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June 11, 2005

LOTS OF PHOTOS, and an essay, at Rick Lee's place.

HOW'S THE ERIC FLINT BOOK? I'm only few chapters into it, but so far it's good. I'm not a big fan of Andrew Jackson, but Flint gives him a 3-dimensional portrayal. Sam Houston gets a much bigger role than he had historically, which is cool since he's a local boy (my mother is even librarian at Sam Houston Elementary, which claims some connection with the nearby school where he taught). Flint's non-PC despite being a (way) lefty, and it's good reading so far.

IN WEST VIRGINIA, notes Dave Kopel, an employee's right of self defense trumps the employer's right to order employees not to defend themselves.

MORE ON THE ALGERIAN CONNECTION:

Algeria has been the center of Islamic radicalism in Africa for over a decade. Even more so than Egypt, where many of the intellectual founders of Islamic radicalism come from. Algeria is where most of the foot soldiers of the movement came from. Egypt defeated its Islamic radicals a decade ago, while Algeria has crushed them only in the last year. Over the last few years, many of the Algerian Islamic radicals have fled to Europe, and other Islamic countries. About a quarter of the 400 foreign terrorists captured in Iraq are from Africa, and a similar percentage of the foreign terrorists killed in Iraq are believed to be from Africa (mainly Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.) But the most dangerous Islamic terrorists are those who fled south, to set up camps in the thinly populated Sahel (the semi-desert area south of the Sahara desert). Al Qaeda, using its network of Islamic "charities" provides some of the financing for these new terrorist bases, as well as the money to send African Islamic radicals to Iraq.

Keep an eye on this.

"CITIZEN OF NOWHERE:" ERNEST MILLER RESPONDS to the Jay Rosen item on Bob Franken noted below.

HERE'S A GLOBAL VOICES SKYPECAST on China's attack on blogs and bloggers.

GATEWAY PUNDIT has more on the East St. Louis voter fraud trial. Plus a shocking example of cultural insensitivity. Don't these people care about world opinion?

June 10, 2005

THE LOS ALAMOS WHISTLEBLOWER-BEATING STORY looks to be bogus, according to DefenseTech.

INTERESTING POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS in The Netherlands and elsewhere:

The backlash against Hirsi Ali has astonished and disappointed many Dutch feminists, who continue to count themselves among her biggest fans. Margreet Fogteloo, editor of the weekly De Groene Amsterdammer, said flatly that Mak is crazy. "People like him feel guilty because they were closing their eyes for such a long time to what was going on," she said. In what appears to be a Europe-wide pattern, some feminists are aligning themselves with the anti-immigrant right against their former multiculturalist allies on the left. Joining them in this exodus to the right are gay activists, who blame Muslim immigrants for the rising number of attacks on gay couples.

Stay tuned.

"WHEN I'M REPORTING, I'M A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD:" Jay Rosen reflects on this statement by Bob Franken, in the process of examining journalism's declining reputation.

UPDATE: Franken's would seem to be a case of "asymmetrical skepticism."

THE STORMTRACK BLOG is tracking Tropical Storm Arlene.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF THE RECIPES is up!

OFF TO THE BEACH. Blogging will continue, but at a reduced pace, and email response will be degraded as well.

Among other things, I'm taking this Eric Flint alt-history novel about Andrew Jackson and the War of 1812 for beach-reading. It has a good Amazon review from Mark Whittington. I'll report on how it turns out from my perspective.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF TOMORROW is up! And so is the Carnival of Cordite.

A SPANKING for the CJR over the Navasky matter.

TUNKU VARADARAJAN looks at why Indians are dominating the National Spelling bee.

That's a topic I had some thoughts on a while back. But if this keeps up, we'll have to rename the National Spelling Bee "The Anglosphere Challenge" -- except that that name is already taken . . ..

UPDATE: Reader Madhu Dahiya makes an excellent point:

As an Indian-American reader of your blog I'd like to point out that these are American kids after all. I am very proud of my Indian heritage, but I'm an American first and foremost. These kids are growing up here. They *are* part of the anglosphere - the 21st century globalized, American Anglosphere, and I think they are holding up to the challenge quite well :)

Indeed.

JAMES LILEKS: "I hate to break it to these theorists, but it does not take guts for a young man to want to have multiple sex partners. It takes guts to settle down and have a family and rein in the roaming libido."

Indeed.

JUDGE-BLOGGING at the Carnival of the Chillin'.

ADAM BELLOW has thoughts on the death of his father.

JOE KATZMAN has a lengthy must-read post on Zimbabwe, genocide, and human rights.

HAROLD FORD, JR.: Down on Dean.

STRATEGYPAGE:

Conservative Islam is the foundation of Islamic radicalism, which is Islam carried to a murderous extreme. This movement is weakening in the place where it originated; Saudi Arabia. One of the most telling signs has been the decline and fall of the religious police. The Mutawwain -- national "religious police" – or "Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Suppression of Vice" has long been a force in Saudi Arabia, acting against any perceived "un-Islamic" behavior in an attempt to preserve religious purity (e.g., it's better that women should burn to death in a fire than that they appear without their veils). Over the past few years, however, the Mutawwain have come under increasing pressure. Long regarded not only as arbitrary, but also corrupt, the organization is under investigation by the official state prosecutor, and its budget and personnel have been cut repeatedly; from over 2000 officers just five years ago there are now apparently only some 700.

