Archive for January, 2003

January 31, 2003

OVER A YEAR AGO, I called stuff like this “pure political poison” in terms of our relations with the Muslim world. It still is.

UPDATE: A lot of readers disagree with me here, pointing out that Nazism has a lot of adherents in the Arab world, etc., etc. That’s certainly true, but I don’t think it really addresses the point. Justin Katz writes that efforts to compare this with A.N.S.W.E.R. suggest “desperation” on the part of liberals. Well, that’s right. For it to compare with A.N.S.W.E.R., it would have to be a pro-Nazi sticker, sold by organizers who proudly shared its sentiments.

January 31, 2003

VENEZUELANS ARE MARCHING FOR PRESS FREEDOM in response to Hugo Chavez’s effort to shut down opposition TV stations.

January 31, 2003

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE OOOIIILLL — IT’S ABOUT THE ALIENS!

It is allegedly said that the craft crashed during the Gulf War (1990-1991), or more recently (probably in December 1998). This became some kind of Iraq’s Rosewell. The USA is currently reverse-engineering the Rosewell craft and fears that Saddam’s scientists may become even more successful than Americans in this or that sphere. It was said that these researches may give Iraq a considerable advance and even make it a leading super power.

UFO Roungup’s Arab journalists failed either to confirm or to deny these rumors.

Silly me, I thought it was about the antigravity. I’ll see if I can “roungup” some more news on this subject.

January 31, 2003

JUST RAN ACROSS CAROL JOHNSON’S open letter to her party, the Democrats:

I am a dyed-in-the-wool Republican-hater, coming from a long line of Democratic Party supporters, and YOU ARE LOSING ME. I am a white, not-quite-40 mother of three who lives in the suburbs, and YOU ARE LOSING ME. I care about Education, Social Welfare, and the Environment, and YOU ARE LOSING ME.

The war is involved.

UPDATE: And here’s one they’ve already lost.

January 31, 2003

GO EAST, UNCLE SAM: Here’s more evidence, from Sofia Sideshow.

January 31, 2003

MATTHEW YGLESIAS is back from hiatus.

January 31, 2003

“GERMANS GUILTY IN IRAQ SUPERGUN CASE:”

A court in the German city of Mannheim has convicted two businessmen of supplying weapons-making equipment to Iraq in violation of UN sanctions.

Engineer Bernd Schompeter was sentenced to five years and three months for dealing in drills that can be used for boring tubes for long-range cannons, capable of launching nuclear, chemical or biological warheads.

At a guess, this is the tip of the iceberg.

January 31, 2003

I’M WATCHING PHIL DONAHUE AND NEAL BOORTZ ON MSNBC NOW — and it’s obvious why Boortz has Donahue beat hollow in ratings. Donahue keeps accusing Boortz of being “thunderous,” but Donahue’s critique is idea-free and sneering, while Boortz is talking about actual ideas. “Why does Donahue have a show?” asks my wife.

Beats me.

January 31, 2003

JACOB T. LEVY WRITES IN THE NEW REPUBLIC:

In its dollar magnitude, it’s almost certainly the biggest case of financial mismanagement in U.S. history. While a final tally is years away, in part because of suspiciously lost or missing documents, there’s good reason to think that the dollar figures will dwarf WorldCom’s $9 billion. It’s a scandal that crosses partisan lines and reaches into high levels of both the Clinton and the Bush administrations. And it’s got nothing to do with Wall Street. . . .

And yet, thanks to a combination of convoluted detail, media bias, and ideological blindness, most Americans have never even heard about it.

Wonder why Howell Raines hasn’t made it a priority?

January 31, 2003

IS BLOGGING VOLUME AN economic indicator? Well, there do seem to be a lot of unemployed bloggers. . . .

January 31, 2003

YOU’LL NOTICE YOU NEVER SEE RUMSFELD AND STRYKER PHOTOGRAPHED TOGETHER.

January 31, 2003

RAND SIMBERG has published a glossary that will help in decoding New York Times editorials and the like. Excerpt:

“going it alone”:

Meaning 1: Taking action in concert with numerous European and Middle Eastern nations, and others around the globe, but without France and Germany.

Read the whole thing.

January 31, 2003

RACHEL LUCAS says that Nelson Mandela has exhausted his moral capital.

Well, his intellectual capital has certainly run dry.

