Archive for March, 2004

March 31, 2004

GENOCIDE IN THE SUDAN: Nick Kristof cares, but sadly not many other people seem to.

For all the talk of “never again,” genocide hasn’t seemed to upset the international community much. The UN seems to have contributed to genocide in Rwanda — while various other people obstructed action or did nothing. Noam Chomsky’s support for the Khmer Rouge is famous. And the response in the Balkans was dreadfully slow, while the looming genocide in Zimbabwe is largely ignored.

If the Israelis killed all the Palestinians the world would care — but only because the Israelis did it.

More on this problem, and what to do about it in the grander scale, here.

March 31, 2004

THIS SURE LOOKS LIKE AN APRIL FOOL to me. But if it is, is the New York Times an April Fool, or is it in on the joke?

March 31, 2004

SUGGESTED CAPTION: “Hey, these Kerry mannequins aren’t that heavy!”

March 31, 2004

CABLE NEWS IS LOSING VIEWERS: I used to be a cable-news junkie. Now I get most of my news from the Internet. I wonder if a lot of other people have made the same shift?

March 31, 2004

I DIDN’T LISTEN TO FRANKENRADIO TODAY, but here’s a review from Josh Fielek. Meanwhile Bryan Preston notes that the “Air America” programming is displacing urban black radio talent in favor of white liberals, leaving the displaced folks unhappy. Oops.

UPDATE: SF DJ Big Rick notes that Air America is displacing Chinese and Korean radio programming in the Bay Area.

Meanwhile, in New York:

Starting tomorrow, WLIB will scrap its daytime Caribbean programming and become the New York home for Air America Radio, the new, liberal talk-radio network.

Al Franken and Air America: “Silencing Minorities Since 2004!”

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader says that in LA Air America is replacing this Korean radio station. There may be something about it on the website, but I can’t tell, since it’s in Korean.

Meanwhile, reader Gerald Dearing emails:

Air America. Haven’t heard it. Won’t seek it out. Think it’s a stunt that won’t last beyond election day.

But has anyone said exactly WHY they named it after a C.I.A. operation?

Not that I’ve heard.

MORE: Doc Searls has lots of background, and observes: “Anyway, you’d think that Al Franken and his buddies would have done a little lookup on this thing.”

And for you Howard Stern flipflop conspiracy theorists, there’s this: “All the ads on the network are for XM satellite radio.”

March 31, 2004

YESTERDAY I NOTED that Joe Biden was talking tough to Europe.

I really think that it would help if world leaders would read this post by Steven Den Beste on how they misunderstand America.

March 31, 2004

I HAVEN’T BEEN BLOGGING THAT MUCH TODAY: My server was down for a few hours (okay, not down, exactly, but I couldn’t post), and I’ve been doing other stuff. But the folks over at the Volokh Conspiracy have been blogging up a storm. There’s a surprisingly large amount of sex, too.

March 31, 2004

TIMOTHY PERRY points to an interesting Boston Globe story, noting that the Kerry Campaign is having money problems, and that the need for cash may be leading to campaign-finance violations as some charge that “independent” groups are really part of the Kerry campaign.

More reason why the campaign-finance laws are dumb, of course, but still awkward for Kerry.

March 31, 2004

READING RICHARD CLARKE’S BOOK, Greg Djerejian of The Belgravia Dispatch points out examples of “rapacious partisanship.”

March 31, 2004

GAS PRICES: Back in 2000, R.E. Finer and the Sportutes released Gas Hog Blues during a temporary spring/summer spike in gas prices. Unfortunately, the spike didn’t last long enough to make the Sportutes rich and famous. (Any resemblance between me and R.E. Finer is purely coincidental, I practically swear).

Now John Kerry’s singing the same tune, and Nick Schulz doesn’t think it’ll fly this time, either. There’s more on gas prices from energy analyst / blogger Lynne Kiesling, and Mike Giberson, too.

March 31, 2004

CRAZY COPYRIGHT WARS: Larry Lessig continues his guestblogging over at GlennReynolds.com.

March 31, 2004

RON BAILEY WRITES THAT THE BEST BIO-DEFENSE IS BIO-OFFENSE: Well, sort of. I agree that the solution to the problem is more research, not less. Here’s a column I wrote on that a while back.

March 31, 2004

BAD DAY IN FALLUJAH: I don’t have a lot to say about this: it seems clear that the bad guys are still trying for a repeat of Mogadishu, unaware that the script has changed.

Perhaps we should consider an end to infrastructure and services repair in Fallujah for a while. And maybe some Kurdish security units. . . .

UPDATE: Best of the Web observes:

It’s worth emphasizing that the four victims were civilians working for an American company (which company the news reports have not yet told us). Like America’s soldiers, these civilians are putting their lives on the line to enhance America’s security and help build a better Iraq.

John Kerry and other Democrats have been vilifying American contractors in Iraq, especially Halliburton. This seems a fitting time to point out what a despicable bit of demagoguery this is.

Ouch.

March 31, 2004

DEFENDING KERRY: I agree with Hugh Hewitt that this photo of John Kerry is unlikely to strike fear into the hearts of our enemies. But I’m pretty sure that the oversized yellow daisy he’s wearing is a ski-lift ticket, and not a ’70s-revival sartorial accessory chosen by Sen. Kerry.

UPDATE: In this discussion thread on the Kerry flower (nothing’s too trivial for Web discussion!) it’s reported that the flower is not a lift ticket. Go figure. (More here, though I think the photo associated with that blog entry has been photoshopped.)

I would suggest that it’s an obscure hip-hop reference, but if so it’s too obscure for me.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s a different photo of Kerry with the daisy. Note the Secret Service agent, who appears to be looking at it with a “WTF?” sort of expression. . . . And here’s another. It’s a campaign mystery that must be unravelled! (More bloggage here.)

Message to the Kerry Campaign: Release the Daisy Records! America wants to know.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Powerline’s John Hinderaker emails with a report from the photo-analysts:

Glenn, my post on Kerry’s flower power zipper pull, inspired by my wife’s observing the photo that we reproduced on Power Line, has generated more mail from readers than almost anything we’ve done. For what it’s worth, based on a careful review of all photographic evidence–including photos of Kerry actually snowboarding on the same day, without the yellow flower, and a photo of Kerry snowboarding with the yellow flower, when the other snowboarder visible in the picture is not wearing a yellow flower–I’ve concluded that it isn’t a lift ticket.

America really does want to know!

MORE: I don’t think Kerry is referencing this group.

STILL MORE: “Deflowering” Kerry? I guess I couldn’t have resisted that headline either. . . .

MORE STILL: Eric Scheie is following a daisy chain of associations.

AND IT KEEPS COMING: Reader Lennie Smith writes with a new explanation, and an unfair slur:

I’ll agree with the conventional wisdom the Kerry flower is not a lift ticket. Way to hard to print all the legal disclaimers on the back of a die-cut like that. But, look at the snowboard he¹s holding. That the kind of sticker they put on rental boards for inventory/tracking purposes.

