March 20, 2005
THERE’S A NEW BELMONT CLUB URL: Be sure to note it, and to visit regularly.
THERE’S A NEW BELMONT CLUB URL: Be sure to note it, and to visit regularly.
MICKEY KAUS notes reports that Kerry is finally going to get around to signing his Form 180 and observes:
Kerry’s military records, when fully opened, better show something at least mildly embarrassing! If they’re completely innocuous, why couldn’t Kerry have signed Form 180 a year ago and cleared up many of the rumors that helped sink his candidacy (and his party)?
Kerry does seem to have maneuvered himself into a lose/lose situation.
THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY CARNIVAL OF THE CATS celebrates the joys of catblogging.
ARTHUR CHRENKOFF LOOKS AT WHAT YOU CAN DISCOVER by reading past the headline: “That is, more than half of the people killed in insurgent attacks were the insurgents themselves.”
Another casualty: The credibility of news organizations, who are, perhaps deliberately, missing the story again.
I’M NOT A REGULAR READER OF ANTIWAR.COM, but via Clark Stooksbury I see that they’re involved in a copyright dustup. I think that AntiWar.com has the better of the law here, but I think that web etiquette is being violated all around. I think it’s OK to link somebody’s image if you’re not causing them bandwidth problems, but I think that it’s churlish not to take the link down if they complain. On the other hand, it’s also churlish to complain too readily.
VARIOUS PEOPLE seem to think I should have an opinion of the Terry Schiavo case. I’ve tried, but I really just don’t. I think I’ll let Randall Terry and James Wolcott fight this one out without me. If you want more, Sissy Willis seems to be providing some pretty balanced coverage.
UPDATE: Reader Harvey Schneider emails: “You have no opinion on Terri Shiavo!!! Good, because neither do I. Other than it sounds complicated, tragic…and really none of my business.”
Yeah, that’s pretty much how I feel.
SYRIAN HACKERS are outsurfing the Mukhabarat.
IRAQ VS. JORDAN — Austin Bay comments:
Iraqis are sick and tired of Zarqawi’s and Al Qaeda’s murder and destruction and they want other Arab Muslim countries to take strong action. This hatred for Zarqawi isn’t a new phenomenon – I heard similar comments last summer in Baghdad. Now –after the Iraqi elections– the Iraqi people feel confident enough to demonstrate in the streets. That means they attract cameras– even Al Jazeerah’s.
The demonstrations are another huge political defeat for Al Qaeda. The demonstrations make the point that Al Qaeda kills Arabs, Al Qaeda kills Muslims. Washington fretted -and quite correctly– that the coalition was losing the “information war.” Since January 30th, the Iraqis have been winning that war.
SIEMENS HAS BOUGHT Knoxville imaging company CTI Molecular Imaging for $1 billion. One of my former students is CTI’s general counsel; I hope he made out well.
WHAT HATH MAUREEN DOWD WROUGHT? DAVE WINER is standing up for white male pride.
THE F.E.C. AND BLOGS: Here’s a transcript of my talk at the Politics Online conference last week.
TIM WORSTALL HAS POSTED his regular BritBlog roundup. Don’t miss it.
VERMONT’S BATTLE CRY: Heh.
UKRAINE UPDATE: It’s hard to deal with the previous administration’s misconduct, sometimes.
TWO YEARS LATER, WAS THE IRAQ WAR WORTH IT? Iraqi blogger Husayn Uthman writes:
So you ask me, Husayn, was it worth it. What have you gotten? What has Iraq acheived? These are questions I get a lot.
To may outsiders, like those who protested last year, who will protest today. This was a fools errand, it brought nothing but death and destruction. I am sheltered in Iraq, but I know how the world feels, how people have come to either love or hate Bush, as though heis the emobdiement of this war. As though this war is part of Bush, they forget the over twenty million Iraqis, they forget the Middle Easterners, they forget the average person on the street, the average man with the average dream.
Ask him if it was worth it. Ask him what is different. Ask him if he would go through it again, go ahead ask him, ask me, many of you have.
