February 5, 2006
DANES MARCH FOR PEACE AND LOVE: And a Muslim leader is interviewed. Gateway Pundit has a roundup.
DANES MARCH FOR PEACE AND LOVE: And a Muslim leader is interviewed. Gateway Pundit has a roundup.
THE SOUTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT: Covering for North Korea? When North Korea falls, I predict we’ll discover that an astonishing number of people in the South were on the take, or being blackmailed.
EVAN COYNE MALONEY: “Increasingly, Hollywood is making films that Hollywood wants to consume, not necessarily what the rest of America does. Hollywood needs to decide whether it wants to be a political party or whether it wants to entertain. They can continue to entertain themselves, but then they will continue to lose audience. There are simply too many other options vying for the attention of the people that Hollywood shuns.” Read the whole thing.
CHINA LEAPS FORWARD on nuclear power. My TCS Daily column will look at this.
A DOUBLE STANDARD ON PROTESTS in Britain?
Once again, the message is that if you blow things up, or even look as if you might, we’ll be nice to you. And once again, I note that this is a very unwise message to send.
I should note, by the way, that last night I spent some time reading an advance copy of Claire Berlinski’s new book, Menace in Europe : Why the Continent’s Crisis Is America’s, Too. It looks very good, and I hope it finds a wide readership. The timing is certainly right.
UPDATE: Berlinski emails from Istanbul:
Evidently there were “hundreds of demonstrators” at the Danish consulate here today. (I missed it; I was happily oblivious until I read the news.) Now, “hundreds of protestors” never congregate in Istanbul without government sanction. There is no such thing as freedom of assembly here; if you’re out protesting, it’s because the government authorized it, period. So Denmark and Turkey are going to be part of one big happy EU family? Sure thing. Tell that to the Danish diplomats cowering in their consulate in Istanbul and nervously reviewing the fire escape plans.
Oh, and someone shot a Catholic priest in Ankara today, too. Not clear yet whether it was related.
That said, “hundreds of protestors” isn’t that much in a city of 10 million, and when I went out today everyone seemed to be their normal friendly selves, including the Islamist grocers down the street, who have never been anything but pleasant to me. So don’t be put off if you’re thinking of visiting, Istanbul is still great, and very safe. (Almost certainly safer than London: I have no doubt that if the protestors get too frisky here, the government will mow them down like dogs.)
Jim Geraghty, also in Istanbul, has a report, too. “The Syrian reaction is intolerable. But the Turkish reaction is honorable. I hope the world can see the difference.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Berlinski — perhaps my most devoted reader in Istanbul today — sends this followup in response to Jim’s post:
Jim Geraghty is absolutely right, everyone should have the right to protest peacefully if they so wish. If you’ve got your panties in a wad over some cartoons, by all means, you should be perfectly free to say so. My point is that people here don’t enjoy the freedom to protest–just ask the mothers of Kurds who have disappeared in Turkish prisons–so when they do, unimpeded, it has a certain significance. He’s right, there’s a world of difference between the Turkish reaction and the Syrian reaction. But Syria’s not applying for EU membership.
MORE: Michael Totten reports on Islamist violence in Beirut and observes: “I strongly suggest the civilized people of Lebanon, Muslim and Christian alike, stage a counter-demonstration downtown where flags are not burned and where buildings are not set on fire.”
MORE STILL: Iraqpundit:
Anyway, since when did stupid, tasteless cartoons start stirring such passions among the Muslims? Arabic language newspapers and magazines regularly run cartoons that offend all sorts of communities. It would be easier to respect all this rage if these angry people applied the same standards all around.
You know, in 2002, 15 Saudi schoolgirls burned to death when Saudi religious police wouldn’t let them escape their building because they were not in hijab.
Waiting for my fellow Muslims to react to that kind of criminality with the same impassioned outrage they save for offensive newspaper cartoons has been rather like waiting for a desert-blown Godot. Our community leaders, as always, fail us.
AND YET MORE: Jim Geraghty sends a correction:
I’m in Ankara, not Istanbul, and the shooting of the priest was in Trabzon, not Ankara. As of 4 a.m. local time, the U.S. Embassy didn’t have any information on motive. The wires ( Link) are reporting the kid was shouting “God is great” as he ran from the shooting scene; if accurate, this would appear to be Islamist terrorism.
THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE has a big Cartoon War roundup.
An interesting side-effect of the Danish cartoon affair might be the invasion of Syria by U.S. forces. As you can read in this CNN article, the Norwegian and Danish embassies in Damascus were burned down by angry mobs on Sunday.
Now, depending on the level of (passive) involvement by the Syrian regime, one could make the case this is an act of war. And since Norway and Denmark are both NATO members, Bush can invoke article V of the NATO charter that says an attack on one member state is an attack against all of them…
Presto! Legal casus belli… and no need to find further justifications in hidden WMD’s, terror sponsoring or the need for ‘regime change’. Just point the tanks in Baghdad to Damascus and start driving…
Jeez, he’s starting to sound as bellicose as Duncan Black!
HERE’S A GALLERY CONTAINING IMAGES OF MOHAMMED throughout Islamic history. Apparently, portraying the Prophet isn’t quite as much a no-no as some have claimed.
MARK STEYN ON SENSITIVITY:
NBC is celebrating Easter this year with a special edition of the gay sitcom “Will & Grace,” in which a Christian conservative cooking-show host, played by the popular singing slattern Britney Spears, offers seasonal recipes — “Cruci-fixin’s.” On the other hand, the same network, in its coverage of the global riots over the Danish cartoons, has declined to show any of the offending artwork out of “respect” for the Muslim faith.
Which means out of respect for their ability to locate the executive vice president’s home in the suburbs and firebomb his garage.
