Archive for July, 2002

July 29, 2002

IS TAPPED REALLY ON HIATUS? Or is this the start of something more sinister?

July 29, 2002

MICKEY KAUS is responding to his critics, and matching their charity and restraint with his own.

July 29, 2002

N.Z. BEAR’S BLOGGING DYSTOPIA SET IN 2014 reminded me of this piece by Charles Dunlap on the American military’s “coup of 2012.” What makes Dunlap’s piece especially interesting is that it was published in Parameters, the journal of the Army War College. Dunlap once told me that publishing it had not been “career enhancing.” (He and I have never met, but we were both in the same issue of a law review once, and have maintained tenuous phone and email contact over the years.) But he’s the kind of guy you want in the military.

July 29, 2002

OKAY, TO OPEN AN EDITORIAL LIKE THIS TAKES CHUTZPAH:

Amid all the justifiable rejoicing over the rescue of the nine miners who had been trapped underground in a Pennsylvania coal mine, it’s worth asking what they were doing underground to begin with. And the answer to that question involves two names that wouldn’t ordinarily come to mind when it comes to mining coal: Senator Lieberman of Connecticut and a 30-year-old rock star named Kevin Richardson, a member of a group called the Backstreet Boys.

Don’t be silly. Those were the first names that came to my mind. . . .

July 28, 2002

MUGABE IS TRYING TO STARVE THE OPPOSITION by blocking food aid, according to the BBC.

July 28, 2002

I MENTION THE EVIL OF THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY BELOW, but Dave Winer has a political action plan.

July 28, 2002

BLOGS4GOD advertises itself as the definitive list of Christian bloggers. In an inevitably-flawed-by-original-sin-but-on-the-other-hand-redeemed kind of way, you know.

UPDATE: Some people thought there was a hint of anti-Christian mockery in the item above, and one noted (angrily, and in all capital letters) that the site nowhere says it’s “definitive.” Nope, but the press release they emailed me did, and I thought my notice matched its tone rather closely:

blogs4God.com announces their “Definitive List of Christian Blogs”

Washington, DC-MD-VA-WV – When Australian author Martin Roth added a small list of weblog-based web sites to his article “Blogging for the Lord” in April of 2002, little did he know that he was planting a mustard seed that would soon branch into a 200+ link forest by June the same year. Nor did he realize the work that it would spawn in the form of dozens of daily emails and site submissions. Enter the geek, Dean Peters.

When Mr. Peters, a computer programmer and technical author visited Martin’s site in mid-May, he immediately realized the need to automate the list and offered to help Mr. Roth maintain the list. By June, not only was Mr. Roth ready to accept the help, he graciously handed the list over to Mr. Peters. On July 29, 2002, with the help of notable “bloggers” Bene Diction, Rachel Cunliffe and Joshua Claybourn, blogs4God.com will open its doors as the “Definitive Portal for Christian Blogs.” The site will offer a variety of user-friendly features such as moderated categories, reviews and ratings, a site-wide search engine, multi-language support and a daily blog on the front page.

As Mr. Peters likes to put it “there is no need for Christian bloggers to hide their light under a basket as long as blogs4God is around.”

Some people have thin skins, I guess. But a mild reply turneth aside wrath. Or so I hope, anyway.

July 28, 2002

HOMELAND SECURITY is not only a joke, it’s a joke that a lot of people who have been supporting the war aren’t finding very funny. The combination of ineptitude with bureaucratic power-grabbing is looking like a real vulnerability for the Administration.

July 28, 2002

HOWARD VEIT HAS A THEORY:

The continuing supposed leaks over the past six months from State, Defense, retired Army, etc., makes me wonder if any attack on either Iraq or Iran is in the cards at all.

Back when the Civil War was about to start, General Winfield Scott who won the Mexican War, proposed a strategy called Anaconda. He proposed a total blockade of the South including all shipping. He said the South would be starved out within three years. Most military scholars today say that the strategy would have worked and the loss of life would have been very small.

Nobody wanted that. Everybody wanted blood, so the Anaconda was dumped. What we are doing now is an “Anaconda” on Iraq and quite a bit on Iran. We are squeezing their governments and their economies. Iran is about to blow sky high and Saddam is a raging paranoid with an economy in free fall. My feeling is that we are seeing a very good show being put on by the administration: battle plans, bombing raids, mystery troop movements, CIA operatives, shipping interdictions, and today’s so-called “leaks” to the Washington Post all seem to state that this squeeze is policy right now and that it is working.

Yeah, but when it was over the South knew it had been beaten, and was never any trouble again. Anyway, I don’t believe it. To make a plan like that work, you’d need people as smart as Donald Rumsfeld, or Condi Rice, or Colin Powell.

UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias disputes my “no trouble” assessment, citing Jim Crow, etc. Well, as seemed obvious to me, I was talking about Civil-War type trouble. Nor was Jim Crow “trouble” to the North, which didn’t mind it at all. Indeed, Washington, D.C. (which was, you know, the capital of the North during the Civil War) was probably the most segregated city in America during the first half of the 20th century.

