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August 19, 2006

MUTINY ON FLIGHT 613:

British holidaymakers staged an unprecedented mutiny - refusing to allow their flight to take off until two men they feared were terrorists were forcibly removed.

The extraordinary scenes happened after some of the 150 passengers on a Malaga-Manchester flight overheard two men of Asian appearance apparently talking Arabic.

The two guys were likely entirely innocent, and didn't deserve this, but this is the kind of thing that happens when people don't trust the authorities to protect them. Over time, I fear that excessive political correctness on the part of governments will breed the reverse elsewhere.

UPDATE: Somewhat related item here.

STAYING READY FOR ZOMBIES: Add this one to the list.

PALLYWOOD: More fake imagery.

PETER ROBINSON HAS MORE on developments at Dartmouth.

DAVE WINER: "I wanted to live a brilliant life."

AUSTIN BAY HAS THOUGHTS on confirming Ambassador Bolton.

HERE'S A ROUNDUP of advice to new law students.

AIDS UPDATE:

A South African Aids campaigner has called on world leaders to speak out against the government of Thabo Mbeki, which he claims is responsible for the continuing but unnecessary devastation wreaked in his country by Aids. . . .

"This crisis has to be broken somehow. The African Union and the G8 and the EU have to speak out about it. The British government, who are silent on this question, have to find a way to intervene."

I wonder if anyone will listen.

EDITOR AND PUBLISHER ON FAUXTOGRAPHY:

The Israeli-Hezbollah war has left many dead bodies, ruined towns, and wobbling politicians in its wake, but the media historian of the future may also count as one more victim the profession of photojournalism. In twenty years of researching and teaching about the art and trade and doing photo-documentary work, I have never witnessed or heard of such a wave of attacks on the people who take news pictures and on the basic premise that nonfiction news photo- and videography is possible.

I'm not sure, however, if the craft I love is being murdered, committing suicide, or both.

I'm voting for "suicide." (Via Newsbeat1).

ADAM LIPTAK in the New York Times: "Even legal experts who agreed with a federal judge’s conclusion on Thursday that a National Security Agency surveillance program is unlawful were distancing themselves from the decision’s reasoning and rhetoric yesterday. . . . Discomfort with the quality of the decision is almost universal, said Howard J. Bashman, a Pennsylvania lawyer whose Web log provides comprehensive and nonpartisan reports on legal developments."

MY EARLIER POST on the girls' guide to middle school led reader Frank Taylor to ask if there's anything for boys. I don't have a children's-librarian recommendation for that one, but this book looks pretty good, and gets good reviews.

MICKEY KAUS has more thoughts on how the "K Street Strategy" is working for Republicans.

TODD ZYWICKI: "Dartmouth's recent history on matters of free speech is lamentable and well-known."

IS TRENT LOTT BEHIND THE "SECRET HOLD" on the Coburn/Obama earmarks bill? Ace calls it "pretty speculative," but I think I agree with the commenter who observes: "While we're at it, maybe we should try to force an end to this 'secret hold' crap."

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS -- Mayor indicted for traffic-camera bribery:

Mayor Shawn Brown was arrested by federal authorities Friday on a charge of soliciting and accepting $2,750 in bribe money from a company that wanted to install red light cameras in St. Peters.

The company is Redflex, which is also the contractor for Knoxville's traffic cameras. More background here, and note that this isn't the only bribery case of its type. My article on red light cameras for Popular Mechanics can be found here.

UPDATE: It's in the linked story, but I don't want to give the wrong impression, so note this passage too: "Redflex employees then alerted the FBI and cooperated with the agency in carrying out the alleged bribe, said Jay Heiler, a spokesman for the Scottsdale, Ariz., firm." Thanks to reader Daniel Coyne for pointing out the possible confusion.

August 18, 2006

WILLIAM BEUTLER RESPONDS to Matt Stoller's anti-Blogometer Fatwa.

IS BLOGGING JOURNALISM? Sometimes, says Cathy Seipp, but not as often as bloggers think.

Of course, much of what appears in newspapers isn't journalism, either.

amazongro.jpg
SO WE PICKED MY BROTHER IN LAW UP FROM CHEMO TODAY -- hence the light blogging -- and took him home. He was doing as well as anyone can do under those circumstances, but the hospital was, as usual, in hurry-up-and-wait mode, so we spent a lot of time on the chemo floor, which is pretty depressing.

But we got home to a "gift pack" from Amazon Grocery. Lots of snacks, coffees, and assorted other goodies, including a miniature flashlight. I don't know if it's some sort of blog-promotion gimmick or, more likely, something aimed at big Amazon customers, which we certainly are.

I wonder if this is in response to the investors' concerns about the Amazon Grocery business that I mentioned a while back?

UPDATE: Looks like they're casting their net pretty broadly, as quite a few other readers got this, too. Reader Kevin Hisel writes:

I am only a so-so Amazon customer (an order every month, tops) and I too got the goody box gift. I'm certainly not a well-known Internet figure.

So there you are.

WHEN SOCKPUPPETS ATTACK: Ed Cone reports:

Two comments at this blog were signed with the names of real people who comment here, but were not written by them. Both originated from the IP address used by Connie Mack Berry of the Rachel Hunter campaign, and both contain other information that links back to the campaign site.

It's some sort of bizarre trend.