Jyllands-Posten wasn’t being offensive for the sake of it. They had a serious point — or, at any rate, a more serious one than Britney Spears or Terence McNally. The cartoons accompanied a piece about the dangers of “self-censorship” — i.e., a climate in which there’s no explicit law forbidding you from addressing the more, er, lively aspects of Islam but nonetheless everyone feels it’s better not to.
That’s the question the Danish newspaper was testing: the weakness of free societies in the face of intimidation by militant Islam.
Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Charles Johnson notes a CNN double standard.
ANOTHER DAY, another embassy torched.
ATRIOS FOR SECRETARY OF STATE:
Certainly an Iran-with-nukes could blow the hell out of a city or two, but an Iran that did such a thing would pretty much cease to exist. It isn’t mutually assured destruction, it’s you fuck with us a little bit and YOU NO LONGER LIVE BITCHES!
Perhaps we could put this in a demarche?
JUST SAY NO TO MULLAHS: Tim Blair is refusing to follow orders.
Austin Bay and Jim Dunnigan on the war, Roger Stern and Lynne Kiesling on oil supplies and energy policy, and warblogger Michael Yon on his experiences in Iraq, and his difficulties with the U.S. Army — all in the latest podcast.
Once again, we got syndicated columnist, author, and blogger Austin Bay together with author and StrategyPage.com publisher Jim Dunnigan and let them talk (with just a few questions from us) about what’s going on in the world. The discussion covers Iran, the Cartoon War in Europe, the difficulties in intervening in Darfur, and more.
Also, Roger Stern, from the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at Johns Hopkins (and author of this paper on geopolitics and oil pricing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) talks with Lynn Kiesling, Director of the Center for Applied Energy Research, and blogger, about oil pricing and U.S. policy — will there be pressure for higher petroleum taxes, and is that better than pushing particular technologies like hybrids or ethanol?
Finally, warblogger Michael Yon talks about his experiences in Iraq, a famous photo, and his difficulties with the U.S. Army’s legal team — difficulties that were resolved once the blogosphere got involved. Apparently, a lot of people in the Pentagon read blogs.
And, as always, the lovely and talented Insta-Wife wants your comments and suggestions.
And there’s a complete archive of podcasts here, too.
PERRY DEHAVILLAND wonders why Iran is threatening to put economic sanctions in place against itself.
JEFF GOLDSTEIN looks at Identity Politics, Free Speech, and the Future of Worldwide Liberalism.
UPDATE: Interesting email from reader Edward Tabakin, with an (unfortunate) “Army of Davids” angle. Well, as I say in the book, technology empowers bad people, as well as good ones. Click “read more” to read it.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Backlash?
N.Z. BEAR is updating the PorkBusters page.
AUSTIN BAY WRITES on Syrian cynicism in the Cartoon War.
UPDATE: Tim Cavanaugh looks at the bright side:
But a closer look at those “Anger growing over cartoons” headlines reveals something more encouraging than just another story of the perpetually hurt feelings of Muslim community leaders. The actions of inflamed Muslims have been producing consistent reactions from their targets. The Jyllands-Posten cartoons have been reprinted by newspapers in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary and Jordan, and on countless blogs. The longer the protests continue the more widely the cartoons get distributed. The issue will almost certainly lead to a revisiting of the lamentable laws against “hate speech” in Europe, and with any luck to a debate on whether these laws are more likely to destroy public harmony than encourage it. Muslim activists are finding out why getting into a negative-publicity fight is as inadvisable as wrestling with a pig: You get dirty and the pig enjoys it.
AMAZON is getting bloggier.
THE ONLY WINNER out of all this Islamist stuff in Europe is Claire Berlinski, whose book Menace in Europe : Why the Continent’s Crisis Is America’s, Too is coming out later this month. We’re planning a podcast interview with her.
Meanwhile, here’s a Dane who feels betrayed by the U.S. State Department. “The world’s gone topsy-turvy: Germany and France show common sense, backbone and true loyalty.”
To be fair, as Eugene Volokh points out, the State Department’s statement was far more supportive of free speech than press reports suggested. But this was not a time for nuance.
UPDATE: Reader Shivan V. Mahendrarajah emails:
While I agree that the State Dept. was wrong to be nuanced in their response re the cartoons of the Prophet and the ensuing brouhaha, in a Machiavellian way, I think it brilliant (though unintentionally so, otherwise that would be giving the State Dept. way too much credit). Here’s why:
1. U.S. Embassies worldwide have not been stormed, attacked or burned, and if they had been, Marines would have to disperse the crowds to prevent another Teheran, even shoot to kill (one of my former Army Drill Sergeants was in that sort of a situation in Baghdad – very unpleasant), and shootings by Marines would exacerbate the anti-Americanism that currently prevails and take the focus off the Muslim v. Europe fight as it currently stands;
2. Maybe now the Euroweenies will wake up and see what we “imperialist” Amerikaners have seen. . . .
One hopes that this will serve as a wakeup call in some quarters.
The Danish press has also paid very little attention to the representatives of a group of 80 immigrants who have expressed their support of Jyllands-Posten. A statement by the group placed on the internet carries the caption “We must condemn Islamist threats against free speech.” It goes on to accuse the Islamists of “viewing any criticism or any making fun of the Islamic religion as an affront and an insult to Muslims. In this way they want to prevent any human being from questioning the Islamic religion and its holy book and the prophet Muhammad. … With the same argument Islamic regimes and other forces in the Middle Eastern and Arabic countries have killed thousands of people and issued fatwas against authors, journalists and artists.”
The bad news is that the Boston Globe is siding with the barbarians, comparing the Danish cartoonists to Nazis. Just look at the photo and decide who really deserves that comparison. Michael Graham is unhappy with the Globe, too.
The funny thing is that the Globe views fundamentalist Christians as a god-besotted threat to liberty, but makes excuses for people like this.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has more thoughts. And Michelle Malkin has a must-see video presentation. And a reader points out that the Boston Globe was defending “Piss Christ” artist Andres Serrano’s right to federal funding back in 1990. Apparently, standards of decency have “evolved” at the Globe, or perhaps it’s just a measure of who they’re actually afraid of.
