Instapundit.com Instapundit.com

February 07, 2004

TOM DASCHLE, on the war resolution, back in 2002:

Daschle, D-South Dakota, said the threat of Iraq's weapons programs "may not be imminent. But it is real. It is growing. And it cannot be ignored."

Dick Gephardt:

"I believe we have an obligation to protect the United States by preventing him from getting these weapons and either using them himself or passing them or their components on to terrorists who share his destructive intent," said Gephardt, who helped draft the measure.

So they didn't think that Saddam was an "imminent" threat, but thought it was worth going to war to keep him from becoming one, eh? That's just what Bush said.

So where's the beef in the "Bush lied" argument?

(Hat tip to reader Daniel Aronstein).

MORE BAD PRESS FOR KERRY: This kind of thing is going to hurt him in the general election, if he gets there.

UPDATE: But not as much as this picture will. . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Alan Robertson says that this is still his favorite Kerry picture.

BIG MEDIA AT WORK: The latest in a series of priceless photos demonstrating just how manufactured much reporting is.

Here's another example of the same phenomenon. (I mentioned it here at the time.)

NOT EVERYONE was shocked by the Janet Jackson Breast Incident: "New Yorker Tommy Vega had his nipples pierced several years ago but had them redone Friday so he could wear shields like Jackson's. 'I hate to admit I was influenced by her, but I love her and it looked really cute,' said Vega, 23."

UPDATE: Okay, add another one to the file of those inspired rather than moved to ire by Jackson's exposure.

ANOTHER UPDATE: It just keeps getting better.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: And better.

I'M NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE BLOG, but here's a blog report from the Washington State caucuses.

RUMSFELD TELLS IT LIKE IT IS:

Mr. Rumsfeld placed the blame for the war squarely on Saddam Hussein for his "deception and defiance," and refusal to abandon his illegal weapons program, as Libya did recently.

"It was his choice," Mr. Rumsfeld said in a speech here to an audience of 250 government ministers, lawmakers and national security experts from 30 countries, most of them in Europe. "If the Iraqi regime had taken the same steps Libya is now taking, there would have been no war."

I think that's a message for, er, some other interested parties. And so, in a different way, is this:

In this climate, many officials here expected a tempered, if not conciliatory speech on Saturday from Mr. Rumsfeld, who is still regarded by many Germans and French, in particular, as a villain for his dismissive remarks about "old Europe." Instead, Mr. Rumsfeld, feisty and unyielding, appeared eager to put a potential adversary on the defensive as he laid out the administration's rationale for the war in the absence of any illegal Iraqi weapons.

"Think about what was going on in Iraq a year ago with people being tortured, rape rooms, mass graves, gross corruption, a country that has used chemical weapons against its own people," he said in response to a question, his voice rising, his hands chopping the air for emphasis.

He then turned the question back on the audience. "There were prominent people from representative countries in this room that opined that they really didn't think it made a hell of a lot of difference who won," he said, nearly shouting. "Shocking. Absolutely shocking."

The European leaders that Rumsfeld was addressing are -- quite literally in some cases -- partners in mass murder. A few tart words from Rumsfeld is the least they deserve.

WELL, THIS SURE MAKES SOMEBODY LOOK BAD:

Some top Clinton administration officials wanted to end the Kosovo war abruptly in the summer of 1999, at almost any cost, because the presidential campaign of then-Vice President Al Gore was about to begin, former NATO commander Gen. Wesley K. Clark says in his official papers.

"There were those in the White House who said, 'Hey, look, you gotta finish the bombing before the Fourth of July weekend. That's the start of the next presidential campaign season, so stop it. It doesn't matter what you do, just turn it off. You don't have to win this thing, let it lie,' " Clark said in a January 2000 interview with NATO's official historian, four months before leaving the post of supreme allied commander Europe.

Andrew Sullivan, defending Al Gore, doesn't believe Clark. I'm not sure I do, either.

MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT: Perhaps the ACLU will get involved.

AL GORE'S ENDORSEMENT really does seem to be the kiss of death. I guess Andrew Sullivan was right.

Meanwhile, I wonder if this John Kerry AWOL scandal has legs? Probably not. . . .

BLOGADS seem to work. Despite its taking-in-each-others'-wash overtones, I bought blogads on TalkLeft and BillHobbs.com for my wife's documentary, Six. The orders have poured in, and the ads, for a month and two weeks respectively, paid for themselves almost overnight. It's not choking the local post office or anything, but it's a pretty good response. Meanwhile, Political Wire reports that the Chandler for Congress blogad paid for itself in donations the first day. Maybe Henry's onto something.

UPDATE: And here's more evidence of the power of the blogosphere.

HERE'S A LONG REPORT ON THE TENNESSEE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY from SKBubba. He's a Clark guy, and still thinks Clark can pull off a must-win in Tennessee, but he says Edwards is surging while Kerry is slipping. His judgment is that it's closer than the polls indicate.

BLOGGAGE: John Hawkins has thoughts on how to make money from blogging. (Short answer -- be Andrew Sullivan!) The Washington Post has an article on D.C. bloggers that mentions the success of the Ban the Ban smoking blog. And Philosoraptor has a response to Jack Balkin's thoughts on blogs and civil discourse.

HERE'S THE Yahoo! directory of political weblogs: A lot of familiar names there, but quite a few that aren't on my blogroll, too. So if you're looking to branch out in your blog-reading, you might want to take a look.

THE GUARDIAN: Surging U.S. Economy Leads to Global Recovery:

The US economy strengthened considerably in December, leading the global economic recovery and leaving Europe and Japan behind, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said today. . . .

The upbeat assessment of the US economy from the OECD came just hours ahead of a meeting of finance ministers from the G7 group of leading industrialised countries, with the weakness of the dollar the prime subject of concern.

Global recovery would be a good thing.

February 06, 2004

IN RESPONSE to my post on the Nikon D70, below, a reader suggests the Nikon Coolpix 8700 instead. It does look, er, cool -- and it does 640x480 30fps video with sound! (But in Quicktime). No interchangeable lenses, though. And another reader sends this link to an article saying that it's not time to give up film yet. Yeah, that's the kind of thing that has kept me waffling.

UPDATE: Coolpix 8700 review here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Billy Rawl emails:

Thanks a lot! Your item about the Coolpix 8700 is likely to cost me $999.95 (plus tax). Since most of my pictures are inside shots, I'm going to have to purchase an external flash unit too.

InstaPundit -- helping to speed the economic recovery since 2001!

JAMES LILEKS mentions Animotion's Obsession video, but what he doesn't tell you is that you can see it on the Web here. I love his description of lead singer Astrid ("who looked like a thermometer on which someone had glued two basketballs"). He also disses Yes, which would constitute an insult to Doug "InstaLawyer" Weinstein (cousin of Yes member Trevor Rabin and -- weirdly -- also a distant Kennedy cousin, which is some sort of bizarre world-bridging feat) except that I think Trevor was still playing with Cinema when Owner of a Lonely Heart was made.

