Archive for February, 2005

February 28, 2005

OF COURSE SHE’S HOT — SHE’S A BELLICOSE WOMAN:

In addition to German and English, Sabine speaks French and Italian. She is proficient in basic tactical pistol skills, because she thought it would be a fun thing to learn.

And — also like the InstaWife — a pilot.

UPDATE: Since various people emailed to ask, no the InstaWife hasn’t flown for years, and now that she’s got the ICD she’s not allowed to. She started college in Air Force ROTC as an aerospace engineering major, but switched out when they wanted to make her a navigator instead of a pilot. This was a wise decision, I think, judging by the navigational skills she displays on family trips. That Chinese embassy bombing fiasco may have its roots in similar decisions . . . .

February 28, 2005

“PRESSURE MOUNTS ON SYRIA:”

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Jubilant opposition supporters in Lebanon have vowed to carry on with their protest in central Beirut in a bid to drive Syrian forces from the country after the collapse of the Damascus-backed government.

The pro-Syrian government of Prime Minister Omar Karami resigned on Monday after two weeks of protests, piling more pressure on Damascus, already under fire from the United States and Israel.

Thousands of demonstrators turned Beirut into a sea of Lebanese flags and exploded into riotous celebration when the government unexpectedly quit after a parliament debate on the killing of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri.

“This is just the first step. We are staying here to make sure they don’t set up a new government that is just the same. We are staying until we have independence,” said Carla Khoury, draped in a Lebanese flag.

Good.

February 28, 2005

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS wonders what happened to the Arab street. I guess that Josh Marshall was right all along:

In their view, invasion of Iraq was not merely, or even primarily, about getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Nor was it really about weapons of mass destruction, though their elimination was an important benefit. Rather, the administration sees the invasion as only the first move in a wider effort to reorder the power structure of the entire Middle East. . . .

In short, the administration is trying to roll the table–to use U.S. military force, or the threat of it, to reform or topple virtually every regime in the region, from foes like Syria to friends like Egypt, on the theory that it is the undemocratic nature of these regimes that ultimately breeds terrorism.

He said that like it was a bad thing. Or like it was some sort of secret, when some of us found the approach to be self-evident. Even Iraqis.

UPDATE: Zach Barbera notes that he had figured some stuff out a couple of years ago.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Gregory Djerejian says that lots of people are noticing.

MORE: Heh.

STILL MORE: The Lebanese seem to have figured it out!

February 28, 2005

TOM MAGUIRE has a Gannon/Guckert update, where he discovers something interesting.

February 28, 2005

LEE HARRIS says that it’s the Palestinians’ moment of truth, and notes the way terror has been institutionalized. As I’ve said before, the Palestinians will stop committing terror when the pain of terrorism exceeds the rewards. Are they there yet? I’m not so sure, though with democracy appearing the rewards of non-terrorism are higher, which may accomplish some of the same things. At any rate, Mark Steyn observes signs of progress:

And, for perhaps the most remarkable development, consider this report from Mohammed Ballas of Associated Press: “Palestinians expressed anger on Saturday at an overnight suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and threatened a fragile truce, a departure from former times when they welcomed attacks on their Israeli foes.”

No disrespect to Associated Press, but I was disinclined to take their word for it. However, Charles Johnson, whose Little Green Footballs website has done an invaluable job these past three years presenting the ugly truth about Palestinian death-cultism, reported that he went hunting around the internet for the usual photographs of deliriously happy Gazans dancing in the street and handing out sweets to celebrate the latest addition to the pile of Jew corpses – and, to his surprise, couldn’t find any.

Maybe they’ve learned something.

February 28, 2005

AUSTIN BAY IS HAPPY — and yet, also, a bit irritated — to see that some people are finally catching on regarding the “strategery.”

February 28, 2005

BLOGGER JEFF OOI has been taken in for questioning by Malaysian authorities over comments on his weblog. Interestingly, the harassment stems from complaints from a Malaysian newspaper. Could this be as much about competition as politics? Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Rajan Rishyakaran emails:

Just to drop the quick email (I’m typing from a cyber cafe computer, don’t have much time), while the questioning seems to be a new development strangely not covered at Jeff Ooi’s Screenshots, the story is rather old. Berita Harian is a Malay daily printed by NSTP (called “Jalan Riong” by the Malaysian blogosphere for where its “Balai Berita” or newsroom headquarters is located). NSTP’s is owned mostly by UMNO, part of and dominant member the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional.

However it is less of politics than of commerce. Jeff Ooi have been covering a story which NSTP have been hitting on for months preceding the harrassment you have mentioned – NSTP claims that the sole statistician making figures for newspaper circulation, AC Nielson, is biased towards The Star (the dominant English daily in Malaysia, owned by UMNO’s partner, MCA) and against its dwindling daily, the News Straits Times. Jeff Ooi have been attacking that assertion, so obviously NSTP wasn’t very pleased.

So it seemed that Berita Harian used its media leverage to try to pin Jeff Ooi down. The prime minister’s son-in-law (nepotism in Malaysia? Never!), Khairy, UMNO Youth’s leader, weighted against Jeff Ooi. But it eventually died down, and nothing seem to have come up regarding this case since.

Newspapers going after bloggers — I wonder if that will happen here?

February 28, 2005

HEY, MATTHEW: Want some Egypt-blogging? Try over here!

But actually I hope that a lot of people on the left read Matthew’s post, for this:

Yes, it’s but a tentative step and things could still all work out poorly, but still, this is a pretty unambiguous success for Bush’s second term freedom kick. It’s also a stunning refutation of those of us who argued that he’d never follow through on his lofty rhetoric. Give the man some props.

And not just to poke fun, but it’s actually important that props be given. Bush has, historically, gotten a lot of praise for his lofty rhetoric. He’s also been rather diffident about actually doing something about it. But he decided to go do something. Test the waters, so to speak. If doing the right thing winds up just being met with stony silence, then there’s little reason to think it’ll be the start of a trend. But it should start a trend….

It certainly should.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The above didn’t appear until just now — I saved it earlier, but then had a bit of a server hiccup, or something. Meanwhile, Viet Pundit is complaining that the lefty blogs aren’t paying enough attention to Lebanon.

February 28, 2005

HERE’S A BBC SLIDESHOW of images from the Lebanese protests.

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration seems to be keeping the pressure on:

Earlier, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield met Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud.

He said he reiterated Washington’s demand that Syria comply with UN resolution 1559, passed in September, calling for the withdrawal of its troops from Lebanon.

“We want to see free and fair elections take place [in Lebanon] this spring,” he said.

Indeed.

UPDATE: The New York Times has endorsed Bush’s democracy-promotion agenda. Just call ‘em an early adopter . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has a map and a prediction.

