IT'S A LITTLE LATE for Friday catblogging, but there's no rule against Saturday catblogging. Taken by the InstaDaughter, with this. She's actually getting to be a pretty good photographer.
posted at 10:00 PM by Glenn Reynolds
NEAL POLLACK'S ADVICE TO DEMOCRATS: "The last three Democratic Presidents came from Texas, Georgia, and Arkansas, respectively. I say this to all of you who think it's funny and wise to say 'fuck the South.' If you fuck the South, you're fucking yourselves."
Assuming that you care about winning elections, anyway.
UPDATE: Steve Sturm responds. And a reader emails:
By keeping their disdain for red staters in the news, blue staters are hurting themselves. Don't get me wrong. I love that we're having an honest debate with liberals not trying to hide who they are. However, folks that voted for Bush already understand what the elites think of them. This venom spewed by the left is just a validation not a surprise. On the other hand, if you were on the fence, but voted for Kerry, I fail to understand how this vile mockery of 60,000,000 is attractive. The folks posting this stuff must fancy themselves the high school clique who gets to decide what's cool for the rest of us. I've got news. After you grow up, the only place this works is in Hollywood and Manhattan.
Yeah. And the hysterical overreaction to losing the election demonstrates just how much of their self-image is tied up in that role. And on that point, it's worth reading this Reason article from 1999 on the Matthew Shepard case and the media's treatment of so-called "hate states." Conclusion: "In Wyoming, there are a few bigots who don't like gays. In the media, there are a lot more bigots who don't like Wyoming."
UPDATE: Reader Thomas Van Gilder emails: "I'm on the verge of getting the Nikon D70 and am wondering if you would recommend the 'standard' lens that is most often bundled with it. I scrolled through your D70 comments and couldn't find anything but an oblique reference to the lens that came with your D70."
Dang. That's an omission. The "kit" lens (it's an 18-70 ED) that comes with the D70 outfit is a very respectable piece of glass. The quality is excellent, and the focal range is quite versatile, though I often find myself wishing for a bit more reach at the telephoto end. I've also got the 28-200mm zoom that I wrote about here. I'd like the 12-24mm wide-zoom lens, too, but it's a bit pricey. (I did buy this 50mm normal lens though -- it was cheap, at under a hundred bucks, and it's fast and sharp). Other questions answered here. If you wind up buying a D70 -- or a Canon Digital Rebel, which is an excellent camera, too, despite my Nikon-preference -- be aware that there are rebates out on both. More information on those at DPreview.com.
And, by the way, if you're into making video you might be interested in this veterans' living history project sponsored by the Library of Congress and currently being touted by my brother.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here, BTW, is a gallery of photos (mostly from Knoxville and its environs) by SKBubba, who also uses a D70. But here's a photo of his favorite bird.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: More northern lights pictures here, taken with a Digital Rebel. Very cool. Thanks to reader Jim Bass for the link.
STILL MORE: Over at Entropy Manor we get this observation: "I need an inexpensive hobby which gets me away from the computer thank you."
MORE STILL: Got this email on the kit lens:
Dennis here (of the 'aurora borealis' link you posted recently). I agree completely with your assessment of the 18-70mm kit lens being included with the D70. One additional note is how well-built, quiet, and fast the lens is. It's a great all-purpose unit that is well worth purchasing, even for people who only have a D70 body.
Yes, I'm very happy with that lens.
And reader Mike Maas sends this link to a page of high-resolution images that I think I've mentioned before. But it's still cool.
In the last 36 years, four Republican presidents have appointed all but two of the current nine justices.
But on the most contested social issues - abortion, affirmative action, school prayer and gay rights - the court has sided with liberals, while only modestly advancing the deregulatory agenda of the Republicans.
"If the goal of Republican presidents was to build a court that exercised its own power with greater restraint or adhered strictly to the original constitutional text, then they have clearly failed," said Thomas Keck, a political science professor at Syracuse University and author of "The Most Activist Supreme Court in History."
THE IDEA Of SETTING UP AN OIL TRUST to deliver oil revenues directly to the Iraqi people originally appeared here in March of 2003, was picked up by Michael Barone and some others, and then didn't seem to go anywhere. But now it's reappearing:
Ba’athist dead-enders are, in essence, fighting to regain the power to steal fellow Iraqis’ wealth — and kill anyone who objects. Their terrorist allies would also be hurt by the creation of the Freedom Trust. The commonsense justice of giving Iraqis a personal stake in their own oil wealth would undercut terrorists’ appeal to Iraqi youth. These “militants” would suddenly find themselves defined as fighting to steal young Iraqis’ future, while Iraq’s Army and National Guards would be fighting to defend that future. .
It is deeply disappointing that the Bush Administration, which is advancing the virtues of an “ownership society” in America has not advanced any creative ideas for using Iraq’s oil to benefit its people directly. Nor has the Allawi government laid out any path away from the regional tradition of state-centered oil paternalism and public clientelism. Yet it is difficult to conceive a policy action that could better clarify what it means to “liberate” Iraq, empower its people, and create real common ground for a national rebirth. Reform in the distribution of oil revenue is as critical to “winning the peace” in Iraq as land reform was to fostering democracy in post-war Japan.
By sharing some of Iraq’s vast oil wealth with its people, a new Iraqi government could foster the rise of a broad-based, democratic middle class. It could turn black gold into liquid freedom, the fuel for democracy and the engine of development. The Freedom Trust would give the Iraqi people, and their new police and Army, a future to believe in — and fight for. This single move would do more than any other initiative to help secure a lasting peace, grounded in justice. And such a peace may be the only outcome that could, in some small measure, redeem the sacrifices that Americans and Iraqis are now enduring.