UPDATE: Could sockpuppetry hurt the blogosphere's credibility? Follow the link for a spirited debate . . . .

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The Ending Earmarks Express tour visited the "Bridge to Nowhere" in Ketchikan, Alaska.

There's YouTube video of the bridge, and much more, right here.

I hope that other people will post video and photos of pork projects in their areas. Let the sun shine in!

ORIN KERR HAS THOUGHTS ON THE REASONING in Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's opinion on the NSA intercepts. And Eugene Volokh has thoughts here and here.

MARK TAPSCOTT RESPONDS to the PorkBusters critics.

ME, ERIC UMANSKY, AUSTIN BAY, AND TAMMY BRUCE on the events of the week, at the Blog Week in Review podcast.

ANOTHER U.N. PEACEKEEPER SCANDAL:

The United Nations is investigating a suspected child prostitution ring involving its peacekeepers and government soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the U.N. mission said on Thursday.

Among accusations being investigated is that pimps are using the presence of U.N. peacekeepers to lure vulnerable girls to go and work as prostitutes in areas of South Kivu where they are deployed, the mission said in a statement.

I'm sure that Lebanon will be a success. (Via Newsbeat1).

I'M SURE IT WAS THEIR INVASION OF IRAQ, or maybe their opposition to the Kyoto Protocol that led to this:

Two suitcases containing bottles of gasoline, propane gas and a detonating device that were found abandoned in German regional trains last month were bombs primed to go off and kill a ``high number'' of people, police said. . . .

The July 31 attempt ``is likely to have a terrorist background,'' Zierke said. Investigators found pieces of paper with Arabic letters and telephone numbers from Lebanon in clothes which were in the suitcases to pad the gas bottles, he said. They also found starch bags from Lebanon which were sold in a store in or around Essen, a city in North-Rhine Westphalia.

It couldn't be part of an overall Islamist war plan or anything.

UPDATE: German blog MedienKritik observes:

This is yet another wake up call for all Germans who believe that terrorism at home can be averted through a policy of appeasement and pacifism at all costs.

I'm betting they'll opt to hit the "snooze" button one more time.

FUTURIST AND LONGEVITY ACTIVIST AUBREY DE GREY is interviewed at Fast Forward Radio.

MICHAEL TOTTEN reports from Israel on Hezbollah's harm. "If Hezbollah really did the best they could to avoid killing civilians with their inaccurate rockets (as their apologists claim) I would have set up shop in Kiryat Shmona. But the situation was exactly reversed. The exception was the town of Metulla, and the reason for that, presumably, is because it is immediately surrounded on three sides by Lebanon. With that exception in mind, the claim that civilian areas were safer places than military areas is terrorist propaganda."

SMASHING SATELLITE DISHES IN IRAN: Kind of makes you wonder what the mullahs are anxious to keep their people from finding out.

BILL HOBBS has been blogging from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lots of legislators are blogging, and interested in blogs.

AN IMPENDING North Korean nuclear test? A distraction that's part of the Iran/North Korea shell game, I suspect.

MISSING THE HURRICANES:

With the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall (August 29, 2005) rapidly approaching, who would have predicted that we would now be in the middle of a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season? Weren't the global warming pundits' predictions for this hurricane season that it would be just as bad -- maybe even worse! -- than last year?

I'm agnostic on global warming predictions, but year-to-year hurricane numbers don't have much to do with global warming, and claims otherwise are mostly hype.

JACK SHAFER says that the press doesn't need to apologize for its JonBenet Ramsey coverage. I'm guessing that few outside the press will find his arguments persuasive.

OMAR HAS THOUGHTS ON SECURITY IN BAGHDAD, while Mickey Kaus wonders why we're not seeing more from the Bush Administration:

The obvious suspicion is that election-year politics precludes any dramatically increased deployment. But would it really hurt the GOPs in the November election if we sent an additional division to make the Baghdad plan work? Isn't Bush unpopular in part because of his growing reputation for too-little-too-late adapatation to changing circumstances (Katrina, Iraq, ineffective tooth-pulling concessions on immigration, Social Security, etc.)? Voters might appreciate some decisive action instead of what seems to be an insufficiently alarmed drift. ... Would Harry Truman have waited until after the midterms?

Truman's probably a poor role model when it comes to war-related political competency, though . . . .

August 17, 2006

IS THE UNITED NATIONS FAILING the "international test?"

UPDATE: A look at Israel's doomed diplomacy.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Donald Sensing thinks that this temporizing will make the next Israeli/Hezbollah war worse.

CRUSHING OF DISSENT, at Dartmouth?

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh is unimpressed with this report, though there's an interesting discussion in his comments.

MY NAME IS AHMADINEJAD: "Iran has never been so funny!"

Plus, a Castro endorsement. I'm convinced!

XRLQ HAS MUCH MORE on the libertarian purge-talk that I mentioned briefly the other day.

More constructively, talk of replacing Tom Delay with a Libertarian.

IT'S PLEDGE WEEK at DailyPundit.

TIM BLAIR: Green role model.

MICKEY KAUS and his evil ways. He's subtle, our Mickey.

