ANOTHER UPDATE: Well, this review of my appearance may provide a new InstaPundit slogan: "Reynolds may be boring but at least he’s not an actor."
Sissy Willis has a transcript, and corrects a minor mis-speak on my part that I didn't realize I'd made before, though now I see that Abbie Tatton got me to correct myself without my even realizing it. Well, I was bone tired by then, having spent much of the day taping book-related TV and radios stuff. I think I finished well, though, even if I was boring. But hey, I'm a law professor. Boring is what we do best!
YES, BLOGGING HAS BEEN LIGHT: Taped an episode of CNN's On the Story last night that will air tonight at 7 ET (I'm in the second segment), about the Cartoon Wars. My opening line on CNN's coverage: "You guys blew it." I got less charitable from there.
Executives from Google Inc. and other Internet companies head to Capitol Hill next week, where they will become feature players in an awkward debate: Are U.S. companies giving in to China too easily?
Last month, Google announced an agreement with the Chinese government to censor search results from its Chinese site. It was the latest Internet company to accede to the Chinese government's censorship restrictions, following Cisco Systems Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc.
I hope they find the eperience embarrassing.
posted at 09:05 AM by Glenn Reynolds
February 10, 2006
I NEVER GOT OUT OF THE BOOK BOOTHS, but Sean Hackbarth captured an explosive comment by Ann Coulter. He reports that it played badly.
JON HENKE looks at a troubling story about Guantanamo. Given all the inaccurate reports we've heard about that facility, I think I'll wait for confirmation on this, but it's something that ought to be looked into.
A controversy over earmarks - the congressional name for funding pet projects - is particularly intense. Especially since one GOP-led committee compiled a secret tally sheet showing earmark requests made by Republicans calling for reform.
"Earmarks have become the currency of corruption," Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., recently wrote Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. "We can't allow this to continue."
High on the list of challenges for the GOP is the annual drafting of a budget. President Bush's appearance on Friday's program was a reminder that he's calling for $70 billion in savings over five years from benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and payments to farmers.
Read the whole thing. And also read this WSJ piece by Tom Coburn. (Free link).
posted at 01:01 PM by Glenn Reynolds
SORRY BLOGGING HAS BEEN LIGHT but I've been awfully busy today. Got to meet a lot of cool bloggers at the booksigning, though. More on that later.
An ex–Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter and former U.S. Senate and House aide, Lindauer, 43, was charged in March 2004 with conspiring to act as a spy and being an unregistered Iraqi agent. U.S. prosecutors allege the antiwar activist accepted $10,000 from Hussein's intelligence unit over five years and sought to support resistance groups after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. She insisted her efforts—principally, to get economic sanctions lifted against Iraq—were misunderstood. She was not specifically charged with spying or espionage. The bigger question, however, was always her sanity. She had a history of mood swings and paranoid fears. People were watching her, she often said, although, as it turned out, federal agents indeed had set up surveillance and tapped her phone. Still, if she betrayed her country, did she do so knowingly?
Well, he's close. Pretty interesting article, actually, and evidence that some people at Big Media are getting it.
posted at 07:41 AM by Glenn Reynolds
FROM PODCASTING TO PODFADING: That's why we haven't committed to a schedule for ours -- it might feel too much like work. Though doing something at night and posting at 3 a.m. would feel like work pretty much anytime . . . .
MEG KREIKEMEIER: "So where were the glowing headlines about the economy?" She continues:
In fact, the lack of headlines prompted a search of the Lexis Nexis database to compare magazine articles written about the topic of economic recovery for President Clinton in 1993 and 1994 and for President Bush in 2004 and 2005; years when the economy began to show significant improvements for both presidents.
The search turned up 320 articles for President Clinton and 260 for President Bush. The searches produced articles published by well-known news magazines, financial publications as well as trade publications.
A review of the magazines revealed that far more articles were written about President Clinton in the weekly news magazines whereas the bulk of the articles written about President Bush were found in financial and trade magazines and in right-of-center publications like The National Review and The Weekly Standard.
Most glaring was the disparity in coverage by both US News and World Report and Time Magazine.
Not only did US News and World Report and Time Magazine publish significantly more articles about Clinton, but the tone of the articles was very different, as well.
posted at 10:47 PM by Glenn Reynolds
TOM MAGUIRE has lots of interesting stuff -- just keep scrolling.
HARRY REID AND JACK ABRAMOFF: More connections than Harry Reid would like. As I've said before, this can't help being a Republican scandal, but the Democrats hurt themselves by trying to pretend that it's only a Republican scandal.
posted at 09:53 PM by Glenn Reynolds
MARK STEYN ON HUGH HEWITT, talking about Islamist extremism and American politics. Transcript is here.
I'M ON THE INTERSTATE (not driving) but Ryan Sager is blogging from CPAC.
posted at 12:50 PM by Glenn Reynolds
WALTER OLSON HAS more on the rather lame lawsuit against Craigslist mentioned below.
posted at 12:45 PM by Glenn Reynolds
BLOGGING WILL BE LIGHT TODAY -- I'm traveling to Washington, where I'll be signing books tomorrow (Friday) at CPAC, in the Exhibit Hall, at 10:00 AM. I'll also be doing a panel on online media at 11:15,* and a meet-and-greet in the publisher's booth (518/520) at 2. Drop by if you're there and have the time.
* Preempted by a C-SPAN taping. Sorry! I'm an author. I go where the publicists tell me.
posted at 09:52 AM by Glenn Reynolds
HOWARD KURTZ: "Much of the MSM missed the boat. Too many wrote predictable leads about the Coretta Scott King funeral, all but ignoring, or at least burying, the Bush-bashing that was going on."
posted at 09:51 AM by Glenn Reynolds
LAST WEEK'S RAZORBLOGGING led to suggestions that I try one of these. Hey, it's a steep $9.99, but no sacrifice is too great for you guys so I picked one up. Actually, it's even better than the other one, and the scientific Insta-wife hand-on-the-cheek test confirms that. You want to make fun of this stuff (er, at least, I do), but it actually works.
