Archive for February, 2003

February 24, 2003

THIS PICTURE doesn’t look much like “Four Horsemen” — but I like it!

February 24, 2003


I have more thoughts on the growing pro-war movement over at

February 24, 2003


What a long, strange year it’s been.

UPDATE: And Sean Kirby, too! Go say hi.

February 24, 2003

IS DELAY WORKING TO THE UNITED STATES’ ADVANTAGE? Not politically, but maybe militarily.

February 24, 2003

A USB toothbrush?

February 24, 2003

TONY ADRAGNA NOTES de Villepin’s admiration for tyrants and futility.

Explains a lot.

February 24, 2003

MY 3:30 FACULTY MEETING got put off until 4:00. It’s shocking how happy that makes me.

Well, partly because now I can post this link to photos of the Castel/Dodge blogger wedding. Drop by and leave ’em your best wishes!

February 24, 2003

WILLIAM SHAWCROSS WRITES on “Why Saddam Will Never Disarm:”

But the reality to remember is that Saddam will never voluntarily give up his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as resolution 1441 and 16 other resolutions demand. They are integral to his sense of his regime. His record shows that he considers no cost too high to retain his biological, chemical and whatever exists of his nuclear capability.

In 1991, the surrender agreement ending the war in Kuwait specifically guaranteed that Iraq would surrender its weapons of mass destruction within 15 days. Till then sanctions, imposed after his invasion of Kuwait, would remain. His refusal to do so has meant that the UN oil embargo has stayed for 12 years, costing Iraq more than $180 billion and its ordinary people great suffering. It is wrong to blame the West, or the UN, for the starvation and deaths of Iraqi children – Saddam is to blame and he considers it a small part of the price to pay for his proscribed weapons.

Saddam’s obsession with his WMD has deep roots at home as well as abroad. First, he sees the threat of such weapons as a means of internal control over the 60 per cent of Iraqis who are Shia. The use of chemical weapons against the Kurds in 1998 taught the Shia the dangers of revolt. In 1999 a Shia revolt in the town of Najaf was crushed by Saddam’s security forces accompanied by troops in white uniforms wearing gas masks. People were terrified that Saddam was about to gas them – with the weapons that Saddam denies having and for which the UN is still vainly searching. The Shia have been mostly cowed since.

WMD also helps to keep the regular armed forces in line.

Read it all. But here’s one more excerpt:

The inspectors may find some banned materials, by luck, perseverance and good intelligence – and because Saddam has made cunning tactical concessions. They will never find the bulk of the illegal weapons. But that is not their job. That is to monitor his voluntary disarmament. He is not doing that and he never will. He is in clear breach of resolution 1441 and he always will be. The decision the world faces is: will we let him get away with it again? George Bush and Tony Blair say No. They are right.

Keep this in mind: Saddam will do whatever he can get away with.

And France, Germany, and the “peace movement” want him to get away with everything, because — for reasons of their own that vary — they’d rather see that than a war.

Keep that in mind when you hear Chirac say that “inspections are working.” They are working — for Saddam, and for Chirac.

February 24, 2003

BILL WHITTLE HAS ANOTHER POST UP. That should be all I really need to say.

February 24, 2003


WARSAW Waiting for a McKielbasa sandwich at an outlet in central Warsaw of the world’s most ubiquitous American fast food chain, the 29-year-old economist did not hesitate when asked where he would stand if asked to choose between the United States and Europe.

“America is a better partner for us and I trust America more than France or any other country,” said Maciek Wesolowski, joking that he was buying the McDonald’s sandwich, a Polish sausage on a hamburger bun, in honor of Polish-American friendship.

Poland, the largest and most economically promising of the 10 countries set to join the European Union next year, is unapologetic about its enthusiastic American allegiance and its vocal resistance to the current quest by traditional European powers, France and Germany, to establish their political independence from the United States. . . .

The Union now has 15 member nations, but with the addition next year of 10 mostly former Communist states, France and Germany may find their traditional dominance harder to maintain. Certainly, the very public admonition by President Jacques Chirac to the Central and East European candidate nations – who support the American position on war with Iraq – to keep silent rather than undermine European unity won France no friends in Poland.

“He is trying to treat the EU candidates as a French colony or a French suburb,” Wesolowski said over his McDonald’s sandwich.

Heh. Then there’s this:

Thanks from the United States to Poland for standing by us. Germany is living in a dream world on politics these days. I have urged President Bush and six American senators to move US troops out of Germany as much as possible and into countries like Poland and Hungary, if they would like that to happen.

Germany is simply too expensive to do business with these days. Its taxes, labour costs and consumer prices are all too high. Besides, the Middle East is the area of concern, and Poland and Hungary are closer anyway.

More and more we are seeing growing anti-German and anti-France views here and for good reason. I hope Poland and Hungary take up the slack as American consumers are quietly moving to boycott German and French products.

I think it’s the McDonald’s reference that will upset Chirac the most, though.

