ANOTHER UPDATE: I notice that the Wikipedia entry on InstaPundit, now purged of major inaccuracies, contained this now-removed passage: "Reynolds has expressed scepticism about the value of [[Wikipedia]] (somewhat ironically, since the value of Wikipedia's open process has similarities to the perceived value of the blogosphere)."
That has now been edited out, which illustrates both the strength and weakness of Wikipedia. I'm not a general Wikipedia critic, but one difference between blogs and encyclopedias -- which I'm treating Wikipedia as -- is that you expect something sort of finally authoritative from an encyclopedia. Not that errors won't be corrected, etc., in future editions, but with more finality than the Wiki process produces. As I say in my FAQs, I don't see blogs as a final authority: "As with anything else you read on the Internet, you should take what you read here as a starting point for your own research and investigation in the process of arriving at your own informed opinion (again, kind of like a card catalog) not as an ending point. I don't knowingly link to false things without saying so, except in the case of obvious parodies, and I do my best to correct factual errors when I'm made aware of them. But a weblog is more like a rough draft than a finished product." I guess a Wiki is, too, but somehow I expect an encyclopedia to be more of an ending point than a starting point. Perhaps that's unfair, but I think it's the mindset with which most people approach WikiPedia, because it ends in "pedia." A WikiNews site would get a different reception.
INSTAPUNDIT HAS A NEW AFGHANISTAN PHOTO CORRESPONDENT, Major Robert Macaraeg, who conveniently enough rotated in just as Major John Tammes rotated out. Here's a report from Kandahar:
Here are some images from the local bazaar that is held at Kandahar Air Field (KAF). Not many soldiers are allowed off KAF to go into the city of Kandahar to go shopping, due to a few obvious and not so obvious reasons. The obvious is for safety and the not so obvious is that the US Army does not want to flood the local economy with dollars and ruin it with inflation.
All the vendors are vetted and searched for prohibited items. The bazaar site is next to the air field and then it is commerce at its best.
I asked a vendor about sales tax and he said is what that? Then I explained the concept of paying taxes and he said only in America.
The little boy at the stand was a pretty good salesman and I picked up some trinkets from him.
These gentlemen are meeting a great need of soldiers here. They sell videos to the military and they cater to their taste. The videos are cheap, but the quality is sometimes lacking. One idea that Hollywood should take from these guys is to sell multiple movies (the average is six) on one disk based on a single theme. It would be a good way to move their back catalog.
I think that putting so many movies on one disk is why the quality is lacking. I'm sure the MPAA wouldn't approve of these efforts, either . . . .
But thanks, Major. I hope we'll see many more photos from this under-covered region.
posted at 10:19 AM by Glenn Reynolds
WONDERING ABOUT THOSE VIRGIL TATUM ADS? Henry Copeland has some background.
posted at 09:38 AM by Glenn Reynolds
IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN GUN-BLOGGING, a subject on which I have been quite negligent lately, you should check out this week's Carnival of Cordite.
All of the major news outlets need to be taking a deep and critical look at the way in which they have been using locals to report news in Iraq. Whether it be hiring the translators that used to be paid by Saddam (and still may be linked to the Ba’athists) or the ‘freelancers’ that reported for CNN and other outlets from within Fallujah and elsewhere, if the networks are going to pay these people and take their reports at face value, then they are also morally and ethically aligned with them.
Many Americans see the press as not neutral, but actively opposed to U.S. war efforts. The press doesn't seem to appreciate the depth of the problem.
UPDATE: Reader C.J. Burch emails:
The story isn't that CBS is employing terrorists. The story is that no one is surprised CBS is employing terrorists. What's more, I suspect that most Americans, say about 52% of them, feel that most of the MSM outlets with any presence at all in Iraq are employing terrorists.
TERM LIMITS FOR SUPREME COURT JUSTICES: I remain skeptical.
posted at 10:04 AM by Glenn Reynolds
MY TASTE IN MUSIC is not all that close to Moby's. Interestingly, except for the Kraftwerk, the main overlap is . . . Moby. Though I tend to listen to his work as Voodoo Child, which isn't listed, more than his other albums.
IN RESPONSE TO WEDNESDAY'S DUSTUP about their Bellesiles coverage, the Chronicle of Higher Education sent me this link to a collection of their coverage so that people can decide for themselves.
posted at 09:46 AM by Glenn Reynolds
FEW THINGS WOULD MAKE ME LESS ANXIOUS TO OPEN AN EMAIL than the subject heading "Another Terry Schiavo Case!" But if the facts recounted here are accurate, this Georgia case involves a non-comatose, non-vegetative woman being denied care in express contravention to her living will, which means that it's not really another Terri Schiavo case at all. I hope it will get sufficient attention to get to the bottom of this.
UPDATE: Megan McArdle has more thoughts, but there's some skepticism in her comments. We'll see.
UPDATE: Donald Sensing: "I was about to write that the Iraqi insurgents are fighting Pyrrhic battles, but then I remembered - Pyrrhus won the battles that ruined him. The insurgents are being destroyed and ruined in defeat."
UPDATE: More on hybrid cars, and inflated mileage claims therefor, here. That's disappointing. Next they'll tell me that robot lawn mowers don't live up to the hype! Meanwhile, my former student Melissa Ashburn emails:
We recently purchased a turbo diesel jetta (TDI), slightly used, for about 1/2 the price of the hybrids, and we are getting better gas mileage than most hybrids. We average 50 mpg on the highway, and 38 in city. Plus, the new diesels are completely different than the old diesel engines - they are much cleaner and quieter. The turbo action really gives it pick up and quick responsiveness as well, unlike the old diesel engines which hesitate and seem to bog down when you try to accelerate quickly. We are extremely pleased with this Jetta and highly recommend that you check it out before buying a hybrid.
We test-drove one of those when the Insta-Wife was car-shopping several years ago, and I was quite impressed.
The confusion seems to stem from the mistaken idea that there were handwritten notes by various Clinton Administration officials in the margins of these documents, which Mr. Berger may have been able to destroy. But that's simply an "urban myth," prosecutor Hillman tells us, based on a leak last July that was "so inaccurate as to be laughable." In fact, the five iterations of the anti-terror "after-action" report at issue in the case were printed out from a hard drive at the Archives and have no notations at all.