David Bernstein has more on double standards.
MORE: Ashish Hanwadikar says the Europeans are hypocritical in a different way.
And Ed Driscoll has much more, including a look at Serrano’s more recent employment.
Plus, Tigerhawk looks at appeasement and wonders why it remains so popular. “This has been a long time coming — after the Rushdie fatwa, the West cannot claim that it isn’t on notice. It will be a long time in the undoing, too.”
STILL MORE: A Jordanian newspaper is braver than the Globe:
Meanwhile, a Jordanian gossip tabloid on defiantly published three of the cartoons that have triggered outrage in the Arab and Muslim world.
“Muslims of the world, be reasonable,” said the editor-in-chief of the weekly independent newspaper Al-Shihan in an editorial alongside the cartoons, including the one showing the Muslim religion’s founder wearing a bomb-shaped turban.
(Via All Things Beautiful).
Much more here.
EVEN MORE: Of course, the brave Jordanian editor has been arrested:
A Jordanian newspaper editor sacked after publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad has been arrested.
Jihad Momani is accused of insulting religion under Jordan’s press and publications law.
The newspaper had fired him after he decided to reproduce the cartoons – originally printed in Denmark – which have caused a global storm of protest.
AND MORE STILL: Reader Kathleen St. Onge emails: “Unsurprisingly, I didn’t see any protest babes in the photo you posted. As such, I have to conclude that this is a movement of losers.”
Yes. Angry, bitter losers. But potentially dangerous ones.
AUSTIN BAY notes that the Egyptian ferry disaster is recapitulating Lord Jim.
The American Spectator’s Jed Babbin was on John Batchelor’s radio show yesterday, and stated that the intelligence community believes West Virignia Senator Jay Rockefeller is the leaker who illegally supplied the New York Times with the details of the NSA program.
Given that the CIA’s Porter J. Goss stated emphatically that the leak had done very serious damage to the United States, if Rockefeller is a suspect, he should be hauled before a Grand Jury asap. When the crime was bribery (Abscam)no one protested that a sitting U.S. Senator ought not to be a target.
If the crime is much more serious –and this is– purported good intentions should not shield the suspect.
Has any member of the press asked Rockefeller point blank if he’s the law breaker yet?
No doubt the New York Times will be calling for a criminal investigation, as it did in the Plame matter.
ARMY YIELDS TO ARMY OF DAVIDS: It helps, of course, to be right.
HEH: ” Angry Muslim Terrorists Protest Cartoon Stereotypes of Angry Muslim Terrorists.” And that’s not even from Scrappleface.
UPDATE: But as usual, The Onion was ahead of the curve. This is from 1997:
Crazed Palestinian Gunman Angered by Stereotypes
HEBRON, WEST BANK—In an emotionally charged press conference Monday, crazed Palestinian gunman Faisal al Hamad expressed frustration over the stereotyping of his people.
Faisal al Hamad, seen here shrieking anti-U.S. slogans, says that “not every crazed Palestinian gunman is exactly alike.”
“As a crazed Palestinian gunman, I feel hurt by the negative portrayal of my people in the media,” said al Hamad, 31, a Hebron-area terrorist maniac. “None of us should have to live with stereotyping and ignorance.”
He then began screaming and firing into a busload of Israeli schoolchildren.
“It hurts that in this supposedly enlightened day and age, people still make assumptions about other people,” al Hamad said. “We should not rely on simple generalizations. Each crazed Palestinian gunman is an individual.”
Al Hamad said that he himself has often been unfairly stereotyped. “Any time I enter a crowded temple with fully loaded AK-47s in both hands, people just assume I’m going to open fire,” he said. “That really hurts.”
“Yes, I sometimes do gun people down in the name of the One True God,” he noted. “But there is so much more to me.”
Life imitating art imitating life. (Thanks to reader Brian Sament for the link).
MATTHEW YGLESIAS has joined BloggingHeadsTV. He’s good, too!
I think that this is one of the coolest new things on the web, and if I were, say, Chris Matthews, I’d be worried.
TERRY HEATON ON NEW MEDIA: So what do you do when the deer have guns? You go into the ammunition business.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON targets Chris Matthews. He seems to be taking fire from all directions these days.
A WARNING ABOUT blogger conference calls.
SO I SPENT THE AFTERNOON IN TENURE MEETINGS, and I’m happy to say that neither the substance nor the atmosphere matched the kind of thing you read in David Horowitz’s The Professors. To the contrary, numerous people said things like “I disagreed with this argument, but the article was good.” That’s how it ought to be, of course.
Also, as I’ve observed before, we send all scholarship to multiple outside reviewers, something that I guess was never done with regard to Ward Churchill . . . .
BRENDAN LOY WONDERS why people aren’t paying more attention to Julian Bond.
Though Bond’s remarks were more offensive than Trent Lott’s this seems similar in other respects: There were media folks there who heard them, but chose not to report them.
UNEMPLOYMENT DROPS TO 4.7 PERCENT: “The U.S. unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in 4-1/2 years in January as employers hired 193,000 new workers, the government said on Friday in a report revising up job growth for the preceding five months.”
Hmm. More evidence that we’re hitting the top of the cycle?
PRAISE AND PREJUDICE: Daniel Glover rounds up blogospheric reactions to Boehner’s elevation to Majority Leader.
THE STATE DEPARTMENT PRACTICES APPEASEMENT:
Washington on Friday condemned caricatures in European newspapers of the Prophet Mohammad, siding with Muslims who are outraged that the publications put press freedom over respect for religion.
By inserting itself into a dispute that has become a lightning rod for anti-European sentiment across the Muslim world, the United States could help its own battered image among Muslims.
“These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims,” State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper said in answer to a question. “We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable.”
“We call for tolerance and respect for all communities for their religious beliefs and practices,” he added.
