Archive for February, 2007

February 25, 2007

BITTORRENT GOES MAINSTREAM:

On Monday, the company, whose technology unleashed a wave of illegal file-sharing on the Internet, plans to unveil the BitTorrent Entertainment Network on its Web site, BitTorrent.com. The digital media store will offer around 3,000 new and classic movies and thousands more television shows, as well as a thousand PC games and music videos each, all legally available for purchase.

The programming comes from studios, including Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount and Warner Brothers, that previously announced their intention to work with BitTorrent. There is also a new partner: the 83-year-old Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which will take part by making 100 films available on the site from its 4,000-movie library. “Somebody once said you have to embrace your enemy,” said Doug Lee, executive vice president of MGM’s new-media division. “We like the idea that they have millions of users worldwide. That is potentially fertile, legitimate ground for us.”

Indeed. Read the whole thing.

February 25, 2007

A LOOK AT moderate Islam today.

February 25, 2007

MASH-UP MISCHIEF in campaign videos.

February 25, 2007

Scheduled Entry Test

February 25, 2007

THE “BIG DIG” repeats itself on a smaller scale.

February 25, 2007

THE INSTA-DAUGHTER is off seeing the movie version of The Bridge to Terabithia. I’ll let you know what she thinks. Meanwhile, some related book recommendations.

UPDATE: The Insta-Daughter’s review: “Not so great — they Disneyfied it a lot.”

February 25, 2007

SOME ADVICE FOR Europeans in the United States.

February 25, 2007

WHEN FLYING DIDN’T SUCK: Some photos from the glamour age of air travel. (Via Cory Doctorow).

February 25, 2007

BILL RICHARDSON: The best choice the Democrats won’t make?

February 25, 2007

IT’S A SUNDAY ROUNDUP, over at K.C. Johnson’s place.

February 25, 2007

PRAISE FOR AL GORE.

February 25, 2007

OKAY, THIS IS JUST BIZARRE: The Pop-up Book of Sex. It’s the video, illustrating the book in action, that’s really surreal, though. I think it’s the sound.

February 25, 2007

CRUSHING DISSENT IN GERMANY: “The founder of a group in Germany for former Muslims has sought police protection after receiving death threats.”

February 25, 2007

TOM & JERRY: International Jewish Conspiracy!

February 25, 2007

IN THE HOUSE OF MIRTHA.

February 25, 2007

THE POLITICS OF JETBLUE: “Right on cue, politicians are making a fuss about a “passenger bill of rights” and demanding Congressional intervention after last week’s JetBlue airline debacle. The irony is that the marketplace is already moving to address the problem, and the government could really help by relaxing some of the rules that incentivize airlines to discomfit passengers in the first place.”

Of course, what some see as bad service, others see as a vital national security asset.

February 25, 2007

MICKEY KAUS is unhappy with printer-cartridge sales practices, and wants antitrust relief.

February 24, 2007

ROGER SIMON WONDERS who cares about Abdel Kareem Soliman.

February 24, 2007

PATRICK RUFFINI SAYS the surge is working. Let’s hope. Plus this: “When things don’t go well in Iraq, we see the endless B-roll of chaos and carnage. When things are on the upswing, we tend to hear more about Anna Nicole Smith. ” Things must be going really well, then . . . .

February 24, 2007

VIRGINIA POSTREL WRITES on the Transparent Society and its clueless adult enemies.

February 24, 2007

JOHN SCALZI offers a look at the money side of writing science fiction.

February 24, 2007

THROWING AWAY THE KEY: Prof. Ellen Podgor looks at sentencing for White Collar crimes.

Podgor was also a guest on this podcast.

There’s a response, from Andrew Weissman and Joshua Block.

February 24, 2007

HELICOPTER SHOT DOWN BY INSURGENTS — DOZENS DEAD: In Iran.

February 24, 2007

BECLOWNING, once again. As usual, it’s self-inflicted.

But for a real blogfight, go here.

UPDATE: More restrained blogfighting here.

February 24, 2007

THE LATEST BLOG WEEK IN REVIEW IS UP, with Austin Bay talking about his new book.

February 24, 2007

THE POWERLINE GUYS now have another blog over at AOL.

