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July 29, 2006
CURSE and effect.
A GRAND JURY PROBES NEWS LEAKS at the NSA.
ARMED LIBERAL OFFERS ADVICE to "the people who are reading the news and thinking of heading to the gun store."
BILL BRADLEY REPORTS that Arnold Schwarzenegger has weathered a perfect energy storm in California.
HEZBOLLAH AS AN ARMY OF DAVIDS: A troubling thought, to say the least.
The Cold War demonstrated that guerrillas can be beaten with difficulty on their own turf, but that they dry up pretty quickly when their outside sponsorship is gone. I suspect that that remains true.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Andy Roth reports big progress on his 435 districts, 435 blogs anti-pork initiative
We’re up to 78 blogs writing about 168 politicians.
That's good news (you can see what still needs to be done by following the link), and you should feel free to get involved. Adopt a member of Congress -- they'll be glad you did! Or not.
RAND SIMBERG says the Bush Administration's war on terror rhetoric doesn't match the reality.
MORTMAN on Milbank. It almost seems unfair.
VIOLENT MOB wants peace.
PEOPLE ARE MUCH HEALTHIER NOW than just a few generations ago:
The difference does not involve changes in genes, as far as is known, but changes in the human form. It shows up in several ways, from those that are well known and almost taken for granted, like greater heights and longer lives, to ones that are emerging only from comparisons of health records.
The biggest surprise emerging from the new studies is that many chronic ailments like heart disease, lung disease and arthritis are occurring an average of 10 to 25 years later than they used to. There is also less disability among older people today, according to a federal study that directly measures it. And that is not just because medical treatments like cataract surgery keep people functioning. Human bodies are simply not breaking down the way they did before.
Even the human mind seems improved. The average I.Q. has been increasing for decades, and at least one study found that a person’s chances of having dementia in old age appeared to have fallen in recent years.
If it seems otherwise, it's probably because people now have more energy to complain . . . .
UPDATE: Related medical thoughts here.
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader suggests that it's not just physical:
If it seems otherwise, it's probably because people now have more energy to complain . . . .
I worked for 15 years as an operation manager for a large trucking company - UPS. The full time path for advancement is first delivering packages (120 stops a day with constant public interaction) and on to tractor trailer driving for a much easier (one stop a day) existence.
The personality change of people was astonishing. Great, hard working, productive, optimistic package car drivers became lazy, complaining, pessimistic tractor trailer drivers that made much more money with a lot less effort. This happened almost overnight.
Has this happened in our county as a whole? Could we be so "fat and happy" that the only thing left to pursue is whining? I wonder sometimes if this "UPS syndrome" is part of what motivates so much political turmoil.
Times have never been better for most people.
It seems that way sometimes.
THE SEATTLE SHOOTINGS and the moral equivalence brigade. Though Josh Marshall claims that he's being misread here, too. I've never seen him as a member of the moral-equivalence crowd, myself. But then, he's got complaints about my readings of his other stuff, as well, so what do I know . . .
UPDATE: Josh Marshall aside, there's certainly plenty of moral equivalence out there:
This is the kind of talk one hears around Madison. If the U.S. or Israel does something violent, you speak only in terms of your horror and righteous anger that we have killed people. If our enemies do something violent, you call attention to their understandable frustration and outrage and our role in making them feel that way.
MICHAEL BARONE on the Doha Round's collapse: "Farming interests, although only a small part of the economy, have effectively killed a trade agreement that would have been beneficial to many more people. The persistence of farm subsidies in this country, and the much larger farm subsidies in Europe, are an example of how interests of the past have more political clout than interests of the present and future. . . . You can see this in one of the worst policy mistakes of the Bush presidency -- the 2002 farm bill."
A LOOK AT porn-star politicians. There's not much difference between them and the other kind, which may -- or may not -- come as a shock.
A LOOK AT how Israel and Thailand are preventing Jihadi shootings.
JOSH MARSHALL says I've misrepresented a column of his from 2003, though I quoted it at length. I respond here.
UPDATE: For the record, I was not serious in recommending Atrios for Secretary of State. Just having some fun with an over-the-top statement by someone who's quick to pounce on those. In case, you know, anyone thought I saw him as a useful replacement for Condi, or otherwise took him seriously . . .
Apparently, however, the new rule is that when lefties write these sorts of things we're supposed to know they don't mean them. Which makes sense, I guess, since they claim to know what I mean when I don't write about things! Nonetheless, I reserve my right to tweak.
ISRAELI POLITICS are "upside down," according to Reuven Hazan in an interview with Allison Kaplan Sommer.
ROGER SIMON has more thoughts on the Seattle jihadist shooting.
And Eugene Volokh, like me, opposes special treatment for hate crimes, but observes: "Nonetheless it certainly makes sense that we would notice these crimes for what they are -- manifestations of ethnic hatred that needs to be recognized in order to be fought."
Meanwhile, Andrew McCarthy notes the media spin. "This is militant Islam in action, but we don't want to think or talk about Islam, so we'll pretend that the fact he's a Muslim is irrelevant ('terrorists come in all shapes and sizes' is the official PC postion of government), and if we can't attach a known group to the shooter we'll close our eyes to the fact that he might have reason to understand that his religion impelled him to act."
That's true, but I can also imagine pretty good reasons why the authorities might wish to downplay this, in order to avoid copycats. Meanwhile, a name and photo for the shooter, here. And Gerard van der Leun, who lives in Seattle, posts some thoughts.
UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt looks at the spin:
Five weeks ago seven would-be terrorists, home grown division, were arretsed in Miami. Their stories have largely vanished from the news.