January 31, 2003

MATERIAL BREACH (AGAIN) — the United States will release intercepted Iraqi communications that show deliberate deception. My prediction: they will be denounced as fakes by Saddam and his supporters.

January 31, 2003

HERE’S MORE ON THE DEMISE OF BROBECK, PHLEGER — a law firm that fell victim to the dot-com bust. Well, sort of.

January 31, 2003

AT LEAST THEY’RE NOT ALGERIANS, THIS TIME:

NAPLES (Reuters) – Italian police have arrested 28 Pakistani men suspected of links to al Qaeda in one of the biggest anti-terrorism operations Italy has seen since the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Military police burst into an apartment in central Naples on Wednesday night as part of a routine sweep against illegal immigration and ended up discovering enough explosives to blow up a three-story building, officials said on Friday.

They arrested all 28 men staying in the apartment after finding 800 grams (28 ounces) of explosives, 230 feet of fuse and various electronic detonators crammed behind a false wall.

Islamic religious texts, photos of “jihad” (holy war) martyrs, piles of false documents, maps of the Naples area, addresses of contacts around the world and more than 100 mobile telephones were also found in the run-down lodgings, police said.

A judicial source said the maps had various targets marked out on them including the headquarters of NATO’s southern European command, the U.S. consulate in Naples and a U.S. naval base at Capodichino, just outside the port city.

As Austin Bay has already pointed out, the war buildup isn’t “distracting” from the hunt for Al Qaeda. It’s flushing Al Qaeda from its holes, and making its operatives easier to catch.

January 31, 2003

DAVE WINER: “AOL was the finger in the dyke of the Internet.”

Nope, not going there.

January 31, 2003

BUSH’S REAL MOTIVE FOR GOING TO WAR: Revealed at last!

January 31, 2003

MORE ON THIS WEEK IN DIPLOMACY, over at GlennReynolds.com — and Frank Sinatra makes a guest appearance. Well, sort of.

January 31, 2003

GUNS FOR TOTS: Dr. Manhattan points to a charity drive in New York that’s worth getting behind.

January 31, 2003

LESSONS FROM THE RICHARD REID PROSECUTION: TalkLeft notes:

The lesson is this: Our federal courts and our criminal justice system are well equipped to handle terror cases. There is no need to keep the suspects in military custody, cut off from lawyers –or to try them in secret military tribunals. Reid pleaded guilty to all counts and received no promises of leniency or other sentence concessions. Reid had excellent appointed counsel and a U.S. District Court Judge presiding over his case. The proceedings were open to the media and public. Important court filings by both the Prosecution and the Defense were available on the Internet. The Government got the conviction and the life sentence it sought.

For terrorists of the Richard Reid variety, I think this is right. I think, though, that it’s perfectly appropriate to deal with terrorists who are still an active threat via, say, Hellfire missiles.

January 31, 2003

GOODBYE TO “OLD EUROPE?” Here’s a report that there’s talk about U.S. bases moving from Germany to Poland. The information isn’t enormously solid, but it’s interesting that such rumors are spreading — and they may, themselves, be part of the diplomatic campaign.

January 31, 2003

ACCORDING TO A source who will remain undisclosed, the White House is emailing out Andrew Sullivan’s “Fisking” of the New York Times’ war coverage to rather a lot of journalists. Heh.

January 31, 2003

AIRBRUSH AWARD: Look at what Daimler-Chrysler did to this famous Bill Mauldin cartoon. Jeez. I blame the Germans.

January 31, 2003

“AXIS OF WEASELS” UPDATE: Now it’s in The Economist.

Last week, Germany sandbagged the secretary of state when it said it would not vote for war on Iraq at any price. The French foreign minister then insisted that “nothing” justified war now. This Franco-German grandstanding—the pair were promptly dubbed the “axis of weasels” by Americans—was a personal embarrassment for Mr Powell, the administration’s strongest proponent of seeking UN backing for American policy.

Heh. I think Powell’s getting his revenge. (And see the map below).

January 31, 2003

HERE’S A GRAPHIC VIEW of support and opposition in Europe regarding the war, courtesy of The Agonist.

Kind of puts those “unilateralist” claims in perspective, doesn’t it?

January 31, 2003

LEE HARRIS writes on the difference between helping the Third World and feeling good about ourselves.