GARRETT EPPS, at the Washington Post's "PostGlobal" blog:

The Chinese government, which already severely curtails free expression, is about to pass a law forbidding media in China from reporting "sudden events" such as industrial accidents, natural disasters or public health emergencies in any way that displeases local or national authorities. Americans may be tempted to dismiss the issue as simply a minor tweaking of a foreign authoritarian system, but this would be a grave mistake. All of us -- investors, workers and consumers -- have a stake in the Chinese media's fight for independence.

I agree. Read the whole thing.

A MANUFACTURED OPPOSITION PARTY IN RUSSIA? Designed, apparently, to give the appearance of vigorous opposition while remaining generally ineffectual and self-defeating. If this happened here, could we tell the difference?

THE SUGGESTION, which doesn't seem to be tongue-in-cheek though it's not clearly serious either, that Cheney and Rumsfeld are sabotaging democracy in Iraq so that they'll have a free hand to level Iran with no pesky nation-building, seems pretty out-there to me. Bush's critics are one of his greatest assets, as C.J. Burch said a while back. After I referred to that the other day, Burch emailed: "If the left doesn't shut up the Republicans will be able to continue acting like this and still get themselves elected...God help us all." And that goes for Bush's over-the-top critics on the non-left, too.

I know that conspiracy theory is all the rage now, but I don't see how this leads to a healthy politics.

UPDATE: Check out this poll!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Where does the Neueschwabenland Campaign fit in? I'm guessing that Cheney had a finger in this pie.

AUSTIN BAY TURNS LITERARY CRITIC, and looks at fellow novelist Gunter Grass: "Grass has imposed a guilt-trip on the rest of us to mask his own guilty past."

"MORAL VICTORY" IN SIGHT? "U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a three-term Democrat now running as an independent candidate, leads the man who beat him in last week's primary vote by 12 points in a three-way race, a poll released on Thursday shows."

RUDY GIULIANI IN SOUTH CAROLINA: Ryan Sager reports:

Addressing roughly 75 supporters of Republican congressional candidate Ralph Norman — a business-oriented, conservative state representative running to unseat a Democratic incumbent — Mr. Giuliani gave an instructive preview of how he might try to sell himself to skeptical Southern primary voters.

The 2000 election, Mr. Giuliani said, had taught him just how important politics really is. While the election had seemed a relatively frivolous one at the time, suddenly — on September 11, 2001 — it mattered a great deal who was in the White House. "Sometimes, elections are more important than we realize when we're in them," he said.

While he tied that argument to the 2006 midterm elections, the real message was clear: The coming presidential election isn't about the Confederate flag, it's not about Roe v. Wade, it's not about whether New York's former mayor has had some marital troubles — it's about who will lead America in the War on Terror. Some conservatives might not see eye-to-eye with this Blue-stater on social issues, but this is a new world we live in.

Read the whole thing. (Link was wrong at first; fixed now. Sorry!)

UPDATE: Kaus has more thoughts.

MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT IN BRITAIN: If you treat modest joking as racism, you'll wind up with a nasty backlash. Though this seems to prove the point of the joke, doesn't it?

UPDATE: Perry de Havilland is very unhappy.

A MAJOR DEFEAT FOR THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION in the NSA communications intercept case, as District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor finds the program unconstitutional. No doubt it will be appealed, but the Bush Administration, in its usual summer slump, doesn't need any more bad news right now.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh offers a somewhat skeptical take on the opinion. And several readers think that the timing is actually good for the Bush Administration, as it brings this issue front-and-center during the runup to the elections.

OBJECTIVE REPORTING: Another Reuters scandal, in Cuba? Compare with these journalists in Cuba.

UPDATE: More on Reuters reporter Marc Frank, here.

NABBED: "A senior al Qaeda commander allegedly tied to the London airplane bomb plot has been arrested in Pakistan, Pakistani intelligence and law enforcement officials have told ABC News. Matiur Rehman, one of the most wanted men in Pakistan, is known to have met with the alleged plot ringleader Rashid Rauf, according to the officials."

THE INSTA-DAUGHTER STARTED MIDDLE SCHOOL THIS WEEK, and her grandmother gave her a copy of A Smart Girl's Guide to Starting Middle School: Everything You Need to Know About Juggling More Homework, More Teachers, and More Friends, which comes from the "American Girl" people. Unlike most of their products, it's reasonably priced. . . .

I looked through it and it's good. (Hey, my mom's a children's librarian, so it should be). I wish they'd had books like this for boys when I was that age.

PAUL MIRENGOFF: "The magnitude of Israel's failure in Lebanon becomes clearer every day."

UPDATE: Noah Pollak offers one cheer for the cease-fire.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Meanwhile, Tammy Bruce is down on Condi Rice.

FAKE NEWS:

The Federal Communications Commission has mailed letters to the owners of 77 television stations inquiring about their use of video news releases, a type of programming critics refer to as"fake news."

Video news releases are packaged news stories that usually employ actors to portray reporters who are paid by commercial or government groups.

The letters were sparked by allegations that television stations have been airing the videos as part of their news programs without telling viewers who paid for them.

This phenomenon isn't new -- in fact, Peter Morgan and I covered it in our 1997 book, in a chapter that you can read for free online here -- but it's worth keeping this in mind whenever Big Media folks criticize blogs' journalistic standards.

DEEP REBREATHING: I've got a piece on rebreathers -- complete with above- and underwater video -- over at the Popular Mechanics website. It was fun!