He’s worth millions. He could keep a board in the million dollar cabin the family owns. Yet, a rental board? Man, no wonder there are so many photos of this. Because, he is a poseur.

That’s not fair. Maybe he’s just frugal. This could feature in his campaign, like Michael Dukakis’s snowblower.

March 31, 2004

MY ESSAY ON THE WEB AND DICTATORS, mentioned below, is now up at The National Interest. This direct link seems to work, but they warned me that it might not be stable. If it doesn’t work, just go to the first link and scroll down.

March 31, 2004

GIZMODO HAS POSTED MY REVIEW of the new Nikon D70. It links to a gallery of sample images, too.

UPDATE: Reader Ron Mitchell wants to know if I can recommend something cheaper. I’ve never used it myself, but as I noted earlier, Sony’s 5-Megapixel DSC-F717 is selling for a bit over $600 (and it was $499 on Amazon for a little while, which could happen again, I guess). It has an excellent lens and a good reputation. For that matter, this Toshiba, which I own, is surprisingly good. (Pictures taken with it can be seen here and here.)

March 31, 2004

FRAGMENTS FROM FLOYD is yet another cool Appalachian photoblog, this time from Virginia.

Speaking of photobloggers, Fletch of SmokyBlog actually noticed something different about my photos lately. He was right — thanks to the timely arrival of an honorarium check (and your tipjar donations), I bought a Nikon D70 last week. Perceptive guy. I’m very pleased with the camera so far.

March 31, 2004

THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES IS UP, with an April Fool theme. Don’t miss it — even if you’re not Alex Beam!

March 31, 2004

MICKEY KAUS has more on Richard Clarke’s contradictions.

My prediction: Now that it’s obvious that this story isn’t moving the polls against Bush, it will fade from the radar screen.

March 31, 2004

GOOD DRUGS: My TechCentralStation column is up. Rand Simberg also has a column today, on hype and hypersonics.

March 31, 2004

I WRITE A LOT ABOUT NANOTECHNOLOGY HERE, and if you’re interested in that you might want to consider attending the Foresight Institute’s annual conference in Palo Alto, May 14-16 this year. Foresight is the preeminent nonprofit thinking about nanotechnology and the future (I’m on their Board.) What’s more, they’ll give you a discount — just register at the long-expired “super early rate” and put “INSTAPUNDIT” in the comments field, which will save you $200. (Just another perk of reading InstaPundit.)

March 30, 2004

SOME SURPRISING PEOPLE are coming out in favor of abstinence-only education — but I still don’t think it’ll work.

March 30, 2004

A CANADIAN PAPER POINTS TO lots more dirty laundry at the United Nations.

A bunch of politicians, with money and power but no accountability — the big surprise would be if there weren’t scandals hiding under every desk. Which is why U.N. -worship is so hard to understand.

March 30, 2004

IS THE INTERNET BAD FOR DICTATORS? The New Republic says no. Jeff Jarvis responds: “In this century, the Internet means freedom.”

I actually have an article on this very topic, in the latest issue of The National Interest. It’s not online yet, but it will be soon.

UPDATE: BTW, you can get a free 4-week subscription to TNR Digital by clicking on the ad to the left. In exchange, I give all their readers free access to InstaPundit!

March 30, 2004

OKAY, I HAVEN’T SEEN ALL THE OFFICIAL BUSH CAMPAIGN ADS — but this freelance effort is better than all the official ads that I have seen.

March 30, 2004

HERE’S A STUDY FROM HARVARD AND UNC saying that downloads don’t hurt music sales.

March 30, 2004

IT WAS JUST AS TRUE BEFORE THE CORRECTION, but whatever.

March 30, 2004

DID I MISS LAST WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES? I think I did. Anyway, here it is, in case you missed it.

March 30, 2004

SPRING HAS SPRUNG. Along the lake, near Cherokee Boulevard. This is the route I take to work in the morning, when I have time.

March 30, 2004

LT SMASH reports firsthand on lobbying Congress on behalf of members of the Guard and Reserves.

More here.

March 30, 2004

SEX-IN-THE-CATHEDRAL SHOCK JOCKS OPIE AND ANTHONY ARE COMING BACK: No doubt Howard Stern will rejoice at this victory for free expression.

Personally, I prefer “sex in the cathedral” to “murder in the cathedral,” but that’s just me.

UPDATE: Kevin Aylward says that Opie and Anthony won’t regain their former glory. I’ll bet they’ll get as many stations as Al Franken, though!

March 30, 2004

MELANA ZYLE VICKERS reports that the 9/11 Commission has, in fact, uncovered serious and costly errors in the war on terror:

The hearings presented a Democratic record on terrorism that is marred by fundamental policy fumbles and ultimately fatal misjudgments. Of course, some of the errors in fighting terrorism in the 1990s could have been — and were — made or repeated by the Republican administration of George W. Bush. But a top-five list drawn from the testimony before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States and the reports prepared by commission staff, reveals errors that stemmed from what might be described as the post Cold War, Democratic world-view. They include:

Unwillingness to use force to retaliate against terrorism or pre-empt attacks.

Inaction in the face of legal obstacles

Animus toward the intelligence community

Fear of unpopularity in the court of domestic and foreign public opinion

Failure to improve the effectiveness of bilateral relations with Arab states and Pakistan.

This world-view would be unlikely to change as the party’s foreign-policy mantle changes hands from Clinton-Gore to Kerry. . . .[V]oters who wonder “how would a Kerry administration prosecute the war on terror?” need to look no further than this list for some idea of the answer. Unless, of course, Kerry disassociates himself from the policies of his Democratic predecessors, or criticizes them as forcefully as his fellow Democrat on the 9/11 commission, Bob Kerrey, did last week.

Read the whole thing. I wonder if Sixty Minutes will devote an hour to these findings?

The Kerry strategy team certainly should.

March 30, 2004

JOE BIDEN is talking tough to Europe. Meanwhile Jeff Jarvis is talking tough to Americans: “This is war. It’s not an encounter session. It’s war.”

March 30, 2004

LARRY LESSIG, who is guestblogging over at GlennReynolds.com, has some thoughts on how Amazon helps free culture.

By the way, I should mention that he’s giving his new book away for free over there, and it seems to be helping his sales. Given the InstaWife’s experience along these lines, I’m not surprised.

March 30, 2004


INTERESTING BIT from the IOWA ELECTRONIC MARKETS: The graphic at the right is a crop from their graph showing Kerry vs. Bush since February 1st of this year (follow the link and scroll down for the whole thing). Despite the general sense that it’s been a rough period for Bush, his lead over Kerry has grown steadily since about the time it looked as if Kerry was going to get the nomination.

I think that IEM is generally more accurate than snapshot polls, but this is interesting to me — despite my deep skepticism regarding Kerry, it doesn’t seem to me that it’s been an especially good month for Bush. What information are the market participants taking into account that the conventional widom is missing?

UPDATE: Jim Miller notes that he predicted this. And another reader observes that despite the short-term damage inflicted by the 9/11 Commission hearings, they have ensured that this election will be about the war and terrorism, which benefits Bush. Could be.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The other possibility is that things haven’t been as bad for Bush as media reportage makes them sound.