DON'T MISS the latest podcast, which went up last night. And thanks to everybody who subscribed on iTunes, moving us up to #7 on the iTunes "talk radio" podcast charts!
By the way, lo-fi versions for dialup users can now be found here.
UPDATE: Kai Carver emails from Paris:
Thanks! You fit on my phone now.
Lo-fi isn't just for poor 20th-century dial-up users.
It's also for future-savvy, one-device-only-in-pocket digerati!
I'll keep that in mind.
posted at 08:49 AM by Glenn Reynolds
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Porkbusters now has a new tracking page that displays support for the Pork Barrel Reduction Act in graphic form, by state and by Senator.
At the very least, politicians now feel that they have to look as if they're strongly in favor of reform. That's already substantial progress over just a few months ago, but it's no reason to let up on the pressure.
posted at 08:45 AM by Glenn Reynolds
SOUTH DAKOTA'S "intellectual diversity" bill continues to move toward passage, having now passed the state House.
Interestingly, the piece compares de Grey to nanotechnology's Eric Drexler, who has been somewhat marginalized over the past ten years. I think that de Grey is a bit naive in saying that because people are cordial and give him intellectual respect, he's safe. Drexler got the same respect and courtesy, until he didn't. The nanotechnology industry folks decided to try to marginalize Drexler because they didn't want people talking about "spooky" advanced technologies for fear that such talk would lead to pressure for more regulation. That was, as I've said before, a deeply unwise move that may still come back to harm the industry. De Grey is probably safe from such attacks, but it's because the political configuration is different.
The good news is that even in the nanotechnology field, there are some signs of progress.
posted at 08:35 AM by Glenn Reynolds
CARTOON WARS: Another kind of false moral equivalence is criticized over at Normblog: The treatment of free speech and a "right" not to be offended as if they're on a par.
Maybe the government's not casting its electronic net wide enough. I'd rather they go through 100,000 phone calls and identify 20 people. ... And if the ratio to justify "probable cause" is really "right for one out of every two guys," as a "government official who has studied the program closely" suggests to WaPo, that shows how wildly obsolete the Constitution's "probable cause" requirement is when you're trying to catch not horse thieves in 1789 but people with weapons that can kill whole cities in 2006.
I don't think I'd go that far, but I'm not sure that what's going on here even constitutes a search or seizure. Bearing in mind, of course, that neither I nor the critics Mickey criticizes actually knows what's going on here. The people who do seem . . . interested.
UPDATE: Reader Errol Phillips writes:
Why not bring the Issue to the floor of the Senate and let our esteemed representatives tell us where they stand instead of all the posturing.
A simple YES or NO vote to allow the Program to continue should suffice.
This is very good news for both the international community as well as the Iranian people. The benefit for us is that we won’t have to worry about a hostile Iran with nuclear weapons, and the benefit for them is that they get to live in a free society. It works both ways. The only criticism I have of this policy is that it should have been implemented much, much sooner.
FALSE MORAL EQUIVALENCE FROM ANNE APPLEBAUM: And a response: "Newsweek negligently printed an inflammatory factual claim that turned out to be false. Jyllands-Posten didn't. . . . Maybe this is a hard concept to grasp at the Washington Post, but advocating freedom of the press--as we obviously do--is not inconsistent with criticizing newspapers and magazines when they screw up."
posted at 10:53 PM by Glenn Reynolds
CARTOON WARS UPDATE: IraqPundit sees a positive development:
The fear of the cartoonists recalls the case of Salman Rushdie, who went into hiding in 1989 after his book The Satanic Verses drew calls for his death. There were plenty of riots at the time. But there were few who spoke out in defence of Rushdie.
What is different now? Why are more Muslims calling for reasonable responses to offensive cartoons than rose to defend Rushdie? The reasons are, of course, complex, including that Rushdie himself was raised in a Muslim home. But part of the explanation may be that more Muslims have been horrified by the events of the years since Rushdie's book was published. That is, plenty of Muslims are disgusted by the terrorists responsible for the World Trade Center bombing, September 11th, the Madrid and London attacks and other horrific acts.
Maybe ever more Muslims will realize that it's time to stop assuming the role of victim, and blaming the West for everything that wrong with the Muslim world. Change must come from within the community itself. Maybe these acts will bring about serious efforts to end a violent era and begin a moderate one.
Let's hope so. We certainly want to encourage those folks -- which we do both by standing up to the extremists, and by avoiding claims that the problem with Islam is Islam.
THE RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING has been evacuated on a chem-bio alert, though it's likely a false alarm.
posted at 08:19 PM by Glenn Reynolds
The Glenn and Helen Show: Interview with James Swanson, author of "Manhunt"
Today we talked with James L. Swanson, author of Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer, about John Wilkes Booth, Confederate plots, revisionist history, the trustworthiness of actors, the upcoming movie based on the book, featuring Harrison Ford, and much more.
Helen didn't think she'd find this one interesting, but once she started reading the book she was hooked. It was about a narcissistic killer -- her specialty!
You can listen to the podcast directly (no iPod needed!) by clicking here, or you can subscribe on iTunes -- and we wish you would, as apparently that's what got us into the top 10 "talk radio" podcasts.
The end music is by Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere, off the CD Heartbreak and Duct Tape. Lead vocals by Kat Brock of Dixie Dirt, with former Judybat Paul Noe on bass. I love the song, and thus let it run a bit longer than usual. John Wilkes Booth really "should've grown up while he had the chance."
A Chicago fair housing group has sued groundbreaking Web site Craigslist for allegedly publishing discriminatory advertisements, a case that could test the legal liabilities of online ad venues.
The suit is part of an emerging attempt by housing watchdogs nationally to hold online classified sites to the same strict standards as the publishers of print classifieds, such as newspapers.
