Archive for November, 2002

November 26, 2002

SORRY for the light posting this morning. I’ve been kind of busy, and not feeling especially well, this week. But here’s a big Paul McCartney post from Blogcritics. I’ll try to have more later this afternoon.

November 26, 2002

JACK O’TOOLE’S POLITICALPROFESSIONAL.COM is back up and running, after an extended hiatus. Welcome back, Jack!

November 26, 2002

STEVEN DEN BESTE has some thoughts on permalinks and “coccooning” on the left.

UPDATE: Hesiod Theogeny replies. (And Wilde responds, though Hesiod seems to have changed his post since Wilde’s response).

ANOTHER UPDATE: Vegard Valberg says Den Beste is wrong.

ONE MORE: Eugene Volokh has some cogent thoughts.

OKAY THIS REALLY IS THE LAST ONE: Max Sawicky has weighed in. Meanwhile, Bill Peschel emails:

I’m still busy with the kids on my day off, so I haven’t blogged on this, but I just checked Rittenhouse’s site and see that two of them — Aint No Bad Dude and Into the Breach — are still linked to Charles Johnson’s site, five days after Rittenhouse threatened to purge his blogroll of lgf’s “fellow travelers.”

In fact, I don’t think they even know they’re “under the gun.”

All this floss flying about censorship and cocoons, and nothing has actually happened.

Is there a blogging version of “all hat and no cattle?”

Um, isn’t that what blogging is all about? . . . . And Stefan Sharkansky says he’s identified some hate speech.

November 26, 2002

A FINE ESSAY by the father of a Marine, in the Washington Post. Excerpts:

Before my son became a Marine, I never thought much about who was defending me. . . .

John’s enlisting was unexpected, so deeply unsettling. I did not relish the prospect of answering the question “So where is John going to college?” from the parents who were itching to tell me all about how their son or daughter was going to Harvard. At the private high school John attended, no other students were going into the military.

“But aren’t the Marines terribly Southern?” asked one perplexed mother while standing next to me at the brunch following graduation. “What a waste, he was such a good student,” said another parent. One parent (a professor at a nearby and rather famous university) spoke up at a school meeting and suggested that the school should “carefully evaluate what went wrong.” . . .

My son has connected me to my country in a way that I was too selfish and insular to experience before. I feel closer to the waitress at our local diner than to some of my oldest friends. She has two sons in the Corps. They are facing the same dangers as my boy. When the guy who fixes my car asks me how John is doing, I know he means it. His younger brother is in the Navy.

Read the whole thing. The author will be doing a live online discussion at WashingtonPost.Com at 1 p.m. Eastern today.

November 26, 2002


November 26, 2002

THE DMCA AS ANTITRUST VIOLATION? Using it to keep people from sharing sale prices seems like one to me. I hope that some state attorneys general investigate this.

UPDATE: Reader Howard Marvel says that there shouldn’t be an antitrust issue here unless there’s collusion involved. I don’t know, of course, but complaints from multiple people, with the same legal theory, addressed to the same fairly obscure website, suggest to me that there probably is. But that’s why I posed it as a question, not a conclusion, and suggested investigation.

November 26, 2002

FREE SPEECH AT MICHIGAN: Catharine MacKinnon recently lectured on free speech and academic freedom. At least one student is rather unhappy.

UPDATE: I wonder what MacKinnon would say about this?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Alex Bensky writes:

Professor MacKinnon does serve one, albeit, minor constructive purpose. Some years ago, in a week moment, the University of Michigan law school gave me a degree. Every so often they ask me for money and if I’m ever tempted to give them any I remember that MacKinnon is on the faculty.

This is nothing new. The day of the faculty-sponsored picnic for graduating students in 1973 a number of female medical students showed their displeasure with a supposedly offensive textbook by burning a number of copies. I was upset about this and was stunned that evening when almost everyone else seemed to see this as not noteworthy.

A professor went to China one summer and then lectured to an avid and approving audience about how the Chinese system was based on real justice, aimed at rehabilitation only, was gentle and considerate of the human rights of all. This was during the cultural revolution. I recall disapproving looks from everyone when during question time I suggested that perhaps this wasn’t all there was to the justice system in the Some People’s Republic.

And so on. In the spring of 1972 I could only rarely walk down the street, minding my own business and wearing a “Humphrey for President” button, without drawing catcalls and insults.

A frequent theme in the law school’s fundraising letters is the need to maintain the high prestige that the law school enjoys. I am sorry to say that I have never been able to take quite the pride in my Michigan J.D. I wish I could.

Well, a university is a big place, and it’s not fair to judge it by the actions of a few. But it’s certainly true that Professor MacKinnon adds no lustre to Michigan’s stature in the free-speech department. Meanwhile Halley’s Comment offers a perspective on 21st-century feminism that MacKinnon is unlikely to favor.

November 26, 2002


OK, I just finished reading Prey.

Yow. A thin veneer of science, with frequent references to genetic algorithms, nanotechnology, molecular this and that, genetic engineering, etc. is used to gussy up a plot that merges the juicy bits from various B sci-fi movies of the past, including “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” tracking down nests of loathsome insects, the small group of desperate people being picked off, one-by-one, by the loathsome enemy (with a traitor in their midst) and various and sundry other random things. Then it throws in the afternoon soaps, and some other stuff.

Conclusion: “A good story, nothing to do with nanotechnology.”

My copy should arrive today. I’ll let you know what I think when I’m done.

November 25, 2002

SAY, WHAT IF ALL THE TALK ABOUT IRAQ has just been misdirection?

November 25, 2002

DENISE HOWELL has blogged the Pavlovich case. This is going to make it hard for Big Entertainment companies to sue people in a friendly California court.

November 25, 2002

IT’S HARD TO BE A MODERATE MUSLIM IN EGYPT. And a lot of other places, apparently.

November 25, 2002


UPDATE: Jacob T. Levy has a remembrance.

November 25, 2002

VIA JERRY POURNELLE I found this cool satellite image of fog in Central California.

He also points to this excellent essay on copyright, which I had meant to link last week but didn’t. Check ’em both out. Here’s an excerpt from the essay:

The Founding Fathers wanted that term to be 14 years, with an additional 14 years if the author were still alive. After 28 years, they figured you’d had your chance to exploit your creation, and now it belonged to the nation at large. That way we would never end up with a system of hereditary privilege, similar to the printers guilds of Renaissance England, who tied up rights to dead authors and tightly controlled what could or could not be printed and who could or could not use literary material.

In America, land of free ideas as well as free people, this would never happen, they said.

Well, it’s happened. It’s happened because for years now Congress has allowed it to happen. We now have an exact replica of the medieval Stationers’ Company, which controlled the English copyrights, only its names today are Disney, Bertelsmann, and AOL Time Warner. The big media companies, holding the copyrights of dead authors, have said, in effect, that Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton were wrong and that we should go back to the aristocratic system of hereditary ownership, granting copyrights in perpetuity. To effect this result, they’ve liberally greased the palms of Congressmen in the form of campaign contributions — and it’s worked.


