Archive for July, 2005

July 31, 2005

SEVERAL PEOPLE think that this post, making fun of Sullivan for his “Bush suck up watch,” was badly done. On looking at it in the morning, I decided they were right, and have taken it down. Suffice it to say that I think a “suck up watch” ill befits someone who once praised Bush far more lavishly than the people currently being pointed to. I decided long ago not to try to analyze the reasons for Sullivan’s shift, and that was clearly the right approach, which I regret departing from.

July 31, 2005

A RINGING DEFENSE OF JIMMY CARTER:

As to whether or not Carter’s comments provide rhetorical cover for the terrorists—of course not! Carter is simply voicing his dissent, and if a former US president can’t openly criticize his government—publicly, overseas, during wartime, and on the basis of a narrative of events that an investigative panel has already concluded simply does not represent the facts on the ground—well, then the terrorists have already won.

I’m convinced.

July 31, 2005

HOWARD DEAN blames Bush’s right-wing Supreme Court for the Kelo decision. “A poster at Kos was stunned, saying: ‘There’s simply no way that Dean’s comments can be spun to make them even remotely defensible.’”

July 31, 2005

ANOTHER JOURNALIST UNHAPPY AT BEING QUOTED: This kind of turnabout will only get more common, of course.

UPDATE: Ed Driscoll:

Thomas’s meltdown–staggeringly ironic, as it comes from someone who spends her days praying for (and preying upon) similar gaffes from the president and his press secretary–is only the latest in a string of examples of reporters who specialize in playing “gotcha games” with their interviewees, and acting like hypocrites if the tables are ever turned.

Indeed.

July 31, 2005

AUSTIN BAY writes about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. My grandfather, who walked across Europe only to be shipped to the Pacific for the invasion of Japan, was deeply relieved by the atomic bombs.

UPDATE: Much, much more here.

July 31, 2005

INDCJOURNAL looks at infighting over stem cells in the GOP.

July 31, 2005

FUNERAL FLAG-BURNING UPDATE:

FAIRFIELD, Ohio — Two teenage boys were charged Thursday with burning 20 small American flags set up in honor of a soldier who died from injuries suffered in the Iraq war.

Police said the boys apparently did not know the significance of the flags they took from the yard and set afire under a car belonging to the soldier’s sister-in-law. The vehicle was destroyed.

So I guess they just thought they were burning flags, and a car, belonging to an ordinary patriotic American, rather than the family of a dead serviceman. I guess that’s somewhat less disgusting. It’s possible — though not clear — from the story that this was apolitical vandalism, though (contra Rehnquist in the flag-burning case) I think flag-burning, like cross-burning, is pretty much always meant to send a message.

UPDATE: On the other hand, here’s a characterization of the event as “a confluence of youth and stupidity.” I guess I shouldn’t underestimate the power of that combination. . . .

And this observation seems spot-on: “I can only guess that the parents are thinking about looking to move to another county right about now.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Bryan McBurney emails:

If these idiots had burned a cross or spray painted a swastika on a Jewish Community Center they would surely get some kind of politically correct re-education/sensitivity training. In fact, others at their school (assuming they attend school) who had nothing to do with it might get the same treatment. I am not generally in favor of that stuff but, if we must have it for racially/ethnically motivated stupidity, why not mandatory patriotism re-education for anti-American or anti-military stupidity? I am not entirely pleased with myself for coming up with this idea, but if we have one why not the other?

I’m against both, but the door has certainly been opened. And those who are creeped out more by one or the other might ask themselves why.

July 31, 2005

RENEE BLODGETT has a lot of roundups from the BlogHer conference. Just keep scrolling.

July 31, 2005

DAVID BROWN IS SOUNDING THE BIRD FLU ALARM in the Washington Post.

Public health officials preparing to battle what they view as an inevitable influenza pandemic say the world lacks the medical weapons to fight the disease effectively, and will not have them anytime soon.

Public health specialists and manufacturers are working frantically to develop vaccines, drugs, strategies for quarantining and treating the ill, and plans for international cooperation, but these efforts will take years. Meanwhile, the most dangerous strain of influenza to appear in decades — the H5N1 “bird flu” in Asia — is showing up in new populations of birds, and occasionally people, almost by the month, global health officials say.

If the virus were to start spreading in the next year, the world would have only a relative handful of doses of an experimental vaccine to defend against a disease that, history shows, could potentially kill millions.

Read the whole thing. And then worry a bit.

UPDATE: Reader Jim McMurry emails:

The worries about bird flu are past the realm of “could be a threat” and have entered the phase of the ticking time bomb and we cannot see the time marker, nor know when it will go off in the USA. I am betting on October 2006, but it could come sooner.

Well, we don’t know. A major flu pandemic is pretty much inevitable sooner or later. On the other hand, many of the casualties from the 1918 flu were people who were weakened by TB, meaning that perhaps lethality won’t be as bad this time. But I certainly think that we need to be working hard on antiviral drugs, and protocols for the rapid production of new vaccines, not only to be ready for bird flu but to be ready for all kinds of potential natural and unnatural outbreaks.

July 31, 2005

SHOULD WE ELECT SUPREME COURT JUSTICES? That’s the proposal floated by Richard Davis in his new book, Electing Justice: Fixing The Supreme Court Nomination Process.

