InstaPundit.Com

3/16/2002

BEER CALLS: Have a good night.

THE NEW PATRIOTISM: A car with two bumperstickers: "Queer Pride" and a flag-waving "United We Stand." Saw it yesterday.

TIM O'REILLY writes on copy protection. (Via Electrolite).

DAMIAN PENNY DECLARES A FATWA against The New Statesman for writing a smug putdown of Newfoundland. He concludes: "This will be remembered next time the oh-so-PC New Statesman prattles on about 'racism'." Such double standards are no surprise to those of us who live in the South. Now, apparently, they're happening to people in the North.

FABRICATING QUOTES AT THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Matt Welch has the whole question covered. To me, this is much worse than anything that Stephen Ambrose has been accused of, but I doubt it will generate the same response.

It sure makes me think worse of the Chronicle, though. Not that I thought that highly before.

JOANNE JACOBS is on FoxNews talking about charter schools and the British press.

AUSTRALIA: A paradise of wild sex, from its parliament to its sports teams.

No wonder Tim Blair seems so cheerful.

THE USE OF NATIONAL GUARD troops on border-guard duty isn't that popular, even with the National Guard.

JIM BENNETT writes more about India, part of it in response to some of Suman Palit's criticisms.

I KNEW JAMES TOBIN, JAMES TOBIN WAS A TEACHER OF MINE, AND YOU, PAUL KRUGMAN, ARE NO JAMES TOBIN: That's the gist of this brutal response by Ben Stein to Paul Krugman's oped/obituary on Tobin. I found this via Bill Quick. It's worth reading.

HERE'S A new weblog devoted to music, out of Los Angeles. Not bad, though it pays insufficient attention to the forthcoming Reid Speed CD.

WASTED DAYS ARE THE BEST: My brother and I spent the day touring music shops. (My wife is at the indie film festival, and my daughter is weekending with cousins). We managed to avoid buying anything, which is no small feat, and we had lunch at a Knoxville institution: the 25-year-old "Ali Baba's Time Out Deli," a hole-in-the-wall place that's run by Arabs and serves "kosher-style deli sandwiches." Although it's in the middle of the 'burbs, it has a campus-like ambience. The crowd today included a doctor in scrubs, a rather busty woman in shortshorts and a "Coyote" tank top, some young Arab guys, and a dreadlocked Jamaican. The food was good, as always, and cheap. Then we sat on the patio at Charlie Pepper's and had a beer. Ah, a good day.

THE REV. TONY PIERCE has this post on the delightful L.A. Bloggers' party. Ken Layne has one, too, as well as a report (scroll up) from a similar event in Berkeley that I was not fortunate enough to attend.

DOZENS OF PEOPLE have emailed me about this essay by Michael Walzer on what's going on with the Left these days. I've only skimmed it (my attention last night was devoted to 24 oz. bottles of Corona and the Charlie's Angels movie on video) but it's definitely worth a read. Here's one passage that seems especially true to life with regard to the academic Left:

In fact, when we blame America, we also lift ourselves above the blameworthy (other) Americans. The left sets itself apart. Whatever America is doing in the world isn’t our doing. In some sense, of course, that is true. The defeat of facism in the middle years of the twentieth century and of communism in the last years were not our doing. Some of us, at least, thought that these efforts merited our support--or our “critical support.” But this is a complicated and difficult politics, and it doesn’t allow for the favorite posture of many American leftists: standing as a righteous minority, brave and determined, among the timid, the corrupt, and the wicked. A posture like that ensures at once the moral superiority of the left and its political failure.
Compare that passage with this piece and you'll see what I mean.

TONY ADRAGNA has some interesting insights into action versus rhetoric in Bush Administration foreign policy. I think that he's onto something; I wonder, however, if this isn't producing the perception -- and perhaps the reality -- of wobbliness as a side effect.

CHARLES JOHNSON has evidence of self-examination in Saudi Arabia. No, really.

MY BROTHER IS IN TOWN. That means less posting, and more beer, this weekend. (I'm not as good as Stephen Green at combining posting and boozing).

EUROPE threatens to go nuclear on trade in response to the steel tariff decision.

The steel tariff was dumb. This is dumber.

3/15/2002

JOSH MARSHALL joins in the blogosphere's attack on Natasha Berger's piece in The American Prospect, and goes on to attack Robert Reich.

Of course, Marshall's big evidence that Reich told a fib is. . . a statement by Bill Clinton. Given Reich's rather, ahem, imaginative memoirs, this is a real Clash of the Titans in the dubiety department.

TODAY'S KIDS ARE GREAT KIDS, Tim Blair writes, because of The Simpsons:

They’re not cynically ironic and vaguely paranoid like Generation Xers. They’re not creepy and lazy, like hippies. They’re not demographically over-represented and smug like Boomers. And they’re not paralyzed by straightjacket social conventions, like the Boomers’ parents.

Why are they so? Part of the reason: These kids grew up with The Simpsons. Who wouldn’t be well-adjusted and smart after years of exposure to Homer.

There's much more. Read it.

JONAH GOLDBERG takes on media bias and Jonathan Chait.

TIPPER UPDATE: ABC News has changed its mind: now they're saying that Tipper may be a serious candidate after all.

HERE'S THE LINK to John Ellis's column on weblogs from Fast Company,, which I mentioned earlier. It's up now.

THANKS TO STEPHEN GREEN, I ran across this OpinionJournal piece on women with guns at Mt. Holyoke, a topic covered here earlier. (The piece also mentions the Harvard Law School shooting club). Great piece. I think the culture change continues.

WOBBLY UPDATE: I think the wobbliness is an issue. I just turned on the radio at the top of the hour to catch the weather, and got the end of a Rush Limbaugh segment in which he tried to answer worries that Bush was going wobbly by suggesting that Bush was playing a deeper game. But he didn't sound too sure of himself (which itself is news where Limbaugh is concerned).

Luckily for Bush, the Democrats are ideologically incapable of getting to the right of him on this issue. But McCain might try it in '04 if Bush looks vulnerable, and do him enough damage to put the general election at risk. Orrin Judd just emailed me that the "gung-ho pro-war types" will back Bush no matter what. But not if he looks soft.

Even if you think an aggressive approach is better, you may not back someone you think will wimp out. A half-hearted war is not a second-best approach to war, even if you think war is the best approach.

DIANNE FEINSTEIN FELONY REVEALED! Just read this story by Declan McCullagh, and notice this passage:

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Feinstein held up a burned CD with a pirated version of the movie Shrek that she said an aide had downloaded from a peer-to-peer network.
The United States Senate: A nest of felons!

Well, if you listen to Jack Valenti's view of the law, anyway. And how come it's OK for a Senate aide to admit this kind of thing, while Dmitri Sklyarov got prosecuted without committing any actual piracy at all? Hypocrites. McCullagh's article makes clear that Feinstein has chosen Hollywood over Silicon Valley in the copyright wars. I hope that Silicon Valley will remember this.

