June 5, 2005
IN RESPONSE TO LINDA FOLEY’S REFUSAL to either substantiate or retract her charges against U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, journalist Hiawatha Bray is running for the Newspaper Guild executive committee as a write-in candidate.
IN RESPONSE TO LINDA FOLEY’S REFUSAL to either substantiate or retract her charges against U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, journalist Hiawatha Bray is running for the Newspaper Guild executive committee as a write-in candidate.
DARFUR UPDATE: Nicholas Kristof writes:
All countries have rapes, of course. But here in the refugee shantytowns of Darfur, the horrific stories that young women whisper are not of random criminality but of a systematic campaign of rape to terrorize civilians and drive them from “Arab lands” – a policy of rape.
One measure of the international community’s hypocrisy is that the world is barely bothering to protest. More than two years after the genocide in Darfur began, the women of Kalma Camp – a teeming squatter’s camp of 110,000 people driven from their burned villages – still face the risk of gang rape every single day as they go out looking for firewood.
Nemat, a 21-year-old, told me that she left the camp with three friends to get firewood to cook with. In the early afternoon a group of men in uniforms caught and gang-raped her.
“They said, ‘You are black people. We want to wipe you out,’ ” Nemat recalled.
I think we need to be doing more. A lot more.
UPDATE: More commentary here:
After reading Nicholas Kristof’s piece on the Sudanese government’s “systematic campaign of rape” in Darfur, I have a question for Europe:
Where the hell are you?
Are you waiting for the U.S. to take action? We’re rather busy in Iraq and Afghanistan at present. So why don’t you do something? France, Germany, Belgium: For years you’ve claimed moral superiority to us. Prove it now.
France, at least, seems more interested in oil and arms sales.
JAY ROSEN: “As everyone knows, there is a priesthood in journalism. Whether it has authority is another matter.”
CATHY SEIPP writes on elitist parents and their sappy class delusions.
I’M WRITING MY TECHCENTRALSTATION COLUMN for this week on Neil Gershenfeld’s new book, Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop: From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication, which seems quite cool.
EUGENE VOLOKH: “Perhaps college students aren’t scared of the draft because they don’t really trust the people who are trying to scare them.”
BIDEN BLASTS DEAN on This Week: “He doesn’t speak for me with that kind of rhetoric and I don’t think he speaks for the majority of Democrats.”
Er, so what’s he doing as party Chair, then? (Via USS Neverdock).
UPDATE: John Edwards is singing from the same choirbook. Hmm. If I were Dean, I’d be worried.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Trey Jackson has the Biden video.
(Wrong link before — fixed now. Sorry!)
MORE: But Harry Reid doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: The fratricide spreads.
NEWS WITHOUT NEWSPAPERS: My WSJ piece from last week is now available for free over at OpinionJournal.com.
THIS WEEK’S BRITBLOG ROUNDUP is up!
UPDATE: James Oberg relays this report from an American in Baku:
US government reps in Baku support the democratic process and they aren’t backing any particular government or candidates. However, all agree that the opposition has no platform, has no agenda for reform or improvement for the country. In fact, maybe a year ago, when Ambassador Harnish was at a meeting with opposition figures, his parting words to them were something like, ‘Now I’ve heard all your complaints, I hope next time you will have ideas and plans for change’.
A year’s gone by. Have we heard anything like that from the opposition? Nope. It seems they just want their turn at the trough. It will be a bad day for Azerbaijan if the opposition does take over.
Not terribly encouraging.
LEBANESE ELECTIONS: Publius has a roundup. As expected, Hezbollah is doing very well in the south.
TONY BLAIR HAS GIVEN UP ON EUROPE:
Mr Blair, who will seek to shift the focus of his administration on to poverty in the Third World this week during talks with President Bush, has told his closest allies: “Africa is worth fighting for. Europe, in its present form, is not.”
I’m inclined to agree.
UPDATE: Plan B: The Telegraph offers an alternative — and a much shorter one — to the European Constitution.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Meanwhile, Jim Bennett sends this link and wonders if we should start taking bets as to the collapse of the Euro.
JOHN LEO NOTES SOME STORIES THAT AREN’T BEING COVERED, even though they’d seem to be pretty important.
ORIN KERR: “I can’t stress enough that I am not saying this story isn’t newsworthy. Every missing persons report is potentially newsworthy. Still, a person who followed the MSM uncritically might think that the only missing people in America are young attractive white women.”
GAY MARRIAGE — or something pretty close — in Switzerland?
A GIGANTIC MARCH AGAINST APPEASING TERRORISTS IN MADRID, according to Franco Aleman. Of course, it’s the ETA terrorists, not Al Qaeda, but still . . . . When they elected Zapatero, surely they didn’t expect anything else?