February 24, 2003

KAIMI WENGER found something interesting at the New York Times website, and now Mickey Kaus is picking up on it:

“The stimulant ephedra is banned from Olympic sports, college sports and the N.F.L.,” wrote George Vecsey in the NYT last week. “It may soon be banned from sale in Suffolk County on Long Island. But it was not banned from the locker of the late Steve Bechler.” And, Vecsey might have added, it’s not banned from the NYT’s web site, which still runs ads for “Ephedra Super Caps: 850 mg. pure ephedra extract.” …


February 24, 2003

REGIS DEBRAY’S DUMB OPED from the New York Times didn’t attract as much attention in the Blogosphere as it might have.

That’s because we were all waiting for James Lileks to administer this righteous Fisking, which renders anything we might have said surplusage anyway.

February 24, 2003

PICTURES FROM THE L.A. BLOG CONFERENCE can be found here. Welch looks as if he’s been partaking.

February 24, 2003

THERE WILL BE A LIVE WEBCAST AT 9 AM to discuss the outcome of AIDSVax clinical trials. Follow this link for more. Hope we’ll find out that it works!

February 24, 2003

IRELAND’S FOREIGN MINISTER is denouncing anti-Americanism by the Irish left. And Ireland’s Justice Minister adds that he’s “totally amazed” that people on the left would prefer Saddam Hussein to the United States.

February 24, 2003

IRAQIS DEMAND WAR NOW: You’d think that this story would merit more attention, wouldn’t you?

February 24, 2003

SCHROEDER MAY BE A FECKLESS LOSER, but no one ever said that German auto executives were stupid:

MUNICH — German auto executives are keeping a wary eye on the United States, fearing a boycott over the German government’s opposition to war with Iraq. . . .

Industrialists are so concerned that the Atlantic-Bruecke (means Atlantic Bridge) group, which calls itself the oldest German-American friendship organization, ran an ad in The New York Times on Feb. 16. The ad emphasized the 50-year bond between the United States and Germany.

So far, it says, they’re not hearing a lot from American consumers.

UPDATE: Maybe people are voting with their pocketbooks, rather than emailing. Reader Ann Ellwood sends this:

I am in the market for a new car–I am buying one in March. I was considering either the Mini (bought by BMW), the Bug, or the Chrysler Sebring–but no more. I am now looking at other alternatives. I am not going to the dealers and telling them this–so how would they know? It is not a “boycott,” but why should I spend my hard earned dollars supporting an economy whose workers think that I am worse than Saddam Hussein?

I have to say, I’ve felt the same way.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Robert Denton emails:

Reading today’s post about possible German products boycott and wanted to mention my action. I own two 1996 cars and intend to replace them soon enough. I have been looking at Jetta Turbo or Passat for one, and if our Jeep can stand the wait I wanted to get a VW Microbus (2005 release) as its replacement.

I wrote a letter to the best email contact I could at VW’s web site telling them I can not buy their products as long as the strong anti-American sentiments are boiling over as the predominant attitude in Deutschland.

Someone in one German company knows the sentiment.

Meanwhile another reader sends this:

Mr. Pundit, I am in the market for a new car and have long desired a BMW for the amazing driving experience they provide. However the astounding degree of anti-Americanism issuing forth from Europe, and especially Germany, makes it impossible for me to prop up their ridiculous stance with my hard earned money. Instead I will take delivery of a brand new Nissan 350Z from our steadfast ally, Japan. German business does well to be concerned, people in the market for high end cars are likely well informed as to current events. It will not take many to make a noticable dent in sales.

I still haven’t driven a 350Z, but they look awfully sharp.

UPDATE: D’oh! Several readers remind me that Nissan is now a Renault property, making it worse than German — French! And I say remind, because I knew that but forgot, which makes me doubly stupid. Or something. There’s always the Mazda RX-8.

February 24, 2003

ANDREW SULLIVAN on being named one of the “Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse”: “For the record, if I ever ride into the apocalypse, I’d rather just prance around and have a serf banging coconut shells behind me.”

February 23, 2003

WE’RE GOING ABOUT IT ALL WRONG! If we’re going to invade Iraq, we’re supposed to impose our films first.

Hmm. Well, maybe this one.

February 23, 2003


February 23, 2003


February 23, 2003

MATT CRANDALL is predicting disaster for France.

February 23, 2003

I MEANT TO LINK THIS EARLIER: Talking Dog’s annotated guide to the blogosphere. I’m glad I’m not the one who has to keep it up to date!

February 23, 2003

FOLLOW THE MONEY: Byron York looks at where Not In Our Name gets its funding.

February 23, 2003

JOSHUA CLAYBOURN EXAMINES ANTI-AMERICANISM IN EUROPE as a function of extreme anti-American slant in European media.

February 23, 2003

SAKHAROV’S ADVICE: Michael Barone raises some good points. Excerpt:

Sakharov’s advice to American policymakers: “Do not trust governments more than governments trust their own people.” . . .

Many people said in the 1970s that Latin Americans were unsuited for democracy, in the early 1980s that East Asians were unsuited for democracy, in the late 1980s that Eastern Europeans and Russians were unsuited for democracy. Many people worried in 1945 that the Germans and Japanese were unsuited for democracy. There were reasons for their doubts and fears. But the United States took chances on democracy, transforming Germany and Japan into decent independent nations we can live with and helping to move Latin America, East Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia in the same direction. We have no choice now but to do the same, first in Iraq and then in other parts of the Middle East.

