HOW'S THE ERIC FLINT BOOK? I'm only few chapters into it, but so far it's good. I'm not a big fan of Andrew Jackson, but Flint gives him a 3-dimensional portrayal. Sam Houston gets a much bigger role than he had historically, which is cool since he's a local boy (my mother is even librarian at Sam Houston Elementary, which claims some connection with the nearby school where he taught). Flint's non-PC despite being a (way) lefty, and it's good reading so far.
posted at 06:17 PM by Glenn Reynolds
IN WEST VIRGINIA, notes Dave Kopel, an employee's right of self defense trumps the employer's right to order employees not to defend themselves.
Algeria has been the center of Islamic radicalism in Africa for over a decade. Even more so than Egypt, where many of the intellectual founders of Islamic radicalism come from. Algeria is where most of the foot soldiers of the movement came from. Egypt defeated its Islamic radicals a decade ago, while Algeria has crushed them only in the last year. Over the last few years, many of the Algerian Islamic radicals have fled to Europe, and other Islamic countries. About a quarter of the 400 foreign terrorists captured in Iraq are from Africa, and a similar percentage of the foreign terrorists killed in Iraq are believed to be from Africa (mainly Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.) But the most dangerous Islamic terrorists are those who fled south, to set up camps in the thinly populated Sahel (the semi-desert area south of the Sahara desert). Al Qaeda, using its network of Islamic "charities" provides some of the financing for these new terrorist bases, as well as the money to send African Islamic radicals to Iraq.
Keep an eye on this.
posted at 04:56 PM by Glenn Reynolds
"CITIZEN OF NOWHERE:" ERNEST MILLER RESPONDS to the Jay Rosen item on Bob Franken noted below.
The backlash against Hirsi Ali has astonished and disappointed many Dutch feminists, who continue to count themselves among her biggest fans. Margreet Fogteloo, editor of the weekly De Groene Amsterdammer, said flatly that Mak is crazy. "People like him feel guilty because they were closing their eyes for such a long time to what was going on," she said. In what appears to be a Europe-wide pattern, some feminists are aligning themselves with the anti-immigrant right against their former multiculturalist allies on the left. Joining them in this exodus to the right are gay activists, who blame Muslim immigrants for the rising number of attacks on gay couples.
posted at 08:40 PM by Glenn Reynolds
"WHEN I'M REPORTING, I'M A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD:" Jay Rosen reflects on this statement by Bob Franken, in the process of examining journalism's declining reputation.
OFF TO THE BEACH. Blogging will continue, but at a reduced pace, and email response will be degraded as well.
Among other things, I'm taking this Eric Flint alt-history novel about Andrew Jackson and the War of 1812 for beach-reading. It has a good Amazon review from Mark Whittington. I'll report on how it turns out from my perspective.
That's a topic I had some thoughts on a while back. But if this keeps up, we'll have to rename the National Spelling Bee "The Anglosphere Challenge" -- except that that name is already taken . . ..
UPDATE: Reader Madhu Dahiya makes an excellent point:
As an Indian-American reader of your blog I'd like to point out that these are American kids after all. I am very proud of my Indian heritage, but I'm an American first and foremost. These kids are growing up here. They *are* part of the anglosphere - the 21st century globalized, American Anglosphere, and I think they are holding up to the challenge quite well :)
posted at 09:17 AM by Glenn Reynolds
JAMES LILEKS: "I hate to break it to these theorists, but it does not take guts for a young man to want to have multiple sex partners. It takes guts to settle down and have a family and rein in the roaming libido."
Conservative Islam is the foundation of Islamic radicalism, which is Islam carried to a murderous extreme. This movement is weakening in the place where it originated; Saudi Arabia. One of the most telling signs has been the decline and fall of the religious police. The Mutawwain -- national "religious police" – or "Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Suppression of Vice" has long been a force in Saudi Arabia, acting against any perceived "un-Islamic" behavior in an attempt to preserve religious purity (e.g., it's better that women should burn to death in a fire than that they appear without their veils). Over the past few years, however, the Mutawwain have come under increasing pressure. Long regarded not only as arbitrary, but also corrupt, the organization is under investigation by the official state prosecutor, and its budget and personnel have been cut repeatedly; from over 2000 officers just five years ago there are now apparently only some 700.
