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April 16, 2005

ANN ALTHOUSE describes her favorite male body part.

WILL FRANKLIN has thoughts on France and the EU referendum.

CHESSBASE REPORTS on a Kasparov attack:

Garry Kasparov was attacked after a meeting with youth activists in Moscow. He was approached by an autograph seeking participant. The young man circled Kasparov and delivered a sharp blow to the head with the chessboard. Russian news agencies place the blame on the pro-Putin organisations Nashi.

Putin and thuggery? Who'd have thought there could be a connection?

THE BEAR IS BACK.

IAN HAMET has posted his analysis of the Chinese protests he reported on earlier. And he's also got a copy (with translation) of the Chinese email that organized the protests. Bottom line:

Furthermore, one aspect of Chinese culture you don’t read much about is a nationwide inferiority complex. I don’t know what else to call it. There’s overcompensation everywhere. . . .

Another aspect is dissatisfaction with the present government. Oh, you’ll never hear anyone say that, of course. But Tiananmen Square is only 16 years in the past, and I think someone in Beijing, someone who is all too familiar with both The Prince and The Art of War, has been working to divert frustration to a more acceptable target. Add in the natural xenophobia that Chinese culture has always harbored, and you’ve got a brilliant play to keep the present oligarchy firmly entrenched, as well as justification for foreign adventures, should the need arise. . . .

I’m convinced someone in Beijing orchestrated this, even as the demonstration was declared “illegal” yesterday. The police didn’t try to quell the crowd at all, weren’t even in riot gear. They just steered people away from the (very expensive) buildings in People’s Square.

Whoever he is, this Machiavel, he’s stirred up one hell of a hornets’ nest. I sincerely hope that he’s frightened by how angry it is; if not, there’s even more trouble on the horizon.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Brian Dunn has more thoughts.

And there's more at The Mudville Gazette. Related thoughts on China, from The Belmont Club, here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: SimonWorld has loads more on the anti-Japanese riots, as well as a report on different riots in Huaxi that ought to be worrying the Chinese government much more: "The current Japan/China tensions may in part be orchestrated by the government. But these spontaneous outbursts are a different beast. Interestingly at the moment the Chinese Government doesn't seem sure how to handle either."

STRATEGYPAGE ON MILITARY PROCUREMENT:

This rush of new, cheaper and more effective technology is beginning to bother the traditional manufacturers. These large outfits make lots of money by building high tech, high dollar, items. The new guys are building inexpensive stuff that works better. Now you can’t come right out and complain about this. At least not while troops in combat zones are singing the praises of inexpensive gadgets like micro-UAVs. But large corporations think in the long term. . . .

There are also new communications technologies that threaten mainstream military contractors. The U.S. Army, in particular, is desperate to install as much “battlefield Internet” technology as possible. Rather than wait for the traditional military manufacturers to devise, develop and manufacture such systems, the army (often just the troops) is taking stuff off the shelf and adapting it to battlefield use. These interlopers are drawing sharp criticism from the traditional manufacturers, and the PR effort has an impact. But because of combat veterans lauding the new, cheaper, gear, and that news getting spread through new, non-traditional information outlets (mostly web based), it’s not been so easy to shut down the new manufacturers.

Very interesting.

MICHAEL TOTTEN IS VIDEOBLOGGING as well as photoblogging, over at the Spirit of America's Lebanon blog. Check it out, and consider donating if you'd like to support democracy in Lebanon, where things are still touch-and-go.

IAN HAMET witnessed anti-Japanese protests in Shanghai and has posted a full report. And a reader in Shanghai sends these photos, and reports:

Here are two picts I took at the anti-Japanese protest today in Shanghai. The mob smashed everything Japanese along the march route and around the embassy, but the police stopped all attempted looting. All in all it was very orderly, with lots of smiles and laughing among the participants.

I've noticed tensions rising over the past few months. There used to be only one guy at my office who refused to buy Japanese items; now it's more than half, even very no-nonsense people who's judgement I trust. One of my coworkers has been dating a Japanese guy for four months now, and she's scared that someone at the office will find out. Another foreigner and I are the only two people she's confided in. There has also been acts of violence against Japanese people on the street. Just a few days ago two Japanese exchange students got their asses kicked by a group of Chinese guys.

Protest highlights:
A shout of "Don't take pictures with Japanese cameras and and cell phones!" was met with nervous laughter and stuffing of cameras and cell phones into pockets.

Chains of Chinese people holding Chinese flags and standing in front of Japanese restaurants where they worked. Along the march route they were pushed out of the way, but they managed to protect some businesses that were off the main path.

Chinese people don't play baseball. The rock and bottle throwing was comically poor and inaccurate.

That's some comfort. I suspect that the Chinese government is stirring this up. I suspect that it will get out of hand, if it continues.

shanghai1.jpg

shanghai2.jpg

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF CORDITE, collecting gun-blog posts from all over, is up.

UPDATE: And don't miss the Carnival of the Recipes!

April 15, 2005

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON pens a masterful "I told you so," aimed at the predictably-wrong trio of Scowcroft, Brzezinski, and Albright, among others.

MEMPHISLAMISTS? I'm glad Memphis is at the other end of the state.

SOD OFF, SWAMPY: The sequel.

I STILL THINK THAT BILL FRIST would have been better off following my advice.

Josh Chafetz observes: "I can think of few better ways to drive me and my fellow independents into the arms of the Democrats."

UPDATE: James Joyner: "I support Frist's efforts to get judicial nominees an up-or-down vote and even support invoking the so-called 'nuclear option' to get it done. However, this particular move is not only unseemly but likely to backfire. . . . This is clearly an issue the Republicans should be able to win on the merits. The idea that the president's nominees should not be able to get a vote in a Republican majority Senate is simply bizarre. But arguing that Democrats are defying Jesus with their obstructionism is unlikely to turn this one around."

Hugh Hewitt feels differently.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Matt Rustler: "Is it any wonder that some people believe the 'Religious Right' is trying to establish an American theocracy? I'm starting to worry, too, and I am -- er, was? -- mostly on their side."

EUGENE VOLOKH DOES THE MATH on false rape reports.

THE ANCHORESS CLAIMS AN EXCLUSIVE: Excerpts from Mary Mapes' book treatment. I don't think it's a spoof.

EAST IS EAST AND WEST IS WEST, and Cathy Seipp has thoughts on their meeting.

PROTESTS IN MONGOLIA continue.

HISTORYBLOGGING: The latest History Carnival is up!

I HAVEN'T FINISHED South Park Conservatives yet, but you can read reviews by Orrin Judd and Ed Driscoll elsewhere.

UPDATE: Here's one from Joshua Claybourn.

MICKEY KAUS accuses the Washington Post's Robin Givhan of practicing "the new phrenology," but Bill Quick takes the critique a step farther.