November 25, 2002


The US will on Tuesday unveil a bold proposal to eliminate tariffs on manufactured goods, calling for countries in the World Trade Organisation to sweep away all duties no later than 2015. . . .

The key elements of the US proposal, according to industry and congressional officials briefed on the plan, are: A rapid reduction in high tariffs on non-agricultural products, so that by 2010 there would be no tariffs above 8 per cent. All tariffs would then be reduced progressively to zero by 2015. The elimination, no later than 2010, of all duties that are currently below 5 per cent. A parallel initiative calling for faster elimination of tariffs in many industrial sectors such as chemicals, paper, wood and construction equipment.

Wonder how it’ll fly in Europe?

November 25, 2002

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST. In Algeria, this time.

November 25, 2002


November 25, 2002

DEREK LOWE isn’t impressed with Craig Venter’s plans to create a new “artificial” form of life:

The whole project could be explained in terms of cars and trucks: what we have here is an attempt to disassemble a small car down to the most primitive conveyance possible, by removing parts one by one until nothing extraneous remains. This stripped-down go-cart will indeed be a new vehicle, one that’s so simple that it could be built from things lying around the house, stuff that you wouldn’t normally associate with cars at all. People that think that you need a huge factory to build a car will be amazed. But this thing won’t stand a chance on the open road, and will probably barely make it around your back yard on a warm day.

The Neal Stephenson quote is good, too.

November 25, 2002


The show is certainly worth seeing, but not quite for the reasons that Mr. Moore imagines. If you want to know why much of the left has lost its moral compass, if you want to know why Christopher Hitchens no longer feels able to write for the Nation, the reasons are writ large in Mr. Moore’s staggeringly crude mixture of agitprop and stand-up comedy.

He works from a simple premise. America is the evil empire, one vast, continental gulag with McDonald’s golden arches towering above the barbed wire fence. Corporations grind the workers into the ground and devote endless ingenuity to finding new ways of polluting the atmosphere. Black people are little more than slaves, and all those intelligent people who did not vote for George W. Bush two years ago are busy digging an escape tunnel to Canada.

I exaggerate, of course. But not by much.

Davis loves OxBlog, though! No, really:

Few members of his British fan club bother to acquaint themselves with the basic facts about the American political system, so they fall easy prey to his fictions. The point was put forcefully to me by David Adesnik, one of the three American post-grad students who run Oxblog, a new web log devoted to foreign policy musings. As Mr. Adesnik observed when I met him and his two colleagues Joshua Chafetz and Dan Urman last week, it is amazing how much familiarity with McDonald’s, Arnold Schwarzenegger and MTV substitute for knowledge of real American culture.

Yeah, I’ve noticed that too.

November 25, 2002

ONCE AGAIN, I find out what’s going on at my own campus via Eugene Volokh’s weblog. Here’s the story:

None of the six Kappa Sigma fraternity members at the University of Tennessee will face disciplinary action by UT for allegedly painting their faces black for a party.

Although UT-Knoxville’s Kappa Sigma chapter was suspended by the fraternity’s national headquarters due to the incident, both the fraternity and individual members are protected from official school sanctions by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, according to an “overview” of the Oct. 22 incident released by UT.

“Controversy and debate are a normal part of life at a university, and (UT) is firmly committed to protecting the constiutional rights of freedom of speech and expression – even when some find it to be insensitve and offensive,” said the UT report.

It took them a while to come around, but they did come around. Good for them.

November 25, 2002

ANOTHER LETTER FROM OSAMA has been discovered on yet another rabble-rousing website.

UPDATE: This is pretty good, too.

November 25, 2002

STILL MORE ON THE CUNY/BROOKLYN COLLEGE TENURE CASE, over at The Volokh Conspiracy. One of the College’s early defenders has now changed his mind and decided that Professor Johnson is being unfairly punished for his political views.

November 25, 2002

I JUST HEARD NPR reporting on the FBI hate-crime story that Iain Murray has already debunked. Excerpt:

The hate crimes figures are a joke. Alabama regularly reports no hate crimes. The total number that the FBI reports is normally lower than absolute number of murders. Because no-one can agree on what a hate crime is, agencies vary in how they record and report them. The base number of anti-muslim incidents from 2000 was tiny — 28 — and so any increase is going to be large in percentage terms. There are still, however, only half as many anti-muslim incidents as there are anti-jewish ones. If there were more incidents this year than last overall, this was at least partly because a lot more police agencies are contributing figures this year. This makes trend comparisons impossible, and the AP was very naughty to say they increased by 17 percent.

But you’ve got to say there’s a trend or there’s no story. Scroll down for more debunking, this time directed at MADD’s latest report.

November 25, 2002


I’m sensing some nervous tension in your last missive. You seem concerned about the exchange of letters between American and Saudi intellectuals. You should be scared, since it’s pretty clear that your faith in your faith is staggeringly weak.

Let me explain. You believe you’re a devout Muslim, armed with a super-freaky interpretation of the Quran. OK, so yada, yada, yada, you’re devout. But it’s pretty clear that you believe that when Muslims – much less infidels – are faced with an array of choices, your version of the creed isn’t going to win. This is why you fulminate against the inability to impose Shariah, the U.S. separation of church and state, and the fact that American culture seems to be kicking some global ass. Because without the power of the state, without the elimination of a marketplace of ideas, your “fun-loving” philosophy is doomed to go the way of the do-do bird. Even with the power of the state, you’re in trouble. Looked at Iran recently?

Read the whole thing.

November 25, 2002

MELISSA SCHWARTZ has a new URL. Adjust your bookmarks accordingly. And visit to congratulate her on her stunning new hairstyle.

November 25, 2002


Teachers are afraid to give lessons on the holocaust and the hatred of Jews, because half the class will walk out, says Jan van Kooten, head of education at the Anne Frank Foundation. “Another example: pupils from Monnickendam were no[t] allowed by their parents to visit the Jewish Historical Museum, because they did not want their children to learn about Jewish culture, ‘because Jews are bad.'”


UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan has more examples of Euro antisemitism.

November 25, 2002

MISS WORLD: After being driven out of Nigeria by crazed Islamists, it’s now being attacked in London by crazed feminists.

UPDATE: Imagine what would people would say if a gang of crazed American religious zealots started burning mosques and attacking foreigners. But that’s what happened in Kaduna:

There were reports of sporadic shooting in the city as enraged Muslim youths attacked Christians and set churches ablaze to protest what they described as an assault on their faith. Non-indigenes were also not spared, as the youths showed their anger.

