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October 21, 2006

BIAS AT THE BBC: The only surprise is that they admit it.

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: It's a hand-sanitizer revolution.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

I first noticed the revolution on a cruise this summer (Princess), on which the line actually had staff standing at the entrance to all common eating areas and would not permit passengers to enter until they'd had a blob of Purell squirted in their hands; an excellent idea in my view, and one that would make them my first choice for that type of vacation in the future.

It's coming.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Alex McCusker emails:

I noticed this as well on our cruise (Cunard) between New York and Southampton in August. At every buffet service there was a hand-sanitizer and the person handing you your plate made sure you took some disinfectant.

This was also the case in the children's play area where when they walked there was a note asking them to wash their hands.

Most people I observed seemed to understand why this was necessary.

I think it's a great idea.

THE TIDE HAS BEEN ROLLED: "My understanding is that Sen. Jeff Sessions has asked the FBI to investigate the Tennessee secondary on charges of civil rights violations against Alabama receivers . . . . My brother blames the heartbreaking defeat on 'cut-and-run' Crimson Tide fans."

PEOPLE ASKED FOR PICTURES. Here are a few, from out along Northshore Drive:

concordfishing.jpg

concordreflect.jpg

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OCTOBER SURPRISE FATIGUE: "Also, as Matt Drudge notes in the Post story, a surprise that comes at a regularly-scheduled part of the year isn't really that surprising."

BARRON'S PREDICTS that the GOP will hold both houses.

But Ramesh Ponnuru observes: "I don't think the analysis is very solid."

HOW TO BECOME a right-wing pundit!

It's suspiciously similar to how one becomes "anti-gay."

IF YOU'VE ENJOYED READING GARY FARBER'S BLOG, he could use a bit of help.

Here, by the way, are his comments on the Spider Robinson / Heinlein "new" novel, Variable Star.

And note the Heinlein Centennial.

EXTREME PUMPKIN CARVING: Liquid nitrogen is involved.

HAS LIVEJOURNAL let in the KGB?

CLARICE FELDMAN HAS MORE on the goings-on at the House Intelligence Committee.

And a reader notes this bit from Michael Barone about Jane Harman:

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is said to be determined to replace her with Alcee Hastings, the former federal judge who was impeached by the House for bribery and convicted and removed from office by the Senate.

Call me crazy, but is someone who was impeached and removed for bribery a good choice for leadership on the Intelligence Committee? And is somebody who thinks so a good choice to head the House Democrats?

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh comments:

In 1989 the Senate removed then-federal judge Hastings, convicting him of conspiracy to take a bribe and perjury; the Senate vote was 69-25, and on one of the counts the vote was 34-21 even among Democratic senators alone. Hastings had been acquitted at his criminal trial some years before, which is to say that he wasn't proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But shouldn't the standard for deciding who'll be head of the Intelligence Committee be more than just seniority plus he hasn't been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?

He seems like a poor choice to me, and if I were the Democrats, who have to be worried about national security as an election issue, I wouldn't be thinking about him for the position.

HAPPY OCTOBER! SURPRISED YET?

UPDATE: Takin' it to the streets.

ANOTHER UPDATE: "Send the chauffeur to the barricades at once!"

SPACEBLOGGER MARK WHITTINGTON has a column in the Washington Post today: "A new type of space race ended this summer when NASA picked two winners for the innovative Commercial Orbital Transportation Systems program. . . . If the Commercial Orbital Transportation Systems program works, NASA will have a low-cost way to service the space station, freeing up money for exploration of the moon and Mars. Companies will get a lot of help developing the space vehicles of the future, which promise to lower the cost and increase the reliability of space travel. The help will consist of not just dollars but also the kind of expertise and access to facilities that only NASA can offer."

DAN RIEHL THINKS that the Dems are blowing it. His analysis may be a bit hopeful, but we've certainly seen some significant mistakes in the past few days. Plus, the "outing fever" among the activist left is very distasteful, and is generating blowback. It looks very hypocritical coming from people who've spent the last several years warning about Republican threats to privacy, and it also bespeaks an unprincipled hunger for victory and power at any cost. (Some of them are visibly worried about this, and they should be. But it's a bit late.)

IT'S A QUAGMIRE, IN FRANCE:

When the call went out about a car burglary in the raw suburb of Épinay-sur-Seine north of here last weekend, three officers in a patrol car rushed over and found themselves surrounded by 30 youths in hoods throwing rocks and swinging bats and metal bars.

Neither tear gas nor stun guns stopped the assault. Only when reinforcements arrived did the siege end. One officer was left with broken teeth and in need of 30 stitches to his face.

The attack was rough but not unique. In the last three weeks alone, three similar assaults on the police have occurred in these suburbs, which a year ago were aflame with the rage of unemployed, undereducated youth, mostly the offspring of Arab and African immigrants.

In fact, with the anniversary of those riots approaching, spiking violent crime statistics across the area suggest not only that things have not improved, but that they also may well have worsened. Residents and experts say that fault lines run even deeper than before and that widespread violence may flare up again at any moment.

“Tension is rising very dramatically,” said Patrice Ribeiro, the deputy head of the Synergie Officiers police union. “There is the will to kill.”

The headline says that "anger is festering," but as the French police note, it's more like a climate of impunity. And, as Claire Berlinski notes, it's exacerbated by an unwillingness to encourage assimilation. As Jim Bennett has said, "democracy, multiculturalism, open immigration -- pick any two."

UPDATE: More here:

Omar, whose parents immigrated from Mali, was savouring memories of the revolt that erupted 12 months ago from his home, the Chêne Pointu estate in Clichy-sous-Bois, in the eastern outskirts of Paris. “We’re ready for it again. In fact it hasn’t stopped,” he added.

Before next week’s anniversary of the Clichy riots, the violence and despair on the estates are again to the fore. Despite a promised renaissance, little has changed, and the lid could blow at any moment.

The figures are stark. An average of 112 cars a day have been torched across France so far this year and there have been 15 attacks a day on police and emergency services. Nearly 3,000 police officers have been injured in clashes this year. Officers have been badly injured in four ambushes in the Paris outskirts since September. Some police talk of open war with youths who are bent on more than vandalism.

“The thing that has changed over the past month is that they now want to kill us,” said Bruno Beschizza, the leader of Synergie, a union to which 40 per cent of officers belong. Action Police, a hardline union, said: “We are in a civil war, orchestrated by radical Islamists.”

Read the whole thing. (Via Newsbeat 1). And this passage suggests that the inflexible French economy may be partly to blame: "The young were born here and they are French. But they have nothing. The real problem is work. If they had any these riots would not have happened."

Mickey Kaus's thoughts on the welfare/terrorism connection seem more and more prescient.

MORE: A question for Nicolas Sarkozy: "if security is the responsibility of the state, what does he have to say about what is currently going on in the French suburbs?"

IS THE MILITARY BLOWING THE INFORMATION WAR IN IRAQ? Michael Yon says yes, and offers a disturbing story of heavy-handedness and ineptitude.

UPDATE: John Wixted notes that the military has reason to distrust the news media.

Our podcast interview with Michael Yon, by the way, can be heard here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Don't miss this, from The Mudville Gazette, either.

MORE: Michael Yon has more background on his page.

October 20, 2006

HOW I VOTED in the Tennessee Senate race -- click here, or scroll down.

KIRSTEN POWERS: "I've been informed by Glenn Greenwald that I am 'compelled' to correct this post. Never mind that he never once mentions in his original post that he does not condone gay outing. How anyone can write such a detailed post and not express disgust for outing gays and expect people to think he condemns the outings, is beyond me."

Me, too. But Greenwald seems to be bigger on demanding corrections than he is on actually being correct..

TOM MAGUIRE looks at Democratic House Intelligence.

UPDATE: More here. Also here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Uh oh. More national security problems for the Democrats?

A FORD - CORKER CONFRONTATION: A.C. Kleinheider has video.

UPDATE: That video link no longer works, for some reason but if you go to this story and click on the little camera icon on the left you can see it. Ford's behavior here seems odd and out of character -- the sort of thing that a candidate who's way behind and desperate for press might pull, not one who's in striking distance of a win. It's the first time I've seen Corker looking significantly more confident and comfortable than Ford. I don't get it.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Another Ford misstep. He's run such a strong campaign until now.

And Kleinheider thinks that this is what upset Ford:

In the press conference inside, Corker called for a ban on family members of elected Congressional officials lobbying any member of Congress, pointing out that Ford's father, Harold Ford Sr., is a registered lobbyist in Washington. Corker also called for more transparency in the way third parties pay for Congressional travel, pointing to 69 trips Ford has made. He also recommended earmark reform for appropriations spending bills.

This seems like pretty tame stuff to elicit such a reaction. I'm all for earmark reform. So's Ford, though -- at least that's what he said in our interview.

MORE: Further analysis from Kleinheider here.

STILL MORE: "What on Earth is Harold Ford Jr. thinking? He has run a smooth and professional campaign so far and he pulls a stunt like this? His handlers must have been taking the day off."

More video here.

THE SUPREME COURT ALLOWS A VOTER I.D. LAW: There's more at The Volokh Conspiracy. More on the general topic of voter fraud and voter I.D. here.