Seven weeks ago 17 would-be terrorists, home grown/Canada division, were arrested in Toronto. Their stories have largely vanished from the news.
So in less than two months we have 25 arrests of terrorists intent on killing in the US, only one of whom succeeded, but the successful one is described by the home town paper as "having a history of mental illness" and the others have dropped off the list of MSM-approved topics for coverage.
Can we agree that all terrorists have some degree of mental illness? Can we also agree that it is completely and utterly irrelevant to the victims of their crimes?
What we need to know --and what the American MSM seems profoundly uninterested in-- is where did they come from? What made them terrorists?
With Tim McVeigh they were happy to generalize guilt, all the way from the NRA to Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich. Here, the "climate of opinion" in subcultures producing terrorists seems to get less attention, or to be processed in more of a "why do they hate us?" fashion. I wonder why?
But here's a starting place.
Rusty Shackleford writes: "Me? I'm going to buy a gun. I'm serious."
UPDATE: Eric Muller has some thoughts on the subculture issue.
July 28, 2006
A CALL TO PORKBUSTING ARMS: "By last count, 43 blogs were on board covering 86 House members. One person in Ohio even created a blog specifically to watch pork-barrel spending close to home." Join up!
CYNTHIA MCKINNEY is down in the polls.
A MASS SHOOTING at the Seattle Jewish Center:
At least five people were shot, one of them fatally, Friday afternoon at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, and one person was arrested, authorities said.
Five or six people were wounded, assistant police chief Jim Pugel said.
One person died, fire department spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick said.
One wounded woman was shot in the abdomen and another woman was hit in the arm, according to news accounts. Information on the others wounded was not immediately available. . . .
Several witnesses said they saw a man walk up and shoot a woman in the leg on a sidewalk near the building.
"We heard this horrible screaming on the floor above us and shots," Patti Simon said in a phone interview, her voice shaking. "We didn't know what was happening."
Simon, who sells advertising for the federation's newspaper, was working on the first floor when she heard screaming, shots and what sounded like furniture crashing on the floor above.
Yoni is posting updates, and the Seattle Times reports:
According to Amy Wasser-Simpson, the vice president for planning and community services for the Jewish Federation, the man told staff members, "I'm a Muslim American; I'm angry at Israel," then began shooting, Wasser-Simpson said she heard the account from staff members who witnessed the shootings.
Another report, however, says he's a Pakistani national. Early reports are often wrong, so stay tuned.
Pajamas Media has a big roundup with lots of photos, maps and links.
UPDATE: More here:
Sources told KING 5 the suspect is a 31-year-old Pakistani man with a criminal background. He is from the Pasco but his citizenship status or how long he has lived in the United States is unknown. Also unknown is what sort of criminal record he has. Officials are on the way to the Pasco to interview his family.
FBI spokesman David Gomez said officials believe the suspect acted alone and is not affiliated with a foreign organization.
I suppose that's probably right, though I don't know how they could possibly have much basis for that belief at this point. And regardless, I think this is particularly bad news for both American Jews and American Muslims. But it's bad news for all of us.
Meanwhile, Charles Johnson has video, and notes that all of the shooting victims were women.
SURELY THE END TIMES ARE UPON US: Ana Marie Cox is now Time.com's Washington Editor.
DON SURBER: "The problem with catching Glenn Greenwald at sock puppetry is that it allows his very weak arguments to pass unchallenged."
Surber picks up the ball.
UPDATE: All right, I'm busted, and I admit it. Glenn Greenwald is my sock puppet. That's why you never see us photographed together.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Say what you will about Greenwald -- no, really, say what you will, it's okay with me -- but he's certainly providing a lot of blogospheric amusement. And people can use that about now.
MORE: Surber responds to a critic.
THIS WOULD SEEM TO ARGUE AGAINST THE THEORY THAT HEZBOLLAH IS WINNING: "Hezbollah leader said to be hiding in Iranian Embassy."
The Iranians are no doubt confident that no one would be so depraved as to disregard the sanctity of an embassy . . . .
ALAN BOYLE looks at new vs. old space.
RON BAILEY follows the money.
MAJOR JOHN TAMMES rounds up news from Afghanistan that you may have missed.
OKAY, this didn't come in the mail, but was handed to me by a colleague. It's Nina Planck's Real Food: What to Eat and Why. Helen immediately stole it when I brought it home, but she pronounces it good.
DOG BITES MAN: In The New Republic, Joshua Brook writes:
The war between Israel and Hezbollah has sparked widespread debate on the subject of proportionality. One might have hoped that the human rights community would take this opportunity to educate political leaders and the public on the international law of proportionality and how it applies to the current fighting. Indeed, some groups have done just that. But others have chosen to brazenly distort international law in their zeal to condemn Israel.
The basic rule of international law in some people's minds seems to be that anything that the United States or Israel does is wrong. As I say, dog bites man.
UPDATE: Prof. Kenneth Anderson has more on proportionality and writes:
Legal scholars who want to focus on the UN Charter as the sole source of legal authority for the use of force - and hence see any armed action by a party as having to be 'proportionate' pending some (typically mythological) intervention by the Security Council - tend to underplay that the Charter does not remove the customary law of self-defense, which does not require a "proportionate" response once belligerency is underway.
These abuses of international law are drastically undermining its credibility. More here, here, and here.
As one blog commenter noted (I forget where I saw it), the difference is that Israel causes civilian casualties when it misses its targets, Hezbollah causes civilian casualties when it hits its targets.
JOHN KERRY VS. JOHN BOLTON.
JOHN PODHORETZ WONDERS if Israel is too nice to win.