January 31, 2003

DOES FRANCE + GERMANY = EUROPE? Apparently the editors of the Boston Globe are geographically challenged, as this editorial neglects to mention the ten other European countries who are supporting the United States, something that ought to be relevant here. On the plus side, though, it does mention “Chirac’s record of collaboration with Saddam.”

January 31, 2003

FRESNO STATE and Eco-terrorists — can this be as bad as it sounds?

Maybe it’s a “sting” operation.

January 31, 2003

NO TATTOOS, PLEASE: We’re sailors.

January 31, 2003

ROBERT KAGAN writes about courage in the face of anti-Americanism on the part of the European leaders who are standing by America. He’s certainly right about the extent to which the European intelligentsia has aligned itself with Pat Buchanan-style conspiracism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Semitism. And yes, it’s widespread enough that it’s brave to face it down; it’s hard to imagine very many American politicians who would be willing to do so, though I can think of a couple.

But it’s a calculated risk that will pay off big, so long as the United States wins the war. The anti-Americanism won’t go away — it will never go away so long as Europe suffers so many self-inflicted wounds it’s afraid to talk about — but as Fareed Zakaria wrote last year, victory is the best propaganda, and if the war in Iraq goes well it will die down quickly, since a lot of the current upsurge is based on fear. And, unlike many previous administrations, the Bush folks seem to remember who America’s friends are, and who they aren’t.

January 31, 2003

U.S. TROOPS IN IRAQ: Pravda reports, Rantburg decodes. And note this item on Turkey.

January 31, 2003

NEXT, ARIANNA HUFFINGTON WILL BE MAKING S.U.V. COMMERCIALS: Mickey Kaus is defending Paul Krugman from his critics.

January 31, 2003

MAYBE A GANG OF ELEVEN? William Sjostrom reports on Irish support.

January 31, 2003

WHERE DIPLOMACY IS NOT SO SUCCESSFUL: Reader Jake Kreutzer sends this link to a story suggesting that the North Koreans are even stupider, and more suicidal, than I thought.

January 31, 2003

JOE KATZMAN looks at the diplomatic defeats that France has suffered and doesn’t credit the United States. He says that they have Tony Blair’s fingerprints all over them.

There’s something to this — but it’s not the whole story nor, as I will note in a later post, would the Administration fail to deserve substantial credit even if Katzman’s perspective were one hundred percent correct.

January 30, 2003

READ THIS POST by Dave Kopel over at The Corner on the latest Rave Act developments. And read the post below it, too.

January 30, 2003

JEEZ, a new traffic record. Over 112, 000 pageviews today already. Go figure.

January 30, 2003

IRAQI SPIES IN THE U.S.? That’s hardly surprising, given that we’re basically at war. But this Daily News report offers some surprises, though of course I can’t confirm its accuracy.

January 30, 2003

BROBECK, PHLEGER IS NO MORE. This won’t excite the non-lawyers, but it’s big news.

January 30, 2003

UNILATERALISM, MY ASS! (CONT’D): All I can say is, Advantage: Rumsfeld!

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP)–The “new Europe” raised its voice Thursday, as eight of its leaders praised U.S. resolve in disarming Iraq and indirectly chided the traditional powers, France and Germany, for opposing U.S. plans for military action against Saddam Hussein.

But that’s old news. Now, though, the “gang of eight” is a “gang of ten:”

Some of Europe’s newest democracies have expressed the strongest support because of past U.S. economic and political support of their struggle to escape communism.

Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano, in a letter to Bush made public Thursday, pledged “total and unconditional” support in the showdown against Iraq. Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda of Slovakia called the declaration “the clear, right word at the right time,” and said he agreed with it.

The article goes on to minimize (if that’s possible) the military importance of Albania and Slovakia. But that’s not the point. The point is that — despite (or because of) their diplomatic anschluss — France and Germany are now isolated within the E.U. Indeed, there is now talk that the E.U. may splinter as a result of their anti-American efforts.

That probably won’t happen, but it’s a far cry from the “United Europe” stance that Chirac and Schroeder had in mind. Why, it’s almost as if they were lured into this position.

January 30, 2003

PARIS CORRESPONDENT NELSON ASCHER EMAILS:

Hello.

