Archive for February, 2004

February 29, 2004

HERE’S A PICTURE FROM LAKESHORE PARK, taken as I went for a run this morning. And, to the right, [LATER: Moved here to keep from slowing the page too much for dialup users] a picture of the Sterchi building downtown as I headed home from the Downtown Grill and Brewery this afternoon. It’s definitely trying to become spring.

One of my friends in Alaska once told me that there was an Inuit word that translated, roughly, as “being really mad because it’s freakin’ April and it’s still freakin’ winter!” February in Knoxville isn’t the best time of year here, but it was 65 and sunny again today, and while there weren’t leaves on the trees or flowers (well, not many of them, anyway) it at least feels like spring is on the way. And it’ll be here in a week or two.

Back when I was in Elementary School I used to resent the lame “signs of spring” and “signs of fall” type assignments I’d get. (Remember ironing leaves between sheets of waxed paper?) Now I look for that sort of thing on my own.

Luckily, the signs of spring are everywhere now.

UPDATE: Reader Aleta Jackson sends this picture taken from her office window — it’s snowing in Mojave. And a reader asked that I post an enlarged version of the Lakeshore picture. You can find it here if you like.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Several people email to ask what camera I used to take those pictures. It was the Toshiba. The Sterchi photo was on the maximum quality setting; the Lakeshore photo is on “medium.” It’s not one of the high-end cameras that I’ve been writing about, but it’s surprisingly good. My only real criticism is the lack of an optical viewfinder — there’s an LCD display on the back, and another one behind an eyepiece, but I’m enough of a traditionalist that I find it vaguely disquieting, although it works fine this way.

February 29, 2004

I’M HERE AT THE DOWNTOWN GRILL AND BREWERY, taking advantage of their free wireless internet to finish up my TechCentralStation column. (It’s savaging the Administration for their cheesy behavior with the Bioethics council, a topic I’ve hit on before. It’ll probably run tomorrow.)

They brew on Sundays, which is kind of cool. I used to be a homebrewer, but haven’t made any beer in several years. There’s less reason to, with the proliferation of excellent brewpubs with free wireless Internet!

I wonder if there were people who feared brewing technology when it was new? “They put in water and stuff, and out comes beer, which alters your consciousness. It’s evil magic!”

Actually, I’m pretty sure that there were people like that. Would Leon Kass have been one of them, had he lived back then? I’m just, you know, asking.

UPDATE: Several readers have noted that brewing was responsible for civilization. Well, yeah. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t opposed by small-minded people at the time.

February 29, 2004

THE CALIFORNIA DEBATES get a negative review from Wonkette.

UPDATE: And James Lileks suggests a followup question for Elizabeth Bumiller, along with some pointers to Kerry on what he should answer if he gets asked this next time.

February 29, 2004

DAVID BERNSTEIN points out a “nonapology apology” by Rep. Corrine Brown, for the racist remarks mentioned here earlier. Bernstein: “How about a little outrage that Rep. Brown can’t just say she finds the policy stupid, but needs to racialize her criticism?”

February 29, 2004

JACK NEELY has an interesting story about ex V-Roy Scott Miller’s Amtrak-based multicity musical tour.

And, in a bonus for journalistic trivia buffs, a chance meeting reveals the fate and whereabouts of Wes Yoder, the New York Times stringer involved in the Rick Bragg scandal last year.

February 29, 2004

ANTIAMERICANISM HASN’T BEEN ENOUGH to save Gerhard Schroeder from an electorate that’s unhappy with him for many reasons:

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democrats were trounced in a regional election in the city-state of Hamburg seen as a key test for his center-left government, exit polls said.

I think it’s a trend:

The Hamburg defeat follows three landslide defeats in major states last year. Further losses this year and next would weaken Schroeder in the run-up to the next general election in 2006.

Gee do you think? What’s unfortunate is that his economic-reform package, though probably inadequate, represents at least some recognition of economic reality. German voters seem even less willing to face economic reality than to accept international political reality.

UPDATE: More on Germany’s problems with reality, here.

February 29, 2004

I’VE BEEN TELLING YOU that Randy Barnett is a Constitutional Law “rock star” — but now he’s started hanging out with Elton John and discussing libertarianism with Clint Eastwood.

February 29, 2004

ARISTIDE IS OUT and an “international force” is on its way in. Given that the only period of (relatively) good governance Haiti has enjoyed was when it was under the control of the United States, it’s hard for me to be optimistic about its long-term prospects, but this is at least a short-term improvement and it was a necessary precondition to any long-term improvement.

I expect that Caribpundit will have more as the situation develops.

February 29, 2004


UPDATE: More (of what, I’m not entirely sure. . . .) here.

February 29, 2004

THE BIG HEIST: Roger Simon — who has been following the oil-for-food scandal closely — has some comments on the New York Times story mentioned below:

Let us hope this is only the beginning and I think it is because I suspect from the research revealed in her piece that there is a lot more to come. Good. We’re waiting. Since this may be among the Biggest Heists of All Time, if not the biggest, we need to know as many facts as possible.

He has an interesting proposal about what to do to prevent United Nations corruption in the future, too.

UPDATE: More here, including this spot-on observation:

Obviously, it was those who supported the war to remove Saddam Hussein that could justifiably have used the slogan “no blood for oil” against the opponents.


ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader sends this interesting observation:

The New York Times article this morning on Iraq’s Oil for Food program mentions Glencore but conveniently leaves out that this is the new name for Marc Rich’s Swiss Trading Company. Just Google, Marc Rich + Glencore and look at all the matches. Do you think that the New York Times did not want to mention that the recipient of Clinton’s most famous pardon was buying Iraq oil and kicking back to Saddam?

Hmm. Well, the Times story does say that:

Iraqi records, for example, show that Glencore, a Swiss-based trading company that was one of the most active purchasers of Iraqi crude, paid $3,222,780.70 in surcharges. But the company said in a written statement that “it has at no time made any inappropriate payments to the Iraqi government” and “had no dealings with the Iraqi government outside the U.N. approved oil-for-food program.”

