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June 18, 2005

THIS IS PRETTY DAMNING:

Several days ago I received a telephone call from an old friend who is a longtime Amnesty International staffer. He asked me whether I, as a former Soviet "prisoner of conscience" adopted by Amnesty, would support the statement by Amnesty's executive director, Irene Khan, that the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba is the "gulag of our time."

"Don't you think that there's an enormous difference?" I asked him.

"Sure," he said, "but after all, it attracts attention to the problem of Guantanamo detainees."

Sorry, but this is corruption. (Via Bill Quick).

JOHN TIERNEY:

Where did we fathers go wrong? We spend twice as much time with our kids as we did two decades ago, but on television we're oblivious ("Jimmy Neutron"), troubled ("The Sopranos"), deranged ("Malcolm in the Middle") and generally incompetent ("Everybody Loves Raymond"). Even if Dad has a good job, like the star of "Home Improvement," at home he's forever making messes that must be straightened out by Mom.

Ed Cone, on the other hand, thinks dads are getting off easy. But Ezra Klein observes: "If the majority of shows presented other demographics the way they present fathers, they wouldn't survive a day. Ignorant blacks? Bitchy, materialistic moms? Moronic, accident-prone dads? The whole set fits, but only the last is widely allowable."

UPDATE: Michele Catalano offers a roundup of wisdom from fictional fathers.

MICHAEL YON has posted new stuff from Iraq. And if you're interested, here's his wishlist at BHPhotovideo.

PUBLIUS INTERVIEWS AN Iranian poll worker in the United States.

(No, we're not home yet. I'm just blogging from the car while the Insta-Wife spells me on the driving for a bit.)

HOWARD DEAN IS CONDEMNING ANTISEMITISM FROM HIS FELLOW DEMOCRATS: Good for him. But it's a shame that it's necessary.

Roger Simon wonders: "What's going on with the 'liberal' (what in the world does that mean anymore?) wing of the Democratic Party. First Senator Durbin compares the US military to Nazis. Now this? Did these people have mass lobotomies? Enough!" Indeed.

KAUS ON KUDLOW:

I came unhinged and called Sen. Durbin an "idiot" for his violation of the Hitler Rule, which holds that a politician must never, ever, compare anything or anyone to Hitler or the Nazis, no matter how apt the comparison. Durbin's comparison was not apt, however. ... Mainly I was worried I'd call him Sen. Durkin.

Heh.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF CORDITE IS UP!

GATEWAY PUNDIT has more on developments in Ethiopia.

THE COMMITTEE TO PROTECT BLOGGERS notes the case of jailed Iranian blogger Omid Sheikhan:

Omid Sheikhan, an Iranian student, spent three months in jail last year - including a month of solitary confinement and torture. All because he spoke too freely on his blog. Now, he faces a trial on uncertain charges. In the wake of recent convictions against Iranian bloggers on dubious merits, we aim to put enough pressure on the Iranian authorities that they drop the charges against Mr. Sheikhan before his trial begins on October 8.

Read the whole thing, and sign their petition if you'd like to help.

June 17, 2005

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ON THE ROAD tomorrow, alas, heading home. Blogging will be light.

ROBERTA ROMANO writes in the Yale Law Journal about Sarbanes-Oxley and quack corporate governance.

CHINESE BLOGGERS REACT to the MSN Spaces censorship debacle.

VACLAV HAVEL on Burma and Cuba.

KILLING CANCER WITH NANOTECHNOLOGY:

University of Michigan scientists have created the nanotechnology equivalent of a Trojan horse to smuggle a powerful chemotherapeutic drug inside tumor cells – increasing the drug's cancer-killing activity and reducing its toxic side effects.

It's dendrimer technology, not nanobots, but it's cool.

JOEL ROSENBERG notes that quite a few anti-gun activists seem to be unclear on the concept.

SHAM IRANIAN ELECTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES? Photoblogged by Will Franklin.

"SUBTLY DISGUISED" HILLARY-BASHING from Paul Krugman?

THE POWER OF PRODUCTIVITY: Some very interesting thoughts on the international economy.

TENNESSEE NATIVE SGT. LEIGH ANN HESTER became the first woman to receive a Silver Star since World War II. Thanks, Sgt. Hester.

