Archive for November, 2002

November 30, 2002


BAGHDAD — Serious doubts surfaced over the surprise nature of new arms inspections in Iraq when a United Nations spokesman admitted the head of a suspected weapons site had been given advance warning of the visit by the UN experts to his facility on Saturday.

You can trust the U.N. — to do stuff like this every time.

November 30, 2002

YESTERDAY I suggested that “Buy Nothing Day” was looking like a flop. I seem to have been right.

November 30, 2002

FUNNY — I haven’t heard Noam Chomsky, or Marc Herold, or Germaine Greer, or Robert Fisk talking about these villagers whose lives were shattered by a bombing attack:

“I don’t know why this happened to us or what we will do,” said Walinki, her voice shaking. “There are dozens of children who don’t have parents now. We have no one to support them.”

With that, she watched as the grave-diggers continued their work. This is not a place where grave-diggers are hired, where there are gated cemeteries. People dig the graves for their own relatives and bury them next to the huts where they live.

Not a word. Strange. . . .

November 30, 2002

GENE SPERLING ADVISES Democrats to push for a freeze on tax cuts.

November 30, 2002

THE STORY THAT WON’T DIE: More on the Saudi funding of 9/11 hijackers, in the Washington Post.

November 30, 2002

THE CATO INSTITUTE IS CHALLENGING D.C.’S GUN-CONTROL LAWS as violative of the Second Amendment. Cato is reportedly about to file suit.

November 30, 2002

READER JACOB SEGAL sends this article as an example of right-wing bias at the New York Times. What do you think?

November 30, 2002

A DICK-TRACY-STYLE two-way wrist radio, for under fifty bucks! Is this a great century, or what? Now if the Diet Smith Corporation would just get to work on those moon colonies. (Via Gizmodo).

November 30, 2002

WHEN PROFESSORS ATTACK — they often make fools of themselves. Another riff on the Kirstein affair.

November 30, 2002

LAME. (Via Fraters Libertas).

November 30, 2002


Behind both kinds of treason there lurks an ugly fact: second-rate intellectuals, feeling themselves powerless, tend to worship power. The Marxist intellectuals who shilled for Stalin and the postmodernists who shill for Osama bin Laden are one of a kind — they identify with a tyrant’s or terrorist’s vision of transforming the world through violence because they know they are incapable of making any difference themselves. This is why you find academic apologists disproportionately in the humanities departments and the soft sciences; physicists and engineers and the like have more constructive ways of engaging the world.

Le Corbusier dedicated a book “To Authority.” I can think of some others who might as well have.

November 30, 2002


The authorities were shocked by the targeted nature of vandalism this week. Flemish pubs and black-owned businesses in the Borgerhout district were attacked, but shops displaying AEL stickers were spared.

Belgium’s liberal media agreed yesterday that the country’s experiment with tolerant multiculturalism had totally broken down.

The Flemish newspaper De Morgen said: “For a decade, the immigrant quarters of this country have turned into reservoirs of frustration, even hate. They have found a voice in Abou Jahjah.”

Abou Jahjah rejects assimilation, demanding segregated schools and self-governing, Arab-speaking ghettos.

(Via LGF).

November 30, 2002

I SAW LEON FUERTH on FoxNews yesterday. I tuned in midway through, and the discussion seemed to have degenerated — I didn’t get much from the conversation except that Leon was pissed with the interviewer.

What did strike me, though, is how good he looked. I’ve noticed this phenomenon a lot — get people out of the White House, or off the Hill, and they just look so much better. Clearer eyes, better color, the sleep-deprivation-induced puffiness gone from their faces, the stress-induced overtones gone from their voices. You see the same transition in the other direction when they go in, but the breakdown is usually more gradual than the recovery, so it’s not as dramatic. It kind of makes you wonder why people want those jobs, though.

November 30, 2002

JACK O’TOOLE RESPONDS to the suggestions by Al From and Bruce Reed that I mentioned yesterday: “That’s true, and it’s good advice, but the Democrats probably need to lose another election before they’ll be ready to listen.”

November 30, 2002


To my knowledge I was the only American participating. This was an occasion for Europeans–Germans especially–to talk frankly to other Europeans. The panel on which I spoke was chaired by Reiner Pommerin, a professor at the University of Dresden, colonel in the German air force reserves, and advisor to the German Ministry of Defense. My fellow speakers included Germany’s former ambassador to the U.K., the current German ambassador to Poland, a DaimlerChrysler managing director, and a professor from Britain. We were to focus on transatlantic relations.

Throughout the two days, Pommerin set the tone with an aggressively antagonistic attitude toward all things American. “Thank God we had the 11th of September,” he declared–for this showed the U.S. how it feels to be humbled. Herr professor-colonel went on to suggest that Americans often feel nostalgic for the “good old days of slavery in the nineteenth century.” He told ludicrous stories about seeing empty bottles and litter piled “one meter deep” along roadsides in America, illustrating our environmental slovenliness. He insisted the seemingly mighty U.S. military was now a hollow force, all flash and no substance. . . .

This simple reality needs to be faced squarely by Americans: In a great variety of areas–foreign policy, demography, religion, economics–Americans and Europeans are growing apart. While the September 11 attacks deepened American sobriety, patriotic feeling, and national resolution, in Europe they merely created one more flashpoint for division. European elites, already worried they won’t be able to keep up with America over the next generation, are now approaching panic as the U.S. coalesces, during its September 11 recovery, into an even steelier and more determined colossus.