February 24, 2007

XENI JARDIN POSTS A ROUNDUP on persecuted Egyptian blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman.

February 24, 2007

INDEED: Bumper Stickers Are Not the Answer.

February 24, 2007

OPENING THE DOORS to the silos.

February 24, 2007

SUICIDE GOOGLEBOMBING: Heh.

February 24, 2007

THE NEW REPUBLIC goes biweekly. It seems to me that this could work, if they integrate the web content — for timeliness that a weekly can’t deliver anyway — while putting more longer pieces, of the kind that it’s a pain to read on the Web, in the magazine. But it’s certainly a huge gamble. I think that TNR, which has always had a contrarian approach that went beyond the usual partisan divide, is suffering because this is a time in which the partisan divide is very sharp, and people are placed under enormous pressure to fall on one side of the fence or the other, even when they don’t really agree with the bulk of either side. I suspect, however, that this is a temporary condition — sharp partisan divides generally blur — and that eventual blurring will probably help.

February 24, 2007

OVER AT MICKEY KAUS’S, an observation:

The truth is Hillary’s campaign has been a series of ill-considered moves. Obama panicked her into a way-too-early-announcement. The cause of the panic was fund-raising (poaching of presumed supporters), which is the least vulnerable aspect of her campaign. Basically, if she wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, she wins the nomination. The most she can spend in Iowa and New Hampshire is $20 million, every last dollar counted, including the surrounding states primary television advertising that will be seen in Iowa. So money is not her problem. Imagining that it was and therefore entering the race six-to-eight months before she needed to was a MAJOR mistake. Had she entered in August or September, the surge would have run its course successfully or not. The Iran issue would be that much further along. Pandemic flu would have hit or not hit. Etc. By announcing early, she brought into play a hundred unnecessary variables.

Read the whole thing, and scroll down for some more interesting thoughts. I think that starting the campaign early is a bad idea for a lot of reasons. Aside from considerations like the above, it draws much more heavily on the campaign’s most important capital, the candidate. Tired people make mistakes, and the earlier you start, the tireder you’re likely to be by the final stages when it really matters. Plus, with a two-year campaign, whoever gets elected will start off already exhausted. And I’m serious about this, not just joking. Being President, especially during difficult times like these, wears people out anyway, and it can only be worse if you start off tired from a two-year campaign.

February 24, 2007

HOMELAND SECURITY has been the Bush Administration’s biggest and most inexcusable national-security failure, but the Democrats don’t want to make an issue of it for some reason (because they’d have to criticize a big government program?). But here’s an alternative approach. Or at least a call for one. . . .

February 23, 2007

A PACK, NOT A HERD: “A tour bus of US senior citizens defended themselves against a group of alleged muggers, sending two of them fleeing and killing a third in the Atlantic coast city of Limon, Costa Rica police said on Thursday. One of the tourists – a retired member of the US military – put assailant Warner Segura in a head lock and broke his clavicle after the 20-year-old and two other men armed with a knife and gun held up their tour bus Wednesday, said Luis Hernandez, the police chief of Limon, 130 kilometers (80 miles) east of San Jose. “

February 23, 2007

NO STRINGS.

February 23, 2007

A SUBVERSIVE THOUGHT CASCADE.

February 23, 2007

ED MORRISSEY: “There’s nothing more predictive than a hot, breaking poll less than 90 weeks before an election.”

February 23, 2007

THE BOSTON GLOBE LOOKS AT SOCKPUPPETS, but Dean Barnett notes some errors and omissions in the account.

February 23, 2007

JAMES WATERTON REVIEWS the new documentary, Mine Your Own Business.

The review is good, and it sounds like the film is good, too. But unaccountably, he, like every other reviewer I’ve encountered, seems to have missed the Scooby Doo angle.

February 23, 2007

RAND SIMBERG HAS THOUGHTS on Rudy and abortion.

February 23, 2007

A LOOK AT UGANDA:

The country of Uganda plans to send about 1,500 troops to Somalia as part of an African Union peace-keeping force. The goal is to stabilize the weak government of Somalia, with the hope that the warlords will voluntarily disarm. Hopefully, Ugandan troops will be more successful in Somalia than they have in their own country.