Read it all.

February 23, 2003

I THINK IT’S UNPATRIOTIC to publish secret intelligence documents like this one just to get the story ahead of other people. This could do great harm to American intelligence operations in Iraq if Iraqi intelligence agencies find out about it. I sure hope that they don’t.

February 23, 2003

AFRICAPUNDIT is a new blog dedicated to, you guessed it, things African — like the spread of radical Islam in Nigeria.

UPDATE: Then there’s this bit of Africa-related news.

February 23, 2003

TIM BLAIR IS CHEERING CAMERAMAN NUMBER TWO — plus, Robert Fisk accidentally says something true!

February 23, 2003

BILL QUICK is running a Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse photoshop contest — follow that link to find out how to enter. And click on this image to see it full-size.

Me, I’m still wondering: Which way do you ride a Pale Horse? English? Or Western?

February 23, 2003

MICHAEL KELLY’S report on the crushing of debate in America is now up on the Atlantic Monthly website. Many blogs are mentioned by name.

February 23, 2003

PUNDITWATCH IS UP! Don’t miss the “best quip” section.

February 23, 2003

MARK KLEIMAN’S FATHER PASSED AWAY Friday night. Mark has a moving eulogy on his site. Please join me in extending the condolences of the Blogosphere for his loss.

February 23, 2003

GROUCHY MEDIA has a rather bellicose pro-war video that I imagine some will like, and some will be horrified by.

February 23, 2003


February 23, 2003

HAS PATTY MURRAY been proven wrong? PrairiePundit thinks so.

UPDATE: Oops, now his archives are hosed. Here’s the page link. It’s currently the top post.

February 23, 2003

THOUGHTFUL COMMENTS for and against war, from Colby Cosh.

UPDATE: Then there’s this from Tom Paine.

February 23, 2003

FROM THE “THIS SUCKS” DEPARTMENT: Sonic Foundry, maker of terrific audio software that I use a lot, is in financial trouble. Well, lots of companies are, these days, but they have terrific products in their Acid music software (I did the music for my wife’s documentary, largely using Acid Pro 4.0, and it rocks) and they’ve just released their new Vegas Video 4 video-editing software, which is rumored to be great, and to have an integrated DVD-authoring package that actually works, something not to be taken for granted. I’d hate to see them go under. How come so many companies with crappy products manage to stay in business?

By the way, if you’ve used Vegas 4, especially with the DVD-authoring feature, please drop me an email and let me know how it works.

And if you’re a turnaround expert — go save ’em! They’ve got consistently great products, an excellent reputation, and a lot of happy customers. That should be worth something, right?

UPDATE: A reader emails:

I read your post on Sonic Foundry. They are one of my customers, so I thought I’d give you a little hope. They have great ideas but horrible business skills. They have brought on people to help them with this. Sonic Foundry is stripping away its business units that lose money so that they can focus on their core business. It may also be noted that they are “plugged into” the local and state political structure. I suspect that they will get enough help so that they can restructure and come out stronger. The have a great product and a loyal customer base. They just need to focus.

Of course, they could botch it all up. It wouldn’t be the first time a great company was sunk by bad business decisions.

I hope they make it. They make great stuff.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Techblogger Jim Zellmer has some observations. And another reader points out that even if Sonic Foundry dies, the technology will probably live on. No doubt. But still, I’d like to see them survive.

February 23, 2003

THOSE L.A. BLOG PANELS MUST BE GOOD, because apparently everyone’s too drunk/hungover to write about them that night or the next day. But here are Rishawn Biddle’s predictions.

UPDATE: Luke Ford, by virtue of skipping the big party at Heather Havrilesky’s, was neither drunk nor hungover and so has posted some comments.

February 22, 2003


Today the collapse of the Cold War international order, the rise of global terrorism and the backlash to globalization have among them raised the specter of a shrinkage, or even collapse, of globalization — one perhaps even more catastrophic than the reversal of globalization from 1914 through 1945. Such a collapse, greatly limiting the international flow of goods, capital, and people, would have a number of consequences.

One repercussion would be a global depression probably surpassing the severity and breadth of the 1930s. The second would probably be the return of empire as a strategy for securing resources and security. These two are familiar from history.

The third would be the elevation of weapons of mass destruction, but particularly nuclear weapons, to an effective requirement of sovereignty, and to create an arms race to develop countermeasure, such as ballistic missile defense, and new, hard-to-counter weapons of mass destruction.

Gee, that’s something to look forward to. Another reason to end this quickly.

February 22, 2003


Thousands rallied Saturday in support of President Bush and U.S. troops in a possible war against Iraq, turning their criticism to anti-war protesters and France’s opposition to military force.

About 2,000 people turned out at an Orlando rally that featured a reading of the Gettysburg Address, while another 1,000 prayed and marched in Pensacola.

“I was so saddened to see so many in our nation not supporting our troops and our country,” said Naval Warrant Officer David Wolff, a Desert Storm veteran who arrived at the Pensacola rally in uniform. “This is very uplifting.”