Some Europeans complain that the U.S. is more and more heading off on its own without them. They are right. America’s psychic link with Europe, I suggest, is fading extremely rapidly. Keep in mind that there are currently 32 million people living in the U.S. who were born abroad, and very few of these new Americans are from Europe. For two generations now, the new blood flowing into the U.S. has come primarily from Asia, Central and South America, the Near East, and the Caribbean. America is becoming a cosmic nation, comprised of all peoples, rather than just an offshoot of Europe.

I think this may be true — though if the United States breaks with Europe it will be more a result of a European push than an immigrant pull.

November 30, 2002


November 30, 2002


I predict that within the next year we’ll see major and intrusive efforts to protect Big Entertainment and Big Software, disguised as efforts to protect us against hostile hackers.

Now there’s this on Slashdot:

Now this article tells about Longhorn’s new filesystem being based on the the future Yukon server. And surprise it will only work with new hardware, which they want to be Palladium enabled. And all pitched to you under the rubric of Security & Efficency. For years MS has been accused of only wanting people to run MS Software. Now according to the article, ‘Microsoft doesn’t think computer users should have to use one program to read and write a word-processing file, another to use a spreadsheet, and a third to correspond via e-mail. Rather, the company thinks, a single program should handle it all.’ One program to rule them all, one program to bind them, indeed.

Eternal vigilance.

November 30, 2002

MINNESOTA BLOGGER MITCH BERG has some thoughts on the Nazi-defaced Norm Coleman billboard and the climate of hatred that leads to such acts.

November 30, 2002

THEY’RE CALLING IT A SECOND IRANIAN REVOLUTION: Hope it works out better than the first one. But it would pretty much have to. I’m surprised we’re not hearing more about this, but then I’ve been surprised all along:

The fierce dedication to Islam, the Iraq-Iran war, and the 1979 revolution once made Bolooki’s family quintessential supporters of Iran’s conservative clerics. But their desire for reform is indicative of a significant change below the surface of the political battle now playing itself out in Tehran.

“It’s like a volcano coming up, which you can’t see until it blows.” says one Iranian analyst here.

Hardline supporters of the regime vow to bring five million militants onto the streets today, in a climactic show of strength designed to counter 10 days of prodemocracy student protests this month.

More Iranians are choosing sides in an explosive debate that pits Islamic rule – defined by Iran’s unelected conservatives, who have held key levers of power since the Islamic revolution – against popular democracy. . . .

A Western diplomat says that the current regime “is under more pressure than at any time since the revolution. Something has to give,” he says. “Reformers are no longer prepared to compromise. [President Mohamad] Khatami is still regarded as the only one who can peacefully bring about change, and that’s what people really want.”

“If [the system] survives the next year intact, I think it will survive,” says the diplomat, adding that the conservative camp may not grasp the changes afoot. “It’s the same with all dictators – they do not see their own demise.”

Well, I hope to see their demise soon.

November 29, 2002

DOES THE KORAN PROVE THAT MUSLIMS ARE VIOLENT? Jacob Sullum examines the debate, and Razib K. responds.

November 29, 2002

KENYAN BOMBING BACKFIRES: “We love America. Go away Al Qaeda!” shouted Kenyans.

Hmm. Will “Al Qaeda go home!” graffiti be next? Why not? They are the imperialist aggressors, after all, in the most literal sense.

November 29, 2002


November 29, 2002

WAR AND PEACE, PACIFISM AND SIN: Donald Sensing has some observations.

November 29, 2002

BLOGROLL UPDATES: The blogroll is huge. It’s almost beyond my control to keep updated (but Matthew Yglesias’s link finally goes to his new site!). I do my best, though. I’ve added a few new ones, too. In response to popular demand (well, several emails) I’ve moved a few people up from the general blogroll to the big-journalism section, where they’re easier to find and probably really belong. (What, Postrel writes for the New York Times and isn’t “big journalism?” asks a reader. Good point.) If you notice any errors, let me know.

November 29, 2002

WHY AM I BLOGGING SO MUCH? My daughter (whose computer is in my study) has a new computer game, and she’s so into it I don’t want to make her quit.

November 29, 2002

ALPHECCA WEIGHS IN on the whole Conservative Media Bias issue. On the other side of the question, I got a long, thoughtful email from Dave Roberts, endorsing this piece on the Daily Howler.

It seems to me that there are three issues here. One is that the media world is very different than it was the last time we had a Republican President. (This is the gist of Alphecca’s comments). Another is that any President has a lot of power to set the media agenda — most of the anti-Bush complaints along these lines seem to me to be near-verbatim echoes of what I heard conservatives say about Clintonian media control. And finally, and most interesting, is the extent to which a lot of journalists and pundits, including many who lean left, seem to despise Al Gore as a phony at a very personal level. So far I haven’t seen a piece that pulls all three of these threads together.

November 29, 2002


November 29, 2002

MY SHARIA AMOUR: Mark Steyn on the new, culturally-sensitive Miss World pageant.

But you just know that he wrote the whole column to have an excuse for the pun in the title.

November 29, 2002

LOTS OF VENEZUELA UPDATES at El Sur. Just keep scrolling.

November 29, 2002

CHARLES OLIVER has thought about Mary Daly’s support for a world with only 10% men and he likes the idea: “A 9:1 ratio? Heck, Hugh Hefner insists on a mere 2:1 ratio of women to men for his parties. So in essence, this arch feminist would turn the world into the Playboy Mansion with spares. Sounds good to me.”