For months now, Ugandan army troops have been garrisoned in the northeast part of the country under orders to disarm the local populace—pastoral, cattle-herding tribes known as the Karamojong. The army is attempting, and failing, to quash an uprising which was caused by prior attempt to disarm the same tribes.

But in its effort to “disarm,” the Ugandan army, supported by tanks and helicopter gunships, is burning down villages, sexually torturing men, raping women, and plundering what few possessions the tribespeople own. Tens of thousands of victims have been turned into refugees. Human rights scholar Ben Knighton has used the term “ethnocide” to describe the army’s campaign.

Read the whole thing.

February 23, 2007

WE’RE NUMBER FOUR: Go Vols!

February 23, 2007

EUGENE VOLOKH LOOKS AT loss of press freedoms in post-9/11 America.

February 23, 2007

DOUG WEINSTEIN: “Does anybody else think that it’s ridiculous for presidential candidates to be going at it hammer and tongs a full year before the first primary?” He thinks Edwards is smart to hang back. Plus, a look at Republican maneuvers and what Democrats should be doing.

February 23, 2007

TIM BLAIR: “Why do these people ignore science?”

February 23, 2007

TRENT LOTT, ACTING ACCORDING TO TYPE:

One big question when Democrats took over Congress was which industry would be first to feel the new majority’s populist rage. Oil? Pharma? Banks? Corporate America just got its answer, direct from the angriest man to have been empowered in the past election: Republican Sen. Trent Lott.

The Mississippian was “infuriated” by the insurance industry’s refusal to shell out for certain Katrina claims, most notably his own. So Mr. Lott is spearheading a ferocious campaign of political revenge that would make even Henry Waxman envious–replete with investigations, voracious trial lawyers, ambitious state attorneys general and threats of punitive federal legislation. And like most personal grievances that get morphed into policy battles, it’s ending badly for consumers.

Mr. Lott’s beachfront property in Pascagoula–one of three homes he owned–was swept away entirely by Hurricane Katrina’s waters. Like many Gulf Coast residents, Mr. Lott was soon reminded by his insurer, State Farm, that his policy only covered wind damage–not flood damage. The senator surely knew that, which is why he’d also purchased federal flood insurance. According to his flood policy that was in effect when Katrina hit, he was covered up to $350,000 in flood damages, and he presumably collected in full. (Sen. Lott’s office didn’t return my call.) . . .

For his part, Mr. Lott has been busy cranking up the pressure in Washington. Not that he didn’t give fair warning. In July of last year, he placed a call to Chuck Chamness, the CEO of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, to let the industry know what was coming. Mr. Chamness later sent a letter to Mr. Lott, summing up the call. The key passage: “Your comment that you will dedicate your next term of office to ‘bringing down State Farm and the industry’ through all means available to you, including legislation designed to harm the property/casualty insurance industry, was very unsettling, to say the least.”

Nice to know that he’s got his priorities in order. Sheesh.

February 23, 2007

EGYPT’S FREE SPEECH MARTYR: A special feature on blogger Abdel Kareem Soliman over at PJ Media. Excerpt: “This verdict sets a legal precedent for prosecuting someone for what they write on the Internet, on charges that are not easily defined or defended against. This could be used to prosecute any blogger the government feels like punishing, and serves a huge blow to freedom of speech in Egypt.”

February 23, 2007

GIVING NEW MEANING to the term abusive lab test, Erik Sofge tries out the new civilian Taser C2. Or, more accurately, the Taser C2 is tried out on Sofge. There’s video.

February 23, 2007

VISITED THE INSTA-MOTHER-IN-LAW at the hospital. She’s doing pretty well for someone who just had a steel rod surgically implanted in her leg. They’re trying to sort out her balance problems before they let her go.

February 23, 2007

JOHN TIERNEY: Why are these models scowling?

February 23, 2007

YESTERDAY’S “BALL OF WHACKS” POST produced this email from Ball of Whacks creator Roger van Oechs:

Thanks for posting about the amazing “Ball of Whacks.” Glad to hear your secretary enjoyed hers.

