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August 12, 2006

THERE'S A BROWSER-FRIENDLY FLASH VERSION of our Austin Bay / Jim Dunnigan podcast on the war available, at PoliticsCentral.

THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S FOREIGN POLICY: "All carrot and no stick."

A STARTLING ADMISSION from The New York Times.

LAURA LEE DONOHO: "I propose a Giuliani - Romney ticket. As a southerner I understand my part of the country very well and I know we will support a Giuliani-Romney ticket in a New York Minute."

Hmm. What do the rest of you think?


Which Presidential pairing would you prefer in 2008?
McCain/Lieberman
Giuliani/Romney
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com


DAN RIEHL says he's identified more phony AP reporting from Lebanon.

UPDATE: A special "peace in our time" FAQ. Best bit:

1) What would happen if all the Arab nations and their terrorist proxies like Hezbollah set down their arms and gave up their ambitions to drive Israel into the sea?

There would be peace in the Middle East.


2) What would happen if Israel disbanded the IDF, junked its nuclear weapons and declared to its neighbors that she would do anything to live in peace?

Israel would be annihilated, millions of its citizens killed. The term genocide could be used to describe the ensuing holocaust, but since that term has been so hopelessly debased by American academics, a new term would have to be created like super-duper-mega genocide to really capture the nature of things.

Read the whole thing.

TIGERHAWK: What will it take to militarize the West?

SOME SUMMER READING ADVICE from the InstaWife.

MICHAEL BARONE thinks a McCain-Lieberman ticket would be well-nigh unbeatable. I'm not sure how I feel about that -- they're both nanny-staters with whom I'm deeply uncomfortable, but at least they're sensible on defense -- but Barone's analysis is interesting.

UPDATE: Some love for Giuliani.

LAW PROFESSOR KENNETH ANDERSON wrote to the Belgian Embassy in support of Brussels Journal blogger Paul Belien. Anderson posts the response that he got, and Brussels Journal comments. "Our case has nothing to do with racism. Belgium is following an old tradition which, in the fall of 1939, led Brussels to introduce an 'administrative censorship' which prohibited 'anti-German and unpatriotic publications.'"

HOWARD MORTMAN says forget Ned Lamont -- what about Charlie Rangel?

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (free link) reports that the focus in airport security is shifting from stopping bad things to stopping bad people.

August 11, 2006

The Glenn and Helen Show: Austin Bay and Jim Dunnigan

baydunnigan.jpgIt's another podcast full of war news, with Austin Bay and StrategyPage publisher, and author of many books, Jim Dunnigan. Bay and Dunnigan talk about terror plots being busted via electronic surveillance and confidential tips, Israelis in Lebanon, Ethiopians in Somalia, Iranians in Iraq, and what Montgomery Ward taught us about fighting terrorism, plus a look at events in Mexico. And Dunnigan has a lot to say about the utility of various surveillance programs used to identify terror networks.

You can download the file directly here (no iPod needed) or get a lo-fi version here. There's a complete show archive at GlennandHelenShow.com, too.

Music is by 46 Long.

And, as always, my lovely and talented cohost is taking comments and suggestions.

UPDATE: Allah excerpts a bit.

I DRIVE A HYBRID: But according to this post at Democratic Underground I'm a major thorn in the side of the environmental movement. Who knew?

UPDATE: Reader Christopher Jones emails: "Clearly you need to abandon your hybrid vehicle and switch to travelling everywhere by private jet."

That does seem to be de rigeur.

JOEMENTUM? "The first post-primary Nutmeg State Rasmussen poll shows Lieberman leading Lamont, 46-41." I doubt a poll this far from the election means much, though.

UPDATE: Michael Silence thinks I'm wrong, and that it means a lot.

MICHAEL TOTTEN is podcasting from the Lebanese border.

A BLOGGER MOLE in Minnesota?

THE OTHER DAY I MENTIONED that George Bush isn't pleasing the pro-war right. Bill Quick has a lengthy discussion of why that's the case.

Read the whole thing, especially if you work in the White House.

A LOOK AT changing images of women.

DICK CHENEY AND JOHN ARAVOSIS: "Making the same mistake?"

IN THE MAIL: Amitai Etzioni's Public Intellectuals: An Endangered Species? I'd say it's a rapidly-expanding species, thanks to the growth of the blogosphere, but I don't think Etzioni is much of a blogosphere fan.

OVER AT DAVID HARDY'S, a Fisking by Don Kates of a New York Times article on self-defense and retreat rules.

MORE SKY TERROR NEWS:

U.S. law enforcement sources tell ABC News the FBI is investigating new leads that involve a possible connection between people in the United States, in major east coast cities, and the London bomb plotters. . . .

With at least five, and maybe more, suspects still at large, it is the missing plotters who are the greatest security concern. Among those still at large are some of the suspected ringleaders of the London plot.

Congressman Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told ABC News authorities are extremely concerned about the missing suspects. "They are on the loose," said King. "These are desperate, vicious people, who have a good degree of sophistication. And they're out there, if nothing else, they're available for future operations. The more deadly threat is that there is a plan B that they would be able to implement."

Intelligence officials tell ABC News the plot's trail leads directly to al Qaeda and to the Pakistani city of Karachi, where money for the plot was wired to London.

Hard to know how much to make of this, but stay tuned.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL on the airliner plot:

Let's emphasize that again: The plot was foiled because a large number of people were under surveillance concerning their spending, travel and communications. Which leads us to wonder if Scotland Yard would have succeeded if the ACLU or the New York Times had first learned the details of such surveillance programs. . . .

In short, Democrats who claim to want "focus" on the war on terror have wanted it fought without the intelligence, interrogation and detention tools necessary to win it. And if they cite "cooperation" with our allies as some kind of magical answer, they should be reminded that the British and other European legal systems generally permit far more intrusive surveillance and detention policies than the Bush Administration has ever contemplated.

It's also worth noting, though, that a tip from a worried British Muslim played an important role, which is why measures that over-alienate Muslims and immigrants are likely a bad idea. Striking a balance is hard, especially with all the political posturing going on.

MICHAEL YON profiles Omar of Iraq the Model.