Now I answer you, I answer you on behalf of myself, and my countrymen. I dont care what your news tells you, what your television and newspapers say, this is how we feel. Despite all that has happened. Despite all the hurt, the pain, blood, sweat and tears. These two years have given us hope we never had.
Egyptian blogger Big Pharaoh comments: “I believe it should be published in newspapers worldwide. Reading about Husayn’s feeling is special because he lost his cousin in the Hilla terrorist bombing.”
MORE STUFF TO WORRY ABOUT:
The UN says Ethiopia has moved over 30,0000 troops up to the Eritrean border, most of them near the disputed town of Badme. This breaks down to approximately six new divisions. Ethiopian infantry divisions have roughly 5000 troops. Ethiopia now has 90,000 troops in the area. This UN report follows a series of reports from mid-December 2004 that Ethiopia was reinforcing units on its side of the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) created by UNMEE (United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea). Other sources indicate Ethiopia is also sending new military units the Somali-Ethiopian border. Ethiopia has indicated it will offer troops to any new Somalia peacekeeping effort , either under the auspices of the UN or the African Union. Many Somali clans, however, have long-standing disputes with Ethiopia and claim that Ethiopia has been meddling in Somali affairs. This could get interesting.
Eritrea is mobilizing, too.
I GUESS IT REALLY IS 1978 IN EUROPE, as the latest Consumer Reports shows further declines in relative car quality:
Our survey also shows that improvement in the reliability of U.S. vehicles was no fluke. American cars and trucks continue to edge closer to Japanese and Korean makes. European vehicles continue to be among the least reliable overall.
I don’t know whether automotive manufacturing quality is a marker for overall social/economic health — probably not, or the British would do better — but the parallel to the U.S. in the 1970s is interesting.
PUBLIUS HAS ANOTHER HUGE LEBANON ROUNDUP POSTED:
A lot has happened since the last update. Lahoud was already weak, but now he is even in the position of possible resignation. Karami is thinking of resigning again, and Hizb’allah’s hold is weaker as well. The most startling news over the past couple of days has been a car bomb, which is roundly being said to be a “goodbye present” from the Syrian services.
Loads of links and information, so don’t miss it.
UPDATE: GatewayPundit reports riots and wide-scale unrest in Kyrgyzstan.
GREG DJEREJIAN notes some positive developments in Iraq. And don’t miss the P.S.
EUGENE VOLOKH has changed his mind on the advisability of painful punishments — or at least on the ability of the legal system to mete them out fairly as opposed to their abstract fairness.
I think that’s right. I feel somewhat that way about capital punishment. I’m utterly unpersuaded by the argument that there is something uniquely immoral about state-sanctioned killing. (At its core, the nation-state is all about killing; everything else is window-dressing). But I’m quite persuaded, as I’ve written before, by what Charles Black called “the inevitability of caprice and mistake” in the application of the death penalty.
UPDATE: Some readers wonder what I meant about the nation-state being all about killing. That seemed pretty obvious to me: We have nation-states because they’re more effective at focusing violence against those who threaten their authority than other human organizations. That’s why nation-states have pretty much taken over the game of doing things via violence. They don’t have a monopoly, of course, but they owe their preeminence to their success in this regard, not to their other characteristics. As I say, this seems quite obvious to me.
I FINISHED CHARLES STROSS’S The Atrocity Archives last night, and also read the interesting essay in the afterword about the relationship between Lovecraftian horror and the Cold War spy thriller. (Stross, like me, is a Len Deighton fan.)
For those wondering why I haven’t reported on Accelerando yet, it’s because I got it in electronic form, and I just haven’t been comfortable reading it on the laptop. I guess I need to print it out.
THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE RECIPES is up! I should post some new ones, too. When I was in Washington last week, several people approached me to say they’d tried the “Insta-Chicken” recipe with good results. I hope I’ll be doing more interesting cooking when things settle down here, which I hope will be in the not-too-distant future.