It's probably still too early to bid on the Riyadh "Hooter's" franchise, though.

PRE-DEPARTURE, AUSTIN BAY has posted lots of interesting stuff. Just keep scrolling.

BILL HOBBS notes CNN's move on the blogosphere.

June 09, 2005

JAMES MADISON WHO?

THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE has news from Spain.

JOE GANDELMAN reports on China's crackdown on blogs.

UPDATE: BlogCritics has more on the subject.

MORE INTELLIGENCE PROBLEMS:

A highly classified intelligence report produced for the new director of national intelligence concludes that U.S. spy agencies failed to recognize several key military developments in China in the past decade, The Washington Times has learned.

The report was created by several current and former intelligence officials and concludes that U.S. agencies missed more than a dozen Chinese military developments, according to officials familiar with the report.

The report blames excessive secrecy on China's part for the failures, but critics say intelligence specialists are to blame for playing down or dismissing evidence of growing Chinese military capabilities.

"Excessive secrecy" on China's part? Given that this "highly classified" report was leaked, it seems like we could learn from them. . . .

And the intelligence community keeps missing big developments, doesn't it?

UPDATE: More here.

NERDS MAKE BETTER LOVERS? Well, duh.

FALSE MODESTY? Well, the real kind is out of the question.

JEFF JARVIS HAS MORE on the 9/11 Memorial debacle: "This mess at the World Trade Center falls -- once again -- squarely at the feet of Gov. Pataki. We need to demand that Pataki and Bloomberg open up the process and assure us that this will not turn into the International Flagellation Center."

MICKEY KAUS still has questions for The Boston Globe's Mike Kranish.

UPDATE: Still more questions, and a few answers, here.

DEFENSETECH reports that the space race is going global.

I just wish the space race were bigger.

THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAS SPOKEN OUT against violence in Ethiopia. Gateway Pundit has the scoop.

IS RESISTING GENOCIDE A HUMAN RIGHT? That's the question posed in a forthcoming law review article by Dave Kopel, Paul Gallant, and Joanne Eisen.

I've had related thoughts myself, here. And you may want to read this article by Dan Polsby and Don Kates, too, if the topic interests you.

SO MUCH FOR FEDERALISM (CONT'D):

A Texas Congressman has introduced a bill that impose a nationwide prohibition on municipally-sponsored networks.

Dubbed by the Author, Representative Pete Sessions (R-Texas), the Preserving Innovation in Telecom Act of 2005, the bill prohibits state and local governments from providing any telecommunications or information service that is "substantially similar" to services provided by private companies.

The bill, HR 2726, is similar to a host of state bills pushed by telecommunications companies aimed at fending off municipally-run wireless networks.

Via Cynical Nation, which observes:

How times have changed. Modern technology and a new political climate have resolved sharp differences between two different camps that had been papered over until recently. On the one hand, there are limited-government conservatives and libertarians who chafe at unnecessary government intrusion in the commercial sphere, regardless of whom it benefits. On the other side are "conservatives" like Congressman Sessions here, to whom corporate profit is more important than restraining government meddling.

Related column of mine, here. And here's an amusing bit: "U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) wants to take state and local governments out of the broadband business. It's for their own good, the former Southwestern Bell executive said. "

HUGH HEWITT is criticizing Howard Fineman for relying on an anonymous source so soon after the Newsweek Koran-flushing debacle. Hugh points to some non-anonymous sources, as well.

MAX BOOT:

All the headlines about "Abuse of the Koran at Gitmo" are absolutely accurate. Brig. Gen. Jay Hood's internal investigation has uncovered some shocking incidents. On at least six occasions, Korans were ripped up. They were urinated on three times, and attempts were made to flush them down the toilet at least three other times.

Why aren't millions of Muslims rioting in response to these defilements? Because the perpetrators were prisoners, not guards. As John Hinderaker notes on weeklystandard.com, the most serious desecrations of the Koran at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility were committed by the Muslim inmates themselves.

Read the whole thing, which is quite justifiably harsh on the news media and NGO hysteria surrounding this report.

ALLISON HAYWARD'S NEW BLOG, Skeptic's Eye, has a lot on the FEC Internet rulemaking, which makes sense as she is a former FEC staffer.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL calling for the arrest of Bush and Rumsfeld?

MORE ON WARD CHURCHILL from the Rocky Mountain News.

J.D. LASICA'S DARKNET: HOLLYWOOD'S WAR AGAINST THE DIGITAL GENERATION, which I mentioned a while back when it was in press, is now out.

One point he makes, which I think is very important, is that the various restrictions promoted by Hollywood and the record industry aren't just intended to protect their intellectual property, but to make it harder for independent creators to compete with them in the larger market.

J.D. has a book blog, too.

MICHAEL SILENCE posts the results of a newsroom survey on blogs.