I wonder if the Richard Clarke affair is Martha Burk all over again? (Via NBL).

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: This makes sense:

I think we’re seeing a difference in focus rather than information. The futures markets focus on the eventual outcome, while day to day jostling drives the conventional wisdom.

If we accept the Feiler Faster Thesis, frequent reversals of fortune are par for the course these days, which means that any one setback is largely irrelevant. Barring an unlikely knockout punch (e.g. the Dean scream), this back-and-forth will continue right up to election day.

The markets have taken that into account, and they’re discounting the tactical advances and setbacks as largely irrelevant. Unless a clear longer term trend emerges, they’ll continue to reflect the underlying economic reality (pretty good, actually) and projections for the situation in Iraq (which I for one expect to be a lot calmer 6 months from now).

Sounds right. We’ll see.

March 30, 2004

BLOGGING MAY BE INTERRUPTED: The new Eric Flint book is enroute from Amazon. And following that is the new Neal Stephenson book. Good. I’ve been working too much lately.

March 30, 2004

THIS IS INTERESTING:

LONDON — Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, al Qaeda’s purported operations chief, has told U.S. interrogators that the group had been planning attacks on the Library Tower in Los Angeles and the Sears Tower in Chicago on the heels of the September 11, 2001, terror strikes.

Those plans were aborted mainly because of the decisive U.S. response to the New York and Washington attacks, which disrupted the terrorist organization’s plans so thoroughly that it could not proceed, according to transcripts of his conversations with interrogators. . . .

Mohammed then decided to conduct two waves of attacks, hitting the East Coast first and following up with a second series of attacks.

“Osama had said the second wave should focus on the West Coast,” he reportedly said.

But the terrorists seem to have been surprised by the strength of the American reaction to the September 11 attacks.

“Afterwards, we never got time to catch our breath, we were immediately on the run,” Mohammed is quoted as saying.

He also casts doubt on Moussaoui’s guilt — er, at least in terms of what Moussaoui is charged with. Read the whole thing, but note this warning: “The transcripts are prefaced with a warning that Mohammed, the most senior al Qaeda member yet to be caught, ‘has been known to withhold information or deliberately mislead.’” Those murdering terrorists are bad that way.

UPDATE: Roger Simon has related questions. I love this one: “[A] ‘counter-terrorism’ expert? Is that someone with an Internet connection (preferably broadband)?” If so, there are a lot of us. . . .

March 30, 2004

MICKEY KAUS writes that welfare reform is working, and worked right through the recent recession: “The rolls didn’t rise in the recession because single mothers kept on working. That’s a good thing. Advantage: Reformers!”

March 30, 2004

COUNTERTOP CHRONICLES is photoblogging the DC Cherry Blossom festival.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Ann Althouse is making sure that I’m not the only hometown-photoblogging law professor around.

March 29, 2004

IF THIS IS TRUE, then why are toddlers sick most of the time? “Picking your nose and eating it is one of the best ways to stay healthy, according to a top Austrian doctor.”

March 29, 2004

WALTER IN DENVER has the Rocky Mountain Blogger roundup posted.

March 29, 2004

I LOVE MY tiny NEC laptop — so when the “I” key quit working, I was bummed. But I called ‘em over the weekend, got a return box delivered this morning, and it’s already en route for warranty repairs. They sent a prepaid return airbill — and even a strip of plastic packing tape to seal the box with. Very nice service.

March 29, 2004

I THINK THAT CONDI RICE SHOULD TESTIFY, in spite of the Administration’s reasonable concerns, which all Administrations have, about that sort of thing. But when she testifies, I think she should open with this:

This administration came into office to discover that al Qaeda had been allowed to grow into a full-blown menace. It lost six precious weeks to the Florida recount – and then weeks after Inauguration Day to the go-slow confirmation procedures of a 50-50 Senate. As late as the summer of 2001, pitifully few of Bush’s own people had taken their jobs at State, Defense, and the NSC. Then it was hit by 9/11. And now, now the same people who allowed al Qaeda to grow up, who delayed the staffing of the administration, who did nothing when it was their turn to act, who said nothing when they could have spoken in advance of the attack – these same people accuse George Bush of doing too little? There’s a long answer to give folks like that – and also a short one. And the short one is: How dare you?

As I’ve said before, I’m willing to let bygones be bygones before September 11, despite the Clinton Administration’s limp record on terror. (Cluelessly limp. Remember Clarke boasted in 1999 that our response to the 1993 WTC bombing was scaring Al Qaeda, which is proof of cluelessness beyond contradiction.) But the Bush Administration, to its credit, figured out that we were at war after September 11. Its critics keep trying to deny that fact, except, curiously, when they switch from attacking Bush for doing too much, to attacking Bush for doing too little. (Via Steven Antler).

UPDATE: Yes, yes, I know that Clarke refused to testify under oath.

ANOTHER UPDATE: On the other hand, this is the best reason for Rice to keep quiet that I’ve heard yet: “Rice Withholding Testimony for Her Own Book.”

March 29, 2004

STUART BUCK UPDATE: His wife, Farah, has posted a condition report on his blog.

March 29, 2004

CLARKE-O-RAMA: Tom Maguire has a roundup of Clarke links, as well as another episode of Clarke v. Clarke. Stop the fight, ref!

March 29, 2004


ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL DAY ON CAMPUS, with me once again stuck inside. I did manage my usual half-hour nice-day constitutional, though, so here are a few pictures. Lots of students are enjoying the outdoors. As they should be — it’s in the 80s now, and spring has definitely spring. There’s a lot of frisbee-tossing and studying under trees, as you can see. I don’t think that the Aquatic Center’s outdoor pool is open, but it might as well be. It’s that kind of day. It’s more like summer than Spring, really, except that the trees are just now leafing out.

April really is the cruellest month here. The weather is wonderful, but since classes end in just over three weeks, students have to study. But at least it’s possible to sit outside, and get a tan while you do. (Can you spot the geeks by their excellent tans? Er, probably not, but I like the thought.)

But the big item this week is student elections. As you can see (er, or actually can’t as the crowd is in the way), free pizza draws a crowd:

But when it comes to politics, there’s no substitute for passing out pork, as this grilling operation demonstrates:

Anyway, I’ve been stuck in the office proofreading a forthcoming law review article and, beginning shortly, preparing for class. Then I have a committee meeting to look forward to after that. But I can, at least, take vicarious pleasure in the way other people are enjoying the nice weather. And there’s always tomorrow, I suppose. And, of course, I managed to enjoy the nice weather and the outdoors yesterday.

But it all seems that much more appealing when you have work to do!

March 29, 2004

THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE CAPITALISTS is up, with lots of interesting business and economics-related posts.

March 29, 2004

DAVID BERNSTEIN WRITES on “hostile environment blowback:”

Now comes word, via John Rosenberg, that the University of North Carolina professor in question, Elyse Crystall, is, along with UNC, being investigated by the Department of Education for violating federal civil rights law by creating a hostile environment for white, male, Christian students. A conservative Republican Congressman, Rep. Walter Jones, helped instigate the investigation.