It's probably still too early to bid on the Riyadh "Hooter's" franchise, though.
posted at 08:25 AM by Glenn Reynolds
PRE-DEPARTURE, AUSTIN BAY has posted lots of interesting stuff. Just keep scrolling.
A highly classified intelligence report produced for the new director of national intelligence concludes that U.S. spy agencies failed to recognize several key military developments in China in the past decade, The Washington Times has learned.
The report was created by several current and former intelligence officials and concludes that U.S. agencies missed more than a dozen Chinese military developments, according to officials familiar with the report.
The report blames excessive secrecy on China's part for the failures, but critics say intelligence specialists are to blame for playing down or dismissing evidence of growing Chinese military capabilities.
"Excessive secrecy" on China's part? Given that this "highly classified" report was leaked, it seems like we could learn from them. . . .
And the intelligence community keeps missing big developments, doesn't it?
FALSE MODESTY? Well, the real kind is out of the question.
posted at 07:10 PM by Glenn Reynolds
JEFF JARVIS HAS MORE on the 9/11 Memorial debacle: "This mess at the World Trade Center falls -- once again -- squarely at the feet of Gov. Pataki. We need to demand that Pataki and Bloomberg open up the process and assure us that this will not turn into the International Flagellation Center."
posted at 06:59 PM by Glenn Reynolds
MICKEY KAUS still has questions for The Boston Globe's Mike Kranish.
UPDATE: Still more questions, and a few answers, here.
A Texas Congressman has introduced a bill that impose a nationwide prohibition on municipally-sponsored networks.
Dubbed by the Author, Representative Pete Sessions (R-Texas), the Preserving Innovation in Telecom Act of 2005, the bill prohibits state and local governments from providing any telecommunications or information service that is "substantially similar" to services provided by private companies.
The bill, HR 2726, is similar to a host of state bills pushed by telecommunications companies aimed at fending off municipally-run wireless networks.
How times have changed. Modern technology and a new political climate have resolved sharp differences between two different camps that had been papered over until recently. On the one hand, there are limited-government conservatives and libertarians who chafe at unnecessary government intrusion in the commercial sphere, regardless of whom it benefits. On the other side are "conservatives" like Congressman Sessions here, to whom corporate profit is more important than restraining government meddling.
Related column of mine, here. And here's an amusing bit: "U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) wants to take state and local governments out of the broadband business. It's for their own good, the former Southwestern Bell executive said. "
posted at 02:29 PM by Glenn Reynolds
HUGH HEWITT is criticizing Howard Fineman for relying on an anonymous source so soon after the Newsweek Koran-flushing debacle. Hugh points to some non-anonymous sources, as well.
All the headlines about "Abuse of the Koran at Gitmo" are absolutely accurate. Brig. Gen. Jay Hood's internal investigation has uncovered some shocking incidents. On at least six occasions, Korans were ripped up. They were urinated on three times, and attempts were made to flush them down the toilet at least three other times.
Why aren't millions of Muslims rioting in response to these defilements? Because the perpetrators were prisoners, not guards. As John Hinderaker notes on weeklystandard.com, the most serious desecrations of the Koran at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility were committed by the Muslim inmates themselves.
Read the whole thing, which is quite justifiably harsh on the news media and NGO hysteria surrounding this report.
posted at 01:33 PM by Glenn Reynolds
ALLISON HAYWARD'S NEW BLOG, Skeptic's Eye, has a lot on the FEC Internet rulemaking, which makes sense as she is a former FEC staffer.
One point he makes, which I think is very important, is that the various restrictions promoted by Hollywood and the record industry aren't just intended to protect their intellectual property, but to make it harder for independent creators to compete with them in the larger market.
The Ninth Circuit finally got its revenge on the Supreme Court justices who seemed to delight in reversing it. In Gonzales v. Raich, it gave the conservatives a choice: Uphold the Ninth Circuit's ruling favoring individuals engaged in the wholly intrastate non-economic activity of growing and consuming cannabis for medical purposes as recommended by a doctor and permitted by state law, or retreat from the landmark Commerce Clause decisions of U.S. v. Lopez (1995) and U.S. v. Morrison (2000). Either way the Ninth Circuit wins. But with Justices Kennedy and Scalia on the liberal side of the Court, the Ninth Circuit won big. So did Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who first implemented this strategy in the child-porn case of U.S. v. McCoy.