RANDY BARNETT ON THE RAICH CASE:

The Ninth Circuit finally got its revenge on the Supreme Court justices who seemed to delight in reversing it. In Gonzales v. Raich, it gave the conservatives a choice: Uphold the Ninth Circuit's ruling favoring individuals engaged in the wholly intrastate non-economic activity of growing and consuming cannabis for medical purposes as recommended by a doctor and permitted by state law, or retreat from the landmark Commerce Clause decisions of U.S. v. Lopez (1995) and U.S. v. Morrison (2000). Either way the Ninth Circuit wins. But with Justices Kennedy and Scalia on the liberal side of the Court, the Ninth Circuit won big. So did Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who first implemented this strategy in the child-porn case of U.S. v. McCoy.

As I've written elsewhere, stuff like this is why it's hard for me to get excited about the filibuster fights; principled federalists seem rather thin on the ground, and I don't see any great likelihood of getting more.

UPDATE: On the other hand, Julian Sanchez puts the best possible face on the Bush Administration's commitment to federalism and limited government.

HERE'S A PIECE on the FBI's I.T. problems.

AUSTIN BAY HAS FURTHER THOUGHTS on journalism and the war. And if you want to help out his independent journalistic efforts, visit his tipjar.

BIRTHDAY CATBLOGGING: Precious seems to be flourishing in her new home. Thanks, Dr. Tony!

I FINISHED RADICAL EVOLUTION last night. I thought it was quite good, and it's well worth your time and money if you're interested in technological change.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF GAMERS is up.

CHESTER HAS SOME THOUGHTS ON ZIMBABWE, inspired by Philip Bobbitt.

UPDATE: Publius has a Zimbabwe roundup, where it appears the protest is having some effect, but that the government is wielding a heavy hand against strikers.

STRATEGYPAGE:

More towns in Iraqi's "wild west" are being pacified. The usual drill is not another Fallujah, but a government official meeting with local tribal and religious leaders, where an offer is made. Iraqi and American troops are coming. Neighborhoods that support the government will see little or no fighting as a search is made for weapons, bombs and the like. Neighborhoods that wish to resist will be hit hard. By now, everyone knows how smart bombs work. Increasingly, Sunni Arab leaders are being told, by their followers, that all this violence is not worth it. After Saddam fell, Sunni Arabs continued to believe in fantasies. For the last two years, the collective delusion was that the Americans had no stomach for guerilla war, and the Kurds and Shia Arabs could never get a government together. Today, Sunni Arabs who can get away on a little vacation, go north to the Kurdish north, or south to Shia Basra. In both places you can sit in an outdoor cafe without fear of a suicide bomb going off down the street. The Kurds and Shia have more jobs, more reconstruction and less crime. The Sunni Arabs don't want to live in their own mess any more. They don't want to live in a combat zone, especially while the Kurds and Shia are not.

It's not all good news, though, and here's some of the bad:

The biggest obstacle to economic revival is not terrorism, but corruption. For example, over a third of Iraq’s potential oil revenue is lost to corruption and theft. . . .

Iraq may be free of Saddam, but it is not yet free of the corrupt practices that allow someone like Saddam to take power, and keep it. While much is made of the terror Saddam used to keep Iraqis in line, we forget that he often used corruption, and the willingness of too many Iraqis to take the money and look the other way. The corruption has gotten so bad, especially the oil thefts, that the government is planning on firing several hundred thousand government workers. The money simply isn't there to pay them. The money, instead, is in the pockets of local criminals, or foreign bank accounts belonging to corrupt officials. Until Iraq can confront and conquer this enemy, they will not be able to enjoy the benefits of their oil wealth.

This is an endemic problem throughout much of the world (I could tell you some Nigeria stories . . .), but seems to be especially bad in Iraq.

JAMES PINKERTON has thoughts on Intelligent Design.

DARFUR AND THE PALESTINIANS: A modest proposal.

SOME THOUGHTS ON THE JOURNALISM OF WARFARE, by Keith Windschuttle. (Via Bill Quick).

June 08, 2005

RYAN SAGER ON THE "REFORMERS:"

In fact, the Internet resembles in many ways the campaign-finance reformers' long-sought utopia: full public financing of political campaigns. While the government is of course not financing anyone on the Internet, the outcome is the same: For an absolute pittance, every idea, every political philosophy, every candidate has access to a soap box.

The only limitation is how many people care to listen.

Why, when the free market has gone and created the exact state of affairs the reformers have long claimed to desire, are the McCains of the world looking to crack down?

Because the reform movement has never been about freedom. It has always been about control.

Indeed.

MORE THOUGHTS ON THE SINGULARITY, at Centerfield.

A CALL FOR REVOLUTION IN ZIMBABWE: If Rep. Rangel wants to make Holocaust comparisons, they would be better aimed at Robert Mugabe.

UPDATE: Much more on Zimbabwe, from The Belmont Club.

THE HYSTERIA SPREADS: Charles Rangel compares Bush's foreign policy to the Holocaust.

Really, Bush's ability to drive his opponents stark, raving bonkers is almost supernatural.

MICHAEL LEDEEN is condemning the silence on Iran's use of torture.

Meanwhile, there are numerous reports of unrest in Iran.