The suit is potentially significant because it suggests that the rules for an Internet site should be the same as for a traditional publisher, in which every ad should be vetted to conform with the law. But that notion contradicts the way the Internet has blossomed, where informal communities tend to police themselves and free expression is valued.
Kind of a damning contrast, isn't it, between traditional newspapers and a place where "free expression is valued."
Seems to me that free expression should be valued everywhere, and that suits like this should lead us to rethink the rules governing newspapers.
UPDATE: Blogging lawprof Eric Goldman says the suit is bogus: "If this sounds familiar, it's because Roommate.com was sued under the exact same law for exactly the same behavior and won an easy victory under 47 USC 230. The Roommate.com case is on appeal, so perhaps the appellate court will see things differently. Otherwise, I don't understand the thinking of plaintiffs--particularly a group of lawyers--who bring lawsuits like this in the face of a clear federal exculpatory statute and directly-on-point adverse precedent." Based on this obervation, if I were Craigslist I'd think about going for sanctions -- but I'm aggressive that way.
UPDATE: More thoughts here, including speculation that threatened newspapers are actually behind the suit. Doubtful, but an entertaining thought.
John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is one of two Americans who have been nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.
Last year, Democrats and a few Republicans refused to confirm Bolton to the U.N. post, forcing President Bush to resort to a recess appointment.
Bolton and Kenneth R. Timmerman were formally nominated by Sweden's former deputy prime minister Per Ahlmark, for playing a major role in exposing Iran's secret plans to develop nuclear weapons.
They documented Iran's secret nuclear buildup and revealed Iran's "repeated lying" and false reports to the International Atomic Energy Agency, a press release said.
Not bad for a guy who couldn't get confirmed. . . .
posted at 03:01 PM by Glenn Reynolds
EUGENE VOLOKH FOR THE U.S. COURT OF APPEALS? That's the suggestion of reader Douglas Bass, who writes:
I was surprised to discover the number of vacancies on the Federal bench. Hugh Hewitt recently said something about it being time to "restock the bench," that is, nominate Federal Judges that could one day be Supreme Court Justices. There are 26 nominees pending, but 28 open spaces. There's a great deal of debate over the confirmation (or the lack thereof) of the existing nominees, but very little debate over the nomination of people for the 28 open spaces. Maybe people are just tired of talking about stare decisis.
"The Muslim Fury," one newspaper headline screamed. "The Rage of Islam Sweeps Europe," said another. "The clash of civilizations is coming," warned one commentator. All this refers to the row provoked by the publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper four months ago. Since then a number of demonstrations have been held, mostly--though not exclusively--in the West, and Scandinavian embassies and consulates have been besieged.
But how representative of Islam are all those demonstrators? The "rage machine" was set in motion when the Muslim Brotherhood--a political, not a religious, organization--called on sympathizers in the Middle East and Europe to take the field. A fatwa was issued by Yussuf al-Qaradawi, a Brotherhood sheikh with his own program on al-Jazeera. Not to be left behind, the Brotherhood's rivals, Hizb al-Tahrir al-Islami (Islamic Liberation Party) and the Movement of the Exiles (Ghuraba), joined the fray. Believing that there might be something in it for themselves, the Syrian Baathist leaders abandoned their party's 60-year-old secular pretensions and organized attacks on the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus and Beirut. . . .
The truth is that Islam has always had a sense of humor and has never called for chopping heads as the answer to satirists. Muhammad himself pardoned a famous Meccan poet who had lampooned him for more than a decade. Both Arabic and Persian literature, the two great literatures of Islam, are full of examples of "laughing at religion," at times to the point of irreverence. Again, offering an exhaustive list is not possible. But those familiar with Islam's literature know of Ubaid Zakani's "Mush va Gorbeh" (Mouse and Cat), a match for Rabelais when it comes to mocking religion. Sa'adi's eloquent soliloquy on behalf of Satan mocks the "dry pious ones." And Attar portrays a hypocritical sheikh who, having fallen into the Tigris, is choked by his enormous beard. Islamic satire reaches its heights in Rumi, where a shepherd conspires with God to pull a stunt on Moses; all three end up having a good laugh.
Islamic ethics is based on "limits and proportions," which means that the answer to an offensive cartoon is a cartoon, not the burning of embassies or the kidnapping of people designated as the enemy. Islam rejects guilt by association. Just as Muslims should not blame all Westerners for the poor taste of a cartoonist who wanted to be offensive, those horrified by the spectacle of rent-a-mob sackings of embassies in the name of Islam should not blame all Muslims for what is an outburst of fascist energy.
Or get sucked into supporting it out of "respect for Islam."
posted at 11:35 AM by Glenn Reynolds
VERNOR VINGE UPDATE: Last night, instead of doing what I should have been doing, I started reading the new Vernor Vinge novel, Rainbows End. It's not a sequel to his far-future works. It's set in the near future -- 2025 -- and it's a world I recognize, because it's an Army of Davids world. Check out the first two paragraphs:
The first bit of dumb luck came disguised as a public embarrassment for the European Center for Defense Against Disease. On July 23, schoolchildren in Algiers claimed that a respiratory epidemic was spreading across the Mediterranean. The claim was based on a clever analysis of antibody data from the mass-transit systems of Algiers and Naples.
CDD had no immediate comment, but in less than three hours, public-health hobbyists reported similar results in other cities, complete with contagion maps. The epidemic was at least one week old, probably originating in Central Africa, beyond the scope of hobbyist surveillance.
It's not all sunny, though:
Every year, the civilized world grew and the reach of lawlessness and poverty shrank. Many people thought that the world was becoming a safer place . . . Nowadays Grand Terror technology was so cheap that cults and criminal gangs could acquire it. . . . In all innocence, the marvelous creativity of humankind continued to generate unintended consequences. There were a dozen research trends that could ultimately put world-killer weapons in the hands of anyone having a bad hair day.