I was in Egypt a week or so ago, and here is a photo of me introducing the Ball of Whacks to the Sphinx. A truly cosmic moment!

I’m not sure it presages peace in the Middle East, but most of the Egyptians I showed the Ball to had fun playing with it, and told me that it had “Nice Pyramids,” which I took as a compliment.

Sounds like the punchline to a Pam Anderson joke.

February 23, 2007

HOWARD KURTZ: “Beneath the hugely entertaining spectacle of a Hollywood billionaire slapping his former pal Hillary Clinton lies this question: Will much of her campaign–perhaps too much–be about Bill? . . . But what’s striking is that this wasn’t the vast right-wing conspiracy slamming the Clinton legacy, but a leading light of the Hollywood left, spouting off to Maureen Dowd.”

Mickey Kaus, meanwhile, has more thoughts.

February 23, 2007

HEH:

Under increased pressure to announce an exit strategy from Iraq, President George W. Bush revealed plans today to bring U.S. troops home on the budget airlines JetBlue.

Mr. Bush received praise for his decision to withdraw American troops, but his choice of JetBlue to transport them raised more than a few eyebrows.

According to most official estimates, with its recent spate of scheduling problems and flight delays, JetBlue could take up to seven years to bring U.S. troops home, and possibly ten years in the event of inclement weather.

But at a press conference at the White House today, the president argued that the selection of Jet Blue was “crucial” to the success of his latest exit strategy.

“Setting an exact timetable for a withdrawal from Iraq would be playing right into the enemy’s hands,” Mr. Bush said. “By going with JetBlue, our enemy will have no idea when we’re leaving.”

To emphasizes his point, Mr. Bush added, “And neither will we.”

Across Iraq, U.S. GIs were hopeful that the news about JetBlue meant that they would be home by Christmas, or at least by Easter 2012.

Poor JetBlue.

February 23, 2007

JOHN TAMMES has posted his weekly roundup of news from Afghanistan that you may have missed.

February 23, 2007

THOUGHTS ON MEMORY, from Tom Maguire.

UPDATE: A sentencing suggestion, should Libby be convicted.

February 23, 2007

FEDERAL BOOZE POLICE GO BONKERS. Indeed.

February 23, 2007

JIMMY CARTER AT EMORY: Blogged at Jewish Current Issues. More on that story here.

February 23, 2007

DAVID HOROWITZ has a new book out on leftist bias in the academy, but this Arizona legislation is too much even for him.

UPDATE: Related thoughts here.

February 23, 2007

AUSTIN BAY:

“More troops” isn’t the most significant aspect of the military “surge” in Iraq. . . .

Adding 20,000 troops to Iraq in a five- to six-month window is a significant increase but in and of itself not decisive, and certainly not a “new strategy.”

The relentless, focused targeting of Shia and Sunni extremist organizations is a far more important feature of what Iraqis are calling “the new security plan” than more U.S. troops. The coalition’s effort to better integrate the economic and political development “lines of operation” with security operations could have greater long-term effects. . . . Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the new security plan is the increased aggressiveness of the Iraqi Army as it conducts counterinsurgent operations. The Iraqi military defeat of the cultist “Soldiers of Heaven” planned attack on Najaf in late January provides a dramatic example. With coalition backup, Iraqi forces launched a spoiling attack and killed or captured several hundred militants.

Maliki’s national reconciliation program remains the key Iraqi political endeavor. That program began well before “the new security plan,” but no security plan will succeed unless reconciliation occurs.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Chris Muir, back from his embed in Iraq, emails:

I’m not sure if it’s the same thing as the Office of National Reconciliation, but I can say that the Army’s MiTT teams (Military transition teams) I observed in Mosul are heavily involved in training the IP (Iraqi Police) and the IA (Iraqi Army) to self- sufficiency in both organizational and cultural integration.

Some of the Army’s best are actually referred to as ‘going native’ a la Lawrence of Arabia, and are living with the Iraqis, working with them from within as to their (and the Army’s) goals.

The State Department appears completely absent from the theatre, and the Army has done the work of infrastructure projects & rebuild, community relations, political organization,etc.