Plus, a disturbing commentary on the political situation inside Iraq. "It bears repeating, despite the incredible progress that has been made in Iraq; we are in great peril of losing the war entirely." I hope that people in the Pentagon are reading this stuff.

UPDATE: Related thoughts here, plus some interesting thoughts in the comments.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Michael Yon emails: "Thank you for not shying away from the peril in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most people are trying to pretend it's not happening."

Well, the fact that Big Media can't be trusted to report honestly on the war -- and in large part, they can't -- doesn't mean that it isn't important to get bad news when there's real bad news. As I've said before, my problem isn't with the reporting of bad news, it's with dishonest and slanted reporting. A press that we could trust would do tremendous service by accurately reporting problems, since those kinds of reports bypass the chain of command, where there's always a tendency to make things look better as they move up. Unfortunately, we don't have a press that we can trust. We have a press that runs fake photos, makes things up, and wants to hurt Bush more than to do its job. That's not only unfair, but robs us of the very benefit a free press is supposed to provide.

Bad news from trustworthy people -- like Michael Yon -- is a different story.

MORE INFORMATION ON THE ARRESTED TERORRIST PLOTTERS:

British officials identified 19 of the suspects accused of plotting to blow up U.S.-bound aircraft, making public a list of names that fueled suspicions of a Pakistan connection. Travelers at Britain's airports again struggled with increased security, and dozens more flights were canceled Friday.

Five Pakistanis have been arrested in Pakistan as suspected "facilitators" of the plot, a government official said, in addition to two Britons arrested there about a week ago.

The Bank of England said it had frozen the accounts of 19 people arrested Thursday. The men, ranging in age from 17 to 35, had names of Muslim origin, many of which are common in Pakistan.

Some, however, weren't Pakistanis:

Neighbors identified one of the suspects as Don Stewart-Whyte, 21, from High Wycombe, a convert who changed his name to Abdul Waheed.

"He converted to Islam about six months ago and grew a full beard," said a neighbor, who refused to be identified. "He used to smoke weed and drink a lot but he is completely different now."

Ibrahim Savant of Walthamstow, one of the names on the Bank of England list, was a convert formerly known as Oliver, neighbors said.

Should've stayed on the weed. Lots more on developments in this roundup, including stories on the role played by communications intercepts.

Meanwhile, James Joyner looks at the not-so-bright side:

The news that Scotland Yard managed to foil a terrorist attack that would have conceivably dwarfed the 9/11 attacks is not quite as good it might first appear. Certainly, the prevention of "mass murder on an unimaginable scale" is something for which we can be tremendously thankful. Still, our reaction to it has already furthered the terrorists' aims.

We need to be going after the sponsors and encouragers of this sort of thing, not just the formerly weed-smoking dupes. In particular, that means the network of radical clerics sponsored by Saudi Arabia and Iran. And, once again, we see the benefit of communications intercepts in stopping terrorists.

UPDATE: Good news: A tip from a suspicious British Muslim played an important role, too.

August 10, 2006

THE GOVERNMENT MAY PROSECUTE RECIPIENTS OF LEAKED CLASSIFIED INFORMATION, not just the leakers. It's only a District Court opinion, but it's got to be causing heartburn at the New York Times and the Washington Post.

SIGNS OF THE APOCALYPSE: Tucker Carlson on "Dancing with the Stars?"

STRATEGYPAGE:

Ethiopia and Somalia are about to go to war again, because of a dispute over a lot of semi-arid and thinly populated land (the Ogaden), and generations of ethnic and religious hatreds. Ethiopia usually wins these wars, and there have been many of them in the past.

And, apparently, more to come.

SOME ADVICE for CAIR.

UPDATE: More here: "First, CAIR endlessly tells us that Muslims are peaceful and not terrorists. But then, in the next breath, it sticks up for the terrorists and objects to their being called fascists. Second, CAIR seems to object to any pejorative reference to Islamic terrorists. If we can't call them fascists, or militant jihadists, or Islamic radicals, or totalitarians or imperialists, what on earth are we supposed to call them?"

Plus, Hezbollah supporters in Dearborn. If this keeps up, people will start questioning their patriotism.

UPDATE: More advice for CAIR: "I cannot help but think that if anyone is fueling anti-Muslim bigotry right about now, it is a group like CAIR who is doing it by raising the wrong fears and condemning the wrong people."

BRENDAN LOY wonders if the foiled plot was scheduled for August 22.

A BAD REVIEW FOR BUSH ON LEBANON: "The administration now seems joined at the hip with the French when it comes to combatting Hezbollah. It's almost as if Kerry, not Bush, won the 2004 election."

Bush certainly seems to have hit the sweet spot -- prosecuting the war vigorously enough to anger the antiwar left, but not vigorously enough to please the prowar right.

MICKEY KAUS: "So if Lieberman wins as an independent, and the Democrats pick up six seats in November, doesn't that mean Lieberman gets to decide which party controls the Senate? And if so, do the Democrats really want to take Kos' advice and piss him off?"

That's been my question all along. I understand the notion of making sure that members of your party don't stray too far from what it's supposed to mean, but if your major goal is winning back control of Congress it doesn't seem to me that targeting Lieberman makes sense. But I'm not a political strategist, so perhaps I'm missing something.

UPDATE: Joe Lieberman, then and now.

KEITH BURGESS-JACKSON thinks it's inappropriate for President Bush to call Jihadists fascists.

UPDATE: Mortman has photos.

RUSS SMITH WRITES on Lemann's last stand.

What's funny is that the blogosphere is probably less of a threat to The New Yorker than to any other publication. With the exception of a few people like Michael Totten -- whose stuff really belongs in the New Yorker -- the blogosphere doesn't generally do long, well-written feature journalism, which is what The New Yorker specializes in.

THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE FACULTY CLUB IMBROGLIO gets a story in Inside Higher Ed. I'm not sure it deserves that much attention.

ANN ALTHOUSE: "If the 9/11 conspiracy theory were true . . . why wouldn't the government have found a way to silence the persons who began to uncover it?"

Her question is answered in the comments, of course.

MERYL YOURISH says that the enemy is winning the progaganda war: "A German TV news show segment on YouTube is racing around the blogosphere. Why? Because it is absolute proof that Hezbullah manipulates the media for their benefit."

And the media are happy to be manipulated, apparently.