P.M.News reporter in Kaduna said he counted as many as 21 corpses on the road as he looked for the nearest business centre to file his report.

As uncivilized as the Ku Klux Klan. But less condemned.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Iain Murray notes:

In one obscure city, religious clashes killed 2,000 people. That’s about the same as died in two years of the Intifada in Israel. Yet there is no Western outrage, no calls for Nigeria to be divided between its two obviously incompatible faiths, and no calls for the UN to pass security council resolutions. If ever there was evidence that the clash of civilizations is about more than just the the Palestinian question, here it is. Perhaps the Miss World riots will open a few eyes.


November 25, 2002

WHY THE U.N. CHARTER NO LONGER CONTROLS ON USE OF FORCE: Because it’s been a disastrous failure and nobody follows it. Here’s a quote:

International “rules” concerning use of force are no longer regarded as obligatory by states. Between 1945 and 1999, two-thirds of the members of the United Nations–126 states out of 189–fought 291 interstate conflicts in which over 22 million people were killed. This series of conflicts was capped by the Kosovo campaign in which nineteen NATO democracies representing 780 million people flagrantly violated the Charter. The international system has come to subsist in a parallel universe of two systems, one de jure, the other de facto. The de jure system consists of illusory rules that would govern the use of force among states in a platonic world of forms, a world that does not exist. The de facto system consists of actual state practice in the real world, a world in which states weigh costs against benefits in regular disregard of the rules solemnly proclaimed in the all-but- ignored de jure system. The decaying de jure catechism is overly schematized and scholastic, disconnected from state behavior, and unrealistic in its aspirations for state conduct.

The upshot is that the Charter’s use-of-force regime has all but collapsed. This includes, most prominently, the restraints of the general rule banning use of force among states, set out in Article 2(4). The same must be said, I argue here, with respect to the supposed restraints of Article 51 limiting the use of force in self-defense. Therefore, I suggest that Article 51, as authoritatively interpreted by the International Court of Justice, cannot guide responsible U.S. policy-makers in the U.S. war against terrorism in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

This is from a law review article by Prof. Michael Glennon, The Fog of Law: Self-Defense, Inherence, and Incoherence in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, 25 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 539 (2002). (Emphasis added above).

November 25, 2002

TENNESSEE TEA: Bill Hobbs points out that Tennessee is doing its part to lessen our dependence on imported oil.

November 25, 2002

I ALREADY MENTIONED THE NEWSWEEK STORY ON THE SAUDI GOVERNMENT CONNECTION TO THE 9/11 HIJACKERS but here’s a small item from it that hasn’t gotten as much attention as it deserves:

A federal law-enforcement source told NEWSWEEK that Basnan—who was recently convicted of visa fraud and is awaiting deportation—was a known “Al Qaeda sympathizer” who “celebrated the heroes of September 11” at a party after the attacks and openly talked about “what a wonderful, glorious day it had been.”

And this is a guy getting money from the Saudi royal family, one with a number of connections that suggest he’s some sort of an operative. This tells us all we need to know about the Saudis’ attitude. And, as far as I’m concerned, there’s plenty of justification for our next attack to land on Saudi Arabia instead of (or as well as) Iraq.

UPDATE: Nick Schulz emails that this story has even gotten Mark Kleiman sounding bellicose:

It now appears that the Saudi government was significantly complicit in bombing our capital and our biggest city, killing 3000 Americans in the process. Are we going to take it lying down?

I hope not.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here’s a story in The New Republic, too. I think this has legs.

November 25, 2002

JOHN MOSER HAS MORE on the Brooklyn College tenure battle. And he provides this link to a page at the History News Network on the matter.

November 25, 2002

THE GAP BETWEEN MICHAEL CRICHTON’S NOVEL AND REALITY: My TechCentralStation column, which is running early this week, is up.

November 25, 2002

MICHELE at A Small Victory is listing the things that she’s thankful for. Indymedia is at the top of the list. No, really.

November 25, 2002


If the American government, or the chatterers, or the academy were at all serious about trying to understand the real world, we would be in the midst of a discussion of the potentially earth-shaking events in Iran. And the main topic of discussion would be how close we are to the downfall of the mullahcracy in Tehran. Last Friday something like half a million Iranian citizens took to the streets to demonstrate their disgust with the regime of the Islamic Republic (the very same Islamic Republic with which some of our diplomats unaccountably continue to make deals, and which our secretary of state unaccountably refuses to condemn in the same clear language used by the president, the national-security adviser, and the secretary of defense). Contrary to what little you have been able to read in the popular press, these demonstrations were not limited to Tehran, but spread all over the country, with amazing results. And it was particularly noteworthy that there were very large numbers of female participants; in Tehran, some people I spoke to estimated that between one-half and two-thirds of the demonstrators were women.

I’ve been puzzled about why almost no one besides Michael Ledeen (and some bloggers) is talking about this. I’m almost ready to conclude that the Administration is deliberately downplaying it, because they think the mullahs are on their way out anyway, and that (visible) U.S. support for the revolution will do more harm than good. (There is, I strongly suspect, some invisible support.) Either that, or they’re just idiots.

November 25, 2002

ANDREW SULLIVAN has an extensive analysis of the “Osama bin Laden letter” published by The Guardian. I think the letter is bogus, but Sullivan points out that in many ways that’s not the most important question.

Anyway, I’ve composed a reply:

Dear Osama:

Why do we hate you? Because you killed 3,000 Americans and want to kill more. And when you kill Americans, you’re dead meat — and so is anyone who helps you, and maybe anyone who sympathizes too loudly. The question now isn’t whether you will win. It’s whether the Bush Administration will succeed in disposing of you and your cause before you provoke a response that will cause Arab civilization, such as it is, to join the Aztecs, the Carthaginians, and others who overplayed their brutal hand against a superior foe.

A bit shorter than Osama’s, but then my grievance is simpler.

UPDATE: Mark Kleiman writes to ask if I’m endorsing genocide. No. It’s what I hope to prevent, as I made clear in an earlier post. But I do view genocide, or at least the destruction of Arab civilization (if not its people) as the inevitable result of Ladenite efforts to escalate and inflame the conflict unless the United States manages to win an early victory. If it’s “war to the knife,” well, there’s only one likely outcome.

November 25, 2002

SYMPATHY FOR THE MESSIAH: Brock Yates feels sorry for Jesus for what he’s suffered at the hands of his devotees:

Poor Jesus Christ. He has been attached to every conceivable nutball cause ranging from cruel, paranoid redneck racism to dietary fads, but never has his name been attached to a motor vehicle.

Not so far, Brock. . . .

November 25, 2002

FACT-CHECKING MICHAEL MOORE: Forbes says that “Bowling for Columbine” comes up short in the accuracy department. Excerpt:

ACTUALLY: Cool story, but police say it’s not true. They say the shooters skipped their bowling class that day.