UPDATE: Yeah, I should have smiled more for the video. What can I say, I've got the look for . . . radio.

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The Washington Post reports:

A coalition of odd bedfellows is trying to bring more transparency to earmarking by encouraging citizens to get involved in tracking who is trying to get what money for which special interest. And all of this will be online and available to the public.

The coalition includes the Sunlight Foundation, Citizens Against Government Waste, Porkbusters.org, Human Events Online and the Washington Examiner newspaper. They created a single database of earmarks, but each organization is presenting the database on its own Web site and asking the public to participate in different ways. Generally, however, they are asking citizens to investigate the earmarks that grab their attention, then report back. They plan to share their information with each other.

Nice to see that people are noticing. There's more information here. Dig in!

PorkBusters is also trying to find out who's behind the "secret hold" on the Coburn/Obama earmark reform legislation. I'm guessing that it won't stay secret.

UPDATE: Reader Thomas Enright emails:

I was "polled" last night via telephone regarding our local congressional race. Republican incumbent Joe Knollenberg is taking on Democrat Nancy Skinner. I was presented a series of issue and asked if the candidates'' stand on that issue would make me less, more or leave unchanged the likelihood that I would vote for him or her. I was asked about abortion, tariffs, etc. but included in there was "Joe Knollenberg voted to fund the 'bridge to nowhere.' Would this make you less likely, more likely to vote for him? Or do you have no opinion"

Now, I know all about the bridge because I have the good sense to read instapundit, however, the average voter? If they go to the trouble to include such a question it must be assumed to have some impact.

Interesting. Anybody else getting questions like this?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's more on "Earmark Forensics," from Marketplace.

August 16, 2006

HURRAY FOR HOLLYWOOD:

NICOLE Kidman has made a public stand against terrorism.

The actress, joined by 84 other high-profile Hollywood stars, directors, studio bosses and media moguls, has taken out a powerfully-worded full page advertisement in today's Los Angeles Times newspaper.

It specifically targets "terrorist organisations" such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine.

"We the undersigned are pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah and Hamas," the ad reads.

"If we do not succeed in stopping terrorism around the world, chaos will rule and innocent people will continue to die.

"We need to support democratic societies and stop terrorism at all costs."

Indeed. (Thanks to Jules Crittenden for the link).

ALAN BOYLE reports on a new lunar race developments. "Four teams say they'll be competing for $2 million in the NASA-backed Lunar Lander Challenge at the X Prize Cup rocket festival in October. Two of those teams are already well-known, while the other two are dark horses in this race. "

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: The New Orleans gun confiscation was halted by a federal court, but victims are still suing the city:

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier denied a motion by the city of New Orleans to dismiss a suit by the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation. The gun-rights groups sued Mayor Ray Nagin and New Orleans Police Chief Warren Riley over the confiscation of guns following Hurricane Katrina.

The city asked the judge to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction, saying "the states, and by extension their political subdivisions, are free to proscribe the possession of firearms."

The court rejected the motion, ruling the city did nothing to back up "the brazen assertion" that the second amendment did not apply.

"I'm delighted to see that the second amendment still applies in Louisiana," said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA.

The suit says that during and after the Aug. 29 storm, "Mayor Nagin ordered the New Orleans police and other law enforcement entities under his authority to evict persons from their homes and to confiscate the lawfully possessed firearms."

By pursuing it, the NRA hopes to prevent any such action in the future, LaPierre said. The organization also hopes the court will order police to return guns in their possession to the rightful owners, he said.

Seems only fair. (Via Cam Edwards, who reports: "By the way, attorney Steven Halbrook, who’s representing the gun owners, will be on NRAnews.com at 9 p.m. Eastern tonight.")

BLOGOMETER REPORTS on the latest PorkBusters effort:

8/16 is yet another example of the trend as a broad coalition of conservative bloggers and other established institutions join forces to promote an anti-pork spending project that, since the GOP's in power, ought to bring embarrassment to GOP lawmakers in the midst of a tough cycle. With their current belief in partisanship at all costs (see CT SEN), would lefty bloggers ever put forward such an effort that had the potential to hurt so many Dems?

In a word, no. The Sunlight Foundation, however, is not on the right, but the left, lest anyone be confused.

UPDATE: Randy Walker emails: "What? After Joe just lost a primary? What are you smoking (can I get some)? Exactly how many Republicans have been kicked out of office because of Pork Busters? When it comes to political pressure on your own party, I believe the score is left 1, right 0. I love pork busters but your are way out to sea on this one."

Hmm. Well, that's fair, I guess -- except that the Blogometer point, and mine, was not about individual elections, but rather about things that give one side or another a structural advantage. As Josh Marshall and Mickey Kaus noted on Bloggingheads.tv, the "K Street strategy" seems to be working for the Republicans, but a lot of GOP-leaning bloggers are still attacking it. That's a bit different from trying to replace one Democrat with a different Democrat.

That said, I hope that by 2008 -- it's too late for this election cycle, alas -- we'll see anti-pork forces supporting anti-pork primary challengers.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Oops, I gave Randy Walker too much credit. Reader Kurt Dykstra emails:

Um, perhaps Joe Schwarz (MI-7) counts? At least the Club for Growth
(www.clubforgrowth.org) folks -- which is identified as among the group of "Other Porkbusters" on the porkbusters.org website -- seem to think it had something to do with this incumbent's loss in the Republican primary . . .