Of course, Charles is assuming he’d be one of the men left. . . .

Meanwhile, Jim Miller reports on a nation that had a ratio leaning that way, but with results that Mary Daly probably wouldn’t endorse.

November 29, 2002

ANOTHER BLOGOSPHERE WEDDING is in the offing. Congratulations and best wishes!

November 29, 2002


Andrew Kohut, head of the Pew Research Center, found a dramatic shift in women’s views about the creation of a national missile defense system. Just before the attacks, his polling showed that 29 percent of women and 42 percent of men agreed that “we need a national missile defense system right now.” In October, after the attacks, support among men grew only slightly, to 47 percent, while among women the percentage soared to 51 percent, with 59 percent of women with children backing immediate creation of such a system.

Similarly, a post-9/11 survey by the Winston Group, a Republican firm, found that a higher percentage of women than men backed the idea of arming commercial airline pilots (76 percent as compared with 73 percent).

All of these findings point to the increased receptivity of women to the generally more aggressive and tougher stands of Republicans on issues of military preparedness and dealing with foreign adversaries. These shifts may be temporary, a product of the terrorist threat. But while a war with Iraq might come and go, no one knows how long the threat of terrorist attack will continue. There is no reason to believe that this aspect of the political environment will change in the near future.

Meanwhile, Al From and Bruce Reed have some advice for the Party:

[S]top pretending that we can win a majority simply by energizing our base. . . .

Half that battle is simply respecting the values of mainstream America in the first place. We will never be the party that loves guns most, but we can respect law-abiding citizens’ rights to own them. We will never be the pro-life party, but we can show that we want abortion to be rare as well as legal.

I think they’re on the right track.

November 29, 2002

ARE WOMEN MORE LIKELY THAN MEN TO SLEEP WITH INTERNS? This poll says so, for whatever that’s worth.

(Via Amish Tech Support).

November 29, 2002

AFGHAN WOMEN ARE MAKING DOCUMENTARY VIDEOS — but they’re having trouble getting them on TV. I think we should encourage Afghan state television to broadcast these.

November 29, 2002

OKAY, THAT’S A NEW ONE: I was doing a post on the laptop, when the cats chased each other across my lap. A paw hit the wrong key and the post got deleted somehow. Heh.

November 29, 2002

INSTAPUNDIT IS NUMBER ONE! I’m not sure what this means, but it’s nice to be on top. Thanks to reader Michael Safrin for the link.

November 29, 2002

GEITNER SIMMONS has some observations regarding hate speech, and accusations thereof.

November 29, 2002

THE SAUDI CONNECTION TO 9/11 GETS MORE ATTENTION in an article by Stephen Schwartz in The Weekly Standard. Wahhabism, the state religion of the Saudi royal family, is intimately bound up with terrorism, he writes.

November 29, 2002


UPDATE: Juan Gato, channeling Tom Daschle, blames Garrison Keillor.

November 29, 2002

IT’S “BUY NOTHING DAY” AND — to judge from the crowds at the mall parking lot — this is having about as much impact as similar advocacy-group publicity stunts. Steven Chapman asks:

Why is it that every Left-Green-Christian plan for Saving The Planet (TM) involves individuals spending less and having less, and governments taxing more and spending more? And is it any wonder so many of us think they’re retarded for trying to squeeze the square peg of Less into the round hole of More?

No wonder at all.

November 29, 2002


Toronto’s recent wave of street murders — more than 40 since the beginning of 2001 — debunks the claim that Ottawa’s gun registry is making Canadians safer from crime. As the price tag for this colossal bureaucratic mess nears $1-billion, it is clearly time for the federal government to consider shutting it down and redirecting some or all of the resources to real crime-fighting measures.

Nearly all of the Toronto murders have been committed with handguns. Yet handguns have been subject to registration in Canada since 1934. In fact, registration has done nothing to stem the use of handguns in murder: In the past 15 years, the proportion of all firearm murders committed with handguns has nearly doubled in Canada from just over one-third to nearly two-thirds.

Imagine that — just as gun-rights supporters predicted.

November 29, 2002

WHAT’S MOST INTERESTING ABOUT THIS ITEM on a “mystery contrail” is that it’s evidence of someone comparing satellite images with radar tracks and air-traffic-control information.

November 29, 2002

SOPHOMORIC, YET SATISFYING: ShellShocking reports on things you can only say at Thanksgiving.

November 29, 2002


THE WORLD’S fourth largest oil producer, a key American supplier and ally, stands on the brink of a political explosion, and possibly a civil war. Its capital increasingly is split between hostile armed camps; military and police units are faced off against each other, central highways are sometimes blocked by burning barricades. . . .

Mr. Chavez, a muddled socialist whose closest political ally is Fidel Castro, was himself democratically elected in 1999; he then used a series of referendums and new elections to rewrite the constitution and extend his term until 2007, even as he wrecked Venezuela’s economy and antagonized the military and middle class. A new election or referendum — like that ordered yesterday by Venezuela’s national electoral council — would offer a way out. But Mr. Chavez has been reluctant to agree — his supporters said they would appeal the council’s decision — and increasingly the opposition appears to hope that he can be forced out of office, as he was briefly last April. Opposition supporters rally around some 140 military officers who have rebelled against the government and occupied a city square, while Mr. Chavez’s followers vow to fight any coup in the streets. Both sides have been arming themselves.

Hmm. Where might you have heard about this before?

November 29, 2002

MERYL YOURISH says that the latest attacks indicate that Al Qaeda is growing desperate.