DAVID ADESNIK WONDERS if the Lebanese regret it when Israeli children are killed. "Although I suspect that Siniora personally does feel regret, his inability to say it affirms in my eyes that Arab politics takes place in a moral universe where Israeli life is worth nothing."

THE REPUBLICAN "E-CAMPAIGN" is emailing about this story on Harold Ford, Jr. returning campaign contributions from the adult entertainment industry. Seems like nothing much to me; if this is all they can dig up, he's looking good. More interesting was this tidbit in the same story about Ford's support for Joe Lieberman, and another independent candidate who lost a primary:

Last month, Ford told radio talk show host Don Imus that Lieberman was a friend and had his support in the primary race for the U.S. Senate.

Lieberman's independent run is not the only one Ford may have to contend with. Ford's brother, Jake Ford, is running as an independent in the 9th Congressional District race in Memphis. State Sen. Steve Cohen last week won the Democratic nomination for the seat that Harold Ford Jr. now holds.

Harold Ford Jr. does not intend to get involved in the local race, he said. "I'm a Democrat. I support Democrats," Ford said, noting that Lieberman and his brother, though both running as independents, are still Democrats.

(I'll take a position: Steve Cohen got me tickets to see John Fogerty's comeback show in 1986 at Mud Island, so he's got my eternal loyalty). But come to think of it, Ford ought to be embarrassed -- for returning the contributions, not for taking them. After all, porn is good for America!

MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT? Belgian police are reportedly harassing Brussels Journal blogger Paul Belien. Seems like an Article 19 human rights violation to me . . . .

If this bothers you, let 'em know.

MICHAEL RUBIN: "When it comes to radical Islam, Europe and the United States have mastered the art of repeating mistakes."

IN THE MAIL: Harry Turtledove's new Civil War novel, Fort Pillow. It's not alt-history, it's just a historical novel.

DONALD SENSING ON THE U.K. BOMB PLOT:

If the plot had succeeded the death toll might have exceeded that of al Qaeda’s attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

As I've noted, the terrorists aren't terribly bright, but they're very persistent and they learn from their mistakes. That makes them a potent threat.

I suspect, though, that the only real solution is to go after the backers -- mullahs and rich guys in Iran and Saudi Arabia, mostly -- and not just keep arresting the cannon fodder. I don't see any signs of that sort of approach, though.

UPDATE: By the way, lots of interesting posts on this at The Corner.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mary Katharine Ham looks at some reactions.

BEST. LAMONT. SPIN. EVER. "The pro-Bush candidate just got 48% in a Democrat primary."

This calls for some sort of a prize!

UPDATE: Tim Cavanaugh, who won't miss Lieberman, observes: "Lieberman is possibly the least libertarian member of the United States Senate." I dunno, there's a lot of competition for that slot. But spinning Lamont's victory as a libertarian triumph is -- well, it's further than even Tim is willing to go!

AUSTIN BAY says that July was a crucial month.

BRITISH TERROR PLOT FOILED:

British police said Thursday they had arrested 21 people in connection with a terror plot against airlines travelling from Britain to the United States which was “intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale.”

Officials raised security to its highest level - suggesting a terrorist attack may imminent— and banned handcarried luggage on all trans-Atlantic flights. Huge crowds formed at security barriers.

The extreme measures at one of the major international aviation hub sent ripple effects throughout the world. Officials at Heathrow airport cancelled most flights from Europe.

The U.S. government responded by raising its threat assessment to its highest level for commercial flights from Britain to the United States amid fears the plot had not been completely crushed.

Brendan Loy has a huge roundup on this story, and over at the CounterTerrorism Blog, Walid Phares has some thoughts, and questions, too.

Some people have decided that the war on terror is passe. But although you may not be interested in terrorism, terrorism is still interested in you.

Pajamas Media has a huge roundup, too.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has much more.

August 09, 2006

AN IDF BENEFIT: Massage under fire.

JOHN BATCHELOR: "Why is America waiting to be attacked by Iran?"

DOES ROBERT BYRD KNOW ABOUT THIS? An end to racially segregated classes in West Virginia. About time, I'd say . . . .

OVER AT GIZMODO, I've got a guest review of the Edirol R-09 digital recorder.

THE REAL WINNER FROM THE LAMONT VICTORY: Jim Geraghty, whose new book on "How 9/11 Launched the Era of Republican Leadership" will get a lot of attention as the Democrats move from a party that has supported the war whenever push came to shove, to an outright antiwar party of the 1972 variety.

WIRED NEWS uncovers journalistic fakery -- at Wired News.

Good for them, but Gelf Magazine thinks that, well, it really is good for them:

Since it is unlikely that Wired News has a higher percentage of unethical writers than other publications (after all, why should it?), the fact that two of its contributors have been found to produce bogus work in the last two years suggests it is better than other publications at rooting out cheaters. Why is that? Because it has put into place provisions that make it less likely for these guys to slip through the cracks.

Of course, that also suggests that there's a lot of cheating going on at other journalistic outlets that never gets exposed.

DOUG WEINSTEIN ON LIEBERMAN AND LAMONT:

Let's see if I've got this right. Conventional wisdom says that the country has gone progressively to the center/right. The last two Democratic presidents were centrists. The Democrats desparately want to regain control of Congress in 2006, and the White House in 2008. Joe Lieberman was the Democratic standard-bearer just six years ago, along with Al Gore. The DSCC and the Democratic establishment [aside from President Clinton] provided little or no help to Lieberman in his campaign, which is the same as opposing him. And many left-leaning Democrats are now gleeful over his defeat by a "trust fund baby" in the Connecticut primary, which makes the party as a whole look like total freaking disloyal idiots to the rest of the country. . . .

I wouldn't be the least surprised if Lieberman runs as an Independent, kicks Lamont's ass in the general, and then sticks it to the Democratic party forever. I wouldn't blame him. And I say that as a loyal Democrat.

He's not the only unhappy Democrat today.

UPDATE: Interestingly, I didn't realize that Ned Lamont was Corliss Lamont's son. Though I'm living proof that sons and fathers can have different politics.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jacob Weisberg says that Ned Lamont is Corliss Lamont's great-nephew. Wikipedia says he's Corliss's grandson. I don't guess it really matters, but . . . .