UPDATE: More from Rick Hasen.

SHOCKING PRAISE FOR BUSH'S POLITICAL PERFORMANCE, from Tim Cavanaugh of all people:

As I never tire of pouring icy water on political hopes, I'll point out again that Bush is still way ahead of the average presidential-coattails performance in off-year and midterm races. Even if the GOP lost both houses in November, Bush would still be ahead of the average. He's already an electoral success for his party. How such a small man had such a big effect is something future historians, with their smellevision and massive frontal and parietal lobes, will have to puzzle out.

And their flying cars. Don't forget the flying cars.

ROGER CLEGG: "Actually, I thought the KKK rather liked some racial preferences."

INTERESTING ITEM from The Chronicle of Higher Eduction:

The report, by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, was based on an online, nationally representative survey of 1,259 professors at four-year colleges and universities in the spring of 2005. It found that, in general, professors are critical of American business and foreign policy and are skeptical of capitalism.

Among other findings, the report, "A Profile of American College Faculty: Volume 1: Political Beliefs & Behavior," says that:


Professors are three times as likely to call themselves "liberal" as "conservative." In the 2004 presidential election, 72 percent of those surveyed voted for John Kerry.

Almost one-third of professors cite the United States as among the top two greatest threats to international stability -- more than cited Iran, China, or Iraq.

Fifty-four percent of professors say U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is partially responsible for the growth of Islamic militancy.

Sixty-four percent say the government's powers under the USA Patriot Act should be weakened.

Professors, says the report, are at the "forefront of the political divide" over U.S. foreign policy that has developed since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Faculty members have "aligned themselves in direct opposition to the political philosophy of the conservative base voting for the prevailing political power" in America, it says. Unlike most Americans, it adds, faculty members "blame America for world problems" and regard U.S. policies as "suspect."

The report labels the faculty's overall stance as liberal "groupthink," and says it is dangerous because faculty members "are supposed to provide a broad range of ... approaches to addressing problems in American society and around the world."

Sounds like a diversity problem!

JOHN KEEGAN writes that Iraq is not Vietnam: "Anyone familiar with both situations will be struck by the dissimilarities, particularly of scale and in the nature of the enemy."

Keegan notes, however, that the "media war" isn't quite so different.

THIS WEEK'S BLOG WEEK IN REVIEW PODCAST is up, and it's almost all about Lawrence Wright's new book, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. Wright is one of the guests, along with Austin Bay and Richard Fernandez of The Belmont Club.

MORE on Bill Haslam, Mike Bloomberg, and the NRA.

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WELL, I VOTED TODAY, on the "Hart Intercivic eSlate" voting machine. The early-voting location was pretty crowded, and one of the poll workers told me that it's been very busy -- like a Presidential election, he said, not a midterm. Apparently, not many voters are deciding to stay home. If this reflects a more general trend, that's probably good news for the Republicans.

There's been a lot of speculation, interestingly, on how I was going to vote in the Tennessee Senate contest between Harold Ford and Bob Corker. Take your guess here, and all will be revealed later.

How did Glenn vote in the Tennessee Senate race?
Bob Corker
Harold Ford, Jr.
Write-in vote for Frank J.
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

UPDATE: Well, with over 3500 votes in, it's Corker by a slim margin (40-36). But Frank J. runs a strong third!

That's pretty much how it was in my mind, too. I liked Harold Ford, Jr. when we interviewed him, and I wouldn't shed any tears if he were elected; he'd raise the caliber of the Democrats in the Senate. But when push came to shove, I voted for Corker. I liked him, too, and ultimately the combination of Ford's "F" rating on gun rights and the sleazy "outing" behavior of the Democrats was such that I just felt I had to vote Republican in this race. (In our interview, Corker said he'd look favorably on federal legislation to require states to recognize each others' gun-carry permits.)

As I mentioned before, the Republicans don't really deserve my vote -- though as Bob Corker hasn't been in Washington that's not really his fault -- but nonetheless the Democrats have blown it again. Not long ago I was thinking that a Democratic majority in Congress wouldn't be so bad; but the sexual McCarthyism from the pro-outing crowd, coupled with the Dems' steadfast refusal to offer anything useful on national security, has convinced me that they just don't deserve a victory with those tactics. That's not Ford's fault, either, really. But I just don't think the Democrats are ready for a majority right now. We'll see how many other voters agree.

I split my votes, supporting Democrat Phil Bredesen for Governor, and -- of course -- I voted against the Tennessee anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment. In order to pass, that will have to get not just a majority, but a majority of all votes cast in the gubernatorial race, meaning that not voting on it is tantamount to a "no" vote. I hope it won't pass; it's not getting a lot of publicity, though I'm sure that the religious-right crowd is pushing it in direct mail, etc.

ANOTHER UPDATE: How did I vote in the House race? Well, there isn't really one here, as the incumbent, Jimmy Duncan (R), is a lock. But I actually voted for his Democratic opponent, John Greene. Yes, it was a protest vote: Greene's gotten virtually no publicity and I don't know much about him.

IT'S ANOTHER EPISODE OF THE VENT over at Hot Air. It's like The View, only with smarter people.

IN THE MAIL: Efraim Karsh's Islamic Imperialism : A History. It's blurbed by such luminaries as Amir Taheri.

Interestingly, I thought I'd gotten it in the mail because of the blog, but my colleague Becky Jacobs, who doesn't blog, got one in the mail yesterday too. She teaches international law, so I guess Yale University Press is distributing this widely to law professors in related fields. The Amazon reader reviews are quite positive, though one reviewer does call it "Islamophobic," protesting that "Islam is a universal religon of peace and brotherhood."

IN RESPONSE TO YESTERDAY'S REQUEST for fall photos, well . . . I'm working on it. But here's one I shot on the way home yesterday.

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And, as usual, Rick Lee's got better photos. Try here and here.

TAKING ON THE MAHDI ARMY: Bill Roggio has a roundup.

MAJOR JOHN TAMMES' weekly roundup of news from Afghanistan is up!

KIM JONG IL BACKS DOWN:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, meanwhile, was reported to have told a visiting Chinese delegation that the communist nation wasn't planning more nuclear tests. . . .

Kim told Chinese envoy Tang Jiaxuan that "we have no plans for additional nuclear tests," Yonhap news agency reported, citing an unnamed diplomatic source in Beijing.

Tang led a delegation that met Kim on Thursday in Pyongyang to deliver a message from Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Beijing on Friday, Tang said that his trip had "not been in vain." Chinese officials also expressed hope that the North would return to arms talks that it has boycotted since last year in anger over U.S. financial restrictions.

While I'm disappointed that my plan to goad him into testing until he used up all his fissionable material has failed, I think this is good news. Is it because diplomacy worked? (Yay, Condi!) Or is it because his scientists told him there was no chance of a pulling off a successful test any time soon?

TIGERHAWK: "All along, I assumed that the leak to the New York Times of the summary findings of the National Intelligence Estimate was just another chapter in the permanent bureaucracy's continuing war against the Bush administration's foreign policy. After all, I assumed, why would a Democratic operative be so stupid as to work directly with the New York Times on such a story? It's an election year, and the Democrats are struggling to portray themselves as trustworthy on matters of national security. Nothing would look worse than a calculated leak of intelligence findings that -- while doing damage to the president politically -- would give hope and comfort to the enemy. Silly me."

UPDATE: Ace has more thoughts.

LIEBERMAN OPENS A SEVENTEEN POINT LEAD in the latest Connecticut poll. I tend to be skeptical of polling, but that's huge.

AT THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE, more on Al Qaeda and the media invasion of America.

AUSTIN BAY: "If demography is destiny, then news of America's decline is (like Mark Twain's death) decidedly premature."

The French, however, are doing their best to engineer a baby boom.

"I'M JEALOUS OF HIS JOYSTICK:" More on videogame addiction:

I am, you see, a video game widow. While my husband hasn’t moved on to World of Warcraft yet, that’s only because he’s spent the last 13 months playing Command and Conquer. Nightly. For hours each night.

It could be worse. He could be a . . . blogger!

JAMES WEBB'S DISGUST WITH BILL CLINTON seems to have abated.

LAURA LEE DONOHO is resisting the temptation to stay home on election day:

I am one of the so-called “evangelicals” the Democrats and their media minions have been trying hard to convince that the Republican Party is the party of corruption and closeted gays.

Fat chance.

If the Republican Party was composed completely of fat, geeky, short, frumpy, hypocritical, bad dressers, I would still vote for them over the Democrats, as long as they support President Bush and the War on Terror.

Bad dressers? She'll forgive anything.

A LOOK AT WANNABE PUNDITS AND THE STATE OF PUNDITRY:

Some producers say they are weary of the bickering between the left and right, each parroting talking points emailed from party headquarters. Most news-talk shows have pundits representing only "the four poles -- Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives," says CNN's Mr. Bohrman. He has an Internet reporter "scouring the blogs," partly to look for non-partisans who can articulate the middle ground in an engaging way. He says he'd love to find the great American "centrist pundit."

It's also interesting to see just how hard some people work at getting on TV.

October 19, 2006

PATRICK FITZGERALD, CALL YOUR OFFICE: "House Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra has suspended a Democratic staff member because of concerns he may have leaked a high-level intelligence assessment to The New York Times last month."