THE WOBBLY WATCH feature has generated a lot of mail. About half think that Bush is playing a deeper game than I give him credit for; the other half think he's wimping out. Both are possibilities, and I can't say for sure which is true. But I think that any sign of weakening before terrorism is bad, and that that's how Bush's comments look.

Of course, they could be playing the classic Arab game: talk a lot and deliver nothing. Perhaps Zinni will continue to "engage" Arafat, while Israeli security forces engage Palestinian terrorists. That would be fine with me.

READER TIMOTHY DESMOND WRITES: "Glenn, why don't you or other bloggers ever mention or link Matt Drudge? Isn't he after all the grandfather of blogging, insofar as alternative journalism relates to blogging?" Good question on the second part. I don't really think of Drudge as a blogger -- he's more like an alternative news service, with occasional independent reportage. But he doesn't write opinion stuff on his page. He's certainly the god of alternative web journalism, though, and that leads to blogging.

Interesting question. Is Drudge a blogger?

As for why I don't link to him -- well, I do occasionally. But I actually try to avoid using him because I figure everyone reads Drudge anyway. Most days I don't visit his site, because I don't want my content to be too Drudge-driven.

KEN LAYNE says that even hungover liberal journalists are deserting Gray Davis. Simon may turn out to be stronger than people think.

ABC'S NEW CORPORATE BLOG, THE NOTE, pours cold water on the Tipper Gore for Senate story. It also continues its idiotic policy of printing URLs, but not having them as links, presumably because some pointy-haired boss is afraid that people will leave the site.

Yeah, they might follow a link to leave the site, but they'll come by more often. Here's a quote from John Ellis's excellent column in the April Fast Company, which isn't on the web yet:

But while the newspapers and magazines attempt to add value with perspective, their value-added proposition only applies within their own architecture. In the case of the New York Times, that means within the pages of the paper itself or on its Web site. It never watns you to wander off the reservation. . . .

What distinguishes bloggers in general is that they fit the new architecture. They link to anything and everything that they consider worth reading. A good story in the New York Times? Just click, and you're there. A good article in some godforsaken journal? Click, and you're there. Bloggers aren't devoted to keeping you on their page. Their purpose is to take you to other places. They figure that if they do that well enough, you'll return to the peer group that they host.

Somebody at ABC needs to figure that out. The Note is actually pretty good, but I seldom read it because the linkage is a pain; and I seldom link to it for the same reason.

SAMIZDATA presents evidence that North Korea may be cracking.

It's bound to happen sooner or later. And when it does, and we find out that there are city-sized starvation camps in operation there and have been for years, the people who have adopted a constructive-engagement will deserve a good kick in the ass. I suspect, actually, that such a discovery will bring down Kim Dae Jung's administration, if it is made on his watch.

JOSH MARSHALL joins the Blogosphere in dissing Natasha Berger's piece in The American Prospect defending Doris Kearns Goodwin, calling her defense "rather feeble." He then (by way of a Cambridge-schadenfreude maneuver) segues to talking about Robert Reich being in trouble for apparently lying about Clinton encouraging him to run for Governor in Massachusetts.

Of course, the big evidence of a Reich lie is . . . a statement by Bill Clinton! Clinton's truthfulness needs no comment, but set against Reich's, ahem, imaginative writing in his memoirs it's clear that we have a real Clash Of The Titans in the dubiety department.

IT'S NICE TO BE MISSED! I was travelling yesterday, and took the morning off to spend some quality time with my lovely and talented wife. More blogging will follow shortly.

3/14/2002

BUSH IS GETTING HIMSELF IN SERIOUS TROUBLE over the war. Democrats must be chortling at this.

WANT MORE BLOGGER ATTACKS on the steel tariffs decision? Heck, who doesn't? And Brink Lindsey's got 'em!. His new blog is worth checking out, even if you're tired of the tariff issue (what? impossible! inconceivable! absurd!). I love his book, Against the Dead Hand, and I'm sure he'll have lots of cogent observations to offer on all sorts of economic issues. And probably non-economic ones, too.

QUITE SOME TIME AGO I blasted the antigun Violence Policy Center for making unsupported charges that Barrett Rifles had sold guns to Osama bin Laden (Barrett says it sold guns to the U.S. government, which were passed on to anti-Soviet forces that may or may not have included bin Laden). I just noticed that this article by Dave Kopel on the subject from December (which I linked to here at the time) now has an update (scroll to the bottom) saying that the VPC has -- months after the fact (are they worried about a libel suit by Barrett?) -- produced some evidence. I haven't read the VPC's report that Kopel links to, and I don't trust the VPC much. But you can follow the link and decide for yourself if you want.

My suggestion for the VPC is that, the next time they charge a defense contractor, during wartime, with selling weapons to the enemy, they do their research before they publish the charges, not months afterward.

SERGEANT STRYKER more-or-less agrees with Andrew Sullivan about gays in the military, but with some pithy observations about political and legal maneuverings.

MICKEY KAUS trashes an odious anti-blog piece in The American Prospect. We talked about it at yesterday's UCLA blogging program, and I thought I'd finally get around to posting on it, but he's beaten me to the punch with excellent points.

I'll post a summary of the program tomorrow; some interesting things were said.

JAY ZILBER SAYS THAT I'm too easy on Bush with my "wobbly watch" feature. He thinks Bush has just sold out Israel, and caved on terrorism.

JONATHAN LAST has great expectations for weblogs.

I'M BACK. Actually, I've been back for a while -- believe it or not, I didn't rush to the computer the instant I got home. The flight back was another painless trip -- the security was easy (though they neglected to look at the back of my drivers' license at every point where I presented it -- and with a Tennessee license you have to do that to be sure it's still valid). The cabin crews were cheerful, and the food was even edible.

One worrisome note: we had to abort our landing -- at the very last moment -- at Hartsfield/Atlanta because there was a plane on the runway. A flight attendant told me that was the second time that had happened to her this week. Sounds like Hartsfield's got a problem.

UPDATE: Reader Mark Christian objects to the driver's license comment:

Ah, it's not like they are trying to make sure you are eligible to drive. They just want to make sure it is you, which I suppose you continue to be even after your license expires.
Uh, no. What makes a driver's license useful as ID is that you need it to drive, meaning that people will keep close tabs on theirs, giving rise to a presumption that if you have it, it's probably yours. (And if you lose yours, you'll report it lost, which would show up in the computer if anyone checked -- not that they do -- so you can get a new one.) An expired license, on the other hand, is just trash, and could be recovered from a dumpster and used with its proper owner none the wiser.