This is very important:

Though a minimum of 157 signatures was needed, by now more than 160 Euro Parliament representatives have signed the request demanding an investigation into how the Palestinians have been using the money given them by the European Union. Great for the very day the “gang of 8″ published its pro-US letter. Maybe things are begining to change this side of the ocean — and, by the way, this is also, and quite officially, the “hole in the head” Chris Patten was in need of.

Another diplomatic success. Heh.

January 30, 2003

READER ALAN CAMERON POINTS OUT that AOL’s $99 billion loss was close to double Iraq’s total GDP. Heh.

In the words of Jack Palance, “I crap bigger’n you.”

Almost twice as big, though admittedly, that was an unusually large crap. . . .

January 30, 2003

HMM. SCHWARZKOPF WAS SKEPTICAL, BUT NOW HE’S CALLING BUSH’S SPEECH “COMPELLING.” You don’t think the whole thing was scripted, do you? Surely not.

January 30, 2003

NO ANTI-SEMITISM HERE. Publish that cartoon with an obviously Arab figure and you’d be charged with “hate speech.” Heck, they might even advertise to find people who were offended.

UPDATE: No hate crime here, either!

January 30, 2003

I WAS JUST BEING HONEST: My comments on Gary Locke’s performance responding to the State of the Union got quoted in the Seattle Times.

Oh, well, I was nicer than Oliver Willis, who called Locke’s presentation “long and limp.”

January 30, 2003

DONALD SENSING identifies Bush’s most important sentence.

January 30, 2003

HERE’S A FIRSTHAND BLOG REPORT of Iraqi chemical weapons.

January 30, 2003

READER GABRIEL MENDEL POINTS OUT that even though the New York Times is basically ignoring the European leaders’ letter, the robots at Google News — handily outperforming the humans at the Times — have put the story up top.

UPDATE: Better late than never! The Times has it now.

January 30, 2003

PROFESSOR DAVID MOSER OF BELMONT UNIVERSITY has posted a defense of the Eldred decision on the new Belmont University faculty blog. (A great idea, by the way).

Meanwhile, Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin suggests that under Eldred, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is unconstitutional.

January 30, 2003

FRANCE’S BAD WEEK: I reflect on the failures of Franco-diplomacy over at GlennReynolds.com, where I also suggest that the Bush Administration is playing a diplomatic game that goes well beyond Iraq.

Meanwhile, in response to the letter from 8 European leaders supporting the United States, reader Jim Campbell emails:

After reading the stunning op-ed letter in the WSJ this morning (to see the words “American bravery” in a letter signed by the heads of 8 European nations briefly stopped my heart), I thought of Bush and Chirac and Schroeder, and a movie scene immediately popped into mind – the scene at the end of Twelve Angry Men, where Henry Fonda looks at Lee J. Cobb and says, “You’re alone now.”

I like it.

UPDATE: Here’s an article that provides some insight into what’s going on:

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A joint letter by eight European leaders backing the United States on the crisis with Iraq highlighted the European Union (news – web sites)’s divisions on Thursday, rubbing salt into the wounds of its stumbling foreign policy. . . .

The move appeared aimed at isolating France and Germany, which had publicly argued against a rush to war, and building a pro-American caucus within the 15-nation EU.

“This looks like Rumsfeld’s Europe,” one EU diplomat said, referring to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s dismissal of France and Germany last week as “old Europe.”

Buwahahahaha!

January 30, 2003

HERE’S A NICE PIECE ON NANOTECHNOLOGY and Bill Joy’s fears by Freeman Dyson, who invokes Milton’s Areopagitica.

January 30, 2003

UNILATERALISM, MY ASS! Jim Miller notes that the New York Times and other anti-war papers don’t seem to be giving the European leaders’ letter of support any play.

If the letter had been one of condemnation, want to bet it would have made the front page? I can’t even find it on the page that supposedly provides “complete coverage” of the war with Iraq.

Meanwhile, Juan Volokh is condemning French unilateralism.

January 30, 2003

THERE WILL BE AN ONLINE FORUM on affirmative action and diversity in higher education at the Chronicle of Higher Education’s website starting at 1 p.m. Eastern time. (The link is here.) I’ll be in class, but perhaps you’ll find it interesting.

January 30, 2003

TOM DASCHLE DOESN’T WANT YOU DANCING: Dave Kopel and I have a column criticizing the latest, sneaky, iteration of the RAVE Act, over at National Review Online.

UPDATE: TalkLeft has comments.

