May 14, 2005
WILL FRANKLIN has a roundup on the Taiwanese elections, which can't have pleased Beijing.
THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTS:
WASHINGTON, May 14 - Several of the nation's most prominent environmentalists have gone public with the message that nuclear power, long taboo among environmental advocates, should be reconsidered as a remedy for global warming.
Their numbers are still small, but they represent growing cracks in what had been a virtually solid wall of opposition to nuclear power among most mainstream environmental groups. In the past few months, articles in publications like Technology Review, published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Wired magazine have openly espoused nuclear power, angering other environmental advocates.
If you want to have a technological civilization, and not emit C02, nuclear power is pretty much the only way to go at the moment.
THE AUTONOMIST is liveblogging the Muslim anti-terror rally in D.C. But where are the photos? We want photos!
UPDATE: Now there are photos!
ANOTHER UPDATE: More reporting, and photos (including one of Judith Weiss from Kesher Talk), here.
SPEAKING OF LOCAL-BLOGGING: Dan Gillmor's Bayosphere is getting ready to launch.
A "DENIM REVOLUTION" in Canada?
MICHELLE MALKIN: "Hug a Thug" doesn't work.
LIVING OFF THE LAND: Wretchard has a traveling-light approach to the blog reporting kit I wrote about earlier. And here's what Bill Quick is going with.
UPDATE: Bill's got a local-blogging project in the works, too.
TOUR THE INDIAN BLOGOSPHERE: Shanti Mangala is hosting the latest Blog Mela.
LOADS OF WAR NEWS, over at Bill Roggio's excellent blog, The Fourth Rail. Just keep scrolling.
TIM WORSTALL notes a new UN report on Iraqi casualties that's rather at odds with the Lancet report, and wonders why it's not getting nearly as much attention. "Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m way off base or something, actually wanting attention paid to this new report, perhaps the same amount of attention as was paid to the one that came out just before a US Presidential election."
UPDATE: Tim Blair has more, including a dialogue with the other Australian Tim.
ANOTHER UPDATE: The other time comes in for criticism.
STRATEGYPAGE LOOKS AT JAPAN'S MILITARY PROSPECTS:
Japan reprocesses plutonium for its many nuclear power plants, which gives it the ability to make nuclear weapons if it needs to, and it does have a strong space-launch capability (many ICBMs have become the means to launch satellites and other vehicles into space). Japan could have a working nuclear weapons capability in one year should they decide to.
The underlying truth is that at this time, Japan is arguably the strongest power in East Asia – and it is at this point with one hand tied behind its back. Should Japan be pushed to the point where it feels it needs to use all the military power it is capable of generating, it could readily become a superpower in military terms. . . . The only reason Japan is not a superpower is because it has chosen not to pursue that course.
This may change, if the Chinese continue to seem interested in pursuing an expansionist policy.
SISYPHEAN MUSINGS has thoughts on recruitment and retention, in the context of the Army's new 15-month hitch. His take seems quite right to me.
IAN HAMET invites readers to try their hand at constitutional interpretation. Free speech is involved.
My contribution: Obviously, the part about a " well regulated Intelligentsia" only refers to state-paid academics such as myself, and it would be absurd to read this provision as extending the right to own and read books to the Great Unwashed. That way lies madness.
UPDATE: Rand Simberg writes that he thought he and Bill O'Reilly had already solved this problem.
WATCH OUT, GEARBOX! There's a new auto-blogging carnival, The Carnival of Cars, and the first installment is now online.
THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF THE RECIPES is up, over at Boudicca's Voice.
GATEWAY PUNDIT has an Uzbekistan update, with video.
May 13, 2005
YEAH, BLOGGING'S BEEN LIGHT TODAY: Hung out with the Insta-Wife, and saw my nephew Balram, who's visiting for a week or so.
MICKEY KAUS is fact-checking Rush Limbaugh, with an assist from Tom Maguire.
DEFENSETECH looks at military base closings and their impact on defense research.
THIS EFFORT BY HOUSE REPUBLICAN JOHN MCHUGH to get women out of combat zones strikes me as a bad idea. Certainly, judging by this after-action report, women are doing pretty well in Iraq.
AMIT VARMA IS EXPANDING UPON some comments he made on CNBC.
ARTHUR CHRENKOFF explains underreported good news from Iraq -- in The New York Times.
I wonder if certain underinformed Australian broadcasters have seen it?
ISLAMIC BIOLOGICAL WARFARE:
It turns out there are there are Islamic “Weapons of Mass Destruction” after all. In particular, biological weapons. But these mass killers have been developed within Islamic nations, and are doing most of their damage there. The war on terror has taken many American doctors to Islamic nations, and they have discovered a heretofore hidden AIDS epidemic. . . .
But it’s not just AIDS. In Nigeria, faith based paranoia on the part of Islamic clergy, and politicians, caused a polio epidemic, which is now spreading to other Islamic nations. The UN has been trying for years to wipe out polio (which has been eliminated in most Western nations). In the last few years, UN medical resources were massing to wipe polio out in one of the last places where it still thrives; northern Nigeria. But some local Islamic clergy got the idea that these foreigners and their medicine (polio vaccine) were actually out to poison young Moslem females and make them sterile. Yeah, it’s nuts, but it went over big in northern Nigeria and stopped the polio eradication program cold.
Can shooting yourself in the foot be a biological weapon? Metaphorically, anyway.
ED CONE: "I feel a little sorry for George Lucas, who can't seem to help making joyless boring movies and has to know that the LOTR cycle flushed him from the pantheon by demonstrating the superiority of Tolkien as a fantasy writer and Jackson as a fantasy filmmaker."
I think that's a bit harsh; Lucas has made some great films. It remains to be seen whether this new effort will be one of them. Here is some more evidence that it won't be.