UPDATE: More on Iran here.

MATT WELCH:

How people can derive pleasure from evidence of the suffering of innocents is beyond me, and few sights are more unseemly to my eyes than seeing a Lonely Planet-waving travel snob whine about how some current or formerly misgoverned hellhole has been "ruined" by all that yucky reconstruction, material success, and (worst of all!) tourism.

Indeed.

UPDATE: Reader Patrick Prescott sends this link to a post with related thoughts.

HEH:

We most assuredly are not jiving you: Howard Dean--scion of Park Avenue, former governor of Vermont, a state that is 96.8% people of pallor--is faulting Republicans for being white, even though he himself is whiter than an albino polar bear with dandruff.

Did I say "heh?"

LEBANON HAS PROTEST BABES: Norway has countered with a protest goat. To each his own, as they say.

UPDATE: I counter with one of these.

THERE WAS SOME QUESTION whether, when Saddam fell, we might just keep going into Syria. Looks like we should have considered it.

JEFF JARVIS IS MAD AS HELL about what's going on with the 9/11 memorial. Sounds like he should be, as he says it's turning into "what Bill Maher has wanted: a Why They Hate Us Pavillion."

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Roger Simon offers a suggestion. And Sissy Willis is angry at "the grave-robbers of Ground Zero."

RICH, BLOGGY GOODNESS: This week's Carnival of the Vanities is up!

MICHELE CATALANO wishes a happy birthday to Donald Duck.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF EDUCATION is up!

IN RESPONSE TO MY POST ON THE SINGULARITY, below, Jim Bennett sends this link to an excerpt on the subject from his recent book.

THE FOLKS AT ANKLEBITINGPUNDITS say that the latest Washington Post poll is wrong. This far from an election, it's hard for me to get too excited about polls, one way or another. And given their track record even close to elections, it should probably be hard for me to get excited about them, period.

AUSTIN BAY has a long post on the strategic situation in Iraq and Syria that's a must-read. And consider hitting his tipjar as he heads back that way to do some firsthand reporting.

ANNE APPLEBAUM: "I don't know when Amnesty ceased to be politically neutral or at what point its leaders' views morphed into ordinary anti-Americanism. But surely Amnesty's recent misuse of the word 'gulag' marks some kind of turning point."

Howard Kurtz: "Excuse me, but did Schulz say that it's okay to unleash words like 'gulag,' even if it's not an 'exact or literal analogy,' because it gets him booked on Fox News? Is that the new standard? Yes, Chris, I called the president a war criminal because it was the only way I could get on Hardball?"

DO IT MAKE IT YOURSELF: My TechCentralStation column is up.

I'M ABOUT A THIRD OF THE WAY into Joel Garreau's book, Radical Evolution, and there's much talk about the Singularity (including a very cool interview with Vernor Vinge). (Decent short description of the Singularity concept here).

But while I think that the Singularity is something to take seriously, I also think that the focus -- shown in the interview and the passages surrounding it -- is a bit myopic. The fear is that we'll wind up creating superhuman intelligence, and that it will quickly take over the world. Personally, I suspect that superhuman intelligence will be harder to create, and less superhuman, than many suspect. But that's not the main point. The main point is that the dangers, in my estimation, don't come from the creation of a godlike (or demonlike) superhuman entity. Or at least, if such an entity exists, the threat won't be because of its intelligence. As I wrote a while back:

It is not obvious, however, that intelligence has much to do with world domination. Certainly, those currently ruling the world did not attain their positions by virtue of their intelligence, and it may be that, like James Branch Cabell’s eponymous protagonist Jurgen, superintelligent machines would find that “cleverness was not at the top of things, and never had been.” While scientists and computer experts, whose chief pride (as with Jurgen) lies in their intelligence, would tend to regard superior intellect as the sine qua non of power, this view can be quickly dispelled by a glance at the headlines.

The bigger danger won't be the creation of a godlike artificial intelligence. It will be the creation of many millions (and eventually billions) of individuals with powers that would have been until recently regarded as godlike, in the rather small space that humanity currently inhabits. That problem will be reduced, however, if we expand beyond the earth beforehand. I certainly agree with Stephen Hawking that the alternative is extinction. But I think that we'll do it in time.

Overall, I'm less afraid of the singularity than some. And one characteristic of entering a singularity is that you don't generally realize it as it's happening -- like crossing the event horizon of a black hole, it's not apparent while it's underway. We may be entering the Singularity already. As my alter ego suggests, cloning seems frightening now. One day it will seem . . . quaint.

UPDATE: More thoughts here.

"YOU ALL LOOK ALIKE TO ME:"

Many Republicans probably voted for George Bush dozens, if not hundreds, of times in 2004, according to Democrat party Chairman Howard Dean, "by taking advantage of the fact that Democrat poll workers have difficulty distinguishing individuals from among a crowd of white Christians."

"Thanks to their pale skin, round eyes and khaki trousers, Republicans just blend in," said Mr. Dean. "So they vote, get in the back of the line and vote again. And because they've never made an honest living in their lives, they could do that all day long."

Howard Dean is pretty much a one-man ScrappleFace full-employment guarantee.