MORE: Heh.

February 28, 2005

SOME THOUGHTS ON LEBANON AND THE “D” WORD, from Sissy Willis. And there’s more, here.

February 28, 2005

SLATISM OF THE DAY: The Volokh Conspiracy escalates its online struggle with Jacob Weisberg.

I think that the “Bushism” feature — like its late, unlamented “Kerryism” sibling — has long since passed the point where it started making Slate, rather than its subject, look bad.

February 28, 2005

FREE SPEECH IN ALABAMA: Apparently, students value it more highly than faculty.

February 28, 2005

MORE ON LEBANON:

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Lebanese Prime Minister Omar Karami announced the resignation of his pro-Syrian government Monday, two weeks after the assassination of his predecessor, Rafik Hariri, triggered protests in the streets and calls for Syria to withdraw its thousands of troops. . . .

Karami made the announcement during a parliamentary debate called to discuss Hariri’s Feb. 14 assassination in a bomb blast that killed 16 others. The announcement prompted cheers from more than 25,000 flag-waving demonstrators protesting against the government and its Syrian backers outside.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey writes: “This is Assad’s worst nightmare come true. With the Syrians, especially the Kurds in the northeast, watching the Iraqis vote in the first free multi-party elections ever on their east and the Lebanese on their west showing how fragile the Syrian grip on power truly is, the Assad government may wind up facing similar demonstrations in the streets of Damascus, demanding free multi-party elections — which would end Assad’s grip on power, unless he got in front of the effort immediately.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Some analysis and predictions, from Joe Gandelman.

February 28, 2005

THE BELGRAVIA DISPATCH has an email from Beirut.

And there’s more here. Including a report that the government has just fallen.

February 28, 2005

ECONOBLOGARAMA: This week’s Carnival of the Capitalists is up!

February 28, 2005

A WHILE BACK, I noted Amazon’s new “frequent flyer program” in which you get free shipping on all your orders for a rather reasonable flat yearly fee. Being a heavy Amazon customer, I signed up, and it’s definitely changed the way I shop there. For example, I just ordered some of these Balance nutrition bars — a snacking mainstay at our house — where I wouldn’t have done so before without tacking more stuff into the order to offset the shipping charge. But now I just order them as needed via Amazon, with no shipping charge, rather than buying them in bulk at Target. They’re a bit cheaper than Target’s price, and I don’t buy all the other stuff I wind up buying when I visit Target — a double savings of sorts. I don’t know whether other online merchants, lacking Amazon’s clout with shipping companies, will be able to emulate this, but I suspect that over time cheaper shipping will start cutting into brick-and-mortar merchants’ business. Maybe the 1990s bubble was just premature, and not fundamentally wrong . . . .

February 28, 2005

LOTS MORE BLOGGING ON LEBANON, here, at Across the Bay.

February 28, 2005

NPR’S ON THE MEDIA did an interview with Jim Meigs of Popular Mechanics on that magazine’s debunking of 9/11 conspiracy theories. The audio is here. The transcript isn’t online yet.

February 28, 2005

JIM DUNNIGAN:

The NGOs, as they have taken over the delivery of foreign aid during the last half century, have also become part of the problems they are trying to treat. Despite their description as “non-profits” and “relief workers,” the NGOs live from contract to contract. While “non-profit,” they are not “non-revenue.” They have to bring in contracts to take care of their payroll and expenses. This has become an issue in some of the countries where NGOs operate. The locals have been noticing how much of the aid money given to their country is going through the NGOs, and how the NGOs use a lot of it to pay NGO expenses, and generally distribute the aid as they feel best, without a lot of consulting with the locals. But a major reason so many donor nations prefer to give aid via NGOs is that it cuts down on corruption. In too many poor countries getting emergency aid, local officials are quick to divert aid to personal use.

Read the whole thing.

February 28, 2005

LARRY KUDLOW has a wrapup column on Bush’s European tour.

February 28, 2005

HERE’S A COLLECTION OF digital camera tips.

February 28, 2005

MICKEY KAUS, who has been noting the terrorism / welfare connection in Europe for a while, has this advice for the Dutch:

1) Welfare for people who could work plus 2) potential prejudice against a discrete, identifiable group still seems like the universal recipe for an underclass. It was in the U.S.. It is in France. It is in Holland. I’m sure this equation is facile but I don’t see how. … P.S.: A practical lesson from the U.S. for the Dutch? Of the two preconditions, welfare is probably the easiest to change first (though of course you want to try to change both). End perceived freeloading on welfare–as our 1996 welfare reform at least partially did–and you then have a much better shot at diminishing prejudice. You’ve attacked one of its “root causes,” if you will. (Plus the discriminated-against group is forced out of its isolation and into the labor market.)

I hope that Mickey will continue to write about this. Meanwhile, here’s a link to the Times article by Brian Moynahan that everyone’s talking about.

February 28, 2005

TERRORISTS WAGING “LAWFARE?” StrategyPage opines.

February 28, 2005

FORGETFULNESS among the Democrats? Sounds more like denial, to me. This post seems related, too.

February 28, 2005

THIS IS BNN: The Blogger News Network, that is.

February 28, 2005

A BLOGGER HAS BEEN ARRESTED IN BAHRAIN. Mahmood has more.

UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis has additional information.

February 28, 2005

ARTHUR CHRENKOFF has posted his regular roundup of underreported news from Iraq. (“That so many people, and not just the Sunni sheikhs, now want the piece of the Iraqi action perhaps tells us more about the true situation and future prospects in Iraq than most current news reports.”) And here’s a report from my secretary, a Marine combat engineer reservist. Click “read more” to read it.

UPDATE: It’s not all good news, though. I don’t generally cover the bombing-of-the-day stories, just as I don’t link all the “key aide of Zarqawi captured” stories. But this is a big one. Will it win over any Iraqis to the insurgents’ side, though? Seems doubtful. And it won’t win any friends for Syria, either, given that it’s seen as supporting the insurgents.

Continue reading ‘ARTHUR CHRENKOFF has posted his regular roundup of underreported news from Iraq. (“That so many peo…’ »

February 28, 2005

THE PROTESTS IN LEBANON ARE HUGE: Here’s a roundup of news from Publius.

UPDATE: Some perspective from Jackson Diehl, in the Washington Post:

Those who have declared the war an irretrievable catastrophe have been gloating for at least a year over the supposed puncturing of what they portray as President Bush’s fanciful illusion that democracy would take root in Iraq and spread through the region. They may yet be proved right. But how, then, to explain the tens of thousands who marched through Beirut last Monday carrying red and white roses and scarves — the colors of what they call the “independence intifada” — and calling for “freedom, independence and sovereignty” from neighboring Syria? Or the hundreds of Egyptian protesters who gathered that same day at Cairo University, in defiance of thousands of police officers, to chant the slogan of “kifaya,” or “enough,” at 76-year-old President Hosni Mubarak? . . .