But he likes The Romantics' What I Like About You, which I love, so all is forgiven.

UPDATE: Numerous Yes fans have already emailed to say that, er, yes, Trevor Rabin is playing on Owner of a Lonely Heart. Er, James, you really don't want to cross Doug. He's the J. Noble Daggett of the 21st Century. But now here's a musician who really isn't getting the respect he thinks he deserves.

I DIDN'T GO TO SEE JOHN EDWARDS: I had a teleconference this afternoon and just wasn't up for going downtown. But Doug "InstaLawyer" Weinstein was there and reports via cellphone that Edwards got an overflow crowd. He says they played Creedence's "Travelin' Band" and John Fogerty's "Rockin' All Over the World," which is worth a few cool points.

TONY BLAIR, BLOGGER? Why the hell not?

ROGER SIMON has thoughts on the Moscow subway bombing, and what it portends for America.

WINDS OF CHANGE has an Iran Briefing that collects a lot of news that you might otherwise miss. Heck, who am I kidding -- you'd almost certainly miss this stuff otherwise.

JEFF JARVIS offers an interesting spin report regarding media coverage of the latest economic news. It's quite interesting to see the different slants on the same data.

THIS REPORT IS INTERESTING:

New footage has been released purporting to show Saddam Hussein paying large sums of money to a terrorist group.

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Nicholson says the footage is "incontrovertible proof" of the former Iraqi dictator's links to international terrorism.

It appears to show the former Iraqi President plotting crimes and paying money to members of an international terrorist group.

Let's see if this pans out.

A PACK NOT A HERD: Homeland Security remains a joke, but alert airline passengers noticed a felon sneaking on board a plane at LAX:

Airport cameras captured it all: On a busy morning at Los Angeles International Airport last month, a convicted felon wearing a sweatshirt, sunglasses and gloves strolled unnoticed past two security checkpoints in Terminal 5 and walked onto a jumbo jet without a ticket.

Kareem Thomas, a 19-year-old Decatur, Ga., resident on probation for burglary, was discovered hiding in an airplane restroom by passengers and was apprehended by police before takeoff.


(Emphasis added.) One of our faculty candidates was on that flight, and told us the story -- I was surprised that it didn't get any attention at the time. He said that a passenger noticed the guy walk right past the ticket-taker and onto the plane, and followed him to see him sneak into the rest room.

Your (rather large number of) tax dollars at work. Maybe we should have pushed harder on that Impeach Norm Mineta campaign. Because, so far, the people who are paying for their seats seem to be the main source of airline security, not the people we're paying to protect us.

DAVID KASPAR REPORTS that Gerhard Schroeder is on the way out as party leader. Note the picture: Efforts to, um, elevate himself by attacking Bush and America do not seem to have worked.

CASH AND KERRY: Wonkette wonders why kitesurfing is so expensive.

INSPECTORS LIED: People died. Fortunately, not nearly as many as would have died had Saddam remained in power.

DIGITAL CAMERA UPDATE: Here's a review of the forthcoming Nikon D70. Sounds pretty good -- I'm still surfing the price-performance curve before I replace my aging 35mm SLRs, but this looks like a worthy candidate. (Via Gizmodo).

TOM MAGUIRE has lots of interesting posts. Just keep scrolling.

FREDERICK TURNER says there's a new political realignment going on, but it's not about Democrats and Republicans.

ROBERT MUSIL notes that the Associated Press has backed away from the "imminent threat" claim noted below, but without confessing its error -- and without noting the inconsistencies in its own coverage. And scroll down on Musil's site for a lot of other interesting media criticism.

DSL'S OUT: Back on dialup. Dialup sucks.

February 05, 2004

THIS IS INTERESTING: You can donate to Presidential candidates, not just bloggers, via Amazon now. You can see how much each has raised, too. Bush is currently way behind Kerry, Clark, and Edwards. Here's an easy "horserace" item for bored political journalists!

SOMEBODY JUST SENT ME this link to a post by Paul Boutin on the Wired piece he did about InstaPundit. But he's awfully nice when he writes: "Glenn was great about editing the piece at least five times."

The reason it took five times was that I'm a boring guy. At least, the original idea was to do a "tick-tock" piece where they tracked what I did for a day. I was dubious, but agreed to write down a day's worth of doings. When they read it, they said, "you're right -- you are too boring to profile that way. . . ." Well, a collection of time-stamped items reading "Sat at computer. Posted to blog. Drank coffee. Taught a class. Sat at computer. Posted to blog. Drank coffee." can only be so interesting.

Mmm. Coffee. Somebody asked me what it's like to be called an "Internet rock star," too. It's just like being a real rock star, except for the absence of groupies, limousines, Gulfstream jets, and huge royalty checks. Otherwise, pretty much the same.

SO IS KERRY SAYING THAT TENNESSEE ISN'T PART OF THE UNITED STATES? That's how his campaign comments on not visiting Tennessee are playing with some Tennessee Democrats. I'm guessing that this means his polls show Edwards far enough ahead that he's written the state off. Or somebody just blew it.

I THINK IT'S A BIT EARLY, but here's a prediction as to Kerry's running mate,

I GUESS I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND PUBLIC RELATIONS, but here's the latest email in response to today's TechCentralStation column on nanotechnology, from Mark Modzelewski, a self-described "political damage control specialist" for the NanoBusiness Alliance:

The industry is not hiding from any real problems by ignoring your delusional fantasies and rantings, any more than one truly ignores a wino's claims on skid row that bugs are crawling under his skin. The very really issues of nano-health and environmental issues as explored by "real" research in the Washington Post is a matter entirely unrelated to your nutty diatribes. It's a matter the industry does take seriously and has been addressing for some time with research, discussion and taskforces. Because matters such of this are so grave and serious, we avoid mixing in the comic relief of the writings of Eric Drexler and yourself the subject.

I must say I pity the tax payers of Tennessee that pay your salary as well as your students who will enter the job market with a head full of rocks (or perhaps molecular manufactured nanorobots) after listening to you.

Keep up the weird fight. Lord knows I do get a laugh from it,

m.


F. Mark Modzelewski, Executive Director
NanoBusiness Alliance
New York, NY
www.nanobusiness.org

I'm glad he's not doing damage-control for me. . . . But I find it odd that the NanoBusiness Alliance, or, for that matter, the nanotech industry in general, sees him as an appropriate public face, if its goal is to appear reasonable and trustworthy to the general public.