Major U.S. publications have not republishing the cartoons, which include depictions of Mohammad as a terrorist. That is in contrast to European media, which responded to the criticism against the original Danish newspaper that printed the caricatures by republishing the offensive images themselves.
Perhaps this is just payback for European non-support on other topics, but I think it’s a dreadful mistake.
UPDATE: Reader John Friedman emails: “I’m sorry. Did I miss the State Dept. analysis of ‘Piss Christ?’ Perhaps you could link to it.”
I’m sorry, but the lesson here is that if you want to be listened to, you should blow things up. That’s a very bad incentive structure, but it’s the one the allegedly responsible parties have created.
Related thoughts from Sissy Willis. Meanwhile, a reader from Belgium emails:
On the “dreadful mistake bit”. Of course we Europeans (I am Belgian) have only ourselves to blame but Americans have to understand how fearful we are becoming of this violent minority in our midst. Muslims are already a majority in the lowest age groups in several large European cities. The potential for civil war is clearly there and what is even more worrysome is the dedication of most our governments to appeasement.
For the US State dept to seize this opportunity to burnish its image with the “muslim community” was only to be expected however and I am pretty sure that this is exactly the kind of noise our governments would want to hear from the US at this stage. So no harm done to us in any case. It will gain you zero goodwill from the fanatics, but it will not harm us. I do hope however that nobody at State dept really thinks that the fanatics have to be appeased and that those caricatures should not have been published. *That* would be a mistake of the first magnitude.
Bernard Vanden Bloock
FROM MUST-SEE TV TO PC TV: Actually, where Will and Grace is concerned I suspect a Rovian plot: As the characters have gradually become less attractive personally (and, in Debra Messing’s case, physically) they’ve also become more and more strident politically.
IN THE MAIL: James Swanson’s Manhunt : The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer. From the description, it sounds like a real-life thriller — a sort of Victorian Tom Clancy story, or something. “For 12 days, assisted by family and some women smitten by his legendary physical beauty, Booth relied on smarts, stealth and luck to elude the best detectives, military officers and local police the federal government could muster. Taking the reader into the action, the story is shot through with breathless, vivid, even gory detail.” Sounds pretty cool.
IT’S ONLY A flesh wound.
WE MUST BE NEAR THE TOP OF THE ECONOMIC CYCLE:
The humble bathroom, long a place of refuge and solitude, is playing quiet host to more workplace transactions. Bathroom business has gone way beyond tapping out furtive emails on a BlackBerry. Lately, more hard-driving homeowners have converted their loos into virtual satellite workspaces, with retractable desks or waterproof touch-screen monitors. Manufacturer Acquinox of New York says sales of its steam shower/whirlpool units — a hands-free phone is standard in each — nearly tripled last year to 14,800 modules. Wisconsin-based Seura, meanwhile, reports rising sales of its vanity mirrors, which feature LCD screens in the glass. The mirrors, starting at $2,400, let users check their tie-knot, then flip a switch to watch the embedded TV.
Very near the top.
APPARENTLY, I’M NOT SHILLING WELL ENOUGH for my brother’s band. Reader Barry Pike emails: “Did I miss it or have you already told everyone about Copper winning the D’Addario ‘Greatest Band We’ve Never Heard’ contest?”
Well, I thought I had, but searching “D’Addario” says I didn’t. D’oh! So here’s the link. (My brother is the one in the Smith & Wesson t-shirt.) They played a special show at Blue Cat’s a couple of weeks back, and quite a few bigshots from Atlantic Records were there, so stay tuned.
MICHAEL SOCOLOW writes in The Globe: “There is a dirty little secret in journalism: War reporting is the fastest way to get ahead. The trade-off is obvious. In exchange for putting one’s life on the line for a story, a journalistic organization will reward that courage with a promotion. Being in the right place at the right time is the essential journalistic value, and war zones always qualify as ‘right’ places.” But, he says, there’s more to it than that.
At a time when the Democratic elites no longer have a vibrant ideology and the Republicans in Washington are deserting theirs, the public across the spectrum seems to be screaming for recognizable signposts, shared political principles. . . .
The argument of practicing politicians against all this is that politics is ultimately about control by whatever means. You win, you control. This is often true, but now amid Abramoff, “out of control” GOP spending and the Democrats’ 24/7 carping, whatever works is in low esteem in the heartland, if not discredited. In the new media world, the political sausage factory is always on view. Ugh.
He’s certainly right about that last.
MARK STEYN ON IRAN: He’s not very positive.
UPDATE: Lee Harris:
There is an important law about power that is too often overlooked by rational and peace-loving people. Any form of power, from the most primitive to the most mind-boggling, is always amplified enormously when it falls into the hands of those whose behavior is wild, erratic, and unpredictable. A gun being waved back and forth by a maniac is far more disturbing to us than the gun in the holster of the policeman, though both weapons are equally capable of shooting us dead. And what is true of guns is far more true in the case of nukes.
That is why nuclear weapons in an Iran dominated by a figure like its current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad make us more nervous than nuclear weapons in the hands of the Swiss. Both could make big explosions; but the Iranian bomb would tend to keep us awake thinking in the night, while the Swiss atomic bomb would be as threatening as a cuckoo-clock. This does not mean that Iran has to use the bomb; it doesn’t. All Iran has to do to make people wonder if it might use it — and many of us are already pondering that question, thanks to the disturbingly bellicose rhetoric of Ahmadinejad.
It is an immense form of power simply to make other people wonder if you might not do something bad and unpleasant to them.
A corollary is that the United States probably needs to be scarier and less predictable itself.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Yes, of course, Frank J. was way ahead of us on this. As always.
BIGWIG IS BACK, and he’s unhappy with European dhimmitude.
ARAB TERRORISTS IN IRAN:
Oil-rich Khuzestan is largely populated by Shia Arabs who have long complained of discrimination by the dominant Iranian majority. During 2005 there was considerable unrest and sporadic anti-government bombings in June and October, followed by widespread public protests.