BRAVO TO THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH for taking a sensible position in defense of bloggers:
Whether one has journalistic protections should depend less on job title and more on function. Anyone, like Mr. Ciarelli, who gathers news on a subject of public interest and disseminates it to a waiting audience is entitled to the protection of a journalist. ThinkSecret has 2.5 million to 5 million page views a month.
A few years ago, there was an absurd debate about whether online reporters should have the same status as print reporters. The argument about bloggers will seem as frivolous – and irrelevant – in a few years.
Already, bloggers have played a key role in a number of important news stories, including Sen. Trent Lott’s racist remarks at Sen. Strom Thurmond’s birthday, CBS’s flawed report on the president’s military record and Eason Jordan’s resignation as a CNN vice president for briefly suggesting U.S. soldiers might have targeted journalists.
The democratization of the news media through the blogosphere is the inevitable product of technological development. The principle of the public’s right to know doesn’t depend on who is gathering the news. The American people are entitled to read and hear all of the information that enterprising newshounds, including bloggers, legally can pry from the clutches of corporate and government officials.
Like I said, bravo!
I’M QUITE BUSY with family stuff this morning. But Tim Blair has a roundup of interesting items that should keep you from being bored in the meantime. Dennis Raimondo? It doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it?
NORM GERAS writes a poem inspired by Wilfred Owen, and Harold Pinter.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is facing a revolt by its employees over new, draconian conflict of interest rules. They ban all consulting (paid or unpaid) for biomedical companies, restrict teaching and service on company boards, place severe limits on the acceptance of prizes, and prohibit senior staff members (and their families) from owning stock in drug, medical device or biotech companies. These are the kinds of strictures that in the past have been applied only to employees of regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and Securities and Exchange Commission.
The new restrictions — an exaggerated, bureaucratic response to congressional displeasure over revelations that a few NIH employees (out of a workforce of 17,500) had committed minor technical violations — could ruin one of the world’s premier medical research institutions.
That would be bad. And too much attention to appearance issues is a common problem.
THUNDER DOWN UNDER, II: Tim Lambert responds to his critics. And Lambert also faces a dilemma: “It’s like one of those movies where there is a real person and a fake person and you have a gun and you hafta shoot the fake one. How can you tell which one is the real Tim Blair?”
The one with the drink in his hand, is the way to bet.
UPDATE: Andy Freeman emails: “What is Lambert doing defending himself with a gun?”
THAT LIBERAL MEDIA notes the constant repetition of the debunked Lancet study claiming 100,000 civilian casualties in Iraq. Now that they can’t say the war was a failure, they’ll try to claim it wasn’t worth it.
UPDATE: Reader Dave Ujeio emails that it’s Fred Kaplan’s debunking that’s wrong:
Let me firstoff start by saying I love your blog. Though I do not always agree with the ideas presented, they are always thought provoking, and I appreciate that as truly rare in this day and age.
On a side note, I wanted to help a bit with the fact checking – we studied that piece in one of my courses. Slate has the statistical analysis of the piece wrong – though the confidence interval is 8000-194000, the median/mean in this case is actually far more likely to be true than either of the tails. These studies are conducted under the premise that the data fits a standard normal curve (imagine a mountain with low hills leading to a peak, then descending back to low hills.) 8000 and 194000 are the very end of the tails, and are
thus FAR more unlikely to occur than the instances in the middle of the curve. What is most likely, and in this study statistically significant at the 95% level is that 101000 civilians have died as a result of violence attributable to the war.
Another interesting part of the study is that though Fallujah came up in the sample, the authors purposely excluded it because it might bias the data in an unrepresentative way.
If my account of the study sounds wrong, please check with a Statistics professor – I am admittedly a lowly grad student, and I only got an A- in that class. However my understanding is that 8000, and for that matter 194000 would be extremely rare events were the study to be repeated 100 or 1000 times. The most likely (and most likely to be true) count is approximately 100,000 at the time of the study, (remember, excluding Fallujah.)
I am not saying that the war isn’t worth it – I think the number of civilian casualties is lamentable, and that is something you and your readers can debate. I just wanted to let you know that the debunking piece is almost certainly wrong.
