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Monthly Archives: September 2002

Expired Lease

September 25th, 2002 - 8:37 am

Reporting from a secret location in Hong Kong, Expat Conrad says that One Country/Two Systems isn’t going to last. And you probably don’t have to guess, in a battle between Hong Kong and Beijing, which side is going losing:

Despite government insistence to the contrary, the new offenses of secession, subversion and sedition do not require a predicate act of violence, force or threat of force. When questioned about the effect of the provisions, Secretary for Security, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who gives the impression she would happily string us all up were she only given the go-ahead by Beijing, prevaricated — no surprise to anyone familiar with her — comparing the laws to purportedly similar legislation in the US and the UK. Of course, the cited US and UK legislation is much narrower. Furthermore, it is limited by the existence of democratic institutions and constitutional limitations (written in the case of the US and unwritten in the UK but supplemented by EU human rights requirements), none of which exist in Hong Kong.

But really, this isn’t the beginning of the end for Hong Kong. It started when Britain, with really no better choice, entered negotiations with Beijing over the Crown Colony’s future.

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Oprah/Uma Uma/Oprah

September 25th, 2002 - 8:22 am

Josh Chafetz says Gore’s speech Monday was worse than stupid — it was politically stupid:

What he did in his speech was not only take a wildly unpopular position against a wildly popular president. He also gave Lieberman, Edwards, et al. a way to distinguish themselves by taking a more popular position than Gore did. In other words, Lieberman can now grab headlines (“FORMER RUNNINGMATES FEUD OVER IRAQ”) by telling voters what they want to hear: that we should pursue regime change in Iraq, and we should do so now. And Lieberman has done exactly that.

Chafetz is right — but then again, Gore hasn’t made a politically smart move since signing on as Clinton’s runningmate in ’92. Anyone who campaigns — as an incumbent! — against eight years of peace and prosperity has demonstrated all the political savvy of, ah, some politically very unsavvy thing.

Sometimes, metaphor fails me.

Two years ago, I joked that I could vote for a Lieberman/Cheney or Cheney/Lieberman ticket with joy, but that I could hold my nose and vote Bush/Cheney, if that’s what it took to keep Gore out of office.

Except I wasn’t really joking.

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September 25th, 2002 - 2:09 am

I’m not the only one worried about deflation. So is Morgan-Stanley star Stephen Roach:

According to Roach, the U.S. economy now faces two bubbles, both every bit as serious as the stock market bubble that began popping in March of 2000. The first is a bubble in consumption, financed by rising levels of consumer debt; the second is a bubble in housing. On top of that, Roach adds, prices are falling in many sectors due to oversupply. If you put it all together, it’s tough not to conclude that lowering interest rates now would only make things worse: It would exacerbate the consumption and real estate bubbles by encouraging people to buy more, and it would leave no room to lower rates after those bubbles inevitably burst.

Read the whole thing over at TNR, and be sure to follow the links, too.

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Leaflet Droppings

September 25th, 2002 - 1:07 am

Sometimes, Lileks is even meaner than this site. He’s just somehow nicer about it.

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Charitable Cause

September 25th, 2002 - 1:01 am

Ronnie Schreiber is willing to peddle his bicycle all the way from Jerusalem to the Israel Red Sea port town of Eilat — all for a worthy cause.

Send the guy a few bucks.

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Alone Again, Naturally

September 25th, 2002 - 12:57 am

Ivo Daadler warns that the US-German rift is real:

The disagreement between Schroeder and Bush involves more than irritation over electoral rhetoric. The differences over Iraq are real. We may deplore rhetoric that at times went over the top (as when Schroeder accused Bush’s Iraq policy of being an “adventure”). We may join others in Europe in their disappointment that the German government arrived at its position without any consultation. And we can worry about the emphasis on a “German way.” But we must not dismiss Germany’s stance simply as politically inspired.

Nothing I can much disagree with there. About the only major policy goal Germany and the United States have had in common these last 50 years, was the strong desire not to see the Soviet 2nd Guards Tank Army encamped on the west bank of the Rhine.