As you can see from my just-published review of the Davis book, I’m somewhat skeptical.

July 31, 2005

ABA JOURNAL: MedMal Ruling Leaves Doctors Reeling:

As any constitutional law student knows, rational basis review is the lowest of the low.

But it was high enough for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to wipe out as an equal protection violation a cap on some medical malpractice damages. And it was enough to leave the state’s medical establishment reeling.

The court also cut off federal appeals by deciding the case solely under the Wisconsin Constitution, effectively painting physicians and their legislative allies into a corner as they pondered a fix.

I keep telling people about the growing importance of state constitutional law. Here’s more evidence.

July 31, 2005

I’VE BEEN QUITE CRITICAL OF SECURITY CAMERAS in the past. Now Heather MacDonald takes the opposing view.

July 31, 2005

SPACE LAW PROBE is a blog about space law that’s worth your time, if you’re interested in that topic. And you should be!

People have occasionally emailed to ask when Rob Merges and I plan to update our space law textbook, Outer Space: Problems of Law and Policy. He and I have talked about it, but it probably won’t be for a few more years. Things have changed, but not quite enough for a new edition.

July 31, 2005

FIGHTAGING: “The frustration of Jason Pontin, editor of the MIT Technology Review, over the inexplicable reluctance of A-list bioscientists to deliver a good scientific critique of Aubrey de Grey’s Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) has born fruit.”

UPDATE: Related post here.

July 31, 2005

ALPHECCA NOTES a victory for civil rights in the Senate. And Countertop Chronicles has more.

July 31, 2005

THE CARNIVAL OF NEW JERSEY BLOGGERS IS UP!

So is the Carnival of Cordite!

UPDATE: And don’t miss this week’s BritBlog Roundup!

July 31, 2005

MUGABE’S GENOCIDE: Gateway Pundit has a letter from Zimbabwe.

July 31, 2005

MICKEY KAUS: ” Everyone’s saying that welfare causes terrorism! Does polygamy cause terrorism too?”

July 31, 2005

BRUCE ROLSTON:

I’m concerned about the quality of history teaching at Stanford. David Kennedy’s piece likening the current American army to the Hessians is, simply, completely uninformed on the topic of Hessians.

Enlightenment follows. And there’s this: “PS: Kennedy’s description of the adventurism of Napoleon as an example of the threat posed by standing armies is historically illiterate, as well. . . . If anything, the Napoleonic period shows the dangers to the world of countries that mobilize their entire citizenry, which is what Kennedy appears to be arguing for.”

July 31, 2005

MICHAEL FUMENTO reports on press negativity about Iraq, and tells me something I didn’t know:

One of the reporters who was gnawing on Yost’s right leg and working her way up to the pelvis, Knight-Ridder Baghdad Bureau Chief Hannah Allam, challenged him to go to Baghdad, adding facetiously “it might be too far for Mr. Yost to travel (and I don’t blame him, given the treacherous airport road to reach our fortress-like hotel).”

So she’s admitting she stays in a heavily protected hotel, which means she’s also in the safety of the Green Zone. She doesn’t say that all civilians taking the airport road travel in a vehicle that’s so heavily armored it would take a nuclear improvised explosive to stop it.

As it happens, I did go to Iraq. I was embedded with the Marines at Camp Fallujah in hostile Anbar province, nearly lost my life, and returned with a colostomy bag as a souvenir. But before that I walked and drove through the streets of Fallujah, which for some odd reason fell off the media map right after the major blood-letting ended. I reported back on progress in reconstruction of buildings and providing electricity and water to parts of the area that NEVER had it. And I can’t begin to count the e-mails I got from soldiers and Marines thanking me for telling it like it is.

Yost was right; media coverage on the war is terribly slanted – such that it may threaten our ability to win. This was much more clearly shown in the reaction to his piece than in the column itself.

Read the whole thing. (Via Faces from the Front, who manages to get outside the Green Zone).

July 31, 2005

ANN ALTHOUSE isn’t happy with PJ Media — she likes Henry Copeland’s blogads better: “I don’t like pajamas anyway. I want to blog naked. With Henry.”

I’m pretty pleased with Pajamas myself, and have agreed — subject to clearing up a few fairly minor issues — to join them. I’ve already been giving them some informal advice on editorial issues and my big interest — lining up actual blog-reporters in remote places. But I think the blogosphere’s big enough for lots of different approaches. Even the naked ones. Now that’s a way to build traffic.

July 30, 2005

TURMOIL IN CARACAS: Miguel Octavio has the scoop.

July 30, 2005

SHAREHOLDERS ARE SQUEEZING CISCO over human rights in China.

July 30, 2005

MY EARLIER POST ON RAY KURZWEIL is engendering some skepticism from Tom Smith:

As a religious person, I believe some weird shit, but I just don’t believe that in 50 to 100 years, humans are going to fuse with machines and be a trillion times more intelligent. I. don’t. think. so. If that were in the cards, I think we would have already developed a cure for back pain, lo-cal ice cream that tastes good, an automatic way to both write and grade exams, a cure for baldness, and television worth watching. And yet, no, we have not.

