June 30, 2005
CHIPPING AWAY at the D.C. gun ban?
CHIPPING AWAY at the D.C. gun ban?
Our Cold War containment policy wasn’t easily arrived at, and went through several permutations – some good, some bad – through 40-plus years. We’re still in the early stages of this new war – and we’ll need time for a good policy to cohere. (NOTE: When I say “early stages,” I mean that this Terror War is likely to last as long, if not longer, than the Cold War. If the Cold War began in 1948 and the Terror War began in 2001, then today we’re only up to the equivalent of 1951. By that measure, we’re doing much better at this early stage than we were doing back then.)
Well, that’s encouraging.
MELANIE PHILLIPS WRITES on 9/11 and the Big Lie.
YOU CAN SEE VIDEO OF TalkLeft’s Jeralyn Merritt on MSNBC today, courtesy of Ian Schwartz.
HOW TO HELP THE TROOPS AND THEIR FAMILIES: the United Warrior Survivor Foundation is “”dedicated to the surviving spouses of Special Operations military personnel killed in the line of duty since 9/11. UWSF offers Survivor Transition Assistance to surviving spouses, along with educational counseling, financial guidance, investment planning, and other programs.”
GEORGE LAKOFF: Questioning the Democrats’ patriotism?
NORM GERAS LOOKS AT PRISON CONDITIONS IN ZIMBABWE: They sound quite bad.
THIS BUSH INTERVIEW from The Times is worth reading, but this part seems to have caught the eye of a lot of InstaPundit readers:
In person Mr Bush is so far removed from the caricature of the dim, war-mongering Texas cowboy of global popular repute that it shakes one’s faith in the reliability of the modern media.
You don’t say.
UPDATE: Some reflections on what this means, from The Daily Ablution.
DAVE KOPEL has more thoughts on the ongoing mass murder in Zimbabwe, something he’s been writing about presciently since 2001.
IN THE MAIL: Theodore Dalrymple’s Our Culture, What’s Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses.
THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES is up, with rich bloggy goodness from lots of bloggers you may not have read before.
Lawyers for Time Inc. are considering turning over documents that would reveal the identity of a correspondent’s anonymous source, according to the reporter and people with knowledge of the matter.
The correspondent, Matthew Cooper, faces a prison sentence of as much as 18 months for contempt of court if he refuses to reveal the source to a federal grand jury by next Wednesday; if that were to happen, lawyers for Time Inc., a unit of Time Warner Inc., believe the company could be exposed to legal liability or government sanctions. . . .
Time Warner depends on government approval for a number of matters. It is, for example, awaiting antitrust approval for its acquisition — with Comcast Corp. — of Adelphia Communications’ cable assets. It depends on the government’s largesse to issue securities. And though it is a cable operator and holds no broadcast licenses from the Federal Communications Commission, the company is vulnerable to FCC pressures on issues of media content.
One other potential issue is a deferred-prosecution agreement struck last year between the Justice Department and Time Warner relating to America Online. A deferred prosecution contemplates cooperating with the government in its ongoing investigation into specific wrongdoing, in this case alleged accounting fraud.
“Time Warner has got to be inclined to be as cooperative with the government as they can on all fronts,” says Washington attorney Hank Asbill, who is representing a former America Online executive charged with securities fraud.
Sounds like another argument against media consolidation. My USA Today piece on reporters’ privileges from yesterday is here.
RAND SIMBERG writes on space shuttle safety.
JOE KATZMAN calls the U.S. / India military pact seismic in its importance. “Note, too, that the Vietnamese are also making friendly overtures toward the USA these days.”
CNN IS MAKING VIDEO AVAILABLE, which is cool. But individual items don’t seem to be separately linkable, which is too bad. Why do so many sites use those java popup players for video?
UPDATE: Via email: “When one of the windows has loaded, simply right-click on the page and choose ‘Properties.’ The URL to the page will be in the ‘Address’ field. Just copy and paste.” That works.
ORIN KERR has thoughts on tone in the blogosphere.
THE KELO AFTERMATH: Virginia Postrel rounds up some responses and adds: “I’d suggest another front: shareholder and consumer activism to get businesses to pledge not to use eminent domain for their own private purposes.”
“Yes, I am coming for the Bush amnesty program.” That’s what one illegal immigrant reportedly told a U.S. border patrol questioner in a survey the Bush administration understandably failed to complete. About 45 percent of those questioned “said that ‘amnesty rumors’ influenced their decision to cross the border illegally,” according to WaPo’s report.