UPDATE: James Lileks: "It must rankle the moderates to hear him fling this nonsense on a daily basis, after all; it's like having Pat Buchnan run the GOP and make constant fulminating speeches against Commie-Lezbo Vegans."

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL is rather hard on the Raich decision. As it should be.

DISTURBING DEVELOPMENTS IN BOLIVIA: Gateway Pundit has more, and so does Publius.

IMAGINE NO CORRUPT AND INEFFECTUAL INTERNATIONAL BUREAUCRATS -- I wonder if you can:

Leahy said too many legislators saw the United Nations as an "easy place to beat up" but that the United States should not be acting unilaterally "simply because the United Nations happens to be here within the borders of the United States."

"It is hard to think of a world without the U.N.," he said.

It's not clear to me what the location of U.N. headquarters has to do with anything, though.

June 07, 2005

ARNOLD KLING writes on the political implications of thinking vs. feeling.

I know somebody who needs to do more of the former, and less of the latter.

MICKEY KAUS on Kerry's 180: "He raises as many questions as he answers."

Including this one: Why are we still talking about him?

GLOBAL VOICES Podcasts.

NOT WITH A BANG, BUT WITH A WHIMPER: My thoughts on Kerry's Form 180, over at GlennReynolds.com.

DAVID PLOTZ'S BOOK, The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank is out. He writes about his own experiences as a sperm donor in Slate today.

CECI CONNOLLY'S "100 MURDERS" STATEMENT has been corrected. Follow the link for video.

YES, THE INSTAPUNDIT STORE IS BACK: Actually, it never went away, I just took it off the "Recommended" links a year or so ago and forgot to put it back. But hey, Father's day is coming, and what would make a better present for Dad?

UPDATE: Reader John Thompson emails: "An Instapundit thong? Glenn, really..."

He's right. An InstaPundit Thong for Mom is the perfect present for Dad!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Betsy Gorisch emails: "Hmmm. Well, I think an Instapundit Thong for Dad is the perfect gift for Mom!"

THE ANSWER IS: "Because homeland security is still a joke."

The question:

At a time when the United States is tightening its borders, how could a man toting what appeared to be a bloody chain saw be allowed into the country?

With apologies to the Amazing Karnak.

INDEED: Eugene Volokh points to this story with the jokey headline "Blame Canada:"

The 17-year-old Bucks County boy charged with having bomb-making equipment in his bedroom and threatening to blow up his school is a Canadian who hates Americans, prosecutors say.

Obvious headline. On the other hand, the CBC, according to a just-released Fraser Institute study, is engaged in what sounds a lot like paranoid hate speech:

The CBC’s television news coverage of the United States is consistently marked by emotional criticism, rather than a rational consideration of US policy based on Canadian national interests, according to The Canadian released today by The Fraser Institute.

This anti-American bias at the CBC is the consequence of a “garrison mentality” that has systematically informed the broadcaster’s coverage of the US. Garrison mentality was a term coined by Canadian literary critic, Northrop Frye. He used it to describe a uniquely Canadian tendency reflected in our early literature, a tendency, as he put it, to “huddle together, stiffening our meager cultural defenses and projecting all our hostilities outward.”

One hopes that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will review its stance before any more innocent schoolchildren are threatened. . .

UPDATE: Reader Chris Buchholz emails:

I must say I don't buy it. It reminds me of when the liberals were blaming Tim McVeigh on Rush Limbaugh. It wasn't Rush's fault McVeigh was crazy.

Well, yes. The presence of ellipsis is generally a tipoff that I'm tongue-in-cheek here, you know. Canadian reader David Peer, meanwhile, emails: "I tried to detect the satire in your concluding remark about the CBC and 'anti-americanism,' but I just can't see it." Look harder!

I guess I should put that Andrea See quote about my dry sense of humor back up.

I HAVE A LIBERTARIAN SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM: Over at The Corner we're seeing a rather large number of abortion-related posts today. In this one (which really goes beyond the abortion issue) Kathryn Jean Lopez decries a poll showing that 80% of Americans think that pharmacists ought to have to fill prescriptions for contraceptives even if they're personally opposed to birth control.

Of course, this only matters because pharmacists enjoy a government-created monopoly on the dispensing of prescription drugs. Just take that away, and the problem disappears, too. In the meantime, like others who enjoy government monopolies, they are forced to make some concessions to public convenience. That doesn't strike me as an overwhelming imposition, but if the pharmacy profession feels otherwise, I'll be the first to support a move to eliminate its privileged position.

A FEW SNARKY LEFTY READERS want to know why I haven't written about Kerry's reported Form 180 release. They'll no doubt be delighted to discover that it's the subject of today's MSNBC post, which will be online whenever MSNBC gets it there. In the meantime, Tom Maguire has a roundup.

HUMAN/WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS: Daily Pundit notes a story of a woman eaten by a grizzly bear at a Canadian golf course.

David Baron's excellent book, The Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Nature, is a must-read on this subject, which will grow more important as predators come back. (We have our own issues in my area, I'm told, as black bears reintroduced into the Big South Fork are wandering beyond its boundaries.) Here's a column I wrote on Baron's book back when it came out.