Rallies were also held in Indianapolis and Washington state, where more than 2,000 people gathered for a pro-war rally in Bremerton, home to a naval station where the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson departed last month.

And somehow they managed to organize them without enlisting A.N.S.W.E.R.

UPDATE: Here’s more:

The Pensacola rally was a grass-roots effort coordinated by Milton resident Sam Mullins, while the Orlando event was put on by the talk-radio station WFLA-AM.

“There’s a silent majority out there that really hasn’t had a vehicle yet to get their voices heard, and that’s what this is all about,” radio host Shannon Burke said. “These are people who love their country, and they’re just here to share that.”

No reports of any stilts or giant puppets, though. Don’t these people know how to run a protest?

February 22, 2003

TOM LANTOS is arguing against appeasement, and criticizing the Germans and French.

February 22, 2003


I was holding out for Pestilence, but I’ll take whatever.

Considering the source, it’s an honor indeed.

UPDATE: Andrea Harris is savaging Sawicky for sexism!

ANOTHER UPDATE: From the comments thread here:

The Weasel-Riders of the Apocalypse!

Sophistry, Petulance, Derision, and Angst!


February 22, 2003

ANOTHER DICTATOR FOR SADDAM: Chirac’s got quite a coalition going here.

Meanwhile others are saying:

“America speaks with passion for democracy which is something that you miss in Europe,” said Linas Linkevicius, Lithuania’s foreign minister, whose office decor includes a blue baseball cap with “Mr Nato” emblazoned above its peak.

“You cannot find the passionate defence of democratic values that you get from George W Bush and the likes of John McCain in Europe. There is a sense of welcome and understanding in America while Europe makes clear that it cannot be bothered with smaller nations.”

Except Mugabe’s, of course.

UPDATE: Meanwhile Der Spiegel is reporting that Schroeder has been covering up knowledge of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, to which there is a German connection.

February 22, 2003

FORGET THE GRAMMY AWARDS! BlogCritics has the Critiquees! Much, much cooler — and without a lifetime achievement award for Michael Jackson.

February 22, 2003


So thanks to the Online Journalism Review for striking one more blow toward granting anti-Semitism some badly needed credibility. It’s this kind of careful vetting of sources that has made the OJR into the power that it is today.

Hey, antisemitism is in style this year.

UPDATE: Trent Telenko has some thoughts on the growing fashionability of anti-Semitism, and what to do about it.

February 22, 2003

JIM HENLEY POINTS to an Institute for Justice suit over business subsidies. It’s an excellent post. In reply, Eve Tushnet comments on:

a pattern you could see regularly in New Haven–taxes very high (and, in NH, so was union agitation). Major employer or potential employer threatens to leave/not come. City negotiates special tax incentive deal, a.k.a. taxpayers are basically paying for this particular business to stay/come. Big business stays/comes. Big business is happy! Small business, lacking special deal, closes. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Yes, this is the “skybox liberalism” (though plenty of big-business conservatives like it, too) that someone was pointing out earlier.

February 22, 2003

MATT WELCH writes that newspapers are abandoning their non-rich readers:

In 2003, publishers are far more concerned with making sure their readers are rich. The New York Times, for example, boasts to advertisers its readership “is almost three times as likely as the average U.S. adult to have a college or post-graduate degree, more than twice as likely to be professional/managerial and almost three times as likely to have a household income exceeding [US]$100,000.” Those robust demographics are nurtured by a series of discriminating editorial choices — special issues devoted to food, money, design, “The Sophisticated Traveller … Lives Well Lived,” and so on.

The skew is even more pronounced outside New York, where most daily newspapers are local monopolies that don’t share the Times’ journalistic aspirations. Sunday magazines, especially, are open-handed insults to the have-nots, with their landscape architecture spreads and write-ups of US$200 brunches. Internet sections come and go based on the tech-sector marketing climate of the moment (as opposed to the amount of online activity, which continues to boom). Murder victims in the ghetto are lucky to merit single paragraphs on B5, while affluent college kids struck by stray bullets are memorialized above the fold. . . .

“Daily newspapers have effectively dropped the bottom quintile or perhaps a third of the population,” wrote communications professor Robert McChesney of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in a chapter of the 2002 book Into the Buzzsaw.

It’s worse than the Digital Divide — it’s the Newsprint Divide!

February 22, 2003

ISAAC NEWTON PREDICTS the end of the world in 2060. But I’ll be too young to die!

February 22, 2003

HERE’S A NICE ARTICLE on Ashley Cleveland, whom I’ve liked ever since I heard her first CD, Big Town, which is just great.

February 22, 2003

SOME PEOPLE ARE UNHAPPY with my earlier linkage of a Mark Steyn quotation about the left and East Timor. (Here’s one post, and here’s another). But I have to say that those Australians worrying that Osama will make them targets because of Iraq do seem uninterested in mentioning that one of his big complaints was the liberation of East Timor.

If the complaint is that Steyn paints the entire antiwar left as stupid and dishonest, well, that’s a pretty broad brush, and I’m certainly willing to agree that there are plenty of exceptions. That’s why I’ve been offering those parts of the movement advice. I have to say, though, that a brief dip into the hatemail (accusing me of getting money from Exxon and — this is rich — Shell) that it’s produced has convinced me that the “stupid” part is large indeed. Or at least vocal.

