November 6, 2005
STEPHEN SCHWARTZ: “The French and British have deliberately ignored many opportunities to rationally deal with the issues posed by Euro-Islam.”
STEPHEN SCHWARTZ: “The French and British have deliberately ignored many opportunities to rationally deal with the issues posed by Euro-Islam.”
IF YOU’RE A LAW PROFESSOR CANDIDATE who will be interviewing at the AALS “meat market” this week, be sure to read this advice, which is pretty good. Here’s one tip I think is worth stressing: “Despite the fact that this is a ruthlessly competitive environment, be courteous to absolutely everyone you meet. In the best of all worlds, you will get the law faculty appointment of your dreams, and you can put the meat market unpleasantness safely behind you. Still, your scholarly reputation across the profession will begin at the Marriott Wardman. You will encounter many of your interviewers and many of your fellow candidates in the future, as colleagues at other law schools. Give each of them every reason to respect you when they see you or hear about you again.”
You’ll meet a lot of people at the conference, and a surprising number will remember you years later. Be sure that’s a plus, regardless!
OVER AT SINCE SLICED BREAD, an ideablog where I’m guest-blogging periodically, I’ve got an idea for energy efficiency that’s, at least, better than the usual nostrum of tightening CAFE standards.
SOME GOOD NEWS for Daniel Drezner, and for the Fletcher School!
“CHIRAC VOWS ORDER AS FRENCH RIOTS SPREAD:” I was wondering if the blogosphere was making too much of this, but now I’m pretty sure the answer is no. Note the reference to other European nations being “unnerved.” (Maybe they should offer to send troops. It’s supposed to be the European Union, right?) Earlier roundup here, or just scroll down.
At the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Ron Harris asks: Why did the press swallow Massey’s stories? I think we know.
SHOOTING FISH IN A BARREL — with a machine gun.
MARK TAPSCOTT THINKS that Karl Rove’s usefulness has come to an end:
For the past two weeks, Congress has been roiled by a conservative revolt demanding that billions of dollars worth of pork barrel projects approved in the transportation appropriations bill earlier this year instead be used to pay for hurricane recovery on the Gulf coast.
Senate votes forced by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, and public attention generated by the Porkbusters campaign in the Blogosphere have exposed the hypocrisy of Congress and its putting Members’ selfish political interests ahead of the national and humanitarian interests.
That exposure creates a giant opportunity for the President to seize the political high ground and effectively challenge Congress to get back on track enacting needed reforms, starting with getting federal spending under control and making storm recovery a vivid national demonstration project of the power of individual choice.
But it’s an opportunity not taken. Instead, the White House goes on with mixed messages, a defensive crouch and hardly even a peep of protest when Senate Democrats manhandle the GOP “majority” into delaying Judge Alito’s Supreme Court confirming hearing to next year.
It seems clear now that Karl Rove is indeed preoccupied with defending himself in the Plamegate scandal and avoiding indictment by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. That means Rove can’t do what he has always done – keep Bush and the administration focused and moving forward on the basis of a coherent, aggressive political strategy.
I don’t know if he’s right, but I think that there are no essential people, only essential ideas. The Bush Administration seems short of the latter these days.
A WHILE BACK, I mentioned my law school classmate Gene Sperling’s new book, The Pro-Growth Progressive: An Economic Strategy for Shared Prosperity. (Perhaps more significantly than having been my law school classmate, he was also National Economic Advisor and head of the National Economic Council under President Clinton).
Sperling will be debating economic policy over at the TPMCafe book club starting tomorrow. It’s important to recognize this book, and debate, for what it is: An effort to recapture the debate over economic policy from the anti-growth types who dominate economic discussion on the left these days, something that has huge importance for the 2008 campaign. Although I don’t agree with all the specifics in Sperling’s book — about which I’ll be writing more later — he’s got the most important part right. Economic growth is good, and it’s actually especially beneficial for those at the bottom of the economic ladder.
HERE’S MORE on jailed Egyptian blogger Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman.
MICKEY KAUS: “It’s not that NBC’s ‘reporters’ aren’t telling the whole story. They aren’t even telling the minimal, basic gist of the story that others are telling. It’s getting cult-like and creepy!”
UPDATE: Reader Fletcher Hudson emails:
It’s not that Russert is telling a minimal story to the public, he negotiated a deal to tell only a minimal story to the FBI investigator who took his “statement”. This “statement” serves as the credited version of the false statement alleged in the indictment.
Had he been a mere blogger, not a journalist, he may have been required to give a complete account that may not have differed that much from Libby’s. On the day of the indictment , I heard Russert tell Brian Williams that the FBI interview lasted only 20 Minutes and that he only answered two questions. Without saying what those questions were, he said that he told the FBI that did not ask Libby if he knew “Plame”, Wilson’s wife, worked at the CIA. And that he did not receive a leak from Libby. As a former federal investigator ( after UT Law’ 63) , it’s hard to believe this part of the indictment can be based on so little.
It’s interesting that Fitzgerald was willing to accept such narrow limits.