I certainly don’t know, though I’m deeply skeptical of this sort of thing because so many of them (e.g., Marc Herold) have been wrong in the past. Meanwhile, reader Hugh Thorner nets out the analysis and pronunces the war a life-saver!
There’s no need to debunk the 100,000 civilian casualty figure being cited so often by war opponents. In progressive circles it’s an article of faith that pre-war sanctions killed 5000 Iraqis per month. Cost of the war two years later? 20,000 Iraqi civilians saved! And counting…
So there you are. And you should probably net out the number that Saddam was killing, too.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Debunking the debunking of the debunking:
Sorry to burst that grad student’s bubble, but there are a few problems with his debunking of the debunking of the Lancet article.
1) the distribution of probable dead is not normal. It actually probably resembles a Poisson distribution.
2) the study distribution’s 95% confidence range covers so much of the possible range as to be a nearly flat distribution (at least relatively speaking).
3) even if the statistics were acceptable, there are serious questions about the sampling, as pointed out in the original debunking.
4) the author of the original study is known to have biases related to the research.
Aron S. Spencer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, School of Management
New Jersey Institute of Technology
See, this is why I hate “studies” of this sort. Meanwhile, reader John Mattaboni wants more people to look at the numbers:
This needs to be debunked. It is as absurd as it is false. And unfortunately, the media are up to their old tricks: It’s being reported as “fact” on newscasts across the country.
Are we honestly to believe that twice as many non-combatants have died as a result of the liberation of Iraq as were American combatants in 8 years of VietNam? In a war designed and fought to minimize civilian casualties with things like GPS guided bombs?
Please, you have the power to unleash the internet on this wholesale fabrication with a call to factual arms. This fraud cannot go unchallenged or in 30 days from now, it will simply be cited as irrefutable “fact” that “George Bush killed 100,000 Iraqis.”
Most people, of course, will either believe such statements because they want to, or assume that, like so many expert pronouncements from war opponents, this is just another lie.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Read “read more” for more.
PUBLIUS ON EGYPT: “It’s not often in the Middle East that you see consecutive protests every week against the government. Well… I would have said that a few years ago, anyway.”
WIRELESS LAPTOPS IN THE CLASSROOM: Ann Althouse reports on a discussion.
And, yes, the professor can tell when you’re surfing as opposed to taking notes.
A SWEETHEART DEAL for a U.C. Santa Cruz Chancellor? Just call it shrewd negotiation.
“DO TELL,” indeed.
ED RENDELL VS. LYNN SWANN?
JIM GERAGHTY is photo-blogging from Ankara.
EUGENE VOLOKH responds to his critics.
AUSTIN BAY IS LOOKING AT ASIA: “I think the emerging Asian triangle that bears watching is Australia-Singapore-India. Anglophiles may see a historical connection—once again former British colonies find common ground in economics and security.”
“NANOSTUFF” VS. NANOTECHNOLOGY: Howard Lovy has the scoop.
WAR CRITICS want to mark the anniversary of the war — there will be an “antiwar protest” at my local mall tomorrow and there are all sorts of events planned worldwide — but a proper way of marking the date would be with a mass apology to the Iraqi people, and to George W. Bush, for taking the wrong side at a crucial moment in history.
Sackcloth, ashes, and signs reading: WE WERE WRONG, SORRY WE TRIED TO BLOCK ARAB DEMOCRACY, and WRONG ABOUT AFGHANISTAN, WRONG ABOUT IRAQ — DON’T LISTEN TO US NEXT TIME would be appropriate.
I’m not expecting that. But at least some people are marking the occasion in suitable fashion. It may be premature to gloat, but it’s not premature to point out the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the “peace” movement, which has been apparent since the very beginning.
THE HARVARD FACULTY is beginning to realize that actions have consequences:
”I have been at two meetings so far today where all faculty are talking about is how it will be possible to get the business of the university done in this climate,” Mary Waters, who chairs the sociology department, wrote in an e-mail yesterday. ”We are all perceiving a slowdown in response time from the university, and we assume that this controversy is taking up a lot of energy that otherwise would go to moving forward things at the university.”