ISN'T THIS STORY KIND OF, WELL, STALE? Yale grades portray Kerry as a lackluster student.

The photo, on the other hand, looks like a career-killer to me.

No wonder his campaign was trying to keep this stuff out of the news!

UPDATE: Ann Althouse, who was way ahead on this story, is now saying I told you so. In the blogosphere, no story is ever too stale for that!

More perspective here. Multiply election-damning facts: (1) French was one of his best grades; (2) It was still a lousy 77; (3) And that's even after living in France and Switzerland. And with that, let's breathe a(nother) sigh of relief and let this story go.

MORE: Soxblog has another I-told-you-so. It's never too late in the blogosphere!

INFLIGHT WI-FI is coming for domestic flights:

United Airlines plans to announce today that it is the first domestic airline to receive approval from regulators to install wireless Internet networks on its planes.

United passengers will not be able to take advantage of the service just yet. The airline is still at least a year away from having its in-flight Wi-Fi service up and running. When it does, sometime in mid- to late 2006, passengers will be able to check e-mail, send instant messages and surf the Web at 30,000 feet.

I was begging for this years ago, so I'm glad to see it, er, taking off.

Nick Schulz emails with a possible security benefit:

Not sure if anyone has pointed this out yet or suggested it, but it seems to me if people had had working WiFi on flights before 9/11, the passengers on the second plane to hit the towers might have heard about what happened to the first plane sooner, provided instant message works on the flights, and might have been able to pull a Flight 93 on it, possibly saving lives. Maybe not, but if you’re logged on WiFi with IM access from moment go on a flight, you’d know immediately from friends watching TV at work, etc. . . . I remember on 9/11 I couldn’t communicate with Lauren my wife via cellphone, but WiFi worked and we were able to communicate that way (she was still in Lower Manhattan that day).

He also notes that terrorists might possibly coordinate via IM, too, but it seems to me that on balance this benefits the good guys. Terrorists can always just break the no-cellphone rule to coordinate; opening things up to everyone just levels the playing field.

IT'S A HEALTHCARE BLOGFEST! This week's Grand Rounds is up.

BARACK OBAMA AND RICHARD LUGAR have more on avian flu, in the New York Times.

DO CONSUMERS HAVE TOO MANY CHOICES? Virginia Postrel says no, but notes that claims of too many choices seem to be the Next Big Thing in doomsaying. She's probably right -- I've noted this book by Barry Schwartz along those lines before.

But all I can say is that I covered this ground years ago. There's even a model! [Don't you mean, "It's only a model"? -- Ed. Probably.]

"IT WAS NECESSARY to rebuild the village in order to save it."

PERRY DE HAVILLAND:

Robert Mugabe continues his insane demolition of houses and businesses as he increasingly starts to look like Pol Pot reborn, seeking to depopulate the cites and drive the now homeless and unemployed population into the countryside to eke out an even more miserable living, thereby dispersing and isolating people from communities which might oppose his tyrannical rule.

And where are the marchers in the west? Where are the protesters calling for justice in Zimbabwe? Where is the outrage from those tireless tribunes of the Third World, the UN? Why can I not hear the snarls of fury from the alphabet soup of NGOs? What of the legions of Guardian readers finding out about all this? What are they going to call for? Amnesty International is getting a lot of (bad) publicity from having called Guantanamo Bay 'a gulag' whilst now admitting they do not actually know what is happening there, yet why are they not straining every fibre of their being in opposition to this African horror? There is tyranny aplenty to be opposed without having to invent any.

So you'd think, anyway. The Belmont Club has further thoughts.

I HAVE HERE A LIST OF 100 COMMUNISTS IN THE GOVERNMENT: Well, that's what these constantly-shifting and unsubstantiated numbers are starting to remind me of. Fortunately, the blogosphere is more careful.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has interviewed CeCi Connelly regarding her statement, and finds the response unsatisfactory.

THE LATEST on the EU Constitution: "Thus, while it seems that the constitution is very far from dead, the bulk of the British people seem keen to have a go at killing it."

June 06, 2005

HOW D-DAY WOULD BE COVERED TODAY: Various thoughts from various commenters.

Then there's this observation: "After Six Decades, No End to the Quagmire."

IF THIS REPORT FROM LOS ALAMOS is true, it calls for a major shakeup. Of course, things at Los Alamos seem to call for a major shakeup already.

THE LILEKS NEWS WAYBACK MACHINE is operating:

Stories like these must be told, of course, if only to show what the media finds important, and remind us how good things are going. I can imagine in late 2001 asking a question of myself in 2005:

What’s the main story? The smallpox quarantine? Fallout from the Iranian – Israeli exchange contaminating Indian crops? A series of bombings in heartland malls?

"Well, no – the big story today has to do with soldiers mishandling terrorists' holy texts at a detention center."

Mishandling? How? Like, you mean, they opened it up without first checking to see if it was ticking, and it blew up –

"No, they handled it in a way that disrespected it. Infidels are supposed to use gloves."

Oh. So we lost, then.

No. But it's an understandable mistake.

MICHAEL TOTTEN WRITES on regime change in Syria and why it's needed.