MISSILES: Moore wonders whether kids at Columbine might be driven to violence because of the “weapons of mass destruction” made in Lockheed Martin’s assembly plant in Littleton. Moore shows giant rockets being assembled.

ACTUALLY: Lockheed Martin’s plant in Littleton doesn’t make weapons. It makes space launch vehicles for TV satellites.

WELFARE: Moore places blame for a shooting by a child in Michigan on the work-to-welfare program that prevented the boy’s mother from spending time with him.

ACTUALLY: Moore doesn’t mention that mom had sent the boy to live in a house where her brother and a friend kept drugs and guns.

BANK: Moore says North Country Bank & Trust in Traverse City, Mich., offered a deal where, “if you opened an account, the bank would give you a gun.” He walks into a branch and walks out with a gun.

ACTUALLY: Moore didn’t just walk in off the street and get a gun. The transaction was staged for cameras. You have to buy a long-term CD, then go to a gun shop to pick up the weapon after a background check.

Hmm. If a big corporation were this dishonest, Moore would be making fun of it.

UPDATE: SpinSanity has a post in response, concluding:

When the most popular documentary of the year is riddled with blatant lies and distortions, it’s a cause for concern. When the film is part of a pattern by one of the nation’s most prominent political celebrities, it’s disturbing. And when the media gives Michael Moore free reign to spread his lies and distortions with very little critical analysis, it’s a sad comment on our democracy.

Or at least on our media. However, another reader — who because he works at Lockheed-Martin will remain anonymous — points out that the plant Moore refers to did formerly do missile work. That’s true, though the Titans that Moore showed — unless he was using ancient archival footage — were commercial vehicles used to loft peaceful payloads, not “weapons of mass destruction.” (Though I believe that military spy satellites are among them).

November 25, 2002

MUSLIMS AGAINST FREE SPEECH: Eugene Volokh is unimpressed by the Muslim Legal Defense and Education Fund’s assault on Alan Dershowitz.

November 25, 2002

READER TOM BOSWORTH writes with a suggestion:

An idea just came to mind: Make the future Medals of Honor out of the remains of United Flight 93. As long as there is enough left to cast, I can”t think of a more fitting tribute to the people who defeated the hijackers of that plane, nor a more meaningful material to make the medals for the best of the professionals who defend us.

The Victoria’s Crosses are to this day cast from Russian bronze cannons captured by the British in 1855 at the Battle of Sebastapol during the Crimean War. The material from which our Medals of Honor are made could be as meaningful.

I kind of like this.

UPDATE: Reader Adrian Edmonds writes that the Russian-cannon story is a myth:

It is a common belief that these medals are made from Russian cannon. However, this has never been true. The original metal used for the proofs were unsatisfactory so Victoria rejected them and as a decision to make them from base metal. not semi precious , had been made, a engineer went exploring at Woolwich Armoury and came away with two 18 pounder cannon.

In spite of the fact that these were clearly marked with Chinese characters, the myth still persists today that the medals are made from Russian cannon. I believed it myself until last year until a visit to the musem at Woolwich.

Well, there you are.

November 25, 2002

DAMIAN PENNY points out another academic conspiracy theorist.

November 24, 2002

CHRIS MOONEY has an interesting piece in the Boston Globe on Tyler Cowen and globalization. Excerpt:

It’s no cliche to observe that the 40-year-old Cowen – author of 1998’s ”In Praise of Commercial Culture” and director of George Mason University’s Mercatus Center – is what he eats. Cowen’s guide opens with the proclamation, ”Restaurants manifest the spirit of capitalist multiculturalism.” On a similar note, his books celebrate the dynamism and creativity that market forces introduce into the arts and culture. Cowen champions such detested entities as Hollywood, megastores, and Brit pop while sharply criticizing snobs, purists, and government subsidies to arts organizations. ”There’s no National Endowment for the Arts that subsidizes good food,” he told an interviewer last year. ”Yet we have a wonderfully diverse selection.”

True enough.

November 24, 2002

MERDE IN FRANCE points to a report that Iraqi civilians are mostly afraid that America will wimp out again, like it did in 1991.

November 24, 2002

AT THE BLOG CONFERENCE, people were talking about the dangers of “ideological coccooning,” though the only concrete example that anyone could think of was that British guy who didn’t want warbloggers to link to him. Now Rick Heller says he’s found another.

November 24, 2002

WHAT WOULD JESUS DRIVE? The Rev. Donald Sensing writes on why the question is nonsense.

November 24, 2002

MICHAEL MOORE, RACIST? Well, maybe not, but the American Prospect accuses him of racial blindness, at least:

My beef with Moore is this: He has managed to make a movie about gun violence in America — where 53 percent of the gun murder victims are black — without interviewing a single black victim of gun violence, or even asking black community leaders, who have spent decades successfully trying to combat the problem, for their insights. . . . He went to South Central in Los Angeles, to the very corner where the Los Angeles riots started in 1992 — but didn’t bother to ask that neighborhood’s black or Latino residents about their lives. Instead, he stood on a street corner, accompanied by Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear, who is also white, and said, in effect, Look how brave I am for coming here, and man, isn’t there a lot of smog? He spoke to a white Los Angeles Police Department officer. He spoke at length with a young white teen in Oscoda, Mich., who openly admittedly to selling stolen handguns to the folks in Detroit (where 395 people were murdered in 2001) but did not interview any of the people who were on the buying — and shooting — end of the transactions. How can you make what is essentially a movie about murder without speaking to murderers? . . .

Sure, it will be less glamorous to take on the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs over the more than 4,000 abandoned and neglected buildings that blight the city than it was to harass a stooped and elderly Charlton Heston at his Hollywood home. And it might not make you an international hero to challenge principals and teachers at persistently failing high schools — you know, the kind where half the students drop out and the ones that graduate at, say, age 21, can barely read or do simple math. But in the end, it might make a hell of a lot more difference.

Any guesses why Moore didn’t take this approach?

November 24, 2002

BRUTAL AND CORRUPT, BUT CLUELESS: Here’s an unflattering portrait of the Saudi ruling class.

November 24, 2002

A PACK, NOT A HERD: Jonathan Rauch has a great column on this:

Suppose President Bush called for volunteers in the war on terror, and thousands of people came forward. Suppose they created volunteer networks for disaster relief, emergency preparedness, and civil defense. Suppose they did most of this work at the community level, under the radar of the national media. And suppose it all happened not in the massive, militarized, top-down mode of WWII but in the networked, decentralized, bottom-up manner of WWW.

Well, brace yourself. Americans have heard the call. . . .

I caught up with Alan E. Imhoff, a retiree who is helping organize hundreds of the county’s retired doctors, nurses, and other health personnel into a volunteer medical-reserve corps. “Basically,” says Imhoff, “our whole focus is on what we do locally for the first 72 hours, until state and national assistance reaches us.” He adds that preparedness programs are sprouting in Maryland so fast it’s hard to keep up with the acronyms.