MICHAEL SILENCE offers demographic advice to politicans and media folks from the northeast.

THE INTERNET GIVETH, AND THE INTERNET TAKETH AWAY: Thoughts on music and the Web, over at GlennReynolds.com.

MICHAEL COSTELLO writes in The Australian:

How has it happened that the Left of politics across the world has ended up opposing a foreign policy philosophy of spreading democracy in favour of supporting the traditional conservative agenda of stability, sovereignty and the status quo? Because that is what the Left is doing in its hostile reaction to George W. Bush's second inaugural address.

Read the whole thing, and read these further thoughts from Austin Bay.

IN THE (INTEROFFICE) MAIL: My colleague Bob Lloyd's essay, Hard Law Firms, Soft Law Schools, in the latst issue of the North Carolina Law Review. Lloyd applies the ideas in Michael Barone's book Hard America, Soft America, to legal education. (Here's an essay by Barone that states the same themes.) I don't think Lloyd's piece is available online, but here's a key bit:

This Essay analyzes Barone's ideas in the context of twenty-first century law practice. It concludes that American law practice, like American business, has become Harder in recent years. At the same time, American law schools have become Softer. The result is that law schools are doing a poor job of preparing students for practice.

He talks about new forces that may Harden legal education in spite of itself, and suggests some things that ought to be done. I think that readers in legal education will find it well worth their time.

UPDATE: The citation is 83 N.C. L. Rev. 667 (2005).

BRENDAN LOY: "The U.N. oil-for-food scandal gets the buried-on-Page-A22 treatment for months... and then a Texas oilman is indicted, and suddenly it's the top story in the New York Times. Sheesh." The NYT is nothing if not predictable. Read this, too.

MASS ARRESTS IN PAKISTAN: Gateway Pundit has a roundup, but notes that it's hard to tell what's really going on.

"I WOULDN'T MENTION PARIS. IT'S POOR SALESMANSHIP:"

French media has dismissed as unconvincing President Jacques Chirac's efforts to persuade his country to vote for the EU constitution in an upcoming referendum.

Meanwhile Friday, campaigners for a "no" vote accused Chirac of scaremongering by telling voters in a prime-time TV broadcast that France "could cease to exist politically" in the EU if they reject the charter on May 29.

The two-hour town hall-style meeting on Thursday evening marked the start of his push to promote the constitution, which is intended to reform EU decision-making after the admission of 10 new members last May.

However, the "no" campaign is leading in the opinion polls, and analysts suggested Chirac's debate with 83 carefully selected young people would not reverse the trend.

There may be hope for Europe after all. More bad reviews here.

THE ARMY is running into recruiting issues, something I've worried about for a while. StrategyPage observes:

The army expects to reverse the recruiting shortfall by lowering standards (which will increase training costs), add more recruiters and spend more money on advertising. The army is also offering larger bonuses (up to $90,000, in one lump sum) to get existing troops to re-enlist. Past experience indicates that these methods will probably work, but will increase personnel costs as much as ten percent.

This is why proposals to enlarge the Army, discussed during the campaign last year, were probably impractical.

DRIVING HOME YESTERDAY, I had some thoughts about the Graetz & Shapiro book on the politics of the Estate Tax that I mentioned yesterday.

Graetz & Shapiro want to understand how the political culture shifted from one in which people thought that wealthy people ought to support the society that made their wealth possible, to one in which people hope to get rich enough to worry about inheritance taxes, and thus take a preemptive dislike to them.

I think that one difference may be that society does less to "make it possible" for people to get wealthy now. A hundred years ago, or even fifty, the politics of inheritance taxes were different. But then the government mostly defended the country and engaged in various public-good activities, like building roads or supporting research. There was pork, and income transfer, of course, but it was a much smaller part of the picture. So the notion that one was "giving back" to a system that made wealth possible made some sense.

Now much of the government's taxing-and-spending is about transferring money from one group to another. The "give back" point is much weaker, because the system isn't about public goods, but about payouts that are (usually) driven by interest-group politics rather than the common good. So the moral claim for inheritance taxes would seem to be a lot weaker, and maybe it's no surprise that many people see it that way.

On the other hand, as the book also looks at political tactics, let me suggest that "fuck the small businessman" is a poor slogan for those favoring inheritance taxes.

April 14, 2005

PUBLIUS has news from Ukraine.

ANN ALTHOUSE is photoblogging a campus protest, and has a followup post here, noting protester-sympathy for the Iraqi resistance. But of course!

Meanwhile, Gateway Pundit has a photoblogs a different protest on a different campus, with a followup post here. A protester eats an apple.

IN THE MAIL: An advance copy of the Enron documentary, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. It's not bad, though it's pretty dependent on C-SPAN footage of Carl Levin, Barbara Boxer, et al., calling people crooks -- and during one discussion of a sham transaction involving Nigerian power barges, we're shown footage of what looks like a Liquified Natural Gas tanker, which doesn't inspire confidence.

There's a definite tinge of political correctness throughout the film, in which the desire to make money is consistently characterized as morally suspect. (Ironic, given that the film was backed by Mark Cuban). Though there's a passage in which we're told that California's partial deregulation of electrical power made no economic sense, Enron seems to get the blame there, too. Explanation of Enron's business model is weak, and the viewer is left with no clear idea of why so many people thought it could make money. The term "free markets" keeps coming up in pejorative contexts. (One of the anti-free-market interviewees is former TVA executive David Freeman. It's no surprise that he feels that way.) And interspersing tapes of power-traders talking with footage of people giving victims shocks in the Milgram experiments seems a bit, well, Michael-Mooreish.

I suspect that a lot of people will like the film anyway. But my sense is that even though there's plenty of blame for Enron here, the film's consistently anti-capitalist tone will make it less persuasive than it might have been.

UPDATE: Trailer in QuickTime and WMV. Film website here, with a Director's Statement about "the cruelty of our economic system" and the evil of greed. I think it would have been more interesting to have made this film as less of a conventional morality play.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Andrew Olmsted didn't think it was as heavy-handed as I did. Though "heavy-handed" isn't quite what I meant: The slant isn't overwhelming, just very consistent.

DARFUR UPDATE: Bill Hobbs reports on the Sudanese Ambassador's reception at Belmont University. He calls it "electric."

A SPECIAL OFFER FOR THE TROOPS: The email I posted earlier from Major John Tammes, about John Scalzi's book Old Man's War, produced this from John Scalzi:

Maj. Tammes' note about being "hyped up" to read Old Man's War inspired me to call up Tor Books to see if we could do something special for the service people in Afghanistan and Iraq. I asked, and Tor agreed, to make available a free electronic version of "Old Man's War" for our folks serving in those countries. I call it the "Over There Special Edition" -- it's an .rtf file, about 570kb, with the entire text of the novel.