Virtually no one in Washington expected such a snowballing of events following Iraq’s elections. Not many yet believe that they will lead to real democracy in Egypt, Lebanon or Syria anytime soon. But it is a fact of history that the collapse of a rotted political order usually happens quickly, and takes most of the experts by surprise. In early 1989 I surveyed a panoply of West German analysts about the chances that the then-incipient and barely noticed unrest in Eastern Europe could lead to the collapse of the Berlin Wall. None thought it possible; most laughed at me for asking the question.

If a Middle East transformation begins to gather momentum, it probably will be more messy, and the results more ambiguous, than those European revolutions. It also won’t be entirely Bush’s creation: The tinder for ignition has been gathering around the stagnant and corrupt autocracies of the Middle East for years. Still, less than two years after Saddam Hussein was deposed, the fact is that Arabs are marching for freedom and shouting slogans against tyrants in the streets of Beirut and Cairo — and regimes that have endured for decades are visibly tottering. Those who claimed that U.S. intervention could never produce such events have reason to reconsider.

Will they reconsider, and try to help — or hope for a messy failure that will make Bush look bad?

February 27, 2005

THINGS ARE HEATING UP IN LEBANON:

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Syrian-backed government banned protests planned for Monday (local time) but a main opposition figure vowed the Lebanese would take to the streets to demand who killed former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri.

Interior minister Suleiman Franjieh called on security forces in a statement on Sunday “to take all necessary steps to preserve security and order and prevent demonstrations and gatherings on Monday”.

Opposition groups have called a protest at the central Martyrs Square by Hariri’s grave and a one-day strike to coincide with a parliamentary debate on the killing that for many recalled Lebanon’s bitter 1975-90 civil war.

Government and Syrian loyalists, meanwhile, planned to descend on central Beirut to protest against US deputy secretary of state David Satterfield’s visit to Lebanon as part of growing international pressure.

Clashes between the two sides were feared.

More here, with a prediction that tomorrow is going to be quite a day.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, this report from Bahrain seems like positive news:

The Arab world must shun extremism which breeds violence, His Majesty King Hamad urged yesterday.

Extremism and violence are alien to the principles of Islam, he said in an address read out at the opening of a regional forum held in Bahrain.

“The region has a civilised and open-minded heritage that is based on the respect of people’s rights and aspirations by promoting insight and sound guidance in line with the teachings of the Holy Quran,” said the King. . . . He said that Bahrain was hosting the forum at a time when its ceiling of political and intellectual freedom had increased and the channels for dialogue were open for everyone.

More like this, please.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More here. Hmm. Maybe those crazy neocons had a plan after all . . . .

February 27, 2005

BILL HOBBS is less positive about Phil Bredesen’s Presidential possibilities than I have been. It’s certainly true that if Bredesen fails to fix TennCare, his prospects will be poor.

February 27, 2005

BUSH AND PUTIN: David Adesnik has some thoughts on what happened at Bratislava.

February 27, 2005

ROGER SIMON is live-blogging the Oscars. So is Mark Coffey. And Ann Althouse!

Oscar preview here. And don’t miss this related take from Kid Rock. More here.

February 27, 2005

NEW DEVELOPMENTS in Burmese newspaperdom, complete with a PDF.

February 27, 2005

NEW OPENINGS FOR ARAB DEMOCRACY: A Christian Science Monitor roundup:

In a surprise announcement Saturday, Egypt’s long-ruling president, Hosni Mubarak, ordered constitutional changes that would open the door for the first-ever multiparty presidential elections in the world’s most populous Arab country. The move is the latest indication of a cautious democratic shift under way in the Arab world.

Since the beginning of the year, the region has seen national elections in Iraq and the Palestinian territories, landmark municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, and unprecedented mass demonstrations in Lebanon calling for an end to Syrian tutelage.

The question remains whether these developments are truly the initial flourishings of a nascent democratic transformation or merely halfhearted measures by autocratic regimes which have no intention of promoting genuine change. What happens next is key, observers say.

True enough. Democratization is a process, not an event, as I’ve noted before. But at least it’s a process that’s under way.

Jeff Jarvis, meanwhile, has a roundup of what Egyptian bloggers are saying.

February 27, 2005

MORE EMBARRASSMENT for the U.N.:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.N. officials fear the sex-abuse scandal among peacekeepers in Africa is far more widespread and appears to be a problem in each of the global body’s 16 missions around the world.

Indeed it does.

February 27, 2005

ELECTION NEWS ROUNDUPS for Kyrgyzistan and Tajikistan.

February 27, 2005

CAPT. ED NOTES that the pressure is beginning to tell on Syria.

UPDATE: John Cole has thoughts on what it means. And here’s some perhaps-triumphalist history.

February 27, 2005

TIM WORSTALL has another BritBlog Roundup posted.

February 27, 2005

THOUGHTS ON JOURNALISTS IN IRAQ:

Elections are one of the few news occasions that provide editors and reporters with the clarity of numbers to help us to judge whether or not we are doing a decent job. January 30th turned out to be a better day for Iraqis than it was for reporters.

The failure of “hotel journalism” might be forgivable if it were truly about prudence or even laziness. But there has been something wilful about the bad reporting of this story. It is weirdly personal: Iraq must fail. It is in fact the press that failed, on a scale for which I cannot think of a precedent. Will the big media outlets demand the same accountability of themselves that they demand of everyone else? They should, for the success of these elections was not so surprising to those who dug below the surface of Iraq.

Yes, it became clear that those who read blogs — especially blogs from Iraq — had a better picture of what was going on than those who read, say, Newsweek.

More thoughts on the press’s failure in Iraq, here.

UPDATE: All I can say is I told you so.

February 27, 2005

ASTROTURF SPAM aimed at blogs? Bigwig thinks he’s found an example.

I don’t think, though, that this is the first such effort. At least, Mickey Kaus reported that Sid Blumenthal was behind some anti-Trent-Lott blog-email, as was James Carville.

February 27, 2005

MARK STEYN HAS REMOVED ANY DOUBT about where he thinks Europe is headed:

Most administration officials subscribe to one of two views: a) Europe is a smugly irritating but irrelevant backwater; or b) Europe is a smugly irritating but irrelevant backwater where the whole powder keg’s about to go up.

For what it’s worth, I incline to the latter position. Europe’s problems — its unaffordable social programs, its deathbed demographics, its dependence on immigration numbers that no stable nation (not even America in the Ellis Island era) has ever successfully absorbed — are all of Europe’s making. . . .

