Archive for February, 2005

February 23, 2005

RANDY BARNETT: “In hindsight, I think that the creation of the Libertarian Party has been very detrimental to the political influence of libertarians.”

February 23, 2005

VARIOUS BIG-MEDIA TYPES have been suggesting that it’s time to ask some tough questions of bloggers. Frank J. is leading the charge.

February 23, 2005


February 23, 2005

FREE LEBANON PROTESTS in Los Angeles: The Lebanese expat community is large, rich, and spread around the globe. If they get behind this cause, it’s bad news for Assad.

UPDATE: BoiFromTroy has a photo of the L.A. protest. Will we see more of these?

February 23, 2005

HEALTHCAREBLOGGING: This week’s Grand Rounds is up.

February 23, 2005

IN THE MAIL: David Bollier’s Brand Name Bullies: The Quest to Own and Control Culture, about intellectual property overreach and the threat it poses to culture.

February 23, 2005



I went out with some of the 3/116th Infantry on a patrol today. When we got to Gojurkhel, the village elder told us that there was “some ammunition” by a field. I was thinking we were going to find some cartridges, or maybe a box of ammo somewhere. Wrong. Someone had dug out a tank round and dragged it over to a tree and left it there. We got the EOD team out to the village and got everyone well out of the way for what the old cartoon character, Marvin the Martian, would have described as an “Earth-shattering Kaboom.” The village was thankful we got rid of a very dangerous item, and we were glad to be rid of some IED fodder. Talk about win-win…


February 23, 2005

STEPHEN GREEN ISN’T SOLD on Bush’s Social Security reform plans: “Really, I should be easy to sell on SS reform. . . . And as a libertarian crank, I understand that me having control over more of my money is just plain right.” But he concludes, “Bush isn’t serious enough.”

Yeah, I’m with him on principle, but still in the “we’d all love to see the plan” phase on practice.

February 23, 2005

TIM BLAIR HAS A SCOOP, on White House media manipulation.

February 23, 2005


Great writing –absolutely brilliant writing– BUT, wrong conclusion, unless you’re like the French and you think “Europe” is another word for “France.” . . .
The Iraqi election smacked Monsiuer Chirac and Herr Schroeder. The Chirac-Schroeder axis smells defeat and their “western front against America” is folding. The Iraqi people’s Jan 30 electoral show of force sealed Chirac’s defeat. Even in the benighted Bastilles of Paris and Berlin, those ink-stained indicators of democracy in the line of fire – purple fingers – point the way to the future.Besides, Chirac and Schroeder’s “Greater Europe” is simply too divided, as I point out in my column this week.

Read the column, too. I certainly hope that he’s right.

UPDATE: Reader Kjell Hagen emails:

Many Americans discuss this. My input as a European (comment also left on Austin Bay´s comment section):

As a pro-US, pro-Iraqi liberation European, I would say both are right, but mostly Steyn. Yes, it was a defeat for Chiraq and Scroder. And, yes, Chiraq is corrupt and unloved even by the French. But, the French and a large part of Europe envy and resent the US and its power, just as much as Chiraq does. This will go on. Europe will never play together in any significant way militarily, with the US. And Europe will never build any worthwhile military capacity, given the political, economical and technological limits that Europe faces.

NATO´s big idea was to stop the Soviets. It worked, and it is finished. What is left is the girlfriend-like rhetoric, that Steyn points out. I think we will see an environment which is more like pre-WWI, with each larger power playing as best it can in its own interest, and with alliances shifting on a case-by-case basis. E.g., we see that in Lebanon, the US and France are allied to get the Syrians out.

Sigh. I would hope for more maturity from Europe, but there’s not a lot of history in support of such hopes.

February 23, 2005

DEMOCRACY IN LEBANON: Jim Geraghty notices Lebanese crediting the U.S. invasion of Iraq for jump-starting interest in liberating Lebanon from Syrian influence:

“It’s strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq,” explains Jumblatt. “I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world.” Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. “The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it.”

Those damn idealistic neo-cons. Don’t they realize that Arabs don’t care about democracy?

UPDATE: Via The Belgravia Dispatch, we get this:

I must say, that those who mock haven’t been paying attention to the empirical data that’s been piling up. First, we had the Afghan election last fall with this extraordinary turnout. Then we had the Palestinian election. Then we had the Iraqi election. We’re going to have a parliamentary election in Afghanistan in the spring. So this isn’t a theory anymore, this is actually happening on the ground in the Middle East and it is absolutely revolutionary, these free and fair elections.

It’s true, of course, as I’ve noted before, that democratization is a process, not an event. But the process is under way. We need to be sure it keeps going.

February 23, 2005


Plus, Chris Muir can draw.

February 23, 2005

THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF EDUCATION IS UP, featuring education-blogging from all over.

February 23, 2005

THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES IS UP: Branch out in your blog-reading.

February 23, 2005

MY BIONIC WIFE: Discussed in this week’s TechCentralStation column. She”s up and seems to be doing well this morning, with just Tylenol for pain. Now I get to take my daughter to the pediatrician for an ear infection followup . . . .

February 23, 2005

ED MORRISSEY AND THE DEACON are rejoicing in their recent choice of enemies. Just make sure they get the URL right . . . .

February 23, 2005

ANN ALTHOUSE is writing about fat and sin over at

February 22, 2005

“BLOGGERS RALLY FOR JAILED IRANIANS:” Nice that people are noticing. I hope it does some good.