Yep. As I note in Army, there's a downside to this empowerment of individuals business, as well as an upside. Vinge, however, makes that observation considerably more, um, exciting.
posted at 09:37 AM by Glenn Reynolds
THE GLENN AND HELEN SHOW is now listed as a "new and notable" podcast on iTunes -- and what's funny is that just above it are video podcast episodes of Helen's TV show Snapped. Check out the one on "Rita Gluzman" if you're interested.
UPDATE: Hey, just noticed we're in the Top 10 for "talk radio" podcasts on iTunes, too: Ahead of Bill O'Reilly and the BBC, but behind Howard Stern.
In interviews, senior Democrats said they were optimistic about significant gains in Congressional elections this fall, calling this the best political environment they have faced since President Bush took office.
But Democrats described a growing sense that they had failed to take full advantage of the troubles that have plagued Mr. Bush and his party since the middle of last year, driving down the president's approval ratings, opening divisions among Republicans in Congress over policy and potentially putting control of the House and Senate into play in November.
Asked to describe the health of the Democratic Party, Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said: "A lot worse than it should be. This has not been a very good two months."
The problem stems from a lack of self-discipline, and a base that's far from the electorate, but that must be assuaged. And as Barack Obama says: "We have been in a reactive posture for too long. I think we have been very good at saying no, but not good enough at saying yes."
Criticism isn't a platform, but they've failed to offer affirmative plans of their own:
"We're selling our party short; you've got to stand for a lot more than just blasting the other side," said Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee. "The country is wide open to hear some alternatives, but I don't think it's wide open to all these criticisms. I am sitting here and getting all my e-mail about the things we are supposed to say about the president's speech, but it's extremely light on ideas. It's like, 'We're for jobs and we're for America.' "
Keen to "globalize" the crisis to pressure the Danish government, Mr. Abu-Laban and his colleagues decided to send delegations to the Middle East. They prepared a dossier to distribute during the travels. The document, which exceeded 30 pages, featured copies of the published cartoons and Arabic media reports about the controversy. It also contained a group of highly offensive pictures that had never been published by the newspaper, including a photograph of a man dressed as a pig, with the caption: "this is the real picture of Muhammad."
Read the whole thing. Also, Hugh Hewitt had Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, and Joe Carter on his show last night, talking about the Cartoon Wars. Transcript and audio are here.
UPDATE: Austin Bay's latest column is on the Cartoon Wars. And on his blog he observes: "The Danish 'Cartoon War' is an information warfare operation conducted by Islamist terror groups and at least two Middle Eastern dictatorships (Syria and Iran)."
ANOTHER UPDATE: Power Line has much more on this rather contrived affair. And Harry Shearer wants to know why most American media are too chicken to run the cartoons.
The editorial staff of the alternative weekly New York Press walked out today, en masse, after the paper's publishers backed down from printing the Danish cartoons that have become the center of a global free-speech fight.
Editor-in-Chief Harry Siegel emails, on behalf of the editorial staff:
New York Press, like so many other publications, has suborned its own professed principles. For all the talk of freedom of speech, only the New York Sun locally and two other papers nationally have mustered the minimal courage needed to print simple and not especially offensive editorial cartoons that have been used as a pretext for great and greatly menacing violence directed against journalists, cartoonists, humanitarian aid workers, diplomats and others who represent the basic values and obligations of Western civilization. Having been ordered at the 11th hour to pull the now-infamous Danish cartoons from an issue dedicated to them, the editorial group -- consisting of myself, managing editor Tim Marchman, arts editor Jonathan Leaf and one-man city hall bureau Azi Paybarah, chose instead to resign our positions.
This whole affair is certainly clarifying some things. (Via Andrew Sullivan).
UPDATE: Speaking of clarifying, Iraqi blogger Alaa writes:
I consider it offensive to show disrespect to Islamic religious symbols or any religious symbols of any kind, for that matter. However there is more to this than meets the eye. It seems to me quite suspicious that this storm is created at this particular time. To start with this is certainly not the first time that insults and affronts of this nature appear on print in western media in many countries and places. Such things do not deserve any kind of reaction other rather the contempt they deserve. Yet there are those who seem to seize upon such opportunities for motives that have nothing to do with the apparent religious sensitivities. Clearly there are those who wish to harm relations between the West in General and the Moslem World and more particularly we should not forget the contribution of Denmark to the allied effort in Iraq. Yes friends, I who consider my self a fervent Moslem, tell you that this is an artificial storm stirred by the same kind of people who are beheading, kidnapping and blowing up market places and day workers in Iraqi cities etc. Those in the West who give such people the ammunition and pretexts to launch such pitiful shows and stir up the emotions of gullible simple people, are their allies and facilitators.
Why does this keep happening? Part of it, I think, is that the Democratic Party is in a state where it finds it hard to get national TV coverage except when someone dies. I think that their behavior reflects another forlorn hope for regeneration. I guess looking at policies is out of the question, though.
Apparently not. And this post by Eric Muller only serves to underline the very point it attempts to refute. The problem with today's Democrats is that they try to invest the naked hunger for power with the dignity of the civil rights movement, a dignity that they no longer possess because it was based on a self-discipline that they no longer possess.
UPDATE: Okay, the promo literature made it sound like a sequel, and Amazon tagged it as a "Zones of Thought" book, but looking at it I don't think it is. Sorry. I'll offer more detail when I've, you know, actually read it.
posted at 03:40 PM by Glenn Reynolds
I'LL BE ON RIGHTALK RADIO (you can stream it live at that link), being interviewed about An Army of Davids by Ace of Ace Of Spaces HQ and Karol Sheinin of Alarming News. Ace emails about the book: "it's not what I expected. It's very good, just not as focused on blogging as I figured it would be. More of an Alvin Toffler reorganization-of-the-way-we-live-and-work thing."