TODAY IS THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY of the MOVE bombing in Philadelphia.
UPDATE: Bill Hobbs has more on the bombing and its context.
VIOLENCE IN UZBEKISTAN: Gateway Pundit has a roundup.
UPDATE: More here.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Related post here.
JOHN HAWKINS is Fisking Cal Thomas. IowaVoice adds: "I don't see what the paranoia is all about here. It's a bit early for the MSM to be circling the wagons."
MOXIE: "It seems there is no reason for me to blog anymore. Not only is Arianna taking over the blogosphere, but she also has a gay houseboy named Andrew."
DAVID BOAZ: "If conservatives don't want federalism any more, will liberals pick up the banner?"
There does seem to be a lot of fair-weather federalism on the right these days.
May 12, 2005
SUGGESTIONS SOLICITED: I'm trying to put together a generic blog-reporting kit, kind of like what I used to shoot the blog video and photos at BlogNashville. (Yes, that was in the nature of an experiment, as well as an effort to encourage others). But though my setup works pretty well, it's probably not the best, and I'd welcome any suggestions. This would be for a package that could be sent to bloggers, often outside the United States, to facilitate reporting, so it should be rugged, (comparatively) cheap, and easy to use.
I use a Dell Inspiron 700m laptop, which I like a lot. The one I use is overkill for blog-journalism: It has the DVD-writer, for example. But the downside is that it has an SD slot only. Not a big deal -- I just used a USB cable to hook up my camera -- but more options would be better. Key laptop features: Decent display (so that when you edit photos or video you can see what you're doing), long battery life, lots of I/O options, reasonably light, cheap and rugged.
For the stills and video I used this cheap Sony, which did an excellent job with video and -- very important when you're interviewing people -- audio. (A filmmaker even emailed to ask what external mike I used. None: Just the matchhead-sized built-in one. But the sound was clear despite background noise). Still, while I'm quite happy with it, is there anything better?
Software: I edited those photos with MicroGrafx Picture Publisher 7, an obsolete and only-sort-of-available program. It's not Photoshop, but it's good enough, and it's easy and fast. I can open it and edit, size, sharpen and save a photo in not much more time than it takes for Photoshop to load, or so it seems. Is there something similar that's still available? Cheap, fast, easy, and good enough. (I haven't used GIMP, but I hear it's not terribly user-friendly.) The Dell came with a trial version of Paint Shop Pro 8, which seems to be an updated-but-not-improved version of the MicroGrafx program.
I edited the video with Windows Movie Maker 2. Advantage: It's easy, and it's free. Disadvantage: Saves only in WMV. (I cheated and resaved the Quicktime versions with Vegas Video). Is there a good, easy, and cheap video editor that saves in multiple formats? One that nontechnical people (or at least those less geeky than me) would find friendly? I'm thinking maybe SONY Vegas Movie Studio, which I think is basically the Vegas Video Factory software from Sonic Foundry, which I've used and which is OK. (Alternatively, of course, someone else could do the format conversion later). Other suggestions?
Aside from these, what else should be in a package like this, given the constraints of toughness, reasonable cost, and ease of use? Email me if you've got any ideas.
UPDATE: Adam Keiper emails with suggestions from his experiment:
Other things worth including in the kit, space permitting:
- extra batteries and an extra flash card for the camera;
- headphones, if you're doing video-editing while an event is going on live;
- and, in case lots if people want to plug in their laptops and there aren't many outlets, it doesn't hurt to have a small power strip.
I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH IN THE BLOGOSPHERE disturbing . . . .
A FEDERAL JUDGE has struck down Nebraska's ban on same-sex marriages. Eugene Volokh has some thoughts.
JOHN COLE WRITES that the Bolton nomination is no big deal:
In six months this will not even be an issue other than in hysterical MoveOn.Org fund-raising e-mails. I have complete faith in the capacity of the United Nations to chew up and spit out whoever we send there.
Read the whole thing.
THE CARNIVAL OF TOMORROW is a blog-carnival of futurism-related posts.
Here's something that's been bothering me for months now. So I decided to keep track.
The Atlantic Monthly, a magazine that styles itself as one of the nation's more thoughtful periodicals, has steadfastly avoided running a major feature by a woman writer since the beginning of the year. I'm not joking. And I'm not over-reacting. I have the past four months – that's the past six months of editorial planning, a half-year, a substantial amount of time – sitting on my desk. I saved them for just this reason.
None of the magazine printed since mid-December carry any substantial written, by-lined contributions by women. What does appear is brief, usually in the back-of-the book critic's section or in "The Agenda" at the front. And to add insult to injury, the magazine's one featured female writer, Sandra Tsing Loh, a self-styled celebrity Mom who you may know from NPR, has dwelled for two months in a row on her kids, on her kids' schools and books about women like her. What's worse, the headline on this month's piece makes a joke about schools and "breast-milk-curdling." Dudes, when your kids are ready for school, most of them have stopped breast feeding.
VERONICA KHOKHLOVA contrasts two writers.
COMMENTS ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE BLOGOSPHERE, from Peter Hannaford in The American Spectator.
Comments on Hannaford -- with an emphasis on the "evolutionary" part -- from Sissy Willis, who also has more here.
SOME EXCELLENT LOCAL-BLOGGING from SKBubba, here (regarding radiation at Oak Ridge) and here (regarding sundry local political shenanigans.)
That's OK -- at least we're better than Montgomery County!
HOME: The Insta-Wife is reclining comfortably, reading a magazine.
ANOTHER BUCHANAN-FISKING, this one from Stephen Green:
It took 40 years, but today Pat Buchanan hit bottom on the slippery slope from Young Turk conservative columnist to Nazi Apologist troglodyte.
Ouch. And that's just the beginning.