This raises the possibility that Berger's latest story -- that he accidentally removed them and was afraid to try to return them -- might actually be true. That scenario is less culpable, and certainly consistent with the bumbling record that Berger compiled on antiterrorism while in office. I think, however, that even on these facts if Berger had been, say, a Chief Warrant Officer, he would have received considerably harsher treatment.
The Transportation Security Administration, once the flagship agency in the nation's $20 billion effort to protect air travelers, is now slated for dismantling.
The TSA has been plagued by operational missteps, public relations blunders and criticism of its performance from both the public and legislators. Its "No Fly" list has mistakenly snared senators. Its security screeners have been arrested for stealing from luggage, and its passenger pat-downs have set off an outcry from women.
President Bush's nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration is being blocked from Senate confirmation by two Democrats who said Wednesday that they would hold up a vote until the agency settled the long-delayed question of whether an emergency contraceptive could be sold over the counter.
I don't think the FDA should politicize this issue; I think its decision should be based entirely on safety. Of course, as Kerry Howley notes, you don't have to worry about pharmacists exercising "ethical vetoes" if you make it over-the-counter.
posted at 10:54 PM by Glenn Reynolds
MORE MOWER-BLOGGING: I've gotten a lot of email on the subject of lawn mowers, but this one from Reid (no relation) Reynolds is especially interesting:
I tried one of those mowers. I should have warned you. They're OK for touch ups in places you missed but, they're pretty lousy overall. My lawn always looked like a kid who got hold of the scissors and cut their own hair.
If you want a quiet, environmentally conscious mower of the 21st century, this is the thing to get. I love mine and, I'll never go back.
I'm not sure what the difference is that justifies several hundred bucks. One caveat: it cuts within an electronic fence you set up, which is fairly hard work. And, it cuts somewhat randomly so that, halfway through, your yard looks like the same kid with the scissors. But, it's lightweight so it doesn't leave tracks and, when it's done, your yard looks smooth and beautiful. It takes a long time to finish because it goes over a lot of ground twice or thrice but, that's time you're not out there doing it yourself. It's wonderful to be able to do other chores or go out and enjoy yourself and come back to a well mowed lawn. And, the neighbors sure do gawk and, it drives the dogs they are walking wild. They sit there barking at it and, it just ambles on its way, paying them no mind (which it doesn't have, of course).
I love the idea, but after my unsatisfactory experience with the Roomba I'm skeptical. And I wonder how it would handle a slope. It's also a bit pricey for my mowing budget. Still, if I can't have a flying car, it does seem that I should at least have a robot to mow my lawn. This is the 21st century, after all.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Yeah, upsize these things to SUV-level, please.
MORE: A reader emails:
Some guy down the street from us has a robomower and it seems to work for him. His yard is fairly level, but slopes down at the sidewalk. It's quiet and slow, but he does other things while it's mowing.
It does seem like it would be easy to walk off with it, though...
Perhaps we need the self-defending Bolo Robomower!
It definitely shows to what great a depth the enemy resistance was prepared and how much they had invested in the Iraqi campaign in the long months while US diplomats tortuously attempted to obtain permission to topple Saddam Hussein. I believe that historians in retrospect will understand the Iraqi insurgency was not something spontaneously ignited by outbreaks of looting in Baghdad in the aftermath of OIF, but a meeting engagement between two prepared forces. Iraq, as Princeton's Michael Doran observed, was intended to be the graveyard of America's counteroffensive against terror. Instead the enemy dug the grave for themselves. What we are seeing now is not simply the rout of a few armed men, but terror's greatest defeat in modern times.
KOFI Annan has summoned all UN staff to a meeting today in an effort to shore up his crumbling leadership of the organisation.
THE United Nations Secretary-General will address several thousand officials crammed into the General Assembly hall, where world leaders meet every northern autumn, and thousands more by video link around the world.
Aides say the embattled UN chief will deliver a "pep talk" in an attempt to buoy the spirits of UN personnel after a series of scandals, including last week's oil-for-food report criticising Mr Annan and his son, Kojo.
He is expected to tout his recently released reform agenda, In Larger Freedom, which calls for institutional changes to revive the organisation.
Mr Annan, the first UN chief to rise up through the ranks, will find many staff angry and demoralised at what they see as the humiliation of the institution.
One mid-level official said he wanted an apology from Mr Annan, but did not dare ask.
Meanwhile, the criticism of the U.N. and its institutions just gets harsher:
Speaking at the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Annan said that the world body is failing to protect against human rights abuses, particularly in Sudan's conflict-ravaged Darfur region, and should be replaced by a council with greater authority.
"We have reached a point at which the commission's declining credibility has cast a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system as a whole and where piecemeal reforms will not be enough," Annan told delegates.
"The commission's ability to perform its tasks has been overtaken by new needs and undermined by the politicization of its sessions and the selectivity of its work," Annan said.
It is therefore sad to reflect that the quarter century of his papacy was a terrible disaster for the Roman Catholic Church. Regular attendance at Mass* all over the traditionally Catholic world dropped like a stone all through John Paul II’s papacy. Everywhere in the great Catholic bastions of southern Europe — Austria, Italy, Spain, Portugal — the story is the same. In France, “eldest daughter of the Church,” the only argument is whether regular Mass attendance today is just above, or just below, ten percent. In Ireland — Ireland! — the numbers declined steadily from the 90 percent of 1973 to 60 percent in 1996, since when they have fallen off a cliff, to 48 percent in 2001 and heading south. A hundred years ago the U.S. Church imported priests from Ireland; now Ireland imports them from Nigeria. . . .
The debate among devout Catholics about this calamity, so far as I can follow it, is not very enlightening. Conservatives blame it all on the reforms of the Vatican II Council (1962-5); liberals blame it on John Paul II himself, saying that his firm traditionalist approach to core doctrines turned off the more open-minded Catholic laity. Both surely know in their hearts that the real culprit is the irresistible appeal of secular hedonism to healthy, busy, well-educated populations.