Arab resistance groups in Khuzestan are rather shadowy. The “Ahvaz Resistance Squad” may be a new group, or perhaps a cover name for one of the older groups that have claimed responsibility for incidents in the province in the past – the Arbav Martyrs of Khuzestan, the Arab People’s Democratic Front, the Arab Struggle Movement for Liberating Ahvaz, and Afwaj al-Nahdah al-Musallahah Al-Ahwaz. Indeed, it is possible that all of these “groups” are just cover names for the same organization.
The Iran-Iraq War during the 1980s was touched when Saddam Hussein invaded Khuzestan with the intention of annexing it to Iraq. The Iranian Arabs largely remained loyal, perhaps more because they new Sunni Arab dominated Iraq was not nice to Shia Arabs. But after the war, the ethnic Iranians resumed their long term disdain and domination of Iranian Arabs (and Arabs in general). The Iranians can’t believe their Arabs are smart, or organized, enough to get an effective terrorist organization going. Thus, it must all be a CIA or MI-6 backed plot.
TIM CAVANAUGH ISSUES A PREDICTION:
The Republican Party will retain control of both houses of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections. . . .
The problem for the dems is that they have nobody capable of doing what Gingrich did in 1994: defying Tip O’Neill’s law and conceptualizing 435 separate contests as a single national referendum. The only Democratic legislator who gets anybody’s body heat up to room temperature is Barack Obama, and he is a) not yet old enough to see an R-rated film without accompaniment and b) in the Senate, where revolutions never occur, and where any attempts at energizing the troops will be blocked by DINOs Clinton and Lieberman.
That leaves the House. Fortunately for the Dems, they don’t have as tall a task as Gingrich faced in ’94. Unfortunately, they also don’t have a Gingrich. They don’t even have grich, or gin or even a ngr. They have Nancy Pelosi, the most incompetent politician in the western hemisphere.
But he’s a notorious right-wing shill.
HOWARD STERN UPDATE: Went out for beers with Doug Weinstein, a big Howard Stern fan, and he’s very happy with his decision to subscribe to Sirius in order to get Stern. He says Stern has been on a roll since going on satellite: “Every day makes me smile.”
SOME NANOTECHNOLOGY CLAIMS have Derek Lowe bemused.
A BAD REVIEW FOR ROBERT FISK: “First there is the problem of simple accuracy. It is difficult to turn a page of The Great War for Civilisation without encountering some basic error. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not, as Fisk has it, in Jerusalem. The Caliph Ali, the Prophet Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, was murdered in the year 661, not in the 8th century. Emir Abdallah became king of Transjordan in 1946, not 1921, and both he and his younger brother, King Faisal I of Iraq, hailed not from a “Gulf tribe” but rather from the Hashemites on the other side of the Arabian peninsula. The Iraqi monarchy was overthrown in 1958, not 1962; Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem, was appointed by the British authorities, not elected; Ayatollah Khomeini transferred his exile from Turkey to the holy Shiite city of Najaf not during Saddam Hussein’s rule but fourteen years before Saddam seized power. Security Council resolution 242 was passed in November 1967, not 1968; Anwar Sadat of Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, not 1977, and was assassinated in October 1981, not 1979. Yitzhak Rabin was minister of defense, not prime minister, during the first Palestinian intifada, and al Qaeda was established not in 1998 but a decade earlier. And so on and so forth.”
Fisk has never been strong on facts. Of course, his analysis has always been weak, too. (Via Austin Bay).
IS SCALIA AN ORIGINALIST? That’s the topic of Randy Barnett’s Taft Lecture. Larry Solum has more, including links to the text and to video of the lecture. He also observes: “This is a particularly significant occasion, because Barnett’s paper critiques Justice Antonin Scalia’s own Taft lecture–Originalism: The Lesser Evil (also available at 57 U. Cin. L. Rev. 849 (1989)). Scalia’s lecture is one of the milestones in the development of originalist constitutional theory. In particular, it was a turning point in the movement of originalism from ‘original intent’ to ‘original public meaning.’”
The newspaper industry keeps producing these columns, but what it really needs is to figure out how to compete. What does Craigslist provide that it’s not? What could it provide that people want, that it’s not providing? (Hint: Good, original hard news reporting!)
On the other hand, this column is better than some, and contains this piece of potentially useful advice:
We all get the need for online ads and community sites now; why not let the folks in Burlington (or wherever) build their own? Why not (gasp) help them, instead of using his clout to hurt them?
This isn’t such a radical idea. Check out the blog world, where the best political bloggers don’t try to corner the market – they encourage others to start their own blogs.
Perhaps Craigslist should consider a local-franchise model that would incorporate local news content, something that — as far as I know — they’re not doing. That would still kill off a lot of local weeklies that are nothing but vehicles for classified ads now, but so what? They’re doomed anyway. At least it might add something.
VALLEYWAG, the latest Nick Denton blog, is up. It focuses on Silicon Valley and the tech industry. Check it out, if those interest you. And why wouldn’t they?
UPDATE: A reader suggests, correctly, that the growth of sites like this one — or FuckedCompany — is another example of the Army of Davids effect, for good and for ill — the ability of people inside companies to share their stories with each other, and the world, when in the past the dirt involved wouldn’t have gotten past the water cooler. I’ve actually got a section on that in the book, which was inspired, appropriately enough, by some comments of Nick Denton’s.
IT’S BOEHNER. This take seems about right to me:
Electing Blunt would have been suicidal. Electing Shadegg would have instantly energized the base, and gotten the party respect. In short, the Republican leadership knows that going too far to ignore its believers will lead to a disaster this November… but they want to try to limit the scope of that to as much “business as usual” as humanly possible.
The Diet Coke of reform. One calorie — not reformist enough!