Harvard has done serious damage to its reputation — or, more accurately, a subset of the Harvard Arts & Sciences faculty has done serious damage to Harvard’s reputation. This was meant to be cost-free posturing, but it’s turned out to be a bit more than that — and if I were Larry Summers, I think I’d do my best to make sure that a lot of people felt the pain in as many ways as I could manage. It’s an educational experience that the Harvard faculty, apparently, needs.
A REPORT FROM BOLIVIA: Things sound rather bad.
WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH TEXAS? A ban on sexy cheerleaders? It’s unAmerican!
RUINING CASTRO’S STREET CRED:
Cuban President Fidel Castro has criticized Forbes magazine for the “infamy” of listing him among the world’s richest people, with a net worth of $550 million.
“Once again, they have committed the infamy of speaking about Castro’s fortune, placing me almost above the queen of England,” Castro said in a speech to top officials of Cuba’s ruling Communist Party, military and police.
We’re at war in Iraq, at war in Afghanistan, threatened by Al Qaeda, mired in budget deficits, faced with gargantuan liabilities in Social Security and Medicare, struggling to sustain the fighting capacity of our military forces–and what does this committee think warrants its urgent attention? Whether a handful of overpaid entertainers are taking forbidden pills to improve their performance.
The hearing rests on two well-worn premises that ought to offend the conservative sensibilities of Republicans, who control this committee and Congress. The first is that absolutely everything is a federal responsibility. The second is that the private sector needs incessant guidance from government.
DAVID ADESNIK remembers George Kennan. I’d characterize Kennan as the Wolfowitz of the Cold War, but with better press.
ROGER SIMON NOTES A SPREADING MASS HYSTERIA: Let’s hope that reason reasserts itself before it’s too late.
HERE’S VIDEO of Elizabeth Warren and Todd Zywicki debating the new bankruptcy bill.
BARBARA BOXER wants to change the Constitution to require a supermajority for judicial confirmation. At least, I think that’s what she means.
THUNDER down under.
CORI DAUBER EXPLAINS what to do when the polls don’t go your way: Interview people who’ll say what you want!
Now you can tell your pajama-bashing friends that the data from last week’s blog reader survey indicates that 70% of blog readers are influentials, those articulate, networked 10% of Americans who set the agenda for the other 90%. (RoperASW, the folks who wrote the book on Influentials, have more information on the definition on influentials here.)
I guess the CBS guy just forgot to mention that those pajamas are silk, not rayon.
I’m guessing these.
NIKON D70 UPDATE: As I mentioned a while back, sent the D70 back to Nikon for a minor but annoying problem. It came back yesterday, and now seems to be working fine, though the problem is intermittent enough that it’ll be a while before I’m completely sure. They were pretty quick, and the process was painless enough.
THE CAVALRY IS COMING. In Kyrgyzstan.
JAMES Q. WILSON IS DEFENDING LEON KASS, saying that the Bioethics Council is a model of procedural fairness: “I have served on several national commissions and chaired a couple of them, and so I bring some perspective to the matter. I have never encountered a more fair-minded chairman than Kass nor a Council composed of so many truly gifted (though philosophically divided) Council members.”
GREYHAWK writes on the role of email in damaging media credibility.
If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.
(Via this piece on “saving the marriage.”)
When debating the views and opinions of Leon Kass, chair of the President’s Council of Bioethics, it’s rather hard to get past the point at which he says he wants to use government power to ensure medical technology for healthy life extension is never developed or used.
Dubbing Kass’s approach “legislated murder” seems rather hyperbolic to me. On the other hand, it’s very difficult to call Kass’s approach “pro life” either.
IN AN INTERESTING CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION FEATURE, four scholars — including my Tennessee colleague Jeff Norrell — look at misunderstood concepts in their fields.
SOME TIME AGO, I had mentioned that science fiction writer Andre Norton (real name: Alice Mary Norton) was ill. Now comes word that she has died at 93. I was quite a fan of her books when I was a kid. She remained productive to the end, and has a new novel, Three Hands for Scorpio, about to come out.