I am less troubled by this than some, but I rather doubt that the path actually leads to Huxley's Brave New World.
SANTA CRUZ — UC Santa Cruz junior Jonathan Perez dressed in a suit and tie Tuesday, hoping to impress company recruiters at the campus job fair.
But more than 200 student anti-war protesters got there first, storming the Stevenson Event Center, shouting and banging on windows and demanding that military recruiters in the corner of the room leave.
The noisy sit-in ended after an hour of chaos and tension when military representatives vacated their posts. Student protesters hugged each other happily after administrators allowed them to hand out information on alternatives to military careers and agreed to a meeting to discuss future job fairs.
I wonder what the University would have done if these had been anti-abortion, or anti-gay-marriage, protesters? But in fact, the antiwar movement has been reduced to this sort of embarrassing futility because it has no real popular support outside a few enclaves. And this -- frankly unpatriotic -- face isn't helping it. And, yes, it is unpatriotic to obstruct military recruiting in time of war.
And if I were an employer, I'd give UC Santa Cruz a pass, this year and in the future.
UPDATE: Reader Bart Hall emails:
The rarely-mentioned dirty secret of it all is that the military are increasingly disinclined to recruit in such places to begin with. They did not push to reinstitute ROTC at places like Harvard and Middlebury because "frankly, we've found that students from such institutions tend to perform poorly as officers," to quote an officer (O-4) in a position to know.
Fewer and fewer students attending places like UCSC are of the sort who can handle the military. These institutions do not, however, yet sseem recognize their growing irrelevence and its connection to a woefully distorted and unbalanced political environment.
Ouch. And Brian Dunn adds:
Why encourage employers to skip UC Santa Cruz? Where will the folks like the guy in the suit go? And it's not like it will hurt the protesters. What corporation wants their skill set? I don't think Taco Bell sends recruiters to campus.
MORE: A reader says that Bart Hall has it partly wrong:
Reader Bart Hall isn’t quite accurate
When I was Marine Corps recruiter I avoided career fairs like the plague because they were a complete and total waste of my very limited time. I never landed a single enlistment from one of those damn things.
Now and then I would go because I was under orders to do so. It was all a numbers game. A career fair would generate a lot of contacts, the CO could then go to his boss and say look how busy my boys are.
I would then waste yet more of my precious time having to prove that the red hot leads this event would generate (like I. P. Freely and I. C. Weiner) probably weren’t going to result in a body at boot camp.
I’m sure they were glad to leave. I would have been.
John Stockley late of the USMC
P.S. He’s being a little unfair about Harvard. The amount of officers recruited from the Ivy League is so statistically insignificant, there is no useful data available on their performance. His Major’s opinion is strictly his own.
So noted. And another reader asks why the Randall Terry comparison. I thought it was obvious -- the antiwar folks here remind me of Terry's pro-lifers thuggishly-yet-ineffectually protesting outside abortion clinics, because they've lost everywhere else. Both groups even call the objects of their protests "baby-killers."
LAWN-MOWER UPDATE: I did buy one of these yesterday, though at Mayo's, not from Amazon. They told me I could bring it back for a full refund if I didn't like it. So far, I'm not quite sure: I mowed the front yard with it and it was easy to push and did a good job, though you can't use it as a trimmer the way you can use a powered push-mower -- when you stop pushing, it stops cutting. The cut was nice, and the lack of noise was pleasant.
Some crying with joy, 31 Pakistani Kashmiris crossed the "Peace Bridge" into Indian Kashmir on Thursday, marking the first bus service linking the divided Himalayan region since it was split by war almost 60 years ago. . . .
Attacks by Islamic separatists -- who have threatened to turn the buses into rolling coffins -- scared off some passengers but failed to derail one of the most significant and emotive steps in South Asia's unsteady peace process.
"The caravan of peace has started," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said as he sent off the Pakistan-bound bus in front of a crowd of thousands braving freezing drizzle at the Lion of Kashmir stadium in Srinagar, summer capital of Indian Kashmir and the region's heart and soul. "Nothing can stop it."
This whole standing-up-to-terrorists business has become quite the fashion. Good!
posted at 07:57 AM by Glenn Reynolds
THE SCHIAVO TALKING-POINTS MEMO turns out to have been written by a Republican staffer after all. But Mickey Kaus notes that this doesn't help Post reporter Mike Allen as much as it might:
Allen doesn't come off looking too good in this latest account. a) The memo was apparently not "distributed to Republican Senators by party leaders," as Allen's initial story, sent out through the Post news service to other papers, reported. It was--at least judging from today's account--handed to one Democratic senator, Tom Harkin, by one freshman Republican senator (who isn't in the party leadership); b) Allen doesn't explain why he told Howie Kurtz he "did not call them talking points or a Republican memo" when he had in fact done just that in the news service draft; c) Even the later, more "carefully worded" account Allen published in the Post itself was apparently wrong.
ANOTHER UPDATE: My sum-up? This tells us two things we already knew: The press will publish stuff without much in the way of authentication, if it thinks it makes Republicans look bad. And Republicans really were interested in politicizing the Terry Schiavo matter. On both points: Duh.
THANKS to all the folks who've sent donations lately. They do a fine job of offsetting the hatemail.
posted at 10:58 PM by Glenn Reynolds
KUDLOW: Leave the Strategic Petroleum Reserve alone.
posted at 10:04 PM by Glenn Reynolds
BELLESILES UPDATE: Gordon Smith comments on a Jim Lindgren presentation regarding the Bellesiles affair, and points out (yes, really) a Wonkette angle.
UPDATE: Lindgren comments, and adds more background, here. The Chronicle of Higher Education comes off quite badly.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Scott McLemee, formerly of the Chronicle, disputes Lindgren's version of events:
I'm astonished to see you retailing the nonsense about the Chronicle's coverage of the Bellesiles affair.
Until leaving the paper recently to begin writing a column for Inside Higher Ed, I worked in the section that covered the story. (It was not my beat, but I kept up with developments at the time.) Obviously I'm not speaking on the paper's behalf, but can tell you that the notion there was any pressure to shape the story one way or the other is preposterous. Even more so is the notion that the individual now known as Wonkette was fired for some excessive zeal in pursuit of investigative reporting. That is enough to make a cat laugh.