The jihadists of militant Islam are reported to believe that as they toppled the Soviet colossus, so, in time, they can topple the American one. What they do not understand is that the Soviet state made war on civil society for most of its 70-year rule. Americans, meanwhile, have nurtured their churches, charities, and clubs. The Soviet Union fell because it was brittle as well as brutal. America, with its countless nodes of activity and authority, is somewhat more vulnerable than the USSR, but it is infinitely more robust. More robust than Al Qaeda realizes. More robust, even, than many Americans realize.

Yep. But we need to go on the offensive.

November 24, 2002


After a tense 30-minute segment finished taping at WDSU’s studios in New Orleans, the two candidates were preparing to leave. According to witnesses, Landrieu looked over her shoulder and told Terrell, “This is your last campaign.”

A stunned Terrell replied, “She threatened me.”

No other words passed between the two New Orleans women, but moderator Alec Gifford said Landrieu appeared peeved.

“She just kind of stalked out of the studio,” Gifford said.

I think that if somebody tries to assassinate Terrell, it will be Landrieu’s fault. And if somebody tries to assassinate George Bush, it will be because of all the claims that he’s a “boy emperor” who was never elected, and seized power in a “coup.” Will we hear criticisms from Daschle then?

Can the sarcasm here get any thicker?

I do think, though, that Daschle will wish he’d kept his mouth shut last week, because those remarks of his have primed to pump to make Landrieu’s “threat” a big issue in the coming week. Another Democratic Senatorial candidate on the defensive because of bungling by Democratic Party bigshots –go figure! It’s as if they just don’t want to win.

UPDATE: Reader Robert Racansky sends this link in answer to Daschle’s remarks.

November 24, 2002

WHILE I WAS AT THE GYM, one of the chat shows involved the “what would Jesus drive” discussion. Let me offer a perspective:

Who cares?

And as for what preening churchmen think we ought to drive, well, my sentiments are unprintable. And I think it’s pretty lame that people who would never in a million years let some preacher tell them who to sleep with somehow think it’s cool when preachers start telling people not to drive SUVs.

Given the notorious inability — and unwillingness — of the religious racket to police its own members’ behavior lately, I have zero interest in their opinions on the war, the environment, “social justice,” evolution, or any of the subjects on which they desire to opine, and about which they typically know nothing.

November 24, 2002


November 24, 2002

TALKLEFT has some interesting observations about the Left’s ball-dropping on civil liberties during the Clinton Administration. That was one of my main reasons for breaking with them, and it’s nice to see someone talking about the problem. Maybe Bob Barr’s new role with the ACLU (no, really!) will inject some new life into them.

November 24, 2002

BEST OP-ED MISSED WHILE I WAS ON TRAVEL: This one by Michael Glennon. It explains how the U.N. Charter’s provisions on military force have ceased to bind nations, because they’ve been so widely and thoroughly flouted. Excerpt:

This record of violation is legally significant. The international legal system is voluntary and states are bound only by rules to which they consent. A treaty can lose its binding effect if a sufficient number of parties engage in conduct that is at odds with the constraints of the treaty. The consent of United Nations member states to the general prohibition against the use of force, as expressed in the Charter, has in this way been supplanted by a changed intent as expressed in deeds.

The United States is therefore correct: it would not be unlawful to attack Iraq, even without Security Council approval. It seems the Charter has, tragically, gone the way of the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact which purported to outlaw war and was signed by every major belligerent in World War II.

Somewhere at my office (where I’m not at the moment) I have an article saying that a majority of the U.N.’s members have violated its use-of-force provisions since its establishment. That would seem to bolster Glennon’s argument. I’ll try and find it and post the link tomorrow.

November 24, 2002

MICKEY KAUS REPORTS from the road, with astonishing observations. I noticed the friendly New Havenites myself, and I’m at a loss. It wasn’t a place known for friendliness when I was there — more like a place that wanted to be as surly as New York, but didn’t quite have the moxie to pull it off.

November 24, 2002

“I AM AS BELOVED AS ATHLETE’S FOOT” — Gerhard Schroeder isn’t winning any popularity awards.

November 24, 2002

JIM HENLEY has a long post on the efforts of moderate Muslims that’s well worth reading. There is opposition to Wahhabism within Islam. We should encourage it. Scroll up to this post, too. And, of course, there’s lots of stuff by Aziz Poonawalla that’s worth reading.

November 24, 2002

ROOT CAUSES: Tacitus explores why they hate us.

November 24, 2002

WORRIED ABOUT THE FUTURE ON EARTH? The Lifeboat Foundation is working toward building space colonies to save humanity. Well, I’m glad that someone is.

November 24, 2002

HERE’S MORE ON THE SAUDI 9/11 CONNECTION from the Washington Post. It’s likely, of course, that the Bush Administration is pursuing a one-terror-supporting-nation-at-a-time strategy that will address Saudi Arabia later. It’s also possible that it isn’t. I think that either way it’s in the public interest for people to keep pointing the problem out.

Colbert King is pointing out some problems with the Saudis, too.

UPDATE: SKBubba is a Democrat, and he’s making noise. But that’s not quite what I meant.

November 23, 2002

MARK STEYN IS ALL OVER THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION in a fashion that you’d think the Democrats would be emulating:

For over a year now, nothing has been asked of Muslims, at home or abroad: you can be equivocal about bin Laden and an apologist for suicide bombers, and still get a photo-op with Dubya; you can be a member of a regime whose state TV stations and government-owned newspapers call for Muslims to kill all Jews and Christians, and you’ll still get to kick your shoes off with George and Laura at the Crawford ranch.

This is not just wrong but self-defeating. As long as Dubya and Colin Powell and the rest are willing to prance around doing a month-long Islamic minstrel-show routine for the amusement of the A-list Arabs, Muslims will rightly see it for what it is: a sign of profound cultural weakness. Healthy relationships require at least some token reciprocity.

This is Bush’s Achilles’ heel, but the Democrats are ideologically unable to exploit it. Otherwise they’d be making noise about everything from the stealthy evacuation of bin Laden’s relatives just after 9/11 to this account of Saudi funding for the 9/11 attackers.

November 23, 2002

I’M BACK. The flights were fine. The conference was great — my only complaint is that they didn’t make it available via streaming audio or video. But if you follow the links below you can get some excellent blog coverage. And don’t miss Jeff Jarvis’s coverage — start here and scroll up.

November 22, 2002

SPINSANITY says that Daschle was over the top, but that Limbaugh doesn’t deserve a pass. You might want to read this too, though.

November 22, 2002

HEH. Now John Hiler is saying that bloggers are addicted to blogging and their readers are addicted to reading. Hmm. Is co-dependency the key to the blogosphere’s success? He says businesses haven’t figured this out.

