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January 18, 2003

PEACE AND, ER, LOVE? Knoxville band Jag Star will be travelling abroad to entertain troops for the U.S.O. Unfortunately, this has gotten them hate mail:

But a couple of weeks ago, Jag Star was notified it had been selected. "When I read the email, I was sort of stunned imagining going to Afghanistan. But I want to go. I hope it brings out the patriotic part in me. It'll be cool to hang out with the troops and talk to them." . . .

They've gotten some nasty emails from people against the war. "Some people have said to me, 'I don't believe in war, I don't believe what they're doing,'" Lewis says. "I don't think it's fair to say that because I don't think those people want to be over there to kill someone. I think they want to be home with their families. I hate talking about politics because I know how angry people get. I think our job is to go over there and give them something positive."

Lewis says she's looking forward to talking with many of the troops while she's there.

I mentioned Sarah Lewis earlier here when she won a prestigious national songwriting award. Here's the band's website.

YOU ASKED FOR IT: Evidence of Saddam's nuclear program:

The documents seized at the homes of the two scientists, however, confirm what Western intelligence has been arguing all along, that Saddam is continuing with his quest to develop the first Arab atom bomb.

Ever since the inspectors arrived back in Iraq two-and-a-half months ago, Saddam has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal the true nature of his nuclear weapons programme. . . .

That's a "material breach," of course -- but no doubt Saddam's apologists will soon start arguing that it doesn't prove that he has weapons now, that he deserves them anyway to resist U.S. hegemony, etc., etc.

(Via LGF).

UPDATE: Even the Guardian is backing war with Iraq now. Kind of an anticlimax for the peace protests, isn't it? I mean, if you've lost the Guardian, (well, strictly speaking it's the Guardian/Observer, but still. . . .) who have you got?

Oh, wait! I know! I know that one! Call on me!



A READER SENDS THIS REPORT FROM SAN FRANCISCO:

The rally started at 11:00 A.M. PST and the parade got going down Market Street at around 11:50 A.M. Very peaceful overall. One organizer specifically shooed away a woman with a blank red flag (IMG_5308a) probably to avoid having communist symbols. Didn't see one sickle or hammer. Very boring.

I'd estimate at least 10 -15 people per second going down Market so that's about 45,000 people per hour for at least an hour and a half (I left at 1:20 P.M.) One cop said he was told 45,000 people were there total so obviously that sounds low to me.

The photos are mostly of specific signs. I tried to get the best ones as grist for the mill. I'm an amateur photographer with professional lenses.

S.U.V.s seemed to be a popular topic for the signs.

So there you have it. More pix here, here, and here. Note the pacifistic theme of wishing Bush would choke on a pretzel.



UPDATE: "God Bless Iraq" and Cheney as Hitler: Here are more pictures from the San Francisco protests. And I'll have some pics from the D.C. protests soon.

(LATER: Here's a lengthy report with pictures from San Francisco by Russell Wardlow, who says "Apparently, it's all about oil." He then proceeds to channel David Corn.)

The digital camera: a blogger's best friend. Well, one of them.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's a reader report from the Washington, D.C. protests:

I spent several hours at the DC protest today. My impressions:

1 - It was a peaceful demonstration; relatively well-behaved. I saw no shouting matches, confrontations with police, or fights. But I didn't see any counter-demonstrators either, although I was told there was a small counter-demonstration at the other end of the mall near the Viet Nam War Memorial.

2 - My guess at size of the crowd is on the close order of 50,000, arrived at by estimating the area of the demonstration and dividing by 10 square feet per person. I heard another estimate of 30,000 was given on C-SPAN, so I'm probably not too far off. It couldn't have been much larger, since if you went off the mall by one block in any direction, you couldn't tell there was anything going on - if anything, the rest of the area had less than normal traffic.

3 - The speakers - those I could hear, at least - gave the usual excuses. No blood for oil. Money for jobs, not for war. Drop Bush, not bombs. Teach peace, not hate. No war without just cause. Collateral damage means Iraqi children. Main street, not Wall Street. Iraqis are people too. Not in our name. Nothing particularly new or original.

4 - The demonstrators seemed to be of two separate demographics: the 18-25 year old students (expected) and the 50 to 60-year old Viet Nam protestors (completely unexpected). In fact, it seemed to me to be almost 'old home week' for the Viet Nam era types: "Hi, how are ya?" "Long time, no see." That sort of thing.

5 - Finally, I was struck by the attitude of the protestors. "Whiny" and "smug" come to mind, as does "entitled." I know that doesn't cover the territory, but I'm having a hard time finding the right words to describe it. "Condescending" might be better, as in "I'm clearly your moral superior, therefore I'm entitled to dictate the solution." "Whiny" as in "You're not listening to me. How can you not recognize my superiority?"

6 - ANSWER clearly had significant role in organizing and staffing the protest; the number of participants carrying professionally done (by ANSWER) signs was astounding. Were all the protestors members and sympathizers? Probably not, but the number of signs suggests that a significant minority probably were.

Pet Bunny has more coverage from D.C., and many more pics, along with amusing commentary.

STILL MORE: Jim Henley doesn't have pics (somebody buy that man a digital camera!) but he has posted a lengthy report from the perspective of a marcher -- though I suspect that his "PEACE NOW! SOCIALISM NEVER!" sign made him something less than typical. And here's a report from fellow-marcher Max Sawicky, who fits the profile somewhat more closely. And this report, from David Kenner, features many, many photos of the D.C. protests, which he characterizes as something more like a retro-nostalgia act than a revolution.

OH, GOD, NOT MORE STILL: When I asked for "pictures from the D.C. antiwar protest" I didn't really mean this. I mean, I really didn't mean this. But Laurence Simon is not to be denied. Or he'll put one of those Amish hex-sign things on me.

LAST ONE: Yes, I know my correspondents are giving higher crowd estimates than the official ones. Make of that what you will. Crowd estimates are notoriously tricky.

But here's the last word on crowd estimates for yesterday.

THIS PIECE BY ANN MARCHAND IN THE WASHINGTON POST quotes a lot of people from A.N.S.W.E.R. but says nothing about the group's pro-Saddam, pro-North Korea, anti-American leanings. Even if mentioning that it's a front for the Workers' World Party, as David Corn has reported, is out -- calling people communists, I suppose, might sound McCarthyite, even though surely that isn't the case when they really are communists -- I would think that mentioning that it's a group that's actively rooting for the other side would only be fair.

If the Ku Klux Klan organized a pro-war rally, even if a lot of the protesters were just useful idiots who didn't know who was behind it, I somehow think the Post would manage to ask a few tough questions.

UPDATE: Reader John Fenton points out:

Scroll down far enough and you'll see that she refers to the organizers of the counter-demonstration as "conservative."

But of course. Count on the Post to look for the political motivations behind the patriotic slogans! Well, sometimes.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Greg Sperla writes:

Just wanted to let you know that you're 100% right about the roots of ANSWER. I attended a seminar they put on at my campus at SFSU and probably heard more about the Socialist Workers Movement than I heard about ANSWER. They aren't shy about it either, most of the members are very forthcoming about their political assocations, I don't understand why this comes as such a shock to some people.

I guess it's a shock to people because they haven't read about it in the Post.

But this article in the Mercury News does point out some, though not all, of ANSWER's unsavory connections and notes that many peace protesters don't care because they feel that worrying about them would hurt the cause. No enemies on the left, and all of that.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's a later, but similarly friendly story in the Post by Manny Fernandez and Justin Blum. Fernandez wrote another story earlier this week, reproduced on A.N.S.W.E.R.'s website, that briefly raises but dismisses any concerns with the organization.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Rand Simberg has questions about A.N.S.W.E.R.:

Can a group whose basic premise seems to be that the US government under its constitution is the source of all evil in the world, and that all of its initiatives are to be opposed, in a knee-jerk fashion, be said to be in any way patriotic?

That would be a "no," Rand. But I don't expect the Post to point it out.

ERROR CORRECTION UPDATE: Greg Beato praises my courage for daring to criticize the Washington Post despite my MSNBC gig, but takes me to task for inexactitude in characterizing the Marchand piece as interviewing "a lot of people from A.N.S.W.E.R." He's right, and I was wrong. A better way of putting it would have been "a lot of people from the antiwar movement, and some people from A.N.S.W.E.R.," as the article talks a lot about A.N.S.W.E.R. but also quotes mostly people who aren't clearly actual members of A.N.S.W.E.R. I don't think that affects my basic point, though, about the sloppiness, or dishonesty, of talking about A.N.S.W.E.R. at length without examining the organization's essential anti-Americanism. And calling A.N.S.W.E.R. anti-American isn't just a pejorative, but descriptive.