People are not angry because the Chronicle's coverage of the story was unfair or unbalanced. On the contrary. They are angry at not seeing only their take represented. I suppose that Bellesiles's supporters would be unhappy, too, if he had any.
I don't know the truth of this -- though I've always found Lindgren reliable -- but I like the phrase "enough to make a cat laugh."
posted at 09:44 PM by Glenn Reynolds
WHAT HATH BUSH WROUGHT? This observation seems right: "A Kurdish president of Iraq? A few years ago, such a thing would have been unthinkable. Hearty congratulations are in order." Even NPR sounded surprisingly positive.
posted at 08:29 PM by Glenn Reynolds
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Reader Jim Herd notes that DPreview now has a review of Canon's new sub-$1000 8-megapixel digital SLR. Actually, it's well under $1000 -- $899 on Amazon.
Nikon's not to be left out for long, though, as it announces the long-rumored D50, too.
YEARS AGO, when I was interviewed for an article on pro-Second Amendment scholars for The Chronicle of Higher Education, I was given the third degree by a reporter who found it hard to believe that so many constitutional scholars and law reviews were publishing "pro gun" articles without getting paid by the NRA.
Berger has admitted that he stuffed top-secret documents into his pockets, shirt and pants, and why he sliced some up with scissors, destroyed them and then lied about it. Until he gives a credible explanation for this behavior, we are all entitled to make the logical inference — that he was hiding something to protect himself and his old bosses. . . .
Berger would also have us believe he "inadvertently" cut up and "inadvertently" destroyed the documents — that he had no intention of concealing anything from the commission. And then, I suppose, he inadvertently lied about what he'd done.
Come on. With a shabby explanation like that, Berger invites speculation that he is covering for himself or for the Clintons.
Back in the '90s, I found Berger consistently unwilling to act vigorously against terror-sponsoring nations. When Sen. Al D'Amato proposed sanctions against Iran, Berger tried to get Clinton to veto the bill; it was only after much public pressure that he signed it.
Berger was on a fast track to be the next Democratic Secretary of State. He risked that in stealing those documents. Now he has destroyed his future career by pleading to a criminal misdemeanor — admitting what he did while still concealing why he did it.
Read the whole thing.
posted at 02:43 PM by Glenn Reynolds
HOW MUCH BETTER ARE THINGS IN IRAQ? Compare the situation today with this post from a year ago.
On March 8, tens of thousands of high school students marched through central Paris to protest education reforms announced by the government. Repeatedly, peaceful demonstrators were attacked by bands of black and Arab youths--about 1,000 in all, according to police estimates. The eyewitness accounts of victims, teachers, and most interestingly the attackers themselves gathered by the left-wing daily Le Monde confirm the motivation: racism.
Some of the attackers openly expressed their hatred of "little French people." One 18-year-old named Heikel, a dual citizen of France and Tunisia, was proud of his actions. He explained that he had joined in just to "beat people up," especially "little Frenchmen who look like victims." He added with a satisfied smile that he had "a pleasant memory" of repeatedly kicking a student, already defenseless on the ground.
Another attacker explained the violence by saying that "little whites" don't know how to fight and "are afraid because they are cowards." Rachid, an Arab attacker, added that even an Arab can be considered a "little white" if he "has a French mindset." The general sentiment was a desire to "take revenge on whites."
Will France improve as much in the coming year as Iraq has in the past year? Doubtful.
posted at 02:24 PM by Glenn Reynolds
PRAWFSBLAWG is a new blog by "youngish law-professor types."
posted at 02:11 PM by Glenn Reynolds
A WHILE BACK, I joked about buying one of these. After spending the morning screwing around with my allegedly reliable Honda, I'm getting more and more tempted.
Here, too, is Annan's faxed response - ordering Dallaire to defend only the UN's image of impartiality, forbidding him to protect desperate civilians waiting to die. Next, it details the withdrawal of UN troops, even while blood flowed and the assassins reigned, leaving 800,000 Rwandans to their fate.
The museum's silent juxtaposition of personal courage versus Annan's passive capitulation to evil is an effective reminder of what is at stake in the debate over Annan's future: when the UN fails, innocent people die. Under Annan, the UN has failed and people have died.
His own legions have raped and pillaged. In two present scandals, over the oil-for-food programme in Iraq, and sex-for-food in Congo, Annan was personally aware of malfeasance among his staff, but again responded with passivity.
Having worked as a UN human rights observer in Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti and Liberia, there are two savage paradoxes for me here. The first is that, while the media and conservative politicians and pundits have suddenly discovered that the UN has been catastrophically incompetent, this is very old news to anyone with the mud (or blood) of a UN peacekeeping mission on his boots. . . .
The second searing irony for me is that the American neoconservative right has occupied the moral high ground in critique of Annan, outflanking the left, which sits on indefensible territory in his support. But if prevention of genocide and protection of the vulnerable are not core priorities on the left, then what is? If anyone's values have been betrayed, it is those of us on the left who believe most deeply in the organisation's ideals.
And yet, the UN keeps being held up as a symbol of civilization and lawfulness by those who should know better.
posted at 09:31 AM by Glenn Reynolds
HOWARD KURTZ HAS PICKED UP ON THE CANADIAN SCANDAL STORY, making it officially news for the American media:
Yes, our democratic neighbor to the north, which lacks a First Amendment and has a somewhat narrower view of press freedom, is cracking down on an American blogger for reporting on a corruption investigation that apparently has to do with advertising contracts being steered to politically connected firms. The blogger is Ed Morrissey of Captains Quarters, and this London Free Press story brings us up to date:
"A U.S. website has breached the publication ban protecting a Montreal ad executive's explosive and damning testimony at the federal sponsorship inquiry. The U.S. blogger riled the Gomery commission during the weekend by posting extracts of testimony given in secret Thursday by Jean Brault.
"The American blog, being promoted by an all-news Canadian website, boasts 'Canada's Corruption Scandal Breaks Wide Open' and promises more to come. The owner of the Canadian website refused to comment.