I also note that, as I suspected, the bin Laden tape now appears to be a fake. That strongly suggests that he’s dead. The IndePundit agrees. And he’s got, er, pictures.

November 29, 2002

IS IT SEXIST TO WISH FOR A WORLD WITH FEWER MEN? My earlier post on feminist scholar Mary Daly’s expressed desire for a world where only one person in ten was male (which one reader called Strangelovian) has inspired Eugene Volokh to wonder whether such sentiments are sexist or not. I don’t know: Would wishing for a world with fewer black people be racist?

Megan McArdle is less charitable to Daly:

I am not under the impression that all feminists, or even professors of Women’s Studies, believe this sort of nonsense. But I’ve spent enough time around the movement to know that the majority don’t challenge the people saying it, which is almost as bad. . . .

I’m also aware that the reason they say things like that is that no one pays attention to them. But if you’re going to propose genocide with the offhand arrogance of a high school essayist, you can’t really complain that no one takes you seriously.

Well, it’s not exactly genocide, but I take her point. And if, say, Andrew Sullivan expressed the wish for a world that was 90% male, I feel sure he’d be accused of something along those lines.

UPDATE: Reader John Beckwith writes:

Just a thought but maybe, deep down, Ms Daly anticipates the eventual imposition of Sharia.

In this case it actually makes sense to limit the number of men. Islamic law allows men to take up to 4 (and, in some interpretations, more) wives. This feature of Sharia often leads to undesirable consequences like 9 year old girls getting married and legions of sexually deprived young men hanging around the mosque with little entertainment beyond waging suicidal jihad. Ms Daly’s proposal would perfect Osama’s version of heaven on earth by rightsizing the ratio of breeding stock in the human popluation.

Paving the way for a better Sharia is odd agenda for a feminist, to be sure, but at least it would unshackle Ms Daly and her sisters from the oppression of Western patriarchy.

Yes, it does seem to be the Western variety of patriarchy that Daly and her ilk find troubling.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh thinks that my analogy to racism, above, is overdrawn. Hmm. Maybe. Maybe not. Some people who emailed me found rather disturbing overtones in Daly’s language. So did some commenters on Megan McArdle’s page.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Brian Carnell is puzzled by Eugene’s stance.

November 29, 2002


Al Gore has become a true believer in the vast right-wing conspiracy. . . .

Maybe he’s just frustrated that his book isn’t selling better, despite a zillion media appearances with Tipper.

Let’s say Gore is right, that conservative news outlets are trying to blacken the reputations of people like him. Doesn’t complaining about it just sound like whining? Or is he playing to his base, the way conservatives have done all these years by moaning about the liberal media?

After all, if you’re going to take on Saddam and Osama, you’d better be able to deal with the likes of the Washington Times. The conservative media aren’t going anywhere. Deal with it.

Poor Al. Clinton could have pulled this off, but Al just can’t.

UPDATE: Greg Wythe, who was blogging furiously on Thanksgiving, wonders when “Clinton envy” will become a term in popular discourse.

November 29, 2002

PERRY DE HAVILLAND has some observations on context where the Kenya attacks are concerned.

November 29, 2002

AMERICANS ARE MORE POPULAR IN BRITAIN than at any time in the past several decades, according to a poll reported in The Scotsman. Moral: “Don’t believe everything you read in the Guardian.”

Commenting on this, Tim Blair observes: “Everything? Try anything.

November 29, 2002

CITIES ARE BECOMING MORE RACIALLY INTEGRATED, especially in the South and West. Increased integration appears to be a function of growth.

UPDATE: And here’s more good news: More African Americans starting businesses.

November 29, 2002

TALKLEFT REPORTS that the ACLU has gotten involved in the battle over Racine, Wisconsin’s dumb anti-rave raid. (I wrote about the raid here a while back). You can also see the party organizers’ website on the subject here.

November 29, 2002

JAMES LILEKS has a fine Thanksgiving post. No surprise there.

November 29, 2002

ARABS RIOTED IN ANTWERP Wednesday night. It hasn’t gotten much attention in U.S. media, but Live from Brussels has all the details. And scroll down to read the point about Berbers.

November 29, 2002

NO BIAS AT THE NEW YORK TIMES: Check out this headline:

6 Israelis Die at Polling Station; Sharon Wins

No comment required.

November 29, 2002

MICKEY KAUS has been blogging up a storm while the rest of us have dozed in a turkey-induced coma.

November 28, 2002


November 28, 2002

DINNER HERE WAS A SUCCESS, except that next year I think I’ll cook a second leg of lamb. Both the turkey and the lamb looked like they had been attacked by hungry piranhas, but the lamb was the most popular. Now I’m going to drink beer with my brother. Woohoo!

November 28, 2002

I HAVEN’T SAID ANYTHING ABOUT the absurd appointment of Henry Kissinger to find the truth behind the 9/11 attacks because, well, it just seems too absurd for words. David Corn and Mickey Kaus are not so encumbered, and they’re both appalled.

All I can figure is that the Bush Administration has an equal-and-opposite mole to the one Tony Woodlief has identified at NPR.

November 28, 2002


November 28, 2002

JEN TALIAFERRO HAS PUT UP HER SIDE in the latest delinking brouhaha. Me, I agree with the Volokh position on all of this stuff.

Somehow, it’s hard to take it seriously in a house full of family, and the smell of turkey and lamb cooking.

