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November 26, 2005

NAZIS. I HATE THOSE GUYS. But apparently the folks at Teen People are more flexible in their attitudes.

UPDATE: Dean Esmay isn't surprised.

HERE'S AN AMERICAN EXPAT who's blogging on the Harbin disaster in China. There's also a roundup here.

HENRY FRIENDLY ON ABORTION: A roundup.

SO I CAME DOWNSTAIRS and my sister-in-law was laughing out loud at this. Understandable, but that screws my plans to give her one for Christmas. . . .

UPDATE: That produced this email from (I assume -- the email address is one of those that gives no information) Bryan Fuller Tim Minear*:

I know, I know, I know! Give her this! And though I was the exec producer, I swear I don't make a dime. But I can promise she'll dig it. If not, I'll personally supply Firefly.

Firefly isn't up her alley. More like stuff off the Independent Film Channel. Though the main thing that this seems to have in common with Firefly is that the fans liked it but Fox seemed to go out of its way to kill it.

* He emailed almost immediately to correct me.

UPDATE: Reader Mara Schiffren emails:

Tim Minear gives you excellent advice. Wonderfalls is wonderfully quirky and funny. And delightful and witty. And most of all, as is rare on tv, intelligent.

And it's completely different from Firefly or Angel or The Inside, which are his other recent shows. Of all of them, it's closest to the sensibility of both the IFC and Lileks (in its humor).

And if not for your sister in law, check it out yourself. The Instawife might like it as well, as it develops intelligent psychological portrayals of its characters.

Actually, I ordered it last night.

COSTA RICANS MARCH FOR FREE TRADE: Now if we could just get people to do that here.

UPDATE: Here's more on why Costa Ricans are angry.

JAMES JOYNER looks at gaming the TTLB ecosystem. This takes me back to the halcyon days of MP3.com, when people had all sorts of logrolling schemes to boost their chart positions. In the comments, Steve Verdon predicts more efforts to outwit N.Z. Bear's system. As the ecologist Thomas Ray said, "Every successful system accumulates parasites." So I guess the blogosphere ecosystem is a success!

UPDATE: N.Z. Bear emails:

The hue and cry James thoughtfully responded to in his post isn't a reaction to a new revelation that people are figuring out how to game the Ecosystem. It's a reaction to the fact that I'm figuring out ways how to stop them. There will always be new approaches people will try to artificially inflate their rank in any system such as mine, but believe it or not, I'm actually quite optimistic about staying, if not one step ahead, then at least not far behind those who would try to rig the system in their favor.

But I need help: the blogosphere is a community, and the more the community as a whole shuns stunts such as "open trackback parties" that exist for no reason other than to exchange link counts, the less I'll have to worry about figuring out the latest algorithmic way to filter such exploits out. I can handle the obvious out-for-profit spam blogs --- it's the "real" bloggers who like to skirt the grey areas that I need the community's help to dissuade from bad behaviour.

Indeed.

ANOTHER UPDATE: LaShawn Barber has thoughts, too.

SHIFTING POSITIONS at The New Yorker.

ED MORRISSEY: "Senator Joe Biden writes an op-ed for today's Washington Post that gets the entire war on terror fundamentally wrong -- and demonstrates why the Democrats have entirely failed to provide any leadership on Iraq and the wider war."

A USEFUL COLLECTION of urban legends about the Iraq war. (Via Rand Simberg). Also, here's a look at the New York Times' shifting editorial positions on Iraq. It's almost as if partisan politics are behind them.

THE INSTAWIFE looks at vegetarianism and pacifism.

CHINA COVERING UP avian flu outbreaks among humans? Not implausible in light of the SARS experience.

UPDATE: Not implausible, but not necessarily true, either.

FRED LAPIDES sends a link to this cool French cooking site.

Also, Bill Quick's weekend cooking thread is up.

In answer to his question, this book is probably my favorite cookbook of the moment. And in response to a reader recommendation I ordered this one, but I haven't made any of its recipes yet. Just flipping through it, though, I can see why it's considered a classic.

RETAIL SUPPORT BRIGADE SITREP:

More so than during last year's post-Thanksgiving rush, people jammed stores early, with more than a few testy shoppers scuffling in a rush to grab coveted, limited-quantity bargains.

Several major retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) - Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Macy's (NYSE:FD) ' as well as mall operator Taubman Centers Inc. (NYSE:TCO) estimated they drew bigger crowds for the official holiday season launch compared with last year.

Lena Michaud, spokeswoman at Target Corp., which had a strong holiday season a year ago, said traffic was at least as heavy.

Online shopping seems to be picking up.

BIKING IN LOS ANGELES: "One day, I found myself biking down an empty little access road next to the notorious 405 freeway during the evening commute. The freeway, as usual, was paralyzed, and I noticed I was actually moving faster than the cars. That's when the revelation hit: Over the past few months, I had discovered a different Los Angeles."

Actually, I'd think that L.A. would be good bike territory: It's mostly flat, it seldom rains, and it's usually not dreadfully hot.

UPDATE: Much more on this, from The Cycling Dude.

I WISH I'd written that, too.