November 22, 2002

I’M LISTENING TO A FASCINATING LEGAL DEBATE between Mickey Kaus and Yale Law Prof. Jack Balkin. Follow the links below to see some more detailed accounts.

November 22, 2002

THE BLOGOSPHERE: While people here at the conference are talking about weblogs’ power to enforce transparency, here’s an example of how that happens, courtesy of Wired News. Michael Moore is involved.

November 22, 2002

WELL, my speech is over, and I’m blogging on a laptop borrowed from Jeff Jarvis. (A slim and elegant one, natch.) I’ve looked a bit at the stuff other people blogged on my speech, and it’s quite a strange experience: like looking at yourself in the mirror through a set of compound eyes, sort of. There’s no “I never said that!” but there is some “I didn’t mean it that way.” Not too much, though. Now it’s a very interesting panel on blogs and the law, and Donna Wentworth of Harvard is speaking at the moment, and quite well even though she said she was nervous. I’m not going to keep up a running commentary, though: other people are doing that sort of thing. Oh, and scroll up from here.

November 22, 2002

I’M BLOGGING FROM A TERMINAL in the recently renovated Yale Law School Library reading room, which is just gorgeous. When I was a student here, the place was a bit down at the heels. It’s been seriously fixed up, and it’s beautiful. We’ve been very nicely hosted, and the conference will begin in about an hour. Some people will actually be blogging from the conference, but I didn’t bring a laptop this time. Now I wish I had. Blogging is likely to be limited as a result. I didn’t bring the laptop because the hotel said it had in-room high speed access via a WebTV like interface. What it actually has is something that sucks like a bilge pump, and that won’t even load many sites that are “too large.” Including this one, and every other weblog I tried. It’s absolutely the lamest computer experience I’ve ever had, bar none.

Anyway, Kitchen Cabinet will be blogging from the conference, and I’ll ask them to post links to the other folks doing the same. (Or you can follow the links on the conference page and just see what shows up!)

The nanotechnology paper has been picked up on Slashdot, which has generated a (mostly) interesting discussion. There’s also a story on CNET, though the headline gives the impression that the paper calls for a laissez-faire regime, which isn’t really true. The story more correctly characterizes it as a call for “modest regulation, civilian research, and an emphasis on self-regulation.” I have email that there’s something about it in the National Journal, too, but there’s no link.

Sorry that I won’t be blogging much today, but you can visit the ever-expanding Volokh Conspiracy for a lot of interesting new posts on everything from the Pentagon’s domestic spy project (Advice: “Concede no powers to your friends that you would not give to your enemies. If you are a Republican, the Law can be applied in the following form: give no powers of surveillance to the Bush administration that you would not be comfortable seeing in the hands of Hillary Clinton.”) to voter turnout and the unfolding CUNY tenure battle. And follow the various other links to the left and below. If I can get to a computer later, I’ll post more. We’ll see.

November 21, 2002

WELL, I’M OFF TO THE YALE BLOG CONFERENCE. Posting will be intermittent at best. But Yale Law bloggers at The Kitchen Cabinet have promised to provide updates on the conference, and I imagine I’ll get some time at a computer in somehow. In the meantime, visit the fine links at the left. And in particular, be sure to visit Arthur Silber’s blog, where he’s been running an interesting series of posts (here’s the latest, with links to the earlier ones) on gay / straight interactions. And Sofia Sideshow has reports on dumb American actors, Apache helicopters that aren’t there, and the alleged anti-American cast of Tolkien.

And Lileks is a must-read again today. Excerpt:

A conservative religious women’s organization and the NOW have finally found common ground – at least according to a radio show I heard in the car this afternoon. A spokeswoman from the former group was on, decrying a new assault on American values, and I was rather surprised to discover the object of her ire: The Victoria’s Secret TV special. . . .

Bothered by Victoria’s Secret, eh. These people need to roam around the Internet until they encounter the goatse.x picture somewhere in a message board. (I may have the name wrong, but you may have seen the picture – you don’t know if it’s about proctology or spelunking.) And I hear the critics sing: Oh, so you criticize them for criticizing the VS show, but you feel PERFECTLY free to criticize the suicide bomber painter, eh? Sure. They have every right to protest; I’m not telling them to shut up. I’m suggesting they stop thinking of Tyra Banks as one of the Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse. More to the point, there’s a difference between getting alarmed over healthy, giggly women prancing around in bras and heels, and getting alarmed over paintings that romanticize the violent death of healthy giggly women, and anyone else in the immediate zone. If this distinction is unclear, I’m here to help:

To see the help that Lileks offers, and to read his views on the consensus anti-idiotarian position on sexuality, you’ll have to follow the link and read the whole thing.

And, finally, Aziz Poonawalla has posted a condemnation of the latest Jerusalem bombing, supported by quotes from the Koran. I can only hope that his distinction between Jihad and Harabah gains more ground.

November 21, 2002

CRUSHING DISSENT? NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT: Samizdata is responding to the absurd British hate-speech prosecution I mentioned earlier with words of defiance.

November 21, 2002

THE NICE FOLKS AT TECHCENTRALSTATION have put up an excerpt of my Pacific Research Institute nanotechnology paper. If you don’t want to wade through the whole thing, the excerpt captures the high points. And on the left margin, under “Articles By Issue,” are some links to other, shorter, pieces of mine on nanotechnology related issues.

Sadly, I’ve been unable to get an advance copy of Crichton’s new book. But I’ve ordered one from Amazon. I’ll give you my thoughts, assuming I have any worth relating, after I read it.

November 21, 2002

THE NATION’S FIRST INTERNET-ONLY LAW SCHOOL is about to graduate its first class of JDs. I don’t know what I think about this — well, actually, I do. I think I learned more from my fellow students than from my professors when I was in law school, and I don’t think that would have happened if it had been an Internet law school.

November 21, 2002

PRINCETON PROFESSOR JOHN FLEMING writes about the Tom Paulin brouhaha. “Brouhaha” is his word, but I wanted to use it, too. It always reminds me of Firesign theater.

November 21, 2002

N.Z. BEAR has links to anti-divestment organizations covering a variety of campuses.

November 21, 2002

SECURITY THROUGH OBSCURITY: There’s a debate on between Steven Den Beste and Aziz Poonawalla on the virtues of secrecy and openness in security.

I’m too sleep-deprived and frazzled to weigh in on this at the moment, except to say that I hope the authorities will at least think about the issue, rather than just relying on secrecy out of habit.

November 21, 2002

TODAY IS DODD HARRIS’S SECOND BLOGIVERSARY! He’s got a list of his top ten mistakes for the past year, and a lot of other stuff. And scroll down to read about how his right to dissent is under threat from naked Swedish nurses. No, really. Er, well, kind of.