I was reading one of these “the singularity is coming” guys the other day, and he said in the future, we will have wireless modems planted in our heads so we can be plugged into the internet at all times. . . . Do I really want the thought planted in my brain every five minutes that my penis needs to be bigger or I need to tell some Nigerian my bank account and social security number?

I think if we could ask the great coming post-human intelligence whether the singularity is coming, It would say, uh, no, I don’t think so. But do I have a low interest re-fi for you.

You’ll know the Singularity is here, Tom, when your penis really does start getting larger . . . .

July 30, 2005

MARTYRDOM AS ART, and plans for world conquest. Trey Jackson has video and a transcript of a speech by Iranian President-Elect Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad.

July 30, 2005

BILL QUICK HAS POSTED his weekend cooking thread. And here are some thoughts on cookies.

July 30, 2005

PRO-MUBARAK THUGS beat opposition protesters in Egypt. Gateway Pundit has a roundup, with pictures and video.

This might be a good time for Condi Rice to stress our support for democracy, again, and to denounce the violence.

July 30, 2005

THIS IS INTERESTING: “Chinese Christians outnumber members of the Communist Party.” (Via Chinese Adventure).

July 30, 2005

A MAJOR SUCCESS for Belmont University Prof. Jeff Cornwall, and for Bill Hobbs. Congratulations!

July 30, 2005

RICHARD POSNER has some thoughts on technology, markets, and the news media. This bit is likely to get the most attention around the blogosphere:

The latest, and perhaps gravest, challenge to the journalistic establishment is the blog. Journalists accuse bloggers of having lowered standards. But their real concern is less high-minded – it is the threat that bloggers, who are mostly amateurs, pose to professional journalists and their principal employers, the conventional news media. A serious newspaper, like The Times, is a large, hierarchical commercial enterprise that interposes layers of review, revision and correction between the reporter and the published report and that to finance its large staff depends on advertising revenues and hence on the good will of advertisers and (because advertising revenues depend to a great extent on circulation) readers. These dependences constrain a newspaper in a variety of ways. But in addition, with its reputation heavily invested in accuracy, so that every serious error is a potential scandal, a newspaper not only has to delay publication of many stories to permit adequate checking but also has to institute rules for avoiding error – like requiring more than a single source for a story or limiting its reporters’ reliance on anonymous sources – that cost it many scoops.

I think that Posner understates individual bloggers’ reputational concerns. However, he’s right about this part:

The charge by mainstream journalists that blogging lacks checks and balances is obtuse. The blogosphere has more checks and balances than the conventional media; only they are different. The model is Friedrich Hayek’s classic analysis of how the economic market pools enormous quantities of information efficiently despite its decentralized character, its lack of a master coordinator or regulator, and the very limited knowledge possessed by each of its participants.

In effect, the blogosphere is a collective enterprise – not 12 million separate enterprises, but one enterprise with 12 million reporters, feature writers and editorialists, yet with almost no costs. It’s as if The Associated Press or Reuters had millions of reporters, many of them experts, all working with no salary for free newspapers that carried no advertising.

Indeed.

UPDATE: A reader who — I’m guessing from his anonymous email and fire-spitting anger — is probably from a Big Media outfit points out that InstaPundit has ads. Yes, and I don’t see that as quite as important as Posner does. But InstaPundit didn’t have ads for most of its existence, and doesn’t need them to publish now. And plenty of blogs doing first-rate reporting of a sort that rivals any Big Media outfit — like Michael Yon’s or Faces From the Front, or India Uncut don’t. For now, at least, the ad-tail isn’t wagging the dog. This is different in the newspaper business — when did you last see a local paper do a big expose on car dealers or grocery stores?

July 30, 2005

READER JIM HERD notes this excellent review for the new Nikon D50. And the price is certainly right!

July 30, 2005

THERE WAS A LARGE PRO-DEMOCRACY PROTEST in Bahrain. Publius has more.

Meanwhile, Jim Dunnigan observes:

Moderate Moslem voices are now being heard, which is a major victory in the war on terror. Since the emergence of radical Islamic terrorism in the 1990s, one of the major failures of religious and political leadership in the world’s Moslem community has been their apparent unwillingness to openly criticize fellow Moslems. While this reticence is not unknown in the leadership of other religions plagued by radical extremists, given the strength and lethality of Moslem radicals, this failure to openly confront the extremists has led to considerable public outcry in the non-Moslem world. Of late, however, there are indications that Islamic religious leaders are becoming increasingly aware of how their failure to speak up has served only to encourage the radicals, while further discrediting Islam in the world at large. For some time now Afghan and Iraqi clerics been speaking up, often at considerable personal risk. By ones estimate some 200 Moslem clerics have been slain in the past year or so because they spoke out. And of late, other voices have been raised as well.

Read the whole thing. It’s a far cry from where we want to be, but it’s still substantial progress.

UPDATE: Max Boot notices more progress in international opinion:

The public opinion poll was conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, hardly a bastion of neocon zealotry. (It’s co-chaired by Madeleine Albright.) Over the last three years, Pew surveys have charted surging anti-Americanism in response to the invasion of Iraq and other actions of the Bush administration. But its most recent poll — conducted in May, with 17,000 respondents in 17 countries — also found evidence that widespread antipathy is abating.