A PACK, NOT A HERD:

An armed robber brandishing a revolver and some tough talk entered Blalock's Beauty College demanding money Tuesday afternoon.

He left crying, bleeding and under arrest, after Dianne Mitchell, her students and employees attacked the suspect, beating him into submission.

Mitchell tripped the robber as he tried to leave and cried aloud "get that sucker" as the group of about 20, nearly all women, some wielding curling irons, bludgeoned him until police arrived.

Bellicose women are everywhere. (Via John Hawkins).

ANN ALTHOUSE RESPONDS TO NEAL STEPHENSON over at GlennReynolds.com.

DEMOCRATIZATION IS A PROCESS, NOT AN EVENT: More proof from Kyrgyzstan.

TOM MAGUIRE:

My suggestion - the next time the Senator from Illinois is speaking on the subject of prisoner abuse and finds himself grasping for an historical parallel, perhaps he could invoke the proud history of the great city of Chicago.

Read the whole thing to find out why. (There's also this great line in the comments: "I hate Illinois Nazi-equaters.") If I were a Senator, I'd introduce a resolution censuring Durbin. I suspect, though, that the Republicans would rather keep him talking.

UPDATE: For some perspective, go here -- but only if graphic photos don't bother you. And Rand Simberg has more perspective, without photos.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The Mudville Gazette has a Durbin roundup, including links to video and to a Boston Herald editorial saying that "Durbin must go."

As the Herald points out, Trent Lott lost his leadership position over less.

Bill Hobbs has audio of Dick Cheney on Durbin. And Iowahawk has discovered some heretofore unknown Dick Durbin correspondence.

More here: "Every member of the military and their families and every voter who admires the military should be watching very closely as the Democratic Party and MSM say and do nothing about Dick Durbin's smear. You can't be a supporter of the military and allow the #2 Democrat in the Senate to put the Nazi/Stalin/Pol Pot brand on the troops, which is exactly what Durbin did."

MORE: More strong words on Durbin.

I LINKED TO AUSTIN BAY'S REPORTING from Iraq yesterday, but this passage is worth highlighting:

I find that this return visit to Iraq spurs thoughts of America– of American will to pursue victory. I don’t mean the will of US forces in the field. Wander around with a bunch of Marines for a half hour, spend fifteen minutes with Guardsmen from Idaho, and you will have no doubts about American military capabilities or the troops’ will to win. But our weakness is back home, on the couch, in front of the tv, on the cable squawk shows, on the editorial page of the New York Times, in the political gotcha games of Washington, DC. It seems America wants to get on with its wonderful Electra-Glide life, that September 10 sense of freedom and security, without finishing the job. The military is fighting, the Iraqi people are fighting, but where is the US political class?

Read the whole thing, which is quite critical not only of the usual suspects, but in particular of the Bush Administration for not making its case strongly or clearly enough.

RAND SIMBERG EMAILS that he saw an excellent commencement speech at USC and that it was very humble, and focused on the graduates, not the speaker, notwithstanding the speaker's eminence. There's video here.

PROBABLY THE LAST SCIENCE FICTION POST, though email continues to pour in. What about Lois McMaster Bujold? Lots of people asked that.

I like her a lot. She's best known for her Barrayar stories, which start with Shards of Honor and The Warrior's Apprentice. I like those stories a lot, but I realize that I was thinking of her as a fantasy writer because of her excellent Chalion novels, starting with The Curse of Chalion.

Somebody asked about Frank Herbert, but he's really a 1970s writer. My colleague Becky Jacobs claims that the most recent books in the Dune franchise are actually good, but he lost me with Refrigerator Repairmen of Dune or somesuch, many years ago.

There was some outrage that I didn't mention Neal Stephenson, but actually I did in the linked recommendations post. But he rocks

Doug Weinstein, a fan of out-and-out space opera, loves Elizabeth Moon's Heris Serrano books, and I think they're pretty good. (Weirdly, he doesn't like David Weber's Honor Harrington books, which I think most people regard as superior).

As noted before, I'm a big fan of Charles Stross. So I should note that he's made his new book, Accelerando, available for free download with a Creative Commons license even before it appears in bookstores. Did I mention it's free? What are you waiting for?

