHT HAVE A CASE:

A New Jersey woman, one of the hundreds of people accused of copyright infringement by the Recording Industry Association of America, has countersued the big record labels, charging them with extortion and violations of the federal antiracketeering act.

I think they're vulnerable on a variety of legal fronts, not just this one.

UPDATE: Sorry, I was imprecise above. I meant that I think they're more vulnerable on other fronts -- also under RICO -- than this one.

IF NADER RUNS, I think he'll pick up a fair number of former Dean supporters. Here's some evidence in support of that proposition.

UPDATE: Reader Don Byrd emails that these quotes are unrepresentative:

I've met probably 500 Dean supporters one time or another during the last year in Nashville, and I can count on one hand the number of them who say they voted for Nader. At a meetup (attended by about 150 Dean supporters) I hosted in September, I introduced one of those guys, thinking he could speak to the job we're doing trying to entice greens into our efforts...but to my shock (and missing the point) he was roundly booed by the crowd when I introduced him as a Nader voter. Dean supporters are anti-Bush Democrats, but Democrats nonetheless.

Well, we'll see, won't we?

COLOR ME UNSURPRISED:

The Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan has been demonized in the West for selling atomic secrets and equipment around the world, but the trade began in Europe, not Islamabad, according to court documents and experts who monitor proliferation.

The records show that industry scientists and Western intelligence agencies have known for decades that nuclear technology was pouring out of Europe despite national export control efforts to contain it.

Many of the names that have turned up among lists of suppliers and middlemen who fed equipment, materials and knowledge to nuclear programs in Pakistan and other aspiring nuclear nations are well-known players in Europe's uranium enrichment industry, a critical part of many nuclear weapons programs. Some have been convicted of illegal exports before.

The proliferation has its roots in Europe's own postwar eagerness for nuclear independence from the United States and its lax security over potentially lethal technology. It was abetted, critics say, by competition within Europe for lucrative contracts to bolster state-supported nuclear industries. Even as their own intelligence services warned that Pakistan could not be trusted, some European governments continued to help Pakistan's nuclear program.

Perhaps this explains the different degree of enthusiasm for international agreements on the part of Europe and the United States -- the United States actually worries about having to comply with them, while the Europeans, unfettered by any such concerns, are free to posture.

UPDATE: And, in a related matter, we have this:

The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency has found undeclared advanced uranium enrichment centrifuge parts in Iran, sources familiar with an inspection report told CNN Thursday.

The information will be included in a detailed report to be presented March 8 at a meeting of International Atomic Energy Agency governors in Vienna, Austria.

The report will say that the centrifuge equipment, found on an Iranian air force base, is not of a type that works with equipment found at nuclear sites that Iran has declared.

The report marks the first time Iran's nuclear program has been linked directly to its military. . . .

The diplomats also said the design matched drawings of enrichment equipment found in Libya that was supplied through the network headed by Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan.

It would, I think, be very desirable for the Mullarchy in Iran to fall before it acquires nuclear weapons. I wonder if anyone else feels that way?

HOWARD KURTZ ASKS THE BIG QUESTION:

Does "electability" still work as an argument for Kerry if a CNN/USA Today poll has Edwards beating Bush 54-44, almost the same margin as Kerry's 55-43 edge over the president?

It's also a big question for the Bush campaign, of course.

HOWARD'S END: My thoughts on the Dean campaign and the Internet are up over at GlennReynolds.com. Excerpt: "I think it means that the Internet is a powerful tool, but no tool is better than the hand that holds it." LT Smash, meanwhile, has a roundup of blogosphere responses to Dean's departure.

I'll actually miss him. I'm pretty sure that he would have been a disaster as a President, or even as a general-election candidate. I disagreed with him on most stuff, I think, and certainly about his signature issue, the war. But he did have a genuineness that the other candidates lacked, and I liked him for that.

UPDATE: The Wall St. Journal calls Dean "the most consequential loser since Barry Goldwater."

HERE'S AN INTERESTING STORY ON IRANIAN BLOGGERS:

As Friday's parliamentary elections approach, however, there's a distinct tone of worry that conservatives expected to regain control of parliament would step up pressure to censor the Internet.

"It will be the end of the blog era in Iran," said a Tehran-based blogger who operates pinkfloydish.com, the name indicative of her love of Western music.

But thus far, the Internet has managed to avoid the hardliners' choke hold on media, which has silenced dozens of pro-reform newspapers and publications since the late 1990s.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Iranian bloggers have some thoughts on the U.S. Presidential election, too.

CONSERVATISM AT YALE LAW SCHOOL: A report from the Yale Daily News.

UPDATE: David Bernstein has some firsthand experiences to report.

ANOTHER KERRY SCANDAL, this one from the Los Angeles Times:

Sen. John F. Kerry sent 28 letters in behalf of a San Diego defense contractor who pleaded guilty last week to illegally funneling campaign contributions to the Massachusetts senator and four other congressmen.

Members of Congress often write letters supporting constituent businesses and favored projects. But as the Democratic presidential front-runner, Kerry has promoted himself as a candidate who has never been beholden to campaign contributors and special interests. . . .

Asked what he did to repay the money, Kerry's campaign said Wednesday he had donated $13,000 to charity on Feb. 9 — which was two days before Majumder's guilty plea.

Capt. Ed observes:

As in the Liu Chaoying case, which is mentioned in this article but curiously doesn't mention Liu or her status as a spy, there is no indication that Kerry was aware of DR. Majumder's illegal activities. However, this clearly demonstrates the extent to which Kerry can be bought.

In this, he's not terribly different from some other politicians. But he's claiming to be.

UPDATE: Reader Dave Perron notes that this story has been around for a while. True enough, but Kerry's now campaigning -- absurdly, as Howard Dean pointed out -- as the anti-special-interest candidate. Presumably, that's why the Los Angeles Times thought the latest developments were big news.

And read Shannon Love's comment to Capt. Ed's post, which captures a sad truth about money in politics: "I am less upset that politicians can be bought than I am that they come so damn cheap."

"I WAS KIM JONG IL'S COOK:" As the reader who sent this link from the Atlantic Monthly observes, it'll curl your hair.

I'M A PRETTY MELLOW GUY, which means that I found a recent preachy screed by the CJR campaign blog trivial, and didn't bother to try to refute it. I generally like the blog, and jumping on other bloggers isn't usually my thing. But if I had tried, I probably wouldn't have done as good a job as Jay Rosen has done.

I've been pretty critical of the "ethics establishment," and the way in which its pronouncements tend to be rather transparent shields for self-interest. The journalistic ethics establishment certainly falls into this category. Ethics are important. Ethics authorities, however, usually aren't.