July 28, 2002

FREE CDs FOR BLOGGERS and a distributed-music-journalism model that just might work, all from Eric Olsen.

July 28, 2002

MATT WELCH has new posts including an AOL I-told-you-so and a reflection on San Francisco’s filth.

July 28, 2002

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES? OR ROPE-A-DOPE? Al Qaeda suspects were sent to Guantanamo. There was lots of condemnation, before it turned out the place is Club Med. Now, very quietly, Al Qaeda suspects are being sent to Arab countries where the conditions are decidedly un-Club Med-like. But there’s not much complaint since (1) the Guantanamo fracas used the story up; and (2) human rights groups and Euro-government types aren’t willing to make as much noise about the practices of Arab countries.

So is this state of affairs an unintended consequence of making too big a deal about Guantanamo? Or was the whole Guantanamo brouhaha a giant sucker play on the part of the Pentagon — one that worked?

July 28, 2002

BLOGGING IN 2014: A CAUTIONARY TALE from N.Z. Bear.

Just call me Mr. Slippery.

July 28, 2002

MARK SHIELDS’ STRANGE FONDNESS FOR SHEEP REVEALED: Punditwatch is up!

July 28, 2002

REID STOTT has some interesting perspective on Afghan civilian casualties. The proper standard for comparison, he suggests, isn’t just how many civilians were accidentally killed by Americans, but how many more would have been deliberately killed by the Taliban had there been no intervention:

Whatever the number killed accidentally by the US, each death is a tragedy. That cannot be denied. But it also can’t be denied that the Taliban went on a four year killing spree, with estimates of up to 500,000 killed during that time. Even if we were to accept only one fifth of that number as “legitimate,” that would mean the Taliban deliberately killed more civilians each and every month than it is estimated the US killed by accident in the entire war.

And that monthly Taliban-generated death toll stopped cold, last November. Eight months where there was no four figure death toll. But you don’t hear about those numbers. There will never be a story about the 12,000 Afghans (my guesstimate, 8 months x 1500 per month) still alive today that would be dead at the hands of the Taliban, if not for US military action.

I wonder why we won’t be hearing about that?

UPDATE: Well, The Boss has it right: “‘I think the invasion in Afghanistan was handled very, very smoothly,’ he says.”

July 28, 2002

THE BRITISH SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL NATURE has disavowed a study it published last November that purported to show DNA cross-contamination of native Mexican maize by genetically engineered corn. The study has been cited by many opponents of bioengineered agricultural products as evidence that genetically engineered crops pose a threat of unsupervised gene transfer. The linked story explores the controversy.

UPDATE: Edward Boyd notes that he was on this story in April. Uh, yeah, but by being slower I brought more, er, perspective to the piece. Yeah that’s it, perspective. Like they do at The New York Times, you know? Anyway, advantage: Boyd.

July 28, 2002

ARMSTRONG WINS AGAIN. And Jeff Cooper has unflattering comments for some idiot sports columnist who said Armstrong isn’t an athlete.

July 28, 2002

DAN GILLMOR TELLS IT LIKE IT IS:

If you or I asked Congress for permission to legally hack other people’s computers, we’d be laughed off Capitol Hill. Then we’d be investigated by the FBI and every other agency concerned with criminal violations of privacy and security.

Then again, you and I aren’t part of the movie and music business. We aren’t as powerful as an industry that knows no bounds in its paranoia and greed, a cartel that boasts enough money and public-relations talent to turn Congress into a marionette.

That’s why I don’t doubt that the just-introduced bill, dubbed the “Peer to Peer Piracy Prevention Act” and co-sponsored by the representative from Disney, will get a respectful hearing. Howard Berman, D-Mission Hills, whose campaign coffers are loaded with money from Disney and other entertainment companies, wants to confer on the entertainment cartel the legal right to hack PCs it believes are part of file-sharing networks.

What Berman is doing is a breach of trust every bit as bad as any business executive stands accused of.

July 28, 2002

THE GUARDIAN REPORTS that Saudi Arabia’s ruling family is in an undeclared war, and that British officials are worried that it may fall to factions sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

Perhaps we should hope for that, since I believe that those factions wield considerable unacknowledged influencee already. This would get it out in the open, and allow corrective action.

UPDATE: Hmm. We have seen the untimely deaths of a couple of important Saudi princes recently. And the not-always-reliable Debka is reporting an assassination attempt aimed at King Fahd on July 14.

July 28, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO’S TOURIST INDUSTRY IS HURTING: I wonder if it’s because people are turned off by the various displays of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism over the past eleven months or so?

July 28, 2002

RUSSIA IS DEVELOPING A SUBORBITAL SPACECRAFT for space tourism purposes. Interesting.

July 28, 2002

BRENDAN NYHAN’S LATEST SpinSanity piece is called “Bear Market for Bullsh–t.” Um, but doesn’t he mean a bull market here?