UPDATE: Continuing the science fiction theme, check out this Neal Stephenson column on Star Wars.

IRANIAN ELECTIONS: Norm Geras is busting double standards: "The man who was telling us only two days ago that American democracy isn't quite good enough by European standards is today putting in a good word for the Iranian election."

Harry's Place has more, and Publius has some reporting.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF COMEDY IS UP. So is the latest NBA Carnival.

LOTS OF INTERESTING STUFF at Gateway Pundit. Just keep scrolling.

WANT TO DO BLOG REPORTING? You might want to take a look at these free online courses in shooting video, etc., from the BBC.

SCREENSHOTS OF CENSORSHIP: Rebecca MacKinnon tried to set up a Chinese blog on MSN Spaces using the phrase: “I love freedom of speech, human rights, and democracy.”

She has screenshots of the rather disturbing results.

June 16, 2005

helenpoolsm.jpgFOR THOSE WHO'VE WRITTEN asking for updates on the Insta-Wife, you can see that she's doing better. She's been swimming in the ocean and the pool, and generally having a good time. The recovery isn't complete, but it's come a long way (compare this photo), and we're grateful.

We do these beach trips most summers: A big house with a lot of family members -- 16 this time, including my brother's Nigerian father-in-law, who's on an extended visit to the states. (He likes the beach, which reminds him of River State where he grew up).

I really enjoy the trips, and it's fun to see all the cousins playing and hanging out together. I'm a big believer in the old-fashioned extended family, and it's easy to see the benefits, especially for the kids.

UNCIVILIZED:

U2 frontman BONO was horrified during a visit to Ethiopia, when he saw local women pelting a breast-feeding aid worker with stones.

The American woman was oblivious of the offence she was causing, and had to escape the angry onslaught from female Muslims who had no qualms about injuring her or her baby.

Bono: "She didn't mean to be insensitive." But they did.

STATING THE OBVIOUS: PRESIDENT BUSH notes that the Iranian elections are bogus. But there's a value to stating the obvious sometimes.

PHIL BOWERMASTER has further thoughts on technological change.

HEY, someone gets a commencement speech right.

JAMES LILEKS: "As the dyslexic might say, I don't have a God in this fight."

Eugene Volokh has a sort-of related post.

A SOLDIER IN IRAQ WRITES:

God forbid, if something happens to me over here, I do not want to be used by the likes of Phil Hansen in Seattle, Michael Moore, Gary Trudeau, or Ted Koppel, to make their political points against the war, the President, and finally the country, all the while saying "they support the troops".

Read the whole thing. And read Austin Bay's blog for more reporting from Iraq.

UPDATE: Some much-deserved awards for valor for Raven 42.

And Hugh Hewitt is looking for a spokesperson.

STAGED PHOTOS FROM REUTERS STRINGERS? I don't know, but it deserves further inquiry.

TOM MAGUIRE explains why Nancy Pelosi is his favorite Congresswoman. Meanwhile Neal Boortz explains why he's a Dick Durbin fan.

GAYPATRIOT IS BACK. So is N.Z. Bear.

I THOUGHT I'D MENTIONED THIS BEFORE, but here's the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Legal Guide for Bloggers.

SCIENCE FICTION RECOMMENDATIONS: It's now to the point where I'm getting emails complaining about the people I haven't mentioned:

Where’s Larry Niven? Is he not considered to be that good? Or is he just old?

The book Ringworld is worth checking out. It’s the one about the giant ring that orbits a sun. The popular game Halo was based on it (the ringworld part).

I don’t know if it’s so great, but definitely worthy of note.

He has other fun stuff too, not fancy or mind-blowing, but fun. Why isn’t he on the list?

Niven's great, and the shared-universe series on the Man-Kzin wars (latest installment, which I haven't read yet, is here) is very entertaining. But Niven has been around for a while; I was asked for recommendations for post-Seventies stuff. But while I"m at it, I highly recommend The Mote in God's Eye, a very interesting alien-contact story with very interesting aliens, coauthored with Jerry Pournelle.

Various other readers want to know why I didn't recommend Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, David Brin, etc. They're all good -- I just wasn' trying to be comprehensive. I very much enjoyed Benford's Galactic Center stories (In the Ocean of Night is the first). Bear's Darwin's Radio, and the books that follow, is excellent. Brin's Kiln People, which I think was the last thing of his I read, was fun, though a minor work. He's probably best-known for his Uplift Trilogy, of which Brightness Reef is the first installment.