CLIVE DAVIS has a review of David Kline and Dan Burstein’s new book, Blog!: How the World of Blogs And Bloggers Is Changing Our Culture. I haven’t read the book, but the review’s worth your time.
Best line quoted from the book: “Blogs are good for companies that are good, and bad for companies that are bad.”
VICTORIA TOENSING’S WSJ COLUMN on Wilson/Plame is now a free link at OpinionJournal.
MORE PORK-BARREL PUSHBACK:
You have to wonder about Republicans’ state of mind of late. Did they wake up one morning and confront an unfamiliar face in the mirror? Like some bad political Botox, gone is Ronald Reagan’s face; staring back in his place is Teddy “I will spend your money like a drunken sailor” Kennedy.
Republicans are knee-deep pork barrelers practicing the fine art of fiscal irresponsibility. Who passes the baton that began with Goldwater, took root with Reagan and gained power through the “Contract with America”?
Contrary to popular belief, the core of conservatism does not spring from “life” issues; those just suck up all of the air and make all of the noise. Conservatives are, first and foremost, proponents of limiting government’s power and strengthening national defense.
Meanwhile, pork makes the cover of Parade Magazine.
JEFF JARVIS NOTES more bad news for the newspaper industry.
RIOTS SPREAD FROM PARIS to other French cities:
Hundreds of young people, including teenagers as young as 13, have been detained in the past 24 hours. Although the police have been unable to stop the violence because of its apparent spontaneity and lack of clear leaders, officials say they have also begun to detect efforts to coordinate action and spread it nationally. In remarks on Europe 1 Radio, the prosecutor general in Paris, Yves Bot, said Web sites were urging youths in other cities to join the rioting. . . .
“The republican integration model, on which France has for decades based its self-perception, is in flames,” the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung declared. An editorial in Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung called the violence around Paris an “intifada at the city gates,” a reference to the anti-Israeli uprising by Palestinians.
I hope that I’m wrong, but I’m afraid that this will get worse before it gets better.
UPDATE: More evidence for the “getting worse” analysis, from ¡No Pasarán!
Michael Lotus, meanwhile, offers some big-picture analysis.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s a troubling report from The Telegraph:
Police last night found a petrol bomb factory in a southern suburb of Paris, on France’s tenth and worst consecutive night of violence.
Jean-Marie Huet, the Justice Ministry’s director of criminal affairs and pardons, said the Police found: “150 bottles prepared for use as Molotov cocktails, of which 50 were ready to be used,” and “tens of litres of gasoline and hoods”.
Saturday night’s rioting was the most destructive so far as 1,300 vehicles were set alight and 349 people arrested, despite an enhanced police presence. . . .
Cars were burned out in the historic centre of Paris for the first time on Saturday night. In the normally quiet Normandy town of Evreux, a shopping mall, 50 vehicles, a post office and two schools went up in flames.
An extra 2,300 police officers have been drafted in across the country but the unrest has shown no sign of abating. Authorities have struggled address a problem with complex social, economic and racial causes.
Austin Bay has more on this, including this observation:
Shops, gyms, nursery schools, and cars. That’s a broad target list. In Torcy a police station and a youth center suffered attacks. Attacks have also been reported in Cannes and Nice– so tourists, beware.
Poverty exacerbates all problems, but poverty in and of itself does not produce violence. Migrants from France’s former Muslim colonies initially came for jobs, not to assimilate or “become French.” But the migrants stayed. Now France’s “Muslim neighborhoods” are permanent “cultural islands.” The French government’s own duplicitous policy towards Salafist/Islamist terror has backfired.
Read the whole thing. I think this is also support for Mickey Kaus’s welfare-causes-terrorism theory.
MORE: Roger Simon has another sad email from Paris:
I am absolutely astounded at the failure of this government to attack the problem of the riots. I don’t see it as being primarily an issue of religion, but a turf war by drug criminals, who happen to be of muslim extraction. But the failure of the government to nip this in the bud has now opened the door for players who do have a religious agenda. Mid-week I was cautiously optimistic about the situation. Now I’m very pessimistic.
Ugh. If you missed it before, be sure to read this report from Joel Shepherd in Paris.
MORE: Further thoughts from Clive Davis, who warns against making too much of these riots, and from Brussels Journal, who thinks the riots stem not from anger, but contempt: “It is not anger that is driving the insurgents to take it out on the secularised welfare states of Old Europe. It is hatred. Hatred caused not by injustice suffered, but stemming from a sense of superiority. The ‘youths’ do not blame the French, they despise them.”
ShrinkWrapped says that commentators misunderstand the rioters’ grievances: “Finally, even if quiet can be restored to the ghettos, it will be a mere interregnum; nothing will have been settled and the unsustainable quasi-stability will be, necessarily, short-lived.” Well, that’s cheerful.
For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America’s Europhiles, France’s Arab street correctly identified Chirac’s opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.
Read the whole, rather pessimistic, thing.
Pieter Dorsmann: “The bitter irony is that rather than having his troops deployed in the Middle East, the French president may now need them at home.”
The E.U. Referendum blog, meanwhile, reports that “things are stirring across the Continent.”
FAMILY OF DEAD MARINE upset with New York Times. But only for hijacking his death in service of crass political ends.