UPDATE: Clayton Cramer writes:
I will tell you, if this was an essay written by a high school student, or even a college student, I would assume that he did not understand the history of that time. But Pat Buchanan knows better. I have long resisted the popular leftist view that Pat Buchanan is an anti-Semite. Reading essays like this makes such a position more and more sensible.
It's not just leftists who think that.
ROGER SIMON NOTES an Ivy League upset, as bloggers Peter Robinson and Todd Zywicki appear to have won seats on the Dartmouth Board of Trustees.
UPDATE: It's official. Hugh Hewitt observes: "The message the Robinson-Zywicki election sends is simple, and I think of much wider applicability than just Dartmouth: Colleges and universities are out of touch with large segments of their alums, and those alums do not like the policies and practices they read about at their alma maters."
ANOTHER UPDATE: I think it's more likely to work than this approach.
HERE'S MORE ON CONDI RICE and the right to bear arms:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, recalling how her father took up arms to defend fellow blacks from racist whites in the segregated South, said Wednesday the constitutional right of Americans to own guns is as important as their rights to free speech and religion.
In an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," Rice said she came to that view from personal experience. She said her father, a black minister, and his friends armed themselves to defend the black community in Birmingham, Ala., against the White Knight Riders in 1962 and 1963. She said if local authorities had had lists of registered weapons, she did not think her father and other blacks would have been able to defend themselves.
Now that she's Secretary of State, she has an opportunity to press for treating the right to arms as an international human right. Sure, most governments don't recognize it now, and are shocked at the suggestion. But that's true with all newly-recognized rights:
After all, the human rights community has long argued that all sorts of dramatic changes in international law are justified if they might make genocide unlikely and has been nothing less than flexible in discovering such "post-first-generation" human rights as "developmental rights," "environmental rights" and a "right to peace."
Surely a right to defend oneself against massacre -- particularly when, once again, the international community has failed miserably to prevent genocide in Darfur -- is as plausible as those others.
UPDATE: Countertop Chronicles notes that the transcript is up, and this stuff isn't in it. Poking around, I found this story from the L.A. Times, which says that the interview "was taped for airing Wednesday night." So maybe they cut it out of the broadcast part?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Yep, that's what happened. Thanks to reader Joe Zwers, here's a link to the full interview transcript.
I'M HOSPIBLOGGING AGAIN: The InstaWife is in for a minor procedure, except that they have to have a cardiologist in for it to turn off her ICD before, and then restart it after, which means it has to be done in a hospital. Yuk. I'm pretty tired of hospitals.
USA TODAY is writing about milblogs, and here's an interesting tidbit:
Many of the soldiers and their families will likely print out the stories, or save the blog pages on hard disks or CDs. The Library of Congress is preserving one of the "milblogs," The Indepundit by Lt. Scott Koenig, 33, of the U.S. Naval Reserve.
Making history, one blog at a time.
INSTAPUNK OPENS A 55-GALLON CAN OF WHUPASS ON PAT BUCHANAN. And it's richly deserved. But then, it usually is, where Buchanan is concerned.
UPDATE: The topic is unrelated, but speaking of opening up a can of whupass, watch this commentary aimed at members of Congress who complained about yesterday's evacuation.
BETTER THAN MOWER-BLOGGING: It's roto-tillerblogging!
IN THE MAIL: Roadside America: 365 Days, a beautiful book of car photographs by photographer and InstaPundit reader Cindy Lewis, whose website is here. I was disappointed to see only one photo of a Barracuda hemi, though.
UPDATE: Of course, looking at these photos of classic cars would only depress James Lileks further.
STRATEGYPAGE on press irresponsibility:
AFGHANISTAN: Taliban Get a Boost from American Media
May 12, 2005: Anti-American protests have spread to the capital, sparked by an unsubstantiated accusations by a U.S. newsmagazine. Newsweek magazine published a hearsay item about American interrogators at Guantanamo desecrating the Koran to intimidate suspected terrorists. The Taliban has been trying to spread similar stories, but have no credibility. American media has more clout, even if the story in question is basically a rumor. The pro-Taliban groups will push this story as much as they can, but the Taliban support is basically restricted to some Pushtun tribes in southern and eastern Afghanistan.
The press is exquisitely sensitive to the risks posed by, say, racial insensitivity in reporting. It's too bad they're not so careful with regard to things that might get American troops killed.
UNITED NATIONS — A U.S. Senate committee probing corruption in the U.N. Oil-for-Food program released new evidence purporting to show that two prominent politicians from Britain and France received millions of barrels of Iraqi oil in exchange for their support of Saddam Hussein's regime.
Citing contracts, letters and interviews with former Iraqi leaders, the probe set out evidence Wednesday to back the claim that British lawmaker George Galloway (search) and former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua (search) accepted oil allocations under the scheme.
Galloway and Pasqua have denied any wrongdoing in the Oil-for-Food program.
Pardon me if I'm not surprised to hear this. There's more background here, including a link to the Senate report, and an observation that the BBC is downplaying the bribery bit. Pardon me if I'm not surprised to hear that, either. Paul Musgrave has more.
UPDATE: Interesting bit from footnote 5 of the Senate Report: "Terrorist individuals and entities who received allocations include the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Abbas, and the Mujahedeen-e Khalq." (Via Power Line, which has much more).
ANOTHER UPDATE: BritBlog The Daily Ablution has much more on Galloway, and his rather dubious statements in his own defense.
MR. ROBOTO: "I will never again type the word BlogNashville." (Via Rex Hammock).
SHE'S GOT THE GAY GUN-NUT DEMOGRAPHIC SEWN UP: Jeff Soyer endorses Condi Rice for President.
Evan Smith on Dennis Miller: "He could have been Bill Maher ...." Now that's a low blow. I thought these days Bill Maher was the one kicking himself thinking he could have been Bill Maher.