February 22, 2005


But, in the broader sense vis-à-vis Europe, the administration is changing the tone precisely because it understands there can be no substance. And, if there’s no substance that can be changed, what’s to quarrel about? International relations are like ex-girlfriends: if you’re still deluding yourself you can get her back, every encounter will perforce be fraught and turbulent; once you realise that’s never gonna happen, you can meet for a quick decaf latte every six – make that 10 – months and do the whole hey-isn’t-it-terrific-the-way-we’re-able-to-be-such-great-friends routine because you couldn’t care less. You can even make a few pleasant noises about her new romance (the so-called European Constitution) secure in the knowledge he’s a total loser.

Heh. The conclusion, however, isn’t funny at all.

February 22, 2005

WILL THEY CLAIM A FIRST AMENDMENT PRIVILEGE? More people are saying that CNN broke the law in the course of doing a story on guns. Given the complexity of federal gun law, that could easily be done with innocent intentions, of course. But it’s certainly an embarrassment — and perhaps more than that.

February 22, 2005

OUT OF THE EAST: Arthur Chrenkoff notes some significant developments in Eastern and Central Europe.

February 22, 2005


February 22, 2005

HELEN, WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DISCHARGED ABOUT 2, is now home, having been discharged a bit after 8. This was a paperwork issue — as some people have observed: “So, paperwork takes time to fill out and you enter the world where everything seems to move like molasses (what happened to all that fast action you always see on ER? … sue Hollywood).”

I went over there after my class, waited until I had to go pick up my daughter, then went back after dinner. More waiting.

But she’s home now, propped up in bed checking her email on a laptop. She’ll have 4-6 weeks to fully recover, but she’s glad to be out of the hospital. So am I.

UPDATE: Docs hate the paperwork, too. The InstaWife, herself a health-care provider, of course, despises HIPAA.

February 22, 2005

POWER LINE remembers George Washington’s birthday, which is easy to forget these days. (It’s not even a holiday at my university). Still, there’s some revival of interest in Washington, spurred by Richard Brookhiser’s biography Founding Father, which I thought was excellent. I also recommend David Hackett Fischer’s recent book, Washington’s Crossing, which uses the famous painting as a way of exploring society’s changing attitudes.

February 22, 2005

MAN BITES DOG: A pro-Bush protest in Germany, scheduled for tomorrow.

February 22, 2005


The global web log community is being called into action to lend support to two imprisoned Iranian bloggers.

The month-old Committee to Protect Bloggers’ is asking those with blogs to dedicate their sites on Tuesday to the “Free Mojtaba and Arash Day”.

Arash Sigarchi and Mojtaba Saminejad are both in prison in Iran.

Blogs are free sites through which people publish thoughts and opinions. Iranian authorities have been clamping down on prominent sites for some time.

“I hope this day will focus people,” Curt Hopkins, director of the Committee, told the BBC News website.

Here’s the website. (Via Jeff Jarvis).

February 22, 2005

WILL THERE BE A SPLIT between libertarian and social conservatives? Ryan Sager says that libertarians were poorly received at CPAC, which produced this response from Ramesh Ponnuru, this reply from Sager, and this rejoinder from Ponnuru. Libertarians’ influence, of course, has been reduced by the split over the war among libertarians, but I think that a shift toward religious conservatism is likely to cost the Republicans votes. As I warned in Reason, people on both the Left and the social-conservative Right are exaggerating the power of religious conservatives, and that poses a real risk for the GOP:

There’s no question that incidents like the Janet Jackson breast episode have angered a lot of Americans who feel that the entertainment industry doesn’t respect their values. And gay marriage polls badly even in the bluest of blue states. But there’s little reason to believe Americans eagerly cast their votes in November in the hope that busybodies would finally start telling them what to do.

In their book The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge explain how the Republican coalition could go wrong: “Too Southern, too greedy, and too contradictory.” Taking the advice of advocacy groups left and right is likely to send the Bush administration in that direction. Is Karl Rove smart enough to realize that?

I think that he is, even if some people at CPAC are not.

UPDATE: Mary Katherine Ham is pouring on the love:

As one of the conservatives in the audience at CPAC who didn’t boo libertarians, I’m with Amy in thinking that relations are a lot better than those boos suggest. On the last day of CPAC, for instance, I sat at The Heritage Foundation’s booth with a libertarian colleague, across the aisle from The Objectivist Center’s booth, and next to Americans for Tax Reform. There are certainly differences between these groups, but there was no booing or throwing of objects (which could have been very bad, as the Objectivists always have a hefty edition of “Atlas Shrugged” handy). It was almost as if we were a coalition…

As a conservative, and a social conservative in most regards, I’m thankful for libertarians. As far as I’m concerned, people who love free markets, guns, and America are welcome in a coalition with me. Perhaps I’m more apt to embrace libertarians because I spend a lot of time with our real opponents– my liberal, sometimes-dang-near-socialist friends. Debating (and I use the term loosely)20-something socialists will teach you to LOVE talking to a libertarian.

I also think the street-cred of “libertarianism” as opposed to “social conservatism” does a lot to attract young, counter-culture types to the center-right coalition who might otherwise be lost to loony leftism. That’s a win for all us liberty-lovers. I know when I focus on the libertarian aspects of free markets, lower taxes and other conservative positions, I’m able to talk to folks who wouldn’t go near me if I used the word “conservative” to characterize them. “Libertarian” overcomes a lot of stereotypes young people have of conservatives, and it’s always made for more productive political conversations in my experience. That seems like a good thing to me.