UPDATE: Photos here, courtesy of El Mundo.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Gateway Pundit has video.
THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS is running a series of Ward Churchill investigative stories. Here’s a roundup.
AUSTIN BAY UNCOVERS fifteen more cases of Koran desecration at Guantanamo. “Call Amnesty International. The investigation seems to be glaringly incomplete.”
[LATER: Don't miss Austin's "Update No. 4"].
ANOTHER UPDATE: Ed Morrissey comments: “I submit to you that this week represents the nadir of responsible thought about the war on terror.”
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: More on this and other topics in Dave Kopel’s latest media analysis column in the Rocky Mountain News.
IS ROBERT BYRD IN TROUBLE? I like the graphic.
June 4, 2005 — WASHINGTON — The lawyer for a U.N. staffer fired for wrongdoing in the oil-for-food scandal insisted yesterday that his client acted on orders of higher-ups and is being used as a “scapegoat” to take the heat off Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other bigwigs.
Coming out swinging two days after his client was canned, the lawyer for Cypriot mid-level bureaucrat Joseph Stephanides said he plans a major battle against U.N. leadership to get reinstated and refute charges he engaged in “serious misconduct” in the award of a lucrative inspection contract to a British firm.
(Via Newsbeat 1, which notes an odd blackout on this story in Canada.)
I SENT COMMENTS to the FEC today on their Internet regulation proceeding, but I have to say that mine weren’t a patch on the really excellent job done by Adam Bonin for Duncan Black, Kos, and Matt Stoller. You can read those here. RedState has an excellent highlights-collection of items filed so far, which you can see here. And hey, it’s not quite too late for you to weigh in.
DON’T MISS THE CARNIVAL OF CORDITE.
PERRY DE HAVILLAND: “Shine the spotlight, name the names.”
JEFF JARVIS: “Now you have to pay FedEx just to get the assurance they gave you that they’d done their job. FedEx is turning into the Post Office.”
THE BELMONT CLUB: “Any environment capable of producing terrorism on a scale which could destroy America would be sufficiently powerful to destroy Islam — and destroy it first many times over. Any weapon that AQ Khan can make can be bought by believers and infidels alike. The theorists of asymmetrical terrorist warfare forgot that its military effectiveness depends on the very restraints that it, itself, dissolves.”
LINDA FOLEY IS AT IT AGAIN: Are you sure she’s not a Karl Rove plant?
ADVICE TO COMMENCEMENT SPEAKERS: It’s not about you. It’s about the graduates. Keep it short, and don’t abuse the captive audience.
Of course, some people don’t do this:
Best-selling author Erica Jong was booed and told to “Shut up!” and “Go Home!” during her 40-minute speech yesterday at the College of Staten Island’s commencement exercises. . . .
Ms. Jong’s remarks were met with some vehement disapproval.
“She gave a political speech when she was supposed to be doing a pep talk,” said the father of a CSI graduate who declined to give his name. “Some graduates wanted to throw stuff at her. Whoever heard of a commencement speaker talking about body bags?”
Dorothy, a 48-year-old mother of a CSI graduate, categorized Ms. Jong’s speech as “all-around bashing.
“It was disgusting, despicable,” said the Fort Wadsworth woman, who would not give her surname. “She called politicians liars, called us all liars. She trashed America. Mostly, she just wanted to talk. It was personal spewing. There was nothing about graduation.”
Really, it’s not about you. Except when they boo. Then, well, it is.
IN THE FUTURE, everyone will be Hitler for fifteen minutes.
Brussels, Belgium, Jun. 2 (UPI) — Last year, U.S. author and social critic Jeremy Rifkin wrote a best-selling book called “The American Dream” in which he predicted that the EU’s vision of the future would quietly eclipse the United States’.
That EU dream now lies in tatters after the emphatic rejection of the bloc’s first constitution by voters in France and the Netherlands — a double whammy that could deal a fatal blow to the ambitious blueprint for an enlarged union.
You’ll seldom go wrong betting against Jeremy Rifkin.
GAY MARRIAGE AND THE ESTATE TAX: An amusing juxtaposition of principle.
IT’S THE SIXTEENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TIANANMEN SQUARE MASSACRE. Even Amnesty International is marking the date, with a press release.
The Chinese government, meanwhile, continues to cover up the actual events:
A JOURNALIST considered the doyen of China correspondents has been held in Beijing and could be charged with stealing state secrets after he tried to obtain a copy of interviews with Zhao Ziyang, the Communist leader who was purged after the Tiananmen Square crackdown.
Ching Cheong, a Hong Kong national who works for The Straits Times, a Singaporean newspaper, would be the first reporter for a foreign publication to face charges in China. . . .