January 30, 2003

REGIS PHILBIN, ANTI-IDIOTARIAN? Reader Mark Garbowski emails:

This morning on the Regis and Kelly show, Regis made humorous reference to a news article on the offer of exile to Saddam. Kelly asked why we would pay for that and Regis replied that it’s cheaper than war. Then Kelly said yes, but why do we have to pay for it. We solve everyone’s problems and pay for everything and all the world does is hate us and burn the flag. In as close to verbatim as I can remember, Regis said:

“Yeah. Like South Korea. South Korea wants us out of their country. OK. But who’s gonna keep them safe from that crazy man up north? And the French! The only time the French want us to go to war is when the German army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee.”

Cheers from the studio audience. Go Regis.

First Oprah, now Regis. I told you there was a cultural sea-change underway. No wonder the traditional Vietnam-era left is so grumpy.

UPDATE: Dr. Manhattan emails:

I think the Oprah & Regis moments represent the obverse of the legendary LBJ story where he saw Walter Cronkite opine against Vietnam on his broadcast and asserted: “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost the country.”

Indeed.

January 30, 2003

IN LIGHT OF THE AFRICAN AIDS INITIATIVE, producers of NPR-type shows should be aware of this song about AIDS by the Ugandan band Afrigo.

Meanwhile, Susanna Cornett emails:

A caller on the Curtis & Kuby show (WABC 770, NYC) just called in and said he thought Bush was going to give AIDS $$ to Africa because he wants the oil there.

Apparently it’s a one-size-fits-all meme.

Jeez, that guy is so behind the times. Doesn’t he realize it’s all about antigravity?

January 30, 2003

LET THIS BE A WARNING TO STUDENTS WHO GAME DURING CLASS. . . .

A Norwegian MP has been caught playing games on his handheld computer during a debate in parliament.

Trond Helleland didn’t know television cameras had zoomed in on him during a debate about Norwegians fighting in Afghanistan.

The Conservative MP says he had been meaning to check his schedule on his personal digital assistant, but couldn’t resist a round of the war game Metalion.

Personally, I’m just glad to hear that there’s someone in the Norwegian parliament who doesn’t sniffily disapprove of war games.

UPDATE: Norwegian blogger Fredrik Norman has links to pictures, and notes: “Who said Norwegian politicians were all doves? In the virtual year of 2252, they’re laser-firing hawks!”

January 30, 2003

“IT AIN’T DEAD YET:” DefenseTech warns that the TIA program hasn’t been killed, despite the contrary impression held by many.

Get a bigger stick, and whack it again.

January 30, 2003

“BLIX HANDED THE ADMINISTRATION THE SMOKING GUN:” Josh Marshall has a lengthy and very interesting interview with Kenneth Pollack up on his site.

January 30, 2003

ARNOLD KLING has a column on “Economic Idiotarianism” — and, yes, that’s the actual title.

January 30, 2003

“EUROPE’S STUMBLING FOREIGN POLICY:”

This week, an attempt by the EU’s foreign ministers to renew sanctions against Zimbabwe collapsed because France wanted an exemption from the travel ban to enable President Robert Mugabe to attend a Franco-African summit in Paris.

The EU’s whole relationship with Africa was thrown into confusion, with an EU-Africa summit to be hosted by Portugal in April under threat. If France was allowed to receive Mugabe, the Portuguese wanted the same right.

But the leaders of the UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Spain are all likely to boycott a summit attended by Mugabe, which would transform the event into an embarrassing display of European disunity.

There’s much, much more. I think that in the disunity of Europe here, and especially in the letter supporting the U.S. on Iraq released by eight European heads of state that I mentioned earlier, we’re seeing some very effective diplomacy by the United States. With an unwitting assist by France. I’ll have more on that later today.

January 30, 2003

UNILATERALISM: “Activists” are criticizing Bush’s $15 billion AIDS plan for Africa as unilateralism because he’s not passing the money through, um, “activist” groups. Puhleez.

January 29, 2003

MORE ON THE WELFARE-TERRORISM CONNECTION: Mickey Kaus, call your office!

January 29, 2003

AXIS OF WEASELS MERCHANDISE? But of course!

January 29, 2003

OIL? YOU PATHETIC SAP. It’ really all about antigravity.