So, consider this my bear hug for both social conservatives and libertarians. We need each other, and I think we’ll stick together. At least from my perspective, out in the CPAC audience, there was a lot more getting along and good debate than booing.

Well, libertarian leanings sell better to people who care about liberty because they’re libertarian . . . . But I’m glad to hear that people were getting along, and the point about civility and mutual respect is an important one. My experience is that I probably agree with the Left on more issues (certainly more “social” issues) than I do with social conservatives, but the Lefties, for the most part, have very little tolerance for disagreement on anything, while the Righties tend to stress areas of agreement. I suspect that this is a more effective strategy over the long term.

More thoughts here and here.

February 22, 2005

FISHING IN IRAQ, complete with solunar tables for Baghdad.

February 22, 2005

PUBLIC TAKING OF PRIVATE PROPERTY FOR PRIVATE PURPOSES: Stephen Bainbridge looks at the Kelo case argued before the Supreme Court today:

The Supreme Court has held that private property can be seized via eminent domain as part of an urban renewal project when the property is blighted, a loophole that local authorities have greatly abused to seize private property. Yet, in this case, the government doesn’t even bother trying to hide behind that fig leaf. They assert baldly the power to seize private homes because they think some other user can put them to a higher tax generating use. Except, in this case, they don’t even know what the land will be used to do!

As Bainbridge notes, this is no minor technical dispute.

February 22, 2005

JUST GOT TO THE OFFICE, having visited Helen at the hospital for a while. She’s doing pretty well, and hoping to get out this afternoon. I’ve got to get ready for class, but if you’re looking for delightful bloggish diversion, head over to Tom Maguire’s place, where he lays out a link-rich post on Gannon / Guckert for dummies. Emphasis on the “dummies” part, it looks like.

February 22, 2005

WHEN THE INSTA-DAUGHTER packed her bag for her various family travels this weekend she took a book, but I slipped this Harry Turtledove book into her suitcase, too, just in case. Sure enough, she finished her own book and started reading it. Her conclusion: “It’s really good!”

February 22, 2005


February 22, 2005

THIS POST by Jonah Goldberg on blogger triumphalism is probably on-target — but his quotation from Daniel Drezner is wildly out of context, which is amusing since Drezner’s point was precisely the danger of cherry-picking quotes. The good news is that you can follow the link, as I did, and spot the error pretty fast. [Is it “blogger triumphalism” to point that out? — Ed. More like “HTML triumphalism.”]

UPDATE: Jim Geraghty, on the other hand, has not one, but two posts on the obsolescence of newspapers.

February 22, 2005

INTERESTING ARTICLE on nanomaterials from the New York Times, whose reporting on nanotechnology has — as I’ve noted before — been quite good over the years.

February 22, 2005

ENDGAME IN AFGHANISTAN? Things must be going well, because it’s not getting much press coverage . . . .

February 22, 2005

ANTI-MUBARAK PROTESTS seem to be growing:

About 500 protesters gathered outside Cairo University Monday to urge Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to abstain from seeking a fifth term.

The protest was organized by the Egyptian Movement for Change, which warned Mubarak against grooming his son, Jamal, “to inherit him.”

The protesters shouted anti-Mubarak slogans and called for amending the constitution to allow the election of the president by universal suffrage instead of a referendum on a single candidate approved by Parliament.

Interesting development. Omar thinks it represents a trend in the Middle East.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, here’s more on Lebanon, from Amir Taheri:

UNTIL a week ago, the courtyard of the Muhammad Ali-Amin Mosque in central Beirut was a quiet place where elderly citizens took time off to feed the pigeons. Yesterday, however, it held the largest gathering Lebanon has ever seen.

This was the culmination of a week in which an endless flow of people from all walks of life and different faiths had continued in and out of the mosque united by a single purpose: to call for a restoration of Lebanon’s freedom and independence as a nation. . . .

Did Damascus see Hariri as the only politician capable of uniting the Lebanese opposition against Syria’s continued domination of virtually all aspects of Lebanon’s life?

If so, it was correct — but only in the context of Lebanon’s elite-dominated politics. Yet Hariri’s murder has ended elite politics by bringing into the picture a new element.

That element is people power, the same force that swept away the totalitarian regimes of Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s and, more recently, led Ukraine into a second liberation.

Let’s hope that this phenomenon is repeated.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Javier Solana says that Arab despots are panicked at the spread of democratization. He says that like it’s a bad thing.

Meanwhile, it’s democracy-promotion for Togo, too to the surprise of some. I believe it was Cavour who said that the preferred method for deceiving diplomats was to tell them the truth, since they would never believe what you said . . . .

February 22, 2005

ORIN KERR looks at replacements for Rehnquist, but unaccountably fails to mention Eugene Volokh.

February 22, 2005

RUNNING THE NUMBERS for Frank Rich, who apparently doesn’t read the Times much.

February 21, 2005

SOMEHOW, I haven’t been able to get as excited over the Larry Summers flap as a lot of people. Arnold Kling explains why I’m wrong.

February 21, 2005

A BUNCH OF PEOPLE want me to comment on Bill Keller’s latest blog-dissing, but I think Mickey Kaus has it covered: “That’s too much gay bathhouse imagery for me to deal with right now. … Take it away, Wonkette. … ”

Though this IMAO post seems relevant, somehow . . . .

UPDATE: Some useful advice for Daniel Okrent, from Tom Maguire.