November 28, 2002

THE TURKEY’S IN THE OVEN! And the lamb is marinating. I’ve been snacking on some of my mother-in-law’s excellent hummus to keep up my strength.

Here’s a link to an account of the first Thanksgiving. Still no word of what Tony is cooking (last year, I remember, he decided not to do the leg of lamb). But Will Vehrs has a 25-pound turkey in the oven.

UPDATE: Tony has posted his menu and it sounds yummy.

November 28, 2002

BLOGGING WILL BE INTERMITTENT TODAY: I’m cooking a turkey and a leg of lamb. (I wonder what Tony is cooking?) As usual, we’ll be having my family and my wife’s family over, so it’s a pretty big affair. But the computer’s right here, and it’s always on, so I’m sure there will be some posting. Happy Thanksgiving! Despite all, we have much to be thankful for.

November 28, 2002

ONCE AGAIN, THE NEW YORK TIMES IS PLAYING CATCH-UP TO THE BLOGOSPHERE, with a story on the shortage of female warbloggers, something that was bruited about the blogosphere months ago. Jeff Jarvis is unimpressed, and not shy about saying so:

(1) Anyone of any gender who wants to start a blog can. Nobody will stop them. So you can’t argue that some bigger power structure — blog executives, the old blog boys club — is stopping them. The only thing stopping nonbloggers from . . . blogging is themselves. That, after all, is the whole point of this new medium: It’s anybody’s. It’s everybody’s.

(2) There are many, many great women bloggers. I don’t need to start listing them. You know them.

Even the writer has to admit that there is no frigging point to her story: “But women are, in fact, blogging in big numbers.” So why write it? Why print it? Just because it fits?

I don’t think the story is quite that bad, but maybe my expectations for the Times are lower than Jeff’s. What I think is curious is that the author didn’t interview more female bloggers, especially warbloggers. Sure, she interviews Virginia Postrel, but (1) Virginia writes for the Times, which makes it kind of inside-baseball; and (2) Virginia isn’t blogging much anymore. (Why not? Come back, Virginia! We miss you!) Rebecca Blood is mentioned, but she’s not a warblogger by any means, and the article seems just to be drawing from her book — she isn’t actually quoted. The other women quoted are non-warbloggers.

But the reporter could have gone down my blogroll and found a lot of women warbloggers who blog more-or-less daily. Talking to them might have shed some light on the story. My guess is that women who do warblogs are interested in different things than women who don’t.

The interesting thing to me isn’t that there are fewer women warbloggers than men. It’s that there are so many more women warbloggers than there would have been ten years ago. The Times missed the bellicose-women trend entirely in this story. I can’t help but feel that a conversation with Michele, or Brooke, or Athena, — all of whom could be found without getting past the “A” section of my blogroll — might have been enlightening. And led to a better story.

November 27, 2002

MY BROTHER, in his beloved-uncle role, is telling my daughter a bedtime story. We just finished watching Mystery Science Theater together (off the swell Rhino 1st-season DVD collection). So I thought I’d check my email and when I look I’ve got a bunch of messages from somebody using the pseudonym “Henry Flowers.” There are a lot of them, with subject lines like “Den Beste reveals his ignorant bigotry,” and “Typical lying Republicans.” They’re full of typos.

And I wonder — what kind of guy sits up the night before Thanksgiving churning out that kind of embittered, yet utterly pointless, stuff instead of enjoying life and the holidays?

Al, get some help.

November 27, 2002


November 27, 2002

SOMEHOW, THIS DESCRIPTION reminds me of the color commentary from a televised golf tournament. Heh.

November 27, 2002

OKAY THIS WHOLE DELINKING THING seems to be spreading. Is that such a good idea?

November 27, 2002

WHY DEMOCRATS SHOULD LOVE FEDERALISM: Read my FoxNews Column — coauthored this time with Professor Brannon Denning — to find out.

November 27, 2002

HOMELAND SECURITY: Maybe it’s me, but this kind of reminds me of this.

What do you think?

November 27, 2002

I WAS GOING TO BUY A DIGITAL CAMERA today, but thanks to Nick Denton’s Gizmodo site, I found this article saying that prices are likely to drop sharply in the next few weeks. Thanks, Gizmodo!

My wife, interestingly, was up in New York last week doing a TV show and dropped by her cousin’s palatial loft in Chelsea. He gave her a cup of coffee from some outrageously fancy $700 coffeemaker that he’d found via “this great website called ‘Gizmodo’.” It’s a small world.

November 27, 2002

IS ALL THE ANTI-MEDIA STUFF FROM DEMOCRATS A COORDINATED CAMPAIGN? Neal Boortz and Hugh Hewitt think so. (And Hewitt calls InstaPundit a “third-tier force” in the media! Woohoo! I think that’s a tier or two higher than I deserve, actually — but I’ll take it.)

Justin Katz, meanwhile, wonders if the Arab News is in on the campaign, too?

November 27, 2002


November 27, 2002

THE SAUDI / 9-11 CONNECTION still has legs.

November 27, 2002

MY EARLIER POST quoting feminist scholar Mary Daly in support of a world where the percentage of men was drastically reduced brought these thoughts from reader Steve White:

Regarding the thoughts of Mary Daly and Sally Miller Gearhart, who proposes limiting the number of men to ten percent of the human race: isn’t this about what Dr. Strangelove had in mind when he talked about the “mine shaft gap”? I’m not sure, but take a look at the script:

Strangelove: I would not rule out the chance to preserve a nucleus of human specimens. It would be quite easy…heh, heh…(He rolls his wheelchair forward into the light.) at the bottom of ah…some of our deeper mineshafts. Radioactivity would never penetrate a mine some thousands of feet deep, and in a matter of weeks, sufficient improvements in drilling space could easily be provided.