There are two other developments I find disturbing. One is the fact that large numbers of political players are charging that the basic requirement of showing voter identification at the polls is a form of undue intimidation. I think this is an astounding and indefensible argument. We have to show identification to cash a check or board an airliner. Identification is easily available to any American — and almost all of us carry official identifying cards on us at all times. To equate the requirement that identification be shown with the violence and intimidation visited on black Americans in the South up to and including the 1960s is, in my mind, to belittle and disparage the courage and bravery of those Americans, most of them black but some of them white, who literally risked their lives in order to see that all Americans would have the right to vote. Their efforts were successful, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 quickly proved to be the most effective civil rights legislation the federal government ever passed.
The other disturbing development is the proposal that election rules should be federalized, perhaps under the current advisory Election Assistance Commission. This raises severe practical problems. The federal government has found it difficult to establish uniform computer systems for individual federal agencies; I understand that a long-term program to do that in the Internal Revenue Service had to be abandoned. Establishing computer-compatible systems for the 50 states and District of Columbia would presumably be much harder. Second, and more important, federalizing election rules would allow nationwide manipulation that could affect election results.
CLERIC CONVICTED: "The Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri was found guilty today by a jury in London on charges of using his sermons to incite murder and race hatred, news agencies reported."
I'm against "hate speech" laws, but if they exist they should certainly be enforced evenhandedly, and there's a lot of hate speech coming from guys like Hamza. This, however, appears to go beyond simple "hate speech" to include solicitation of murder, though it's not entirely clear from the story.
posted at 01:27 PM by Glenn Reynolds
TRADE RETALIATION? The EU warns Iran about boycotting Danish goods.
posted at 01:24 PM by Glenn Reynolds
MICHAEL PETRELIS isn't impressed with the New York Times' reasons for not running the Danish cartoons.
A newspaper in Iran -- run by allies of that country's Jew-hating current president -- printing cartoons that might possibly be anti-Jew? Who thought we would ever see that day?
Christ, this is boring already. Speaking in my capacity as Official Spokesman for The West®, I think Iranian newspapers -- particularly ones run by pals of the current president of Iran -- should go ahead and run any sort of dumbass Holocaust cartoons they want to. Indeed, I celebrate the right of Iranian newspapers to run whatever the hell they want. This is, alas, more than can be said about the Iranian government, whose grip on the press in that country is so total that the 2005 Reporters Without Borders Annual World Press Freedom Index has Iran listed 163rd in a field of 167 (a field in which Denmark, incidentally, ranked number one).
One can hope that when the allies of Iran's president are enjoying their refreshing little taste of "free expression," they might consider asking their pal for a little more genuine freedom of the press while they're at it. But, you know. I'm not exactly holding my breath for that one. Because then the people who run the paper probably wouldn't remain pals of the president of Iran. And we all know how problematic that can be. But in my capacity as Official Spokesman for The West®, I certainly hope they give it a try.
And of course I certainly hope someone who actually is a spokesman for The West® remembers to ask Iran when it plans to give its newspapers the ability to run actual news, as well as Jew-hating cartoons.
They're pathetic little losers. They want to be pathetic little losers with nuclear weapons -- but they'll still be pathetic little losers, regardless.
UPDATE: But according to some on the left, raising concerns about Muslim extremism, death threats, and censorship just proves that you're -- a right-wing extremist!
The protestors are blasting free speech in Europe, yet they are using that same free speech to call for murder and bloodshed. I would strongly support deporting those people back to the miserable societies they originally came from.
Ms. Zerbisias' logic is flawless. I think if we've learned anything from this, it's that the ONLY people to blame for the rioting are the people sitting in their homes on a continent where the cartoons did not originate and where there is no rioting. It's as clear as day. Oh and also Michelle Malkin is fat.
Riight. Zerbisias isn't even good about being catty! Meanwhile, Jay Homnick is unimpressed with apologies for Islamist terror.
And reader Michael McDowell isn't having any of it:
Zerbisias condemns those Westerners who "claim to be morally superior." Well that is absolute horseshit. I am tired of being told not to judge other cultures through my "American lens" because I don’t understand their circumstances. I believe in equal rights without regard to race, religion, color, gender or country or origin. I believe in the freedom of homosexuals to marry and live freely in society. I believe in freedom of expression, and speech, and the free exchange of ideas. I believe in kindness, compassion, consideration, and that dogs make life better. I don’t "claim to be morally superior" to those ass-hat murderers; I am morally superior.
Indeed. You'd expect lefties like Zerbisias to side with people like McDowell, and Zeyad, over a bunch of sexist, homophobic theocrats -- but that would require that they side with America, too. Which is right out.
posted at 10:52 AM by Glenn Reynolds
SO I READ THIS POST by Matthew Yglesias on the Trademark Dilution Revision Act, and was prepared to believe that it was terrible -- "terrible" being a pretty good description for most intellectual property legislation in recent years. But this piece in Ars Technica suggests that it's not quite that bad, though it still sounds like no prize.
posted at 10:51 AM by Glenn Reynolds
AN ARMY OF DAVIDS REVIEW from Rand Simberg: "For only seventeen bucks plus shipping, as a valuable glimpse of the future, it's a bargain. But it could be an even better deal--Amazon should bundle it with a slingshot."
And yes, as one of his commenters suggests, Rand and I should probably do a whole book on space.
Meanwhile, reader Ryan Mass emails:
I just pre-ordered your book in appreciation for your good work. To wit:
1) Your book recommendations are excellent. Because of you I have read The Singularity is Near and Self-Made Man, and regularly read Day by Day. Each is very well-written, thought provoking, and enjoyable.
2) I enjoy your podcasts. They’re great to listen to while I work out at home.
3) Of course the blog and all its links are invaluable. I look forward to reading what the book has to say.
Hey, buy it because it's the right height to prop up your coffee table -- I'm an author, we're not choosy about the reasons . . . .