So Glencore’s denying the kickbacks, for what that’s worth. But this story from Forbes seems to indicate that Marc Rich isn’t associated with Glencore anymore:

After more battling, Rich left his namesake firm in 1993, which was later renamed Glencore and remains one of the world’s largest commodity dealers. Rich got back to business in late 1995 with the Marc Rich Group.

So it sounds as if Glencore and Rich no longer have a connection, and haven’t had one for quite a while, which would certainly explain why the Times doesn’t make one. Am I wrong here?

February 29, 2004

ARMED LIBERAL NOTES A DEAFENING SILENCE where Rep. Corinne Brown’s racist comments are concerned. (Kevin Drum is a notable exception.) He writes:

Someone explain to me how I can demand, with a straight face, that Dixiecrat Trent Lott or Jew-baiter (and MBNA shill) James Moran be punished when she isn’t, or how I can give moral – as opposed to political – standing to those who only bust one side for the same crime.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Ed Cone has more thoughts on racism and double standards.

February 29, 2004


No one denies Mr. Kerry’s four bemedaled months in “Swiftboats” or his seven-months’ service as an electrical officer on board the USS Gridley, during its cruises back and forth to California, or even his months as an admiral’s aide in Brooklyn, before he was able get out of the Navy six months early to run for office.

Taking a look at Mr. Kerry’s much-promoted Vietnam service, his military record was, indeed, remarkable in many ways. Last week, the former assistant secretary of defense and Fletcher School of Diplomacy professor,W. Scott Thompson, recalled a conversation with the late Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr. that clearly had a slightly different take on Mr. Kerry’s recollection of their discussions:

“[T]he fabled and distinguished chief of naval operations,Admiral Elmo Zumwalt,told me — 30 years ago when he was still CNO —that during his own command of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam,just prior to his anointment as CNO, young Kerry had created great problems for him and the other top brass,by killing so many non-combatant civilians and going after other non-military targets.‘We had virtually to straitjacket him to keep him under control,’ the admiral said. ‘Bud’ Zumwalt got it right when he assessed Kerry as having large ambitions — but promised that his career in Vietnam would haunt him if he were ever on the national stage.” And this statement was made despite the fact Zumwalt had personally pinned a Silver Star on Mr. Kerry.

A lot of people are all over Kerry about various Vietnam-related issues, but personally, I think it’s shameful that anyone would ever criticize a former Naval officer who won a Silver Star over his positions on Vietnam.

UPDATE: BlackFive has more thoughts on medals.

Also, via this post at Rkayn, read this story on a related topic.

February 28, 2004

SPRING IS SPRINGING here. It was sunny and 65 degrees, and my bulbs are coming out of the ground even as the last patches of Thursday’s snow melt. (I shot this with the Toshiba and, inspired by SmokyBlog, applied the PhotoShop “brushstrokes” filter.)

I don’t use PhotoShop much. For simple cropping and brightness/contrast editing (about all I do for the quickie photos I tend to post here), I use an elderly (and cheap!) program called MicroGrafx Picture Publisher. It’s not as good as PhotoShop, but I can open it, crop, adjust contrast and brightness, size, and save as a .jpg in about the same amount of time that it takes for PhotoShop to load. (Okay, not quite, but it seems that way). I do like PhotoShop’s “fill flash” setting, though. You can see an example of it in the photo of the InstaWife I posted here at the TypePad test blog.

UPDATE: A very cool gallery of photos from a Marine aviator, here. Shot with a Sony DSC-F707 digital camera. There’s a lot of very impressive stuff in his portfolio — just keep clicking.

February 28, 2004

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Libelling Lincoln?

February 28, 2004


More than 2.5 million people joined hands to form a 500-kilometre (310-mile) human chain stretching the length of Taiwan in a huge anti-China protest ahead of the island’s presidential elections next month, organisers said.

I don’t know how much of it is posturing, but this confrontation seems to be heating up.

February 28, 2004


Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi says he gave up his plans to develop weapons of mass destruction, because such weapons would have exposed Libya to danger, rather than protect it.

(Via World Wide Rant). Even some Bush critics are noticing:

As someone who was opposed to the invasion of Iraq and still has mega-doubts about the “region building” talk coming out of the Bush folks and neocons, I have to admit that Gadhafi’s shift is clearly linked to Bush’s adventurous foreign policy (as are other positive developments throughout the Middle East and the Islamic world).


February 28, 2004

GOOD QUESTION: “What good is a Republican Senate on Second Amendment and gun use issues if it keeps falling for the peddled myths of the gun control movement?”

February 28, 2004

A READER NOTES that John Kerry’s 1971 Vietnam book is selling used on Amazon for $595. Wow. [That buys a lot of cookware! — Ed. You said it. I think I’ll wait for the GOP-sponsored free downloadable version. Though that probably won’t bring down the used-book price much.]

February 28, 2004

WORD HAS IT that tomorrow’s New York Times will have an in-depth look at the oil-for-food program and where the money went. That should be interesting.

UPDATE: It’s already on their website now. Excerpt:

Iraq’s sanctions-busting has long been an open secret. Two years ago, the General Accounting Office estimated that oil smuggling had generated nearly $900 million a year for Iraq. Oil companies had complained that Iraq was squeezing them for illegal surcharges, and Mr. Hussein’s lavish spending on palaces and monuments provided more evidence of his access to unrestricted cash.

But the dimensions of the corruption have only lately become clear, from the newly available documents and from revelations by government officials who say they were too fearful to speak out before. They show the magnitude and organization of the payoff system, the complicity of the companies involved and the way Mr. Hussein bestowed contracts and gifts on those who praised him.

I don’t believe this:

United Nations overseers say they were unaware of the systematic skimming of oil-for-food revenues. They were focused on running aid programs and assuring food deliveries, they add.

Those guys are either lying, or dumb as rocks. The story barely touches on the most interesting aspect of this — Saddam’s use of this money to purchase opposition to American war efforts from politicians and governments. For that matter, the UN has a lot of explaining to do.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Wagner James Au emails that this is the money quote:

In the high-flying days after Iraq was allowed to sell its oil after 10 years of United Nations sanctions, the lobby of the Rashid Hotel in Baghdad was the place to be to get a piece of the action.