UPDATE: On the other hand, Max Sawicky has managed to draft a response that doesn’t contain the terms “instacrap” or “instacracker,” so I guess I should be pleased.

ANOTHER UPDATE: You can see what Steyn was talking about here and here. I was too lazy to run down these posts, but reader Michael Levy wasn’t.

February 22, 2003

OFF TO TAKE MY DAUGHTER for a haircut. Back later. I’ll even try to attack the built-up email.

February 22, 2003


Instead, last night, the Slavi Show (a ridiculously popular, super-cool, totally mainstream, late-night show here: like David Letterman, but with an 80% viewing audience), spent half the night making fun of Jaques Chirac. Slavi (who looks like the Mr. Clean guy), dressed as Napoleon, looked up and read the Bulgarian definition of “infantile.” He’s been doing it all week.

Keep it up, Slavi!

February 22, 2003

HOWARD MORTMAN WRITES that SUV drivers are “America’s newest heroes.”

Don’t tell Arianna Huffington.

UPDATE: And don’t tell her about these shirts either.

February 22, 2003

ANOTHER L.A. BLOGOSPHERE PANEL, this one featuring “Cathy Seipp and the Seven Blog Dwarfs,” in Matt Welch’s felicitous phrase. It’s tonight, so if you’re in L.A. check it out. What else are you gonna do on a Saturday night?

February 22, 2003

RAVENWOLF BLOGS about becoming an American citizen. Drop by and offer your congratulations!

February 22, 2003

JOSH MARSHALL has an extensive interview with Ken Pollack on Iraq. It’s well worth reading.

February 22, 2003

YEAH, blogging’s been lighter than usual for the last couple of days. I’m not in Stephen Green’s rest-up-for-the-war mode, but my real job has kept me busier than usual, and I’ve had family stuff going on too. It happens.

February 21, 2003

WENT OUT TO DINNER AFTER THE CONFERENCE, with the lovely InstaWife coming along. Just got home. Now to bed.

Blogging, and email, will be dealt with tomorrow. Good night!

February 21, 2003

THE CONFERENCE IS BACK UNDERWAY — that’s Mark Tushnet to the right, who’s talking now about constitutional enforcement without judicial review. Well, sort of. The whole thing will be webcast later, which reduces the need for real-time blogging — and it seems a bit rude to do too much typing while people are talking. That also means that I’m not replying much to email, so it may back up. Sorry.

(Mark Tushnet, though a very eminent legal academic, is probably best known in the blogosphere as Eve Tushnet’s father. Take a look at this picture of Eve and see if you can spot a resemblance.)

More later, as time permits.

If you’re bored in the interim, there’s a new post up over at — involving some friendly advice for antiwar protesters. And it really is friendly advice.

February 21, 2003

LUNCH IS OVER and the program hasn’t started yet, so here’s an amusing link to the George W. Bush LibertyMeter over at Radley Balko’s site. It’s a graphic illustrating how Bush’s policies contribute to liberty, or not, and it’s based on Radley’s opinion entirely objective!

Here’s a link to Radley’s explanation of how it works. I like it!

February 21, 2003

OKAY, HERE’S A QUICK ONE during the break — a report that anti-American Arab countries like Libya and Iraq, plus Iran, are coordinating with Hugo Chavez in an oil-based counterplot.

I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s plausible (it’s the kind of thing I’d do if I were them). I think that Chavez’s dictatorial nature is reason enough to want him out of power. But if he’s collaborating with America’s enemies, then there’s another reason, now isn’t there?

February 21, 2003

I’M BLOGGING from the Marbury v. Madison symposium here at the University of Tennessee law school. Right now William Nelson (pictured at right, courtesy of my digicam) is speaking, and he’s talking about juries, and the way in which jury supremacy came under attack in the 1790s as the “elites” found that juries were insufficiently deferential, something he connects to the Sedition Act. Very interesting stuff.

Sadly, Bill Van Alstyne fell ill and won’t be here. That also means that my talk has been extended, which may limit my conference-blogging this morning. More later. (You can always read Lileks if there’s not enough for you here).

You can find a summary of the Marbury decision and why it’s important here; and you can find a link to the full text of the opinion here.

February 21, 2003


“We need more time for diplomacy,” said a key member of the Middle-Earth Security Council, Saruman the White. “I am not convinced by the evidence presented by my esteemed colleague, Gandalf the Grey, or that the Dark Lord Sauron presents an imminent danger to the peoples of the West.”


February 21, 2003

SORRY FOR THE LIGHT BLOGGING yesterday. I was a bit under the weather. I’m better today, but it’s the Marbury symposium. I plan on blogging from the conference, though.

February 21, 2003

MORE SOPHISTICATED MEASUREMENT = smaller crowd size estimates. No doubt there will be much dispute over this.

UPDATE: Told you so. And here’s more.

February 21, 2003

JOSH CHAFETZ points out that American foreign policy is playing well with Iranian students. Now there’s a switch.