But seriously, thanks for all the support on the book. I really appreciate it. I tried to make it more than a Maureen Dowd stapler-job (though there were moments when I appreciated the virtues of that approach. . .) and I hope that people like it.
posted at 10:48 AM by Glenn Reynolds
SPRUIELL ON DURBIN: "The 'who do you work for' defense isn't going to work anymore, but my guess is that politicians will be using it more often as bloggers start doing original reporting and covering live events. Why? Because bloggers often come from the ranks of working professionals — in this case, a lawyer — and will be drawn to covering areas where they can legitimately claim some expertise. Professional journalists are asked to jump from issue to issue, often with little time to study in between. When I covered the WTO ministerial in Hong Kong, I noticed that the most challenging questions came from writers for trade publications who knew the issues cold. Bloggers combine that expertise with a passion for politics, and that can lead to some very challenging questions for politicians."
Everyone seems to agree that Congress needs to clean up earmarks, the special pork projects members of Congress secure often without hearings, notice or even disclosure of the direct recipient. Rep. John Boehner, the new House majority leader, laments that Congress has "become addicted to earmarks as if it were opium." President Bush belatedly told the nation in his State of the Union address that "the federal budget has too many special-interest projects."
Fine rhetoric, but if something drastic isn't done, earmarks will largely survive the calls for reform. Alaska's Sen. Ted Stevens, who has spent 37 years in Congress raiding the federal Treasury on behalf of his state, dismisses the notion that anything should threaten Alaska's status as the No. 1 state for pork. In 2005, it hauled in $984.85 worth of pork for every resident.
Last week Mr. Stevens went so far as to chide Capitol Hill reporters for even listening to earmark critics such as Sens. John McCain and Tom Coburn. "You guys fall for it and give them publicity," he said, and no one can doubt his authority. If anyone knows about publicity, it's the man who gave his name to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
Hey, speaking of publicity, this should help Stevens pull ahead of Robert Byrd in the neck-and-neck race for the number one spot in the Porkbusters Hall of Shame! Meanwhile, Fund continues:
Earmarks represent a looming political disaster for the GOP. Last year Congress authorized a record 13,999 earmarks. The scandals surrounding just a few of them involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and ex-Rep. Duke Cunningham have sent reporters scurrying to find what other nuggets of news might be buried in the remainder. If just 1% of the earmarks turn out to be embarrassing, that's 140 stories. If a mere 0.1% turn out to be legally questionable, that's 14 front-page exposés between now and the November election. Because they are in charge of Congress, Republicans will take the brunt of any political fallout, even though Democrats routinely secure an estimated 45% of earmark spending.
And the stories keep coming. A major newsmagazine is working on a piece exploring the bosom-buddy relationships some lobbyists for earmarks have with key appropriators. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that House Appropriations chairman Jerry Lewis has steered hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds to clients of lobbyist Bill Lowery, a former congressman who is so close to Mr. Lewis that they have exchanged two key staff members, "making their offices so intermingled that they seem to be extensions of each other."
American capitalism really is a harsh taskmaster, isn't it? Those excessively long hours that everyone works, so different from the ease and leisure that applies in Europe . . . . The thing is, for all the complaints about and pointing at the way in which the American work-week has been rising over the decades there's one uncomfortable little fact (or, depending upon how you look at it, hugely comforting one): At the same time as everyone has been working ever harder for The Man -- and getting nowhere according to the doomsayers -- it's also true that Americans have been getting ever more leisure time.
I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere. When you approached me and insisted that despite your leadership’s preference to use the issue to gain a political advantage in the 2006 elections, you were personally committed to achieving a result that would reflect credit on the entire Senate and offer the country a better example of political leadership, I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable. Thank you for disabusing me of such notions.
Ouch. Read the whole thing. (Via Austin Bay). I don't know who's right on this -- if McCain's lobbying reform legislation is anything like his campaign finance "reform" legislation, I'd side with Obama. But writing -- and publicizing -- a letter like this (it's on McCain's website) is quite unusual for the Senate.
CARTOON WARS UPDATE: Zeyad is back blogging, and he's not happy:
I only saw these images of Muslim protestors in London today. For the life of me, I cannot understand how the British police let those demonstrators get away with it. The protestors are blasting free speech in Europe, yet they are using that same free speech to call for murder and bloodshed. I would strongly support deporting those people back to the miserable societies they originally came from.
posted at 07:12 PM by Glenn Reynolds
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The contest is heating up over at the Pork Hall of Shame. Right now it's neck-and-neck between Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV).
The first prize ought to be retirement, of course. . . .
posted at 06:32 PM by Glenn Reynolds
PAUL MIRENGOFF couldn't get a straight answer out of Dick Durbin, but he enjoyed the interview anyway. "If this is what reporters get to do regularly, I may have made a bad career choice."
A veteran Senate GOP staffer who requested anonymity offered this observation about the significance of the Durbin-Mirengoff exchange:
"The mainstream news media that covers Congress is tightly controlled by the House and Senate press galleries and they would never be so aggressive in pressing a Member of Congress. So this was big, it was unprecedented to have a blogger asking such questions. We need more bloggers up here asking questions because they aren't controlled by the galleries."
I agree, the more bloggers are covering Congress, the more likely it is that Members will be asked and, as Durbin discovered today, have to answer questions they never expect to hear from mainstream journalists.
It is exactly the kind of aggressive, don't-let'em-off-the-hook questioning by Mirengoff that I have long lamented as being a thing of the past among establishment media journalists. They are either afraid to ask the tough questions, or they don't know the tough questions.
So come on up to Capitol Hill, bloggers!
Oh, I think you can count on that.
MORE: Reader C.J. Burch emails:
If that sort of questioning, which as Bill Quick points out, is relatively mild for the internet, discombobulates Senators so thoroughly then the Senate is going to have a rocky, rocky future.