That was where the oil traders would gather whenever a journalist, actor or political figure would arrive in Iraq and openly praise Mr. Hussein. Experience taught them that the visitor usually returned to the hotel with a gift voucher, courtesy of the Iraqi president or one of his aides, representing the right to buy one million barrels or more of Iraqi crude.

(Emphasis added.) Au asks: “Which journalists? Which actors? Which political figures? Seems to me that the author, Susan Sachs, suspects more here than she’s revealing…”

Let’s hope that those names will appear in the next installment.

February 28, 2004

I’VE ALREADY READ Andrew Breitbart and Mark Ebner’s new book, Hollywood, Interrupted — I got an advance copy when I blurbed it — and all I can say is that my already-low respect for Hollywood fell even further. Sheesh.

February 28, 2004

VIDEO OF A NORTH KOREAN PRISON CAMP — via the NKZone blog. Video links here.

February 28, 2004


President Robert Mugabe’s government has set up secret camps across the country in which thousands of youths are taught how to torture and kill, the BBC has learned.

But Chirac treats him like a statesman.

UPDATE: Tim Blair has more.

February 28, 2004

TOM MAGUIRE: “If a Gore advisor thinks you have an authenticity problem, you have an authenticity problem.”

February 28, 2004

IRANIAN RADIO is reporting that Osama has been captured. I’m skeptical, but we’ll see.

UPDATE: More Pentagon denials. I’m inclined to believe them, though I’d rather believe the Iranians. I like the thought of Osama in jail, spilling the details of Al Qaeda operations.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Capt. Ed. thinks that the Iranians are trying to game the U.S. elections by creating conspiracy theories that will be gobbled up by gullible Dems.

I’m not sure this will hurt Bush.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: On the other hand, there’s this report from VOA, suggesting that a capture is imminent. (Via Moderate Voice).

February 27, 2004

SOFTWARE WARFARE: Eugene Volokh (who, besides being a law professor of note, is actually something of a software mogul himself) has some cogent warnings that I hope the right people will read and heed.

February 27, 2004

HOWARD STERN UPDATE: Reader Jeffrey Bartash emails:

As someone who covers the FCC for a living, I can assure you that the pressure for a crackdown on broadcast indecency did not originate in the White House. In fact, critics have accused Michael Powell of being too lax. The main driver of tougher enforcement, at least on the FCC, has been Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps, a former aide to S.C. Sen. Fritz Hollings. In the Congress, there’s been bipartisan support for a crackdown coming from the likes of Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Fred Uption, R-Mich. The White House has not been at the forefront of this issue.

I’ve wondered about that, as a broadcast crackdown before an election seemed kind of like a dumb thing for the Administration to do, and although a lot of people have been blaming the Bush Administration for it, I couldn’t see any real indication that it was their idea.

February 27, 2004

CHIEF WIGGLES, BACK FROM IRAQ, has posted some must-read thoughts about America and the war.

UPDATE: Some interesting comments here.

February 27, 2004

I’VE TRIED TO CARE ABOUT ALL THE DEBATE SWIRLING AROUND THE PASSION, but I just can’t seem to manage. (And I’ve even been crucified myself, something not many bloggers can say in the literal, as opposed to the figurative, sense.) But BlogCritics has a big roundup, for those who want more. And don’t miss this long and informed review by Donald Sensing.

UPDATE: More discussion at Hot Abercrombie Chick — and scroll down for additional posts.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Best title so far for a post on The Passion.

February 27, 2004

THE INSTA-MOTHER-IN-LAW HAD SOME SURGERY: We took her home a little while ago, and now I have to go out and pick up some prescriptions for her. Back later. In the meantime, Cathy Seipp’s monthly “MoDo Watch” column is up. Excerpt:

One of the side effects of reading Maureen Dowd more closely than any human being should is that not only do you catch every one of her adorable bits of wordplay, you even begin to see — beneath the text, like pentimento in a painting — the jokes she probably considered but rejected as just too cute.

As in The Mummy, some things are probably better left buried. But you’ll read the column anyway, just to find out what inspired this: “Dowd isn’t quite Lord Haw-Haw. But history may remember her as Lady Tee-Hee.”

February 27, 2004

HOWARD KURTZ has more on Howard Stern.

My question: Why is this different from what happened to The Greaseman, which didn’t produce any clucking about censorship? Er, except that Stern hasn’t lost his job. Oh, and there’s a Republican in the White House now.

UPDATE: Reader Joe Budzinski emails:

Glenn, that is a great point. And on top of that, the Greaseman ran a totally irenic show, as opposed to the spleen-fest that is the Howard Stern show and the “edgy” Don and Mike, whose spread-the-joy bits include getting people to park in the left turn lane to see how much honking will ensue (asked once how he distinguishes himself from the other shock jocks, Nino said something like “Why all the calumny? Why is it necessary to call someone on the phone and tear them a new one in order to entertain?”) So it is fairly ironic that for one ill-advised remark the Greaseman, a multi-talented and genuinely nice guy, has been exiled to some godforsaken station in West Virginia, while Howard Stern the hate-meister is a budding poster child for freedom of speech.

I don’t think Howard Stern is a hate-meister, though I don’t listen to his show. (I’ve watched him on Comedy Central a few times, getting some stripper to take off her shirt, only to have her breasts blurred out for the viewers, which seems awfully pointless to me.) But I don’t think there’s much of a first amendment issue here — and the double standard suggested by the Greaseman example suggests to me that people are really looking for an issue here for a variety of political and commercial reasons.

My challenge to those who think that Stern being dropped from 6 stations is an example of Bush Administration crushing of dissent — see if you can get Kerry and Edwards to adopt a platform of ending all FCC regulation of broadcast content. Take it to the people!

February 27, 2004

THE SPELLING-BEE DOCUMENTARY Spellbound gets a good review from Brian Micklethwait, who also manages a Samuel Huntington tie-in.

February 27, 2004

INSIDER TRADING IN THE SENATE? Looks a bit suspicious.

February 27, 2004

MICKEY KAUS has a wrapup on the California debates:

Kerry couldn’t resist making fun of Edwards’ non-brevity. (“Let me return a favor from the last debate to John …”) How small and thin-skinned was that? Kerry’s body language and facial gestures suggested he loathes Edwards.

