AN IRAQI FRIEND OF AUSTIN BAY'S weighs in on the Iraqi Constitution.
posted at 10:52 PM by Glenn Reynolds
PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: "Having a government employee giving money to a litigious environmental group suing the same guy the government scientist is investigating sure looks like a conflict of interest and potential for prejudgment to me." Indeed.
posted at 09:03 PM by Glenn Reynolds
YES, BIRTH CONTROL IS IMPERFECT: But I think that Jennifer Roback Morse would be even less happy if it worked flawlessly. I'm unpersuaded.
posted at 08:42 PM by Glenn Reynolds
SO MOVIE STUDIOS are going to cut way back on newspaper ads. Part of this is because they don't think that their customers read newspapers anymore -- and part of it is because they don't have as many customers as they used to. Of course, why they don't have as many customers is unclear, but I like this theory:
"Here's what we know about 2005: The movies are not as good," said John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners.
BACK HOME: Drove to Nashville this morning, did my talk, drove back. About 6 hours of driving for 4 hours there. But the event was put together by a former research assistant, so I couldn't say no.
I can attest that however much people are complaining about gas prices, it doesn't seem to be slowing them down. Traffic was flying. I drove the RX-8, which got a so-so 22 miles per gallon. However, they were FKMPG: "Fred Krause Miles Per Gallon," defined as "the mileage obtained by a vehicle traveling 85 miles per hour with the air conditioner set on 'MAX.'" It's a somewhat more demanding standard than the EPA version . . . .
posted at 07:20 PM by Glenn Reynolds
I'M SPEAKING TO THE NASHVILLE WOMEN'S POLITICAL CAUCUS, and this post is here to demonstrate just how easy it is to blog.
"Obviously, gaining public acceptance is going to be a huge issue, especially when you talk about reintroducing predators," said lead author Josh Donlan, of Cornell University. "There are going to have to be some major attitude shifts. That includes realising predation is a natural role, and that people are going to have to take precautions."
Hmm. I'm not that excited about being prey. I believe I've written on this attitude before.
posted at 07:55 AM by Glenn Reynolds
CLIVE DAVIS'S "TRANSATLANTIC VOICES" series continues with an interview of Martha Bayles regarding European and American perceptions of Europe and America.
I grow increasingly weary of the Instapundit's unwavering and unjustified chirpy optimism over the stem cell controversy. Link after link burbles that soon we won't have to bruise a single solitary feeling among the "culture of life" crowd, because we'll be able to do it all with adult stem cells, or cord blood cells, or placental cells. feh.
Hmm. This doesn't seem to me to be a very accurate rendering of what I've said on the subject -- generally cautioning against too much enthusiasm for adult stem cells and the like -- which tends to generate rather a lot of criticism from the "culture of life" folks. I also find the suggestion that I've been too kind to Leon Kass and the White House Bioethics Council a bit odd (when I called the Council the Carmen Electra of the Executive Branch, that wasn't a compliment, notwithstanding Ms. Electra's undeniable charms). I guess this just demonstrates that you can't please everybody. Or that not everybody reads the posts carefully.
posted at 07:16 AM by Glenn Reynolds
TAXPROF: "The report reveals that the IRS made 4.6 billion disclosures of tax return information to federal and state agencies."
The labs today are seeking to fill a critical role in preventing epidemics in regions where medical services and sanitation have deteriorated since Soviet times. But an equally pressing challenge is security: How to prevent the germ collections and biological know-how from being sold or stolen.
"They often have culture collections of pathogens that lack biosecurity, and they employ people who are well-versed in investigating and handling deadly pathogens," said Raymond A. Zilinskas, a bioweapons expert and coauthor of the draft report on the antiplague system. "Some are located at sites accessible to terrorist groups and criminal groups. The potential is that terrorists and criminals would have little problem acquiring the resources that reside in these facilities."
Managers of the old antiplague stations are aware of their vulnerabilities but lack the most basic resources for dealing with them, according to the Monterey authors and U.S. officials. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, budgets at the institutes have fallen so steeply that even the simplest security upgrades are out of reach.
Read the whole thing, but only if you don't scare easily.
Take the woes Dell Computer has faced. In recent months, big-name blogger Jeff Jarvis, on his Buzzmachine.com blog, has hammered on Dell for its poor customer relations. That, in turn, unleashed a deluge of similar comments from his readers, and spurred other bloggers to whine about Dell, too. On Wednesday, the University of Michigan released a survey confirming a drop in Dell's customer satisfaction ratings, something that may or may not have been related.
If I ran a company, I'd have somebody search the company name on Technorati several times a day to find out what people are saying, and try to get ahead of the buzz.
UPDATE: Reader Kevin Crosby emails:
Not trying to pile on here, but I read Jeff Jarvis' rants about Dell and it turned me off, just when my two kids (age 12 and 14) wanted to replace our aging (Win 98) desktop with a Dell. This came just after a small businessman friend had multiple problems with a new Dell system. I opted for a very price competitive system from a local builder who was highly recommended, built to my specs.
Dell's fears have come true - a blogospherian rant negates all those brochures and ads. Am I the only one under the Jarvis spell?
I should note that my own experiences with Dell have been quite good.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader John Sandison emails:
About Jeff Jarvis and Dell - for me the turn off has been the other way round. As my experience with Dell's support has been so good, I found Jarvis' many complaints irritated me enough that I was reluctant to visit his site.