As I've written elsewhere, stuff like this is why it's hard for me to get excited about the filibuster fights; principled federalists seem rather thin on the ground, and I don't see any great likelihood of getting more.
UPDATE: On the other hand, Julian Sanchez puts the best possible face on the Bush Administration's commitment to federalism and limited government.
More towns in Iraqi's "wild west" are being pacified. The usual drill is not another Fallujah, but a government official meeting with local tribal and religious leaders, where an offer is made. Iraqi and American troops are coming. Neighborhoods that support the government will see little or no fighting as a search is made for weapons, bombs and the like. Neighborhoods that wish to resist will be hit hard. By now, everyone knows how smart bombs work. Increasingly, Sunni Arab leaders are being told, by their followers, that all this violence is not worth it. After Saddam fell, Sunni Arabs continued to believe in fantasies. For the last two years, the collective delusion was that the Americans had no stomach for guerilla war, and the Kurds and Shia Arabs could never get a government together. Today, Sunni Arabs who can get away on a little vacation, go north to the Kurdish north, or south to Shia Basra. In both places you can sit in an outdoor cafe without fear of a suicide bomb going off down the street. The Kurds and Shia have more jobs, more reconstruction and less crime. The Sunni Arabs don't want to live in their own mess any more. They don't want to live in a combat zone, especially while the Kurds and Shia are not.
The biggest obstacle to economic revival is not terrorism, but corruption. For example, over a third of Iraq’s potential oil revenue is lost to corruption and theft. . . .
Iraq may be free of Saddam, but it is not yet free of the corrupt practices that allow someone like Saddam to take power, and keep it. While much is made of the terror Saddam used to keep Iraqis in line, we forget that he often used corruption, and the willingness of too many Iraqis to take the money and look the other way. The corruption has gotten so bad, especially the oil thefts, that the government is planning on firing several hundred thousand government workers. The money simply isn't there to pay them. The money, instead, is in the pockets of local criminals, or foreign bank accounts belonging to corrupt officials. Until Iraq can confront and conquer this enemy, they will not be able to enjoy the benefits of their oil wealth.
This is an endemic problem throughout much of the world (I could tell you some Nigeria stories . . .), but seems to be especially bad in Iraq.
In fact, the Internet resembles in many ways the campaign-finance reformers' long-sought utopia: full public financing of political campaigns. While the government is of course not financing anyone on the Internet, the outcome is the same: For an absolute pittance, every idea, every political philosophy, every candidate has access to a soap box.
The only limitation is how many people care to listen.
Why, when the free market has gone and created the exact state of affairs the reformers have long claimed to desire, are the McCains of the world looking to crack down?
Because the reform movement has never been about freedom. It has always been about control.
How people can derive pleasure from evidence of the suffering of innocents is beyond me, and few sights are more unseemly to my eyes than seeing a Lonely Planet-waving travel snob whine about how some current or formerly misgoverned hellhole has been "ruined" by all that yucky reconstruction, material success, and (worst of all!) tourism.
UPDATE: Reader Patrick Prescott sends this link to a post with related thoughts.
We most assuredly are not jiving you: Howard Dean--scion of Park Avenue, former governor of Vermont, a state that is 96.8% people of pallor--is faulting Republicans for being white, even though he himself is whiter than an albino polar bear with dandruff.
Did I say "heh?"
posted at 04:15 PM by Glenn Reynolds
LEBANON HAS PROTEST BABES: Norway has countered with a protest goat. To each his own, as they say.
IN RESPONSE TO MY POST ON THE SINGULARITY, below, Jim Bennett sends this link to an excerpt on the subject from his recent book.
posted at 11:13 AM by Glenn Reynolds
THE FOLKS AT ANKLEBITINGPUNDITS say that the latest Washington Post poll is wrong. This far from an election, it's hard for me to get too excited about polls, one way or another. And given their track record even close to elections, it should probably be hard for me to get excited about them, period.
ANNE APPLEBAUM: "I don't know when Amnesty ceased to be politically neutral or at what point its leaders' views morphed into ordinary anti-Americanism. But surely Amnesty's recent misuse of the word 'gulag' marks some kind of turning point."