Kaus also has some interesting poll numbers. And here’s what Christopher Hitchens says about the Kerry campaign:

One reason I think this campaign is very lame — it’s supposed to have momentum, I wouldn’t say it had much enthusiasm behind it — he gives the impression that it’s kind of his turn to be president and that he has a feeling of entitlement to the job.

I think that is a very great disadvantage.

I’ve never heard him or any of his supporters make any case why this is the moment for John Kerry.

John Kerry as Bob Dole? (Via Tim Blair).

UPDATE: Tom Maguire comments on the debate: “Still not clear whether Kerry was waffling, or pandering.”

February 26, 2004

A POLITICAL POP QUIZ: Probably a preview of what we’ll be seeing on TV soon.

February 26, 2004


Just a few weeks after promising to clean up its act during daytime hours because of Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl bra-ha-ha, MTV is baring all again.

Britney Spears’ graphic sex romp “Toxic” is back in heavy rotation around the clock.

I think that Jeff Jarvis rules. He’s a smart, thoughtful guy, who knows a lot about the media world, and his heart is always in the right place. But I think that he’s over the top with this post, which I linked below, claiming that the Bush Administration (note that FCC Chairman Michael Powell was originally appointed to the FCC by Bill Clinton) is tightening the screws of censorship until the media scream. (I saw Friends and Will and Grace tonight — the latter featuring lots of jokes about washing down pills with booze and then vomiting. It’s not Little House.)

If I had my druthers, I’d let the marketplace handle all of this stuff and put the FCC out of the regulatory business except for technical issues — and maybe not even that. But that’s not going to happen; given that some degree of regulation is politically certain, it doesn’t seem to me that we’ve got all that much of it, really, or that we’re in any danger of returning to the 1950s. And even if the FCC didn’t regulate, companies would still punish people working for them who got out of line and created a flap, as they notoriously do in the newspaper business where the FCC has no jurisdiction. And as long as there are any content standards at all — whether imposed by regulation, by “jawboning,” or by the marketplace — people will push them until they push back. That’s what Howard Stern does. Now there’s pushback. If things go according to pattern, the main consequence will be a boost in his ratings. So it’s hard for me to see what all the excitement is about.

That’s my take. For a somewhat contrary view, read this post by Eric Scheie.

February 26, 2004

KEITH BERRY is liveblogging the California debate.

February 26, 2004

HERE’S A CRITICAL ARTICLE on the nanotechnology industry’s PR strategy. Mark Modzelewski’s email behavior is mentioned:

It’s likely that many nanotechnology business leaders consider, even if just as a remote possibility, that molecular nanotechnology can do everything its advocates claim—both good and bad. This and the fact that nobody has convincingly argued that molecular manufacturing is impossible makes dismissing it outright rather disingenuous, as well as a bad public relations strategy. It’s hard not to think that nanotechnology business leaders are trying to avoid validating fears in an effort to avoid potentially stringent regulations.


February 26, 2004

SGTSTRYKER.COM: “Why I Wouldn’t Vote for John Kerry.”

February 26, 2004

MICHELE CATALANO OFFERS a handful of clues for readers in need of one.

February 26, 2004

HERE’S A PHOTO BLOG devoted to more technical issues. (Via SmokyBlog).

February 26, 2004


New London, CT (February 21, 2004) – A rally by College Republicans from Connecticut College in New London, CT was broken up Friday night by Campus Safety officers, who told them they had no permit. The students were rallying peacefully in front of the Olin Science Center, near the main entrance to the school. The students were showing their support for President Bush, and encouraging others to be excited about and supportive of the President.

“No one has ever needed a permit before,” said Bob French, a junior from New Hampshire and the Executive Director of the state-level College Republicans.


February 26, 2004

NOW WE KNOW WHERE THE MONEY WENT: Here’s a link to the asset auction page. Ritzy! Check out the massage table and the Hummer! [The massage table shows that they were ahead of the curve on the new economy! — Ed. What about the Hummer? I’m bidding on this sweet bike! Vroom, Vroom! — Ed.]

UPDATE: Apparently, the Hummer and the bike were not owned by, but were consigned by a third party. I’m not sure what that means, exactly.

February 26, 2004

PETER BEINART ON RALPH NADER: “Nader has already stung. In fact, his 2004 campaign will not only destroy him; it could finish off the Green Party as well.”

Meanwhile, Ryan Lizza observes: “Man, not even the Deaniacs are idealists anymore.”

UPDATE: An interesting report on a Nader appearance here. Matthew Yglesias appears, too.

February 26, 2004

TODAY THE MISSOURI SUPREME COURT upheld a law making it easier for people to carry concealed firearms, against a state constitutional challenge.

Just a data point, for those who assume that state supreme courts always lean left.

UPDATE: Dave Kopel has more on this.

ANOTHER UPDATE: So does Clayton Cramer.

February 26, 2004

WINDS OF CHANGE has its regular war news roundup posted. Don’t miss it.

February 26, 2004

DEAN ESMAY is having some problems. If you’ve been thinking about hitting the tipjar there, now might be a good time.

UPDATE: A reader asks if I donated. Yeah, I sent twenty bucks. When I post links like this, I generally donate something.

February 26, 2004

TOM FRIEDMAN has an interesting column on outsourcing today, taking a generally positive view of the phenomenon.

Meanwhile, in response to my Postrel-inspired outsourcing/massage column today, reader Greg Dougherty emails:

I’m a computer programmer, and a massage therapist. And I can assure you that concerns about our “national virility” are unfounded. :-) In fact, I went shooting shortly after finishing 250 hours of massage training. The guy in the next lane let me take two shots with his 44 magnum. I did the best shooting I’ve ever done with a large handgun (I prefer 9 mm), and felt the least recoil I’ve ever felt. I attribute this to the fact that my training focused on directing the strength of my whole body, non-destructively, through my wrists and into my hands. The recoil from the gun just followed the same path, in the reverse direction. Thus I took the recoil with my whole body, instead of just my hand / arm.

IOW, massage training is good for your shooting skills.

I guess that’s more bad news for the bad guys: in the future, Americans will be more relaxed, and yet more dangerous. . . .