UPDATE: Tim Blair: “Perhaps Starr’s family should camp outside of the NYT’s building until the editor agrees to meet them. How long might he hold out against the family’s moral authority?”
HERE’S A PETITION FROM THE COMMITTEE TO PROTECT BLOGGERS, “asking the Egyptian Interior ministry to free Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman, currently in an Egyptian jail for his critical blogging.” There are several others that are worth your attention, too.
STRATEGYPAGE has more on the Muslim riots in France, Denmark, and elsewhere:
Many of the Moslem migrants, who began to appear in large numbers four decades ago, have not assimilated. Europe has long tolerated this, partly because of a belief in “Multiculturalism” and partly because Europe does not have a tradition of assimilation. This is in stark contrast to the United States, where the “melting pot,” while often operating more like a salad bowl, still results in far less ghettoization than is found in Europe. Another advantage America has is that, in many parts of the country, there are so many migrants that “everyone is a minority.” In Europe, homogeneity is preferred, and those who do not conform, are simply tolerated (and sometimes not) as “outsiders in residence.” That’s where the concept of “ghetto” came from in the first place. The ghetto is quite common the world over, but much less so in America. . . .
After September 11, 2001, when European intelligence agencies took a real close look at their Moslem populations, they were shocked at the percentage that approved of, or supported, Islamic terrorism. It was as high as ten percent in some countries. It was higher among the young, and often unemployed, Moslem males. The riots currently underway in France, Denmark and Britain are all an extension of that. No one has a solution to the problem, except to arrest the hard cases and try to make nice to everyone else. If that doesn’t work, the fires will spread.
UPDATE: Related thoughts from Victor Davis Hanson.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More here.
PETER INGEMI is claiming prescience for some comments about France and Islamists from 2002.
AN EMAIL FROM DENMARK, via Judith Klinghoffer.
MISREPRESENTATION FROM THE BRADY CAMPAIGN: Pretty much a dog-bites-man story, but still worth noting.
TODAY WAS HELEN’S Heartwalk, so we got up and moving earlier than usual for a Saturday and headed down to the World’s Fair site, where there were several thousand other heart patients and their families. The weather wasn’t great, but it was good enough.
The T-shirt Helen is wearing here is for people who have implantable defibrillators — they’ve all had their heart stopped (at least) as part of the testing process when those are installed.
I may post some more photos later. We’re at my mother’s house now, watching my grandmother so that my mom can go up to my brother’s for my nephew’s first birthday party. Unlike Megan McArdle, I do have Internet access, but I don’t have a cookie recipe to share.
UPDATE: She’s posted more pictures on her blog.
THE U.N. AND THE INTERNET: Kofi Annan is trying to reassure us, but I remain uncomforted.
A REVIEW of right-wing blogs, from Jon Henke.
PHOTOBLOGGING A GLUT OF UNSOLD HUMMERS: Pretty interesting reporting, though I don’t see why it’s Alan Greenspan’s fault. For that matter, I’d say that their rapid loss of marketability isn’t a sign that America is bloated and inefficient, as suggested, but rather that market economies respond quite rapidly to changing circumstances. Hybrid SUVs, after all, are flying off the lots.
It’s also the kind of reporting you’re more likely to see on a blog than in your local newspaper, since blogs don’t have to worry about offending all those ad-buying car dealers.
UPDATE: Linda Seebach emails that I’m unfairly generalizing about newspapers and car dealers, and notes that the Rocky Mountain News recently ran a story about an SUV glut. Perhaps, though I had a friend lose a job for reporting unfavorably on car dealers, and the unwillingness of newspapers to offend the car business is something I’ve hear about in quite a few places. (Then there’s the Tribeca story).
Meanwhile, reader Joe Faughnan thinks this may not be a case of slow sales, but of vehicle stockpiling in anticipation of a Delphi strike.
ARE PATENTS HOLDING BACK hybrid car technology? I’m not sure whether I’m persuaded by this.
DANIEL DREZNER: “For me, the big question remains — if New Orleans was such a stagnant economy that those displaced to Houston don’t want to return, just how much money should be committed to reconstruction efforts?”
THE CARNIVAL OF CORDITE is up!
TWO QUESTIONS FOR GEORGE TENET: I think that’s just a start.
EGYPTIAN BLOGGER UPDATE:
The whereabouts of blogger Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman who was abducted from his home by Egyptian state security on Wednesday Oct. 26 is still not known. The police refused to answer questions by AP, the first wire to run the story. The last report about his whereabouts said he was on his way to an unknown detention center.
It was 3 a.m. when seven police officers took the 21 year old blogger away from his family home in Alexandria. His mother, Yousseira, says the house was searched; books and copies of Seliman’s writings were confiscated.
His friends and family says Seliman was targeting radical Islam in his writings, despite his strong connections to the Muslim community. Seliman is a student of law at Al-Azhar, the world’s highest seat of learning for Sunni Muslims. His pious Muslim family had returned from a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca just days before his arrests. . . .