JAKE TAPPER notes interesting post-post-Watergate developments:

The son of the acting director of the FBI during the Watergate scandal said that claims being made about his father are "categorically false" and that L. Patrick Gray does not belong on the long list of Watergate criminals and miscreants from the Nixon White House.

Ed Gray said he would be contacting high-profile figures from the Watergate era whom he felt had defamed his father. The comments were made during television interviews following the May 31 revelation by his father's former assistant, W. Mark Felt, that he was "Deep Throat," the anonymous source for The Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate scandal.

The "figures" include Carl Bernstein, Ben Bradlee, and dirt-digging detective Terry Lenzner.

UPDATE: Megan McArdle thinks that Watergate is just another geezer obsession.

THE NEXT PANDEMIC? Foreign Affairs has a number of articles on avian flu.

DR. TONY offers advice on pet allergies. In our case, alas, the only alternative was to give away the pets.

THE BLOGGER NEWS NETWORK introduces "The Fisk File," a contest for bloggers.

IT'S THE ANNIVERSARY OF D-DAY: Here's a remembrance, and here's another.

ETHIOPIAN ELECTION PROTESTS: Gateway Pundit has a roundup, with photos.

NINTH CIRCUIT 1, SUPREME COURT 0: The 9th Circuit asked the Supreme Court how serious it was about enumerated powers, and the answer, apparently (I haven't read the decision yet) was not so much. [LATER: I've looked at it now. Not so much.]

UPDATE: Orin Kerr has more.

ANOTHER UPDATE: "So much for states' rights."

Larry Solum has a roundup here.

David Bernstein; "The five-member majority of the Court simply does not take federalism seriously."

Radley Balko: "Thomas was dead-on, and proves to be the only principled federalist with an orginalist view of the Commerce Clause."

Marty Lederman has assembled an all-star cast to discuss the opinion over at ScotusBlog. Just keep scrolling.

MICKEY KAUS: "I suspect McDonald's keeps a lot more control over its franchisees than Newsweek seems to have over what its Arabic readers read under its banner."

IN THE MAIL: Dan Pink's A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age.

I'm a big fan of his work, and I look forward to reading it.

UPDATE: More here. And I hadn't realized that this article from Wired was online now.

LOADS OF BUSINESS- AND ECONO-BLOGGING: This week's Carnival of the Capitalists is up.

CARNIVAL OF CANADIANS: The Red Ensign Standard is up.

MICHAEL YON HAS PHOTOS, AND AN EXTENSIVE REPORT, from northern Iraq. And here's some background on his reporting.

STEM CELL UPDATE:

In recent months, a number of researchers have begun to assemble intriguing evidence that it is possible to generate embryonic stem cells without having to create or destroy new human embryos. . . .

Yet the gathering consensus among biologists is that embryonic stem cells are made, not born -- and that embryos are not an essential ingredient. That means that today's heated debates over embryo rights could fade in the aftermath of technical advances allowing scientists to convert ordinary cells into embryonic stem cells.

This would defuse the pro-life opposition. It wouldn't address the concerns of those -- like, say, Leon Kass -- who are uncomfortable with dramatic advances in medical technology for other reasons.

UPDATE: Kathryn Jean Lopez doesn't like my Kass reference above. But the reference, which could have been clearer, was to Kass's generally negative view of "the relief of man's estate" by science, and in particular to his argument (discussed here) that another 20 years of healthy life would probably be a waste. I should have been clearer -- one of the hazards of blogging is that you tend to assume that everyone is keeping pace with the conversation when, through no fault of theirs, that's not necessarily the case at all.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ed Cone notes an important passage from the story that bears repeating:

"It is largely by analyzing how nature makes stem cells, deep inside days-old embryos, that these researchers are learning how to make the cells themselves."

And Ron Bailey observes:

Achieving that goal would certainly have been dramatically delayed, if not made impossible, had human embryonic stem cell research been banned.

As I wrote a while back, this is the weakness in the "just use adult cells" argument:

I actually think that eventually adult stem cells will do all the work. But I don't know that, and ruling out research involving embryonic stem cells now might keep us from getting to that point, or get us there much later.

Apparently, that's turned out to be the case. But as that earlier post will make clear, Lopez and I are not on the same page on this issue.

Meanwhile, Nick Gillespie notes that there's more than just anti-abortion politics involved here:

While I agree that embryo-free embryonic stem cells (perhaps sweetened with Splenda! for a low-cal, low-impact panacea) would shut down one large aspect of the debate over biotech, I think the issue is far more complicated.

That's because leading opponents to embryonic stem cells are not simply worried about the embryo issue--they fundamentally question whether we should be intervening to prolong and improve human lifespans and ameliorate human suffering.

He quotes Leon Kass and Francis Fukuyama as having non-abortion-related concerns about dramatic medical advances. To my knowledge, Lopez doesn't share those doubts, but she would be wise not to shut her eyes to their existence, or to suggest that those of us who invoke them are unaware of what's going on.

LIKE LINDA FOLEY, Amnesty International is now saying that it isn't really worth paying attention to:

Despite highly publicized charges of U.S. mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, the head of the Amnesty International USA said on Sunday the group doesn't "know for sure" that the military is running a "gulag." . . .