President: How long would you have to stay down there?

Strangelove: …I would think that uh, possibly uh…one hundred years…It would not be difficult Mein Fuehrer! Nuclear reactors could, heh…I’m sorry, Mr. President. Nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely. Greenhouses could maintain plant life. Animals could be bred and slaughtered. A quick survey would have to be made of all the available mine sites in the country, but I would guess that dwelling space for several hundred thousands of our people could easily be provided.

President: Well, I, I would hate to have to decide…who stays up and…who goes down.

Strangelove: Well, that would not be necessary, Mr. President. It could easily be accomplished with a computer. And a computer could be set and programmed to accept factors from youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross-section of necessary skills. Of course, it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition.

Naturally, they would breed prodigiously, eh? There would be much time, and little to do. Ha, ha. But ah, with the proper breeding techniques and a ratio of say, ten females to each male, I would guess that they could then work their way back to the present Gross National Product within say, twenty years.

… (later) …

General Buck Turgidson: (judiciously) You mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Wouldn’t that necessitate abandoning the so-called monogamous form of sexual relation ship?

Strangelove: Regrettably, yes. But it is a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to perform prodigious service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics, which will have to be of a highly stimulating order.

Er, I don’t think this is what Daly had in mind. . . . She only endorsed a nine-to-one ratio!

November 27, 2002


Senior investigators hired to root out fraud and corruption at Los Alamos National Laboratory have been fired — just days after revealing what they knew to officials with the Department of Energy’s inspector general.

Armed guards escorted Glenn Walp and Steven Doran out of their offices on Monday, a half-hour after Stan Busboom, director of security, informed the pair that they were not “suitable fit(s) for the requirements of (their) position(s)” at the lab’s Office of Security Inquiries.

Over the past several months, Walp and Doran had led a series of high-profile investigations that generated a tide of bad publicity for the birthplace of the atom bomb.

It’s this kind of stuff that explains why people don’t trust the whole Homeland Security enterprise.

November 27, 2002

MORE ON FREE SPEECH — OR THE LACK THEREOF — AT HARVARD. Alan Dershowitz notes that if you took “hate speech” and “offensiveness” seriously, you’d have to ban Tom Paulin and Amiri Baraka, two guys that Harvard seems to regard as neither offensive nor hateful despite their obviously being both.

Meanwhile Scott LeHigh reviews recent events at Harvard — including the cartoon-censorship affair at Harvard Business School, which he correctly calls “laughably trivial,” and remarks:

All that reveals a university community lamentably ready to sacrifice free speech on the altar of civility. Harvard is hardly alone there. . . .

Why no sustained outcry from the faculties? ”They don’t consider that to be a free speech issue because it is imposed by the academic left, and the academic left is an authoritarian movement, not one of genuine liberalism,” Silverglate, himself a liberal, observes.

Yes, complaints about McCarthyism ring rather hollow, these days, given that so much of academia has given up on academic freedom as a principle. And once the question isn’t whether speech should be suppressed, but rather who gets to do the suppression, the PC crowd shouldn’t be surprised to find itself targeted. But it will be, of course, if it ever comes to that. And if it doesn’t come to that, it’ll be because people like Silverglate, anathema to the PC crowd, have stood up for a principle that too many academics have been happy to abandon.

November 27, 2002


November 27, 2002

SAUDI SCHIZOPHRENIA: The IndePundit writes:

FEW YEARS AGO, I read a news report about some remarks made by a Saudi Prince to the Arab press that struck me as odd. The Prince was responding to a question about the presence of foreign military in the Kingdom, and he replied, rather brusquely, that there were no foreign troops in Saudi Arabia.

What was odd about this was that I was reading this report on board the USS Nimitz in the Persian Gulf, and a few hours earlier I had been tracking a flight of American F-15s from Prince Sultan Airbase to the Southern No-Fly Zone over Iraq.

The Saudis’ relationship with the truth is a complex one. Well, actually, “complex” is a euphemism for “they lie a lot, even when it’s obvious, and expect to be taken seriously.”

November 27, 2002

BOTH JOHN POINDEXTER AND THE HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT are coming in for a shellacking from bloggers. Here’s what the Acidman says:

We DO NOT NEED THAT SHIT, folks. Granting such power to Washington will not make us more secure; it will make us more likely to be terrorized– NOT by terrorists, but by own own government. If you trust the IRS, the ATF, the FBI, the CIA and the goddam Post Office, you’ll LOVE this fucked-up idea. Put everybody under a government microscope and see how many terrorists are targeted.

They won’t have time to fight terrorism, because they’ll be going after low-hanging fruit, which is YOU and ME, people. The super-spy agency will be no different than gun-control nutballs. They’ll take guns from law-abiding citizens because that’s easy to do.

The criminals get to keep theirs. They can’t find the fucking criminals; criminals HIDE. So, the crime-fighters go after you. They know where you live.

Given the choice between worrying about a POSSIBLE terrorist attack on my life and a DEFINITE government attack on my privacy, I’ll take my chances with the terrorists every time. Terrorists aren’t that smart, they don’t have that much money, and they aren’t the government. They aren’t frightening.

The government is.