While some people have raised reasonable-sounding objections to this approach, so far I haven't seen anything that should be a deal-killer, and the failure to go forward with this idea has probably been the Administration's biggest mistake in Iraq. After the transfer of sovereignty, of course, this is for the Iraqi government to do. But it seems like an idea that it ought to consider, and that we ought to encourage it to consider.
UPDATE: Reader Roy Mumaw notices that StrategyPage has picked this idea up.
And read this article from Slate on how Norway handles things.
The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $4 million in grants to study the health and environmental risks posed by manufactured nanomaterials -- the new and invisibly tiny materials that are revolutionizing many industries but whose effects on living things remain largely unknown.
The grants to a dozen universities mark the first significant federal effort to assess the biological and medical implications of nanotechnology, a burgeoning field of science that is expected to become a trillion-dollar industry within the next decade.
I'm not surprised, and I think this is a good thing. You can read my account of the EPA Science Advisory Board meeting where this was discussed here.
posted at 04:41 PM by Glenn Reynolds
SCOTT PETERSON IS GUILTY OF FIRST DEGREE MURDER: Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft is doing a LiveChat discussion on the Washington Post site at this very moment. No doubt there will be more stuff on her blog as well. And she'll be on Hannity and Colmes tonight with more discussion.
My main feeling is disappointment that it's over: For many, many months I've been able to look up at TVs in bars, restaurants, the gym, etc. -- and when the Peterson trial was on, I knew right away that there was no actual news to report. Now I've lost that valuable tool.
posted at 04:26 PM by Glenn Reynolds
HERE'S ANOTHER DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY SITE, in addition to the ones I mention below.
UPDATE: Another reader likes this site, which he describes as opinionated and "Nikon-centric." But sensible, as this essay, which I liked very much, demonstrates.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader J.D. Metcalf likes this site.
And I should note that I've been very happy with my photo-hosting service, ExposureManager.com. You can see my photo galleries here. I've also ordered prints from them with excellent results, including one 20x30 print that was tack-sharp and dirt-cheap.
posted at 03:25 PM by Glenn Reynolds
BLOGS AND POLITICS: This article echoes something that I've said before -- if Kerry had hired Joe Trippi, he'd probably be President-elect now.
Of course, the notion of using blogs to make a rapid response to the Swift Boat Vets' allegations might have stumbled on the Kerry campaign's big problem, which is that it didn't have a very good response. But more active use of blogs would at least have kept them from being taken by surprise.
posted at 03:14 PM by Glenn Reynolds
WELL, DANG: It looks as if the Times Literary Supplement review of Jim Bennett's new book isn't going to be available online to nonsubscribers, at least not today. But North Sea Diaries has a bit of it. And I've got a bit more below -- click "read more" to read it.
The Anglosphere interests Bennett no less than the scientific future, and he devotes a great deal of space to explaining how it developed its remarkable features. The scholarly sympathiser with the argument will follow these pages with his heart in his mouth, but while some of it is heavy going and many of the judgements heavily generalised, Bennett avoids disaster. Individualism, magna carta, the common law, habeas corpus and the 1688 revolution all turn up. I rather like his idea that slavery was a basically un-English practice, a foreign temptation that we soon threw off, but this may appeal merely because it makes me feel good.
England appears as a “template society” whose moral features resulted from a fortunate conjunction of people and circumstances, especially, of course, the circumstance of insularity. Empire allowed the British to spread to the new world, and to bring many new peoples into their high trust societies, so that Bennett’s Anglosphere includes countries such as India, Pakistan and those of the Caribbean.
The recurring point in understanding the Anglosphere is that English rulers did not try to regulate and control every detail of its creations. In The New World of the Gothic Fox, Claudio Veliz (whom Bennett cites) brilliantly developed a contrast between the way the Castilians and the English colonised the new world. Spanish America became “an exceptionally centralized, homogeneous, and stable cultural entity” ruled absolutely from the centre. The contrast is with the largely unplanned liberty that allowed the English colonies in North America to be both vigorous and diverse. Tocqueville had made the same point in Democracy in America, recognising that it was their self-governing character that made the settlements of the Anglo-Americans so much more formidable than those of other Europeans.
Another aspect of this complex Anglosphere identity is described by Joao Carlos Espada in the Selzer book when he points to a distinctive feature of British life that he had not found in Southern Europe: “I would call it a sense of duty and self-control, which is gently combined with a sense of humour about oneself – as Karl Popper liked to say, an attitude of not taking oneself too seriously but a preparedness to take one’s duties seriously. “ (italics in text). . . . It is striking that in 1900, the basic vision of international relations distinguished technologically advanced Europe from non-European societies. A century later, in a more complex international world, the European Continent, with its heritage of bureaucratic absolutism and masterful conquerors, cannot but seem significantly different from us.
I hope that the TLS will wind up making the whole thing available online.
"Wild Crowds, Gunfire Force Hasty Arafat Burial:" If the Palestinian "authorities" can't even organize a funeral, how are they going to run a country? The answer, judging from past experience, is "miserably, violently and with massive corruption."
posted at 01:05 PM by Glenn Reynolds
IS THE TIMES TRYING TO MAKE BLOGS LOOK BAD? Yesterday I linked to a Wall Street Journal piece asking:
Is it just me, or does the whole mainstream-media-generated controversy over blogs savor of an attempt to score a hit against blogs out of pique and envy? . . . Would it be unrealistic to see the gleeful reporting on the fallibility of the blogs as a feeble and rather clueless attempt to dent their credibility -- in effect, to say, you'd better leave it to the pros next time? Of course, virtually all the mainstream media (MSM) cheerfully jumped on the supposed Kerry victory bandwagon, leading, as blogger Mickey Kaus put it, to the "Seven-Hour Presidency of JFK." But then the MSM have never been too good at self-analysis.