Instead of a bum, which is what he is. . . .
MORE PRC SHENANIGANS in Hong Kong.
MICHAEL TOTTEN DESCRIBES THE CEDAR REVOLUTION, in an article in the latest L.A. Weekly.
Politics in the 21st century will cut across the traditional political left/right rift of the last two centuries. Instead, the chief ideological divide will be between transhumanists and bioconservatives/bioluddites.
I'm not so sure, but if things work out that way I know which side I'll be on. But then, I'm an Accelerationista. . . .
Yesterday, United Air Lines was allowed to dump its pension plan on the federal government. That's bad news for pretty much everybody except UAL's accountants and execs: employees and pensioners are going to get considerably smaller payments than they'd been promised, and everybody who pays taxes gets to pick up the tab.
Whatever you call this, it's not free enterprise. Megan McArdle has related thoughts.
May 11, 2005
AMBRA NYKOL: "Complaining about how you wish more people would visit your website is the antithesis of cool. Keep that stuff to yourself. Don't rant about it on your weblog. That is what nerds do."
BAINBRIDGE ON CONASON on Bush on Yalta.
UPDATE: Matt Welch writes that quite a few people are getting overly exercised on this subject: "It has been official American policy to bury Yalta in symbol and by name for at least a decade now. . . . I'm just suggesting that those looking for a Stab in the Back or at least a John Birch slap within the remarks of the president may have stumbled onto a plot even more sinister, because the Clintonites are in on it, too."
STANDING UP FOR TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE:
The Republican chairman of Seminole County, Florida says his bid to head the state party was sabotaged because a letter accused him of having been married six times.
He says the correct number is five.
Well, OK then. (Via Blake Wylie).
UPDATE: I think this is more evidence that the Republicans should be taking advice from InstaPundit reader Madhu Dahiya.
HERE'S THE NASHVILLE SCENE'S COVER STORY on the BlogNashville conference.
UPDATE: Here, however, is the most shocking report so far.
ARRESTING PEOPLE FOR "ACTING UNPROFESSIONAL AS A REPORTER?"
Following hard on its adoption of official interpretations of the Bible, this is beginning to make me think that Montgomery County, Maryland has some serious problems with governance.
Pity the poor United Nations. Not only is the management at Turtle Bay hopelessly corrupt and inept, its new blogosphere apologists don't appear very bright, either. Not only did they run a lame attack post about Roger L. Simon's recent focus on history's largest embezzlement scam, they sent out e-mails to bloggers asking us to promote it.
Oops. Roger's response is here, but I like what one of his commenters said:
Maybe they'd feel better if you laid off the Oil-for-Food business for awhile and concentrated on the Congo sex crimes scandal instead.
Heh. Actually, they probably would.
DAVID CORN reports on evacuating the Capitol today, and observes: "I'm going to have consider telecommuting more seriously."
IRANIAN BLOGGERS MEET WITH A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE and blog about it in English. Global Voices has the links.
TIGERHAWK offers a tax-reform plan.
OVER AT THE COUNTER-TERRORISM BLOG, Andy Cochran was moblogging the evacuation via his Blackberry. Posts here and here.
UPDATE: Timeline here.
PROF. BAINBRIDGE IS BLOGGING FROM A FACULTY MEETING:
My vision of purgatory is a meeting that never ends. So my one hope is that St. Peter will apply these earthly hours against my stint in Purgatory.
Even if he doesn't, it'll likely seem like Heaven by comparison.
MARK GLASER: Seven Big Ideas (and one pet peeve) from BlogNashville.
CARNIVAL-O-RAMA: Don't miss this week's Carnival of Education.
And there's also this week's Carnival of the Vanities, as well as the latest Christian Carnival.
If that's not enough -- and swell as it is, why should it be? -- you can check out this week's Carnival of the Liberated, which rounds up Iraqi blog posts, and another installment of the revived Carnival of the Revolutions, featuring posts by and about democratic revolutionaries around the world.
CONDI RICE: "'Democratization,' Rice told the foreign ministers, is 'not an event, it is a process.'"
DID THE NEW YORK TIMES PUBLISH A MISLEADING CHART on marginal tax rates? TaxProf has a roundup.
IN THE MAIL: Matthew Simmons' Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy.
Simmons says that the Saudis are a lot closer to running out of oil than the world realizes, and that Saudi production is at unsustainably high levels right now. This certainly contradicts the ever-more-optimistic Saudi claims about reserves and production capacity. I've wondered what was behind the Saudi claims, though I'm no expert: My actual thought was that the Saudis were trying to discourage exploration elsewhere, but the other possibility is that they're in a desperate endgame.
Simmons' book is blurbed by bigshots, but I hope it's wrong. It's certainly another argument for doing what we know we need to do anyway, which is to increase efficiency and find other sources of oil, and energy generally.
UPDATE: A skeptical take on the oil-shortage scenario, here, and here's a CSIS report on Saudi oil reserves that specifically responds to Simmons' claims and finds them wanting. Beats me, but as I say, it's pretty clear what we should be doing.
THE PHANTOM PROFESSOR: Inside Higher Education looks at an anonymous prof-blog and its chilly reception by the SMU administration.
SORE LOSERS: A pretty hard-hitting TV spot on the Bolton battle (video here). I have to wonder why the vaunted Karl Rove machine didn't have these things ready to go when Bolton was nominated, though. Transcript here. (Via Gateway Pundit.)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: John Hiler's excellent Microcontent News is back.
What is the most widely read work of jurisprudence by those in the legal system? Is it H.L.A. Hart’s The Concept of Law? Ronald Dworkin’s Law’s Empire? No . . . it’s actually the Multistate Bar Exam. . . . It therefore comes as a great surprise that the Bar exam has received such scant scholarly attention.