That had slipped my mind, somehow.

MORE: Randy Walker follows up:

Thanks but I had missed Joe Schwaz too. Lets see, left wing Sunlight Foundation working the same soil as right wing Pork Busters, incumbents on both sides getting defeated in primaries, cats and dogs living together.....

If I did not know any better I would swear something big is going on. From now on I am going to be very suspicious of anybody who tries to spin this election in terms of "left vs. right". This is "us vs. them".

I'd like that to be true. I hope it is.

IN THE GUARDIAN, HAROLD EVANS ON BRITAIN, MUSLIMS AND TERROR:

The civil rights lobbies are working from a passé play book. They are blind to the lethal nature of the new Salafist totalitarianism. They won't recognize that we are facing an irrationalist movement immune to compromise and dedicated to achieve its ends of controlling every aspect of daily life, every process of the mind, through indiscriminate mass slaughter. It is a culture obsessed with death, a culture that despises women, a culture devoted to mad hatreds not just of Americans and Jews everywhere, but of Muslims anywhere who embrace a less totalitarian, less radical, more humane view of Islam. These Muslims are to be murdered, and have been in their thousands, along with "the pigs of Jews, the monkeys of Christians" and all the "dirty infidels".

Nor is the repellent language of hate limited to recognized terrorist groups like al-Qaida, Hizbullah and Hamas. It is in the school textbooks in Palestine and in the schools of our "ally", Saudi Arabia. They promised to clean them up but a recent Washington Post investigation showed the books still tell the young they have a religious obligation to wage jihad against not only Christians and Jews but also Muslims who do not follow the xenophobic Wahabi doctrine. . . .

These are historic fault lines. The right tolerated fascism in the thirties, the left Soviet Communism in the fifties. Of course these two earlier totalitarian movements were different in nature and our response when it came was not always well judged - the tendency is to think first of the excesses of the right typified by the witch hunts of the odious McCarthy, but we should remember, too, that the Democratic party in the immediate postwar years of Henry Wallace would have abandoned Europe just as the left in the eighties would have left Europe at the mercy of the new Soviet missiles.

The apologists for the Islamo-fascists - an accurate term - leave millions around the world exposed to a less obvious but more insidious barbarism.

It's only less obvious if you're not paying attention. (Via Jeff Jarvis).

NELSON ASCHER WRITES on the uses of anti-semitism. "Instead of trying to understand 'why they hate us' and why they (and many others) hate the Jews (something I hope we’ll be discussing for several generations), what we have to understand right now is: what is anti-Semitism good for? . . . Hatred of the Jews and of Israel is the loaded weapon the Jihadis are putting in the hands of a civilization that’s willing (again) to commit suicide."

A LOOK AT Mexico's next government.

ANN ALTHOUSE: "At what point do you stop romanticizing another culture and start to see child abuse and plain violations of compulsory schooling laws? Surely, a Christian private school that dispensed with academic study (or threw in two hours) would catch hell."

IN THE MAIL: Arianna Huffington's new book, On Becoming Fearless . . . in Love, Work, and Life.

THE DEBUNKING 9/11 MYTHS book that Helen and I featured in our last podcast is also the subject of a column by Austin Bay. Bay calls it "a handy antidote to the conspiracy theorists' more noxious rhetorical poisons." And James Lileks writes: "I read the entire book. Sane, logical, unemotional, sensible, comprehensive. There: I’m now officially part of the conspiracy. My membership card should arrive in two weeks. I understand we get 10% off at Denny’s." Well, yeah.

And note that the book has its own blog.

YES, MCCAIN-FEINGOLD IS PROPERLY DESCRIBED as an "incumbent protection act." And I think it's one reason why McCain is polling the way he is in the blogosphere.

DEREK LOWE on Ray Kurzweil.

MICHAEL BARONE HAS THOUGHTS on the future of the war, while Josh Manchester is looking for a man-sized microwave.

OVER AT CATO UNBOUND, Richard Rodriguez looks at Mexicans in America, and Victor Davis Hanson replies.

WHICH IS BETTER? "Tax benefits," or "tax incentives?" The future of America hangs in the balance . . .

MICKEY KAUS hopes that World Trade Center turns out to be a flop. Judging by the audience reviews, I don't think it'll work out that way.

A LIBERTARIAN PURGE? "Splitters!"

UPDATE: No, I don't think that "libertarian Mona" is a Glenn Greenwald sock puppet. Though I can see why people would wonder!

STRATEGYPAGE ON LEBANON:

The success of the ceasefire in Lebanon hinges on a condition that Lebanon and Hizbollah both insist will not happen. Hizbollah is supposed to disarm, but says bluntly that it will not do so. The Lebanese government says it will not force Hizbollah to disarm. So what's going to happen? . . .

The Israeli strategy appears to be to allow the UN deal to self-destruct. If the UN peacekeepers can disarm Hizbollah, fine. If not, Israeli ground troops will come back in and clear everyone out of southern Lebanon. At that point, it will be obvious that no one else is willing, or able, to deal with the outlaw "state-within-a-state" that Hizbollah represents. Hizbollah will still exist after being thrown out of southern Lebanon, and it will be up to the majority of Lebanese, and the rest of the Arab world, to deal with Hizbollah and radical Shias.