Howard Kurtz: "Excuse me, but did Schulz say that it's okay to unleash words like 'gulag,' even if it's not an 'exact or literal analogy,' because it gets him booked on Fox News? Is that the new standard? Yes, Chris, I called the president a war criminal because it was the only way I could get on Hardball?"
I'M ABOUT A THIRD OF THE WAY into Joel Garreau's book, Radical Evolution, and there's much talk about the Singularity (including a very cool interview with Vernor Vinge). (Decent short description of the Singularity concept here).
But while I think that the Singularity is something to take seriously, I also think that the focus -- shown in the interview and the passages surrounding it -- is a bit myopic. The fear is that we'll wind up creating superhuman intelligence, and that it will quickly take over the world. Personally, I suspect that superhuman intelligence will be harder to create, and less superhuman, than many suspect. But that's not the main point. The main point is that the dangers, in my estimation, don't come from the creation of a godlike (or demonlike) superhuman entity. Or at least, if such an entity exists, the threat won't be because of its intelligence. As I wrote a while back:
It is not obvious, however, that intelligence has much to do with world domination. Certainly, those currently ruling the world did not attain their positions by virtue of their intelligence, and it may be that, like James Branch Cabell’s eponymous protagonist Jurgen, superintelligent machines would find that “cleverness was not at the top of things, and never had been.” While scientists and computer experts, whose chief pride (as with Jurgen) lies in their intelligence, would tend to regard superior intellect as the sine qua non of power, this view can be quickly dispelled by a glance at the headlines.
The bigger danger won't be the creation of a godlike artificial intelligence. It will be the creation of many millions (and eventually billions) of individuals with powers that would have been until recently regarded as godlike, in the rather small space that humanity currently inhabits. That problem will be reduced, however, if we expand beyond the earth beforehand. I certainly agree with Stephen Hawking that the alternative is extinction. But I think that we'll do it in time.
Overall, I'm less afraid of the singularity than some. And one characteristic of entering a singularity is that you don't generally realize it as it's happening -- like crossing the event horizon of a black hole, it's not apparent while it's underway. We may be entering the Singularity already. As my alter ego suggests, cloning seems frightening now. One day it will seem . . . quaint.
Many Republicans probably voted for George Bush dozens, if not hundreds, of times in 2004, according to Democrat party Chairman Howard Dean, "by taking advantage of the fact that Democrat poll workers have difficulty distinguishing individuals from among a crowd of white Christians."
"Thanks to their pale skin, round eyes and khaki trousers, Republicans just blend in," said Mr. Dean. "So they vote, get in the back of the line and vote again. And because they've never made an honest living in their lives, they could do that all day long."
Howard Dean is pretty much a one-man ScrappleFace full-employment guarantee.
UPDATE: James Lileks: "It must rankle the moderates to hear him fling this nonsense on a daily basis, after all; it's like having Pat Buchnan run the GOP and make constant fulminating speeches against Commie-Lezbo Vegans."
posted at 08:49 AM by Glenn Reynolds
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL is rather hard on the Raich decision. As it should be.
Leahy said too many legislators saw the United Nations as an "easy place to beat up" but that the United States should not be acting unilaterally "simply because the United Nations happens to be here within the borders of the United States."
"It is hard to think of a world without the U.N.," he said.
It's not clear to me what the location of U.N. headquarters has to do with anything, though.
CECI CONNOLLY'S "100 MURDERS" STATEMENT has been corrected. Follow the link for video.
posted at 06:55 PM by Glenn Reynolds
YES, THE INSTAPUNDIT STORE IS BACK: Actually, it never went away, I just took it off the "Recommended" links a year or so ago and forgot to put it back. But hey, Father's day is coming, and what would make a better present for Dad?
UPDATE: Reader John Thompson emails: "An Instapundit thong? Glenn, really..."
He's right. An InstaPundit Thong for Mom is the perfect present for Dad!
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Betsy Gorisch emails: "Hmmm. Well, I think an Instapundit Thong for Dad is the perfect gift for Mom!"
posted at 04:37 PM by Glenn Reynolds
THE ANSWER IS: "Because homeland security is still a joke."
