Archive for 2002

August 25, 2002

ANOTHER CORPORATE SCANDAL:

Insiders at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) say the agency is probing claims that CNN, MSNBC and network news operations routinely hype interviews, reports and talk shows they know are losers, while top executives privately watch reruns on Nickelodeon, or go out to Red Lobster with the family.

“Much like the SEC investigation into corporate execs who made rosy projections while privately selling off millions in stock, this probe seeks to determine if news editors and producers know that some of their on-air material will be a waste of viewers’ time,” according to the unnamed source. “Clearly, for instance, MSNBC knew that the new Donahue show was a dog, but they continued to promote it like it was the next Bill O’Reilly or something. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

They’ve got those guys dead to rights. I hope they throw away the key.

August 25, 2002

THE JURIST, which is a very cool law-related site that I should have plugged earlier, has a list of blogs relating to the law. It leaves out Howard Bashman and Ernie the Attorney, but it’s got some sites on it I didn’t know about. Check out the main site, too, which has all sorts of law-related news.

UPDATE: Oops. It does so include them — I just didn’t scroll down far enough. Don’t you make the same mistake.

August 25, 2002

HEINLEIN UPDATE: It’s scrolled, so you might miss the updates to this post without this pointer.

August 25, 2002

BELLESILES UPDATE: A reader points out that a piece Bellesiles had written for the Emory academic website on January 22 has apparently been pulled. The piece was entitled “Bellesiles Further Responds to Critics, Says He Has Located Missing San Francisco Records.” Trouble was, those turned out not to be the records after all, and drew a rather testy response from the Contra Costa Historical Society where he said the records were found. (Here’s a news story that quotes Bellesiles’ now-missing piece, and the response from the archivist.)

I’ve gotten a lot of email from readers angrily suggesting that Emory is just trying to sweep the whole matter under the rug. The disappearance of this item might support that — but it certainly suggests that someone at Emory recognizes that there is a problem.

August 25, 2002

TED TURNER NUCLEAR UPDATE: (Gee, using the words “Ted Turner” and “nuclear” in the same sentence is a bit disturbing. . . .) InstaPundit’s consulting nuclear physicist (a former IAEA inspector who prefers to remain nameless here) sends this note regarding an earlier post:

You can find details of what the Serbs had at the IAEA research reactor database http://www.iaea.or.at/worldatom/rrdb/ – go to Yugoslavia and look up RA-B. Its fuel was 80% enriched UO2 – since this was the enrichment of the Hiroshima bomb uranium you would have to say that it was “weapons grade” even though real modern weapons use material at 93% or better.

Most research reactors were originally designed to use high enriched uranium (HEU – note it is not Highly Enriched Uranium but just High Enriched Uranium). The US, the IAEA and other countries (such as Australia) have a long running program called the RERTR to reduce the enrichment of uranium in research reactors, so most new reactors use fuel at 20% instead.

One minor quibble – you don’t enrich plutonium – no macro scale enrichment program for Pu enrichment has ever worked. You just try to produce it without too many higher isotopes. As to the facility you were referring to – it is more correctly called a critical assembly than a reactor.

Reader Norman Yarvin writes:

The Osirak reactor used 93% enriched uranium.

Yes, that’s right: Iraq was shipped enough weapons-grade uranium to build a bomb — and the Iraqis still have it, according to Khidir Hamza; they recovered it from the ruins of the reactor. (To be exact, he claims they have twelve kilograms of 93% enriched uranium, and fourteen kilograms of 80%, all from Osirak.)

The source for all this is Hamza’s book “Saddam’s Bombmaker.”

Reader Ian Wood adds:

According to WaPo, the U.S. government paid $2 million for transportation and related costs, Yugoslavia provided 1,200 troops for escort, and The Nuclear Threat Initiative, the nonprofit group co-founded by former Senator Sam Nunn and Ted Turner, pledged $5 million. That money is going to help clean up the area around the reactor site itself (including the removal of two tons of nuclear waste–*not* the enriched uranium), as well as help to pay some of the scientists at the Vinca research reactor facility. Russia will reprocess the enriched uranium slugs at its facility in Dimitrovgrad.

So, us taxpayers paid for the removal and transport of the problematic nuclear material, which I’m happy to kick in for. Private money will clean up the radioactive mess left by the Communists and give impoverished nuclear physicists less incentive to go work for, say, Iraq.

More evidence of the corrupt values instilled by capitalism, I suppose.

No doubt.

August 25, 2002

JUST ABOUT A YEAR AGO, I reported Department of Justice figures showing that one American in 32 was under supervision by the criminal justice system, and remarked:

How many people have to be under direct supervision of law enforcement before you have a police state? Whatever the number is, at the current rate of growth it won’t take us long to get there. According to these DOJ figures one out of 32 American adults — over three percent of the population — is in jail, on parole, or on probation. This represents a whopping forty-nine percent increase over the last ten years. Most of this growth appears to come from nonviolent drug offenses. Another example of how the Drug War is leading — in this case directly, not metaphorically — to the creation of a police state.

Okay, I don’t want to go over the top. But really — prisons are hellholes for the most part. And some people deserve to be in hellholes. But not all that many. Certainly not this many. I think that future historians will look back on this mass imprisonment the way we look on the internment of Japanese-American citizens in World War Two.

That still stands — and it’s a bigger, though far less remarked-upon, injustice than any that are involved in the War on Terrorism.

TalkLeft has this year’s figures, which unsurprisingly aren’t any better. I guess I should be glad they aren’t worse.

August 25, 2002

PUNDITWATCH IS UP!

August 25, 2002

VIA REBECCA BLOOD, I note that there’s a weblog called The Daily Summit set up to cover the Johannesburg sustainability conference. (Kentucky Fried Chicken has a “special World Summit menu!”) TechCentralStation will be providing regular updates, too.

UPDATE: Meryl Yourish emails:

By the way, they’re talking about “Sustainable development,” and yet not a word of Mugabe starving his own people. Deliberately. I’m shocked, shocked I say.

Yeah, me too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Robert Prather reports that Mugabe will be speaking at the Summit. Protests are expected.

August 25, 2002

I’M CURRENTLY LISTENING TO A GREAT CD BY FLOOR CREAK, a band featuring Dave Shiflett, best known to most InstaPundit readers for his writing at National Review Online, but a hell of an acoustic guitar player, too. (Dave plays acoustic through a Fender Super Reverb, which is the secret to the Nebraska Guitar Militia’s sound, too — though the Super Reverb used by NGM usually has the tremolo controls set on “11”). Very nice stuff.

August 25, 2002

THIS PALESTINIAN SAYS THAT HE WAS TORTURED UNTIL HE FALSELY IMPLICATED HIS MOTHER as a collaborator, after which she was killed by Palestinian authorities.

And yet it’s Israel that gets nearly all the attention from “human rights” groups.

UPDATE: Charles Johnson has a photo of the murdered woman during her coerced “confession” just before her murder. (Note the mattress as backdrop). He reports that the Reuters caption says she was “testifying.”