POWER LINE has protest photos and comments on A.N.S.W.E.R.

MICKEY KAUS is dissenting from Linda Greenhouse's opinion. Or something like that.

TACITUS HAS BEEN WATCHING the Washington, D.C. protests on C-SPAN and is not impressed. "Sorry, they're not just dim bulbs -- they're apologists for genocide and tyranny. My mistake. I forget that we live in a country where the left will howl about you if you express addled nostalgia for the Confederacy, but march alongside you if you strongly support the proprietors of modern-day slave camps."

Some of us, of course, are unhappy with people who do either.

UPDATE: Also via Tacitus, look who's showing his appreciation!

MERDE IN FRANCE is reporting miserably low turnouts for antiwar protests there.

UPDATE: Just emailed Paris correspondent Claire Berlinski to ask how big the crowds were. Response:

So small that I had no idea there were any. The crowds for the post-Christmas sales on the rue de Rivoli were murder, though. I thought I'd faint trying to get at the snakeskin boots.

Western consumerism reigns triumphant.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jeralyn Merritt sends this link and says the crowd looks big to her. I don't know -- the actual photo shows at most a few hundred people, tightly framed, so it's kind of hard to judge by that. In fact -- though this is pure speculation -- it looks like the kind of photo I'd take if I wanted to make a small demonstration look big. (LATER: Kind of like this description.) Where's the aerial photo showing people covering acres and acres? Anybody got one?

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Charles Johnson reports that turnouts seem to be low all over -- except in Damascus. Then there's this not-entirely credible report from Baghdad.

STILL MORE: Merde in France emails:

The French media would do everything possible to make the crowds look big if they could. This evening's news only covered the entire subject of international demonstrations for about 6 minutes with the majority of time concentrated on Washington DC (where the thinned out crowd was very evident).

No attempt was made to create the illusion of mass protests. It just wasn't possible from any angle.

Perhaps the snakeskin boots were too appealing.

Damian Penny also reports low turnouts worldwide, though the tentacles of the antiwar movement did reach to Newfoundland, with results he reports.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Collin May joins the chorus reporting that French protest turnout was dismal.

STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: Sounds like the turnout in Sweden was better, at least on a per-capita basis.

TONY ADRAGNA has some thoughts on Eldred. Jack Balkin, meanwhile, wonders whether Eldred means the DMCA is unconstitutional.

HIGH SCHOOL RIFLERY PROGRAMS ARE, er, booming in Georgia:

"Something unique has happened in Georgia," said Bob Mitchell, the head of USA Shooting, the organization that oversees the country's Olympic and International shooting programs. "Georgia has the best youth shooting education and competition program in the country. I want to use that same model in other states."

And, not entirely a surprise, girls are dominating the sport. I'd like to see this, and high-school Junior ROTC, pick up across the country.

UPDATE: A reader responds:

In the 50s my high school had a rifle club, and kids were on the school bus once a week bringing their rifles into school and home; and nobody thought anything of it.

NJ, Pingry School, Hillside.

Yearbook entry (1959) has a Rifle Club, Middle School Rifle Club, and Rod and Gun Club, pictures of kids standing in usual portrait, but with guns.

I knew things were screw up when the first thing after 9/11 they disarmed all the passengers instead of putting a large knife at each seat.

Yes, but the times they are a'changin'.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Peter Gookins emails:

Talk about "times a-changin"....I attended two schools in the D.C. area in the '50s and '60s that had riflery programs - one was a private school in the subutbs and the other a D.C. public high school from which I graduated. I grew up in D.C.close to the Zoo, and during the years I was 13-15 (early '60s) on Friday afternoons after school I used to sling my 22 on my shoulder - uncased for the first year until I got a rifle case for Christmas - and ride the bus (public transit) down Connecticut Avenue to Dupont Circle, walk the three blocks to the NRA building and shoot with a junior rifle club, and reverse the trip about 9:30 PM. No one ever batted an eye. Try that now.

Yeah. And yet we're not as safe as we used to be.

C-SPAN will be covering the anti-war protests live. I wonder how many stories about the protests will look at A.N.S.W.E.R. in detail? Not many, probably.

These guys -- who can fairly be called unreconstructed anti-American Stalinists who are, quite clearly, not so much for peace as on Saddam's side because, well, that's what they are -- are the Trent Lotts of the antiwar movement. Except that the antiwar movement is perfectly happy with them, as long as they supply the troops, and the press is playing along.

Personally, I won't trust any anti-war activist who isn't carrying a DISARM SADDAM lunchbox. Or at least wearing the DISARM SADDAM baseball cap.

UPDATE: Here's a link that I found via Jim Henley, to a page with lots of information about A.N.S.W.E.R.

ANOTHER UPDATE: No, that's not my lunchbox. It's Patrick Ruffini's.

DONALD RUMSFELD is right again as he heaps scorn on a guy who deserves it utterly. I've seen the photos.

WELL, IT'S ABOUT TIME:

Protestors gathering for anti-war demonstrations in several cities around the globe called on Saddam Hussein to disclose all weapons of mass destruction, disarm and to comply with all United Nations sanctions.

I like what they're chanting, too. Heh. If only . . .

I SHOULD BE IN BED, but how can I go to sleep without posting on this news?

The Bush administration has signed off on the ambitious nuclear-rocket project -- though not specifically for the Mars landing -- and the president may officially launch the initiative during his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe said in an interview with The Times. The project, dubbed Project Prometheus, would greatly expand the nuclear propulsion plans that NASA quietly announced last year when it said it may spend $1 billion over the next five years to design a nuclear rocket. NASA and the Bush administration are keeping the lid on the details, including how much more the agency expects to request from Congress, but O'Keefe said the funding increase will be "very significant."

I suppose it won't be anything like this. Unless, of course, there's already somebody worried about this.

January 17, 2003

REMINDER: If you're going to be at the DC anti-war march tomorrow, on any side, please post pics and accounts. And email me so I can link 'em.

SOMEBODY JUST EMAILED ME to remind me that he'd sent me an email that I hadn't read yet. I've been a bit busy and distracted this week, what with home remodeling, snowstorms, and assorted other things. I'll try to catch up on the email over the weekend, but no promises.

STEVEN DEN BESTE WRITES on what he sees coming. And it's not the Super Bowl.

SEND IN THE BATTLE 'DROIDS! Trent Telenko has a post on Winds of Change about swarms of automated UAVs controlled by a single operator. Meanwhile, DefenseTech links to video of a Predator drone dogfighting with an Iraqi fighter.

AMPERSAND has a post on this Human Rights Watch report about sexual violence in Sierra Leone. The U.N. peacekeepers don't come off very well (they are implicated in a number of rapes), but then, neither does anyone else, really.

UPDATE: Celeste Bilby, on the other hand, says that Human Rights Watch has dropped the ball in the Congo.

THIS READS LIKE AN ONION PARODY, but it appears to be real: "Animal 'Rights' Activists Confront Homosexuals Over Leather 'Pride'":

"We decided to come to the Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend in our 'pleather' [false leather] and 'animal friendly' gear so we could show our gay friends that you can have just as sleazy a look without killing any animals," said Dan Mathews, a homosexual PETA campaign coordinator outfitted in "pleather" from head to toe.

Mathews said he and his fellow PETA activists, a transsexual and a cow mascot, did not travel to Washington to antagonize or condemn the leather event and its participants.

"We're just [trying] to get them to think about things," Mathews said. "They're just an unthinking crowd when it comes to this issue."

Well, it doesn't say it's a parody, but it is. Even if it's true.

A PACK NOT A HERD! A reader emails with this story:

I work (dispatcher) for a small town police dept (total of 26 sworn officers --counting the Chief) on the California coast, about half way between LA & SF.

Today we had a report from the high school of a juvenile with a pistol holding a classroom (teacher & students). All of my units immediately responded and the first one arrived within 2 minutes. On arrival, we found that the 15 yr old was down, disarmed and restrained due to the actions of two of the students (a 15 yr old & a 16 yr old). Although the suspect (15 yrs old) claims to have brought the pistol and taken everyone hostage so as to have a captive audience for his own suicide, he made sure he had a full magazine in the pistol and a spare magazine available (9mm FMJ - 29 rounds total). The two young men (not jocks, both are relatively scrawny) spontaneously took it upon themselves to disarm the suspect and prevented a tragedy (even if he had only blown the top of only his own head off, it would have been horrific for the kids who had to watch).