February 21, 2005

HOME: Left the hospital about an hour ago and picked up the Insta-Daughter from my sister-in-law’s. I’ll take her to school tomorrow, and by the time she gets home, with any luck, her mom will be home, too. Helen’s doing quite well, and we’re happy to follow the advice of Doug and Sissy.

February 21, 2005

I’VE BEEN WITH HELEN for the last several hours. She’s doing fine, and says thanks for all the nice messages and emails.

February 21, 2005


UPDATE: Bush is on the offensive:

President Bush and French President Jacques Chirac said Monday they had patched up their differences over Iraq as Bush appealed for European unity in helping to spread democracy across the Middle East.

At the same time, Bush prodded Russia to reverse a crackdown on political dissent, suggesting Moscow’s efforts to join the World Trade Organization could hinge on it. He said he would press the point when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin later in the week.

“I intend to remind him that if his interests lie West, that we share values and that those values are important,” Bush said. “They’re not only important for people who that live within Russia, they’re important to have good relations with the West.”

He also demanded that Iran end its nuclear ambitions and told Syria to get out of Lebanon.

They’d be well-advised to comply, I think.

UPDATE: More on Bush’s speech here, and the transcript is here.

MORE: Sort-of related thoughts on China and North Korea, here.

MORE STILL: “Good cowboy.” Heh.

February 21, 2005


And Ann Althouse is guest-blogging over at

February 21, 2005

JUST SPOKE TO THE CARDIOLOGIST: The surgery went well, and Helen is in the recovery room. It’ll be a while before I can see her, but he says that everything went fine and that she should have a smooth recovery.

UPDATE: Well, we won’t be needing one of these, now that it’s built-in. But it does make me wonder if Amazon knew something. . . .

February 21, 2005

$820,000 FOR INSTAPUNDIT? Hmm. That might be undervaluing things, but I’d be willing to enter into discussions, I guess. . . .

February 21, 2005

JEFF JARVIS AND BILL KELLER OF THE NYT go back-and-forth. And Roger Simon weighs in.

Not quite so edifying is round two of the Estrich / Kinsley debate . . . .

February 21, 2005

INTERESTING PIECE on the Dartmouth Board of Trustees race, which includes Todd Zywicki of The Volokh Conspiracy.

February 21, 2005


The U.N.’s top refugee advocate resigned Sunday amid a festering controversy over allegations that he sexually harassed several female employees at the U.N. refugee agency. . . .

U.N. diplomats said Lubbers had become a political liability for an organization already striving to demonstrate its willingness to hold senior officials accountable after damaging scandals involving corruption in a U.N. humanitarian program in Iraq and sexual misconduct by U.N. peacekeepers in Congo.

Annan is bracing for a report next month by a U.N.-appointed panel probing allegations of influence peddling in the U.N.-administered oil-for-food program in Iraq by his son, Kojo Annan. Those charges have triggered calls for Annan’s resignation from some legislators, including Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

On the other hand, this story of rape and child abuse by U.N. peacekeepers in the Congo seems like much bigger news.

February 21, 2005

THEY’VE HAULED HELEN OFF TO PRE-OP, and I’m waiting in the Surgery Lounge, where at least they have (sort of) comfy chairs. She was surprisingly chipper this morning, and quite ready to have it over with. She sends thanks to all the people who emailed with words of support.

My earlier comments about hospitals and sleep deprivation led to quite a few posts by medical bloggers. You can read their observations here, here, here, here, and here. Interesting reading.

February 21, 2005


James Lileks: “File under Capote, Truman – meaning, whatever you thought of the latter-day persona, don’t forget that there was a reason he had a reputation. Read ‘Hell’s Angels.’ That was a man who could hit the keys right.”

February 20, 2005

I’LL BE UP EARLY TOMORROW: Got to be at the hospital at 5:30, as the Insta-Wife is scheduled for early surgery. (Our daughter is with her grandmother tonight). I spent a few hours there tonight, and she’s in good spirits. I rubbed her feet, and helped her scrub her chest with Betadine.

February 20, 2005

PATRICK RUFFINI AND OLIVER WILLIS will be on C-SPAN tomorrow morning, 7:45-8:30 (Eastern) tomorrow morning. I’ve always said that Oliver was made for TV.

UPDATE: And Lance Frizzell will be on Teddy Bart’s show tomorrow morning. Listen live here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Caught the last few minutes via streaming video. Oliver: “I’m just not willing to launch a headhunting campaign against someone based on secondhand reports.”

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Oliver emails: “Now, am I willing to launch a campaign based on firsthand knowledge? You bet.”

I never doubted it.

February 20, 2005

CHARGES OF RATHERGATE CONSPIRACY AGAINST KARL ROVE, from Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY). Charles Johnson has audio and a transcript. If Karl Rove is really this smart, the Democrats are doomed. (Hmm, maybe spreading that idea is the real conspiracy. Somebody ask Hinchey who he’s working for. The truth is out there! . . .)

UPDATE: Comments here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More thoughts from Roger Simon, with an interesting Karl-Rove-as-Loki angle in the comments. Or is he Coyote?

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: More background on Hinchey, here. He’s “big on gun rights.” Obviously a Karl Rove mole!

February 20, 2005

SOME PEOPLE ARE WONDERING if a CNN reporter broke the law in the course of doing a story on guns.

UPDATE: A couple of readers think this concern may be premature. We’ll see.