But, you know, nobody checks that. I've been to the White House several times (pre-9/11) and nobody ever looked at the back of the license -- even though if you just look at the front, it shows an expiration date that's well in the past. The only person who's ever flipped it over to check for the renewal sticker on the back was the cashier at a convenience market where I was buying beer. Give that guy Tom Ridge's job!

3/13/2002

WOBBLY WATCH UPDATE: You can't blame Colin Powell for this one:

President Bush criticized Israel today, saying that a halt to bloodshed in the Middle East depends on a willingness to "create conditions for peace" and asserting that Israel's actions of late have been counterproductive.

"Frankly, it's not helpful, what Israel has recently done," Mr. Bush said at an afternoon news conference.

At another point, the president said he hoped that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel was concerned about the loss of "innocent life" in the region.

"It breaks my heart," Mr. Bush said.

Bush is going to let the air out of the American war effort, let al Qaeda and the Saudis off the hook, and become a one-termer like his father if he keeps this up. And he won't have to keep it up for long.

DAMIEN CAVE, who I was just praising yesterday, has an excellent story on copy-protection and Congressional cluelessness, and corruption, in Salon today.

A DATA JUNKIE'S PARADISE: Check out the National Center for Injury Prevention & Control's Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System, and go hog wild.

Want to know, for instance, how many children age 14 or younger were killed in firearms accidents, homcides, and suicides in 1999? Turns out the total population was 60 million, and of them 88 died in firearms accidents, 283 in homicides (over 40% of these involve 13- and 14-year-olds), and 103 in suicides.

And if you want to compare to other sources, such as drownings (927 accidental deaths for children age 14 or younger), you can do that, too. This is just an example; my main area of scholarly interest as to injury prevention is firearms regulation, so this is what I find particularly interesting -- but the site obviously covers much more than that.

Think how hard it was to get stuff like this before the Internet, when all of us were at the mercy of what the newspapers told us. Now, as Ken Layne tells us, you can fact-check their asses (and ours!).

Oh, and don't let your mother see the stats on motorcycle fatalities.

WOBBLY WATCH: Even The BullMoose is complaining about Bush going wobbly last week:

Secretary Powell stated, "If you declare war against the Palestinians thinking that you can solve the problem by seeing how many Palestinians can be killed, I don't know that leads us anywhere."

These comments sound like they could have come from a lefty European foreign official criticizing the United States war against terror in Afghanistan. The moral equivalence embedded in this statement is staggering. It also prompts the question, what would Secretary Powell propose the Israelis do in the face of suicide bombers who purposely seek to kill children? . . .

By undercutting Israel's battle against terror, the U.S. case is weakened. In our own war, we are inevitably going to be confronted with the dilemma of civilian casualties. There will be international condemnation. Yet, we cannot lose perspective on the difference between those who intentionally seek to kill civilians and the accidental loss of life as a result of attacking terrorist targets. The language of moral equivalence only emboldens terrorists who are led to believe that Israel will be restrained by American pressure from defending herself.

Bemoaning the "cycle of violence," could come back to haunt the Administration.

Karl Rove, are you reading this?

THIS COLUMN BY FRANK GAFFNEY makes me wonder who the disinformation office was really aimed at.

ANOTHER ARTICLE ON BLOGGING, this one by Ed Driscoll in SpinTech magazine.

READER RICK CAIRD has this to say about Bob Kuttner's piece (quoted below) disparaging "jingoism":

Until 9/11, I hadn't heard the word "jingoism" since high school history (nearly 40 years ago). It seems that now whenever the left want to disparage patriotism and counter the good feelings toward Bush, they trot out "jingoism". It is as if they are shamed by the rest of us. but don't want to admit it. So, they disparage.
They disparage, and they demonstrate that they aren't capable of drawing reasoned distinctions between, say, the Spanish-American War and this one.

NEW YORK FIREFIGHTERS respond appropriately to T*d R*ll's cartoon:

"It should be clear to everyone by now that Mr. Rall has sought to gain recognition on the backs of firefighters and their widows," said Firefighter Steve Cassidy of Engine 236 in Brooklyn. "He's a no-talent bum."

AMERICAN INDIAN TEAM NAMES:

Unable to persuade a school to change a mascot name it considers offensive, a group of American Indian students at the University of Northern Colorado named its intramural basketball team 'The Fighting Whities.' The team chose a white man as its mascot to raise awareness of stereotypes that some cultures endure. 'The message is, let's do something that will let people see the other side of what it's like to be a mascot' . . . The students are upset with Eaton High School for using an American Indian caricature on the team logo. The team is called the Reds.
More power to 'em. I don't agree with their message, but I like their style. At the same time, I think they're going to lose, precisely because people see that the other side of being a mascot is . . . nothing much. "Fighting Whities" -- I sort of like that. People usually name teams for people (or animals) they respect, or at least somewhat like; that's why team names are generally not perceived as derogatory.

And it turns out that Indian team names, including the much-maligned Redskins, are not perceived as derogatory even by most Indians. A recent seemingly scientific Sports Illustrated poll (Mar. 4, 2002, p. 66) of 351 American Indians (margin of error +/-4%) shows that (sorry, couldn't find any linkable copy):
Asked if high school and college teams should stop using Indian nicknames, 81% of Native American respondents said no. As for pro sports, 83% of Native American respondents said teams should not stop using Indian nicknames, mascots, characters and symbols. Opinion is far more divided on reservations, yet a majority (67%) there said the usage by pro teams should not cease, while 32% said it should.

Asked if they were offended by the name Redskins, 75% of Native American respondents in SI's poll said they were not, and even on reservations, where Native American culture and influence are perhaps felt most intensely, 62% said they weren't offended. Overall, 69% of Native American respondents--and 57% of those living on reservations--feel it's O.K. for the Washington Redskins to continue using the name. . . . Only 29% of Native Americans, and 40% living on reservations, thought [the owner of the Redskins] should change his team's name.
I'm always cautious about these sorts of surveys; the always excellent reference librarians here at UCLA Law are trying to track down more details, including the survey instrument, for me so that I can look more closely at what I was asked. But on the surface, the study seems sound -- and I'm not the least bit surprised that the views of the activists are very different from the views of the broader group for which they purport to speak.

HERE'S A GOOD TAKE ON pervasive surveillance and the war on terrorism.

I think this stuff is a waste of time, and a civil-liberties violation to boot, which has certainly been the British experience where security cameras haven't caught any terrorists, but have produced an upsurge in traffic citations and clandestine security-cam videos of people having sex. Take the war to the terrorists, not to the American people.

MORE EVIDENCE OF A CULTURE CHANGE: Chastened by defeats at the national level, gun-control folks decided to focus their efforts on the states. But pro-gun folks are on the offensive there, too, and they're winning:

Opponents to gun laws say the new momentum has put them on the defensive, a switch from the era of the 1980s when at least 40 states prohibited concealed weapons. Today, only six states — all in the Midwest — have outright bans on concealed weapons and 12 have tough restrictions on permits.
Shooting clubs at Harvard Law and Mt. Holyoke? And now this? Yep, it's a culture-change all right.