AMID THE BAD NEWS, SOME GOOD: "A million pilgrims gather in Najaf, without incident."

DAVID BERNSTEIN: "I'm not sorry the Republicans are poised to lose the House to the Democrats. The Republicans came in under a reformist platform in '94, and gradually lost their zeal for anything but reelection. By now, I can't think of a better advertisement for term limits than the Republican majority in the House . . . . I should mention that I'm very disappointed that the Democrats haven't taken the opportunity to even remotely hint that they'll behave any better than the Republicans."

NIDRA POLLER has more on the Al Dura verdict.

BILL MOYERS HITS BLOGGER WITH LAWYERS, over a claim that "When Moyers interviewed me for the documentary last spring, he very candidly told me that he is a liberal Democrat and intended for the documentary to influence the November elections to bring control of Congress back to the Democrats."

Moyers and his lawyers say it's false and threaten a libel suit. I think that's unwise. And underscoring that point, I doubt I ever would have heard of this charge had Moyers not threatened legal action.

UPDATE: Yes, this gives Bill Moyers something in common with Dennis Hastert.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Greg Marquez emails: "The two letters on the site you linked re Bill Moyers contain what have to be to be the two most pretentious lawyer signatures of all time."

DIFFERENT WORLDS: "Reynolds and Limbaugh are actually, in the parlance of our times, on different Internets."

UPDATE: There are Reynoldistas? That's news to me. Apparently Dan Riehl isn't one.

MORE: "¡Reynoldistas unidos!" Heh.

TIM LYNCH:

IMHO, this is a fitting symbol of the GOP’s administration of the federal government. When the Republicans took control of the Congress in 1995, there was talk of abolishing the ATF for its appalling role in the Waco incident. (For background, read this and/or watch this). But the GOP “grew in office” as they say, and steadily expanded the budget of the ATF and then approved the construction of a fancy new headquarters. There is still oversight, mind you. The ATF director wanted a $65,000 conference table and the Bush administration put a stop to that. Bush’s people cracked down and said “You guys have to make do with a $33,000 table!”

Hey, that's almost a 50% reduction! Follow the link for a picture of the palace, and more information.

MORE BAD NEWS FOR MEDIA COMPANIES in The Wall Street Journal:

When the New York Times Co. bought the Boston Globe in 1993 for $1.1 billion, the family-run New York newspaper said it was betting heavily on the future of the highly educated, affluent Boston market.

But now that brainy, well-heeled populace turns out to be on the leading edge of a digital migration that is pummeling the Boston Globe so badly that it is on track for its first unprofitable year in its recent history, according to people familiar with the company's finances. . . .

The declines are unprecedented at the Globe, which like most major metro newspapers has been facing declining circulation for years but had managed to keep ad revenues somewhat steady through increasing ad rates. Since the Times acquisition, the Globe's Sunday circulation has fallen 25% to about 600,000 from 811,000, while the industry's Sunday circulation has fallen 12% during the same time period. The Globe says some of the circulation falloff was due to cutting out bulk subscriptions. It has expanded home delivery, adding, for example, Westchester County, N.Y., this year as part of efforts to boost circulation.

The Globe has a successful Web site which attracted about 3.1 million unique visitors in September, according to comScore Media Metrix -- but that is dwarfed by the 31 million who visited Yahoo News in July. The New York Times was the largest newspaper Web site with about 9.3 million visitors in September.

(Subscriber only, but you get the gist). As I said earlier, no wonder these guys are all so gloomy about the economy.

A LOOK AT IDEOLOGY AND SELF-CENSORSHIP in the German media, at Medienkritik.

ANOTHER RECORD HIGH FOR THE DOW: Business may be bad for The New York Times and NBC, but other outfits seem to be doing well.

HERE'S A REVIEW of what Scott Johnson calls "Jim Geraghty’s awkwardly titled new book."

Our podcast interview with Geraghty can be found here.

A NEW HIGH IN BLOGGY, er, something: Videoblogging a photo shoot while you're having your photo shot.

BIG LAYOFFS AT NBC, to the tune of $750 million in cost cuts.

Plus, plunging profits at the New York Times. No wonder the Big Media are acting as if the economy is in dreadful shape. For them, it is.

SHOWCASING THE ENEMY: Blackfive criticizes CNN's editorial choices.

James Taranto agrees.

JOHN MCCAIN comments on what he'd do if the Democrats took the Senate.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON notes contrasting attitudes regarding American intervention in Iraq, and in Darfur.

IN THE MAIL: The new Robert Heinlein novel -- as completed by Spider Robinson -- Variable Star. Robinson is a good writer, and a huge Heinlein fan, so it will be interesting to see how he pulls this off. The Amazon reviews are mixed, though I'm sure some of that's the result of Heinlein fans being angry that anyone touched the work of the Master.

PUNISHED FOR DENOUNCING A FAKE VIDEO ON FRENCH STATE TV: This is real crushing of dissent.

WILLIAM BANKS EMAILS: "Oh, I hate to have to continually ask this. It's time for some fall 'leaf' photos to give us a break from the dreariness of the current political season and bleak international situation."

I've been pretty lame on the blog-photography front, but I'll see what I can do. The leaves here are only just starting to turn anyway.

In the meantime, here's one from a previous year:

THE INSTAWIFE proposes a psychological experiment.

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CONSERVATIVE-AMERICAN COMMUNITY, from Howard Dean, via IowaHawk: "Frankly, I realize we have not always brought our 'A Game' when it comes to the concerns of conservative-Americans. That's why we would like to take this opportunity to start a dialog with you, the conservative 'values voter,' by addressing an issue of vital importance to all of us -- the growing Republican homo menace."

JONATHAN ADLER: "As one of the two most recently tenured faculty members at Case, I've noticed that the volume of law porn has skyrocketed this year."

"Law porn," alas, bears the same relationship to real porn that "legal ethics" bear to actual ethics. It refers to self-promotional literature sent out by law schools, mostly in the hopes of boosting their reputation-score in the U.S. News rankings. And, yes, I've noticed that the volume seems to have drastically increased this year over the already copious quantities of past years. I think it's hit the saturation point: I used to at least glance at the stuff, but now it goes straight into the recycle bin conveniently located in the faculty mailroom -- and I notice that the bin is full of the same stuff from other faculty members' culling, too. While there may have been an advantage to being an early adopter in this area, it's now largely a waste of money, I think.

UPDATE: Gordon Smith notes that research seems to support my off-the-cuff impression: "Two weeks ago, sociologist Michael Sauder of the University of Iowa was here to present his work on reactivity to the U.S. New rankings. He has interviewed deans (among others) to evaluate the way in which law schools respond to rankings, and his conclusions track Glenn's."

JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE: Don't tax virtual economies.

PUPPET-VIDEOBLOGGING at Imao. Shockingly, no one named "Ellison" or "Wilson" is involved. "I ain't no sock puppet -- I'm a quality action toy!"

A LOOK AT the military commissions bill: "During the bitter controversy over the military commission bill, which President Bush signed into law on Tuesday, most of the press and the professional punditry missed the big story. In the struggle for power between the three branches of government, it is not the presidency that 'won.' Instead, it is the judiciary that lost."

I'm not sure I see it this way. All three branches were involved, and the resulting law -- whether or not you like it -- is the product of extended democratic deliberation.

ANNE APPLEBAUM writes that North Korea is China's problem:

For not only is China the country with the most influence over North Korea, it is also, along with South Korea and Japan, one of the countries most under threat from North Korean nukes. After all, it is China, not the United States, that will be at the center of the new Asian arms race if Japan and South Korea feel compelled to get the bomb. It is China, not the United States, that would feel the effects of fallout if North Korea actually used its weapons. Although it isn't clear whether North Korean missiles can reach Hawaii, it's obvious that Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong are well within range. So shouldn't this be China's problem, not ours?

It has seemed odd to me all along that the Chinese don't seem more worried about having a kook with nukes actually on their border. It also seems odd that neither Russia nor China -- both much closer to Iran, and both with a Muslim problem in their nearby territories -- aren't more worried about Iran acquiring nukes.

UPDATE: Maybe they are: A NATO/Russia missile defense exercise. Seems to me that it would be easier to stop the Iranians from getting nukes, though -- unless, that is, they already have them.

RUNNING FOR OFFICE by condemning romance novels as porn. It seems to me to be a weak strategy.

DOES A SHORTAGE OF OMEGA-3 produce a predisposition to violence? Hmm. Worth looking into, anyway.

IRAN IN KUWAIT: StrategyPage reports:

Kuwait announced that it's police and intelligence services had discovered an Iran espionage and sabotage organization within Kuwait. The Iranian agents, recruited from among the Shia (who are half the population) in Kuwait, were often trained in Iran. The Iranian network consisted mainly of "sleeper cells" (agents who were inactive, and went about their normal lives until activated by their Iranian bosses.) Kuwait is still trying to discover the extent of the Iranian networks, but fears that it may be a large one (several thousand members).

Iran is a big threat. I had thought that one of the major reasons for invading Iraq was to put the squeeze on Iran, but inexplicably we don't seem to have done anything much, even in response to Iranian support for the insurgency in Iraq and Hezbollah's actions in Lebanon. This is why I've wondered before if Iran already has nuclear weapons, or is somehow managing to deter us in another fashion.