Read the whole thing.

August 15, 2006

A MASSIVE DELL BATTERY RECALL: I'm happy to say that mine's not affected, but you can follow the link if you own a Dell to see if you're as lucky.

MORE PLAME FALLOUT? "A federal judge told two San Francisco Chronicle reporters they must comply with a subpoena and tell a grand jury who leaked them secret testimony of Barry Bonds and other elite athletes ensnared in the government's steroid probe."

COFFEE AS A HEALTH DRINK: No, really.

THE GUARDIAN reports that the British terror plot was stopped, in part, by information extracted via Pakistani torture. Karol Sheinin thinks that's okay. So does LaShawn Barber, suggesting that the "bellicose woman" demographic is still around. My less-bellicose thoughts on the subject can be found here and here.

UPDATE: Orin Kerr notes the real lesson of the London terror plots.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ace dismisses my concerns: "frankly, he's a law professor. That's the sort of thing they say." Ouch!

GET THIS MAN a Toyota Highlander hybrid. Or maybe he's worried about being denounced by environmentalists if he buys one . . . .

MICHAEL TOTTEN posts more reporting from the Israeli/Lebanese border.

The Glenn & Helen Show: Debunking 9/11 Myths

158816635X.01._AA_SCMZZZZZZZ_V67081897_We talk to David Dunbar and Brad Reagan, editors of Popular Mechanics' new book, Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts. But are we just part of the vast conspiracy? Listen and find out . . .

You can listen to the file directly (no iPod needed!) by clicking right here, or you can get it via iTunes here. There's a lo-fi version right here, and you can see an archive of previous podcasts at GlennandHelenShow.com.

Music -- "You're on the Hit List" -- is by The Opposable Thumbs.

Browser-friendly flash player, here.

MICHAEL SILENCE reminds me of a sage observation that I had forgotten: "I grow more and more convinced the Republican majority will end itself by 2006 if the Left will just shut up for five minutes."

TALKING TO THE TROOPS, at Hot Air.

JAY ROSEN LOOKS AT PORKBUSTERS and sees the beginning of an era of networked journalism.

ROBERT COX thinks that Joe Lieberman may be onto something.

IS THE GEORGE ALLEN CAMPAIGN IN TROUBLE? If so, the fault is George Allen's.

UPDATE: Dan Riehl say reports of Allen's remarks are distorted.

Jeff Taylor: "George Allen does not have the wattage to man a deep fryer support line in Bangalore, let alone serve responsibly in the U.S. Senate."

ANOTHER UPDATE: I have to say that I don't agree that the Webb campaign was engaging in a "dirty trick" by sending a volunteer to videotape all of Allen's events. What's dirty about that? Seems like good guerrilla campaigning.

Meanwhile, TigerHawk writes: "I don't know whether George Allen's campaign is in jeopardy, but I do know that I very much hope the Republicans do not nominate him in 2008."

MORE: Advice for Allen: "Get a blog."

JUST GOT BACK from visiting my brother-in-law, who's undergoing another round of chemo. He's doing pretty well -- his appetite's good enough that he's complaining about the hospital food, so we took him a pizza from the Mellow Mushroom -- but the unpleasantness of the hospital setting just reminded me of this column from last year.

I've pretty much quit blogging family health developments, because I think it gets old fast. But they're ongoing alas, on a number of fronts. If people have wondered about slower email response times or occasional interludes of light blogging, that's usually the reason.

LAMONT/LIEBERMAN: "Deep down, it's shallow."

THINGS THAT DON'T SUCK: Bought this cordless drill a while back, replacing my Ryobi that would never hold a charge. Got it out and ran it a good deal yesterday, having not charged the batteries in a couple of months, and it did great. Seems to have plenty of power, too, even though the Ryobi was a 14.4 volt and this is a 9.6.

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: A big push on earmarks is underway. Here's an editorial from the Washington Examiner:

Something new is happening today as The Examiner invites readers to help uncover which members of Congress sponsored the 1,867 secret spending earmarks worth more than $500 million in the Labor-Health and Human Services appropriation bill now before Congress.


These earmarks average more than $268,000 each. To our knowledge, The Examiner is the first-ever daily newspaper to join with readers, citizen activists from across the political spectrum and bloggers in this manner to uncover the facts behind government spending.

The Examiner — in cooperation with the Sunlight Foundation, Porkbusters.org and Citizens Against Government Waste — is making the Labor-HHS earmarks database public.

Here's the Examiner resource page, and here's the page from the Sunlight Foundation. And here's more from Andy Roth and Robert Bluey.

UPDATE: Here's more from Tim Chapman, and here's the huge PorkBusters resource page. Dig in!

DANNY GLOVER LOOKS AT the online curse of incumbency.

A 9/11 CONNECTION to the British sky plot?

CELEBRATING DIVERSITY with Hezbollah. "Diversity? Yes, the crowd ran the gamut all the way from the genocidal to the merely anti-Semitic." (Via Volokh).

MORE ON FAUXTOGRAPHY and other journalistic scandals, in my TCS Daily column today.

INSTAPUNDIT READERS SURE LIKE RUDY GIULIANI, judging from the poll below. I believe he's led in pretty much all the blogospheric straw polls, but this margin is huge. I'm pretty sure that Newt is overperforming, too.