MORE: ReliaPundit: "I think that the fact that Joe is Jewish really hurt him with the base of the Democrats."

Antisemitism? In Connecticut?

Meanwhile, Ilya Shapiro observes:

In all the spin about how a "moderate" cannot win given our nascent "politics of polarization," we lose sight that Lieberman's supposed moderation rests mostly in his even-tempered disposition. This is a man, after all, who received an 80 percent approval rating Americans for Democratic Action and only 8 percent from the American Conservative Union (less than Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer and equal to Chuck Schumer and John Kerry). Heck, even in voting to authorize President Bush to go to war in Iraq, he was joined by a majority of his colleagues (including Clinton, Schumer, John Edwards, and Minority Leader Harry Reid) in a lopsided vote that was greater than that approving the first Gulf War.


Yet Lamont adviser Jesse Jackson said in an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times Monday that "A loss for Lieberman would be a win for progressives." Jackson went on to fault his party's putative Vice-President -- many who pulled the lever for Lamont no doubt still consider Al Gore to be President -- for "embracing key elements of the conservative agenda," including questioning certain excesses of affirmative action and supporting cuts in capital gains taxes that have ushered in a new class of investors.


Such arguments expose the nasty truth at the heart of the modern "Party of Jefferson": You have to embrace the entire Democratic catechism (abortion on demand, racial preferences, etc.) or risk banishment from this "party of inclusion." While accusing the GOP of being a group of intolerant extremists -- so intolerant that the party establishment is funding Lincoln Chafee (who has a voting record equal to Lieberman and Clinton, and more liberal than 14 Democratic senators) against a conservative opponent -- it is the Democrats who are repeatedly shown to have binding litmus tests.

It's not a big tent. It's a pup tent.

JACK BAUER FOR SENATE: In Connecticut and New York. "Jack Bauer is prepared to bend the rules in order to save America, again."

ANDERSON COOPER NOTES Hezbollah media fakery. "But they clearly want the story of civilian casualties out. That is their — what they're heavily pushing, to the point where on this tour I was on, they were just making stuff up."

I'm glad people are noticing. And talking about it.

WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE hate the Jews?

WORKPLACE PRIVACY takes a hit in the Ninth Circuit.

Because it's not easy to blame Bush for this, it won't get much attention. But that fact is indicative of our irrational and uneven treatment of these issues.

MORE ON REUTERGATE from the L.A. Weekly:

It’s been a good week for Los Angeles’ most controversial political Web site, Little Green Footballs, widely reviled by some because it takes global Islamist terrorism more seriously than, say, a Dick Cheney hunting accident.

On August 5, Little Green Footballs (LGF) provided convincing visual evidence that a Reuters photograph of the aftermath of an Israeli bombing of Beirut was a poorly Photoshopped fake. The black clouds of smoke and duplicated buildings shown in the photograph were so obviously “cloned,” in Photoshop-speak, that it seemed surprising they could escape notice on one of the world’s most prestigious news desks. But escape it they did, and the image went ’round the world, one more victory in Hezbollah’s propaganda war against Israel and the U.S.

But then, it has long been the contention of LGF’s webmaster, 53-year-old Charles Johnson, who is the co-founder of Pajamas Media, that an awful lot of dodgy news items seem to slip past the news desks of Reuters, the Associated Press, and other major media organizations and newspapers.

And his case seems to be pretty strong, doesn't it?

HACKING THE HIMALAYAS: Xeni Jardin looks at the Tibetan diaspora.

FAUXTOGRAPHY UPDATE: The New York Times runs a correction on a misleading photo.

AT WONKETTE: Cynthia McKinney sings! And fights!

MICHAEL MOORE plays Robespierre. Nobody's pure enough for him, especially Hillary.

UPDATE: Blogometer isn't very optimistic about Dems' hopes for talking Joe Lieberman out of running as an independent:

It's just hard to picture Lieberman accepting defeat at the hands of a movement that calls him "rape gurney Joe." Thus at the very moment bloggers ought to be celebrating their biggest accomplishment to date, they're instead heading straight on into a train wreck.

We'll see. Stay tuned.

ANOTHER UPDATE: InstaPunk offers helpful advice for the Democrats. Well, advice, anyway.

And reader Kevin Pedraja emails:

As a Democrat and a staunch opponent of the decision to go to war in Iraq, I must say I have mixed feelings about the Lamont victory and the resulting triumphalism of the Liberal netroots. I think it's a mistake to generalize this result (in a fairly moderate to liberal state) as a harbinger of things to come in the 2008 national elections. Kos' comment about Jesse Jackson being on stage with Lamont during his victory speech is particularly worrisome (a feeling that only grew when I read that not only Jackson but Al Sharpton flanked Lamont). How can any Democrat with a brain think that our chances of regaining control of either house of Congress or the White House go up if we're "united" behind the tired hucksterism of Jackson and his ilk?

There's no question that Lieberman's unwavering support of Bush hurt him with activist Democratic voters (who tend to vote more often in primaries), but he also ran a comically inept campaign, inflicting almost as many wounds on himself as those delivered by his opponent. Should this surprise anyone? After all, this is the guy who thought "Joementum" would be well-received.

The fact is, opposition to Bush and the war is largely visceral in the Northeast corridor. And while dissatisfaction with the president and the war seems to be growing elsewhere in the country, it's a far more nuanced issue than (as some like Kos would have us believe) "yer either fer us or agin us." In any event, it seems incredibly premature to start buying the champagne before it's remotely clear who the respective standard bearers of either party will be.

To me, this seems like a building debacle for the Democratic Party, and a reprise of 1972. But I could be wrong.

THE WASHINGTON POST reports on Reutergate:

Charles Johnson could tell there was something wrong with the news photo the minute he saw it. Something about the three plumes of black smoke rising over the buildings -- smoke just doesn't curl that way, pirouetting in unison. It was, he wrote Saturday, "blatant evidence of manipulation."

He was right on target. . . .

Little Green Football's "Reutersgate" and "Rathergate" scalps share a key characteristic: They stem from Johnson's skepticism of, if not outright hostility toward, the mainstream news media (or as some Little Green Football visitors like to refer to them when they post comments, "the lamestream media").