MICKEY KAUS: "The bad news for Dems: Dick Morris says they'll win! I'd only start worrying if Lawrence O'Donnell says it too."

ERIC SCHEIE explains how to be anti-gay. It's easier than you think!

Plus, thoughts on sexual McCarthyism.

UPDATE: Related post from Dean Barnett.

BILL CLINTON is pro-torture in "special cases."

Alan Dershowitz and Captain Ed wonder why no one cares.

October 18, 2006

A CANADIAN MP suspended for blogging. More here.

THE SPIES WHO COULDN'T THINK STRAIGHT.

At least they aren't romantically entangled with demons, as in the Charles Stross book I'm reading now. Or, hell, maybe they are. It would explain a lot.

A LOOK AT PRE-ELECTION POLLS from 2002.

ARE THE TERRORISTS TRYING TO PULL A TET IN IRAQ? Of course. And the media are trying to help them. "Not surprisingly to me but shocking to many, the President obviously knows more history than his interviewer."

Knowing more history than most journalists is no great feat.

BRENDAN NYHAN notes that conspiracy theories are spreading.

READER JOHN LYNCH notes that this Washington Post article on North Korea from 20 years ago "inexplicably appeared on Google News" earlier today. It's certainly a puff piece, and a reminder that it's not just intelligence agencies that produce dubious reports.

WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES backs U.N. control of all new technologies.

Yeah, that'll keep us all safe.

MICKEY KAUS says Bush will sign the fence bill in a private ceremony with no publicity.

When I talk about the Republicans acting like they want to lose, this is the kind of thing I mean.

UPDATE: This post from Kate O'Beirne suggests that wiser heads may prevail. And here's some surprising good news for the GOP effort, from The Hotline:

If you're ever read a profile of Ken Mehlman, you know he is obsessed with metrics. For him, one of the most important sources of data is a weekly e-mail his political team prepares called the "Weekly Grassroots Report." It meticulously records the work of tens of thousands of volunteers in targeted states, counties and congressional districts across the country. The data summary allows the RNC to determine which states are meeting goals and which states are falling behind.

The RNC declined to share the most recent report, which was issued Monday. But two independent sources who saw last week's report professed to be surprised: not only was there no drop off last week, 12 states broke new voter contact records.

Perhaps the GOP base will turn out one more time.

PHIL ANGELIDES DESPERATION WATCH: And if you're asking "who's Phil Angelides?" well, that's why. . . .

HAMNATION: Mary Katharine Ham has started her own videoblog.

TAKING THE DARE: "North Korea has informed China that it is prepared to conduct 'as many as three additional tests' following the first nuclear experiment Oct. 9, CNN television reported Wednesday."

Not bad, but it'll take six or eight to convince me.

HAROLD FORD, JR. endorses Joe Lieberman. (Via James Taranto).

UPDATE: Audio here, courtesy of A.C. Kleinheider.

MORE VOTER FRAUD IN ST. LOUIS? Gateway Pundit has a roundup.

REID IT AND WEEP: "Is there any place other than Washington where you can amend your ethics — and do it through a government form?"

LIMBAUGH IS AT IT AGAIN, and once again, I missed it. Rob Sama heard it, though his account is a bit harsher than this one emailed by reader Keith Waldrop:

Sure you're aware limbaugh is mentioning Instapundit again today. I am a many times daily Instapundit Reader and a 14 year Limbaugh listener. Here's my take.

Limbaugh is not singling you out. He is merely using the term "pre-mortem" as a lightning rod or example of the things he's hearing in the blogosphere that bother him.

His points are valid, as are yours

He's hitting on the issue for a third day which is much his style.

Often topics and themes he uses last days and weeks

I believe he genuinely would like you to respond in kind. I also believe a typically reasoned Instapundit response to some of Limbaugh's comments would continue what I feel is a healthy, interesting debate.

He does not read you regularly and claims to only have a peripheral knowledge of Instapundit.

Well, that last is fair enough, as I'm obviously missing all the important bits on his show. But Limbaugh could no doubt improve his broadcasts if he read InstaPundit more often. . . .

Anyway, the point of my "premortem" wasn't to call for the Republicans to lose. Rather, after pointing out that a lot of hardcore GOP supporters expect them to lose, I wanted to note that if they do lose, it will be because of a number of dumb moves and dropped balls -- "unforced errors," as I called them -- that indicate that they've been taking their supporters for granted, ignoring their professed principles, and relying far too heavily on the old "The Democrats are worse" argument to rally the base, an argument that's clearly wearing thin. (As this guy says: "I won't be 'glad' if Republicans lose. I just think if they lose, they brought it on themselves.")

I don't think that Limbaugh would really dispute that the Republicans have made a lot of unnecessary mistakes and that this has cost them a lot with their supporters; at least I've caught his show a time or two in the past when he was making pretty much this exact point. My post was intended to be something of a wake-up call, and it appears, at least, to have gotten Limbaugh's attention. Whether the GOP will take the lesson is less clear.

It's true, of course, that the Democrats are worse, and if you had any doubt about that, the creepy sexual McCarthyism that we've seen this week would be proof enough. And the argument that losing an election will cause the Republicans to do better isn't necessarily true -- as one of my colleagues said to me yesterday, if losing elections made political parties improve, the Democrats would be in a lot better shape than they are about now . . . .

But I've been criticizing this stuff for a while, and I thought that I should raise these issues again while the GOP leadership and message machine is paying attention for a change. And, apparently, it's paying attention to my criticisms now. After attention, however, comes action. Well?

UPDATE: Reader Jack Lillywhite emails:

Traveling back to Palm Coast for Jacksonville today, I caught Rush discussing the "pre-mortem" . I don't believe he is arguing against what you have been saying. Rather what he is really fighting mad about is those conservatives who have decided to punish the Republican party by sitting this election out.

His chief rationale for taking exception to this is that punishing the GOP for their (as you call them) unforced errors is not logical and is counterproductive. His point is that whatever mistakes the GOP has made - they are still the only (of the two) party that represents the values and long term objectives (i.e. Supreme court makeover) of conservatives.

That is his main rant. Not your pre-mortem. Although I do think Rush has always had a problem with the "creeping libertarianism" of the conservative perspective.

Yeah, us libertarians are insidious that way. Mostly, I want to know where all this attention from Limbaugh was back last Spring when I had a book to promote! Maybe if I'd called it An Army of David Corns . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: More thoughts here: "I am not suggesting conservatives should sit out the election. But I do think that congressional Republicans largely squandered their majority these past few years. I'm not the only one either. Right Wing News, hardly a liberal, has made the same conclusions. Given the strength of the economy and the general success of the war on terror, congressional Republicans should be in pretty good shape. But they have made so many missteps (from the border to out of control spending) that it has taken the wind out of the sails of many conservatives. I don't like some politician thinking that I have to vote for them."

I think that last is the key. Nobody likes to feel taken for granted. Or to be taken for granted.

MORE: Reader Rosemary Bright emails:

You know, I don't either you or Rush needs assistance in speaking your own case -- you are both excellent communicators.

And yes, it wasn't a singling out -- he's talking to Republicans who are said to be fed up with their party and are sitting this election out.

My take on the whole thing?? I think it's balderdash. I don't think droves of Republicans are going to sit this out at all ... I think it's the MSM who are implying it, and thereby hoping it will happen. When it comes down to it, even if we are disgusted, we'll go vote. And when push comes to shove ... we won't vote democrat, regardless of our disgust.

That's probably right, but the GOP leadership is unwise to count on that.

Reader Mary Evans adds: "Rush credited bloggers on his show today, & made a point to say he was not criticizing you. I just went to Rob Sama's site & read what he said. He either has a grudge against Rush or did not listen to what Rush said in full."

I'm not a Rush 24/7 subscriber, but I'll see if I can get hold of a transcript or audio.

STILL MORE: Here's the transcript of Limbaugh's monologue on why people shouldn't sit out the elections. And here's another where he explains that he's not at war with bloggers.

It doesn't seem unreasonable to me, and I agree with the many readers who say it's not an attack on me personally. But I also agree with reader John Tuttle who writes that Limbaugh probably misunderstands my use of the word "deserve." When you drop balls and blow opportunities, you deserve to lose, because you've performed badly. You don't always do so -- any more than you always win when you deserve to win -- but as mentioned above, I think the GOP has been failing to exercise the kind of self-discipline that a party with a slim majority that wants to stay in the majority needs to exercise, especially if the stakes are as high as Limbaugh says they are.

Because if the future of Western civilization is at stake, you shouldn't blow your credibility on pork and pocket-stuffing.

FINALLY: And from Brad Wardell at Joe User, whose earlier post was read on the air: "You can't have it both ways. You can't say that it's a matter of life and death for the Republicans to maintain control and yet treat the actual job so casually while in office. If the free world hangs in the balance, then bloody act like that during your term and not just in the 60 days before re-election."

A PIERRE CARDIN FAKE, MAYBE, but a Ben Cardin fake?

PETER ROBINSON looks at the Dartmouth fracas. "The response of the Dartmouth establishment is unsurprising, I suppose--insiders always resist outsiders--but disappointing all the same."