Until the shape of the new Europe begins to emerge, there’s no point picking fights with the terminally ill. The old Europe is dying, and Mr. Bush did the diplomatic equivalent of the Oscar night lifetime-achievement tribute at which the current stars salute a once glamorous old-timer whose fading aura is no threat to them. The 21st century is being built elsewhere.

Personally, I hope that Austin Bay’s more hopeful view turns out to be right.

UPDATE: Mark Steyn responds to Austin Bay in Austin’s comments.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A more positive take on Europe, from an American serviceman serving there, can be found at Amy Ridenour’s blog.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: More on Europe, in a less hopeful vein, here: “One interesting angle in the story is the way in which the phenomenon of mass immigration has now intersected with membership of the EU to make an already tricky problem unmanageable.”

MORE: Beldar comments on the debate. And this post from Ann Althouse is worth noting, too.

STILL MORE: Brian Dunn quotes Victor Davis Hanson and observes:

I don’t believe that Europe is beyond another bout of internal bloodletting. Just because Europe since 1945 has only seen war in the Balkans does not mean war is banished. Europe went through a period from 1815 to 1914 without much large-scale war. France versus Prussia, Austria versus Prussia, Russia versus Britain and France, French versus Italians (I think). It sounds like a lot, but over 99 years and considering the violent past of Europe, that really wasn’t much. So I’m not convinced that Europe has had war bred out of it. They have a violent past and the very zeal they look to Brussels is a sign that Europeans don’t think war is bred out of them. Otherwise why would they seek suppression of national conflict through a super-state entangling them all in rules and treaties?

And if Europe isn’t immune from warlike impulses, I don’t think it is safe to assume that a revival of war impulses couldn’t be directed against us. We could be blamed for their problems. They blame us for so many things already, why not?

Well, that’s cheerful.

February 27, 2005

JOHN LEO: “We are seeing the bitterness of elites who wish to lead, confronted by multitudes who do not wish to follow.”

February 27, 2005

INTERESTING BIT of behind-the-scenes maneuvering:

President Bush’s speech to European leaders last week was toned down at the last moment to avoid giving his support to the proposed EU constitution, after a strenuous lobbying campaign by conservative activists in Washington.

Leading British Euro-sceptics were enlisted to help win a battle within the White House over how far Mr Bush should go in endorsing a more unified EU, after reports began to circulate in Washington that his planned speech would express backing for the constitution.

Of course, a strong Bush endorsement might have led Chirac and Schroeder to reconsider their support . . . .

February 27, 2005

PLAME UPDATE — Advantage: Zonitics!

The degree to which Josh Marshall has lost interest in this story — which he once found compelling — surprises me. At least, reading his earlier posts on the Plame affair, I never would have expected him to become so consumed with Social Security reform that Plame got eclipsed.

UPDATE: Here’s a big Plame roundup with lots of historical perspective, helping to fill the vacuum left by Josh’s non-blogging. And, by way of background, don’t forget this Plame timeline from Tom Maguire.

February 26, 2005

GAIMAN ON GORMAN:

You know, I love librarians. I really love librarians. I love librarians when they crusade not to be stereotyped as librarians. I love librarians when they’re just doing those magic things that librarians do. I love librarians when they’re the only person in a ghost town looking after thousands of books. I love the ALA and am proud to be on one of their posters.

On the other hand, I feel the love diminishing a tad when I read an article by the president-elect of the ALA, and find myself unable to decide whether it’s mostly that a) he’s simply a very, very bad writer, or b) he lacks any skills of a diplomatic nature, or it’s just c) he really believes that statements like “Given the quality of the writing in the blogs I have seen, I doubt that many of the Blog People are in the habit of sustained reading of complex texts” are somehow going to disabuse people who keep blogs, journals and such from believing or repeating the calumny that “Michael Gorman is an idiot” (someone apparently said this on a blog, he tells us, expecting us to feel an outrage on his behalf I somehow wasn’t able to muster).

Indeed. Did I mention how much I liked his American Gods?

February 26, 2005

I WISH I HAD ONE: Photo-enthusiast reader Jim Herd emails:

Nikon’s new 12MP $5000 D2X finally released. Hardwarezone’s 19-page review: “Nikon’s Top Dog Arrives.”

Amazon is backordered. So is B&H Photovideo, but at least they’ll give you the price: $4,995.

I’d like one, but not at that price. (I hope this won’t get me accused of Nikon-centrism again).

February 26, 2005

DEMOCRACY-SPREADING UPDATE: Here’s a report, with photos, from a Free Lebanon protest in Canada.

And here’s a Kyrgyzistan pre-election roundup. Observation: “One of the most counterproductive ways of reporting the story of the election would be to cast the affair as two cleanly defined sides fighting for power. On the one side there would be the local and foreign NGOs working together, allied with Western governments and protected by OSCE observers. On the other would be the CIS bodies, the Kyrgyz government, and its allies all working in concert. Sounds nice, but that’s not how it actually works.”

Meanwhile, David Warren says there’s a new wave going on. Read this, too.

UPDATE: From Ezra Levant: “There was a ‘free Syria’ rally on Parliament Hill. Still waiting for the CBC to give these folks a minute of airtime.”

February 26, 2005

NEW EUROPE:

At last President George W Bush found some European fans yesterday. After three days of muted receptions, Mr Bush received a far cheerier welcome behind the old Iron Curtain as enthusiastic Slovaks applauded him for visiting them on the last stop of his tour across the continent.

Thousands of Slovaks defied swirling snow and a bitter wind to wait for several hours to hear Mr Bush speak in the heart of their capital, Bratislava.

The Slovak prime minister, Mikulas Dzurinda, set the tone when he introduced Mr Bush to the crowd with an implicit comparison to the late Ronald Reagan, who devoted much of his presidency to combating and denouncing the Soviet Union. For the White House, it was a reassuring reminder that Mr Bush’s stock remains high in New Europe, as Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, famously described the more recent East European members of the EU and Nato.

(Via No Pasaran, which observes that this didn’t get much coverage in Old Europe.)

UPDATE: Reader Chris Buchholz emails: “It didn’t get much coverage here either. All day all I’ve seen on TV is how Bush wore his gloves.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Austin Bay thinks that this proves Mark Steyn wrong.

MORE: Reader Mark Hessey emails: “Hmm, I guess I read Steyn’s closing sentence wrong: ‘This week we’re toasting the end of an idea: the death of “the West”.’ I thought he meant that the idea of the death of the West was what died; that Bush was glad-handing Chirac because anything else was futile, but smiling internally in his confidence that his initiatives are going forward, almost on auto-pilot at this point.” Hmm. I never thought of it that way.

February 26, 2005

FAKE ART creates an angry reaction.