HAS BOB KUTTNER completely lost it? Read this and I think you'll say so.

As I mentioned in a post yesterday, it's not fair to blame the Bush Administration for the Democratic leadership's timidity. They don't want to debate the war. They just want to lay the foundation for a later "we told you so" campaign if it goes badly. And just read Kuttner's nonsensical treatment of the "democracy" issue:

And we are not supposed to say so. It took Senator Robert Byrd, an 84-year-old throwback, not a lefty but an old-fashioned constitutionalist, to declare that while the president was commander-in-chief, this was still a democracy.

Most Democrats are still traumatized by the country's fearful jingoism and the president's ratings. Unlike the divisive Vietnam War, antiterror remains a popular crusade, which means scant restraint on lunatic schemes that increase the risk of wider war.

And this could be a semipermanent condition. All it will take is one more major incident on American soil to push the president's ratings back over 90 percent and the Democrats back into their bunkers. Such incidents will surely occur.

So the war is undemocratic because it's so popular that Democrats dare not oppose it. Kuttner, I think, is confusing "undemocratic" with "un-Democratic."

Memo to Kuttner: Run an editorial daring Tom Daschle to introduce a resolution ending the war. Or daring him to introduce a declaration of war. Your choice. But quit whining about Democrats' being oppressed by conservatives when the real problem is a combination of spinelessness, opportunism -- and knowledge that the anti-war position is a huge political loser.

WANT A NATIONAL ID? Remember, it will be administered by the same people who just approved Mohammed Atta's application to go to flight school. Just last week. No, really.

Your tax dollars at work, folks.

THE LATEST THING THAT'S SURE TO DESTROY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY is the Latino vote. I agree with Virginia Postrel points out the downside for Democrats of being right:

If Latinos do in fact tilt Texas politics in a Democratic direction, the national Democratic party is in for a big surprise. These are not Californians. They are, by national party standards, conservative. They want money for schools and parks, from which their constituents directly benefit, but have no particular hostility toward business, family, or national defense. They aren't even big on taxes and redistribution.
They're not pro-choice, either, which is going to pose some serious problems for the party if Latinos are going to be as big a part of its power base as some are claiming.

WEST COAST BLOGGER BASH II: (Roman numerals like the Super Bowl? Why not?) Eugene Volokh hosted quite a few LA-Blogger types last night, including the supermodelesque Heather Havrilesky, Mickey Kaus, Matt Welch& Ken Layne (and their charming and beautiful wives), Charles Johnson (who looks nothing like I expected), Rand Simberg, Tony Pierce, Rishawn Biddle, Greg McIlvaine, Scott Rubush and quite a few others. If I've forgotten anyone, blame Eugene's free hand with the spirits. . . .

I hadn't met most of these people, and it's astonishing how well we all got along. So much for all those bien-pensant claims from the early '90s that computers and the Internet would destroy a sense of community.

MORE LATER, including a report on the West Coast Blogger's Bash last night, which was a wonderful event.

MY TECHCENTRALSTATION COLUMN is up. It's on patriotism and the way people's public expression of opinions can shift rapidly -- even when the underlying feelings don't.

3/12/2002

CHARLES MURTAUGH says that we need a public debate on war aims. The ideas accepted in the Blogosphere, he says, have for the most part not been put in front of the public via mainstream outlets like The New York Times or debated in Congress.

True enough -- though I think that's the fault of, well, The New York Times and Congress. Tom Daschle can complain that he's slammed when he floats trial criticisms of the war. But Daschle isn't trying to start a debate -- he's trying to lay down an "I told you so" marker that he can use later if the war goes badly, but in a way that won't be noticed now.

Personally, I think that what Congress passed was, for all practical purposes, a declaration of war, though many experts disagree with this. But I think that if Daschle wants to debate these issues, it should be easy. He's the majority leader. All he has to do is put it on the agenda. If he wants to do that, and thinks it's what the country needs, but is afraid to do so because of the criticism he'll get, then he should find a less stressful job.

MATTHEW EDGAR runs a weblog focusing on the FDA. I should have mentioned it when I mentioned MedPundit a while back.

WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY writes about Bishop Anthony O'Connell and the Pope. I doubt that the Pope reads Buckley, but he should read this piece.

DAHLIA LITHWICK has this cogent insta-analysis of the Andrea Yates case:

Perhaps murderous mothers are no crazier than fathers. Perhaps murderous fathers are even crazier than mothers. Either way, the failure to view these crimes as morally or legally equivalent reflects a more central legal truth: We still view children as the mother's property. Since destroying one's own property is considered crazy while destroying someone else's property is criminal, women who murder their own children are sent to hospitals, whereas their husbands are criminals, who go to jail or the electric chair.

Why does the legal system treat a mother who kills someone else's child as though she were a sociopathic killer while showing mercy toward a mom who drowns her own? For the same reason the law treats individuals who burn down other people's houses as criminals and institutionalizes those who burn down their own. Men are disproportionately jailed for filicide not because they are more evil than women but because we believe they have harmed a woman's property—as opposed to their own.

My wife, a forensic psychologist, would probably put things more strongly. She says it's amazing how hard people, even prosecutors, try to avoid confronting the notion that women can be violent criminals without being crazy.

UPDATE: Damian Penny has some thoughts on a related case.

FROM EUGENE:

PROBABLY GOT A TICKET this morning from one of those cameras that catches people entering an intersection when the light has just turned red. Writing an op-ed about how this is actually a good idea.

My key argument: Enforcing traffic laws this way is less intrusive than enforcing them using traditional traffic policing, and more protective of my liberty and dignity. Fourth Amendment law recognizes that even a brief police stop is a "seizure," a temporary deprivation of one's liberty. I avoided that loss of liberty. I avoided coming even briefly within a police officer's physical power, and thus avoided the risk that the power would be abused. I avoided the usual demeaning pressure to be especially submissive to the cop in the hopes that he might let me off the hook. I avoided any possibility of being pulled out and frisked, or my car being searched. I didn't have to wonder whether maybe I was stopped because of my sex or race or age. Not a bad way to enforce a pretty important law.

What's more, I was busted fair and square. I really am way too impatient a driver.

OVERWEIGHT, BADLY-DRESSED millionaire Michael Moore is getting hit hard in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. (Earth's hemispheres, not his).

CHARLES JOHNSON HAS an interesting suggestion regarding false reports of afghan civilian casualties. (Following the lead of Megan McArdle).