IN THE MAIL: John Scalzi's new book, The Android's Dream.

I'm sure it's good, but I'll offer a full report when I've read it. Right now I'm reading the new Stross book that I mentioned earlier.

I don't think it's a case of androids dreaming of electric orgasms, though.

THE CURSE OF WORLD OF WARCRAFT: "From my vantage point as a guild decision maker, I've seen it destroy more families and friendships and take a huge toll on individuals than any drug on the market today, and that means a lot coming from an ex-club DJ. It took a huge personal toll on me. To illustrate the impact it had, let's look at me one year later. When I started playing, I was working towards getting into the best shape of my life (and making good progress, too). Now a year later, I'm about 30 pounds heavier that I was back then, and it is not muscle. I had a lot of hobbies including DJing (which I was pretty accomplished at) and music as well as writing and martial arts. I haven't touched a record or my guitar for over a year and I think if I tried any Kung Fu my gut would throw my back out."

(Via Slashdot). Luckily, blogging poses no such dangers . . . or does it? I can quit any time.

"A VERY UNUSUAL OFFICE."

IS CALLING AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN "SLAVISH" a racist taunt? Well, unlike "macaca" at least we all know what the word means:

The Rev. Anthony Evans, who heads a group called the National Black Church Initiative, released a statement last night calling Hoyer's comment "outrageous and destructive." "If I did not know Rep. Steny Hoyer, I would say that he is a racist," Evans said.

I don't know Steny Hoyer, so I guess I won't offer an opinion.

ANOTHER GRIM MILESTONE: "The Dow Jones industrial average swept past 12,000 for the first time Wednesday, extending its march into record territory as investors grow increasingly optimistic about corporate earnings and the economy."

ANN ALTHOUSE:

I think aggressive characters like our "lefty blogger" think that uncovering gay Republicans will disgust social conservatives and change their voting behavior. They might also believe that they are demonstrating hypocrisy and that doing so will motivate Republicans to abandon social conservatism. I would like to see Republicans abandon social conservatism, and I'm not cheering on these slimy outings. But, honestly, I think these creepy, gleeful efforts at outing will only make social conservatives more conservative, and they will continue to look to the Republican party to serve their needs.

Yes, "creepy, gleeful efforts" don't win you many friends or converts. Of course, they're really just meant to demoralize Republican voters and keep them home on election day.

I suspect they'll have the opposite effect. The GOP leadership has managed to alienate much of its base, but this kind of slimy and obviously organized political effort is more likely to encourage GOP voters to ignore the bad stuff and vote Republican as a way of demonstrating their disgust with the creepiness.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg: "The sort of scorched earth attack liberals have mounted in the wake of Foley is creating precedents I guarantee will haunt them in unexpected ways in years to come."

JON STEWART ON THE HARRY REID SCANDALS: "Obsolete power corrupts obsoletely." Video here.

A REASON TO VOTE REPUBLICAN, courtesy of Paul Krugman.

You know, it seems as if the Democrats are doing a better job of providing those reasons than the Republicans are.

WE'RE ALL SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE NOW: My TCS Daily column, on disaster preparedness, is up.

MORE ON THE IMPORTANCE OF HAND SANITIZER IN POLITICS, from Tom Maguire.

PERILS FOR PEDESTRIANS: Jay Manifold looks at evacuation on foot, and says it gets too little attention in emergency planning.

MORE ON THE HARRY REID SCANDALs:

On Sunday we editorialized on the Senate minority leader's smarmy Las Vegas land deal in which he pocketed a cool $1.1 million for the sale of property he hadn't personally owned for years. Mr. Reid will be "amending" his financial disclosure forms, don't you know.

Now comes word that Mr. Reid illegally has been using campaign money to mete out Christmas bonuses for staffers at his tony Ritz-Carlton condo. He calls it a "clerical error," don't you know.

These aren't the first ethics questions for Harry Reid, always quick out of the starting blocks to offer sound bites about the Republicans' "culture of corruption." The Los Angeles Times and New York Post have reported on another questionable Nevada land deal.

Plus, these thoughts from Investor's Business Daily:

We never cease to be amazed at the double standard applied to the morals and ethics of Democrats and Republicans in Congress. We've already commented on how Republican Mark Foley was forced to resign for sending lewd e-mails to congressional pages, while Democrat Gerry Studds received mere censure and standing ovations after actually having sex with one, being allowed to serve until he decided to retire.

But the case of Senate Minority Leader Reid is a double standard on steroids. The latest episode is his request to file an "amended" ethics statement after the Associated Press revealed he made $1.1 million on a $400,000 investment on property he hadn't owned for three years; it was the subject of an earlier editorial on these pages. . . .

OK, fine. But why the double standard and the hypocrisy? Is anybody investigating Harry Reid?

We remember the feeding frenzy over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's alleged violation of federal tax law in using tax-exempt funds to fund his allegedly political college course, "Renewing American Civilization."

After a 3 1/2-year ordeal, and a $300,000 fine paid to the House Ethics Committee, the IRS finally ruled that the sponsoring organization, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, "did not serve the private interests of Mr. Gingrich" and was both apolitical and completely legal.

Which is more than you can say about Reid's shenanigans. Gingrich wasn't offered a "do-over" or the opportunity to amend anything. In his case, it was sentence first, trial later. But then, unlike Reid, he was both innocent and a Republican.

There does seem to be a double standard here.

HEH: "The only question is, is Greenwald this dense, purposely mendacious, or some of both? I report, you decide." Jeez. I guess the "blogpaper" strategy is still working! Anti-gay? Get a life. I'm not the one engaging in McCornthyism.

October 17, 2006

CHARLTON HESTON, neocon?

LEXINGTON GREEN: "Having mediocre politicians is a consequence of our having a superb private economy. We are, actually, fortunate that we have some relatively competent and public-spirited people in public life at all."

PAUL HORWITZ on Linda Greenhouse and statements of fact.

AUSTIN BAY on North Korea: "The bitter irony of our times is the ability of dictators to threaten neighbors with their own collapse."

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL says that Lynne Stewart got off light: "In an age when courts routinely impose five-year prison terms for drug offenders, and life sentences on former CEOs, 28 months may not seem an appropriate sentence for a terrorist accomplice, especially when the government sought 30 years."

JIM GERAGHTY REMEMBERS THE OUTLOOK three weeks before the 2004 elections. Bush was doomed!

DAVID BERNSTEIN is pondering interspecies wealth distribution.

WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP -- but they can nab you for tax evasion.

OH, THERE'S A SURPRISE: Global gun-control movement is anti-Israel.

TENNESSEE BLOGGERS ROB HUDDLESTON, RANDY NEAL, AND JOHN JAY HOOKER will be on Radio Open Source talking about the Tennessee Senate race tonight. You can leave a question in the comments if you follow the link.

Here's how to listen.

I GATHER THAT LIMBAUGH was on about InstaPundit premortems, etc., again today. I didn't hear it, but here's a response.

I'm not actually hoping for the GOP to lose, but I do agree with James Taranto:

It now seems within the realm of possibility that Democrats will take one or both houses of Congress in three weeks, even though they are campaigning on not much more than not being Republicans. But the Republicans are campaigning on not much more than not being Democrats. To our mind the Republicans have the better of this argument, but there is something to be said for punishing the party in power if its performance has been subpar.

It's hard for me to believe that the performance will improve if there's no prospect of suffering at the polls.

OH, PLEASE: All politicians use hand sanitizer all the time. And they should. In her campaign book, Mary Cheney has a lengthy discussion of the importance of hand sanitizer on the campaign trail. Excerpt:

The truth is, all candidates use it -- or suffer the consequences. When Wesley Clark entered the 2004 presidential race, he caught a cold, lost his voice, and was unable to campaign for several days. Some people speculated that the pace of a national campaign had knocked the former NATO comander off the campaign trail. I knew it was because he hadn't learned about hand sanitizer. National candidates shake hundreds, if not thousands, of hands every day. They will get sick unless they wash their hands early and often.

Presidents, too. (I believe we talked about this in our podcast interview with Mary Cheney, as well.) Personally, I agree with Donald Trump: Handshaking is unsanitary, and we should replace it with something else. Whenever we go to the AALS "meat market" recruitment conference -- where job candidates from all over the country meet with recruiters from law schools all over the country right at the beginning of cold-and-flu season, and where attendance is so important that people will drag themselves there unless they're candidates for the ICU -- most of us wind up with some creeping crud afterward. Next time, I'm taking a big pump-bottle of Purell.

Anyone who's offended by this sanitary precaution will be sentenced to crawling through the tot-tunnels at Chuck E. Cheese, which feature a concentration of microbes that makes North Korean biowar labs look tame.

UPDATE: Ace: "I'm wondering how quickly Bush jumped into an intense bactericidal ultraviolet light-chamber after shaking my hand."

I don't know about Bush, but when I shook Ace's hand I was using a bionic arm for safety. Apparently it was quite convincing.