Some interesting thoughts on what that means follow.
AUSTIN BAY looks at the recent anti-American conclave in Brazil and observes:
Anti-American elites have staged a conference in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia. And they immediately discovered their various gripes with “America” didn’t mesh. Nope, varied stripes of jealousy, hate, envy, and fear of liberty aren’t the foundation for a cohesive “united front,” though bellicose demands and “we’re victims” propaganda will get them headlines.
His point about the Berbers is also well taken.
JEFF JARVIS: "Is Google the next AOL?"
JON STEWART ON CABLE CHANNELS AND BLOGS: Crooks and Liars has the video, and Ed Cone has some comments.
JIM FLETCHER has posted some superb photos of the Smoky Mountains online, and he's now selling prints from his site.
Meanwhile, it's worth noting that Exposure Manager, where I host my photos, has added a lot of cool new features, including sharpening and color correction.
KEVIN SITES has made his entire mosque-shooting video available on the Web. BoingBoing has the story, and a link.
May 10, 2005
THIS IS PRETTY COOL: My BlogNashville video has been captioned for the deaf and hearing-impaired. The folks responsible hope to do more of that sort of thing, and also to use the captioning to make Web video search-engine friendly.
RON BAILEY REPORTS that James Q. Wilson has resigned from the President's Bioethics Council. No word on why, but Bailey observes:
Two of the seven members of the Council who voted in favor of proceeding immediately with therapeutic cloning to produce human embryonic stem cells are already gone--Wilson's departure makes it a third.
Council Chairman Leon Kass replaced the two earlier dissenters with three tractable bioconservative intellectuals whose views on bioethics Kass finds less challenging. The question is will Wilson's replacement be yet another bioconservative clone?
I've been critical of the Council in the past, here and here, though it's worth noting that Wilson emailed me to defend Kass a time or two. Here's the advice I offered Kass, at the beginning.
JOHN HAWKINS OFFERS ADVICE TO BLOGGERS, especially new ones.
THE BELMONT CLUB has a roundup, with maps, of the fighting along the Syrian border and what people are saying about it.
UPDATE: Chester has multiple posts on what's going on.
A CANADIAN CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS?
The House of Commons has passed a motion that calls for the Liberal government to resign, but the Liberals are shrugging it off as only procedural.
The vote, which passed 153-150, is one of several attempts by the opposition to bring down what has become a shaky minority government under Prime Minister Paul Martin. Though the Liberals tried hard to block the Opposition Conservative motion, they are sticking to their view that losing it doesn't mean they've lost the confidence of the House of Commons.
(Via Newsbeat 1.) Steven Taylor has more here and here, and Ed Morrissey has further thoughts. Is Canada now a banana republic? I think it's still a bit early to proclaim that.
UPDATE: This is cool -- a Canadian M.P. blogging from the floor via his Blackberry.
More comments here and here.
REACTIONARY BOOBS against nanotechnology: But I'm sure they're nice boobs, once you get to know them.
A GRENADE THROWN AT BUSH?
The Secret Service was investigating a report Tuesday that a hand grenade was thrown at the stage during
President Bush's speech in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
After Bush left Georgia on Tuesday, the Secret Service was informed by Georgian authorities of a report that a device, possibly a hand grenade, had been thrown within 100 feet of the stage during Bush's speech, hit someone in the crowd and fell to the ground, Secret Service spokesman Jonathan Cherry said.
Apparently, it didn't go off.
PAUL KRUGMAN IS DOUBLE-TEAMED by Tom Maguire and Mickey Kaus.
BUT DAVE, it was your behavior that was the problem, and pointing fingers at others and engaging in juvenile revenge fantasies doesn't change that. It was the only dark spot on an otherwise successful conference.
In fact, your "moderation" of the civility session was anything but. You insisted on shutting people down, and repeatedly charged off the topic under discussion to make sure they knew you disagreed with them on peripheral issues. You embarrassed yourself, people have noticed, and the gentlemanly thing to do would be to apologize, not play the victim and accuse your critics of being confederate sympathizers.
UPDATE: Winer emails:
The other people in the room were trying to say something to you, but you were too focused on me to hear them. You're just another Limbaugh ditto-head, I thought you were more than that. I thought you were MUCH more than that. You're just another flamer. Too fucking bad. Dave
Um, okay, Dave, though I have no idea what you're talking about here. But I thought that you were too focused on you to hear what people were saying. (My only comment during the session was to note, in response to a question from Dave, that I would have liked to hear what another audience member had been trying to say before Dave cut him off). And making what is fundamentally a question of personal deportment into a matter of political name-calling just illustrates the problem.
I don't think that this whole affair is a big deal -- though Dave's email makes it a slightly bigger deal, at least to me -- but I do think that when moderating a session like this, it's best to make the session about other participants' views.
On a more constructive note, here are some good suggestions for blogospheric conduct.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Actually, these suggestions are good, too.
NANOTECHNOLOGY AT THE PATENT OFFICE: The Patently-O patent blog has a report.
SOMETHING YOU'RE ONLY LIKELY TO READ over at Tyler Cowen's blog: "Sex stops being fun when you do it to close a gap between your marginal utilities."
UPDATE: Meanwhile, yesterday was Orgasm Day in Brazil. Shouldn't that be every day?
Amusing discussion in the comments to this post.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Michele Catalano notes that it's National Masturbation month.
IN THE MAIL: (Yes, I've gotten a lot of that lately). A reprint of an interesting article by Owen Jones and Timothy Goldsmith: Law and Behavioral Biology, from the Columbia Law Review. You can read it online for free here. I think we're going to see a lot more people discussing these issues over the coming decade.
SAM JAFFE LISTS FOUR NEWS STORIES THAT DESERVE MORE ATTENTION: He's right.