UPDATE: Aubrey Turner is as surprised by this approach as I am. And I really am. I barely knew Modzelewski before he started sending me these nasty emails (I don't think we've ever met in person), and I've never encountered this sort of a reaction from anyone at any trade association before, going all the way back to my days at Dewey Ballantine when I dealt with a lot of them. As Turner suggests, the choice of vinegar over honey is an odd one.

I FORGOT TO MENTION my GlennReynolds.com posts this week, but I've got items on music, nanotechnology and outsourcing over at MSNBC.

JIM MOORE: "Mindblowing event happening in realtime now: DeanforAmerica has raised $438.000 by about 4:00 PM today--with another update coming momentarily. The rate of contributing is off the charts. This is DFA's second largest single day of fundraising in the entire campaign--and may pass the single day record.. . . Giving is the sacrament that brings the Dean community together."

JAMES LILEKS DELIVERS A ROYAL FISKING: "Patrick Stewart has now become T. J. Hooker. I know him not."

And without even a Heather Locklear to make him palatable.

HERE'S MORE ON NORTH KOREA: And it's very disturbing.

HEY, maybe the Plame affair isn't as bogus as Joseph Wilson made it seem. Here's a report that the investigation is focusing on John Hannah and Scooter Libby. Stay tuned.

IT SEEMS CLEAR that, in spite of the actual evidence, the antiwar line -- parroted by the media -- is that Bush lied to get us into war by claiming that Iraq was an imminent threat to the United States.

Never mind that (1) He said the opposite; and (2) Most of those saying "he fooled us" both believed that Iraq had WMD and nonetheless opposed the war. The point is to hope that people miss that if it's repeated often enough.

But for those interested the, you know, truth, here's a link-rich post that ties it all together.

UPDATE: Belgravia Dispatch has more on this.

SOME FOLKS at the Converging Technologies Bar Association just invited me to their conference on nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science. I wasn't able to attend, but it looks interesting.

FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY: Now it's Slashdot readers taking on the BBC for bias and inaccuracy.

I MENTIONED NORTH KOREA'S CONCENTRATION CAMPS YESTERDAY: Now I see at The Corner that Anne Applebaum recommends these folks as a worthwhile outfit trying to do something about them.

MICKEY KAUS echoes my earlier Nixon point regarding the Bush Administration's spending:

Remember that the silliest excesses of big government, including the double indexation of Social Security benefits, occurred not under a Democratic president but under Nixon.

Of course, it did get Nixon re-elected. . . .

JANET JACKSON IS BEING SUED OVER HER BREAST by a woman here in Knoxville. Seems rather extreme to me. The Smoking Gun has the complaint.

THE AP IS RECYCLING THE "IMMINENT THREAT" LINE YET AGAIN:

CIA Boss: Iraq Not Called Imminent Threat

By KATHERINE PFLEGER WASHINGTON (AP) - In his first public defense of prewar intelligence, CIA Director George Tenet said Thursday that U.S. analysts had never claimed Iraq was an imminent threat, the main argument used by President Bush for going to war.

I've mentioned this before, but let's repeat USA Today's excellent summary of this issue:

However, when Bush laid out the case for the war in his 2003 State of the Union address, he said the United States should not wait for an imminent threat.

"Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent," Bush said. "Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein ... is not an option."

(Emphasis added.) I guess, as SpinSanity warned, a bogus quote is "hardening into fact."

YOU MEAN THERE WAS ANOTHER POLITICAL BREAK-IN IN 1972? Go figure.

MARK STEYN WRITES that those of us who criticized the concept of a "war on terror" were, well, wrong:

We assumed "war on terror" was a polite evasion, the compassionate conservative's preferred euphemism for what was really going on – a war against militant Islam, which, had you designated it as such, would have been harder to square with all those White House Ramadan photo-ops and the interminable presidential speeches about Islam being a "religion of peace."

But here's the interesting thing. Pace the historian, it seems you can wage war against a phenomenon. If the "war on terror" is aimed primarily at al-Qaida and those of similar ideological bent, it seems to have had the happy side-benefit of discombobulating various non-Islamic terrorists from Colombia to Sri Lanka.

This isn't because these fellows are the administration's priority right now, but rather because it's amazing what a little light scrutiny of international wire transfers can do. . . .

He seems to be right.

BE VERY AFRAID: Tim Blair will be providing blog coverage of the Democratic and Republican conventions.

I LINK TO AUSTIN BAY'S STUFF A LOT because I think he's really smart. How smart is he? Well besides the recent columns on intelligence linked below, try reading this column from January 23, 2001 on "What's Keeping Donald Rumsfeld Up Late At Night?" The answer -- fear of intelligence failures:

During his Senate confirmation hearings, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was asked if he could name "one thing" that "kept him up at night" more than any other specific threat, terror, or trouble the Pentagon confronts.

Rumsfeld's answer was "intelligence."

Even if freighted with James Bond associations, as answers go, "intelligence" doesn't have a lot of Hollywood impact. The tv squawk shows didn't pick it up. If they noticed, Oprah and Geraldo yawned.

But Rumsfeld's response fingered what is the major American foreign policy and defense weakness, even in this era of extraordinary American economic, political, and military strength. . . .

America's "intelligence vulnerability" is intricate, detailed, and complex. The penalty for intelligence failure, however, is often cruelly simple. In the defense business what you don't know will kill you. To draw an even finer bead, what you know but understand poorly, or what you know well but fail to use decisively, will also cost you in blood, money, and political capital.

Here's a quick sketch of Rumsfeld's worry. "Intelligence" isn't simply data, it's a dynamic process that includes: (1) creating and maintaining collection capabilities (with assets from human spies to spy satellites); (2) retrieving the info in a way that's timely and secure; (3) assessing source reliability; (4) assimilating often contradictory information into a meaningful "pattern," which means interpretation that is more art than science; and (5) convincing decision makers (whose minds may be less than open) to act on the assessments.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON is connecting more dots.

CHUCK SIMMINS REPORTS that President Bush recognized Chief Wiggles in a speech this morning.

UPDATE: More here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's the speech link, and here's the key bit:

Our people in uniform understand the high calling they have answered because they see the nation and the lives they are changing. A guardsman from Utah named Paul Holton has described seeing an Iraqi girl crying and decided then and there to help that child and others like her. By enlisting aid through the Internet, Chief Warrant Officer Holton had arranged the shipment of more than 1,600 aid packages from overseas. Here's how this man defines his own mission: "It is part of our heritage that the benefits of being free, enjoyed by all Americans, were set up by God, intended for all people. Bondage is not of God, and it is not right that any man should be in bondage at any time, in any way." Everyone one in this room can say amen to that.

Amen, indeed.

WESLEY CLARK AND JOHN EDWARDS will both be in Knoxville tonight and tomorrow. I kind of doubt I'll make it, as I just found out about this.