I don’t approve of such things, but there’s no better way to put an end to this asinine speech-suppressing body of law than to start enforcing it evenhandledly.

March 29, 2004

ANDREW SULLIVAN is back blogging.

March 29, 2004

LAST WEEK, I linked to an old photo of Doug Weinstein. Now he returns the favor with an even older one of me. (And if you follow the link on the second photo, you can see me in the background, at the soundboard of the old Longbranch Saloon on Cumberland Ave. It was a Peavey, as I recall, featuring 12 channels. Which, judging by my appearance in that photo, is also my age at the time. . . .)

UPDATE: Heh. Here’s another one of Doug. And, by the way, here’s a lesson in life: the woman I’m sitting with in the picture Doug links, who I was dating at the time, is also the woman through whom I met my wife. Be nice to your girlfriends, and your ex-girlfriends. It pays!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Scott Kent emails: “OMG, that second pic of Doug you posted (he’s wearing the Mork suspenders), his nose and beard make him look like Pete Townshend, circa 1973!”

In other respects, he’s more like Keith Moon.

March 29, 2004

KERRY QUOTES SCRIPTURE: LaShawn Barber comments: “Using taxpayers’ money isn’t a work of faith.”

March 29, 2004

LARRY LESSIG is guest-blogging over at GlennReynolds.com.

March 29, 2004

BEYOND THE BLOGOSPHERE: William Safire writes: “Never has there been a financial rip-off of the magnitude of the U.N. oil-for-food scandal.”

Yes. More:

Responding to a harangue in this space on March 17, the spokesman for Kofi Annan confirmed that the secretary general’s soft-spoken son, Kojo, was on the payroll of Cotecna Inspections of Switzerland until December 1998. In that very month, the U.N. awarded Cotecna the contract to monitor and authenticate the goods shipped to Iraq.

Prices were inflated to allow for 10 percent kickbacks, and the goods were often shoddy and unusable. As the lax Cotecna made a lot of corporate friends, Iraqi children suffered from rotted food and diluted medicines.

The U.N. press agent also revealed that Benon Sevan, Annan’s longtime right-hand man in charge of the flow of billions, was advised by U.N. lawyers that the names of companies receiving the contracts were “privileged commercial information, which could not be made public.” Mr. Sevan had stonewalling help.

Funny, isn’t it, that while people were accusing the United States of starving Iraqi children, it was actually the U.N. that was doing it? “Funny,” that is, in the sense that the crimes and hypocrisies of the international political classes are peculiarly unnoted, not funny in the sense of actually amusing.

Meanwhile Roger Simon has more, and observes:

While the Congress is playing the blame game with their 9/11 hearings… telling us all what we already knew (that no one did much about terrorism before 9/11–duh!)… the real investigation is beginning on 44th Street with potential information that can tell us a hundred times more about the terror game… no make that a thousand times more… than the partisan sniping going on on (where else?) Capitol Hill.

Leave no stone unturned. Or un-flung, at guilty UN officials and their co-conspirators.

March 29, 2004

IN A STRATEGY I’VE CRITICIZED AS SHORTSIGHTED, THE NANOTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY, scared of backlash from Michael Crichtonesque scenarios involving molecular robots, has been pooh-poohing the possibility of advanced nanotechnology and stressing lower-tech nanomaterials.

The payoff? Articles like this one from the Washington Post: Nanotechnology Linked to Organ Damage — Study. The study isn’t about genuine molecular nanotechnology, but about nanomaterials of the sort that industry boosters would prefer the press to focus on. Oops.

In truth, these fears are rather overstated — as I noted in my report from the EPA’s Science Advisory Board meeting a few months back, this seems to be more of a workplace-safety issue than an environmental issue and toxicologists seem to feel they have a pretty good handle on these questions. It’s also true that (as is often the case with stories on technological risk) the “study” trumpeted by the Post isn’t exactly hard science yet: “The study, described at a scientific meeting Sunday, was small and has yet to be peer reviewed or published in a scientific journal.” And most nanotechnology enthusiasts wouldn’t consider “buckyballs” — the actual subject of the study — to be true nanotechnology at all, despite what the industry says.

Nonetheless, because of its worries about science-fiction-based fears where mature nanotechnology is concerned, the nanotechnology industry has mostly succeeded in exaggerating concern about shorter-term fears. Afraid that nanotechnology might be associated with lethal (and implausible) sci-fi robots in the public mind, it has produced a situation in which nanotechnology may come to be associated with lethal (and more plausible) toxic buckyballs instead. Call me crazy, but that seems worse. This ham-handed approach to public relations has the potential to do real harm to the industry, and in the process to a technology that the world desperately needs.

UPDATE: Howard Lovy notes that the Post story has a lot of other problems, too, and offers some very useful perspective.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Phil Bowermaster has advice for the nanotechnology industry.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Daniel Moore has comments.

March 29, 2004

LEE HARRIS WRITES on the uses of failure.

March 29, 2004

MICKEY KAUS: “Democrats demand more elective surgery for Kerry!”

March 29, 2004

SOFTBALL AND EGGS: A reader emails:

I’m wondering how long it will take for the scathing reproachments that are all over the blogosphere to start showing up as egg on the faces of the interviewers of such programs as Meet The Press. I was absolutely disgusted with the ‘free’ pass Clarke was given on that program this morning. If they had an audience and I had been in it, it wouldn’t have taken long for the egg to show up. As I would have been throwing them right then.

I didn’t see the show, but here’s a report characterizing their Clarke interview as soft as a baby’s bottom.

UPDATE: Reader Dan Chattos observes that Sixty Minutes dropped the ball:

I suppose I am naive, but is there any indication that the folks at “60 Minutes” are the least bit embarrassed by their interview with Dick Clarke?

Leaving aside Clarke’s assessment of the Bush administration, his claims on behalf of the Clinton administration (that fighting al-Qa’eda was an urgent priority) were obviously false (or at best spin).

Clarke acknowledged that Yugoslavia(!) was a higher priority for Clinton and thinks that was ok, but finds Bush’s concern with Iraq proof that Bush was not serious in fighting terrorism despite the fact that Clarke, himself, had made statements linking Iraq and al-Qa’eda.

Bottom line, much of what Clarke said over the last 10 years or alleged more recently was secret, insider information. It took most bloggers less that 24 hours to begin raising issues about Clarke’s credibility, yet “60 minutes” with Clarke’s book in hand, were apparently unable to identify any of these issues on their own prior to the interview.

I seems that a little preparation on the part of “60 Minutes” would have allowed them to encapsulated the entire debate of the last week within the context of a single show. Now that would have been investigative journalism at its finest…

Good point. And maybe the Sixty Minutes conflict-of-interest problem where Clarke’s book was concerned did some real harm, both to their program and to the national debate.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More here on Clarke’s statements about Iraq.