With Dell, I have twice called them on a Friday and had replacement parts delivered on the Monday (one of them a power converter I'd left out in the rain). I have also had a tech guy come to the house to replace a motherboard. All with no fuss, no hassle.
Yeah, my experiences have been pretty good too. That's the trouble with anecdotal evidence, of course, but if I were Dell I'd be using blog complaints as an early warning system.
Russia and Europe will soon embark on a cooperative effort to build a next-generation manned space shuttle. Speaking at the Paris Air Show, in Le Bourget, France, in June, Russian space officials confirmed earlier reports from Moscow that their partners at the European Space Agency would join the Russian effort to build a new reusable orbiter, dubbed Kliper. After the cautious optimism they expressed at the beginning of 2005, Russians are now confident that their European partners will be on board for the largest, boldest Russian endeavor in spaceflight in more than a decade. . . .
The Russians and Europeans, with few good alternatives, have seen their aspirations and needs converge around the Kliper project. If they are successful, this could open new horizons for manned spaceflight in this century.
The company, according to the website, is based in Istanbul. The name is clearly Turkish, in any event, and the bathing suits shown probably too revealing (especially the short--leg models) for Saudi mores.
The whole [Cindy Sheehan] kerfuffle was, however, informative in some ways. For one, it reveals that very few people on the antiwar left have any compunction at all about making common cause with someone who espouses virulent anti-American and anti-Semitic views. For another, it showed something we've long suspected: that some on the left--and not just the America-hating fringe--want America to lose this war.
I wish this weren't true, but I think it is.
UPDATE: Blowback: "I actually felt myself become a republican today."
I wouldn't go that far.
posted at 07:24 PM by Glenn Reynolds
I'VE SUDDENLY STARTED GETTING A LOT OF EMAILS LIKE THIS ONE:
I am disturbed by your continual smears of honorable Americans like Jamie Gorelick. If you disagree with the opinions of Ms. Gorelick, then please voice that at your discretion, but engaging in personal smears campaigns at the behest of Karl Rove and Grover Norquist really do a disservice to your readers. Jamie Gorelick’s memo did not disallow sharing of information between the military and the FBI. Please issue a correction in your next blog.
The thing is, I haven't written anything about Jamie Gorelick and Able Danger, so I guess I'm dropping the ball in the "continual smear" department. This post by Ann Althouse from when I was on vacation a week ago quotes an Investor's Business Daily editorial that mentions her, but that's the only mention of Gorelick on InstaPundit in over a year. So why the emails now?
None of the emails contains a link or reference to any particular post, which makes me think that this is some sort of mass email campaign. Any idea where they're coming from?
STILL MORE: In response to an earlier post, reader Holger Uhl emails:
I am disturbed by your continual smears of honorable Americans like Mr. Ed and My Favorite Martian. If you disagree with the opinions of Mr. Ed and My Favorite Martian, then please voice that at your discretion, but engaging in personal smears campaigns at the behest of Karl Rove do a disservice to your readers. Please issue a correction in your next blog.
Sorry, but both of them are pictured on three-dollar bills. I don't need orders from Rove to notice that!
And, by the way, The Addams Family and The Munsters are about black families in white neighborhoods and the prejudice they face. Meanwhile, reader John Jorsett emails:
I am disturbed by your continual smears of honorable emailers like me. If you disagree with my hallucinations regarding your blog posts, then please voice that at your discretion, but engaging in personal smears campaigns at the behest of Chuckles the Clown and Joe Stalin really do a disservice to your readers. I never said that yo ... SNAKES! SNAKES! Please issue a correction in your next blog.
UPDATE: For those afraid to click through, here's the caption on the not-safe page: "1 - 24 of 27482 results in: Products > Sex & Sensuality > Adult Toys & Games." That pretty much gets the point across.
posted at 10:50 AM by Glenn Reynolds
BILL QUICK: "How can you avoid blog triumphalism when you read things like this?"
Large, transparent sheets of carbon nanotubes can now be produced at lightning speed. The new technique should allow the nanotubes to be used in commercial devices from heated car windows to flexible television screens.
"Rarely is a processing advance so elegantly simple that rapid commercialization seems possible," says Ray Baughman, a chemist from the University of Texas at Dallas, whose team unveils the ribbon in this week's Science.
By making mice grow furrier coats, researchers have discovered that an enzyme known to serve as a last-ditch defense against cancer also activates adult stem cells, which the body uses to repair its tissues.
The insight could lead to new treatments for certain diseases, possibly even promoting hair growth in animals other than mice.
The research, reported by Steven E. Artandi and colleagues at Stanford University in Nature today, shows that adult stem cells can be activated by an enzyme called telomerase.
The finding is surprising because telomerase is well known in a quite different context, protecting against tumors by limiting the number of times a cell can divide. The new findings put the enzyme astride two major biological pathways, one that promotes the growth of new cells for maintaining tissues and the other that prevents the excessive growth that leads to tumors.
I'd like to know more, but this is interesting. So is this.
I did some interviews of my own, using the video function of my Sony digital still camera. It's not television-news quality, but it was done on the fly with a camera that cost $300 and fits easily in a pocket.
Tools like this are the future. If I ran a newspaper, I'd give one to each of my reporters, and encourage them -- in the most meaningful way possible, with bonuses -- to conduct video interviews and reports that could run on the paper's website, the better to fend off the kind of challengers I link above.
Now the Knoxville News-Sentinel seems to be following that advice. (They're even using the same camera. No word about the bonuses part, though . . . .)