ANOTHER ONE FROM EUGENE:

JUST TAUGHT the campaign finance speech unit in my Free Speech Law class. So here's one item we focused on: A lot of reform proposals try to restrict not just contributions to candidates, but also "independent expenditures," through which an individual, a nonprofit group, or a corporation spends money to support or oppose a candidate. But somehow the media are always given an exemption from this constraint. How come?

When a newspaper or a magazine supports a candidate, through an editorial or through a puff piece, that's tantamount to spending thousands of dollars, under any sane accounting system. Newspaper and magazine spending is as potentially corrupting as other spending -- a newspaper endorsement can be a valuable bribe. Buying a newspaper will "buy access" to politicians more surely than running an independent spending campaign would. Same if we focus on equality of voice rather than corruption: The media's power to speak using their own money is surely as unegalitarian as wealthy people's power to speak.

Seems to me that if someone who owns a newspaper can editorialize all he wants using his money, then others should be able to rent space in that newspaper (by buying an ad) using their money. And, of course, in the cyberspace age, aren't we all part of "the press"? How can the law sensibly distinguish the L.A. Times, a local business corporation (which has a Web page and a newsletter, and wants to rent time on televiison), and me?

Funny, though, that the newspapers that keep calling for campaign finance reform never tell us why they should keep their rights to express their views using their money while we are stripped of our rights to do the same

SALON SEXWATCH UPDATE: I admit, I couldn't make it past the first of five pages in Salon's sex column today. So pages 2-5 may have been chock-full of actual sex advice. God, I hope so. Rachael Klein, meanwhile, serves up one page of sound, sensible advice on threesomes.

LILEKS:

Watched the 9/11 documentary last night.

Who knew falling bodies made such a noise?

Who, having seen the bodies hit, could ever sleep again without hearing the sound?

How many good men are going to eat the barrel in six years just to make the sound stop?

MICKEY KAUS says that sprawl fights terrorism!. There's some truth to this. I think that one reason for the move to suburbia in the 1950s was the prevalence of those nuclear-warfare maps of big cities with the "zone of total destruction" superimposed. It just seemed safer to live well outside those circles.

ANDREA YATES has been convicted of capital murder. Orrin Judd emails: "what did they deliberate for, five minutes?" Well, three hours and forty minutes, actually. But I don't think they thought it was a close case.

THIS REPORT by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, says that campus anti-Americanism is the professors' and administrators' fault. Based on this story, I don't think there's a lot of actual news here. But it's sure to ignite some more action in what I think may be a fundamental political alignment on campuses. All that PC stuff is so old-fashioned and musty now that students are kicking over the traces and trying new stuff. And outsiders are suddenly paying attention to what happens on campuses, which has changed the definitions of acceptable behavior. More on this dynamic in my TechCentralStation column tomorrow.

Eugene Volokh CHIMING IN from UCLA Law School. I've imported Glenn and local pundit Mickey Kaus for a panel tomorrow, and Glenn very kindly invited me to briefly co-blog with him for the next couple of days. Being an incurable instapundit addict, I delightedly accepted. I will surely not approach Glenn's herculean output, either in terms of quantity or quality, but I'll do my best.

Glenn, incidentally, is an erstwhile coauthor of mine, and we have corresponded extensively on many subject in the past -- but until today, I think we've exchanged all of a sentence or two either in person or by phone. Ah, the cyberspace age . . . . But then again, isn't it the way things were centuries ago, where specialists in a field likewise knew each other almost exclusively through their writings? And also zat vay no-van vould be put off by heavy Rrrussian eccent like mine. Everything old is new again.

RAND SIMBERG IS DISSING SALON (or is he really dissing Adobe for investing in Salon?) Despite my twitting them for having a sex column with no sex, and disliking their "premium" format, I don't want them to fail. I used to read them daily, and still read 'em regularly. I think the sex column is lame (at least as a sex column) and I think David Talbot has said some dumb things about the war. But they've also published a lot of good stuff -- especially the tech pieces by Janelle Brown and Damien Cave, and (though I haven't seen any of these lately) the stuff by Katie Allison Granju and Spike Gillespie. I hope they make it.

KEN LAYNE'S FoxNews column about David Letterman, Ted Koppel, and Kent Brockman is a good one. All I can say is "Hail ants!"

WILL VEHRS is cutting back on blogging. That's a bummer for us, though probably a boon for his family.

TEAM INSTAPUNDIT: Eugene Volokh may appear as a special guest blogger today. We've discussed whether that's like bringing in Heather Locklear to save your TV show when its ratings are sagging, but, well, Volokh/Locklear comparisons just don't get off the ground.

STANDING UP FOR THE LITTLE GUY: California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer oppose a $275,000 limit on farm subsidies. In the words of a Nebraska Guitar Militia song that isn't out yet, "Welfare for white folks / reap what you don't sow."

TECHNOLOGY WRITER ED DRISCOLL now has his own blog. It occurs to me (with no particular connection to Driscoll) that one long-term consequence of professional journalists' blogging is that their employers will have to be nicer to them. It used to be that if you fired a columnist, you also shut off his/her voice. Not anymore.

HERE'S AN ARTICLE ON HOW BLOGS WORK that really gets it.

SPEAKING OF PATRICK RUFFINI, he's also worried that the Bush Administration is going wobbly on Arafat and says that this will, rightly, lead us to be accused of hypocrisy for holding Israel back under circumstances where we ourselves are claiming the right to forge ahead.

THE CONDI RICE juggernaut, which started over at Patrick Ruffini's site, got picked up here, and got seconded quite a few other places (including a somewhat mushy endorsement from Asparagirl) has now burst into the mainstream with an item in Howard Kurtz's Washington Post column. Personally, I think she's unstoppable.

DESPITE INVASION, MASS MURDER, FORCED STERILIZATION and more, East Timor will soon be a sovereign nation again. The secret to its success? Ignoring the United Nations.

I HAVE ARRIVED SAFELY IN LOS ANGELES, after a flight that Delta might as well have consciously planned to make me feel guilty about all the things I've said about air travel. No problem with security (well, there never is in Knoxville anyway). Flights ahead of schedule, friendly cabin crews. Hell, the food was actually even good. Chalk one up for good service.

KEN LAYNE has some good observations on how the war is going now.

I also like this observation on blogs from Electrolite: "On the internet, everyone's at the center. Get used to it."

WELL, I'M OFF to L.A. Back later.

MICHAEL BARONE has some interesting and (unlike me) informed thoughts about the California gubernatorial race.

3/11/2002

UH OH. Nick Denton's got the Sarge mad at him. It was nice knowin' ya, Nick.

I PLAN TO BE POSTING while I'm gone at a reduced rate. But if I'm unable to, don't miss my column on TechCentralStation on Wednesday. It may provide a bit of direction on how seemingly intractable Arab extremism may not be as intractable as it seems.

ANDREW SULLIVAN writes about the Oscar race and notes that the rules are supposed to prevent actors from campaigning. Yep. Just like the "campaign finance reform" bill will keep money out of politics.