Now some people are suggesting that this NYT article, which is admittedly a bit hard on Kos and others, is an example of that phenomenon. I'd have to give it mixed marks though. First, to its credit, it debunks the election-fraud conspiracy theories. ("'We know this was an emotional election, and the losing side is very upset,' said Daniel Hoffheimer, the lead lawyer for the Kerry campaign in Ohio. But, he said, 'I have not seen anything to indicate intentional fraud or tampering.'") Second, it makes this point:
But while the widely read universe of Web logs was often blamed for the swift propagation of faulty analyses, the blogosphere, as it has come to be known, spread the rumors so fast that experts were soon able to debunk them, rather than allowing them to linger and feed conspiracy theories. Within days of the first rumors of a stolen election, in fact, the most popular theories were being proved wrong - though many were still reluctant to let them go.
It's Mickey Kaus's asymptotic approach to the truth. (On the other hand, though the article doesn't mention it, semi-mainstream guys, like Keith Olbermann, have been in many ways no more skeptical than the blogosphere.)
Of course, it would have been fairer to the blogosphere had the Times noted that some blogs -- like, ahem, this one -- were appropriately skeptical of both the early exit polls and the post-election fraud/conspiracy theories.
UPDATE: Bryan Preston is less charitable, and thinks that the Times is trying to use lefty blogs to discredit the entire blogosphere: "The legacy media empire, burned by a couple of years of legitimate blogger triumphalism over catching the media in various forms of bias and hackery, will use the election conspiracy theories and the exit poll fiasco to strike back at the rebels. . . . Watch for more of this bloggers-can't-be-trusted reporting."
UPDATE: Reader John MacDonald thinks that Preston is right here, and adds: "CBS will go on the offensive, instead of answering questions: Wait for them to do hard hitting analysis of the blogosphere in order to diminish its credibility. . . . Riding out the storm isn't going to cut it because their integrity is shot to hell by doing nothing." I think it's pretty well shot regardless.
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails:
On Hardball tonight it was transparently obvious Chris Matthews has picked up on the meme to put bloggers down by criticizing the behaviour of left-wing bloggers solely (re conspiracy theories regarding the election) without mentioning it is left-wing bloggers' behaviour they are talking about. Susan Molinari also chimed in strongly on the same theme, though in her case she just seems ignorant of blogs and bloggers altogether.
I predict that this strategy will work as well as their ceaseless flacking for Kerry did.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: More -- including lots of links -- here.
posted at 12:49 PM by Glenn Reynolds
SANDY BERGER UPDATE: Er, or non-update. My RatherGate followup post, below, led a couple of readers to ask what's going on with the Sandy Berger "pantsgate" story. Beats me, and I couldn't find anything recent on Google News.
posted at 10:50 AM by Glenn Reynolds
THE RIGHT TO ARMS AND CONCEALED CARRY: Dave Kopel has posted a draft of his forthcoming law review article, for those who are interested.
The fancy car stunts in that movie were coordinated by George Koopman, who was a founder of an early commercial-space company, The American Rocket Company. Amroc was a pioneer in solid/liquid hybrid rocket engines of the sort used in SpaceShipOne to win the X-Prize.
The prominent case studies here are Dan Rather's failed National Guard story on CBS and the front page the past year of the New York Times (a proxy for many large dailies). Add in as well Big Media's handling of Abu Ghraib, a real story that got blown into a monthlong bonfire that obviously was intended to burn down the legitimacy of the war in Iraq. I think many people thought the over-the-top Abu Ghraib coverage, amid a war, was the media shouting fire in a crowded theater. . . .
Two months ago, Gallup reported that public belief in the media's ability to report news accurately and fairly had fallen to 44%--what Gallup called a significant drop from 54% just a year ago. The larger media outlets have been pushing the edge of the partisanship envelope for a long time. People have kvetched about "spin" for years but then largely internalized it. Not in 2004. Big Media chose precisely the wrong moment to give itself over to an apparent compulsion to overthrow the Bush presidency.
He's not entirely pleased with this outcome, nor should he be. Read the whole thing.
posted at 08:09 AM by Glenn Reynolds
THANKS to all the folks who've been making donations through the Amazon and PayPal buttons. Each one offsets dozens of hatemails.
NS greetings, we would like to proudly announce our intention to field National Socialist Movement candidates in the 2008 Presidential Race. These probable Candidates would be for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency of the United States of America. We will announce the names of these individuals, along with our Public Proclamation in 2007, and perhaps others running for Public Office within the National Socialist Movement.
No openly National Socialist Candidate has ran for the Presidency of the United States, since Commander George Lincoln Rockwell planned on doing so, prior to his assassination in the 1960's. The National Socialist Movement hear by declares its intention to change that, and give the American People a probable choice when they go to the ballot booths in 2008.
The American People deserve far better than to have to make an ill informed choice between the lesser of two evils. Let them vote National Socialist in 2008.
Well, we disagree on a lot of things. Nazis. I hate those guys. (And the Illinois ones, too.)
posted at 10:55 PM by Glenn Reynolds
I'VE BEEN REALLY HAPPY WITH MY NIKON D70 (some sample pix here and here). Now DPreview reports rebates on Nikon and Canon digital SLRs for anyone out there who may be on the fence. I have, by the way, added links to DPreview and Steve's Digicams -- along with Glenn Fleishman's WiFi Networking News -- to the "recommended" section over on the right, replacing the various candidate blogs that were there for months. I'm happy to make the change, which I hope will anticipate a shift away from the recent extra-heavy emphasis on politics.