July 28, 2002

SOME INTERESTING THOUGHTS ON regime change in Iraq and Iran, and on the Bush strategy for the region:

The Bush administration–and it is perhaps accurate here to underscore, the president himself more than his foreign-policy team–appears to be trying to grapple seriously with an American response to tyranny in the Muslim world, particularly in Iran. The president’s “axis of evil” speech, his July 12 address on Iran, the subsequent delivery of this statement in Persian over Voice of America radio by the National Security Council’s Zalmay Khalilzad, and the Captive Nations Week proclamation of July 17 have revealed a man who obviously believes that certain Western ideas have universal range and roots. The president, who is probably the most sincerely religious commander in chief since World War II, has stated repeatedly that faith does not countenance despotism, that Muslims, too, have the right to “liberty and justice . . . the birthright of all people.”

Stepping away from the “realist” world of his father–where a vision of regional stability, not a belief in individual liberty and democracy, drove foreign policy–George W. Bush has sliced across national borders and civilizational divides with an unqualified assertion of a moral norm. The president declared, “The people of Iran want the same freedoms, human rights, and opportunities as people around the world.” America will stand “alongside people everywhere determined to build a world of freedom, dignity, and tolerance. . . . America affirms . . . its commitment to helping those in captive nations achieve democracy.” These are, at least to Iranian ears, truly revolutionary words for an American president. One has to go back to Woodrow Wilson to find an American leader who so clearly directs his message far outside the West. And Wilson’s call for self-determination, made in the declining years of European empire, addressed collective, “national” ethnic aspirations more than the liberal rights of individuals.

Very interesting.

UPDATE: Diane E. at Letter from Gotham says she was posting on this months ago.

July 28, 2002

PRISON RAPES, according to this report, are a major vector for spreading AIDS and (because of decreased resistance from AIDS) tuberculosis, both in prison and in society. Of course, as long as public officials like California Attorney General Bill Lockyer see prison rape as a tool of punishment and humiliation to be employed against criminals and political enemies, I guess not much is going to change there.

UPDATE: TalkLeft has responded with more on this subject.

July 28, 2002

MORE BAD NEWS FROM UGANDA. Uganda has actually been doing better over recent years; I’d hate to see things go back down the tubes. Things are bad in Burundi, too but that’s no surprise.

July 28, 2002

THE SALON BLOGS don’t seem to be working at the moment. Are they hosting on Blogspot?

July 28, 2002

AT LAST! I’ve been waiting for someone to make the Joe Jackson connection to this story.

July 28, 2002

I MEANT TO WRITE SOMETHING about Caleb Carr’s dumb oped in the New York Times yesterday, but I used the blogathon as an excuse for a light posting day and never got around to it.

Good thing, too, because Dr. Manhattan has picked up the slack.

July 28, 2002

MERYL YOURISH JUST SIGNED OFF at the end of her 24-hour blogathon stint. But to see how well she did, check out this post from 3:30 a.m. with some good news about an American Muslim leader opposing terrorism.

July 28, 2002

TOM RICKS IS BEING USED. That’s my take on this story of his in The Washington Post today. The story explains how a “cautious approach — held by some top generals and admirals in the military establishment, including members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — is shaping the administration’s consideration of war plans for Iraq.”

The only question is who’s using him, and why. The way I see it, he’s either being used in a leakwar by top military officials who are more interested in fighting the White House than Saddam, or he’s being used as a channel for disinformation designed to put Saddam Hussein off his guard. But I don’t see any scenario in which he’s not being used by somebody.

July 27, 2002

EMERGENT STUPIDITY: Rand Simberg isn’t enthusiastic about the prospects for intelligent action from the proposed Department of Homeland Security.

And here, via Rand’s blog, is a FoxNews report that FBI headquarters knew for 20 years that agents in Boston were covering up for mobsters.

These guys aren’t up to the war on terrorism, and they’re never going to be. The war will be won abroad.

July 27, 2002

DELLWATCH: I won’t say that this story explains my service problems with Dell, but . . . .

July 27, 2002

BILL QUICK notes a new angle in the Princeton / Yale hacking story.

July 27, 2002

HONOR KILLINGS in Pakistan, Egypt, etc. come in for a sturdy condemnation in the Washington Post.

Perhaps “human rights” groups can be persuaded to give this phenomenon the amount of attention they gave to Guantanamo.

July 27, 2002

MUSLIMPUNDIT ADIL FAROOQ is back after a long absence, with a lengthy post on jihadism.

July 27, 2002

JOHN LEO WRITES THAT BLOGGERS ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE:

When the New York Times ran a front-page report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan (“Flaws in U.S. Air War Left Hundreds of Civilians Dead”), bloggers descended on the article like ants on a picnic. . . .

Hundreds of civilians dead? Don’t that many civilians perish in nearly every war? Stuart Buck at www.stuartbuck.blogspot.com asked:

“Has there ever been another war in history where civilian casualties were so few that journalists could track down virtually all of them individually?”

On his site, the Politburo, blogger Michael Moynihan noted that the Times’s source for the toll of 812 dead was Marla Ruzicka, identified as a field worker in Afghanistan for Global Exchange, “an American organization.” What the Times didn’t say, Moynihan wrote, is that Global Exchange is a far-left group opposing globalization and the U.S. military. . . .

Keep an eye on bloggers. The main arena for media criticism is not going to be books, columns, or panel discussions, and it certainly won’t be journalism schools. It will be the Internet.