February 20, 2005

DOING RESEARCH FOR MY TECHCENTRALSTATION COLUMN this week, I ran across MedGadget, a sort of Gizmodo-for-medical-devices. Pretty cool.

February 20, 2005

HERE’S A VERY POSITIVE REVIEW for MSNBC’s new show, Connected Coast-to-Coast, saying that:

Connected Coast to Coast is surely (and finally) the concept that the founders never even knew they were thinking of when MS (Microsoft) & NBC joined hands for a little experiment called MSNBC. The concept was ahead of its time and MSNBC’s ‘new twist’ was years ahead of the information-flow reality…until the sudden emergence of millions of blogs and bloggers finally brought that vision into focus. So, it is only appropriately fitting that MSNBC is the outlet to first embrace the paradigm that is the new law of information flow.

I haven’t seen the show — they invited me on Friday, but I was otherwise engaged.

February 20, 2005

SHOW PEOPLE A PICTURE OF YOUR WIFE WITH A LAPTOP, and some of them comment on . . . the laptop! Reader Jason Watts emails:

Is that the Dell 700m? I just set one of those up for a doc at the medical school I work at. I am sold on that model. I have the Inspiron 8600, I was sold on the big wide screen but did not consider the size and weight, especially when you have to carry it across campus with books as well. The 700m is small and powerful from what I could tell. Plus I will hopefully attend law school in a year so the 700m will work nicely for that as well.

Bill Hobbs and reader Robert Berry also emailed last week to ask about the Dell — there’s some sort of coupon promotion going, apparently. I’ve had it for a few months now, and I’m quite pleased. Battery life with the extended-life battery (a must-buy accessory, as far as I’m concerned) is good at 5-6 hours even while using wifi or the Verizon card, which both drain battery power faster (especially the Verizon card). The display is excellent, and there are lots of ports, etc. My only real complaint is the absence of a hardware volume-control knob, and the presence of a 4-pin rather than a 6-pin Firewire port. This works fine, but it’s a nonstandard cable, and though it’ll connect to an iPod it won’t charge it.

Here’s my earlier post on the subject.

UPDATE: Bill Hobbs emails:

I just ordered the 700M with 1.8 gig, 512 mb ram, 80GB hard drive, CD/DVD burner, extended life battery and 4 year warranty with at-home service and 4-year complete care accidental damage warranty. The total was just $1553 before tax because there is a great $600 off coupon floating around. Word to the wise: Google “Dell coupon codes” to find the coupon.

He’ll like it.

February 20, 2005

THIS COLUMN BY DAVID SHAW in the Los Angeles Times adds to the bloggers-as-lynch-mob meme that a lot of Big Media folks are peddling:

Bloggers can be useful. They did a good job, for example, in bringing the Rather/CBS screw-up to public attention. But some bloggers are just self-important ranters who seem to wake up every morning convinced that the entire Free World awaits their opinions on any subject that’s popped into their heads since their last fevered post.

Unfortunately, when these bloggers rise up in arms, grown men weep — and news executives cave in. That’s much more alarming than anything Jordan said.

What’s funny, though, is that Shaw’s views on the Eason Jordan controversy seem to be exactly the same as those most commonly found throughout the blogosphere:

Although the official word is that Jordan’s resignation was voluntary, I have to believe that the top brass at CNN, instead of rejecting his resignation, as they should have done, gave him a not-so-gentle push toward the door to defuse the increasingly nasty controversy.

What I don’t understand is why they — and he — caved in so quickly. I wish he’d asked — begged, demanded — that the organizers of the Davos forum release the videotape of his panel. I can only assume that he said what he’s accused of saying and that he doesn’t want those remarks in the public domain, even if they were followed by his quick backtracking.

If Jordan did say American troops target American journalists, he should be ashamed of himself. But he shouldn’t have lost his job.

Well, whether he should have lost his job was always CNN’s decision, of course. But we wanted to see the tape. As I’ve noted before, bloggers wanted the tape made public more than they wanted to get rid of Jordan. CNN, on the other hand, decided it would rather be rid of Jordan than see the tape made public.

The funny thing, though, is that the herd-mentality among media executives will probably make the “bloggers as irresistible force” idea truer, as the result of pieces like this one, than it was before.

UPDATE: Prof. Bainbridge has thoughts on why Shaw’s lynch-mob meme is likely to catch on: “Blaming others for one’s misfortunes is always easier than considring whether one’s own conduct may have caused them. So I expect the MSM to go right on whining about blogs, even if those of us in the blogosphere really don’t have anywhere near the amount of influence we would like to think we possess.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader David Jones emails:

If the blogs are the lynch mob, and Eason Jordan was not guilty of a hanging offense, then CNN’s role is that of the cowardly sheriff who gives in to the mob. So why doesn’t the MSM investigate that? Could it be that the sheriff has something to hide?


February 20, 2005

SHANTI MANGALA is hosting this week’s Blog Mela. Check out what the Indian blogosphere is saying!

UPDATE: And Tim Worstall rounds up the BritBlogs.

February 20, 2005

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IN ENGLAND: “Many hunters claimed to be staying within the law by not actually pursuing foxes, although it was not clear how they communicated that intention to the hounds.”

February 20, 2005

REPORTS OF LIFE ON MARS, noted earlier, seem to be premature.

February 20, 2005

JUST TALKED TO THE INSTAWIFE: I reclaimed the Insta-daughter from my sister, who had kept her for the past couple of nights, and we went shopping (Abercrombie!) and out to dinner (sushi!), both her choices of activities. We had a nice evening, while Helen entertained visitors from her family and mine.