But in one sense I think that Jay misses the important transitional role the CJR blog is playing. Many among the more hidebound segments of the press are scared of blogs, or ignorant of them. Institutional blogs like CJR's will help to introduce them to the blogosphere. Wonkette can come later.

Kinda like starting with Pat Boone, and ending up with Elvis.

February 18, 2004

PEOPLE KEEP SENDING ME THIS STORY FROM NEWSMAX: McCain: Hanoi Hilton Guards Taunted POWs With Kerry's Testimony. I agree with Mudville Gazette, though, that the headline misrepresents the facts actually laid out in the story. While there's evidence elsewhere that the North Vietnamese used Kerry's testimony to demoralize some U.S. POWs ("Paul Galanti learned of Kerry's speech while held captive inside North Vietnam's infamous 'Hanoi Hilton' prison. . . . During torture sessions, he said, his captors cited the antiwar speeches as 'an example of why we should cross over to [their] side.'"), there's no evidence that this ever actually happened to McCain, and the story doesn't actually say that once you get past the headline.

ANIL DASH asked me to try out TypePad and see what I thought. I like it. Here's my take-it-for-a-spin TypePad blog.

NANOTECHNOLOGY is progressing so rapidly that even experts are having trouble keeping current.

ANOTHER ONE OF WOLFOWITZ'S DOMINOES is teetering:


DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - Syria has sent messages to bitter foe Israel via Turkey offering to restart stalled peace talks between the two countries, Syrian Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam said Wednesday.

The messages carried by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul expressed ``Syria's readiness to resume peace talks from where they broke off'' in January 2000, Khaddam said.

Heh.

UPDATE: Hmm. Interesting juxtaposition of stories here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Britain is closing its embassy in Syria, according to a report on the Free Arab Forum blog.

MORE: Here's a news story on the embassy closure. The slant is a bit different from the post above.

STILL MORE: War critic Michael Duff is surprised to see that the Bush doctrine is working:

I don't really like the Bush Doctrine, okay?

After 9-11, I thought we should confine our efforts to the Al Qaeda organization. Instead, Bush decided to condemn half the Middle East with his Axis of Evil speech and roll tanks into Iraq.

It bothered me. It still bothers me. But dammit, if you look at the patterns, it seems to be working. The Middle East thinks Bush is batshit crazy, and their governments are afraid of us. Do you get that? The bad guys are afraid of us, because against all logic and common sense, we went into Iraq and we took Saddam down. . . .

In 2001, New York was burning and we were afraid. Today, there are American flags flying in Baghdad and our enemies are afraid.

Indeed. Read the whole thing.

MORE STILL: Here's another perspective, tying together events in Syria with events in Iran.

NOT EVERYONE HAS GIVEN UP on the Kerry infidelity story. Eric Scheie notes that over at the John Edwards campaign blog some of Edwards' supporters are still hoping to give the story legs.

UPDATE: My goodness, the first comment posted below Scheie's entry is a truly shocking example of Bush-hatred. People said this sort of thing about Clinton, too, of course, but I don't recall it being regarded as acceptable in polite society, as Bush-hatred clearly is.

And speaking of such things, I highly recommend this article by University of Texas law professor Doug Laycock, entitled Vicious Stereotypes in Polite Society, which originally appeared in Constitutional Commentary, a faculty edited law review published out of the University of Minnessota law school.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader thinks that this story is relevant.

MORE: Polite society responds. More from the same source here.

In a later comment, Scheie says that the guy who posted the Bush-hatred stuff is normally a nice guy, and just lost it. That can happen to any of us, of course, and happens to most of us at one time or another. But it's when people aren't (politely) reminded that they've crossed the line that things tend to spin out of control. I appreciate the people who criticize me on matters of tone, when their own tone is such as to make those criticisms credible.

JEFF JARVIS: "The most amusing phone call of coming days will be Al Gore trying to endorse Kerry or Edwards."

WIRED NEWS has an interesting story on Blogads and campaigns.

THIS PASSAGE FROM HARDBALL seems like it deserves more attention. James Hoffa of the Teamsters is explaining why he supports Kerry:

MATTHEWS: How about ANWR? You guys want to see ANWR because you want to see guys working in your business. I guess there‘s a lot of Teamsters jobs up there lined up and organized, if you could put a pipeline up to the Alaska wilderness. He is against that.

HOFFA: Well, we talked about that.

He says, look, I am against ANWR, but I am going to put that pipeline in and we‘re going to drill like never before. . . .

MATTHEWS: But he is against drilling up there. What are they going to run through the pipeline?

HOFFA: Well, they are going to drill all over, according to him. And he says, we‘re going to be drilling all over the United States. And he says that is going to create more jobs. . . .

MATTHEWS: It just seems amazing that he has turned around on NAFTA, turned around on WTO, turned around on ANWR, anything to get the Teamsters.

HOFFA: Oh.

Oh, indeed. This seems like big news to me, if it's true. And Hoffa certainly seems serious.

UPDATE: Apparently it only seems serious in print -- from the context you can tell he's kidding, as reader Steve Jennings emails:

Limbaugh played the excerpt from Hardball with Hoffa today. After Hoffa made those statements that Kerry was in favor of drilling there was an outburst of laughter from others on the show. Hoffa doesn't believe that and no one believed him.

Thank goodness that Rush Limbaugh is clearing up what could otherwise be an embarrassing moment for Kerry.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Roger Simon emails: "A reader of my blog just posted he or she) saw the show and that Hoffa was definitely NOT kidding. Matthews looked incredulous." Stay tuned. Did anybody TIVO it? (Link to Simon post here).

MORE: Reader Paul Hrissikopoulos emails:

Hoffa seemed serious to me. It seemed to me that the people on the Hardball panel laughed because Matthews' jaw almost hit the ground when he said it.

He blogged it here. And another reader emails:

Hoffa was dead serious. The laughter from the panel was in response to Matthews' shock at Hoffa's statement. HOFFA WAS DEAD SERIOUS.

Why doesn't some enterprising reporter ask Hoffa -- and Kerry -- about this? Personally, I hope the story's true, as it would suggest a measure of realism regarding energy policy.

POTHOLES: Will Collier asks a war critic "what's wrong with this picture?"

THE FUTURE OF BLOGGING: In my TechCentralStation column today.

WINDS OF CHANGE has a China news roundup that, like all such, is worth your time.

HUGH HEWITT played John Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony on Vietnam on his radio show yesterday and remarks:

I played John Kerry's 1971 testimony on the radio program, and the response was intense. The first two hours brought scores of calls and e-mails which denounced Kerry for his slander of the military that served in Vietnam and for his understanding of the war. Kerry has thus far successfully dodged a discussion of the specifics of his testimony, and it was very hard to find the audio --it took my producer Duane considerable digging to find the tape.