Yep. More and more, you see bloggers’ opinions explicitly mentioned in opeds — and beyond that, you see major media (as Leo points out) quietly backtracking in future coverage after bloggers expose their errors.

July 27, 2002

OLD MINDSETS AND NEW RULES: Tony Adragna says that despite the allegedly sweeping civil service changes in the bill, it’ll be business as usual at the Department of Homeland Security.

I hope that the whole idea craters amid partisan bickering. That won’t be a failure. It’ll be the system working.

July 27, 2002

MORE AND MORE “DJS” are really spinning MP3s. Richie Hawtin (“Plastikman”) is now using Final Scratch exclusively, I’ve heard.

A few audiophile-poseurs will complain about the sound quality, but really most club systems (which tend to emphasize volume, not quality) won’t let you hear the difference anyway. In most clubs in Europe (and in a smaller, but surprisingly large, number of clubs in the States), the sound systems aren’t even stereo.

July 27, 2002

SPEAKING “HISPANISH” — Juan Non-Volokh finds the Bushism of the week in a surprising place.

July 27, 2002

THE NEW BLOGOSPHERE ECOSYSTEM is up.

July 27, 2002

MORE ON CONGRESSMAN-FOR-HIRE Howard Berman’s entertainment-industry money, from Justin Bollinger.

July 27, 2002

STEFAN SHARKANSKY writes about group-related fetishes. And scroll down for Akbar and Jeff’s terrorism hut. Akbar and Jeff, however, have left the trade.

July 27, 2002

JOHN HILER AT MICROCONTENT NEWS has a nicely measured response to the Arab News assault on James Taranto.

I hope Salon’s Eric Boehlert reads it.

UPDATE: “John R. Bradley,” who wrote the Arab News piece, swears that he’s a real person. The response: “I liked you better when I thought you were fictional.” Other commenters compare Bradley to Lord Haw-Haw and Lillian Hellman.

July 27, 2002

HERE’S THE BLOGATHON PARTICIPANTS PAGE. It’s alphabetized and searchable.

July 27, 2002

I’VE BEEN NOTING THAT THE FINANCIAL-SCANDAL ANGLE won’t work for the Democrats because they’re just as corrupt as Republicans. Now Armed Liberal is disgusted to find an example of what I’m talking about: a $447,000 “debt-consolidation loan” on “highly favorable” terms to Rep. James Moran (D-VA) from MBNA, coincidental with his support for the dreadful bankruptcy bill that — hey, imagine that! — benefits MBNA more than just about anyone else.

I bet we don’t read about this in Doonesbury, though.

July 27, 2002

BLOGATHON! I don’t need to blog today, because blogathon participants like Meryl Yourish and Laurence Simon are posting every 30 minutes all day long.

Is there a post somewhere with links to all the blogathon participants? If someone will send it to me, I’ll link it.

Happy blogathoning.

July 26, 2002

ATHENA RUNNER is a mom. Well, actually she already was a mom, but now she’s, um, a mom again? A mom moreso? Anyway, a bouncing baby boy was born, and everyone is doing fine.

July 26, 2002

THE CONTINUING EMBARRASSMENT THAT IS “HOMELAND SECURITY” MAY COST BUSH HIS BASE, if this post by Kim du Toit is any indication. While du Toit himself is a statistical outlier in many ways, I think the sentiments in this post are growing more and more common among gun rights folks and cranky conservatives in general.

UPDATE: And then there’s what Homeland Security is doing for the women’s vote. . . .

July 26, 2002

KEN LAYNE REVEALS SOMETHING EMBARRASSING about Rep. Howard Berman, who wants Hollywood to hack your computer.

July 26, 2002

A SHAMEFACED RETRACTION CONCERNING TED RALL, from Bill Herbert.

July 26, 2002

JUST GOT HOME from the Knoxville Bloggers’ bash. Over a dozen showed up, which was a big increase from last time, when there were three of us.

July 26, 2002

NOW THAT HE’S BEEN CONVICTED AND EXPELLED, Jim Traficant has become an “independent.”

UPDATE: Reader Bill Herbert emails:

Traficant IS running for reelection as an independent.

Plus, he recently stated that he “fears for the nation” if the Dems retake the house.

Well, that’s news to me. The Washington Post is calling him a Democrat. And I think his reelection bid can probably be ignored.

July 26, 2002

WILLIAM SAFIRE WRITES on the etymology of the word “blog” and credits Bill Quick with coining the term “Blogosphere.”

July 26, 2002

ACCORDING TO THIS REPORT, Arab countries are shocked, shocked to find that Yasser Arafat has been embezzling aid money, and are cutting him off.

I’m not sure I believe this. It could be evidence of a successful U.S. diplomatic effort to isolate him, or it could just be posturing by the Arab governments.

July 26, 2002

THE NEW YORK SUN IS NOW ONLINE with articles, etc.

Maybe now that that’s done, they’ll get around to paying me for the piece I wrote for their first issue. . . .