Is it just me, or does the whole mainstream-media-generated controversy over blogs savor of an attempt to score a hit against blogs out of pique and envy? Blogs completely changed the tenor of reporting in this campaign, notably giving CBS and the New York Times black eyes at crucial moments. Would it be unrealistic to see the gleeful reporting on the fallibility of the blogs as a feeble and rather clueless attempt to dent their credibility -- in effect, to say, you'd better leave it to the pros next time? Of course, virtually all the mainstream media (MSM) cheerfully jumped on the supposed Kerry victory bandwagon, leading, as blogger Mickey Kaus put it, to the "Seven-Hour Presidency of JFK." But then the MSM have never been too good at self-analysis.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Brian Micklethwait thinks that Scott's sales are good for bloggers in general.
posted at 06:50 PM by Glenn Reynolds
VANITY FAIR HAS LAUNCHED ITS NEW WEBSITE, with a feature that looks suspiciously as if it might turn into a blog. I hope so.
posted at 06:45 PM by Glenn Reynolds
MARTIN PERETZ: "I actually believe that, had Lieberman won the nomination, he would have won the election. . . . John Kerry would not have been a good president; he might even have been a dangerously bad one. Next time, Democrats need to nominate not merely a candidate who they imagine can win but a candidate who deserves to."
UPDATE: Read this, too: "I think its safe to say that a majority of American voters have rejected the 'not-Bush' doctrine."
posted at 04:13 PM by Glenn Reynolds
GERRYMANDERING IN THE HOUSE: David Broder says it's more of a threat to democracy than many appreciate:
The Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to rehear the Texas redistricting case, but unless it someday decides to curb partisan gerrymandering, the makeup of the House is almost immune to change. Thanks to rigged boundaries and the incumbents' immense fundraising advantage, nearly 96 percent of the "races" were won by a margin of at least 10 percent. Richie noted that 29 of the 33 open seats (with no incumbents running) stayed with the same party. The turnout of voters was about 50 percent higher than in off-year 2002, but party ratios in the House barely budged.
At the founding of this republic, House members were given the shortest terms -- half the length of the president's, one-third that of senators -- to ensure that they would be sensitive to any shifts in public opinion. Now they have more job security than the queen of England -- and as little need to seek their subjects' assent.
This is a real problem.
UPDATE: A reader sends this link to a New Yorker article by Jeffrey Toobin. Several other readers note that gerrymandering is suddenly being seen as much more of a threat to democracy now that it's protecting Republican incumbents. That's probably true, but that doesn't mean the basic point isn't right.
And, say, when is that RatherGate investigation going to be complete?
posted at 01:47 PM by Glenn Reynolds
ED CONE WONDERS why there weren't more (i.e., more than a very few) conservatives at BloggerCon. (Here's a related post by Robert Cox.)
I never seriously considered attending, as it was my plan all along to take things relatively easy post-election, and cross-country travel doesn't go with that. I enjoyed the first Bloggercon at Harvard very much, despite feeling a bit ganged-up-on by people who thought I was foolish for not endorsing their characterization of the Plame case -- hmm, my take is looking better with time, though, isn't it? -- but I'm a lawyer and thick-skinned. I havent' been since then, but I get the sense that these events are taking on more and more of Dave Winer's personality and slant. There's nothing wrong with that, but it will tend to narrow their audience.
HUGH HEWITT writes that the activists who are going after Arlen Specter could learn a few lessons from Zell Miller, and adds:
Parties do have to agree on some non-negotiables. For Republicans that list includes a commitment to battle obstructionism in the judicial confirmation process, but it ought not to include a loyalty oath on every nominee. I and the vast majority of Republicans are pro-life, but I know there aren't enough pro-life votes in the country to empower a governing coalition.
George W. Bush collected around 59,750,000 votes, about 3.5 million more than did John Kerry.
What percentage of Bush's votes were pro-choice, I wonder? Thirty? Twenty? Ten?
Even if it is only 10 percent, those 5.7 million votes provided Bush with his margin of popular-vote victory. Should the first action of the new Senate be the announcement that pro-choice Republicans will not be trusted with power? . . .
Beginning a new era with a purge is simply the worst possible politics, a self-inflicted wound, and one the consequences of which could be far reaching and awful.
Seems right to me. Hugh makes another useful point, too: "A party without a vigorous minority loses the ability to police itself. And then the nuts rush in."
UPDATE: Brett Thomas says that the percentage is pretty big: "roughly 20.8 million, or 35% of Bush's voters in 2004 think abortion should be "Always Legal" or "Mostly Legal" (including your humble author). You lose twenty percent of those voters and we're quite possibly sitting here wondering who President Kerry is going to appoint."
ANOTHER UPDATE: Anti-Specter blogger Countertop Chronicles finds Hugh persuasive: "[T]his is probably in line with my long standing prior position, my hard and fast rule of political and life survival, Pigs Get Slaughtered. Conservatives should take a breather and learn a lesson from gay rights activists, who probably regret filing that Massachusetts lawsuit right now."
MORE: Reader Paul Stukel says that Hugh and I have it wrong:
At issue is not whether Specter is pro-life or not pro-life. What is at issue is whether Specter agrees with the broad spectrum of conservative, libertarian and moderate thought that the Courts shouldn't be an alternative, unelected legislature. The concept of a "living Constitution" is completely oxymoronic (particularly when our Constitution provides a very straightforward process when "updating" is needed - nowhere therein, I might add, is a provision for unelected judges to take care of that for us), and completely antithetical to liberty. Surely you understand that. Specter clearly does not.
Again, it's not about pro-life. It's about Constitutional integrity. Why are we confusing the two?
Well, I can see that argument. But I don't see it as the one that the folks at The Corner are making.