HERE'S INFO on the panel that Mickey Kaus and I are doing at UCLA Wednesday. If you're in the area, please drop in.

NO WONDER ALEC BALDWIN CAN'T GET OVER THE ELECTION: Hell, he still hasn't gotten over this one:

In 1979, when Alec still went by his birth name Alex, the eldest Baldwin brother lost his campaign to be George Washington University's student association president by one vote. After he demanded a recount which only confirmed Baldwin's loss, he dropped out of GW and transferred to New York University. . . .

The move made Baldwin the butt of jokes. In the March 8, 1979, edition of the GW Hatchet, National Law Center senator Dana Dembrow wrote: "Yes, it is possible for Alex Baldwin to not win a fair election. Alex Baldwin lost not because anyone cheated, but simply because his opponents were the choice of the voters."

"Not everyone in the University is enchanted with Mr. Baldwin's administrative ability as a result of the job that the program board has done during the past two semesters. Some of us, in fact, were quite disappointed.

"No Alex, we didn't vote for you. . . That's right, it was fair and square. It's time to stop complaining and congratulate the victors."

TED RALL IRONY: Rall nemesis Jim Treacher sends this link to a 9/11 memorial.

CAPTAIN SCOTT'S ELECTRIC LOVE BUNKER is announcing itself a 100 % Ted Rall Free blog.

I'M TRAVELLING TO UCLA TOMORROW. I imagine I'll manage to do some posting from there, but the regular InstaPundit schedule will not be maintained.

TIM BLAIR POINTS OUT that while Nick Denton has been savaging the warbloggers for not saying enough about steel tariffs, the anti-globo left has remained silent on the subject.

BACK TO NORMAL? One of my colleagues has stuck a picture of President Bush and the accompanying nuclear-strategy rethinking story on the faculty bulletin board with the handwritten annotation "THIS MAN IS AN IDIOT!"
Not the most thoroughly developed argument I've seen, but no doubt it's sincerely felt. And it's a sign, I guess, that people are feeling safer at attacking Bush, perhaps because of his wobbliness last week (see above).

ASPARAGIRL'S MIND IS in the gutter again. I'm sure that Islamists would be horrified at this exemplar of American womanhood. Heh.

STEPHEN GREEN says that if we follow the Hashemite option there's still the problem of what do to about the Bedouins. He's got a point. But then again, the Arabian peninsula has basically declared war on us already. And, you know, there were a lot more Germans in Germany, and Japanese in Japan, at the end of World War II.

I actually have some thoughts on this in my TechCentralStation column for Wednesday.

MARTIN PRATT now has his own weblog with thoughts on terrorism, British politics, and American culture.

THIS RALL CARTOON is so lame it's not even worth bashing. Sorry Ted. You'll never top the widows-and-firefighters thing. Now sink back into well-deserved obscurity. You're not even offensive anymore, just pathetically contemptible.

NO WONDER ALEC BALDWIN CAN'T GET OVER THE ELECTION: Hell, he still hasn't gotten over this one:

In 1979, when Alec still went by his birth name Alex, the eldest Baldwin brother lost his campaign to be George Washington University's student association president by one vote. After he demanded a recount which only confirmed Baldwin's loss, he dropped out of GW and transferred to New York University. . . .

The move made Baldwin the butt of jokes. In the March 8, 1979, edition of the GW Hatchet, National Law Center senator Dana Dembrow wrote: "Yes, it is possible for Alex Baldwin to not win a fair election. Alex Baldwin lost not because anyone cheated, but simply because his opponents were the choice of the voters."

ANOTHER FINE DECONSTRUCTION of another dumb Guardian piece. If the motto "a fish, a barrel, a smoking gun" weren't already taken, it would apply well to the Blogosphere.

JAZZ ALWAYS SUCCEEDS: Craig Biggerstaff writes:

Blogging's true analogue is not written but musical: it is improvisational jazz with words. The news headlines streaming in constantly are the chord changes and accompaniment, and a good post that fits right now is worth more than a perfect one later. And if that doesn't work, remember Miles Davis' famous remark that if you blow a wrong note, you should blow it again so the audience knows you meant it.

THE TERRORISTS HAVE LOST: This and other observations from Jeff Jarvis, who was at Ground Zero when it happened.

HMM. THIS POST has held up pretty well.

AMERICANS WANT PILOTS ARMED. PILOTS WANT PILOTS ARMED. But "underperformin' Norman" Mineta doesn't want pilots armed, and John Lott musters a lot of evidence to explain why the majority of Americans and pilots are right, and Mineta is wrong.

SURVEILLANCE-O-RAMA: Read this disturbing piece by Declan McCullagh.

MY EMAIL STILL DOESN'T WORK. I can view email via the webmail interface, so long as it doesn't have attachments, but I can't download it and sort it. I don't know why. I have so many "Blogstart" messages that I need to be able to sort 'em. I'll look at it when I get back from LA this weekend.

If you don't really need to send me email, I'd appreciate it if you didn't. I've got so much clogging up the webmail account it's a real drag already.

PATRICK RUFFINI REPORTS that the Condi Rice juggernaut is rolling over all opposition.

MORE RALL-BASHING: See a couple of panels from Rall's new NYFD-bashing cartoon here, and read about it here. Here's an excerpt from the Weekly James commentary on Rall:

You see, in Rall's ideal fantasy land, smart folks like rich lefty cartoonists would decide where money went, not individuals who scraped up a few dollars they may or may not have been able to afford. Butch brutes like firemen would not be paid as much as college-educated teachers in this equation, though I think my son could probably learn a lot more of value from the average member of the FDNY than from about 99% of America's ed-school grads.

Just writing about this, I feel a bit like the guy in the New Yorker cartoon who tells a bartender, "If I don't have that third martini, the terrorists will have won." By even getting exercised enough about Rall's juvenile let's-piss-off-daddy stupidity to post about it, Ted Rall kinda wins. Because, at his core, Rall is nothing more than a one-trick pony who has hit on a way to get some free press in a world where that is very easy to do. Eventually this will all blow over, Rall may lose a few contracts and pick up a few more, but at the end of his life he'll be nothing more than a stupid, bitter man who makes fun of widows and orphans and people a million times braver than himself. Good going, Ted.

Yeah. Rall was never funny. Now he's managing to be offensive and boring at the same time.

THE WEEK THAT BUSH WENT WOBBLY: Last week Bush applied a steel tariff, and sent Zinni back to "revive the peace process" in the Middle East. Sebastian Mallaby writes in the Washington Post that he's turning into his father. Bush had better watch it. He'll be forgiven for being too strong, but not for being too weak.

TIM BLAIR POINTS OUT that while Nick Denton has been savaging the warbloggers to take on Bush's steel tariff decision, the antiglobo Left, which should approve, has kept silent. "Over to you, Nick," says Blair.