July 26, 2002

OKAY, THIS IS TOO BIZARRE: Over on Romenesko’s letters page, Eric Boehlert of Salon writes:

Arab News nailed what has become the Wall Street Journal’s bizarre daily log, “Best of the Web.”

Okay. Follow the link and you’ll read this:

What Sharon is doing on the ground, Taranto is doing in cyberspace.

They are a kind of twin evil. Sharon orders the crushing of civilians in their houses in Jenin in response to Palestinian suicide attacks. Taranto later provides a link to an Amnesty International report criticizing Palestinian suicide bombers.

Got that? Bulldozing houses is the same as posting links to Amnesty International reports!

Also — as Josh Trevino points out — the author of the Arab News piece claims to have authored a book that doesn’t exist.

This is Salon’s idea of “nailing” someone? That explains a lot, actually.

UPDATE: I wonder if Salon shares the Arab News’ view of the peace process?

July 26, 2002

TRUCKIN’ – Reader (and truck driver) Gerald Dearing takes up my challenge on the hours-of-service regulations:

I have to disagree about the Hours of Service regs being too inflexible. Seventy hours in eight days is a lot of driving time. When I hit seventy, I’m spent. The hard and fast rule is: no more than ten hours without eight hours off duty. Other than that, you can do pretty much what you want. Up to sixteen driving hours in a twenty four hour day. And even the eight hour break can be split into two segments of “sleeper berth time” (as opposed to standard “off duty time”). Notice that nowhere do the regs say that the driver must actually sleep.

Reform as proposed would make the rules more rigid, more complex, and more hostile to the driver. To the point of mandating a non-paid non-productive day of down time while on the road. If I have to be down, I’d rather be home!

Sleep experts criticize the ten-on-eight-off cycle as disruptive to circadian rhythms, but no workable cure has been proposed (that I’ve seen).

There is, of course, the argument that the number of hours a driver can work should be increased. The regs were written at a time when there were no freeways, no power steering, no cab suspension, no comforts such as air conditioning or brakes. Driving is much less taxing now than in the “good ole days”. But I doubt any politico will seriously push that idea.

The biggest problem is Shippers and Receivers who demand the impossible, carriers desperate to please the customer, and drivers who will actually violate the regs when pushed.

Example: One recent load I had was from New Orleans to Denver for an 8 am delivery appointment. 1233 miles in 49 hours; achievable. Trailer was to be preloaded and ready for pickup at the Shipper by 8 am. Not only was it not ready, the product had not even been pulled or staged. It was 11 pm before I was ready to roll. Now the delivery expectation was legally unachievable.

A dispatcher will tell the driver “you need to be there on time, we can’t upset this account”. An experienced driver will say “the load gets there when I get there. The service failure is due to the Shipper, not us”. If he wants to dispute it further, every company has a Safety Department. And the DOT loves these disputes (thousands of $$$$ in fines!).

Unfortunately, our industry has a high turnover of a small percentage of drivers. “Six week wonders.” (It’s a tough life.) There are always those with less experience who give in the the pressure or think that their job is in jeopardy. These drivers (and some cowboys) will actually run the load. And give the rest of us a bad name. Given time, they learn that no carrier dares take action against a driver who refuses to run on legitimate grounds. And a driver with a good safety record can find employment with just a phone call.

The time a driver spends waiting for loading or unloading is off duty time, and doesn’t count against the hours of service. But it is not pleasant time. There is no rest or sleep. A loading delay of eight hours can count as your break, leaving you dead tired. The customer, however,expects you to be able to drive the next ten hours (or more) nonstop.

This problem would go away if carriers would charge delay/detainage fee for customers who fail to load/unload trucks in a timely manner. Say, within four hours of the appointment.. But carriers are loath to charge these fees, for fear the customers would switch to the competition. So this needs to be universal. I hate to call for Government action, but unless an industry wide resolve is reached… Maybe with pressure from PATT, etc…

This can happen without codification. Proctor & Gamble is a leader in this aspect. For their shipments, they require that the consignee complete unloading within two hours of the trucks delivery appointment, or the customer is charged higher rates on subsequent shipments. On the flip side, it was an expediter for P&G that screwed up my Denver load so badly.

Of course, there are truckers who would disagree with me. That’s the great thing about truckers. Go to any truckstop and you can get an argument on any side of any issue. Some guys will argue both sides simultaneously. Anything to be contrary. Hours of Service is a favorite gripe. But I doubt you’d get much support for the reforms as proposed.

More than you ever wanted to know about trucking.

I like trucks. I have fond memories of riding along with my dad and grandad when I was little: both drove gas tankers at various times. For my dad it was just a working-through-college thing. I’ve never driven anything bigger than a rental truck full of sound equipment, though.

July 26, 2002

WHAT’S (AND WHO’S) PATRIOTIC? Jonah Goldberg has some thoughts.

July 26, 2002

CHOMSKY MANSION UPDATE: Still nice, but as I suspected, not as nice as first reported. It turns out 36,000 square feet is the lot size, not the house size. Chomsky’s house is, in fact, significantly smaller than Stately InstaPundit Manor. I lack a lake place, and multiple boats, though.