In Johnson's view, the news media haven't adequately sounded the alarm about threats to Western societies posed by radical Islamic groups -- something he says he seeks to redress through his politically conservative blog.

"My main take is that political correctness has kept a lot of the hard truth from being spread by the mainstream media," says Johnson, 53, a professional musician in Los Angeles who spends most of his time maintaining his blog.

"The vast, vast majority of Muslims want to get along and live a comfortable life just like everyone else," he says. "But the mainstream media shies away from showing the public the real face of Islamic extremism. They don't want to offend. And they are influenced by some strong advocacy groups that are funded by Middle Eastern countries, which are actively engaging with the mainstream media to promote a point of view."

Read the whole thing. Plus, Butch Hajj and the Sundance Kobeisi. And here's a Reutergate backgrounder.

UPDATE: Charles comments on the Post story.

MORE LAMONT FALLOUT: Austin Bay is calling for a McCain-Lieberman ticket in 2008. Cato's Ed Crane says that this is proof that campaign finance reform just makes it easier for rich guys to buy elections. ("More than 60 percent of Ned’s campaign expenditures came from Ned. Without Ned, Ned loses.") Guess we'll see more Neds, then.

And, in a semi-related item, Hot Air bids farewell to Cynthia McKinney.

CYNTHIA MCKINNEY HANDILY DEFEATED:

Cynthia McKinney, the fiery Georgia congresswoman known for her conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11 attacks and the scuffle she had earlier this year with a U.S. Capitol police officer, lost a runoff election Tuesday for her district's Democratic nomination.

Attorney Hank Johnson, a former county commissioner, soundly defeated McKinney. With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, Johnson led with 59 percent of the vote. . . . Johnson, a political unknown three weeks ago, strode into the ballroom of his campaign party to shouts of, "Hank! Hank! Hank!" Meanwhile, there was no sign of McKinney at her campaign celebration for most of the night.

Let's hope we don't see much of her in the future. Perhaps she'll curl up with a good book!

JAMES MCCORMICK REVIEWS Chris Anderson's The Long Tail, over at Albion's Seedlings.

MORE FAUXTOGRAPHY CHARGES, this time involving the AP.

TIME: "Joe Lieberman's loss Tuesday in the Senate primary also signaled the ascendancy of a legitimate new power center in the Democratic party, the Netroots."

I think that's right. The big question now is, can they win a general election the same way. Joe Gandelman has a big roundup of reactions, and asks: "Is Lieberman's defeat and Lamont's victory a harbinger of a new direction for the Democratic party with many parts of the party on the same page — or the beginning of a self-defeating split that will cause the Democrats to grab defeat from the jaws of victory in November?"

Kaus says that Lieberman beat the spread, but agrees that his defeat is a big deal, and credits Kos for gloating "effectively and non-megalomaniacally." But he also relays this bit of snark: "Will history record that the first significant victory of moveon.org was the defeat of a…..Democratic incumbent?"

And Markos observes: "Seeing Al From's oldest nemesis, Jesse Jackson, behind Lamont tonight must've driven him insane. That brings a smile to my face." And Karl Rove's, I imagine.

It'll be interesting to see what effect this has on Republican politicians' interactions with the blogosphere. Perhaps PorkBusters will get more respect. And Kaus notes similar primary victories in GOP races on the part of the Club for Growth, which suggests that the power of outsiders is generally being magnified by the Internet. Hmm. Intriguing idea!

There's lots more rounded up over at Pajamas Media.

UPDATE: Don Surber won't miss Joe: "So a Trust Fund Baby named Ned Lamont, whose money goes back four generations to a partnership with JP Morgan himself, knocked off Joe Lieberman today. Good for Ned. See ya, Joe. Don't let the door hit you on that ass you've been covering for years in the Senate."

August 08, 2006

SOME INTERESTING Lebanon media notes.

Plus, reflections on "fauxtography."

UPDATE: Interesting stuff on blogospheric fact-checking at USA Today.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Steve Sturm has more thoughts on Fauxtography, and a question:

With all due respect to the abilities and talents of the bloggers who have uncovered these frauds (not to mention all the free time they seem to have), these bloggers are not doing anything the likes of the NYT and Reuters couldn't do on their own.... if only they were interested in doing so. The fact that they're not the ones uncovering these frauds is evidence of the lack of effort they're putting into verifying the legitimacy of the photos - and photographers.

And the reason they're so willing to accept as true the stuff they're given? Well, let me answer that question with a question: are the NYT and Reuters giving a free pass to Jewish photographers taking pictures of the destruction on the Israeli side of the border?

Meanwhile, Gateway Pundit has more photo questions.

IPOD VIDEO issues.

EARLY RETURNS FAVOR LAMONT.

UPDATE: John Cross is liveblogging the Lieberman and McKinney elections tonight. Early returns have Hank Johnson ahead of Cynthia McKinney. As with Lieberman/Lamont, though, it's too early to say much based on these returns. However, Howard Mortman notes that some people have already been writing "Joebituaries."

ANOTHER UPDATE: It's close, and probably Lamont's, but some people are still waiting for an earth-shattering kaboom. And there's more liveblogging, with video, here.

Mickey Kaus is impressed that it's "closer than expected." That makes it a "moral victory" for Lieberman, right?

MORE: Some more McKinney/Johnson liveblogging, plus Wizbang coverage of Connecticut here, and McKinney here.

Lieberman has conceded the primary to Lamont.

RealClearPolitics thinks a narrow Lamont win is "just about the worst result possible for the Democratic Party." Political Wire says that Lieberman will run as an Independent.

If he wins, will he pull a Jeffords? It's interesting to see what Lieberman said about Jeffords' switch in 2001.

Armed Liberal is thinking of Jean Hagen. And Brendan Loy is undertaking a party switch himself: "Well, if there’s no room in the Democratic Party for Joe Lieberman, then there’s no room in it for me. . . . It’s official now: the Democrats have jumped off the cliff, and are in free fall toward a richly deserved oblivion."

Plus, GOP triumphalism at PoliPundit. Justified? We'll see.

I CAN'T SEEM TO REACH VOLOKH.COM at its usual address, but I can still reach it here. Just in case you've been having the same problem.

HEZBOLLAH MEETS Monty Python.