Meanwhile, John Farrell emails:

No one's mentioned Alastair Reynolds?? Chasm City, or Revelation Space? He's superb.

Also Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun.

I like Joe Haldeman--and recently re-read Forever War; unfortunately, it
seems almost quaint in its datedness now.

I agree about Haldeman -- the book's a period piece. Still good, as long as you remember that. Reynolds (no relation) is very good. Gene Wolfe is a superb writer, but I'm not crazy about his storytelling -- though I nearly wrote a piece using his novella, "The Shadow of the Torturer," as a metaphor for legal education. Reader Rae Leggett agrees about Reynolds:

Since I've spent all day home with the flu reading, I'd like to recommend anything by Alastair Reynolds, Revelation Space in particular. Good, hard science science fiction with believable characters, and it explores the consequences of nanotechnology, good and bad, very well. His other books are Chasm City, Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap. Chasm City is different from the others...it's reallly a hard science mystery novel, set in the same universe as the others.

So there -- not overlooked now!

LT SMASH TAKES ON the "counter-recruiters." I think he's even questioning their patriotism.

I'll just note that people were jailed for sedition over far less in prior wars. That isn't to say that we should be doing that now, but it's worth noting when people emote about the Bushitler Texas-Nazi Police State.

UPDATE: Compare what's happening in Venezuela.

And Tim Cavanaugh comments on the much-ado-about-nothing Downing Street memo flap:

The moment the left has been awaiting hopefully for the past six weeks has arrived at last—and like everything the left hopes for these days, it's going to flop. . . . The document itself will now take center stage. And that's the problem.

As far as I could tell, there's never been any there, there.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES is up!

HITCHENS ON IRAQ AND IRAN: Some interesting observations.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurds are celebrating, while Iranian Kurds are rioting.

UPDATE: In a related post, The Daily Ablution looks at journalists who are not proud to be British, and who can't imagine why anyone would be.

And it's interesting to see what Iranians think about the invasion of Iraq. Funny we haven't heard more about this.

THE MYTH OF INDIAN LIBERALIZATION: Amit Varma has a piece in the Asian Wall Street Journal. It's subscription-only, but you can also read it on his blog.

THE SCHIAVO AUTOPSY IS IN:

Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman who sparked a national debate as her parents and husband fought over keeping her alive, was destined to remain in a vegetative state and wouldn't have benefited from therapy, an autopsy found.

Schiavo, who was 41 when doctors removed feeding tubes that kept her alive, had a severely atrophied brain that weighed about half of what a normal brain does, Medical Examiner Jon Thogmartin said during a press conference in Largo, Florida. She was completely blind, he said.

``No amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons,'' Thogmartin said during the televised conference. ``Her vision centers of her brain were dead.''

Which seems to undercut the claim that she recognized visitors.

UPDATE: Neal Boortz offers a brisk I-told-you-so that should be must reading, at least for those of you who sent me hatemail or made nasty phone calls. Shame on you for being such . . . tools.

June 15, 2005

AUSTIN BAY is reporting from Baghdad.

ROBERT SAMUELSON says it's the end of Europe. As I wrote recently, I think that such forecasts are premature, but the problems inspiring them are real.

POWER LINE offers an exercise in comparison and contrast.

UNSCAM UPDATE: FoxNews has PDFs of the Annan emails mentioned earlier. And Roger Simon continues to follow the story.

TECHNOLOGY REVIEW'S CONCERNS ABOUT "DIGITAL MOBS" receive a polite dismissal from Eugene Volokh. Actually, the media "mobs" who have done the most damage over the past few decades have been composed of professional journalists, not bloggers.

BLOG CARNIVALS: The Tangled Bank, a science-and-medicine blog carnival, is up. And this week's Carnival of Education is up, too.

I'M GUESSING THAT JAMES LILEKS would like this presentation by Jake Barton and James Sanders on the history of New York.

SCIENTISTS IN CALIFORNIA are working on nanomachines to clear arterial plaque, according to this report. Bring it on!