November 25, 2005

WELL, YEAH:

Hellyer warned, "The United States military are preparing weapons which could be used against the aliens, and they could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning. He stated, "The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide."

And the invasion of Iraq was all about securing control of a crashed alien spaceship that had landed in Saddam's territory. Duh.

Then there's the alien reality TV angle. Luckily, we haven't thrown away our lead in orbital mind control rays.

And forget your tinfoil hats for stopping them. Those are worse than useless! (Note the use of Reynolds foil. Yes, I'm in on the whole thing! Bwahahaha!)

UPDATE: More on the conspiracy, here. And wait until we roll out America's Secret Weapon. Are you seeing connections here? You should! I mean, do I have to spell things out for you people?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's an actual photo of the moonbase, which has apparently been there since at least 1999.

MORE: "I can't wait to hear what Mark Steyn has to say." Indeed.

SOMEBODY TELL WALTER DURANTY ABOUT THIS: "Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko wants the world to recognize the famine that killed one-quarter of the population as Soviet-sponsored genocide."

TOM MAGUIRE is confused by Andrea Mitchell's confusion.

IT'S FRIDAY BEER-BLOGGING over at John Cole's. Beats catblogging, if you ask me.

BILL ROGGIO is now reporting from Iraq.

TIGERHAWK looks at the stock market, and press coverage thereof.

IN THE MAIL, a copy of Peter Menzel and Faith D'Ailuisio's book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. The story is interesting, the photos are beautiful, there are recipes, and it's a perfect Thanksgiving-weekend book.

And, speaking of food and cool photos, check out The Cook's Cottage, an illustrated blog about Indian food. How can I be hungry again?

THIS SCANDAL over Korean cloning expert Dr. Hwang Woo Suk and his lab seems like pretty small beer to me. Yes, you don't want egg donations to be coerced, but the fact that junior researchers donated eggs doesn't demonstrate coercion to me. There's a long tradition of scientists participating in their own experiments, and I wonder if there isn't a trace of sexism in the notion that junior female researchers must have been coerced. Would we say the same thing if they had been male donors who had donated sperm? (Sure, egg donation is more intrusive, but that's not what the "ethics" rule is about). I don't see anything wrong with paying for donations, either -- the rule against it seems more like a self-protective cartel on behalf of scientists who'd rather get things for free than anything involving actual ethics.

At any rate, this seems more like a strike at Dr. Hwang than a serious ethics problem. (What's a serious ethics problem? The Tuskeegee Syphilis experiments.)

I also wonder how much increasingly elaborate "ethics" rules, often created by non-scientists and often having nothing to do with actual ethics, are holding back scientific progress today, at considerable if hidden social cost. I wish the discussions of this case paid more attention to that question. More on this subject here.

BILL QUICK, who has brought his CNN investigation to an interesting close, has posted some thoughts on the difference between mainstream and blogospheric reporting.

LOTS OF BLACK-FRIDAY FASHIONBLOGGING over at Almost Girl. Just keep scrolling. More here. And Virginia Postrel has thoughts, too, including this: "The bad thing about fashion markets today is how many empire-waist tops and dresses they sell. I don't care how cute, young, and skinny you are. Those things make you look pregnant."

UPDATE: A typically passionate black-Friday defense of Wal-Mart.

REPEAL THE CHARITABLE TAX DEDUCTION? I'm inclined to agree with this suggestion. The 501(c)(3) sector is bloated, unaccountable, and a source of considerable political distortion. And efforts to police the politicization of that area just lead to troubling questions about the IRS and political speech. Better to just get rid of the deduction, except for charitable hospitals and the like, and let the market sort things out.

AUSTIN BAY looks at the growth of realism in the Middle East.

UPDATE: Pejman Yousefzadeh looks at attitudes in the Arab world and suggests that terrorists are defeating terrorism.

THE ABRAMOFF SCANDAL CONTINUES TO WIDEN: Here's a Wall Street Journal story (free link) that brings things up to date.

A NOT-SO-HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Augusto Pinochet.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: I never bought the nano-pants, but I cooked (and ate) all day yesterday in this "Nano-Tex" stain-resistant shirt and, well, it works -- it looked just as fresh and new when I took it off as when I put it on. Given my character as a messy cook, that's no small accomplishment for modern technology.

TOM MAGUIRE ON JOE WILSON AND SCOOTER LIBBY:

And secondly, what was it with Libby and Joe Wilson?

You can guess the rest - some old appearances of Wilson at least allude to the sort of dual-loyalty issue that seems to be a part of the neocon/anti-Semitism debate. I run them below. And let's be crystal-clear: I am *NOT* alleging that Joe Wilson, Chris Matthews, or anyone else is anti-Semitic. I am speculating that Lewis Libby may have thought so.

Interesting. It's progress of a sort, of course, if we've reached a point at which suspected antisemitism can arouse such ire in the White House, something that certainly hasn't always been the case.

DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT is impressed with new German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

November 24, 2005

lamb.jpgTHE LAMB TURNED OUT WELL this year -- most people thought it was the best ever. I think that's because I was really careful with the meat thermometer (ignore those little popup things!) to be sure it didn't get even slightly overdone. That's really important.