This reminds me of Josh Marshall's 2003 worry that we weren't killing enough Iraqis and that this would come back to haunt us. I think they're both probably wrong. I certainly hope so.
UPDATE: Related thoughts from Bill Roggio.
And Jim Dunnigan looks at Hezbollah's Iranian rocket force. I'm guessing that you can't solve the Hezbollah problem without solving the Iranian problem.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Donald Sensing thinks that Israel is blowing it.
MORE: Josh Marshall now says I'm misrepresenting his column. Well, the post I link above contains a lengthy in-context quote, and observes: "Not that Josh wants people to die, he just thinks it has a valuable pedagogical function." (Josh claims that I said he called for "the mass and indiscriminate killing of civilians at the outset of the Iraq War," which is at least as much a misrepresentation of my post as he's claiming for his; I don't think that either Podhoretz or Marshall ever called for that).
I thought that was a fair reading of his column then, and I don't believe he objected. Here's another link to his original column, which I also linked along with the blockquote. You can decide for yourself whether I've misrepresented him, but it seems to me that it was a fair reading then, and that it's a fair reading now. But if Josh meant something else by his language, he should say so. He links to other people who say that my reading of his language is wrong, so I guess he has disclaimed that meaning now, but I should note that those posts came after mine. So either I've been misreading him for three years (possible), or he is more worried about sounding bellicose now than he was in March of 2003. Your call, but I thought the latter, which is why I was tweaking him by bringing it up.
STILL MORE: Hmm. Marshall seems to have a problem making himself understood.
AND MORE: Dan Riehl thinks my reading of Marshall was excessively generous. "Marshall was invoking Nagasaki and Hiroshima as examples of how to win a war ... and the hearts and minds which are left. But, as Reynolds duly noted, he was criticizing Bush's plan, not necessarily advocating mass death." Yes, Marshall -- as I noted -- wasn't calling for more deaths, but rather expressing the worry that a war that didn't involve massive casualties or damage wouldn't have enough of a psychological effect to produce peace. That Marshall reads this as a claim that he was calling for more deaths is, well, not surprising since he applies similar misreading to my stuff.
HMM, this Sony gadget looks like a pretty good mobile blogging tool, complete with builtin camera -- what the TREO promised but didn't really deliver. But I wish it came with Verizon EVDO instead of Cingular. Anybody out there got one?
BREWERY NEWS: The secret is out. And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for that meddling Basil's blog!
STEPHEN SCHWARTZ: All politics is local, even in Lebanon.
July 27, 2006
JAMES LILEKS: "Then you go outside and have a cigar with a cheerleader, which reminds you how things can change."
AN ARMY OF DAVIDS REVIEW, at Albion's Seedlings.
Kinda late to the game, but I'm certainly not complaining. Plus, nanotechnology in India.
EDUTOPIA: A podcast interview with Michael Schrage of the MIT Media Lab, at PoliticsCentral.
HEH: "During the recent Senate hearings on video game violence, one expert claimed that the ESRB underrated violent games. They went on to say that Pacman was 64% violent. To some, this means you shouldn't play Pacman; to others, it highlights what's wrong with Senate hearings."
UPDATE: Freeman Hunt: "Awful! Plus, given the current epidemic of childhood obesity, is it really okay to show a heroic character who eats everywhere he travels and receives bonus points for consuming delicious fruits as large as his body? Good thing the Senate is working to protect us from this sort of villainy."
AT IMAO, a call for an end to sock-puppetry is met with a chorus of approval from, er, all sorts of people.
WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN TO COPS that they can't arrest people for photographing them?
The family of Neftaly Cruz said police had no right to come onto their property and arrest their 21-year-old son simply because he was using his cell phone's camera. They told their story to Harry Hairston and the NBC 10 Investigators. . . .
Cruz, 21, told the NBC 10 Investigators that police arrested him last Wednesday for taking a picture of police activity with his cell phone.
Police at the 35th district said they were in Cruz's neighborhood that night arresting a drug dealer.
Cruz said that when he heard a commotion, he walked out of his back door with his cell phone to see what was happening. He said that when he saw the street lined with police cars, he decided to take a picture of the scene.
"I opened (the phone) and took a shot," Cruz said.
Moments later, Cruz said he got the shock of his life when an officer came to his back yard gate.
"He opened the gate and took me by my right hand," Cruz said.
Cruz said the officer threw him onto a police car, cuffed him and took him to jail.
I think we need civil rights legislation making this kind of arrest illegal. Treble damages, plus the right to civil forfeiture of any police property or equipment used in the arrest. Oh, and respondeat superior liability against supervisors.
Well, we do need something , even if it's unlikely that we'll get it. Though a law defending ordinary citizens' right to take pictures in public places seems like it might be a good campaign issue.
UPDATE: At Spleenville, skepticism and a claim that I am excessively libertarian. Hmm.
PR EMAIL OF THE DAY: A link to the Dollywood Mystery Mine Rollercoaster website. "It's like being swallowed by the jaws of a beast."
AN UGLY GRAPH of the Los Angeles Times' circulation over the past decades. Big Media is looking more and more like the Big Three automakers.
TOM MAGUIRE on The New York Times and Ned Lamont.
TIM CHAPMAN DECRIES left-right pigeonholing.
BELTWAY BLOGROLL looks at the Cynthia McKinney / Hank Johnson runoff blog-battle in Georgia.
AN AUTOMOTIVE X-PRIZE, "will invite teams from around the world to focus on a single goal: design, build and sell super-efficient cars that people want to buy."
Bring it on! (Via Ben Stewart).
Related post from David Adesnik. And note these comments on hybrids from Autopia.