BLOG JOURNALISM: Jackson's Junction has a video interview with Newt Gingrich posted in several segments. This link takes you to the index.

HOW TECHNOLOGY IS TAKING US BACK TO THE FUTURE: My TechCentralStation column is up.

MORE SCIENCE FICTION: Lots of readers have been writing in with suggestions as to authors. Iain M. Banks -- whom I've never read -- seems a favorite, particularly his Use of Weapons. And Dodd Harris writes:

One of the best hard SF authors I've discovered in the last decade is Peter F. Hamilton. He started with SF detective novels (Mindstar Rising, et al), but it's his "Night's Dawn" trilogy (The Reality Dysfunction, The Neutronium Alchemist, The Naked God) that's his highest accomplishment. It blends what can only be called a 'fantasy' element into hard SF so plausibly that one only notices the fact that it's a distinct departure from the usual SF fare after the fact. After reading it, one will inevitably end up reading the short story collection "A Second Chance At Eden" (which includes an SF detective story that introduces the Universe in which "Night's Dawn" takes place) just to inhabit that Universe a little while longer.

Two others that bear mention are Joe Haldeman ("Forever War" and "Forever Peace") and Vernor Vinge ("A Fire Upon the Deep" and "A Deepness in the Sky"), the latter quite possibly being the best hard SF author now working.

I'm a big Vinge fan, and the Haldeman books are very good, too. Reader Robert Katz emails:

I also liked Old Man's War, though I found the ending to be just a bit too pat, but allow me to recommend Edward Maret (Willowgate Press, ISBN 1-930008-00-7) by (who else?) myself! It came out in 2001, was picked by Booksense as one of the notable science fiction novels of 2001 and was recommended for the Nebula Award by Paul Levinson, at that time President of the Science Fiction Writers of America. One reviewer referred to it as, "The Count of Monte Cristo meets Robocop," which was pretty much my intention.

Going back a few years, you might try the Culture novels by Iain M. Banks, particularly The Player of Games and Use of Weapons, also Psychohistorical Crisis by Donald Kingsbury (one of my favorite writers), a poorly disguised followup to Asimov's Foundation series. Also the recent The Myriad, by R. M. Meluch, a writer who deserves to be much better known than she is.

Lots of stuff I haven't read there. And reader Brett McGill emails:

Please let me call your attention to Dan Simmons' book Ilium and its sequal, due out a the end of this month, Olympos.

Ilium grabbed me like no other book had in a long time. It wraps together the Trojan War, Greek gods living on Mars's Olympus Mons, the Tempest, the Iliad, an Eloi-like race of humans living in the future, robotic-human moravecs occupying the moons of Jupiter and the last Jew on earth in book I literally had trouble putting down. (Cliche but true.)

I tried to read Simmons' Hyperion a few years ago and just couldn't get into it. But lots of people like his stuff, and I should probably give it another chance.

THIS WEEK'S HISTORY CARNIVAL is up!

JAMES OBERG WRITES that some people are hyperventilating over space weapons and that they're not just wrong, but irresponsible:

So scary tales about U.S. "death stars" hovering over target countries promising swift strikes from space rely merely on readers not understanding the basics of orbital motion in space. A satellite circles Earth in an ever-shifting path that passes near any particular target only a few times every 24 hours, not every 10 minutes. It's quicker and cheaper to strike ground targets with missiles launched from the ground.

Nor is a space rendezvous robot, such as those under development by half a dozen nations and commercial consortia, a "space weapon" — despite media claims that one of them, the Air Force's XSS-11 satellite, could perform as a weapon. Plenty of productive peaceful rationales for these vehicles exist, from refueling to repair to resupply, and they are going to be deployed in large numbers in coming years.

Raising unjustified fears about them and other so-far-totally-conceptual space vehicles may be politically or ideologically satisfying to some, but in the big picture, feeding foreign prejudices and stoking the insecurities of some naturally paranoid cultures is a dangerous game.

I've written about this subject myself, most recently here.

UPDATE: In more space news, here's an article on commercial space capitalists.

June 14, 2005

JOHN TIERNEY:

Men in their 70's raced on bikes for 40 kilometers in this month's National Senior Games in Pittsburgh. A 68-year-old woman threw the discus 85 feet, and a 69-year-old man hurled the javelin nearly half the length of a football field.