The impact of actually hearing Kerry slander the military--his accent is unbelievable, and his tone of arrogance and condescension repulsive-- is powerful, and I do not believe he can serve successfully as Commander-in-Chief given the reactions I heard from veterans and currently serving military.

Hewitt links to a text version, but unfortunately the audio isn't available. I hope that someone will put the audio online so that more people can listen and decide for themselves.

MORE ON GAVIN NEWSOM and the San Francisco gay marriage issue: Larry Solum has a post on some of the issues raised, and Jacob Levy has a piece in The New Republic on the Federal Marriage Amendment.

UPDATE: Arthur Silber points to (and summarizes) this brief in support of the San Francisco position. I'm off to a faculty meeting and haven't had time to read it, but you may find it interesting.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's a link to the brief for the other side.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Justin Katz disagrees with Levy.

OKAY, THE GUY WHO INTERVIEWED ME FOR THIS STORY was nice enough, but I questioned then whether his characterization of InstaPundit was right:

The stance is a departure from that of most conservatives, a division that supporters of gay marriage hope to exploit.

``I don't see the response to gay marriage as unified at all on the conservative side,'' said Glenn H. Reynolds, a supporter of gay marriage rights and publisher of the generally conservative blog Instapundit.com.

If you support gay marriage, drug legalization, and legal abortion -- but you also support the war -- then you're a "conservative," I guess. That seemed to be his position, and it seems to be a lot of people's. As Art Leff said, all definitions are permitted to the definer, so long as they're clear.

UPDATE: Paul Boutin comments.

JEFF JARVIS notes that Iranian weblogs are probably more important than the American blogs that we hear more about.

INTERESTING PIECE ON SYNESTHESIA: I'm interested in this. I'm quite a synesthetist myself, experiencing sound in visual terms. (Based on my experience, this is true of most sound engineers, and many musicians). The sound of falling rain "looks" like polkadots. A kick drum hit looks kind of like an overstuffed pillow, with the shape and size varying according to tone. Electric guitars look like multicolored spaghetti.

I suspect that this is actually useful, allowing more brain processing power to go to work on a problem. I can "see" differences in sound (like the difference between two nearly-identical delay times) that I can't really hear directly. I think lots of people who work with sound have similar experiences, though I wonder whether this is developed through the work, or whether people with those characteristics tend to go into such things. Perhaps some of both, though I've experienced sound this way since I was a kid.

HERE'S A LENGTHY BLOG-DISSECTION of the Associated Press's coverage of the National Guard flap, in which the Associated Press comes off quite badly indeed. Of course, that should be no surprise to people who have been paying attention.

SCRAPPLEFACE:

Democrat National Committee (DNC) chairman Terry McAuliffe today said that presidential candidates John F. Kerry and John Edwards have gone AWOL from the Senate, missing almost every Senate vote in the past three months, and perhaps longer. (2/5/04)

Al Kamen, today, in the Washington Post:

Seems staff for Democratic front-runner Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, created quite a fuss by demanding that a Meredith Broadcasting TV crew be thrown out of a hearing in which Small Business Administrator Hector V. Barreto came to testify on the president's budget. . . .

So why all the static from Kerry's committee staff? Was this to prevent video footage of Kerry gone AWOL?

Once again, Scrappleface's Scott Ott is writing the lines. Kerry's just living them.

THE 1000 FIGHTING STYLES OF DONALD RUMSFELD: My favorite is "Hidden Monkey Hands." (Via Tim Blair).

UPDATE: Don't miss Crouching Tiger, Hidden Defense Secretary, either. . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Several readers point out that Rummy does not use the Shaolin Buddha Finger. Hey, you have to hold something in reserve.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Oops, I was wrong. He does!

HERE'S AN INTERESTING history of Presidential space initiatives, recommended by Rand Simberg.

KAUS has your roundup on post-Wisconsin spin. Plus, bonus digs at Joe Conason! Meanwhile Wonkette isn't impressed with the way Kerry interrupted Edwards' speech: "Something Gore would do." And the question on everyone's mind: "Did Dean bow out? We're not sure because his speech was so schizo."

UPDATE: Moderate voice: "What seems to be happening is this: the more voters see of Edwards, the more they seem to like him." And Sean Hackbarth has been looking at the exit poll data in more detail.

February 17, 2004

KERRY'S BEHIND BY A BIT at the moment, but Fox just projected him the winner in Wisconsin. Even if that holds up, I think that this keeps Edwards very much in the game, which will make Doug Weinstein (who's big on Edwards, not so big on Kerry) very happy.

Even more importantly, it will keep pundits happy, which is why I'm sure that this will be spun as an Edwards victory, regardless.

UPDATE: Lots of pundits are hinting darkly that the Democrats may be glad to have Edwards if "something" comes up to derail Kerry. Is this what they're talking about? Or is there some other shoe that may drop?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Moxie has started Republicans for Edwards -- that means he's got the "big Mo!"

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: We'll be hearing a lot about "delegate-rich states" over the next few weeks. And it occurs to me that although Howard Dean was talking tonight about moving the agenda on the war, in fact he demonstrated that being loudly antiwar gets you a distant third place in the Democratic primaries. Not much there.

The Kerry spin is that he did better among committed Democrats, and Edwards did better among Independents and Republicans. Er, okay -- but which votes will a Democrat need to pick up in order to win in November? I'm just, you know, asking. . . .

Kaus has more.

BEN CHANDLER WINS IN KENTUCKY: Dodd Harris says it was a lock all along, but I think it's entirely because of the blogads!

UPDATE: Reader David Russell emails:

I wouldn't give all the credit for Chandler's win to Blogads. I would give Chandler's advantage to name recognition, he was in a shortened ten week race against a state senator . Chandler ran for Governor in November and lost, and was previously the state's attorney general for eight years and state auditor for four years before that.

The credit for the win doesn't go to blogads but to the simple fact that people are familiar with Ben Chandler's name.

Er, I was kidding about the blogads. But they didn't hurt! And note that Chandler has already updated the ad to reflect his win. ("The blogosphere has set the stage for the 2004 elections.")

ANOTHER UPDATE: Hey, what a coincidence -- Josh Marshall is crediting blogads, too! ("The campaign budgeted about two grand for blog advertising. And my understanding is that by today they had raised close to $100,000 from contributors who linked through from those blogs on which the campaign was advertising. . . . Now, obviously that's exciting news for proprietors of blogs looking to open up revenue streams from advertisers.") No conflict of interest here. . . .