Mr Ching, 55, was detained in the southern city of Guangzhou on April 22. He had been trying to obtain a copy of interviews with the late Zhao, who opposed the use of military force to suppress the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Untold hundreds died when troops moved in to break up the student-led demonstration. Zhao, who died in January, was deposed as general secretary and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
I hope they don’t send him to a gulag.
TOM MAGUIRE NOTES politically incorrect reportage at the New York Times.
THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE RECIPES IS UP: Bon Appetit!
EUROPE’S BAD PRESS: Thoughts over at GlennReynolds.com.
IT’S NOT TOO LATE to comment on the FEC’s proposal to regulate blogs.
Faisal Jawdat has posted a resource page with lots of helpful links.
IN THE MAIL: Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies — and What it Means to be Human, by Joel Garreau.
It looks quite interesting, and certainly timely. The cover art, however, seems a bit tendentious. I don’t know how much to make of the fact that it’s on this list of Luddite-approved books . . . .
MEGAN MCARDLE: “The appalling poverty of Sri Lanka or Mozambique is not some bizarre aberration that can be tracked to a cause we can cure. We are the aberration; Sri Lanka and Mozambique are the normal state of human history.” I, of course, would like to see this aberration spread until everyone is rich and healthy. But she’s right — poverty, etc., are the default condition.
UPDATE: Reader Steve Ford sends this quote:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded- here and there, now and then- are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as “bad luck.”
-Robert A. Heinlein
DARFUR UPDATE: The Washington Post editorializes:
On Wednesday President Bush called the Darfur killings “genocide,” a description that implies some moral obligation on the part of the United States to act to stop the killing. But his administration has yet to improve on the schizophrenic pressure-cum-cooperation approach of the past year, in part because it is hemmed in by the world’s indifference. China courts Sudan because of its oil. Russia seeks to sell arms to Sudan. Egypt and other Muslim states appear unmoved by the killing of Darfur’s Muslim people. The diplomatic challenge for the United States is to persuade these partners to see Sudan’s government for what it is: the problem, not the solution.
As I’ve suggested before, some Special Forces trainers and a whole lot of AK-47s (conveniently available in Saddam’s captured warehouses) might do some good, too.
Victor Navasky, former editor and now publisher of The Nation, has begun to play a “key role” at Columbia Journalism Review, according to E&P. Will the often-embarrassing media-crit magazine (and blog) now become an ideological clone of The Nation? That might require moving CJR slightly to the right. . . .
Zimbabwe is about ready to explode in a nightmare mass murder, or bloody revolution. It’s not genocide this time, but democide (government killing massive numbers of its own citizens.) The Zimbabwe government, in power since the country became independent in 1980, dealt with increasing unpopularity by terrorizing political opponents, rigging elections, and paying off supporters by driving its most productive citizens (the white farmers) out of the country and stealing their property. This move made it impossible for the country to feed itself. Relief agencies sent in tons of food, but this was distributed in a punitive fashion, with anti-government areas getting less food, or none at all. Last year, the government proclaimed the food emergency over, and said it needed no more charity from foreigners. That was a face saving lie. This year, the government admitted there was a food problem, and requested 1.2 million tons of food.
But it appears that the government will again use the food as a weapon. For the past month, police have been shutting down black markets in the cities, where the anti-government feeling is the strongest. Over 20,000 people have been arrested and several hundred squatters have been driven back into the countryside. The black markets have been a major source of food and other goods for the urban population. Without the black markets, the urban population will be totally dependent on the government for food.
Mugabe is the poor man’s Pol Pot. And like Pol Pot, he is getting help and support from people in the West who will later pretend not to know what was going on.
This passage points to a solution, though: “There hasn’t been any revolution so far because the potential rebels cannot get guns. No one is willing to arm the dissatisfied majority, and over two thirds of the population lives in poverty. . . . The government seems determined to starve its enemies to death, secure in the knowledge that the victims are unarmed, and the government forces have lots of guns.”
That’s a reason for an international right to arms, of course. But at a more immediate level, it suggests that — as with Darfur — the United States should be sending weapons to the rebels.
AFTER SIX DECADES, PROGRESS IN KASHMIR: I’m surprised that this hasn’t gotten more attention.
HEH: You can do worse than relying on InstaPundit. And some people have.
I HOPE THAT THIS STUFF is as good as they claim at reducing aging and disease, but I think I’ll wait for the studies.
UPDATE: A skeptical take, here.
ANOTHER UPDATE: On the other hand, here’s a different kind of life-extender:
Curvy women are more likely to live longer than their slimmer counterparts, researchers have found. Institute of Preventative Medicine in Copenhagen researchers found those with wider hips also appeared to be protected against heart conditions.