UPDATE: The Belmont Club says it looks as if Ward Churchill is taking the University of Colorado to the cleaners. On the other hand, the video linked above doesn’t seem to portray the reaction of a man who’s sitting pretty . . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Heh.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Heh, again! That’s quite ironic.

February 26, 2005

PLAME UPDATE: Tom Maguire observes:

There is nothing like the prospect of an imminent hanging to concentrate the mind; apparently, the prospect of having one of their reporters go to jail for eighteen months has concentrated the minds of the NY Times editors on the legal subtleties of the Valerie Plame leak investigation.

Shockingly, the leak may never have been a crime! And thus does the NYT catch up to a theory that has been circulating on the blogosphere for a year. As I’ve said before where the Times is concerned, better late than never!

February 26, 2005

HOSNI MUBARAK experiences Condi’s displeasure.

February 26, 2005

FORGET TED RALL’S CHALLENGE, which seems to be bogus anyway, as he’s bouncing the emails: Tom Maguire is running a more constructive contest.

UPDATE: Heh: “Ah, yes, Ted. Forgotten, but not gone.”

February 26, 2005

D’OH! I forgot to post a link to this week’s Blog Mela earlier. Be sure to check it out.

UPDATE: And here’s a look at the Indian economy. Also, don’t miss this South Asia roundup from Winds of Change.

February 25, 2005

ANDREW SULLIVAN on Gannon-Guckert: “The real scandal is the blatant use of homophobic rhetoric by the self-appointed Savonarolas of homo-left-wingery. It’s an Animal Farm moment: the difference between a fanatic on the gay left and a fanatic on the religious right is harder and harder to discern.”

UPDATE: Heh: “The NY Times has lost interest for now, but maybe the Right can keep this scandal alive a bit longer.”

February 25, 2005

RATHERGATE UPDATE: Mary Murphy, one of the RatherGate producers, has resigned.

February 25, 2005

JIM BENNETT’S BOOK gets a favorable review (except for some criticism of his prose style) in Foreign Affairs, from Walter Russell Mead.

February 25, 2005

HEH. I guess the ratings strategy hasn’t worked out as planned.

February 25, 2005


MY EARLIER MENTION OF Osama bin Laden targets produced this email (with photos) from readers Peyton and Debbie Randolph:

We’ve got one on our garage wall!

At the Protest Warrior get-together in January, here in Austin, one of the activities was visiting a local outdoor range. We did OK, not our best. The hits are at 7 meters with her Browning Hi-Power 9mm and my HK Mark 23 .45, also pictured.

I like the photos. And, you know, when I posted the link this morning, I thought: “Yeah, I think the Osama target is cool, but will any InstaPundit readers care about something like this?”

I should have known better than to worry . . . .

UPDATE: A veritable army of readers has emailed to complain about the poor firearms safety demonstrated in this photo (fingers should be on triggers only to shoot!). Well, yes, but I’m prepared to make an exception for a photo-op like this one, where the firearms appear to be pointed safely. But don’t try this at home kids — or on the range!

February 25, 2005

TSUNAMI PHOTOS recovered from a dead couple’s digital camera.

February 25, 2005

MORE COMPLAINTS about WikiPedia.

UPDATE: More here.

February 25, 2005

I’M NOT SURE THAT THIS KNIFE HOLDER, sent by a reader, is quite my, um, idiom. But I have to admit, it’s more interesting than this one.

February 25, 2005

POLIPUNDIT RESPONDS to a challenge from Ted Rall.

UPDATE: More from John Hawkins.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Still more, from Jon Henke. And still more, here. This challenge is no challenge at all . . . .

February 25, 2005

YALE LAW PROFESSOR PETER SCHUCK weighs in against Yale’s exclusion of military recruiters:

Through his arguments, Schuck says that Law School opponents of the Defense Department’s recruitment policy have been acting in a contradictory manner. The Law School itself discriminates against white and Asian applicants through the affirmative action process, he said.

“It seems odd for the schools to insist that they may define merit in a way that disadvantages white, Asian and indeed straight applicants (if schools deem other minorities or gays ‘diversity enhancing’) but that the military may not define merit in a way that disadvantages gays,” Schuck writes in his article.

Another irony Schuck presents is that those same faculty members who filed suit against the Department of Defense do not oppose the federal government’s power to cut off funding from a university that itself discriminated, citing a case involving Bob Jones University in which law schools publicly opposed the government’s subsidization of an institution that discriminated against blacks.

Schuck stresses in his article that he favors barring discrimination against gays and protecting academic autonomy, but that students themselves should be able to decide if they want to enter the military.

“We should not reward or punish the choices of our students but encourage them to make their own moral choices as informed as they can be by us,” Schuck said.

Indeed.

February 25, 2005

JOSCHKA FISCHER IS IN TROUBLE, according to Der Spiegel.

February 25, 2005

WHAT HATH WARD CHURCHILL WROUGHT? Nothing good, in my opinion, but nothing surprising, either.

UPDATE: Come to think of it, I offered warnings and advice on this subject over three years ago.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Eugene Volokh notes that there’s more to this story than tenure. He’s right, but the big question is whether it’s politically viable for the academy to adopt a generally hostile and dismissive stance toward the larger society. Eugene is right, of course, that the First Amendment prevents even untenured people being fired simply for “anti-Americanism,” and he’s very right that academic freedom, given the political tenor of most campuses, does more to protect politically-incorrect people than the reverse. But in fact, and entirely apart from the fate of individual faculty members, state legislatures, boards of trustees, and alumni have a lot of power over universities if they choose to exercise it. They’ve mostly chosen to let academic administrators, and faculties, run universities without a lot of outside interference. But there’s no guarantee that this state of affairs will persist if those outsiders conclude that universities are being run badly.

February 25, 2005

ANN ALTHOUSE ON CONDI RICE, over at GlennReynolds.com:

Women with power easily unleash ideation about sex — and sex and power. If the woman can’t be contained by the thought that her powerfulness has removed her sexuality altogether, then the thought becomes that her sexuality has merged with her power. In the case of Condoleezza Rice, who has a high position of power and is distinctly attractive, she seems to become a strange new being — a superhero – like Neo in “The Matrix”!

Is it wrong to talk about powerful women this way? I say no. Image, fashion, and beauty are all important. And we certainly didn’t refrain from talking about how the male candidates for President looked in 2004. We obsessed over their ties, their hair and their makeup, and the bulges under their clothes. So go ahead and spout your theories about the meaning of Condoleezza Rice’s high-heeled boots.

Mine is: these boots are made for running for President.

We could do worse.

February 25, 2005

PATTERICO:

I have a very simple suggestion for mainstream media types who feel in any way threatened by bloggers: whenever you hear the word “blogger,” think: “reader.”