Another blogger who closely followed Seliman’s detention says it is the fundamentalist Islamic Salafi movement that is behind the arrest. The blogger, Malik Moustafa, said Seliman recently had accused the Salafis of inciting the latest sectarian tensions in his neighbourhood of Mouharm Bay.
Read the whole thing, for an extensive roundup. And Global Voices has more.
JEFF ROSEN DISSES PATRICK FITZGERALD:
On both ends of the political spectrum, however, there has been wide praise of Fitzgerald’s restraint and professionalism in focusing on a relatively clear-cut case of false statements rather than indicting officials or reporters for disclosing official secrets.
But it’s important for journalists (including me) who vigorously opposed the Kenneth Starr investigation to state the obvious: The Fitzgerald indictments are an embarrassing confirmation of the old Washington rule that, when special prosecutors can’t prove a crime, they indict the target for obstructing the investigation. Far from being typical behavior, indicting suspects for nothing more than false statements or perjury is a vice largely restricted to special prosecutors and independent counsels. And, although Libby’s alleged lies to protect his boss may appear more serious than Bill Clinton’s self-interested lies about sex, neither Clinton nor Libby prevented the special prosecutor from proving an underlying crime. In fact, there’s strong reason to conclude that no underlying crime was committed. Unlike the Starr investigation, moreover, the Fitzgerald investigation represents a disaster for the First Amendment and may do long-lasting damage to political discourse in Washington.
Rosen is right about that. We’ve set a precedent — egged on by the editorialists at the New York Times and those who follow their lead — that leaking classified material to journalists should be prosecutable. If I were the Bush Administration, I’d be sorely tempted to start subpoenaing journalists right and left when they reported on classified information. You want it? You got it.
Some people are worried about that, which is why there’s some support for a shield law. But those damned bloggers are complicating things:
Steven Clymer, a law professor at Cornell University, shared Rosenberg’s concerns, according to the draft transcript. Clymer warned that a federal shield law “would signal that illegal disclosures of classified or otherwise sensitive information … are immune from criminal prosecution as long as they are made to a recipient who could qualify as a reporter under the privilege.” And he added that the pending bill is so broad that it could apply to “a disclosure of sensitive or classified information to an Internet blogger.”
When quizzed by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, about the bill’s application to blogs, Clymer said courts ultimately would have to decide the issue if the current language becomes law. “They may decide that you cannot favor one group of media over another group of media,” Clymer said. “And so if you are going to give the privilege to The New York Times, you necessarily have to give it to the Internet blogger as well.”
Sen. John Cornyn disagrees: “”Internet bloggers, and perhaps others, don’t observe the same professional ethics and have the same review by editors and others that are trying to make sure that they are performing their job in a responsible and accurate sort of way.”
Rosen makes pretty much the same point, adding the suggestion that it’s only “vanity” that makes bloggers care. (I’m resisting the temptation to invoke RatherGate and Stephen Glass here). Yet putting the many famous cases of journalistic breakdown aside, bloggers don’t presume to tell us important things about national security on a “trust me” basis very much. You find those unnamed anonymous sources with hidden agendas in the work of mainstream journalists, for the most part, not bloggers — remember how this whole thing got started? — and the point of shield laws is to let them continue. How exactly does this serve the public interest?
UPDATE: Reader Michael Gebert emails:
So basically, The New York Times screwed up the old arrangement between government secrecy and the press for short-term partisan reasons, and now it wants a new arrangement limited to journalistic institutions like itself because, unlike the rabble of bloggers, they can be counted on to be responsibly non-partisan?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Heh: “you can very clearly see where the makers had optimistically put ‘shield law’ but then had to cover it up with ‘denim.’”
MORE: Dave Johnston:
So let me get this straight…
We’ve got White House staff now doing conference calls with bloggers, and at the same time Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) still feels the need to drop an al Jazeera-comparison to make his point that we should be fearful of “a certain irresponsibility” that apparently occurs when bloggers exercise their freedoms.
Do I really need to point out how ridiculous this all sounds?
Interestingly, this Wall Street Journal story on environmentally-conscious Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page’s purchase of an enormous Boeing jet for personal use includes this credit:
Mr. Page wouldn’t say whether or not the Qantas plane was the one they bought. The 767 purchase was first brought to public attention by a blog written by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Jeffrey Nolan.
This kind of thing happens all the time now, and yet people pretend bloggers don’t do reporting.
FINALLY: Good news and bad news for Karl Rove.
LOTS OF NANOTECHNOLOGY NEWS over at NanoDot. Just keep scrolling.
VICENTE FOX douses Hugo Chavez.
GETTING READY FOR THANKSGIVING EARLY: Bill Quick has his weekend cooking thread posted.
AN ELEVENTH AMENDMENT FISKING: You don’t see very many of those.
SAN FRANCISCO POLICE COME OUT against a handgun ban:
Adding a timely twist to the debate, those opponents warn that a major earthquake could lead to chaos and anarchy, akin to post-Katrina New Orleans.
“What happens when the police leave town, just like they did in New Orleans?” asked John Mindermann, a retired San Francisco police officer who keeps a handgun in his home in the low-crime area of West Portal. Only active law enforcement and military personnel would be exempt from the ban.