We just spoke on the phone today and she sounded good — except that the hospital routine is wearing her down with the constant sleep interruptions. They really do come in every couple of hours, and while some of the stuff makes some sense, I guess — like checking temperature or even EKG — they came in yesterday, and today, at about 5 AM to check her weight. Er, why not a couple of hours later?

The people at the hospital are very nice, but this leads me to wonder what would happen if you did the equivalent of those mental-hospital experiments, where normal grad students tested out as crazy after 6 weeks in a mental hospital. If you took 100 healthy people, then put them in a hospital for 2 weeks of this sort of thing and tested them again, I’ll bet that they’d be significantly worse off. People joke about the sleep interruptions, or about the bad food, but it’s really no joke when you’re in there for a while. I wonder why they don’t do better?

February 20, 2005

MEGAN MCARDLE: “Incidentally, having read Larry Summers’ remarks now, I think it’s pretty embarassing for academia that this scandal got as far as it did.”

UPDATE: Interesting observation from her comment section: “Larry Summers, politically much more adept than his critics here, seems to have pulled off a great example of ‘rope-a-dope’ by delaying the release of his remarks. The US college professoriate is currently driving its collective credibility off a cliff. Summers helped them along by offering them a ‘door to nowhere’, and they marched right through it.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: David Bernstein comments: “I would add that if Summers’ quite measured comments have gotten him into such hot water, imagine how regular faculty, untenured faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates whose views don’t reflect the politically correct mainstream are treated, and how much their careers can be placed in potential jeopardy.”

It seems to me that this is more reason to encourage intellectual diversification at places like Harvard.

February 20, 2005

2008: THERE’S A CONDI RICE FOR PRESIDENT BLOG, there’s a Draft Condi website, and you can already buy the T-Shirt. And bumper stickers!

The juggernaut is already rolling.

UPDATE: Another Condi blog! And another! And there’s more here, and here. But not everyone is on the bandwagon.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jim Geraghty reports from CPAC: “Many folks are wearing ‘I support Condi in 2008’ buttons. Interesting…”

MORE: Blogs for Condi is rounding up examples of Condi-enthusiasm around the blogosphere.

STILL MORE: Even more Condi 2008 stuff here and, especially, here.

February 20, 2005

WIKIPEDIA WARS: Involving LaShawn Barber. (Via The Baron).

February 20, 2005

ALTERNATIVE HISTORY: Bill Dyer wonders what would have happened if the RatherGate forgers had had a clue.

February 20, 2005

ARTHUR CHRENKOFF rounds up news from Lebanon, where all sorts of things are going on.

UPDATE: And here’s more interesting stuff from East Asia.

February 19, 2005

AUSTIN BAY OBSERVES a historical turning point.

February 19, 2005


For decades the national conversation in most western countries has been directed by a few talking heads. Newspapers play important roles but all the evidence suggests that broadcasters have possessed the greatest potential to frame public debate. British politicians have known that communicating their message depends upon getting the nod from a small number of powerful figures in the broadcast media.

The editor of BBC1’s six o’clock news bulletin can make a minister’s day by putting his department’s latest announcement at the front of the bulletin. Hearing Huw Edwards say something positive about that afternoon’s policy launch will even put a smile on Alastair Campbell’s face. . . .

But the blogosphere will become a force in Britain, and it could ignite many new forces of conservatism. The internet’s automatic level playing field gives conservatives opportunities that mainstream media have often denied them.

An online community of bloggers performs the same function as yesteryear’s town meetings. Through the tradition of town hall meetings, officials were held to account by local people. Blogger communities are going to be much more powerful. They will draw together not only local people but patients who have waited and waited for NHS care. They will organise parents of disabled children who oppose Labour’s closure of special-needs schools and evangelical Christians who see their beliefs caricatured by ignorant commentators.

All this should put the fear of God into the metropolitan elites. For years there have been widening gaps between the governing class and the governed and between the publicly funded broadcasters and the broadcasted to.

Interesting, and since the gap is probably wider in Britain than in America, it’s certainly possible that the impact will be greater — though not, I’d imagine, if the establishment media can help it.

February 19, 2005

PAUL MUSGRAVE has a roundup of developments in East Asia.

February 19, 2005

I HAVEN’T FINISHED SUPERLUMINAL yet, as events have intervened. But I’m still enjoying it. When I’m done, I’m going to read The Curse of Cain, an alt-history Lincoln-assassination thriller that’s blurbed (on the advance copy they sent me) as “Civil War fiction’s The Day of the Jackal.” It looks as if it ought to be pretty good. Yes, it’s “escape reading.” But I’ve always been an escape reader.

February 19, 2005

HERE’S AN INTERESTING PIECE BY JOSEPH CURL on the Gannon/Guckert affair, featuring interviews with a lot of members from the White House press corps who worked alongside Gannon/Guckert. It makes for very interesting reading.

Here’s more from Roger Simon.

UPDATE: More here.

February 19, 2005

LAST NIGHT wasn’t as uncomfortable as I feared. I wound up sharing the bed with Helen. Back when we were single, we often shared twin beds that were smaller than this, and it was actually very nice, and snuggly, despite the regular “wake-up-for-your-sleeping-pill” hospital style interruptions. I don’t think we’ll trade in the king-sized bed at home for a full, but it was a good way to spend the night, especially at a time like this.