I don’t know how relevant this is, anyway. My dad, who was a big ’60s protester, got some grief from people when he bought a Mercedes a while back. His response was, “I remember protesting for civil rights, and against the Vietnam war, but I don’t remember taking a position on German luxury automobiles.” Of course, my dad has never been an anti-capitalist weenie like Chomsky, either.

July 26, 2002

IT’S STARTED: Here’s a rant about Salon’s new blogging initiative.

I think I’ll wait a bit longer before offering my own critique.

July 26, 2002

PRINCETON’S HACKING EXCUSE (the old “we were just checking the security!”) wins the Whopper of the Week award from Slate: “It is possible that this really was a security check. If so, however, it was a remarkably thorough one. And why should Princeton care whether Yale’s computers are secure?”

Why, indeed?

July 26, 2002

STEPHEN F. HAYES reports that Bill Moyers poses a problem for PBS, sufficiently so that quite a few stations pulled his show during pledge week for fear of offending viewers.

July 26, 2002

IS MOUSSAOUI INNOCENT? Jonah Goldberg makes a persuasive case that he may be, at least with regard to planning the WTC attack itself.

July 26, 2002

MORE ON CONGRESS’S RAVING LUNACY, from Mike Connor at AlterNet. (Via The Hamster.)

July 26, 2002

MORE RIOTS IN ALGERIA. If these were in Israel or the West Bank they’d be getting a lot more attention — even though vastly more Algerians than Israelis and Palestinians have died as part of Algeria’s troubles.

Why is that? Antisemitism? Condescending racism toward Arabs? (“The wogs are always killing each other — big deal.”) Or both?

July 26, 2002

HOWARD KURTZ says that Robert Rubin will be coming in for scrutiny over Enron.

July 26, 2002

PRINCETON HACKS YALE: TAPPED has the story. How pathetic.

Of course, maybe they’re just hoping for a job in Hollywood.

UPDATE: Here’s the Slashdot thread on the subject, with a number of interesting observations.

July 26, 2002

MORE ON POLITICAL FERMENT IN IRAN: I don’t know when the lid will blow off, but it’s definitely building up pressure.

July 26, 2002

JOHN MCWHORTER writes that Jesse Jackson’s failure as a leader is actually a good thing for black America.

July 26, 2002

ANOTHER OBSERVATION ON THE bipartisan nature of financial scandals.

July 26, 2002

JOE KATZMAN has a thoughtful post on Islam, assimilation, and multiculturalism, using as his jumping-off point Nick Denton’s “Western Dhimmis” post, and Vegard Valberg’s report that Norwegian multiculturalists are saying that Norwegian women are “asking” to be raped by immigrants by dressing provocatively.

July 25, 2002

DELLWATCH: Howard Owens explains why his last computer was a Dell, but his current computer is something else.

July 25, 2002

I’VE BLOGGED REPEATEDLY on the Secret Service’s problems, but this takes the cake:

DETROIT –– A Secret Service agent has admitted he scrawled anti-Muslim statements on a prayer calendar during the home search of a man charged with smuggling bogus checks into the United States, authorities said Thursday.

Not only is that a sorry-ass thing to do in general, but the damage it does to relations with the American Muslim community — who for everyone’s sake had better be on the right side — is just incalculable. This guy shouldn’t just be fired. He should be prosecuted, and given the maximum sentence they can manage.

I keep saying that homeland security is a joke. But this isn’t even funny.

July 25, 2002

MORE ON THE IRAQI OKLAHOMA CITY CONNECTION from Reid Stott. I know that amazing coincidences happen sometime without any actual connection. But this strains credulity, doesn’t it?

July 25, 2002

MULTIPLE CHOMSKY RANTS in one convenient location.

UPDATE: Chris Fountain writes:

I’m no fan of Chomsky, but the blog you link to claims that the man owns a

36,000 sq. foot home in Cambridge. That’s possible, I suppose, but even here

in Greenwich, I don’t believe our largest MacMansion exceeds, say, 25,000

sq. feet. The (presumably) false claim, coming at the beginning of the blog,

sort of undemines the effect of the whole rant.

Yeah, that’s kinda big even for a celebrity socialist.

July 25, 2002

WHILE ERIC ALTERMAN has been bravely defending the Israeli attack on Hamas leader Saleh Shehadeh (and if you don’t think it was brave, you should see his hatemail), Jeff Goldstein is ambivalent. I think both are good things, since they indicate people are thinking.

July 25, 2002

RICHARD COHEN, APPARENTLY, remains insufficiently scourged. But Charles Austin is doing his best to remedy that.

July 25, 2002

COLD FURY HAS A POST on cars and trucks. He knows what he’s talking about.

Maybe next he’ll weigh in on the hours-of-service regs, and how they don’t make sense.

July 25, 2002

ANNATOPIA has another post on raves, this one on attending raves without doing drugs. Yes, it does happen.

July 25, 2002

THE WESTERN DHIMMIS: Nick Denton is sounding almost like Pim Fortuyn:

Let’s turn the system around. In the West, it is the Muslims who are the dhimmis, the tolerated minority; they should be free to practice, so long as their Islam is a diluted Episcopalian version, expressed in a sabbath on Fridays, holidays at unusual times of the year, traditional names for children, and an annual parade through Brooklyn.