Is it possible that people this age are still physically capable of putting in a full day's work at the office?

I realize I'm being impolitic. In the Social Security debate, the notion of raising the retirement age is the elephant in the room, as Robin Toner and David Rosenbaum reported in The Times on Sunday. Both liberal and conservative economists favor the change, but politicians are terrified to even mention it to voters.

Americans now feel entitled to spend nearly a third of their adult lives in retirement. Their jobs are less physically demanding than their parents' were, but they're retiring younger and typically start collecting Social Security by age 62. Most could keep working - fewer than 10 percent of people 65 to 75 are in poor health - but, like Bartleby the Scrivener, they prefer not to.

As people live longer, this is likely to become a bigger problem:

Today's notion of "retirement age" is a fairly recent one. Otto von Bismarck is often credited with craftily setting the retirement age at 65 because most people wouldn't live that long -- though in fact, Bismarck set it at 70, and it wasn't lowered to 65 until later. But the justification for retirement has always been that by retirement age people were nearly used up, and deserved a bit of fun and then a comfortable and dignified decline until death. Get rid of the decline and death, and you've given up the justification for living -- as Social Security recipients, at least, do -- off other people's efforts on what amounts to a form of welfare . Logically, retirement should be put off until people are medically old, or perhaps just replaced with disability, and those who are able to work should do so, while those desirous of not working should save up as for a long vacation.

The sooner we start moving in this direction, the better for everyone, particularly as the underlying trend will -and should -- continue.

REBECCA MACKINNON has thoughts on free speech, blogging and China -- er, and Microsoft. "I agree with Scoble: no outsiders, including Microsoft, can force China to change. But nobody's asking Microsoft to force China to do anything. The issue is whether Microsoft should be collaborating with the Chinese regime as it builds an increasingly sophisticated system of Internet censorship and control."

I LIKE LILEKS' SCREEDBLOG. but I wish he'd get permalinks for his entries.

YESTERDAY'S BOOK-MEME POSTING produced requests for more. Maybe there's something to it after all! Reader Jim Hohnbaum emails:

Glenn, could you please recommend some science fiction authors? I devoured the stuff (Clarke, Asimov, etc.) from the late 50’s through the mid 70’s until marriage, career, children, and so on. When I went back to the bookstore look, it seemed from glancing at the racks that the field had been taken over by fantasy works. Some pointers to authors would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Well, reader Joshua Kay has emailed to endorse two titles I've recommended before:

I just finished Old Man's War, and have started Weapons of Choice. I enjoyed the first, and very much like the second (about 80 pages into it).

Anyway, thank you, for whatever its worth!

Both of those are quite good. Here's an earlier post with quite a few book recommendations.

I'm also a big fan of Greg Egan. His Permutation City and Diaspora are among the best hard science fiction I've read in recent years, and the opening pages of Permutation City are some of the best writing in science fiction.

DAVE HARDY ON APOLOGIES FOR LYNCHINGS:

Apologies certain are in order, but Congress isn't the party which needs to make them. It's the Supreme Court which owes the apology.

Meanwhile West Virginia blogger Don Surber notes that Robert Byrd was uncharacteristically silent on this question: "The protector of the Right to Filibuster was silent when the filibuster's darkest days were acknowledged."

HOSSEIN DERAKSHAN IS BLOGGING THE IRANIAN ELECTIONS: From Iran.

WHILE I'M ON VACATION, Ann Althouse is guestblogging at GlennReynolds.com. Here's her first post.

MICKEY KAUS has an interesting back-and-forth with Walter Dellinger on the problems of third-party candidates.

UNSCAM UPDATE: The New York Times has an interesting memo report:

Kofi Annan has said several times that he did not discuss the contract with his son and was not involved in Cotecna's selection. A United Nations panel headed by Paul A. Volcker, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve, concluded in March that Mr. Annan had not influenced the awarding of the $10 million dollar-a-year contract to the company.

But the memo appears to raise questions about the secretary general's role.

I'm not terribly confident that the Volcker Commission will get to the bottom of this, but I hope that someone will.