Will this be FDA approved, though?
SPELLING BEE UPDATE: “‘Appoggiatura’ was music to 13-year-old Anurag Kashyap’s ears. Correctly spelling the word that means melodic tone, he clinched the 2005 national spelling bee championship. . . . Tied for second place were 11-year-old Samir Patel, who is home-schooled in Colleyville, Texas, and Aliya Deri, 13, of Pleasanton, Calif.” Kind of reinforces this piece from last year.
UPDATE: Reader Joseph Sarles says that AP has it wrong: “An appoggiatura is not a melodic tone – it’s a dissonant embellishment that’s NOT part of the melody.”
TREY JACKSON has a Howard Dean video roundup.
MORE OF THOSE BIG-MEDIA EDITORS AND FACTCHECKERS at work: As reader James Thompson emails, “I’m pretty sure it doesn’t say John Hindrocket on his driver’s license.”
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL seems to have flushed its credibility with the comparison of Guantanamo Bay to a Gulag, which it continues to repeat. By doing so, of course, it only helps the Bush Administration.
Dr. Rusty Shackleford has a lengthy essay with photos, exploring the difference between Guantanamo and the Gulags.
Pamela Hess writes:
Roughly 18 million prisoners — “enemies of the people” or common criminals — were sentenced to forced labor in camps across the Soviet Union, beginning in 1919. The gulags — a Russian acronym for the government agency that oversaw the network of camps — went into full swing under Josef Stalin in 1934 and were not publicly acknowledged until after his death. They were all shut under Mikhail Gorbachev. Millions of people died from starvation, cold, exhaustion, disease and physical abuse, according to Anne Applebaum’s authoritative 2003 book, “Gulag: a History.”
There is no evidence the 600 or so U.S. prisoners at Guantanamo are being starved; nor are they being forced into slave labor. However questionable the evidence may be against some of the prisoners — more than 100 have been released free and clear after some months in the camp — they are being imprisoned not for their political beliefs but for their alleged involvement in terrorism and attacks on U.S. forces.
That so many have been released is itself rather non-Gulag-like, of course. John Podhoretz observes:
Financial purpose of Gulag: Providing totalitarian economy with millions of slave laborers.
Financial purpose of Gitmo: None.
Seizure of Gulag prisoners: From apartments, homes, street corners inside the Soviet Union.
Seizure of Gitmo prisoners: From battlefield sites in Afghanistan in the midst of war.
Even the most damaging charge Amnesty International levels against the United States and its conduct at Gitmo, that our government has been guilty of “entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law,” bears no relation to the way things worked when it came to the Gulag. Soviet prisoners were charged, tried and convicted in courts of law according to the Soviet legal code.
Christopher Orlet notes:
Gulag prisoners were systemically starved, beaten, and forced to labor in sub-zero weather. The lucky ones were shot immediately. In contrast, at Guantanamo Bay, 1,300 Korans in 13 different languages were handed out to prisoners. Prisoners are served “proper Muslim-approved food.” . . .
Nevertheless Amnesty International’s “gulag” reference came as a bit of a surprise. The left has been notoriously silent about the gulags. It is normally a chapter in the history of socialism they prefer to leave out. On the other hand, the fact that Amnesty International used the term shows how little respect the left has for the tens of millions that suffered the hell of the gulag. You would never hear Amnesty International call Guantanamo Bay the “Auschwitz of our Time.” Auschwitz is sacred to the memory of the Jews and Poles who died there. The gulag? That’s not sacred. Just a failed experiment. . . .
By making such asinine comparisons, Amnesty International risks losing whatever credibility it has left. This is unfortunate because the organization normally does important work. However, Amnesty is caught in a Catch-22 situation. It can risk losing its credibility by throwing a bone to its wealthy liberal donors, or risk losing its funding. Amnesty has obviously chosen to risk its credibility.
Like a lot of people, Amnesty has lost perspective here. Instead of making constructive criticisms that might address actual problem areas, it has chosen posturing and over-the-top hysteria that ensure that it can be written off as lacking perspective and credibility. As the editors of the Washington Post noted last week:
Turning a report on prisoner detention into another excuse for Bush-bashing or America-bashing undermines Amnesty’s legitimate criticisms of U.S. policies and weakens the force of its investigations of prison systems in closed societies. It also gives the administration another excuse to dismiss valid objections to its policies as “hysterical.”
Indeed. Amnesty once realized that balance, fairness and — most importantly — self-discipline were vital to its mission. It seems, however, to have joined the rather lengthy list of those suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome. Bush’s ability to induce that state in his critics, and thereby cause them to blow their own credibility, is astonishing, and surely one of his greatest strengths.