After all, bloggers who aren’t discussing your newspaper are irrelevant to you. And bloggers who are discussing your newspaper are simply part of your readership.

In other words, they’re your customers. And, while the customer may not always be right, the customer deserves to have his complaints heard.

The main difference between your readers who are bloggers and your other readers is that your blogging readers have a voice – one that you can’t entirely control. . . .

Once you realize that bloggers are your readers, it may help you be less dismissive of bloggers’ opinions.

Let’s hope.

February 25, 2005

SKBUBBA RESPONDS to the Slate piece comparing blogs and rap. Heh.

February 25, 2005

THERE’S LOTS OF HISTORY-BLOGGING, at the latest History Carnival.

February 25, 2005

HEH: Osama bin Laden targets for shooters.

February 25, 2005

ORANGE REVOLUTION REDUX:

BEIRUT — Presidents and diplomats piled on the pressure for Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon yesterday, but for the hard-line Ba’athist leaders in Damascus, the most worrisome pressure may be coming from a scruffy tent camp near the Beirut waterfront.

In a land where civil war is endemic but political protest is almost unknown, long-feuding Muslims, Christians and Druze are camping out just blocks from the parliament saying they will not leave until either Syrian troops leave their country or the government falls.

Rajan Rishyakaran has thoughts on what this might mean.

February 25, 2005

THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE RECIPES is up. Don’t miss it!

February 25, 2005

MORE TEDIOUS AND SELF-SERVING ATTACKS ON BLOGGERS: Second-string talk radio host Mike Gallagher has been attacking bloggers. Not surprisingly, it turns out that he has his own reasons for disliking the open entry of the blogosphere:

He has a blog. And it’s on the “Gallagher Gold” section — the part you must pay to access.

Though why anybody would pay $49.95/year to read it is beyond me. No wonder he doesn’t like the idea of people giving it away!

Then there’s this tiresome elitist schtick from Michael Gorman, the President of the American Library Association. Honestly, all this does is give ammunition to the people who say that libraries and librarians are obsolete in the digital age. I’ve always disagreed with that position — but if Mr. Gorman is a typical specimen I’ll have to rethink my stance, given that, judging by his comments, Gorman isn’t even very good at using Google.

UPDATE: Slashdot readers are comparing Gorman’s screed to a bad blog entry. And there are more comments here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Librarian Michael McHenry emails:

Gorman’s screed is another in the long list of reasons of why I refuse to be a member of the American Library Association – even though it’s my boss who would pay the dues. I am a rare breed, a librarian who is both male and conservative, and I use Google (and blogs) for my job every single day. As you suggested, if Mr. Gorman isn’t finding what he needs in Google, then he obviously isn’t using it correctly. And I wonder how he feels about the number of librarians and libraries who blog…

I’ve only worked in libraries for 10 years, so maybe the elitism won’t hit me until after another decade or two.

Heh. Well, my mother is a librarian, and she’s not that much of an elitist. Neither is librarian / blogger Mike the Librarian, who isn’t very impressed with Gorman’s take.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More still from another librarian:

I’m a former member of ALA, and I read your post about ALA President Gorman
with interest but little surprise. Yet another case of “Free speech for me but not for thee.” Mr. Gorman is / has been a member of ALA’s Social Responsibilities Roundtable, the political-activist arm of the organization. A couple of years ago, ALA and SRRT refused to stand up for political dissidents in Cuba, because the dissidents had dared to open “independent libraries” (in reality little more than small private collections of banned books) and referred to themselves as librarians (without benefit of the hallowed MLS – horrors!). The Castro government arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced over 20 people for this activity, and the ALA said not a peep. They took Castro at his word that the dissidents were “American agents”: Link

It meant more to the Association to be anti-US than pro-human-rights.

For me it was the height of irony that an organization that has a Freedom to Read Foundation, and that sponsors “Banned Books Week” here in the States, would not champion the freedom of non-Americans to read. This shameful episode convinced me once and for all that ALA Membership was not worth my hard-earned dollars. Many of my colleagues agreed; lots of us no longer belong to ALA because of their knee-jerk leftist politics.

Best,
A Carolina Librarian
(If you use this, I prefer that my name not be used, since my director’s in tight with the Big Guys at ALA).

Wow, chilling of dissent in the library world.

MORE: Yet another librarian chides Gorman.

February 25, 2005

NORM GERAS has thoughts on war and international law.

UPDATE: More on the subject, from Opinio Juris.

February 24, 2005

IAIN MURRAY IS blogging again.

February 24, 2005

I’VE MEANT FOR SOME TIME to do a post on why blogging is like techno, with a mixture of rearranged samples and original riffs, but now Josh Levin in Slate has done a blogging-and-rap post that covers pretty much the same ground.

February 24, 2005

MORE CRITICISM of Thomas Woods’ book.

UPDATE: Reader Del Eastman emails: “Glenn Reynolds, right-of-center? Sorry, Prof. I very much like your website but you’re much more to the left, IMHO.”

The entire right/left continuum has become shorthand for pro/anti-war in most people’s minds, I’m afraid. I’ve pretty much given up fighting it.

February 24, 2005

A CHALLENGE to the Cult of the iPod. Reader Anthony Williams emails:

A few weeks ago you mentioned the iRiver H320 as an alternative to the iPod. This was new to me, but I investigated and now own two! It has a first-class screen, excellent sound, good form-factor, and even plays videos made from ripped DVDs. Another bonus–I don’t have to support the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field.

I am finding the ability to play many codecs very valuable, especially OGG Vorbis, which seems superior for spoken word material. For music, I generally use WMA.

Cool. Competition is good. Though I doubt that it will make Andrew Sullivan any happier.

UPDATE: Reader Kenneth Anderson writes:

I like my iRiver. Its a little bigger than an iPod, but just as portable. The sound is indeed good, and though I haven’t yet tried to play a movie on mine, the color screen is excellent. My brother, a tech guy, suggested it because its file loading program meshes a bit better with Windows than iPod’s.

I use mine on the walk & subway to and from work in Manhattan. Most people at my firm, Davis Polk, carry iPods, so I can’t speak for any trend. But the iRiver is a pretty worthy system.

Cool.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More iRiver vs. iPod thoughts here.

February 24, 2005

SOME PEOPLE ARE GETTING DESPERATE, as this example from David Gingrich illustrates:

I cannot help but notice that you have failed to mention anything about Jeff Gannon on instapundit or your MSNBC blog. Whats up with that? I thought you were all for destroying political bias in our nations media, oh that only applies to Dan Rathers and those pesky so called liberal journalists. Mr male escort couldn’t have had any bias right. Yeah I know that there is no improtant information in that story. No big deal the white house allowed a gay escort into white house press briefings with faulty credentials, although you have to admit that sure is a lot of irony. You spend weeks attacking Dan Rathers for his sloppy journalism and because he trusted faulty documents. But it’s not the same thing when Mr. Bubble Boy allows a fake journalist (with fake documentation) into his press briefings, all the while he couldn’t gain access to capitol hill, to lob softball questions. Man that is sure some irony if I have ever seen it. Hypocrite.