Blair also has this amusing observation:

(By the way, ever notice that Indymedia is a global brand, with cookie-cutter franchises radiating from an American core? Indymedia is imposing its American protest culture on foreign lands. Crush the Indymedia tyranny! Stop the globalisation of complaint!)
It's that old cultural hegemony again.

NRO HAS A SYMPOSIUM on the CBS 9/11 documentary last night. Worth reading.

INFORMATION FROM AN IRAQI DEFECTOR indicates that Iraq may have been holding a U.S. Navy pilot since the Gulf War. I don't know how much credence to put in this, but it's not like I need another reason to want Saddam gone anyway.

JUAN GATO HAS THIS OBSERVATION:

However, we are certainly not any safer because of the Patriot Act or any of the new air travel regulations. They are all sound and fury. I have flown twice in the last six months, and nothing about the new procedures made me the least bit secure.

But I still consider myself overall safer. Not for anything the government has done, but because of my fellow citizens. See, I consider myself the primary entity in charge of my own security. I assume, or hope at least now, that others do as well. Generally speaking, in societies, my security will often bleed into your security. Hence, more actively aware and agressive fellow travelors or citizens makes for a safe world. Longer lines and no toe-nail clippers don't make us safe. People in the aisles willing to jump on a nutball and pound the crap out of him do.

Well said. And worth reminding the politicians of -- from now 'til election time.


A Couple of Six-Month Anniversary Items

HERE'S A LINK TO THE 9/11 MEMORIAL WEBSITE that I linked to back in October. It seems a fitting thing for the six-month anniversary. BTW, I seem to recall getting an email that Penthouse.Com was donating bandwidth for this, which is a very nice thing to do.

HERE'S A LINK TO INSTAPUNDIT from six months ago, on September 11. Note that things start off normally -- just keep scrolling up to see the developing news.

HOW WILL WE KNOW WHEN IT'S OVER? James Lileks explains.

3/10/2002

SOMEONE TIPPED OFF THE AL QAEDA forces about the Gardez operation. Hmm. Weren't there French forces involved?

GREAT INTRODUCTION to this WSJ editorial on Euro-critics:

European elites witnessing the unilateral exercise of U.S. power in Afghanistan, the Philippines and now Georgia resemble the ex-smoker in a room with someone who still smokes. It reminds them, sometimes intolerably, of what they once were. For obvious historical reasons, Europeans, particularly Continentals, have bad memories of unilaterally exercised power and have long since concluded that the best way to contain war is the multilateral way.


With this belief goes a nostalgia for a time when Europe was the center of the world. America's real power is a reminder that such times are past. The more anti-American European leaders see the construction of Europe not only as a means of containing the Continent's own enmities, but also of combating America's political, economic, cultural and even military power. Sept. 11 has made it more obvious than before that there is a disjunction between European aspiration and international reality, or, to put it more bluntly, between money and mouth. Europe cannot act, so comforts itself by exercising the right to complain.

What I hate is their insensitivity toward American culture. They'd never talk about Arab Muslims this way.

MARK STEYN has another great column and lays out his "victory conditions" for the current war:

If Byrd wants to know the "end game," here's a few signs of how things will look when it's over:

*Regime changes in Iraq and Iran.

*The liquidation of Saudi Arabia, with the territory partitioned between Jordan and the less unenlightened Gulf emirs.

*The dissolution of NATO: America needs to stop overguaranteeing European security. For one thing, it allows EU governments to fritter their revenues on lavish welfare programs that allow young Arab immigrants to sit around plotting terrorism at the taxpayer's expense.

*The embrace by the Middle East of the same reforms Turkey embarked on 80 years ago.

In other words, these are early days, and there are plenty of horrors to come. It's war, there's more, get used to it.

What he said.

MEGAN MCARDLE presents a lengthy disquisition on unemployment that leads to this conclusion:

Anyway, by some mysterious process, we’ve arrived at a recession level of unemployment that’s lower than the expansion level of five years ago. Pretty neat stuff. Which only leaves us one question:

Where the hell’s my job?

Somebody out there hire her. Or the terrorists will have won.

RAND SIMBERG offers some fatherly advice to a youngster who needs it. Badly.

IF ONLY ARI FLEISCHER WERE REALLY THIS FUNNY. (Via Bjorn Staerk)

STEVEN DEN BESTE explains why we don't trust the French. And that's without even bringing up the tipoff to Radovan Karadzic.

MY FOXNEWS COLUMN last week used the phrase "Keep your grubby laws off my computer!"

This interested some guy on Slashdot enough that he is now selling t-shirts with the slogan over the web. Am I getting a royalty? No. But I don't care. I hope he sells a million.

GENA LEWIS asks if the University of Tennessee is filtering out blogs. I think she was just having the same DNS problems that I was having earlier. I'm at UT now, and the blogworld is wide open to me.

STEPHEN GREEN wants to be the first "diversity candidate" for Pope. He promises some changes if elected.

GREAT INTRODUCTION to this WSJ editorial:

European elites witnessing the unilateral exercise of U.S. power in Afghanistan, the Philippines and now Georgia resemble the ex-smoker in a room with someone who still smokes. It reminds them, sometimes intolerably, of what they once were. For obvious historical reasons, Europeans, particularly Continentals, have bad memories of unilaterally exercised power and have long since concluded that the best way to contain war is the multilateral way.

With this belief goes a nostalgia for a time when Europe was the center of the world. America's real power is a reminder that such times are past. The more anti-American European leaders see the construction of Europe not only as a means of containing the Continent's own enmities, but also of combating America's political, economic, cultural and even military power. Sept. 11 has made it more obvious than before that there is a disjunction between European aspiration and international reality, or, to put it more bluntly, between money and mouth. Europe cannot act, so comforts itself by exercising the right to complain.
Yep. This is pretty obviously true. The conclusion is worth heeding, too:
Just as we now know how important were the madrassas in Pakistan in poisoning young minds against the West, so we should recognize that a similar process, though less extreme, will take place in Europe, unless America leads the public advocacy of Western values.

PERRY DEHAVILLAND OFFERS a reason to like Jordan.

MATT WELCH SAYS I'M UNFIT to run for office. Thanks, Matt!

DAVE KOPEL REPORTS that yet another bogus handgun-liability lawsuit has been thrown out of court, this time in Maryland.

This dumb strategy has failed in New York, in California, and in Maryland, three of the most antigun jurisdictions in America. New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, who conceived it, is out of office, replaced by a guy who isn't talking about guns, and has political prospects that look less than bright.

I think it's safe to pronounce it a failure.

TV PUNDITWATCH is up! Will Vehrs missed my favorite line though: It was when Sam Donaldson introduced Gen. Tommy Franks by saying (this is from memory) "You've heard our news reports, now General Franks will give us the facts." Freudian slip? Or just bad writing? You decide.