UPDATE: James Taranto emails that he appears to have been wrong about that picture.

LOADS OF CONNECTICUT ELECTION UPDATES over at The Hotline Blog.

ALLAH HAS video of Jim Meigs talking about Popular Mechanics' new 9/11-myth debunking book.

Here's the PM blog on the book.

BRENDAN LOY HAS MORE on the Lieberman website kerfuffle.

There's more here.

"PARTY OF SATAN:" Saudi religious leader denounces Hezbollah.

REUTERS GETS BURNED, at Hot Air.

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: A look at pork in higher education: Earmarks for colleges and universities don't get as much scrutiny as pork aimed at other sorts of institutions, according to this report. "The most recent statistics on college pork come from an article in The Chronicle that reported total earmarks had surpassed $2 billion for the 2003 fiscal year."

NEWS ABOUT MIGRAINES: Everything you thought you knew is wrong, apparently.

THE SANITY SQUAD IS NOW PODCASTING! [Isn't everybody, now? -- Ed. Seems like it!]

KOS HAS IT RIGHT: "I can't let people believe that all we need to move the progressive movement forward is a strong liberal blogosphere — if people believe that, we're doomed."

Though I'm not sure that liberal talk radio is the solution. More on Connecticut from Political Wire.

THE U.N.'S "dangerous definitional problem" regarding terrorism.

UPDATE: Link was bad before. Fixed now. Sorry!

TED FRANK looks at the Vioxx litigation: "So out of eleven cases that have gone to trial or almost gone to trial, there is a reasonable suspicion that plaintiffs faked Vioxx usage in as many as five of them. How many more of the tens of thousands of pending plaintiffs have similar flaws? . . . Drug safety is important, but so are the health costs from vaccines and drugs not marketed because of liability risks. If the judicial system cannot police itself adequately, the question then becomes why we want to entrust national drug safety policy to an elected judge and a handful of randomly selected jurors in Starr County, Texas."

AMIT VARMA WRITES on Reutergate and stringers.

YES, IT'S MY FIVE-YEAR BLOGGIVERSARY, and yes, I forgot about that until just now. I don't have any special plans to celebrate, beyond just blogging as usual, but if you want to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear, here's the archive for that week.

IN THE FEDEX: At my door this very minute, a copy of Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts, by David Dunbar and Brad Reagan. It's a much-expanded version of the Popular Mechanics mythbusting article from last year, with a foreword by John McCain on the toxic nature of the circulating conspiracy theories. Perhaps they should teach it at the University of Wisconsin.

The Amazon comments, however, suggest that the conspiracists are alive and well.

WHO SAYS BLOGGERS DON'T DO ORIGINAL REPORTING? The Washington Post is relying on bloggers! "The Washington Post did not review the full 439-megabyte data set but contacted bloggers who had looked at it."

More illustration of Wagner James Au's point on relative competencies. (Thanks to reader Fred La Sor for the tip).

IN THE MAIL: Rory Stewart's The Prince of the Marshes: And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq, a not very positive take on the first year post-liberation.

LANNY DAVIS looks at the netroots and doesn't like what he sees:

A friend of mine just returned from Connecticut, where he had spoken on several occasions on behalf of Joe Lieberman. He happens to be a liberal antiwar Democrat, just as I am. He is also a lawyer. He told me that within a day of a Lamont event--where he asked the candidate some critical questions--some of his clients were blitzed with emails attacking him and threatening boycotts of their products if they did not drop him as their attorney. He has actually decided not to return to Connecticut for the primary today; he is fearful for his physical safety.

Some of us have been noting this new climate of fear in America for a while, now.

UPDATE: Paul Mirengoff says that Davis hasn't been paying attention.

And I should probably note that Robert Musil was on the "climate of fear" story early on.

INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY ON "Jihad Journalism:"

Is Reuters a patsy or collaborator? Either way, it is helping the cause of terrorism and undermining civilization.

Unless it wants to become just another branch of Al-Jazeera, it had better make meaningful institutional changes soon.

I think it's the "unless" that's the problem, here.

PAUL BOUTIN: "It's been nearly a year since Apple added downloadable videos and a couch-surfing remote to its lineup. How are those doing, Steve? One more question: How come none of my Apple-loving geek buddies have Macs in their living rooms?"

A LOOK AT HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH and false moral equivalence.

August 07, 2006

MAX BORDERS RESPONDS to my column from last week on disaster preparedness.

The Space Review: "Today, the Chinese are attempting to do to the Galileo system the same thing that Europe tried, and failed, to do to the US. China has registered with the ITU its intent to use frequencies that are as close to Galileo’s as Galileo’s were planned to be to GPS 3. The speculation is that this is the Chinese response to the European refusal to allow China into the charmed circle of senior Galileo management."

Philip Chaston: "It takes some level of incompetence to have the Chinese do to you what you tried to do to the Americans . . . . I mustn't gloat."

Oh, no.

A NEW, IMPROVED RedState.

A LOOK AT Harold Ford's track record on guns.

DEAN BARNETT answers your questions about Lieberman / Lamont.

MORE ON THE REUTERGATE STORY from Ed Driscoll and Thomas Lifson, plus new photo analysis from Power Line.

JOE LIEBERMAN'S WEBSITE HACKED? Stay tuned.

REGARDING THE NICK LEMANN / REUTERGATE ITEM BELOW, Wagner James Au emails:

It's worth pointing out the spectacularly poor timing of Lemann's essay, since he complains how "It ought to raise suspicion that we so often hear the same menu of examples in support of [the blogosphere's]
achievements"-- he cites Rathergate, Lott-gate-- only days before Reuter-gate explodes. And this latest instance of blogosphere reporting also undermines Lemann's larger point. It would be unfeasible for mainstream media outlets to devote pages and pages of editorial space or airtime analyzing news photos, or aggegrate the blogswarm effect of different blogs bringing together different pieces of the puzzle within hours. More key, most of the top news outlets totally *depend* on wire services for their own reporting, so they actually have a disincentive to undermine their credibility.

(Mysteriously, two days after it broke, none of the major news outlets have even mentioned the Reuters scandal.)

So that would be my question to Lemann: does he think Reuters-gate is a worthwhile form of investigative journalism? And why does he think major outlets have been so slow to pick it up?