UPDATE: Ed Driscoll emails that Steven Den Beste spotted Amnesty International jumping the shark two years ago, and drew unfavorable comparisons with the ACLU. “I use the ACLU’s Skokie decision because Amnesty International now faces exactly the same decision. But Amnesty International is selling out. . . . Unlike the ACLU, AI is demonstrating that when the cards are down, its soul is for sale.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Julian Ku: “Amnesty is veering dangerously close to Noam Chomsky/Ramsey Clark-land here. They are not quite there yet, but give them another year, and the once-proud Amnesty International will be simply dismissed as another hotbed of fervent leftish-anti-Americanism which is no more credible on these matters than the U.S. government itself.”
Actually, I think “no more credible” is putting it rather kindly.
If the U.S. joins France, Brazil, Iran, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands in opposing something, it’s not clear to me whether the U.S. has really triggered “global animus” or just animus among international lawyers.
As Michael Reisman once said in my International Law class, it’s a serious mistake to think that the opinions of international lawyers represent anything much beyond the opinions of international lawyers.
CHIRAC VS. BUSH: An amusing graphic.
JOHN KERRY IS COMPLAINING. Jeff Jacoby is listening.
UPDATE: So is P.J. O’Rourke.
I confess that I haven’t been paying much attention to Kerry, lately, so I’m glad that someone is.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Tom Maguire has advice for Kerry.
MORE: Listening to John Kerry? Shockingly, some people are even listening to Steve Gilliard. Well, it takes all kinds, I guess.
TERRY TEACHOUT WRITES on culture in the age of blogging.
UZBEKISTAN UPDATE: The State Department is evacuating families of workers there.
Meanwhile, Christopher Hitchens writes on Karimov — and I agree with this observation:
It has always to be remembered that such regimes will not last forever, and that one day we will be asked, by their former subjects, what we were doing while they were unable to speak for themselves. Better to have the answer ready now and to consider American influence in a country as the occasion for leverage rather than as the occasion for awkward silence.
Indeed. Perhaps Karimov is afraid we’ll do just that.
UPDATE: A reader emails:
I work with the State Dept and I haven’t seen anything saying that families have been evacuated. I see a travel warning and nothing else.
Hmm. I don’t know any more on this. Does anyone?
ANOTHER UPDATE: It’s official, now:
The Department of State has authorized the departure of non-emergency personnel and all eligible family members of U. S. Embassy personnel and urges all U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Uzbekistan.
The blogosphere’s sources are just way ahead of the official version.
MORE ON EUROPE, over at GlennReynolds.com.
UPDATE: Charmaine Yoest connects these developments with Pepsico President Indra Nooyi’s finger analogy:
Nooyi told us that the index finger, the European Finger, points the way . . . . But a funny thing happened on the way to the (legal) forum — the subtext about yesterday’s vote: the European Finger seems to have a wrist below — the (pesky) people — turning the hand in another direction.
MICHAEL YON is photoblogging from northern Iraq.
BWAHAHAHA! The BBC says that bloggers were behind the “no” votes on the European Constitution. Well, sort of:
Despite overwhelming support for the constitution by the governments of both France and the Netherlands and a huge media campaign by political leaders in both countries, voters have rejected the constitution.
And just as the media and political establishment in the US found during last year’s presidential election, European elites have now felt the sting of these online upstarts, the bloggers. . . .
The “Yes” campaigners argued that the blogs were perpetuating myths and half-truths, French internet consultant Stanislas Magniant told the BBC.
But those opposed to the constitution found the internet in general and blogs in particular as one of the ways to get their message out, he said.
“Proponents of ‘No’ have said the mainstream media have been shamelessly in favour of the ‘Yes’. They said the internet was the main area where the democratic debate can take place,” he added.
Another Goliath, brought down by an army of Davids? Well, perhaps a bit. (Via USS Neverdock, which observes: “I’d like to see more UK bloggers take on the British media.”)
A BLAME-THE-EURO STRATEGY for Gerhard Schroeder’s government?
Megan McArdle isn’t impressed. Neither, I suspect, will German voters be.
IN THE MAIL: A copy of the new Civil War alt-history novel, Never Call Retreat, by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen. No word on whether it includes a plug for Hillary.
I actually thought that their widely panned WWII alt-history novel, 1945 was pretty good — though that was partly because much of the action (involving a raid by Otto Skorzeny on the Oak Ridge bomb facilities) took place within 20 miles of my house.
A WELL-DESERVED TRIUMPH for Claudia Rosett.