As you can see from the photo to the right, Helen has been keeping herself amused. I’m home at the moment, to pick up some more clothes for her and to rescue the cats from durance vile. I’m heading back over there later, but I’m going to post a few blog entries so that you all won’t be totally bored.

And for those who asked about using the Verizon card in the hospital — given many hospitals’ strict anti-cellphone policies — I asked. They told me that it was OK. The older analog-style cellphones screw up their telemetry, and they don’t like to rely on people knowing what kind of phone they carry. But the Verizon card posed no problems, and it definitely makes you feel less isolated — especially when people are emailing you.

Thanks very much to the many, many people who have emailed. And I have to say — without taking anything away from anyone else — that I’ve been particularly touched by the nice emails and posts from people who are often on the other side of blogospheric disagreements, people like Ted Barlow, Jack O’Toole, Randy Paul, Jeralyn Merritt, and Oliver Willis. Thanks.

February 19, 2005

A WHILE BACK, I quoted Indian Country Today as saying that Ward Churchill was sought out for his views, which led a few readers to argue that this wasn’t necessarily so. But it’s looking more and more as if it’s the case, though it’s also possible that his claimed Indian ancestry was the real attraction. Either way, the University certainly seems to have been anxious to hire and tenure him.

The Rocky Mountain News reports:

Ward Churchill received tenure without the usual scrutiny at a time when the University of Colorado was anxious to add minority teachers, one player in his hiring said Thursday.

Churchill, who claims American Indian heritage, was tenured in the communications department effective the fall of 1991 – a meteoric leap from a job he had held for more than a decade in a program that provides tutoring and counseling for minority students. . . .

Bowers said Churchill was interviewed by every faculty member in communications. Professors in the department read some of Churchill’s works, but not all of them, he said.

They concentrated on Churchill’s writings about the standoff between the federal government and the American Indian Movement at Wounded Knee, Bowers said.

“He wasn’t writing general theory, he was writing specific cases. But specific cases are of interest to academics,” Bowers said.

Tenure review typically includes an evaluation of the candidate’s published works by scholars from other campuses. That didn’t happen in Churchill’s case, Bowers said.

More here:

Ward Churchill’s quick rise to a tenured position came as a surprise to the former University of Colorado official who suggested him for a temporary faculty position in 1990.

Churchill had been working for more than a decade in a program that helps minority students when then-Vice Chancellor Kaye Howe recommended him for a one-semester appointment teaching Indian studies.

Eleven months later, Churchill leaped to a coveted tenured position.

“This just doesn’t compute for me,” Howe said Wednesday of Churchill’s quick rise to tenure. “I don’t understand that.”

Tenure is usually granted only after a “laborious” process, she said.

Apparently — as Indian Country indicated — they were afraid of losing him:

In 1990, CU officials apparently considered Churchill an expert in American Indian studies.

“Ward is certainly being courted by other universities as a significant Indian scholar and teacher. It would be a shame to lose him because of a standard which may be irrelevant in this case,” Howe wrote Middleton in an e-mail, referring to Churchill’s lack of a doctorate. . . .

The documents released by CU do not explain why Churchill was able to avoid the normal process for getting tenure, which gives a high measure of job security to faculty. Scholars have questioned Churchill’s conclusions for years, and some have suggested he lied about being an Indian to land his job at CU.

I’ll bet the CU folks wish they’d lost him to another school now.

UPDATE: Ouch. That smarts.

February 18, 2005

THE VERIZON WIRELESS CARD is great when you’re stuck in a hospital. Helen, who is recovering well from her procedure, just finished checking her email and surfing. Checking my own email, I just noticed several readers pointing out that there’s all sorts of interesting stuff happening in Lebanon:

The multi-sectarian Lebanese opposition Friday demanded Syria end its military presence and called for dismissal of the government.

“In response to the policy of intimidation and terrorization by the Lebanese authorities and the Syrian authorities, the Lebanese opposition declares the launching of the democratic and peaceful uprising for independence,” the opposition said in a statement.

Very interesting. There’s also this delightful twist: “Lebanese opposition declares intifada.” Heh.

Meanwhile, I observe that hospitals are boring and uncomfortable places, something that I have noticed before, and suggest that every room should have a comfy chair and a high-speed Internet connection. This room, alas, has neither. Fortunately, I brought my own Internet connection. I wish I’d brought a chair, too . . . .

UPDATE: Yeah, one of these, maybe.

February 18, 2005

TERM LIMITS for Supreme Court justices? I don’t know what I think about this idea.

February 18, 2005

J.D. LASICA LOOKS AT ETHICS, BLOGGING, AND JOURNALISM, and Tom Maguire explores media convergence and the Washington Post.

More on the Post, here. And here’s a roundup of media / blog relations that seems to cover all the bases.

February 18, 2005

HOSPIBLOGGING, CONT’D: I’m back in the cafeteria, while they move Helen to a room. The results, unfortunately, weren’t great: Her rhythm problems were worse than expected, and not amenable to ablation. They’re keeping her in the hospital until Monday when she’ll get an implantable pacemaker/cardioverter. The good news is that those things are available and — as several readers have emailed me — quite good. The bad thing is that she needs one. She came through the procedure fine, and is in good spirits. And thanks again to the literally hundreds of people who have emailed their good wishes.

February 18, 2005


Remember this? “I make the following prediction: In 20 or 25 years (it might not even take that long) all the people who were saying that the war was wrong and Iraq was wrong will talk about how America brought democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan and how they were a part of it.”