IN THE MAIL: A copy of Jim Powell’s Wilson’s War: How Woodrow Wilson’s Great Blunder Led to Hitler, Lenin, Stalin & World War II. Upside: Amusing blurb by P.J. O’Rourke. Downside: Blurb by the rather dubious Thomas Woods. Not that there’s much that’s good about World War I, a disastrous episode from which Europe has never really recovered.
READER JEREMY CHRYSLER sends this link to a very cool panoramic photo of a Lebanese freedom protest.
MORE RED-LIGHT CAMERAS SHUT DOWN: Ed Cone notes what he calls a real “mess.”
I’VE GOTTEN A LOT OF EMAILS about a possible coup in Syria, but without much backup. Now Publius reports that it’s not true.
HENRY COPELAND talks about blogs, advertising, and more, in an interview by John Hawkins.
Iraqi popular opinion has turned against terrorism in a big way. Apparently the key event was the revelation that Osama bin Laden had appointed Abu Musab al Zarqawi as “Emir” (leader) of al Qaeda efforts in Iraq and commanded him to go forth and kill big-time. But as suicide bombing attacks increasingly failed to reach American targets, and killed Iraqis instead, it appeared that a Saudi (bin Laden) was telling a Jordanian (Zarqawi) to kill Iraqis. This attitude never made headlines, but it slowly spread among Sunni Arab Iraqis over the last year. . . .
A big story that the media missed was that American troops operating outside the fortified camps (like the Green Zone) were a lot closer to what was going on than your average reporter (who doesn’t get out much because of the danger). The combat troops, and many of the non-combat troops, deal with the danger, and Iraqis, on a daily basis. The troops saw the change in attitude among Iraqis. They also saw, in neighborhood after neighborhood, the sharp decline in attacks on coalition and Iraqi forces.
What’s more, the article notes, firsthand reports from the troops via email, etc., have undermined the press’s reputation, as the problems with its reporting have become apparent. Indeed.
UPDATE: This post almost immediately caused a reader to forward me a very interesting email. I don’t know the sender, but it’s certainly consistent with other things I’ve seen, and goes well beyond the general media coverage outside places like StrategyPage. Click “read more” to read it. [LATER: And to read an email from reader John Lucas about his son's experience returning to Baghdad.]
Iraqi popular opinion has turned against terrorism in a big way. Apparently the key e…’ »
MICKEY KAUS: “People I trust tell me NPR’s behavior in this matter is beginning to stink. Shouldn’t NPR President and CEO Kevin Klose (FY 2003 compensation: $377,999**) convene a staff meeting at which he brandishes a stuffed moose?”
EUGENE VOLOKH: “I am being perfectly serious, by the way. I like civilization, but some forms of savagery deserve to be met not just with cold, bloodless justice but with the deliberate infliction of pain, with cruel vengeance rather than with supposed humaneness or squeamishness. I think it slights the burning injustice of the murders, and the pain of the families, to react in any other way.”
The notion that civilization equals squeamishness is not supported by history.
UPDATE: According to Jon Henke, Volokh sounds downright Jeffersonian.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Notorious Gandhi-quoting liberal Clayton Cramer is disgusted by Volokh’s comments.
IT’S A NEW AND IMPROVED FRIENDS OF DEMOCRACY blog. Check it out.
TREY JACKSON is asking for video advice. I find MPEG files a bit large.
“ELISABETH” — White House mystery woman? Somebody tell Atrios! I’m sure he’ll be right on it.
UPDATE: A reader suggests that it may be Elizabeth Becker of The New York Times, who coauthored this story on Wolfowitz’s appointment, which has passages like this:
President Bush said today that he would nominate Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense and one of the chief architects of the invasion of Iraq two years ago, to become president of the World Bank.
The announcement, coming on the heels of the appointment of John R. Bolton as the new American ambassador to the United Nations, was greeted with quiet anguish in those foreign capitals where the Iraq conflict and its aftermath remain deeply unpopular, and where Mr. Wolfowitz’s drive to spread democracy around the world has been viewed with some suspicion. . . .