INDEED: Eugene Volokh points to this story with the jokey headline "Blame Canada:"
The 17-year-old Bucks County boy charged with having bomb-making equipment in his bedroom and threatening to blow up his school is a Canadian who hates Americans, prosecutors say.
Obvious headline. On the other hand, the CBC, according to a just-released Fraser Institute study, is engaged in what sounds a lot like paranoid hate speech:
The CBC’s television news coverage of the United States is consistently marked by emotional criticism, rather than a rational consideration of US policy based on Canadian national interests, according to The Canadian released today by The Fraser Institute.
This anti-American bias at the CBC is the consequence of a “garrison mentality” that has systematically informed the broadcaster’s coverage of the US. Garrison mentality was a term coined by Canadian literary critic, Northrop Frye. He used it to describe a uniquely Canadian tendency reflected in our early literature, a tendency, as he put it, to “huddle together, stiffening our meager cultural defenses and projecting all our hostilities outward.”
One hopes that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will review its stance before any more innocent schoolchildren are threatened. . .
UPDATE: Reader Chris Buchholz emails:
I must say I don't buy it. It reminds me of when the liberals were blaming Tim McVeigh on Rush Limbaugh. It wasn't Rush's fault McVeigh was crazy.
Well, yes. The presence of ellipsis is generally a tipoff that I'm tongue-in-cheek here, you know. Canadian reader David Peer, meanwhile, emails: "I tried to detect the satire in your concluding remark about the CBC and 'anti-americanism,' but I just can't see it." Look harder!
I guess I should put that Andrea See quote about my dry sense of humor back up.
posted at 02:29 PM by Glenn Reynolds
I HAVE A LIBERTARIAN SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM: Over at The Corner we're seeing a rather large number of abortion-related posts today. In this one (which really goes beyond the abortion issue) Kathryn Jean Lopez decries a poll showing that 80% of Americans think that pharmacists ought to have to fill prescriptions for contraceptives even if they're personally opposed to birth control.
Of course, this only matters because pharmacists enjoy a government-created monopoly on the dispensing of prescription drugs. Just take that away, and the problem disappears, too. In the meantime, like others who enjoy government monopolies, they are forced to make some concessions to public convenience. That doesn't strike me as an overwhelming imposition, but if the pharmacy profession feels otherwise, I'll be the first to support a move to eliminate its privileged position.
posted at 02:15 PM by Glenn Reynolds
A FEW SNARKY LEFTY READERS want to know why I haven't written about Kerry's reported Form 180 release. They'll no doubt be delighted to discover that it's the subject of today's MSNBC post, which will be online whenever MSNBC gets it there. In the meantime, Tom Maguire has a roundup.
posted at 01:48 PM by Glenn Reynolds
HUMAN/WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS: Daily Pundit notes a story of a woman eaten by a grizzly bear at a Canadian golf course.
David Baron's excellent book, The Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Nature, is a must-read on this subject, which will grow more important as predators come back. (We have our own issues in my area, I'm told, as black bears reintroduced into the Big South Fork are wandering beyond its boundaries.) Here's a column I wrote on Baron's book back when it came out.
The photo, on the other hand, looks like a career-killer to me.
No wonder his campaign was trying to keep this stuff out of the news!
UPDATE: Ann Althouse, who was way ahead on this story, is now saying I told you so. In the blogosphere, no story is ever too stale for that!
More perspective here. Multiply election-damning facts: (1) French was one of his best grades; (2) It was still a lousy 77; (3) And that's even after living in France and Switzerland. And with that, let's breathe a(nother) sigh of relief and let this story go.
MORE: Soxblog has another I-told-you-so. It's never too late in the blogosphere!
United Airlines plans to announce today that it is the first domestic airline to receive approval from regulators to install wireless Internet networks on its planes.
United passengers will not be able to take advantage of the service just yet. The airline is still at least a year away from having its in-flight Wi-Fi service up and running. When it does, sometime in mid- to late 2006, passengers will be able to check e-mail, send instant messages and surf the Web at 30,000 feet.