Ed Morrissey offers perspective:

For months, Kofi Annan has denied any connection between the UN Oil-for-Food contractor and himself through his son Kojo. The Secretary-General has gone so far as to state that he never met with Cotecna on OFF business and only had the most general of information from his son. However, Cotecna has found an e-mail that indicates their executives did indeed meet with Kofi, making his earlier denials look more and more suspicious:

Indeed.

UPDATE: More major developments here.

THIS WEEK'S GRAND ROUNDS IS UP, for all your healthcare-blogging needs.

And there's also a Carnival of Music!

June 13, 2005

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BEACHBLOGGING: Here's a picture I snapped off the deck this morning. If you're wondering why I haven't been blogging more, well, this is why.

AN INTERVIEW with Federal Election Commissioner Brad Smith over at TechCentralStation. Smith's not too encouraging regarding the future of free speech under existing election laws.

ARTHUR CHRENKOFF has posted his latest installment of underreported news from Iraq.

ANKLEBITING PUNDITS is warning people off of the latest Clinton allegation. Seems implausible to me.

MERYL YOURISH HAS TAGGED ME WITH THE BOOK MEME. I don't usually do these kinds of things, but what the hell.

1. Number of books you own: Jeez, I dunno. A couple of thousand? I recently unloaded a lot, but I still have walls of books in several rooms.

2. Last book I bought: I think it was Eric Flint's Andrew Jackson alternative history (I'm about 2/3 through it now) but it may have been Richard Morgan's Market Forces.

Last book I read: I think it was Neil Gershenfeld's Fab. But it might have been Joel Garreau's Radical Evolution.

Five books that mean a lot to me: The Lord of the Rings, Huckleberry Finn, Charles Black's The Waking Passenger, Arthur C. Clarke's Profiles of the Future, and Photography, by Phil Davis.

For me, though, it's as much about authors as books. I was influenced a lot by Robert Heinlein, Arthur Clarke, and Isaac Asimov, but more by their entire body of works than by any particular book.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF THE CAPITALISTS is up!

June 12, 2005

IRANIAN WOMEN PROTEST IN IRAN: Reports, and lots of pictures, at Publius.

TIM CAVANAUGH:

I've gotta get on record saying this rash of celebrities claiming they've been involved in stalkerazzi-related traffic accidents is straight-up bullshit. How can anybody be taking these claims at face value? Out-of-control skank Lindsay Lohan, who has already racked up an abysmal driving record in her 18 years, gets in a crash with a photographer, and we're supposed to assume the photographer's at fault? Accident-prone xanthochroid Cameron Diaz blames nameless shutterbugs for her bad luck, and the papers believe her? The legendarily high-strung J.Lo shows signs of persecution anxiety, and that's the fault of the paparazzi?

I'd prefer, of course, if all of these stars were no longer covered. Give 'em what they want . . . .

TURNABOUT for the mullahs?

MARK STEYN: Who can stop China from conquering the world? The Chinese communists! Read the whole thing, and especially the conclusion.

ETHIOPIAN OPPOSITION UNDER ARREST: Gateway Pundit has the report, and video.

MICHAEL YON has posted lots of new reporting from Iraq.

DON'T MISS THIS WEEK'S BritBlog roundup!

A FISH, A BARREL, A SMOKING BLOG: Tom Maguire fact-checks Frank Rich in a big way.

THIS IS COOL:

As video cameras, and digital storage devices (like the iPod), grow smaller and cheaper, they have become useful as a military intelligence tool. The latest example of this is a lightweight video camera that can be attached to a helmet, and the video stored on a 30 gigabyte hard drive the size of an iPod. That provides enough storage for 2-46 hours of video (depending on the resolution.)

It was civilian security personnel, former military people, who first started doing this sort of thing. Small vidcams attached to the dashboard, were used to photograph a mission. Reviewing the tapes later would often reveal an attempted attack, or some other danger that needed to be studied, and dealt with in the future. Now a British company, Double Vision (DV), is producing wearable vidcam systems for police, journalists, military personnel and athletes.

I want some of these for bloggers. . . .

ROGER SIMON NOTES A DISTURBING EXAMPLE of Microsoft sucking up to China. Bill Gates, and the rest of the Microsoft crowd, should be embarrassed, and I agree with Roger that if this story bears out, it's hard to imagine MSN Spaces doing well with the blogging community.