When I look around my home here this morning, I appreciate more readily the invisible but strong level of infrastructure only possible with an organization and co-operation of a society. This is what I saw the Army doing for Iraqis from scratch, and as they reiterated to me there, it ‘will take time’ for the Iraqis to get to that day.

But will the American public give them the time of day?

That remains to be seen.

February 23, 2007

MOMENTUM BUILDS for the automotive X-Prize.

February 23, 2007

MORE GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS, rounded up by Jules Crittenden.

February 22, 2007

PAY FOR PLAY in South Carolina?

February 22, 2007

LIEBERMAN AND THE DEMOCRATS: Ann Althouse is enjoying it.

February 22, 2007

ROGER SIMON thinks he knows why Geffen said what he said: “Geffen doesn’t think Hillary can win.”

February 22, 2007

THOSE FRED THOMPSON RUMORS just won’t go away.

February 22, 2007

THIS IS JUST WRONG:

Two Florida teenagers, Jeremy and Amber, ages 17 and 16 respectively, boyfriend and girlfriend — snapped digital photos of themselves engaged in sexual activity. They were prosecuted under state child porn laws, and convicted. . . . In Florida, Amber and Jeremy did not break the law by having sexual relations — even though they’re both teens — but the courts decided they were criminals for having documented it digitally.

Wrong, and dumb.

February 22, 2007

WELL, THIS SUCKS: Today was the big day when my mother-in-law was going to move from her old apartment into an “independent living” setup. But while getting ready for the movers this morning she tripped, fell, and broke a leg. She had to go to the E.R., then had surgery, and is now going to be hospitalized for a while, then wheelchair-bound for several weeks. Blogging may be a bit intermittent for the next little while. Sigh.

February 22, 2007

VICTORYCAUCUS.COM has got Professor Bainbridge unhappy, but I certainly agree with this suggestion:

The national disgrace of gerrymandering has created a system in which the vast majority of House seats are safe for one of the two parties. As a result, the real action is in the primaries, which tend to be dominated by activists. As a result, we see the polarization of Congress, as GOP candidates tend hard right to win their primaries and vice-versa for the Democrats. Now the netroots plan to exacerbate the problem.

The solution seems obvious. A national system of nonpartisan redistricting designed to maximize the number of truly competitive seats. In such a system, candidates would succeed by appealing to the center rather than the extremes, which in turn would reduce the destructive influence of the rabid partisans on both sides of the net.

This is another of those things that I would be more excited about if the prospect of it working were better.

February 22, 2007

TOM MAGUIRE salutes The New York Times.

February 22, 2007

DO UNIONS improve productivity?

February 22, 2007

IRAQIS ON THE TROOPS:

Now, “If you talk to these sheiks, they’ll tell you that they’re in no hurry to see the Americans leave al-Anbar,” he said.

“One thing Sheikh Sattar keeps saying is he wants al-Anbar to be like Germany and Japan and South Korea were after their respective wars, with a long-term American presence helping … put them back together,” MacFarland said. “The negative example he cites is Vietnam. He says, yeah, so, Vietnam beat the Americans, and what did it get them? You know, 30 years later, they’re still living in poverty.”

Heh. Indeed.

February 22, 2007

TERROR CHARGES:

Zubair and Khaleed Ahmed came to the conference and met with a man who promised to train them to kill American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Zubair Ahmed, 27, and Khaleed Ahmed, 26, were charged with conspiring to commit terrorist acts against Americans overseas. They were arrested Wednesday in Chicago and are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court there Monday.

Hard to know how much to make of this, but stay tuned.

February 22, 2007

THE MAD PONY BLOG is back, after a long absence. I hadn’t noticed, but that’s why I have readers.

February 22, 2007

QUAGMIRE!

February 22, 2007

A FACEBOOK STALKER: Now that’s just pathetic.

February 22, 2007

“BECLOWNED” — shockingly, not a neologism.

February 22, 2007

THIS SUCKS:

An Alexandria court sentenced former law student Abdel Karim Suleiman for eight articles he wrote in 2004. He had been in custody since November last year over the polemical outpourings which included one claiming that “al-Azhar in Cairo, one of the most prominent seats of Sunni Muslim learning, was promoting extreme ideas”.