FREE SPEECH FOR BLOGGERS (and everyone else):
Here’s our advice to the Federal Election Commission regarding Internet regulations: Tread lightly. If the federal government must apply campaign-finance laws, specifically McCain-Feingold, to the Internet as a federal judge ruled last fall, it should do so with as light a touch as possible. Unfortunately, no matter what the FEC decides, there’s a chance that the days of unbridled political discourse on the Internet are nearing their end.
So much for all that “make no law” stuff, I guess. John McCain should be tarred and feathered, not spoken of as a presidential timber, for the travesty he produced. On the other hand, here’s some constructive advice:
In keeping with the judge’s order, however, the FEC has to do something. It has asked for public comment on the proposed rules and e-mails that can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org until the deadline tomorrow.
Barring a reversal of the judicial ruling, the only alternative would have to come from Congress, where there are currently bills in both chambers to exempt the Internet from FEC regulations. We encourage lawmakers to support the bills so that Internet free speech can advance unimpeded.
UPDATE: Ron Coleman points out that free speech isn’t just for the Internet. And several readers not that McCain isn’t solely at fault. That’s true. In my speech at the Politics Online conference, I noted that in my opinion President Bush violated his oath of office by signing McCain-Feingold.
More McCain bossiness from Baseball Musings.
UPDATE: Military reader John Kluge emails:
I can’t respond to John Keegan about his article you linked, but I can respond to you. Keegan is absolutely right about the Court-Martial process working better for the military than a system of civilian justice. Interestingly, from my experience of doing over 60 Court-Martials as a military lawyer, military juries are actually harder on solidiers committing misconduct on the battlefield and military related misconduct than civilian juries. A good friend of mine was the lead prosecutor in the Gernier case stemming from the Abu Garib abuses. The defense’s strategy was to pack the jury with as many combat veterens as possible on the theory that they would understand. What happened instead was, as in many trials, the unpleasant truth came out, which was that Gernier had a cush job at a prison in Baghdad, wasn’t exposed to danger every day the way many of us were and was basically a sadistic bastard. The military had no sympathy for him and gave him 10 years. No way does a civilian jury give that hard of a sentence. They would not have known any better and bought the poor stressed out soldier defense. The point is that military juries are more likely to punish war crimes than civilian juries where those war crimes are truly crimes.
BTW, I have always dreamed of Posner getting a Supreme Court gig, if for no other reason than how much better written his opinions would be over what we get now. Compare a good Posner opinion to the muddle put out by the likes of O’Conner. Its embarassing for O’Conner. The liberals would go bizerk over Posner for the same reason they went bizerk over Bork. He would write great, well reasoned, easily understood, broad opinions that would have lasting precidential effect. That is the liberal’s great nightmare. Better to have someone like O’Conner who muddles along and leaves behind a body of work that can be ignored or twisted to mean whatever you like. The social conservatives who would object to him, would do well to support him for that reason alone.
BOY, EVERYBODY’S MAD at the French.
E.U. UPDATE: A Fistful of Euros reports that Latvia has approved the E.U. Constitution — by parliamentary vote, not referendum — and observes:
Meanwhile French media are announcing that there is a plan B, it’s called Blair. Tony Blair, they are suggesting, will seize the opportunity presented by disarray in the federal Europe camp to push ahead with ’liberal’ economic reforms, leaving the institutional infrastructure to languish. Possibly the outcome the French fear most.
Heh. Meanwhile, Austin Bay’s latest column looks at the EU-vote aftermath, and what it means.
GATEWAY PUNDIT reports on the East St. Louis voter fraud trial, with video. I’m surprised this story isn’t getting more attention.
Bush has a key weapon with which to beat any reluctant groups into submission — the truth. “This is the greatest jurist of our time,” he can say. “How can you oppose him? Such opposition could only be based on crass politics.”
And he’ll be right.
The social-conservative folks probably won’t like it, but I think it’s a great idea. Almost as good as Justice Volokh — though I think that Eugene’s skill at consensus-building makes him a natural choice for Chief Justice, not Associate Justice.
UPDATE: Stephen Bainbridge is one of those social-conservative folks who don’t like the idea much. My response: Would you prefer another Souter? Because in the real world, that’s probably the choice.
ANOTHER UPDATE: On the pro-Posner side, Baseball Crank observes:
Certainly, Judge Posner is the most qualified man for the job on credentials and intellectual accomplishment alone, moreso even than, say, Ken Starr or Laurence Tribe or his Seventh Circuit colleague Frank Easterbrook. My sense is that this would make Posner an attractive candidate if Bush faced the need for a compromise a down the road. But I have no doubt that Posner would not be his first pick, particularly due to his age.
Dave Price opines:
Someone as devoted to rational thought as Posner would be good for America.
And there’s this angle:
This is a good choice.