Meanwhile, truck-driving reader Gerald Dearing emails:

Agreed that handshaking en masse is a bad idea. And Obama is a foole if he does not use sanitizer, too. My anecdote: In a previous incarnation, I spend two years photographing families for church directories. (You probably know the deal: the Church gets a free photo directory in exchange for providing a chance to sell the portraits to the membership.) Real cookie-cutter stuff. Five families an hour. Get the kids off their deathbeds to have their likeness made one last time. "Isn't the little [disease factory] soooo cute?" I was sick the whole two years. And it was a pre-sanitizer age.

More recently, I'm convinced that I suffer many fewer colds now that the trucking industry has evolved from a reliance on public phones to communication via satellite and cell technology.

Just don't shake a politician's hand. You don't know where it's been.

ROBERT BYRD brags about pork.

NO, I HAVEN'T BEEN FOLLOWING THE 1POINTSOLUTIONS SCANDAL at all. People are sending me this article and asking what I think, but you'd be better off going to Bill Hobbs and Terry Frank. And here's some collected coverage from The Tennessean. Sorry, but I just don't do a lot of Tennessee political coverage.

GUN-BUYING ADVICE from Bob Owens.

CONSTITUENT SERVICE from New Jersey's Bob Menendez.

FBI MISCONDUCT is a long-running InstaPundit theme, and Whiteclay, Nebraska -- just across the line from the Pine Ridge Reservation -- is the nominal home of the Nebraska Guitar Militia. So I was interested to get Steve Hendricks' new book, The Unquiet Grave : The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country.

It opens like a Tony Hillerman novel, but it's nonfiction, and it quickly grows darker than Hillerman.

IS THE E.U. TRYING TO STIFLE VIDEOBLOGGERS? But of course!

BROKEN BEYOND REPAIR? At the very least, these guys need to be reading StrategyPage.

THE FRENCH WON'T DISARM HEZBOLLAH, but they're willing to fire on Israelis.

FAREED ZAKARIA: "Does anyone where you live think that a Democratic Congress in the U.S. would be better for the world?"

SWEDEN, HOME OF EGALITARIANISM:

“THEY are a bit like royalty,” says Peter Thelin, a manager at Brummer & Partners, a Swedish hedge fund. He is describing the Wallenbergs, whose business counts as his most aristocratic investment. The Wallenbergs have been around a long time—even longer than the Bernadottes, the royal family who came to Sweden in the early 19th century when one of Napoleon's marshals was adopted as heir by an ageing Swedish king. But it was under the House of Bernadotte that the Wallenbergs rose to prominence and now run one of the world's most successful family firms.

By the late 1990s the Wallenbergs controlled some 40% of the value of the companies listed on the Swedish stock exchange. Their interests range from Ericsson, a leading telecoms firm, to Astra Zeneca, a pharmaceuticals company now listed in London, Electrolux, a white-goods manufacturer, and ABB, a global engineering giant. After Volkswagen, the family is also the second-biggest shareholder in Sweden's Scania, for which Germany's MAN, a rival truckmaker, has made a €9.6 billion ($12 billion) hostile bid. There is little that happens in Swedish business that does not involve the Wallenbergs.

Thanks to reader Mark Stroup for the pointer.

CHRISTINA HOFF SOMMERS: "As a writer and frequent campus lecturer, I am accustomed to encountering activist professors. Nevertheless, when I visited the University of New Mexico Law School recently, I was taken aback by the political fervor of the faculty."

I spoke there some years ago and had a lovely time. Hard to believe that things could have changed this much.

ERIC SCHEIE: "I have long been disgusted with the Republicans -- so much so that I'm almost tired of holding my nose when I go to the polls. Yet I plan to vote for them again, despite my disgust."

GOOGLE IS CONVERTING ITS HEADQUARTERS to solar power.

And in other alternative-energy news, Popular Mechanics crunches the numbers on the hydrogen economy, and discovers that it's not all it's cracked up to be: "At first glance, hydrogen would seem an ideal substitute for these problematic fuels. Pound for pound, hydrogen contains almost three times as much energy as natural gas, and when consumed its only emission is pure, plain water. But unlike oil and gas, hydrogen is not a fuel. It is a way of storing or transporting energy. You have to make it before you can use it — generally by extracting hydrogen from fossil fuels, or by using electricity to split it from water."

The news isn't all bad, though.

ANOTHER RECORD HIGH FOR THE DOW yesterday: "Recent company comments and government data have underscored the notion that the U.S. economy is stronger than expected, heading into the end of the year, and that companies will post another quarter of double-digit earnings growth."

So, is it the economy, stupid? This election will be a test.

UPDATE: Eric Ashley emails:

Its not "the economy stupid" because the MSM gets to change the standards by which they, and in consequence, a lot of people judge events and leaders. Its somewhat like the hour eye-care place where the doc flips through various lenses asking "is this one better, or this one?" until he finds the ones that makes his "EIMG" chart look good.

The difference is the doc's definition of looking good is clarity. The MSM's is prettiness of the chart aka 'voting Democratic'.

And Bart Halls says it didn't get much on NPR:

A yawn. Didn't even mention it. "Dow Jones industrials closed up about 20 points." Nothing to see here. Move along.

I recall back in late '99 and early '00 they were crowing about it every single time. Then again, there was a Democrat in the White House. That sort of self-deception is one reason the left are repeatedly disappointed by their electoral results.

Yes, it does seem to me that the economy during the tech bubble got a lot more positive attention.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Duane Simpson blames Bush!

We can’t really blame the press for ignoring the economy, the Administration is just as responsible. “It’s the Economy Stupid” was a quote from Carville to remind Clinton and Co. to constantly talk about the economy. Bush and all of the Republican candidates for office need to be talking economy all of the time if they expect to get any credit for it.

Advice to Karl Rove: Here's your story hook -- get the press to cover the Bush Administration's failure to talk about how good the economy is! There's an angle they'll buy . . . .

ED MORRISSEY takes a look at the latest from Harry Reid and finds Reid's complaints unconvincing:

Let's get this straight. Reid's failure to follow the Senate rules on disclosure in 2001, when he sat on the Ethics Committee, somehow got set up by the Republicans. Reid's connection to an attorney involved in a bribery case that directly related to zoning decisions in Clark County, where they both owned property, was a Rovian plot set in motion in 1998. And now Reid's new disclosures of property in an area where he has taken an intense legislative interest somehow relates to Republicans, when no one even mentioned the parcels in question -- because Reid failed to disclose them during his entire time as Senate Minority Leader, while he has castigated Republicans for alleged ethical lapses.

The only reason he's coming clean is because the AP caught him breaking the rules earlier, and it pointed out the extensive connections between Reid, Nevada land developers, and the legislation he has championed that has benefitted all of them. . . .

Besides, the man made $700,000 in profits in 2004 on that one sale of land that, according to his disclosure statements, he didn't even own at the time. He couldn't even part with $1200 of it from his own pocket in bonuses, gifts, and a Christmas party for his staff? He had to stick his contributors with the bill? Perhaps he figured it all came from the same source and didn't make much difference.

Indeed.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Meanwhile, on the they're-probably-all-crooks front, the Weldon probe widens.

WHEN AN AK-47 is not an AK-47. John Tabin elucidates.

October 16, 2006

DAVE WEIGEL: "if Democrats win power next month, they'll do it on the backs of very conservative candidates."

He adds: "Democrats in tight races in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the rest of the swing districts are mostly running against voter malaise and Iraq war conduct, as opposed to the idea of the Iraq war. You're not hearing many Democrats rule out strikes on Iran or North Korea, and you are hearing many backpedal at Roadrunner-speed from citizenship-based immigration reform and gay marriage."

JOE USER COMMENTS on the InstaPundit / Rush Limbaugh faceoff.

UPDATE: I can't be a "RINO" because I've never claimed to be a Republican. I wouldn't mind if the GOP won this time -- but as I said, they don't really deserve it.

KIM JONG IL RISES TO THE CHALLENGE: I challenge: "Sounds like a fizzle. I dare Kim Jong Il to test another one!"

What comes next? "U.S spy satellites have detected 'suspicious vehicle movements' that could be preparations for another test near the site where North Korea conducted its first underground nuclear explosion test on Oct. 9, ABC News said, quoting unidentified U.S. officials."

Let me stress that it will take several successful test explosions to convince me that North Korea really has workable nukes. Say six or eight. Anything less could be a fluke.

IS NORTH KOREA'S BIGGER THREAT its non-nuclear weapons? "The consensus among weapons inspectors, intelligence analysts, academics and others I have interviewed—–which is backed up by the available open source material—-is that North Korea has developed anthrax, plague and botulism toxin as weapons and has extensively researched at least six other germs including smallpox and typhoid."

ROGER SIMON ON TODAY'S POLITICS: "It's blood sport performed by truly uninteresting performers-basketball without Kobe, Shaq or Jordan. People like Reid, Hastert, Pelosi are complete mediocrities who should be at much lower levels in our society. Something is fundamentally wrong on both sides of the aisle if they are the upper leadership of our Congress."

Politics is not attracting our best people.

A PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH TONY SNOW: At RedState.

NED LAMONT'S CONCESSION SPEECH: At the Huffington Post.

UPDATE: Reader Fred LaSor emails:

I read Huffington's draft of Lamont's concession speech with growing incredulity: the drafter(s) say Lamont should run on speaking out for what he believes in, not what the pollsters advise him to say. If CT's voters want a senator who says what he believes, the choice is evident: Lieberman. There's a candidate who tells it like it is -- so his party abandons him. Who's fooling whom?