February 26, 2004

BLOW-BY-BLOW BLOGGING on the Senate gun bill debate can be found here.

UPDATE: And here’s a roundup of useful articles on the subject, courtesy of Dave Kopel.

February 26, 2004

I’VE REFERRED TO RANDY BARNETT as a rock star-like figure in the field of Constitutional Law.

But here’s proof! I like the guitar.

February 26, 2004

APPARENTLY, SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY’S UNWILLINGNESS to do anything about a Palestinian hate mob that violently disrupted a pro-Israel protest a couple of years ago was no aberration, but evidence of a particular slant. At least, this report says that they’re happy to punish anti-Palestinian speech, despite their limp reaction to the hate mob.

I hope that the civil rights groups looking into this case will insist on a close review of how business is done at SFSU, an institution that appears to have systemic problems of racism and antisemitism.

February 26, 2004

I’VE WRITTEN ABOUT SECRET SERVICE MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS BEFORE: But now Drudge is reporting that an outside audit shows over $3 billion unaccounted for.

February 26, 2004


One-time presidential candidate Howard Dean, whose campaign fund went from boom to bust, is pleading with donors to open their pocketbooks one more time and help him retire at least $400,000 in debt. . . .

The candidate was so confident the money would continue to flow that he became the first Democrat to skip public financing and rely solely on his own fund-raising ability to finance his campaign.

That confidence also carried through to his spending decisions. Flush with money, the campaign aired expensive ads early on and established a costly nationwide ground game. By the end of 2003 — before the primary contests even started — Dean had spent nearly every dollar he had taken in.

Hmm. Maybe the primary system actually works.

February 26, 2004

HERE’S ANOTHER in a steady stream of reports along these lines:

76 million people own a gun in this country. And now more than ever, the number of women who are buying and learning to fire guns is increasing.

Maybe they’re inspired by guys like this one:

A senior citizen using the men’s room yesterday at a popular Middletown eatery was approached by a would-be robber waving a knife. The potential victim responded by pulling out his own weapon – a handgun.

A thin, white male between 25 and 30 years old tried to rob the 68-year-old Langhorne man about 9:30 a.m. at the Great American Diner and Pub, 1201 E. Lincoln Highway, Middletown Sgt. Ken Mellus said.

The Langhorne man is licensed to carry the gun, police said. No shots were fired and the suspect fled.

This is the proverbial guy who brought a knife to a gunfight.

February 26, 2004


THE HAGUE — The prosecution in Slobodan Milosevic’s war crimes trial moved yesterday to rest its case two days early as the chief prosecutor conceded her team had not produced “the smoking gun” to convict the former Yugoslav president of genocide, the most serious charge against him.

No doubt we’ll see handwringing, doubts about intelligence reliability, and charges that the Clinton Administration “sexed up” intelligence and misrepresented

Milosevic as a genocidal dictator in order to build support for unilateral action that even Wesley Clark called technically illegal — but justified on the basis of an “imminent threat” of genocide, one that is now, of course, completely undermined by the absence of a “smoking gun.” Massive criticism of the Clinton Administration’s warmaking, which landed us in a “Balkan quagmire” from which we have yet to extricate ourselves, is sure to ensue.

Yeah, right, that’s going to happen.

UPDATE: Some related comments here.

February 26, 2004

SOME THOUGHTS ON JOBS AND MASSAGES, inspired by Virginia Postrel, are in my TechCentralStation column today.

February 26, 2004


U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown verbally attacked a top Bush administration official during a briefing on the Haiti crisis Wednesday, calling the President’s policy on the beleaguered nation “racist” and his representatives “a bunch of white men.”

Her outburst was directed at Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega during a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill. Noriega, a Mexican-American, is the State Department’s top official for Latin America. . . .

Noriega later told Brown: “As a Mexican-American, I deeply resent being called a racist and branded a white man,” according to three participants.

Brown then told him “you all look alike to me,” the participants said.

I agree with this assessment of Brown’s remarks:

That’s unacceptable language, no matter who says it. Representative Brown needs to suffer at least as much criticism as Trent Lott did for praising for a fellow who ran on a segregationist platform. Lott’s statement could be interpreted as support for segregation. Representative Brown needs no interpretation…what she said was simply racist.

Fortunately, however, the Bush Administration has people who are capable of standing up to racism, and pointing out the idiocy of those who engage in it:

After her comments about white men, Noriega said he would “relay that to (Secretary of State) Colin Powell and (national security adviser) Condoleezza Rice the next time I run into them,” participants said. Powell and Rice are black.

Rep. Brown’s colleagues in Congress need to condemn this racist behavior immediately. And she should probably resign. Perhaps she can get a guest slot on Howard Stern’s show, where she’d fit in just fine.

UPDATE: David Adesnik notes that there’s sexism here, too:

Everyone seems to be up in arms about the racial aspect of Corrine Brown’s remarks. But how about the sexism? In this day and age, people still try to undermine successful women by impying that they are not feminine enough. Calling Condi a white man just plays into that kind of prejudice.

Indeed it does. No doubt NOW will be demanding an apology from Rep. Brown shortly.

February 26, 2004

JAMES LILEKS weighs in on the Howard Stern matter, and he’s not siding with Howard:

The future of civilized conversation depends on men brave enough to ask educated Nigerian immigrants if they ever ate a monkey, and whether men who appeared on Paris Hilton pron tapes slammed a partner up the butt.. God bless Stern. It’s good to know he’s speaking out on the issues that matter, and paying the price.

Bravery, thy name is Howard. And I expect that you will stop screening calls now. I mean, there’s a guy in the Bronx who wants to make a point about the filthy sp-cs down the hall – who are you to say he’s wrong?

It’s hard for me to get too exercised about this. I’m opposed to censorship, but Stern was “censored” by his employer. I’m capable of getting exercised about such things, sometimes, but not this time. And if Rush Limbaugh had been canned over the kind of racial comments Stern made, and allowed on the air, nobody would be crying “censorship.” Instead they’d be saying that it showed the inherent racism of his show and his audience.