To get it, service people in Iraq and Afghanistan should drop me an e-mail at "omw@scalzi.com" and I'll send them the edition as an attached file. They should be able to tell me their unit/general location so I know they really are in Iraq/Afghanistan. People should know that if I get a whole bunch of people who aren't in those countries trying to get the text I won't be able to continue. So please, leave this version to the folks serving our country a half a world away.

I want to take a moment to thank Patrick Nielsen Hayden, my editor at Tor, and Tom Doherty, the Tor publisher, for letting me do this special edition. It's really something to go to your publishing house and ask permission to do something that might potentially cut into sales and have them some back and say, simply, "That's a great idea. Do it." From my perspective I may give up a few dollars in sales, but these folks are giving up a lot more doing their thing in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is just a small way to say "thanks."

That's a very nice thing to do. Bravo for Nielsen Hayden, Tor, Doherty, and Scalzi.

UPDATE: In response to a reader suggestion, Scalzi says to write him from your .mil address for authentication purposes.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I've mentioned it before, but reader Mike Powers points out that you can get free e-versions of a lot of books at the Baen Free Library.

MY LOCAL TV STATION, WBIR, has started a pop-culture blog.

TOUR THE INDIAN BLOGOSPHERE: This week's Blog Mela is up!

THE VILLAGE VOICE has a guide to academic blogs.

UPDATE: Link was bad before. Sorry.

MORE HISTORICAL REVISIONISM: "I don't recall any prewar speeches about delivering democracy to the Middle East."

Hmm. Must've missed the 2003 State of the Union address, where Bush said:

Different threats require different strategies. In Iran we continue to see a government that represses its people, pursues weapons of mass destruction and supports terror.

We also see Iranian citizens risking intimidation and death as they speak out for liberty and human rights and democracy. Iranians, like all people, have a right to choose their own government, and determine their own destiny, and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom. . . .

And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country.

And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation. . . .

Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world; it is God's gift to humanity.

Just, you know, correcting the record.

UPDATE: Reader Paul Escalona sends these remarks by President Bush to the U.N. General Assembly from 2002:

The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people; they've suffered too long in silent captivity. Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic goal. The people of Iraq deserve it; the security of all nations requires it. Free societies do not intimidate through cruelty and conquest, and open societies do not threaten the world with mass murder. The United States supports political and economic liberty in a unified Iraq.

And this Feb. 27, 2003 transcript (a month before the war) from PBS's Newshour:

MARGARET WARNER: Last night, Pres. Bush laid out his argument that a post-Saddam Iraq could become a flourishing democracy.

PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: There was a time when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values. Well, they were wrong. Some say the same of Iraq today. They are mistaken. (Applause) The nation of Iraq, with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people, is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom. (Applause)

MARGARET WARNER: The president further asserted that a democratic Iraq could transform the entire region in a similar way.

PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: There are hopeful signs of the desire for freedom in the Middle East. Arab intellectuals have called on Arab governments to address the freedom gap, so their peoples can fully share in the progress of our times. From Morocco to Bahrain and beyond, nations are taking genuine steps toward political reform. A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region. (Applause) It is presumptuous and insulting to suggest that a whole region of the world, or the one-fifth of humanity that is Muslim, is somehow untouched by the most basic aspirations of life.

Don't these guys realize that we have Google?

Not to mention, apparently, better memories . . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Scott Helgeson writes:

There's plenty of antiwar articles that dismissed the administration's arguments about promoting democracy.

From Alternet, Jan. 30, 2003: Link

It's "bogus" reason #3.

From Counterpunch, Mar. 19, 2003: Link

"...he proclaims that his war against the people of Iraq will bring about something called 'democracy' for the struggling peoples of the Middle East."

From Znet, Oct. 8, 2002:
Link

"In his speech, Bush claimed that he is motivated by a desire to see democracy in Iraq and by the 'non-negotiable demands of human dignity.'"

This was from a quick search, I'm sure you can find many, many more examples. And yet now there's a shocking case of amnesia.

So back then the claims were bogus -- and now they're new! As reader Matthew Tanner writes: "Y'know, you gotta laugh (or in your case, go 'heh') at these guys. Next: Bush hid his nefarious agenda in plain view! That bastard!"

Wasn't it Cavour who said that the way to lie to diplomats is to tell the truth, since they will never believe that? I guess it's not just for diplomats.

Meanwhile, here's an earlier post by Jon Henke on related issues.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Steve Foley emails:

Bringing democracy to Iraq was also stated as one of the reasons for going to war in the congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to use military
force against Iraq.
(Link)

"Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to
remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;"

In fact, bringing democracy to Iraq has been this nation's policy since 1998, signed into law by Bill Clinton. And here's what President Clinton said in
his own speech way back then

(Link):

"The United States favors an Iraq that offers its people freedom at home. I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq's
history or its ethnic or sectarian make-up. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else. The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life.

My Administration has pursued, and will continue to pursue, these objectives through active application of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. The evidence is overwhelming that such changes will not happen under the current Iraq leadership. "

Now that's a really pre-war speech!

MORE: Ian Hamet offers an explanation for the selective memory:

The reason a large block of the country doesn’t recall Bush’s speeches calling for Iraqi liberation is that they simply were not listening. After all, they had already decided that they knew what Bush “really” meant, so they ignored what he said.

Makes sense.

STILL MORE: The Mudville Gazette notes that this revisionism is a case of history being written by the losers, and offers some further correction.

MORE STILL: Reader Chris Breisch makes a telling point: "In case no one remembers, the name of the operation wasn’t 'Operation Let’s Go Kick Some Butt and Get Some WMD’s,' it was 'Operation Iraqi Freedom'."

EDITORS: Don't just sit there. Hire Howard Lovy.

JOHN MCCAIN VS. THE HOBBITS: No, really.

UPDATE: More on this at Archaeoblog, which has been covering the story for a while.

OIL-FOR-FOOD INDICTMENTS: I suspect that there will be more as UNScam unravels.

The Counterterrorism Blog has more, including links to the indictments themselves.

UPDATE: More here, from Austin Bay. And Roger Simon has a Bolton connection.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Tongsun Park also figured in an earlier scandal.

MORE: A reader who asks anonymity emails:

Now that the MSM can write about an TEXAS based OIL company owned by an AMERICAN, it will be saturation bombing time for them. I work for an MSM company, and I can see the froth beginning to churn.

I wonder if that's the plan . . . .

STILL MORE: InstaPundit reader Brian Erst predicted the Texas business, and the media response thereto, months ago.

And Tom Maguire has much more background, including a look at indictee David Chalmers.

IN THE MAIL: Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Fight over Taxing Inherited Wealth, by Michael Graetz and Ian Shapiro. I'm a big fan of Mike Graetz's, and not just because, like me, he's a big fan of The Rainmakers. I had him for tax when I was in law school, and thought he was a terrific teacher.