August 25, 2002

NORAH VINCENT says that we should look to Pakistan before Iraq. I don’t think I agree (I think we should look to Saudi Arabia before Iraq) but her thoughts are worth reading.

UPDATE: Suman Palit responds.

August 25, 2002

BILL HERBERT REPORTS on the anti-war demonstration on the Mall.

UPDATE: Here’s more.

ANOTHER UPDATE: These guys blame “Anti-Racist Action” for the violence. (This site, Overthrow.com, calls itself “Libertarian Socialist,” — whatever that’s supposed to mean — but it’s a lefty anarchist site, basically.) I had a post on ARA earlier. Their chief talent lies in making Nazis look like sympathetic victims. Way to go, guys.

August 25, 2002

BRITAIN: Slouching toward revolution? Well, probably not. On the other hand, the Petrol Protests indicate that there’s more pent-up resentment than is generally acknowledged.

August 25, 2002

MATT WELCH says that former U.S. ambassadors to Saudi Arabia have become corrupt shills for an enemy regime: “If you closed your eyes, you would think the person talking held a Saudi passport.”

August 25, 2002

THE FBI (as long-term InstaPundit readers will know) let an innocent man (actually, several innocent men) languish in prison for 30 years to protect a murderous informant. Now it’s being sued for $300 million.

That’s good, but this demonstrated lack of ethics in law enforcement makes me doubt the FBI is up to its homeland security mission.

August 25, 2002

TIMES ARE TOUGH, but the CNN/Time-Warner folks are exploiting synergy.

August 25, 2002

MORE SCOWCROFT-DISSING:

That leaves the wise old foreign policy owls. When it comes to unsavoury foreigners, Eagleburger, Scowcroft and Kissinger are all famously “realist”, though there’s a fine line between realism and inertia. A decade ago, Brent Scowcroft advised Bush, Sr to stick with Gorbachev and the preservation of the Soviet Union over Yeltsin and a democratic Russia.

Last autumn, he argued in favour of leaving the Taliban in power. Inevitably Scowcroft now supports letting Saddam be because, if we start a war, “We could have an explosion in the Middle East. It could turn the whole region into a cauldron.”

He says that like it’s a bad thing.

August 25, 2002

HERE’S SOMETHING that Bush should be asking our “Saudi friends” about:

KABUL (Reuters) – International peacekeepers said on Sunday Afghan police had found a store of chemicals in a house in Kabul formerly occupied by a Saudi non-governmental organization, and local media reports called it a terrorist laboratory.

But where would they have gotten the money for something like that?

UPDATE: Here’s more.

August 25, 2002

IS THE LEFT CHANNELING ROBERT HEINLEIN? That’s what Andrew Stuttaford is asking over at The Corner:

One of the more peculiar notions to emerge in the last few weeks has been the suggestion by the Left that only those who are – or who have been – in the military have the moral authority to commit the nation to war.

It’s a zany, profoundly undemocratic argument and it also sounds like something out of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (a book liberals often criticize as ‘fascist’ ) a novel in which, if I recall correctly, the only people entitled to full citizenship were those who had completed a period of military service.

What’s next? Will liberals be calling for our rule by a dynasty of warrior kings?

Well said.

UPDATE: Stuttaford’s gotten the same email I have on this one, reminding him that Heinlein’s scheme allowed non-military service, too. He’s even got the relevant passage quoted in an update over at The Corner.

MORE ON HEINLEIN: Here’s a link to a paper on military service/civil service in Starship Troopers, with all the relevant passages from the book excerpted.

STILL MORE: Jeff Cooper sensibly distinguishes between moral authority and military expertise, saving me the trouble of writing a post doing so, which I had planned to get around to sometime.

August 24, 2002

HEY — Asparagirl is off to see The New Deal play live. I just got their CD this week, and I’m jealous.

August 24, 2002

THIS MONTH’S SMARTER HARPER’S INDEX is up.

August 24, 2002

JIM BENNETT WRITES ABOUT TRANSNATIONAL PROGRESSIVISM in this week’s UPI column.

August 24, 2002

I JUST SAW THIS OPED BY BILL KELLER IN THE NEW YORK TIMES. Note the lead:

If candor counted for as much as courtesy, the author note under Brent Scowcroft’s now famous op-ed in The Wall Street Journal last week, the one arguing against war with Iraq, might have said something like this: “Mr. Scowcroft, the former national security adviser, now makes his living advising business clients, some of whom would be gravely inconvenienced by a war in the Middle East. And by the way, he thought Saddam Hussein was finished after the gulf war in 1991.”

And it gets better. It’s basically a full-bore Fisking of the antiwar critics, which is pretty remarkable in the Times.

UPDATE: Mickey Kaus points out that Keller was the contender beaten out by Howell Raines. The Times, I think it’s safe to say, would be a lot better paper if Keller had gotten the job.

August 24, 2002

MORE on the mideast connection to the Oklahoma City bombing. I’m still filing this in the “not proven, but worth looking into” category. But I’m glad people are looking into it.

August 24, 2002

THE UNITED STATES HAS FIVE PERCENT OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION, BUT. . . well, read this.

August 24, 2002

OKAY, CLAIRE BERLINSKI IS TAKING REALPOLITIK a bit farther than I would. But there’s a certain symmetry to it.

August 24, 2002

BOGOSITY ALERT: McDonald’s is allegedly coming under fire for introducing its “McAfrika burger” at a time when Africans are starving:

The concoction of beef, cheese, tomatoes and salad in a pitta-style sandwich is said to be based upon an authentic African recipe and is being sold to Norwegian consumers for about £2.80.

But aid agencies trying to raise funds to stave off a famine in southern Africa say that the timing of the McAfrika marketing campaign is insensitive, crass and ill-considered and have demanded remedial action from McDonald’s.

“It’s inappropriate and distasteful to launch a hamburger called McAfrika when large portions of southern Africa are on the verge of starvation,” Linn Aas-Hansen of Norwegian Church Aid told the newspaper Aftenposten.

My African acquaintances and quasi-relations hate Western stereotyping of Africa as a place where people spend most of their time starving and waiting on Western aid. They regard such stereotyping as, basically, racism. Yet the Norwegian aid community seems unashamed to engage in such behavior.

McDonald’s is treating Africa as if it’s just another part of the world, instead of like a pariah continent distinguished chiefly by disease and helplessness. That’s a good thing, and the Norwegians — who are basically peddling stereotypes in order to get attention and raise money (“trying to raise funds” is the key phrase in the above passage) — should be ashamed. Why aren’t they looking at the real causes of starvation in Africa?

UPDATE: Here, from McDonald’s own Norwegian site, is the McAfrika in all its splendor. Looks yummy.

And for a non-victim example, take a listen to Afrigo, a Ugandan band that my record label does production and distribution for. (We don’t get any money for it; it’s part of our foreign-aid program, which also involves giving computers and music software to Nigerian musicians). They even have a song on the virtues of privatization (“Today for Tomorrow”), which Virginia Postrel liked so much that she bought the CD. (No, really.) These guys have managed to sell a half-million cassettes and CDs in Uganda and surrounding countries, despite everything that’s happened there. And they’ve managed to do it without help from self-promoting Norwegian aid groups who see them only as victims to be sloganized over.