Here's their first video, from a shooting range, and it turned out pretty well, I think. They're also open to citizen journalism: "Do you 'vlog' around Knoxville? Send us your stuff; we'll add it to our collection here."
BOMB ARRESTS IN BANGLADESH indicate an Al Qaeda connection. Gateway Pundit has a roundup.
posted at 03:09 PM by Glenn Reynolds
EUGENE VOLOKH uses some speech of George Galloway's as a jumping-off point for a discussion of treasonous speech and the First Amendment. " Imagine that Galloway was American and was tried in America, and that a jury concluded that Galloway's intention wasn't just to criticize the war, but actually to get Arab listeners to help our enemies in Iraq, and to get some of them to join the insurgents. . . . Under U.S. law, this would constitute treason: Aiding the enemy with the intention of aiding the enemy. Would the First Amendment nonetheless protect such speech?"
UPDATE: I don't know much about the British law on treason, but this case might fit:
The Government is facing demands to close down a London-based radio station broadcasting calls for attacks on British troops in Iraq.
Al-Tajdeed Radio, which is run by a prominent Saudi dissident, has close links with a website carrying films of terrorist bombings and beheadings. It also carries songs calling on Muslims to join the holy war against coalition forces. . . .
He has lived in London since first seeking asylum there in 1994. He has frequently declared that British troops in Iraq are legitimate targets.
It seems reasonable to me that those seeking asylum should be required to show some loyalty to the country they're seeking refuge in. And it seems reasonable to me that the civilized world ought to be taking action against those who agitate on behalf of terror, regardless of whether it is done through treason prosecutions or other means.
posted at 02:45 PM by Glenn Reynolds
OF TWO MINDS ABOUT THE ECONOMY: A reader notes this amusing juxtaposition in the New York Times. From the Editorial Page:
But the overarching explanation [for public concern about the economy] is that people are feeling insecure because they understand that today's economy is built on shaky fundamentals. Average Americans may not sit around fretting about America's outsized budget and trade deficits, and its unprecedented foreign indebtedness. But many of them -- as buyers, borrowers and employees -- are concerned about the increasingly bubbly housing sector. The economy's shortcomings are nowhere more obvious than in the job market... job growth is still substantially slower than in previous recoveries. Wages for 80 percent of the work force are barely keeping pace with inflation... Because Mr. Bush fails to acknowledge the lackluster job and wage growth, he fails to respond appropriately. The administration's insistence that the economy is getting better all the time... only intensifies the anxiety that people feel.
Emboldened by rising wages and better job prospects, American consumers headed to car dealers by the thousands last month to take advantage of Detroit's deep discounts, and helped empty bulging warehouses. A series of economic reports released yesterday showed rising retail sales, lower initial unemployment claims and continuing low inventory levels. Economists say the three reports confirm what many of them have been saying: the economic expansion is picking up its pace... The economy has added 190,000 jobs a month on average so far this year, up from 180,000 jobs a month last year. The unemployment rate was at 5 percent in June and July.
Yeah, when you fail to acknowledge the real state of the economy, it can hurt your credibility . . . .
posted at 02:15 PM by Glenn Reynolds
ISRAELI BLOGGER GLORIA SALT offers two scenarios for the post-Gaza-pullout era.
posted at 01:02 PM by Glenn Reynolds
UNSCAM UPDATE: Claudia Rosett writes: "Since the Oil for Food program came to an end in 2003, it has been described--accurately enough--as oil for palaces, oil for terror and oil for fraud. Now it turns out the U.N. relief program in Iraq was also oil for Enron."
Maybe that'll be enough to get Paul Krugman interested! (Via Newsbeat 1).
posted at 12:54 PM by Glenn Reynolds
DR. TONY is surprised to discover that the cat I gave him is a reprobate.
Why, exactly, this surprises him I don't know . . . .
posted at 12:52 PM by Glenn Reynolds
THE BRITISH POLICE are under fire as their story on the Menezes shooting breaks down. I agree with Bill Quick that everybody loses on this one.
But they're not anti-Semites. Heavens, nay. Don't you dare question their philosemitism! No, they looked at the entire world, including countries that lop off your skull if you convert to Presbyterianism, and what did they choose as the object of their ire? A country the size of a potato chip hanging on the edge of a region noted for despotism and barbarity. By some peculiar coincidence, it happens to be full of Jews.
WHILE most of the Bush administration has been fighting against increased unionization of security-related positions since 9/11, the federal Transportation Security Administration is headed the other way. In a small case with national implications, TSA doesn't just break with the Bush administration position; it reverses its own stated policy. . . .
What's going on? Well, some in Congress would like to see those private firms take over from TSA at more airports. The agency seems to be out to hamstring its competition. . . . Unionization could easily chew up the private security companies' already thin profit margins — thus locking in TSA's near-monopoly control.
It's all about pork. My impression of TSA screening at airports is that it's not any better than things were before, nor is it any faster or better organized. Certainly on this last trip, the security -- and the immigration -- folks at the Atlanta airport seemed poorly organized and inefficient. I nearly missed my flight because people who were supposed to be organizing the lines were standing around talking instead.
My predictions about the whole Homeland Security enterprise seem to have been borne out, alas.
MORE on the bombings in Bangladesh. One of the targets: "The Grameen Bank is a micro-development lender. The attacks on Bangladesh’s legal institutions are the 'political message.'"