I actually think that the Reuters scandal has gotten some mention (Charles Johnson was on CNN talking about it), though I'm still spooling back up today after being offline for a week. But the general point's a good one, and I stand by my statement that a similar piece of fakery by a blogger would have gotten a lot more attention from Big Media.

Nick: If you're reading this, any answers to WJA's questions?

UPDATE: Blogometer is giving it attention.

ATLAS is shrugging.

IS LEBANON the next Iran?

POPULAR MECHANICS looks at automotive fuel saver devices and inflatable spacecraft.

THANKS TO GLENN for letting me be one-fourth of Instapundit again. It's always a pleasure. Now I'm heading to Tel Aviv in 24 hours so I can cover the war from something other than an armchair.

NICK LEMANN PROVES MY POINT: Writing in The New Yorker, he observes:

“Millions of Americans who were once in awe of the punditocracy now realize that anyone can do this stuff—and that many unknowns can do it better than the lords of the profession,” Glenn Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor who operates one of the leading blogs, Instapundit, writes, typically, in his new book, “An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government and Other Goliaths.”

The rhetoric about Internet journalism produced by Reynolds and many others is plausible only because it conflates several distinct categories of material that are widely available online and didn’t use to be.

I appreciate the book plug. But, actually, it's Lemann who's doing the conflating, taking my comments about punditry and then applying them to hard-news reporting. Lots of other people responded to Lemann while I was away -- Rebecca MacKinnon has a response and a big roundup here -- so I'll just note one recent event that suggests that the standards set by alleged professionals aren't very high.

That, of course, is Reuters' use of faked photos from Lebanon, part of a larger trend on the part of allegedly professional and objective Western media to use local stringers who are thoroughly anti-Israel and anti-American and then present the resulting reporting as if it were neutral and factual. And it's not as if the most recent developments are unusual.

I agree with this take: "Quite apart from the dismaying ineptitude of missing the clear evidence of manipulation that bloggers will eagerly and easily throw in their faces, we should worry that there is much more subtle and expert use of photoshopping going on all the time."

Despite claims to the contrary, I haven't argued that blogs will replace traditional journalism. But this stuff makes "amateur hour" look pretty good. And if a blogger had perpetrated this kind of a fraud and had it reproduced all over the world, I suspect we'd be hearing much more in the way of tut-tutting from the likes of Lemann.

MICKEY KAUS: "If you're Hillary Clinton, and you fear people might interpret a Lieberman loss in Tuesday's Connecticut Senate primary as trouble for other pro-war Senate Dems, what do you do? Get the credulous New York Times to print your damage-controlling spin on the front page!"

Plus, a dialogue with Kevin Drum on Democratic strategy.

BEACH READING, I enjoyed Chris Moriarty's new book, Spin Control, the sequel to Spin State. I think I enjoyed the first book a bit more, but it's been long enough that it's hard to say.

I'm glad Helen didn't see this.WHILE I WAS GONE, I did a rebreather dive as part of an article I'm working on for Popular Mechanics. I've been diving with the folks at DiveTech for years, and they set me up with a familiarization course -- the full rebreather certification course takes 6 rather rigorous days. The warning label suggests why that's the case.

I don't want to give away the article, but although I found the rebreather dive interesting -- you don't make bubbles, which means fish are less scared of you, and you can stay down for three or four hours -- I don't think I'm ready to take the, er, plunge and do the full certification course. But from comparing the unit I used (two years old) to one of the newest cutting-edge units, I can say that the technology in this area is on a steep learning curve, and that might well make it a lot easier, safer and more user-friendly in the near future. Right now, the need to continuously monitor your oxygen levels via triply-redundant analyzers (one of which had to be replaced during the gear-up because it wasn't working right -- see the gauges strapped to my arm in the photo below), and a variety of other necessary tasks makes this more trouble than I'm really willing to go to, especially with the cost of equipment running around ten grand. Happily, lots of tech-diving enthusiasts are driving the market here, and that should fix things. Thank you, early adopters!

Look ma, no bubbles!

You'll note, though, that the folks at DiveTech seem to be managing to stay calm about everything. I think that's easier when you live on a tropical island . . . .

Mojo The Dog takes a breather.

THANKS TO GLENN for letting me dwell in Instapundit territory, and thanks to Brannon, Megan, and Michael for the excellent company. After driving all over The West -- unaccompanied -- and double-blogging for the past week, I have a delightfully mellow feeling about being back in Madison, Wisconsin and confining my blogging to Althouse. I hope you'll keep reading me there. You might want to start here, with last night's podcast, recapping the week's blogging and -- as usual -- digressing. And digress over to Althouse whenever you can. I don't need to tell you to keep reading Instapundit. How far can you get into a day without checking to see how the world looks from Instapundit? So, thanks again to Glenn for letting me stand on this lofty peak of the internet on those days when I was driving my car around the thrilling mountain roads of The West. Now it's time for me to descend via the twistiest road over to the gently rolling, Wisconsinite landscape of a blog called Althouse.

THANKS TO GLENN for the invitation to fill in, and to my other co-guestbloggers for a great week. I enjoyed it very much.

BACK HOME, rather late last night due to flight delays. Regular blogging will resume later.

Thanks to all my guest bloggers, who as usual did a great job. I think the blog actually improves when I go away!

August 06, 2006

THE REAL MIDDLE EAST: The Arab-Israeli war is not strictly and literally a war with Arabs on one side and Jews on the other. Aside from Israel's quiet and fickle fair-weather supporters in Lebanon, many Israeli Arabs are now saying Finish Off Nasrallah. "I hope Nasrallah gets a rocket between the legs for what he is doing to me here, for harming grandma and grandpa."

WEARY GAY RIGHTS ACTIVISTS, as seen by U.S. News:

"[N]obody's swept up anymore," says [Seattle gay-rights advocate Lisa] Stone....

A group of nearly 250 gay-rights supporters recently urged less focus on marriage, saying it "has left us isolated and vulnerable to a virulent backlash." Legislative victories could avoid that backlash. "The politics is driven by the lawsuits," says Matt Daniels of Alliance for Marriage, which opposes gay marriage. "No more lawsuits, no more state amendments." Matt Foreman of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force acknowledges, "Our legal strategies got ahead of our political strategies."