Meanwhile, here's the InstaWife with the turkey cake.

ED DRISCOLL goes inside the childhood-industrial complex with James Lileks.

SANCTIONS on the Mugabe regime? Sanctions tend not to do much good, but at least it's something.

MARINES IN ACTION IN SYRIA? I wouldn't be surprised, but I don't trust Debka as a source.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH OSM PAJAMAS MEDIA and what to do about it -- it's the topic of a real-time BlogJam among some members of the editorial advisory board. My first post is up, a bit early.

IT'S ANOTHER Giuliani-Rice blowout over at Hugh Hewitt's GOP 2008 straw poll.

"A PARTY GIRL LEADS CHINA'S online revolution."

IT'S NOT JUST THE STOCK MARKET THAT'S UP:

Online retailers are expected to have a cheerful holiday season thanks to legions of new shoppers buying gifts over the Internet, say two new forecasts.

Sales will grow 18 percent over last year to $26 billion, according to a report released Monday by JupiterResearch. . . .

The forecasts show that the e-commerce is still strong 10 years after the founding of industry giants Amazon.com and eBay. Shoppers continue to migrate online, lured by convenience, a proliferation of free shipping offers and the prospect of saving money by driving less -- given the current high gasoline prices.

Yes, and there's also the traffic, which I hate: I was at the mall yesterday morning and it was surprisingly uncrowded, but I figured that was the last day it would be tolerable for a couple of months. That's why I'm going to do as much shopping as I can over at old reliable!

JIM LINDGREN REMEMBERS the first Thanksgiving, and its recreations.

IT'S LIKE MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, only with giant inflatable Underdog blimps: Jeff Goldstein and Hillary Johnson will be liveblogging the Macy's parade at the Pajamas Media site starting in about half an hour.

And I just noticed that there's an Underdog Boxed DVD Set. (Purists, however, seem miffed at the way it was put together). But I had thought that show was lost in the mist of time; I can't remember ever seeing it on TV in reruns. Still no Addams Family on DVD, though, which means the Insta-Daughter's TV education remains sadly incomplete.

AN ORANGE REVOLUTION brewing in Kenya?

UPDATE: More on Kenya from Austin Bay.

November 23, 2005

STOCK MARKETS hit 4 1/2 year high. Good news, I guess.

DONALD SENSING has thoughts on the Democrats' strategy:

So, knowing that the plan was to redeploy troops beginning next year, the Democrats decided to get in front of the wave: Demand the troops be sent home NOW and then when the Pentagon announces the plan to redeploy, take credit for it.

It's the Ralph Nader strategy, I guess.

N.Z. BEAR has set up a Thanksgiving topic page collecting Thanksgiving posts from all over.

IT'S A THANKSGIVING STRAW POLL for the Republicans over at Hugh Hewitt's.

MARK STEYN was on Hugh Hewitt's show, talking about Iraqi and American politics. Here's a transcript.

FIRST IT WAS JEFF JARVIS, now Eugene Volokh reports "appalling service from Dell." As I've noted before, my own experiences have been good, but they were less recent. Somebody at Dell needs to get to work on these problems.

TAMMY BRUCE posts a recipe for cranberry sauce. Rod Dreher posts a recipe for the "world's best" cornbread dressing. And here's my recipe for roast Thanksgiving lamb.

1 semi-boneless leg of lamb (about 8 pounds)
2 cups merlot
1 cup each worcestershire and teriyaki
2 cloves garlic, crushed (more is better!)
1tbsp sugar
2 oz. olive oil
rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste
Disposable aluminum roasting pan.

Mix merlot, worcestershire, and teriyaki, plus sugar, and marinate, preferably overnight. Heat a covered gas grill to high temperature on one side, low on the other.

Rub the lamb with olive oil, garlic and other spices. Place the roasting pan on the "low heat" side. Place the lamb on the "high heat" side of the grill and sear; rotate until all sides are browned. Move to the roasting pan, and turn the "high" side down to low as well. Close the grill cover and cook. If the lamb seems to be browning too much, cover with aluminum foil.

Cook until a meat thermometer inserted all the way to the center reads 140-145 degrees. (Don't overcook, or the lamb will be dry and tasteless; the outside can be pretty crispy, but the inside should be rare). Remove, let cool for a few minutes, and serve. Juices will make an excellent lamb gravy, especially if you add more merlot.

UPDATE: More recipes from Sensible Mom and (via an emailed link) Michael Graham. And from Rand Simberg. It's like a mini-carnival here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's a recipe for pumpkin chocolate crunch pie from Michelle Malkin.

MORE: SKBubba takes exception to the "world's best cornbread dressing" claims. He writes: "That recipe sounds pretty good, but it can't possibly be the 'world's best.' It only has 1/4 lb. of bacon. That's just not right. Proper cornbread dressing has at least 1 lb. of bacon. That's how the Mrs. makes it and hers is indeed the 'world's best.' The bourbon is a nice touch, though."

It usually is!

STILL MORE: Reader Barry Pike emails that he tried the Lamb and Guinness Stew recipe I posted a while back:

Made it yesterday for Thanksgiving Eve for the first time. It was excellent and wildly applauded by the clan. At the onset I was trepidatious about the combination of Guinness, turmeric, and paprika, but it was really superb. Thanks, and a happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Likewise! And I agree with Nigella Lawson that turmeric is an underappreciated spice.