Another ill-advised musing – headlined The Naked Truth of Islam as I Saw it – reportedly “accused Muslims of savagery during clashes between Muslims and Christians in Alexandria in 2005″.

Regarding Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Suleiman “likened him to the dictatorial pharaohs who ruled ancient Egypt”.

Well, this will put paid to that idea! Jeez.

February 22, 2007

IN THE MAIL: Another Ball of Whacks. Actually, two. I gave one to my secretary, who reported that it produced hours of amusement at home.

Why did I get sent another? I don’t know. But they’re fun.

February 22, 2007

A ONE-MAN COUNTERPROTEST in San Diego.

February 22, 2007

SHEILA JACKSON LEE is boosting Hugo Chavez.

February 22, 2007

GOOGLE TARGETS MICROSOFT:

Google Apps Premier Edition, to be unveiled Thursday, features online e-mail, calendaring, messaging and talk applications as well as a word processor and a spreadsheet. The launch follows Google’s introduction of a similar suite aimed at consumers last August. The new Premier Edition, however, offers enhancements aimed squarely at corporate environments.

I’ve used Google Documents quite a bit, and it’s not bad – if it just supported footnoting, it would be awesome. I’ve used the spreadsheet program a couple of times, too, and it seems fine. If I were a company, though, I think I’d worry about having all my important documents on someone else’s servers.

February 22, 2007

TONY BLAIR ON IRAQ:

Critics of the Iraq war have painted Tony Blair’s decision to draw down the British troop levels as a repudiation of the war and an end to the Coalition in Iraq. Democrats wasted no time in pointing out the supposed incongruity of a British withdrawal in the south and an American surge in the west and center of Iraq. However, the man who made the decision to draw down the British contingent said today that he would send them back if the situation warranted higher troop levels.

Read the whole thing.

February 22, 2007

HOWARD KURTZ HAS A BIG ROUNDUP on the Obama / Hillary / Geffen / MoDo dustup. Excerpt:

Man, if this keeps up, Hillary and Barack will both be bloody long before they get to Iowa. The MSM can’t get enough.

In the words of Derek Smalls, Hillary and Obama are two distinct types of visionaries. Obama is like fire. Hillary is like ice. And Edwards, come to think of it, is kind of like lukewarm water. . . .

And Ann Althouse has further thoughts.

February 22, 2007

EDWARD JAY EPSTEIN:

The 9/11 Commission relied on information derived from two captured al Qaeda perpetrators for much of its picture of the conspiracy leading up to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The interrogations of these men–Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, or “KSM,” who masterminded the plot and got Osama bin Laden to finance it, and Ramzi Binalshibh, who acted as KSM’s liaison with lead suicide terrorist Mohamed Atta–were performed by the CIA at secret locations.

KSM claimed that he left almost all the tactical details to Atta, and therefore could not say where Atta went, or whom he visited, in the final months of the plot. Binalshibh claimed he was Atta’s only contact with al Qaeda during this period and that, other than himself, Atta never met with anyone on his trips abroad in 2001.

If these accounts are true, it follows that the conspiracy was a contained one, and the 9/11 Commission could preclude outside collaborators, including the participation of foreign countries. Thus, although the CIA was unable to trace the origin of the money supplied to Atta, the commission deemed this gap “of little practical significance” since the CIA’s prisoners established that no one else was involved in the plot. Thus, too, when the CIA found that Iran had “apparently facilitated” the travel of eight of the 9/11 muscle hijackers in flights to and from Afghanistan (by not putting the required stamps on their passports, and by having a top Hezbollah official accompany their flights in and out of Iran), the commission could nevertheless rule out the possibility Iran or Hezbollah were “aware of the planning.” The basis for this conclusion was the information provided by KSM and Binalshibh.

But what if these CIA prisoners–who after all are diehard jihadists–were lying? . . .

Yet if Mr. Garzon is correct about the Spanish connection to 9/11, it is not only the effectiveness of the CIA’s interrogation of its al Qaeda prisoners that is called into question. The information from Binalshibh, KSM and other detainees was used to fill in the missing pieces of the jigsaw, and those gaps concerned the contacts the 9/11 conspirators might have had with others wishing to harm America. By saying that no one else was involved–not in Spain, Iran, Hezbollah, Malaysia, Iraq, the Czech Republic or Pakistan–these detainees allowed the 9/11 Commission to complete its picture of al Qaeda as a solitary entity.