Boehner’s said some decent things; perhaps he’ll be more of a reformist than the above take suggests. For the sake of the Republicans, he’d better be. And Boehner rhymes with “explainer.”
UPDATE: N.Z. Bear comments:
While the first choice of many of us in the blogosphere, Representative Shadegg, did not win the election, his impact on the race cannot be denied. His candidacy reminded his fellow Representatives that real reform, and real change in the leadership, was not simply the right thing to do, but utterly necessary to ensure the success of the GOP in November.
It is my sincere hope that Representative Boehner takes this message to heart, and takes up the banner of real reform with enthusiasm and commitment. And his past statements give reason for optimism. In our blogger conference call, and in his interview with Hugh Hewitt, Rep. Boehner reiterated his strong commitment against earmarks, and expressed support for the idea of posting legislation online for 72 hours prior to any vote. Limited government fans will be pleased with his direct and positive answer when asked if he’d support rules requiring legislation to contain statements identifying the authority within the Constitution that grants the Congress to legislate in that area (“That’d be fine with me.”), and his even more direct answer to concerns about McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform (“We ought to blow the whole bill up.”).
It is a critical time for the House GOP, and Boehner’s leadership will be essential in bringing the party out from the cloud of corruption scandals.
Indeed. More thoughts here: “So to Rep. Boehner, congratulations and good luck. We’ll be watching and writing. We hope you’ll do as you’ve said and seize the opportunity you’ve been presented to root out the endemic corruption (and change the structure which supports it) and return the House, and the party, to ethical and fiscal conservatism.”
A POSITIVE REVIEW FOR An Army of Davids on the Compass Points blog by Brad Miner of Doubleday’s American Compass, which has picked up the book. Excerpt: “I’m not prepared to say that Glenn Reynolds is about to become Alvin Toffler (FUTURE SHOCK) for a new generation, but I do believe that his book is just as powerful—and a whole lot more sensible than that 1970s bestseller. . . . This book is so rich in its contents that it’s practically impossible to do justice to it in so short a space as this.” Well, unlike most reviewers, he’s put his money where his mouth is by picking up the book-club rights!
UPDATE: This, on the other hand, is just plain scary.
What has core Republican voters agitated is exactly what we’ve been warning about for months. Republicans are acting as if they are the party of incumbency and big government. The federal budget is now almost 40% larger than it was five years ago–thanks to a budget process rigged for spending by the Democrats in 1974 that the GOP hasn’t changed, and to such embarrassments as a highway bill with an average of four pork barrel projects for every Congressional district in America.
Republicans still have eight months to try for redemption with the voters who put them in charge. But the clock is ticking. Today’s vote will tell a lot about whether the process starts now–or ever.
I bought one, and shaved with it with the expectation that five blades would be just plain silly. Shockingly, however, it actually does shave very well. The Insta-Wife’s verdict upon feeling my cheeks was that they were noticeably smoother than usual.
What’s next? Will my grandsons be shaving with 12-blade razors?
UPDATE: Reader Dan Jacquemin notes that this is another case of life imitating The Onion. Heh.
HOW REPUBLICANS CAN GET THEIR GROOVE BACK: Jon Henke looks at the House Majority Leader race.
NICE START: So I’m drinking my second cup of coffee, and do what I do most mornings — go over to see what Lileks put up while I was asleep — and I discover that he’s plugging my book. With an Amazon link, no less. I hope this becomes a trend. . . .
I’VE BEEN SKEPTICAL of the alcohol-for-petroleum switch that President Bush was talking about, but Bob Zubrin is an awfully smart guy, and he thinks it can be the answer.
There appears to be a serious rift in the cabinet of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Some of his supporters are urging a hard-line against the US and adventurism abroad, while others believe that war with the US is not inevitable and that Iran can benefit from maintaining a low profile. Ahmadinejad has apparently let all the international media attention go to his head. Ahmadinejad always was a news hound, and enjoyed getting recognized for accomplishing things while mayor of Tehran. But now many Iranians are getting nervous, because Ahmadinejad is talking war and not getting anything done for the poor and oppressed (by the corrupt clergy who control the government and much of the mismanaged economy). Iranian Internet chatter is full of such misgivings. But Ahmadinejad’s playing of the nationalism card makes open demonstrations of opposition dangerous.
AN INTERESTING LOOK at reconstructing — or really, constructing — the power grid in Iraq, from the IEEE Spectrum. Excerpt:
Most officials, Iraqis included, agree that there is more power available in Iraq now than there was before the 2003 war. However, that fact is less germane than most people realize, because the allocation of electric power has shifted seismically, and more or less in sync with the shift in political power. Basically, parts of Baghdad and central Iraq now get much less power than they did before the war, while parts of the south and north actually get considerably more.
For many years, the mainstays of Iraq’s electrical capacity were steam generating plants near the huge oil fields in the south and hydroelectric plants [“Power Corridors” in the Kurdish regions in the north. Relatively few plants were concentrated around Baghdad, where most of the demand was. So to keep parts of the city energized close to 24 hours a day, as Saddam wished them to be, operators had to black out different parts of the Shiite south and Kurdish north on a rotating schedule.
Rotating blackouts are still a way of life in Iraq’s electrical sector, but now they’re not done for Baghdad’s benefit. The city still gets about half of its power from the north and south, but these days city residents get anywhere from 6 to 9 hours of electricity a day, compared with about 15 hours for people living in Basra.
In the most recent survey by the International Republican Institute, a prodemocracy advocacy group in Washington, D.C., 2200 Iraqis were asked which of 10 different problems “requiring a political or governmental solution” was most important to them. The first choice, by a margin of about 10 percent, was “inadequate electricity.” “National security” came in fifth; the “presence of multinational forces” was seventh; and “terrorists” was eighth.