OMAR AT IRAQ THE MODEL has thoughts on an Iraqi proposal for a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops. All I can say is that I think that an agreement to withdraw as a democratically elected Iraqi government wants, and in a fashion that ensures it can handle the insurgents, is very different from an immediate unilateral withdrawal at the behest of U.S. politicians who say the war is "unwinnable."

Before it's over, of course, I suspect it'll be the Sunnis who want us to stay longer, for fear that without us they'll face rather severe action on the part of the Shia and Kurds.

JOBS, LAYOFFS, EUROPE AND AMERICA: Will Franklin has some thoughts.

UPDATE: Reader Jim Uren notes that Europe is in the same boat as GM, being forced to cut health care spending or go bankrupt.

I'M PRETTY SURE that the whole CNN "X" thing is just a technical glitch, but Bill Quick has been doing actual reporting on the subject.

HEH.

MICKEY KAUS:

Warren Beatty and Rob Reiner aren't nearly as popular as their backers thought they were, according to the latest Field Poll. Beatty's rating is 40% unfavorable/27% favorable--among Democrats! Yikes. .. Reiner is at least more popular than unpopular within his own party, but overall his unfavorables outweigh his favorables among independents (34/24) and overall (41/25). ... Prediction: The eye-opening poll will get little coverage in the LAT. Too interesting!

It's not that surprising.

HERE'S A REPORT that Nicolas Sarkozy is posting comments on blogs. That's cool, if true, though his time might be better spent dealing with domestic insurrections.

OOPS: Demand for biofuels is destroying rainforests.

THE IRAQI OIL TRUST IDEA, pushed here for years, is getting another push in today's Wall Street Journal. It's a subscriber-only link, but here's a bit:

Privatizing Iraq's oil assets, and vesting all citizens with shares, can provide incentive for every Iraqi -- including Sunnis, the insurgency's core -- to view commerce as a better path than violence. Ownership would provide 28 million citizens with a prospective increase in per-capita income of about $5,800, substantially raising their present income. This is unlikely to persuade hard-core terrorists to change course. But turning all Iraqis into stockholders of the nation's oil wealth can win over the support of the bulk of the Sunni population that now backs the insurgency through provision of foot soldiers, intelligence, cover, safe houses or passive acceptance. . . .

At present, oil assets are a government monopoly. Privatizing them and giving every Iraqi an equal share in ownership can be accomplished by turning over the assets to private companies -- two in the south and one each in north and central Iraq -- and vesting all citizens with equal shareholdings in each company, e.g., 5 or 10 shares issued to each Iraqi in each company. Shares could be traded at market-determined prices, but trading would be limited to Iraqis, at least for an initial period of 5-10 years, after which the market might open to foreign participation.

I think that this idea is worth exploring, though sadly politicians won't want to give up this much power. After all, we could do the same thing with federal lands in the United States.

JOHN KERRY ON IRAQ: "The only exit strategy is victory." Absolutely right!

SOME POSITIVE NEWS from Europe:

Angela Merkel made her first foreign trip as German chancellor Wednesday, calling the NATO alliance the main forum for settling world problems and saying her country must heal its rift with the United States.

Before traveling to Brussels, Germany's first female leader stopped in Paris, where she reiterated her country's close ties with France and signaled that foreign relations will be a priority of the coalition government she heads.

Merkel showed few signs of any shift in the foreign policies pursued by her predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, but she said the time has come for improving relations with the Bush administration that were bruised by Schroeder's strong opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Good idea.

JACK BALKIN has more on the Padilla case. (Via Volokh.com).

HUGO CHAVEZ: Exporting revolution?

WORRIES ABOUT SEXUAL TEMPTATION at Egyptian polling places. Well, I did once write an article entitled "Is Democracy Like Sex?"

JOHN TAMMES is giving thanks. Prof. Robert Jensen is not.

UPDATE: Jonathan Gewirtz finds Jensen's religious view of politics unimpressive.

IN THE MAIL: Joel Greenblatt's The Little Book That Beats the Market. That's more than my portfolio has done!

MAX BOOT:

WHEN IT COMES to the future of Iraq, there is a deep disconnect between those who have firsthand knowledge of the situation — Iraqis and U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq — and those whose impressions are shaped by doomsday press coverage and the imperatives of domestic politics.

A large majority of the American public is convinced that the liberation of Iraq was a mistake, while a smaller but growing number thinks that we are losing and that we need to pull out soon. Those sentiments are echoed by finger-in-the-wind politicians, including many — such as John Kerry, Harry Reid, John Edwards, John Murtha and Bill Clinton — who supported the invasion.

American soldiers are also much more optimistic than American civilians. The Pew Research Center and the Council on Foreign Relations just released a survey of American elites that found that 64% of military officers are confident that we will succeed in establishing a stable democracy in Iraq. The comparable figures for journalists and academics are 33% and 27%, respectively. Even more impressive than the Pew poll is the evidence of how our service members are voting with their feet. Although both the Army and the Marine Corps are having trouble attracting fresh recruits — no surprise, given the state of public opinion regarding Iraq — reenlistment rates continue to exceed expectations. Veterans are expressing their confidence in the war effort by signing up to continue fighting.