This won’t play well among the Republicans who are angry at Bush over immigration, and there are a lot of those. Kaus also draws a parallel between welfare reform and immigration reform that seems apt to me.
The border: barrier? Or a “place of coming together?”
GATEWAY PUNDIT is seeing a rising surge of patriotism.
JIM GERAGHTY: “It’s interesting that Democrats are willing to study King of the Hill as part of their process of rebuilding and figuring out how to rebuild a majority, but listening to Zell Miller is apparently beyond the pale.”
TOM MAGUIRE PUTS THE HURT on William Safire. Safire is, I think, guilty of tilting too much toward the home team.
WARD CHURCHILL ON FRAGGING FOR PEACE: Jeez.
GUILTY OF VOTE FRAUD IN EAST ST. LOUIS: Gateway Pundit has the story.
WHAT’S RIGHT, WHAT’S LEFT? Skippy the Bush Kangaroo is pondering the difference between the left and right blogospheres’ reactions to the Kelo decision.
ROGER SIMON foresees a Buchanan/Feingold ticket in ’08.
But perhaps more striking, considering the huge gap between the hopes stirred when American troops captured Baghdad in April 2003 and the grim realities now, were the number of Iraqis who expressed a more patient view. Among those people, the disappointments and privations have been offset by an appreciation of both the progress toward supplanting the dictatorship of Mr. Hussein with a nascent democratic system and the need for American troops to remain here in sufficient numbers to allow the system to mature.
If that’s so striking, asks Jarvis, “why wasn’t it the lead?” You may well ask.
[He is asking -- Ed. And well he may.]
AUSTIN BAY has new posts on his blog. And I’m expecting more video from him.
PEGGY NOONAN WONDERS why our politicians are so full of themselves. They obviously see themselves differently than most Americans see them.
HERE’S A COLUMN BY A FORMER NORTH VIETNAMESE P.O.W. correcting Dick Durbin’s remarks.
Durbin probably wishes he’d kept his mouth shut by now.
THIS WEEK’S TANGLED BANK science carnival is up.
IN THE MAIL: Tara Ross’s new book, Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College. It looks quite interesting.
NOBODY’S PERFECT: My TechCentralStation column, about the Planetary Society’s mission failure, is up.
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG has a piece on the White House’s Supreme Court nomination process. I think it’s doomed to failure, as the names “Volokh” and “Kozinski” are conspicuously absent from the short list.
I HAVEN’T DOWNLOADED IT YET, but the new version of iTunes appears to make podcasting much more user-friendly.
ED MORRISSEY finds editorial reaction to Bush’s speech predictable.
VIRGINIA POSTREL is feeling sorry for Steven Levy, who’s suffering at the hands of a clueless boss. She’s right that Levy’s Hackers is a great book, and she’s also right that it’s painfully obvious that Levy’s boss has no idea — even at the Amazon-blurb level — what it’s about.
UPDATE: In an update to Virginia’s post, Levy defends his boss. But that produced this email from reader Paul Snively:
I’m a former Apple employee and have made my living writing software or supporting other people who do (Macintosh Developer Technical Support at Apple) my entire career. I’ve met Steven Levy, although he wouldn’t remember it. . . .
From this we learn that Mr. Levy is just as clueless as his boss is, if not more so. The unwritten secret is that all of us who can write software and have had to learn the vagaries of the various operating systems and networks that we work on “CAN break into computers.” The various reasons that we don’t are the same as the various reasons other people don’t steal, assault people, rape, murder, etc. (It literally never occurs to us, it occurs to us but we believe it’s wrong, it might be tempting but we’re afraid of being caught, we wouldn’t mind getting caught but jail is a boring place, whatever).
We’re a lot like locksmiths. The reason you can feel reasonably physically secure behind locked doors is that locksmiths do a reasonable job of guarding the knowledge that would make it possible to subvert all but the highest-grade industrial locks. Magicians– escape artists–basically study the same materials that locksmiths do and then build a show around it (Erich Weiss, aka Harry Houdini, was a former locksmith’s apprentice).
None of this would be worth noting at all, except for one thing: it seems to me like yet another instance of a disturbing general trend to fail to distinguish among classes of people according to what they do, as opposed to what they can do. Levy’s comment means that it’s OK to call both MIT’s Tech Model Railroad Club of the mid 1950s and Kevin Mitnick “Hackers” because both “CAN break into computers.” That’s a ludicrous, and dangerous, conflation of definitions.