STEEL UPDATE: Reader and industrial-steel consumer Darryl Boyd writes:

I called the steel suppliers for my ironworking business last week to
ask about the implications of the new quotas. Their response was a collective yawn. They not only didn't see this as any substantive change, they were so sure it would be business as usual they hadn't even bothered looking into the matter.
Interesting.

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES has a story on how America is abandoning civil liberties since 9/11. But it's pretty lame. The big poster-children for this are an immigrant who is being deported for immigration violations,and a cartoonist who lost his job after a huge public outcry over offensive cartoons about the war.

Hey -- if you don't like the immigration laws (and I don't) criticize them. But the fact that they're being enforced isn't an example of civil liberties in decay. This is a guy who broke the law.

As for the cartoonist, I don't recall anyone shedding similar tears for civil liberties when "Dr. Laura" had her television show cancelled in response to similar complaints and boycott threats.

Right after September 11, I warned about excessive hysteria. And I think the "USA Patriot Act" was a travesty. But it's rather disingenuous for the Los Angeles Times to make so much of rather minor immigration and cartoonist issues without addressing the way that the "Patriot Act" is the real threat to civil liberties. One might suspect that it's because so many Democrats voted for the "USA Patriot Act," meaning that it's harder to write about it in a tone that suggests the danger to civil liberties comes from the right. Or it might simply be that the Act is so complex that it would be too much work to understand it and write about it critically and in detail, instead of simply rounding up the usual suspects -- though I note that the article mentions that the Act was "signed by President Bush" but not that it was passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate, which suggests a particular agenda.

Either way, the L.A. Times crew is doing a disservice to civil liberties in the guise of reporting on them.

UPDATE: I should have included this quote, which suggests that there are some upsides here:

For lawyer Mohammed, Sept. 11 sparked a boom in business. After the attacks, he took on about a dozen detainees as clients and became a spokesman for their plight. He also saw a sharp increase in the number of Middle Eastern immigrants who want to apply for citizenship.

Before Sept. 11, he said, "they would say, 'What's the difference? I have all the rights a citizen has.' "

They no longer say that.

"There is a clear line in the sand being drawn now," he said, "and which side of the sand you're on makes a big difference."

To me, this seems entirely appropriate.

GEORGE WILL'S COLUMN on campaign-finance reform is a must-read. He's dead right, both about the double-standard involved in accusations of "appearances" of corruption, and about the politicans' goal of silencing critics.

SOME INTERESTING REFLECTIONS on the screwed-up FBI shooting of an innocent in Maryland.

DUMB COMMERCIAL OF THE DAY: Just saw an Oxygen Media commercial talking about the importance of not dealing in stereotypes about women. This might be impressive -- if I had never seen Oxygen Media.

THE WEEKLY STANDARD (sorry, not available on the website) says that Ted Rall was taken down by "a vigilance committee of bloggers." Well, it's not as if he was actually strung from a tree-limb or anything. But I think it's interesting that the Blogosphere's complaints about Rall (led, I think, by Charles Johnson) got such a quick response.

SGT. STRYKER is suffering from a bad case of self-doubt. Sarge, you rule. Take it from me.

THE UNITED STATES IS RECONFIGURING ITS NUCLEAR STRATEGY AND ARSENAL in response to changed military and political circumstances. Well, I certainly hope so.

OH, GROW UP: I finally noticed this posting by Nick Denton on steel:

Again, on steel tariffs. Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit claims there's little public interest, and Ken Layne says he's not qualified to comment. As if that has stopped either of them, or any of our other blog pundits, or me, before. Reynolds said it himself, when commenting on the recent primary vote in California, "I'm not letting ignorance stop me from expressing an opinion!" And is he honestly saying that his posts are determined by the level of public interest? Yeah, right: as if the transgressions of Paul Krugman, to which both Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan devoted a battery of posts, were a matter of life or death to the man on the New York subway. Reynolds is a good writer with an eye for a story that would put many news editors to shame, his belief in realpolitik is refreshing, and his productivity is amazing. But he's just as selective about his subjects as the liberal establishment journalists he pillories.
Well, this kind of bashing doesn't bother me too much, larded with apparently sincere compliments as it is. But Denton has been blogging long enough to know better than to take this line.

There isn't much interest in steel tariffs. What's more -- and this is the important part -- I'm not very interested in steel tariffs. And InstaPundit is about what interests me, first, second, and third. I'm not a freakin' newspaper here. If the "liberal establishment journalists" said the same thing, instead of pretending to objectivity and to covering all the news that matters, I wouldn't be pillorying them. You want unbiased, unselective, across-the-board coverage of the news? Don't go to a blogger. Go to, er, well, somewhere else. But it seems kind of silly for Denton to be mad at me just because I'm not terribly interested in something that he finds interesting. But you want it, you got it. Here are some thoughts on freakin' steel tariffs. (Coming next week: an impassioned tirade on mohair subsidies!)

Actually, as I look at the reaction to the steel issue I'd say that a lot of people are piling on Bush extra-hard because this gives them the chance to show their independence after supporting him on the war more than they're generally comfortable supporting a President, and perhaps especially a Republican one. But given the low public interest -- and it's damned low outside a few places where it has direct impact -- I think that the warbloggers have leaned on the issue more than would be expected, and more than the "establishment" media. That was what I said in the post that Denton references, though he doesn't make that clear.

Also, it's not ignorance that's stopping me from expressing an opinion. (That was Ken Layne who said that). It's knowledge of the steel industry and how the steel trade works. The fact is, there's no such thing as free trade in steel anyway, and never has been. In some sort of foul Stalinist afterecho, countries around the world seem to equate a steel industry with prosperity and national security. This probably wasn't true back under Stalin (read Brink Lindsey's great treatment of this in his book Against the Dead Hand) but it sure as hell isn't true now. But just about every country's steelmaking apparatus is heavily subsidized and shielded in various ways by its government. To hear some people talk, you'd think that Bush's action here is like pissing on the virgin snow of free trade. It's actually more like spitting chewing gum into a landfill. There ain't no free trade in steel, nowhere, nohow. We'd be better off if there were, and Bush's action was certainly a betrayal of principle. But, in fact, it wasn't that big a deal in terms of its effect on free trade.

BELLSOUTH'S MAILSERVER seems to be down. That means it may be a bit longer before I post the results of my inquiry into who's blogging because of InstaPundit. Responses were still coming in yesterday, and although I haven't counted them there have to be well over two hundred. They're not all warblogs, either. Here, for example, is a physician-blogger who shares his skepticism of the FDA, over-the-counter Claritin, mammograms, and Saudi uterine transplants, among other things.

I think this is cool, but it means that my effort to keep track of new weblogs is even more hopeless than I had realized. Oh, well.




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