UPDATE: Doug "InstaLawyer" Weinstein is trying to get me to go to Edwards tomorrow night. Maybe I'll see if I can do an interview. . . .

NONPROFITS AND "LEPETOMAINE SYNDROME:" Heh. This meme was started by Donald Sensing just last night, and it already seems to be catching on.

EVERYONE'S A CRITIC: Austin Bay looks at intelligence:

In a world where commercial jets become missiles aimed at Manhattan, where anthrax-laced letters threaten Senate offices, where the nerve gas required to kill 10,000 can hide in an oil drum, the intelligence analyst, that interpretive artist, has extraordinary responsibilities. So do the analyst's political leaders, whether the leader is named Bill Clinton, or George Bush, or John Kerry, or Tony Blair.

Before Sept. 11, the Clinton administration and, for eight months, the Bush administration treated international terrorism as a sophisticated form of organized crime. That was a mistake, for though 21st century terror is like a criminal operation, it is also much more. The goals of theo-fascists like Osama bin Laden are imperial state power. Often, these imperial goals intersect with the less-grandiose but still dangerous aims of anti-American despots.

Read the whole thing. It's worth reading this in conjunction with Bay's earlier series on intelligence failures and successes, here, here, and here.

WHY THE NANOTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY'S PR STRATEGY IS BACKFIRING: My TechCentralStation column -- which was not written from my mom's basement -- is up.

UPDATE: On the other hand, Howard Lovy points to a nanotech business guy who gets it.

ANONYBLOGGING: Lots of people have written me on anonymous (and pseudonymous) blogging. I've already posted on the subject here and here. And my view hasn't really changed: I don't think there's anything illegitimate about not blogging under your own name, but I think it raises questions that real-name blogging doesn't. And I think that if you're a blogger who slings personal insults at folks with names while remaining anonymous yourself, well, that's pretty lame. But hey, it's the Internet -- you're allowed to be lame. And the rest of us are allowed to think you're lame. Plenty of anonymous bloggers manage to be civil, but it does seem that a disproportionate number of uncivil bloggers are anonymous.

For those who want to be anonymous, though, bear in mind that while superficial anonymity on the Internet is easy, it's pretty superficial. Anyone who really wants to know who you are can probably find out. So while the usual degree of blog anonymity is probably enough to protect you from casual boss harassment, if you've got real reasons to keep your identity secret, well, don't count on it.

WHY AM I NOT SURPRISED: "At least 160 of the 650 detainees acknowledged by the Pentagon being held at the United States military base at Guantanamo, Cuba -- almost a quarter of the total -- are from Saudi Arabia, a special UPI survey can reveal."

February 04, 2004

NEW YORK LIFE: IMAGES AFTER THE FALL is an exhibition of photos by Gerard Van der Leun, better known in the Blogosphere for his American Digest blog.

TIM BLAIR TRIES METAPHOR WRESTLING and emerges the undisputed champion.

UPDATE: John Weidner offers a suggestion for mischievous students.

TONGUE TIED suggests that the Southern Poverty Law Center is suffering from mission creep: "The Montgomery, Ala.-based SPLC made a name for itself chasing Klansmen and militias. Now, it focuses on serving diabetic prison inmates, 10 commandment-toting judges and writing movie reviews."

UPDATE: Reader Robert Racansky points to this article from Harper's on the SPLC, which seems to illustrate the need for better oversight over nonprofits. I used to be quite impressed with Morris Dees, but I still remember that when he and I were on the PBS Newshour right after the Oklahoma City bombing he seemed more interested in stoking his fundraising efforts than anything else.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Donald Sensing invokes Governor Le Petomaine.

AN IRAN ROUNDUP over at OxBlog. There's a lot going on, and it's just possible that another one of Wolfowitz's dominoes is teetering.

Meanwhile Dale Amon notes more good news.

I'M FEELING BETTER ABOUT BUSH'S SPACE PLANS: Rand Simberg reports that they're using prizes to promote private efforts. More of that, please.

EVERYONE SEEMS TO AGREE that spending is out of control. Here's a suggestion on what to do about it.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Photon Courier points to some shameful budget-number fudging.

CARIBPUNDIT offers a roundup of Caribbean news.

MAARTEN SCHENK OFFERS the world's shortest Fisking.

PHIL CARTER has a post on the Bush-desertion charges. So does MilBlog The Mudville Gazette, which references this post by an Air Force reservist blogger. And Bill Hobbs, who has been on this for a while, has a long post. And here's one from SgtStryker.com, too.

UPDATE: Bryan Preston says that Kerry is smearing the whole National Guard.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Neal Boortz smells a double standard, and is taking no prisoners:

[T]he same people were trying to convince us in 1992 that Bill Clinton's draft-dodging was no big deal. Surely the Democrats don't think we're that stupid. . . . What a bunch of lying, hypocritical phonies.

Expect more of this sort of thing.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: A Guardsman writes: "Every time a Bush hater attacks his military service record, they are slandering my dead comrades, people who died in military aviation serving their country."

I think that the Democrats are mistaken to take this tack.

WHERE CORPORATE SCANDALS COME FROM: An "us-versus-them mentality" that's all the fault of those strutting, insensitive men, writes Shoshana Zuboff.

UPDATE: Ed Driscoll emails:

Geez, Shoshana Zuboff is a professor at Harvard Business School? And people wonder why the enrollment of men in colleges is down.

Yes. One cannot make sweeping negative generalizations about women, as doing so is proof of bigotry, and would create a hostile environment besides. Men, it seems, are fair game.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Some lengthy comments from a female reader in Silicon Valley. Click "More" to read them -- they're very much worth reading. There are also some trenchant comments from Anne Haight, an IT professional who also sees flaws in Zuboff's analysis.

Read More ?


THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR POLICY ANALYSIS says that outsourcing is good for the American economy.

ANNE APPLEBAUM WRITES ON NORTH KOREA'S CONCENTRATION CAMPS and why hardly anyone seems to care.

A RESPONSE to the widespread crushing of dissent in America? It's called the Academic Bill of Rights. I don't actually approve of this approach, which just takes the "hostile environment" stuff that the Left uses to silence its critics and turns it around.

It might, however, inspire many academics to become enthusiasts for free speech and academic freedom once again.

SALON has a rather critical article on anonymous bloggers like Atrios and MWO. (Is MWO a blog? I guess.)

I understand anonymous blogging -- and pseudonymous blogging -- and I don't think that they're necessarily illegitimate. But it's certainly true that I tend to take stuff from named bloggers more seriously. With a sufficient track record, that can change, of course. It does seem, though, that anonymity often affects the tone of a blog. Posting under your real name probably does encourage a certain additional degree of civility, in most people at least.