ANOTHER UPDATE: There’s more on this, from Big S Blog, (“McDonald’s burgers I’d like to see:” — list includes the “McFisk,” “McEuro” and “McArafat.”), Steven Chapman, (“I’m looking forward to McDonald’s releasing a ‘McNorway’ burger in Africa (two all-whale patties, special sauce, lettuce, textured soya protein, pickles, onions on a GM-free sesame seed ciabatta), and this being criticised by the Zimbabwean Red Cross as being ‘insensitive…at a time when 12 million Norwegians are facing obesity in southern Oslo.'”), and Bill Quick (“Good thing they have nothing more important to worry about.”). Then there’s this from Bjorn Staerk: “Can you imagine anything worse than having your entire continent trademarked by Norwegian Church Aid?”

August 24, 2002

TALKLEFT RESPONDS to my post below on Ashcroft’s apparently nonexistent prison camps by saying:

What number should it take, 25, 100, 500? Should the number of beds at the first such facility be the determinative factor of whether it is a camp? Could it serve as a model for future facilities? If 50 such facilities were contemplated, would they be camps?

We don’t know if Ashcroft is planning camps or not. But if it looks like a duck…..

Well, at the moment, it doesn’t look like a duck, or even a duckling. It’s bad to imprison American citizens without due process, as I’ve said repeatedly. But that’s a far cry from the Ashcroft-is-planning-camps-for-us-all hysteria that has sprung up in response to Turley’s article, and which Turley’s article seems designed to inflame.

I’d rather live in a country that is too sensitive to such matters than one that is not sensitive enough, of course. But if you cry wolf — or even duck — too often, it won’t be that kind of a nation any more. Turley overstated his case, and the result is that the next time somebody raises the issue it will be harder to get it taken seriously.

For those who are really paranoid, of course, that could be part of the plan. . . .

UPDATE: Dan Perkins puts it well: “Reality is scary enough by itself these days.”

August 24, 2002

CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE: I was hard on Ted Turner during the St. Helena Island Gullah-land-grab incident. But it looks like he’s doing something right here — though whether the uranium in question is really “weapons grade” (as the Guardian story states) without further enrichment is doubtful. I’m unaware of any reactor fuel rods that use truly weapons-grade uranium, though I don’t pretend to universal knowledge, and an “research reactor” might be an exception; I know of research reactors that use plutonium at high degrees of enrichment.

Regardless, this is money well spent, and Turner is the one spending it. Bravo.

August 24, 2002

SELF-FISKING: ROBERT FISK WRITES that it’s not his job to provide evidence in war-crimes trials.

Yeah, he’s kept too busy making unfounded accusations. He’s got the part about journalism being a “masquerade” right, though.

UPDATE: Okay, one more thought. Isn’t it odd that national sovereignty, and a whole raft of individual protections under international (and American constitutional) law can go by the wayside in the effort to prosecute war crimes, but that anything that might make a reporter’s life more difficult is obviously beyond the pale?

Okay, it’s not really odd that a reporter would think that. What’s odd is that anyone else would take it seriously. Then again, it’s not at all clear that anyone else does.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader suggests that Fisk may be unwilling to face pejury charges:

Isn’t it rather obvious why Fisk refuses to provide his “evidence” in war-crimes trials? Standards of truth and accuracy are much higher in a courtroom than in a newsroom. Fisk can exaggerate and outright lie about American and Israeli “war crimes” in print; but put him under oath where his statements can be challenged and they’ll crumble like month old soda crackers.

Possibly.

UPDATE: Oh, read this, too.

August 24, 2002

ANOTHER INTERNET RUMOR? John Hawkins investigates Jonathan Turley’s claim (via a Los Angeles Times op-ed) that Ashcroft and the Justice Department were planning prison camps and finds it wanting.

I think Hawkins is right to call this hype. I looked at the Wall Street Journal article that Turley claims (via email) was the basis for his oped and it’s really a bit of a stretch to view it as indicating that plans for massive incarceration are underway. The article appeared on August 8, and is entitled: “White House Seeks to Expand Indefinite Detentions in Military Brigs, Even for U.S. Citizens.” Here’s the key section:

The White House is considering creating a high-level committee to decide which prisoners should be denied access to federal courts. The Goose Creek, S.C., facility that houses Mr. Padilla — mostly empty since it was designated in January to hold foreigners captured in the U.S. and facing military tribunals — now has a special wing that could be used to jail about 20 U.S. citizens if the government were to deem them enemy combatants, a senior administration official said.

A special wing holding 20 people isn’t exactly Manzanar, yet in Turley’s oped it becomes a “proposed camp plan” (there’s nothing in the Wall Street Journal story about any prison “camps,” but the term appears repeatedly in Turley’s piece). There’s a minor disclaimer that Ashcroft isn’t planning anything on the scale of the Japanese-American internments of World War Two, but Turley never makes clear that we’re talking about fewer than two dozen individuals. Perhaps Turley has more information than the Journal article contains, but if so he hasn’t mentioned it.

I’m opposed to the imprisonment of American citizens without trial. Unlike the imprisonment of foreign citizens, it is almost certain to have a deeply corrupting effect on American politics. But Turley’s hype does a disservice.

As I mentioned in my original post on Turley’s piece, bogus rumors of government prison camps have been around for decades. If this stuff is hyped when it’s not true, what will people say if it ever becomes true? I’ll tell you what they’ll say: “There goes Turley, crying wolf again.”

August 23, 2002

JUST FINISHED READING ERIC FLINT’S 1633. (Well, Eric Flint & David Weber’s really.) I went over to Blogcritics and lo and behold, there was this review by Bigwig. The review is spot-on. I, too, was struck by the patriotism in the books. And Eric Flint, a former union organizer, is the kind of lefty that, well, the left needs more of in place of people like Susan Sarandon and Noam Chomsky.

Congratulations to Eric Olsen for getting Blogcritics off the ground so smoothly.

August 23, 2002

MAX SAWICKY GENTLY CHIDES ME (no, really, that’s what he does!) over this post. Sigh. He’s probably right. I just couldn’t help noticing the resemblance between that mail and mail I get from a lot of antiwar folks.

And surely being called a warmonger by Nazis is something to brag about.

August 23, 2002

SKBUBBA is channeling John Prine at the expense of a certain government agency.

August 23, 2002

NICK DENTON has great insight into the difference between Americans and Brits: “American workers think of themselves as middle class; and the English middle class think of themselves as workers.” Scroll down for an interesting post on U.S. / European relations.

August 23, 2002

MITCH WEBBER of the YalePundits is very unhappy with Congressional Black Caucus chair Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D-TX) anti-semitic remarks about the McKinney election.

I don’t agree that such statements are too vile for First Amendment protection, but I agree that they’re too vile to let pass.

August 23, 2002

HERE’S A SIDE OF JIHADISM that you don’t see that much about, but probably should:

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) – Four times in the last four years, Bashir Butt tracked down his son at training camps for Islamic extremists in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir and begged him to come home.