"It would be fascinating to find out. I have no idea," Schulz told "Fox News Sunday."

I wonder what would happen if Donald Rumsfeld should charge Amnesty with being in the pay of Al Qaeda, and then later say that "It would be fascinating to find out. I have no idea."

UPDATE: U.S.S. Neverdock says that it's a case of "fake-but-accurate again," and notes much more from the transcript.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Roundup and comments here.

CHESTER is correcting John F. Burns' analysis.

Meanwhile, Arthur Chrenkoff writes: "Afghanistan has been in the news again--unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons." I had missed the story about Mullah Omar being stripped.

JIM DUNNIGAN: "Military bureaucrats are slowing down upgrades for electronic jammers that save American soldiers lives every day."

FREDERICK TURNER: "Why would the Times publish this story? . . . If my friend dies in his tour of duty I shall be thinking very specifically about Mr. Scott, Mr. Grey, and Ms. Williams."

June 05, 2005

IN RESPONSE TO LINDA FOLEY'S REFUSAL to either substantiate or retract her charges against U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, journalist Hiawatha Bray is running for the Newspaper Guild executive committee as a write-in candidate.

DARFUR UPDATE: Nicholas Kristof writes:

All countries have rapes, of course. But here in the refugee shantytowns of Darfur, the horrific stories that young women whisper are not of random criminality but of a systematic campaign of rape to terrorize civilians and drive them from "Arab lands" - a policy of rape.

One measure of the international community's hypocrisy is that the world is barely bothering to protest. More than two years after the genocide in Darfur began, the women of Kalma Camp - a teeming squatter's camp of 110,000 people driven from their burned villages - still face the risk of gang rape every single day as they go out looking for firewood.

Nemat, a 21-year-old, told me that she left the camp with three friends to get firewood to cook with. In the early afternoon a group of men in uniforms caught and gang-raped her.

"They said, 'You are black people. We want to wipe you out,' " Nemat recalled.

I think we need to be doing more. A lot more.

UPDATE: More commentary here:

After reading Nicholas Kristof's piece on the Sudanese government's "systematic campaign of rape" in Darfur, I have a question for Europe:

Where the hell are you?

Are you waiting for the U.S. to take action? We're rather busy in Iraq and Afghanistan at present. So why don't you do something? France, Germany, Belgium: For years you've claimed moral superiority to us. Prove it now.

France, at least, seems more interested in oil and arms sales.

JAY ROSEN: "As everyone knows, there is a priesthood in journalism. Whether it has authority is another matter."

BLOGGING IN COLOMBIA: "BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - In another sign Colombia's presidential election campaign is heating up, the country's main newspaper offered Sunday to host Web sites for all the candidates in what is expected to be a spicy race." (Via Grim).

MICKEY KAUS: "What's specifically Democratic about patent reform? Not much."

Nope. In fact -- notwithstanding that many of its most prominent advocates are Democrats -- I suspect that intellectual property reform generally is more likely to benefit Republicans.

CATHY SEIPP writes on elitist parents and their sappy class delusions.

I'M WRITING MY TECHCENTRALSTATION COLUMN for this week on Neil Gershenfeld's new book, Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop: From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication, which seems quite cool.

EUGENE VOLOKH: "Perhaps college students aren't scared of the draft because they don't really trust the people who are trying to scare them."

BIDEN BLASTS DEAN on This Week: "He doesn't speak for me with that kind of rhetoric and I don't think he speaks for the majority of Democrats."

Er, so what's he doing as party Chair, then? (Via USS Neverdock).

UPDATE: John Edwards is singing from the same choirbook. Hmm. If I were Dean, I'd be worried.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Trey Jackson has the Biden video.

(Wrong link before -- fixed now. Sorry!)

MORE: But Harry Reid doesn't seem to have gotten the memo.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: The fratricide spreads.

NEWS WITHOUT NEWSPAPERS: My WSJ piece from last week is now available for free over at OpinionJournal.com.

THIS WEEK'S BRITBLOG ROUNDUP is up!

GAIJIN BIKER posts a report on what's being done in our name that some people should find sobering.

UPDATE: Some important perspective on what's going on, from The Anchoress.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Harsh words.

PRO-DEMOCRACY RALLIES IN AZERBAIJAN: Via Alarming News, which found something interesting in the photos. And there's more here, too.

UPDATE: James Oberg relays this report from an American in Baku:

US government reps in Baku support the democratic process and they aren't backing any particular government or candidates. However, all agree that the opposition has no platform, has no agenda for reform or improvement for the country. In fact, maybe a year ago, when Ambassador Harnish was at a meeting with opposition figures, his parting words to them were something like, 'Now I've heard all your complaints, I hope next time you will have ideas and plans for change'.

A year's gone by. Have we heard anything like that from the opposition? Nope. It seems they just want their turn at the trough. It will be a bad day for Azerbaijan if the opposition does take over.

Not terribly encouraging.

LEBANESE ELECTIONS: Publius has a roundup. As expected, Hezbollah is doing very well in the south.

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