Yes, I've noticed this pattern myself.

BOMBING AL JAZEERA: The real answer, of course, is that since Al Jazeera is a CIA front operation we'd never bomb it. Duh.

HEH.

ERIC MULLER, who says "I suck at coming up with book titles," is having a contest to name his next book.

November 22, 2005

TOM MAGUIRE has lots of interesting stuff, mostly of the Plame / Woodward variety. Just keep scrolling.

BRANNON DENNING AND I have a law review article on what the Raich decision is likely to mean for the future of federalism. Entitled What Hath Raich Wrought? Five Takes, it's part of a symposium featuring such blogospheric legal luminaries as Randy Barnett, Jonathan Adler, Ann Althouse, and more. (But while they may be luminaries, our article is the only one, I believe, to invoke Emily Litella -- and it also has zombies, and a subtle Simpsons reference. Plus a radical theory of the Necessary and Proper clause!) You can read our article here, and see the symposium issue with links to all the articles here.

JEFF GOLDSTEIN debates torture with Cathy Young et al.

UPDATE: Stephen Green weighs in, with a comparison to the debate over assisted suicide.

GATEWAY PUNDIT looks at the new GOP TV ad blitz.

AVIAN FLU UPDATE:

Federal health officials are seeking to update quarantine regulations, hoping changes such as easier access to airline passenger lists could better protect Americans from foreign infectious diseases, including bird flu.

The proposed changes, announced Tuesday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include easier CDC access to airline and ship passenger lists, a clearer appeals process for people subjected to quarantines, and explicit authority to offer vaccinations and medical treatment to quarantined people.

The changes are part of a multi-pronged attempt to guard against infectious agents from abroad. In the past 1 1/2 years, the CDC also has increased the number of quarantine stations at airports, ship ports and land-border crossings from eight to 18.

Whether or not avian flu turns out to be a threat to humans, we need to have this kind of thing squared away before we need it.

Meanwhile, mixed news from China:

China called bird flu a "serious epidemic" and pledged to step up measures to fight the deadly virus Tuesday as officials announced three new outbreaks of the disease in the country's poultry. . . .

China has reported one human fatality from the disease and one suspected death. The country is vaccinating billions of poultry.

Let's hope all this works.

UPDATE: Some thoughts from a U.S. expat in China, including this worry: "My fear...is if there is a pandemic outbreak and I decide to get the family out of Dodge and send them home, the US government won't allow them access, despite being citizens. The talk of quarantines and closing access is a bit worrying. I'd hate to be stuck here with limited access to medical help and medicines."

THE COUNTERTERRORISM BLOG has more on the Padilla indictment.

NO, I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY about the Kara Borden case. I leave that stuff to others.

NOW HE TELLS US:

A decade after Ruben Cantu was executed for capital murder, the only witness to the crime is recanting and his co-defendant says Cantu, then 17, was not even with him that night. . . .

Sam D. Millsap Jr., the district attorney who handled the case, said he never should have sought the death penalty in a case based on testimony from a witness who identified a suspect only after police showed him a photo three times.

I think he's right, but I wish this had occurred to him a bit sooner. I don't think the death penalty is inherently immoral, but I think that Charles Black's argument about the inevitability of caprice and mistake is awfully powerful.

UPDATE: GWU Law Professor Bob Cottrol emails: "Remember our op-ed piece in the Washington Times 'Greasing the Skids at the Start of Death Row' a few years back? We were more correct than we knew. . . . Basically the system is broken. Instead of insisting on the highest possible standards in capital cases we treat them as all too routine. The post conviction review process is more concerned with trivial technicalities than determining whether all doubt has been extinquished in capital cases."

ANOTHER UPDATE: Clayton Cramer notes the absence of an undo option.

MORE: Here's more at PrawfsBlawg.

JOSE PADILLA has been indicted. You can see a copy of the indictment here. The Volokh Conspiracy has more.

GRAND ROUNDS is up!

JEFF CORNWALL says the people are missing the story on the economy.

IN THE MAIL: Anya Kamenetz's Generation Debt, sounding a theme I've heard before ("An emerging spokesperson for a new generation passionately and persuasively addresses the grim state of young people today-and tells us how we can, and must, save our future.") It all sounds so early-1990s, but I suspect that we'll hear it a lot in the coming election cycle. And as the whole PorkBusters thing illustrates, there's a there, there.

Also Frank Warren's rather cool PostSecret : Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives -- based on the website of the same name, of course.

THIS SEEMS LIKE GOOD NEWS:

Despite turbulence from hurricanes and high energy prices, the economy is expected to log respectable growth this year and next, business economists say.

The economy, as measured by gross domestic product, is projected to grow by 3.6 percent for all of 2005 and 3.3 percent in 2006, according to the National Association for Business Economics.

That's quite good, really.

CLIVE DAVIS has thoughts on Madonna, Jane Austen, and the importance of being bosomy.