On Aug. 9, police arrived at the Butts’ modest home here and told them their son Kamran, 21, was dead. He died while attacking Christians leaving a church in Taxila about 30 miles west of Islamabad. Three Christian nurses were killed and a fourth was mortally wounded.

Bashir Butt, however, remembers his son as a shy boy who never caused trouble in the neighborhood and who “had a great respect for his fellow human beings.”

“We never thought that one day he would become a terrorist,” Bashir Butt said. “We never even imagined. … These cruel jihadis made him a terrorist.” . . .

To Kamran’s family, however, his death seems pointless. It has left his family deeply bitter over the extremist groups and what they had done to him.

“I hate these jihadi organizations,” said Bashir Butt, a 48-year-old widower with two other sons and a daughter. “I hate these so-called jihadi leaders. “They are the killers of my son.”

I’ll bet that there are more people who feel this way than get reported.

Of course, if a Palestinian said this, he’d be dead.

August 23, 2002

CHARLES JOHNSON REPORTS that the Hizbollah website has been hacked.

Yeah, but what’s there isn’t that impressive. Remember: disinformation and/or intelligence-gathering are a lot better than lame insults. I appreciate the effort, but nasty remarks about Arabs don’t really do the job.

August 23, 2002

I THINK THAT THIS GUY is working for Homeland Security now. . . .

(Via Blogs4God.Com).

August 23, 2002

EVER WONDER WHY THERE ISN’T A BLOGGING TV SHOW YET? Neither have I. But here’s someone who’s given it some thought.

BTW, I am working on Radio Instapundit. You can see a beta (well, actually it’s more like an alpha) site here.

August 23, 2002

MORE ON MILITARY RECRUITMENT: Ernest Miller writes from Yale, in response to my earlier post about Harvard Law allowing military recruiters back on campus:

I was in the military for nearly 12 years. As a senior (first classman) at USNA in Annapolis, I challenged the SecDef (Cheney at the time) on the policy discriminating against gays. As a midshipman and an officer I always argued against the policy when it came up in discussion. I also quashed homophobic remarks among those under my leadership, just as I quashed racist or sexist remarks.

When military recruiters came to Yale Law I always attended their sessions and made sure that those being recruited were aware that they had the option of speaking out against the policy … that they should not be afraid to be true to their conscience, if they believed the policy to be wrong. I see no reason why students at Harvard should not attend the military recruitment sessions and make the same points.

This makes sense to me.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the memo from Harvard’s Dean Clark.

August 23, 2002

IT’S ALL ABOUT OIL, RIGHT? John Hawkins has the numbers.

Personally, I think that it’s all about crazed murderers who want to kill us, and the loser despots who support them.

August 23, 2002

THE RIAA’S INFLUENCE SEEMS TO BE SPREADING:

Washington DC – William Ford Jr., CEO of the Ford Motor Company testified before Congress about the nationwide problem of ride sharing. Ford cited ride swapping as the number one reason for the the company’s declining revenue. “These ‘pool pirates are depriving Ford of rightful income. Three sometimes four people are sharing rides. Less wear and tear on the cars means fewer new car purchases. That’s revenue that’s being robbed from Ford.”

A recent study by the Gartner Group supports Ford’s claims that ride sharing runs rampant across the US. The study showed showed that children under the age of 16 were the biggest offenders. Almost 99% of children in that age group said they had shared a ride in the past week. The study also showed that ride sharing had spread to the Internet in the form of “Car Pool” message boards where the “Road Robbers” set up their swaps.

Many Representatives questioned Ford’s claim that consumers used ride sharing to put off purchases of new cars for 3 or even 4 years. “You’re telling me that people don’t receive new cars as gifts from lobbyists every year? I find that allegation preposterous,” asked a Representative from Virginia.

Satire that’s a bit too close to the truth.

August 23, 2002

IF YOU HAVEN’T DONE SO ALREADY, go read Lileks.

August 23, 2002

ROBERT MUGABE says that criticism of his thuggish regime is just a racist effort to undermine Zimbabwe’s independence. Tim Blair replies: “Zimbabwe would be a whole lot more independent if it stopped murdering people who grow food.”

August 23, 2002

WANT A NON-WARBLOG? Here’s one by Jen Hayward, recommended by Aziz Poonawalla. Then there’s Annatopia, which says right at the top that “this is not a war blog!”

August 23, 2002

WOW. I was pretty sure traffic was trending upward, but then I looked at this and it was obvious. You’d think I’d have done that before, wouldn’t you?

August 23, 2002

BLOGOSPHERE FAVE Claire Berlinski emails that I should link to this column — so naturally I have. Excerpt:

The old-time commies at least used to go to a bit of effort to tell the Western leftie intellectuals what they wanted to hear. The Islamists, by contrast, cheerfully piss all over every cherished Western progressive shibboleth. Women? The Taleban didn’t just ‘marginalise’ women, they buried them under sackcloth. But Gloria Steinem still wouldn’t support the Afghan war, and Cornell professor Joan Jacobs Brumberg argues that the ‘beauty dictates’ of American consumer culture exert a far more severe toll on women. Gays? As The New Republic reported this week, the Palestinian Authority tortures homosexuals, makes them stand in sewage up to their necks with faeces-filled sacks on their heads. Yet Canadian MP Svend Robinson, Yasser’s favourite gay infidel, still makes his pilgrimages to Ramallah to pledge solidarity with the people’s ‘struggle’. Animals? CNN is showing videos all this week of al-Qa’eda members testing various hideous poison gases on dogs.

Radical Islamists aren’t tolerant of anybody: they kill Jews, Hindus, Christians, babies, schoolgirls, airline stewardesses, bond traders, journalists. They use snuff videos for recruitment: go on the Internet and a couple of clicks will get you to the decapitation of Daniel Pearl. You can’t negotiate with them because they have no demands — or at least no rational ones. By ‘Islam is peace’, they mean that once the whole world’s converted to Islam there will be peace, but not before. Other than that, they’ve got nothing they want to talk about. It takes up valuable time they’d rather spend killing us.

Yeah, but to a certain set of Western intellectuals that’s just a guarantee of genuineness.

August 23, 2002

JOSH CHAFETZ has responded to TAPPED’s criticism of his Maureen Dowd debunking. Conclusion: “[W]e here at OxBlog know all about irony. But we generally think it should be used in service of a point, not in lieu of one.”

August 23, 2002

READER JASON STRAUSS writes from Harvard Law School to report that the law school has decided to open up to military recruiters. The memorandum from Dean Clark, which he shared, speaks in terms of legal necessities and federal funding, but I can’t help wondering if this is Larry Summers’ influence.

While I’m opposed to the armed services’ discrimination against gays, I’m also opposed to the anti-military policies of Ivy League schools, so I regard this as a good thing.

(I actually tried to call HLS to get a reaction, but spent literally 5 minutes being bounced around by a phone tree that kept sending me back to the main Harvard operator, or to a recording that the number I had selected was no good. How lame.)