UPDATE: Brian Erst emails:

The results for your Republican presidential candidate straw poll were about what I expected. Giuliani in a landslide, followed by Gingrich.

I've always thought the faithful Instapundit reader was first and foremost a security voter, not a Republican, and they are definitely going to break for Giuliani. Wonks and geeks make up a big chunk of the rest, so they (like me) went for Gingrich, the geekiest wonk out there. Neither will probably survive the real Republican primary though. Giuliani is too liberal for primary voters, and Gingrich is (brilliantly) damaged goods.

That leaves the real fight - McCain/Allen/Romney. McCain can easily win the main election, and is the second-place finisher in the last Republican primaries (Repubs tend to promote the runner-up to the head of the next ticket), so he's the prohibitive favorite. George Allen can make watching wallpaper dry seem like the mosh pit at a late-80s Pantera concert, but has a good organization. Romney is the best pure politician out there - if McCain stumbles, Romney will be turned into the Ronald Reagan of Latter-Day Saints...

We'll see. I'm not sure that Giuliani will do as badly in the Republican primaries as the conventional wisdom suggests. And Allen's been more interesting than he'd probably like, lately.

UPDATE: Stephen Green doesn't like the selection: "I'd say the choices fall into three categories - unelectable, undesirable, or both."

Various people think I should have included Condi, but I was trying to limit the field to the core.

August 14, 2006

SOME PEOPLE THOUGHT THAT THIS WEEKEND'S McCain/Lieberman - Giuliani/Romney matchup was too limited. So here are some more choices. What do you think? Coming soon, another one on Democrats.


Who should be the Republican nominee for President in 2008?
George Allen
Bill Frist
Newt Gingrich
Rudy Giuliani
John McCain
Mitt Romney
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com


ANNALEE NEWITZ LOOKS AT THE ALLURE OF FEMBOTS:

Feminist science-fiction writer Amy Thomson, author of robot-comes-of-age novel Virtual Girl, suggests that the fembot myth is attractive to men because it deals with “a woman you create and control.” But tech journalist Daniel Wilson, author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising, argues that fictional fembots have hardly been portrayed as controllable—in fact, he claims, they’re often presented as the most dangerous robots of all, because feelings of attraction to them could leave their victims vulnerable to attack. “A sexy robot that’s aggressive could be a wolf in rubberized skin,” he says.

There's no mention of Sgt. Eve Edison, however, making the treatment sadly incomplete.

DAVE WEIGEL: "Despite the best efforts of cable TV and magazine journalists, pollster Rasmussen finds that most Americans don't give a fig about the Joe Lieberman-Ned Lamont Senate brawl."

THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM: Michael Totten has more reporting from the Israeli-Lebanese border.

THE CONVERGESOUTH BLOGGER CONFERENCE will be October 15th, in Greensboro.

I TALK ABOUT NANOTECHNOLOGY, and Simon Cooper talks about Chinese theft of military secrets, on the latest Popular Mechanics podcast.

TIM BLAIR ON THE REACTION TO GUNTER GRASS'S NAZI PAST: "Leftist authors sure do love tyrants."

Meanwhile, Gary Farber observes:

His whole life as a writer has been a lie.

About being in the Waffen SS.

Not a small thing.

Not something to be redeemed by finally coming forward. Now. In 2006. At the age of 78.

He feels guilty?

Good. But not good enough.

New spin -- It was just a case of being ahead of the lefty fashion curve. He was an antisemite before antisemitism was cool!

UPDATE: David Mosier emails: "Just a hunch but I'll bet the Soviet Union knew about Grass's Nazi past since 1945, and threatened to reveal it if he took them on in his writing. Just like they knew about Waldheim."

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg thinks that Grass deserves a pass compared to some other figures of the left:

Grass was just a teenager when he joined Hitler's killing machine. Shaw, Heidegger and a shocking number of the Western left's intellectual heroes were grown ups when they became enamored with Hitler. Gertrude Stein — a Jew! — led an effort to award Hitler the Nobel Peace Prize in 1938.

Judging by some more recent Peace Prize awardees, I'd say he was a suitable candidate.

A VIDEO TRIBUTE TO THE ANTIWAR MOVEMENT, at Hot Air.

DESPERATELY smearing Susan.

IN THE MAIL: Another Harry Turtledove book! The guy's a writing machine! Unlike Fort Pillow, which was a straight historical novel, this one's alt-history, with the Warsaw Ghetto Revolt taking place in Richmond, and a cameo appearance by Fidel Castro as an anti-Confederate guerrilla.

ABC NEWS: "Federal prosecutors in Miami were prepared to indict Raul Castro as the head of a major cocaine smuggling conspiracy in 1993, but the Clinton Administration Justice Department overruled them."

A MESSAGE TO THE BELGIAN GOVERNMENT on its human-rights violations.

MORE ON THE EDUCATION GENDER GAP:

While black, Hispanic and low-income children again lagged far behind others on statewide mastery test scores, another group of students also remained mired in a chronic - though often less noticed - achievement gap.

Boys continued to trail girls by substantial margins in reading and writing on the annual Connecticut Mastery Test. The pattern has persisted since Connecticut first started keeping track of scores by gender in 2000, and is consistent with longstanding patterns on national tests.