IN THE MAIL: A letter from a Tennessee judge:
Your postings and photographs on InstaPundit as to your wife's recent surgery reminded me that I had gone several years without undergoing an exercise EKG. That test resulted in a triple bypass, from which I have just returned home. I am doing well, and hope that your wife is also.
I think I'll put this down as "service to the bench and bar" on this year's Faculty Activity Report.
BLAKE WYLIE HAS MUCH MORE, including a roundup of blog posts, on the "Real ID Act."
I remain unconvinced that this massive federal power-grab will make us any safer.
MEDBLOG CENTRAL: This week's Grand Rounds is up.
GATEWAY PUNDIT HAS MORE ON BUSH'S VISIT TO GEORGIA: Bush seems awfully cheerful lately. I wonder if he knows something we don't?
IN THE MAIL: Zell Miller's new book, A Deficit of Decency.
JOHN PODHORETZ on the new Star Wars movie: "It opens next week. I saw it, and here's the thing: It's unbelievably bad. . . . Even Yoda gives a rotten performance."
UPDATE: Reader Dan Lovejoy emails:
I think Podhoretz's review is in the tiny minority. The Tomatometer
has it at a whopping 92%!
Quite a few readers think Podhoretz is in the minority. We'll all know, soon enough.
PUBLIUS NOTES THAT BUSH WAS A HIT IN GEORGIA, and has some thoughts on the wider implications of what's going on in the region.
I'VE BEEN READING CHARLES STROSS'S ACCELERANDO, and I've discovered a political pigeonhole that fits me. I'm an Accelerationista!
WELL, THIS IS CHEERFUL. Forget the First Amendment -- I'd invoke the Second, here.
UPDATE: Reader Michael Pate emails:
I don't remember you saying about her what the American Spectator article said, but you did popularize the phrase "the most uncompromising wartime president in the history of the United States!"
Yeah. And a few readers didn't realize that the whole thing is a cautionary spoof.
SECURITY EXPERT BRUCE SCHNEIER on the Real ID Act:
I've already written about national IDs. I've written about the fallacies of identification as a security tool. I'm not going to repeat myself here, and I urge everyone who is interested to read those two essays (and even this older essay). A national ID is a lousy security trade-off, and everyone needs to understand why.
Aside from those generalities, there are specifics about REAL ID that make for bad security.
The REAL ID Act requires driver's licenses to include a "common machine-readable technology." This will, of course, make identity theft easier. Assume that this information will be collected by bars and other businesses, and that it will be resold to companies like ChoicePoint and Acxiom. It actually doesn't matter how well the states and federal government protect the data on driver's licenses, as there will be parallel commercial databases with the same information.
Even worse, the same specification for RFID chips embedded in passports includes details about embedding RFID chips in driver's licenses. I expect the federal government will require states to do this, with all of the associated security problems (e.g., surreptitious access).
REAL ID requires that driver's licenses contain actual addresses, and no post office boxes. There are no exceptions made for judges or police -- even undercover police officers. This seems like a major unnecessary security risk. . . .
And the wackiest thing is that none of this is required. In October 2004, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 was signed into law. That law included stronger security measures for driver's licenses, the security measures recommended by the 9/11 Commission Report. That's already done. It's already law.
REAL ID goes way beyond that. It's a huge power-grab by the federal government over the states' systems for issuing driver's licenses.
Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Orin Kerr thinks that Schneier is overstating the case against the Real ID act.
NIKON UPDATE: Reader Peter Gookins emails: "Based on your experience, and that reported by your blog readers, would you still recommend the D70, or the Canon?"
I don't know of anyone else who's had the autofocus problem I've had. More troubling is that the camera had just come back from being serviced for an autofocus bug, and they didn't find it. The camera is otherwise superb, and still works fine in manual-focus mode. I cringe at the thought of sending it back again, though, particularly as it's now out of warranty.
IT'S BEEN 100 DAYS SINCE KERRY PROMISED to sign his Form 180. Polipundit offers a suitable observance.
RAND SIMBERG ON NASA'S NEW SHERIFF:
New administrator Mike Griffin has apparently ridden into NASA town with guns blazing. Not surprisingly to anyone who's been following his career, he's a man in a hurry to break the nation out of the low earth orbit quagmire in which we've found (well, actually put) ourselves for the past three-plus decades, and he's not wasting any time in redirecting the space agency in what he perceives to be the best manner to do that.
I wish him success.
THE FOLKS AT THE AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING COMPANY (Motto: Not the lame American ABC, the lame Australian one) receive a sound Fisking of the old-fashioned kind from Tim Blair, whose mastery of the form is frightening.
TREY JACKSON is asking for your help.
May 09, 2005
UNCLE WIGGLY IN GEORGIA: Some people are even calling him "Elvis-like."
Which, in a way, makes sense. Not that it was a surprise to blogosphereans . . . .
FAKEHATE.COM: LaShawn Barber looks at fake hate crimes.
THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF THE CAPITALISTS is up.
I THINK THIS THEORY actually originated with Jim Henley, but it's probably right:
Since last November, there's been plenty of speculation about a vast disconnect between Red and Blue America. Here's a new theory: Many urbane blue-staters are actually refugees from the red-state heartland, where they were once picked on as kids.
On the other hand, perhaps there's a certain lack of social skills involved:
Jones, who grew up in Tennessee, told the crowd that he'd felt out of place as a kid -- like many of them probably did -- and moved away. But over the years spent in more liberal places like the Bay Area, he somehow forgot how to talk to folks from his old hometown. He said that when he goes back to Tennessee for Thanksgiving and launches into a 10-minute monologue about politics, he's met by embarrassed silences from his relatives, the very kindest response being: "Well, that was a mouthful."