And even though its officers fight violence daily, the San Francisco Police Officers Association is also opposed to the ban, saying it cannot back a measure that takes away “the personal choice of city residents to lawfully possess a handgun for self-defense purposes.”
Good for them.
IN THE MAIL: Tom Baker’s The Medical Malpractice Myth, which argues that medical malpractice litigation isn’t doing much to drive up health care costs.
ALLISON HAYWARD WRITES on the House’s rejection of the Online Freedom of Speech Act:
The bill itself was reasonable and modest in scope. It would have codified existing regulations — which are currently the law under which we labor — exempting the Internet from special rules that apply to “public communications.” These rules have the most impact for political parties (especially state and local parties), and groups like some PACs that “allocate” — that is, use money raised outside the federal rules for some general expenses. They also affect which messages require disclaimers — the little “Paid for by” tag you see on direct mail and TV ads.
While the technical reach of the bill was modest, the impact of its defeat may not be. The Federal Election Commission is currently rewriting the existing Internet rule under a court order. It may be that the FEC’s approach will be modest — say, to require disclaimers on paid advertisements and spam on the Internet. But it is also possible that regulators will look at the bill’s failure as some endorsement of the need for greater regulation, because the FEC has also opened the question of whether Internet journalists are exempt from regulation as “press” — an issue not addressed by the legislation but one of great significance to bloggers. Certainly, the bill’s passage would have preempted the legal necessity for the FEC to involve itself in Internet rulemaking. . . .
Why did the measure not pass? Perhaps, in part, because the campaign against the bill was rife with falsehoods about the effect of the exemption. “Reform” supporters like Democracy 21’s Fred Wertheimer, the Campaign Legal Center’s Trevor Potter, and the American Enterprise Institute’s’s Norm Ornstein castigated the bill’s motives (and supporters) in harsh terms. They maintained that it would open up the federal system to soft-money abuses. They alleged that corporations could spend unlimited sums on campaign ads at the behest of candidates. The same claims were made by Rep. Marty Meehan (D., Mass.) and many of the bill’s critics on the House Floor, in what appeared to be a serial recitation of the “reform” talking points.
Read the whole thing.
ANN ALTHOUSE LOOKS AT Alito on the Family Medical Leave Act.
PARIS-AREA RIOTS GAIN DANGEROUS MOMENTUM:
A week of riots in poor neighborhoods outside Paris gained dangerous new momentum Thursday, with youths shooting at police and firefighters and attacking trains and symbols of the French state.
Facing mounting criticism, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin vowed to restore order as the violence that erupted Oct. 27 spread to at least 20 towns, highlighting the frustration simmering in housing projects that are home to many North African immigrants.
As Ed Cone notes this has been a long time coming. Similar to Ed’s story, when Helen and I went to visit her sister in the 20th Arrondissement, the cab driver gave us a long diatribe on how that neighborhood was no good because of all the blacks and Arabs. I actually thought it was rather pleasant. By all accounts, however, the suburban housing projects where the riots are taking place are not.
UPDATE: Meanwhile some people are noting that the BBC is covering the riots far less vigorously than it would cover similar riots in the United States. The Economist comes in for criticism, too.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Much more from Amir Taheri:
When the police arrive on the scene, the rioters attack them with stones, knives and baseball bats.
The police respond by firing tear-gas grenades and, on occasions, blank shots in the air. Sometimes the youths fire back — with real bullets.
These scenes are not from the West Bank but from 20 French cities, mostly close to Paris, that have been plunged into a European version of the intifada that at the time of writing appears beyond control.
The troubles first began in Clichy-sous-Bois, an underprivileged suburb east of Paris, a week ago. France’s bombastic interior minister, Nicholas Sarkozy, responded by sending over 400 heavily armed policemen to “impose the laws of the republic,” and promised to crush “the louts and hooligans” within the day. Within a few days, however, it had dawned on anyone who wanted to know that this was no “outburst by criminal elements” that could be handled with a mixture of braggadocio and batons.
By Monday, everyone in Paris was speaking of “an unprecedented crisis.” Both Sarkozy and his boss, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, had to cancel foreign trips to deal with the riots.
Read the whole thing. Meanwhile, here’s more on the subject from the New York Sun:
Back in the 1990s, the French sneered at America for the Los Angeles riots. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported in 1992: “the consensus of French pundits is that something on the scale of the Los Angeles riots could not happen here, mainly because France is a more humane, less racist place with a much stronger commitment to social welfare programs.” President Mitterrand, the Washington Post reported in 1992, blamed the riots on the “conservative society” that Presidents Reagan and Bush had created and said France is different because it “is the country where the level of social protection is the highest in the world.”
How the times have changed. Muslims in Paris’s suburbs are out shooting at police and firefighters, burning cars and buildings, and throwing rocks at commuter trains. Even children are out on the streets – it was reported that a 10-year-old was arrested. The trigger for the riots was the electrocution of two teenagers last Thursday, which the rioters say came following a police chase, a charge the police deny. But even if the charge by the rioters is true, that the police are culpable in the deaths of the two youths, the fact that such an incident would spark a riot is a sign of something deeper at work – no doubt France’s failure to integrate its immigrant Muslim community.