Nick Schulz emails with a possible security benefit:
Not sure if anyone has pointed this out yet or suggested it, but it seems to me if people had had working WiFi on flights before 9/11, the passengers on the second plane to hit the towers might have heard about what happened to the first plane sooner, provided instant message works on the flights, and might have been able to pull a Flight 93 on it, possibly saving lives. Maybe not, but if you’re logged on WiFi with IM access from moment go on a flight, you’d know immediately from friends watching TV at work, etc. . . . I remember on 9/11 I couldn’t communicate with Lauren my wife via cellphone, but WiFi worked and we were able to communicate that way (she was still in Lower Manhattan that day).
He also notes that terrorists might possibly coordinate via IM, too, but it seems to me that on balance this benefits the good guys. Terrorists can always just break the no-cellphone rule to coordinate; opening things up to everyone just levels the playing field.
DO CONSUMERS HAVE TOO MANY CHOICES? Virginia Postrel says no, but notes that claims of too many choices seem to be the Next Big Thing in doomsaying. She's probably right -- I've noted this book by Barry Schwartz along those lines before.
But all I can say is that I covered this ground years ago. There's even a model! [Don't you mean, "It's only a model"? -- Ed. Probably.]
Robert Mugabe continues his insane demolition of houses and businesses as he increasingly starts to look like Pol Pot reborn, seeking to depopulate the cites and drive the now homeless and unemployed population into the countryside to eke out an even more miserable living, thereby dispersing and isolating people from communities which might oppose his tyrannical rule.
And where are the marchers in the west? Where are the protesters calling for justice in Zimbabwe? Where is the outrage from those tireless tribunes of the Third World, the UN? Why can I not hear the snarls of fury from the alphabet soup of NGOs? What of the legions of Guardian readers finding out about all this? What are they going to call for? Amnesty International is getting a lot of (bad) publicity from having called Guantanamo Bay 'a gulag' whilst now admitting they do not actually know what is happening there, yet why are they not straining every fibre of their being in opposition to this African horror? There is tyranny aplenty to be opposed without having to invent any.
I HAVE HERE A LIST OF 100 COMMUNISTS IN THE GOVERNMENT: Well, that's what these constantly-shifting and unsubstantiated numbers are starting to remind me of. Fortunately, the blogosphere is more careful.
The son of the acting director of the FBI during the Watergate scandal said that claims being made about his father are "categorically false" and that L. Patrick Gray does not belong on the long list of Watergate criminals and miscreants from the Nixon White House.
Ed Gray said he would be contacting high-profile figures from the Watergate era whom he felt had defamed his father. The comments were made during television interviews following the May 31 revelation by his father's former assistant, W. Mark Felt, that he was "Deep Throat," the anonymous source for The Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate scandal.
The "figures" include Carl Bernstein, Ben Bradlee, and dirt-digging detective Terry Lenzner.
ETHIOPIAN ELECTION PROTESTS: Gateway Pundit has a roundup, with photos.
posted at 01:29 PM by Glenn Reynolds
NINTH CIRCUIT 1, SUPREME COURT 0: The 9th Circuit asked the Supreme Court how serious it was about enumerated powers, and the answer, apparently (I haven't read the decision yet) was not so much. [LATER: I've looked at it now. Not so much.]
In recent months, a number of researchers have begun to assemble intriguing evidence that it is possible to generate embryonic stem cells without having to create or destroy new human embryos. . . .
Yet the gathering consensus among biologists is that embryonic stem cells are made, not born -- and that embryos are not an essential ingredient. That means that today's heated debates over embryo rights could fade in the aftermath of technical advances allowing scientists to convert ordinary cells into embryonic stem cells.
This would defuse the pro-life opposition. It wouldn't address the concerns of those -- like, say, Leon Kass -- who are uncomfortable with dramatic advances in medical technology for other reasons.
UPDATE: Kathryn Jean Lopez doesn't like my Kass reference above. But the reference, which could have been clearer, was to Kass's generally negative view of "the relief of man's estate" by science, and in particular to his argument (discussed here) that another 20 years of healthy life would probably be a waste. I should have been clearer -- one of the hazards of blogging is that you tend to assume that everyone is keeping pace with the conversation when, through no fault of theirs, that's not necessarily the case at all.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Ed Cone notes an important passage from the story that bears repeating:
"It is largely by analyzing how nature makes stem cells, deep inside days-old embryos, that these researchers are learning how to make the cells themselves."
Achieving that goal would certainly have been dramatically delayed, if not made impossible, had human embryonic stem cell research been banned.