Most people don't really want to hear 10-minute monologues about anything at Thanksgiving dinner, and I doubt that making the monologue about politics makes it more appealing. This isn't how most people act, which -- to be fair -- is precisely his point.
UPDATE: Reader Anthony Calabrese emails:
As a native New Yorker, living in Chicago (with a stop off in DC), I think that is on the money. For a while I lived in a very artsy neighborhood of Brooklyn, and it seemed to me that the real deep blue types were originally from Iowa or something.
They complained of the local church bells as the old Italian ladies went to Mass.
It seems that way to me.
UNSCAM UPDATE: Roger Simon notes a Pajamas Media exclusive in the oil-for-food scandal.
NOTE: If you are going to email me with an obscure question, and I go to the trouble to answer it only to get a response from a spamblocker service that requires me to fill out a form to ensure you get my reply, I won't fill out the form. You won't get the reply.
Sorry, but I find those services very irritating, and doubly so when I encounter them after responding to a question.
MORE ON BLOGS AND BIG MEDIA, over at GlennReynolds.com.
JACK REESE HAS DIED: He was my mentor when I was an undergraduate, and we stayed friends. I'll miss him, and so will a lot of other people.
TENNESSEE GOV. PHIL BREDESEN has started a blog. And he's already getting feedback from the blogosphere!
IN THE NEW REPUBLIC, Lee Siegel is comparing Elvis to Michael Jackson. The comparison between a liking for young, but sexually mature, women, and younger, and sexually immature, boys, seems to be a bit strained. Is it sweeps week at TNR?
My own take on Elvis can be found here. Or as Webb Wilder says in this immortal film: "It's bad enough that he bad-mouthed poor old dead Elvis, but he had to do it while blowing pot smoke in my face."
I wish they'd rerelease that gem on DVD.
ENGADGET has an interview with Steve Heiner, head of Nikon's digital SLR division.
One question not asked: "Why did the autofocus on Glenn Reynolds' D70 crap out? And right after the camera came back from being fixed?"
INSTA-TV: My TechCentralStation column is up, with a report from the BlogNashville conference and an extensive video report featuring interviews with Dan Gillmor, Chris Muir, Cox & Forkum, Rebecca MacKinnon, Hossein Derakshan, LaShawn Barber, Henry Copeland, Chris Nolan, and more.
UPDATE: Photos from the conference here and here.
THE Republican promise of smaller, less-intrusive gov ernment is getting harder and harder to believe. Especially when a more plausible plot line is unfolding every day: that the GOP has put aside the ideals of Reagan and Goldwater in order to pursue a political strategy based on big spending.
Perhaps Democrats will start agitating for a Balanced Budget Amendment.
FOUNDATIONS CAN EXPECT MORE SCRUTINY in an age of weblogs, according to this article:
The news media's treatment of foundation involvement in public policy may have changed forever on March 17. That was the day the New York Post published "Buying 'Reform': Media Missed Millionaires' Scam," an account by one of its columnists, Ryan Sager, of the massive spending by several mainstream foundations to secure passage of the 2002 overhaul of campaign-finance laws and to keep the issue alive. . . .
Traditional journalists tend to take at face value the research on public policies generated by major foundations and nonprofit organizations. . . . Any foundation interested in public-policy activism can now expect its implicit political inclinations to be vetted far more thoroughly and publicly than before. It will be much more difficult for donors to operate beneath the radar, justifying their low profile by saying that they are simply objective servants of the public interest. After all, the new networks were born of a reaction against precisely that claim by mainstream news media, and so are inclined to suspect hypocrisy whenever it is made. All foundations -- not just those on the right -- that want to shape public policy will now be treated as political actors.
Pew discovered what that means, when its response to the allegations by Mr. Treglia came out this way on Fox News: Pew said "it did nothing wrong and is proud of the $40-million it spent to get other people's money out of politics."
Read the whole thing, which is quite interesting and, I think, right.
AUSTIN BAY has thoughts on Bill Cosby.
HOWARD KURTZ looks at Arianna Huffington's new celebrity blogsite. But all I've learned from that site so far is that Hillary Rosen doesn't know how to import files in iTunes.
BUSH IN EASTERN EUROPE: Publius looks at his travel schedule and notices something interesting.
AN ANALYSIS of the interesting events at MIT's time-traveler convention.
NEWSPAPER, HEAL THYSELF: The New York Times is looking at ways to improve its credibility.
Jeff Jarvis has a big roundup, including some stuff that's only in the print edition and not available elsewhere online, and The Fearless Critic offers some further thoughts: "I don't think the problem with media credibility is that the media aren't responding vociferously to attacks. It's that the media often gets things wrong, covers things from a biased perspective, and often spotlights the wrong topics."
Today it's hard for politicians to wait out bad publicity because O.C.D.-like blogs are there to make sure the bad publicity doesn't go away. ... Example: How many days has it been since John Kerry said he'd sign Form 180 releasing his military records? Once upon a time an embarrassing promise like Kerry's might have been forgotten until the next campaign. Now he's nibbled to death by blogs.
CHRISTINE HURT has more thoughts on blogger ethics.
May 08, 2005
IN LIGHT OF MY EARLIER PROMISE, I've uploaded some outtakes from the video I shot for my TCS column that'll be out later. They're not as exciting as the ones I used there, but for purposes of quality they're pretty illustrative. You can see J.D. Lasica and Bill Hobbs talking about the Nikon D70s and the Canon Digital Rebel, as well as some better-lit footage of the documentary folks. It was all shot with this rather cheap digital still camera, and while the video is pretty good, the most impressive thing is the sound produced by the matchhead-sized microphone. This kind of thing seems like it should be a really potent tool for blog journalism.
You can see the outtakes in Windows Media format here.
A Quicktime version is here. They're both broadband-sized, as there's no point doing tiny dialup files when you're trying to illustrate quality.