"Inquiry official Francois Perreault voiced shock at the publication ban breach, and said the commission co-counsel Bernard Roy and Justice John Gomery will decide today whether to charge the Canadian website owner with contempt of court."
Meanwhile, I don't even have to respond to mine, as someone else has done it for me.
posted at 09:00 AM by Glenn Reynolds
April 05, 2005
SAUL BELLOW HAS DIED: I join Roger Simon in offering condolences to his son Adam, who was involved with my last book.
posted at 11:21 PM by Glenn Reynolds
LIKE ANN ALTHOUSE, I found time to wander campus for a little while this afternoon. And, like Ann, I found student electioneering underway, though without the rock'em-sock'em approach.
Skateboarding is not a crime, as we're often told. You see less of it on campus than you did a few years ago, though.
Professors still hold class outside on nice days.
Outdoor snacking is also popular.
Though in an earlier post, I noted that it was mostly women who seemed to be walking and chatting on cellphones, men do use them -- though this guy is a Physical Plant staffer, not a student.
It does seem, though that most of the people walking around and talking into cellphones are women. I certainly hope that cellphones don't turn out to cause cancer or something. If they do, the gender imbalance that Ann notes on college campuses is likely to be reversed in future generations, because my casual observation suggests that female college students get several times the RF exposure from cellphones that men get.
I tend to think that the cellphone-danger bit is overblown. I certainly hope I'm right, because if it's not, things are going to turn out badly.
As a former judge myself for 13 years, who has a number of close personal friends who still serve on the bench today, I am outraged by recent acts of courthouse violence. I certainly hope that no one will construe my remarks on Monday otherwise. Considered in context, I don’t think a reasonable listener or reader could.
As I said on Monday, there's no possible justification for courthouse violence. Indeed, I met with a federal judge, a friend of mine, in Texas just this past week, to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to protect our judges and courthouse personnel against further acts of violence. And like my colleague from Illinois, I personally know judges and their families who have been victims of violence and have grieved with those families.
But I want to make one thing clear: I'm not aware of any evidence whatsoever linking recent acts of courthouse violence to the various controversial rulings that have captured the nation’s attention in recent years.
My point was, and is, simply this: We should all be concerned that the judiciary is losing the respect that it needs to serve the American people well. We should all want judges to interpret the law fairly – not impose their own personal views on the nation. We should all want to fix our broken judicial confirmation process. And we should all be disturbed by overheated rhetoric about the judiciary, from both sides of the aisle. I regret it that my remarks have been taken out of context to create a wrong impression about my position, and possibly be construed to contribute to the problem rather than to a solution.
Our judiciary must not be politicized. Rhetoric about the judiciary and about judicial nominees must be toned down. And our broken judicial confirmation process must be fixed, once and for all.
So there. Though if there are no links, why did he raise the subject? Or, as Ann Althouse notes: "Politicians know the spiciest part of a speech is the sound bite. Edit it out if you don't mean it."
CANADA'S attorney general is probing possible breaches of a publication ban set up to protect explosive testimony at the AdScam inquiry. Justice spokesman Patrick Charette said federal lawyers are looking into the Internet sites reproducing excerpts of Montreal ad exec Jean Brault's testimony and providing a link to a U.S. blog featuring more extensive coverage of the hearing.
"We have to decide what the best course of action is," Charette said, adding federal lawyers could charge Canadian bloggers and website owners with contempt of court or suggest AdScam Justice John Gomery issue warning letters.
(Via Capt. Ed, whom Canadians have nearly silenced by overloading his website with readers.)
Auditor General Sheila Fraser has delivered a hard-hitting report criticizing Canada's anti-terrorism initiatives.
Fraser says there are "serious weaknesses" in the country's emergency response and airport security screening systems. . . .
"It's as if 9/11 never happened," reports CTV's Mike Duffy in Ottawa. "This is a damning indictment of a lackadaisical approach, and it couldn't come at a worse time," he says, referring to new border security measures the U.S. will announce today for Canadians wanting to travel south of the border.
"Their embassy will be reading this report and shaking its head saying, 'these guys really don't get it,'" says Duffy.
At the risk of interfering, I suggest that fixing these problems should probably be a higher priority.
posted at 08:26 PM by Glenn Reynolds
REVERSE ECHELON! Michael Greenspan has a post on Captain Ed, Canadian politics, and McCain-Feingold ("So we can comment on Canadian politics, but Canadians can't. Absurd, isn't it? Except that the reverse might be true in 2008, or even 2006, if restrictions on political and politics-related speech are extended to cover bloggers.") that gave me a thought: Friendly intelligence agencies spy on each others' citizens to evade restrictions on domestic spying. Perhaps bloggers will have to start covering each others' politics to avoid limits on domestic speech . . . .
posted at 08:08 PM by Glenn Reynolds
CORNYN ON THE LEFT? Stewart Baker forwards an email that he got from ABA President Robert Grey:
As members of the legal profession, I know you share my concern over the public's misunderstanding of the judiciary's role and the politically motivated criticism of the judiciary stemming from the Terri Schiavo case, and are equally alarmed about the murders of Judge Lefkow's family members in Chicago and the attacks at the Fulton County Courthouse in Georgia. The circumstances of these tragic events require careful analysis, thoughtful leadership, and measured response. . . . I have issued public statements condemning the violence against our judiciary and the gratuitous and vicious public attacks on the dedicated men and women who are our country's judges.
So to Grey, harsh criticism of judges is comparable to actual murder. Sigh. No, it's not. But if it were, some of the things said about judicial nominees by people on the left should surely count, too . . . .
LIBERTARIAN -- JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR NUTHIN' LEFT TO LOSE? That was my thought when reading this post by Patrick Hynes, who suggests that libertarians and small-government conservatives should be worried about a "crackup" as they might lose their influence with the Republicans if that happened. I guess I'd feel better if I saw, you know, some evidence of that influence lately . . . .