I think that the "don't get involved" mentality has taken a beating lately, and I think that's a good thing. I have his name, but I'm not using it since he says this is more information than has been released to the public, officially.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the story, which is as described above. Excerpt:

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. -- A suicidal sophomore student was arrested Friday after he briefly held about 25 classmates and two teachers hostage at gunpoint, police said.

The unidentified boy was tackled by two classmates, who took a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic gun from him, police Sgt. John Allen said.

No injuries were reported.

Police were called to Arroyo Grande High School at 9:11 a.m. after they received a report of a student with a gun, Allen said.

The unidentified 15-year-old pulled out the loaded weapon and pointed it at two teachers in his sophomore English class, ordering them to sit down, Allen said.

I expect that this won't get much coverage -- though it should.

FORGET SUV'S: BAN PRIVATE JETS! You know, some enterprising politician could get mileage (and I don't mean frequent-flier mileage) out of this one. Talk about your class warfare!

I'll bet that the Hollywood crowd won't get behind this crusade, though.

ERIC ALTERMAN ASKS, PLAINTIVELY:

Al Sharpton, Cynthia McKinney and Carol Moseley-Braun? Is this some kind of secret conservative conspiracy to show America only the worst of Black America in the race for the presidential race? Who’s next, Michael Jackson?

Of course, Alterman must really be a shill for the conspiracy himself, since he's promoting Cornel West as an alternative. I mean, West is certainly a lot better than those three, but he'd still be a Karl Rove wet-dream as a Democratic politician.

"JUST SPOILS OF A RIGHTEOUS WAR" -- Eugene Volokh picks up on this quote from Julian Bond and asks when we decided to fight a war against 17-year-old Americans of Asian descent.

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH has a column on nanotechnology in today's TechCentralStation.

SHARDS OF HONOR: Austin Bay writes that the United Nations is destroying what little credibility it has left.

MAX POWER writes:

It's appallingly symptomatic that an anti-war group is appropriating the spectre of nuclear war in a commercial against stopping Iraq's attempt to obtain nuclear weapons. I'm not a W fan, but there's something wrong with someone who has more faith in Saddam Hussein's control of nuclear weapons than Bush's.

Yes, but then I remember when the left was actually opposed to fascist dictators.

I'm not the first to ask this question, but why aren't there antinuclear protests outside Iraqi and North Korean embassies?

WELL, WE NOW HAVE A REDONE WALK-IN CLOSET off the master bedroom. The redo gives us a lot more space. Of course, so did throwing away all the stuff we threw away when we emptied the closet out, and the other stuff we threw away when we put the stuff back.

I don't want to think about which part -- the free part, or the expensive part -- did the most good. And I shouldn't, anyway, because the free part wouldn't have happened without the expensive part. Hmm. There are whole sectors of the economy built on this phenomenon.

I'VE MEANT FOR DAYS TO LINK to Ted Barlow's endless lightbulb-joke blogging but I kept getting distracted. It's been a pretty distracing week. But go, read, and laugh.

HERE'S A LONGER ARTICLE about the Racine rave raids' inglorious end. Great work by the ACLU and the EMDEF.

UPDATE: I've got more on this case over at GlennReynolds.com.

MICHAEL MOORE has been rejected as commencement speaker at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. There was quite an email debate over the subject. Here's my favorite line:

One student chimed in that the speaker should be Chris Rock: "I'd be happy with a comedian, just not a comedian who poses as a journalist."

I don't really think that Michael Moore is a comedian. But I don't think he's a journalist, either.

UPDATE: Reader L. Neil Swanson writes: "Perhaps Moore is best described as an 'inadvertent comedian'. "

HOWARD KURTZ WRITES:

Of course, the folks who seem most upset by affirmative action don't seem terribly concerned about preferential treatment for children of alumni.

You hear this all the time. But I think it's a bogus comparison. The reason why we have laws against race discrimination, rather than laws demanding strict meritocracy in all things, is -- or at least so I thought -- that race discrimination is much, much worse than merely favoring alumni.

The logical implication of statements comparing racial discrimination with legacy preferences for alumni is that racial discrimination isn't uniquely bad. But is that true? But for an accident of history, might Martin Luther King have been leading marches against legacy preferences, or athletic recruiting? I don't think so.

UPDATE: In a related matter, SpinSanity says that Democrats' charges that Bush "opposes civil rights" are unfair.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Steve Verdon has a question about this.

MEGAN MCARDLE, who has now seen the Media Matters show on weblogs (I have to wait until Sunday), has been getting email from people wanting to know how to start a blog. She has advice that is, characteristically, useful and clear.

WHY I DON'T HAVE COMMENTS: Because past a certain level of traffic, comments turn into a chatboard. Or even a trollboard. And I don't have the time to police them. But I can't beat this response from Colby Cosh to people who complain.

January 16, 2003

DON'T CLICK ON THIS LINK unless you've got a high-speed connection, or a lot of patience. It's a four-minute film by the Marine Corps on Afghanistan, with hints of an unspecified war to come. Very well done.

The reader who sent the link says it will be playing in movie theaters later this month.

EARLIER TODAY, I posted a photo and blurb about the Pink Pistols, but here's the whole story. Excerpt:

The alleged intruder survived the neck wound last March and was charged with breaking and entering. Miner said she doesn't know if she was targeted because she lives openly with her girlfriend in the Boston suburb of Arlington, Mass.

But like other members of a burgeoning group called the Pink Pistols, she's challenging the notion that gays and guns don't mix. . . .

Read the whole thing.

RACINE, WISCONSIN HAS FOLDED, as it should have, and is dropping its dumb rave prosecutions as well as promising not to do it again, in exchange for not being sued into bankruptcy. Maybe the Houston example did some good.

(Via TalkLeft).

DONALD SENSING WRITES that the "peace movement" doesn't deserve credit for good intentions, because it doesn't have good intentions. His brush is perhaps a bit broad -- there are certainly people who are well-intentioned and honorable who oppose the idea of war in Iraq, though I think that they're wrong -- but in terms of the organized movement, well, he's more or less on-target.

Meanwhile there's a march on Washington this weekend (yeah, another one, and it's organized by A.N.S.W.E.R. again, apparently.) If any bloggers are attending and posting accounts and pictures, please let me know. Meanwhile, here's more about A.N.S.W.E.R.

I wonder if the Washington Post's Evelyn Nieves will write another piece quoting antiwar protesters about how successful their movement is?

UPDATE: Christopher Johnson has comments, too. And Steven Den Beste responds to some conspiracy theories.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Justin Katz has some comments, too. And Christopher Hitchens has some tart observations.

SHOULDER-FIRED MISSILES are a threat to airliners, and not much is being done about it. Maybe someone should tell TNR.

THE SNOW WAS FUN. We got about three inches, which the local media treated like the blizzard of the century. When I got home my wife and daughter were outside -- my wife went in, I went back out, and we walked in the snow and had a snowball fight with some local kids. Got back and my wife was making homemade chicken soup. The only downside: my daughter's bummed that she won't get out of school tomorrow because it's already a holiday. Oh, well.

I'm going to sit in front of the fire and drink a cognac later. That's what snowy weather is for, right?

THE DISSIDENT FROGMAN OBSERVES:

Maybe some chaos theory (no pun intended) could explain the convergence.

Nonetheless:

- Socialists invented the death camps.
- Socialists developed the death camps.
- A bunch of Capitalists "cow-boys" liberated some death camps and wiped out some (National-)Socialists.
- Other Socialists still run death camps.

And guess who's going to take care of the problem again?

Most probably the same bunch of Capitalist "cow-boys" (their sons actually).

God bless them.

And their daughters, too. (Parallel French blog entry omitted).

ON WEDNESDAY, GlennReynolds.com debuts on Microsoft's MSNBC.

On Thursday, Microsoft announces a dividend and stock split. Coincidence?

Er, well, of course. But I appreciate the emails suggesting otherwise.

IT'S SNOWING HERE. That doesn't bother me, but it's set off the predictable panic, so my 4 o'clock appointment has been moved up to 3:00. Back later.

CAN YOU SAY "MATERIAL BREACH?" I knew that you could. I don't think that this excuse will fly.

I'VE GOT A LONG POST ON ELDRED over at GlennReynolds.Com. I suggest that this is a blow for the limited-government wing of the Court. You may also be interested in this earlier piece on a related topic.

MICHAEL BARONE writes about waging post-industrial war in Iraq. It's a good piece, and I especially agree with this conclusion:

Our last line of defense must be those high-skill, high-tech, and high-initiative strengths. The heroes who brought down United Flight 93 in Pennsylvania and the alert truck driver who engineered the capture of the alleged beltway snipers used cellphones and ignored centralized authorities' rules (the truck driver acted on leaked information) to stop determined killers. We can fight today's wars with fewer troops than we used to need. But every citizen should stand ready to fight at any time in any place.