All definitions are permitted to the definer, if clear. But I can see why computer professionals would object to this choice.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Lowell McCormick emails:
Hi Glenn, I read the book “Hackers” back in 1987(?). It is very entertaining, informative and full of computer history. I loved it. I loaned it out back then and never got it back. I bought another copy in the last couple of years and read it again. It was just as good as the first time. I highly recommend it.
Yes, I’ve assigned it in my Internet Law class before. It’s excellent.
THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF EDUCATION is up.
I HAVE AN “OPPOSING VIEW” PIECE in Wednesday’s USA Today: “I think that reporters’ privileges are a dubious idea, but if we’re to have them, let’s have them for everyone who reports news, not just professional journalists.”
JEFF JARVIS: “Well, bravo, at long last, major media concedes that the agenda it has set in Iraq — of unrelenting doom — has another side. But they can’t leave it at that.” Indeed.
WELL, THAT HITLER THING was getting sooo passé: The first known comparison of Bush to the BTK Killer. Jeez, Rove’s stooges are everywhere.
UPDATE: More liveblogging here: Just scroll up.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Saw all but the first couple of minutes. A good job, I thought, though Bush’s delivery is never impressive. (And he had that “Jeezus I can’t believe I have to explain this stuff again! — don’t you guys read Den Beste?” expression from time to time. Okay, I was kidding about the Den Beste part. Kind of.) He made the key points, though, and — which is more important — I suspect that the Administration will keep making them in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Mickey Kaus has an observation on deadline-fever.
MORE: Ian Schwartz has the video of the President’s speech.
STILL MORE: Lorie Byrd: “I agree with Mort Kondracke that tonight’s was one of George Bush’s best speeches. (Transcript here.) It was clear and concise, and obviously heartfelt. The President made a strong, if familiar, case for the importance of the Iraq War to the general war on terror. He also made a good case for the contention that we are making progress and we will prevail.”
Donald Sensing: “Overall, I don’t rate this speech very high – no better than a ‘B’ and maybe B-minus. . . . The speech reads betters than it hears. I think that Bush’s delivery, never stellar, was below even his par tonight.”
John Hinderaker: “There was nothing in it that we and our readers didn’t already know, but the message is one that many rarely hear.”
Brendan Loy, on the other hand, was considerably less impressed.
That is the key point in the speech, the key point in the debate, and the president’s clarity in making it made it a very successful speech. Over and over again he and his Administration, his supporters and the military must make that point again and again: It is all one war.
Reportedly, David Gergen is offended at the mention of 9/11. Perhaps if Gergen’s media friends mentioned it more often, Bush could mention it less . . . .
Kaus, on the other hand, thinks that Bush’s speech was “too Presidential.”
FINALLY: Thoughts on Jefferson and Trotsky.
THIS WEEK’S GRAND ROUNDS IS UP, including Dr. Tony’s unusual encounter in the E.R.
Senators Laud Treatment of Detainees in Guantánamo
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Published: June 28, 2005
WASHINGTON, June 27 – Senators from both sides of the aisle competed on Monday to extol the humane treatment of detainees whom they said they saw on a weekend trip to the military detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. All said they opposed closing the center.
“I feel very good” about the detainees’ treatment, Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, said.
That feeling was also expressed by another Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska.
On Monday, Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, said he learned while visiting Guantánamo that some detainees “even have air-conditioning and semiprivate showers.”
Another Republican, Senator Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, said soldiers and sailors at the camp “get more abuse from the detainees than they give to the detainees.” . . .
One senator, Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, has come under criticism and apologized repeatedly for comparing reported abuses at the camps to treatment in Soviet gulags or Nazi concentration camps.
Buried, that is, on page A15. I wonder why? Maybe because good conditions at Guantanamo are old news?
A LAPHAMIZATION SIGHTING for the AP on Bush’s speech.
IT’S HARD TO KEEP good capitalists down: Kelo mugs and t-shirts.
IT SEEMS THAT PRESIDENT BUSH’S STRATEGY ON IRAQ IS MORE POPULAR than a lot of people seem to think:
As President Bush prepares to address the nation about Iraq tonight, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that most Americans do not believe the administration’s claims that impressive gains are being made against the insurgency, but a clear majority is willing to keep U.S. forces there for an extended time to stabilize the country.
The survey found that only one in eight Americans currently favors an immediate pullout of U.S. forces, while a solid majority continues to agree with Bush that the United States must remain in Iraq until civil order is restored — a goal that most of those surveyed acknowledge is, at best, several years away.
52% think our presence in Iraq is good for America. That’s up 5% since earlier this month. Interestingly, this coincides with a major outbreak of Vietnam nostalgia from the left. Or maybe it’s not a coincidence. Whenever the war opponents start talking, Bush seems to do better. Somewhere, Karl Rove is smiling.