Actually, I have blogged about Gannon/Guckert quite a few times, as a simple search would illustrate. But I agree with Rik Hertzberg that it’s a nothinggate. Or, as Marc Cooper says, a “big yawn.” I don’t think it’s in any way comparable to the use of forged documents in an attempt to swing a Presidential election — and I think that anyone who does think so is pretty much beyond rational discourse.

I also think that the people who are trying to inflate this into a big issue are making a dreadful mistake. I eagerly await the reaction when the White House responds to this criticism by requiring everyone who attends a press briefing to make a full financial and sexual disclosure, and starts rating news outlets as “real” or “fake” according to bias. (If I were Rove I’d make some rumblings about this to the press corps, and I’d explicitly cite the lefty bloggers by name, just to stir up trouble . . . .)

But don’t listen to me. Listen to David Corn:

But throughout this scandal, I have wondered if the Gannon affair may be smaller than it seems. I expressed several concerns in an earlier column. Still, in response to the emails, I decided to heed the call and look further. What I found leads me to ask–gasp!–if Gannon/Guckert, on a few but not all fronts, has received a quasi-bum rap. . . .

Bloggers should think hard when they complain about standards for passes for White House press briefings. Last year, political bloggers–many of whom have their own biases and sometimes function as activists–sought credentials to the Democratic and Republican conventions. That was a good thing. Why shouldn’t Josh Marshall, Glenn Reynolds, John Aravosis, or Markos Moulitsas (DailyKos) be allowed to question Scott McClellan or George W. Bush? Do we want only the MSMers to have this privilege?

If Gannon/Guckert did receive preferential treatment–because of his ideological bent or any other reason–that would be wrong and a matter for the White House to explain. But let’s move on to his personal (or other professional) life. Bloggers have made much of his apparent effort to earn a buck as a prostitute for men. This is not gay-baiting, they say, it’s hypocrisy. The question is, hypocrisy on whose part?

Read the whole thing. I think that the gay-baiting from some of the lefty bloggers — and my emailers — does them no credit. And it really is gay-baiting. And the focus on the gay angle, which nearly all this email features, also betrays a rather deep misapprehension of how I feel about stuff — do I look like a social conservative? As James Lileks wrote:

I just find it amusing that people think that because I support less aggressive taxation and the War I must therefore believe gays should be driven into a pit lined with sharp stakes, and therefore I’m a hypocrite. How does that work? It’s like saying “you oppose partial privatizing of Social Security? Well, then you obviously want abortion legal up the moment when the baby crowns.” Doesn’t follow.

Nope. Not to anyone with a clue, anyway. I think the Gannon-bashers are diminishing themselves by overplaying this issue. As Salon’s Wagner James Au (who also sent the Cooper link) emailed:

2004: “Bush lied, people died!”
2005: “Bush brought Guckert, people, uh, got suckered!”

Glenn, what a striking degradation of topics to get outraged over. But the amazing thing to me is, many people seem equally exercised by both topics. At least the question of WMD intelligence abuse is a topic of international importance. . . .

One year, you’re the indomitable warrior of dissent waving the fiery sword of truth in the halls of the powerful. Year later, you’re Verne Troyer on amyl nitrate biffing the shins of the powerful with a wooden dowel.

Or something like that.

UPDATE: It could be worse. And it is!

February 24, 2005

LT SMASH: “Come into my parlor . . . .”

February 24, 2005

IT’S PLEDGE WEEK at NanoBot.

February 24, 2005

DAVID CORN is accusing Howard Dean of self-defeatism.

February 24, 2005

DAVE WINER says that Google’s new toolbar is bad for the Web.

UPDATE: Anil Dash disagrees.

February 24, 2005

IS BLOGGING A MALE GAME? Ann Althouse has thoughts for Kevin Drum, over at GlennReynolds.com — where blogging, obviously enough, isn’t always a male game . . . .

UPDATE: Snarky advice for Kevin, here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Christine Hurt has an action plan.

February 24, 2005

TOM MAGUIRE RESPONDS TO A CRITIC, and offers advice: “Since I never get to say this to any other blogger, and I hear it all the time – sometimes less is more.”

Indeed.

February 24, 2005

READER SEAN FITZPATRICK notes an interesting passage from the BBC reporters’ blog on Bush’s Europe trip:

The president is wonderfully un-European – refreshingly so in the view of those of us who have worked in Brussels.

He is unsmooth. He stumbles over his sentences. He uses short, plain, sometimes almost babyish words, while the sophisticated multilingual Euro crowd prefer obfuscatory long ones.

And he gets a clear message across, like it or not. He has no need of spin.

It was interesting that on the White House bus back into town, the journalists did not need to compare notes or discuss the president’s words and what they meant.

On the other hand, for Chirac and Schroeder there was a discussion that would have made an old-style Kremlinologist blush. . . .

Some people think Schroeder said one thing about Nato and some think he actually meant another. Others claim that Chirac really believes Schroeder wanted to say… etc etc.

Welcome to Europe, Mr Bush.

Heh.

February 24, 2005

HOW TO BLOG: Some good advice from Atrios.

And some useful stuff on blogging, and videoblogging, from The New York Times.

February 24, 2005

BLOGGER DIPLOMACY: A meeting with the French consul.

February 24, 2005

HEH: Somebody does seem to like Condi. And it’s a hell of a picture.

February 24, 2005

ANOTHER ENDORSEMENT FOR JOHN SCALZI’S NEW NOVEL, from Eugene Volokh, who writes:

Just finished John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, which was very good. I bought it in hardcover; cheapskate that I am, I rarely do this except with authors whose work I know well, but I made an exception because of Instapundit’s and Professor Bainbridge’s recommendations. They steered me well; really good science fiction, fresh and well-crafted.

I liked it.

February 24, 2005

flagdog.jpg
MAN BITES DOG! David Kaspar has photos of the pro-Bush demonstrations in Mainz yesterday.

And reader Jack Lillywhite emails from Belgium:

My wife and I are in Belgium for a family wedding (her side) and have been watching the mostly Eurocentric, left-leaning, anti-Bush coverage about the President’s visit (and that is just CNN International). But one of the more prominent Flemish networks brought a good report of the pro-American demonstration held in Brussels today in which hundreds if not thousands of Iraqi expatriates and pro-American Belgians as well as expat Americans attended. If you go to LVB.net weblog you can get more. Luc was one of the organizers.