Absolutely. A pack, not a herd.

HOWARD KURTZ writes on the psychological quirks that lead people to run for President. My favorite quote:

"Anyone who is going to run for president has to be weird," says Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia.

I think there's something to this, and here's an excerpt from a post on the subject that I made back in September of 2001:

But if Kaus is right, our system actually selects for people who love the job. And since, as most people (perhaps even Kaus) would agree, being President is a job no sane person could really love for eight years then what does that say about our Presidential selection system? Is it selecting for kooks? Certainly a lot of our Presidents have been, er, mentally less than admirable: Kennedy, with his risk-taking and narcissism, LBJ with his megalomania, bullying and, well, LBJ-ness, Nixon with his paranoia, depression and obsessive-compulsiveness, Clinton with his narcissism, sexual compulsiveness, and compulsive lying. Carter was/is clearly sane -- and also stands as evidence for Kaus's position. Ditto for Papa Bush. Reagan is a tougher question: he certainly wasn't crazy. And as an actor, I suppose he was able to play the President in a way that made the experience more enjoyable for him than it would be for many others. (Yes, I know, there's some reason to think that his mental faculties were already beginning to fail before he left office -- but I don't think that's the same as the sort of personality-disordered thing that Nixon, Clinton, etc. had going on).

I guess I'd have to call the crazy-President corollary to Kaus's theorem unproven, but with a lot of suggestive evidence. Hmm. Here's a slogan for '04, for whatever candidate wants it: " ______ in '04: JUST CRAZY ENOUGH TO WANT TO BE YOUR PRESIDENT!"

The slogan's still available. . . .

MORE ON THE PINK PISTOLS.

AZIZ POONAWALLA has a post comparing Christian fundamentalism and Muslim fundamentalism.

THIS IS HOW IT'S DONE, FOLKS: James Lileks politely Fisks John LeCarre to within an inch of his life. Excerpt:

I’m pretty sure Stephen King is skeptical about the war, for example. I know his politics. But he hasn’t made the leap so common to others in the scribbling, warbling and gesturing arts - he doesn’t think we’re all dying to hear his prescriptions for Middle East foreign policy. Oh, interview him on the matter and he might pop off, but I can’t imagine him sitting down, firing up a Winston Light, and telling himself that this 1200 word essay will change the world, because people will think: hey, it’s Steven KING talking! He wrote “The Stand,” and his fictional account of the repercussions of biological weapons programs gives him a unique perspective. Let’s lend an ear!

But he's just warming up at that point. Read the whole thing, especially the "ecology" discussion. And the statistics on Afghanistan. And -- oh hell, just read the whole thing. It's Lileks. You won't mind.

THE SIEGE OF BLOGGERGRAD HAS BEEN LIFTED: John Ray reports that China has unblocked Blogspot. No doubt it was the many "Fiskings" they received via email that prompted the change.

THE NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE profiling InstaPundit (well, really me) is up. It's pretty good.

They seem to think that I write a lot for a law professor, though. Of course, they didn't know about Jack Balkin's amazing 4704-word day!

I was going to comment on one minor item, but Eugene Volokh -- as usual -- is ahead of me.

January 15, 2003

THIS is what I was talking about. When North Korea falls and the evidence of this sort of thing becomes undeniable -- and, I wouldn't be surprised to learn, evidence that South Korean politicians knew about it but kept quiet for years -- the political ramifications in South Korea are likely to be dramatic.

THE KOOLAID TASTES GOOD, DOESN'T IT? Jack Balkin has blogged an amazing 4704 words today. Welcome to the Blog Collective, Jack. I told you resistance was futile.

"COASTISM?" A newly identified form of invidious discrimination.

IAIN MURRAY has been sacked for blogging -- and with no notice, even though his previous boss approved. Shameful, and one that lowers my opinion of his employer. If they're dumb enough to do something like this, why trust their judgment generally?

Anyhow, add your sympathies in the comments, and feel free to drop something in the tipjar while you're there.



Here's something new. Go over to Kausfiles for the exclusive.

TIM BLAIR IDENTIFIES THE Michael Moore / Kate Winslet connection? Could this be true?

He also points us to a picture of Sheryl Crow in a more appropriate t-shirt.

HERE BE DRAGONS. No, really.

JACK BALKIN isn't very happy with the Supreme Court's decision in Eldred either. I've just skimmed it -- I'm very busy with something else, about which more later -- but it seems that Stephen Breyer has a better understanding of what limited and enumerated Congressional power means, in this context, than do the alleged strict constructionists on the Court.

UPDATE: Still busy, but Donna Wentworth has the roundup.

HERE'S A STORY FROM PITTSBURGH about a woman who chased off an intruder by brandishing a gun:

Hall stared at him and thought, "I'm not going to make this easy for you." She decided that if the man thought she already had the gun, she needed to use that to her advantage.

"The way the house was made, if I'd let him get any closer, I'd be trapped," Hall said. "So I grabbed my daughter under my arm, like a football or a sack of potatoes, and then came around the corner and charged. I ran over him, through him, I don't know what."

Once upstairs, Hall reached high into a closet for the gun her father had given her several years ago, after an elderly woman who lived across the street was murdered. She grabbed a cordless telephone, too, and called 911 as she went back downstairs with the gun.

When Tompkins saw her, he fled back out the broken window.

Police responding to the scene spotted a suspect running through some yards in the neighborhood and arrested Tompkins, a native of Queens, N.Y., whose criminal record dates to 1992, with 12 cases, including robbery, simple assault, reckless endangerment and drug charges.

Tompkins told officers he was covered with cuts on his hands and face because he had dived headfirst through Hall's window. When they arrested him, police found a 7-inch black-handled knife and a 4-inch metal crack pipe.

He turns out to have stabbed a homeowner in a previous burglary. This reminds me of an earlier incident in Pittsburgh a few months back, when an armed woman shot a serial rapist who had been eluding police. Good thing this wasn't Britain, or Ms. Hall might be dead now.

Yeah, I know, this is a lot of gun posts today. I guess the Washington Monthly piece got me noticing this stuff again.

UPDATE: Ahh, why fight it? Here's a story on the Orange County Pink Pistols.

IT NEVER STOPS: No sooner have we seen the many flaws in the Washington Monthly's water-carrying piece for the Violence Policy Center than it's time for. . . The New Republic's water-carrying piece for the Violence Policy Center. At least this piece admits where the story comes from, but still. . . .

I'm tired of Fisking these things. Somebody else will have to do the heavy lifting on this one. But here's just one tendentious passage, typical of the genre:

When I left the gun store, I drove for ten minutes to a parking lot outside Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport with a clear line of sight to a dozen or so planes waiting at the terminal. . . . Unlike a terrorist, I, of course, hadn't bought a .50-caliber rifle at the store a few miles away.

Actually, a more accurate phrasing would be "Exactly like every terrorist in the world, I, of course, hadn't bought a .50-caliber rifle at the store a few miles away." The VPC, and the journalists who carry its water, would have us believe that Osama shops at gun shows and gun stores. It's not true. I'm not against trying to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and terrorists -- but, honestly, is gun control the first, or the fiftieth, line of defense against terrorism? Or is this just political opportunism of the first order? I link, you decide.

It's in the linked post, but for your convenience I'm going to post my decoding of gun-control groups' classification of firearms here:

"Saturday Night Specials" (cheap handguns) = Bad, must be banned

"Military Style Handguns" (expensive handguns) = Bad, must be banned

"Assault Weapons" (inaccurate, short-range rifles) = Bad, must be banned

"Sniper Rifles" (accurate, long-range rifles) = Bad, must be banned

There's a definite pattern, isn't there?

UPDATE: Democratic Blogger SKBubba emails:

I'm proud to say I bought my 1911 Colt .45 Commander at the same store (Buck's in Daytona, after the required background check and waiting period of
course) where Bernard Goetz bought his handgun. I did not, however, encounter any targets of opportunity on the drive home. Dammit.

We need more Democrats like him.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Robin Roberts emails:

The journalist pretending to worry about a terrorist using a .50 BMG rifle on aircraft is hilarious since we know from the Nairobi attack on the El Al airliner that real terrorists already have Soviet era SAM's.

Yes, there is that. Here's a link to an article on that subject, which I found on Roberts' blog.

UPDATE: TAPPED doesn't like this post. But, you know, when you write stories that uncritically recycle advocacy-group claims, people will say that you're in the tank, and I don't think there's anything unfair about that. As for the rest of TAPPED's post, well, I think it's pretty much self-Fisking. Just imagine what TAPPED would write if Ann Coulter said "just because no Arab Americans have set off nukes in major cities doesn't mean we shouldn't start cracking down on them now, while there's still time. . . ." I don't see TAPPED's invocation of box-cutters as a very compelling argument for more gun control, either.