JONAH GOLDBERG: “Thank goodness this country still produces heroes like me.”
Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter’s land.
Justice Souter’s vote in the “Kelo vs. City of New London” decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.
On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter’s home.
Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.
The proposed development, called “The Lost Liberty Hotel” will feature the “Just Desserts Café” and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon’s Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged.”
Did I say “heh?” I hope the project moves ahead.
JAMES LILEKS PAYS ATTENTION TO WOODY ALLEN, so that you don’t have to.
REDSTATE has coverage of the FEC hearings on blogs and internet political speech.
JUST HAVING IT ON IN THE BACKGROUND was almost a sort of Gitmo-level torture for me, but the Insta-Wife and Insta-Daughter — who came with me on this trip — watched this on pay-per-view in the hotel and liked it. More proof that you can love people whose taste differs from yours!
UPDATE: Lorie Byrd says I’m wrong. Maybe it’s a woman thing.
43 FAKED SOURCES BY ONE COLUMNIST at the Sacramento Bee?
A newspaper investigation of a former columnist for The Sacramento Bee could not verify 43 sources she used in a sampling of 12 years of her work.
Diana Griego Erwin resigned May 11 as she came under scrutiny about the existence of people she quoted. She has denied making up information, but Executive Editor Rick Rodriguez said the Bee should have been able to locate the people named in the stories.
As Neverdock observes:
Main stream media sneer at bloggers, claiming that we are unregulated, out of control and no one checks our work like their editors do theirs. Yet time and time again we find it is MSM who are faking it.
The whole high-horse act needs to be given a rest.
GREG DJEREJIAN: “There is an obsession with ‘deadlines,’ isn’t there, among the Democrat camp of late?”
He thinks that Kerry is giving bad advice to Bush. Kerry’s advice is unlikely to do any harm, but it does provide a useful diagnostic.
UPDATE: Arthur Chrenkoff: “Who said that politics is a cynical game?”
MICHAEL YON has more interesting war reporting posted. Don’t miss it.
UPDATE: Yon sends this email:
It’s apparent that the insurgents are getting better and better at what they do. It’s becoming a race between getting the ISF/government on its own steam faster than the insurgents are able to improve. It’s imperative to keep people at home from running out and leaving unfinished business. Otherwise, we will simply be teaching terrorists that terrorism pays.
I agree. I also think we need to be tightening the screws on Syria and Saudi Arabia. who are funding and supporting the insurgency.
NANOTECHNOLOGY, CHINA, AND UNOCAL: Some thoughts from Mike Treder.
GERHARD SCHROEDER was met by demonstrators protesting his anti-American rhetoric in Washington, D.C. yesterday.
MICKEY KAUS says a stiff judicial confirmation battle is just what Bush needs.
ROGER SIMON OFFERS PERSPECTIVE.
MIKE GODWIN has comments on the Grokster decision:
As a technical matter the content companies won MGM v. Grokster; the decision remands the case to a trial court for further factfinding as to whether defendants “induced” infringement. But it’s clear that they didn’t win anything like what they had been asking the Supremes for—a rule that would penalize any company that made money off a product widely used for infringement, regardless of what the company intended. And though the technical companies and consumer groups are troubled by the outcome in this case, there’s still much to encourage them.
Forget piracy. I think that Big Entertainment will try to use this to shut down anything that looks as if it might become an alternative distribution system. Meanwhile Chris Nolan observes: “If Hollywood’s lawsuits are persistent and ugly enough – if it keeps going after 20-year-olds – consumers could quickly and easily be brought to the tech community’s side. The iPod is a cherished device. So is TiVo. It’s not that hard to think of ways to use those innovations in smart consumer-oriented campaigns to change the law to protect inventors and innovators.”
Here’s the SlashDot discussion.
UPDATE: Ernest Miller has much more on Grokster.
THREATENING MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL to hurt George Soros? Doesn’t this seem a bit petty, even by Washington standards?
The cause to which every Christian is called to be committed–sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and their power to give new life to all who follow Him–is not something that we are to “farm out” to the government. Each follower of Christ is to embrace this as part of their personal mission.
For we Christians to insist that tax dollars be used in what often is an act of proselytization not only violates constitutional principles, but Biblical ones as well.
Read the whole thing.
ANDREW SULLIVAN SUPPORTS Karl Rove!
UPDATE: Richard Posner weighs in.