August 23, 2002

A MCKINNEY / BELLESILES CONNECTION? Well, only in the most tenuous sense. But Bellesiles is certainly being treated with kid gloves compared to this guy, who does have a McKinney connection of sorts. The link comes from Martin Grace, a professor at Georgia State University, who argues that Emory has a general governance problem:

Emory has a history of making bad decisions about tenured faculty. The decision to fire tenured faculty might the correct one for the institution and they may have legal grounds to do so, but they appear to do it often without even a level of minimal due process. There have been a number of cases of recent note and I have linked an article from the Emory newspaper that talks about a particular case. However, as one reads further we see that Ms. McKinney (and her dad) got involved in the case. She is a lame duck now, but she still fight for the “little guy” if she so desires.

Perhaps the reticence of Emory to “firing” a tenure faculty member and actually contemplating paying him off is because of the lack of understanding about what is permissible faculty behavior and what is not _and_ Emory’s previous attempts at termination were met with litigation and alleged million dollar pay-offs . . . They may think it may be cheaper just to pay Bellesiles off now.

The senior administrators there have always called the shots and they have

done it rather poorly in the past. Why expect anything different today?

PS. I have no connection to Emory other than that I live in the

neighborhood. I know a couple of people who work there now and some who

used to work there.

Interesting. As I said earlier, we’ll just have to see what develops.

August 23, 2002

IT’S PROBABLY UNFAIR, but when I think of the sustainability summit in Johannesburg, I’m reminded of last year’s racism summit in Durban. Let’s hope that this one works out better.

August 23, 2002

HASHEMITE UPDATE: I meant to post on this yesterday, but the press of Bellesiles- and Mineta-related developments (and the fact that classes started) kept me from getting to it. But in yesterday’s National Review Online David Pryce-Jones reflected on the possibility of a Hashemite transitional ruler for Iraq. Today, Claude Salhani disagrees. There’s a passing mention in both pieces of a different Hashemite role, as custodians of Mecca and Medina, too.

August 23, 2002

PART THREE of Armed Liberal’s series on terrorism is up. The whole series is worth reading.

August 23, 2002

BELLESILES UPDATE: The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that Bellesiles will be gone for a year, not just the Fall semester as reported earlier. (You have to be an online subscriber to read the story, but the headline is on the front page.)

Some readers suggest that they’re just getting him off campus as a prelude to a buyout/severance deal. Well, maybe — though why Emory would want to “buy out” a guy who’s been credibly accused of fraud (and who obviously hasn’t been exonerated by their intensive investigation) is beyond me. I suppose the answer will be forthcoming eventually.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh has found the explanation for the whole affair.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader who has an online subscription says that although the headline says a year, the article says he’s on leave for a semester. Uh, okay.

August 23, 2002

WILL WARREN HAS A NEW POEM inspired by Cynthia McKinney’s defeat. It’s a good one. They don’t call him the “poet laureate of the Blogosphere” for nothing.

August 23, 2002

BAD NEWS FOR THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:

The secretive federal court that approves spying on terror suspects in the United States has refused to give the Justice Department broad new powers, saying the government had misused the law and misled the court dozens of times, according to an extraordinary legal ruling released yesterday.

A May 17 opinion by the court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) alleges that Justice Department and FBI officials supplied erroneous information to the court in more than 75 applications for search warrants and wiretaps, including one signed by then-FBI Director Louis J. Freeh.

This shouldn’t be a big surprise to regular InstaPundit readers, but it’s certainly an embarrassment for DoJ. But maybe it’ll be a wakeup call.

Probably not.

August 23, 2002

THE PEACE MOVEMENT’S BIG TENT? The folks at Vanguard News Network send this gloating email:

Ha ha ha

Support for an American attack on Iraq is dropping daily, but the

warmongering Gallup Poll leads with the headline ‘Majority of Americans Favor Attacking Iraq to Oust Saddam Hussein’.

Of course, if you look at the poll, it does show a majority of Americans supporting the war. Maybe next the Nazis at VNN will start impugning their masculinity. . . .

UPDATE: Hey, and they’re going to have a rally against the war in Washington, too. I guess the Peace Movement really is gathering steam, huh? Well, it’s already conquered France.

August 22, 2002

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH responds to a growing trend among antiwar folks of impugning the masculinity of prowar folks while engaging in chest-pounding displays on their own. He finds one particularly amusing example of what can only be called playground-level bluster, which is odd considering that antiwar folks are usually hurling accusations of such bluster elsewhere.

August 22, 2002

BELLESILES UPDATE: Melissa Seckora reports:

EMORY’S STATEMENT ON MICHAEL BELLESILES: [Melissa Seckora] “Professor Michael Bellesiles will be on paid leave from his teaching duties at Emory University during the fall semester. The University’s inquiry regarding Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture is continuing. Professor Bellesiles and the University have agreed that the results of the University’s inquiry will be made public when the inquiry is completed.”

I’m not quite sure what to make of this. More later.

UPDATE: Michael Tinkler emails these observations:

1. paid leave because they’re not able to come to a decision.

2. will be made public because of the pressure from the professional world (that is, you as a professor of law and Prof. Lindgren) not from the blogosphere. However, they know the blogosphere is watching, some of them are part of it, and they know that publicity is not helpful here.

I have had a few irritable emails and a very irritating telephone conversation about the way universities work. I keep trying to explain that Emory is NOT a multiversity and that though there are a several other American historians there is no one who really overlaps Bellesiles so OF COURSE there was no one in the department competent to drop the guillotine.

Emory did something with some ‘experts’ over the summer – can you, a law professor, imagine how much it would cost to get 3-6 senior history professors (and they have to be senior) to come to campus (and I think they would have to meet in person at least at the start, though they could write their report without physical proximity) and to toss their planned research out the window for 2 months to deal with this?

The senior folk they brought in were NOT up to Prof. Lindgren’s numeracy – as he suggests on occasion many humanists are incapable of the statistical understanding necessary (though there’s a Latin America specialist in the Emory department who should be – a really good demographer).

–what follows is the rankest of speculation–

My read – the outside committee delivered a damning report, but with some caveats along the “we have not had the time or the resources to investigate the

archival material.”

That would leave Michael Bellesiles room to appeal on those grounds. Emory is nervous and is willing to give him the term with pay to try to reconstruct some

archival research.

We’ll see.

Very interesting thoughts from someone with far more insight into the discipline, and Emory itself, than I possess. I rather doubt that Emory is feeling much pressure from me; in fact, I have no particular reason to think that any Emory administrators are even aware of InstaPundit. But there’s a lot of discussion of Bellesiles among historians and legal academics, and although people were slow to face up to the reality of what was going on, most people (including, perhaps especially, some of those who were his biggest backers initially) are now pretty unhappy with him and that has to be putting pressure on Emory not to ignore the problem or paper it over — which, by now, has to be pretty obviously impossible.

Several other readers, though, sent messages like this one:

My take on the situation:. It looks like they’re stalling for time. Maybe they’re hoping this will blow over and they can deliver a token punishment to the guy when no one cares anymore.