AIRBRUSH AWARD: Ed Driscoll catches the BBC in a rather major unacknowledged revision. Not unusual for the Beeb, but quite startling when something has been quoted in so many other outlets.

This example seems to be getting major attention.

HAITIPUNDIT has lots of news from Haiti. Unfortunately, it's nearly all bad.

ANDREW SULLIVAN IS FISKING JOHN KERRY in The New Republic:

I think we have an answer here: no war in Iraq; no war anywhere; just law enforcement measures and cooperation with the French, Russians, and Germans. All the problems of the world stem from U.S. policy. Nowhere does Kerry say anything about the threat of Al Qaeda, or the designs of the Syrians or Iranians, or of Islamist terror-states more broadly. These real threats just don't seem to register on his radar screen. If this is the Democratic candidate's recipe to tackling the nexus of global terror, then he will be creamed in the fall. And he'll deserve to be.

Read the whole thing. I'd desperately like for Kerry, or whoever the Democratic nominee is, to put forward a strong enough stance on the war that I don't have to be a single-issue voter. Looks like I'm doomed to disappointment.

JAMES LILEKS has been reading the papers from 1992:

And in the back of the A section, day after day: Iraq. Iraq. Iraq. Iraq blocks inspectors, Iraq admits inspectors, Iraq blasts food-for-oil program, Iraq fires on US planes, Iraq protests to Security Council, Iraq, Iraq. If anyone seriously thinks Iraq never had WMD, you need to go back to 1992 and read the stories about UN press releases concerning the newly constructed “mustard gas incincerators,” OKAY? There was even a story about Iraq promising to institute democratic reforms. It quoted Qusay. He was quite hopeful about giving the citizens a voice. (Of course, that voice said ARRRRGGHIIIIEEEE Turn it off I confess! ) There was a story about Kuwaiti citizens hoping Bush won, because they were, you know grateful. There were stories about Iraqgate, too. You remember that. US loan guarantees to Iraq might have been diverted to the Iraqi nuclear weapons program. The Democrats wanted a Congressional investigation.

You want to know why we invaded Iraq in 2003? Go back and read the papers in 1992. And you’ll find this quote:

“’If they’re such whizzes at foreign policy, why is Saddam Hussein thumbing his nose at the rest of the world?’”

Albert. Gore. Junior.

Read the whole thing.

THIS STORY says that Cheney's got the VP slot for 2004.

I still think that Condi Rice would be better.

ED CONE says that the Democrats are ahead in blogging.

EUGENE VOLOKH DISAGREES with the Roy Moore / Gavin Newsom comparison set out below. On the other hand, Jacob Levy has a different position.

DEMOGRAPHY AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: Daniel Drezner has some interesting observations.

ASPARAGIRL IS BACK, and with her husband Scott Ganz has a new blog, the "Protocols of the Yuppies of Zion."

AN INTERESTING DATUM: My Constitutional Law class today was devoted to gay marriage -- following up on yesterday's treatment of the Bowers v. Hardwick and Lawrence v. Texas sodomy cases, I assigned the Vermont and Massachusetts gay marriage cases. At the beginning of class I asked for a show of hands on whether gay marriage would be generally available within ten years. The answer, almost unanimously, was "yes."

I don't know how valuable this is as a predictor of what will happen, but it's an interesting indication of what people think will happen.

UPDATE: Clayton Cramer emails:

Since 60% of the population disapproves, I suspect that what your class thinks will be the law reflects either their belief that judges take precedence over majority rule (which is actually the case), or their hopes and aspirations. Even among young people, there isn't overwhelming support for gay marriage--and I would suspect that many of those young people, as they age, will become quite a bit more conservative on this subject--just as I have done.

Well, I asked people what they expected, not what they wanted. I'm pretty sure my students are more supportive of gay marriage than the general population, though I don't know how they stack up against law students, or twentysomethings, generally. But I'm very much aware that gay marriage does worse in the opinion polls than it does in elite opinion. (Or mine!) What I'm not sure about, though, is the intensity of that opposition. If it's intense, this will be a big election issue. If it's not, it won't. So far, it's not looking that intense -- but it's early yet.

ANOTHER UPDATE: On the poll, reader Jim Chandler emails: "Perhaps they simply wanted to agree with your stand on the subject, for obvious reasons."

Well, I suppose that's possible, though I don't see any particular tendency of students to tell me what they think I want to hear (our grading is anonymous, which reduces the rewards of sucking up), and I actually wound up defending Scalia's point (in Lawrence) that legislatures don't have to carry their positions to their logical conclusions, as courts do.

I STILL PREFER THE OLD NAME of "Metabolic Dominance."

ERNEST SVENSON has a lengthy report from last week's "digital democracy teach-in" at the Emerging Technologies conference.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS'S SCOTT LINDLAW is at it again. After the NASCAR debacle, which the Columbia Journalism Review blog called a "cheap shot" and a "stretch," you'd think he'd have more sense than to go out of his way to fill a purported news story with gratuitous Bush-bashing. Obviously, he doesn't.

Does AP?

UPDATE: Ah, look who Lindlaw is hanging with: "Veteran journalists Helen Thomas and Daniel Schorr join Associated Press reporter Scott Lindlaw in a lively discussion on how covering the White House has changed over the years." Um, it's gotten worse? Meanwhile Dave Hill emails:

Bush has been visiting military bases (including NG bases) for some time. That's one of the duties of a president in wartime.

Now, suddenly, it's become de rigeur to remind everyone of the Bush AWOL meme every time he interacts with the NG, reframing the visit as trying to "move beyond" the story (as opposed to simply continuing an already-established pattern).

"The president's visit is bound to serve as a reminder of a story that consumed the White House last week ...." Well, yes, it's *bound to* if you keep *reminding us* of it.

This is unusually transparent partisanship, even by the not-very-demanding standards of Big Media in an election year. The good news is that it is transparent.

But hey, maybe Lindlaw will do a story on Kerry: "There were women in the room where Kerry spoke, something bound to serve as a reminder of a story that consumed the Kerry campaign last week. . . ."

At any rate, Lindlaw's coverage goes beyond the sort of institutional bias that The Note pointed out last week. This is just campaigning against Bush, in the guise of reporting.

MORE: Reader Eric Rochelson emails:

It is amazing how he manages to both bring up Bush's guard service yet again AND work in a Kerry quote on how he (Kerry) will support the military better than Bush. The online story had 5 paragraphs of guard service and 4 paragraphs of Kerry propaganda out of 23 total paragraphs. So 40% of the article about the President visiting a military base was "Bush bad/Kerry Good" and had nothing to do with the visit itself.