January 29, 2003

BLOGS AND MONEY: Here’s an interesting article that talks about Nick Denton and Henry Copeland, among others who plan to make money off of weblogs by methods other than mentioning their Amazon and Paypal donation-buttons. Though Andrew Sullivan’s “Pledge Week” does get a mention.

January 29, 2003

IT’S NOT YOUR FATHER’S BULGARIA, apparently.

January 29, 2003

WHAT? YOU HAVEN’T SUBSCRIBED to the new Welch / Layne paper yet? Why the hell not?

UPDATE: Here’s a review of the prototype issue, from the Christian Science Monitor.

January 29, 2003

AUSTIN BAY has some important observations on why beating Iraq will likely be a deathblow to an already weakened Al Qaeda.

January 29, 2003

STEVE VERDON (permalinks not working) notices something I hadn’t — my traffic for this month has already surpassed its previous monthly high. This will no doubt disappoint some, who seemed to be hoping that InstaPundit had passed its peak.

Of course, traffic here won’t keep growing forever, and I wouldn’t be terribly surprised (or, for that matter, all that disappointed) to see it level off or even decline as the blogosphere grows. This is the Internet, and nothing is forever. (Which isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy disappointing those folks this time; I’m only human.)

It’s especially interesting, though, in light of this figure from this OJR piece, showing big-media traffic trends. What’s interesting is that they look a lot like mine, only with a few more zeros. I wouldn’t have guessed that.

January 29, 2003

ARTHUR SILBER is mad as hell about Bush’s AIDS proposal.

January 29, 2003

HERE’S OSAMA BIN LADEN’S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS. I give it an A.

January 29, 2003

AHEAD OF BUSH: Orrin Judd notes that John Kerry is crying “material breach.”

January 29, 2003

GEORGE CLOONEY: The Rachel Lucas interview — but how did she get him to open up like that?

January 29, 2003

UNILATERALISM, MY ASS!

Here’s a BBC story pointing out that France is, essentially, using the threat of its Security Council veto to frustrate the many European nations that support the U.S. on Iraq.

January 29, 2003

AOL TIME WARNER LOST NEARLY $100 BILLION IN 2002.

Advantage: InstaPundit, which was nearly $100 billion more profitable than AOL last year! Quick, get out the press release!

[Kaus already did this schtick last year -- Ed. He already did the Ed. schtick, too. . . .]

January 29, 2003

HESIOD DOESN’T GET IT, so I’ll try to speak very slowly:

Antiwar protesters aren’t Communists by definition.

But A.N.S.W.E.R. and the WWP basically are. (And of the extra-nasty Stalinist variety.)

Communists are, in my opinion, as bad as Nazis: mass murder, totalitarianism, etc. (And calling them “Marxists” instead doesn’t fool anyone.)

Going to a march organized by Communists doesn’t make you a Communist, any more than going to a march organized by Nazis makes you a Nazi.

But knowingly going to either one makes you icky. And calling it McCarthyism when people point that out, or point out that the Communists really are Communists, makes you either dishonest, or stupid.

Clear enough?

(I should also note that I’ve tried to call attention to non-icky voices opposing the war. I think they’re wrong about the war, but it’s okay to be wrong. It’s not okay to be in bed with Stalinists or Hitlerites.)

January 29, 2003

LILEKS:

The line that clarified everything: I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country – your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation.

It brought to mind Susan Sarandon’s ad, in which she argues against a military effort to depose Saddam. “What,” she asks, “has Iraq done to us?”

Aside from shoot at our pilots, and attempt to kill an ex-President, I’ll grant that they’ve done no more to us than Hitler did to the US in the 30s. But that’s not the point. Sarandon has turned into the very thing her ilk decries: an insular self-satisfied wealthy Westerner who couldn’t care less what happens in other countries, as long as no Americans get a nick.

Her, and a lot of her colleagues.

January 29, 2003

FRANCE IS BLOWING IT IN ITS NEOCOLONIALIST UNILATERAL ACTION IN AFRICA:

Just when it was reveling, downstage-center, as a marquee player in international discussions on Iraq, France has collided with an African crisis that may more cruelly mark out the limited character of its diplomatic and practical powers.

This reality bites: A French-engineered peace agreement meant to bring to calm to the Ivory Coast after a months-long rebellion – signed here with the trappings of inviolability over the weekend in the presence of President Jacques Chirac and a handy phalanx of plumed Gardes Republicaines – has imploded.