Exhibit A, from Jay Nordlinger in NRO:

“I was reading an op-ed piece by Fareed Zakaria in the Washington Post, and he began by quoting Jon Stewart, the comedian, who said, “We did it! We had the election. And now we can say to Iraq, ‘Goodbye!'”…If it had been up to Jon Stewart and his ilk, that election in Iraq would never have taken place.

“We did it!” indeed.

Heh. Success has a thousand fathers. With people coming forward to claim paternity, I guess we know we’re succeeding.

UPDATE: Reader Thomas Castle says that the Jon Stewart quote is out of context:

You probably didn’t see the episode in question, but you should know that your quoted comments on Jon Stewart are totally out of context. On that episode, which I saw, Jon Stewart basically asks Fareed Zakaria, How can those of us who opposed this thing from day one respond when we see joyous Iraqis casting their first votes? He openly and honestly states he was always against it, yet is happy for them nonetheless. This is a perfectly respectable and refreshingly honest position coming from someone who’s been very critical of the Bush administration (and rightly so).

I didn’t see it, but if the above quote is misleading I’m happy to correct the record.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Several readers disagree with Castle. Here’s the video link, so you can make up your own mind. Watching it myself, I don’t think that Stewart’s “we” was really taking credit, but I think you could read it both ways, and I’m not at my best in terms of that kind of judgment at the moment.

February 18, 2005

WAS DEMOCRATIZATION A POST FACTO ARGUMENT for the liberation of Iraq? Norm Geras notes that some people are saying so, but he points out that they’re wrong.

February 18, 2005

MILLIONAIRES AND POLITICIANS: Arnold Kling looks at a conflict in values.

February 18, 2005


Thirty-seven-percent (37%) of Americans have a favorable opinion of the United Nations. That’s down from 44% in a November survey.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of Americans also believe UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan should resign. A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults finds that 26% disagree and say he should not resign. Another 37% are undecided.

Just 54% of Americans are following news coverage of this story “very” or “somewhat” closely.

Among those following the story very closely, 63% believe Annan should resign. Twenty-eight percent (28%) say he should not.

The oil-for-food scandal is taking its toll on the international institution. Forty-two percent (42%) believe Saddam Hussein used the program to bribe nations such as France and Russia. Just 12% think he did not use it for bribery.

UNScam is taking its toll.

February 18, 2005

ED CONE notes that Ward Churchill has a bit of a thing for Eichmann.

February 18, 2005

THEO VAN GOGH’S MURDER: Here’s a report that Norwegian Intelligence says there was an Al Qaeda connection.

February 18, 2005

THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE RECIPES is up! And there’s still plenty of time to plan dinner.

February 18, 2005

ROGER SIMON HAS DOUBTS that the Volcker Commission will get to the bottom of the UNScam oil-for-food scandal.

February 18, 2005

KNOW THY ENEMY: BLOGS! Frank J. offers advice and information for journalists and public figures.

February 18, 2005


February 18, 2005

I REALLY LIKE THIS PICTURE from Fletch. But I’m a little suspicious of this one. Er, and this one, too . . . .

February 18, 2005

HOSPIBLOGGING: Last week it was Ed Morrissey; this week it’s me. The Insta-Wife is here for a heart catheterization — they’ll be doing an electrophysiology study and, perhaps, an ablation to deal with some rhythm problems that have been giving her trouble. As usual, this has started at an ungodly hour. She’s already back being prepped; I’ll get to see her before she goes in.

Blogging may be light, or may not — it’s not like there’s much else to do around here, besides read old magazines (Remember “Bennifer?” They live on in hospital waiting rooms . . . .).

UPDATE: It’s now about 7:15 and they’ve wheeled her off. Thanks to all the people who emailed with prayers and good wishes. And thanks to Jeff. Capt. Ed emails that he hopes hospiblogging isn’t the next big thing. I agree. Even tireblogging is better!

ANOTHER UPDATE: It’s now a bit after 8. I ducked out and grabbed a bit to eat, blogging from the cafeteria, and now I’m back in the waiting room. (Rule Number One in these situations is to seize opportunities to take care of your own needs for food, etc., when you can, since you’re often stuck where you can’t.) They just called to say that things have started, and that she’s doing fine. Thanks again for all the emails with good wishes and support.

MORE: Now it’s 9:40. They just said that everything’s going well, but that she’ll be in for a while longer. I think I’ll go get some coffee — I’ve been up since before 4 a.m.

February 18, 2005

BATESLINE has responded to the legal threats from the Tulsa World. This post includes a letter from the Media Bloggers Association’s general counsel, Ron Coleman.

February 17, 2005

I’M NOT SURE WHY, exactly, but this week an awful lot of people have sent nice emails, and donations, saying that they appreciate InstaPundit. Thanks. I appreciate them a lot.

February 17, 2005

I’M QUITE A FEW PAGES into Superluminal, which I mentioned earlier, and liking it pretty well so far.

February 17, 2005

ED MORRISSEY has an article in The Weekly Standard.

February 17, 2005

WHAT HAPPENS IN AMERICA, stays in America. And that’s how it ought to be.

February 17, 2005

EAT YOUR HEART OUT, Ward Churchill! That was after my earlier days in the business.

February 17, 2005

IS IT JUST ME, or does “somewhere between meltdown and release” sound kind of, well, hot?

February 17, 2005

HERE’S A UKRAINE UPDATE from Le Sabot Post-Moderne.

February 17, 2005

MICKEY KAUS: “Advantage: VodkaPundit!” Indeed.