Well, the Warsaw Pact Western Group of Forces is no longer poised to strike out of East Germany. For that matter, East Germany is no longer, period. It is only natural — no matter which side is right on a given issue — that American and German issues should diverge. But then Daadler has to go and blame everything on Bush, anyway:

From global warming to the Middle East, biological weapons to the International Criminal Court, the Bush administration has pursued policies that ignored German (and European) concerns. And it has often done so with little or no consultation. Such unilateralism has now convinced many that, on Iraq, the United States is more interested in getting rid of Hussein than enforcing Iraq’s compliance with U.N. resolutions — a policy few in Europe support. In Germany at least, the costs of Bush’s unilateralism are evident.

“Global warming” is code for “Kyoto Protocal” — a dead treaty under Clinton, not Bush. And a non-starter for any Administration.

“Biological weapons” is code for “keeping an Iraqi madman from getting weapons of mass destruction.” Germany has a restless Arab population, and a history of appeasing (or appealing to) the worst of Mideast strongmen. So, again, disagreement is natural.

As for the ICC, even France is now looking for ways to weasel out of the treaty. Germany, after Nuremburg, may feel the need to moralize on this issue, but we don’t have to listen. Again, Bush has little to do with the rift between our nations.

Bush, for all his faults, isn’t the bogeyman. The US and Germany stayed in a bad marriage for too long, so that the kids might have a decent home. But the children have been gone now for a decade, so there’s little reason left to continue the charade.

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September 25th, 2002 - 12:41 am

Another new guy with an excellent blog.

NOTE: I changed the time zone that MT posts my blogs. Why? Because I have to make this an early night, but I’d still like to have my Wednesday morning posts show up on Wednesday. Back to regular hours as soon as I get my bride’s car in the shop, her hot little bod to work, and myself a decent nap.

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Just Do As He Says

September 25th, 2002 - 12:39 am

Ronald Bailey talks sense about one of my favorite topics: food.


Food today is cheap, nutritious, and safe. The last century has seen a vast improvement in food quality and safety. In millennia past, food and water were the chief sources of many deadly diseases. Consider that as recently as 1933-35, a U.S Public Health Service survey found that 5,458 children between the ages of 1 and 15 died from diarrhea and enteritis, most caused by food-borne pathogens. By contrast, a recent survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that just 29 Americans died of food-borne illnesses between 1993 and 1997. Meanwhile, stomach cancer rates are down by 75 percent since 1950 because old-fashioned food preservation techniques like salting, pickling, and smoking have been replaced by refrigeration.

This is my second plug for Reason in just a few hours. Do yourself a favor — spend 15 bucks and get yourself an entire year of sensible freedom-loving goodness.

No, I’m not getting a cut. I just love this magazine.

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Rhetorical Question

September 24th, 2002 - 10:33 pm

Smarter than Harper’s? You make the call.

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Late Addition

September 24th, 2002 - 9:27 pm

I never made any claim to be very quick on the uptake, so when I saw “jessewalker.blogspot.com” in my referral logs, my first reaction was “That Jesse Walker? He has a blog?”

Yeah — for weeks now. And I didn’t notice until tonight.

Been reading your stuff since they first picked you up at Reason, Jesse, and you’re one of the reasons (no pun intended) I keep re-upping my subscription.

Welcome aboard the blogroll.

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Clearing the Deck

September 24th, 2002 - 5:34 pm

You may call me an idiot, an asshole, wrongheaded, or a dupe — lord knows, I’ve been guilty of all of those. You may not, however, in my comments section, call me a liar.

Do that on your own site.

I’ve booted the person in question — and, if you click the “More” button just below, explained (with excrutiating links) exactly where he was wrong and I was telling the truth.


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Alternate Hoystory

September 24th, 2002 - 2:43 pm

This would be funnier if it weren’t so scary.

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Day Late, But Not a Link Short

September 24th, 2002 - 2:19 pm

Ken Layne writes:

Over the past year, I’ve been described as a liberal, libertarian, “neo-con,” Democrat, Republican, warmonger, Bush hater, anti-Semite, Zionist, overall bigot and a few other things I can’t remember.