IT'S FULL-BORE GAY MARRIAGE IN MASSACHUSETTS:

"The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal," the four justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage wrote in the advisory opinion. A bill that would allow for civil unions, but falls short of marriage, makes for "unconstitutional, inferior, and discriminatory status for same-sex couples."

The much-anticipated opinion sets the stage for next Wednesday's constitutional convention, where the Legislature will consider an amendment that would legally define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Without the opinion, Senate President Robert Travaglini had said the vote would be delayed.

The soonest a constitutional amendment could end up on the ballot would be 2006, meaning that until then, the high court's decision will be Massachusetts law no matter what is decided at the constitutional convention.

I'm fine with that. Obligatory horserace pundit point: It probably won't help John Kerry to escape the Massachussetts Liberal label -- though he did, in what he himself describes as "an act of courage," vote against the Defense of Marriage Act, so presumably he's just as fine with it as I am!

UPDATE: Here's a link to the opinion letter.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Darren Kaplan thinks this is bad news for Kerry. Maybe yes, maybe no.

A CONFLICT OF INTEREST DOUBLE STANDARD? ("What about when the chief spokesman of the U.S. State Department is dating and marries CNN's Chief International Correspondent? Where were the pundits and academics then?") It does seem as if Maria Shriver is being treated differently than Amanpour was.

As Peter Morgan and I argued in The Appearance of Impropriety, such double standards are extremely common within the "ethics" establishment.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES IS UP! Don't miss the many interesting posts from bloggers you may not have known about.

HMM:

A 7-pound block of cyanide salt was discovered by U.S. troops in Baghdad at the end of January, officials confirmed to Fox News.

The potentially lethal compound was located in what was believed to be the safe house of Abu Musab Zarqawi, a poisons specialist described by some U.S. intelligence officials as having been a key link between deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the Al Qaeda terror network.

Cyanides salts are extremely toxic. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, exposure to even a small amount through contact or inhalation can cause immediate death.

Just how toxic, I believe, depends on which cyanide salt it is.

Meanwhile the Senate ricin is confirmed as just that, though the source appears to be domestic.

THE WOLFOWITZ DOMINO THEORY SEEMS TO BE WORKING:

DAMASCUS, Syria - More than half a million Syrians demanded political and economic reform in a petition to be handed to President Bashar Assad, a human rights group said Saturday.

Some 600,000 citizens, including intellectuals, lawyers and human rights activists, have already signed the document, the Committees for the Defense of Democratic Liberties and Human Rights in Syria said.

As they say: faster, please.

THE COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW BLOG is defending the Bush Administration against charges of record deficits: "As a percentage of the gross domestic product -- which many economists consider a better measure than simple dollar amounts -- the currently projected deficit, at 4.2 percent according to the Congressional Budget Office or 4.5 percent according to the Bush administration, is equal to or smaller than those recorded in six years during the 1980s and 1990s."

I'd still slash nondefense spending if it were up to me, but this is useful perspective.

BLACKLISTING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN? John Rosenberg points to news accounts that the University is threatening contractors who support the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. If true, these are deeply upsetting.

UPDATE: According to this report, the University of Michigan denies that this is going on.

JACK O'TOOLE: "Howard Dean appears to have spent approximately $207 for each vote he's received to date."

JIM PINKERTON ON THE FCC:

These points won't satisfy the Repressive Right, but even the FRC and other right-tilting authoritarians ought to remember that its Republican/conservative friends won't always be running Washington. Someday, maybe sooner than we know, it will be the Politically Correct Left that is reviewing all shows. And when the political/ideological wheel turns, the same state machinery that the FRC wants to use to wallop its foes will be used instead to wallop the FRC and its friends. As Ronald Reagan said many times, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take it all away."

Indeed it is.

THE BBC -- one week after Hutton:

The pre-recorded interview came to an abrupt end when Mr Westwood removed his earpiece and walked out.

Mr Westwood complained to the BBC that the interview had been "edited misleadingly" and gave the impression he was trying to avoid answering difficult questions.

After investigating the complaint, the BBC admitted it had acted wrongly and issued an apology.

Progress? Let's see.

MICKEY KAUS:

Rep. Billy Tauzin's decision to resign his congressional chairmanship to accept a highly lucrative position as lobbyist for the big drug companies--this just after he helped write the Medicare prescription drug bill--stinks so badly I think he just might be shamed into giving up the job.

Hmm. I'm shorting the Congressional-shame market myself, but you never know. . . .

PAKISTAN NUCLEAR NEWS: This is interesting:

The disgraced founder of Pakistan's nuclear programme has informed investigators that he supplied rogue states with nuclear technology with the full knowledge of the country's ruling military elite, including President Pervez Musharraf, a friend of the nuclear scientist was reported as saying yesterday.
Abdul Qadeer Khan has confessed to selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea, senior officials said on Monday.

Many analysts and most Pakistanis suspect the government of seeking to pin the blame on Mr Khan for a potentially lucrative trade of which, they say, the country's all-powerful army chiefs must have been aware.

According to an unnamed friend who spoke to the Associated Press, the nuclear scientist last week told government investigators: "What ever I did, it was in the knowledge of the bosses."

On the one hand, he's a disgrunted former employee. On the other hand, I suspect he's telling the truth. . . .

February 03, 2004

GOOD GRIEF: I blinked, and now the Post is showing Clark ahead in Oklahoma, with Edwards just behind and Kerry trailing in third. I think Jarvis is right -- the race will be open enough to keep the pundits happy for the next week.

UPDATE: John Ellis thinks that Edwards is the big winner in the all-important Media Primary tonight.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Looks like Ellis is right. And Jarvis, too! Kerry's the big winner. Edwards has done very well -- a win in South Carolina, a strong second in Missouri while everyone else is in the dust, and either first or (as it now appears) second in Oklahoma. Clark's alive, but just barely. Dean can last another week -- and if he wins, he's back in the game. Otherwise it's probably over for him.

In that vein, read this post by Clay Shirky on the Dean campaign.

KARL ROVE CALL YOUR OFFICE: Right after you read this advice from Virginia Postrel:

If Bush loses the election, it will be because he doesn't talk to the American people often enough or in enough detail. Hiding in the White House and issuing the occasional cliche does not constitute making your case. He lets his opponents shape not just the high-level discussion but the shorthand ideas that filter down to the general public: Hence "Bush lied" has become conventional wisdom. Or take the immigration-reform program, which addresses a serious issue in a serious way. When the only person you sell the policy to is Vincente Fox, people naturally think you're at best pandering to Latino voters--who, incidentally, have a much greater interest in citizenship than President Fox, who doesn't want to lose constituents.

Indeed.

UPDATE: On the other hand, here's a different view of Bush's strategy.

JEFF QUINTON has a roundup of all sorts of South Carolina primary items. Stephen Green is primary-blogging, too. Between 'em, they have lots of links to other folks.