As I wrote a while back, this is the weakness in the "just use adult cells" argument:
I actually think that eventually adult stem cells will do all the work. But I don't know that, and ruling out research involving embryonic stem cells now might keep us from getting to that point, or get us there much later.
Apparently, that's turned out to be the case. But as that earlier post will make clear, Lopez and I are not on the same page on this issue.
Meanwhile, Nick Gillespie notes that there's more than just anti-abortion politics involved here:
While I agree that embryo-free embryonic stem cells (perhaps sweetened with Splenda! for a low-cal, low-impact panacea) would shut down one large aspect of the debate over biotech, I think the issue is far more complicated.
That's because leading opponents to embryonic stem cells are not simply worried about the embryo issue--they fundamentally question whether we should be intervening to prolong and improve human lifespans and ameliorate human suffering.
He quotes Leon Kass and Francis Fukuyama as having non-abortion-related concerns about dramatic medical advances. To my knowledge, Lopez doesn't share those doubts, but she would be wise not to shut her eyes to their existence, or to suggest that those of us who invoke them are unaware of what's going on.
Despite highly publicized charges of U.S. mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, the head of the Amnesty International USA said on Sunday the group doesn't "know for sure" that the military is running a "gulag." . . .
"It would be fascinating to find out. I have no idea," Schulz told "Fox News Sunday."
I wonder what would happen if Donald Rumsfeld should charge Amnesty with being in the pay of Al Qaeda, and then later say that "It would be fascinating to find out. I have no idea."
All countries have rapes, of course. But here in the refugee shantytowns of Darfur, the horrific stories that young women whisper are not of random criminality but of a systematic campaign of rape to terrorize civilians and drive them from "Arab lands" - a policy of rape.
One measure of the international community's hypocrisy is that the world is barely bothering to protest. More than two years after the genocide in Darfur began, the women of Kalma Camp - a teeming squatter's camp of 110,000 people driven from their burned villages - still face the risk of gang rape every single day as they go out looking for firewood.
Nemat, a 21-year-old, told me that she left the camp with three friends to get firewood to cook with. In the early afternoon a group of men in uniforms caught and gang-raped her.
"They said, 'You are black people. We want to wipe you out,' " Nemat recalled.
After reading Nicholas Kristof's piece on the Sudanese government's "systematic campaign of rape" in Darfur, I have a question for Europe:
Where the hell are you?
Are you waiting for the U.S. to take action? We're rather busy in Iraq and Afghanistan at present. So why don't you do something? France, Germany, Belgium: For years you've claimed moral superiority to us. Prove it now.
France, at least, seems more interested in oil and arms sales.
posted at 10:03 PM by Glenn Reynolds
JAY ROSEN: "As everyone knows, there is a priesthood in journalism. Whether it has authority is another matter."
posted at 08:37 PM by Glenn Reynolds
BLOGGING IN COLOMBIA: "BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - In another sign Colombia's presidential election campaign is heating up, the country's main newspaper offered Sunday to host Web sites for all the candidates in what is expected to be a spicy race." (Via Grim).
posted at 08:14 PM by Glenn Reynolds
MICKEY KAUS: "What's specifically Democratic about patent reform? Not much."
Nope. In fact -- notwithstanding that many of its most prominent advocates are Democrats -- I suspect that intellectual property reform generally is more likely to benefit Republicans.
PRO-DEMOCRACY RALLIES IN AZERBAIJAN: Via Alarming News, which found something interesting in the photos. And there's more here, too.
UPDATE: James Oberg relays this report from an American in Baku:
US government reps in Baku support the democratic process and they aren't backing any particular government or candidates. However, all agree that the opposition has no platform, has no agenda for reform or improvement for the country. In fact, maybe a year ago, when Ambassador Harnish was at a meeting with opposition figures, his parting words to them were something like, 'Now I've heard all your complaints, I hope next time you will have ideas and plans for change'.
A year's gone by. Have we heard anything like that from the opposition? Nope. It seems they just want their turn at the trough. It will be a bad day for Azerbaijan if the opposition does take over.
Not terribly encouraging.
posted at 09:34 AM by Glenn Reynolds
LEBANESE ELECTIONS: Publius has a roundup. As expected, Hezbollah is doing very well in the south.