February 21, 2003

NEW EUROPE: Geitner Simmons writes:

Just was 9/11 has proven to be a clarifying event for Americans (awakening most of us to a better appreciation of national security matters), so the show of Gallic arrogance toward the Eastern Europeans has been a clarifying moment for Europe. The differences in vision for “Old Europe” and “New Europe” have been thrown into high relief.


February 20, 2003

JAY MANIFOLD HAS POSTED A REPLY to my TechCentralStation column from yesterday.

February 20, 2003


February 20, 2003

THE SAMI AL-ARIAN CASE: Eugene Volokh says it well.

February 20, 2003

HEH. I’d read about this, but here’s the picture.

February 20, 2003

HAS THE LEFT SPLIT IN TWO? Very interesting post.

February 20, 2003


If we’re seeking lessons from the past to help us deal with Saddam Hussein, then the way we dealt with Mussolini’s conquest of Abyssinia in 1935 is – as the Prime Minister understands – the place to look. I was particularly reminded of my own Abyssinia moment when I read about Saturday’s anti-war march – hauntingly matched by the Peace Ballot of 1935, the national referendum in which millions voted for peace at almost any price, thus unwittingly persuading Hitler and Mussolini that bold predators had not much to fear.

Then, as now, the authority of what was then the League of Nations and is now the United Nations was at stake. Then, as now, many felt reluctant to take action against a dangerous dictator, even with the authority of a body like the League or the UN, lest it lead to war. Then, as now, our difficulties were compounded by the duplicitous behaviour of the French.

In 1935, after many brave words and much wriggling, we fudged it. So Mussolini took all he wanted in Abyssinia, without hindrance. He and others drew conclusions from this display of impotence.

Vegetius’ famous statement, “if you want peace, prepare for war,” is usually read as evidence that preparation for war promotes peace. But it’s also true that too visible a wanting of peace tends to bring on war.

February 20, 2003

ADAM YOSHIDA is offering a Virtual March for Victory in response to the “virtual march for peace.”

February 20, 2003

EVELYN SAYS that antiwar feminists are betraying women.

February 20, 2003

SUSANNA CORNETT has taken my advice and signed up with She’s also sending pro-war faxes via

Make your voice heard!

February 20, 2003

DAVE TROWBRIDGE IS asking for your help.

February 20, 2003

JACOB T. LEVY notes the bright side of Turkish intransigence: It opens the way to freeing the Kurds!

February 20, 2003

DICK GEPHARDT HYDROGEN CAR UPDATE: As I mentioned yesterday morning I emailed Gephardt’s campaign to ask where the hydrogen for the hydrogen cars would come from. No reply. I called yesterday afternoon and got referred to his Congressional office. No answer there, but today I called and spoke with a PR person who promised that someone else would call me back.

I’ll let you know when I hear something, but it’s sounding less and less like a carefully crafted plan.

UPDATE: If I don’t hear from Gephardt’s folks soon, I’m going to start doubting this story.

February 20, 2003


UPDATE: I don’t know if these charges regarding Chavez and Al Qaeda are true, and I’m inclined to be pretty skeptical. But someone should look into them.

February 20, 2003

MOVEON.ORG has made it easy for you to express your support for the war. Just go here and register. There’s also some advice here.

UPDATE: Yes, I know that MoveOn is an antiwar group. But you don’t have to be antiwar to use their site. . . .

Nukevet has more advice.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Stefan Sharkansky is organizing a Virtual March on Hollywood!

February 20, 2003


February 20, 2003


BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 19 — President Saddam Hussein’s government, apparently emboldened by antiwar sentiment at the U.N. Security Council and in worldwide street protests, has not followed through on its promises of increased cooperation with U.N. arms inspectors, according to inspectors in Iraq.

No Iraqi scientist involved in biological, chemical or missile technology has consented to a private interview with the inspectors since Feb. 7, the day before the two chief U.N. inspectors arrived here for talks with Iraqi officials. The United Nations also has not received additional documents about past weapons programs, despite the government’s pledge to set up a commission to scour the country for evidence sought by the inspectors, U.N. officials said.

Useful idiots? Looks that way to me.

February 20, 2003

ASSASSINATIONS AND ARRESTS OF OPPOSITION FIGURES: All in Venezuela, where Hugo Chavez is making it more obvious that he’s a dictator.

If it were “all about oil,” we’d have invaded there already. If it’s about human rights, then the time is coming. . . . And where are the “human rights” groups? Not making the kind of noise they’d make if a U.S. ally were involved, that’s for sure.

UPDATE: Here’s more. Also here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Randy Paul points out that human rights groups have complained. But, as I say, it’s not the kind of noise they’d make in other circumstances. Compare the attention to this with the attention that Guantanamo got, for example, or the complaints about Israel.

But here, via Randy, is a link to Human Rights watch’s comments. Not bad — but after the way the various human rights groups postured prior to the Afghanistan invasion and over Gitmo, it’s going to take a lot to impress me with their evenhandedness.

February 20, 2003

ROBERT PRATHER HAS MOVED. Adjust your bookmarks accordingly.

Also, I note that he’s plugging Oliver Willis’s new novel, Valley Girl. The first two chapters are available for free download at this link, so check it out.

February 20, 2003

I WAS ALWAYS A FAN OF WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS. Perhaps I was wrong to be.