Read the whole thing.

THE BELMONT CLUB'S RICHARD FERNANDEZ interviews Major General William McCoy, Commanding General of the Corps of Engineers, Iraq, on reconstruction efforts, over at PoliticsCentral.

RAND SIMBERG on the Reuters scandal and journalistic dishonesty:

First, it wasn't the first time that such fakery has occurred in the so-called mainstream media, and the phenomenon doesn't seem to be random, as it might be if it were a simple mistake, or breakdown in the vetting process. The fabricated images always seem to have the effect, intended or otherwise, of propagandizing against the West (in this case, the state of Israel, in the other example, President Bush).

The second thing that was disturbing is that, also like the previous cases, it took bloggers to point out what should have been an obvious tampering with the photo. Are major media editors really that incompetent (which gets back, of course, to disturbing concern Numero Uno)? This last isn't an unreasonable question, given that this is the news agency that famously said that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

While Reuters deserves credit for immediately announcing to their distributors that the photo was questionable, and cutting off any further contributions from the (Arab) free-lance photographer who provided it, there is, actually, a third disturbing thing about it -- what it presages for the future.

Read the whole thing.

A LOOK AT campus diversity.

"THE NATION MAY BE TIRED, but history doesn't care."

UPDATE: Bush critic Bill Quick writes: "This is one of the most important articles to appear to date in the entire span of the war on terror."

He then posts a response. It's worth reading, especially if you work at the White House.

August 13, 2006

I HAVEN'T BEEN MUCH OF A HOMELAND SECURITY FAN, but this report from the Washington Post seems pretty positive.

CRACKING DOWN ON BLOGGERS in Iran. "The Internet censors are busy. Their targets include sexual content, international politics, local grumbling, chat rooms and anything else that makes the Islamic leadership uneasy. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a prominent human rights lawyer, estimates at least 50 bloggers have been detained since last year."

SOMEBODY TELL "RAPE GURNEY JOE" TO STOP WITH THE VITRIOL! "Lamont says he’s surprised by harshness of attacks from Lieberman, Cheney."

FLYING UNDER THE NEW SECURITY RULES: Varifrank reports:

How long did it take to get ticketed, baggage checked, through security and to the gate today at Austin?

30 minutes. Of course everyone in the boarding area was reading newspapers with the headlines " Chaos at Americas Airports". I just had to laugh. It was no worse than your average Christmas.

Virginia Postrel filed a similar report on Thursday. And here's a report from Heathrow: "The flight today was by far the biggest hassle I have had flying since September 11th, that said, it didn’t take that much longer than normal even with all the extra security."

UPDATE: A rather less positive Heathrow experience, reported here.

ANTI-SEMITIC CARTOONING, in Sacramento. They wouldn't do this if Jews cut off people's heads. Then they'd be "sensitive."

INSIDE THE LEBANESE CABINET: An interview with Lebanese activist Tom Harb.

NYT_Warsaw_uprising_220.gif
"DISPROPORTIONATE RESPONSE:" I wish that this were funnier than it is, but it's all too close to the truth these days.

MORE LIEBERMAN FALLOUT: HANGING UP on Brendan Loy.

THREATS AND BLUFFS, inside the Lebanese cabinet.

DAVE KOPEL HAS MORE ON FAKED NEWS PHOTOGRAPHS FROM LEBANON in his Rocky Mountain News media column. And see this roundup from David Bernstein, too.

UPDATE: Don Surber has advice for the media on a related matter.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A look at "the corruption of the media."

JULES CRITTENDEN HAS THOUGHTS on the defused bomb plot.

PAMELA ATLAS interviews John Bolton over at PoliticsCentral. Her first question: Why are we endorsing a hudna?

UPDATE: Nasrallah's bluff called?

MICHAEL TOTTEN REPORTS from inside Hezbollah's free fire zone.

IN THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, a call for an investigation of the Lebanon fake-photos scandal:

There are, however, two problems here, and they're the reason this controversy shouldn't be allowed to sputter to its inglorious conclusion just yet: One of these has to do with the scope of what strongly appears to be wider fabrication in the photojournalism Reuters and other news agencies are obtaining from their freelancers in Lebanon. The other is the U.S. news media's grudging response to the revelation of Hajj's misconduct and its utter lack of interest in exploring whether his is a unique or representative case.

Thus far, only a handful of relatively brief stories on this affair have appeared in major American papers. The Times picked up one from the Washington Post, which focused mainly on the politics of Johnson's website. The New York Times, which ran one of Hajj's photos on its front page Saturday, reported that it has published eight of his pictures since 2003, but none were altered. It then went on to quote other papers about steps they take to detect fraudulent images. No paper has taken up the challenge of determining whether there's anything dodgy about the flow of freelance photos Reuters and other news agencies — including the Associated Press, which also transmitted images made by Hajj — are sending out of tormented Lebanon. . . .

There's more, and it's worth your time to take a look. That's one of the undeniable strengths of the Internet and of the blogosphere, and the fact that it is being employed to help keep journalism honest ultimately is to everybody's benefit.

What the major news organizations ought to be doing is to make their own analysis of the images coming out of Lebanon and if, as seems more than likely, they find widespread malfeasance, some hard questions need to be asked about why it occurred.

Read the whole thing.

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