In truth, there might, somewhere, be a plausible argument for different regulation where these guns are concerned. But it wouldn't be couched in hysterical advocacy-group language of the "Osama's gonna get you!" variety. Osama doesn't have to worry about the Brady Act, as those storehouses in Afghanistan showed. He had tanks and howitzers.

Terrorist control is what we need. Gun control is just politics.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Suman Palit takes up the challenge. Flit, on the other hand, thinks there's something to the TNR story. But, as I say above, regardless of whether there's a reasonable argument to be made here (and I rather doubt there is), that story doesn't make it. Bruce and I had an interesting email argument last night, in which he said that if you don't draw the line somewhere, it'll be 20mm sniper rifles next. But, actually, the line is already drawn (by ATF regulation, I think, not by statute, though as we've already established I'm not only no Michael Barone, I'm also no Dave Kopel) at .50 caliber.

BIG WIN FOR BIG ENTERTAINMENT: The Supreme Court has upheld the Bono Act. Here's the quick story, and there's lots more at Howard Bashman's site.

MORE EVIDENCE that we may need to apply gun control to police, first:

FORT WORTH - Police acknowledged Friday that an undercover officer was masked and brandishing a gun when she was shot by a store clerk who believed that he was about to be robbed. . . .

Bao Nguyen, son of the store owner, said the masked officer never identified herself as a police officer as she entered the business at 968 Elmwood Ave. He also said he did not see any police insignia on the officer's raid jacket -- only a "dark figure" with a gun -- when he pulled his .380-caliber handgun and fired once.

"In my mind, I knew if I didn't shoot this person, they're going to shoot me first and then my dad," Nguyen, 28, said.

Police said they are investigating whether the officer followed proper procedure when she walked into the store wearing a mask and carrying a gun, instead of waiting for the suspect to exit.

What's sad is that stories like this one, or this one are not all that unusual. Of course, there are those who would argue that the solution is to ensure that nobody but police officers can have guns. Given that approach's dismal failure in Britain, though, I think that a better solution is to teach police officers that it's really dangerous, and usually stupid, to go into homes or businesses unannounced and with weapons drawn. How hard can that be? Apparently, it's a challenge.

UPDATE: Reader Jim Dewey makes an excellent point:

Since when do cops wear masks? The Lone Ranger was a vigilante using silver bullets to maim his victims, not a role model.

Cops don't have to follow the Geneva Convention, but this SAS-model of masked cops is an unsafe deception on the American public. Who are we supposed to trust?

Yep. Though in his defense, the Lone Ranger (1) didn't do drug raids; (2) worked for free; and (3) was a good shot.

My EARLIER POST about a Washington Monthly article on guns and John Muhammad apparently generated a fair amount of critical email to the Monthly, leading to a reply from the article's author, Brent Kendall. I've appended the reply to the original post, so that everything's in context and so that preexisting links to my post will also lead to the reply, but I'm posting a note here because it's long since scrolled off the main page. Bottom line: I'm unconvinced, but you can read the reply and decide for yourself.

UPDATE: Kopel has replied to Kendall. Same location.

YOU KNOW THAT NPR IS IN TROUBLE when it gets this kind of criticism for bias in Boston, and in The Boston Globe:

The near-capacity crowd of about 900 who gathered at Boston's Temple Israel on Monday night for a debate on Middle East media coverage (mostly NPR's coverage) sided largely with the prosecutors. Staunch supporters of Israel, they applauded loudly when Zelnick or Tobin assailed what they saw as anti-Israel bias or shoddiness in public radio's reporting of the Palestinian-Israeli bloodshed. . . .

The battle over public radio's credibility is a serious one. In the past few years, supporters of Israel have effectively targeted NPR as the poster child for egregious anti-Israel bias. WBUR, the local outlet, has lost more than $1 million from underwriters who have suspended funding. The advocacy group CAMERA, or the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, has built a constituency by publishing harsh critiques of NPR's work. And when protesters chant, as they did on Monday night, that ''NPR distorts the news, covers up attacks on Jews,'' it's a sign that animus against public radio is reaching toxic levels.

To their credit, Klose and Christo have sought, via much community outreach, to make peace with their detractors. But Monday's discussion - in which they relied on an unconvincing blend of deference, obfuscation, and condescension - revealed that they don't have a coherent strategy.

Er, maybe because the charges are true? Here's the conclusion:

If public radio is willing to wage a public battle on this issue, Klose might try a new tactic. He might explain - without semantic gymnastics - exactly why NPR thinks its Middle East journalism is fair and right.

That may not win any converts, but there didn't seem to be any at Temple Israel either. And at least NPR will extend to its detractors the courtesy of leveling with them.

NPR didn't seem to have any trouble deciding who was right and who was wrong in Bosnia. I wonder why the Middle East is so much harder for them?


MORE ANTI-AMERICAN TWADDLE from a Dutch journalist who's quoting Napoleon in support of anti-imperialism.

His email address is at the bottom of the page. Honestly, you read this kind of stuff and it's enough to make you think that they're CIA stooges sent to discredit the antiwar movement. God knows, they're doing the job regardless of who's paying them.

UPDATE: Nelson Ascher emails: "Napoleon may have been right or wrong. But what future do people like this Dutch gentleman have, people who, besides having no sword, do their best to keep proving day after day that they don't have a mind either?"

STUART TAYLOR WONDERS if the FBI will ever be up to the job of dealing with terrorists. So do I. Well, actually, I'm wondering less and less. . . .

"THE HOTTEST DAY OF THE SUMMER so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive ... The only person left outside was a teenage boy who was lying flat on his back in a flowerbed outside number four." That's the opening passage from the new Harry Potter novel, now scheduled for publication June 21.

Plus, Larry Tribe emailed the other day that the long-awaited second volume to the third edition of his Constitutional Law treatise will appear about the same time. It's going to be a big summer around the InstaPundit household.

CELEBRATE DIVERSITY! Heh.

KEN LAYNE delivers a Frisco Fisking -- or should that be a "Frisking?"

ARE YOU PAYING (FOR) ATTENTION? My TechCentralStation column is up.

MICKEY KAUS discovers press bias against welfare reform.

THOREAU WITH A BLOG. Well, sort of.

January 14, 2003

WHY CARACAS IS better than Berkeley.

JOYCE MALCOLM writes that Britain needs more guns. It's a good column, but what's amazing to me is that the BBC is presenting it.

IN WHAT TALKLEFT CALLS "an especially sneaky move," Senator Tom Daschle has reintroduced the dumb RAVE Act from last year. More information is at TalkLeft, but here's a link to a column I wrote on the previous version last year. I suspect the new version is even dumber. And it just proves that the Democrats are no better on civil liberties than the Republicans, though that's certainly nothing for anyone to take satisfaction in.

MEDIA GEEK EVENING: Got home to two messages on the answering machine. One was saying that the New York Times story will run Thursday (hope it's not like this one), the other was a message asking my wife to appear on Jenny Jones and talk about murderous preteens. (She declined). Then I spent some time fiddling with photos I took for the law school's new website, and now I'm working on music for her documentary. (The director wants "German industrial" for one scene. . . uh, okay.) Meanwhile my daughter was practicing to play Lousia May Alcott in her school's biographical show, for which she has a costume (sewn by her grandmother) and a speech (partly written).

Yeah, we're not like other people. But you knew that.

THOSE WACKY RAELIANS. Nice dig, but it still doesn't excuse the topknot.

PBS'S MEDIA MATTERS has posted more on blogs and bloggers.

MORE RICIN NEWS:

A DETECTIVE was stabbed to death and another officer was seriously injured when police raided a flat in Manchester last night as part of an investigation into the discovery of the poison ricin. . . .

Three Algerian men were later arrested under anti-terrorism legislation and were being questioned by police last night. Security sources described the arrest of the man they had originally sought as “significant”. One of the men was arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 and was brought to the high-security wing of Paddington Green police station in London overnight.

I think there's more to this story than we've heard so far. And the Algerian angle is no surprise.

WELL, IT'S ABOUT TIME: This means that I was a hardened criminal for years and never knew it. Thank goodness that's all in the past now.

NOT MUCH BLOGGING this afternoon. I taught Constitutional Law (the intro survey course) earlier; in a little while I'll be teaching Advanced Constitutional Law (a seminar actually dealing with state constitutional law, a really interesting subject). Sorry, but the day job does intrude sometimes.