Read the whole thing, which has a lot of interesting technical information on what’s being done, and what’s been done wrong — much of it, it seems, in an effort to move too fast. But there’s also this, which is a kind of good news:
Because electricity is essentially free, Iraqis have responded much as you might expect: by buying and using air conditioners, television sets, and refrigerators in record numbers. “We don’t even know what demand really is, because it is unconstrained by price,” says Crane, the Rand economist. Until the ministry begins charging more realistic rates for electricity, he warns, “you could put a hundred billion dollars into the electrical system and not satisfy demand.”
With its huge oil reserves and socialistic society under Saddam, Iraq always had some of the lowest electricity rates in the region. But those low rates didn’t keep pace with soaring inflation in Iraq in the 1980s and, especially, the 1990s. Under Saddam, when middle-class Iraqis made just a few dollars a month, few of them could afford refrigerators and air conditioners. Now average family income is $150 a month and a lot of people can afford appliances, as the runaway electrical demand attests.
Unless you’re in charge of meeting that demand, it’s good news.
UPDATE: The Iraqis can take comfort in this: “we are in danger of doing a far worse job rebuilding New Orleans than rebuilding Baghdad.”
ILYA SHAPIRO looks at problems with the immigration system.
As I’ve said before, it’s too porous and too strict at the same time.
BAD BOY OF RADIO, meet the bad boys of the Internet:
Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., which liberated radio shock jock Howard Stern from the federal decency standards that he felt had shackled him, is finding that freedom’s just another word for $500 million to lose.
Since Jan. 9, when Stern debuted on Sirius, pirated versions of the shows have been made available for free via several online file-sharing networks just hours after Stern signs off. The New York-based broadcaster signed Stern to a five-year, half-billion-dollar contract in 2004.
This was kind of predictable, really. (Via NewsAlert).
BUT NO TERRORISTS WERE HARMED BY THIS INVASION OF PRIVACY:
Credit and bank card numbers of as many as 240,000 subscribers of The Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram & Gazette were inadvertently distributed with bundles of T&G newspapers on Sunday, officials of the newspapers said yesterday. . . . In addition, routing information for personal checks of 1,100 T&G subscribers also may have been inadvertently released.
The Globe and T&G, which are both owned by The New York Times Co., share a computer system.
So it’s okay, then. (Via T.M. Lutas).
KARL ZINSMEISTER: Facts and fiction from the front:
Your editor has just returned from another month in Iraq — my fourth extended tour in the last two and a half years. During November and December I joined numerous American combat operations, including the largest air assault since the beginning of the war, walked miles of streets and roads, entered scores of homes, listened to hundreds of Iraqis, observed voting at a dozen different polling sites, and endured my third roadside ambush. With this latest firsthand experience, here are answers to some common queries about how the war is faring.
Read the whole thing. And here’s some related information from Jim Lindgren.
PIECE O’CRAP ALERT: So the Norton Internet Security 2005 on my laptop expired, and instead of just renewing, I foolishly “upgraded” to Norton Internet Security 2006. I’ve reinstalled several times, but it won’t update. When I try, it tells me that LiveUpdate isn’t installed. When I try to install LiveUpdate, it tells me that it’s already there and won’t install. Various visits to their support site have wasted a lot of my time, but left me right where I started. I’m ditching Norton and switching to something else — my time is worth more than their crappy product. Any recommendations? I need antivirus and firewall. Don’t care about spamblocking, adblocking, or parental controls.
UPDATE: At a reader’s suggestion, I downloaded and ran the Symantec “Intelligent Updater” program, which seems to have fixed the problem. Apparently you only get the “not terribly bright updater” bundled with the main program . . . . We’ll see how this works.
The other thing I’ve noticed from the email is that *every* program out there has *somebody* who hates it.
A DEMOCRATIC SHAKEUP: The Wall Street Journal’s “Washington Wire” (free link) reports:
As three Republicans candidates vie to replace Rep. Tom DeLay as House Majority Whip in an election Thursday, Democrats showed that anything can happen in a closed-ballot election in Washington.
Democrat Rep. John Larson of Connecticut won a startling election to become the fourth-ranking member of the House Democrats’ leadership team.
Larson had just 18 publicly announced supporters heading into the election. Rep. Joseph Crowley of New York had 72 public supporters while Rep. Jan Schakowsky had 56. In the first round of voting, Mr. Larson received 60 votes; Crowley, 79; and Ms. Schakowsky, 56. Since no candidate won a majority of the votes, the top two vote recipients — Mr. Larson and Mr. Crowley — moved on to a second ballot. There, most of Ms. Schakowsky’s supporters backed Mr. Larson — and he won, 116-87.
PAJAMAS THEATER 3000 is Ed Driscoll’s new blog devoted to home theater technology, videos, etc.
THIS, AS BEST I CAN TELL, is how the Cory Maye case should have turned out:
A little more than two years ago, Mario Barcia Jr. was awakened in the dead of night by banging on his door. Startled — and shaken from two previous robberies — he grabbed his gun and ran to the front of the house.
Within a matter of seconds his life would change forever. Seeing what he described only as a bright light shining through his back door, Barcia fired a single shot.
Five shots were returned. Then Barcia fired twice more.
His first shot had hit Miami-Dade County police officer Chad Murphy in the back.
Barcia was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, a crime that could have left him imprisoned for life. Murphy, wearing a flak jacket, survived with a bloody bruise.
On Wednesday, it took a Miami-Dade County jury less than 30 minutes to decide Barcia did nothing wrong in shooting Murphy, who had entered Barcia’s property without permission or a warrant.
It’s still been no picnic for Barcia, but at least he’s not in jail like Cory Maye, who acted similarly under very similar circumstances. Radley Balko has a lot more on the Maye case on his blog. Just keep scrolling.
DANIEL GLOVER interviews Roy Blunt. Interviews with Shadegg and Boehner are coming.
Last night, in addition to Cindy Sheehan being arrested for her anti-war t-shirt, the wife of a Florida representative was apparently asked to leave for wearing a support the troops shirt.
Who the heck wears a t-shirt to the State of the Union address anyway?