I couldn’t make much of the LVB.net blog, as I don’t read Flemish. But I wonder if these will get any notice from American media?

UPDATE: D’oh! There’s an English version of LVB net. I didn’t see the tab before. Cool stuff.

February 24, 2005

TOM MAGUIRE has observations on the New Yorker’s “Nothinggate.”

February 24, 2005

WARD CHURCHILL MISQUOTED? This report from the Denver Post says so, and that he didn’t actually admit that he’s not Indian. As I noted below, I got an email from a journalist working on the story who raised that possibility last night.

UPDATE: Here’s the Honolulu Star-Bulletin’s correction. Churchill’s claims about the Keetoowah band’s policies and his relationship to them seem inconsistent with what I’ve read elsewhere, but no doubt those who are following this story more closely than I am will get to the bottom of that.

February 24, 2005

MORE ON SYRIA:

BAGHDAD — Iraqi state television aired a video yesterday showing what the U.S.-funded channel said was the confession of a captured Syrian officer, who said he trained Iraqi terrorists to behead people and build car bombs to attack American and Iraqi troops.

He also said the terrorists practiced beheading animals to train for decapitating hostages.

Later, Al Iraqiya aired another round of interviews with men it said were Sudanese and Egyptians who also trained in Syria to carry out attacks in Iraq.

This isn’t very difficult to believe. There’s lots more interesting Syria-related information at this Lebanon blog, too. [LATER: Bad link before; fixed now.]

UPDATE: More on Lebanon here:

Leaders of Lebanon’s banking, industrial and commercial sectors said they would shut down next Monday to demand the country’s pro-Syrian government resign and that a “neutral” one replace it.

The strike would coincide with an expected vote of confidence in parliament, two weeks after the murder of former premier Rafiq Hariri in a bomb blast for which the opposition has pinned blame on the government and its Syrian backers.

Things are getting interesting.

UPDATE: More background here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Syria says it will withdraw from Lebanon:

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) – Syria will withdraw troops from mountain and coastal areas in Lebanon in line with a 1989 agreement, Lebanon’s defense minister said Thursday amid international pressure following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Lebanese Defense Minister Abdul-Rahim Murad said the troops will be withdrawn to the eastern Bekaa Valley on the Syrian border, but he gave no timeframe.

Hmm. No timetable, There are a lot of interesting reports about the Bekaa valley. (Via PajamaHadin).

February 23, 2005

INDEED: “But their secret is no secret. It’s money. Arab money. Saudi Arab money. . . . With that money they promote the Arabization of our Islam in Southeast Asia. Object and you face personal violence.”

And not just in Southeast Asia.

UPDATE: In fact, reaching to the United States, as this report makes clear:

Abu Ali is also a familiar figure to U.S. law-enforcement officials and terrorism experts. In mid-2003, federal authorities shut down a Northern Virginia a network of born Muslims and American converts to Islam, headed by convert Randall (Ismail) Royer.

Known as the “paintball jihad,” the defendants in the case were supporters of Lashkar-i-Taiba, a violent Wahhabi militia fighting against Indian authorities in Kashmir. They practiced for jihad by playing paintball in the woods, went to Kashmir to carry and use weapons, and then tried to explain away their weekend activities near Washington as harmless fun.

In April 2004 Royer was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Of his codefendants, six pled guilty, three were convicted and two were acquitted. One got a life sentence and another got 85 years.

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, described by federal prosecutors as a member of the group, escaped the initial crackdown and fled to Saudi Arabia, where he was arrested later in 2003.

I was among those harassed by this group; some of us were inclined to write them off as marginal cases, but Saudi dissident al-Ahmed warned me at the time of their arrest that the group was capable of killing people. Now we know how far their sinister ambitions extended: to the president of the United States himself.

The real issue remains official, Saudi-backed terrorist teaching, financing, recruitment and other support on American soil. Civic organizations examining the materials available in American mosques, as well as the textbooks used in Islamic schools, recognize that an amazingly-extensive network of such indoctrination centers exists right here, three and a half years after the horrors of 9/11.

Read the whole thing.

February 23, 2005

IN RESPONSE TO ANN ALTHOUSE, Donald Sensing is dietblogging.

February 23, 2005

“THIS BLOGPOST WILL SELF-DESTRUCT IN FIVE MINUTES” — It had better, because it’s just too explosive to last.

February 23, 2005

DER SPIEGEL: “Could George W. Bush be right?”

President Ronald Reagan’s visit to Berlin in 1987 was, in many respects, very similar to President George W. Bush’s visit to Mainz on Wednesday. Like Bush’s visit, Reagan’s trip was likewise accompanied by unprecedented security precautions. A handpicked crowd cheered Reagan in front of the Brandenburg Gate while large parts of the Berlin subway system were shut down. And the Germany Reagan was traveling in, much like today’s Germany, was very skeptical of the American president and his foreign policy. When Reagan stood before the Brandenburg Gate — and the Berlin Wall — and demanded that Gorbachev “tear down this Wall,” he was lampooned the next day on the editorial pages. He is a dreamer, wrote commentators. Realpolitik looks different.

But history has shown that it wasn’t Reagan who was the dreamer as he voiced his demand. Rather, it was German politicians who were lacking in imagination — a group who in 1987 couldn’t imagine that there might be an alternative to a divided Germany. Those who spoke of reunification were labelled as nationalists and the entire German left was completely uninterested in a unified Germany. . . .

When the voter turnout in Iraq recently exceeded that of many Western nations, the chorus of critique from Iraq alarmists was, at least for a couple of days, quieted. Just as quiet as the chorus of Germany experts on the night of Nov. 9, 1989 when the Wall fell.

As the article notes, German foreign policy is based on differentiating itself from the United States. Sounds a bit adolescent to me. (Via TKS).

And lots of people are making that Berlin Wall comparison today. Meanwhile, Arthur Chrenkoff has a roundup of Lebanon / Syria news that’s worth your time.

February 23, 2005

WARD CHURCHILL says he’s not an Indian. “Churchill did address the issue of his ethnicity, admitting that he is not Native American. . . . ‘Let’s cut to the chase; I am not,’ he said.”

Matt Duffy thinks he wants to be fired.

UPDATE: Heh:

Go here to find Ward Churchill — admitted Pale-Face WASP — whining that universities won’t give out more tenured positions to “indigenous peoples.”

“Indigenous peoples” — you know, like Dick Cavett, Stone Philips, Anderson Cooper, etc. People indigenous to the Hamptons and Aspen, I guess.

Did I say “heh?” Oh, right, I did.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A journalist writes that questions have been raised
about the accuracy of the quote; they’re trying to run them down.

February 23, 2005

DARFUR UPDATE: Nick Kristof presents photographic evidence.