DISPROPORTIONATE RESPONSE at the United Nations.
Plus, Kofi's claims unravel.
FACT-CHECKING from Eugene Volokh, and a surprising response.
UPDATE: Doug Weinstein consults a transcriptionist.
ERIC SCHEIE: "I am still confused. Unless Howard Dean is covertly suggesting that anti-Semitism is a White House talking point, something does not make sense."
MICHAEL TOTTEN has a long and thoughtful, if somewhat depressing, post on Lebanon.
KATRINA UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal reports on what went wrong, and publishes a free chapter of Chris Cooper and Robert Block's new book on the subject, Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security. All links are free to non-subscribers.
Cooper and Block's reporting does seem to suggest that this column may have been right about the focus on terrorism and its effect on our ability to respond to natural disasters.
GOOD QUESTION: "Is anyone thinking about the next Hezbollah, and the one after that?"
A BAD CASE OF the Nasrallah blues.
ATC LOOKS AT the latest Brookings numbers from Iraq.
BRUSSELS JOURNAL ON EUROPE: "The less control the authorities have with Muslims, the more control they want to exercise over non-Muslims. As problems in Europe get worse, which they will, the EU will move in an increasingly repressive direction until it either becomes a true, totalitarian entity or falls apart."
Claire Berlinski worries about the same thing. I hope they're wrong, but I fear they're right.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Here's a worthy venture. "435 districts, 435 blogs against pork!" Andy Roth writes:
Thanks to Congressman Jeff Flake's 19 anti-pork amendments, we now have every House member on record regarding their positions on earmarks. Before now, House members have been able to avoid scrutiny because their pork was co-mingled with other projects and tucked into the dark corners of big spending bills. Or they were able to withstand the scrutiny because they were attacked as a whole chamber and not directly attacked themselves.
But because of Flake's amendments, they were recently forced to cast up-or-down votes on specific projects. They could no longer deflect attention. Below is a summary scorecard of how they voted (below the scorecard are the vote descriptions). If you want an itemized list, you can click on any one of the following PDFs. A "YES" vote on any of the Flake amendments is a good, anti-pork vote. A "NO" vote is a bad, pro-pork vote.
So what can we do with this information? If you are a blogger, find your local congressman and blog about him. We have the votes, we have the members on record...now we just need to put some sunlight on the situation. Once you've blogged about a particular lawmaker, let me know. I'll post a link to your blog on the list below. My email address is aroth at clubforgrowth dot org.
Follow the link for more information, and to sign up.
JASON LEOPOLD won't go away. He really should.
UPDATE: This latest affair certainly makes the Greenwald sock-puppetry incident look harmless. As it was.
July 26, 2006
A NEW ZAWAHIRI TAPE, and much more, at the Counterterrorism Blog.
Together with the Truth Laid Bear aggregator, and the Pajamas Media coverage, this should be a regular stop if you're interested in what's going on with the war on terror.
President Bush sat down yesterday with a Sudanese rebel leader whose forces are accused by refugee advocates of killing young men and raping women in the northern part of Darfur.
Bush met for about 40 minutes in the Oval Office with Sudanese Liberation Army leader Minni Minnawi. He was the lone rebel leader to agree in May to a U.S.-brokered peace accord to end what the United States calls genocide in western Sudan. . . .
Bush told the rebel leader that his forces must refrain from violence and pressed him to forge an alliance with other factions in Darfur to broaden support for a peace agreement, Jones said.
I'm skeptical that diplomacy -- or the UN -- will save many lives here, but I suppose it's worth a try.
APPARENTLY, it's still blog sweeps month at Samizdata.
ILYA SOMIN notes a major victory for property rights in Ohio.
MALIKI'S SPEECH WASN'T BAD: I'd rather have had him say he proudly stood with Israel's democracy and against the Islamo-Fascists of Hezbollah, but no Arab politician, elected or otherwise, can say that yet. And if he did, he'd be denounced as a Bush puppet, probably by a lot of the same people complaining about the speech he actually gave.
James Taranto notes the hypocrisy of people criticizing Maliki while giving a pass to Kofi Annan, though he's rather too generous to Kofi Annan. Meanwhile, I agree that the Bull Moose has it right:
A recent Iraqi leader launched real, deadly missiles against Israel. An earlier ruler of Iraq paid the families of suicide bombers a princely sum after their relatives strapped explosives to their bodies and killed and mutilated Israelis. Perhaps, these Congressmen who lament the words of the new Iraqi leader, will now celebrate the fact that Saddam is behind bars instead of issuing verbal orders to kill Israelis and slaughter his own people.
The Moose harbors no illusions about a dramatic transformation of Muslim attitudes toward the Jewish state. But, it is a dramatic improvement when words cannot kill.
It will be a great day when Arab leaders unambiguously denounce Hezbollah as a pack of murderous terrorists. But then, it would be nice if we could count on European leaders, or Kofi Annan, to do the same.
UPDATE: A response to Howard Dean's criticisms: "So it's the usual anti-war position, with a new spike of rhetoric... that doesn't seem likely to appeal to anyone."
PATRICK HYNES has learned that it's better to disclose up front. Jim Geraghty busted him for ripping Romney while working for McCain without mentioning it on his blog. Hynes takes his lumps here, and Daniel Glover has a roundup that hits him for levelling charges of paid shilldom at Markos et al., but observes: "He was as forthright and honest with me as any source I've ever interviewed, and he was not at all defensive even though I was asking pointed questions. That was definitely a new media approach to talking with a journalist/blogger."
Hynes acted as go-between on our podcast interview with John McCain; I didn't realize he was actually being paid by McCain's PAC. Not sure it would have mattered, really, but I would have liked to know.