Meanwhile, Shellshocking writes: “Stay the FUCK out of my shopping cart!” And she joins Kim du Toit, who has been righteously ranting about the Poindexterbase for some time, in encouraging people to write their Senators and Representatives.

Overplaying the domestic-spy hand could be a big mistake for the Administration. And what idiot decided that Poindexter would be a good public face for this program? Or was it some ingenious maneuverer trying to kill the program who put Poindexter in charge? That would explain the creepy logo, too.

Meanwhile, outside the blogosphere, Randy Barnett (who has been mentioned as a potential Supreme Court nominee. . . .) has some advice for the Administration: “When libertarians do not trust Republican legislators to respect the Bill of Rights, they will be more likely to vote Libertarian,” which as we’ve read has been costing the GOP elections.

UPDATE: Pejman Yousefzadeh, writing in TechCentralStation, isn’t very impressed either.

November 27, 2002

PARANOIA STRIKES DEEP. Into your soul it will creep. . . .

UPDATE: On the other hand, it’s interesting to see Gore jump on the anti-pomo bandwagon:

For now, Mr. Gore can only attempt to explain what motivates the ceaseless lampooning he continues to face from America’s columnists and commentators. “That’s postmodernism,” he offered. “It’s the combination of narcissism and nihilism that really defines postmodernism, and that’s another interview for another time, if you’re interested in it.

I’m not sure, though, that postmodernist critics are Gore’s biggest problem.

UPDATE: The latest research proves me right!

November 26, 2002


The city of Qurnah in the south of iraq (way down in the map, exactly where the tigris and euphrates meet) was bombarded for two days. A friend who works there says that the planes are bombing an empty area very close to the city, the windows of the hotel where he lives are broken, first no one knew why the americans would bomb an empty area. later when they went to look at the craters they found out that there were telephone lines burried in that area. the governarates of Basrah and Maysan are cut off the rest of Iraq, telephonically speaking, that is.

Now why would anyone want to do that?

November 26, 2002

THEIR TEAM DOESN’T LOSE MANY PLAYERS, but Arthur Silber is thinking of converting to heterosexuality in protest to the latest from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

November 26, 2002


November 26, 2002

AZIZ POONAWALLA HAS another post on non-Wahhabi Islam and terrorism.

November 26, 2002

BRINK LINDSEY has a post on the Bush Administration’s no-tariffs policy.

November 26, 2002


CHILDREN as young as 11 are being encouraged by the Government to show an interest in bomb-making.

A briefing document, which tells science teachers how to engage pupils’ interest, includes the suggestion that they “use ball-bearings to make tilt switches for bombs”.

BB guns, though, are right out.

November 26, 2002

VIA TIM BLAIR I found this reply by Australian Prime Minister John Howard to a letter by the father of a Bali victim who said Australia is too close to the United States:

You asked me: “Why did [my] son die?” I don’t have a perfect answer to that but I will do my best.

He died at the hands of a murderous group of Islamic fanatics who despise the liberal democratic, open life of Western nations, such as Australia. He died because there are people in the world who believe that indiscriminate violent murder is a justifiable political instrument.

Well said.

November 26, 2002

BOTH SOFIA SIDESHOW and Merde in France note that the warm reception received by President Bush from Easter Europeans isn’t getting much attention elsewhere. (Here’s a CNN story, though you have to scroll down to find out about the cheers.)

Strangely, Eastern Europe seems to be more of a repository of Western values than most of Western Europe these days.

UPDATE: Emmanuelle Richard has an interview with Merde in France.

UPDATE: Innocents Abroad has more — and scroll down for an additional post.

November 26, 2002


Asking whether one “believes” in the Big Bang doesn’t really answer any questions — it merely suggests that the Big Bang is itself part of a faith-based system, equivalent to a belief in Christ or Allah or Buddha or whomever. This is another piece of semantic ammunition that Creationists and others like to use: That science is just another system of “belief,” just another species of religion. Not only is science not just another species of faith, it’s not even in the same phylum. Faith is a conclusion. Science is a process. This is why, incidentally, the two are not ultimately inherently incompatible, just as driving somewhere is not inherently incompatible with having a fixed home address.

If I were putting together a poll on the Big Bang, I wouldn’t ask people if they believed in it. I would ask them, based on the evidence, what model of universal creation best described its current state. I’d make sure I left space for the “I have no idea” option. I believe — and this is just hypothesis, not a theory — that the data from that question would be informative.

Hmm. If you’re a Tiplerite, which category do you fall in?

November 26, 2002

HERE’S YET ANOTHER ARTICLE ON WEBLOGS. And here, courtesy of NYU’s journalism school, are a bunch more.

November 26, 2002

READER STEVE MILLER SENDS THIS LINK TO AN INDYMEDIA POST by apparent S.F. cop-killer Andrew McCrae. One thing’s for sure — this guy’s an economic idiot:

The truth is that the people of these Third World countries know exactly how to get themselves out of their economic ruts, but are forcefully kept from doing it because of a dominating U.S. influence. These people want to develop their own industrial and technological industries by putting tariffs on U.S. products. But they can’t do this because the World Trade Organization (WTO) which is both dominated by U.S. corporations, and has the authority to regulate third world use of tariffs, prevents them from doing so.

Tariffs on U.S. products sold within Third World countries would raise their prices and ease consumption of them. This would give third world industries space in the market to strengthen themselves. Using tariffs in this manner is a fundamental tool for any country to develop into a more powerful nation, but the WTO is perpetually keeping them from doing it, just so U.S. companies can sell their own products there.