This article is damning. The French military force is called “invisible,” the word “neocolonialist” is used, and, most humiliating of all, it says that France was “outfoxed” in the diplomatic negotiations. The Ivory Coast, it suggests, indicates the limits of French power.

Check out the photo accompaning this article with signs calling Chirac a criminal and boosting the USA. And doesn’t it figure that the French have their own Republican Guard. . . .?

January 29, 2003

THE UNDISCLOSED LOCATION has a dialup connection that’s now getting 24kbps. Ugh. More later.

January 29, 2003

DAVID BOAZ is condemning the anti-choice movement in strong terms.

January 29, 2003

THE GRUMPY LEFT: This writer in the Star Tribune is getting tired of the Judean People’s Front aspects of, well, lots of lefty causes:

I also began to wonder where the left gets its harshness — a know-it-all style of dark grievance-dom that has increasingly come to define the peace movement. It was on my mind because I had seen this belief system in full bloom two nights earlier, as I watched a replay of the day’s big Washington, D.C., antiwar demonstration. . . .

I just wish that every gathering of my lefties didn’t have to become such a tedious exercise in cause-linking, chant-bullhorning and supposed truth-telling. I have the fantasy of a progressive cause with no Youth and Student Coordinator, no West Coast Representative, no brother from the movement in the country to the south and no presumption that words like Solidarity, Network, Action and Uprising are always to be treated as gospel, the code words that say we are all the same.

(Via Fraters Libertas).

January 29, 2003

“CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES” — a roundup of the week’s best (self-nominated) blog entries — is over at Dodd Harris’s this week. Check it out!

January 29, 2003

ALPHECCA’S WEEKLY survey of media bias on gun control is up, with a surprising finding.

January 29, 2003

TED BARLOW has unmasked my secret identity.

January 29, 2003

A LOT MORE NEWSPAPER WEBSITES are reportedly going to start asking for registration. Do you like that idea? I offer my observations in today’s TechCentralStation column.

January 29, 2003

LIFE IS GOOD, here at the secure undisclosed location. I didn’t follow the State of the Union speech — I’m at a hotel with the InstaWife and no kids, an opportunity too good to be wasted on political speeches. But Stephen Green and Tacitus provided blow-by-blow coverage, so the Blogosphere was on the job.

From what I’ve seen, Bush did pretty well on Iraq, and got a passing grade (with perhaps an extra point or two for audacity) on the domestic side. However, if you grade on the curve with Gary Locke plugged in, he gets an A. (Andrew Sullivan would give Bush an A outright.) What I saw of Locke in the playback looked weak, and others seem to agree. He came across like a city councilman. Not a bad city councilman, but not somebody ready for primetime at the national level, at least not yet.

UPDATE: Just noticed that they were dissing me for my absence over at The Corner, where they were blogging in realtime, too. Heh. Well, they get paid the big bucks for that sort of thing.

Meanwhile, here is a piece noting the Tolkien resonances in the speech. And Matt Welch assembled a focus group on the State of the Union. Plus there’s a link on his page that’ll let you subscribe to the Los Angeles Examiner! Go for it.

January 28, 2003

OFF TO A SECURE, UNDISCLOSED LOCATION: Blogging will resume later.

January 28, 2003

AXIS OF NOT-SO-FEEBLE: The Norwegian Air Force dropped its first bomb in almost 60 years in Afghanistan today. (Via Rantburg). And don’t miss this photo of anti-French, pro-American protests in Cote d’Ivoire, with a sign reading “USA is better” and a — non-defaced! — American flag. Bwahahaha!

January 28, 2003

GARY FARBER on the unlikelihood of “terror bombing” against Iraq.

January 28, 2003

WILLIAM SJOSTROM POINTS TO THIS ARTICLE BY JOHN KEEGAN on “The New Appeasers.” Excerpt:

Here the new appeasement takes on its second form. It does not seek, as in the 1930s, to appease dictators. The object now is to appease other objectors to war – half-hearted allies such as Germany, the “Arab street”, liberal opinion at home and, above all, the legalists in the UN and other international organisations.

The new appeasers’ cry today is for a “second” (but implicitly a third and fourth) Security Council resolution authorising military action against Saddam and, without that, no intervention. The appeasers believe that they have found, in the UN Charter, means to prevent the democracies resorting to force in almost all circumstances. . . .