SCOTT OTT'S BOOK, AXIS OF WEASELS, is doing very well on Amazon, in terms of both sales-rank and reviews. I look forward to it becoming a major motion picture!
posted at 10:28 AM by Glenn Reynolds
MAX BOOT: "It is considered bad form to speak ill of the dead, but I will make an exception for Yasser Arafat, the pathetic embodiment of all that went wrong in the Third World after the demise of the European empires."
HAPPY VETERANS DAY: InstaPundit's Afghanistan photo-correspondent, Major John Tammes, sends this photo and reports: "Every time I accompany one of our patrols in the area, it seems like the circus has come to town. We manage to draw a crowd no matter how isolated an area we visit. This is what we saw near Hassankheyl – a nearly deserted village that is starting to show signs of life again. Or at least signs of kids and camels…"
That's life, though I'm fonder of the former than the latter.
SIMON WORLD'S ASIAN BLOG ROUNDUP is up. Everything from China's Africa policy (it's all about oil! -- but you knew that) to Pol Pot's crematorium (it's not).
posted at 07:06 AM by Glenn Reynolds
AN "EXHAUSTIVE SEARCH" OF WEB PHOTOS featuring Kate Beckinsale's breasts, over at the ContractsProf blog: Just more evidence that law professors will undergo any hardship in our ceaseless quest for the truth.
Leaders of a United States Senate subcommittee investigating allegations of fraud in the oil-for-food program in Iraq have accused Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, of obstructing their inquiry.
In a letter sent to Mr. Annan yesterday, the Republican chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations charged that the secretary general and a panel he appointed to conduct an independent investigation into the charges of abuses appeared to be "affirmatively preventing" the Senate from getting documents from a former United Nations contractor that inspected goods bought by Iraq. . . .
UPDATE: Michael Silence has a roundup, and notes that Tennessee's plan covered a higher percentage of the populace (nearly a quarter of Tennesseans) than any other state plan.
ANOTHER UPDATE: SKBubba: "The more I think about it the more think it's a bluff -- brilliant political theater unlike anything in recent Tennessee history. And it will work for the Governor, one way or another." As I've said before, national Democrats who want to win elections could learn a lot from Bredesen.
Still, the extreme and bitter judgments against the citizenry after this election are especially tendentious. For what the electorate did on Nov. 2 was essentially (or maybe just merely) turn down John Kerry, a candidate who until very late in the Democratic primaries was almost no one's choice as the nominee, the party's last option because it could rally around no one else. What a pathetic vessel in which to have placed liberalism's hopes! A senator for two decades who had stood for nothing, really nothing. . . .
Had you noticed, by the way, that money in politics ceased to be an issue for the Democrats? There's no mystery why this is so. They and those 527s that circled around the Kerry effort collected much more money than they could spend usefully, which is why there were so many inane ads aimed unnecessarily at New York voters in the New York Times. The problem of money in politics, it turns out, was actually just Republican money. But all the Democratic money that was raised -- nearly $100 million from George Soros, University of Phoenix founder John Sperling, and the imperious chairman of the Progressive Corporation Peter Lewis alone -- accomplished, let's face it, nothing.
If, however, Mr. Kerry had won, there was a chance, insiders say, that Mr. Soros would have been made secretary of state or of the Treasury. Imagine Mr. Soros at his first meetings with the ministers of finance of allied countries whose currencies he'd once trashed. Perhaps he would lecture them on the virtues of multilateralism.
Ouch. Read the whole thing. The Soros money was not a complete waste, however, as it purchased a few blogads here, and helped pay for the laptop with which I'm posting this entry. Thanks, George! Your legacy lives on.
UPDATE: Reader Kent Guida wants to know which laptop I bought. It was this Dell Inspiron 700m. I managed to use one of those $750 coupons that were briefly floating around. I'm quite happy with it so far -- battery life with the extended-life battery is quite good, and the display is excellent. It's also quite light.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Not as light as that Amazon page says, though. If it were, I'd have to duct-tape it to a brick to keep it from floating away. . . .
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Check out the Cordair art gallery blogad to the right: "Funding for this BlogAd Certified Soros-Free." Heh. That's pretty funny.
* Control: I say the most revolutionary invention in media was not the Gutenberg press but the remote control. It and the cable box, the VCR, and the TiVo enabled us to control consumption of media -- and we took advantage of that. Bad TV died; good TV rose in the ratings; HBO was born; TV exploded; TV improved -- thanks to the good taste and newfound control of the American public.
* Creation: Now come tools that let us create media: blogging software (which is merely history's cheapest easiest publishing tool connected to history's best distribution network) and all those neat things that come with Macs today. They allow us to make text, photo, audio, and video media. And what we make has value. Jonathan Miller, head of AOL, told me that 60-70 percent of the time spent on his service is spent with content created by his audience. That's where the money is.
Read the whole thing. He's probably right that TV's better overall -- though I think that Gilligan's Island beats Survivor: Vanuatu any day.
Among the legacy media, the mood is what it must have been inside the Kremlin the day after the Berlin Wall fell. Lost power, diminished influence, and the sinking feeling that a lot of people can now ignore you. The term "legacy media" is a precise one. In the computer biz, "legacy systems" are old, outdated, and must be replaced if their purpose is to be served. It's happening in the media, and the process is accelerating.
Except that, actually, "legacy systems" tend to outlive their usefulness simply because replacing them is a lot of trouble. That may be the Big Media's salvation. . . .
posted at 11:52 AM by Glenn Reynolds
BASICALLY, Bush did better everywhere than he did in 2000.
posted at 11:16 AM by Glenn Reynolds
THIS SEEMS LIKE GOOD NEWS: "Trade Gap Narrows on Record Exports." Despite high oil prices. The trade deficit is still too high, though.