AUSTIN BAY wonders if 21st century Islamo-Fascism will play out like 19th century anarchism.
AMAZON'S STOCK IS DOWN, and this report from the investor's conference call suggests that there are limits to just how far down the Long Tail Amazon can afford to go.
I notice from the transcript that a lot of people are worried about Amazon's grocery business because it's low margin. I hope that this succeeds -- as I said before, if anyone can make the Internet grocery business work, it ought to be Amazon. Then again, I haven't actually ordered anything from their grocery service yet, and I'm a huge Amazon customer. Anybody out there used them? What has it been like?
UPDATE: Reader Antoinette Aubert emails:
have ordered some things from Amazon grocery, not a lot but things I have difficulty finding in my local grocery stores. For some items it only takes a few days, but the specialty tea I ordered took 2 weeks. I didn't mind because I can't find that tea anywhere else this side of the UK pavilion at EPCOT center. So for that sort of thing they are very useful.
Because they can't stock perishable items mostly only sell in bulk they aren't good for regular grocery service. Therefore I can't use their grocery service except as a supplement so I don't know if they are going to be able to make a profit. If they could come up with a regular milk delivery service like a good milk man I would LOVE that. But I am probably wishing for the moon on that one.
Tom Holsinger emails:
I ordered a half dozen boxes of banana bread mix from Amazon just before Christmas as my local stores were out of it. Amazon's delivery from a New York grocery chain was immediate - two days as requested, and I baked a bunch of loaves for my family in time for Christmas.
I'll use Amazon again for groceries when I need something not in my local stores.
BTW, Chicago pizzerias have delivered to other states for years.
Maura Seger writes:
I've used Amazon Grocery about half-a-dozen times so far for bulk (carton or more) purchases. Ordering is easy, the selections are good and delivery is fast, especially on the two-day, all--you-eat prime deal. I'm really hoping this venture succeeds for Amazon. Backed up by a local grocery delivery service, also on-line, this means I may never have to set foot in a supermarket again.
On the other hand, David Caplan emails:
I ordered some Jay’s Potato Chips from Amazon on June 1 and today I got the third (I think) notice that there was a delay in the shipment. I suspect they’ll never send them. I can understand running out of stock in various consumer items, but potato chips? It seems as if something else is going on here.
But Grace Nunez writes:
I recently ordered dishwashing detergent tablets at a competitive price. I had to order 5 packages at one time, but that was no big deal.
And shipping was “free” using Amazon Prime.
I anticipate ordering much more. What’s not to like – I don't enjoy grocery shopping, shipping is free, clicking items with my mouse is way easier than a pushing a cart down the store aisles and I've been very pleased with Amazon’s service. I'm surprised that more people are not using this new feature.
I guess I'll have to try it.
ANOTHER NON-HELLISH CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE: Installed a new wireless router, and had some trouble getting it to talk to the modem. BellSouth customer service was nice, but told me it was a Linksys issue. Talked to the Linksys guy -- he said his name was "Joe" but he was somewhere in India, I think -- and though it took a while we figured it out. He seemed pathetically relieved that I just went through the steps politely and didn't yell at him.
AN "INTRIGUING TALE OF SENATE CHICANERY" -- though alas, not a terribly surprising one.
A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY:
Grumbling and slamming the phone on a reporter - it just didn't sound like Bill Gardner, New Hampshire's secretary of state. But that's how it seemed in Sunday's New York Times, in an article about the Democratic Party's plan to move Nevada ahead of New Hampshire in the presidential nominating calendar.
Adam Nagourney, the top political reporter for the Times, included this sentence in a paragraph about Gardner's potential to buck the Democratic plan and enforce New Hampshire law:
"Reached at home on Saturday to see what he might do, Mr. Gardner responded, 'do not call me here,'and hung up the telephone."
The problem was, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner hadn't spoken to Nagourney since 2004. The man the reporter called was an unrelated William Gardner, who apparently lives in Rochester.
Hey, the NYT can't even tell the Contras from the Sandinistas. . . .
UPDATE: But hey, no reason to single out the Times:
Daniel Schorr is used to producers popping into his Washington, D.C., office at National Public Radio to ask, on deadline: Which war came first, Korea or Vietnam?
Jeez. What do they teach them in school these days?
"DIPLOMACY is the art of saying 'nice doggie' while reaching for a stick." Condi is saying 'nice doggie.' Israel is the stick.
One may disapprove of this strategy, but complaints that Condi isn't accomplishing anything merely indicate that the complainer doesn't know what's going on.
IT'S A PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH LEBANESE BLOGGERS DOHA AND RAJA over at PoliticsCentral.
RANDI RHODES GETS a bad review from Ed Cone:
She was ranting about Israel's "genocide" in Lebanon.
Genocide? Whatever Israel is doing, however bad you may think it, it's not the mass systematic extermination of a people. She piled on, saying that people who talk about the world's last genocide (which, of course, the Holocaust was not) should never do it themselves.
She also said, wrongly, that "thousands" of people had died in Katrina.
It was pretty damn bad.
Of course it was. I've noticed a lot of antiwar people accusing Israel of "genocide." Once you realize that in lefty newspeak, "genocide" is a code word meaning "self-defense" it all makes sense.
UPDATE: Related thoughts here.
WITH BLACKOUTS IN ST. LOUIS AND NEW YORK, and hurricane season still looming, it's time to talk disaster preparedness again. Here's a blackout survival guide from Popular Mechanics, and here are some guidelines for safe home generator usage. Still more on disaster preparedness from the PM folks can be found here.