CAPT. ED BLOGS goodbye to Joe Lieberman.

ALL ABOUT RICIN: Pharmaceutical chemist Derek Lowe has a post on the subject, which echoes my earlier point that it's not too hard to make.

UPDATE: Here's a chronology of Ricin incidents.

FRITZ SCHRANCK reports a very light turnout in Delaware. Meanwhile, here's a report that Lieberman is pulling ahead. ("As I speak to you, Joe Lieberman is picking out China patterns for the White House.") Color me skeptical. . . .

EDWARDS WINS QUITE CONVINCINGLY in South Carolina -- 45% to Kerry's 30%.

LT SMASH offers a test for Presidential candidates. It's pass/fail.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There’s now going to be an FCC investigation into the nipple.”

Then again, it is kind of sinister.

THE COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW BLOGGERS are shocked, shocked that bloggers everywhere are publicizing the exit poll numbers. But at least they've got a sense of humor about it: "Campaign Desk is starting to feel like the indignant moralist who loudly informs everyone within earshot that there is nudity on channel 35 at 10:15 pm every other night. Nonetheless..."

Fortunately, it seems that as the exit polls become more widely available, they've become less reliable! So in a way, it all cancels out.

RICIN UPDATE:

As federal investigators try to trace the origin of suspected ricin found Monday in the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, ABCNEWS has learned of an earlier, undisclosed incident in which a ricin-laced letter was intercepted on its way to the White House.

In November, a letter postmarked Chattanooga, Tenn., and addressed to the White House was intercepted at an off-site mail sorting facility in the Washington area, sources told ABCNEWS.

Hmm. Wonder why they kept it secret.

UPDATE: Alex Knapp has suspicions about where the ricin came from. You'd be a fool not to think that way -- but bear in mind that ricin isn't that hard to make.

MICKEY KAUS has a roundup of Kerry dirty-tricks reports.

LIGHT-TO-MODERATE TURNOUT in South Carolina.

SHE'S NOT JUST A T-SHIRT MODEL: The Insta-Wife has an essay inspired by the Frum and Perle book up. Maybe now she'll let me read it. . . .

NUCLEAR SURVEILLANCE IN D.C. AND MANHATTAN: Winds of Change has a report.

TAEGAN GODDARD HAS EXIT POLLS: I'm surprised to see Edwards ahead in Oklahoma -- and it looks like bad news for Clark everywhere.

SASHA VOLOKH: "So where are these intelligent Marxist blogs?" I dunno. Surely he's tried Ken MacLeod's -- though I find MacLeod far more readable as a science-fiction writer than as a Marxist blogger, personally. He's currently engaged in a fairly interesting debate with Norm Geras though.

UPDATE: Oh, and here's one that Tim Blair actually likes!

IRAN'S MULLARCHY is banning student protests.

JONAH GOLDBERG is criticizing protectionist conservatives as inconsistent.

JIM MOORE says the Dean campaign is doing better than most people think.

HERE'S MORE ON THE CRUSHING OF DISSENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA, which I mentioned here a while back. The article reports that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has gotten involved, so perhaps the Oklahoma administration will see reason.

UPDATE: Erin O'Connor sends a correction: "FIRE was involved when Deming was first accused of sexual harassment in 2001, and the case appears in their online case archive for that year. Deming does not say that FIRE is involved at the moment, and his article makes it sound like so far he is fighting this one on his own." Yes, I misread that. Sorry.

HERE'S AN INTERESTING basic training blog from Ft. Benning -- though the updates are via snailmail, apparently.

SENATE RICIN UPDATE: It could still be a false alarm, but it looks serious enough that three Senate buildings have been evacuated.

IN AMERICA, YOU CAN NOW BE A DEADBEAT DAD even if you're not a dad at all. Matt Welch looks at a sweeping injustice that's not getting nearly enough attention:

What Pierce didn’t realize, and what nearly 10 million American men have discovered to their chagrin since the welfare reform legislation of 1996, is that when the government accuses you of fathering a child, no matter how flimsy the evidence, you are one month away from having your life wrecked. . . .

So a name, race, vague location, and a broad age range is sufficient to launch a process that could quickly lead to a default judgment, asset liens, and a blocked passport? "Right. Right," Gerhenzon confirms. "If it’s clear that she’s given us enough identifying information to come up with one discrete name, we would go ahead." Wouldn’t that make people with unusual names easier targets? "Absolutely." . . .

"When you tell people about the inequities of the system," Wright says, "they’re surprised. They go, ‘This is America! You couldn’t do that!’ And I go, ‘Yes, you can.’"

Read the whole thing. Then write Congress.

UPDATE: A domestic-relations judge who asks that I not use his name emails:

Tell me about it. The words "due process of law" are wholly unknown to vast portions of the (administrative) child support network. I'm surprised it hasn't been hugely publicized so far, and it's not going to get better. Here in Ohio, the legislature's attempt to enact a "paternity fraud" law is getting a hostile reception from the courts.

He's right -- and, indeed, the entire child-welfare bureaucracy seems actively hostile to due process considerations.

GERMANY: Souring on Chiracism?

One German source complains of how Germany became a 'prisoner' of Jacques Chirac's foreign policy during the build up to the Iraq war: "We were more dependent on the French in that situation. But this will not be a permanent situation."

Another adds, "We have to be careful that we are not identified with every word that the French president utters. We must have our own identity and be a little more clever."

Yes.

UPDATE: Be worried -- Germans are angry, and they're drinking less beer.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Power Line notes: "The aftermath of the Iraq war has largely vindicated the administration's diplomacy, but this good news has been lost in the 'Bush lied!' frenzy."

U.S. SOLDIERS IN IRAQ are still angry about biased media coverage:

In the following days, the press reported on the indiscriminant shooting of civilians. Soldiers were dumbstruck — "They ambushed us." Maj. Larry Perino was indignant. Although none of his men was involved, he felt the sting.

Many of the soldiers I spoke with were furious.

Meanwhile Michael Novak says that press reports are diddling with the numbers to make casualties look worse:

The news media, which constantly accuse the Bush administration of exaggerating the threat in Iraq, are constantly exaggerating the number of U.S. combat deaths there. I first pointed this out last August. For a while, the exaggeration stopped, but early in January it recommenced. The round number "500" was apparently irresistible. . . .

These 343 (not 500) combat deaths, furthermore, need to be set in context. During 2003, the number of homicides in Chicago was 599, in New York City 596, in Los Angeles 505, in Detroit 361, in Philadelphia 347, in Baltimore 271, in Houston 276, and in Washington 247. That makes 3,002 murders in only eight cities.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Brian Carnell doesn't think much of Novak's numbers, and offers an alternative measure of comparison.