UPDATE: Kjell Hagen emails:
Grameen bank is not only "a micro-development lender", it is THE micro-development lender. It pioneered the industry, and has been very succesful in especially starting women up with their own small businesses to provide income for their families.
An obvious target for Islamofascists, I guess. God forbid enterprising women have their own income or business success.
WaPo's Robin Wright, who has been sneering from the sidelines throughout the Iraq war, recently co-wrote a much-noticed article, "U.S. Lowers Sights on What Can Be Achieved in Iraq." Am I the only person who found it thin and unconvincing?
No, and I meant to post something, but was still in post-vacation semitorpor and let it by. Kaus, however, has taken up the slack admirably.
At most, I think this article boils down to some people realizing that democratization is a process, not an event, which is scarcely news to InstaPundit readers.
Related post on constitutional-convention problems, here.
UPDATE: Reader Ryan Kelley emails:
That article from Wright on 8/14 had the oil production at 2.22 mil bpd. According to this article from 8/15 the total just went up to 2.3 mil bpd just for -southern- Iraq. It's another 400-550k in Northern Iraq.
That puts it between 2.7 and 2.85 mil bpd which is higher then the pre-war high cited by Wright of 2.67 mil bpd. Significantly higher if it's at the high end.
posted at 08:13 PM by Glenn Reynolds
DAVEY CROCKETT, KIA AT UT? "Hell, they might as well change the name of the team from the Volunteers to the Oppressed Draftees." For the record, I have nothing to do with decisions like this.
posted at 07:29 PM by Glenn Reynolds
ALONG THE LINES OF THIS POST, I plan, as soon as Angelina Jolie becomes pregnant, to immediately deny responsibility.
posted at 07:24 PM by Glenn Reynolds
JAMES LILEKS: "Some people think that any time you argue back, you're Stifling Dissent."
Among those thoughts: "My God, but that's tone deaf, not to mention timorous."
posted at 04:36 PM by Glenn Reynolds
I'VE PRETTY MUCH IGNORED the Air America scandals, but others are paying attention.
UPDATE: More here. "Air America went out of its way to make an enemy of Multicultural Radio Broadcasting, and now is paying the price." Also here.
posted at 03:00 PM by Glenn Reynolds
THE INSTA-WIFE GRADUATED TODAY: From cardiac-rehab class. She'll still be going, she just won't have to wear a monitor any more. And, yes, they actually had a little ceremony, complete with cap and gown.
When she got her PhD just after we married, I thought that was the last of her graduations. I guess I wish I'd been right, but still, I'm very happy that she's progressed to this point. (And she was certainly the most attractive -- er, and the youngest by a couple of decades -- of the graduates!)
You just never know what's coming down the pike, do you?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Gateway Pundit has a roundup, and says there were far more bombs than originally realized.
posted at 12:05 PM by Glenn Reynolds
MORE AVIAN FLU WORRIES: "The bottom line is that avian influenza is endemic and probably ineradicable among poultry in Southeast Asia, and now seems to be spreading at pandemic velocity among migratory birds, with the potential to reach most of the earth in the next year. . . . This exponential multiplication of hot spots and silent reservoirs (as among infected but asymptomatic ducks) is why the chorus of warnings from scientists, public-health officials, and finally, governments has become so plangently insistent in recent months."
UPDATE: Hmm. Just noticed that the author of the quoted piece is also the author of this book on avian flu. I'm not sure which way that cuts.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I cover this stuff, but if you're really interested you should be reading the Avian Flu Blog, which has a somewhat narrower focus.
posted at 11:43 AM by Glenn Reynolds
MARK TAPSCOTT emails that he really likes this Ford commercial: "It's not really an ad so much as a statement about America's past and present. It's 5 minutes long but worth every second."
It's also something that the Web makes a lot easier.
PODCASTING AND THE NEW MEDIA: I interviewed GarageBand.com's CEO Ali Partovi on the subject recently, and the results are in today's TechCentralStation column.
posted at 10:03 AM by Glenn Reynolds
AUSTIN BAY: "It’s time for the President to make a statement about Able Danger."
UPDATE: Tom Maguire: "Let's end with an easy question - do people think they have seen enough to merit a Congressional investigation? And do people want the investigation to be in Curt Weldon's House, or over in the Senate?" Plus, he parses typos from the Times!
One of the biggest brokerage firms in Canada is sounding an alarm over the potential economic disaster that could result from an influenza pandemic. . . .
Some of the repercussions projected in the report, were a pandemic were to break out, include:
A dramatic slowdown in the economy, equal to the Great Depression. A rampant decline in spending would result from people panicking, which would put a sudden stop in spending.
High levels of unemployment, with many people unable to work.
Travel restrictions on the free-flow of goods and people across borders. "In a world that depends so heavily on global trade, this would have a very damaging effect on economic activity," said Cooper.
Regardless of whether avian flu breaks out, a new flu pandemic is a near-certainty at some point. (Via Newsbeat 1, which also has a link to the PDF of the full report).
Outperformed by girls at school, emasculated by women at home and at work, shockingly dislocated from your emotions and the hapless joke figure in endless TV commercials and sitcoms whose message is that females rule and men are fools.
Well wise up, because apparently it’s time to say enough is enough; the ridicule of men must stop. The pendulum of power has swung too far into the female corner and you must stand up and assert your right to masculinity.