DOUG KERN HAS A COLUMN responding to former CBS correspondent Eric Engberg's claims that blogs aren't up to CBS's standards of accuracy.:
Speaking of droll endings, here's mine: I've made it through this entire fisking without breathing a word about Rathergate. Two months ago, the blogosphere handed your former employer a humiliating and richly-deserved lesson in journalistic integrity. Yet despite CBS' stupefying display of incompetence and negligence, and despite the fact that CBS still hasn't formally disavowed those ridiculous forgeries, I haven't rubbed your nose in that fiasco. I deserve a medal.
Read the whole thing.
posted at 07:57 AM by Glenn Reynolds
HUGH HEWITT continues to side with Specter and thinks that the pro-life anti-Specter forces are shooting themselves in the foot.
posted at 07:43 AM by Glenn Reynolds
SALON is pouring cold water on the stolen-election claims emanating from the nuttier sectors of the left.
When the US was attacked on 9/11, it struck many of us how few reprisals there were against American Muslims. There were some attacks, but for a country of 300 million, who had just experienced the largest terrorist attack in history, the display of restraint was encouraging.
I'm correspondingly discouraged by how the people of Holland have dealt with Theo van Gogh's murder - one death in a country of 16 million. There's been vandalism and arson, pig heads nailed to doors, the bombing of an Islamic school.
Nothing breeds that sort of freelance violence like the perception that the duly constituted authorities aren't willing to protect the citizenry. People in the United States didn't doubt that; people in the Netherlands have had reason to. As John Ashcroft retires, that's a point that's worth noting. Perhaps, given the tougher government response linked above, the Dutch government has noted it.
posted at 11:07 PM by Glenn Reynolds
DEAN ESMAY HAS POSTED A RESPONSE to the John Perry Barlow post on the election that I noted yesterday.
PHIL CARTER REPORTS ON A DARFUR SUCCESS STORY: "I'm heartened that the U.S. has decided to commit what it can to the Sudan operation — even if it's not enough in my opinion. Moreover, this model demonstrates that you don't always have to go in heavy to make a difference."
MORE ON WEB VIDEO: Adam Keiper (who did the videoblogging from the Foresight Nanotechnology Conference I mentioned earlier) emails in response to the post below:
I know your interest in web video extends beyond liveblogging. Can I make one prediction and one observation?
First, the prediction: In the 2008 presidential election, the number of political video advertisements made by ordinary citizens and distributed online will equal or exceed the number of ads officially released by the campaigns. Not because of ad contests, like the MoveOn.org contest that resulted in the notorious Bush-as-Hitler ad, but just because ordinary people will be frustrated with slow pace of the parties' and campaigns' ad teams. With election-related footage easily available (thanks to C-SPAN, ifilm, the campaigns' own websites, and other sources) and easy-to-use video editing software freely available, it will be hard to resist. (Some of this already started this year. After that footage of Edwards fussing over his hair and Bush giving the finger to the camera hit the Internet, ad-like parodies quickly appeared online, like this one set to the song "Rawhide," and another one that I made in about an hour.) These ads will appear faster than the officially sanctioned ads; they'll be funnier than the official ads; and they won't be limited to the TV-commercial length of 30 or 60 seconds. And of course some candidates and some FEC officials will be very unhappy.
Second, the observation. Building on what they did with Jon Stewart a few days ago, Amazon now has launched Amazon Theater, "a series of five original short films available exclusively at Amazon.com as a free gift to our customers." These little films have been made in cooperation with Ridley Scott's production company, and in fact it looks like Ridley Scott's brother, daughter, and son each directed one of the films. The first of the films, starring Minnie Driver, debuted today. And these films aren't just little dramas to bring traffic to Amazon's site: they are each exercises in intense product placement, and during the closing credits you can click to buy the products featured in the film. I don't think any other online retailer could pull off something like this today, but in a few years this sort of intense product placement could become much more common online and on TV.
"If this is an election that we couldn't win . . ." Mr. Carville said, his voice trailing off, as he sat next to Mr. Shrum and Mr. Greenberg. "The purpose of a political party is to win elections, and we're not doing that.
"I think we have to come to grips with the fact that we are an opposition party right now and not a particularly effective one. I'm out of denial. Reality has hit."
Even as they sought to put much of the blame of Mr. Kerry's loss on external events, Mr. Carville and Mr. Shrum acknowledged at least implicitly what had been a continuing criticism of Mr. Kerry, that he never presented an overarching view of what his presidency might be like.
I've been saying that for months. I guess I've been a reality-based blogger all along.
HEY, MAYBE BUSH AND RUMSFELD KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING:
A John F. Kennedy School of Government researcher has cast doubt on the widely held belief that terrorism stems from poverty, finding instead that terrorist violence is related to a nation's level of political freedom.
Associate Professor of Public Policy Alberto Abadie examined data on terrorism and variables such as wealth, political freedom, geography, and ethnic fractionalization for nations that have been targets of terrorist attacks.
posted at 10:24 AM by Glenn Reynolds
BILL STUNTZ: "The conventional wisdom holds that America is and always has been divided between North and South. Actually, there is a bigger and deeper divide: between East and West. The West is winning, hands down."
Troops have closed most of the roads in southern Darfur, and apparently are trying to force more refugees to return home. Another UN investigation team has arrived, and has twelve days determine if genocide took place. The government apparently plans to stonewall this group, then depend on its allies on the UN Security Council to halt any move to condemn the Sudanese government for mass murder. While about 70,000 people have died in Darfur so far, the death toll will climb much higher if food aid is continually slowed down, or halted for tribes forced back to their burned out villages.