Yes, there was nothing rude about the questions; they were just, you know, actual questions.
posted at 06:19 PM by Glenn Reynolds
EUGENE VOLOKH: "The important thing is not knowing how to multiply, but what, when, and why to multiply."
The Sony Reader, in case you haven't heard about it yet, is a device about the size and shape of an average book. Weighing a little over 8 ounces, it's basically a hand-held screen on which you can read a book page by page. The device, which will go on sale this April, uses a technology called "E ink" to display book pages in a form which Sony claims comes closer than ever to the experience of actually reading off the paper page.
Those who saw it at the big gadget fest in Las Vegas recently marveled at the readability of the device and seemed to agree with Sony's claim. There are no electronic jitters, no backlit screen (you need light to see the Sony Reader, just like any book) and therefore, such is the claim, none of the tired eyes and headaches common to staring at PC screens and other devices.
E-ink is a cool bit of micro-technology -- microscopic white and black ink capsules suspended in a thin layer of clear fluid beneath the surface of the device's screen, which is in effect a blank page until electrically charged. A negative (black) or positive (white) electric charge brings the proper capsules to the surface of the "paper" to print the page you are reading. When you have finished that page, you press a button and "turn" to the next. It's kind of like "Etch-A-Sketch goes to MIT."
So far e-books have all been pretty unimpressive, but maybe this one's good enough to compete with paper. But who wants a book with DRM? And you know that's going to be part of the package.
We condemn the shameful actions carried out by a few Arabs and Muslims around the world that have tarnished our image, and presented us as intolerant and close-minded bigots.
Anyone offended by the content of a publication has a vast choice of democratic and respectful methods of seeking redress. The most obvious are not buying the publication, writing letters to the editor or expressing their opinions in other venues. It is also possible to use one’s free choice in a democracy to conduct a boycott of the publication, and even a boycott of firms dealing with it. Yet an indiscriminate boycott of all the country’s firms is simply uncalled for and counter-productive. We would be allowing the extremists on both sides to prevail, while punishing the government and the whole population for the actions of an unrepresentative irresponsible few.
We apologize whole-heartedly to the people of Norway and Denmark for any offense this sorry episode may have caused, to any European who has been harassed or intimidated, to the staff of the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Embassies in Syria whose workplace has been destroyed and for any distress this whole affair may have caused to anyone.
Read the whole thing.
posted at 12:24 PM by Glenn Reynolds
THERE'S LOTS MORE on the surveillance issue over at NSA Files.
posted at 12:07 PM by Glenn Reynolds
APPARENTLY, I HAVEN'T BEEN SHILLING HARD ENOUGH: In response to my post below about what to do with the ArmyofDavids.com domain, reader Harry Chittenden emails:
I hit your blog (and enjoy it) several times a week. This morning was the first time that I realized that you are selling a book.
My response to this nonsense is to wonder why Muslims don't grow up. If your co-religionists are going to take political stands, and blow up innocent people in the name of Islam, political cartoonists are going to occasionally take satirical swipes at your religion. Those swipes may not be nuanced, but they're what you can expect when you live in a free society, where you, too, can hold views others find offensive. If you don't like it, move to Saudi Arabia. Or just try to peacefully convert people to Islam. As Fred Barnes points out, the current cover of Rolling Stone is offensive to (hypersensitive, paranoid, publicity-seeking) Christians, but they aren't threatening anyone with physical violence.
Once they see how easily media and government officials are intimidated by such threats, of course, that may change -- which is yet another reason why appeasement is a bad approach.
Victor Davis Hanson, meanwhile, wonders if Europe is finally waking up: "The Madrid bombings, the murder of Theo van Gogh, the London subway attacks, and the French rioting in October and November seem to have prompted at least some Europeans at last to question their once hallowed sense of multiculturalism in which Muslim minorities were not asked to assimilate at home and Islamic terrorists abroad were seen as mere militants or extremists rather than enemies bent on destroying the West. . . . More importantly, despite distancing themselves from the United States, and spreading cash liberally around, the Europeans are beginning to fathom that the radical Islamists still hate them even more than they do the Americans—as if the fundamentalists add disdain for perceived European weakness in addition to the usual generic hatred of all things Western."
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Tamara Mady emails:
Coming from an all Muslim family, I'm forced to listen to the sense of perceived injustice of Muslims concerning the depiction of their revered prophet. It's quite sickening.
I tell my family that that's just how things work in a free society: while I don't agree that the newspaper should have done something so culturally insensitive, they do have the right to do that, and attempting to make Danish society pay as a whole for it is utterly ridiculous.
It doesn't matter, I'm told. It literally means nothing to them, because in their world, everything should revolve around them and their culture, and God made the world for Muslim Arabs to control.
And this is the kind of mindset the Danish people are contending with.
Given the tremendous weakness of the Muslim -- and particularly the Arab Muslim -- world this is an extremely unfortunate view to hold, and one that is likely to have serious consequences if it is not unlearned.
MORE: Even in the satire wars these guys are outgunned.
SO I REGISTERED ARMYOFDAVIDS.COM a while back, but at the moment all it does is point to the book page at Amazon. Should I set up a separate webpage just for the book? Or is InstaPundit enough? Any advice or suggestions?
posted at 08:43 AM by Glenn Reynolds
IS OLD EUROPE DOOMED? That's the question asked by Theodore Dalrymple in his lead-off essay for another Cato Unbound symposium.
NSA FILES is a new Pajamas Media blog on today's NSA surveillance hearings. Andrew Marcus will be there and filing video reports later today.
posted at 07:11 AM by Glenn Reynolds
IF YOU WERE OFFLINE this weekend, don't miss this podcast featuring Austin Bay, Jim Dunnigan, Lynne Kiesling, Roger Stern, and Michael Yon. Note that the "Podcasts" tab at the top takes you to an archive of podcasts. And in light of an email I just got, it's worth stressing again that you don't need an iPod to listen to podcasts -- just click on the link and they'll play on your computer.
posted at 07:00 AM by Glenn Reynolds
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The Porkbusters webpage now features a new Pork Hall of Shame, which is accepting nominations for the worst porkers in the House and Senate.