The history of appeasement does not change. Hitler was once a weak little man – and it was the concessions of the appeasers of his day that allowed him to grow strong. Once Saddam has his nuclear weapons, he will beat the drum of war. It will be a war that the new appeasers, like the old appeasers who rallied to Churchill after Hitler’s first blitzkrieg, will bitterly regret that they did not fight when they had the chance to win.

Read the whole thing, as they say.

January 28, 2003

THE EDDIE MURPHY / JOHN MCCAIN CONNECTION. It’s all so obvious, now. . . .

January 28, 2003

BILL HOBBS has done some research on claims about the cost of war — and on who’s doing the claiming. He also notes:

One of WAND’s five stated policy goals is

Eliminate the testing, production, sale and use of weapons of mass destruction.

Isn’t that what we’re trying to do in Iraq?

Yes, Bill, but I suspect they’re talking about our weapons of mass destruction. Not Saddam’s.

January 28, 2003

PORPHYROGENITUS says it’s all about ooiiilll at the BBC.

January 28, 2003

LEE HARRIS writes:

If the international community supported the First Gulf War overwhelmingly, which clearly it did, it is morally committed to supporting the current policy of the United States and the failure to realize this connection can be most charitably ascribed to intellectual dishonesty.

Since the United States is the only nation in the world that is willing to play this role, let alone capable of playing it, there are only three ways that it can relate to the international community: either as its lackey, or as its leader, or as its tyrant.

The world cannot really expect the United States to be its lackey, and certainly doesn’t want it to be its tyrant. And this leaves them only one choice.

Those who are now currently refusing to accept America’s moral right to lead at this point are betraying the very ideals they pretend to champion—you cannot have world peace until someone enforces it; but no one who is powerful enough to enforce it can be persuaded to enforce it like a flunkey—it is utopianism to think otherwise.

I’m not sure “utopianism” is the precise word, but yes.

January 28, 2003

THERE MAY BE NO LOGICAL CONNECTION between “Free Mumia!” and “Not in Our Name!” — but there is a financial connection. Tom Wolfe must be smiling.

UPDATE: Michele has some thoughts, over at A Small Victory. In another postshe notes that waiting for a “smoking gun” is probably a mistake:

a smoking gun would imply that it is too late; a gun does not smoke until it has been fired.

Indeed.

January 28, 2003

DOES SADDAM HAVE NUKES? ARE THE FRENCH SPYING FOR SADDAM? Trent Telenko has info on both. I’ve gotten some email from military folks suggesting the latter based on the behavior of French ships and aircraft in the Persial Gulf region.

If it’s true, paybacks should be severe.

January 28, 2003

GOVERNMENT DATABASES AND MISSION CREEP: Brian Doherty is absolutely right about this.

January 28, 2003

PESSIMISM ABOUT THE FUTURE: I have to say, this posting by Michael Rogers seems to hit the nail on the head. Most people I know are pessimistic about the future of their professions, too, almost across the board. I wonder if it’s caused by the phenomenon Brad DeLong identifies: better communications technology is creating more competition for people in a wide variety of fields.

DeLong’s prediction for 2023 reminds me of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, in which we’re told that globalization had smeared things out into a worldwide layer of “what a Pakistani bricklayer would consider prosperity.”

Is that really our future? I’m inclined to doubt it. But I could be wrong.

UPDATE: John Nye emails:

I think the trends you speak of would be at work even if there were no globalization. And Stephenson had it wrong. The greatest wage pressure will be on status and goods. Prosperity should easily increase material welfare (no. of cars, clothes, dinners, etc. you can buy) but will adversely affect prestige goods (like the probability of being accepted to the top ten universities or the chance of buying that prime lot in Menlo Park or even getting tickets to Broadway). So the issue is not that standard of living will be at the Pakistani middle class level.

Rather it will feel like that for some because they will be objectively richer but some of the things they cherish which provide status will be unobtainable. This has already been happening in the US. See my article on Irreducible Inequality.

I think this may be right. Reader George Zachar emails:

BY DEFINITION most professions will vanish/evolve into something unrecognizable as time, technology and expertise advance.

Focus on individual capabilities/skill sets/flexibility, and things look brighter/more realistic.

I’ve lost count of the personal career metamorphisms I’ve gone through.

I think this is right, too.