THE ELECTIONS ARE OVER -- but that's no reason not to blog about health care! And this week's Grand Rounds, featuring health care blogging by health care workers, is up. Check it out.
posted at 07:31 AM by Glenn Reynolds
November 08, 2004
TAKING THE ELECTION HARD: I'm watching Meet the Press rerun on CNBC, and Maureen Dowd looks absolutely terrible. It's like she's aged ten years since I last saw her. Her manner is subdued, and bitter, too. I guess that explains her post-election writing. It's striking to see a pundit taking the election so hard -- most actual Democratic politicians seem to be maintaining more personal distance.
UPDATE: Reader Wendy Cook emails:
I was watching C-Span last night, which was airing yet another post-election symposium of media pundits -- Jonathan Alter, Pat Buchanan, ABC's Carole Simpson among others. At one point a visibly angry Simpson held up a map of red states alongside a map of slave states from the 1860s. See, she said, present-day red states are the same states that were pro-slavery! (As an Ohio native, you can imagine my confusion). Her point was the argument of "letting the states decide" issues scares her. She then went on to castigate Bush because "despite everything he says" she's convinced he's simply going to roll back entitlements.
I'm sure ABC News would like to thank Ms. Simpson for so effectively representing their objectivity and professionalism. And after watching several of these C-Span things, I think their true, diabolical intent may not be to analyze the election, but in fact to reveal the whininess, pettiness and rank bias of our nation's best-known journalists.
I didn't see that, but I've seen similar displays, and the same Confederacy-based arguments, elsewhere. It's certainly revealing.
UPDATE: In a sort-of-related matter, reader John Vecchione emails: "You have not commented on the secession meme that is all over the place this week. . . . its all over the internet(s) and you should comment on it."
It seems too obviously idiotic to merit comment. But I think that the answer is to be found in this post.
A CBS CORRESPONDENT THINKS BLOGGERS AREN'T CAREFUL ENOUGH ABOUT THEIR FACTS: Yeah, you read that right. In other, surely unrelated, news:
Players involved in the notorious 60 Minutes II story, reported by Dan Rather, which employed dubious documents regarding President Bush’s National Guard service, may have been rooting for a John Kerry victory.
No, it wasn’t that old bugaboo liberal media bias as much as it was a bias toward saving their own skins. The report from an internal investigation into the documents mess was purposely being held until after the election.
Pre-election, the feeling in some quarters at CBS was that if Kerry triumphed, fallout from the investigation would be relatively minimal. . . . But now, faced with four more years of President Bush, executives at CBS parent Viacom could take a harder line on the executives involved.
Apparently, someone at CBS believes in preemption.
posted at 07:50 PM by Glenn Reynolds
WILLIAM SJOSTROM: "The cynic in me is amused by it, but the normal person hidden inside finds it depressing. After every election, there is an outpouring of hysteria from the intellectuals, and it is embarrassing. This time is no exception."
VIRGINIA POSTREL has some new stuff, including "a win-win development that's ripe for demogogic denunciation" and advice for the Democrats. The latter is hardly in short supply these days, but hers is good.
Cue the handwringing from any number of media pundits, but not us. The reaction to this whole controversy is so 1997 -- a predictable volley of off-target shots by chin-waggers who either haven't figured out that the world's changed or refuse to admit that it has.
In trying to diagnose what went awry on Election Day, many of bloggers' critics seemed to be saying the Internet was at it again, and this time that creepy cesspool of comic-book geeks and pornographers was spitting out bad election data. But it's not as if Matt Drudge and Ana Marie Cox were making up numbers while sitting at home in their PJs. The numbers they and other bloggers posted came from the National Election Pool, an organization owned by the big networks and the Associated Press. NEP's numbers go to those outfits and to other media organizations that pay boatloads of money to get a peek. The numbers weren't some Internet invention, but data generated at the request of the mainstream media.
And it wasn't just wild-eyed bloggers who saw them and believed them, with or without the necessary caveats. The joy on James Carville's face was obvious -- and according to numerous reports, so was the gloom in President Bush's camp. The problem is that those numbers were terribly misleading, not that bloggers had them. And yet, somehow, we find ourselves in a referendum on blogs. If talk-show hosts had been reading the exit-poll numbers into their mikes, would we be knee-deep in worries about this crazy new technology called radio?
Read the whole thing. (It's a free link.) And, by the way, the WSJ has also got Tyler Cowen and John Irons econoblogging. Great idea.
posted at 08:42 AM by Glenn Reynolds
JAMES WOLCOTT RE-ELECTS BUSH! No, really. Here's the analysis. First, Wolcott calls down killer hurricanes on America: "I root for hurricanes. When, courtesy of the Weather Channel, I see one forming in the ocean off the coast of Africa, I find myself longing for it to become big and strong--Mother Nature's fist of fury, Gaia's stern rebuke." Faith moves mountains: Gaia hears Wolcott's fervent prayers, and Florida gets a pounding unmatched in recent decades.
Last month, American employers added 337,000 new jobs, the largest increase in seven months.
The biggest single engine for job creation was the hurricanes.
Part of the pick-up in jobs was down to the worst hurricane seasons for many years. About 71,000 new construction jobs had been added - the most since March 2000.
Kathleen Utgoff, commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said this "reflected rebuilding and clean-up activity in the south-east following the four hurricanes that struck the US in August and September".
The result: Bush carries Florida handily. No doubt the thank-you note from Karl Rove is in the mail! And Pat Robertson must be burning with jealousy at Wolcott's display of faith-based efficacy.
posted at 08:34 AM by Glenn Reynolds
INADEQUATE TERROR PREPARATIONS? Troubling thoughts in light of Beslan.
UPDATE: Reader Dan Duffy emails:
That article about whether the police are ready for a school siege sent a chill down my spine. Let me tell you why.