I’d like to mention three others: Alex Kozinski of the 9th circuit; Miguel Estrada, whose nomination to the DC circuit was filibustered to death by Senate Democrats, apparently for being Hispanic and conservative; and Janice Rogers Brown of the DC circuit, also filibustered for years, again apparently for being a conservative and a minority, but recently confirmed.
I like Kozinski a lot. With Eugene Volokh, and Posner, that makes three.
MORE: Reader David Gulliver emails:
At my law school, the professors are nearly unanimous in their outright disdain for Posner. With this kind of “support,” how can I not love the guy? I am a social conservative and I would absolutely support the President if he nominated Posner for Chief Justice. I think many other social conservatives, given the opportunity to learn more about Posner from a well-informed source, would rally around him, too.
Hmm. Could be.
MARK GLASER REPORTS on underhanded search engine tricks.
YEAH, I READ THIS, and I thought about posting something to the effect that I couldn’t take seriously a newspaper published by guys named “Pinch” and “Punch.” But then I thought ah, what the hell.
I did have a very nice lunch with Victor Navasky some years ago, though. He was very pleasant and interesting, and it was made nicer still by the fact that he paid.
HOW TO BE HAPPY: In footnote 7, we learn that sex contributes much more to happiness than does commuting.
DAVID CARR posts an obituary for the E.U. Constitution. It’s perhaps premature.
JEFF JARVIS is standing up for nipples. Best line from the comments: “It’s sweeps week at buzzmachine, isn’t it?”
RON BROWNSTEIN TAKE NOTE: Journalist-blogger Michael Silence comments on conflicts of interest.
LIVEBLOGGING THE SPELLING BEE, over at Throwing Things.
DUTCH VOTERS HAVE “OVERWHELMINGLY REJECTED” THE E.U. CONSTITUTION:
An exit poll broadcast by state-financed NOS television said the constitution failed by a vote of 63 percent to 37 percent, an even worse defeat than the 55 percent “no” vote in France’s referendum Sunday.
Turnout was 62 percent, far exceeding even the most optimistic expectations and a reflection of the heated debate in recent days over an issue that has polarized Europeans. Dutch liberals worried a more united EU could weaken liberal social policies, while conservatives feared losing control of immigration.
Although the referendum was consultative, the high turnout and the decisive margin left no room for the Dutch parliament to turn its back on the people’s verdict. The parliament meets Thursday to discuss the results.
It’s a double-whammy this week. Dutch blog PeakTalk has much more.
UPDATE: Daniel Drezner has more on the Dutch decision, and how it differs from what happened in France.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Michael Totten writes on what’s really wrong with the E.U. Constitution. Meanwhile, Matt Welch worries that we’re heading toward a Lou Dobbs world. And here’s the Washington Post story:
Like the French, many Dutch voters said in interviews that they were concerned the 25-member European Union had grown too much, too fast in recent years and that they feared giving more power to European bureaucrats in Brussels to regulate everyday life across the continent. . . .
“Europe is big now and that’s a good thing,” said Peer van der Wonde, a 52-year-old artist and furniture designer, shortly after he voted “no” at city hall in The Hague.”But we have to be careful. In the last 10 years, the people in Brussels have tried to minimize the input of regular people in democratic decisions.”
That doesn’t sound too Lou-Dobbsish to me. Also, see Dutch blog Zacht Ei for more, including this observation:
EC President Barroso made his familiar point again, about how nine countries have ratified the constitution already.
André Rouvoet of the ChristenUnie just pointed out the fallacy in this argument: only three of those countries have put the constitution to a vote. And two of them rejected it.
Two countries that are, by the way, founding members of the EU.
MORE: Over at ChicagoBoyz, Lex writes: “I think I am going to go out and buy some Dutch beer this weekend.”
ANYBODY IN THE KNOXVILLE AREA INTERESTED IN ADOPTING A CAT? The Insta-Daughter and Insta-Wife have turned out to be allergic, explaining all sorts of medical problems, and although my Dad has Nicholas as an outdoor cat, we still need to find a home for Precious, shown below. She’s a quiet, mostly-indoor cat. We’re sad to lose them both, but the Insta-Daughter’s asthma seems to be triggered by cats, and we can’t have that. Please email me if you’re in the area, and interested in adopting.
ODDJACK is the latest Nick Denton blog, this time devoted to gambling. Strangely, John Bolton makes an appearance.
UPDATE: So does the National Spelling Bee. They’re nothing if not eclectic.
RUSSIAN TROOPS WILL PULL OUT OF GEORGIA by 2008.
THIS SOUNDS LIKE GOOD NEWS:
NASA’s new administrator and Texas Republican Rep. Tom DeLay said Tuesday the space agency will have the necessary funding to implement President Bush’s vision to send astronauts back to the moon and to Mars.