In other words, Western governments should make clear that the toleration of Muslim minorities is conditional. The West is a package deal: the prosperity that has attracted Muslim immigrants is a function of the Western tradition. Fundamentalist Islam is not, as the morally ambivalent would have it, as valid as any other system. Here’s the Western dhimma: accept the supremacy of Western humanist values — equal rights for women and sexual minorities, freedom of speech, and family law — or leave.

Leave? Isn’t that a bit harsh? Well, according to the Moroccan jurist al-Wansharisi, it is the duty of an orthodox Muslim to emigrate rather than remain under infidel rule. Bernard Lewis writes: “If the infidels were tolerant, this made the need to depart more rather than less urgent, since the danger of apostasy was correspondingly greater. Even Muslim tyranny, says al-Wansharisi, is better than Christian justice.”

Nick’s sounding more Warbloggerish than most Warbloggers. Kinda like Eric Alterman. I see this as a good thing.

July 25, 2002

HERE’S AN INTERESTING ARTICLE on The Nation’s internal debate over 9/11 conspiracy theories.

July 25, 2002

MATT WELCH says the red/blue divide is back, in a column at TechCentralStation.

Gee, since I’m plugging a column at TCS, should I disclose that I write for ‘em too? After all, otherwise you’d never know unless you (1) read this weblog, or (2) read TechCentralStation.

There’s probably some idiot who’d say I should, or who at least would be prepared to argue that I should if it were politically useful to do so.

July 25, 2002

BOGUS ETHICS-CLAIM ALERT: Dave Kopel is under fire because the tagline at the end of his Rocky Mountain News media criticism column doesn’t mention that he works for the Independence Institute, which receives tobacco money.

Ho hum. Paul Krugman’s tagline doesn’t mention that he got Enron money, and the media-ethics watchdogs haven’t been too hot on that. And despite his truth-in-blogging campaign, Mickey Kaus still hasn’t disclosed that he’s really a Rhinoceros. In the interest of full disclosure, though, I should disclose the following:

(1) Although Kopel and I have never actually met, we’ve coauthored law-review articles and op-eds together (including one on the rave issue), thanks to the miracle of the Internet; and

(2) Though I included a tagline with my latest FoxNews column criticizing Joe Biden’s dumb RAVE Act that disclosed this, Fox went with the usual one instead. It should have said:

Glenn Harlan Reynolds is Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee and produces the techno band Mobius Dick.

Big whoop. These sorts of charges are what Peter Morgan and I called “Petty Blifil” in our book The Appearance of Impropriety: How the Ethics Wars Have Undermined American Government, Business and Society — the use of trivial ethics charges as a means of discrediting someone whose real crime is disagreement with the maker of the charges. (The “Blifil” part is from Henry Fielding’s novel Tom Jones, which has striking resonances for today’s political environment).

Special bonus deepthink point: All the stuff disclosed above is discoverable in moments on Google. (Here, for example, is what you get when you search “Dave Kopel.” Actually, I think you could find all that stuff out just by following links from this page.) Does the wide availability of Google reduce the obligation to affirmatively disclose potential conflicts of interest when anyone can find out about someone’s affiliations, etc., with very little effort anyway?

UPDATE: I should also disclose — in light of my oft-expressed hostility to the House of Saud — that East Tennessee is poised to become a rival oil producer:

According to Pryor, the drillers encountered oil pressures at 2,500 feet underground that they would not normally expect to find at less than 10,000 feet. The well’s flow rate was calculated at 12,000 barrels of oil in the first 24 hours with a flowing casing pressure of 1,750 pounds per square inch.

“This is a huge well for anywhere in the United States, but dwarfs anything ever discovered in Tennessee,” Pryor said.

Oil. Black gold. Texas tea. I may go out on the back 40 and see if I can pull a Jed Clampett.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Hesiod Theogeny emails that Douglas Adams was a Rhino, too! Hmm. With company like that, maybe I should be convert to Rhinism myself.

STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: Hey, I was joking about the oil and conflicts of interest, but it turns out that one of my environmental-law colleagues, nationally known as a big green, owns some land very close to that well. “I’m sure there are environmentally friendly ways to extract the oil,” he said. I think he was joking. . . .

OKAY, THIS IS THE LAST UPDATE, I PRACTICALLY PROMISE: Kaus is reporting on a deal between The American Prospect and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that sounds, well, a lot fishier than anything Kopel’s been accused of. Will it make Romenesko?

WELL, MAYBE THIS WILL BE THE LAST: Here’s a piece on the comprehensiveness of Google that supports my observation above.

July 25, 2002

DID THE MUSIC INDUSTRY CAUSE THE TELECOM CRASH? Interesting analysis.

July 25, 2002

ANNATOPIA HAS MORE on the dumb Biden/Hatch RAVE Act. It’s a righteous Fisking.

July 25, 2002

DAVE WINER is blogging about Andrea See and sex.