What's really sad is that this undoubtedly went through editors first. So it's not just Lindlaw who's campaigning here.

STILL MORE: Military blog The Mudville Gazette isn't impressed with Lindlaw's reporting -- or his writing.

Like I said, what's really sad is that this undoubtedly went through editors first.

MORE STILL: Jim Miller looks at the polls and suggests that the National Guard issue has actually helped Bush. Meanwhile Michael Ubaldi says that Lindlaw wasn't always this biased.

AND EVEN MORE: Hey, the link above now goes to a different (and somewhat more balanced) story by Terence Hunt. But you can still read the Lindlaw story here.

AND EVEN MORE STILL: The Lindlaw story above seems to have been edited, according to an email from Greyhawk, and I think he's right. Here's what seems to be the original version.

BUT I THOUGHT NANOTECHNOLOGY WAS IMPOSSIBLE -- AND YET:

It's useful to remember, though, that nature was nano before nano was cool. The latest evidence for this comes from researchers who have discovered that some cells create nanotubes to connect with others.

The researchers, from the University of Heidelberg in Germany and other European institutions, observed what they called tunneling nanotubes among embryonic human kidney cells and normal rat kidney cells.

The structures were 50 to 200 nanometers in diameter (at the upper end, about one 100-thousandths of an inch) and up to several cell diameters in length. Time-lapse videos show that the tubes form in several minutes when a slender protrusion from one cell contacts another cell.

Interesting. And in a self-replicating system, no less! Somebody tell Mark Modzelewski!

UPDATE: Speaking of this stuff, I've been remiss in not mentioning that Robert Freitas' latest book on Nanomedicine is out. Volume I got a very positive review in The Lancet.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Phil Bowermaster writes: "Five years away is a reasonable time frame to start thinking about business applications. The Nano Business Alliance in general, and Modzelewski in particular, are running out of time to get their thinking straight on this issue."

It's not because people haven't brought the matter to their attention.

STEFAN GEENS WRITES:

What a stunning coincidence. In many nation-states around Europe, simultaneously, laws are being debated that ostensibly have no connection to one another — defending secularism in France, defending women's rights in Belgium and Sweden, defending states' rights in Germany, defending the autonomy of state-funded Christian schools in Spain and Italy — and yet, miraculously, despite these disparate if lofty ideals, they all converge on the exact same effect: Muslim women will not be allowed to wear headscarves in public schools.

Why am I not surprised? (More here.)

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF THE CAPITALISTS is up, with all sorts of business and economics-related posts from a variety of bloggers. Check it out!


ADAM CURRY has more blogging from Iraq, and he's also posted a bunch of pictures. Excerpt:

To this I suggested that he could join the city council and help change things. This was a totally foreign concept to him. Join the city council? Huh? I guess 35 years of dictatorship does damage to the entire concept of democratic process. Lots of education needed in that area.

Indeed. Read the whole thing.

MORE THOUGHTS on the oil-for-food scandal.

WOULD YOU BUY A USED VEEP FROM THIS MAN?

FORMER President Bill Clinton, stung by how poor a presidential contender Wesley Clark turned out to be, worked aggressively behind the scenes late last week to pressure John Kerry to pick the retired general as his running mate.

"The former president has been calling people, including elected officials in New York, saying that Clark would make a great vice-presidential candidate," a well-known Democratic activist told The Post.

"He's pushing hard because this is a credibility issue for Clinton since everybody knows Clark was the guy he created, but yet Clark did so poorly when he ran."

Hmm. If I were Kerry, I'd be reluctant -- especially since Tom Oliphant, as I noted below, is blaming Clark for the Kerry infidelity scandal:

Clark's rumor-mongering with his press corps about Kerry was the visible tip of an iceberg of rumor-mongering that had gone on for weeks, stirred not only by some of his fund-raisers but also among the press by aides and consultants that "something" was coming. This is how spin doctors feed gossip mills without actually providing gossip.

Sounds like a poor choice to me. And why would Kerry want to pick a guy who (1) spread rumors about him that exploded into a national scandal; and (2) did so so ham-handedly that it didn't help his campaign, and (3) got caught at it to boot?

The most charitable thing you can say about Clark is that he's inept, and Oliphant offers more examples of ham-handedness on Clark's part. But to me he looks like a guy who's willing to do or say anything to advance his career, but who isn't very good at figuring out what to do or say. I'm not sure why Kerry would be looking for those qualities in a running mate -- or why Bill Clinton would be pushing the candidacy of someone possessing those qualities.

RUNNING THE NUMBERS: Oxblog offers some perspective on the problem of priestly sex abuse. Bottom line: It's huge: "even though the report entirely discards incidents involving a further 3,300 priests who had died, and only deals with incidents in which a victim of abuse has come forward, the number still represents over 4 percent of all priests who served in that period."

UPDATE: Justin Katz says the numbers are wrong.

MORE EURO-SCANDALS:

A former French defense minister and an official in President Jacques Chirac's governing party were convicted of illegal party funding and money laundering on Monday.
.
A court in Paris found the former defense minister, François Léotard, guilty of using a fake bank scheme in 1995 to inject money into his now-defunct Republican Party. He was given a 10-month suspended jail sentence.
.
Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, spokesman for Chirac's Union for a Popular Movement party, was fined E15,000, or about $19,000, for helping disguise the operation while he was Léotard's cabinet director.

Wow, their wrists must sting.

CANADA'S POLITICAL AND LEGAL PROBLEMS are the theme of a collection of Canadian blog posts called The Carnival of the Canucks. Reactions to Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, surprisingly, do not make up the bulk of the posts.

FREEDOM WITHOUT RESPONSIBILITY: Arnold Kling looks at academia, in light of the recent controversy over Duke University's lack of diversity.

Here's something on a related topic that I wrote a couple of years ago.

February 16, 2004

FREDRIK NORMAN STANDS UP FOR FREEDOM on Norwegian TV. He comes off better than some other people. But that's no surprise.

UPDATE: Roger Simon comments:

What was most interesting about this discussion to me was how little Norman's adversaries really understood about America.

Yes.

MORE ON SADDAM'S BRIBERY CAMPAIGN:

Money illicitly siphoned from the UN oil-for-food programme by Saddam Hussein was used to finance anti-sanctions campaigns run by British politicians, according to documents that have surfaced in Baghdad.

Undercover cash from oil deals went to three businessmen who in turn supported pressure groups involving the ex-Labour MP George Galloway, Labour MP Tam Dalyell, and the former Irish premier Albert Reynolds, it is alleged in documents compiled by the oil ministry, which is now under the control of the US occupation regime.