ED CONE IS LOOKING FOR MIDDLE GROUND on abortion.

DANIEL GLOVER rounds up a week in the political blogosphere. Read this post of his, too.

FEMALE BLOGGER stirs up Yemen.

TEXAS IS SUING SONY over spyware.

PROTECTING INTERNET FREEDOM: My TechCentralStation column is up.

GET IT RIGHT THE SECOND TIME: OSM is going back to "Pajamas Media." About time: I liked that better anyway. As the Insta-Daughter said, "Pajamas sounds cheerful. Open Source Media sounds . . . educational."

UPDATE: Some Slashdot readers think the whole thing was a publicity stunt.

November 21, 2005

THIS is encouraging: "Rumors of New Orleans falling into the sea are greatly exaggerated."

X MARKS THE SPOT.

UPDATE: Evan Coyne Maloney says it's much ado about nothing.

HILLARY CLINTON says that Murtha is wrong: "The New York Democrat said she respects Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., the Vietnam veteran and hawkish ex-Marine who last week called for an immediate troop pullout. But she added: 'I think that would cause more problems for us in America.'" (Via Go4Truth.com).

N.Z. BEAR says that people are misunderstanding Murtha.

SHOW AND TELL: Michael Yon posts a photo essay from Iraq.

JEFF GOLDSTEIN ACCUSES THINKPROGRESS of some rather heavy white-phosphorus redaction.

ERIN CHAPIN does some tattoo-videoblogging.

BOB WOODWARD IS TALKING:

Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward dismissed claims that he should have revealed his role in the CIA leak case when he discussed the investigation on news interview shows.

The Post's ombudsman, Deborah Howell wrote in Sunday's editions that Woodward erred by publicly commenting on the case on CNN's "Larry King Live" and on National Public Radio without mentioning that a top Bush administration official had told him the name of a covert CIA officer.

However, Woodward told Larry King on the program Monday night: "Every time somebody appears on your show talking about the news or giving some sort of analysis, there are going to be things that they can't talk about."

As I've said before, I thought we had a press to tell us things, not to keep secrets.

JIMMY CARTER encounters some angry Ethiopians. In Minnesota. No, really!

THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE LOOKS AT troop rotation plans from the pre-Murtha era. And if you missed this earlier item on troop levels from Opinionated Bastard, read it now.

A SUMMARY OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S PUSHBACK STRATEGY:

Clearly, the important administration arguments are beginning to coalesce: 1) Criticism of the war is not by itself unpatriotic 2) Similarly, answering anti-war critics is not challenging their patriotism 3) But opportunistic and cynical anti-war critics who are trying to walk back their own votes and level spurious charges at the Administration (they lied to take is into war) are themselves lying 4) These lies are hurting the country and the troops. 5) The burden of proof, in a post 911 world, was on Saddam Hussein to prove he’d disarmed; we could not wait for the threat to become imminent before acting 6) The cause the troops are fighting for is just and right 7) Iraq is moving toward freedom; and things on the ground are improving daily, regardless of what the MSM and prominent Dems would have us believe.

These points, taken together, form an easy, concise, and—most importantly—a factually correct counter-narrative . . . I think the narrative is a good one, but it needs to be repeated as loud and as often as the one the Dems have been peddling.

It's also several months late, but read the whole thing. And here's a story on Cheney's speech today.

BETTER ALL THE TIME, a roundup of (mostly tech-oriented) good news over at The Speculist, is out early for the Thanksgiving holiday. And appropriately enough!

JAMES LILEKS ISN'T IMPRESSED with Kurt Vonnegut. "Dude. Don’t bogart the Semtex."

I remember an old Yale Daily News item on students' favorite authors that included the line "a few, apparently under the impression they were still in high school, named Kurt Vonnegut." That's pretty much always been my impression.

I HEARD THAT NPR STORY, TOO, and had the same thoughts that Eugene Volokh did.

THE CARNIVAL OF PREWAR INTELLIGENCE, with posts from lots of bloggers on the left and right about what we knew, or should have known, in the prewar era is up. Don't miss it! You don't usually see this many bloggers from the left and right side-by-side on issues like this.

UPDATE: Laurence Simon seems to think I omitted his entry, but it was there when I sent it in. I don't know what happened, but here it is below, exactly as it was supposed to have appeared; as I say in the post, I wasn't exactly strict regarding topicality, though I didn't have to bend the rules as far for anyone else . . . . I'll make sure it's also up in the right place, so that no one will miss it:

Last, and probably least, Laurence Simon consults the cats.

IN THE MAIL: Tammy Bruce's new book, The New American Revolution : Using the Power of the Individual to Save Our Nation from Extremists. Despite the subtitle, it's not much like my book. And the cover features a lovely picture of Ms. Bruce. Strangely, my publishers never suggested putting a picture of me on the cover of any of my books. Okay, maybe it's not all that strange, really . . . .