In the meantime, Alphecca has comments on Howard Dean and ballistic registration, along with his weekly summary of pro- and anti-gun slant in the media; Will Tysse is fact-checking the New York Times and praising the good judgment of the U.C. Berkeley administration; and Jim Miller has an interesting story about race, guns, and self-defense. Meanwhile, Orin Kerr has a post on the Supreme Court's new decision on death and double jeopardy. Back later.

Oh, and Hans Linde's article, E Pluribus -- Constitutional Theory and State Courts, just gets better every time I read it.

UPDATE: Oh, well. I guess taking a few hours off posting helped this happen.

SOME THOUGHTS on the future of journalism from The Last Home.

WILLIAM SJOSTROM has a new, handsome Sekimori-designed blog up at a new URL: it's AtlanticBlog.Com. Adjust your bookmarks accordingly.

And I guess "handsome Sekimori-designed blog" is a redundancy, isn't it?

WOULD PEOPLE BE COMPLAINING ABOUT THIS RESEARCH if Bill Frist had taken part?

DONALD LUSKIN joins Mickey Kaus in being unimpressed by the New York Times' new ethics policy.

MUSLIMPUNDIT ADIL FAROOQ has joined the crowd over at the newly revived Winds of Change. And scroll up from there to read an interesting post by Trent Telenko on new advances in precision weaponry.

MORE REASONS TO DOUBT THE FBI:

Last April, Justice Department officials insisted they needed more information before they could identify a witness, Robert Daddieco, being sought for questioning by the Committee on Government Reform. At the same time, a Justice Department official warned Daddieco - who had been relocated under the federal witness protection program 30 years ago - that the committee wanted to talk to him, according to the draft.

A few days before Daddieco was interviewed by the committee, which was investigating the FBI's handling of informants in Boston, the FBI offered him $15,000, according to the report. The report references the timing of the payment just before committee staff interviewed Daddieco about alleged misconduct by FBI agents, but does not indicate why the money was offered or whether it was accepted.

And to doubt the Justice Department's ability -- or willingness - to oversee the Bureau.

I PULLED ALMOST 2000 emails off the server last night; about a week's worth. I read the vast majority of them, but not all -- and now that they've been sucked into Outlook they're pretty much gone. I never go back to those, since there are always new ones (about 40 or 50 already) to take their place and it's hard enough to keep up. I read nearly everything, except when I get behind, and I try (with mixed success) to reply to everything that calls for a reply. But this is a hobby.

Meanwhile some Italian politician is publicly bitching about having 23. Jeff Jarvis tells him where to get off.

BETRAYING THE IRAQI PEOPLE IN THE NAME OF PEACE:

The anti-war movement is a private party. It has proved to be a remarkably fastidious friend of suffering peoples of the Middle East, and its doors are always open to non-Iraqi Muslims - but it's not at home to Muslims from Iraq.

As far as I can work out from the coalition's membership list, only two Iraqi organisations - one calling itself the Iraqi Network for Human Rights and a second called the Federation of Kurdish Community Organisations - have signed its manifesto. No Iraqi exile I have interviewed has heard of either.

The truth is that the overwhelming majority of Iraqi dissidents are an embarrassment to the Left. After enduring misery few of us can imagine, they have discovered that, without foreign intervention, their country won't be freed from a tyrant who matches Stalin in his success in liquidating domestic opponents. Only America can intervene. Therefore an American invasion offers the possibility of salvation.

There's a damnable logic to this that no amount of wriggling can escape. If you say to the Iraqi opposition that America is very selective in its condemnation of dictatorships, they shrug and ask why Iraqis should care. If you say that Iraq shouldn't be liberated from Saddam until Palestinians are liberated from Israeli occupation, they ask if the converse also applies. (It never does, incidentally.) They confront the anti-war movement with the disconcerting thought that there are worse things in the world than George W Bush and American imperialism, and Saddam Hussein and his prison state are among them.

To right-thinking, Left-leaning people, such thoughts are not merely disconcerting but unthinkable.

Read the whole thing.

EDWARD BOYD comments on gun-controllers' renewed efforts to capitalize on the D.C. sniper.

UPDATE: One minor note: the TAPPED post that Boyd criticizes refers to John Muhammad's Bushmaster as a "high-powered rifle." It's not. Rifles firing the .223 cartridge aren't "high-powered" and calling them that just shows ignorance.

By way of comparison, it's as if Bill Bennett characterized Pete Townshend's arrest over child pornography as evidence of the moral degeneracy of "those gangsta rappers." You can bet that TAPPED would be all over something like that.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails:

Although the .223 is not as powerful as the 30-06, 7.62 X 39 mm, .308, or other military rounds, it is, for all practical purposes, a "high-powered" round. The .223 can penetrate most levels of body armor used by police, it can be deadly up to 500 meters, and it produces 2-3 times more foot-pounds of energy than almost all pistol rounds. In the opinion of the average man-on-the-street, that's a high-powered bullet.

Well, okay, but by this standard pretty much any rifle bullet is "high-powered," isn't it? Which pretty much makes the "high-powered rifle" term redundant. Most discussion I see of the .223 among rifle experts focuses on its relative wimpiness compared to other rifle rounds like the .308, .300 Win. Mag., etc. -- and if you showed up at the "high power" range at the shooting range I belong to, you'd be referred elsewhere since it's for shots of up to 1,000 meters and the .223 is useless at that distance.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Keith Terranova emails:

I think the reader who emailed you about the .223 is stretching the "hire-powered"'ness of it when he says "it can be deadly up to 500 meters". The bullet weighs 55 grains compared to 150, 165, 180 for the 30-06 or .308. I have not read one in some years, but the shooting manuals like the Shooter's Bible offer ranges out to 300 yards and if I remember correctly the bullet drop is a couple of feet.

I think I just hit my gun-geek limit for the day. This isn't Kim du Toit's blog, you know. . . .

LAST UPDATE: Okay, I said no more, but Jeff Bishop thinks I'm wrong, too:

I know you've already exceeded the gun geek limit, but FYI, the CMP requires you to participate in a "high-powered" rifle match to qualify for an M-1 Garand. I qualified for it using my .223 Mini-14. AFAIK, the .223 is at the very bottom of what qualifies as "high-powered."

As I replied, all I ever hear from gun people is snideness about the underpowered .223 cartridge. But, there you are.

Reader, Michael Levy, on the other hand, offers this question:

I wonder when the media will start referring to handguns as "low-powered firearms?"

I'm holding my breath on that one, Michael.

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE: Jack Balkin has been assimilated to the Blogosphere.

January 13, 2003

TRANSPARENCY WORKS BOTH WAYS: And somebody's figured out how to make a buck off it.

ORSON SCOTT CARD writes on Korea. So does Josh Marshall.

BJORN STAERK is doing radio now.

VEGARD VALBERG says that the press is full of it when reporting that everyone hates America now.

MORE ON THE JAPANESE INTERNMENT AND RELATED MATTERS: Reader Dominic Anghelone sends a bunch of links. Here's one on the internment of Italians in Britain (actually, this page is about Italians from Scotland) during World War II, some of whom were sent to the Isle of Man and some of whom were sent to Canada, some perishing when their ship was torpedoed by a U-Boat.

There's also this link to a book about the internment of Italian-Canadians, and this link to a page on forced labor and internment of Ukrainian-Canadians.

Meanwhile, here's a page on the internment of Germans and Austro-Hungarians in World War One. (Note, however, that these were, for example, German citizens, though sometimes long-term residents, not simply Americans of German descent.)

Finally, here's a link to a statement by Senator Russ Feingold:

Mr. Chairman, as you know, during World War II, the United States fought the spread of Nazism and fascism. Nazi Germany was engaged in the persecution and genocide of Jews and certain other groups. By the end of the war, six million Jews had perished at the hands of Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, while we were at war with Germany, Italy, and Japan, the United States treated as suspect the Japanese American, German American, and Italian American communities, depriving them of fundamental rights of liberty and due process.

As a nation, we have been slow to study and to acknowledge this conduct. Most Americans are now aware of the U.S. government’s treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Through the work of a commission created by Congress in 1980, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, this disgraceful episode in American history finally received the official acknowledgment and condemnation it deserved.

Thus far, there has not been sufficient study of the injustices suffered by German Americans, Italian Americans and other Americans of European descent during World War II. The U.S. government limited their travel, imposed curfews, and seized their personal property. Thousands were selectively interned in camps - often separated from other members of their family and living in miserable conditions. Approximately 11,000 ethnic Germans living in the United States, 3,200 ethnic Italians, and scores of ethnic Bulgarians, Hungarians, Romanians, and other European Americans were taken from their homes and placed in internment camps. Hundreds were interned for up to three years even after the war had ended. Many of these families, including American children, were later shipped back to war-torn Europe in exchange for Americans held there, and suffered terribly.