This is why I don’t believe in ghosts: if they existed, they wouldn’t float down the hallway weeping or make the walls drip with blood – they’d wake you up, whisper “come here” and bore you with a story about how little Jimmy used to sit in front of the window, here, and wait for the mailman when he sent away his boxtops for something. That’s the stuff ghosts would want you to know about.
I think he's right.
YES, IT IS A RATHER DRY SPELL, news-wise.
Given the pace of events over the past few years, I think this is a good thing. Though I may have to start blogging about cookware, or razors or something if things don't pick up.
Hmm. Maybe power tools!
UPDATE: Merv Benson writes: "Definitely power tools. Collect as many as you can, even if you don't use them that much. Your spouse should also be appropriately awed at what you can do with them, too." She understands her role.
Reader Robert Schwartz emails: "Digital Cameras!" (Only in 32-point boldface). I'll see what I can do.
I will note that I shot some video at the conference using the very inexpensive Sony still camera, and the results are pretty good. The video's going to my TCS column this week, but maybe I'll post an outtake or two just to illustrate the quality of the picture -- and, just as importantly, the sound.
UPDATE: Reader John Wixted emails:
The last time I had that feeling was early August, 2001. I was so bored that I was practically praying for some interesting, newsworthy event to happen. Now, I relish the absence of interesting news.
What he said. I'd rather write about lawn mowers. Or, as I was doing around that time, about who had the best abs at the Video Music Awards. (I thought it was Alicia Keys).
MORE: Foodblogger Kevin Weeks emails: "Go for the broad demographic -- power kitchen tools."
I like it!
A TROUBLING OBSERVATION regarding the British elections:
With all the MSM whining about Blair's vistory and all the blogger hand-wringing over 'Jihad' George Galloway, most people seem to have missed the real story of last week's elections in Britain. The British National Party (BNP) is now the fourth largest party in the UK, even larger than the Greens. Check out the BNP results here. Notice that the BNP is up in nearly every district compared to 2001: 16.9% in Barking; 13.1% in Dewsbury; 9.7% in Dudley North where their raw vote count more than doubled over '01. And this is during good economic times in a country free of jihad attacks.
I've worried about this sort of thing.
UPDATE: From troubling observations to comforting corrections -- reader David Steven emails:
The "troubling observation" about the BNP is not true. . . .
According to the BBC, 11 parties and 1 independent gained seats - the BNP are still a long way from winning a seat. In terms of share of vote, the BNP came 8th, behind the three major parties, an Irish and a Scottish party, the UK Independence party and the Greens.
While it is disturbing that 192,850 people voted BNP, this is only 0.7% of those voting.
It's easy to rack up big percentage gains when your numbers are small.
NEWSBEAT 1 is a new Canadian blog, focusing heavily on the ongoing scandals.
The Sunni Arab media in the Middle East has gotten tired of blaming the United States for everything that doesn't work in Iraq. More and more stories blame Iraq's Sunni Arabs for the terrorism, corruption and tyranny in Iraq, and other parts of the Middle East. This is part of a trend, the growing popularity of Arabs taking responsibility for their actions. This is a radical concept in Middle Eastern politics. For several generations, all problems could be blamed on other forces. The list of the blameworthy was long; the United States, the West, Colonialism, Infidels (non Moslems, especially Jews), Capitalism, the CIA, Israel, Democracy and many others too absurd to mention. Giving up this crutch is not popular in the Middle East. Oil wealth has made it possible to sustain, for decades, the belief of all these conspiracies to keep the Arab people down and powerless. But the invasion of Iraq, and the overthrow of Saddam, forced Arabs to confront their long support for a tyrannical butcher like Saddam. Here was a dictator who knew how to play the blame game, and position himself as an Arab "hero." Saddam's supporters turned to terrorism to restore themselves to power. Two years of killing Iraqis has shamed an increasing number of Arabs into admitting that this is an Arab problem, not the fault of the United States.
Very interesting. Read the whole thing.
TIM WORSTALL has posted his weekly BritBlog roundup.
Tim also has a response to Adam Cohen's unimpressive ruminations on blog ethics in today's New York Times, and so does The Mudville Gazette.
I should note that all the chin-pulling about journalistic ethics didn't really start until newspapers became monopoly enterprises. Where monopolies are concerned, we tend to look to regulation, because we can't trust the market to do the job. But although newspapers -- and, to a substantial degree, broadcast news operations -- are monopolies or near-monopolies, blogs certainly aren't.
In our ethics book, The Appearance of Impropriety, Peter Morgan and I noted the use of ethics establishments as smokescreens concealing deeper institutional problems. I think that most of the late-twentieth-century ethics apparatus, and certainly much of the journalistic ethics apparatus, falls into that category. But competition is coming, and the Times is already starting to feel a touch of discipline. Which I suspect is what motivated Cohen's column to begin with. . . .
UPDATE: As Virginia Postrel writes in Forbes, "There's something about blogs that makes a lot of respectable journalists hyperventilate."
ANOTHER UPDATE: Free Range Librarian:
I realize Cohen's column is just commentary on the opinion page of the national newspaper of record, but where are the facts grounding this piece? "It is hard to know who many bloggers are," states Cohen, a comment I read in his article which at last count has already been linked to dozens of blogs written by people with painfully thorough "about pages" and blog names as eponymously transparent as Grant's Tomb. Let me ask you, Adam: who do you think writes Edcone.com?
SPITTING ON SOLDIERS: Tom Maguire looks at the (revisionist) history.
RESERVE POWERS: Will there be a constitutional crisis in Canada?
GOT BACK LAST NIGHT, now I'm busy with the video interviews I did at the conference. Blogging will resume later.
Sadly, there were no Hooter's girls present, though.