At least, I think it’s good news.
GREG SCOBLETE wonders if the current outbreak of Deep Throat nostalgia isn’t based on the media’s current troubles. “This is the perfect chance to relive – in Al Bundy-like fashion – the Big One.”
Of course, it’s not so clear that the story reflects as well on the press as some think.
UPDATE: InstaPunk has thoughts on Mark Felt.
And Austin Bay observes that “conspiracy theorists of another era would have a field day with a J. Edgar Hoover protege bringing down a president.”
Yep. I don’t mind Nixon going — I think he was a pretty lousy President for all sorts of reasons aside from Watergate — but it’s obvious that the simplistic Woodward & Bernstein hero-tale is a bit, um, incomplete.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Ben Stein offers a defense of Nixon, but I’m unpersuaded. And his historical claim that Felt, Woodward, Bernstein, et al., laid the foundation for the Cambodian genocide seems a bit hysterical. I think it’s also ahistorical, as I don’t see any reason to think that events in Cambodia would have gone differently had Nixon finished his term.
MORE: Stephen Bainbridge has more thoughts on Deep Throat and anonymous sourcing: “Might we not have evaluated Woodward and Bernstein’s work with a more informed eye if we knew they were being fed stories by somebody with a bureaucratic axe to grind?”
IN THE MAIL: Steven Stark’s Meet the Beatles: A Cultural History of the Band That Shook Youth, Gender, and the World.
My grandfather thought they were a flash in the pan. My mother knew better. But then, your mother should know.
THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF EDUCATION is up.
THE COTILLION collects a lot of female bloggers from the right half of the blogosphere.
Amnesty International is paying a hard price for its PR cheap shot, and it should. . . . Amnesty’s current leadership inhabits a self-referential echo chamber, and over the next few months will find that there is such a thing as bad publicity, particularly when an organization relies on “moral principles and human rights” An organization with genuine moral principles and genuine respect for human rights must be able to distinguish between scattered crime and focused genocide, between criminal actions at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo (on the one hand) and 9/11, the Taliban, Bali, Saddam, suicide bombers (etc) on the other. Koran flushing? Does anyone remember the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddas of Bubiyan? Does Amnesty? Amnesty has cheapened the language of suffering, and for an organization espousing Amnesty’s principles, this is a grievous error.
Yes, when you go over the top like that, people quit taking you seriously. Read the whole thing, which has a useful quote from just after 9/11.
UPDATE: Reader Wagner James Au emails:
Back when Amnesty International actually used to promote global human rights, they’d lead widescale letter-writing campaigns against rights abusers around the world, in the hopes that the public attention would shame the regimes into reform. By focusing so much ideologically-driven, disproportionate attention on alleged rights violations committed by the US, they are actually providing PR and moral cover to genuine gross violatars around the world. By the simple principle of opportunity cost, any excessive public pressure spent on US behavior is pressure *not* invested on, say, China, North Korea, Burma, Sudan, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, etc, etc.. Who really benefits most from describing Guantanamo as a “gulag”? People genuinely concerned with legitimate complaints against Gitmo– or regimes which run actual gulags right now, and are more than happy that their behavior doesn’t warrant anywhere near the same high moral dudgeon from the most recognized rights group in the world? (Who now have a perfect diversionary alibi, if Amnesty International ever condescends to devote as much attention to them. Tell them about their mass executions, or their forced labor camps, or their collective starvation campaigns, and they’ll retort, “At least we don’t have a Guantanamo.” Thanks, Amnesty!)
The cause of promoting human rights worldwide is being actively impeded by the leadership of the largest human rights group in the world. So how about a letter-writing campaign against Amnesty International itself, in the hopes that that the public attention will shame them into reforming?
UPDATE: An interesting Amnesty International experiment.
HUGH HEWITT is calling for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to expand his investigation of leaks that damage national security to include the New York Times’ CIA story from yesterday. I doubt that will happen.
UPDATE: Tom Maguire has more.
PETER BERKOWITZ WRITES on restoring free speech values to university campuses.
BILL HOBBS has some thoughts on what journalism schools should be teaching that they’re not. Actually, the UT journalism program is trying to address some of these issues — they’ve had me over several times to talk with students, and I’ve worked a bit with some colleagues there on a mass communications textbook.
People in journalism schools — and at TV stations — should also read this post by Terry Heaton on postmodern media.
CREDIT FOR NAKASONE.
SETTING A PRECEDENT: “Although, there have been successful political revolutions in former Soviet States in the last eighteen months, this is the first Russian Republic that has had a leader resign.”
I ONCE HAD A GIRLFRIEND whose joking motto was “Better living through self-deception.” I guess she was right.