The percentage of people holding a favorable impression of the United States increased in Indonesia (+23 points), Lebanon (+15), Pakistan (+2) and Jordan (+16). It also went up in such non-Muslim nations as France, Germany, Russia and India.

What accounts for this shift? The answer varies by country, but analysts point to waning public anger over the invasion of Iraq, gratitude for the massive U.S. tsunami relief effort and growing conviction that the U.S. is serious about promoting democracy.

There is also increasing aversion to America’s enemies, even in the Islamic world. The Pew poll found that “nearly three-quarters of Moroccans and roughly half of those in Pakistan, Turkey and Indonesia see Islamic extremism as a threat to their countries.” . . . Muslim opinion also challenges jihadist orthodoxy that proclaims that giving power to the people, rather than to mullahs, is “un-Islamic.” The latest Pew poll found “large and growing majorities in Morocco (83%), Lebanon (83%), Jordan (80%) and Indonesia (77%) — as well as pluralities in Turkey (48%) and Pakistan (43%) — [that] say democracy can work well and is not just for the West.”

That’s exactly what President Bush has been saying. Though his actions and rhetoric have been denounced as “unrealistic” and “extremist” by his American and European critics, it turns out that Muslims welcome it.

That’s good news. But it also means that the United States will have to keep walking the walk, as well as talking the talk, on democracy.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Chip Homme sends this link to a Morocco Times story on the subject:

Declining support for terror in a number of the Muslim countries surveyed tracks with previously reported dramatic increases in favorable views of the United States.

The US is viewed more favorably by people under age 35 than by older people in Morocco, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey. As America’s image has improved in Morocco over the past year, more young people are giving the US favorable marks (53%) than Moroccans ages 35 and older (45%).

A similar generational gap is seen in Lebanon, where the percentage rating the US favorably has increased from 27% to 42% since 2003. A sizable generational difference is also seen in both Pakistan and Turkey, where overall views of America remain predominantly negative, with younger people 10-to-12 points more likely to give a favorable rating than their seniors.

The polling also found that in most Muslim countries women were less likely to express an opinion of the US than were men, but when they did, they held a somewhat more positive view.

Read the whole thing. We shouldn’t make too much of this — opinion is fickle, after all — but it certainly seems like good news, and it’s a welcome antidote to the “we’re making everyone hate us” line of argument.

July 30, 2005

ARTHUR CHRENKOFF:

This is one to watch – there is a low level cold war developing between Central Europe’s largest democracy and Eastern Europe’s last remaining Soviet holdover quasi-dictatorship. . . .

Says Poland’s deputy Foreign Minister, Jan Truszczynski: “Belarus is one of the last bastions of authoritarianism in Europe. The European Union will have to deal with these crackdowns in a more effective way. There should be some form of sanctions imposed on the leadership, including a travel ban.”

Poland is not happy, not just because it doesn’t appreciate a crackdown on its minority in Belarus, but because it historically sees itself as the leader of the pro-democracy forces in the region. Poland has played an important international role in support of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution last year; the presence of a Soviet throwback on its eastern border offends Poland’s sense of historical progress.

Not much movement from the EU yet, but that could change.

July 29, 2005

TIM BLAIR PRESENTS Islam, with no excuses.

July 29, 2005

HUGH HEWITT: “How interesting to note that the Post is willing to use sources that insist on anonymity, but not sources that demand transparency.”

UPDATE: Related thoughts here.

July 29, 2005

TOUR THE INDIAN BLOGOSPHERE: This week’s Blog Mela is up! This one’s a bit more elaborately constructed than most.

July 29, 2005

MICHAEL YON reports from Iraq: ” I keep running across American troops who are not Americans. Many of these soldiers and Marines are working towards attaining U.S. citizenship while in uniform, under fire, in Iraq.”

July 29, 2005

BLOG BITES MAN: Here’s more on the shakeups at The Guardian that I mentioned below.

July 29, 2005

CLOUDBURST MUMBAI is a blog devoted to reporting and resources concerning the recent flooding in Mumbai.

July 29, 2005

THE COUNTERTERRORISM BLOG: “The American Islamic Leaders’ ‘Fatwa’ is Bogus.”

July 29, 2005

THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE RECIPES is up!

July 29, 2005

MICKEY KAUS is saying “I told you so,” as Steven Hatfill’s libel suit against the New York Times is reinstated.

July 29, 2005

BRANNON DENNING:

The question then becomes this: When is it appropriate for a minority of senators—perhaps as few as one—to prevent an up-or-down vote on the nominee by filibustering? The common response is that a filibuster would be proper if the nominee’s “views are out of the mainstream.” Again, that raises the question that I posed yesterday: Who and by what standard is the “mainstream” measured? I suppose that, as a practical matter, the 60th senator, whose vote is needed to end a filibuster under the Senate’s rules, gets to determine what is or is not mainstream. But if one senator thinks that the Constitution requires workers to own the means of production, and the nominee disagrees, is that senator’s decision to pronounce the nominee “out of the mainstream” and filibuster something that should be celebrated, instead of criticized? . . . I’m not so sure that the filibuster, particularly as it has been wielded in recent years by members of both parties, isn’t overdue for some rough treatment.