Yet to come to its conclusion on this most fundamental issue, the commission was prohibited from seeing any of the detainees whose accounts it relied on. Nor was it allowed even to question the CIA interrogators to determine the way that information was obtained. The commission’s joint chairmen themselves later acknowledged that they “had no way of evaluating the credibility of detainee information.” So when Judge Garzon comes up with evidence that runs counter to detainees’ claims, cracks begin to emerge in the entire picture.

Read the whole thing.

February 22, 2007

A PROTEST GOES AWRY in Australia.

February 22, 2007

TARGETING ELLEN TAUSCHER: Thomas Barnett is not impressed with the latest “netroots” effort: “I swore I’d never see that sort of dogmatic nonsense on my side like I saw it emerge–almost insanely–on the Right during the Clinton years (what I assumed would be the never-again-scaled heights of sputtering irrational rage), but I was wrong.” (Bumped).

February 22, 2007

UNARMED AND DANGEROUS: A look at the increase in gun crime since Britain’s gun ban. (Yes, I’m skeptical of this analysis.)

Meanwhile, in Arizona, a different sort of gun law:

Arizonans are on the verge of finally getting some legal protection against having their guns seized by the government. Sen. Jay Tibshraeny, R-Chandler, said representatives of Gov. Janet Napolitano and the National Rifle Association have agreed to a change in state law that would restrict the power of any governor to confiscate weapons and ammunition in time of emergency.

These laws seem to be springing up in a lot of places.

February 22, 2007

HMM. THIS SOUNDS LIKE BAD NEWS: “A leading economist this week warned that the world’s two leading carbon trading schemes are failing to deliver the expected benefits due to a collapse in the price of carbon credits – and the situation is likely to get far worse before it gets better.”

February 22, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to George Washington.

February 22, 2007

MARC COOPER REPORTS from the Democratic candidates’ debate in Nevada. Presidential debates already? It’s going to be a lonnnggg couple of years. . . .

But Cooper reports that John Edwards isn’t worried about “candidate fatigue.”

February 22, 2007

DOUBLE STANDARDS at Duke.

UPDATE: More from LaShawn Barber.

February 22, 2007

ILYA SOMIN HAS THOUGHTS on property rights in space.

Plus, a look at plans for a return to the Moon.

February 22, 2007

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: “Why did a majority of Democratic senators — such as Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Harry Reid, Jay Rockefeller, and Chuck Schumer — vote to authorize a war with Iraq on Oct. 11, 2002? And why is this war now supposedly George Bush’s misfortune and not theirs?”

February 22, 2007

I HAVEN’T WATCHED THE 1/2 HOUR NEWS HOUR, and it got critically panned. But apparently the ratings were terrific. (Via Kaus). The real question, of course, is how many of those viewers stick around.

February 21, 2007

BRIAN DOHERTY: The life and times of Milton Friedman.

February 21, 2007

HEH: “Raceless Female Raped by Raceless Male at a Party Hosted By a Raceless Fraternity in the Same City Where Rich White Boys Raped A Poor Black Stripper.” The press knows how to avoid giving the wrong impression when it wants to . . . .

February 21, 2007

OBSERVATIONS ON WAR, DEATH, AND POLITICS.

February 21, 2007

FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT! Arianna Huffington has more. And here’s a roundup.

February 21, 2007

MORE BECLOWNING, from David Ignatius.

February 21, 2007

THE CHICAGO SPORTS REVIEW INTERVIEWS K.C. JOHNSON about the Duke (non) rape case.

UPDATE: The link above is to a PDF version. Here’s the Web version, which you’ll probably find easier to read. Excerpt: “You say to yourself, if I’m a supposed right wing nut, then 90 percent of the people in this country are too. . . . Put it this way: before this case started I had never seen defending civil liberties as a right wing position.” It all depends on whose civil liberties, K.C. Plus this: “I think it’s disappointing to me the sort of role I’ve played in this case to the extent that it wasn’t played by professors at Duke.”