In addition, there has been no justice for European Latin Americans - including German and Austrian Jews - who were repatriated or deported to hostile, war-torn European Axis powers, often as part of an exchange for Americans being held in those countries.

And here's a link to Feingold's bill from the last Congress, the Wartime Treatment Study Act, that would have required, well, study of what went on along these lines.

Interesting stuff, and touching on events that I was, at best, only vaguely aware of. I can't vouch for the accuracy of everything in these linked pages, either, though as far as I know they're accurate.

HERE'S A WEBLOG FOCUSED ON VENEZUELAN POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS that I didn't know about until today. I love the pictures!

There are more blogs than I can keep track of, these days.

UPDATE: And here's proof: another Venezuela blog by a (now-ex) stringer for the New York Times, who quit his Times slot rather than take down the blog. A hero of the blogosphere!

SOME PUNGENT THOUGHTS on the McDonald's lawsuits.

GORDON LIDDY WOULD BE PLEASED:

Baltimore prosecutors today dropped attempted murder and first-degree assault charges against a man who shot four police detectives during a November drug raid, saying they believe Lewis S. Cauthorne acted in self-defense when he wounded the officers as they barged into his home.

Investigators concluded detectives did not announce that they were police just before smashing down Cauthorne's door with a battering ram and rushing in to look for drugs, State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy said at a news conference this morning in Clarence Mitchell Courthouse.

These no-knock raids are absurdly dangerous, and accomplish very little. They're yet another symptom of the Drug War's erosion of civil liberties.

CONTROLLING SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION: This guy isn't happy about it. I tend to agree. I don't mind classifying particular bits of information (e.g., "This cable is crucial, and if you cut it the whole grid goes down.") but classifying science seems more dangerous than me. We're so much stronger than our enemies because of open scientific research; closing things down beyond the level of very specific threats is dangerous.

UPDATE: Justin Katz weighs in. I think there's a certain amount of talking past each other on this subject, though. Hmm. Maybe I should make this a column . . . .

LONDON'S "LITTLE ALGIERS:"

While some arrived direct from Algeria, others found their way via France after a bombing campaign in Paris by Algerian extremists led to a crackdown by the French authorities.

Those who sought asylum in the UK were often given it on the basis they faced persecution back home.

In this corner of the capital, known as "Little Algiers", these radical Algerians could fade into the crowd of their fellow countrymen and women and a wider community of immigrants, long-time residents and young professionals.

Here, life was much easier even than France, where Algerians frequently complain of police harassment. . . .

But it's not all laughs. Scratch the surface of the community and there are some sinister characters and disturbing episodes.

The extremists who arrived here in the 90s hide a dark past back home, says Salah, referring to members of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA).

"Some of them have killed 10, 20, 50 people perhaps. They are still actively collecting money for the cause back in Algeria. I've seen them outside the mosque saying 'Help your Mujahideen brothers back home in Algeria'.

"There's a lot of sleeping helpers - sympathisers, who will offer food, clothing, support for the extremists."

And those who wish to "disappear" from the authorities can easily pick up false identity papers and passports in the area, says Salah.

Sounds like this deserves more attention.

JIM BENNETT talks about empire.

WELL, SOMEBODY is defending Steve Case:

Steve Case is a genius: Why are the AOL stockholders angry at Case? They should give him a medal. The guy somehow managed to convinced those smart media poobahs at Time-Warner to give him their company for free. If he hadn’t done that, AOL stock would be nearly worthless. It’s too bad for the pension plans of lots of TW employees, sure, but it was a brilliant business move. If I were on the board, I’d want him doing the same for my company.

Who is this admiringly rapacious capitalist? Follow the link and find out. . . .

BLAME AMERICA FIRST:

A German far-right leader on trial for praising the 11 September attacks continued to lash out at the US in his first court appearance on Monday.

Horst Mahler, a leading ideologue of the extreme-right National Democratic Party, is accused of condoning an illegal act.

Nine days after the attacks in September 2001 he said in an interview on the ARD television network they were "cruel" but "justified" and said the perpetrators had his full sympathy.

In court in Hamburg he said Arabs had a right to retribution against the United States, which he described as "the bloodiest and most imperialist power the world has ever seen".

In the words of Indiana Jones, "Nazis. I hate these guys." But in all honesty, these statements don't seem especially unusual -- haven't a lot of non-Nazi Europeans been saying basically the same thing?

SORRY FOR THE LIGHT POSTING TODAY: I'm very busy with beginning-of-the-semester stuff, committee meetings, etc. I"ll be posting more later, but it'll be a few hours. In the meantime, ponder the possible significance of additional ricin arrests in Britain.

You might also contemplate Daniel Drezner's suggestion that M.A.D.D. has jumped the shark to the point that it's now being mocked on the comics pages. And leftyblog Section Two has now moved and become Thomas Paine. Adjust your bookmarks accordingly.

BESTIALITY AND INFIDELITY in 1950s Disney cartoons. Plus, Lileks' sense of morality is offended.

TACITUS ASKS: "What benefit is it for a party to gain Washington but lose its soul?"

MICKEY KAUS finds support for Charles Pickering in a surprising place -- The New York Times.

I SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED THIS EARLIER: Dave Winer is going to Harvard to be blogger-in-residence. Or something like that. Very cool.

ANDREW SULLIVAN writes that this cover from Der Spiegel illustrates that "German popular culture seems to be becoming more and more pathologically anti-American."

I think that once we win in Iraq, we should take the position that we certainly weren't shedding our blood to provide cheap oil for Germany. And act accordingly.

January 12, 2003

I'M WITH GARY on this one, 100%.

But you probably figured that.

MORE ON GRETTA DUISENBERG:

European Central Bank Chairman Wim Duisenberg should be fired because he supports his wife Gretta's anti-Israel positions and embrace of Yasser Arafat, a leading Dutch parliamentarian visiting Jerusalem said Sunday.

Jim Jansen van Raaij, deputy chairman of the Dutch parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, said he wrote the Dutch finance minister Sunday demanding Duisenberg be replaced.

Van Raaij's call following Gretta Duisenberg's comments during a visit to Ramallah that Israel's occupation is "inhuman," and that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon provokes violence and "then he blames the Palestinian people."

On Friday, the Dutch paper Algemeen Dagblad quoted her as saying, "The Holocaust excepted, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is worse than the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands."

"The Holocaust excepted." But then, for these people, it always is.

I WONDER HOW MANY OF SUSANNAH BRESLIN'S READERS realize that this Lysol ad featured on her site ("still the girl he married") is in covert reference to Lysol's popular usage as a contraceptive douche.

Ugh. You've come a long way, baby. As have, well, all of us.

SOME PEOPLE WON'T LIKE THIS:

When Israel's first astronaut, Colonel Ilan Ramon, lifts off for space aboard the US space shuttle Columbia on Thursday, he will carry a pencil sketch of earth, as seen from the moon, drawn by a 14-year-old boy who died in the Holocaust.

Screw 'em.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the picture, and a picture of the boy who drew it.

WELL, CRAP: Just checked and it looks like the PBS Media Matters weblog episode isn't airing in Knoxville. Bummer.

UPDATE: Oliver Willis informs me that it's on here on Sunday the 19th at 7pm. I only checked the program guide for the 16th and 17th because the PBS folks told me it was going to be on the 16th. Let this be a lesson for you: check those local listings!

MATT WELCH TO RICE, RUMSFELD, AND POWELL: It's Fiskin' Time! In the most literal sense.

TALKLEFT has more on MADD.

ROBIN ROBERTS is dissing Debka.

ANOTHER drug-related death.

UPDATE: Reader John Jenkins points out that the story above isn't as recent as the blog posting I link to makes it sound. Here's a link to a CNN story from October of 2000. That doesn't make it any better, I guess, but it does make it old. I remembered that there had been a wrong-house shooting in Lebanon, Tennessee a while back, but I just figured that this was another one. Which, I'm sad to say, was a reasonable mistake. At least no dogs died.

GOODBYE TO STEVE CASE. Jeff Jarvis won't miss him.

UPDATE: Oliver Willis has some thoughts.

FIRST THE VLOG. Then the Plog. Now, the Clog.

Where will it all end?

NOTE: Not to be confused with C-Log, which is back up and running after an extended hiatus.

UPDATE: Then there's c-blogging.

RICHARD BENNETT says that I'm wrong about the latest D.C. government scandal.