BACK TO AFGHANISTAN: StrategyPage reports:

The Taliban has attracted additional money, and suicide bombers, from Arabia. Two years ago, most of this support shifted to Iraq, where al Qaeda believed it had a better chance of winning some kind of victory. But too many Arab terrorist resources in Iraq produced nothing, and Iraqis have become very hostile to al Qaeda as a result of all the Iraqis killed by terrorist attacks. So now, efforts are shifting to Afghanistan. However, this is also a hostile environment for Arab terrorists. Moreover, Arabs stand out more in Afghanistan, where most Afghans are European or Central Asian in appearance (the majority Afghans belong to ethnic groups related to the ones that invaded Europe thousands of years ago.) Afghans have been quick to turn in suspicious Arabs, or any suspected terrorist activities.

Frying pan, meet fire.

MORE ON HYBRIDS: New vehicles are offering more mean, less green -- using the electric motors to produce faster acceleration rather than better mileage.

On the other hand, some people are talking about developing more-efficient plug-in hybrids that could get more than 100 miles per gallon. There's some concern that people wouldn't want to plug their car in -- and I guess the manufacturers think that, because the literature for my Highlander hybrid repeatedly notes that it doesn't have to be plugged in. Who would think that anyway? Apparently, their marketing research thinks that consumers are afraid of plugging in a car, though I wouldn't mind.

One modification I'd like to see would be some control changes -- I'd like it if the accelerator on my hybrid provided some kind of feedback that would let me know when it was about to switch to gas power so that I could back off if I wanted to keep from burning gas. I think that the design goal is to make it the transition as seamless as possible, but I suspect that a lot of drivers would rather know. Perhaps some sort of force-feedback mechanism that could be shut off if people didn't want to be bothered, but that would let mileage-geeks manage things more closely?

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal has an editorial on the anti-pork movement:

Amid the carnage, however, there was one small triumph last week: Senate Appropriations powerhouse Ted Stevens decided to pull funding for the infamous $320 million "Bridge to Nowhere" in his home state of Alaska. For those joining this story in progress, the proposed project would have connected Ketchikan, Alaska with remote Gravina Island (population 50). . . .

One recent poll found that more Americans know about the Bridge to Nowhere than know who their local Congressman is. Which, given Congress's 30% approval rating, is probably the way most Members prefer it these days. The one hero of this episode is Senator Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who sponsored an amendment to block funding for the bridge and use the money to repair vital bridges on the Gulf Coast destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. . . .

It would be nice to think that this bridge humiliation would teach Congress about the folly of spending earmarks. The uproar has done enormous damage to the GOP majority's public image, which is of course why Mr. Stevens blew up his bridge. But, alas, apparently this is merely a symbolic and tactical spending retreat. Late last week, GOP House leaders suffered another defeat on the floor when a health and education spending bill failed to pass. One reason? Twenty or so GOP Members were angry that their special projects had been stripped from the legislation to save money. The bridge that these folks are building is one to being called "Mr. Ranking Member."

Or, let's hope, Mr. Former Member.

RALPH PETERS ON HOW TO LOSE A WAR: It helps to have irresponsible members of Congress and a short political time horizon.

MORE GM PLANT CLOSINGS on the way. My pessimistic take on GM's future can be found here and here.

But hey, compared to this take, I'm an optimist.

UPDATE: Mark Tapscott has more thoughts.

I GUESS CALLING IT "AIDS@HOME" would have been bad marketing, but this project, modeled on SETI@Home, is pretty cool:

A massive project is harnessing the power of tens of thousands of personal computers around the world in a bid to winnow out potential drugs to more effectively fight the global scourge of AIDS.

A virtual supercomputer grid, created by IBM (NYSE:IBM) will allow individuals and businesses to donate down-time on their personal computers via a secure website. The idle PCs will be used to run millions of computations in the search for chemical compounds that could eventually provide more effective HIV therapies, the company was to announce Monday.

They're organizing an Army of Davids. Bring it on.

GEORGE BUSH meets the Mongol horde.

November 20, 2005

MICKEY KAUS: "On CNN, Tom Maguire looks perfectly normal. How bizarre."

I've found that bloggers seldom match the mental image one has -- but that once they start talking, they usually sound just like their blogs. Somehow, for example, I had the idea that Karol Sheinen was older than me -- but actually, she's young and cute. Thor Halvorssen was also a lot younger than I expected (and, I suppose, cuter), while some other bloggers, who I will leave unnamed, were older than I expected. But, as I say, once they started talking, they sounded like themselves. And yes, most bloggers would rather talk than eat.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF THE RECIPES is an exercise in translation. And Haveil Havalim is up. And don't miss the Carnival of the Insanities.

Plus a Carnival of Digital Cameras? Why didn't I think of this?

And check out the burgeoning Indian blogosphere at Blog Mela.

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN: A report on Muslim alienation in France:

This chance meeting was not unique. I've had it many times in France and Germany: a conversation with an enthusiastic Muslim or African who is surprised that someone will pay attention. Listening to them, I find that they are enthusiastic about their European homeland (adopted or natal.) They are culturally aware, exhibiting (what I consider) good social practices for their milieu. Yet they remain outsiders. I have also asked Frenchmen and Germans about Muslims and Africans: "Why are people who seem assimilated not accepted?" The question can turn a conversation on its end, turning transnational discourse into national defense.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Blogging from France, Joel Shepherd responds:

I agree that's true, but I think the malaise goes deeper. The trouble with the kind of cultural separatism mentioned here is that it manifests itself in economics too.