EDUWONK is unimpressed with the New York Times' latest education report: "Ordinarily, when an organization releases a study with the caveat that its sample is 'not nationally representative' a national news organization wouldn't then run a big story on it as somehow indicative of a national trend."

Meanwhile, Mickey Kaus is busting the AP's reporting on Ariel Sharon and Iran: "In this case, the credentialed AP writer had to work from a live broadcast, tape, or transcript, the same as any blogger. Unfortunately, the resulting product does not meet blog standards! ... But, hey, give the AP a special constitutional privilege. . . ."

UPDATE: I should note that Kaus is relying on Brendan Loy.

HERE'S A LIST of members of Congress with relatives on the payroll. Seems like a bipartisan sport.

MAJOR JOHN TAMMES, InstaPundit's now-demobilized Afghanistan correspondent, sends this report on his homecoming:

I was gladdened to see you are able to keep up the Afghanistan photo-updates with a new correspondent. You seem to have good luck with us Army Majors, yes?

You and Arthur Chrenkoff remain two of the best sources of "what's going on" in the 'stan.

I just wanted to drop you a line letting you know I am back home, demobilized and all that. I did attach a picture of the greeting we got while passing through the Bangor, Maine airport (these folks had been there since 3 AM, when they had greeted a Marine unit coming home - wow).

Everyone here in the western Chicago suburbs has been absolutely magnificent. I have had everyone from my neighbors to my son's kindergarten teacher come up to me and thank me for what I have done. If nothing else has humbled me over the past 14 months, that sure has. I actually had two Korean War(!) veterans thank me - I could hardly stammer a reply.

I guess this has made me understand the plight of the Vietnam veterans more than I ever thought possible. It has been a bit of a challenge, without going into boring detail, to readjust to home. I cannot fathom how my predecessors who served in Vietnam managed with a much more hostile or at least less friendly reception.

Sincerely,

John Tammes

P.S. Thanks to you, and others, I was all hyped up to read John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" when I got back. It was checked out from the library in my town, three bookstores I checked (I like to browse them and pick up a coffee) were out of stock - finally I ordered it online. I am halfway through, and it is really, really good.

Yes, it is. And I'm sure that John Scalzi will be happy to hear that his book is getting good reviews from such a source.

tammesbangor.jpg

EVAN COYNE MALONEY is documenting peace and tolerance in Manhattan.

EXPANDING THE SECURITY COUNCIL? Manan Ahmed and Jonathan Dresner look at some candidates.

ROBOT REBELLIONS AND TELOMERE EROSION: Oh, my. Scott Burgess, meanwhile, wonders who will fund the fight against our robot overlords?

I, on the other hand, join with Kent Brockman in welcoming them. Embrace the machine!

PATRICK HYNES writes that Americans shouldn't be rooting for the E.U. to fail.

April 13, 2005

MORE CHINESE UNREST: "Thousands of people rioted this week in a village in southeastern China, overturning police cars and driving away officers who had tried to stop elderly villagers protesting against pollution from nearby factories. . . . Police officers outside the village were reportedly blocking reporters from entering the scene but local people, reached by telephone, said villagers controlled the riot area."

LUNCH WITH CLAUDE: More Canadian scandals.

IT'S BLOGGERIFIC! This week's Carnival of the Vanities is up.

And so is the Carnival of Education. Check it out -- you might learn something!

NATIONAL GUARD PHOTOBLOGGING FROM AFGHANISTAN: Cool.

THE BLOGOSPHERE SHOULD GET BEHIND THE ONLINE FREEDOM OF SPEECH ACT, which has bipartisan support in the House and Senate. Tell the FEC to keep its grubby laws off your computer! Mike Krempasky observes:

In short - if this bill passes both houses and becomes law in the next 50 or-so days, the disastrous FEC rulemaking process will be rendered moot. Remember, the FEC is only creating regulations for Internet activity because Congress didn't specifically mention the Internet at all, and a federal judge ruled that even in the absence of specific direction of Congress, the FEC had to do so anyway.

This bill provides that direction, and creates that exclusion. It might not solve *all* the problems of regulation, but it's miles and away the best solution right now. I've already heard from some liberal colleagues in the blogosphere, and we're going to push this bill - and hard.

Let's do.

I'VE RUN EMAIL from 1st LT David Lucas in Iraq, and from his father, John Lucas. Now The Mudville Gazette reports on his Bronze Star.

MY BROTHER'S BAND, COPPER, has a new video out. You can watch it by following the link and clicking on the "watch video" icon at the top. I think it's pretty cool.

UPDATE: The Insta-Wife's take: "Those guys are hot."

Well of course. One of them's my brother, after all.

STEPHEN BAINBRIDGE joins the elite corps of campus-photoblogging law professors.

RANDY BARNETT:

I have long bemoaned the opportunity cost of the aborted Supreme Court nomination of Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the D.C Circuit Court of Appeals. Nominated in the wake of Robert Bork's defeat, Ginsburg was pressured (rumor has it by then-Drug "Czar" Bill Bennett) to withdraw his name when it was disclosed by Nina Totenberg (whose speaker's agent brags about it here) that he had smoked marijuana in the presence of law students when he was a professor at Harvard Law School. Anthony Kennedy was nominated in his place.

What happened to Judge Ginsburg was a tragedy for liberty, and a terrible injustice to a very decent man. Without casting any aspersions on Justice Kennedy, I really wish that now-Chief Judge Ginsburg, the most libertarian Supreme Court nominee in the modern era, had been on the Court these past 15 years.

Me, too. Thanks fer nuthin', Bill!

UPDATE: John Podhoretz emails to say that this is unfair to Bill Bennett:

Just a note to say Bill Bennett wasn't Drug Czar when Doug Ginsburg was nominated for the Supreme Court. The job didn't even exist. At the time, in 1987, it was a lead-pipe cinch that any public figure who had to admit to doing illegal drugs was in BIG trouble. And Bennett was then secretary of education.

As I was but a stripling youth at the time, I can hardly be expected to remember such things.

MORE ON JUDGES: In case people are serious about reforming the judiciary, I've got some suggestions over at GlennReynolds.com.

SIMTERROR '05: An interesting blog-based exercise.

INTERESTING PRIVACY NEWS from Engadget: "[T]he North Dakota legislature is the first to set a precedent by making the black box data sole property of the vehicle owner. The legislature overwhelmingly approved the bill, which also aims at requiring auto manufacturers to notify owners of the presence of black boxes in their vehicles."

UPDATE: Reader Dale Wetzel writes:

Engadget's analysis misses the mark somewhat.

The data is not under the sole control of the vehicle owner, although
the owner does have some say about what is done with it.