I MISSED OUT ON THE "ABLE DANGER" STORY while I was on vacation, and I still don't think I'm up to speed. But doesn't this advance the story? "A military intelligence team repeatedly contacted the F.B.I. in 2000 to warn about the existence of an American-based terrorist cell that included the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a veteran Army intelligence officer who said he had now decided to risk his career by discussing the information publicly. The officer, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, said military lawyers later blocked the team from sharing any of its information with the F.B.I."
UPDATE: John Podhoretz: "If he's telling the truth, then the entire history of the last five years needs to be rewritten."
A go-ahead was given last week by the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) that clears the way for exchanges of technical information between Scaled Composites of Mojave, California and Virgin Galactic of the United Kingdom to build passenger-carrying suborbital spaceliners.
Among its duties, DDTC administers and enforces International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
“Putting it in ITAR terms…this is one small step for ITAR, one big leap for Virgin Galactic,” said Will Whitehorn, President of Virgin Galactic—the space tourism endeavor that is a subsidiary of British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.
“It allows us to activate all the parts of the project,” Whitehorn told SPACE.com in an exclusive phone interview, such as use of technology—SpaceShipOne’s reentry concept and hybrid rocket motor design, for example—that can be licensed through Paul Allen’s Mojave Aerospace Ventures.
Great news. I think the Virgin Galactic folks should save me a "press" seat!
UPDATE: A reader writes:
So it's good news when some government bureaucrats "permit" two privately owned companies to voluntarily exchange technical information. Gee, aren't we lucky to have such clear-sighted bureaucrats controlling our supposedly free economy?
Sometimes it is very difficult to understand how you consider yourself even mildly libertarian.
No, but it's easy to understand why so many overly literal libertarians are at the margin, politically and socially, when you read stuff like that.
To me, when government officials act intelligently in the exercise of their powers, it's good news (and I suspect that few libertarians take such intelligence for granted). That's a distinct question from what powers they ought to have -- and in export controls (as I've noted in various scholarly writings) their powers are pretty clearly too broad. But that's a separate discussion, as should be obvious. People who want every discussion of current events to go back to first principles are tiresome and I find discussion with them is seldom profitable. Plus, people avoid them at parties.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Shelby Clark emails:
Ouch! Dissed by a law professor for being tedious and poorly socialized!
I kid – as a lawyer, law profs are some of my favorite people. But still.
Simply put, operators of garbage dumps are stuffing more waste than anyone expected into the giant plastic-lined holes, keeping disposal prices down and making the construction of new landfills largely unnecessary. . . .
The productivity leap is the second major economic surprise from the trash business in the last 20 years. First, it became clear in the early 1990's that there was a glut of disposal space, not the widely believed shortage that had drawn headlines in the 1980's. Although many town dumps had closed, they were replaced by fewer, but huge, regional ones. That sent dumping prices plunging in many areas in the early 1990's and led to a long slump in the waste industry.
Since then, the industry and its followers have been relying on time - about 330 million tons of trash went into landfills in the United States last year alone, according to Solid Waste Digest, a trade publication - to fill up some of those holes, erase the glut and send disposal prices skyward again. Instead, dump capacity has kept growing, and rapidly, even as only a few new dumps were built.
Now if we could just do the same thing for oil refineries.
Why does the shape of the coverage, and the omission of good news, matter? Because, as Ralph Peters notes: "Our enemies know the Marines won't quit. But they hope you will."
UPDATE: Michael Barone writes that it's all the bad news that's fit to print. He also asks: "How much coverage would the press have given a World War II-era Cindy Sheehan who camped outside Hyde Park or Warm Springs demanding to meet with President Roosevelt?"
The Washington Post dropped its sponsorship on Monday of a walk organized by the Pentagon to remember victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks and to support U.S. troops, saying it was possible the event would become "politicized."
The press views the war as a political story, not a matter of patriotism. That's what's different about today's coverage, and it's a disgrace. Meanwhile, reader C.J. Burch emails: "How long before Steve Lovelady tries to have Michael Barone fired?"
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan ordered a massive investigation of the entire U.N. procurement division yesterday amid growing concerns about corruption and irregularities in the awarding of U.N. contracts. In yet another major organizational shake-up in response to the Iraq oil-for-food scandal, the embattled Annan placed the procurement office under the authority of U.N. Controller Warren Sachs, pending the outcome of a probe into the agency, which awards contracts worth billions of dollars.
Yakovlev seems to be singing like a canary.
posted at 07:12 AM by Glenn Reynolds
A CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE regarding egg donation? "The conspiracy of silence makes egg donation look much rarer--and far more shameful--than it actually is. For people to get used to strange new technologies, they have to like, or at least adapt to, the consequences of those technologies. People like all these babies; society has certainly adapted to their births, with minimum dirsuption. But egg donation still sounds strange, because too many mothers and fathers pretend it isn't happening."
Human bones can shatter in accidents, or they can disintegrate when ravaged by disease and time. But scientists may have a new weapon in the battle against forces that damage the human skeleton.
Carbon nanotubes, incredibly strong molecules just billionths of a meter wide, can function as scaffolds for bone regrowth, according to researchers led by Robert Haddon at the University of California at Riverside. They have found a way to create a stronger and safer frame than the artificial bone scaffolds currently in use.
This isn't molecular manufacturing, of course, but it's important early work.
posted at 07:00 AM by Glenn Reynolds
MAJOR EARTHQUAKE in Japan: Fortunately, damage appears light.
Julie Roehm has more than $2 billion to spend this year, and the way she's been spending it worries executives at News Corp., the Washington Post Co., and virtually every other media company on the planet. As Chrysler's director of marketing communications, Roehm, 34, oversees a budget that Advertising Age ranks as the sixth-largest pool of ad dollars in the nation. . . .