March 29, 2004

ROD DREHER EMAILS:

If you’re the prayerful sort, please offer one up for our friend Stuart Buck. I have the privilege of knowing Stuart personally, but he’s got a lot of readers and fans in the blogosphere who will no doubt be grieved to hear what’s happened to him. He suffered two strokes over the weekend, and is in the hospital in Arkansas near his folks. Lawyer Stuart had just moved with his wife and two small children from Dallas to his Arkansas hometown last week … and now this. I don’t have any specifics on his condition, except that I’m told he can speak. Stuart is all of 29. He’s a good man, and he and his wife and kids need all the prayers or good wishes we can muster. Pass it on.

Jeez, that’s terrible news. Please send him your best wishes for a full recovery. I don’t know any more (and there’s nothing on his blog), but I’ll see what I can find out.

March 28, 2004

TOOK MOST OF THE DAY OFF and went to the mountains, digital camera in hand. I drove up US 129 from Maryville toward Bryson City, NC (known as “the tail of the Dragon” to motorcyclists as it’s both twisty and hilly), though I only went a little bit past Deal’s Gap, NC. I saw lots of bikers, almost all of whom were going much faster than I was. (Notwithstanding the RX-8′s very impressive performance, especially in light of my somewhat rusty heel-and-toe skills, I didn’t try to keep up, and I suspect that the Supra that I saw in the ditch had made the mistake of attempting just that.) You don’t try to keep up with a motorcyclist in the mountains — you just figure you can always find him in the emergency room, later. . . .

Took a lot of lovely photos, and enjoyed the spring weather — it got up to 82 today, and it was surprisingly warm even up in the mountains.

I’ve been enjoying the photography a lot, and I may post an online gallery later, in case anyone is interesting. While I suspect that most readers don’t care much, there are definitely some whose interest is very strong. And as I mentioned a while back, I’m recovering an early love of mine with this.

UPDATE: Here’s a motorcycle blog with photos, devoted to the Dragon’s Tail.

March 28, 2004

IN RESPONSE TO MY COLUMN ON DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY from last week, reader Jim Herd sends this interesting piece on how the switch to digital photography has affected the aesthetic at Sports Illustrated. Excerpt:

The pictures themselves, Fine says, have changed the look of the magazine. “For years [with film], we’ve been fighting a battle between sharpness and grain, especially in low-light shots. You try to sharpen and you just end up building more graininess. I’m amazed at the quality we’re getting in low-light shots off our digital files. We’re running [low-light pictures] up to two-page size that we could never have done before. Sometimes [digital] looks like it’s underwater, a little bit too smooth. A strobed basketball game on a Hasselblad has a sharp line and a punch that digital doesn’t have. But we don’t have grain anymore. In really poorly lit situations, the ability to make a clean picture far outweighs the downside.” . . .

Digital photography has changed not only the magazine’s workflow but also its visual aesthetic, says Geoff Michaud. “There’s a different quality expectation with digital vs. film. With film, grain was accepted and tolerated. It was a by-product of sharpness. When we moved to digital we found that the expectation changed. I’m not 100% sure why. Now a softer feel image [is considered good], and when noise becomes apparent it’s a negative thing, where it wasn’t with film. I’m concerned with my operators now that because noise or grain has become a negative thing, sometimes they’re holding off on sharpening. [Sometimes] I look at images, and I feel they’re not quite sharp enough.” That said, Michaud adds, “I think [the magazine] looks better now, but maybe that’s because my expectations about what looks good have changed.”

To invoke another one of my hobbies, this reminds me of sound. With audio, people like analog distortion, within limits. Nobody likes digital distortion. I think there’s something similar going on with digital imagery.

March 28, 2004

PIERRE LEGRAND links a letter from Operation AC, saying that “people are sick and tired of hearing about the war,” and that they’re worried that this will make it hard for them to generate donations to support the troops again this year.

Feel free to go to their site and prove them wrong!

I was writing about postwar malaise nearly a year ago — and I had an MSNBC post, pre-Iraq, about how I was tired of the war. I don’t blame people for being tired.

Who wouldn’t be tired? But that’s no excuse for slacking off.

UPDATE: Reader Diana Sebben emails:

Dear Mr Reynolds, I read your post about people being tired of hearing about the war. We are going to donate via the site you linked to. Thanks for giving us another opportunity to help our troops. We have helped as much as we can right from the start, we have adopted soldiers, sent bicycles and tons of toys and school stuff to Wiggles-just trying to put our money where our mouth is-but aware that it is not enough…..

As far as your assertion that we are sick and tired of war-I hope that you are wrong. Good grief, what would this say about our sticking power, our courage and endurance. It would make me sick to think that we can send these people to fight for us while we sit on the couch and talk about how tired we are. The only thing that I am sick of is the constant negative carping and snivelling from the BBC, CNN, CBS, ABC, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times et al. they do a huge diservice to our troops and their families. I just have one major request for you and the other bloggers. Please, please refrain from making appeals for help for our troops on the weekend. Hit us on a Monday when we’re all on line and ready to help. No offense, but I would say that you have less readers on a weekend…. Keep up the good work.

I will. As anyone who has toilet trained a child knows, “sick and tired” isn’t the same as “ready to quit.”

March 28, 2004

SYRIA: The next Libya?

SYRIA has appealed to Australia to use its close ties with Washington to help the Arab nation shake off its reputation as a terrorist haven and repair its relations with the US.

Secret talks between the two nations have been under way for months but have become more urgent as rogue nations reconsider their role in allowing terrorists to thrive, in light of the US determination to take pre-emptive military action.

It’s working.

March 28, 2004

ROGER SIMON has more on the continuing United Nations oil-for-food scandal.

March 28, 2004

ACCOUNTABILITY? THAT’S FOR OTHER PEOPLE:

Senior BBC staff are threatening to take some flagship programmes off the air rather than face criticisms from an internal inquiry launched in the aftermath of Hutton. . . .

Read the whole thing.

March 27, 2004

DANIEL OKRENT: “In the coming months I expect columnist corrections to become a little more frequent and a lot more forthright than they’ve been in the past.”

UPDATE: Donald Luskin: “As a quick-take, it seems like a cautious but sensible stance for Okrent.” But he claims another “rowback,” too, though a minor one. Still, a quote should be a quote.

March 27, 2004

EDWARD JAY EPSTEIN:

Question:

Richard A. Clarke makes assertions in his book Against All Enemies that can be easily checked against external and unambiguous sources. Is Clarke truthful in verifiable assertions he makes?

Answer:

No, in at least one instance Clarke totally fabricates a position he attributes to another author’s book, and then use his fabrication to discredit that author’s position.

Ouch.

UPDATE: Mark Steyn:

Does this mean Clarke is Enron – an equal-opportunity scandal whose explicitly political aspects are too ambiguous to offer crude party advantage? Not quite. Although his book sets out to praise Clinton and bury Bush, he can’t quite pull it off. Except for his suggestion to send in a team of “ninjas” to take out Osama, Clinton had virtually no interest in the subject.