Here's a disaster survival kit put together by Target and the American Red Cross, and here's a somewhat more comprehensive one, though both lack sufficient food and water. I've got this emergency radio and it seems to be pretty good. You should have at least a week's worth of those. There's some good advice on other items -- and be sure to keep a stash of cash in small bills -- from Amy Langfield, too.
For general knowledge, you can't do better than the U.S. Army Survival Manual, though it's not really adapted to disaster recovery. There's lots of good information here, though. I haven't read this book, but it sounds pretty good. There are also a lot of useful recommendations from the American Red Cross. And here's more from Winds of Change.
I will stress, though, that as important as having adequate supplies is, it's not enough to buy stuff. You've got to think ahead, and acquire the basic skills to get along in times of trouble. The books help, of course, but there's more to it than that. With luck, any effort you put into this will be entirely wasted. If you're unlucky, you'll get to use it. But that's still a lot luckier than needing those supplies and skills, but never having bothered to acquire them.
Meanwhile, some earlier posts that you may find useful are here and here.
UPDATE: Here's a worthwhile post from Les Jones, and here's some useful information from the Mormons, who take this subject seriously.
MICKEY KAUS: "Did I miss the meeting at which the Dem-MSM steering committee decided to make income inequality a big issue in time for the midterms? ... It's certainly a legitimate effort, but at some point the Dems are going to have to see that it leads directly to a contradiction with their Latino base."
A CHRIS MATTHEWS MELTDOWN: Transcript and audio available here. He has a rather shaky grasp of reality, judging by these comments. I can't do better than quote Don Imus's observation: "That is really just an...that is just an absurd, ridiculous position. I'm just...I'm almost embarrassed that you've said that."
UPDATE: Indeed: "When next the elders of the MSM tribe gather to moan the loss of civility in politics, I hope somebody brings along this tape." Though the problem is less a lack of civility than a lack of coherence.
BINGEING ON DOING GOOD: Duane Freese looks at the latest efforts of the fat police.
He sounds a lot like Michael Zemel in last week's podcast.
A HUGE UPGRADE to TTLB's Mideast tracking page. And, of course, there's lots of ongoing coverage at Pajamas Media.
I'm very glad to have these two places doing the aggregation on this stuff, so I don't have to. My goal is to see the blogosphere render me entirely obsolete!
July 25, 2006
MEDICAL DATA LEAKAGE:
The issue emerged when Perry configured a new laptop for a small doctors' office, and encountered problems downloading software updates for Medisoft. In search of a work-around, Perry dove into the software's components, where he found an internet address, a login name and a password for a server operated by InstantDx, a Medisoft partner.
Using the password, Perry connected to the server with a file transfer program and listed the contents of the directory -- hoping to find the software updates that prompted his digital sleuthing, he says. Confounded by the obscure file names that popped up, he executed a command that sucked down the entire contents of the directory -- which he describes as 2 GB of files.
When he looked at one of the files, titled GUHmedpts.csv, he was shocked to see thousands of entries for patients in the Washington, D.C., area -- far from his client's office. He Googled "GUH," found it was a common abbreviation for Georgetown University Hospital.
This sounds eerily like a plot device in an unpublished novel that I wrote with Fritz Fiedler. Are any members of Congress being blackmailed. . . .?
PAT BUCHANAN: "Ex-conservative?" I always saw him as more of an idiotarian -- one of the prototypes for that term -- anyway.
HERE'S MORE on the Tesla Roadster. I remain skeptical, but I also remain willing to accept one for long-term test purposes. . . .
ALLAH IS RANKING BLOG-SCANDALS, and Glenn Greenwald's doesn't really make the cut. Naturally, further scandal ensues.
ANOTHER CIVIL RIGHTS VICTORY IN CONGRESS:
The House voted Tuesday to prevent law enforcement officers from confiscating legally owned guns during a national disaster or emergency.
Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana lawmaker who sponsored the bill, said firearms seizures after Hurricane Katrina left residents unable to defend themselves.
"Many of them were sitting in their homes without power, without water, without communication,"he said."It was literally impossible to pick up a phone and call 911."
The House voted 322-99 in support of the bill. Senators voted 84-16 earlier this month to include a similar prohibition in a homeland security funding bill.
The limitation would apply to federal law enforcement or military officers, along with local police that receive federal funds.
There's also this: "Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., repeatedly called the bill 'insane.'" Apparently he thinks that many of his fellow Democrats, who joined the crushing majorities in favor of this provision, are certifiable. But in fact, I think you'd have to be certifiable to oppose this legislation, unless you were from the bluest of blue-state regions.
JOE WILSON is turning up everywhere.
BILL WHITTLE has posted the first chapter of his new book.
AZIZ POONAWALLA ON THE BARRETT AFFAIR:
This is an affront to me on multiple levels of identity - as a muslim, sure, but also as a proud Badger alumni . . . My beef isn't with Barrett's comments - hey, free speech, whatever - but rather that they reveal a mentality that is very dangerous for a professor teaching introductory Islam. Barrett has a clear agenda and is going to use his class as a vehicle for it. Rather than be taught about the great history of jihad, the critically differing interpretations of it between (as an example) the Umaiyyads and the Fatimids, the students will be taught a bland version of the concept that ultimately takes away the power of jihad as a principle of Islam.
This is my beef with progressivism in general - it seeks to neutralize the power of faith and the vibrancy and potency of its ideas. Islam is not easy. It isn't meant to be distilled into coffee-cup aphorisms or worn on the sleeve. It's not a pet cause to be trotted out in service of political posturing. It means something, it has a real depth and a real heft, but people like Barrett (and bin Laden) cannot allow that wondrous complexity to distract their audience from their own petty agendas.