Separately, a dossier from the oil ministry in Baghdad has been handed by the British Foreign Office to Customs and Excise, which has been asked to investigate. They were also referred to the Cabinet Office because of their political sensitivity.

More here: "Secret commissions paid to pro-Saddam middlemen by western oil firms found their way into George Galloway's anti-sanctions drives."

I don't know if this is true, of course -- though it certainly seems plausible to me -- but what I really wonder is where else Saddam's money went.

DAMIAN PENNY WONDERS why "anti-nuclear" activists aren't targeting China and Pakistan.

WOW:

The government is considering a plan to break up the BBC and remove its independent status in the wake of a bitter row with the state-funded broadcaster over the Iraq war, a report said.

I rather doubt this will go through, but I think they should close it down and sell its assets off to the private sector.

THIS LIST of biblical references in rock leaves out what's probably the finest Christian rock song ever, The Who's Who Are You?

ARTHUR SCHLESINGER DENOUNCES the Bush Administration on civil liberties, in a place where there is no free speech.

UPDATE: Timothy Burke says that Erin O'Connor is wrong about Swarthmore's speech code. Erin O'Connor, meanwhile, says that Burke is wrong.

NASCAR ENVY: Greyhawk notes that John Kerry is now playing from Scott Ott's script.

I'M IN FAVOR OF GAY MARRIAGE, but nonetheless I think that Rod Dreher has a good point:

What I don't get is this: why was it wrong for Judge Roy Moore of Alabama to unilaterally declare federal law wrong, and defy it by installing a Ten Commandments monument in a courthouse rotunda ... but it's okay for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to unilaterally declare state law wrong in prohibiting same-sex marriage, and defy it by issuing marriage licenses to gay couples? I mean, I know why the media was outraged by the former episode of grandstanding and not the latter, but as a legal matter, what's the difference?

Newsom would deny others the right to violate a law he believes in, but feels free to violate the law himself when he chooses, even though his sole claim to legitimacy as a government official comes from the law.

It's not civil disobedience when it's done by someone who controls the machinery of government -- it's usurpation, even when it's in a cause I agree with.

UPDATE: David Codrea wonders when they'll start passing out gun licenses without worrying about the silly -- and undoubtedly prejudiced -- limitations imposed by California law. I've actually noted that leftish prejudice against guns is a lot like rightish prejudice against gays. I, of course, oppose both varieties of prejudice. I rather doubt, though, that we'll see "civil disobedience" by government officials in support of gun rights in San Francisco any time soon.

WINDS OF CHANGE has its war news roundup posted. Don't miss it.

I MENTIONED BELOW that Alex Polier denies a Kerry affair -- but that's not the big news. The big news is that she managed to deny it in a way that left Wonkette speechless.

UPDATE: I"m having trouble with the story here, though. There's this quote:

The father denied they had an affair, but called the senator a "sleazeball" without explanation to the Sun.

"He's not the sort of guy I would choose to be with my daughter," the London paper quoted the father as saying.

Okay, it's The Sun, though I haven't seen anyone suggest the quote is inaccurate. [LATER: Here's a report that they're now denying the Sun quote: "The statement did not address purported quotes by Polier's parents in the British tabloid The Sun that were harshly critical of Kerry. But in a later statement e-mailed to the AP in New York, Terry Polier said he was misquoted by the Sun and that his wife never talked to the Sun reporter."]. So then there's this, from the BBC:

All we have at the moment is that the woman's parents, who are republicans, don't like Senator Kerry.

Okay, but then what about this?

A statement by Terry and Donna Polier, the parents of Alexandra Polier:

"We have spoken to our daughter and the allegations that have been made regarding her are completely false and unsubstantiated. We love and support her 100 percent and these unfounded rumors are hurtful to our entire family. We appreciate the way Senator Kerry has handled the situation, and intend on voting for him for president of the United States."

Wow, that's an amazing 180-degree turnabout in a very short time. If he wins over America's voters this way, he'll be sure to win in November! But can this approach be expanded to cover millions?

Kaus has an amusing take on this sudden shift.

MORE: And Tom Oliphant is blaming Wesley Clark for the whole thing:

Clark's rumor-mongering with his press corps about Kerry was the visible tip of an iceberg of rumor-mongering that had gone on for weeks, stirred not only by some of his fund-raisers but also among the press by aides and consultants that "something" was coming. This is how spin doctors feed gossip mills without actually providing gossip.

And yet some people keep blaming Karl Rove.

KERRY ON THE ISSUES: Discussed over at GlennReynolds.com.

GOOD POINT: "The question of whether Saddam Hussein was a monstrous, murderous tyrant has two answers - 'no' or 'yes.' There is no 'yes but.'"

I LINKED TO THIS JEFF JARVIS POST EARLIER, but here's an interesting bit from the comments:

I'm transsexual, and jumped the fence from male to female about six or seven years ago; so I've seen this one from both sides.

One of the biggest joys ("comforts" might be a better word) of my new female status is that I no longer am the recipient of all the subliminal hostility. Which wasn't all that subliminal, if you get right down to it.

As a man walks down the street, pretty much everybody is evaluating him for potential danger. It's mild, but pervasive. I hear young black men have it even worse; but even middle-age white men get it.

I find it much more peaceful over here on the women's side. Your mileage may vary.

Enough people have made this jump that it would be possible to interview a meaningful number and see what could be learned. Has anybody done that?

UPDATE: No, this doesn't count.

ANOTHER UPDATE: But this email from transsexual reader Laura Riccio does:

In response to your wondering about the experiences of transsexuals and the treatment we've experienced living as each sex, I thought I'd quickly share some of mine. In essence, it's a very mixed bag either way. By way of background, I'm 30 years old, a health insurance actuary, politically centrist with strong libertarian sympathies, and thoroughly bourgeoise. I changed sexes, from male to female, five years ago, and live in San Francisco. Of course, I'm excluding the approximately two years in which I was obviously a transsexual and was treated as such from my comments below, which reflect only my subjective experience.

On the "men have it worse" side:

- I agree with the commenter of Jarvis's. Since I've changed, I seem to represent much less of a potential threat to people, both male and female, and people trust me more easily. The air of suspicion really was not noticeable until it was gone, as is the case for many of these issues.

- People are generally nicer and more considerate of me now, and seem to be much more sparing of my feelings, even to the point of telling obvious lies. This is in addition to the obvious typical male chivalry things like opening doors and the like, which, I'm happy to report, is still quite common even in San Francisco. People will actually go out of their way to be gratuitously kind, which was certainly not the case beforehand.