In October 2000, Clarke and Special Forces Colonel Mike Sheehan leave the White House after a meeting to discuss al-Qa’eda’s attack on the USS Cole: “‘What’s it gonna take, Dick?’ Sheehan demanded. ‘Who the s*** do they think attacked the Cole, f****** Martians? The Pentagon brass won’t let Delta go get bin Laden. Does al-Qa’eda have to attack the Pentagon to get their attention?’”

Apparently so. The attack, on the Cole, which killed 17 US sailors, was deemed by Clinton’s Defence Secretary Bill Cohen as “not sufficiently provocative” to warrant a response. You’ll have to do better than that, Osama! So he did. And now the same people who claim Bush had no right to be “pre-emptive” about Iraq insist he should have been about September 11. . . .

Bush got it right: go to where the terrorists are, overthrow their sponsoring regimes, destroy their camps, kill their leaders.

Instead, all the Islamists who went to Afghanistan in the 1990s graduated from Camp Osama and were dispersed throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, where they lurk to this day. That’s the Clarke-Clinton legacy. And, if it were mine, I wouldn’t be going around boasting about it.

Double-ouch.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jon Henke emails:

I’ve noticed the Democrats are calling the Administration’s response to Clarke “character assassination”. Odd, considering the response has largely consisted of pointing out Clarke’s own words.

Wouldn’t that more accurately be called “character suicide”?

I prefer “self-Fisking,” though I suppose that might sound a little racy to blogosphere neophytes. . . .

March 27, 2004

DONALD SENSING has some interesting thoughts on root causes of terror. And this one is interesting, too.

March 27, 2004

“WHY THE FEDS FEAR NANOBOTS:” Interesting article from U.S. News, though unaccountably Mark Modzelewski is not quoted.

March 27, 2004

HERE’S ANOTHER ARTICLE ABOUT BLOGADS, from the Star Tribune. Excerpt: “Advertising that would cost you $70,000 on WashingtonPost.com would cost $3,000 on blogs.” Let’s hear it for low overhead!

March 27, 2004

THE WASHINGTON POST is flip-flopping on Clarke, reports Oxblog: “Without admitting they ever got the story wrong, the WaPo correspondents on the Clarke beat are backing down from their initial assessment of Clarke’s criticism.”

March 26, 2004

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: Enough of Richard Clarke and politics for a while.

Some people were surprised that I ran an ad for the Shifting Baselines project of the Oceans Conservancy a while back. But it’s actually something I care about, as the picture above may demonstrate. The main point of diving is to observe and enjoy the aquatic life. And one reason I like to dive in Cayman is that they’ve done an excellent job of preserving things — though the surfeit of cruise ships there is causing even the local merchants to wonder if they’re facing too much of a good thing.

And even there, people argue about how the reef is doing. I’ve heard people say that it’s much better than it was decades ago when it was regularly fished with purse seines, and I’ve heard other say it’s not as good. (And there are still calls for more protection) It’s hard to say who’s right, and it depends on exactly which parts of the reef you’re talking about, too. That’s what the whole “baselines” idea is about.

Anyway, as a break from the usual stuff, I’ve put up a short selection of dive videos, showing what a pretty damn good reef looks like. You can see ‘em in high-bandwidth WMV, in low-bandwidth WMV, or in high-bandwidth QuickTime. The fellow on the right (er, I think he’s the fellow) is part of a mating pair of pufferfish we observed, which is pretty rare. You can also see sharks, spiny lobsters, crabs, etc. (I make a cameo appearance or two as well, as does Doug Weinstein).

Divers have been pretty good about trying to preserve and improve the marine environment, through things like PADI’s Project A.W.A.R.E. And I suspect that if more people dove, more people would care about these issues. It is seven-tenths of the planet, after all.

UPDATE: Technical and other questions answered: Shot on mini-DV using a <a href=”DCR-PC330 camera and an Amphibco housing (I think, it was a renter). Edited using Vegas Video 4 (which still rocks).

March 26, 2004

VIRGINIA POSTREL has thoughts on technology and outsourcing.

March 26, 2004

IT’S GETTING UGLY: Pro-Bush blogger Matt Margolis was beaten up at an anti-Bush rally.

UPDATE: Reader Greg Miskin emails:

Something I never wanted to believe seems to be playing out daily: the Democratic party has been overrun by totalitarians. The party is marginalizing old-guard Dems who might (might!) hold differing opinions but who also could be counted on for civility and a rational basis for their arguments. . . .

There is no room for dissent, discourse, debate. My experience is that people behave this way when they hold indefensible beliefs, and they know just how weak their position is. A dog with this behavior is called a “fear-biter” and I can think of no better description for these people.

I guess it’s the 1930s again in more ways than one.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Miskin’s view seems borne out by this comment posted by “Hot Dem 1″ on Margolis’s blog:

Hitler had his beliefs, just like Matt has his. Sometimes violence is the only way to show people how devastatingly bad their ideas are. When society is so distraught about policy that individuals feel the need to take violent action, revolution is not only expected, but neccessary. I’m no union man, but I’d have probably taken a swing at you too.

As the devolution of the Left continues, it’s probably a poor historical moment for leftists to assert that “violence is the only way to show people how devastatingly bad their ideas are.”

MORE: A followup post, here.

STILL MORE: Willow has further thoughts.

MORE STILL: And read this response:

I think the more revealing aspect of Hot Dem’s comment is what it tells us about when the left finds violence acceptable. Imagine, for example, a despot who oppresses the population of an entire nation. Women are raped. Children are murdered. Political opponents are fed into shredders or steamrolled underneath the asphalt of new road construction. Stipends are paid to the families of suicide bombers who kill and terrorize the innocent. The left’s response to such a despot is that we must negotiate. Endlessly. Using force against him without French permission is a violation of international law. If, hypothetically, the despot’s two sons were to be killed in a military engagement, we should put the soldiers who killed him up for war crimes.

But if someone dares to express a viewpoint that the left finds disagreeable, well then by gum it’s time for a bit of the old ultra-violence!

Read the whole thing. “Ultra-violence” is a bit strong for what happened here, but the point about what gets people angry stands.

EVEN MORE: Philosoraptor: “We have very little control over what Republicans and Bushies do, but we have at least a tiny bit of control over what our side does. Perhaps Senator Kerry should give our side a good talking-to…”

March 26, 2004

THE SELF-FISKING CONTINUES:

WASHINGTON – Top Republicans in Congress sought Friday to declassify two-year-old testimony by former White House aide Richard Clarke, suggesting he may have lied this week when he faulted President Bush’s handling of the war on terror.

“Mr. Clarke has told two entirely different stories under oath,” Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said in a speech on the Senate floor.

Stay tuned.

March 26, 2004

ASK AN IMAM:

A Muslim preacher in eastern Turkey says he is being boycotted for telling local men to help their wives with the housework, Turkish media reported.

“Women do all the work in this village. All I said was men should at least carry the water (from the local well),” Mustafa Platin told Sabah newspaper.

His angry flock, who stopped attending the mosque, have asked authorities to remove the preacher.

That it’s an issue at all is probably a sign of progress.