It just means you’re doing something right, Ken.

UPDATE: If you’re trying to make money writing, don’t miss Ken’s TCS column about this site.

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About Time

September 24th, 2002 - 2:14 pm

Every now and then, even the ABA does something right.

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Expect the Expected II

September 24th, 2002 - 2:02 pm

Ted Kennedy says war might be too expensive:

The veteran Democratic statesman cited recent estimates putting the price tag for a war with Iraq at between $100 billion to $200 billion, which he stated does not take into account such considerations as the impact of higher home heating-oil costs.

How, exactly, getting a decent regime in Baghdad — and getting their oil flowing again — could lead to higher prices is beyond me.

Short term, yeah, oil prices are going to go up. The Russians already have their taps all the way open, and the Saudis won’t be doing us any favors any time soon.

But do not doubt this: So long as Saddam or his Ba’ath Party remains in power, Iraqi oil will stay off the market. This war isn’t about oil — but for a US Senator to try scaring old people is. . .

. . . well, to be expected of Mr. Kennedy.

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Expect the Expected

September 24th, 2002 - 1:54 pm

Already, at least one Democrat is stepping slowly back from Al Gore. Here’s the header from PennLive:

Gore may not be best Democrat to beat Bush, Rendell says

The story isn’t nearly so bold as the headline would have you beleive, but that’s the newspaper biz for you.

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Tom Clancy Droolfest — Cancelled?

September 24th, 2002 - 1:07 pm

Thanks to the ever-watchful Lloyd Albano for the heads-up.

Frank Gaffney says the Marine Corps long-delayed V-22 Osprey is salvagable.

If you don’t remember, the V-22 is the tiltrotor turboprop that could revolutionize amphibious assaults. But the damn things keep crashing.

Look, I’m a huge supporter of the tiltrotor concept. I didn’t sleep for two days, just to see how the M-100 tiltrotor, rail-gun armed, enemy-frying aircraft would play out in Ralph Peters’ The War in 2020 way back in 1991.

But that doesn’t mean the Osprey is the right airframe — and Gaffney doesn’t provide any hard data showing that the thing can be made safe enough to be effective.

I’m still unconvinced.

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Makin’ a List. . .

September 24th, 2002 - 12:21 pm

Lionel Mandrake has the Quick Summary of Tony Blair’s points against Saddam Hussein.

The BBC page, I’m told, is loading slowly.

Anyway, it’s a fine bullet list of all the reasons we need for taking the next phase of the War to Iraq. Use it for reference when dealing with Idiotarians.

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This Is Jane Galt Speaking

September 24th, 2002 - 12:16 pm

Megan McArdle is still on a roll:

Americans, as a group, embrace the ideal that there is one contiguous set of morals for everyone. It’s not okay to steal from your employer, not even to give it to your cousin who really needs it. It’s not okay to attack, rape or kill people even if they’re not related to you. These things do happen, but they’re not widely accepted as the norm. That’s huge. That’s what makes America work.

Read the whole thing.

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How Things Really Work

September 24th, 2002 - 12:11 pm

When the bad guys hit us in the movies, our leaders are instantly presented a list of pre-made options on how to respond.

Real life isn’t like that. Real life involves a lot of on-the-spot improvisation, and you almost never have the right people with the right stuff in the right place.

StrategyPage presents the real story of the Air National Guard pilots who took to the skies above our cities on 9/11.

It wasn’t pretty, but it’s awfully inspiring.

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Hot Shots

September 24th, 2002 - 12:05 pm

Oooh, pretty.

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Reporting on the Reporters

September 24th, 2002 - 11:57 am

VP presents Ledes from Around the World.

From AP:

Iraq has military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, and has tried to acquire “significant quantities” of uranium from Africa, the British government said today as it published a dossier of evidence about Iraq’s development of weapons of mass destruction.

The BBC:

Prime Minister Tony Blair has warned of the urgent need to act after the publication of the UK’s long awaited dossier of evidence against Iraq.

From CNN:

Iraq has dismissed a 50-page dossier published by the British government on Tuesday.