That’s possible, but I tend to doubt it. They’re just keeping the matter open, and it’s just going to cause Emory’s reputation to suffer during another academic year. That’s going to hurt hiring, graduate student recruitment, and general position as the department gets the reputation of being “troubled.” There’s no benefit there.

August 22, 2002

GEITNER SIMMONS HAS SOME GOOD THOUGHTS on dissent, patriotism, and moral seriousness.

August 22, 2002

HOMELAND SECURITY IS A JOKE. So why are they wasting time on this? While this goes unpunished.

August 22, 2002

CONTENT-BASED SPAM FILTERING: This is an interesting approach. Actually, if I could just delete email that was more than 20% capital letters, it would cut down on (1) crank email; and (2) nearly all the Nigerian scamspam.

August 22, 2002

I’M GOING TO BE ON KTSA radio in San Antonio in about an hour (just after 5) talking about air security. Sadly, there’s no Internet stream, but if you’re anywhere in that part of Texas give it a listen — it’s 550 AM.

August 22, 2002

TAPPED doesn’t like Josh Chafetz’s piece on Maureen Dowd. Josh is being too “literalist.”

Well, one of the many objectionable things about Dowd’s writing is that it always has this layer of I-was-just-joking-around deniability to it. (Kinda like Ann Coulter, who doesn’t get that benefit of the doubt). But I don’t think Josh was confused about what Dowd was saying. I think that Dowd was confused about what Dowd was saying.

And I’m pretty sure that Josh, who’s an American student at Oxford, is of draft age. Though, of course, that’s kind of a meaningless term since there’s no draft. — Damn! Now I’m getting carried away with the literalism!

UPDATE: Reader Gerard Vanderleun writes:

I find this little statement of “obvious fact” rather ill considered:

“The only people hot to fight this war are a bunch of nerdy chickenhawks brandishing grandiose plans to remake the Middle East.”

It has the overwhelming aspect of being, from the get-go, utterly untrue. I could introduce TAPPED to a number of New Yorkers of all ages, sexes, and classes whose only problem with the war is that it is not killing enough of the right people quickly enough. And that’s just New York. You start wandering around in what passes for the heartland and the incidence of American flags starts to go up as well as the bumper stickers and other visible forms of opinion proliferate. Perhaps TAPPED means the count of people in favor of the war is low within the circles in which they lunch and dine. From my own experience, this is not an unusual reality filter [their] environment. They really need to get out more. After all, they are actually taking Dowd seriously.

Ah well, TAPPED has failed to learn from the Book of Eastwood: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Vanderleun hosts this website, which shows where he stands. And good for him.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Bill Quick’s site has an extended discussion of the whole “chickenhawk” line — currently being substituted for actual argument by a number of antiwar bloggers — and pronounces it an antigay slur.

August 22, 2002

SOMETHING ELSE FOR EUROPEANS TO WORRY ABOUT:

Higher fertility rates and immigration produce not only a larger population but a society that is younger, more mixed ethnically and, on balance, more dynamic. The simplest expression of this is median age (by definition, half of the population is older than the median age, and half younger). According to Bill Frey, a demographer at the University of Michigan, the median age in America in 2050 will be 36.2. In Europe it will be 52.7. That is a stunning difference, accounted for almost entirely by the dramatic ageing of the European population. At the moment, the median age is 35.5 in America and 37.7 in Europe. In other words, the difference in the median age is likely to rise from two to 17 years by 2050.

Behind this change lie demographic patterns with big policy implications. The percentage of children in the population is falling as populations age. But in America it is falling more slowly than elsewhere. In 1985, America and Europe had more or less the same proportion of the population under 14 years of age: around 20%. By 2020, the proportion of children in Europe will have slumped to 13.7%. In America it will still be 18.6%—not only higher than in Europe but higher than in China and Japan, as well. . . .

Perhaps none of this is altogether surprising. The contrast between youthful, exuberant, multi-coloured America and ageing, decrepit, inward-looking Europe goes back almost to the foundation of the United States. But demography is making this picture even more true, with long-term consequences for America’s economic and military might and quite possibly for the focus of its foreign policy.

From The Economist, via The Sound and the Fury.

August 22, 2002

MICKEY KAUS HAS BEEN PROMOTED, from rhinoceros to “a huge mutant God-King Rhinoceros.”

I told him to get that mole looked at when I saw him at the L.A. Blogger Bash.

August 22, 2002

MARK STEYN WRITES that there’s no excuse for rape, and that those who seek to blame the victim should be ashamed. But there seem to be more and more of them.

August 22, 2002

JOSH MARSHALL sums up his war with the Post. Maybe he should just change his site name to something more generic. Like, say, The Federal Page.

August 22, 2002

WHY ONLINE MUSIC doesn’t hurt CD sales. A compelling argument from Scott Rosenberg.

August 22, 2002

DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT.

August 22, 2002

STEPHEN GREEN says we should think of the Saudis as a crazy ex-girlfriend. Personally, I think that’s kind of creepy.

August 22, 2002

I’VE QUIT WITH THE CORNEL WEST UPDATES, but this one is too good to pass up: Nick Danger is reporting that West will appear in the Matrix sequels as a “Counselor West.” And, amazingly, it’s true!

August 22, 2002

BELLESILES UPDATE: Melissa Seckora reports that a decision has been made on Bellesiles and will be announced by Emory tomorrow.

August 22, 2002

MINETA IMPEACHMENT UPDATE: I’ve gotten a flood (er, a bigger flood than usual) of email in response to my FoxNews column on airport security. Here are some excerpts:

As a frequent business traveler, I recently informed Continental Airlines that their harassment was so pervasive, that I had increased my drive-to cutoff time to 12 hours.

Their response ‘It’s not our fault – complain to the TSA’.

My response ‘Who will keep Continental afloat when the business traveler quits flying?’

—-

I refuse to fly. I refuse to be humiliated by those stupid, arrogant punks that call themselves “airport security”.

If official TDY (temporary duty) comes along, I take leave or get permissive TDY to drive or use other conveyance. (BTW, it saves the taxpayers a ton of $$$ by driving.) . . .

I truly hope that every airline goes belly up and puts every airport screener and other scumbag doofus out on the street.

Security should be geared to check for two things: fire arms and bombs. And we ain’t checking for bombs! I will gladly take my chances with a nail file wielding lunatic than put up with this insanity called airport security.

I didn’t think I could laugh so much over anything to do with airport security but “The revenge of the tweezers people” is perfect. I fly at least once a month (this summer has been every week). You need to add one more category to the people randomly chosen to be searched – blonde, petite ( and harmless), American women who would never dare to wear an under bra! I’m really sick of it. I’m normally nice to people but I make no effort to be with the stupidity of the system I see.

Airport security is a bone-headed charade that irritates all and protects none. Lord knows we need protection from 85-year old grandmothers and explosive breast milk! Any frequent traveler, as myself, has learned to avoid the screening. To me the absurdity was a recent flight where two volunteers were asked to submit to the “random” security check to expedite the boarding process.