Perhaps the University of Wisconsin should hire Aziz. It would have to be an improvement!
THE CARNIVAL OF THE CAPITALISTS is up!
So is the Carnival of Liberty, and the Carnival of Homeschooling. And there's now a Carnival of Children's Literature. Lots more carnivals at BlogCarnival.com.
AN EMPIRICAL STUDY: "Is There a Correlation Between Scholarly Productivity, Scholarly Influence and Teaching Effectiveness in American Law Schools?"
ALPHECCA'S WEEKLY ROUNDUP of media gun coverage is up.
And I notice that Michigan has adopted progressive views on self-defense: "People in Michigan now will be allowed to use deadly force -- with no duty to retreat -- if they reasonably think they face imminent death, great bodily harm or sexual assault. The law also protects people from civil lawsuits if they have used force in self-defense."
SOME THOUGHTS ON ACADEMIC BLOGGING from me and from some other academic bloggers, in the Chronicle of Higher Education. I'm sorry to see some people say that their Deans don't appreciate blogging -- my Dean has been very encouraging, and in fact says that he thinks it counts as scholarship, which surely makes me -- on a word-count basis, at least -- one of the most productive scholars around. . . .
MARC COOPER looks at Democrats and Israel. And Paul Caron looks at tax policy in the next Clinton administration.
UPDATE: Plus, Kos vs. the Clintons. I know who I'd bet on. Blogometer has more hot Kos-on-Clinton action.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Meanwhile, Republicans are in trouble over stem cells.
MORE: Bill Bradley has further thoughts on Democrats and Israel.
JASON LEOPOLD: Forgotten, but not gone, apparently. More here.
THIS IS INTERESTING: "Half of Americans now say Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the United States invaded the country in 2003 -- up from 36 percent last year, a Harris poll finds. Pollsters deemed the increase both 'substantial' and 'surprising' in light of persistent press reports to the contrary in recent years."
Apparently, trust in "persistent press reports" isn't what it used to be.
AN ARMED CITIZEN STOPS A KNIFE RAMPAGE -- but in the news coverage, the gun disappears.
IN THE MAIL: Michael Barone's latest on immigration, a new edition of his The New Americans: How the Melting Pot Can Work Again. He makes a case for fairly open immigration, but with strong pressure toward assimilation, as in previous waves of migration. The question is whether that combination is possible. Excerpt:
The main threats to assimilation come not from the immigratns themselves, but from American elites who flinch at the mention of Americanization and who find European-style multiculturalism more appealing. There are educational elites, who support so-called bilingual education -- which in practice is often neither bilingual nor education -- in which children are taught in bad Spanish and kept from mastering the English language, the first rung on the ladder of upward mobility. There are the political elites, who persist in requiring foreign language ballots even though immigrants who wish to become citizens are required to show that they have learned English. There are the governmental elites, who allow Wahhabi imams to serve as prison chaplains and preachers of terrorism to teach in Middle Eastern studies programs. There are the academic elites, who pride themeslves on admitting as a studet at Yale a spokesman for the murderous Taliban regime. There are the highly educated moral-relativist elites, who regard our civilization as a virus, and hostile immigrants and multiculturalism as the cure. But America has better traditions and a history of proven merit in assimilating immigrants.
I think the immigration debate will heat up again in the fall, and I hope that this book sparks some discussion.
UPDATE: In a related item, Cathy Seipp has thoughts on the media, immigration, and Islam.
AN ARMY OF DAVIDS APPROACH to intelligence analysis:
The reactor, which reportedly will be capable of producing enough plutonium for as many as 50 bombs each year, was brought to light on Sunday by independent analysts who spotted the partially completed plant in commercial-satellite photos. Snow said the administration had "known of these plans for some time."
I think we'll see more of this kind of thing.
SOME ADVICE ON DEALING WITH political disagreements on vacation from the Insta-Wife, inspired by some horror stories we heard on our trip.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS ON ALTERNATIVE FUELS: A podcast at Popular Mechanics. Plus, a postmortem on an exploding laptop!
CYNTHIA MCKINNEY OPPONENT HANK JOHNSON is guest-blogging at Winds of Change. "My opponent's record speaks for itself."
July 24, 2006
BLOOMBERG CHARGED WITH GUN CRIME:
A Georgia gun dealer that Mayor Bloomberg sued as part of his effort to get firearms off the city's streets hit the mayor with a lawsuit of his own yesterday, saying Mr. Bloomberg slandered his business and broke federal law.
Adventure Outdoors Inc., which is being represented by a former Republican congressman of Georgia, Bob Barr, filed a $400 million lawsuit in Superior Court of Cobb County.
The business was one of 15 so-called rogue dealers in five states that Mr. Bloomberg sued two months ago after an undercover sting operation. The 13-page complaint filed yesterday said that Mr. Bloomberg and several others in his administration smeared the dealer's reputation and that its undercover investigators lied on federal Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco forms.
Observers say the legal action could be the first in a string of lawsuits against the city in connection with the mayor's lawsuit.
I'm sure the Cobb County jury will be appropriately sympathetic to Mayor Bloomberg's civic-minded goals. And hey, if he loses he can just pay 'em off with the money from his own lawsuit against tobacco wholesalers. Even better, lawyers are getting a cut of all this action!
THINGS I DIDN'T BLOG ABOUT ON VACATION:*
(1. The Glenn Greenwald sock-puppet kerfuffle. Short summary here, oodles more at Ace, and Dan Riehl. Best take on the whole phenomenon -- and at an appropriate level of seriousness -- here. Sock-puppetry is, I think, a venial sin. But a revealing one. And it makes me wonder if I was unfair to Greenwald's readers when I complained about the lame emails I get whenever he publishes my address. Maybe those emails are all really from Greenwald. . . .