THE ROT AT EUROPE'S CORE seems to be Germany:

ABROAD, HE’S ROBBED Germany of nearly all clout with his count-me-out stance on Iraq and his near-total absorption with domestic crises. No one even tries to understand his policies. One week he raises taxes by 23 billion, soon afterward his chancellery “leaks” a paper calling for the exact opposite. As if he had nothing more important to do, he’s suing two tiny regional newspapers for claiming his marriage is on the rocks. Woe betide them had they suggested he dyes his hair.

Few Germans can imagine this mess dragging on for the three and a half years left in his term. But it’s their neighbors who are really getting concerned. Germany’s troubles come at an inopportune moment for Europe. The global slowdown threatens its export-dependent economies. Its leaders are divided over everything from Iraq to the future shape of their newly enlarged Union. How to apportion power and decision making among so many members? Should there be a strong European president? Is inflation or deflation the greatest economic threat? With a stricken giant at its middle, Europe’s answers to these problems will be very different than just a few years ago. What’s more, its leaders now face another perplexing question—how will Europe manage a weak Germany and its aimless chancellor?

Fecklessness, it seems, has its price. Here's the real irony:

Europe can certainly forget its ambitions of rivaling America, despite its hand-wringing over U.S. “unilateralism” and “hyperpower.” “Without a resurgent Germany,” says Britain’s MacShane, “Europe will never carry the same weight as the United States.” None more ardently pursued this vision than Germany. What a paradox that it should become the greatest obstacle to its realization.

The real paradox is in the notion that Europe could "rival" the United States while still being almost entirely dependent on the United States militarily. Such detachment from reality has its price. I saw someone on one of the talk shows saying that although the United States is the world's only superpower, we should "act as if" other nations had similar clout. That's the dreamworld that Europe has been living in. To which the proper response is, "As if!"

PUNDITWATCH is up. And Joe Klein wins the coveted "Pundit of the Week" award, while Tim Russert, well, you'll just have to read it to find out.

THE MENTION OF JAPANESE INTERNMENTS in this post has produced a rather interesting response from Robin Goodfellow. Excerpt:

It's interesting how the American internment of Japanese for 4 years during WWII is constantly used as an example of America's unique evil and racism. When revisiting the subject rarely, if ever, is the Canadian example brought up. At least in America the internee families were kept together, in Canada (which also rounded up Japanese Canadian citizens) the men and women were separated from each other and the men were sent into forced labor. And we all know, I hope, how Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Austria scored on the racial sensitivity scale during WWII. I find the ability of Europe especially to "misremember" facts so as to paint themselves as lilly-white angels and the US as brutish and uncivilized thugs to be quite remarkable.

Well, you know, if the Europeans faced the truth, the pain would be unbearable.

UPDATE: Reader Byron Matthews says it's worse than that:

The Canadian record is much darker than Robin Goodfellow's post indicates. Japanese-Canadians were not only moved inland from BC and interned, their property was seized and sold off, the proceeds used in part to pay for their own internment. Worse, thousands were stripped of Canadian citizenship and deported ("repatriated") to Japan, even after the war had ended.

He also sends this link to a Canadian history site on the subject. I was vaguely aware that there were Canadian internments, but no more. Fascinating stuff.

Maybe it's because Europe and Canada were so much worse than the United States in the past that they are so sanctimonious now.

PARIS BAGGAGE-HANDLER FRAMED: Hmm. Some things about this story still don't quite add up. But then, as I noted earlier, neither did the original one.

So if the in-laws planted the guns and bombs, where did they get them? The planter/witness is a former Legionnaire and shouldn't have access to that sort of thing. There's still some unravelling to do here, but at least on first impression it no longer looks like there's a terrorist connection.

UPDATE: James Rummel had emailed me Friday about his suspicions on this one; here's a link to a post of his on the subject.

MICKEY KAUS has the full text of those psychological-warfare emails that the Pentagon is spamming Iraqis with.

STEVEN DEN BESTE on resisting criminals and why "don't get involved" approaches are destructive:

I think that an activist citizenry, one which is engaged, one where individuals feel a bond to their fellow citizens and are willing to defend them and to make sacrifices for them, is greatly to be preferred to one which is passive and unmotivated and fearful.

That was what moved the passengers of Flight 93. They didn't sit passively; they fought back. Because they did, their jet crashed into an open field instead of into something large and important on the ground full of people.

So what do you get when you punish people who are actually willing to do that for their citizens? A couple of things.

One thing you get is a lot more crime of that kind. Even criminals are making something like a cost-benefit analysis when they decide whether to commit crimes, and if you reduce the potential cost, then crime becomes more attractive.

But there's something deeper, something more subtle and far more damaging: you begin to destroy the basic camaraderie and commitment among citizens which I feel is essential for a successful civil society. You erode the idea that we're all in this together.

You teach people that it's wrong to care. You tell them that the right course of action is to "not get involved". When they see a crime being committed, then if they try to stop it they may end up in prison, but there's no punishment for looking the other direction and not seeing. And thus fewer people will get involved.

I don't want to live in a society like that. I don't want to live in a society where the Kitty Genovese case is not only not considered newsworthy but is actually considered an example of civil virtue.

Me either.

THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE: I'm cleaning out the walk-in closet, which we're having redone. I found my tuxedo -- which I wore a lot when I practiced law, but haven't worn at all in over ten years. Still fits, though it's a bit tight in the chest now, but I imagine it can be let out.

Of course, the downside is, now I have to decide whether to keep it or give it to the Goodwill folks.

HERE'S A FIRST-HAND BLOG REPORT FROM PAKISTAN: Read the whole thing. There's good news and bad news. Though mostly bad news.

(Via Jim Henley).

MORE PROOF THAT WAR IS COMING, from Suman Palit.

PATRICK RUFFINI has read David Frum's new book and wonders what all the fuss was about.

IF BLOGGERS WROTE THE LORD OF THE RINGS: Alan Henderson explores the implications. I especially like the Fisking of Boromir at the hands of Emperor Misha. (Hmm. "The Fisking of Boromir" even sounds like a LOTR chapter title. . . .)

It's in response to this hilarious ongoing discussion at Cecil Adams' message board.

JOHN LOTT is being accused, of well, something. The complaint doesn't run to his published scholarly work, but to public statements he's made about a survey whose results were never published. Some people are now saying that he never conducted the survey at all. Here's an email from James Lindgren from a list that I also belong to, posted by vociferous Lott critic (and, if I recall correctly, erstwhile Bellesiles defender) Tim Lambert, that lays it out at some length.

I've been following this on that list for months (it goes back before that email) but haven't posted on it because (1) I thought it would violate list etiquette; and (2) I expected a response from Lott that would lay it all to rest.

But now -- as a recent email to the list from Eugene Volokh points out -- the story has broken out into the Blogosphere. Here's a post by Jim Henley, here's one by Julian Sanchez, and here's another by Marie Gryphon.

And no satisfactory response by Lott has been forthcoming. I don't know what to say about that. Lott's critics want, rather too obviously, for this to be another Bellesiles affair, though to my mind it is, even if the accusations pan out, something less than that, perhaps more akin to the Joseph Ellis scandal. And I can't help but feel that there's going to be a strained effort to turn every criticism of every bit of non-PC scholarship into a reverse-Bellesiles affair for a while, as the lame effort to draw a Lomborg-Bellesiles connection seems to demonstrate.

But if the charges against Lott are true -- and thus far, the evidence is suggestive, not anywhere near dispositive -- it's a serious matter indeed even if it's not of Bellesiles caliber. The only one who can really clear this up is John Lott,. If he fails to do so, well, under the facts of the matter it will be difficult for anyone else to prove anything, but many will choose to draw unflattering conclusions.

As I proofed the above I checked, and Clayton Cramer has a post on this, too. He reports that Lott has repeated the 1997 study now, and posts a letter from, and a summary of a phone call from, John Lott.

UPDATE: Tim Lambert, who has been the main figure driving this matter, has a page rounding up weblog coverage and also offering this observation:

Finally, I should comment on the overall significance of this question. Lott's 98% claim takes up just one sentence of his book. Whether or not it's true, it doesn't affect his main argument, which is about alleged benefits of concealed carry laws. I don't think any fuss would have been made if Lott hadn't repeated the claim numerous times on TV shows, on radio shows, and in opinion pieces.

Bearing in mind the source of this statement, to which I have added emphasis, I think that those who are too anxious to turn Lott into another Bellesiles should exercise caution.

ANOTHER UPDATE: As I plow through the built-up emails in my office account, it's obvious that Jim Lindgren is investigating this matter rather thoroughly. Stay tuned.