UPDATE: A Muslim student from Northwestern emails:

I enjoy your website a great deal and check it frequently. I just wanted to drop a quick note regarding one of your posts. The story of the Imam who was boycotted for advising men to help in their wives’ housework is most certainly a travesty. It is a well-established part of the Islamic tradition that the Prophet Muhammad mended his own clothes, cleaned his own living space, and never requested domestic assistance of anyone. The Prophet literally implored men to assist their wives and worked to elevate the status of women at a time when they were treated as chattel. Because men who call themselves Muslims today choose to flagrantly disobey a firmly established aspect of Islamic history in the name of advancing their own chauvinistic interests, does not make it Islamic (this is also painfully obvious in the communities who turn their backs on Imams who rightfully condemn suicide bombings as impermissible and sinful; again, the racism and chauvinism that bring about these feelings are not Islamic, as the Prophet prohibited the killing of innocents, use of fire in war, destruction of the land and livestock—the evidence is overwhelming, and I’d be happy to engage you on that topic as well).

I have attended, and led, many prayers here in the States and abroad, and never have I encountered a community of men who would become angry with an Imam for advising them of something so consistent with the Islamic tradition as helping their wives. That these men in Turkey did so is repugnant.

If you perceive this email to be a worthy contribution of information, feel free to post any part of it. If possible, just refer to me a as a Northwestern University Law Student.

It’s certainly true that many who call themselves Muslims follow something other than the teachings of Islam, and that many kinds of sexism popularly associated with Islam — even by their practitioners who call themselves Muslims — are actually rooted in tribal traditions or simple prejudice.

March 26, 2004

ANN ALTHOUSE has thoughts on the gender dynamics of The Apprentice: “generally, women watching the show shouldn’t really be using it as a source of tips on how to look and act in the business world.”

March 26, 2004

TIM BLAIR has a new poll up. I voted for the “Sky Turtle,” but “Nobel Peace Prize” seems to be in the lead.

March 26, 2004

RICHARD CLARKE IS SUGGESTING an Al Qaeda connection to the Oklahoma City bombing.

Plenty of people have suggested that, and also suggested an Iraqi connection. But given the way such suspicions have been generally pooh-poohed, it’s interesting to see it coming from this source, and the domestic political implications are dramatic.

UPDATE: Roger Simon has further observations that are, as always, worth reading.

ANOTHER UPDATE: David Adesnik:

Is there any hope of getting past partisan antagonism and coming up with a fair evaluation of what Richard Clarke has to say about the Bush administration? No, not really. At least for now. I think a big part of the problem is that the newspapers have been portraying Clarke as an immaculate hero and the President as a black-hatted villain.

Indeed. Adesnik has quite a survey of responses to Clarke’s testimony. Referring to an earlier post of his defending Clarke, Adesnik observes: ” I missed the real story: that Clarke was rewriting the history of what happened before September 11th.”

A lot of other people missed it — or ignored it — too.

MORE: Here’s some interesting linkage of Iraq and Al Qaeda, from Richard Clarke.

STILL MORE: Here’s a 9/11 Commission hearings flowchart that illustrates Adesnik’s point.

March 26, 2004

THIS CARTOON sums up the media worldview quite nicely.

March 26, 2004

HALLEY SUITT needs a vacation.

March 26, 2004

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH is fact-checking Paul Krugman.

March 26, 2004

REMEMBER THE PLANELOAD OF SAUDIS that left shortly after 9/11? Who decided to let it go? Richard Clarke!

Full article, from the Boston Herald, here. “It’s too bad Clarke cuts no one in the Bush administration the same slack he so easily cuts himself.”

March 26, 2004

JAMES LILEKS notes that press coverage of Richard Clarke seems to be soft-pedaling his self-contradictions and dissembling:

When I said yesterday that Clarke should have expected some push-back, I should have been more clear. I meant that he must have known his contradictory statements would be made public, quickly, and these remarks, combined with his exquisitely timed book and PR push, would have an impact on his credibility. But he’s obviously smarter than I will ever be; he expected that the climate was right for his contradictions to be explained away or ignored.

Yep, it’s an election year, with a Republican incumbent. Read the whole thing, as Lileks offers rather a lot of specifics. He more or less fisks the entire Big Media coverage in one sitting.

Meanwhile Charles Krauthammer writes that Clarke is a “partisan perjurer:”

It is only March, but the 2004 Chutzpah of the Year Award can be safely given out. It goes to Richard Clarke, now making himself famous by blaming the Bush administration for Sept. 11 — after Clarke had spent eight years in charge of counterterrorism for a Clinton administration that did nothing.

First, if the Clarke of 2002 was telling the truth, then the Clarke of this week — the one who told the Sept. 11 commission under oath that “fighting terrorism, in general, and fighting al Qaeda, in particular, were an extraordinarily high priority in the Clinton administration — certainly [there was] no higher priority” — is a liar.

Second, he becomes not just a perjurer but a partisan perjurer. He savages Bush for not having made al Qaeda his top national security priority, but he refuses even to call a “mistake” Clinton’s staggering dereliction in putting Yasser Arafat and Yugoslavia(!) above fighting al Qaeda.

Clarke gives Clinton a pass and instead concentrates his ire on Bush. For what? For not having preemptively attacked Afghanistan? On what grounds — increased terrorist chatter in June and July 2001?

Read the whole thing. But the press — many of whose leaders quietly gathered to give Kerry a hand back in the fall — is doing its best to soften up Bush for November now. If Clarke were attacking a Democratic president, they’d have been all over his contradictions. But this spin will only make his unravelling more damaging, and contribute to the ongoing self-marginalization of the old media.

UPDATE: Belgravia Dispatch says thta TNR’s Clarke coverage is dropping the ball.

March 26, 2004

MICKEY KAUS on why the Kerry camp’s self-important Vietnam analogies don’t work:

The difference, of course, is that the war Johnson fought using the Gulf of Tonkin incident produced very little except massive carnage and a Communist government in South Vietnam. The Beirut attack was a total loss. But American soldiers in Iraq–whether or not there were WMDs–are in the process of freeing a nation from a dictator. This accomplishment survives the Kay report. It doesn’t “cheapen the sacrifice” American soldiers made achieving this goal to admit the truth about the WMDs. Does Kerry think the troops haven’t achieved this?

Kaus also has some advice for Bush that the Bush people ought to read.

March 25, 2004

HERE’S A NEW POST ON AUTHOR JOHN GRAY’S rather lame legal threat aimed at a blogger. (More on the threat, and on John Gray’s rather unimpressive credentials at this link. Did Gray insist on this against his lawyer’s advice? Or did his lawyer fail to advise him against this rather self-defeating conduct?)

I had never given Gray, or his credentials, much thought before. But this threat, and the information it has brought forth, has convinced me that he’s a poser and a bully.

March 25, 2004

NICK SCHULZ has thoughts on the French, who are not our allies.

March 25, 2004

C.D. HARRIS ON RICHARD CLARKE AND HIS DEFENDERS:

Let no man say that Josh Marshall is not a master craftsman of the art of spin.