It turns out that France’s Muslim community lives in areas rampant with crime, poverty, and unemployment, much the fault of France’s prized welfare system.
Read the whole thing here, too. Worrisomely, the riots are spreading beyond Paris.
The Belmont Club looks at what’s next and observes:
The riots have already reached 20 suburbs of Paris. The Reuters story suggests they may now be spreading to other cities. French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is hinting darkly of conspiracies. Should one conclude even more serious developments are in the offing? I don’t know. I think that neither Sarkozy nor the conspirators he refers to understand the exact potential of this thing, which is behaving like a chaotic system whose trajectory is difficult to predict except in the very short term.
Ideally, Sarkozy would be looking to simplify the situation by fixing some variables so that the remainder of the system will behave in a more linear manner; gradually damping it down until it can be controlled. But splits within the French cabinet have done the opposite: they have added more variables to the mix and now it’s shake, rattle and roll.
In these situations, as most rabble-rousers know, there is typically a race on the ground to see who can ‘harness’ the energies unleashed to best advantage. My own guess, without any special knowledge, is that ‘community moderates’, ideological radicals and even gangsters are in a derby to see who can control events. The French government by contrast, seems tied up in knots and is casting around for leverage, a way to get a handle on the events of the past week. Things could stop tomorrow or zoom off in some unexpected direction.
I’m hoping for “stop,” as I think this could get really ugly if it doesn’t.
Could Australia be next?
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Could we be seeing some signs of movement from the Administration?
The Bush administration’s highest economic priority for its remaining three years is to control the growth of federal spending and bring down the US budget deficit, John Snow, US Treasury secretary, said.
“The clear priority of the administration right now is the deficit, making sure that we achieve the president’s objective of cutting the deficit in half by the time he leaves office,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times. This would put the deficit below 2 per cent of gross domestic product, low by historical standards.
“This administration knows that deficits matter,” he added. “We know they’re unwelcome.”
Welcome words. Now the action, please. (Via The Armchair View).
MICKEY KAUS looks at Kristof’s correction.
HERE’S A TRANSCRIPT OF MARK STEYN, talking about the riots in Paris on Hugh Hewitt’s show last night.
MESSAGE TO DERBYSHIRE: No, we don’t all believe this.
A MONROE DOCTRINE for the Internet. I like that.
THE THREE MILLION DOLLAR MOUSE: A prize like that may spur some serious work in aging research.
EGYPTIAN BLOGGER ARRESTED: The Big Pharaoh reports:
Egyptian blogger Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman who runs the blog Kareem Amer was arrested on October 26h from his home. According to his family, his arrest might be a result of his writings. His brother said that Abdolkarim has a tense relation with Islamists in his hometown of Alexandria. He added that the Islamists might be the ones behind filing a complaint against his brother.
The webpage for the Egyptian Embassy in the United States is here.
WHO SAYS BLOGS DON’T AFFECT ELECTIONS:
A blogger’s depiction of Lt. Gov. Michael Steele in minstrel makeup has brought to surface issues of race — and fidelity to one’s race — as the Republican seeks to become Maryland’s first black senator.
A black man in New York who runs a left-leaning news commentary site created the image and condemned Steele last week as “Simple Sambo.”
It’s interesting that “race-loyalty” has become an important campaign issue.
ABORTION, PATERNITY AND ALITO: Jeff Goldstein responds to Kevin Drum, and reminds us of the difference between judges and legislators.
DANIEL GLOVER: 47 references to “blogs” in yesterday’s campaign-finance debate.
MICHAEL MALONE looks at the future of the blogosphere, through the lens of journalistic criticism:
Let me make a prediction. Five years from now, the blogosphere will have developed into a powerful economic engine that has all but driven newspapers into oblivion, has morphed (thanks to cell phone cameras) into a video medium that challenges television news, and has created a whole new group of major companies and media superstars. Billions of dollars will be made by those prescient enough to either get on board or invest in these companies. At this point, the industry will then undergo its first shakeout, with the loss of perhaps several million blogs — though the overall industry will continue to grow at a steady pace.
And, at about that moment, Forbes will announce that the blogosphere is the Next Big Thing for investors. Maybe they’ll even invite me back to Forbes on Fox.
ROGER SIMON has a firsthand account on happenings in Paris.
TOM MAGUIRE is parsing Nicholas Kristof’s response to Jack Shafer.
HERE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE COLLEGE OF LAW, we’re looking to hire a new Dean and a new faculty member for next year. Descriptions for both positions are here.
What’s sad is that campaign finance “reform” threatens to create a whole new generation of “First Amendment felons” whose only crime is writing about things that Congress would rather they didn’t.
MEDIA MATTERS RESPONDS to the Jake Tapper item I posted yesterday.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Alaska’s Congressional delegation is getting bad press in Alaska:
Sen. Ted Stevens rails on the Senate floor against Sen. Coburn’s assault on Alaska spending. The response? From nationally syndicated conservative writers such as Cal Thomas and John Stossel comes word that Stevens’ departure would be welcome. They don’t see him as Alaskan of the Century. They see him as a poster-senator for runaway spending and skewed national priorities.