November 21, 2002

WE SHOULD BE PLANNING FOR THE AFTERMATH of a terrorist nuclear strike, writes Brett Wagner of the Naval War College.

November 21, 2002

SPOONS IS RIGHT with this criticism of an item at Best of the Web.

November 21, 2002

WHY AM I UP SO LATE? YOU MAY ASK. (“I am asking.” “And well you may!”)

My wife gets back shortly — she’s been up in New York taping a TV show. I figured I’d stay up to greet her.

November 21, 2002

THE FBI IS FEELING THE HEAT about inadequate performance in counterterrorism. I’m still not convinced that it’s up to the job without major — and I mean major changes. Which will involve some heads rolling, something that has been conspicuously absent so far.

November 21, 2002

DEAN PETERS TELLS TOM DASCHLE TO PUT UP OR SHUT UP where his criticism of talk radio is concerned: produce the audio clips of out-of-bounds attacks, or admit it’s all a political ploy. He’s got some perspective on Daschle’s own attacks on opponents, too.

I note two things. One, that when I posted a while back about how Democrats blamed talk radio for Oklahoma City and right wing violence generally, some lefty bloggers said this wasn’t true. Well, Daschle’s doing pretty much the same thing now. Any comments, given that the earlier denials suggested that such a tactic would have been out of bounds? Second, most mainstream media don’t seem to be reproducing much of the actual shrill substance of Daschle’s remarks. The only place I could find that was WorldNetDaily, which I take as a pretty good sign that both the mainstream media, and WorldNetDaily, know that Daschle’s over-the-top remarks are more harmful to Democrats than to their targets.

My take: Limbaugh, et al., have been trying for months to provoke Daschle into saying something stupid. And they’ve succeeded.

UPDATE: Bryan Preston says that Daschle is partying like it’s 1995.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Dr. Manhattan emails:

I agree that Daschle’s remarks were outrageous and counterproductive. One note, though – when he referred to “threats against people in public life,” my guess is he was thinking about the anthrax letter he received – he’s probably still convinced that it came from an American right-wing nutcase, even though there seems to be no more evidence for that than for any other scenario.

Interesting point. I’m not sure whether that makes it better or not (does he really think that Rush Limbaugh is somehow responsible for those?), but it does provide some useful perspective.

ANOTHER UPDATE: So does this, though.

November 20, 2002

ROBOTS DOING HEART SURGERY: Well, this is the 21st Century, you know.

November 20, 2002


“I urged people to go on the march and I urged that the rural minority be given the same legal protection as other minorities. All I said was that the rural minority should have the same rights as blacks, Muslims and gays.” . . .

Gloucestershire police confirmed that they had arrested Mr Page on suspicion of violating Section 18 (1) of the Public Order Act, referring to stirring up racial hatred.

Hmm. This kind of thing is why I don’t approve of “hate speech” laws.

November 20, 2002

TIM CAVANAGH writes about the umbrage industry. Seems to be a growth sector, though it doesn’t seem to produce much value.

November 20, 2002

SPACE-BASED POWER and other environmental proposals are the subject of a new study. And here’s a surprisingly positive story on space elevators using — of course — carbon nanotubes for strength.

November 20, 2002

WELL, THE NANOTECH PAPER HAS GOTTEN SOME PRESS. Here’s an article by Candace Stuart from SmallTimes that also mentions Vicki Colvin of Rice University.

And here’s a UPI story by Scott Burnell with a somewhat different slant.

UPDATE: By the way, I haven’t read it but Glenn Fishbine has a guidebook for investors relating to nanotechnology and micromachines.

November 20, 2002

READER DON MCGREGOR HAS THESE THOUGHTS ON HOMELAND SECURITY, in response to my TechCentralStation column today:

One of the major problems is detecting and responding to terrorist acts or planning quickly.

Suppose some retired guys volunteer to keep an eye out for suspicious people at the local airport. The TSA issues them cell phones or walkie-talkies. They hang out with their friends playing checkers and keep an eye out for unattended bags, suspicious characters, etc. You could do the same thing at the local mall, which would have the added advantage of deterring some petty crime. They don’t even have to have scheduled hours, since this would be in addition to the regular security measures.

One of the more moronic things the feds have done is crack down on train spotters, the guys who hang out and catalog trains and engines. It would have been far better to ask them to report anyone who looked suspicious. Since they already know most of the people and what they do, they’d have an excellent chance of spotting anything out of the ordinary.

Excellent points.

November 20, 2002

SAW THE NEW HARRY POTTER MOVIE. It was pretty good, though I agree with whoever said that John Cleese was wasted. My daughter liked it, too. The crowd at the theater was quite small, though, even for a weeknight. And I have to say, the previews reminded me why I don’t go to many movies. “Kangaroo Jack?” Jeez.

November 20, 2002


The offending article called The World at Their Feet questioned why some Muslim groups condemn the pageant, which is being held on December 8 in the capital, Abuja, on the grounds it promotes sexual promiscuity and indecency.

“The Muslims thought it was immoral to bring ninety-two women to Nigeria and ask them to revel in vanity. What would Muhammad think?

“In all honesty, he would probably have chosen a wife from among them,” wrote the article’s author, Isioma Daniel.

Muslims ought to be more offended at the idiotic things their co-religionists do in Muhammad’s name.

November 20, 2002

WENDY MCELROY notes the gap between reproductive rights and reproductive responsibilities:

The idea of responsibilities without rights is taken to such absurd lengths that even men who do not father children are held responsible for them. Consider the case of Morgan Wise, as chronicled by journalist Cathy Young. Blood tests proved that only one of “his” four children were actually his, yet the court ordered Wise to continue all child support payments and prohibited him from contact with the children. His role in that family is now the biological equivalent of an ATM machine. Wise’s case is unfortunately hardly unique.

TAPPED still has its panties in a wad over the Martha Burk fertility-control “satire” issue, which McElroy also mentions. But I repeat: a non-lefty white male wouldn’t be allowed to claim “satire” as a defense for writing something similar about fertility control in women — any more than he would be allowed to claim “Halloween” as a defense for appearing in blackface.

UPDATE: TAPPED has another post on this, and — even after a long and cordial series of emails with Armed Liberal, who shares TAPPED‘s view — all I can say is “you guys just don’t get it.” It’s not about Martha Burk. It never was about Martha Burk. (Though if you think that calling Burk’s piece “satire” changes the face of feminism you’re showing your ignorance. There are other writings by academic feminists calling for the elimination of men and similar absurdities in dead earnest, though at nearly midnight I’m not going to run them down. But as a guy who once edited Catharine MacKinnon, I know a bit about this stuff). It’s all about a double standard. Your “admit you were wrong about the satire” point is (1) utterly inconsistent with my original post; and (2) a conscious or unconscious effort to dodge the real issue, a double standard about speech that everyone knows exists, but that the left dare not admit — because its whole existence depends on both the double standard, and not admitting it.