STEVE VERDON is deeply unimpressed with John Kerry's honesty, and offers links and quotations to explain why that is.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Wonkette has discovered something deeply disturbing about Gen. Wesley Clark.

February 02, 2004

IN THE MAIL: A new book on the Columbia crash, co-authored by my college newspaper editor Bill Harwood. It's called Comm Check... : The Final Flight of Shuttle Columbia. I haven't read it yet, but it's likely to be good, given Harwood's long experience reporting on space.

UPDATE: Here's an excerpt.

MARTIN KETTLE IN THE GUARDIAN:

Having read the Hutton report and most of what has been written about it, I have reached the following, strictly non-judicial, conclusions: first, that the episode illuminates a wider crisis in British journalism than the turmoil at the BBC; second, that too many journalists are in denial about this wider crisis; third, that journalists need to be at the forefront of trying to rectify it; and, fourth, that this will almost certainly not happen.

Read the whole thing.

SAVE MARTHA STEWART! Okay, actually the title is Save Martha Stewart? The article, by my colleague Joan Heminway, is on "selectivity and bias in enforcement" of insider trading laws.

ANDREW SULLIVAN and James Taranto both refer to the Hajj-stampede phenomenon as an example of Islam as a "death cult." I think this comparison is misplaced.

There's no question that the more fanatical Islamofascist ideologues -- and a huge number, perhaps a majority, of Palestinians -- are in the grip of something that might reasonably be called a "death cult," with its worship of suicide-bomb martyrdom as an end in itself. But I don't think that's what's going on here, and I think it's a mistake to paint with too broad a brush.

What's going on here seems to be classic Arab-regime ineptitude, glossed over with a convenient fatalism. Here's what an American Muslim wrote recently:

In Mecca, I found the same mixture of confusion, oppression and apathy I thought I had left behind in Egypt. But as in Egypt, nothing worked, even at the blessed hajj, for we were visitors not to an Islamic state but to yet another cynical Arab kleptocracy which only pretended to adhere to the true ideals of Islam.

The Saudis couldn’t even organize the hajj safely. Each day, as I performed the rituals of the hajj, I was part of massed crowds of Muslims from all over the world: Turks and Pakistanis, Nigerians, Malaysians, Arabs. We would shamble forward without order or seeming direction, endangering lives as we knocked over women, the lame and the elderly in our hurry to get from one ritual to the next. Once, in a street so filled with pilgrims that I could not take one step forward, I was forced to jump into the back of a truck to avoid being killed in a stampede.

At night, I would wander through the pilgrim camps, disgusted by the sight of the mud-faced pilgrims who were only too happy to sleep on the filthy streets. In the morning, the streets would be clogged again, and veiled women who had trouble walking because they’d so rarely been let out of their homes would waddle slowly before me. At the stoning ritual, I watched little girls fall under the crowds of pilgrims: Turks shoving Arabs, Africans shoving Indians until each day a few more pilgrims were trampled to death. The next day I would read of the incident in the Saudi Times (FOURTEEN PILGRIMS KILLED IN STAMPEDE) which would quote a hajj official who never took any responsibility for the deaths. He would only say that since the pilgrims had died on hajj they would ‘surely enter Paradise’. There was never any promise to cut the number of hajjis or control the outsized crowds to prevent these needless deaths.

Disney could solve this problem in its sleep. That the Saudis aren't up to Disney's standards, and use lame fatalistic theology as an excuse, isn't evidence of death-cultism so much as arrogance and ineptitude. Of course, the helpless rage that this behavior produces (or, perhaps, that the realization that Disney could solve this problem in its sleep produces) tends to feed the fanatics -- but that's still not the same as death-cultism.

RICIN in the Senate Mailroom? These early reports usually don't pan out. But as noted below, Saddam did have ricin.

THE INSTA-CHICKEN RECIPE from a while back has gotten pretty good reviews from the folks who tried it. Here's one from reader Rannva Weaving:

My husband and I tried your chicken recipe tonight for dinner. It was absolutely delicious! Just as simple and quick as you said it would be; in fact, preparation took the two of us only 12 minutes. We added some lemon juice to the sauce, and it seemed to be a nice touch. I am going to tell my mother in Finland about it, so "InstaChicken" will spread to the Nordic countries as well.

Simple and quick -- the way we like things. Er, or at least the way we have to cook, most of the time, around here. You want fancier cuisine, drop in on Stephen Green around dinner time. (Actually, not a bad idea!)

I WASN'T GOING TO POST ANYTHING on the Janet Jackson Breast Incident, because, well, who cares? But then I saw that Darren Cahr has coined the term "boobenfreude" to describe the media reaction, and well, I couldn't resist.

So here's my take: Breasts -- I like 'em. But if you look at this Drudge closeup (er, needless to say, it's probably not work-safe, depending as always on where you work) well, you can decide for yourself, but my first thought was "what an entirely unappealing breast." It's obviously fake (fake's OK; but obviously fake is, well, not so much) and then it's got some kind of bizarre pointy metal thing attached to the nipple. It looks like some sort of Ninja throwing-star weapon. (And forget the boob, what's going on with Janet Jackson's face? Oh, wait, never mind -- she's a Jackson.) Sorry, I'm not impressed.

My theory is that this is a rather clever way to explode the widely held belief that no one watches halftime shows, thus boosting advertising revenues next year. (The Insta-Wife's reaction: "It's obviously fake. Big deal." Not sure if she meant the incident, or the boob, or both.)

UPDATE: It's not a Ninja star, it's a -- well, you'll just have to read this shocking fact yourself. (The Drudge photo appears again.)

BRUSSELS BLOGGER MAARTEN SCHENCK has responded to an "I believe the BBC" campaign among Hutton-deniers with an amusing button of his own. I suspect that it will be popular.

How bad has the culture of denial gotten among BBC true-believers? This bad: "The most inventive theory I have heard this week is that Lord Hutton is an Ulsterman and that Gilligan is a republican-sounding kind of Irish name, and that this is all a subtext of the age-old struggle between Orange and Green."

CIVIL WAR IN IRAN? Here's a roundup of developments. And here's a report from the Christian Science Monitor.

INTERESTING PIECES BY BOTH CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS and David Warren on Saddam and WMD. Hitchens:

So Saddam Hussein finally got his reward for all the unpunished times. Well, history doesn't move in a straight line, and irony is a dialectical hairpin. But if he really didn't have any stores of unlawful WMD, it was very dumb of him to act as if he still did or perhaps even to believe that he still did. And it seems perfectly idiotic of anybody to complain that we have now found this out (always assuming that we have, and that there's no more disclosure to come). This highly pertinent and useful discovery could only be made by way of regime change. And the knowledge that Iraq can be finally and fully certified as disarmed, and that it won't be able to rearm under a Caligula regime, is surely a piece of knowledge worth having in its own right and for its own sake.