I have to travel every week and it always by air, that works out to about a 100,000 miles a year. You are right about “security”, it is a joke. If I did not have to fly I sure would not, it is just not worth the hassle. I feel that is going to take another major incident before we have real security at our airports.

I could not agree more with the premise of your article. I recently was camping with a pilot for American Airlines. He described how even the pilots think the new rules are a travesty, making passengers more irritated during the flights and doing nothing to enhance aircraft security. Bolt the cockpit doors and give pilots guns, that will give any hijacker incentive to look for other targets.

Great article and right on the money. It’s interesting how the media continues to say that airline travel is declining because people are “afraid to fly,” when in reality, people love to fly, they just hate being treated as suspected criminals in the process.

Thank you for your article. I am a diabetic and I must carry my supplies syringes) with me and it creates a problem with security that has cost me missing several flights. Now I avoid taking a plane if I can. Americans are not afraid of airplanes, but we are afraid of airports.

Of course, there was one anonymous reader who didn’t like the column:

It seems inconceivable that a professional educator would write an article with so little factual research and so many of the usual cliches of carping critics of security.

Give it up, Norm. I know it’s you. . . .

There’s a political issue here for somebody, folks.

UPDATE: Oh, and several people have written to say that the Barnum quote in my column actually comes from H.L. Mencken. I had a source quoting Barnum, but he’s quoted for lots of things he never said (that’s why I said “supposedly”), so that’s probably right. Oh, and Gary Leff is getting email, too.

To those (well, the plural isn’t obviously appropriate, but. . .) who say I’m wrong about this: show me the evidence that travellers are happy and think this stuff makes ’em safer. I haven’t seen any.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The mail keeps pouring in. Here’s one that sums up the airlines’ business problems:

I am a mid-level manager at a major company. I presently hold Platinum Elite with Continental Airlines and am a life member of American Airlines. I presently have 292,000 miles with Continental and 56,000 with AA. These miles were accumulated in 2001. In 2002, I have 12,000 with Continental and 0 with AA. I only fly when ABSOLUTELY necessary. The hassles and inconveniences are not worth it.

On my last three flights I have been wanded and shoed, my bags were smell tested and I was asked to remove belts, coats and buckles. The final indignity was when the soles of my shoes were bent so far back that the sole broke. The SS officer there said the shoes were WEAK.

Now you know why we have installed 14 additional ISDN lines for Video Conferencing. Those twice monthly business trips to and from the East Coast have been reduced to 2 trips per year. The short hops between LA and San Jose have become family excursions which only take 5 hours to drive. They take 3 hours to fly, not counting the rental car hassles at all major airports. Mr. Mineta and the airlines better come up with a solution to this problem.

As another reader says, the security’s bad enough, but the airlines don’t try to make it up to you in other ways. They seem to think you owe it to them to be their customer.

August 22, 2002

JOSH CHAFETZ IS BACK, and has a new installment of the immutable laws of Dowd. Don’t miss it.

UPDATE: Okay, I can’t resist — this Fisking is worth quoting:

The showcase line in the column was “We used to worry about a military coup against civilian authority. Now we worry about a civilian coup against military authority.” Maureen was very proud of this line. The NYT online even used it as the tag line for her column. But, um, what the hell does it mean? First, I hate to bring up a pesky little thing like the Constitution — especially when dealing with a legal eagle like Dowd — but Article II, section 2 does say, “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.” In other words, the military is meant to be under civilian control. The idea of a civilian coup against military authority is completely incoherent in a democratic state.

Like a lot of Dowd’s columns.

August 22, 2002

JIM DUNNIGAN HAS A COLUMN on the reasons, good and bad, why people fear invading Iraq. Here’s my favorite from among the “bad” reasons:

There are also unspoken reasons why Iraq’s neighbors, and the rest of the world, oppose an invasion. Removing Saddam by military force scares the other leaders of the Arab world because it might (and probably would) work. If such an operation also managed to install a functioning democracy (not a sure thing) it would show the citizens of other Arab states that there is one sure fire way to get rid of the local tyrants and install democracy. Such a development is also anathema to Islamic militants, who want to replace Arab dictators with “Islamic Republics” (run by the clergy.) Most Arabs don’t want this, and the militants know it. Europeans are against the invasion because, if it works, it brings back ugly memories of European colonialism that was supposed to benefit the victims, but didn’t. There’s also some fear that past secret deals with Saddam will come to light. Finally, Europeans hate it when America does something Europeans either didn’t think of, lacked the will to try or the gumption to make it work.

Read the whole thing.

August 22, 2002

HOWARD BASHMAN ARGUES IN SLATE that the Supreme Court shouldn’t follow polls. He’s right, of course.

But there’s more to it than that. As I argued in a (probably over-sophisticated) article in the Columbia Law Review entitled “Chaos and the Court” some years ago, one of the virtues of the Court, entirely apart from whether it gets things right on the merits, is that its institutional structure keeps it running on different political cycles than the rest of the government. If the court starts paying attention to polls, we lose that feature, as well as acquiring all the vices that go with poll-following on the merits.

August 22, 2002

THE NEW YORK TIMES HAS ANOTHER WEBLOG ARTICLE, this one on the value of “organizational” sites that let you find blogs of interest in a particular area. BlogTree and Blogs4God get mentioned, as well as the NYCBloggers.

August 22, 2002

CNN HAS AN UPDATE on yesterday’s sunburn-mom story. She’s pled not guilty to a misdemeanor, and is home with the kids.

August 22, 2002

TAPPED weighs in on Josh Marshall’s side in the Great Talking Points Controversy.

August 22, 2002

STATS UPDATE: Jim Lindgren’s Yale Law Journal deconstruction of Michael Bellesiles’ Arming America has now been downloaded 74,584 times since it was posted last Friday afternoon. Still no word from Emory, but expect something soon. If you’re late to the Bellesiles story, you might want to read this piece by Melissa Seckora, along with this piece by Kimberly Strassel.

The great public interest in the case is shown by how many times Lindgren’s piece has been downloaded. (Law review articles aren’t what you’d call sexy, in general.) By way of contrast, the piece that Professor Brannon Denning and I wrote on the Miller case has been downloaded 1113 times, and the piece of mine on jury nullification has been downloaded 2660 times; the piece on how Robert Bork gets originalism all wrong has been downloaded 1123 times, despite being on the server now for nearly a month.

Ordinarily, these would be impressive numbers (most law reviews don’t have circulations that high!), but the huge number of times Lindgren’s piece has been downloaded indicates a degree of public interest that may be unparalleled for a law review article. I’m certain that this is more downloads than any law review article hosted on the Social Science Research Network site has ever gotten (I think the record there is something like 27,000 — and over a period of several years).

Somebody ought to give Lindgren a book contract.

August 22, 2002

NORM MINETA’S WORST NIGHTMARE: The FoxNews column is officially up. I’m going running. Back later.

August 22, 2002

MICKEY KAUS REPORTS that the New York Times is fact-checking The New York Times. Hey, maybe the blogosphere is having an impact! And scroll down to see Kaus do actual reporting!

August 21, 2002

INTERESTING THEORY about the seizure of the Iraqi Embassy in Berlin.