How would Alaskans feel about sending a big share of their federal taxes to another state whose residents keep taking more than they give to the federal treasury, insist on paying no state income or sales tax and receive hundreds of millions every year in payments from their state government for individual shares of their state’s resource wealth?
In Illinois and Louisiana and West Virginia and elsewhere, it’s logical to ask: More than $31 billion in the Alaska Permanent Fund, generating interest and dividends, and you want the rest of America to bankroll your bridges? Death grip on your state dividends and a zealot’s passion against taxes, and yet you demand the taxes of others to pay for things you won’t pay for yourself? How long do you think you can play this game?
We’re getting closer to the day when the rest of the country says: “You want the goodies? Pay for them yourselves.”
Could be. Though I doubt West Virginia will be taking a lead role in denouncing pork . . .
LARRY KUDLOW has a new website, and he’s podcasting now.
CATHY YOUNG WRITES on abortion, fathers’ rights, and equality.
MICHAEL TOTTEN REPORTS from a ghost city in Cyprus.
KOS JOINS IN CONDEMNING CONGRESS: Along with some interest groups.
ALL ALITO, ALL THE TIME: At N.Z. Bear’s new Alito topic page.
If stealing and destroying secret documents, stuffing them into your pants and then lying about it isn’t a crime worthy of jail time, why is having a different recollection of events than Tim Russert?
I guess the pushback has begun.
UPDATE: Tigerhawk is unconvinced: “The question, I think, is backwards: isn’t the real mystery why Sandy Berger got off with a small fine and no jail time?”
J.C. WATTS: “Republicans in just 10 years have developed the arrogance it took the Democrats 30 years to develop.”
SO I’VE BEEN GRADING my Administrative Law assignments. Every year I pick a set of proposed regulations from the Federal Register, and have my students draft comments on them, which I then file so that they become part of the rulemaking docket. I don’t tell the students what to say; they get to pick their positions. I just grade them based on their logic, research, avoidance of typos, etc. I’m usually quite impressed with what they produce, and this year is no exception. My experience has been that law students are better at projects like this than at taking exams. That’s good, since one hardly ever takes an exam as part of practicing law.
DAFYDD AB HUGH wonders what’s going on in Paris.
UPDATE: Brussels Journal has some reports.
Meanwhile, reader Steve Donohue emails:
Rhetorical question: why is it that largely imagined riots in New Orleans receive almost non-stop coverage, but actual riots in France receive absolutely no coverage?
Well, it’s not quite “absolutely no coverage” — but compared to the New Orleans coverage, I guess it would seem that way.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Joel Shepherd emails:
It’s not an intefada. I’m an Australian SF author temporarily living in Paris; sadly I don’t have my own blog (yet), but I’m writing a freelance article on liberte-cherie, the French libertarian organisation (www.liberte-cherie.com). I’m no expert, but I’m learning some things.
The problem in France is not the same as in the UK or the Netherlands. There, there’s been an overdose of PC multi culturalism… but American critics are wrong to assign that to France. France HAS insisted on integration, as seen by the controversial ban on headscarves in French schools. And most French muslims do consider themselves French, to varying degrees, and Islamic extremism is pretty small thing here (there was far more protest against the headscarf ban outside of France than inside). So it’s not an intefada.
There’s just no damn jobs. White college grads can’t get jobs, what hope do immigrants from regions with bad schools have? I think this is more like the LA Rodney King riots — there’s people there who want the French dream, just as in LA people wanted the American dream, but they just don’t see it when they look around, and they resent the fact enormously. They can’t change schools to get a better education because the government says you have to go to the school where you live, and they live where they do because of the zoning laws… which I’m no expert about, but I do know that the government owns 30 percent of all housing in France, and poor immigrants basically live where they’re told. The government tries to give them everything and does it extremely badly, there’s no upward mobility, and it doesn’t breed a happy community. Religion exacerbates the feeling of exclusion, I’m sure, but the rioting seems mostly driven by economics and bad social policy.
So yeah, it’s a stupid French government problem, but not the one some American critics are ascribing… however attractive it might be to do so.
CATHY SEIPP writes on books and holiness.
DON’T LET THE LITTLE PEOPLE SPEAK:
WASHINGTON (AP) – Online political expression should not be exempt from campaign finance law, the House decided Wednesday as lawmakers warned that the Internet has opened up a new loophole for uncontrolled spending on elections. . . .
The vote in effect clears the way for the FEC to move ahead with court-mandated rule-making to govern political speech and campaign spending on the Internet.
You might not like what they say. (Via Steel Turman).
UPDATE: Andrew Roth:
With spending out of control, this vote shows that not only do politicians take our money, they take our freedom to speak against them as well. That should scare the pants off of anyone.
What is happening here is that certain people–the editorial board of the New York Times, the Democrats on the Federal Election Commission–are trying to put sites like this one out of business.
ANOTHER UPDATE: A somewhat more positive take from one of the bill’s sponsors:
As many of you might have just witnessed on CSPAN, the House voted 225 to 182 on the Online Freedom of Speech Act (H.R. 1606) — a majority but less than the two-thirds required for a “suspension” bill to clear the House.