Read the whole thing. Jim Lindgren, meanwhile, looks at the less-elevated questions posed by the Roberts nomination:

Which of the two leading left-wing judicial appointment watchdog operations will gain credibility with the potential base opposing Bush’s judicial nominees: the Alliance for Justice or the People for the American Way? Or will a new player, MoveOn.org, steal their thunder by beating them to punch, as may already be happening? These organizations face credibility issues — not just with Senators, the press, and the informed public — but with more ideologically motivated donors and joiners as well.

Indeed.

July 29, 2005

EVE GARRARD: “The really interesting thing about the Alibhai-Brown piece lies elsewhere: in it, and in the dismissive response it provokes in some of us, we can see a deep clash, at some subterranean level, of great tectonic plates in our moral thinking.”

July 29, 2005

THIS IS COOL:

A giant patch of frozen water has been pictured nestled within an unnamed impact crater on Mars. The photographs were taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on board Mars Express, the European Space Agency probe which is exploring the planet.

Some thoughts on what this might mean, here and here.

July 29, 2005

MY EARLIER MENTION of Ray Kurzweil’s new book led people to ask for more. Well, I really want to save specifics for the review — but I’ll note that this book is far more densely documented and closely argued (which is not to say densely written — it’s quite readable) than, say, The Age of Spiritual Machines. In the earlier books, Kurzweil was writing mostly for his fellow geeks (like, er, me); here I think he’s more interested in persuading skeptics.

July 29, 2005

FROM PLAME TO BOLTON TO THE ECONOMY: Tom Maguire is on a roll.

July 29, 2005

UNSCAM UPDATE: Claudia Rosett has more on the ever-expanding oil-for-food scandals:

As investigations proliferate into the United Nations Oil-for-Food scandal, one of the more intriguing mysteries involves a former French diplomat with a direct link to the U.N.’s executive suite: Jean-Bernard Merimee. . . .

Nonetheless, the Merimee-Saddam connection could spell yet more trouble for Secretary-General Annan, who from 1997-2003 presided over the management of Oil-for-Food, and is already close to the scandal on several fronts. . . .

Until this week, Merimee figured on the U.N. Web site’s list of “Special and Personal Representatives and Envoys of the Secretary-General,” with the rank of Under Secretary-General. Following a query this past Tuesday into Merimee’s whereabouts, the United Nations quietly removed his name from the list.

Read the whole thing.

July 29, 2005

PERHAPS IF HOLLYWOOD HAD MORE PEOPLE who had been in the military, it would be able to make military stuff that doesn’t suck. But judging from various and sundry negative reviews for the new FX show Over There, they’re not pulling that off at the moment.

Maybe they should try just reading more blogs from Iraq. Might produce some better story ideas.

UPDATE: J.D. Johannes emails:

I haven’t seen an episode of ‘Over There’ yet.

From the trailers available on the website I can tell that the drama is well produced, brilliantly filmed and completely devoid of reality.

The dialog is wrong, the tactics are wrong, the composition of the unit is
wrong.

I’ll watch the encore on Saturday eve and then Fisk it.

Cool.

July 29, 2005

OWING AND FEELING NOTHING: Norm Geras looks at the fruit of multiculturalism in Britain.

July 29, 2005

SOME WILL BE MORE SHOCKED THAN OTHERS:

Kabuli, who blogs in English as Afghan Lord under a pseudonym in order to protect himself, has received numerous threats posted to his blog from the same IP address which belongs – shockingly – to the BBC. One of them, which Kabuli emailed to Global Voices, asks: “Do you think I do not know you?” Then it continues on to threaten: “There were a number of people like you, who did not remain alive. They were all buried in graves. You have to be taken off from this land so that better human beings could take your place. For, you are dirty.”

I’m not shocked at all.

UPDATE: The BBC’s response can be found here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: David Ferrer emails that we should give the BBC the benefit of the doubt here, as email, etc., is easy to fake. He should know, having been the victim of something similar himself.

July 29, 2005

IN THE MAIL: Joel Silbey’s Storm over Texas: The Annexation Controversy And The Road To Civil War. Looks pretty interesting.

July 29, 2005

FRIST BREAKS WITH BUSH over stem cells:

In a break with President Bush, the Senate Republican leader, Bill Frist, has decided to support a bill to expand federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, a move that could push it closer to passage and force a confrontation with the White House, which is threatening to veto the measure. . . .

“While human embryonic stem cell research is still at a very early stage, the limitations put in place in 2001 will, over time, slow our ability to bring potential new treatments for certain diseases,” Mr. Frist says, according to a text of the speech provided by his office Thursday evening. “Therefore, I believe the president’s policy should be modified.”

I’m with Frist.

July 29, 2005

SHAKEUPS AT THE GUARDIAN over the Aslam affair.

UPDATE: Melanie Phillips has further thoughts:

Whatever may or may not have been known about Aslam’s membership of HuT, it remains the case that someone subscribing to its wholly unacceptable platform could find a berth at the Guardian which was perfectly comfortable about publishing his views — because they fitted into its own general view of the world. The horror when it discovered that these views emanated from a HuT member was undoubtedly genuine, because they are genuinely horrified by HuT. And what that surely tells us is that the Guardian really doesn’t grasp that its view of the world is as extreme and unacceptable as it is.