Roehm rarely misses a chance to talk about how delighted she is with online advertising. Last year she spent 10% of the budget online; this year she is allotting closer to 18%; next year, she says, she will allocate more than 20%. Do the math: In 2006 roughly $400 million of Chrysler's money that used to go into TV, newspaper, and magazine ads will be spent on the Internet. Says Roehm: "I hate to sound like such a marketing geek, but we like to fish where the fish are."
UPDATE: There's some useful advice for journalists here, too.
posted at 08:14 PM by Glenn Reynolds
IRAQ'S CONSTITUTIONAL DELIBERATIONS will continue for another week. Is this good news or bad? That, not to put too fine a point on it, depends.
Publius thinks it's good news. Noting that polls show the Iraqi people as considerably more progressive than the leadership that's negotiating over the constitution, he thinks this will give time for that to be felt. I hope he's right.
It's probably neither good news or bad, but just part of the ongoing haggling, which as I've mentioned before is likely to be self-limiting once the Sunnis realize they've gotten as much as they can. But the big question, as Publius suggests, is what the Iraqi people want, and what they're willing to demand. As with the American Constitution in 1789, it's a republic -- if they can keep it. And as with Americans, it's ultimately up to them to do so.
Omar at Iraq the Model has been posting a lot on this topic, as you might expect. And Ian Schwartz has video of Condi Rice's press conference. I'm still disappointed, though, that the oil trust idea didn't get more attention.
UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis thinks the mainstream press is stuck in an Eeyore narrative: "On the Iraqi constitution, a week’s delay is seen as a defeat. But, of course, we should compare that with our own heritage: 16 months to negotiate articles of confederation that were a disaster; 13 years from the Declaration of Independence before we ended up with a constitution and a government."
The federal budget-deficit picture turned brighter Monday as congressional scorekeepers released new estimates showing the level of red ink for the current fiscal year would drop to $331 billion.
The new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which does budget analysis for lawmakers in Washington, gave the latest proof that surging revenues and a steadily growing economy are combining to bring the deficit down from a record $412 billion posted last year. CBO predicts a $314 billion deficit for the budget year starting Oct. 1.
"Surging revenues and a steadily growing economy." We're not hearing much about those, in general. Nice to know that they're there.
UPDATE: Reader Edward McNamara notes that the line about surging revenues and a steadily growing economy is now absent from the story, which was revised at 5:33 pm according to a new timestamp at the NYT. How irritating. This seems to be the earlier version, though it bears a later timestamp, from Business Week.
The first was on the morning of October 22. Seismometers in Turkey and Bolivia recorded a violent event in Antarctica that packed the punch of several thousand tons of TNT. The disturbance then ripped through Earth on a route that ended with it exiting through the floor of the Indian Ocean off Sri Lanka just 26 seconds later - implying a speed of 900,000 mph.
The second event took place on November 24, when sensors in Australia and Bolivia picked up an explosion starting in the Pacific south of the Pitcairn Islands and travelling through Earth to appear in Antarctica 19 seconds later.
According to the scientists, both events are consistent with an impact with strangelets at cosmic speeds. In a report about to be submitted to the Seismological Society of America, the team of geologists and physicists concludes: "The only explanation for such events of which we are aware is passage through the earth of ton-sized strange-quark nuggets."
Professor Eugene Herrin, a member of the team, said that two strangelets just one-tenth the breadth of a hair would account for the observations. "These things are extremely dense and travel at 40 times the speed of sound straight through the Earth - they'd hardly slow down as they went through."
Whenever liberals remind us that not all Muslims are terrorists or anti-American rioters, I always think that not everyone in the pre-civil-rights south was a church bomber or member of the Ku Klux Klan. Even then, there was lots to like about the south. Southerners always have been known for charm and hospitality — rather like Palestinians today, whom the foreign press finds much more appealing than brusque and bossy Israeli soldiers.
In the past, I've criticized Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and anti-abortion terrorists. Are there vast numbers of such people, or even of their sympathizers? I should hope not. Do American political leaders endorse these people? I don't think so. Should they still be condemned? You bet. Likewise with those who support and defend the Iraqi insurgents.
posted at 02:11 PM by Glenn Reynolds
HUGH HEWITT: "I am not sure if Glenn would notice he was in jail."
UPDATE: Here's an interesting item from StrategyPage on how the IED gangs operate. And here's a report on how the Iraqi police are responding, though Michael Yon's report looks a bit different from this one.
To the cast of characters caught up in the U.N. oil-for-food scandal, investigators have reportedly added another name, that of the secretary-general's brother, Kobina Annan.
That means at least three members of the Annan clan are now under scrutiny, including Secretary-General Annan himself, his globetrotting son, Kojo Annan, and his brother, who is Ghana's ambassador to Morocco.
This latest news comes from London, where the Sunday Times's Robert Winnett reported yesterday that the U.N.-authorized investigation into oil for food, led by a former chairman of the Federal Reserve board, Paul Volcker, is looking into suspected business connections between Kobina Annan and a family friend, Ghanaian businessman Michael Wilson.
Blog visitors are also more likely to shop online and to connect to the Internet using a broadband connection, according to the study "Behaviors of the Blogosphere" conducted by comScore Networks. Unsurprisingly, blog visitors are also more active online, visiting almost twice as many Web pages as the average Internet user.