I am encouraged that this important legislation received the support of a clear bipartisan majority. Most Members of Congress support protecting free speech on the Internet. . . .
We proved that we can pass this bill in the House under regular order. Working with leadership, I hope we can achieve this worthy goal before the FEC issues new regulations that will prohibit Americans from exercising their First Amendment rights over the Internet.
I hope so, too.
MORE: Via an update to the Power Line post above, here’s the roll call vote. If you’re unhappy with how your representative voted, let ‘em know.
I’VE CHANGED MY MIND: The Bush Administration should have known that there was a problem with its analysis of Saddam’s weapons program. The tipoff: when it found that it was on the same page as Jimmy Carter.
JACK SHAFER is waiting for a Kristof correction.
UPDATE: Shafer gets results — see his update.
THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE wonders why the New York Times can’t seem to quote soldiers accurately.
MICHELLE MALKIN, MICHAEL LEDEEN, MARC COOPER, and more, profiled over at the PJ Media site.
SOME OUT-OF-THE-MAINSTREAM CRITICISM of protection for criminal defendants.
IN RESPONSE TO MY COLUMN TODAY, Patrick Eickert emails: “Will your army of davids fix our immigration policies in a time frame that matters? How about our energy policies? Or our intelligence institutions?”
Actually, I’ve got a chapter on private antiterror efforts, expanding on the theme presented here. I didn’t write about immigration, which I agree is a core question of sovereignty and one that doesn’t lend itself readily to self-help, though the Minutemen are an early sign of what we might see if the federal government remains ineffectual on the subject.
As for energy, well, all those people out there buying more efficient cars, etc., are doing their parts, and I think there’s more movement in that direction than is generally recognized. I had a beer with a friend yesterday — a lifelong Republican and no Green — who’s running his new Dodge 2500 pickup on biodiesel. Why? It’s cheaper, and he likes the idea.
(He also notes that his new Dodge gets about 2mpg more than the old one, and has more horsepower, suggesting that the folks at Chrysler are holding up their end, too, at least somewhat.)
And speaking of influencing the government, he told me that he’s gotten two calls from the GOP fundraisers asking him to give $1000 or more and he’s turned them both down. Why? “They haven’t delivered what they promised.” That’s another army of Davids that’s not getting noticed as much as it might. Yet.
THANK GOODNESS FOR SCIENCE.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS on Alito.
SOME advice for Prince Charles that will surely go unheeded.
MORE ON ANTIWAR HISTORICAL REVISIONISM from the BullMoose:
The Moose does not have to trust George W. Bush to hold that view. He believes Tony Blair. For that matter, most of the Clinton national security team was convinced that Saddam posed a threat to American interests and security. It was hardly a vast neo-con conspiracy that brought us to war.
Will the American people have faith in and trust a party that claims that it was gullibly duped, or as George Romney claimed about another war – that it was “brainwashed.”? Moreover, should the objective be re-fighting the reasons to go to war and making the Democrats the official anti-war party or should the goal be achieving reasonable success in Iraq? If you believe in the former than you would encourage more efforts like the one Senate Democrats undertook yesterday. If you believe in the latter, you want the opposition party to present a better plan for winning this war.
While the war is increasingly unpopular, the Democrats should be careful that they are positioning themselves as a party that is gullible, feckless and indecisive on national security. It may provide immense partisan satisfaction to flummox the Republicans on a procedural maneuver, but beware of the long-term impact on the party which already suffers from a perception of being weak on national security.
“Weak,” at the very least.
GAS PRICES AND ENERGY POLICY: Some lessons from the 1970s.
At least we’re not turning oil into all those polyester leisure suits, this time around.
HEARD MICHELLE MALKIN on Neal Boortz’s show, plugging her new book (which seems to be doing quite well on Amazon). I noticed that she was careful to credit Perry deHavilland of Samizdata for originating the term “moonbat.” Good for her.
Meanwhile she’s getting racist and sexist Amazon reviews from lefties. I like this response, from another Amazon reviewer: “What better way to affirm Michelle Malkin’s beliefs than to review the histrionics in many of the posted reviews.”
Yes, it does pretty much prove her point.
UPDATE: Related thoughts here.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reviewing the reviewers: “Michelle couldn’t have paid for better advertising.”
MORE ON DIGITAL FREE SPEECH:
After all, when it comes to the Internet, money hardly translates into influence. Plenty of expensively produced Web sites are flops, while some of the most popular Web sites and blogs cost virtually nothing to run.
The real problem, it seems, is that the speech police don’t like any speech that they don’t get to . . . well, police.
The Hensarling-Reid approach is the best way to head off an assault on the Internet — for now.
The next step is to start reconsidering whether regulating political speech is a good idea under any circumstances.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Robert Samuelson writes in the Post that both parties are fiscal phonies. The fact that we can’t trust elected officials on this suggests to me that we’ll see more pressure for structural solutions.
MAX BOOT writes that Joe Wilson is Plamegate’s real liar, and offers an extensive list of Wilson misrepresentations.