UPDATE: Here’s a partial defense of one of Douglas’s claims.

February 20, 2003

AMERICAN DIPLOMACY — not so simplistic:

Compared to Parisian diplomatic contempt, American efforts begin to look remarkably deft. No sooner had France and Germany established their common opposition to American aims, for example, than the U.S. characterized them as “Old Europe” even as it worked to bring a “New Europe” into plain view. Now that Chirac has made his countermove—telling upstart Europe it should be seen and not heard—the American and British governments look like a pair of pretty smooth operators. . . .

France’s problem isn’t the upstart applicant counties and their supposed “allegiance” to Washington; major EU member states with successful economies also stand with the U.S. France’s problem is French global pretension: Chirac wants applicant nations to kiss his ring. The applicant nations see the EU as being about a democratic Europe of which they are a part, while France perceives the EU as being an instrument of French global stature. Currently, it can boast primarily of maintaining a neo-colonial presence in Africa, and of suppressing the struggle for independence in Corsica. Running Europe would considerably brighten its resume.

Well, I can’t entirely blame them for wanting to keep Corsica. After all, it’s the home of Laetitia Casta. (LATER: Iain Murray emails that Laetitia Casta is now a tax exile living in London. Seems fitting, somehow.)

UPDATE: Here’s a summary of angry reactions from the New Europe courtesy of the BBC. And as proof that the French are on their way out, Molly Ivins is defending them.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Dwight Green emails:

Thanks for posting the Molly Ivins link where she defends France. While I hate the phrase, she constantly proves that she just doesn’t get it. Repeatedly. Yes, many wonderful French people died in World War I and World War II. But she fails to ask the question “why?”

The folly of French leaders this century has been the single-most reductive thing to the population (and stature) of France. The beef that Americans have with “the French” isn’t with your average French person… it’s with the iincompetence of their leadership. Since the average American isn’t immersed in French culture (contrast that to the bombardment of American ‘culture’), the view here is shaped by the posturing and silliness that is their lleaders.

He’s right, of course. Meanwhile reader Gautam Mukunda emails:

I just wanted to mention to you that Ivins is (as usual) factually inaccurate, not just inane. France had more (and better) tanks than Germany. What it did not have was any sort of doctrine of how to use them. It wasn’t poor equipment, but an inability to think through the consequences of the equipment that they did have, that doomed France in 1940.

De Gaulle, interestingly enough, actually made a decent stab at inventing the first effective anti-blitzkrieg doctrine during the German assault. He was (IIRC) an armored regiment commander in the French Army. It was just too little, too late.

Yes, the French military defeat was — like so many of the diasters of the 20th Century — not the fault of circumstances so much as it was the result of the arrogant ineptitude and shortsightedness of French leaders.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ross Douthat at The American Scene writes that Ivins’ is the worst column ever. Oh, I don’t think she’s accomplished quite that much.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: More on Molly: “She said one thing accurately, but it was by mistake.”

February 20, 2003


In a world governed by reason and leadership, one would expect world leaders to immediately denounce such racist calls before they become an epidemic. However, President Bush was the only world leader to acknowledge the connection between Danny’s murder and the rise of anti-Semitism: “We reject the ancient evil of anti-Semitism whether it is practiced by the killers of Daniel Pearl or by those who burn synagogues in France.” No European head of state rose to John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” with the morally equivalent statement “Today, I am a Jew.”

Not surprisingly, our unguided world has seen an alarming rise of anti-Semitic activity in the past year. Tens of millions of Muslims have become unshakably convinced that Jews were responsible for the Sept. 11 attack. Egypt’s state-controlled television aired a 30-part program based on the notorious anti-Semitic book “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and Egyptians were fed another fantasy, that Jews are plotting to take over the world. Syria’s defense minister, Mustafa Tlas, released the eighth edition of his book, “The Matzah of Zion,” in which he accuses Jews of using the blood of Christians to bake matzah for Passover. And on the sideline, while these flames of hatred were consuming sizable chunks of the world’s population, traditionally vocal champions of antiracism remained silent.

Silent, and increasingly discredited.

UPDATE: Here, courtesy of reader Gregory S. Taylor, is a link to the Daniel Pearl foundation.

February 20, 2003

HOMELAND SECURITY CONCERNS may be destroying model rocketry.

That seems idiotic to me — like most things being done under the “homeland security” umbrella.

February 19, 2003

MSNBC. MARGO KINGSTON. INDYMEDIA. And now my Shermanesque march through the lefty media continues, with an oped column in — yes — The Guardian.

Or maybe I’m just a lefty after all. An Abbie Hoffmanesque one. I blog, you decide.

February 19, 2003

PUT MY DAUGHTER TO BED tonight. No news there, but it reminded me how fast she’s growing up. We used to read together — we went through the Harry Potter books and the Narnia books and so on many many times. But now she reads to herself. She just finished a book about Molly, a plucky little girl who made it through life on the home front during World War Two. Tonight, she read to me from a book about Emily, a plucky little girl who made her life in the Jamestown Colony.