Get your nominations in now! It's not as if there aren't candidates out there. . . .
posted at 06:51 AM by Glenn Reynolds
February 05, 2006
DANES MARCH FOR PEACE AND LOVE: And a Muslim leader is interviewed. Gateway Pundit has a roundup.
posted at 11:45 PM by Glenn Reynolds
THE SOUTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT: Covering for North Korea? When North Korea falls, I predict we'll discover that an astonishing number of people in the South were on the take, or being blackmailed.
posted at 08:39 PM by Glenn Reynolds
EVAN COYNE MALONEY: "Increasingly, Hollywood is making films that Hollywood wants to consume, not necessarily what the rest of America does. Hollywood needs to decide whether it wants to be a political party or whether it wants to entertain. They can continue to entertain themselves, but then they will continue to lose audience. There are simply too many other options vying for the attention of the people that Hollywood shuns." Read the whole thing.
posted at 06:42 PM by Glenn Reynolds
CHINA LEAPS FORWARD on nuclear power. My TCS Daily column will look at this.
Evidently there were "hundreds of demonstrators" at the Danish consulate here today. (I missed it; I was happily oblivious until I read the news.) Now, "hundreds of protestors" never congregate in Istanbul without government sanction. There is no such thing as freedom of assembly here; if you're out protesting, it's because the government authorized it, period. So Denmark and Turkey are going to be part of one big happy EU family? Sure thing. Tell that to the Danish diplomats cowering in their consulate in Istanbul and nervously reviewing the fire escape plans.
Oh, and someone shot a Catholic priest in Ankara today, too. Not clear yet whether it was related.
That said, "hundreds of protestors" isn't that much in a city of 10 million, and when I went out today everyone seemed to be their normal friendly selves, including the Islamist grocers down the street, who have never been anything but pleasant to me. So don't be put off if you're thinking of visiting, Istanbul is still great, and very safe. (Almost certainly safer than London: I have no doubt that if the protestors get too frisky here, the government will mow them down like dogs.)
Jim Geraghty, also in Istanbul, has a report, too. "The Syrian reaction is intolerable. But the Turkish reaction is honorable. I hope the world can see the difference."
ANOTHER UPDATE: Berlinski -- perhaps my most devoted reader in Istanbul today -- sends this followup in response to Jim's post:
Jim Geraghty is absolutely right, everyone should have the right to protest peacefully if they so wish. If you've got your panties in a wad over some cartoons, by all means, you should be perfectly free to say so. My point is that people here don't enjoy the freedom to protest--just ask the mothers of Kurds who have disappeared in Turkish prisons--so when they do, unimpeded, it has a certain significance. He's right, there's a world of difference between the Turkish reaction and the Syrian reaction. But Syria's not applying for EU membership.
MORE: Michael Totten reports on Islamist violence in Beirut and observes: "I strongly suggest the civilized people of Lebanon, Muslim and Christian alike, stage a counter-demonstration downtown where flags are not burned and where buildings are not set on fire."
Anyway, since when did stupid, tasteless cartoons start stirring such passions among the Muslims? Arabic language newspapers and magazines regularly run cartoons that offend all sorts of communities. It would be easier to respect all this rage if these angry people applied the same standards all around.
You know, in 2002, 15 Saudi schoolgirls burned to death when Saudi religious police wouldn't let them escape their building because they were not in hijab.
Waiting for my fellow Muslims to react to that kind of criminality with the same impassioned outrage they save for offensive newspaper cartoons has been rather like waiting for a desert-blown Godot. Our community leaders, as always, fail us.
AND YET MORE: Jim Geraghty sends a correction:
I'm in Ankara, not Istanbul, and the shooting of the priest was in Trabzon, not Ankara. As of 4 a.m. local time, the U.S. Embassy didn't have any information on motive. The wires ( Link) are reporting the kid was shouting "God is great" as he ran from the shooting scene; if accurate, this would appear to be Islamist terrorism.
An interesting side-effect of the Danish cartoon affair might be the invasion of Syria by U.S. forces. As you can read in this CNN article, the Norwegian and Danish embassies in Damascus were burned down by angry mobs on Sunday.
Now, depending on the level of (passive) involvement by the Syrian regime, one could make the case this is an act of war. And since Norway and Denmark are both NATO members, Bush can invoke article V of the NATO charter that says an attack on one member state is an attack against all of them...
Presto! Legal casus belli... and no need to find further justifications in hidden WMD's, terror sponsoring or the need for 'regime change'. Just point the tanks in Baghdad to Damascus and start driving...
NBC is celebrating Easter this year with a special edition of the gay sitcom "Will & Grace," in which a Christian conservative cooking-show host, played by the popular singing slattern Britney Spears, offers seasonal recipes -- "Cruci-fixin's." On the other hand, the same network, in its coverage of the global riots over the Danish cartoons, has declined to show any of the offending artwork out of "respect" for the Muslim faith.
Which means out of respect for their ability to locate the executive vice president's home in the suburbs and firebomb his garage.
Jyllands-Posten wasn't being offensive for the sake of it. They had a serious point -- or, at any rate, a more serious one than Britney Spears or Terence McNally. The cartoons accompanied a piece about the dangers of "self-censorship" -- i.e., a climate in which there's no explicit law forbidding you from addressing the more, er, lively aspects of Islam but nonetheless everyone feels it's better not to.
That's the question the Danish newspaper was testing: the weakness of free societies in the face of intimidation by militant Islam.
Certainly an Iran-with-nukes could blow the hell out of a city or two, but an Iran that did such a thing would pretty much cease to exist. It isn't mutually assured destruction, it's you fuck with us a little bit and YOU NO LONGER LIVE BITCHES!