The significance of the bill is, the insurance companies can't use
black-box data against you.

Link to bill:

Link to story about bill:

Hmm. That's not quite as good, but it's better than nothing.

PUBLIUS reports on growing unrest in China.

Meanwhile, here's a report that China is pressuring satellite companies to support censorship.

UPDATE: This post from The Daily Demarche rounds up a lot of China news.

DEFENSETECH has been looking at the threat from China. Here's the latest post in the series.

DURING AN EARLIER DISCUSSION of classic TV on DVD, several readers wondered why Hogan's Heroes wasn't out on DVD. Now it is!

Unfortunately, it's still a dry hole for another classic show from that era.

ROGER SIMON: Uncovering the oil-for-food coverup -- with photos.

RON COLEMAN HAS IMPORTANT THOUGHTS on security and negligence inspired by the Lexis/Nexis debacle:

Unlike most bloggers (it seems), I am not a libertarian, nor the biggest "civil libertarian." I am skeptical of conspiracy theories and the like. And most private data, the stuff that the privacy fetishists obsess about, is, as one great man said (about something completely else), "dull, boring and omnipresent" and pretty much worthless -- a point I make to the typical would-be Internet defamation or privacy plaintiff in that weekly phone call we get around here.

But I will say this: If government agencies are going to use their presumptive police power to collect data, however legitimately, they are -- regardless of whether they outsource the task or not -- obligated to insure that this information is retained securely. Even a law-and-order, Burkean conservative can recognize that duty, a duty of competence which is after all a premise of civil government right after ordered liberty and somewhere above free ham hocks.

It looks like the State of Florida (the increasingly incompetent-looking State of Florida), which has taken a lead role in the Matrix database project, along with LexisNexis, has a lot of explaining to do.

Read the whole thing.

AUSTIN BAY writes on the collapse of Al Qaeda's "Iraqi Tet" fantasy. He's got a bit more background on his blog, too.

DONALD SENSING RESPONDS to my TCS column on religion and politics.

INSTAPUNDIT'S AFGHANISTAN CORRESPONDENT, Maj. Robert Macaraeg, reports:

rumsfeld.jpgGuess who dropped in to Kanadahar Air Field (KAF)? Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Earlier he flew out to a Forward Operating Base, returned to KAF and then reenlisted 11 soldiers, gave a speech, did a question and answer session and then posed for photos with soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors.

He gave a 10 to 15 minute speech on why we are in Afghanistan. He mentioned after 2000 years Afghanistan had its first free election after the Soviets occupation and brutal rule of the Taliban. He was optimistic about the future of Afghanistan and said that the Afghan people wanted a bright future. Also he mentioned the devotion to duty that SFC Smith who was just awarded the Medal of Honor.
rumsfeld2.jpg
Then it was the question and answer session. He has a good sense of humor, but did not sugar coat his answers. The questions ranged from the new XM-8 rifle for the infantry, immigration and citizenship for foreigners who serve in the US military, shorter rotations for the US Army and why not military police can earn the new Close Combat Badge. One thing that struck me that he did not B.S. anybody. When he did not know the right answer, he said he would get back to you or deferred to one of Generals to give the straight answer.

One soldier asked the question on why America gets such a negative view of events here. Rumsfeld asked the soldier to repeat the question to make sure that he understood then smiled and laughed. He said "do you think I control the press?" That got a good laugh out of everybody; then he said if you look at any newspaper or TV news program all the headlines are negative. Negative headlines sell. He said with our (military) emails and letters that we send home, people in America will see the good that the military is accomplishing. Also Americans can sort through the news and see the truth. I totally agree with him.

After that he stood with service members for 30 minutes and took photos and shook hands. You can see that he enjoys meeting the troops. I have seen in the previous Sec Defs and Presidents who just did a five minute grip and grin, but Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld impressed the troops and in the dining facility (DFAC) comments were made that he should serve his full term.

I've noticed that Rumsfeld seems to be more popular with the troops than with the press. Perhaps that's because Rumsfeld seems to be counting on the Internet to bypass the press . . . .

TIM WORSTALL has more on avian flu. And here are further thoughts on future epidemics.

MORE ON SANDY BERGER:

It's hard to underestimate the effect a case like this has on national-security professionals. For cynics, it shows that big players get off easy when they commit the crimes smaller fry lose their careers over. Meanwhile, spies, policy-makers and other handlers of secrets are effectively being told their efforts aren't taken seriously. It's a classic Washington double standard.

It certainly seems that way to me. Even Berger's defenders -- say at the WSJ -- would surely admit that a Chief Warrant Officer who commited the same crime would be unlikely to get the same wristslap treatment.

TOM MAGUIRE has thoughts on media credibility, inspired by Nick Kristof.

JOHN KERRY is looking for stories -- preferably negative ones -- regarding service in Iraq. He got this amusing reply:

Dear John,

I’d like to share the story of my son’s service in Iraq. However, first, can I ask…won’t you share YOUR story by signing the SF-180 form to release your military records?

He keeps promising to do that. Isn't that enough?

UPDATE: Will Collier has a letter for Kerry, too.

BILL QUICK NOTES MORE FAILURE in the L.A. Times' multiple-layers-of-editing scheme.

STEPHEN ST. ONGE has taken up the Chronicle of Higher Education's invitation and reviewed its coverage of the Bellesiles matter.

April 12, 2005

HERE'S MORE ON CAMPUS POLITICS, from Evan Coyne Maloney.

DARFUR UPDATE: The Sudanese Ambassador will be in Nashville Wednesday. Bill Hobbs has the scoop. If you're in the vicinity you might consider dropping in.

I HAVE THOUGHTS ON RELIGION AND POLITICS in my TechCentralStation column for tomorrow. But as an "InstaPundit Premium Subscriber" -- the only kind there is! -- you can read them now. For free! Is that a great deal, or what?

TERRORISTS AND INFORMANTS:

The use of rewards in the war on terror has not worked as well as was expected, largely because of the difficulty in getting the word out, and fear of retaliation against potential informants. This has always been a problem with offering rewards for information. . . . But the new program hopes to be the start of a much larger informant effort. Many of the American reserve troops in Iraq have been policemen, including some detectives. They have made it clear to the American intelligence officers that, without lots of “CIs” (Confidential Informants), you’ll never be able to shut down the terrorists, much less the more troublesome (to the average Iraqi) criminal gangs. That message got through, and the number of casual (one time) informants is increasing daily.

That sounds encouraging.

UPDATE: This paid-informant story, from a Georgia high school, is somewhat less so.

GORDON SMITH SURVEYS law professor teaching loads: Apparently, I'm overworked.

IRAQI BLOGGER ALI HAS MUST-READ THOUGHTS on the second anniversary of the fall rise of Baghdad.