And does this mean that so far Lamont has been just a tool of his campaign consultants? Does that explain why he's polling so badly? That's pretty damning, isn't it?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ouch: "The nutroots do indeed feel double-crossed by Lamont, not because he's doing as every candidate does late in the campaign by moving to the center, but because he is losing. . . . The only one who has been double-crossed is Ned Lamont."

NORTH KOREA NUKE UPDATE:

The United States reported Monday that radiation-detecting aircraft had confirmed that North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test a week ago.

Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte's office said in a statement that airborne sensors last Wednesday detected "radioactive debris," confirming that a nuclear test took place near P'unggye, in northeastern North Korea. "The explosion yield was less than a kiloton," it added.

Sounds like a fizzle. I dare Kim Jong Il to test another one!

MORE HARRY REID NEWS:

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has been using campaign donations instead of his personal money to pay Christmas bonuses for the support staff at the Ritz-Carlton where he lives in an upscale condominium. Federal election law bars candidates from converting political donations for personal use.

Questioned about the campaign expenditures by The Associated Press, Reid's office said Monday he was personally reimbursing his campaign for $3,300 in donations he had directed to the staff holiday fund at his residence.

Pretty small potatoes, but it can't be a welcome development.

BUSH HAS signed the anti-firearms-confiscation bill, according to David Hardy.

K.C. JOHNSON has more on the unravelling Duke rape case. "Unless laws of time, space, and motion do not apply in Durham, the three people charged are innocent."

Plus, "The Nifong Usurpation." Sounds like a Ludlum title.

UPDATE: More from LaShawn Barber.

WHAT HATH CAPT. ED WROUGHT? "Breaking news: Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to file amended ethics reports over land deal highlighted by Associated Press story, his office says."

Okay, it was really AP.

IRAQ BODY COUNT, often criticized for offering inflated civilian death figures, is now criticizing the Lancet study for offering inflated civilian death figures.

HMM: "THE Chinese are openly debating 'regime change' in Pyongyang after last week's nuclear test by their confrontational neighbour."

A VIDEO from Iran's arrested Ayatollah, Seyyed Husayn Borujerdi,the Shia Ayatollah who supports separation of church and state.

THE DEFINITIVE Iraq war op-ed, by Frank J. Fleming.

REMEMBER WHEN JOURNALISTS SPECIALIZED IN TELLING US THINGS instead of keeping secrets? "BBC mounts court fight to keep 'critical' report secret."

JIM GERAGHTY RESPONDS to my GOP pre-mortem. "The good news is, it’s very clear that 2005-2006 style Republican leadership is destined for the – well, forget being put out to pasture, let’s talk glue factory."

UPDATE: I didn't hear it, but according to reader email Rush Limbaugh singled out my pre-mortem post for criticism today.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Transcript and audio are available here, but I think only until tomorrow night. Excerpt:

The term GOP premortem, I don't know who used it first, but a couple of other bloggers and stuff just think it's cool and they're all slapped -- not all, two or three of them slapped it up. They think it's really cool. One of them is I know is Glenn Reynolds. What's his place? Instant Pundit? I'm not sure, but here's his analysis: "If the GOP Goes Down, It's Because It Had It Coming." Once again, let me ask: if the Republicans win, is it because they had it coming? What kind of a fool reason is it to suggest that if the Republicans lose, it's because they had it coming? Do Democrats have nothing coming? Why is it that we still can't focus on, beyond me and the USA Today columnist who picked up this thread, why is it that we can't focus on what happens to the Democrats if they lose?

Well, in the post Limbaugh links, I answer that first question:

I think it's silly to pretend that the GOP isn't in trouble -- just look at the futures markets, as WindyPundit has. And if they do somehow squeak out a victory, it won't be because they've been doing well all along. As WindyPundit says, "Certainly they haven't delivered much of what they promised." . . . But as I say above, even if they win, they need to learn from their mistakes. A last-minute win after four quarters of dropped balls doesn't mean that the balls weren't dropped.

But read the whole thing.

SEBASTIAN MALLABY: "With Mark Warner out of the 2008 Demstakes, the chief anti-Hillary centrist is Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana. This is a depressing commentary on the state of the Democratic Party. Bayh may have cleared his schedule to woo Warner supporters on Thursday. But he has yet to prove himself a real contender -- and he may not be a real centrist, either."

I liked Warner, but I don't know much about Bayh yet.

TRYING TO INTIMIDATE A BLOGGER: This generally backfires.

THE INSTA-DAUGHTER is recovering nicely, and is somewhat groggily reading a novel. Thanks for the nice emails.

HOSPIBLOGGING: At Children's Hospital, where the Insta-Daughter is in for some tests. Back later. In my absence, you can amuse yourself with this online Ford/Corker debate from Business TN magazine. Ignore the popup box asking for registration; it's not required.

Also, Capt. Ed has a column in the Post looking at the Harry Reid land deal scandal.

October 15, 2006

SOME PEOPLE HAVE HAD TROUBLE streaming 18 Doughty Street (here's Jeff Jarvis's rant) but it's worked fine for me.

THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT doesn't support blogs?

ADVICE FOR BOB CORKER in the Tennessee Senate race. Plus, how Harold Ford, Jr. used a hard-line stance on immigration to defang right-wing talk-radio hosts.

PRESS RELEASE OF THE DAY: The publicists for American Mourning have hit on a novel approach, comparing its Amazon ranking with that of Cindy Sheehan's book, Peace Mom. Excerpt:

Most compellingly, "American Mourning" offers a potrayal of another American family that lost a child in the war on terrorism - Joe & Jan Johnson of Rome, Georgia. Their son, Justin, dies one week after Cindy Sheehan's son, Casey, died. And to make things more amazing - Justin and Casey were best buddies in the U.S. Army.

But unlike Cindy Sheehan, Joe & Jan Johnson honored their son and his sacrifice for his country. In fact, Justin's father, Joe, re-enlists in the Army at the age of 43 and goes off to Iraq to fight the Islamic militants who had killed his son.

Is it any wonder then, why Sheehan's "Peace Mom" is getting clobbered in the sales charts by Morgan & Moy's inspirational "American Mourning?" Check out the sales ranks for yourself - it's not even close. And for the past few weeks, even though their book had yet to be released, Morgan & Moy were still outselling Sheehan's "Peace Mom."

Cindy Sheehan's book, Peace "Mom" (ranked # 155,717 as of 7:00 PM Sunday 10/15/2006)

Melanie Morgan's & Catherine Moy's "American Mourning" (ranked # 836 as of 7:00 PM Sunday 10/15/2006)

As I post this, the gap's actually widened a bit. It's possible to make too much of Amazon rankings, and people often do, but this is a big difference, and it's a cleverer-than-usual press release. And I get enough of them to judge . . . .


A PILOT'S PERSPECTIVE on the Cory Lidle crash.

HEY, MAYBE THIS IS AN ARGUMENT FOR GAY MARRIAGE: "Married couples, whose numbers have been declining for decades as a proportion of American households, have finally slipped into a minority, according to an analysis of new census figures by The New York Times."

No, I'm actually serious here. The article suggests that as the proportion of married couples declines, support for marriage from employers, etc., may decline as well. More marriages = more support.

UPDATE: Not everyone is persuaded. I'm even charged with "bizarre logic." It's not clear what's bizarre about it, though.

EARTHQUAKE IN HAWAII: Roundup here.

IT'S NOT JUST HERE: The Dutch are having problems with voting machines, too. More on election fraud here.

BRENDAN O'NEILL looks at censorship of scientific speech.

UPDATE: It's backfiring. But hey, here's someone standing up for free speech!

DAVE KOPEL, CALL YOUR OFFICE:

More than a dozen teachers and public school employees will spend part of their UEA weekend in a classroom — learning how to use a gun.

Clark Aposhian is offering a free class today to public school employees seeking to get their concealed- weapons permit.

"It is self-defense," he told the Deseret Morning News on Thursday. "But because teachers and school administrators and custodians are typically surrounded by students all day, any threat to any individual with a firearm would also be a threat to those students."

The concealed-weapons instructor's offer was met with opposition from some teachers and union representatives at the Utah Education Association's conference in Salt Lake City.

"We've always resisted the idea of arming school employees," said Susan Kuziak, executive director of the 18,000-member teachers union.

Indeed they have. But not everyone is listening: "So far, about 2 dozen teachers and public school employees have signed up for his class."

A PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH JOHAN NORBERG: He's generally worth listening to.

SOMEHOW I MISSED THIS: Another record high for the Dow on Friday.

MICKEY KAUS notes another missed issue for the Republicans.

KARL ROVE'S SECRET WEAPON: C.J. Burch emails: "This is probably why Karl Rove is up beat. Every time the Republicans are in trouble a Democratic mouth breather steps forward to save them. It's feaking uncanny. And it's not helping the Republic, though it is a big favor to the Republicans."

It was Burch who wrote a while back that: "I grow more and more convinced the Republican majority will end itself by 2006 if the Left will just shut up for five minutes." That may be what decides the elections.