This is the exact same situation the American colonists were protesting when they threw the Boston Tea Party.

Actually, they were protesting high tariffs on imports. Like tea. But hey, that’s just the icing on the cake, here.

November 26, 2002

THIS POST from a week ago about academic feminists’ statements about men got Barry Deutsch upset. I was posting from memory and I can’t give a cite, nor am I inclined to spend the library time it would take to make Deutsch happy. And I suppose I could be wrong, though my recollection of the statements in question seems quite clear. But if you’re interested, see the update.

UPDATE: Brian Carnell has a post in which he quotes Mary Daly (famous for excluding men from her classes at Boston College) as advocating a world nearly free of men. And he notes that Daly’s work has been endorsed by many prominent feminists. I suppose we’ll hear that it’s “satire,” though. Here’s an excerpt from an interview that Carnell quotes:

WIE: Which brings us to another question I wanted to ask you. Sally Miller Gearhart, in her article, “The Future—If There is One—Is Female,” writes: “At least three further requirements supplement the strategies of environmentalists if we were to create and preserve a less violent world. 1) Every culture must begin to affirm the female future. 2) Species responsibility must be returned to women in every culture. 3) The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately ten percent of the human race.” What do you think about this statement?

MD: I think it’s not a bad idea at all. If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males. People are afraid to say that kind of stuff anymore.

Yeah, this is the kind of stuff I remember. Does this sound like satire to you?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s a link to the interview. The passage quoted above appears here. There’s lots of other fascinating stuff. And here — as a testament to her mainstream impact — is some rather fawning praise of Daly’s work, including a quotation of the passage above, by a Unitarian minister from a church in Arlington, Virginia.

November 26, 2002

HE’S NOT THE MESSIAH, HE’S A VERY NAUGHTY BOY: Porphyrogenitus is insulting Mohammed.

UPDATE: Aziz Poonawalla replies: “Muhammad SAW is insulted every day. Normal Muslims (ie, 99.999%) don’t really give a damn.”

November 26, 2002


A 23-year-old man opposed to “police-state tactics” was captured in a hotel Tuesday as people in California flocked to a memorial service for a police officer he apparently admitted killing. . . .

Red Bluff, Calif., police officer David Mobilio, 31, was shot once in the head on Nov. 19 as he was refueling his cruiser. A man identifying himself as Andrew McCrae claimed responsibility in a posting Monday to a Web site for San Francisco news,

“Hello everyone, my name’s Andy,” he said in one of two letters. “I killed a police officer in Red Bluff, California, in a motion to bring attention to, and halt, the police-state tactics that have come to be used throughout our country.

The writer said the killing also was “an action against corporate irresponsibility,” which he blamed for “all of the major problems in America and throughout the world today.”

I blame Molly Ivins and Noam Chomsky and all the others who have stirred up such hatred. Does Tom Daschle know about this?

November 26, 2002

I HAVEN’T BEEN UP TO POSTING MUCH TODAY. End-of-semester blahs, I guess. I’m not actually sick, and yet I just feel kind of, well, crappy. But one of my posts led to this poetic response, so I guess it wasn’t wasted.

November 26, 2002


ASHINGTON, Nov. 25 — The White House outlined a detailed proposal today to set up a competition among the world’s poorest nations for portions of a new $5 billion foreign aid fund. To win, countries must demonstrate that they are curbing corruption, spending more on education and following free market economic principles.

Under the plan, a new federal corporation will be set up to administer the aid, and decisions will be made by a Cabinet-level panel that will dole out the money much the way colleges assign scholarships.

The proposal has yet to be submitted to Congress, but it has a good chance of passing.

“Think of it as a bonus pool,” one of Mr. Bush’s senior advisers said today, briefing reporters. The administration’s judgments about which nations will get the money and which will not, he said, would depend on scores on a range of performance tests. The countries would be rated on everything from their encouragement of civil liberties and their spending on education and health, to their control of inflation and their use of budget targets and tax policy.

As a reader writes, this is actually pretty radical.

November 26, 2002

THE STORY OF SAUDI COMPLICITY IN THE 9/11 ATTACKS seems to have legs, much to the discomfiture of the Bush Administration.

Or is it all part of some devious plan?

November 26, 2002

JAMES LILEKS HAS SOME THOUGHTS about antisemitism in Minnesota, and elsewhere.

November 26, 2002

EUGENE ROSTOW, one of my old law professors, is dead. He was one of my “old” law professors even when I had him, and had to take off part of a semester for a heart attack. But he was an excellent teacher, and encouraged me to publish the paper I wrote for his class, thus starting me on an academic career even though I don’t think he agreed with the paper’s conclusions. And his 1945 article, The Japanese-American Cases: A Disaster, is a classic.

November 26, 2002

GOOD NEWS / BAD NEWS: Okay, I have to go teach Administrative Law, but I just ran into my old secretary who left here for a job with the county public health department. She’s carrying a pager that’s just for smallpox (or other bioterrorism, but smallpox is what they’re worried about). She gets her shot next week. They’ve already identified the locations where they’ll give emergency vaccinations, and they’ve made all the plans on who goes where with what so that all it takes to start the vaccination process is one mass pager message. They even have pre-arrangements for buses to take people to the innoculation centers.

I’m glad to hear that there’s so much planning and efficiency involved. But it indicates to me that someone is taking the threat rather more seriously than the general run of the media tends to suggest. And while the efficiency is comforting, what this says about the threat isn’t comforting at all.