Indeed.

July 29, 2005

BLACKFIVE and Greyhawk and LT Smash were all deeply unimpressed by Stanford Prof. David Kennedy’s likening of today’s military to “Hessians.”

It’s a double-bind for the military. When there’s a draft, it’s evil. When there’s not a draft, they’re mercenaries. It’s almost like the game is rigged so that the military is always wrong . . . .

Kennedy’s idea of mandatory national service seems pointless, even on his terms. It’s been done in Europe, and certainly hasn’t produced the results he seeks.

I do agree that the “distance” of the military from American society is really a distance from left-leaning American society. Perhaps we should bring back mandatory ROTC at universities. . . .

UPDATE: A Navy Chief analyzes the rhetoric of press discussion on military structure.

July 29, 2005

VIRGINIA POSTREL: “Just in case there are any students who still read books, the Apple Store wants them to know that paper technology is obsolete. After all, if it’s not online, it’s not important. Right?”

Er, no.

July 29, 2005

GLOBAL VOICES looks at anti-Korean sentiment and historical revisionism in the Japanese blogosphere.

July 29, 2005

WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY, and he is not us.

July 28, 2005

SO I’M READING AN ADVANCE COPY OF RAY KURZWEIL’S NEW BOOK, The Singularity Is Near : When Humans Transcend Biology. and when I turn on the TV it’s showing Will Smith’s butchery of I, Robot.

Kurzweil’s vision is more persuasive.

July 28, 2005

TOM MAGUIRE: “The NY Times finally discovers Walter Pincus of the WaPo, a mere three weeks after we were hollering about him. And eventually, the Times will discover Google, or Lexis-Nexis, which will introduce more certainty to their reporting.”

July 28, 2005

RADLEY BALKO HAS THOUGHTS ON JURY NULLIFICATION:

A common question I get from people disturbed by these kinds of cases is, “What can we do?” Well, here’s one thing the average citizen can do: Serve when you’re called to jury duty, and while there, refuse to enforce unjust laws. If a defendant is guilty of harming someone else, certainly, throw the book at him. But if he’s guilty of violating a bad law, or if you feel the law has been unjustly applied to him, by all means, come back with “not guilty,” no matter what the judge, the prosecutor, or the evidence says.

Not only is this your right as a juror, some would say it’s your obligation.

He references Clay Conrad’s book, Jury Nullification: The Evolution of a Doctrine — here’s my Review Essay based on Conrad’s book, from the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy.

July 28, 2005

SIGNS OF PROGRESS in the Muslim world, over at GlennReynolds.com.

July 28, 2005

COULD THE LONDON BOMBINGS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED?

It turns out that a month ago, the United States tried to apprehend Haroon Rashid Aswat, the terrorist suspected of involvement in the London bombings and just arrested in Zambia, only to have the British Government say no.

More here.

July 28, 2005

DESPITE (BECAUSE OF?) LINKING a bunch of other carnivals this week, I forgot to link the latest Carnival of the Vanities.

July 28, 2005

RON COLEMAN has thoughts on blogocracy.

July 28, 2005

JIM HOFT OF GATEWAY PUNDIT notes that it’s a big terrorist arrest day, with the arrest of an accomplice in Daniel Pearl’s murder, a foiled Moscow terror plot, and the arrest of more London bombers.

July 28, 2005

IT’S A FIFTH-ANNIVERSARY RETROSPECTIVE from Best of the Web. Congratulations!

July 28, 2005

JUDITH APTER KLINGHOFFER is guestblogging over at AndrewSullivan.com, and she’s listing quite a few signs of progress. Just follow the link and scroll up for more.

July 28, 2005

THERE WILL BE A CANDLELIGHT VIGIL IN CAIRO TOMORROW, sponsored by Egyptian bloggers in opposition to terrorism.

More information here and here. I’m sure the various Egyptian bloggers will post photos, but I hope that there will be more media coverage this time.

July 28, 2005

IN THE MAIL: Rabbi David Dalin’s revisionist account, The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis, Michael Novak calls it “stunning,” and it certainly goes against the grain of everything I’ve heard.

July 28, 2005

PREMATURE WITHDRAWAL? David Adesnik rains scorn on claims that the Bush Administration is planning a cut-and-run in Iraq. He’s right to do so, of course.

I suspect that there’s a rather complicated dance going on, with the U.S. reassuring various Iraqi factions that we’ll be there long enough, while also reassuring them that we won’t be there forever — and making clear to them that they shouldn’t plan on us being there forever.

One question is where U.S. troops will go from there: Syria? Iran? Saudi Arabia? Or elsewhere? I suspect we want to keep people guessing about that, too.

July 28, 2005

MORE LONDON BOMBING ARRESTS:

LONDON – Anti-terrorist officers arrested nine men in dawn raids Thursday in connection with the botched July 21 attacks on London’s transit system, bringing to 20 the number of people police have in custody, including one of the alleged bombers. . . .

Blair said the botched attacks, in which four bombs only partially detonated on three subway trains and a central London bus, was not a sign the terrorists had been weakened in any way.