It's all a function of French insecurity. Of course, not all Muslims want to integrate.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF THE CAPITALISTS is up!

YOU COULD SEE THIS COMING: "Online daters sue matchmaking Web sites for fraud."

One of my Internet Law students was going to write a paper on this, but changed her mind. But she saw it coming -- I hope not from personal experience . . .

TOM MAGUIRE: People are pointing to Armitage.

I'M BEGINNING TO THINK that Andrew's pursuing a strategy of brand differentiation where I'm concerned. Well, it's working!

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH: "You would think the myth that General Shinseki was fired because of his comments on troop deployment in Iraq wouldn't get any traction anymore."

UPDATE: Tom Maguire looks deeper.

AVIAN FLU UPDATE: The good news is that China and other nations are working to develop an avian flu early warning system. The bad news is that the United States is still unprepared for a major outbreak. So if we're warned, we won't be able to do much . . . .

UPDATE: Reader Al Kaplan blames lobbyists for the trial lawyers.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Japan is taking steps.

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Mark Tapscott says it's time for a constitutional amendment.

GAS PRICES KEEP FALLING: "Retail gas prices continue to plunge across the country, dropping 18 cents in the past two weeks, according to a survey released Sunday."

You're welcome, America. . . .

REPORTS THAT ZARQAWI IS DEAD: I certainly hope so, but I wouldn't pop the champagne just yet.

UPDATE: More here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Zarqawi's family has disowned him.

MARK KILMER watches the Sunday talk shows so you don't have to.

Meanwhile, David Adesnik is irritated by the rather unfactual portrayal of Murtha as a pro-war guy who's suddenly had a change of heart: "Forgive me for beating a dead horse, but I am extraordinarily frustrated by the way that almost every major media outlet is spinning Murtha's 'conversion' as a major blow to the war effort."

This is what angers people -- they decide on a story line, and they stick to it. And the agreed story line is pretty much always anti-war. Read this, too.

KITCHEN-O-RAMA: Following up on Megan McArdle's lead, I have to say that my favorite kitchen gadgets are an immersion blender (I actually have an older model, but they look the same) and, of course, the much-beloved slow-cooker, about which I've written before.

Reader Mike Daley writes that the All-Clad model that I got from my sister-in-law is no longer available anywhere. (This notably cheaper one is probably just as good, though.)

UPDATE: If you must have the All-Clad, reader Paul Bash reports that it's available from Williams-Sonoma.

Daley loves his, and sends this recipe (click "more" to see it):

Read More ?


THE INSTA-WIFE'S T-SHIRT MODELING CAREER seems to be taking off. But she's facing competition from Michelle Malkin.

I DON'T LIKE THIS REPORT:

President Robert Mugabe has said Zimbabwe will process recently discovered uranium deposits in order to resolve its chronic electrical power shortage, state radio said Sunday.

Mugabe, who has close ties with two countries with controversial nuclear programs, Iran and North Korea, made the announcement Saturday, the radio station reported.

It was not clear how Mugabe intended to use any uranium deposits since the country does not have a nuclear power plant.

I'm not sure what to make of it, but I don't like it.

THE CARNIVAL OF CORDITE is up! So is the Carnival of the Dogs. And don't miss the Carnival of the Trackbacks over at Wizbang. There's also a Carnival of the Walkers, and although nobody's sent me a link in a while, I note that the New Blog Showcase is still going on.

UPDATE: Canadian blog carnival The Red Ensign Standard is up, too!

INTELLIGENT DESIGN: Being hammered by Charles Krauthammer and the Vatican.

AUSTIN BAY looks at the disconnect between troops' experience of Iraq, and what news reports say:

After my return from Iraq I received phone calls and emails from military friends as they either came back to the US on leave or finished their tours and re-deployed “Stateside.” The typical phone call went like this: “I’m back. It’s great to be home. What’s up? How are you doing?” Then, the conversation quickly moved on to: “What’s with the press and Iraq?” The press usually meant television. On tv Iraq looked like it was going to Hell in a handbasket of flame and brutality; however, the images of carnage didn’t square with the troops’ experience.

He also references this essay by Jim Dunnigan.

UPDATE: Riding Sun says that Newsweek's latest story on Iraq buries the lede, which should have been found in this paragraph of the story that was relegated to the end:

On the ground, the shrewder analysts say, it's not entirely clear that U.S. policy has "failed." The TV news, not to mention Al-Jazeera, doesn't regularly summarize the stunning changes in Iraq, many of them morally and politically worthy. Saddam Hussein is gone and awaiting trial. Schools, hospitals and other institutions are operating in most parts of the country. Voters have adopted a constitution. And even many Sunnis are gathering in political parties that are maneuvering in advance of the Dec. 15 national elections. After the elections, the plan is that Coalition forces will use the growing number of capable Iraqi units to "clear, hold and build" a peaceful Iraq.

Riding Sun asks: "If that's what 'the shrewder analysts say', shouldn't it be the main focus of the article?"

You'd think. Read this letter from Iraq, too.

BUSH CALLS FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN CHINA: Gateway Pundit has more.

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