GAWKER ASKS "ORGASM OR EXCELLENT MARINARA?" Can you tell the difference between your favorite Food Network foodies and porn stars?

REUTERS ADMITS using photoshopped images of war damage from Beirut.

THE KISS ARMY invades Cleveland, demanding Kiss's induction into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. Sources say that they were armed with Love Guns and sought to "meetcha, meetcha in the Ladies' Room." With their money, you know, you can't be too soon. What's next? An "Army of David Lee Roths"?

MORE LAW SCHOOL ADVICE. Hat tip Ron Coleman.

IF, LIKE ME, YOU LOVE "PROJECT RUNWAY," I'm pretty sure you're going to love Project Rungay.

"A PATHETIC STICK-IN-THE-MUD WHO WOULD FALL ILL BEFORE BATTLE." That would be Osama Bin Laden, as described by Dexter Filkins, based on his reading of Lawrence Wright's new book "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11," which receives a rave review. There is a lot of surprising detail about Bin Laden in the book. (He's only 6 feet tall, and he was a permissive father.) Filkins highlights some sharp material about Sayyid Qutb:

[L]ike so many others who followed him, Qutb seemed simultaneously drawn to and repelled by American women, so free and unselfconscious in their sexuality. The result is a kind of delirium:

“A girl looks at you, appearing as if she were an enchanting nymph or an escaped mermaid,” Qutb wrote, “but as she approaches, you sense only the screaming instinct inside her, and you can smell her burning body, not the scent of perfume, but flesh, only flesh. Tasty flesh, truly, but flesh nonetheless.”

It wasn’t much later that Qutb began writing elaborate rationalizations for killing non-Muslims and waging war against the West. Years later, Atta expressed a similar mix of obsession and disgust for women. Indeed, anyone who has spent time in the Middle East will recognize such tortured emotions.

ENGLISH IS FLOWING EVERYWHERE. It's unstoppable, though some countries try to ban it. (Iran just outlawed "helicopter" -- the word.) But with maybe a billion people speaking it now, English is the future.

But the danger is that proper English will be overwhelmed by the English of nonnative speakers, he acknowledged. “This is not English as we have known it, and have taught it in the past as a foreign language,” he wrote. “It is a new phenomenon, and if it represents any kind of triumph it is probably not a cause of celebration by native speakers.”

Leave it to a native of France — a country that itself in the 1990’s briefly required that 3,000 English words be replaced by French ones — to suggest that this simpler English be codified.

Jean-Paul Nerrière, a retired vice president of I.B.M., calls his proposal Globish. It uses a limited vocabulary of 1,500 words, taken from the Voice of America, among other sources, which can be put together clumsily to express more complicated thoughts. Little concern is given to the complexities of grammar, and he proposes that speakers of Globish say the same thing in different ways to make up for difficulties in pronunciation...

“Globish is not a language, it will never have a literature, it does not aim at conveying a culture, values,” Mr. Nerrière wrote in an e-mail message. “Globish is just a tool, practical, efficient, limited on purpose.”


The linked article says the native English speaker might be at a disadvantage, because you'd know so many words that aren't on the limited list. But would English in the Globish form really take over and remain constrained?
The typical conversation in Globish could be grating to a native speaker, but get the job done between, say, a Kenyan and a Korean trying to navigate a business deal or asking for help at the airport check-in. For nephew, there is “son of my brother/sister”; kitchen is “room in which you cook your food”; chat is “speak casually to each other.”

Hmmm... well, I'm seeing in this article that "chat" is another one of the words that Iran saw the need to ban. I think the kind of crisp short words used in web-writing are going to spread and people won't confine themselves to a tedious word list that requires them to construct clunky phrases containing boring filler like "in which." There will be some sort of global English, but I think it's likely to be, not Nerrière's 1,500 building blocks, but the kind of clear, straightforward English that makes for good blog writing. And you can write real literature in this language. Man, Nerrière annoys me. His vision of the future is no fun at all. It's infuriatingly desiccated! Or should I say it is so dry it makes me mad.

“SOME PEOPLE ARE REALLY ANGRY AT CONTEMPORARY ART," Says Alison Stephen, a "gallery guide" at the Guggenheim Museum. What's a gallery guide?

The job of the Guggenheim’s eight gallery guides is in some ways unique: although all of New York’s major museums have educational programs, only the Guggenheim hires people to mingle full time in the galleries, interacting with museum patrons in all their quirky diversity. And though she had been on the job only three weeks, Ms. Stephen had already noticed a recurring phenomenon. “Some people are really angry at contemporary art,” she said reflectively.

If the Guggenheim had simply needed better security, more guards could have been hired. The guides program exists because the public’s confusion about modern and contemporary art is alive and well, which is brought home to the guides every day.

“Modern art baffles,’ said Jim Fultz, the longest-serving guide, who was hired in 2004. “It alienates. It frustrates. But part of what we do is make them feel comfortable with it. A lot of people are afraid to ask questions. They don’t want to seem dumb about something they already feel is elitist.”
So the modern art keeps pissing people off, and they've hired people to pass as ordinary museum-goers and try to manage the mood. I'm slightly offended by this ruse, but also charmed that there is a job like this, which I think would be a really nice day job for a struggling artist or actor. I would have loved to do this when I was young and fancied myself an artist. I'd even like to do it now. I could see myself, retired from professorhood, roaming around the museum looking for the surly folk and saying something to guide them back onto the track of art-love. I'd be happy with a collection of jobs like this. I would, for a price, go sit in a movie theater crowd and cue the flow of laughter on the subtler jokes. I would, for a price, eat in a restaurant and make slightly audible favorable comments about the menu and, with a co-worker, contribute a pleasant sound of conversation and even make up gossip about fictional characters to give the other diners something to eavesdrop on. Or maybe I should just start a business, designing jobs like this and selling businesses on the notion that they need fake patrons to improve the attitude of the real patrons. And all you artists and actors in need of an amusing day job can come to me. I'll just take 10%.

ADDED: I should say that -- based on the photo accompanying the linked article -- the Guggenheim guides are wearing tags, and are not as stealthy as the artists and actors in my job fantasy scenario.