Well? You want to make a case for complete deregulation of broadcasting, it’s fine with me. But if you’re not willing to do that, then you’re a hypocrite, because under pretty much any kind of a plausible content standard Stern loses. And you can’t defend Stern’s talk while calling for the removal of Michael Savage, Dr. Laura, or other folks that lots of people seem willing to silence, or see silenced, without being a hypocrite.

UPDATE: Radio DJ Big Rick Stuart has more on the Stern affair, noting:

Stern doesn’t work for Clear Channel (CC). He works for Viacom/CBS/Infinity. He show is taken on syndication deals from Viacom to 6 Clear Channel stations. The 6 stations are not that big of a deal, it isn’t a bold move or whatever people are saying.

It was up for awhile at the Drudge Report but now I haven’t seen it. According to what was posted at Drudge a caller on his show asked the guest if he ever banged a famous n*gger and do they smell like watermelon. I don’t know the exact quote but those were the words that got him in trouble. . . .

Is the issue Freedom of Speech? Well that’s what Stern says, and even what Rush said today according to Drudge. I guess anybody who gets fired from an on air media job could say the same thing. People have been fired for a long time for saying some stupid sheet on the air. Freedom of Speech? If Stern really thinks people will buy that he is crazy. The freedom to hear a woman have mayonnaise rubbed on her butt then have Howard throw slices of bologna and see if it sticks? Come on. So once you get a job on the air you can never ever be fired for something you say because of freedom of speech? Uhh no it don’t work that way. Can you unjustly be fired for content of your show? Oh for sure.

Read the whole thing. Here’s the link to the Drudge piece on Limbaugh’s defense of Stern.

February 26, 2004

SOLDIERS ARE COMMITTING SUICIDE AT AN ALARMING RATE — in the Bundeswehr. David Kaspar has some interesting statistics, which suggest that the German army could save lives by sending troops to Iraq.

February 25, 2004

SOME LOVELY PICTURES of the Smoky Mountains in February, by Matthew Cromer. I nearly drove up there today, but decided that I had too much to do and stayed home to work. Obviously, I was an idiot, with this sort of thing 30 minutes from my door.

Let this be a lesson to me. . . .

UPDATE: I noticed that Matthew uses a Sony DSC-F828 digital camera, which I’ve heard mixed reports about (the problem is noise and chromatic aberration in low-light settings). I asked him about his experience and he replied:

I’m pretty happy with the 828. It does have one major flaw which is a tendency to purple fringing in some lighting conditions It’s pretty easy to deal with for an advanced photoshop user, but annoying. . . .

The reason I got the 828 is because I shoot mostly landscape images and need as much resolution as I can get, and because I like composing with the LCD on the back. The LCD will pivot up and down which is very nice for shots taken overhead or close to the ground. It’s also nice (to me) to be able to take pictures with the camera off my face. You can’t do that with an SLR because none of them (today anyway) have live LCDs. I also shoot video of the kids which is very nice.

I love the ability to shoot high-quality video with sound. But since I often shoot indoors or in poor light, I don’t think this one’s for me. He’s sure done some first-rate work with it, though.

February 25, 2004

CARIBPUNDIT has a lot of news on developments in Haiti.

February 25, 2004

JEFF JARVIS: “When Janet Jackson’s outfit opened, it opened a door not on her breast but on censorship.”

He has some choice words for the Bush Administration.

UPDATE: Joe Gandelman, on the other hand, calls it a taste malfunction on Stern’s part.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Interesting bipartisan disagreement in the comments to Jeff’s post.

February 25, 2004

HERE’S MORE on anti-semitism at the United Nations.

February 25, 2004

IS THE UNITED STATES USING BIOLOGICAL WARFARE IN IRAQ? Apparently, so, as this war critic reports:

“The consequences of the geranium bombs have yet to be seen, but from what I have seen in the pediatric wards, which stretch for blocks and blocks in Baghdad, they will be even worse.”

It may turn out to be a perennial problem. . . .

February 25, 2004

INTERESTING NANOTECHNOLOGY GOINGS-ON in Europe, according to the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology. The European NanoBusiness Association — which appears to be somewhat more, er, restrained in its public-relations strategy than its American counterpart — is involved.

February 25, 2004

THE NEW REPUBLIC NOTES something that quite a few readers emailed me about last week — an article in the New York Times that didn’t seem to know the difference between Arabs and Muslims, two overlapping, but distinct, sets. I didn’t note it — I can’t blog every boner at the Times — but I’m glad that someone else has noticed.

February 25, 2004

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES ARE STARTING TO BUY BLOGADS, reports Bill Hobbs. The only thing that surprises me is that it’s taken so long.

February 25, 2004

ENRON ON THE EAST RIVER: Roger Simon continues to stay on top of the U.N.’s still-unresolved disappearing oil-for-food money scandal.

February 25, 2004

WHAT IS ALAN GREENSPAN TALKING ABOUT these days? Rather a lot, really.

February 25, 2004


Quran (9:11) — For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a
fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the
lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair
still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of
Allah; and there was peace.

Pretty cool, except that I’m fairly sure it’s bogus. Sura 9 is “Repentance,” and in my copy of the Koran (the 1955 Arberry translation) verse 11 reads:

Yet if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then they are your brothers in religion; and We distinguish the signs for a people who know.

Sorry to bust a bubble here. Since this seems to be one of those endlessly forwarded email items, you may see it soon, if you haven’t already.

UPDATE: A whole lot of people have sent the link to this Snopes debunking of the bogus Koran quote. A couple even accused me of being behind the times, reaching for an actual book rather than going to Snopes first. Well, it’s right there on the shelf, you know, and I paid $11.50 for it (used) at the Yale Co-Op some years ago, so I figured I ought to get my money’s worth. . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: More debunking here.

February 25, 2004

SOME REFLECTIONS ON KERRY’S “LACKLUSTER” LEADERSHIP from the Yale Daily News. I’d say the statute of limitations has run on these events.

February 25, 2004

HE’LL BE STANDING UP when he comes before the judge, and not just out of respect:

An armed robbery went awry this morning when a store manager shot the suspect in the back and buttocks.

Embarrassing. (Via the self-defense blog, where I learn about this stuff first even when it’s in my own home town.)