Warren:

Unnoticed to the gliberal media in North America, Mr. Kay's reports have cleared the Bush administration of the charge of "sexing up" threat assessments in the same way Lord Hutton's inquiry into the suicide of David Kelly have cleared Tony Blair. It is clear as day after both inquiries, that the respective governments acted sincerely upon intelligence assessments that were as disturbing as they were wrong. Moreover, they could only be proved wrong because of the invasion of Iraq. Had that not taken place, Mr. Kay's massive search for the truth, under every discoverable desk and rock, would have been impossible.

Though some people are prone to have a laugh at Bush's, or the CIA's, expense, when you couple this with the intelligence agencies' inability to spot the Pakistani nuclear program in advance, and with the surprisingly advanced state of Libya's program, the real lesson is a grim one: In an age of easily concealable weapons of mass destruction, the only way to be safe is to invade first, and answer questions later.

UPDATE: Here's more from Melanie Phillips:

For the fact that Saddam was actively engaged in WMD programmes, large-scale or not, shows he was indeed in breach of the UN resolutions, and was indeed the threat he had been assumed to be from his record, temperament, regional ambitions and links to terrorism.

How much ricin, after all, do you need to kill thousands of people? To listen to anti-war critics, it would seem that modest amounts of biological agent somehow don't count as WMD, or a re-started nuclear programme is no threat because it is only rudimentary.

To Dr Kay, the war was absolutely necessary because Saddam had become "even more dangerous" than had been realised, and, he said last week, "it was reasonable to reach the conclusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat". Yet virtually no one has reported these remarks. Instead, Dr Kay is being quoted out of context to sustain the charge of Government duplicity by the anti-war brigade.

Read the whole thing.

STUART TAYLOR ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION:

Why not require publicly funded universities to disclose detailed data about all of their preferential-admissions programs? This would shed light on who benefits and who does not, on the nature and magnitude of the preferences, and on how much they compromise academic standards.

Sounds reasonable to me. Read the whole thing.

I MENTIONED A STORY ON THIS A WHILE BACK, but here's more on the phenomenon of senior citizens arming themselves. Hey, maybe Kerry's Second Amendment stance is a shrewd bid for the senior vote!

Or maybe he was going for the women's vote.

ANOTHER POLL shows Kerry beating Bush. These early polls don't mean a lot, but they certainly indicate that Bush can lose this election.

A JOHN KERRY SECOND AMENDMENT LITMUS TEST? I certainly agree with Kerry that "The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right of each law-abiding United States citizen to own a firearm for any legitimate purpose, including self-defense or recreation." And I'd be happy if he took that into consideration in appointing judges.

Pardon me, however, if I doubt this will come to pass.

WYETHWIRE REPORTS that the South Carolina loyalty oath has been abandoned.

UPDATE: Jesse at Pandagon says that there never was a loyalty oath, though I don't really get that. At any rate, if the only purpose is to keep people from voting in more than one primary, an oath seems like a poor method. Around here, the voting machines only let you vote in one or the other, and it is, of course, illegal to vote more than once -- as, I assume, it is in South Carolina.

Jesse is clearly and indefensibly wrong, however, in his statement that "Knibb High Football RULES." Everyone with any sense knows that Maryville High football rules.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More on the loyalty oath issue here.

THIS WAS NOTED HERE A WHILE BACK, but Spinsanity notes a phony "imminent threat" quote that has been circulating: "This tall tale, first created by the liberal Center for American Progress, has been repeated several times by journalists who failed to check their facts."

GEORGE W. BUSH AND TONY BLAIR -- nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

THAT OLD-TIME RELIGION: Ouch.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF THE CAPITALISTS is up -- loads of blog posts relating to business and economics.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: This interview with three Silicon Valley nanotechnology experts is very interesting, offering a mixture of caution and visionary planning. Best quote: "The only thing you can safely say (about predicting nanotech's potential) is the farther out you look, the tougher it gets, and the more bold and the more futuristic the prediction. If it doesn't sound like science fiction, it's almost certainly false."

To the best of my knowledge, the speaker -- venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson -- does not reside in his mother's basement. . .

THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR has an editorial on French political corruption.

HERE'S A FASCINATING DISCUSSION THREAD on German and American culture, from MedienKritik.

HOWARD BASHMAN has a lengthy interview with Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit. I agree with Reinhardt on two significant points: Hans v. Louisiana was wrongly decided, and federal judges' salaries are too low.

I should note that Howard has opened his own law firm, a "boutique" firm specializing in appellate litigation, effective today.

CHUCK SIMMINS has thoughts on outsourcing and lawyers.

LOYALTY OATHS in South Carolina? I blame John Ashcroft.

What's next? Literacy tests?

UPDATE: More here.

I'M SHOCKED, SHOCKED:

Three senior French officials are set to open an inquiry into claims that judges trying ex-Prime Minister Alain Juppe suffered a dirty tricks campaign. The inquiry, announced by President Jacques Chirac, will examine claims of threats, phone-tapping and break-ins.

Mr Juppe was barred from public office for 10 years after being found guilty over a jobs fraud at Paris City Hall.

Mr Chirac was under investigation over the same affair until 2001, when he successfully claimed the constitution granted him presidential immunity.

Interesting.

HERE'S A PICTURE OF the actual Cold Mountain, from the Smoky Mountain Journal photoblog.

MICKEY KAUS ponders the similarity between Kerry's office and a subway, and observes: "This character problem is not 'aloofness.' Aloofness is what people who don't want to acknowledge Kerry's character problem say is Kerry's character problem."

February 01, 2004

WELL, THAT WAS EXCITING! Now a game for you -- spot the first pundit to try to tie the Patriots' victory to the election.

UPDATE: That certainly didn't take long. Though there may be a Heisenberg issue here. . . .

RICH GALEN has a new post from Baghdad, and scroll to the bottom for something you can do to help the troops.

MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT, this time involving Cecile Dubois, whose teachers are stigmatizing her for being an individual, and trying to get her to adopt their rigid middle-class code of denial and conformity.

BILL QUICK is blogging the Super Bowl in realtime.

WENT UP TO THE LAKE YESTERDAY AFTERNOON and spent the night. There's high-speed Internet there -- and even wi-fi -- but we avoided it in favor of lower-tech amusements. I have sore shoulders now from tossing my 4-year-old nephew into the air.

GEITNER SIMMONS has posts here and here on how the BBC scandal is playing in London.

UPDATE: Here's a related item. And here's another.

LAST WEEK'S TECHCENTRALSTATION COLUMN warned that the nanotechnology industry's PR strategy was likely to backfire, and cause it to be scissored between the scientists and visionaries on one side, and the environmentalists on the other. And what do you know -- it's already coming true.

UPDATE: Here's an interesting Slashdot thread.