- People are far, far less likely to accuse, or (as far as I can tell) believe in actual wrongdoing or malfeasance on my part now. The flip side of this, as a I mention below, is a strongly increased tendency to assume that I'm incompetent.

On the "women have it worse" side:

- As I said above, people's apparent estimation of my intelligence has dropped significantly, despite the fact that I'm quite certain the quality and coherence of my thoughts (not to mention my professional qualifications!) have improved greatly since transition. This isn't total and complete; if I have an absolute knock-down argument, people will eventually believe it, but only after much expenditure of effort on my part. If I *don't* have a knock-down argument, people are far less likely to trust my intelligence and judgement than they had been. This tendency is rather uneven; I've noticed it most strongly in older people (over, say, 50), and in certain religious groups (the usual suspects:
conservative Christians and Muslims of all stripes).

- While normal citizens now view me as less of a threat, and therefore as a better person, it is true that criminals now also view me as less of a threat, and consequently, as a better target. I've managed to stay out of trouble in this regard, but it's much more of a concern these days.

- When I am genuinely angry or upset about something, or even when I disagree with a colleague on a factual or logical point, there is a far greater tendency among the general populace to attribute it to some one-off hormonal effect, or to it being "that time of the month." Since, as a transsexual, I do not menstruate, I find this latter belief extremely amusing, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Overall, I'm much (much!) happier as a woman, but I think that has little to nothing do with a fundamental societal preference for one over the other and everything to do with the fact that I'm a male-to-female transsexual. I can't really say that either men or women have an overwhelming advantage in societal treatment these days, at least not that I've noticed.

So there you are. Very interesting stuff, at least to me.

ROGER SIMON is still wondering: What happened to the oil-for-food money? Funny how little attention this story is getting.

THE COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW'S CAMPAIGN BLOG has picked up on the absurd Scott Lindlaw AP story regarding Bush and NASCAR that I mention below. Excerpt: "Evidently if you send Lindlaw to a NASCAR race, instead of journalism you get armchair psychoanalysis and a history lesson. We can’t wait to see how he covers the NCAA tournament."

I thought the story was absurd, and I'm glad to see that professionals agree. But I think we'll see a lot more of this as the election nears.

THE KERRY INFIDELITY STORY seemed to die down over the weekend, but this report says that it may come back: "A woman who claims she had an affair with presidential hopeful John Kerry has taped a kiss-and-tell interview with a U.S. TV network, it was revealed last night. " (Via Timothy Perry).

UPDATE: Drudge has an informative flashback on the much-less-circumspect treatment given unsubstantiated rumors of infidelity on the part of then-President George H.W. Bush in 1992. Read the whole thing, and have a laugh at the sanctimonious behavior of some of those same named journalists today.

Yeah, there's a double standard here. A big one, and it's not just the Joe Conason flipflop noted by Mickey Kaus earlier, or the different Joe Conason example noted by Drudge. You'll see more of this stuff as the election gets closer. They just can't help themselves.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Will Collier wonders which network will air the story first.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: On the other hand, here's a pretty straightforward denial of the affair from Alexandra Polier. I guess that denial settles it!

WHAT MAKES AMERICA EXCEPTIONAL: Jeff Jarvis lists some things, and asks readers for more.

THE KERRY MIRACLE? I guess God really is a Democrat. . . .

SO DOES ANYBODY HAVE EXPERIENCE with this wireless printer from HP? I'd like to set up wireless printing, but from what I've heard it's not really ready for primetime, and the reviews on this thing's Amazon page are, um, mixed.

What I'd like is a printer that will simply print from any wi-fi computer in range without any networking setup at all. I don't think that such a beast exists. Am I wrong?

PAKISTANI NUCLEAR SCIENTIST -- AND SALESMAN -- ABDUL QADEER KHAN, has reportedly suffered a heart attack. So, interestingly, did his wife, who was reportedly threatening to release incriminating information if Khan were jailed or harmed. Keep an eye on his daughter.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani government is denying the whole thing.

ADAM CURRY is blogging from Iraq. (Via Kaye Trammell).

THE IMAGE TO YOUR RIGHT is not from the official Associated Press NASCAR vehicle, but you might think otherwise from reading this AP story by Scott Lindlaw on Bush at NASCAR, which contains such gems as this one:

With his wife, Laura, trailing him, Bush walked the pit, mingling with drivers, shaking hands with fans. He peered into car No. 16, sponsored by the National Guard, and if the car reminded him of the tempest swirling around his own service in the Texas Air National Guard, he didn't show it.

(Emphasis added.) Nope, no bias there. None here, either:

He spent an unusually long time at the race - more than 2 1/2 hours, compared to the 55 minutes he planned at a Monday event on the economy across Florida in Tampa.

Message: I don't care! Reader Rick Giovanelli, who sent the link, comments: "Give me a break, I can't even read the sports websites now without seeing this nonsense?" Apparently not. At least until after the election. . . .

UPDATE: People wonder where I got that picture. It's actually a crop from this one, which I shot yesterday at a stoplight.

ANOTHER BLOGGER is running for office.

February 15, 2004

MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT on American campuses. It's like the Second Coming of Joe McCarthy!

WHY DEMOCRATS are buying blogads. This gap won't last.

JEFF JARVIS thinks we need a male anti-defamation league.

PHOTOGRAPHYBLOG has lots of stuff from the Photo Marketing Association. Loads of new cameras coming out.

JESSICA HARBOUR: "you know you are 21st-century white trash when you cross state lines with fireworks tucked into the trunk of your Volvo."

PROGRESS IN THE WAR: Belmont Club observes:

That when dying and bleeding, beset by the flower of terrorism, with pistol to set against automatic rifle and grenade, the Iraqi police did not ask for help from 82nd Airborne. They asked for ammunition.

They won, too. Bill Quick has further comments.

SEAN HACKBARTH will be blogging the Wisconsin debate.

UPDATE: Here's the result.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Kerry's reference to the Vietnam War as "Nixon's" gets fact-checked.

DANIEL DREZNER has an outsourcing update that's worth reading.

JOE CONASON CONTAINS MULTITUDES: And Mickey Kaus is pointing it out.

JEFF JARVIS WRITES:

The reason Howard Dean (with Al Gore) lost is that they ran a negative campaign. But the problem wasn't that they were negative about other candidates. It was that they were negative about America.

He's got links and evidence. But I think that the real reason Gore lost in 2000 was incompetence, and I've got some pretty strong evidence, too:

A tale from Ned Ray McWherter's 2000 experience, told to a reporter last week, will illustrate.

He had made a 10-day trip through the state, mostly in East Tennessee, as a Gore surrogate campaigner and returned, as instructed, to give a report to the campaign's national headquarters in Nashville.