Despite the displeasure of some diplomats who had hoped that the administration would appoint a person without the almost radioactive reputation of a committed ideologue, they said that they expected Mr. Wolfowitz to receive the approval of the World Bank’s board of directors in time for Mr. Wolfensohn’s departure in May.
Indeed it does. And note that this article isn’t even captioned “News Analysis” — it’s supposed to be, you know, straight reporting.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Fred Kaplan writes that “Wolfowitz is not so bad a choice for World Bank boss.”
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Eric Pfeiffer says it was Elisabeth Bumiller, not Elizabeth Becker. I guess Becker’s just guilty of shoddy pseudo-journalism, not press-conference preening. Or maybe it’s her coauthor, David Sanger? Doesn’t sound like him, really, but who knows?
Stephen Hayes also credits (if that’s the word) the question to Bumiller, and has some observations on Wolfowitz’s surprisingly strong base of Democratic support:
Biden said he believes Wolfowitz will enjoy strong support in Europe. “I’ve had a lot of talks about Paul in European capitals. They know him as a serious intellectual and an engine of change.”
Although some Democrats have criticized the selection, notably House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, others have praised the pick. “I know him to be an extraordinarily intelligent, creative thinker who has the potential to do a good job at the World Bank,” said Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, regarded as one of the Senate’s most partisan members.
But, apparently, less partisan than the two Elis(z)abeths!
MORE: Reader P.S. Malloy observes: “Maybe they are two different people, but if so that just compounds the mystery. They both used the phrase ‘chief architect’ of the Iraq war. Is that a coincidence or is there some collusion among NYT writers as to how to characterize administration personnel? Does the Times pass around among its reporters suggested monikers for public figures it does not favor?” Probably came from a MoveOn email.
STILL MORE: Related comments here: “Where is Jeff Gannon when we need him?” It wasn’t just Bumiller engaging in gratuitous attacks disguised as questions. “If reporters are going to preface questions with a long, hostile preamble, is it too much to expect them to get their facts right?” Yes, it is.
MORE STILL: Showing his usual deft political judgment, John Kerry is opposing Wolfowitz, which gets this rather harsh reaction:
Senator Kerry’s diatribe boggles the mind. The nonsense about “Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz’s repeated and serious miscalculations about the costs and risks America would face in Iraq[,]” is ironic, to say the least, on two obvious levels.
First, Senator Kerry himself has made “repeated and serious miscalculations about” every important strategic issue in the last 30 years – wrong about the Vietcong, wrong about Latin America, wrong about the Soviet Union, wrong about defense spending, wrong about terrorism, etc. If he is bent on attacking someone, I’m not sure track record is the way for him in particular to go.
Second, one thing I left off the above list is Iraq – Sen. Kerry was spectacularly wrong about that, too. And Paul Wolfowitz was right. . . . But while Sen. Kerry spent months arguing with himself about Saddam Hussein, Dep. Sec’y Wolfowitz was busy winning the war and holding fast in the belief that Muslims living under tyrannical terrorist regimes yearned for freedom just like everyone else, and that helping them achieve it was the best guarantor of American national security. We are now watching that vision transform the Middle East.
STILL MORE: Several readers note that — although the Becker link above still works — the Times is now fronting its International page with this, more muted version of the story, which omits most of the cheap shots.
Is the NYT going to a blog-based model — publish, then edit?
WELL, WHY NOT: The Carnival of the Carnivals is up. If you want to diversify your blog reading-list, this should do the trick.
I’D RATHER HAVE THE BMW, I think. Even a Bangle-designed one.
SOMETHING IN THE WATER THE VODKA: But the guestbloggers over at Stephen Green’s place sure seem to be having a good time.
THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES is up.
IN THE MAIL: An interesting article by John McGinnis and Ilya Somin: Federalism vs. States’ Rights: A Defense of Judicial Review in a Federal System. I think they’re absolutely right in drawing a distinction between federalism and “states’ rights,” and in noting that many people seem to ignore that distinction.