MORE DIVERSITY PROBLEMS for higher education.

THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR REPORTS:

A Canadian publication ban and an American blogger clashed last week. The court-ordered ban did not survive the impact. The blogger was overwhelmed with visitors.

And what had been Canada's own private scandal - so private Canadians had been prevented from hearing about it in full - fast traveled the borderless blogosphere.

Heh.

JOHN FUND:

Newt Gingrich may still be disclaiming any interest in running for president, but you wouldn't know it from his travel schedule. The former House Speaker will be in New Hampshire -- site of the nation's first presidential primary -- for two days next week to schmooze with editorial boards and political activists. A couple of signings for his new best seller "Winning the Future" will be thrown in as a cover for the trip.

Next month, the peripatetic former Speaker will curiously enough also be in Iowa, site of the first presidential caucus, with visits scheduled in Sioux City, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. While Mr. Gingrich barely registers in early surveys of national Republicans who are asked to pick their presidential preference, he brings a lot of assets to a possible race. Rep. Mark Foley, a Florida Republican who represents the Palm Beach area, told the Hill newspaper that Mr. Gingrich "probably has the best political Rolodex of anyone in the nation. Think of how many candidates like myself he's helped in the past; think of all the Lincoln Day dinners he's attended."

For Mr. Gingrich, putting his toe in presidential campaign waters is a low-risk proposition. Even if he decides not to run, speculation about his candidacy is guaranteed to sell more books in every city he visits.

Phil Gramm had a big Rolodex, too.

SEN. BOXER QUESTIONS SOURCE OF BOLTON'S MUSTACHE: I think she's onto something.

FURTHER THOUGHTS on Mau-Mauing the judiciary, over at GlennReynolds.com. Start here and then scroll up.

UPDATE: Power Line: "I believe in full-throated criticism of judges (individually and generally) where warranted, but I have to agree that talk about impeaching Justice Kennedy is over-the-top."

ANN ALTHOUSE WRITES ON STUDENTS INSTANT-MESSAGING IN CLASS:

My colleague Asifa Quraishi said the students are already using the classroom WiFi to IM each other, and maybe it hasn't been so bad. We got going on the subject of how maybe we should outright encourage the students to IM, including sending tips and cues to a student who is engaged in Socratic dialogue with the lawprof. What's wrong with students pooling their expertise on the fly?

I actually do encourage this -- I figure that this way you've got several students thinking about the question seriously, when they might otherwise just be waiting to see if the student I've called on makes a fool of himself. How well it works depends on the class, and how extensively they tend to IM, but I do agree with the point.

UPDATE: Prawfsblawg has thoughts on whether law schools should encourage blogging by professors.

EVAN COYNE MALONEY has thoughts on campus politics.

CANADA: Love it or Leave It! Who knew that the CBC could be so testy?

HEH. I love the photo.

THOUGHTS ON SEX AND RELIGION, at the Becker-Posner blog.

ADVANCING FREE ENTERPRISE IN SPACE: Alan Boyle reports on promising developments:

Two deals signed this week, both involving rocket company XCOR Aerospace, look promising.

Cool. More here.

VIRGINIA POSTREL HAS A ROUNDUP on breast implants and culture wars.

OXBLOG has a firsthand report from Afghanistan.

RAMPANT THEOCRATIC HOMOPHOBIA: No, really.

HEH: Actually, as I've written before, I look forward to being replaced by a machine.

THREE INDICTED for planning terror attacks against NYC financial targets: "The reports did not identify the men, but sources told NBC News that they are Dhiren Barot — allegedly to be high-level al-Qaida operative known as Esa al-Hindi — and operatives Nadeem Tarmohamed and Quaisar Shaffi."

UPDATE: Much more, including a link to the now-unsealed indictment, at the counterterrorism blog.

MORE MOWER-BLOGGING: I found another advantage to the push-mower last night. My daughter asked to mow the lawn, and mowed a good chunk of the back yard (I had to help in places, as it's about 1/2 acre and kind of steep toward the back). But she could easily do the front yard herself, and I intend to let her. It's much safer than a power-mower, and less intimidating to a kid.

It's a fine moment in a father's life when his kid first mows the lawn. I hadn't expected it to come quite so early. I don't think a robot mower could equal it!

INSOURCING: This article on Turkish tailors in Knoxville is quite interesting. I've been having my suits made at John Daniels for years, and they're very good:

The idea of outsourcing didn't sit well with the Bryans, who were reluctant to uproot themselves or their longtime employees. Benton Bryan grew up in the factory and rose to be his father's No. 2. His sister is in charge of design, and a brother runs a separate retail outlet.

"These people baby-sat me as a kid," says the younger Mr. Bryan, strolling through the brick downtown factory, patting the shoulders of white-haired Southern ladies, who do less-skilled work as seamstresses. "What am I going to do? Say you have to pack up and move to Mexico?"

The solution dawned on the Bryans slowly. The first few Turks were hired away from a competitor in New York. In 2000, the Bryans realized their best hope was to go recruiting abroad. The company now has dozens of Turks among its roughly 300 employees, and their starting salaries are as high as those of any of the company's master tailors.

As I say, a very interesting story.

MICHAEL TOTTEN has more photoblogging from Lebanon over at the Spirit of America Lebanon blog. Check it out -- and if you'd like to support Lebanese democracy, leave a donation.

ANN ALTHOUSE IS PLUGGING the NYU Journal of Law and Liberty.

I've actually got a (short) review of Larry Kramer and Randy Barnett's new books coming out in that journal. I like it that they run short reviews as well as long ones, which is good from both a reader's and a writer's standpoint.

THE COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW gives the student-run Columbia Spectator higher marks for journalistic integrity than it gives the New York Times:

The fact that some at the Times decided to subvert their own reporting by agreeing to ignore one side of a debate is disturbing, if not wholly insulting, to the paper's readership. And given that in this case, student journalists on a campus newspaper upheld a higher standard of journalistic integrity than the "paper of record," the Times is right to be embarrassed.

Indeed. (Via Howard Kurtz).

MORE HEALTHCARE BLOGGING: This week's Grand Rounds is up!

UPDATE: Link was bad before. Sorry!

HERE'S VIDEO of Joe Gandleman's appearance on MSNBC's Connected Coast-to-Coast.

And here's audio of my appearance yesterday on the Brian Lehrer show, where I talk rather a lot about the new outbreak of over-the-top judge-bashing. I think Lehrer was surprised by my stance.

Meanwhile, I just ran across this story which doesn't encourage me:

Meanwhile, the judicial battle has flared up on an unlikely front: the Capitol tour circuit. At Frist's invitation, David Barton, author of a handbook called "Impeachment," in which he lays out the constitutional foundations for ejecting "overactive" federal judges, is scheduled to lead interested senators and their families around the Capitol this evening. Barton, founder of WallBuilders, which bills itself as a pro-family organization, specializes in the building's spiritual heritage and has conducted numerous such tours in the past.