“This is not the B team. These weren’t the amateurs. They made a mistake. They only made one mistake, and we’re very, very lucky,” he said.

Blair said he was confident that police would find the bombers — as well as whoever backed them.

“The carnage that would have occurred had those bombs gone off would have at least been equivalent of those on July 7, and therefore it is absolutely imperative that we find those responsible,” Blair said.

Residents in Tooting said police had arrested three Turkish men who worked at and lived above a fast food restaurant selling halal burgers — made with meat slaughtered according to Islamic dietary laws.

Stay tuned.

July 28, 2005

A BLOGGER is asking for help finding a missing girl.

July 28, 2005

INTERESTING NEWS FROM INDONESIA:

The government continues to investigate, arrest and prosecute Islamic terrorists. But religious conflicts continue as well. More moderate Moslem leaders, while helping the government by preaching against the Islamic radicals, also want government help to stem the growth of Christianity. Missionaries, both Indonesian and foreign, have been successful in converting an increasing number of Moslem Indonesians. The Islamic clergy want the government to intervene. By law, only five religions are allowed in Indonesia, and the government has a tradition of getting involved in religious affairs. While 85 percent of Indonesians are Moslem, most of the remainder are Christian. On some islands, the population is half, or more, Christian. On those islands, many Moslems see Christianity as a more “modern” religion. Christian clergy and missionaries are generally better educated than their Moslem counterparts, and the Christians tend to be more successful economically as well.

Plus there’s the lack of exhortations to suicide bombing, which many probably see as a plus. Those “more moderate” leaders might want to work with that.

July 28, 2005

MEDIENKRITIK REPORTS that Der Spiegel is being rather selective in what it translates into its English edition: “On the whole, SPIEGEL’s ‘English Site’ is noticeably less strident in terms of its anti-American, anti-British tone when compared to its German-language counterpart. Few of the magazine’s harshest articles, (the sort that we frequently post about here on Davids Medienkritik), ever make it onto the ‘English Site.’ Now why might that be? Is SPON afraid to tell English-language readers what it really thinks of them?”

UPDATE: Link was bad before. Fixed now. Sorry!

July 28, 2005

A PACK, NOT A HERD: Interesting roundup of efforts to organize ordinary citizens to watch for terrorist activity. Seems like a good idea to me.

July 28, 2005

WILL FRANKLIN LOOKS AT THE CAFTA VOTE by party, and notes that Democrats are abandoning free trade in greater numbers, while Republicans are embracing it in greater numbers.

July 28, 2005

SIGH. The shuttle fleet’s grounded again. California Yankee has a roundup, with photos. And here’s much more, including a reminder that the foam that’s causing the problems was reformulated for environmental reasons, which seems to have been a mistake. Meanwhile, the Russians are offering a $100 Million flight to the Moon, which has to be kind of embarrassing.

Meanwhile, Rand Simberg offers useful perspective. And on a more positive note, there’s this:

British entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, has teamed up with aerospace designer, Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites to form a new aerospace production company. The new firm will build a fleet of commercial suborbital spaceships and launch aircraft.

Called The Spaceship Company, the new entity will manufacture launch aircraft, various spacecraft and support equipment and market those products to spaceliner operators. Clients include launch customer, Virgin Galactic—formed by Branson to handle space tourist flights.

Cool.

July 27, 2005

ROGER SIMON: “It’s sign of our media times that the lofty Guardian has seen fit to attack the blog of a ‘mere’ Dartmouth undergraduate.”

July 27, 2005

HAROLD FORD, JR. hits a rough patch.

July 27, 2005

NEW 2008 ELECTION ISSUE SIGHTED: The “Robot Gap.” We’re falling behind!

July 27, 2005

HARRY STEIN WRITES ON the rise of right-wing cartoons. Chris Muir’s Day by Day gets a mention, among others.

July 27, 2005

AUSTIN BAY posts an email from an Iraqi friend on where Iraq is heading.

July 27, 2005

A NEGATIVE REVIEW for the Kinsley experiment at the Los Angeles Times. I think Jeff Jarvis would have been a better choice. Kinsley’s a very smart guy, but although he tried to embrace the Web, he didn’t understand it well enough to make things work. That’s funny, since he was a very successful editor at Slate, which is, of course, a web publication. But Slate was always modeled on The New Republic, really. It was never an effort to embrace the Web except in terms of distribution.

July 27, 2005

PLAME UPDATE: Tom Maguire looks at headscratchers, jaw-droppers, and buried bombshells in today’s reports.

July 27, 2005

CATALLARCHY OFFERS THOUGHTS on the upside to teenage sex. Interesting discussion in the comments.

My own thoughts on the subject can be found here.

UPDATE: Otherwise unrelated teen post here.

July 27, 2005

THE LATEST CARNIVAL OF EDUCATION is up!

July 27, 2005

RECESS-APPOINT ALLISON HAYWARD to the F.E.C.? Heh.

July 27, 2005

EUGENE VOLOKH: “Does Rhode Island State Judge Stephen Fortunato not know the Supreme Court’s Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, or does he just not care? Or does he just think that lower court judges should ignore Supreme Court precedents?”