I’m sure The Manolo would send the Fashion Police after both of them.
Hey, maybe he did! It’s a fair cop.
I’VE MENTIONED JOEL MILLER’S BOOK Size Matters: How Big Government Puts the Squeeze on America’s Families, Finances, and Freedom before. (Earlier today, in fact!) He’ll be talking about it at the CATO Institute tomorrow. Drop by if you’re in DC. Or take advantage of the streaming audio and video if you’re not. (Via Hit and Run).
I also recommend his earlier book, Bad Trip : How the War Against Drugs is Destroying America, as do the Hit and Run folks. Here’s an interview with him about that book.
A LOOK AT BUSH’S SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PROPOSALS from Ars Technica concludes:
Aside from the proposal to ban certain kinds of medical research, the science and technology proposals are encouraging. The alternative energy proposals are particularly promising, and they may lead to critical new technologies that will hopefully wean the US from its dependence on foreign oil. The value of the science education proposals is certainly debatable, but his proposed solutions are arguably better than doing nothing at all.
Read the whole thing.
THE BAYOSPHERE EXPERIENCE: Dan Gillmor talks with Mark Glaser about what happened, and what’s next.
AUSTIN BAY looks at why the Woodruff story has gotten so much attention.
UPDATE: Capt. Alfred Nugent emails:
The point Mr. Bay makes about “Having a personal connection to someone injured or killed on the battlefield is a relatively rare experience for journalists,” explaining the fascination with the Woodruff story is valid. I suspect that in addition, it goes a long way in explaining the Washington Post Editorial Board’s failure of to see just how inappropriate this cartoon was. You’ll have seen the attachments by now on Michelle Malkin’s Site, Link. In the JCS’s 24 star letter they ask they ask “Where do we get such men and women?” Answered rhetorically, and to themselves about the Editorial Board of the Post, I suspect it would be “probably not from your cartoonist’s family, the families of your favorite political party’s leaders and certainly not yours either”.
Indeed. The Post, of course, would never run a racially insensitive cartoon of that degree. Unless, perhaps, it targeted Condi Rice or Clarence Thomas.
MORE SUPPORT FOR FREE SPEECH in Europe, from newspapers in Germany and Sweden.
Kinda sad that this is news, but still . . . .
MCCAIN to endorse Shadegg, according to a report at NRO.
JOHN SCALZI offers anecdotal evidence of the Long Tail.
BUSH: Dropping the “F-bomb”?
To me, the most revealing moment during President Bush’s State of the Union speech came when congressional Democrats stood and cheered after Bush said,
“Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security…”
If the Republicans were smart, they should save the tape of that moment, and use it in commercials for the next 50 years.
Yeah, I noticed that too.
UPDATE: I see someone’s already thinking along these lines.
THE INSTA-WIFE goes all peer-reviewish on that political/racial bias study that’s been getting so much attention: “The first time I took the test, my results said that I had a moderate preference for European Americans to African Americans. I took the test a second time and it said I had a slight preference for African Americans over European Americans. Well, which is it?”
PIETER DORSMANN compares the controversy over the Mohammed cartoons with that over Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ.”
The lesson is that if you want your religion not to be mocked, it helps to have a reputation for senseless violence. Is this the incentive structure we want?
FIREFLY SEASON TWO: The digital distribution season. I like the idea.
UPDATE: I emailed Tim Minear, the Firefly executive producer, and he’s not very positive about this. Sorry; I’d love to see a second season, too.
CAN’T STOP THE SIGNAL:
Phil Bowermaster Stephen Gordon proposes an end run around Google’s Chinese censorship.
IT’S NOT A GLENN AND HELEN PODCAST, but I’ve got a podcast interview with Joel Miller, about his book, Size Matters. Joel’s in charge of the CurrentSpeak podcasts, and had done an interview with me about my book, but then said, a bit sheepishly, “Er, I can’t really interview myself about my book — only William F. Buckley can pull that off — so, well, would you mind . . . .”
TIM CHAPMAN reports on the House Majority Leader race:
Mike Pence (R-IN), the chairman of the RSC, said that two out of the three candidates had taken the time to fill out an extensive questionnaire issued by the RSC. The questionnaire, which was filled out by John Shadegg (R-AZ) and John Boehner (R-OH) but not by Roy Blunt (R-MO), asked a series of questions on issues of central importance to conservatives in the House of Representatives. . . .
The buzzword in Baltimore was reform. Pence says that the current political climate requires not just lobbying reforms but congressional reforms that are tied to a reform agenda. Topping the list of congressional reforms is the issue of earmarking -– the process by which lawmakers designate taxpayer dollars for specific projects (sometimes referred to as pork) in their districts. . . .
The rally cry for earmark reform has not gone unnoticed outside the ranks of the RSC. Both Boehner and Blunt (Shadegg is an RSC member) addressed earmark reform in their speeches to the group. Now, other members of the Republican caucus are beginning to talk about it as well.
The article portrays this as “conservatives” vs. “moderates,” with the “moderates” opposing earmark reform. But I’m not sure that’s the right formulation.
HOWARD DEAN appears to be a poor financial steward.
SIGNS OF RESISTANCE:
A French newspaper has reproduced a set of Danish caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad that have caused outrage in the Muslim world.
France Soir said it had published the cartoons to show that “religious dogma” had no place in a secular society.
Their publication in Denmark has led to protests in several Arab nations.
Read the whole thing.
IT’S NOT HUGE, but this is welcome news: “Two top Egyptian officials called on Hamas to recognize Israel, disarm and honor past peace deals Wednesday, the latest sign Arab governments are pushing the militant group to moderate after its surprise election victory. Separately, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official said that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has told Egyptian officials he would hold off on asking Hamas to form the next Palestinian government until Hamas renounces violence.” Mubarak is apparently behind this.
ALPHECCA’S WEEKLY ROUNDUP of media bias regarding guns is up.