Barton, I believe, is a Christian Reconstructionist -- I don't know if he's as extreme as, say, Gary North -- but I think it's a mistake for Frist to get too close to him.

UPDATE: More on Barton, here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Donald Sensing has much more on the subject of "Christian evangelicalism, Christian reconstructionism (aka, 'dominionism') and Christian theonomy."

MEGAN MCARDLE ON PRESS COVERAGE OF BANKRUPTCY REFORM:

I note only in passing that a lot of the coverage is missing the stories: failing to mention the corporate side of puzzle, picking out the wrong things to criticise about the bill, making it sound much more radical a change than it is, and generally repeating the absurd exaggerations of advocates on both sides as if they were fact.

She promises to do better.

IT'S ANOTHER CARNIVAL OF REVOLUTIONS with blog-posts on democratization around the world.

WILL THE NEXT POPE BE AN UNTHINKING SOCIALIST? You figure the odds.

'YOU'RE IN TROUBLE, AND DON'T COUNT ON US TO BAIL YOU OUT:" Jim Geraghty reports that this is the message from Turkey to Syria.

AMIR TAHERI says that Al Qaeda is changing tactics and working toward a Saudi takeover.

MICKEY KAUS gives a negative review to the Kennedy/McCain immigration proposal. It strikes me as unserious.

UPDATE: The proposal strikes me as unserious; not Kaus's review. Sorry -- could have been clearer there.

QUITE A FEW BIG NEWS ORGANIZATIONS are supporting bloggers in the Apple case.

UPDATE: I guess I should mention that I joined in this Stanford amicus brief. And Howard Bashman has more.

BARCEPUNDIT NOTES A REPORT that Spain sold WMD to Venezuela. And here's a report that the EU Parliament may investigate the matter.

UPDATE: According to this report, it was pretty innocuous.

April 11, 2005

THE BIG SKY BLOG is a collaborative blog featuring many members of the surprisingly large and diverse Montana blogosphere.

THIS STRIKES ME AS EXTREMELY POOR JUDGMENT:

Cardinal Bernard Law has celebrated Mass in mourning for Pope John Paul II in St Peter's Basilica, ignoring protests from victims that his handling of the sex abuse scandal in the US Catholic church should disqualify him from the honour. . . .

Law resigned as archbishop of Boston in December 2002, after unsealed court records revealed he had moved predatory clergy among parishes without alerting parents that their children were at risk. More than 550 people have filed abuse claims in Boston in recent years and the archdiocese has paid more than $US85 million ($A110 million) in settlements.

Extremely.

MARK STEYN:

The CIA, as I wrote a couple of years back, now functions in the same relation to President Bush as Pakistan's ISI does to General Musharraf. In both cases, before the chief executive makes a routine request of his intelligence agency, he has to figure out whether they're going to use it as an opportunity to set him up, and if so how. For Musharraf, the problem is the significant faction in the ISI that would like to kill him. Fortunately for Bush, if anyone at the CIA launched a plot to kill him, they'd probably take out G. W. Bish, who runs a feed store in Idaho.

The entire intelligence apparatus needs a thorough housecleaning.

ANOTHER SCHINDLER:

A German army officer who saved hundreds of Jews from the Nazi Holocaust in Lithuania has been honoured at a ceremony in Israel.
The story of Maj Karl Plagge was unearthed by a US doctor, Michael Good, who began searching in 1999 for the Nazi who had saved his mother.

Maj Plagge sheltered about 1,200 Jews at a vehicle workshop while the SS annihilated the Vilnius ghetto. . . .

It is unusual for Yad Vashem to bestow the "Righteous Among the Nations" title on a German who was part of the Nazi war machine, the memorial's chairman Avner Shalev told the BBC News website.

I would think so.

RYAN SAGER HAS MORE ON COLUMBIA'S TRAVAILS, and says that there's bad leadership.

AUSTIN BAY HAS THOUGHTS on what the Bush Administration is trying to accomplish with the Bolton appointment.

"SCIENCE'S DOOMSDAY TEAM VS. THE ASTEROIDS:" Not actually a B-movie from the 1950s, but a pretty interesting article. Excerpt:

The holidays and the tsunami in South Asia pushed 2004 MN4 out of the news, and in the meantime additional observations showed that the asteroid would miss, but only by 15,000 to 25,000 miles -- about one-tenth the distance to the moon. Asteroid 2004 MN4 was no false alarm. Instead, it has provided the world with the best evidence yet that a catastrophic encounter with a rogue visitor from space is not only possible but probably inevitable.

It also demonstrated the tenacity of the small band of professionals and amateurs who track potential impact asteroids, and highlighted the shortcomings of an international system that pays scant attention to their work.

Read the whole thing.

CHRIS SUELLENTROP IS savaging Seymour Hersh for lying. (Via Ed Cone).

MICKEY KAUS IS DEFENDING FILIBUSTERS: Though only in terms of treating the symptoms.

Meanwhile, I have to say that I think that the notion of impeaching Anthony Kennedy is just silly. If it's an effort to mau-mau the Supreme Court, I think it will backfire. And if anyone is dumb enough to go ahead and actually try it, I think that will backfire in an even bigger way.

There are lots of things that Congress could actually do if it wanted to address judicial activism -- especially since so much judicial activism, in areas ranging from sexual harassment law to immunity for overreaching police officers, is actually based on statutory interpretation, not constitutional analysis -- that the continuing focus on things that won't happen makes me suspicious. Rather than being serious about reforming the judiciary, I think that some Republicans are more interested in intimidating judges while bolstering direct-mail fundraising for advocacy groups and politicians.

UPDATE: Roosevelt's court-packing scheme is invoked in this discussion and Jonathan Dresner sends this link to a defense of the Mau-Mau.

ANOTHER UPDATE: This column by Jonathan Rauch is worth reading.

HERE'S MORE BAD NEWS for the Canadian government.

CARNIVAL OF CANADIANS: The latest Red Ensign has been hoisted.

I'LL BE ON WNYC'S BRIAN LEHRER SHOW in a few minutes, starting just after 10 Eastern time.

BRIAN ANDERSON'S NEW book on "South Park Conservatives" is out. I haven't read it, but it looks pretty funny judging from the reader comments.

UPDATE: When I got to the office there was a copy waiting for me. A review will follow.

YOU WANT GOLF-BLOGGING? Boy, are you in the wrong place. Go here, instead.

MEGAN MCARDLE LOOKS AT ELECTORAL FUNNY-BUSINESS IN MEXICO: Mexico is overdue for real democracy, but I don't really know what to do about it; I suspect that the availability of easy immigration to the United States has tended to serve as a safety valve, discouraging the development of strong pro-democracy forces within Mexico. Which doesn't mean that we should close the border to foster Mexican democracy, it just means that the situation is especially complicated.