February 25, 2004

TOM MAGUIRE: “Bush blew it on the gay marriage question.” Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Alex Knapp has thoughts on why Bush is getting more heat than Kerry when their positions are essentially the same.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Best of the Web notes a sudden surge in support for states’ rights among some unlikely candidates.

February 25, 2004

A PHONY JOBS DEBATE: Robert Samuelson says that Kerry and Edwards are lying about unemployment, and that the press knows it and doesn’t care:

[N]o one considers it dishonorable to blame a president falsely for job loss (or to credit him falsely for job gains). The dishonesty is so routine that it’s respectable. The press abets the hoax because it must report what candidates say and because it favors campaign combat over substance.

Read the whole thing.

February 25, 2004

THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES is up. Bras are featured.

February 25, 2004

WHAT CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT WOULD YOU FAVOR? Neal Boortz is running an online poll. The gay marriage amendment is only one choice among many, and at the moment it’s in last place.

UPDATE: Jay Solo has some thoughts.

February 25, 2004

SHEILA O’MALLEY offers no mercy to Naomi Wolf.

UPDATE: Nor does Anne Applebaum:

The larger implications are for the movement that used to be called “feminism.” Twenty years of fame, money, success, happy marriage and the children she has described in her books — and Naomi Wolf, one of my generation’s leading feminists, is still obsessed with her own exaggerated victimhood? It’s not an ideology I’d want younger women to follow.

By way of comparison, how would people react if a fortyish man complained that Catherine MacKinnon had put her hand on his thigh 20 years ago?

About the same way, actually: “Who cares? Get a life!” That’s progress, I think.

February 25, 2004

GEORGE WILL on the growing antisemitism of the Left:

It used to be said that anti-Catholicism was the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals. Today anti-Semitism is the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals.

Read the whole thing, which is an interesting follow-on to this Michael Totten post from yesterday.

And David Bernstein has a message for Adbusters!

February 25, 2004

CHRIS MUIR is ready to take his Day by Day cartoon public. If you’d like to help him out, go here to find out how.

February 25, 2004

LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE: That’s my first take on Bush’s constititutional amendment, over at

UPDATE: Rob Bernard wonders why, when Bush and Kerry seem to have the same position here, it’s Bush who’s being called the bigot? But not this guy!

Meanwhile, if you’re wondering what the religious-blogging community is saying, there’s a roundup here at Blogs4God.

February 25, 2004

AUSTIN BAY WRITES on viral terror and what to do about it.

February 25, 2004

JOHN KERRY PROMISES to engage in sex discrimination: “As president, I will put American government and our legal system back on the side of women.”

Is the legal system supposed to take sides based on gender?

UPDATE: Reader Nicole Griffin is unimpressed by this appeal:

Regarding the section of Kerry’s website you linked to, all I have to say is “huh?” Putting aside the issue of whether the government SHOULD take sides between the genders, the full quote from Kerry is:

“In case after case, President Bush’s actions have made American women less safe and less secure – on the job and on the streets. As president, I will put American government and our legal system back on the side of women. I will stand up for their security, ensure their safety, support their rights, and guarantee their dignity. This nation can do no less.”

Maybe I missed something, but what the hell does Kerry think that Bush has done to make women less safe and secure? I can’t name a single thing that he has done that has had an effect on women in particular that it has not had on all Americans. Furthermore, as an American woman, I personally feel much “safer and more secure” with Bush as president, knowing that he’s willing to go out and kill terrorists and evil dictators who hate America than I would with Kerry as president, whose solution would be to threaten them with a UN resolution.


ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Elizabeth King agrees:

Sign me up as another woman who feels much safer and more secure with President Bush in the White House than I would if John Kerry became Commander in Chief. My man Bush is taking it to the enemy. Kerry thinks that the enemy is us.

But not if we’re properly restrained by the UN!

February 24, 2004

JUST BECAUSE IT’S FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE doesn’t mean that it’ll go anywhere you can point it. I saw this hung-up Blazer, whose owner had apparently decided to take a shortcut over the kerb and down a bank without measuring ramp angles, yesterday.

They don’t go anywhere when the wheels are in the air. I saw ’em tow it off, but I didn’t stick around to see if it would drive, or if important bits had been scraped away in the process.

I don’t have the religious opposition to SUVs that some people have, but I have to say that people seem to expect more from them than they can really be expected to deliver. Just because all four wheels will deliver power doesn’t mean that they’re immune to the laws of physics.

UPDATE: Big SUV-winching image moved for the benefit of dialup users. Now you can see it here.

February 24, 2004

TOM MAGUIRE has a bunch of interesting posts up. Just keep scrolling.

February 24, 2004


Brice: You’ve gone on record as being opposed to gay marriages.

Kerry: That’s right. I’m for all the people but we didn’t have any same-sex marriages in Viet Nam.

Chortle. Read the whole thing.

February 24, 2004

OKAY, this AP story says that Bush is for “banning gay marriage.” But when I read his statement and the Scott McClellan press briefing it seems more like what he’s talking about would basically be the constitutionalization of the Defense of Marriage Act — which would do exactly nothing, since, even pre-DOMA, states didn’t have to recognize each others’ marriages. There is some stuff about marriage being between a man and a woman, but it also seems as if that wouldn’t be binding on the states (or, if it is, only to the extent that they can’t call it “marriage.”) At any rate, I’m now thoroughly confused. I’ll have more on this over at as soon as they get it posted.

And note this confusion, too.

UPDATE: Okay, the post may be a bit longer — I had a few legal thoughts that I need to think about some more. But in the meantime, here’s my bottom line on the amendment issue:

I’m still against this, just as I was against the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act. I know plenty of gay people who are, for all practical purposes, married. I don’t see what’s wrong with them getting married. I don’t understand how letting gay people get married threatens heterosexual marriage. And, in fact, I suspect that to the extent it makes any difference at all, gay marriage will prove to be a fundamentally conservative institution, with married gays taking the role of solid citizens that married people have traditionally taken.

I think that the country will figure that out, and sooner than many people think. I also think that the country ought to be given a chance to figure it out, and not be prevented from doing so by a constitutional amendment.