July 25, 2002

ERIC OLSEN has the story behind the story on Steve Earle, complete with email from the reporter, who turns out be a musician himself. Interesting.

July 25, 2002

EUGENE VOLOKH reports trouble with Dell, too.

July 25, 2002

IT’S HARD TO HAVE A FAMINE in a fertile country like Zimbabwe. But Claudia Rosett says that Robert Mugabe is up to the task.

Maybe the United States should declare Mugabe our ally in the war on terrorism — thus ensuring that the international human rights community will go into high gear condemning him.

July 25, 2002

OUCH! THIS IS EMBARRASSING:

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone –– Losing your job, quitting school, going broke and moving back home with your mother after living abroad for years would be tough on anyone.

It’s even tougher when you’re a former military dictator who once had the power to execute opponents at will.

Valentine Strasser became the world’s youngest head of state when he seized power in 1992 at the age of 25. But the limelight didn’t last – four years later, he was ousted in another coup.

“I’m basically living off my mother now. She’s been very supportive,” the 35-year-old said at a neighborhood bar on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital.

“It’s been tough. I’m unemployed, but I’m coping.”

I’ll bet all the other ex-dictators make fun of him, too. Oh, well. At least he’s not a TimeWarner/AOL shareholder.

UPDATE: My brother writes to disagree:

I don’t think the Strasser story is embarrassing at all. Despite having been the world’s youngest Head of State, he should be a role model for military rulers everywhere. Note… he clearly didn’t steal huge sums of money and stash them in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands, he is not hugely reviled by the populace and bears little grudge for his ouster. His response to being out of power? ‘Maybe I’ll run for president someday, but right now I think I’ll have a beer.’ If more military rulers had such perspective the world would be a better place!

Good point, bro. (He’s the smart one. I’m the cute one.)

July 25, 2002

THE L.A. EXAMINER is reporting more problems for California gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon, including worries about whether he’s rich enough. No one, however, is accusing Simon of being a large, horned mammal.

July 25, 2002

HAS ANYONE TRIED correlating stock-market movements with Blogger/Blogspot outages? If there’s any match, we’re in for a rough ride today.

I feel enormous gratitude toward Pyra and Ev Williams for kick-starting the Blogosphere, but I can’t help but feel that the problems there are heading toward a tipping point. At the very least, I recommend getting off Blogspot (hosting isn’t that expensive, unless you use a lot of bandwidth, like, er, me).

July 25, 2002

HOWARD KURTZ is imagining Martha Stewart in handcuffs. Take a cold shower, Howard.

July 25, 2002

MICKEY KAUS is denying charges that he’s a rhinoceros. He suggests, however, that Paul Krugman is a cocoon-dweller. My six-year-old daughter informs me that this makes Krugman a moth, “because a butterfly comes from a chrysalis.”

July 25, 2002

RAVING LUNACY: My FoxNews column is officially up. Follow the link in it for more background, or go here to read a brief by the ACLU and the Electronic Music Defense and Education Fund that I contributed to. We won.

UPDATE: Reader Brannon Denning writes:

One thing that occurred to me about the prosecutions is that this is a great way to make sure that cops have the opportunity to prosecute lots of white, upper-middle-class folks in their war on drugs to make it seem, you know, less racist (not that I believe it is) while not seeming to let up one whit on the “war on drugs.” That probably explains the zeal with which the Dems are signing on.

Interesting. Though the promoters are often non-upper class, non-whites.

July 24, 2002

DAVE WINER explains the market rally.

July 24, 2002

SEKIMORI strikes again: I love the graphic on this newly-redesigned blog.

July 24, 2002

DELLWATCH: An hour on the phone, with two different people, and supposedly another technician is going to be dispatched.

Here’s my question: don’t these companies have computers? I mean, looking me up in a database and dispatching a technician should take 90 seconds, tops. Instead, I spend 20 minutes with one guy, who’s tapping computer keys throughout, only to find that he can’t actually do anything with my “case.” He’s the wrong “center” for me, whatever that means. What’s more, his phone won’t let him (he says) transfer me. I have to call another number and wait on hold all over again. Then the next person took 20 minutes tapping keys on her computer. “I had to transfer all the history,” she said. I don’t know what that means, but if it takes 20 minutes to transfer this history — “we fucked up, send this guy a technician” — then they must be using abacuses, not computers.

Note to auditors: all that money supposedly spent on information technology? Figure out where it really went.

Bonus Lileks-like moment of irony: The on-hold music was Chicago, singing “After all that we’ve been through, I will make it up to you, I promise you.” Michael Dell should make it up to me.

July 24, 2002

BELLESILES UPDATE: The History News Network reports that the investigation is complete:

HNN has been told that that the independent panel appointed by Emory University to investigate Michael Bellesiles’s Arming America has finished its report and submitted it.

The university told HNN that it will not have a comment “until the end of the summer.”

Mr. Bellesiles has declined to comment.

The names of the panel members are secret. The university has indicated that it may never reveal their names even after the report is made public.

Now that’s a real confidence-builder.

July 24, 2002

KAUS-WORSHIPPING RHINO ALERT: No, really.

Funny, Kaus doesn’t look Rhinish.