Just a few weeks ago, I went shooting with the state police SWAT team. During a break, I asked the team commander what plans or procedures they had developed to deal with a school siege scenario. His response shocked me.
He said that such a situation would be a 'terrible mess' and there was nothing you could do about it. I was stunned. Surely, I asked, you have given the scenario some thought in light of what happened in Russia? The answer was no, there had been no planning, no discussions, no nothing.
I almost blew a gasket. I asked how it could be possible that professionals had not considered this risk in this day and age. He lamely replied that the FBI would have to respond with their (HRT) Hostage Rescue Team. I pointed out that it would take a minimum of five hours for a team to get to the state. . . .
Glenn, please stay on this story, it is hugely important. I haven't provided more details because these cops are my friends.
And they shouldn't get in trouble for this report. But they, and others, should get on the ball.
What is this guy smoking? Back when I was on Blogspot I was running a third of that all by myself -- and by these numbers, InstaPundit would be getting more traffic than all the Blogspot blogs put together. Hmm. Maybe he's just trying to make InstaPundit look really good, but this is absurd.
UPDATE: N.Z. Bear looks at the CNN methodology: "I gather that comScore is coming up with their figures by using a panel of web users and surveying their surfing habits, then extrapolating that behavior to the web universe as a whole."
Sounds like exit polling. Hey, that couldn't be wrong. . . .
ANOTHER UPDATE: Hmm, CNN has a rather dubious history regarding numbers and the blogosphere. It's like they're trying to talk down their competition or something. . . .
The great European thinkers have decided that instead of doing another four years of lame Bush-is-a-moron cracks they're going to do four years of lame Americans-are-morons cracks. Inaugurating the new second-term outreach was Brian Reade in the Daily Mirror, who attributed the President's victory to: "The self-righteous, gun-totin', military-lovin', sister-marryin', abortion-hatin', gay-loathin', foreigner-despisin', non-passport-ownin' rednecks, who believe God gave America the biggest dick in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land 'free and strong'."
Well, that's certainly why I supported Bush, but I'm not sure it entirely accounts for the other 59,459,765. Forty five per cent of Hispanics voted for the President, as did 25 per cent of Jews, and 23 per cent of gays. And this coalition of common-or-garden rednecks, Hispanic rednecks, sinister Zionist rednecks, and lesbian rednecks who enjoy hitting on their gay-loathin' sisters expanded its share of the vote across the entire country - not just in the Bush states but in the Kerry states, too.
Read the whole thing, which is Steyn at his most amusing. ("You can drive from coast to coast across the middle of the country and never pass through a single county that voted for John Kerry: it's one continuous cascade of self-righteous urine from sea to shining sea.") I've been reading James Webb's new book, Born Fighting : How the Scots-Irish Shaped America and it's amazing to note how the comments Steyn quotes above match up with things that English writers were saying about the Scots-Irish two or three centuries ago, now turned into a view of Americans in general. This supports Webb's thesis that Scots-Irish culture has become the strongest thread of American culture, I suppose. If you've already read David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, there's not a whole lot that's new in Webb's book, but Webb's book is much more digestible for the casual reader than Fischer's rather lengthy book. And as you might expect, it's well-written. If you want just the gist, though, you might want to read this column by Webb, or this piece by a somewhat less impressive author.
As NASA's Mars rovers keep rolling past all expectations of their useful lives, scientists have a happy mystery: For some reason one of the vehicles has actually gained power recently.
Opportunity recently experienced an unexplained rejuvenation from what can so far be described only as two or three significant "cleaning events,'' said Jim Erickson, the rover project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
"Now we're assuming they're cleaning, but all we can really say is that overnight the solar panels produced between 2 and 5 percent additional power immediately,'' he said. "We're surmising that for some reason dust is being removed from the solar panel and that's increasing the efficiency of the sunlight being converted to electricity.''
The rover team has been bandying about theories, but hasn't figured out the cause.
"One favorite is that a dust devil happened to pick the vehicle to go through and go over the surface of it and clean it off a little bit,'' Erickson said.
Another government coverup.
posted at 05:00 PM by Glenn Reynolds
OKAY, ONE MORE before I head back over to the hospital this morning. Hugh Hewitt has some advice for Republicans:
The opposition to Specter seems headquartered at The Corner. Many friends post at The Corner, so I paused, considered their arguments, and thought it through. On reflection, it seems to me a very bad idea to try and topple Senator Specter from what in the ordinary course of events would be his Chairmanship. I hope my colleagues on the center-right that embrace pro-life politics will reconsider.
I understand that Senator Specter voted against Robert Bork, and that Senator Specter is not a friend of the pro-life movement. But genuine progress in the fight to return American public opinion to an affirmation of life before birth cannot be made through strong-armed tactics and almost certainly will not be lasting if it is accomplished through a putsch.
I'm not a pro-lifer like Hugh, of course, but I've felt that the folks at The Corner have been a bit carried away on this, too. I hope that they'll listen to Hugh in a way they probably wouldn't listen to me on this subject.
posted at 10:47 AM by Glenn Reynolds
I'M PLEASED TO REPORT THE BIRTH of my nephew, William Glenn Uti Reynolds! Nine pounds, three ounces, 21 1/2 inches. We grow 'em big.
My blogging is likely to be limited today. But Jeff Jarvis and Andrew Sullivan have lots of new posts. So does Tom Maguire, who's discovered an interesting campaign surprise for John Edwards.
And several readers note that Michael Moore doesn't have anything on his website about the assassination of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by Islamic extremists, just more Bush-bashing.
That's OK. Jeff Jarvis thinks Moore lost the election for the Democrats. Do we really want him taking an active role in the war on terror? Er, on our side, I mean.