From the NYT:

Britain today published a long-awaited dossier asserting that the regime of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq was continuing to expand stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and had plans to use them. Arguing for urgent action by the West, it said that some of the weapons could be deployed within 45 minutes.

From The Guardian:

The prime minister, Tony Blair, today stood before the Commons to defend government policy on Iraq.

From the Times of India

British charges about Iraq’s alleged weapons of destructions are “baseless”, Culture Minister Hamad Yussef Hammadi said on Tuesday.

Interestingly, only CNN and the Indian paper led with Iraq’s predictable naysaying of Blair’s report. All the others reported the story straight, even the BBC and the New York Times. Only The Guardian played the story domestically, claiming Blair is somehow on the defensive.

Oh, and here’s how Arab News played it:

Saudi Arabia yesterday denounced Israel

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Guidance Counselor Needed

September 24th, 2002 - 11:31 am

I’m in the wrong damn business.

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Why We Read Tim Blair, Reason #1,000,006

September 24th, 2002 - 11:23 am

New ethnic slurs for our German friends:

Poland-harvesting bunker monkeys
Welfare-scarfing nature babies
Slap-dancing Fahrvernugen goblins
Order-following command munchkins
EU-lusting sausage honkies
Scrabble-busting maxosyllabic Gemeinschaltzentrum spellers
Luther-boosting Riesling huffers

Tim, may I add “Cabbage-spicing crematorium creeps” to the list?

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Mob Rule

September 24th, 2002 - 11:13 am

Radley Balko goes undercover to bring you this report on this week’s The Sopranos for Blogcritics.

Great stuff, Radley — but, what, no f–king ziti?

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Short Skirt/Forget the Long Jacket

September 24th, 2002 - 10:55 am

I’d love to join the Buffy Blogburst, but I’ve only ever seen the first two seasons — and I can’t let myself read any spoilers.

Wish they’d hurry up and release Season Three on DVD so I can get a little more caught up.

So exactly how many years am I behind, anyway?

NOTE: OK, maybe one little spoiler would be all right. Will someone please tell me if Charisma Carpenter continues to wear low-cut blouses and high-cut skirts?

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A Pun By Any Other Name…

September 24th, 2002 - 10:45 am

Over at Light of Reason, Arthur Silber keeps the political label debate going:

I’ve always liked the phrase “radicals for capitalism.” I think it’s accurate in terms of the broader issues involved, and it’s a fighting creed. That’s why, if I have to describe myself politically, it’s the phrase I use.

Arthur might be onto something here. While I still like “Federalists,” their opposition was known as the Anti-Federalists. And we all know what happens when Federalists and Anti-Federalists collide.

OK, you particle physics guys can wipe the Dr. Pepper off your monitors now.

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The Good Ol’ Dems

September 24th, 2002 - 10:40 am

Daniel Pipes frames the question nicely:

In the debate over Iraq, the Democrats and most allied governments are demanding United Nations Security Council endorsement of a military campaign – or they are against it.

This is a strange position. The U.S. government, with an over two-century record of forwarding human rights and defeating tyrants, is to defer to the United Nations? The duly elected leaders of the United States should step aside and let assorted dictators make key decisions affecting American national security?

What happened to a large minority of the Democratic national leadership? Where is the Harry Truman, accepting nothing less than unconditional surrender? Where is the JFK, asking us to ay any price and bear any burden to promote liberty? Hell, where is the old Jimmy Carter, openly calling on our enemies to support human rights?

We need debate. We need two strong parties. But right now, the Democrats won’t offer much other than ineffectual carping, or playing W’s lapdog.

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Rising Expectations

September 24th, 2002 - 10:11 am

US lowers Terrorism Threat Alert level to “elevated” from “engorged.”

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And Your Little Dog, Reno, Too!

September 24th, 2002 - 10:03 am

I can’t agree with Doug Bandow‘s assertion that John Ashcroft is a harmless little puppy (OK, my words, not Doug’s), but he wrote an otherwise excellent history of Clinton/Gore “Jackboot Liberalism.”

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