ONE MORE UPDATE: (A mere 7 hours later — I need help) Armed Liberal emails:

I’m sure we’re both toasted on this; I certainly agree that we’re just looking at the same data and seeing a different pattern.

I’ll leave you with two final thoughts…

…one of my touchstones is that ultimately the people worth arguing with – which is a way of working together to build something – have an untimate regard for and respect for others. I don’t think Hillary Clinton has an iota of it. Nor do I think that John Ashcroft or Michael Eisner do. Part of what I’m trying to sell here is the notion that you can argue with people, and even oppose people and do it with some measure of mutual honor. (I probably did a bad job on this with McElroy today)

The other is that this is important because the thing we’re both fighting (and I think we’re both fighting on the same side, if in a different way) against is a system – think ‘Brazil’ – that is ultimately about draining people of their self-repect and of their regard for others and for anything except brute power. So we have to fight it on different and better terms.

I agree with every word of this, but — to prove his first point about seeing things in different terms — I don’t see these concerns as implicated at all in my treatment of the subject. It’s been quite odd to receive angry emails from people I respect and just not see why, exactly, they’re so angry over this issue — and why they don’t seem to get why I’m unhappy at all, either.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Barry Deutsch has been emailing me challenging whether academic feminists have really called for the “elimination of men.” I have a pretty strong memory of reading suggestions that women abort male babies and pursue research into parthenogenesis as a way of ridding the world of patriarchy. But it’s been quite a while since I spent much time on that literature. In short order, I was able to find references (such as one in Mary Ann Warren’s “Gendercide”) to the idea that women should stop having male babies so as to eliminate patriarchy. Deutsch says this isn’t enough for him, but I’m not inclined to spend hours in the library to make him happy.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Well, Brian Carnell seems to have the goods, though I wonder if Deutsch will find a way to claim that this doesn’t count either.

November 20, 2002

DO WE HAVE AN ETHICAL DUTY TO LIVE IN POVERTY? Herschel Elliott and Richard Lamm say we do. Ron Bailey says they’re wrong.

Of course, nanotechnology is likely to allow us to save the planet while growing rich. My prediction is that this will make some environmentalists hate it even more.

November 20, 2002

CAMPUS FREE SPEECH: Eugene Volokh has updates on the Harvard and Stanford situations. I agree that Stanford Dean Kathleen Sullivan is absolutely right here. And on-the-scene reporting via Volokh portrays Harvard Professor Randall Kennedy in a better light than some of the press accounts have.

November 20, 2002

MY PAPER ON NANOTECHNOLOGY is now available from the Pacific Research Institute. You want nano, I got nano.

November 20, 2002

JAMES KOPP has confessed to killing abortion doctor Bernard Slepian. Another terrorist identified — but was he really a “lone gunman” or does he have connections to sympathizers and supporters as yet unidentified? I’d guess the latter.

November 20, 2002


BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraq’s Ministry of Information suspended publication Wednesday of a newspaper owned by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s eldest son, accusing it of breaching publication laws.

“The paper was ordered shut down for 30 days for violating the regulations,” an Iraqi official said on condition of anonymity. He declined to give further details.

Reader Zachary Barbera, who sent the link, wonders what it means. Beats me, though it’s hard to see how it can reflect anything good for Saddam.

November 20, 2002


Seattle terrorism suspect James Ujaama envisioned a perfect Islamic state, where believers could live separately from Christians and Jews, attend military training camps, and where homosexuality and pornography would be outlawed.

The place: Afghanistan.

“There are many Muslims who have forgotten that the Jews and Christians are our enemies,” Ujaama says in a 2-½-hour video obtained by The Seattle Times, small portions of which were recently revealed on the Internet.

The video, shot sometime before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, gives the first public glimpse into Ujaama’s beliefs as told in his own words, and tells of at least one of his trips to Afghanistan. It also provides a look at his association with Abu Hamza, whom federal prosecutors in the United States have targeted for indictment on terrorism charges.

Very interesting.

November 20, 2002


A Harris County grand jury today will begin considering whether police handling of a mass arrest — which already has led to lawsuits against the city of Houston and the suspension of 13 police supervisors — also deserves criminal indictments.

Public outcry was swift and furious after more than 270 people were arrested Aug. 18 in a Kmart parking lot in the 8400 block of Westheimer on the west side. Many who were caught in the roundup said they were customers at the Kmart or a nearby Sonic drive-in restaurant.

City officials later dropped all trespassing and curfew charges resulting from the arrests.

The city still faces millions of dollars in potential damages from the incident, however. To date, two lawsuits and 89 claims for damages have been filed by people caught up in the raid, said Robert Cambrice, a senior assistant city attorney. . . .

The grand jury probe may take two to three weeks, Rosenthal estimated. He declined to say whether his office is recommending any charges.

“I have not seen all the evidence,” he said, “but from what I’ve seen, I would not be surprised if a grand jury indicted some people.”

Hmm. Maybe the police in Racine, Wisconsin, where something similar happened, should be worried.

November 20, 2002

TODAY IS REBECCA BLOOD’S BIRTHDAY! And there’s not any mention of it on her blog. I think she’s too busy packing.

November 20, 2002

OLD MEDIA TO BLOGOSPHERE: “THANKS!” The Asia Times sent a note of appreciation to Little Green Footballs for helping to expose that it had been hoaxed. Pretty classy of Asia Times.

November 20, 2002

SOMEBODY TELL FISK AND CHOMSKY ABOUT THIS SITE — QUICK! Except that they’ve seen, and believed, a thousand like it.

(Via Porphyrogenitus).

November 20, 2002

THE PRESS REPORTS ON BUSH’S PRAGUE SPEECH this morning seem to be focusing on what he said about Saddam. I caught most of it, and what struck me wasn’t that part — nothing new there, really — but rather the repeated subtle digs at Germany. “U-boats couldn’t keep us apart,” said Bush, going on to talk about the “young Americans” whose “well-tended graves” littered the Continent, and their successors stationed “from the Balkans to Bavaria.” (Interesting pairing). There was more, and none of it was there by accident.

UPDATE: And it’s not just Bush who’s dissing Schroeder.

ANOTHER UPDATE: There’s a transcript up, now. The interesting stuff is mostly toward the end.

November 20, 2002

THE UNITED STATES WON’T SUPPORT A BAN on “hate speech” on the Internet.

Want to bet that the Bush Administration won’t get much credit for this move from the people who claim it’s “stifling dissent”?

November 20, 2002

HARLAN ELLISON, the new Hans Blix logo, Michael Jackson, and a beachball in an inappropriate place: James Lileks is chock-full of tasty pundit goodness today. With a hazelnut note, and a hint of chicory.