UPDATE: TigerHawk notes an upside: Murtha is disagreeing with The Lancet: " I wonder if any reporter will ask Murtha whether he supports the findings of The Lancet studies? I'm not really holding my breath, but the political consequences of his answer would certainly be interesting."

Plus this: "Murtha is obviously running for Majority Leader when Pelosi moves up to Speaker, but he's also reinforcing Bush's points about the Democrats' being unserious about terrorism."

MORE: Tom Elia notes that Nancy Pelosi is smart enough to take C.J. Burch's advice.

OUCH: John McCain's spokesman: "I never expected the Clintons or their allies to know much about Vietnam."

UPDATE: Reader John McKay emails:

The interesting thing (to me, a military historian) is that no-one has
stated the obvious about any supposed statement McCain gave in Vietnam, "reciting the names of his crew mates." It would be a mighty short speech, as McCain was flying an A-4 Skyhawk, a single-seat
fighter-bomber, when he was shot down, and had no other "crew mates"!

Heh. Like the man said, they don't know much about this stuff . . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: A different kind of Vietnam history.

INSTAPUNDIT: SHILL FOR THE DEMOCRATS! Reader Rob Burg emails:

Your GOP Pre-Mortem post differs little in my view from what you've otherwise decried as Laphamization. Call it, for the techno-babble enthusiasists or jargon lovers, Insta-Laphamization. For those who are a little more sanguine about Republican prospects, or for those who are jargon-impaired, call it what it likely is: BS.

Hmm. I offered an explanation in light of expected events, not a falsely labelled account of events that hadn't yet occurred. So I don't think "Laphamization" fits.

He also challenges me to: "Come out with some tough criticism on your blog of Harold Ford for claiming to be a lawyer when in fact he isn't--something you'd be singularly placed to do."

He's talking about this:

The Corker campaign has acknowledged Ford's oratorical skills but is hoping to take advantage of what they have alleged as Ford's embellishment of his resume.

At issue is whether Ford should be allowed to call himself a lawyer. He has referred to himself as a lawyer to several media outlets, but Ford senior adviser Michael Powell has denied that the candidate has represented himself as a practicing attorney.

Ford earned his law degree the University of Michigan in 1996, the same year he was elected to Congress. He failed the bar exam the following year.

This has gotten Ford some flak, but it doesn't seem that huge to me. I ran it by my wife -- who's a strong Corker supporter -- and she didn't think it was a big deal. It's true that "lawyer," strictly speaking, means someone licensed to practice law, but the term is often used to refer to anyone with a law degree. Compared to Tom Harkin's phony Vietnam-vet status, it doesn't even register.

More damaging for Ford is the corollary to this, something he's never made a secret of: that he went straight from law school to his father's seat in Congress at the age of 26. But the voters know about that, and can make up their own minds.

UPDATE: Reader John Bragg emails:

Given that a large percentage of voting Americans tend to confuse "lawyer" with "dirtbag", claiming that he's not a lawyer is supposed to hurt Ford? "Come out with some tough criticism on your blog of Harold Ford for claiming to be a dirtbag when in fact he isn't...." Somehow that doesn't strike me as a brilliant strategy for the anti-Ford brigades.

I'm wounded at the notion that some Americans lack the high regard for lawyers that . . . Oh, hell, he's right. Accusing your opponent of not being a lawyer isn't exactly cutting to the bone.

Likewise, charging someone with partying with Playboy bunnies seems like pretty weak tea. I was talking about that with a Republican friend the other day, who said it was the best thing he'd heard about Ford so far. He's not alone: Few people will really be offended by that, and other voters will find partying with bunnies to be amusing and perhaps even appealing, and if nothing else it undercuts potential voter worries that Ford is a goodie-two-shoes or -- post-Foleygate, a risk for any unmarried male member of Congress -- gay, which would seem to do his campaign more good than harm.

Ford's somewhat Clintonian answer, though, "I've never been to a Playboy Mansion party," (it was a Playboy party, but not at the Mansion) is an unforced error on his part.

UPDATE: Reader Chris Barr emails:

It’s the silly season. I’m a rock ribbed Republican, but I think it’s crazy not recognize Ford’s considerable skills, and he seems like a decent guy, to boot. Back when I listened to Don Imus, Ford was a fairly frequent guest. He always struck me as fairly reasonable, genial, and very intelligent and articulate. Sure he tended to parrot the talking points of the day, but they almost all do that. I could vote for him—he’s one of the very very few Dems with a national reputation that I can stomach.

His “lawyer” problem is a little troubling, but not much. He was lawyer enough to graduate from the University of Michigan. If the Instawife is cool, then I’m good to go. And I agree with your correspondent about the Playboy party. He like girls! And goes to Church. Where’s the beef?

It’s all part of the game, I know, but it’s easy to see how many highly qualified and talented folks don’t want to play that game. More’s the shame.

I said a long time ago that no sane person would want to be President. As campaigns get uglier (and Ford/Corker isn't all that ugly, really), that's working its way down the chain of office.

PORK AS A CAMPAIGN ISSUE: It's surfacing in the Diana Irey vs. John Murtha campaign, where Irey says: "Perhaps Mr. Murtha is scared to debate me because he knows I will hold him accountable before the voters for his long history of ethically questionable behavior in trading hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarked federal appropriations for millions of dollars in campaign contributions -- behavior so flagrant that even a liberal congressional watchdog group listed him just a few weeks ago as one of the 25 most corrupt Members of Congress."

She's hit this issue before.

THEY EXPECT TO WIN VIA HIGHER TURNOUT: "Amid widespread panic in the Republican establishment about the coming midterm elections, there are two people whose confidence about GOP prospects strikes even their closest allies as almost inexplicably upbeat: President Bush and his top political adviser, Karl Rove. Some Republicans on Capitol Hill are bracing for losses of 25 House seats or more. But party operatives say Rove is predicting that, at worst, Republicans will lose only 8 to 10 seats -- shy of the 15-seat threshold that would cede control to Democrats for the first time since the 1994 elections and probably hobble the balance of Bush's second term."

So do they know more than the rest of us, or are they out of touch with reality? We'll know in a few weeks.

CHEERING MOB VIOLENCE at the Los Angeles Times: Patterico is not amused.

Reap what you sow, etc.

JOHN WIXTED: "The rich were better off under Clinton than Bush."

This has a man-bites-dog flavor, but when you look at the donor bases of the two parties it shouldn't really be a surprise.

ANN ALTHOUSE: "The NYT wonders if Hillary Clinton will ever have 'a profile-in-courage moment.' The answer is no, isn't it? Wouldn't she admit that to a confidante? She will probably some day have something that looks like a 'a profile-in-courage moment,' but when she does, it will be because never having one is perceived as more of a political risk than having just the right, precisely calculated one."

HARRY REID ON THE HOT SEAT: The Las Vegas Review-Journal writes:

Senate ethics rules require members to file annual reports that must include information on all investment property transactions. A former official with the Federal Elections Commission told The AP that Sen. Reid had violated his chamber's ethics guidelines.

By Thursday, Sen. Reid was a bit more contrite while awaiting a ruling from the Senate ethics committee on his actions. "I don't want to try to be flippant about this," he said. "If the ethics committee wants me to file a technical correction, then I will be happy to do it."

On the scandal scale, Sen. Reid's handling of the land deal hardly rises to Watergate status. But even several left-leaning newspapers -- including The Washington Post -- criticized the senator. The Philadelphia Inquirer went so far as to urge Democrats to boot Sen. Reid as their leader barring additional evidence in his favor.

All this raises the question: How does a savvy political operative such as Sen. Reid make a bush-league error and find himself ankle deep in the manure pit? For the past few years, Sen. Reid has been railing about a Republican "culture of corruption" -- and has eagerly sought to exploit the Foley mess for his party's political gain. Oops.

Perhaps after Sen. Reid scrapes the dung off his shoes, he'll tend to the egg on his face.

Our political system doesn't attract the best people -- who, I guess, go into business or whatever. That's good: A society where all the best people go into politics and government is a society in trouble. But I can't help feeling that maybe we've gone just a bit too far in the other direction.

nonstandard.spacetime.warning.thumbOVER AT THE LIFEBOAT FOUNDATION, they're working on warning signs for tomorrow.

I kind of liked this one.

JULES CRITTENDEN looks at the October Follies. This seems to happen every October in an even-numbered year . . . .

LIBERTARIANS AND POLITICS: Interesting discussion over at Hit and Run, and this comment seems dead-on to me:

The fact is, libertarians aren't generally joiners. Yet to influence people, you have to go to their meetings, bring a snack, raise funds for them, and listen to their ideas before they'll listen to yours. Politics is about people, after all, and people don't often think in policy paper terms. If you want to change minds you have to engage others in a positive way.

The evangelical right captured the Republican Party by joining it and working hard for it, eclipsing the paleocons that had enjoyed elder statesmen status. If libertarians really want influence, they're going to have to work for it instead of taking for granted that "if the Democrats are pro-government, the other party must be anti-government."

You know how many libertarians it takes to change a lightbulb? Only one, but you have to get him to show up.

Plus this: "It would be nice to see the Grey Lady and other major papers pay more attention to the incredibly shady dealings that keep third parties out of debates all over the country; hell, it would be nice just see them mention that third parties exist as anything other than comic relief."

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