Then she got out her old “Arthur’s Bedtime Stories” book and had me read the (Arthurized) Three Little Pigs, Red Riding Hood, and The Princess and the Pea, complete with all the voices and sound effects I used to do every night. She knows she’s growing up, too, and she’s not quite ready to leave that behind. Yet.

February 19, 2003

HERE’S A REPORT that NASA really is going ahead with plans for the Orbital Space Plane as a replacement for the Shuttle. Rand Simberg will be thrilled.

February 19, 2003

SNEAK PREVIEW: Other people won’t be able to read this for a few hours, but subscribers to InstaPundit Premium ™ — which is, er, everyone — can read this story on InstaPundit from my local alt-weekly now. It says I sometimes come across “as an Abbie Hoffmanesque cyber-Yippie for the information age.”

Yeah, that’s me!

February 19, 2003


A soothing letter by the British prime minister, Tony Blair, to leaders of the East European countries lined up to join the Union has been widely interpreted as an attempt by Britain to cement friendships among the EU’s future members. . . .

France’s Le Figaro newspaper described Blair’s letter as a ‘‘affront’’ to Chirac.

Blair sent his letter to the 10 countries set to join the Union next year as well as the three other official candidates, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.

In it he said he regretted that future members of the Union were not invited to a special EU summit meeting Monday dedicated to the question of Iraq.

‘‘As you know, I had argued that you should be present and able to contribute fully to the debate,’’ Blair said. . . .

Chirac’s harsh words were reported verbatim in newspapers in Warsaw, Budapest, Prague and other eastern capitals.

In Hungary reports of Chirac’s outburst were especially ill-timed, coinciding with the start of an official government campaign to convince voters to say ‘‘yes’’ to joining the European Union in a referendum April 16.

And Bulgaria showed its displeasure by summoning France’s ambassador Wednesday in protest. President Georgi Parvanov told the ambassador that he was concerned about Chirac’s ‘‘emotional statement,’’ according to the Associated Press. . . .

‘‘There’s definitely a feeling in Europe that Chirac disastrously shot himself in the foot with his outburst,’’ said Everts of the Center for European Reform in London. ‘‘France was on a roll and Britain was on the defensive. But Chirac threw it all away.’’

Chirac’s comments were not a slip of the tongue, some diplomats said, but part of a concerted campaign by France to weaken ties between East European countries and the United States — and by extension Britain.


February 19, 2003

I JUST NOTICED that InstaPundit got a favorable mention from Margo Kingston, who calls it a “prominent U.S. website.”

February 19, 2003

IF YOU’VE GOT A BROADBAND CONNECTION, be sure you watch Evan Coyne Maloney’s antiwar protest vlog.

I think web video journalism is the wave of the future. This is proof.

February 19, 2003

AUSTRALIAN WINEMAKERS are poised to clobber the French. Or they will be, after they read this column by Tim Blair.

UPDATE: Nick Schulz emails:

On two separate occasions in two different wine shops I overheard people saying to each other they would avoid the French wine selections – Italian and Australian were fine with them. We dined one night with a woman of French ancestry who said she was ashamed of her heritage, wouldn’t drink French wines anymore, won’t eat French cheeses either.

I thought this was all a little much after a while – a bit juvenile, perhaps. But something changed that. After overhearing one older gentlemen in a Publix – a big grocery store in Florida – say to his wife he wouldn’t buy French wines, I said to him “I understand your sentiment”. He tracked me down five minutes later in another part of the store to explain himself. He was a member of the 82nd Airborne. He had stormed the beaches in France and he and some of his buddies marched all the way to Berlin. The attitude of the French at this time – when the United States was asking for help – was simply incomprehensible to this guy. He understood it may not mean much, buying Barolo instead of Bordeaux. But the little gestures can sometimes mean a lot, especially when made by a stooped, withered old man who’d not only served his own country but served Europe as well. As for me, no more Beaujolais at Thanksgiving. I’ll bet a lot of other American feel similarly.

With so many excellent Argentinean, Chilean, Australian — and Bulgarian! — wines available, it’s not much of a sacrifice.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Chirac, et al., are underestimating the depth of hostility they’re creating, and I think they expect it to blow over a lot faster than it, in fact, will.

February 19, 2003


SAN ANTONIO — A teenage girl, shot and killed by federal drug agents, was a victim of excessive force from law officers who were investigating her father, relatives and friends say.

Ashley Villarreal, 14, died on Tuesday evening after family members requested that she be taken off life support at Wilford Hall Medical Center.

Those old SNL “X-Police” skits seem rather prophetic, these days.

UPDATE: A reader notes that Mark Kleiman thinks that it’s too early to criticize the agents here. Well, maybe. But if we didn’t have a Drug War — which is a dreadful waste of time, money, liberty and lives — this wouldn’t have happened at all. When you decide that federal drug agents will run around with drawn guns, you decide that a certain number of innocent lives will be lost. Is that worth it? Sometimes — but not in the case of the Drug War.

UPDATE: Another reader points out that I’m agreeing with Atrios. Well, we lefty bloggers tend to agree! Sorry Pejman.

February 19, 2003

I VOTED FOR WHAT? Jacob Sullum points to outraged reactions from members of Congress who didn’t realize what the McCain-Feingold bill actually did. I love this.