His travels, McWherter says, left him with a sense that things were going badly for Gore in his home state.

He had a plan, involving some personal campaigning by Gore, for turning things around.

"I sat there for about an hour in the headquarters, wanting to make a report to the people running the campaign. They sent somebody out and said they were busy.

"They put me off another hour or two and, well, my old butt got tired, and I got up and left. They were so busy they wouldn't even talk to me and I was going to tell them they were about to get the hell beat out of them in East Tennessee," he said.

"I left word with Johnny Hayes. He said he couldn't get in to see them, either," McWherter said. "They had other places to worry about, I guess."

Ned Ray McWherter, a former Governor and State House Speaker, is probably the shrewdest politician Tennessee has ever produced. And he couldn't even get a meeting?

If Gore had listened, he might have won Tennessee. If he'd won Tennessee, he'd have won the election, and Florida would be a footnote.

No wonder he's so angry now. But really, I think, he's angry at himself.

UPDATE: Elsewhere in the article quoted above, McWherter seems hot on a Kerry/Edwards ticket. But apparently the Kerry campaign isn't so hot on Edwards:

Kerry is also said to be unconvinced that Edwards is experienced enough to step in as a wartime president should something happen to him. National security credentials are the most important assets that the Democratic presidential front-runner would use to choose a running mate, these aides said.

This is actually the most positive thing I've read about Kerry -- since it's an acknowledgement that we're actually at war now, pace Al Gore -- but it makes me wonder: What Democrat fills that bill?

What Kerry needs is to make a ballsy choice of someone with military experience, someone who may not be a traditional Democrat but who's known as a fighter, who can appeal to swing voters, and who'll give the Democrats instant credibility.

Note to Karl Rove: Make sure you've mended every single fence with John McCain. . . .

STATES, like the Federal government, generally have Freedom of Information Acts. State officials, however, aren't very good about complying with the law sometimes:

After insisting that the volunteer give his name, Desjarlais used the Internet to identify the volunteer, find his cell phone number and call him after work hours.

In an interview after the audit, Desjarlais denied that he threatened or tried to intimidate the volunteer, who is a reporter with SNN-Channel 6 in Sarasota.

Desjarlais defended his actions, saying that the volunteer raised suspicion when he declined to explain who he was. Officials across the state had similar misgivings about volunteers who came into their offices.

They cited a number of arbitrary reasons for their suspicions, including the volunteers' hair length, casual dress and, in one case, "the look in his eyes."

Mary Kay Cariseo, executive director of the Florida Association of Counties, said people need to understand that making a public records request can be threatening to public officials.

"You're not looking at e-mails to do something good," she said. "You're trying to find something. You're trying to dig something up when we're trying to be good public servants and run our governments."

"Our governments." That pretty much says it all, doesn't it? (Via Fried Man).

FORCE-FEEDING at the Post?

Well, not just the Post.

ED CONE wonders where the Dean money went. Apparently, Joe Trippi doesn't know.

INTERESTING SURVEY OF ANTI-AMERICANISM as a cultural force, in the Financial Times. The whole thing is a must-read, and indicates how little of the phenomenon is really policy-driven. Here's a good excerpt:

Europe's problem, as Bruckner sees it, is not that it has drifted too far to the left - for the left-right concept is one that he considers "totally discredited". Nor is Europe's problem simply anti-Americanism.

"Anti-Americanism can only be very ambivalent," he says, "where American culture sets the tone. The French are voting for America - in the market place - all the time." Rather, Bruckner says, "our great problem as Europeans is that we want to exit from history. Sometime after 1989, we developed the belief that barbarism could be refuted intellectually." Here, he makes clear, he is speaking primarily of France and Germany, not the UK.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Some interesting further commentary here.

THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE military blog has a roundup of military bloggers' reactions to the "Bush AWOL" story. Meanwhile reader Amy Denham notes that now that the initial case has collapsed with the appearance of records and eyewitnesses, "The argument is no longer 'did he serve,' but 'how well did he serve?'" Since nothing short of seppuku would satisfy the critics, we know the answer to that one.

There's a lot of goalpost-moving going on. Pejman Yousefzadeh has some comments on that.

And one of my colleagues who was a Marine in Vietnam (and who is quite unimpressed with Kerry) observed that he's never before seen such open enthusiasm for military service among liberal academics of his generation. He thinks that they see support for Kerry, and slagging of Bush, on these issues as providing some sort of absolution for their own behavior in that era. I think that's right.

UPDATE: Reader John Schedler emails: "Put my down as another Marine veteran of Vietnam (A 1/26) who agrees completely."

I WISH THAT THIS were a bigger surprise:

Investigators have discovered that the nuclear weapons designs obtained by Libya through a Pakistani smuggling network originated in China, exposing yet another link in a chain of proliferation that stretched across the Middle East and Asia, according to government officials and arms experts.

The bomb designs and other papers turned over by Libya have yielded dramatic evidence of China's long-suspected role in transferring nuclear know-how to Pakistan in the early 1980s, they said. The Chinese designs were later resold to Libya by a Pakistani-led trading network that is now the focus of an expanding international probe, added the officials and experts, who are based in the United States and Europe.

This also suggests that the Chinese are, well, dumb as rocks. Arming an unstable nation with whom one shares a border with nuclear weapons just seems awfully stupid to me. (See also Russia and Iran). I suspect that corruption played a role in that decision: probably Saudi money that bribed Chinese officials to give nuclear secrets to Pakistan that wound up in the hands of Libya. And where else?

The good news is that the end of Saddam's reign seems to have destabilized a lot of these connections, and brought a lot of information out.

UPDATE: Jim Dunnigan has a lot more interesting background and commentary here.

READER ED CLARK complains that I'm running blogads for Democratic candidates. Well, I actually have a lot of Democratic readers, you know, and these guys obviously seem to think it's worth it to reach them. (It certainly worked well for the Chandler campaign.) And I have nothing against Democrats per se, despite my unhappiness with the direction the Democratic Party is heading these days. But I'll be more than happy to run ads for Republicans, whenever they're ready to buy some. At the moment, the Democrats just seem to be ahead of the curve here. But I suspect that won't last.

AL GORE SAYS TERRORISM ISN'T A THREAT: Jeff Jarvis says that Al Gore is revealing himself as unfit for politics and governance, yet again.

I was once pretty high on Gore -- I worked in his 1988 campaign -- but he's been a complete disappointment. And now he's not just a guy who lost an election. He's a become a loser, and that transformation has been entirely his own work.

And those of us who were relieved on September 11 that Al Gore wasn't the President are reminded, yet again, just why we were relieved. He's too small a man for a job that big.

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