INTERESTING POLL DATA FROM IRAQ:
More Iraqis believe their country is headed in the right direction and fewer think it’s going wrong than at any time since the U.S. invasion two years ago, according to a new poll.
Sounds good, the usual polling disclaimers aside. (Via GeoPolitical Review).
UPDATE: Okay, some people won’t think it’s good news.
OXY-CLEAN: FREE SPEECH PROBLEMS at Occidental College?
IN RESPONSE TO MY EARLIER POST with a quote from his book, Charles Stross emails:
Apropos the snippet of dialogue from THE ATROCITY ARCHIVES that you liked, it’s not so far from the truth!
Back in the mid 1980′s my brother in law was doing a PhD in philosophy of mathematics at Rochester, NY. He’s (a) British and (b) a bit naive outside of a seminar room. He was rather surprised to discover that three fifths of the professors in his department were funded by DARPA or some other Pentagon-related body, for research in his field: he was specializing in Bayes’ theorem and it seems the US military had a strong enough interest in Bayesian reasoning — with particular reference to reasoning under conditions of uncertainty, where there are no prior probabilities — to pay philosophy professors to study it. (Do I need to draw in the dotted line between a theory of uncertainty and the fog of war? :)
Nope. But where’s the Office of Strategic Folklore?
SPEAKING OF NOT BEING AFRAID OF CONTROVERSY, here’s a transcript of Scalia’s speech on constitutional interpretation.
NOT AFRAID OF CONTROVERSY, ARE THEY?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President George W. Bush has tapped Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, a lightning rod for controversy as one of the main advocates for the Iraq war, as his choice for World Bank president.
It’s almost as if they’re trying to smoke people out.
UPDATE: It’s working!
ANOTHER UPDATE: It’s probably worth reading this interview with Wolfowitz.
LOTS OF EDUCATION-BLOGGING: At the Carnival of Education.
MORE UN-REASSURING REASSURANCES on F.E.C. regulation of blogs.
IN THE MAIL: The American Revelation: Ten Ideals that Shaped Our Country from the Puritans to the Cold War. The typo on the Amazon site makes it look like a reggae-influenced history, but it’s not actually . . . .
FELONIOUS FUNK: My TechCentralStation Column is up.
JON HENKE IS CONFUSED by the Washington Post poll:
The public overwhelmingly disapproves of 1) the way Bush is handling Social Security (56% – 35%), and 2) “Bush’s proposals on Social Security” (55% – 37%).
But the public also overwhelmingly supports — by a margin of 56% – 41% — “a plan in which people who chose to could invest some of their Social Security contributions in the stock market”.
Which sounds shockingly like the Bush plan.
FREE HEALTH CARE IN CUBA: A touching photo essay. Well, I was touched.
MORE BLOGGING ABOUT problems with the Airbus.
THE PEOPLE’S DAILY SHAMELESSLY MISQUOTED Washington Post editor Phil Bennett, according to Hugh Hewitt.
Boy, if you can’t trust a state-run media outlet, who can you trust?
EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY, don’t it?
DAVID HOROWITZ RESPONDS to charges of urban mythology.
IN THE ONLINE JOURNALISM REVIEW, Mark Glaser has more on The Times of India’s assault on blogs — and the Indian blogosphere’s response:
“Maybe it’s premature, but if this goes where I think it’s going, it should go down in history as ‘The Great Indian Blog Mutiny,’” Gupta told me via e-mail. “The Times of India has simply shown how far they’ve come from being a respectable newspaper to being a common school bully. If bloggers can collaborate to provide humanitarian assistance for the greatest natural disaster the living world has seen, they can certainly tackle the Times of India, a man-made ethical disaster.” . . .
“In Pakistan, which is a dictatorship, you can’t criticize the government but you can criticize the media. In India, which is a flourishing democratic economy, you can criticise the government – but not the media. As a result of prosperity, the guardians of our freedom of expression have become cheap entertainment portals and spin doctors.” — Rohit Gupta, freelance writer and engineer in Mumbai.
I think that the Times of India has managed to blacken its own reputation with people worldwide.
UPDATE: Shanti Mangala is declaring war.