UPDATE: Here’s another special-ops theory from Hesiod Theogeny.

Both theories are plausible, and both are probably wrong in the details. Sitting in my perch in the blogosphere and watching the goings-on in the world, I’m convinced that there are a lot of deceptions underway. But I don’t — and can’t — know enough to know the truth about them. And if I did, I wouldn’t say. But Gary Leff has the mother of all disinformation theories on his page. Chortle.

August 21, 2002

IN FEBRUARY OF 2001, Dave Kopel warned that Zimbabwe was slouching toward genocide. Now they’re worrying about it in Zimbabwe, too.

August 21, 2002

DEALING WITH BIG MEDIA: Larry Lessig has a suggestion for how to reduce the power of Hollywood and the RIAA over Congress:

Here’s the simplest thing we could do: identify 2 luddite members of Congress — one Republican and one Democrat. Organize and defeat them in November. If Congress saw bad ideas cost seats, they’d begin to do something about their bad ideas.

Doc Searls likes the idea. Dave Winer agrees, and suggests Joe Biden as one. I just wonder how vulnerable Biden is. The ideal candidate is one who is (1) in Hollywood’s pocket; and (2) vulnerable, with a realistic challenger. Any suggestions? Comments are on.

August 21, 2002

FORGET “FACT-CHECKING” JOHN PILGER’S ASS: It looks like Tim Blair’s got it under round-the-clock, transnational surveillance.

Meanwhile Ken Layne is into electronic espionage against Big Media organizations. Though as is always the case with espionage, the data require careful evaluation.

August 21, 2002

OLIVER WILLIS emails that Ian Cook has a plan to revolutionize cable TV news coverage. Which, it’s fair to say, needs it. I’m game.

August 21, 2002

UNILATERALISM: After criticizing the U.S. for not going along with the International Criminal Court, and after blasting “American style” capitalism, the Germans — well, at least a bunch of German companies — are objecting to new U.S. accounting rules that affect them.

August 21, 2002

NORM MINETA AND THE REVENGE OF THE TWEEZER PEOPLE: It’s not official until tomorrow, but you can read my FoxNews column now. Just don’t tell anyone I tipped you off.

August 21, 2002

DANIEL TAYLOR, I’m happy to report, is doing better and is looking for a laptop so he can blog from the hospital. Anybody in his neck of the woods (I seem to recall it’s Atlanta, but I can’t find that on the page) have a loaner available?

August 21, 2002

THE G.O.P. THINKS that N.Z. Bear has a memory problem. At least, they’re sending him “renewal” notices for a party membership he never had. Another cheesy political stunt. (And, if it’s intentional, fraud?) Good thing campaign finance reform will put a stop to that!

Hey, wait. . . .

August 21, 2002

OKAY, I WAS ONE OF THE FIRST to jump on Ann Coulter’s, um, overheated rhetoric after 9/11. (And scroll up from that post for much, much more). Since then I’ve mostly ignored her. But everyone’s getting upset over this statement:

Then she said: “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.”

I told her to be careful.

“You’re right, after 9/11 I shouldn’t say that,” she said, spotting a cab and grabbing it.

Uh, actually she shouldn’t have said it before 9/11, either. I suppose it’s not meant to be taken any more seriously than the claim in the same interview that Matt Drudge is ” the sexiest man alive,” but still. . . .

Patrick Nielsen Hayden writes that Mickey Kaus shouldn’t give someone who says this sort of thing a permalink on his site, and helpfully uses the example of someone who wants to kill me as the kind of person he wouldn’t link to. (He in fact links to a few people who call me names on a regular basis, but that’s okay: sticks and stones, and all that.)

Having completely lost control of my too-large blogroll (I can’t even keep up with people’s changes of URL), I don’t think I’ll point fingers on that subject. Coulter’s schtick, though, is to say outrageous and provocative things. In a culture of political correctness that’s a virtue of sorts in itself — and in the early-to-mid-nineties, when that sort of thing was at a peak in the mainstream media, she made it work, as, in a different way, did Maureen Dowd. But those days are long gone, and provocativeness isn’t the same thing now. We’re at war, and, as Ari Fleischer helpfully reminded us, people need to pay attention to what they say.

August 21, 2002

ACCORDING TO OPENSECRETS.ORG, 78% of Cynthia McKinney’s money came from out of state, versus 3% for Denise Majette.

So if “the jews” cost her the election, they were Georgia jews.

UPDATE: Max Sawicky emails that the numbers are out of date, and he’s right. There’s more on his blog.

Aside: This isn’t OpenSecrets’ fault, since they don’t collect the data — but I don’t see why, if Amazon can track book sales on an hourly basis, we couldn’t have this kind of data available just as quickly. The answer, of course, is that we could — but that it’s not in the lawmakers’ interest to make that easy for us.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Frank Natoli sends this link for more information on Majette, and this link for more information on McKinney. But though it shows a lot more money (because it’s more recent) I can’t find an in-state, out-of-state breakdown.

August 21, 2002

STRATEGYPAGE HAS SOME INTERESTING OBSERVATIONS about where Delta Force is heading. (Thanks to reader Trent Telenko for pointing this out).

August 21, 2002

THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL, ACCORDING TO THIS REPORT, wants the Palestinian Authority booted from the UN, where it has semi-official status:

The New York City Council overwhelmingly approved a resolution last week to ask the Bush administration and the UN to close the Palestinian mission to the United Nations in Manhattan. During discussions concerning the resolution prior to the vote, Council members made it clear that they considered the Palestinian Authority a terrorist entity. A large group of Council members had just returned from a three-day fact finding mission to Israel sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and the UJA. During the trip, they saw first hand the effects of terror on the Israeli people.

The resolution condemns all murderous acts against civilians, recognizing that the Israeli people have been attacked over 13,000 times in the last two years, with one of the latest atrocities occuring at Hebrew University in Jerusalem where victms included five American citizens.

It also calls on President Bush to “condemn the Palestinian Authority support of terrorists and harboring of terrorists.” It calls upon the president and the United Nations “to work together to seek the closure of the United Nations Mission of the PA in the City of New York.”

It’s nice that somebody’s figured it out.

August 21, 2002

AFTER WEEKS OF TAKING SNARKY SHOTS at Stephen Carter’s novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park, Tim Noah has finally read it. And he says it’s good.

Noah’s still after Carter over his non-attendance at some meetings of the Kass Council on bioethics, though. Maybe I’m prejudiced because Carter’s one of my old law profs (though I suppose that could cut both ways. . .) but I think this is, and has been, a bum rap. Carter’s non-attendance, I think, just shows that he’s a smart guy: Smart enough, at least, to figure out that the whole thing was a sham that wasn’t going to affect Administration policy anyway.

August 21, 2002

MCKINNEY UPDATE: It wasn’t just the Jews — now the Indians are taking credit, too.

Jews, bloggers, Indians. Even Libertarians are taking credit. Success has a thousand fathers.

August 21, 2002

MARY ROBINSON explains her human rights philosophy in the Tehran Times.