But I think this is more whistling in the dark. It's certainly true that the Libertarian Party is trivial. But libertarian-leaning Republicans and independents are far more numerous, and have less reason to stick around given that their agendas aren't getting much attention. What's more, if libertarian-leaning conservatives line up against the Republican agenda, it's likely to worry swing voters far more than if criticisms come only from the usual suspects of the left.
Hey, I think I'm offering good advice to the Republicans, but they should ignore it if they want -- just like the Democrats have ignored all the good advice I've given them. And they're doing fine! Right?
And to all those who are snarling at libertarians for daring to raise these issues, I'll just quote James Taranto: "By contrast, fewer people have come to call themselves liberal in part because liberals are eager to cast out heretics. . . . Developing a political majority is a matter of addition, not subtraction, and the GOP's openness to a variety of viewpoints is a strength, not a weakness."
Let's just hope that's not a past-tense statement now.
Martha Stewart went to jail for lying to federal investigators. But for lying after stealing highly classified documents from the National Archives -- in an apparent attempt to alter the historical record on terrorism, no less -- former Clinton national security adviser and Kerry campaign adviser Sandy Berger will get a small fine and slap on the wrist. He will pay $10,000 and get no jail time. His security clearance will be suspended until around the end of the Bush administration -- meaningless for a career Democrat like Mr. Berger. It makes us wonder who at the Department of Justice is responsible for letting such a serious offense go virtually unpunished.
Perhaps he's secretly cooperating in an ongoing investigation.
Many of my friends, such as regular Samizdata commenter Paul Coulam to name but one, have said to me that Blair is about to be re-re-elected with a similar majority to last time around, just as Thatcher was. Coulam certainly said this to me a few weeks back. But governments take a long time to unravel, and what does seem to have happened is that the metropolitan media of Britain have got bored with Labour. They are now more bored with Labour than they are disgusted and embarrassed by the Conservatives, which was not true a year ago. Michael Howard may disgust many Samizdata readers by being just another opportunist political hack, but he is nevertheless, I would say, a much more impressive and consequential figure than his two predecessors at the head of the Conservative Party.
I don't know how it will turn out, but I have a prediction about the spin: If Blair loses or does badly, the press will say that the election was a referendum on the Iraq war and Bush. If Blair does better than expected, the press will say that the election was about local issues of no greater significance. (Either way, resentment of the Blair government's position on the EU and immigration will be largely ignored.)
UPDATE: Iain Murray, who's going to be blogging heavily on the British elections, predicts that Blair will do worse than most expect, leading to a British version of the 2000 elections in the U.S.
Syria is publicly acting like it is playing nice and withdrawing. Behind the scenes they are destabilizing the country, delaying the elections and intimidating the opposition. The good guys in Lebanon need our support.
It is really a shame how little people understand of the reasons judges decide cases the way they do. DeLay and Cornyn, like many others, signal to the public to think that the judges are simply out of control and the cases are inexplicable as the serious work of deeply thoughtful persons steeped in the legal tradition. It wouldn't be wise just to assume that judges are unerring oracles of law, but to leap to the opposite conclusion and decide they are frauds is even more foolish. And for a public figure even to hint at violence as a solution is completely unacceptable.
If you need proof that some Republicans are just as dumb as some Democrats, this is it. Now if there are further attacks on judges, Cornyn -- and the Republicans -- will be blamed. What's more, to some degree they'll deserve it.
To quote Ari Fleischer's underappreciated remarks, people need to be careful what they say. The notion -- popular in some circles on the right -- that dishonest or result-oriented behavior by some judges justifies an all-out war against the judiciary, or even the idea of an independent judiciary, is un-conservative, and for that matter un-American.
I haven't seen the comments in their full context yet, but assuming Josh Marshall and Glenn Reynolds are being fair (and I have no reason to suspect they're not), it seems to me the outrage is well-deserved. This is almost exactly the same logic the left used to justify or explain away inner city riots. It seems to me there's no substantial difference. The judge in Atlanta was not murdered because he had an expansive view of the penumbra to the Bill of Rights. Neither was the murder of that judge's family in Chicago attributable to judicial activism. What other violence is Cornyn referring to? I leave some room for the possibility that Cornyn was being stupid rather than sinister. But this strikes me as an indefensible statement.
I'm willing to hold open the "stupid" possibility too -- though then he's a (really) stupid member of the Judiciary Committee, which is troubling enough -- and I suppose that there could be context that I haven't seen. But Cornyn's remarks do seem to be indefensible to me.
So does Beldar, who says that we've all been suckered and that Cornyn's speech, taken as a whole, gives a very different impression. Here's a link to the speech, which is sufficiently rambling and unfocused that Beldar may have a point. Perhaps Cornyn is just asinine. But why drag in the violence-against-judges thing -- when, as Jonah points out, there's no reason to associate any of these events with the kind of stuff that Cornyn is complaining about -- at all?
Ari Fleischer's advice was good advice, and it's especially good advice at a time when usually-respectable people have been urging a President and a Governor to call out the troops in defiance of court orders. If Cornyn's being misrepresented here, perhaps he should come out and explain just what he did mean. . . .
MORE: Jonah Goldberg is unconvinced by these defenses of Cornyn.
posted at 11:44 AM by Glenn Reynolds
SCOTT KOENIG'S WIFE IS IN THE HOSPITAL, after a nasty accident. Send him your thoughts and prayers.
MICKEY KAUS says that Howard Dean isn't quite there yet -- but it's all according to plan!
UPDATE: Hmm. I wonder if it was Howard Dean that Phil Bredesen was talking about when he said this:
Bredesen, a former mayor of Nashville, believes his party has “somehow gotten itself divorced” from the blue-collar constituency it has always relied on for presidential success: “I’ve always felt the Democratic party was a kind of alliance between the academics and intellectuals and working-class men and women. I think what happened is that in my lifetime, the academics won.”
As a result, the governor said, the party had lost its broad appeal. He mocked other Democratic candidates who think connecting with middle America means quoting a few verses from the Bible or being photographed with guns. . . .
He added: “I think a lot of the time the answer they are looking for is ‘Oh, if you just quote Matthew, Mark, Luke or John once in your speech’ that somehow everyone will think you’re one of them.”
If that worked, we'd be talking about President Kerry now.