Imagine being able to reprogram the cells of your own body to produce fresh heart cells, regenerated nerve cells to heal spinal cord injuries, pancreatic cells to stop diabetes — or any other type of tissue to cure what ails you.
This may sound like a widely exaggerated vision of the future, based on the politically controversial use of stem cells extracted from made-to-order human embryos. But that assessment would be wrong on two counts: First, somatic cell reprogramming avoids the political controversy. And second, it's sounding less and less like a wild exaggeration with each passing month.
In fact, experts on both sides of the stem cell debate say the scientific hopes for somatic cell reprogramming, also known as dedifferentiation, are rising sharply — although they caution that much more work remains to be done.
Lanza is a very credible source for such an optimistic assertion as Lanza and ACT colleagues were the first to clone a human embryo in 2001. In other words, he's an accomplished stem cell researcher and has a major human embryonic stem cell research achievement to his credit.
Even if you resent or disagree with the religious folks who morally oppose the harvesting of embryonic stem cells from human embryos you should see Lanza's latest claim as good news. If fully pluripotent stem cells (i.e. capable of becoming all cell types) can be created without destroying embryos then a larger fraction of the populations of Western countries will support research into uses of pluripotent stem cells. Increases in public support for stem cell research of any type are beneficial to the cause of developing rejuvenating therapies and disease cures.
He notes that even Leon Kass is on board with this. I certainly hope that this pans out. But before the anti-embryonic-stem-cell crowd rushes to say "so it's okay to ban research on embryonic stem cells!" I think I should add a cautionary note: We don't know if this will pan out yet, and making it work may well depend on, or be sped by, research on embryonic cells.
posted at 10:20 AM by Glenn Reynolds
LA SHAWN BARBER thinks that conservative bloggers are piling on Cindy Sheehan, and doesn't like it. I was happily on vacation when this broke, and don't really have an opinion. In general, I think that, as with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the media love to find a grieving mother in a politically correct cause, and don't look too hard at what else is going on. (M.A.D.D.'s finances, and shifting agenda, deserve a closer look but won't get it.) But that doesn't excuse nastiness, which La Shawn says there's a lot of.
MICHAEL SILENCE has a roundup of Justice Sunday blogging, and Ann Althouse has some observations: "It sounds as though the event was well run, but I'm hardly sorry I wasn't there. The obsession with homosexuality is tiresome – quite aside from its wrongheadedness. And 'judicial activism' really is a bland topic, even though people get all excited about it."
posted at 10:07 AM by Glenn Reynolds
ARTHUR CHRENKOFF is withdrawing from the blogosphere, but others are picking up the torch, as this roundup of underreported good news from Iraq demonstrates.
RAY KURZWEIL'S NEW BOOK,The Singularity is Near, gets a review by James Miller, who thinks that Kurzweil's predictions are a bit too optimistic: "Kurzweil partially overcomes this prediction problem by showing there are many possible paths to the Singularity. But it's possible that all of these paths will prove too steep for humanity to climb. I would have that Kurzweil title his book The Singularity Is Probably Near."
posted at 07:52 AM by Glenn Reynolds
MICKEY KAUS: "Washingtonians always assume there's some compromise deal that can be cut--the Bob Dole Fallacy. But sometimes there isn't."
President Bush is vulnerable on immigration. Earlier this summer House Republicans bluntly told him that his proposal to admit guest workers would be dead on arrival unless accompanied by more border enforcement. "All my constituent town meetings want to talk about is immigration and why Washington is still spending so much money," Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas told me. Indeed, 17 of the 37 GOP House and Senate members who responded to a National Journal survey last month identified immigration as the issue "most on the minds" of their constituents. One Republican identified immigration as the issue on which "the mismatch between the federal government's inaction and the realities at home is the greatest."
It's a wedge issue, splitting the business-party from the rest of the GOP base.
I haven't seen the film. Having read Hampton Sides' book, Ghost Soldiers, on which the movie is based, it seems to me that the story would have to be terrific, though I suppose Hollywood is capable of ruining anything . . . .
The audience reviews of the film seem to be very positive, though, and I suspect that they're more reliable than the comments of the professional reviewers.
That is one thing that makes The Great Raid so remarkable. It is a Hollywood movie, made by a guy in Harvey Weinstein who has been pretty active from the left of American politics. If it is politically incorrect to portray a negative vision of the Japanese in World War II, then there would seem to be no way that Miramax was going to do it.
But the Great Raid is unflinching in its depiction of Japanese crimes. Japanese police torture and execute Filipinos and others who may or may not have been in the resistance. The movie begins, as did the book Ghost Soldiers, with Japanese guards herding POWs into an air raid trench, dousing them with gasoline, and lighting them on fire. Japanese guards beat, purposefully starve, and summarily execute prisoners throughout the film. This brutality is central to the film: the Japanese were going to execute all of the roughly 500 prisoners in the Cabanatuan camp—that’s why the Americans had to stage the raid. The movie does not sugarcoat the reality; it sticks as close to the truth as possible.
That is ultimately what makes The Great Raid compelling and watchable: it is so damn sincere. They wanted to get it right. They wanted to do justice to the story.
Sounds pretty positive to me.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Robert Greer emails:
I fear your cited reviewer (Tom from The Big Tent ) and by implication, you, may be missing the point in regard to Miramax's depiction of Japanese cruelty in The Great Raid. The Japanese have lined up pretty much four square on the side of the Bush Administration in the War on Terror. Bashing the Japanese these days -- by depicting their horrific cruelty during WWII -- has the side effect of undermining the moral legitimacy that Japanese support of the war in Iraq provides to Bush. The Japanese just aren't politically correct these days. So Weintstein and Miramax probably feel okay with the harshness of their film vis-a-vis Japan.