July 27, 2005

ARE WE PLAYING CHICKEN WITH AVIAN FLU? Beats me, but I don’t think the world’s public health system is up to dealing with a pandemic.

July 27, 2005

AMIT VARMA REPORTS on flooding in India.

July 27, 2005

WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN BLOGGING ABOUT The FairTax Book by Neal Boortz and John Linder? Er, because I don’t have a copy. And taxblogging isn’t a big item of mine. Maybe TaxProf will post a review, when it comes out.

July 27, 2005

DEADLY RIOTS AND UNREST IN IRAN: Gateway Pundit has a roundup.

July 27, 2005

I’VE PUBLISHED ADVICE TO ASPIRING LAW PROFESSORS BEFORE, and with the deadline to get your AALS F.A.R. forms in almost here (if you don’t know what that means, go here first), a former student who’s now on the market recommended that I link to some of my earlier posts on how the process works. Okay. Here is a short summary of the process, and here is a very important thing to avoid when applying for law teaching jobs. And here is my reflection on how the hiring process is growing less elitist.

The biggest things that candidates usually don’t understand: (1) Most schools are hiring in a particular subject area, e.g., Torts or Property. That’s the first thing people screen resumes for, so it pays to list specific courses that will catch their eye. (E.g., “Torts” is better than “any first year course.”) (2) Your resume is one of many; make sure it’s easy for people to read, and easy for them to grasp the important bits like class rank, publications, and references. When people have to plow through hundreds of resumes in a short period, it’s easy for them to miss things if they’re not obvious. (3) People notice time gaps — if you took a year off to go backpacking in Namibia, indicate that somehow; (4) Publications are important, even if they’re not in elite law journals. If you wrote the Foreword to the Supreme Court issue of the Harvard Law Review, that’s certainly better than a short piece in The Business Lawyer — but everybody realizes that people who aren’t academics yet seldom publish in elite law journals, and evidence of writing anywhere is better than no evidence at all. A depressing proportion of new hires (even at elite law schools) never publish anything; having published before makes you a safer bet.

One other difference: I remember that when I was a candidate I felt searchingly examined. Now that I’m on the other end, I feel that we know shockingly little about the people we hire. The job is a big deal to you as a candidate, but since even large law schools hire relatively few people, and keep them for quite a while, the stakes are high for the schools, too. A bad hire can really make life miserable for a faculty, so if they want to know a lot about you, it’s not just because they’re running an inquisition.

Read this post from Orin Kerr, too. And it links to quite a few others.

July 27, 2005

SEVERAL YEARS AGO at the Yale Blog Conference, I remarked that video / computer games got way too little attention in relation to the importance they have in our culture and economy. That’s still true, and I should pay more attention to the subject, but that would require me playing lots of games — but while I have nothing against games, I spend much too much time in front of a glowing screen already.

But The Escapist magazine is covering the subject, so I don’t have to. Check ‘em out.

July 27, 2005

NANOTECH MOVES closer to a cure. Howard Lovy reports in Wired News, and has more background on his blog.

July 27, 2005

“EVERYTHING HERE IS FIRST-PERSON:” My TechCentralStation column this week is an interview with blog-journalist Michael Yon.

July 27, 2005

DARFUR UPDATE: Nicholas Kristof writes:

This is a column I don’t want to write – we in the media business have so many critics already that I hardly need to pipe in as well. But after more than a year of seething frustration, I feel I have to. . . .

I’m outraged that one of my Times colleagues, Judith Miller, is in jail for protecting her sources. But if we journalists are to demand a legal privilege to protect our sources, we need to show that we serve the public good – which means covering genocide as seriously as we cover, say, Tom Cruise. In some ways, we’ve gone downhill: the American news media aren’t even covering the Darfur genocide as well as we covered the Armenian genocide in 1915. . . . If only Michael Jackson’s trial had been held in Darfur.

Indeed. Covering this kind of thing seriously would make journalism seem, and be, more serious.

So would avoiding shoddy reporting and dishonest pseudo-corrections.

July 27, 2005

SO I PUT UP A POST on why I think an Iraqi civil war would be bad, but is unlikely, and Bradford Plumer at the Mother Jones blog accuses me of happily “daydreaming about a possible Sunni-Shiite civil war in Iraq.”

Well no, not like the MoJo folks daydream about worker control of the means of production. More like, you know, speculating on what could happen if things went wrong (hint: where I say that a civil war would be “very bad,” that’s because I think it would, you know, be very bad).

But, to be fair, the post does open: “Okay, this is going to get shrill.” We were warned!

UPDATE: Plumer has posted a very handsome apology. My point on the “brought it on themselves” quote (and the original point by Westhawk, whom I was quoting, I think) was that the Arab world would see the Sunnis as having brought things upon themselves, vitiating Al Qaeda efforts to start a larger conflagration. I thought that was clear, but just in case, well, now it is.

July 26, 2005

GROWING DISCONTENT IN CUBA: “Authorities have responded by mobilising rapid deployment brigades of militant supporters to disperse pockets of protest with batons.” This will continue until morale improves!

UPDATE: Related item here: “possibly the largest defection of Cubans in American history.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here are pictures of the rapid deployment brigades in action. It’s the sort of stirring defense of socialism that the Mother Jones folks daydream about!