Mexican-border issues aren't something I know about (I haven't even read Victor Davis Hanson's book on the subject) but here's a thought: If, as people like Hugh Hewitt believe, illegal immigration is the Achilles' heel of the current GOP coalition, and if economic and political conditions in Mexico are a major spur to illegal immigration, then it would seem smart for the Bush Administration to promote honest politics -- which tend to go hand-in-hand with economic prosperity -- across the border. If they're working on that, I haven't seen much sign of it, but as I say this isn't one of my issues.

LEBANON UPDATE: Publius has a roundup on developments there.

And Michael Totten is photoblogging on the Spirit of America Lebanon blog.

JOHN FUND HAS MORE on the troubled Washington State governor's race, where those pesky new ballots just keep turning up. "Three Washington counties just discovered 110 uncounted absentee ballots--including 94 from Seattle's King County--in a governor's race that occurred more than five months ago and was decided by only 129 votes. Officials in Seattle's King County admit they may find yet more ballots before a court hearing next month on whether a new election should be called. Last Friday, they reported finding a 111th ballot."

UPDATE: Brendan Loy observes:

They're still wrangling over last November's gubernatorial election up in Washington state.

It's April.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why a national popular-vote election of the president is a terrible idea.

Indeed.

RALPH LUKER, DAVID BEITO, AND K.C. JOHNSON look at free speech on campus.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE TWO YEARS MAKES: Arthur Chrenkoff has his regular roundup from Iraq.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF THE CAPITALISTS IS UP! I don't do much econoblogging, but I don't have to because I've outsourced it to these folks!

JEFF WEINTRAUB HAS THOUGHTS ON AFGHANISTAN, where he thinks it's time for the "international community" to step up to the plate.

MARK ROSE IS PHOTOBLOGGING TENNESSEE COURTHOUSES: I haven't done that, but I have photographed some Tennessee Post Offices. (Here's another.)

JOE GANDELMAN WONDERS IF IT'S OVER FOR TOM DELAY: Beats me, but I think that we'll need to see a few Republicans from somewhere south and west of Connecticut turning on him before it's a real signal.

UPDATE: Well, here's one.

April 10, 2005

MESSAGE TO BEST BUY: Two Dollar bills are legal tender. If the report's accurate, I think this guy's got a lawsuit. And the rest of us have a reason not to do business with Best Buy. (Via Slashdot).

YEAH, BLOGGING'S BEEN LIGHT THIS WEEKEND: Friday and Saturday I was busy with the Insta-Wife and Insta-Daughter. Today I went to a "welcome home" party for my secretary, now back from Iraq. (The doorbell at his parents' house played The Marine Hymn -- I asked his mother if it had always done that, and she replied "Just since he left for Iraq.") Then we went out and took my grandmother -- still nursing-home bound, but doing better -- out to dinner. Not that I don't love the blog, but some things take priority.

Back later.

CHRIS NOLAN looks at misogyny in San Francisco.

IT'S LIKE THE AUTO INDUSTRY IN 1972, I'M AFRAID:

College admissions decisions now arriving across the country by e-mail and snail mail are generating the annual excitement they always do. But that momentary thrill is only masking a new reality about college in America.

With faculty and administrations leading the way, political correctness and posturing -- from both the left and right -- is reaching dizzying heights in the land of the ivory tower. And rising right along with it is the frustration of middle-class parents, who are growing increasingly resentful of paying sky-high tuition for colleges they see offering their kids a menu of questionable courses and politically absurd campus climates that detract from the quality of a university education.

Speaking as someone working in the factory, I'm a bit worried at the increasing dissatisfaction out there. Then again, as the biggest problems seem to be at expensive private schools, perhaps those of us at public institutions will benefit.

UPDATE: A suggestion for U.S. News:

Start measuring and ranking colleges on the intellectual and political diversity of their faculties and student bodies. . . .

I'm a big fan of diversity. As my kids approach college age, I'll be looking at the intellectual and political diversity of the schools they apply to.

To the millions of college-shopping parents and students out there: next time you're on a campus tour, why not ask specifically about intellectual diversity? I plan to.

I suspect that's a trend.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Various readers point out that the University of Colorado, home of Ward Churchill, is a public university. Touché

GIULIANI IN 2008? Outside the Beltway has some thoughts.

I will say that if Giuliani is "too liberal" for the Republicans to consider seriously, it's probably a bad sign for the Republicans' big tent.

TIM WORSTALL'S BRITBLOG ROUNDUP IS UP: Check it out.

PEACE BREAKS OUT in Indonesia:

The large and dramatic U.S. Navy relief effort in Aceh also delivered a lot of good will for the United States, and reduced the appeal of Islamic radicalism. Islamic terrorists were never very popular in the first place, and several years of arrests, bloody terror attacks and news of Islamic terrorist activities elsewhere in the world have further tarnished their image. Thus there is less religious violence. Even the separatist rebels in Aceh are pushing for a negotiated settlement. The separatists are also Islamic conservatives, and can see which way public opinion is blowing.

Sounds like good news.

LOOKING FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE ON EARTH: At one level, this sounds a bit like searching for one's keys where the light is better, but on the other hand, it makes some sense. Plus, a discovery that extraterrestrial life has reached Earth in the past would have significant implications for space exploration and quarantine policies. I've got a piece coming out in the Chicago Journal of International Law that looks at that topic briefly.

INSTA-WIFE UPDATE: Several people have written over the past few days to ask how the Insta-Wife is doing. Thanks for your interest. The answer is, pretty well. She got the go-ahead to start cardiac rehab last week, and is extremely happy to be exercising. She's always been very athletic, and went six months without getting much exercise, which she hated. Even a modest amount of exercise has made her feel better; last night she was doing light yoga before bed.

She's on a new and powerful anti-arrhythmic called Tikosyn, which seems to be controlling her rhythm problems quite well -- they monitor her during her exercise, and she shows no rhythm problems at all, which certainly wasn't the case before -- and the side effects are less than the beta blockers. She's on a very high dosage now, but we're hoping they'll back it down a bit; she still feels rather ill for an hour or so after taking it.

She's on the road to recovery, and the overall trend is clearly upward. If it weren't for her allergies -- sadly, a standard problem in East Tennessee, where "immense biodiversity" means "every kind of pollen you can imagine, and then some" -- she'd be doing even better.

Thanks very much to everyone who has asked about her, and sent good wishes and prayers. It's all much appreciated.

AUSTIN BAY writes on peacekeeping in the Sudan.

SOMEBODY IS IMPERSONATING ME in blog comments again. If you see a comment that doesn't sound like something I would write, it probably isn't.

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