I haven't seen the film so I don't know if that would impact my suspicions here, but that's the only explanation I could come up with and it seems to fit here. As I'm sure you're aware, the Japanese have become somewhat of a "whipping boy" these days: witness the inexcusable activities of the Chinese government recently in stirring up anti-Japanese sentiments and riots a few months ago. That met with all too little outrage by the world at large, I think in part, because of their (the Japanese's) relatively pro-American stance. I don't mean to excuse the brutality of the Japanese during that time, but it just seems a little too convenient, given, as you note, the tendency in recent years, to portray them as victims rather than the victimizers that they indeed were.
Hmm. I don't know if I'm that suspicious of big-media agendas or not.
The whole MRO mission costs $720 million, and its main objective is to scan the Martian landscape with a high enough resolution to spot a table from its 200-mile orbit. Three cameras will take enough images to map the entire surface in unprecedented detail, looking for areas where future craft such as landers and rovers may be deployed. A radar provided by the Italian space agency will look up to a half-mile under the surface in search for water ice. Minerals that may have formed in water a long time ago also will be sought.
Ideally, we'll find that Mars has water, but no life.
Meanwhile, here's a report on the latest Martian terraforming plans. More on that subject here, and there's some related stuff here.
posted at 07:34 AM by Glenn Reynolds
DANNY CARLTON offers a list of blogs that he says are especially good deals for blogad advertisers. People keep telling me that I should raise my rates -- since I'm on this list, maybe they're right!
UPDATE: BTW, I've noticed a few people bitching in comment threads that Blogads is now invite-only. If you want to run blogads, and haven't been able to get in, let me know. I've got some invitations left.
ANOTHER UPDATE: All gone now. Sorry -- the race is to the swift!
TAX PROTESTING: It's not just for libertarian nutjobs any more.
Sheehan, who is asking for a second meeting with President Bush, says defiantly: "My son was killed in 2004. I am not paying my taxes for 2004. You killed my son, George Bush, and I don't owe you a penny...you give my son back and I'll pay my taxes. Come after me (for back taxes) and we'll put this war on trial."
Somehow, I don't think the loss of this woman's taxes is going to force the US out of Iraq.
posted at 08:53 PM by Megan McArdle
WELCOME BACK, GLENN. Thanks for giving us the run of the place. It's time for me to slink off and watch "Six Feet Under."
posted at 08:39 PM by Ann Althouse
YOU CAN HEAR IRAQ BLOG-JOURNALIST MICHAEL YON on the radio tonight at 9 Eastern. Link and info here.
THANKS, GLENN. I’m heading out of town for the rest of the evening so this is probably my last post at Instapundit for now. Thanks, Glenn, for giving me, Megan, and Ann a big audience and the power of the Instalanche. Thanks, also, to everyone else for putting up with us.
Ads on SBS for upcoming anti-US documentary Enemy Image refer to the US as “the world’s largest democracy”.
Er, that would be India. Well done, multicultural broadcaster.
Jeez. What do they teach in schools these days?
posted at 06:53 PM by Glenn Reynolds
BOO! If you want to know how to frighten people about a particular drug -- and we’re talking about caffeine here, as well as crack -- Colby Cosh compiled all the time-tested formulas just for you. (Hat tip: Matt Welch.)
WELL, I'M BACK: Actually, I got back last night, but I had family stuff to do today, and my guest-bloggers were doing such a good job that I felt no need to jump right in.
Did my almost-annual dive trip to the Cayman Islands. They're recovering nicely from the tremendous pounding that they took from Hurricane Ivan, but the tourist industry -- except for the cruise lines, about which more later -- hasn't quite gotten the word yet. The reefs are in excellent shape. I had expected them to have suffered a lot of damage from Ivan, but (other than the tunnel at Round Rock, which had suffered a rockfall that left it a bit narrower at the entrance) I didn't see a whole lot of damage.
SOME ADVICE to the West from Lebanon: "To stop a man who wants to oppress you is not a case of you oppressing him."
posted at 01:24 PM by Michael Totten
HELPING PREEMIES Very premature babies have a lot of problems, both physical and mental; as many as 41% of very premature babies have learning disabilities. This week's New York Times magazine profiles a psychologist who thinks that the way Neonatal units are set up could be contributing to that, and who is trying to make them more developmentally friendly environments.
THE ERROL MORRIS SERIES "FIRST PERSON" just came out on DVD, and I've been greatly enjoying watching one episode at a time. Each episode is an interview with one person, done with Morris's brilliant Interrotron technique. Yesterday, I watched "The Killer Inside Me," about a woman who was quite pleased about the fact that she'd had a sexual relationship with one serial killer and then sought out a second serial killer (in prison) and got him to fall in love with her. This is a fabulous DVD set, but I have one big complaint. Every time you start one of the discs, before you can get to the menu to select an episode, you have to watch a long, jarring message about how pirated DVDs are stealing. I bought my DVD set, so this message isn't aimed at me, but I'm forced to listen to crude, pounding rock music and have shaky flashing images and the word "STEALING" strobing at me each time I want to watch one of the 17 episodes. It was bad enough to have to watch it once, but 17 times? That's just crazy!