UPDATE: Interesting developments in California. It looks like Virginia Postrel’s prediction last fall that all hell would break out was true.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Stephen Green is rounding up negative blogosphere reactions to Bush’s announcement. There are a lot of them. More here. And this is interesting: “Bush’s decision today will advance the rights of gay Americans beyond anything anyone is predicting. In 15 years, most States will allow gay marriage — thanks, ironically, to George W. Bush.” That’s just perverse enough to be true!

But I think that Bush should have taken Jim Glassman’s advice.

February 24, 2004

ROGER SIMON looks at the two faces of George Bush. He doesn’t like the gay marriage one, but the democracy-for-Iran one is good!

The best line is from one of his commenters, though: “Hey, in America we’re having fights about whether gay people can get married whereas in other parts of the world (like the Middle East) they simply kill gay people with rocks.”

UPDATE: Bryan Preston takes a more positive view of Bush’s gay marriage stance.

February 24, 2004

THIS CAN’T BE GOOD FOR KERRY: Sydney Schanberg is in the Village Voice accusing Kerry of a P.O.W. / M.I.A. coverup:

The Massachusetts senator, now seeking the presidency, carried out this subterfuge a little over a decade ago— shredding documents, suppressing testimony, and sanitizing the committee’s final report—when he was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on P.O.W./ M.I.A. Affairs. . . .

The Kerry committee’s final report, issued in January 1993, delivered the ultimate insult to history. The 1,223-page document said there was “no compelling evidence that proves” there is anyone still in captivity. As for the primary investigative question —what happened to the men left behind in 1973—the report conceded only that there is “evidence . . . that indicates the possibility of survival, at least for a small number” of prisoners 31 years ago, after Hanoi released the 591 P.O.W.’s it had admitted to.

I have no idea if this is true, of course, and I’ve generally been skeptical of such coverup claims in general. But the Village Voice can hardly be dismissed as a Karl Rove outlet (nor can Schanberg be called a Bush booster), and this certainly puts a different cast on the whole “I served in Vietnam” business. Kerry may be wishing he hadn’t made quite such a big deal of that now.

UPDATE: Weirdly, Tom Maguire emails that Schanberg wrote a similar story about McCain in 2000. Does that make this more, or less, credible?

February 24, 2004

DOUG “INSTALAWYER” WEINSTEIN has some thoughts on Kerry and Edwards that are worth reading. (And he’s a Kennedy cousin, too!) He also wonders why Edwards hasn’t taken up Hugh Hewitt’s offer. So do I.

February 24, 2004

LT SMASH has an amusing post on the gay marriage issue. I’ll have more later, but I’m swamped this afternoon.

And this is just frightening.

February 24, 2004

MICHAEL TOTTEN looks at antisemitism on the Left. There’s more of it all the time.

February 24, 2004

GET YOUR NANO-PORK here. . . .

February 24, 2004

BACKLASH: The NYT reports that Bush will back a gay marriage ban.

I think that the SF marriages pushed him off the fence on this, and I think it’s probably a bad thing for all concerned. (Via Clareified).

UPDATE: More, including a question as to whether the Times is reporting accurately on the Musgrave amendment, here. Meanwhile, Roger Simon is unhappy.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Kerry and Edwards oppose gay marriage, but Nader supports it!

Machiavellian question — is this why Bush made his statement right after Nader entered the race?

MORE: Andrew Sullivan is, unsurprisingly, deeply unhappy.

February 24, 2004

RANDY BARNETT’S ROCK-STAR LIKE TOUR OF AMERICA, promoting his new book Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty, continues, with stops in Philadelphia and Southern California. No word on whether groupies have started following him from town to town, a la the Grateful Dead.

I’m not ready to review Randy’s new book yet, but you can read my review of his last book, The Structure of Liberty, (from the Northwestern Law Review) here.

February 24, 2004

THERE’S LOTS OF INTERESTING STUFF going on in Central Asia and the ‘Stans, and Winds of Change has a roundup.

February 24, 2004

ISLAM IN CLEVELAND: Some positive developments.

February 24, 2004


UPDATE: Tim Blair, unsurprisingly, is pithier: “If consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, John F. Kerry’s mind must be freaking enormous.”

February 24, 2004

THE NEW YORK TIMES has issued a correction on the Meagher story, mentioned below:

An article on Sunday about people who supported George Bush in the 2000 election and are considering a vote for the Democratic candidate this year referred incorrectly to George Meagher, who voiced dissatisfaction with the administration. As noted on Feb. 3 in an earlier account of his comments in the same interview, for an article about veterans leaning toward Senator John Kerry, Mr. Meagher is an independent, not a Republican.

A bit devoid of, um, context, isn’t it? As Kaus says, “treats the symptom, ignores the underlying disease.”

UPDATE: Backstory here, at the CJR campaign blog. What bothers me isn’t so much the quote-recycling as the way the relabeling of Meagher from “independent” to “Republican” suited the general anti-Bush slant of the second story.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Oxblog, inspired by the above, notes a photo issue:

If you look at today’s coverage of the Haitian uprising in the WaPo and NYT, you’ll notice that both have photos of the same man-in-the-street, Jean-Bernard Prevalis. According to the photo credits, they were taken by different photographers.

Nothing dishonest there, exactly. But it reminds me of a storm in New Orleans a few years back, where all the networks showed a picture of the same downed tree — which a friend there told me was pretty much the only downed tree. Is it emblematic? Or just visually dramatic? It’s hard to tell, and yet it matters, even when there’s not an agenda. And doubly so when there is one.

February 23, 2004

RICH GALEN has another post up. Don’t miss it.

February 23, 2004

JAMES JOYNER of Outside the Beltway has lost his job. So if you’ve been thinking of hitting his tipjar, but haven’t gotten around to it, well, this might be a good time.

February 23, 2004

PUBLICOLA NOTES A REPORT on a possible effort to sneak an assault-weapons extension into law.

Eternal vigilance, you know. (See this very old post from August of 2001 for evidence that gun-rights folks were already disappointed in Bush. That’s probably bad for Bush now. His dad took ’em for granted, too.)

UPDATE: Clayton Cramer has more comments suggesting that there’s less here than meets the eye.