(2 The "180s." I agree with Hugh Hewitt that Bush ought to reach out to war supporters who now disdain him. (Perhaps he should let them talk to Tom Ricks.) But I think that a lot of the flipflopping is from people who feel that they have to attack Bush and the war now in order to protect their standing in the journalistic or foreign-policy establishments, so I don't know how well it will work.
(3 Wisconsin and 9/11 denialist Kevin Barrett. What should Wisconsin do? They've got two problems here. No, make that three.
Problem one is that they hired a looney as an adjunct. That's not shocking -- adjunct positions pay badly and are often hard to fill. (At my law school we spend a lot more time than most places evaluating and screening adjuncts; I've often wondered if this extra effort was worth it, but must now conclude that it probably is.)
Problem two is that they've converted this into a question of academic freedom, when it's not. At least, an adjunct who promised to teach white supremacy, or Christian supremacy, in a course on Islam would be very unlikely to retain his position. Wisconsin may claim otherwise, but I don't believe them, and I doubt many others do. (Here's an example of why).
Problem three is that the Wisconsin administration has responded in a very tin-eared fashion and made the problem much bigger than it has to be.
To address these, they could fire Barrett, but I think that's a mistake and wouldn't get to the root of the problem. They need to look at the process for hiring adjuncts, and to protect students in Barrett's case they should assign the guy a supervisor or member of the department to co-teach the course for quality control. For justice, it should be the department head or committee chair who hired him, they should be present for every class, and it should be an addition to their regular course load. . . .
More importantly, they need to realize that people pay good money to send students to Wisconsin because it's "branded" as a place that provides quality education from quality professors. When you respond to criticism by basically disclaiming any responsibility for what's taught in classrooms, you also destroy the brand. Why send students to Wisconsin if that's the case? Where's the quality control? What does it mean to be an elite institution if you let any bozo teach whatever he/she wants in any course?
Without some reason to think that Wisconsin is better than other schools why go there?
I hope that administrators at universities around the country are paying close attention. I doubt it, though.
* With the exception of a link or two, in some cases.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse responds to my Wisconsin observations.
RICH KARLGAARD thinks I'm right about Chris Anderson's long tail theory.
POWER LINE REMINDS US that it's still blog sweeps month.
THERE'S AN "OLBERSPHERE?" Good lord, why?
ED MORRISSEY is porkblogging at Heritage, with a post on Duke Cunningham and secret earmarks.
THE ERRORS OF ARLEN SPECTER, and the silence of the informed.
IN THE MAIL: Seth Godin's new book, Small Is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas. Looks pretty interesting. Godin writes: "I've been betting on the intelligence of my readers for almost a decade, and that bet keeps paying off."
IS THE I.R.S. GETTING BETTER? Helen had some sort of issue with her self-employment tax, wrote them a letter, and they very quickly (within a few weeks) fixed it and sent a refund check. She's had a couple of experiences like that lately; are they getting better?
"I HAVE A CUNNING PLAN:" Bush Sends Kerry to Resolve Israel-Hezbollah War.
TOM MAGUIRE defends Erwin Chemerinsky, and offers a criticism.
DANIEL GROSS looks at a geopolitical risk index. The usual cautions apply.
OIL PRICES FALL, as Condi Rice arrives in Beirut.
MICKEY KAUS notes "the blog that didn't bark."
UPDATE: More nonbarking.
SIREN, BUNKER, no questions.
RALPH KINNEY BENNETT:
Maybe, when this Lebanon thing is over, we'll finally get it:
Guerrillas like to hide behind civilians.
Muslim guerrillas take it a step further: "Civilians" are a weapon to them -- as much a part of the fight as the AK-47 or RPG they carry.
Those who have visited any Hezbollah installation in Lebanon over the years always remark on the fact that there are always families, women and children, in and around the place. "Secret" installations are usually hidden in plain site -- in houses or apartment buildings.
Seldom, if ever, has a guerrilla movement been able to so openly and exquisitely weave itself into the fabric of a society as Hezbollah has done in Lebanon. . . .
To Hezbollah -- high on the hatred of centuries -- this is total war, and the very term "civilian" -- except for its temporary value in gulling the West -- does not apply.
This is something that neither the press, nor discussions of the law of war, gives sufficient attention.
July 23, 2006
MADE IT HOME IN ONE PIECE, Palm Beach to Knoxville in just over 13 hours. Regular blogging will resume tomorrow.
In the meantime, there's loads of mideast news at Pajamas Media, and Gateway Pundit reports on St. Louis's great blackout, which is still ongoing, alas.
Plus, Ann Althouse vs. Stanley Fish.
A Fish, a Barrett, a smoking gun . . . .
UPDATE: Alternative subtitle: Stanley Fish worries that Americans will agree with him on free speech.
WE'VE BEEN AT THE SOUTHEASTERN ASSOCIATION OF LAW SCHOOLS CONFERENCE, which was held this year at The Breakers in Palm Beach. A nice place, except that I got stuck -- along with several other people -- in an elevator for about 20 minutes. And reportedly it happened more than once during the conference. I highly recommend it as a conference venue, but I'd suggest checking to be sure they've updated the elevators . . . .
Now we're heading home.
ILYA SOMIN looks at libertarian divisions over the Iraq war.
RAND SIMBERG has been liveblogging the Space Frontier Foundation conference. Just keep scrolling.
THE L.A. TIMES LOOKS AT podcasting politicians.
DAN RIEHL: "The Kidz are Allwhite."