Not even Marshall’s considerable talents, however, can save Clarke and his book from the fact that the transcript completely and utterly contradicts what he’s saying now. As such, it is anything but an ‘attack on Clarke’s character.’ It is proof – dispositive proof, from the man’s own mouth – that his recent accusations are patently false. “The best they can do”? Indeed.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Roll Call notes that more people are questioning Clarke’s truthfulness. Here’s an excerpt that’s not on the free page:

House Intelligence Chairman Porter Goss (R-Fla.) said Wednesday that former White House anti-terror czar Richard Clarke, the author of a new book critical of President Bush’s handling of the al Qaeda threat before Sept. 11, 2001, may have lied in testimony to his committee, and said he plans to explore whether Congressional action on the matter is warranted.

Clarke’s “testimony to our committee is 180 degrees out of line with what he is saying in his book,” Goss said. “He’s either lying in his book or he lied to our committee. It’s one or the other.”

Yes, a number of us have been pointing this out.

March 25, 2004

“THE TOTAL COLLAPSE OF RICHARD CLARKE:” Does Karl Rove pay these guys, or is Bush just preternaturally lucky where his critics are concerned?

UPDATE: More here:

Defenders of Clarke (and even some of his opponents) say that he is extremely knowledgeable about the war on terror. That may be true; I don’t have the specialized knowledge of the subject to judge. But, it is more than a little troubling that even his defenders don’t tell us about his victories in that war, though it is easy to find examples of his blunders. If he is a great anti-terrorist warrior, one would think he would have some wins on his record, as well as all these losses.

Indeed.

March 25, 2004

TIME: “Richard Clarke, at War With Himself.”

I was hoping he’d be at war with the terrorists.

UPDATE: More thoughts here.

March 25, 2004

THE VOLOKH CONSPIRACY has interesting thoughts on markets and politics.

March 25, 2004

WINDS OF CHANGE has its war news roundup posted. And there are lots of other interesting posts — just keep scrolling.

March 25, 2004

CABLENEWSER wonders about media silence and the 2002 Clarke interview.

UPDATE: Answer here.

March 25, 2004

TOM MAGUIRE NOTES that the Kerry assassination story is working its way up the media food chain, with the Boston Globe getting involved (though it’s still nibbling around the edges). There’s more Kerrry hedging, too, on the question of whether American troops “murdered” 200,000 Vietnamese. (He said yes back then; now he regards the word “murdered” as “inappropriate.”)

UPDATE: Okay, okay, here’s the link to the Globe story, and here’s the lede:

WASHINGTON — In a question-and-answer session before a Senate committee in 1971, John F. Kerry, who was a leading antiwar activist at the time, asserted that 200,000 Vietnamese per year were being “murdered by the United States of America” and said he had gone to Paris and “talked with both delegations at the peace talks” and met with communist representatives.

Maguire has more, and additional links.

March 25, 2004

JEFF JARVIS, a survivor of the WTC attacks, is unsatisfied with Richard Clarke’s “apology” — and he’s not the only one.

March 25, 2004

I’VE JUST STARTED READING Alan Shipnuck’s book, The Battle for Augusta National: Hootie, Martha and the Masters of the Universe, and so far it’s pretty good. I’m sure it’ll be better than Howell Raines’ autobiography, which Jack Shafer eviscerates. The real connection between the two, though, is that the Martha Burk / Augusta National brouhaha underscored the New York Times’ growing irrelevance. As Mark Steyn noted:

In the last nine months, the New York Times has run 95 stories on Martha Burk and Augusta. So, aside from being outnumbered by police and reporters, Burk’s 40 supporters were outnumbered more than two to one by New York Times stories on Burk. Every time the Times mentioned this allegedly raging furor, it attracted approximately another 0.4 of a supporter to her cause. . . .

The Times’ carpet bombing of Augusta has proved a pathetic bunker-bust. This is supposed to be the most influential newspaper in America, the one whose front page all but dictates the agenda of the network news shows. And its most fiercely sustained campaign can’t fill a single school bus?

That is Raines’ legacy, and it appears to be in no danger from his successors.

March 25, 2004

GARY SILBERBERG looks at Bruce Ackerman’s latest proposal and asks: “Do we need a clever way of bribing fifty million Americans to enroll in a politically correct university?”

But Ackerman is winning over others:

Bruce Ackerman, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale Law School, received the Insignia of Commander of the French Order of Merit from the Republic of France at a ceremony at Yale Law School on March 1.

The award was presented by Madame Noelle Lenoir, France’s Minister for European Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It’s well-deserved.

UPDATE: D’oh! It’s actually a guest comment at Gary Silberberg’s blog. Sorry. No Order of Merit for me!

March 25, 2004

EVAN COYNE MALONEY has a new video up. Don’t miss it!

UPDATE: Yes, he does deserve a network gig.

March 25, 2004

CHRIS MUIR’S Day By Day really deserves to be syndicated.

March 25, 2004

I NEED TO DO A BLOGROLL UPDATE SOON: If you notice any out-of-date items, please let me know, with the subject line “blogroll.” Thanks!

UPDATE: Sheesh! I’ve gotten nearly a hundred of these already. Thanks, but no more, please. This is all I can handle.

March 25, 2004

GOOD NEWS FROM MICHIGAN, whose concealed-carry law is relatively recent, I believe:

Police Chief William Dwyer said the woman, whose name was not released, was in the parking lot of a business at 12 Mile and Drake, where she worked in the accounting department, when a man confronted her Friday morning.

When he came within about 10 feet, Dwyer said, the woman calmly pulled the gun out of her purse and pointed it at the man — identified as Carl Walker, 21, of Detroit.

Walker did not draw his weapon, police said. Instead, he ran to a nearby car and the woman called 911. Police later arrested Walker and recovered a pistol. Two companions, Monique Bell, 26, of Detroit and Daphne Patterson, 28, of Southfield, also were arrested.

Dwyer said the incident is making him rethink his opposition to the state law that eased concealed weapons permit regulations. . . .

Two other men — a father-son team accused of trying to rob a 65-year-old retiree — are expected to be arraigned this morning in St. Clair County.

The men already had robbed one woman before being stopped by the home owner’s bullet on Friday, police said.

The Ft. Gratiot Township home owner answered his door on Keewahdin Road about 8 p.m. and was accosted by a 20-year-old Worth Township man armed with a handgun. When the young man’s attention was diverted, police said the home owner grabbed his own .38-caliber handgun and fired.

“The round ended up coming out of his buttocks, so I’m sure he’ll be thinking about that old man every time he sits down for a while,” said Detective Lt. Mike Bloomfield of the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department.

A pack, not a herd. Sadly, not everyone has caught on:

State Sen. Gilda Jacobs, D-Huntington Woods, reacted guardedly to the two self-defense cases.

“We have to be careful we don’t end up having the wild, wild west,” she said.

“People should feel able to protect themselves in their own homes, there’s some argument there,” said Jacobs, who as a state representative voted against the concealed weapons law in 2002. “But do we want a bunch of vigilantes running around with guns to do the police’s work?”

Absurd, disconnected from the actual facts, and cliche-filled. But also the wave of the past.