ANN ALTHOUSE POSTS pictures from a nice day in Madison. Note that, even though in this case the photographer is female, women still dominate the scenes. Why? Because that's who goes to college, these days. . . .
It is beginning to look to me that the Liberal Party of Canada has more to worry about than remaining in power. If comprehensive, wide-ranging criminal charges are not laid soon and all the way to the top of this thing we may be looking at the collapse of the federal party for a generation. And if that happens we may be at the mercy of the fundamentalists who have taken control of the Conservative Party of Canada in which case I say with no irony, "May God help us all."
Canada under the control of fundamentalists? Hard to imagine.
UPDATE: More Canadian scandalblogging here and here.
MORE: Ed explains why he thinks this is important:
One of my commenters last night asked why Americans should be so offended by a publication ban, considering that grand jury testimony is often kept secret here. However, grand jury testimony is truly held in camera, meaning closed off to the public. As Taber reports, that's hardly the case with the Gomery Inquiry . . . In other words, every politician has access to the testimony, and even most reporters can get the transcript or at least hear it as the witnesses reveal their secrets. The only people whom the publication ban affects are the Canadian voters who elected these people and whose money got siphoned off. It has no analogy to grand juries whatsoever.
Read the whole thing, as well as this interview with Capt. Ed from The Globe and Mail.
And there's more on the ban here, from the Montreal Gazette.
I'm kind of surprised this routing-around-censorship story hasn't gotten more play in the United States. Is it just because any mention of Canada puts American editors to sleep? Bloggers know better.
IS ACE RETIRING? Or is it a late-breaking April Fool?
posted at 08:53 PM by Glenn Reynolds
MICKEY KAUS says that the Washington Post's bogus "talking points" story undercuts claims by Big Media outfits that they do better fact-checking:
What the Allen incident shows is that credentialed MSM reporters are under just as much "scoop" pressure as bloggers--maybe more pressure, since they must meet to a set of rigid deadlines, with demands (in Allen's case) not only from the reporter's own paper but from all the other papers that subscribe to his paper's news service, not to mention all those apparently ineffective editor-checkers who are waiting around to go home. Because bloggers don't have these rigid corporate deadlines, they may actually find it easier to balance the "scoop" imperative with the "check" imperative--if a story hasn't checked out, they can just wait an hour or two.
Under the metaconstitutional Oakes test, any infringement of individual Charter liberties, such as a publication ban, must have a "rational connection" to the intended benefit and must be the most minimally restrictive measure that can bring about the benefit. The argument here is that if a ban doesn't work in practice--say, because American webloggers are all printing the mind-blowing stuff Canadian ones cannot--it can't meet Oakes. With due respect to the ban, which I consider myself to have observed herein, it would actively help free the hands of Canadian webloggers and reporters if our foreign cousins were to be aggressive about "publishing" the substance of the Brault testimony outside the reach of Canadian law.
China is apparently planning an “out-of-the-blue” (OOTB) attack on Taiwan, that will initially consist mainly of missiles, warplanes, paratroopers and troops out on "training exercises". What this means is that, during what appears to be peacetime maneuvers, the troops involved will suddenly move against a nearby nation and invade. This tactic was developed by Russia during the Cold War, but never used.
If I were the Taiwanese, I'd be looking to buy nuclear weapons from North Korea . . . .
MORE: Reader Jeff Cook emails:
I expect it within the next two years. We should be selling nuking up to Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, and let it slip out that we're doing it. Within a decade a China with 1 billion citizens and 9% economic growth will be able to afford armed forces and weapons systems we can only dream about. They will be a threat to all of South Asia, Phillipines, Indonesia, and, who knows, Australia.
Unless we build a buffer of reasonably friendly and well-armed states, including Iran, Pakistan, and Russia, we will find ourselves in a war we cannot win. I have no strategic competencies, and no qualifications. It's just seems obvious.
Macchiavellian plan: Give nukes to Taiwan. Have Taiwan explode one in the Pacific as a "test." Have Taiwan announce that it got them from North Korea and Iran and will acquire more. Watch China deal with both countries . . . .
For six months, I have insisted that Annan be held accountable for the U.N.'s gross mismanagement of the Oil-for-Food Program. Last week, the U.N.'s own investigators issued a report criticizing Annan's own conduct -- including his failure to resolve a serious conflict of interest concerning his son -- and the conduct of his chief of staff.
The Volcker report did not "exonerate" Annan, as many have claimed; to the contrary, it pointed the finger directly at him. Indeed, one member of Volcker's committee, Mark Pieth, made that point loud and clear: "We did not exonerate Kofi Annan."
With that in mind, I reiterate my call for Annan's resignation.
THE first signs of a Democratic revolt against Senator Hillary Clinton’s much-anticipated march on the White House are emerging in the American South, where one of the party’s most successful state governors called last week for Democrats to consider other candidates.
In a calculated snub of Clinton’s accelerating bandwagon, Governor Philip Bredesen of Tennessee warned that voters were “kind of dissatisfied” with the Democrats’ current presidential contenders and that Clinton would face an “uphill road” to win the White House.
Bredesen also expressed dismay that speculation about the 2008 race was already focused on the wife of former president Bill Clinton and on Jeb, the brother of President George W Bush and governor of Florida. “Surely in the United States we can go further than having to have a single family dominate one side and a single family dominate the other,” he said.
Good point. You can read my thoughts on a Bredesen candidacy here.
posted at 11:17 AM by Glenn Reynolds
JOHN LEO writes that everyone behaved badly during the Schiavo flap.
MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT: Captain Ed has been Banned in Canada for his coverage of the Canadian political scandals. Canadian websites that link to him are threatened with prosecution.
Funny how our neighbors to the north lose their expansive view of international law when confronted with things like this:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Unless, you know, it's embarrassing to people in power or something.
What now emerges, by his own admission, is that Sandy Berger was engaged in a clumsy, post-9/11 cover-up of his own third-rate burglary.
Even more disturbing is the cavalier attitude of leading Democrats to this whole sordid affair.
"For all those who know and love him, it's easy to see how this would happen," one former White House colleague told The Washington Post at the time.