So does Michael Barone: “One reason that the Democrats are squawking so much about Rove’s attack on ‘liberals’ is that he has put the focus on a fundamental split in the Democratic Party — a split among its politicians and its voters.”
(Somewhat) related item here.
FINISHED THE LECTURE, had lunch with some colleagues, now I’m headed out of town to give another one tomorrow. I’ll try to hit the blog later this afternoon or evening. In the meantime, visit SCOTUSblog and Volokh for more on the Supreme Court’s decisions. And I got a phone call from Austin Bay, who’s back in the States after a 51-hour airborne marathon starting in Delhi. He’ll be updating his blog later, but since he said he only got 5 hours of sleep on that trip, he may nap for a bit first.
The final word on the Supreme Court, however, may be this one: “Court Allows 10 Commandments on Seized Land.” But of course!
IN THE MAIL: Truth: A Guide, by Simon Blackburn.
ARTHUR CHRENKOFF has his usual roundup of under-reported news from Iraq.
GREG DJEREJIAN DISCOVERS that even philosophers are not immune to lucre. Or to rationalization.
I’LL BE GIVING A LECTURE this morning but SCOTUSblog will be on top of Supreme Court events.
LEE HARRIS WONDERS if it’s possible to have too much respect for the law.
VIRGINIA POSTREL thinks that the Kelo decision is likely to lead to more grassroots activism, and offers some thoughts on how that might look.
UPDATE: Fritz Schranck has some thoughts, too: “Given the overwhelmingly negative reaction to New London’s example, it looks to me that the nation’s citizens should accept the Court’s invitation to deal with the issue with their state and local legislators.”
I AGREE WITH EUGENE VOLOKH’S CHARACTERIZATION of this story from Indiana University as “potentially troubling but hard to figure out without more information.”
LANCE MACMURRAY offers some reports from Iraq that haven’t gotten much attention.
UPDATE: CPT Niel Smith emails: “That statue is in the green zone near a traffic circle. That statue is to Iraqi soldiers killed in the Iran/Iraq war, not to US Soldiers. I know because I’ve been there. (15 months) Notice the AK-47′s and “Steel Pot” helmets on the picture, for starters. Sounds like another one of those feel good internet pictures.” Oh, well, at least this error was corrected within half an hour. Thanks to the speed of the blogosphere — and its readers!
WHO’S LOST FAITH IN PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS? Among others, professional journalists, apparently.
THOUGHTS ON POTTY-MOUTH POLITICS: There does seem to be a lot of that going around at the moment.
ROGER KIMBALL HAS MORE ON FLAG BURNING:
I dislike the spectacle of people burning the American flag as much as the next fascist, right-wing, pro-capitalist extremist (I summarize some of my recent fan mail). But Steyn is surely right that criminalizing the activity is cosmetic plaster, as ineffectual as it is incompatible with the principles of a free society. Are we so weak that such dissent is threatening as well as unattractive? If so, we are in worse shape than I had thought.
GATEWAY PUNDIT HAS A ROUNDUP AND VIDEO ON ZIMBABWE, where Robert Mugabe’s latest has left hundreds of thousands homeless.
CONTRARY TO BRIAN LEITER’S CLAIMS, I’m not behind this site. I’m not Juan Non-Volokh, either. I wonder, however, why Leiter is so obsessed with secret lives, and his false statements of fact, delivered with his habitual self-assurance, certainly don’t enhance his credibility on other subjects.
UPDATE: Leiter has apologized for his error, with his customary grace.
PHIL CARTER is going active duty. Send him your good wishes.
STEM CELL UPDATE: I should have mentioned this story the other day, but somehow forgot. Anyway, there looks to be more progress with adult stem cells, as opposed to the embryonic kind. Here’s a nice survey of the topic.
As I’ve noted before, this only eliminates one class of ethical objection to stem cell research, but it’s still important. It would certainly be good news for the Bush Administration, which is dreadfully out of step with public opinion on this topic. However, the article notes that adult stem cells can’t do everything, and I suspect that research with embryonic stem cells will be required in order to learn how to get more out of adult stem cells, though of course I could be wrong.
MARK STEYN WEIGHS IN against the flag-burning amendment. His reasons are worth reading.
SAVOR THE INDIAN BLOGOSPHERE: The latest Blog Mela is up!
IRS FILES COMPROMISED? TaxProf: “The potential security breach dwarfs those recently announced by ChoicePoint, Bank of America, Reed Elsevier, and others.”
HOW TO DEAL WITH MISTAKES: An excellent example from my local newspaper.
THOUGHTS ON THE POLITICAL LESSONS to be learned from Hank Hill.