As for Bill Clinton himself, he couldn't stop chuckling over the whole thing.
"That's Sandy for you," he said at a Denver book signing last summer. "We were all laughing about it on the way over here."
Who's laughing now, Bill?
Not Sandy Berger.
Though in truth, he got off pretty light. As innumerable correspondents have indicated, an ordinary federal employee guilty of Berger's theft-and-lying behavior would have faced felony charges, lifetime loss of security clearance, and near-complete unemployability. For the big boys, though, the rules seem to be different.
UPDATE: Rand Simberg has more questions about what was going on, and wonders why the press hasn't been very interested in seeking answers.
posted at 08:43 AM by Glenn Reynolds
THE OPPOSITION GIVES UP IN ZIMBABWE: "This has been probably one of the saddest elections I’ve had to cover, because in following the struggles of democratic hopefuls against Mugabe, I have really learned that we can’t just write Africa off. In totalitarianism, there is always a critical low point where it is literally impossible for a people to fend for themselves against a government. . . . That’s why I am so disappointed that South Africa and other neighboring countries were so keen on ratifying this obvious mockery of electoral democracy."
I'm deeply disappointed in Thabo Mbeki's behavior. In covering for Mugabe, he makes me suspect his commitment to democracy at home.
posted at 07:46 AM by Glenn Reynolds
ELECTIONS TODAY IN MOLDOVA: Gateway Pundit has background.
posted at 07:43 AM by Glenn Reynolds
BILL QUICK HAS MORE on the San Francisco blog-regulation story. Chris Nolan offers some political background, and there's a Slashdot discussion in which this post claims that it's not as big a threat to blogs as earlier claimed.
In his interim report on corruption in the United Nations' oil-for-food program, Paul Volcker found there wasn't enough evidence to prove U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan steered contracts to a Swiss firm that employed his son. That was enough for Annan to declare Volcker "has cleared me of any wrongdoing."
That view isn't universally shared.
"We did not exonerate Kofi Annan," Swiss organized crime expert Mark Pieth, one of Volcker's three investigators, told The Associated Press.
The Scotsman newspaper noted that Volcker faulted Annan for an "inadequate" inquiry when the oil-for-food scandal first broke.
"Under Mr. Annan, the U.N. allowed the food-for-oil program to degenerate into a corrupt empire in which Saddam Hussein bribed numerous U.N. and other diplomats to turn their backs while he looted his country and starved its people," the Scotsman said in an editorial.
In an editorial headlined: "Report Spells the End of Kofi Annan," the Montreal Gazette noted that Annan's then executive assistant destroyed three years worth of files on Oil for Food the day after the Security Council passed a resolution authorizing Volcker's inquiry.
"Just connect the dots," the newspaper said. "What a damning picture it is. Its reputation already in tatters, the U.N. stands today weaker than it ever was. Only major governance reforms can save the world body now, and the first order of reform business needs to be finding a credible replacement for Annan."
Volcker did his level best not to connect the dots.
BIG BROTHER MOVES TO THE SUBURBS: "Bellwood's mayor said he welcomed the suggestion that his town might be considered something akin to a Big Brother-land. 'I wish we could create that image. I would love that,' Mayor Frank Pasquale said with a chuckle."
“So what’s it like to teach in a uniform?” asked the Post-Colonialist as he turned ever so slightly, revealing UC-Whatever on his nametag.
“Gee, I guess I’ve never thought about it. You first; what’s it like to teach in jeans and Birkenstocks?”
Silence (and no more Camembert on the plate); he has no answer simply because there could be no answer to such an inane question. Obviously the Post-Colonialist links his professional persona to his teaching and his research, not to his wardrobe. Who among us does not?
But the professional activity of academics that teach at a military school always comes second — if at all — to curiosity about the institutional aspects of our positions, especially in juxtaposition with the accepted archetype of the American professor, molded by the political activity of the sixties and cultivated by the visibility of the left-wing power structure within higher education.
“I think it would be far too stressful for me to teach children of Republicans,” the Multiculturalist commented over cappuccino in Padua, after expounding on profiling as a bigoted, narrow-minded policy of Eurocentrists.
Yeah, we wouldn't want to stereotype people or anything.
posted at 04:15 PM by Glenn Reynolds
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, never a man afraid to speak ill of the dead, remembers John Paul II less fondly than most.
PUBLIUS: "Freedom House does an annual list of the world’s most oppressive regimes. To some of us, it doesn’t come as a surprise that six of the 18 nations on the list are members of the UN Commission on Human Rights."
WAS NIGHTLINE BAD FOR AMERICA? Michael Socolow looks at the program's history and legacy:
The initial popularity of "Nightline" was due to the sensational nature of the Iranian hostage crisis. Throughout 1979 to 1980, the American public watched infuriating pictures from Iran on a daily basis. The video emphasized America's global weakness; the crisis made the United States appear a helpless giant. . . .
The mob's media savvy was so sophisticated that chants would be rendered in English, Persian and, occasionally, for the benefit of Canadian and French television, in French. The students clearly understood how to exploit the independent, non-governmental nature of American broadcasting. They also knew that reaching the American public was relatively easy, as there existed only three American broadcast networks, and all of them dedicated enormous time and resources to coverage of the story.
The Al Qaeda leadership has repeatedly emphasized this lesson to its followers. Reminding its followers of the Tet offensive, the Tehran crisis and the disastrous Somalia mission, Al Qaeda statements reveal the belief that it is far easier to demoralize Americans than to defeat its armed forces. For this reason, beheading videos have become an important strategic tool in Al Qaeda's arsenal.
Yet America's enemies fail to understand that the power of network journalism to structure the public sphere has been significantly lessened. The era of the big three network news divisions is over.
Perhaps that's why we're winning this war.
UPDATE: A somewhat contrary view here. And The Fearless Critic observes:
[J]ournalists should understand that this is how much of America views them -- as a propaganda tool used masterfully by the enemies of our country.
Most journalists and academics I know think this is hogwash. Perhaps it is, but there's nothing changing the fact that a good chunk of the population believes this to be true. We should start trying to figure out why.